Congratulations to those District 9700 Rotarians who were recognised in the Australia Day Honours and in local celebrations. Combined with the response from many clubs to the on-going drought and bushfires in our partner District 9710 and other areas there is no doubt that Rotary is made up of caring and compassionate people. RI President Mark's theme for the year of Rotary connects the World has also been amply demonstrated by the offers from clubs and District overseas to help with the bushfires.
We are getting closed to the District Conference and by the time you read this the registration forms will be available on the District website at the dedicated Conference page here. Information about speakers is also available. The Conference organising committee is looking forward to delivering a great Conference for our last one in D9700 so get your registration in.
In December, I had the pleasure of presenting a certificate celebrating 75 years of membership in Rotary International to the Rotary Club of Griffith.  Combined with the club's Christmas party it was a most enjoyable evening which also included a special presentation to long standing member Keith McWilliam for 63 years of service.
The recent bushfire crisis has led to the formation of a joint District 9710/9700 Bushfire Recovery Team. The team comprises PDG Phil Armstrong, Moruya (chair) PP John Mercer (Belconnen), PP Chris Finkel (Forbes), PP Fred Fawke (D9710) and PP Ken Engsmyr (Parkes). The team has recently applied for a RAWCS RABS account which will enable the Districts to access funds from the RAWCS Bushfire Appeal (at time of writing up to $700,000. The approach being taken by the team in terms of donations is to suggest the RAWCS Bushfire appeal (or an alternative if that is not preferred by the donor) and to encourage club to club relationships to ensure that any donations are targeted and meet needs. Already a number of clubs in D9700 have made links with clubs on the coast as a way of supporting those coastal clubs who have assisted in the drought projects. As indicated in earlier communications from myself and DG Peter Ford from 9710 Rotary has a place in assisting recovery not first responses. The team sees its mission as “to integrate an effective coordinated Rotary District 9705 Bush Fire Recovery Response.”
As an example, the Rotary Club of Merimbula have sourced accommodation offers in the Merimbula area to get tourists back into the town/area. To download the offers available click here