The financial statements of the Australian Red Cross Society (the Society) incorporate both the Humanitarian Services of Red Cross and Australian Red Cross Lifeblood operating divisions. The Lifeblood division is entrusted with the supply of Australia’s blood and collects, processes and distributes life-saving blood and blood products as well as delivering world-class research and providing expertise in diagnostic, transplantation and other clinical services. Red Cross Humanitarian Services supports and empowers people and communities experiencing vulnerability.
The Society is comprised of two distinct divisions which are Humanitarian Services which is principally funded through donations and grants from governments and Lifeblood which is largely funded by government through the National Blood Authority. The divisions operate separately and, under the funding agreements in place, cannot cross subsidise the other.
This financial year has been defined by unprecedented events, including the Australian bushfires followed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, which created enormous additional need in our communities for support from Red Cross. The focus of our work and our financial circumstances reflects us all adapting to these emerging community needs.
Last year, the Society worked together with our volunteers and community more than ever to support those in challenging circumstances, which is also reflected in the increased specific purpose funding and donations received resulting in a record reported total revenue of $1,139.925M ($671.811M Lifeblood and $468.114M Humanitarian Services). Associated increased expenditure reflects commitment of those funds for the benefit of the communities we serve.
The Society reported a net surplus of $47.720M ($79.410M surplus from Humanitarian Services and a deficit of $31.690M from Lifeblood). The Lifeblood result includes a return of a surplus of $31.612M to Government, which was generated from its main operating program. As a not-for-profit entity, both divisional results are largely driven by the difference in timing between the accounting standards requirements for recognising receipt of funds as revenue compared to those recognising committed funds as expenditure.
The public health responses to COVID-19 have placed pressure on the funding of the Humanitarian division which relies on regular donors and retail revenue to fund much of its everyday activity. The short-term financial impacts of this have been mitigated through aggressive cost and efficiency initiatives, $10.265M Jobkeeper income and using minimal levels of debt at the Society level. The organisation’s commitment towards improving internal efficiency continues to ensure our ongoing sustainability.
This year we also implemented the new accounting standard in relation to leases, AASB 16. The adoption of this new standard has resulted in the Society recognising on our balance sheet for the first time, a right-of-use (ROU) asset and related lease liability in connection with all former operating leases for the first time, and continued full compliance with general purpose financial reporting.
The result for Humanitarian Services for the 2020 financial year was a surplus of $79.410M. This principally arises from $70.796M in surplus revenue recognised in the current year that is committed for expenditure in coming years to the specific purposes it was donated. These funds are separately identified in our statements as special purpose funds. The principal items identified in this category are those associated with bushfire relief and COVID-19 relief. Our result was also bolstered this year by some one-off gains such as $4.487M on the sale of our Milton and Bendigo properties in line with our long-term property and investment strategies.
In FY2020 the Australian public donated $303.538M (FY19 $90.412M) to help us deliver programs, strengthen communities and support our everyday work and specific causes. Compared to previous years, there has been a higher frequency and severity of emergencies and it is the community response to these that has led to the increase in donations.
In anticipation of increasing occurrence of disasters, we opened the Disaster Relief and Recovery (DRR) fund on 1 July 2019 and by 30 June 2020, it had raised $227.277M. The fund in FY20 is being directed exclusively towards relief and recovery related to the 2020 Australian bushfires. The Society is using all these funds to help people meet their immediate needs through emergency grants, together with longer-term recovery support for people and communities. At 30 June 2020 $166.616M had been expensed and allocated to existing claims developed in accordance with guidance from an independent advisory panel, with grant application open until the end of December 2020. Funds not expensed by 30 June 2020 are committed to meeting future needs of bushfire victims and their communities recognising not all people feel ready or able to take advantage of entitlements for some time after an event occurs.
We sincerely thank the community for their support of those who have needed it most. Our commitment remains to those affected over the long-term recovery process and is reflected in our financial statements with the existence of separate bank accounts for funds raised and retained for this purpose and the special purpose reserves in the equity section of Statement of Financial Position. The current scientific view is that it is inevitable Australia will be impacted by disasters on a more frequent basis in the future and in anticipation of these events a new fund will be established in FY21 to respond to people who will be impacted by those future events.
Our underlying funding patterns, excluding the DRR Fund, demonstrate our ongoing commitment in supporting migrants in transition, collaborating to strengthen socially excluded communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island peoples, those in the justice system, and communities most impacted by climate change. Our Humanitarian Services revenue includes $61.065M from Commonwealth Government grants and $39.612M from State and Territory government grants. Together these enabled us to build sustainability within the communities we work with, support people to live safely and to provide relief where required. Total government funding increased by $15.937M compared to FY19, largely due to an increase in funding for our Migration Support Programs and supporting more isolated members of our local and international community during COVID-19.
The current balance sheet position of the organization is strong. It has total cash reserves of $168.772M including DRR Funds ($74.244M excluding DRR Funds). These funds provide the basis for stable operations in the coming year.
Our Lifeblood division finished the year with a deficit of $31.690M. The Main Operating Program (MOP) reported a surplus of $0.204M for FY20. The year-end operating result was a surplus of $31.816M from which a $31.612M provision for return to the National Blood Authority (NBA) was made as an offset against income. Under the Deed of Agreement with the NBA, Lifeblood can seek to retain a portion of an annual surplus of up to $5M for future investment. Lifeblood has not sought to retain any of the MOP surplus for this period but has retained $0.204M from the Research and Development (R&D) grant.
The remainder of the deficit relates mainly to differences in timing between the accounting standards requirements for recognising expenditure compared to how these items are funded by the NBA which is on an as incurred (cash) basis. Lifeblood’s cash and investment position remains strong at $283.112M, and during FY20 Lifeblood repaid borrowings of $10.582M.
Our primary funding arrangement is with the NBA under an output-based model. Our performance under this arrangement was strong again this year with continued growth in plasma where we achieved our target of 802.6 tonnes of plasma for fractionation, a 9% growth on the prior year – achieving this whilst continuing to reduce product cost; a continued focus of driving efficiencies and therefore enhancing the Value Based Healthcare pillar of the Lifeblood strategic plan.
Maintaining a stable and secure blood supply requires continual investment. This year, we invested $65.220M of funding from the NBA into the upgrade of infrastructure, technology and equipment, further transforming our delivery in life-giving blood, plasma, transplantation and biological products for world leading health outcomes.
Outside of our output-funding arrangement with the NBA, we continued to provide a range of related services such as the human milk bank and transplant and immunogenetic services across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer