Chair of Australian Red Cross Greg Vickery, distinguished

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Chair of Australian Red Cross Greg Vickery, distinguished Powered By Docstoc
					Australian Red Cross National Conference, Sydney
24 November 2006



Plenary 1

‘Vision for the Future’
- Robert Tickner, CEO Australian Red Cross


Chair of Australian Red Cross Greg Vickery, distinguished international and
Australian visitors, Red Cross members and volunteers, and my colleague staff
of our wonderful organisation: It is an honour to have the opportunity to speak to
you at this, our second Australian Red Cross National Conference.

When I took up this position on 14th February last year, had I been able to look
into a crystal ball, I could not have wished for a greater level of overall progress
on the agenda which was set for us by the National Board.

Greg Vickery has already spoken to you about some of the achievements of the
past year and I will not dwell on those other than to briefly reflect on those
achievements which have given us a great foundation on which to build the
organisation in 2007.

It is to our vision for the future that I wish to primarily focus on today.

I also want to raise some of the big picture global issues which confront our
national society and the wider Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation.

A number of those 21st century global challenges and threats will have a direct
impact on the work of Australian Red Cross. One of our core areas of work,
disaster preparedness and disaster response, will be hugely impacted by the
climate change issues which confronts the planet.

CLIMATE CHANGE

As I know you are aware scientists project an unprecedented warming of the
earth, leading, among other things, to an increase in extreme-weather events
like floods and droughts, more intense hurricanes, the spread of diseases like
malaria and dengue, the melting of glaciers and sea level rise. Tens of millions
of people, in particular the poorest people in the poorest countries, will be
increasingly affected every year, including many of our friends from the Pacific
with us today.

The first two goals of the Global Agenda to which the Red Cross and Red
Crescent National Societies committed themselves in 2005 are: to reduce the
number of deaths and injuries from and the impact of disasters; and to reduce
the number of deaths and illnesses from and the impact of disease and public-
health emergencies.
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Climate change is a major threat to the achievement of these goals.

Already our people in the field deal with climate change related disasters. In
Papua New Guinea and other places our health officers report malaria at places
where it never before occurred. The Red Cross of Nicaragua is still working on
the recovery phase from Hurricane Stan, which took twice as many lives as
Katrina.

The Movement’s direct involvement with climate change issues is relatively
recent.

In 1999 RC/RC addressed the issue of climate change for the first time in our
annual World Disasters report and at our 27th International Conference of the
Red Cross and Red Crescent. That conference adopted a Plan of Action which
included a commitment by the IFRC/RC Societies to study the impact of climatic
change on the frequency and impact of disasters and the implications for
humanitarian response and preparedness.

The 2003 conference adopted an ‘agenda for humanitarian action’ which
included the following:

"States are strongly encouraged to prioritise and provide resources to
implement comprehensive disaster risk reduction measures, including
measures to address issues relating to climate change and variability. National
Societies will increase their cooperation with States and experts in the area of
climate change in order to limit the potential negative impact on vulnerable
populations."

In the interim, in 2002, the Netherlands Red Cross and the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) established the
Red Cross/Red Crescent Centre on Climate Change and Disaster
Preparedness (RC/RC Climate Centre). The RC/RC Climate Centre supports
RC/RC National Societies and others in understanding and addressing the risks
of climate change, particularly through disaster risk-reduction programs. It
facilitates cooperation between RC/RC National Societies, climate scientists
and policy-makers, in order to improve the programs, research and policies that
can strengthen the resilience of vulnerable people.

Currently the RC/RC Climate Centre is supporting climate-change-related
RC/RC programs in more than 15 countries.

Climate change is a global problem with local impacts. The Red Cross/Red
Crescent is a global organisation with 185 National Societies and thousands of
local branches all over the world. The RC/RC is respected worldwide for its care
for the vulnerable, particularly after disasters and conflicts. The Red Cross/Red
Crescent therefore has a role in taking our concerns about the consequences of
climate change to government at its highest levels and in calling on the global
community to join forces to curb climate change.

Climate change was a major focus of attention at the General Assembly and the
International Conference in November 2007 and we too in Australian Red Cross
must encourage all governments to provide the leadership which is necessary
on this key global issue.
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I am going to be asking our key staff to come forward with some
recommendations about what action we should take as Australian Red Cross to
participate in debate on issues of climate change within Australia over the
coming year.

ADDRESSING INTOLERANCE, DISCRIMINATION AND DIVISION

Another global challenge confronting the human civilisation is of course the
perceived divide between people of Muslim and non Muslim faiths which is too
often reflected in conflict and division within and between nation states.

The principles of impartiality and neutrality which are among the guiding
principles of our movement leave us well placed to make an important
contribution towards building a climate of tolerance and a respect for diversity
internationally and within the nation states in which we operate.

Just think about the model we provide to the world.

Here we are an international organisation which welcomes and embraces 185
national societies from around the world that go to make up our International
Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation.

What a remarkable event it was earlier this year to have the International
Conference of our Movement simultaneously admit the Israeli Magen David
Adom and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society as the 184th and 185th
members of the Federation.

