Craig Cooper appointed interim CEO of Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League
Positive Life NSW CEO Craig Cooper has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League until the end of June, it has been announced.
The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) is the national organisation representing people who use/have used illicit drugs and is the peak body for state and territory peer-based drug user organisations.
Cooper’s appointment follows the resignation of AIVL CEO Annie Madden, who has led the organisation for sixteen years, having been AIVL’s first executive officer since April 2000.
Cooper will take on the temporary position from March 15 to June 30.
“I feel extremely privileged to have been offered this opportunity by the AIVL Board, and look forward to contributing to a smooth transition for AIVL and the team,” Cooper said.
“I admire and respect all that Annie Madden has achieved for AIVL. Annie is not only highly regarded across Australia, but is acknowledged internationally for her work representing people who use drugs and her significant skills and knowledge including in harm reduction, HIV, hepatitis C, drug policy and law reform.”
Cooper said peak organisations such as AIVL, as well as others like the National Association of People with HIV Australia, was at a critical junction as the Federal Government reassessed funding priorities.
“This is a challenging time for national level peak community organisations in the blood-borne virus and sexually transmitted infections sector as the Commonwealth government realigns activities to the targets within the Seventh National HIV Strategy.
“AIVL, along with other national peak organisations such as the National Association of People with HIV Australia, face funding uncertainty.”
Cooper said organisation like AIVL and NAPWHA have played key roles in Australia’s response to HIV and other blood-borne viruses over the years.
“It is critical they continue to be central to that response,” he said.
“I take up this interim role in the spirit of non-government organisation collaboration, which is a founding principle of the Australian community blood-borne virus response,” Cooper added.
Positive Life NSW Policy Advisor Lance Feeney will take up Cooper’s place as CEO of Positive Life NSW while Cooper oversees AIVL.
Positive Life NSW President Jane Costello said the Positive Life NSW board was looking to working with Feeney in Cooper’s absence.
“We have every confidence in the agency’s ability to continue to be effective as the voice of people with HIV in NSW,” Costello said.
Top image: Craig Cooper. Photo courtesy Positive Life NSW