A message from Acting Vice Chancellor Peter Tranter
As we see in the New Year, we do so in the knowledge that the horrendous bushfires have caused loss, trauma and suffering for many across our country. The University of Notre Dame Australia stands together with all those affected, and we are initiating a range of actions to support, recognise and acknowledge our staff/students, and all those affected. While we do not know the full impact of the bushfires across our university community, we do know that several of our staff members have had homes threatened, experienced damage/loss of property, or have had others close to them affected.
I wish to advise that Notre Dame will do everything possible to assist, and some of the ways we will do this are detailed below:
- We are establishing a number of scholarships to ensure that those students impacted by bushfires have very the best chance of commencing, and completing, their studies.
- We will provide all staff affected with access to special leave, counselling and support.
- Our Rural Clinical School and residence at Lithgow was offered to the NSW Health Emergency Services in December, and our offer of facilities in affected areas remains open for local emergency response coordinators.
- We will support any student directly affected – including guaranteeing deferment, waiving enrolment deadlines and providing counselling and academic support as required.
- We will provide additional paid leave to volunteer firefighters, reservists and/or any first or emergency responders.
- The CFO is currently putting in place a staff contribution scheme via payroll deduction, and we will donate directly to one of the funds established directly for supporting bushfire victims.
If any member of our community – staff or student – has been affected, I would encourage you to please make contact with your Dean (for students) or Departmental head (for staff), and we will make sure you are supported. While we have not had time to finalise all details, please be assured that we are working through this as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, please know that our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones, homes, or property. Our thanks, of course, go out to all emergency services and responders.s