Globally, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has recognised that
discrimination, whether manifesting itself in violence, racism or marginalisation,
results in people experiencing vulnerability and is a challenge we must address.

In view of the all too apparent presence of this problem in Australia, the Board
committed ARC in the strategic plan to initiating a program of activities to
promote tolerance, non-discrimination and respect for diversity in a number of
ways in order to play our part within our own national society in addressing the
goals of the Federation.

One of the key initiatives we set ourselves to undertake was to explore
opportunities for collaboration with key strategic partners, such as the Human
Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

I am very pleased that this bore fruit fairly rapidly during the course of the last
year.

In a project jointly supported by Australian Red Cross and the Human Rights
and Equal Opportunity Commission, children around Australia were invited to
express their thoughts and feelings about human rights issues in Australia, in
the form of essays or art.

State and Territory Executive Directors have been involved in assessing the
competition in their areas and awarding prizes.


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More recently, ARC has put forward a proposal to the Australian Government
under its Living in Harmony Partnerships program, to explore ways of
generating better understanding and cooperation among Australians of all
backgrounds.

Australian Red Cross proposes to undertake a youth focused project. Working
through its youth programs targeted at primary and secondary aged young
people, and in partnership with the educational sector as well as other
community groups, Australian Red Cross will engage with a wide Australian
audience to promote cultural diversity and tolerance.

ARC’s proposal would see young people developing and implementing projects
that will promote mutual respect and social cohesion within their communities.

If there is one outcome I am strongly committed to achieving over the years
ahead, it is to ensure that both domestically and internationally Australian Red
Cross will be increasingly seen as an organisation which is entrepreneurial,
outward looking and inclusive with a culture of collaboration and community
engagement.

I think that there is considerable evidence that we are taking giant strides
towards meeting that objective and I will speak about some of the reforms and
innovations which we already have on track.

RED CROSS IN THE EYES OF THE COMMUNITY

We have, over the past two years and commencing with the visioning work
across the Society and with external groups, been looking at our ‘positioning’ as
an organisation. That is, conducting and accessing research that tells us what
people think of us, what they think we do, what they think we should be doing,
and why they do or don’t support us. We have also looked at the experience
and activities of other national societies such as the British Red Cross who have
gone through the same process.

The good news is that awareness is high with 47% of Australians recently
surveyed naming Australian Red Cross first amongst charities. We hold a prized
place in people’s hearts and minds, with the majority of people indicating Red
Cross the most admired charity ahead of all others.

However, we have also consistently found that people associate Red Cross
primarily with blood and international disaster response, followed by emergency
relief in Australia. There is far less awareness of our domestic community
service programs.

Interestingly, research conducted by a number of Red Cross Societies in
Europe and in other countries has found a similar pattern of high awareness
and respect for the international work of Red Cross, but very little knowledge of
local services. It also identified that high awareness and positive attitudes
rarely translate to financial support, except primarily in major disaster appeals.

And so we have been aware of the lack of understanding around our domestic
services and declining level of support over recent years. Many of us have
spoken at some time to a group only to be told afterwards that they ‘had no idea
Red Cross did so much’.
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Why then, is there still a lack of awareness around local services? Part of the
explanation is the different positionings the Society has traditionally adopted on
a state by state level. Also in the stories we’ve told – often featuring what we do,
our own achievements and about our own organisational facts and figures more
than showcasing how we help and the beneficiaries we work with. But that’s not
the whole story.

European research in 2000 found that there, as in Australia, people have two
distinct images for National Societies. Firstly a ‘value’ image – emotional, with
positive associations of Red Cross, reflecting the respect people have for the
global brand. Secondly, and less commonly held, is an ‘activity’ image of the
many local activities carried out by National Societies.

What these pieces of research tell us is that there is a disconnect between the
global brand, which Australians greatly admire and when called upon, support,
and our local activity, for which we have difficulty in creating widespread
awareness. And this despite a network of some 65,000 advocates in our
volunteers, members and staff, and despite the highest number of media hits
among not for profit sector organisations over the past 2 years.

The reality is that we can’t possibly expect the Australian public en-masse to
understand the diverse services we provide and clearly we have to present
them in a more succinct and compelling way.

We can do this by transferring the positive attitudes we know people hold about
the global brand, across our local activity.

In other words, we need to think about how we can talk about Red Cross within
Australia in a manner which ceases competing with the global brand and
leverages its strength instead.

We need to find better ways for our emblem and name to work together in a
way that is more in keeping with the global brand, and to explore the idea of
using a simple visual prompt which will help us to restore the missing link
between the global brand and local activity.

So how do we do this? There are many ways we can influence the way people
think about Red Cross, just as other not for profit and commercial organisations
do on a daily basis. We can create a certain image in the way our photography
looks, the design of our brochures and magazines, the way we decorate our
offices and answer our phones, the written and verbal language we use to
describe ourselves, and in the process help change the way people view us.

