Outcomes from PACFA AGM and Council meeting

The PACFA 2019 AGM and PACFA Council meeting took place on 5 October in Melbourne. It was delightful to meet members and Council delegates both in person and online via Zoom.

The day began with the Council meeting. PACFA President, Dr Di Stow, did the acknowledgement of country, welcomed delegates, and provided an overview of recent PACFA activities and achievements. The first agenda item was approval of the new College of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices. This proposal received unanimous support from the Council and a rousing round of applause when approval was given. There was a general understanding that the establishment of the College was a very significant achievement and that PACFA is leading the way nationally in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of PACFA, and with community leaders, to help advance the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing practices. There is a separate news item about the CATSIHP in the November edition of eNews.

Council also discussed the need to create a position on the PACFA Board for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be better represented within PACFA. Council indicated general support for this initiative. Council then had a rich discussion on recognition of members by PACFA and canvassed a number of issues including:

  • What would be the best post-nominals for PACFA members and registrants?
  • How can we recognise members who achieve the top level of membership of the Colleges?
  • How can we recognise members who undertake specialist training?

This work is continuing as PACFA is committed to improving the recognition options available to our members.

Dr Elizabeth Day from the Research Committee presented on PACFA’s new evidence-informed practice statement. This is an important development as it supports the professionalism of counselling and psychotherapy by positioning PACFA and its members in the contemporary paradigm of professional practice that is underpinned by evidence.  The Statement is available for download at the PACFA website.

The meeting closed with a presentation from me on PACFA’s advocacy strategy. I highlighted some of our recent advocacy achievements and current activities aimed at increasing professional recognition for counsellors and psychotherapists. Our strategy to achieve Medicare provider numbers for counsellors and psychotherapists is one important piece of work that was discussed in detail.

The Council meeting was followed by the Annual General Meeting. We received PACFA’s Annual Report of activities for the period 1/7/2018 to 30/6/2019 from Di Stow. For details see the news item in last month’s eNews. Di Stow thanked the 113 volunteers who have helped advance PACFA’s mission in the last year and also the PACFA staff team.  I then had the opportunity  to thank Di Stow for her leadership of PACFA as PACFA President.

The AGM also received the Annual Financial Statements which were presented by the PACFA Treasurer, George Gintilas. The treasurer reported PACFA is in a sound financial position with a surplus achieved for the financial year ended 30 June 2018.

Di Stow announced that the Board elections in 2020 will take place electronically using the Election Buddy software. This is a great decision by the Board as there have been discussions in the past about the best way to ensure as many members as possible exercise their votes in the elections.

A social gathering followed the AGM which was a great way to connect with our members. Thank you to every-one who participated in the meetings or helped to organise them. It was a great opportunity for PACFA members to celebrate our successes and work together towards the continued growth and development of PACFA in the coming year.

Maria Brett