Dear CAUTHE Members and Colleagues,
This past week, south-eastern Australia has experienced some of the worst flooding in our living memory, as a result of a slow moving low crossing the coast, which has carried with it a phenomenal and destructive amount of rain.
This weather event has caused significant loss, damage and heartache for affected areas. In some communities, like Lismore where Southern Cross University and my own office is based, the impacts have been catastrophic in some parts. To give you an idea, our Lismore campus is currently the main evacuation centre in the region, with over 800 people taking refuge. We have taken the decision to delay the commencement of face to face classes at Lismore for the first Term, and students will revert online.
I am aware that several of our CAUTHE Chapters, colleagues and members on the east coast have been impacted in some way, particularly in the parts of the Central and Sunshine Coasts of Queensland, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Northern and Mid-North Coast NSW, and stretching down to Newcastle, Sydney and even further south. I know of colleagues whose homes have been flooded, they are displaced, have lost cars or other assets, have lost power, mobile and internet, or they have family and friends who have been affected.
On behalf of the CAUTHE Executive, I wanted to write to touch base, and let you know our thoughts are with you. This weather event, on the back of the pandemic, has the potential for long-reaching impacts for some of our education providers, and for the tourism, hospitality and events industries. That said, we are also seeing just how resilient affected communities and destinations are, and while this will be a difficult recovery ahead in some areas, seeing that strong sense of humanity and collegiality come through in recent days has been so heartening.
Along with our purpose to advance quality TH&E education, the tenets of support, collegiality and communication are at the heart of CAUTHE’s vision and mission statement. The importance of our CAUTHE Be Kind campaign is going to be even more relevant at this time.
Take care of yourselves, your colleagues, and stay safe, and if there is anything CAUTHE can do as an association to assist that is within our reach and mission, please let us know.
All the best,
Professor Erica Wilson