Dear friends and colleagues,
I write to share the news that after three years of hard work and outstanding leadership, Libby Lloyd AO is handing over the reins to Noel Clement as our new Chair.
Libby’s work with CRSA adds to a long, illustrious and impactful career. Libby was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1992 for her contribution to refugees and to the international community in Iraq and Kuwait; and an Officer of the Order of Australia for her distinguished service to the community, particularly to women and refugees in 2002. She co-founded the White Ribbon Foundation in 2007 and is patron of the Indigo Foundation. Libby has been a wonderful leader, friend and mentor to us all.
We look forward to working with Noel, who was a very welcome addition to our wonderful board in October 2022. Widely respected in Australian migration and non profit circles after many years in senior executive roles at Australian Red Cross, Noel has contributed to social impact through scaled program responses; advocacy for policy change; local community development initiatives; and community mobilisation.
I wish Libby all the very best and look forward to working with Noel in the exciting chapter ahead.
A farewell message from Libby
It is with some sadness, but also with a great sense of satisfaction, that I step down after three years as the chair of CRSA and its predecessor ‘CRSI’. It has been an honour to work alongside so many able and committed individuals to play a part in growing and building this inspirational organisation. Every organisation needs renewal and I believe that now is a natural moment in CRSA’s progress for such a change to come about.
It is with great optimism and confidence that I hand the baton to Noel Clement, whose knowledge, wisdom, experience, connections and potential contribution are without parallel. We are extraordinarily fortunate that he has accepted this role and I look forward to watching and supporting CRSA’s progress under his chairmanship.
Almost exactly three years ago, the founding members of the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI) – the Refugee Council of Australia, Save the Children Australia, Amnesty International Australia, Welcoming Australia and Rural Australians for Refugees – decided that the time was right for CRSI to forge its own independent path. It was a great honour to take over as chair.
For the past three years the Board and I have worked closely with these ‘founding fathers (and mothers)’; Lisa Button, our most capable and committed founding Executive Director and now CEO; and her highly professional team. Together, we have succeeded in building and incorporating CRSA as an independent body.
We now have in place an outstanding board of Directors, each bringing enormous experience, energy, commitment, and vision. I sincerely thank each of them for the support they have offered both to me personally and to the organisation. Most particularly I acknowledge their vision, the time they give and their dedication to making community settlement of refugees real.
The original vision of CRSA’s founders – to bring additional refugees to resettle in Australia – is well on its way to being realised with the implementation of a tangible program, the CRISP. We acknowledge and thank the former and present Governments for the confidence they have shown in our community-based model following the success of the GMP pilot, which saw small refugee support groups form across Australia. At the fall of Kabul in August 2021 we were well placed to assist the resettlement of some of these humanitarian entrants and evacuees to Australia. We proved our model.
I want to express my huge thanks to all the refugees we have already welcomed and those who are yet to come; to our CEO and staff; to our partner agencies; and to the Australian government and staff within who have helped us build so solidly and consistently. And to the many extraordinarily generous philanthropists who had faith in us and set us on our way.
We now are an established, innovative, and nimble organisation that will contribute in a unique way to a new settlement process for many newly arrived refugees.
We all know that assisting the resettlement of refugees is a two-way process – while giving – we most usually receive even more in return. The delight of welcoming individuals and families to Australia so enriches our own lives.
I will continue to watch with great interest CRSA’s certain progress to profoundly improve resettlement for refugees in Australia. And I offer every best wish for CRSA’s huge future success.
And a note from Noel
Firstly, I’d like to pay tribute to Libby Lloyd AO as she steps down from her role as CRSA’s inaugural chair. Libby has made an immeasurable contribution to the organisation’s success to date and will be sorely missed. Her incredible drive, optimism and belief in the power of communities all helped shape what is now a growing movement of people. Thank you on behalf of the Board for all you have done Libby.
I am humbled and a little daunted to follow Libby as Chair. I am however extremely confident CRSA is well positioned to build on its early achievements as it works toward significantly expanding protection pathways for refugees and other humanitarian entrants.
Australia has a long history of successful settlement responses. We benefit enormously as a society from the contributions of people who have come here seeking safety and I believe we’re better as a country because of it.
There is already a commitment from the Government to increase the numbers of people we offer resettlement places to each year. But, with increasing global conflicts and access to scarce resources made worse by a changing climate, the imperative for us to go even further has never been greater. The engagement of small groups of individuals in the community to support humanitarian entrants represents a highly effective method of offering even more resettlement places while ensuring those coming to Australia are welcomed and supported in their local communities.
We must continue to evolve the model and the organisation to really achieve what the founders and members of CRSA envisioned. The Board likewise must keep pace with that evolution and ensure effective and accountable governance with an unwavering focus on our primary purpose. I look forward to working with Lisa and the Board in that endeavour and to hearing and learning from humanitarian entrants and supporters in the community about what’s working and where we need to change and evolve.
A final thank you to all the people that contribute to this amazing initiative. The founders, members, staff, community groups, funders and people seeking protection themselves.