As AIRAANZ President, I would like to wish our members, colleagues both near and far, and friends in the wider community a much-deserved break over the festive season and at the same time welcome you to our new website.
2020 has been a long and challenging year and has posed considerable difficulties for teaching and research. At the same time, the pandemic has highlighted the ongoing relevance and importance of industrial relations. It has been a year of regulatory developments and policy debates both in Australia and New Zealand. Among other things, COVID-19 and the measures taken to control it have cast a light on the plight of insecure workers, the ongoing importance of health and safety at work, and the design and implementation of income support programs, not to mention the challenges associated with working from home. Next year promises a continuation of these and other debates.
Since the inaugural launch of the Association in 1983, our members as industrial relations experts have been at the forefront of these key public policy discussions, providing informed and evidence-based insights. That will no doubt continue as we move into what will hopefully at some point be a post-COVID world.
It seems like another lifetime in which many of us were enjoying our last conference in Queenstown. I would like to pay tribute again to Keith Townsend and his colleagues on the organising committee for putting on such a successful event. I would also like to thank everyone else on the AIRAANZ Executive and beyond who have helped us to navigate important policy issues, but in particular Chris Wright, Ray Markey, Sue Williamson, Julie Douglas and Mark Bray, as well as our wonderful Secretary, Michael Walker.
We start 2021 not only with a shiny new website (for which I want to express my gratitude to Caleb Goods, Alex Veen and Mihajla Gavin for their tireless efforts), but the prospect of our first ever virtual conference, to be held on 3-5 February. Louise Thornthwaite and her colleagues have been working hard to put together an event that we hope you can learn from and enjoy, wherever you are.
All the best – and stay safe