The Annual State Conference was held at QCESA (Whyte Island) on Friday 24th April 2015.  Approximately 30 Senior Officers and Branch Counsellors attended the Conference and all attendees were very appreciative of the attendance of Acting Commissioner Carroll who addressed the Conference. QFES is obviously still going through significant change so an address by the Acting Commissioner and the opportunity to pose questions to her was greatly appreciated by all present.

The conference was also an opportunity to thank members of the past Executive who have vacated their position. Past President John Cawcutt, Secretary Andrew Short and Treasurer Neil Reid have served the SOU admirably over the last 6 years (9 years for Andrew) and having served on the Executive with them over this period of time, I am aware of the inordinate amount of time and commitment the positions require at times, particularly through EB processes. On behalf of all the members, John, Andrew and Neil were formally thanked for their contribution and a small token of our appreciation was presented to them on the day.

The conference was also an opportunity to say thank you to the exiting branch members and to welcome the new members who are replacing them. A special thanks was made to exiting Branch Counsellors:

Rob Orchard – Northern Region
Jeff Keating – North Coast Region
Paul Evans – South Western Region
Rob O’Connor – Brisbane Region
Ray Bott – State

Thanks to all these Branch Counsellors who have served their members well over the past years. Your efforts have been greatly appreciated.

Also welcome to the new Branch Counsellors who have taken up their positions:

Mick O’Neil – Northern Region
James Gill – North Coast Region
Lindsay Hackett – South Western Region
Lance Duncan – Brisbane Region
Greg Reynolds – State
Brad Commens – South Eastern Region

Thanks also to those who have continued in their SOU branch position – Branch Counsellors Gavin Holden (FNR) and Col May (CR).

As stated, we have significant change ahead of us in 2015 and beyond, with the appointment of a new Commissioner, three new Deputy Commissioners and the flow on of appointments that this will bring. Although there has been a change in the Executive of the SOU and the new Executive is committed to continue in a mature and open dialogue with the Senior Executive and Government. As has always been the case with the SOU, we respect and acknowledge the right of Government and the Senior Executive to manage the service, but we maintain the right to voice our opinion and to present our position respectfully in terms of what is right for both our members and the proud organisation in which we serve.  Credibility has been built by the SOU through times in which we present what we believe is right for the organisation in addition to what is right for our members.

I am also extremely pleased and honoured to be representing the SOU with the new members of the Executive; Secretary Bevan Moore, State Vice President Steve Smith and Treasurer David Hermann. The SOU has gained some significant improvements over the last few EBs and this can only be achieved by having active Branch Counsellors, a committed  Executive and interested members. I look forward to representing you as President of the SOU during the next term.

Kevin Walsh
President SOU