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February 2021 update

19 February 2021

Happy new year and welcome to 2021!

While a certain pandemic (and some of the madness that surrounds it) remains with us for a while yet, we’re through the initial crisis phase, have been living the adaptive phase for some time now and are better placed for a future crisis. It’s this world of ‘grey’ where leadership is needed most, and I know you are all contributing in your way, in your place.

As we announced in December, the ARLF will lead a consortium to design and deliver the Future Drought Fund: Drought Resilience Leaders program. Together with our Consortia partners (the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Rural Economies Centre for Excellence) and Delivery partners (NFF, Sefton & Associates, USQ Centre for Applied Climate Science, CSU, Australian Resilience Centre and Telstra), the program design is starting to take shape.  This is the largest single project undertaken by the ARLF in its 29-year history and will involve ARLF staff, board, alumni and Associates and will span many rural communities nation-wide.

This will be a focal point in 2021 and a part of the story of the growing impact of the ARLF in line with our vision – Thriving rural, regional and remote communities strengthening Australia and our purpose – To foster and exercise leadership for positive impact. This program is also the primary driver for organisational growth in the short term and as such, the increase in advertised positions you will have all seen.

In terms of our programs, we are getting more comfortable living with uncertainty. While its never easy changing plans with little notice, the work we put into ensuring our experiential learning model will work through multiple mediums holds us in good stead. We successfully conducted ‘hub’ model experiential learning sessions in late 2020 and will continue to adapt this approach through 2021. While our clear preference is for face-to-face, shared experiences as one group, we are ready to deliver impactful alternate models.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have been involved in Project Springboard – a review to reimagine and optimise the Foundation’s flagship course, the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP). A core part of the project has been our engagement with program stakeholders and more broadly with those who share our commitment to rural, regional and remote Australia. Project Springboard interviews are now complete and thanks to the contribution of ARLP Course 22 graduate, Sam Archer, we expect further developments over coming months.

I would like to take this opportunity to mark the passing of former ARLF Patron, Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd). General Jeffery served as ARLF Patron from (CHECK DATES) and had significant interaction with the Foundation and course participants over that time. General Jeffery was dedicated to the regeneration of the landscape and from 2012 to very shortly before his passing, General Jeffery strove to raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity and helping to meet global challenges, including food and water security and climate change.

Finally, look out for our announcement of the 28th cohort of the Australian Rural Leadership Program in the coming weeks.

Regards, Matt