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Preparing Australian communities for disaster

Wednesday May 16, 2007

New partnership sets $1 million target for helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and emergencies

Australian Red Cross and First National Real Estate announce multi-million dollar fundraising initiative for disaster and emergency services; $1 million a year the target to help communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters and emergencies.

Australian Red Cross and First National Real Estate, one of Australia's largest real estate networks, have entered into a major long term partnership which will deliver significant financial support for domestic Red Cross initiatives in Disaster and Emergency Services.

First National Real Estate's philanthropic division, the First National Foundation, will aim to raise up to $3 million over three years for Red Cross to further expand its expertise and capacity in emergency management.

The agreement was announced today in Coolum, Queensland, where more than 600 delegates from First National Real Estate's 450 Australian and 105 New Zealand offices have gathered for an annual convention.

The First National Foundation was established in 2006 to coordinate the philanthropic efforts of First National Real Estate offices and to tangibly demonstrate their commitment to their local communities. Red Cross is the Foundation's first major partner and beneficiary.

'With financial and promotional support from First National, Red Cross will work to inform and educate communities across Australia to help them more effectively prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and emergencies,' Red Cross CEO Robert Tickner said.

'Emergency prevention and preparedness are integral aspects of Australia's emergency management arrangements. A key task is to educate and prepare individuals and communities to deal with potential risks from small, localised events affecting individual households to disasters that impact on whole communities.'

First National Real Estate CEO Ray Ellis said the partnership is an important initiative for both the network and the real estate industry.

'The reality is that many real estate offices play a key role in their suburbs or communities in terms of raising funds for local charities,' he said. 'This new partnership with Red Cross will bring together the resources and experience of more than 450 First National offices, from CBD areas to remote regions around the country, to raise funds for an important new national initiative.'

Mr Ellis said that as Australia faces a changing environment, emergencies are becoming more frequent and complex and demand a greater level of community preparedness.

'Red Cross has both national and international experience and the credibility to help communities plan for the future,' he said. 'First National Real Estate, through our First National Foundation, is proud to invest in an emergency education and response program that will provide tangible benefits for numerous communities.

'Our offices already raise hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a range of philanthropic initiatives. This partnership consolidates those efforts while delivering support to a vital and increasingly important community service.'

First National's partnership investment earns them status as a Red Cross National Humanity Partner, the highest level of partnership.

First National Real Estate is finalising a number of major fund-raising programmes that its offices will begin to roll out from July 1.

Red Cross is part of Australia's integrated emergency management arrangements. Emergency Management uses a partnership approach in preparing communities to respond to emergencies. Red Cross initiatives in this area will be complementary to those being undertaken by government and other agencies.

Australian Red Cross, as part of the largest humanitarian movement in the world, is committed to the protection of life, health and human dignity. Red Cross is focused on improving the lives of vulnerable people by mobilising the power of humanity and ranks as one of the most highly recognised and respected brands in the world.

Issued by: First National Real Estate and Australian Red Cross.