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Message from the President and CEO

It’s been a busy and exciting 12 months for Australian Red Cross, as we continue to respond to the changing needs in our communities, assisting people when and where they need it most.

Our members and volunteers have always sat at the heart of our organisation. We are continuing to work together with all Red Cross people to develop new and better ways to support each other, and the work we do in local communities.

Around the country, our 19,000 members promote our humanitarian principles and support our work with vulnerable people in Australia and further afield. Working closely together with our members and volunteers remains an integral part of how Red Cross serves the Australian community, the region and the wider International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Our 34,000 volunteers around the country continue to generously give their time to support vulnerable people everyday.

This year, Red Cross has focused on the vital role that the fundamental principle of voluntary service plays within the organisation and is developing a Voluntary Service Strategy to reinvigorate our approach and build engagement for the years to come. It is always humbling to witness the dedication of our grassroots network of members and volunteers, who make the work of Australian Red Cross possible every day.

Services Renewal - three years on

This year we reached a milestone in our approach to service delivery. In June 2008, following a comprehensive review of Red Cross services in Australia, the National Board endorsed a suite of historic reforms, designed to improve the way in which we work with vulnerable people and communities. Three years on, the release of the Board- endorsed Services Renewal Report marked the closure of the renewal process and opens a new chapter of improvement, growth and expansion, with a more intense focus on community development, program quality and impact measurement.

Supporting asylum seekers

We have significantly expanded our programs that support refugees and asylum seekers who have been made vulnerable as a result of migration. This has been a huge undertaking and we congratulate all our staff and volunteers who have been working incredibly hard to address this critical humanitarian need.

United by humanity

As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, we have a specific mandate to support public authorities in their humanitarian work. Our auxiliary status means we work with governments at all levels to focus on humanitarian needs and work in an impartial and independent manner.

In a new initiative to strengthen our links with elected Members of Parliament, we recently created Parliamentary Friends of Australian Red Cross, a group which brings together Parliamentarians in support of the humanitarian values and work of Red Cross.

Parliamentary Friends of Australian Red Cross launched in May 2012 at an event attended by Prime Minister, Julia Gillard; Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott; Leader of the Nationals, Warren Truss; and Leader of the Australian Greens, Christine Milne

Engaging young humanitarians

Young people bring valuable skills, experience, passion and commitment, and provide a fresh approach to the way Red Cross engages with all communities. We continue to find new ways of engaging with young humanitarians as our future leaders.

Over the past year, young people have played a bigger role within Red Cross than ever before, spearheading many of the awareness-raising activities associated with our “Make Nuclear Weapons the Target” advocacy campaign. Our digital campaign received numerous awards and helped to position Australian Red Cross as a global leader in this area of international humanitarian law. The campaign culminated in an historic resolution, passed in late 2011 at the gathering of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, to work towards a legally binding international agreement to ensure nuclear weapons are never used again and are ultimately eliminated.

A recruitment campaign ‘Our World Your Move’ was launched to attract a new generation of young people to Red Cross.

Thank you

We are looking forward to involving our young humanitarians, along with our members, staff and volunteers, to contribute to preparations for the Movement’s Statutory Meetings to be hosted in Sydney in 2013 and for our 2014 Centenary commemorations. These events will provide a unique opportunity to showcase our work, both nationally and globally.

Along with everyday Australians and our generous corporate donors, we also receive vital support from government at all levels. We would once again like to thank the Australian Government, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek, for reaffirming our Annual General Purpose Grant of $5 million. This grant makes a critical contribution to our work in communities across Australia, allowing Red Cross to deliver humanitarian relief and community services.

Thank you once again to all our supporters for your ongoing commitment to humanitarian work. Together, we continue to demonstrate what can be achieved when people care enough to come together for the benefit of others.