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Updates on the bushfires | CEO report | Our bravest and most enduring tech trend

21 November 2019

  • Bushfire conditions in NSW, QLD and SA continue and staff, members and volunteers have been asked to take safety precautions.  
  • CEO report to the board: The interesting snippets I’ve shared with the board and now with you too. 
  • Society of Women Leaders AGM: Find out how they are supporting and funding transformative change for women and their communities.​
  • Australian Red Cross Lifeblood brand launch and the meaning behind its new name.
  • We talk Humanitech at the Southstart Conference in Adelaide. 
  • Blog takeover next week: Share your thoughts about the work we've done this year. 

Updates on the bushfires

Hi everyone,

I hope you're all taking care of yourselves and those around you, wherever you are across the country. The week continues to be a tough one as firefighters and emergency volunteers press on as high temperatures and dry conditions caused multiple bushfires. And of course everyone is impacted by the heat.

In NSW 50 fires are still burning, with 24 uncontained. More than 600 homes have been lost and this number is expected to increase. Total fire bans are in effect across 12 local government areas.

In QLD, 70 fires are burning. A total of 19 homes have been burned in the fires and 491 damage assessments have been collected.

In SA we've been activated to deliver Telecross REDi services based on forecast heat and the catastrophic fire danger rating. Register.Find.Reunite is now available online and at the Stansbury Relief Centre. 

A total fire ban has been declared for Victoria today with Code Red declared for the Mallee and Northern Country.  

Our amazing members, volunteers and staff continue to provide support and psychological first aid on the ground. Since mid November, more than 160 Red Cross people have been supporting evacuation centres and communities across NSW, QLD and SA. 

Thank you to our incredible partners for your support towards our Disaster Relief and Recovery efforts for communities affected by the bushfires. This means a lot to us. Your support means that over 160 specialist Red Cross emergency volunteers have been in evacuation centres, welcoming and supporting people and providing psychological first aid. It means we’ve been able to help people reunite and contact their loved ones.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood brand launch

Many of you would have noticed we have a new brand in the Red Cross family – Australian Red Cross Lifeblood. Lifeblood is defined as "the indispensable factor that gives something its strength and vitality" — the perfect way to describe what they do.

For 90 years they have been the lifeblood of Australia thanks to generous donors, volunteers and their dedicated people. Today, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood's role goes beyond providing one of the world's safest and most secure blood supplies and the new name reflects their many life-giving services, such as providing critical organ matching and tissue typing services across the nation allowing transplants to take place, and world-class research that benefits people around the globe. The new name appeals particularly to the next generation of blood donors – to ensure we continue to attract new donors into the future.

There is planned outdoor advertising and cinema ads featuring the new brand in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for them. I encourage you to also watch this touching new 8-part documentary series called Giving Life that’s currently airing every Saturday on Channel 9. It showcases the heartwarming stories of donors, recipients and their families and sharing how Australian Red Cross Lifeblood touches lives not only through blood, but transplantation, milk, research and more.

CEO report

It is that time again when we are putting together the papers for the meeting of the Australian Red Cross Society Board. The Board is meeting on the morning of 29 November and then again on 30 November after our Annual General Meeting which is on the afternoon of 29 November. 

In putting together the papers, I write what I call the CEO report. In it I include a number of ‘interesting snippets’ – links and articles which are relevant to us. I thought you would also find them interesting so I have shared a few of them below.

Driving change for women in our communities

I had the great pleasure of joining the Australian Red Cross Society of Women Leaders (SWL) for their AGM this week. What an amazing group of women who are supporting and funding transformative change for women and children, their families and communities.

They are helping Aboriginal families improve school participation and attendance in South Australia, increasing their access support to entrenched issues such as financial literacy.

They are helping young parents, increasing their education and employment outcomes and supporting the development of their children. Most importantly this program is supporting families to navigate obstacles to break the cycle of disadvantage, with 33 playgroups, vocational education and study groups and parenting and life skills groups across the sites. Including child development screening and intervention plans to address areas of concern.

They are helping women and children seeking asylum with emergency financial support, improving their stability and increasing their access to services.

And they are helping to build female humanitarian leadership, sending 11 female aid workers to six deployments and five development opportunities.

Since its inception in Australia in 2014, SWL has raised two and half million dollars, supporting the work of Red Cross to support thousands of women and children in Australia, Indonesia and in conflict zones around the world.

You can watch their year-in-review video here.

Humanity will be our bravest and most enduring tech trend

Technology is helping us improve society and address some of the more significant issues facing humanity. Empowering people and communities to build resources and resilience. Helping us predict, prepare and respond to climate related disasters. Technology also has the ability to exacerbate, or create new, more complex, complicated and entrenched problems.

Through our humanitarian work we see the impact of technology when it isn’t designed around human needs, when it discriminates against people. So we are proudly leading the way with Humanitech, a ‘think+do tank’ seeking to shape the future for all humanity by harnessing the power of technology for good.

Today, Amanda Robinson (Humanitech Lead), and I will meet with a range of technology developers, leaders, and decision-makers at the Southstart Conference in Adelaide to highlight that we all have a duty of care to the people we represent and the communities we are a part of. To be the voice of humanity. To be better humans and take better care of our planet.

BLOG TAKEOVER: It's coming close to the end of year. Share your reflections and which Red Cross work areas you're most proud of this year, in next week's blog takeover. Send them to Mel Tizi by Tuesday 12PM. 

Take care and I’ll chat to you soon.