2014 was a milestone year for Australian Red Cross as we proudly began celebrating our centenary of service to the nation.
It was a chance to thank generations of Australians for their support and to engage with a new generation who will continue this legacy into the future.
Our members, volunteers and staff are a vital part of that story, as are our supporters, and we thank you all for your valuable role and ongoing commitment.
Australian Red Cross President Michael Legge and CEO Robert Tickner. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Jerry Galea
To commemorate this significant milestone in Australia’s social history we reached out to communities around the country, inviting Australians to become part of the next chapter of our story. We shared the memories of Red Cross people in our digital Centenary Story Collection, and published our centenary history, The Power of Humanity: 100 years of Australian Red Cross 1914-2014.
The book by Professor Melanie Oppenheimer pays tribute to the countless people who provided protection and care to the lives of so many.
As part of our renewed commitment to voluntary service, this year we launched The Plus Effect campaign which celebrates volunteers and the ways they build stronger, more resilient and trusting communities.
As an organisation built on voluntary service, we strongly believe in the power of volunteering and we are working to raise awareness of its great value.
In November 2013, we successfully hosted the international meetings of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, bringing together more than 1,000 delegates from 189 countries to set our future global direction.
Thanks to the support of the Federal and New South Wales Governments, this important forum was held in Australia for the first time.
During the meetings an historic resolution and action plan was adopted to work globally towards establishing an international agreement to eradicate the use of nuclear weapons on humanitarian grounds. Australian Red Cross is a strong advocate on this critical issue and continues to work toward building support for a treaty to make the use of nuclear weapons illegal.
At home, Red Cross continues making a positive and lasting impact working with the most vulnerable people in our communities.
Working together as partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples remains one of our highest priorities. In 2014 we formalised an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership group to provide strategic advice, turning our commitment into real action. We also introduced a target of six per cent employment within Red Cross by June 2015 to see a greater representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples working in meaningful roles. Every day thousands of skilled Red Cross volunteers and staff work with local communities to help change lives.
Over the year, Red Cross supported more than 14,000 people made vulnerable as a result of migration. Our support is based on need, without discrimination and irrespective of legal status or even how a person arrives here. Through the community migration program, funded by the Department of Immigration, we provided humanitarian assistance and advocated for the needs of people seeking asylum who are living in the community while awaiting resolution of their immigration status. For more than 20 years we have also monitored conditions and provided tracing services in immigration detention facilities. We remain the only external body regularly monitoring all Australian immigration detention facilities.
This year we continued to work with young parents with minimal family and community support to develop effective parenting skills and to help them live and parent independently. This important work has impact over the long term, helping to break the cycle of disadvantage.
We also opened Pat Gosper Place, an accommodation service for people from the most remote parts of Queensland who need to travel to Cairns to access quality medical services. The centre will reduce vulnerability for people living in remote places who face poorer health outcomes, reduced life expectancy and higher levels of disease and illness.
This year we also started an 18-month international aid and development change program, which will ensure we have a sustainable strategy, structure, systems and resources to respond to humanitarian needs in the Asia Pacific and further afield.
As the needs of vulnerable people increase, we rely on the generous support of the Australian public and corporate partners in addition to support from governments to help fund our everyday work. We extend our gratitude to the many government organisations, businesses and trusts that have provided financial or in-kind support throughout the year. We also thank all those who made a financial contribution, including those who have given a gift in their Will, our regular givers and those who have donated to disaster appeals or general fundraising. Thanks must also go to those who have continued to give blood, helping to give 1.3 million life-saving donations. We also acknowledge our Red Cross people – members, volunteers and staff – who have worked so tirelessly this year.
As Australian Red Cross begins a new century, we ask people from all walks of life to share and grow the power of humanity to continue this great Australian story. Together we can keep changing lives for the better for another 100 years.
Chief Executive Officer