Annie Madden, Executive Officer of the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) has announced her resignation from her role at AIVL after 16 years leading the organisation. Annie has made the decision for personal reasons and is looking forward to what the future will bring and to staying connected to a movement and a sector that will continue to be central to her life.
For well over a decade Annie has been guiding the work of AIVL, the national peak body for peer-based drug user organisations in Australia. AIVL has a long and proud history stretching back more than two decades and Annie Madden has been a part of that history from the very early days. She is a leading Australian advocate and is well-known and highly regarded for her commitment, passion and integrity in relation to representing people who use illicit drugs. From meetings with drug users, health professionals, parliamentarians and everything in-between, Annie has made an art-form out of representing the humanity, the diversity and the inherent strength within the drug using community in Australia.
From its beginnings as an unfunded organisation in the late 1980’s, Annie has been central to AIVL’s development. She commenced as an AIVL Board member through the 1990’s, and went on to become AIVL’s first Executive Officer in April 2000. Since that time, she has, in partnership with the AIVL staff team, Board and members, worked hard to build both the profile and the reputation of the organisation. It is important to highlight that Annie is not only highly regarded across Australia, but she is also a leading figure internationally in relation to her work representing people who use drugs and her significant skills and knowledge in harm reduction, HIV, hepatitis C, drug policy and law reform, to name just a few key areas of her expertise.
While AIVL and the national BBVs/STIs sector generally are experiencing a great deal of collective uncertainty at the moment, Annie is leaving AIVL with a strong, committed and talented team of dedicated peers who will continue working hard to build upon the vital work of AIVL now and into the future. While Annie moving on will be felt profoundly by the staff, AIVL Board and the sector, the ‘flip-side’ of such change is the opportunity for renewal and growth. To this end, the AIVL Board together with Annie have been working over the past few weeks to plan transitionary arrangements including identifying and securing an interim Executive Officer to take the organisation through to 30 June 2016.
The AIVL Board is pleased to announce that Craig Cooper, currently CEO of Positive Life NSW has accepted the appointment as the Interim EO for AIVL and will commence in the position from Monday 15 March 2016 to allow for a two week handover period with Annie as the out-going EO. AIVL feels very fortunate to have secured someone with Craig’s skills and experience and his commitment to peer-based drug user organisations to guide AIVL through the next few months. In due course, the AIVL Board will communicate further with the sector about plans to recruit a new ongoing AIVL EO to take the organisation forward.
The board wishes to formally thank Annie for her extraordinary contribution to AIVL, the sector and most importantly, to people who use drugs during her time as Executive Officer and to wish her all the best in her future endeavours.
Niki Parry, AIVL President on behalf of the AIVL Board – 7 March 2016