It is astounding what a difference a few months can make.

In the December 2019 newsletter there was scarcely opportunity to mention the significant social impact of the Queensland and Northern NSW bushfires sweeping across both States at the time.

Since then, unprecedented bushfires across most of the country, floods and now the fast evolving COVID-19 pandemic have swept through the nation in a breathtaking sequence.

On behalf of the AIEN, I extend our thoughts and best wishes to all who have, and all who will, suffer loss during these difficult times.

While our collective interest is most frequently concentrated on issues associated with improved resource management and the emergence of the circular economy, I invite AIEN members to suggest ways in which the organisation can contribute to easing the national and international emergency confronting us all.

Clearly, the current government orders and social distancing requirements have significantly impacted the projected 2020 AIEN program mooted within the December 2019 newsletter. In December, I mentioned that, although proud of its 2019 achievements, the AIEN Board was looking forward to pursuing a new program and initiatives in 2020.

It is with regret that at this time I am unable to be more definitive on the 2020 program. The pace of change for us all has indeed been challenging in recent weeks, and the AIEN shares some of those challenges.

That said, the AIEN Board remains committed to those new initiatives. The delivery of a proactive 2020 program, however, will now require some additional consideration. I request your indulgence and patience as we retrofit the initial aspirations into a rapidly transforming window of reality.

Part of this shift, the AIEN plans to present a series of webinars in lieu of workshops, particularly during the second half of 2020. We invite you to stay tuned for further announcements on the content and format of this webinar series.

As a catalyst within the context of the introduction of the circular economy in Australia, the AIEN will also pursue an increasingly pro-active resource management agenda. Further information will be forthcoming as to how this more pro-active stance will manifest.

For the time being, however, our individual focus is on observing and performing the important public health obligations incumbent upon us all. To all members of the AIEN and their extended families, I wish for each of you good health and prosperity as we navigate this coming period of uncertainty.

Thanks and warmest regards
Colin Barker
Chair, AIEN