In my last message, I looked forward with eagerness to the upcoming AMMA National Conference. Now as I look back on the meeting I feel reassured in the role that AMMA has to play in military medicine in Australia. The quality of both presenters and presentations remains of the highest order. The breadth of experiences presented covered a spectrum of topics ranging from current research, operational lessons and challenges for all of us to consider. My congratulations on your behalf to both the presenters and the conference organisers, Lydia Stevens and Andy Robertson. They have set a standard which provides a challenge to all members and conference organisers.
In addition, our two keynote addresses, from Fiona Terry of Medecins Sans Frontiers and Rod Franks and Peter Stride who spoke on the response to the Port Arthur massacre, gave us much to think about and take away from the meeting. My congratulations also to Annette Owttrim for her challenging presentation on “The role of the Nurse Practitioner in the ADF”. I look forward to next year in Melbourne where I hope our meetings continue to provide challenge and opportunity for our membership to share in the quality of military medicine.
AMMA has grown significantly in the last five years. Our aims to provide a contribution to military medicine in terms of a forum for discussion, encouragement in the form of grants, and an ever broadening journal are, I feel, being achieved. In order to maintain and extend this role, Council have reviewed our current operating system. It is hoped that the majority of our operating costs will come from our membership fees and that research funding will come from conference surpluses, if any, and interest from investments. To date, we have been fortunate in that during the years of early consolidation, our conferences have been organised with the free support of Wyeth Conference Services enabling a conference surplus to assist in funding the Association. As of 1996, their support is not available, and conference funding has needed to be brought into the equation.
At the Annual General Meeting this year, Council proposed that our fees be reviewed and adjusted to cover all operating expenses. This required an increase in the $30 annual fee to $60. The membership at the AGM voted unanimously to accept this figure. Although a large percentage increase, it is the first in five years and still remains a low annual fee for what we feel is an Association which attempts to support its membership’s needs. We will of course aim to keep costs to a minimum while providing a quality Association. I ask for your ongoing support and understanding in achieving our goals. Once again, the Association is one which can only continue to grow and improve with your support and active participation.
As we approach the end of yet another year, I would like to thank the membership for your continued support and look forward to a happy and productive 1997.