Media statement: Red Cross proposes changes to consolidate long-term sustainability

8 August 2022

Australian Red Cross has proposed changes to roles and programs in order to continue delivering impactful humanitarian assistance to people in vulnerable situations.  

The changes are recognition of increasing complexity driven by climate-, COVID- and conflict-related humanitarian needs, combined with an increasingly complex operating environment, which has led to costs exceeding revenue.  

As a result, Australian Red Cross is proposing a restructure involving 104 people in roles affected (eg, redundancies, change of hours). This represents approximately 5% of the paid workforce. (It is <1% of the total Australian Red Cross organisation of 25,000 paid staff, members and volunteers.)  

The organisation is also proposing to transition out of some community programs which it cannot operate sustainably. In some instances Australian Red Cross will seek other options such as additional funding, or an alternative service provider. In other instances, Australian Red Cross may cease a program but replace it with another in the same area, in recognition of changing community needs.  

The proposal is now the subject of consultation with employees. 

Red Cross Chief Executive Kym Pfitzner said “the changes are difficult but necessary - good financial management is part of our social licence to operate."

Subject to consultation, the proposed changes will take place over a period of approximately six months, with people affected by redundancy provided support through redeployment or external employment transition services. 

In line with its newly developed organisational strategy, more broadly Red Cross is anticipating ongoing organisational change over the next 12-18 months, in order to be best positioned to meet the humanitarian needs of the communities it serves.  

Mr Pfitzner said “given our core strengths, Red Cross is very relevant to humanitarian needs today. The trends show we will be even more so in the future. But we have to be ready for what’s coming our way, so we are well positioned to help people in need and to achieve our purpose of bringing people and communities together in times of need and building on community strengths. We do this by mobilising the power of humanity."

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