We have already developed and tested 'cluster' words to help describe our
domestic services more succinctly. The words Crisis, Care, Commitment
describe who we are and how we help, not simply what we do. Testing in focus
groups of our target audiences and subsequent surveys found that Crisis has
strong associations with international disaster response and the global brand,
while Care represents local activity and community service. Commitment
described for people the spirit of volunteerism and the integrity of Red Cross.
So here is a very practical way we can start to re-connect the international
brand and local activity. We will look at the potential application of these
clusters to future communication about our services and sections of our
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website, for example, so that people can access information on services more
easily. We will use it in a range of brochures and in promotional material like the
posters you see in the foyer today.

We need to look at the way we describe the organisation, using plain,
compelling language across the whole organisation. We also need to apply a
consistent style of graphic design and photography that reflects the urgency and
dynamic action of our global brand across our domestic activity.

These are just some of the initiatives which our National Director of Marketing,
Fundraising and Communications, Jennifer Gibb and her team will focus on
over the year ahead.


There are many examples of the way in which we are breathing life into our
commitment to become a more entrepreneurial organisation and to lift our
profile and capacity. I will give just two, reforms to our work with youth, and our
vision for the future of our emergency services.

NATIONAL YOUTH PROGRAMS FUTURE DIRECTIONS

During the course of this year we have undertaken a review of our national
Youth Programs. The review found that despite some undoubted successes in
a small number of Divisions, our Youth programs were in the main, fragmented,
poorly resourced, often out of step with contemporary thinking and were only
impacting on a tiny percentage of the school age population.

The review received a strong level of input from youth within Australian Red
Cross and also involved extensive consultations with managers working with
youth within ARC and the wider community.

The future vision resulting from the Youth Review recommends two national
youth programs:
   ·     One for primary aged young people
   ·     One for secondary aged young people

Within each program there will be two streams of engagement. While the
structure for primary and secondary aged programs is the same, age relevant
materials and activities will be developed for each.

The first stream will be Community Education and this will offer a range of
activities that will inform as many young people as possible about Humanitarian
related issues. It provides five types of activities from which groups can select
one or more. These activities can be completed as a lesson that is linked to the
curriculum or as a general activity, either in a group or individually.

For schools and groups, minimal effort is required from teachers and youth
facilitators and there is no requirement of ongoing commitment which has been
found to be a barrier in the past.

It is anticipated that ARC resources will focus on coordination and support of
volunteer speakers rather than staff visits to schools.


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The second stream is focussed on Community Service and this will offer a
range of activities that will engage young people in longer term community
based activities either as projects or on an ongoing basis. Groups can choose
from six different kinds of activities. Services that address the needs of
vulnerable young people are also included as part of Community Service.

Where schools and community groups select activities from the Community
Service Stream, there will be an online registration with support from
teachers/youth leaders/project mentors to be provided for the duration of the
activity. For projects and volunteering activities there is a strong focus on skills
development. Curriculum links will be provided and young people will also have
the opportunity to participate in accredited training.

ARC resources will target young people in disadvantaged areas, however all
schools and community groups will be able to access resource materials as
self-managing groups via the ARC website.

The new programs offer a fabulous opportunity for a major corporate partner
and a long term relationship with Australian Red Cross.

I will be asking Jennifer Gibb our Fundraising Marketing and Communications
leader to make the task of finding this corporate partner a major priority for the
coming year. We want that partnership to give us the resources to build the
organisation on the ground right around this country and to massively expand
our support and volunteering base among young Australians.

EMERGENCY SERVICES FUTURE VISION

As I mentioned in my remarks concerning climate change our emergency
services work is one of our core functions and where we already enjoy a high
reputation in the public mind and in the mind of governments.

However we have not really begun to fulfil the potential we have in this area in
our capacity as an auxiliary of Government.

We have reviewed our current level of work and prepared a vision for our future
growth and development which has received strong support from all Board
members and from all our senior managers across Australia. The challenge is
now to give effect to that vision.

The overall vision is that within 3 to 5 years Australian Red Cross will be clearly
recognised as:
Australia’s principal independent organisation in emergency management:
Leading the way in supporting communities to better prepare for, cope with and
recover from emergencies and disasters.

The following specific areas have been identified as priorities for ARC to deliver
the Vision.
• National Registration and Inquiry System (NRIS)
• Public Appeals
• Personal Support
• Emergency Shelter/Evacuation and Recovery Centre Co-ordination
• Single Incident Support

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•   Spontaneous Volunteers
•   Provision of Public Information
•   Community Education and Preparedness
•   Community Development Programs in Affected Areas
•   Leadership in Development of Practice and Policy

While these core areas are proposed as the priorities, other opportunities may
also be pursued as they arise. The level of ARC involvement under
State/Territory emergency management arrangements may also have some
variation, particularly in the short term.

GROWING MATURITY AS AN ORGANISATION

During the course of the year there was one event perhaps more than any other
which demonstrated our increasing maturity as an organisation.

Greg Vickery has already mentioned the major successful renegotiation of the
agreement with the Governments of Australia for the provision of blood
services. At the end of last year the Board established a negotiating team to
conclude a new agreement with Governments for the blood supply for Australia.
A key objective was to ensure that Australian Red Cross was no longer making
huge financial contributions to subsidise the blood service in one of the most
affluent countries on earth when this service had become an integral part of the
Australian public health system. This subsidy had amounted to 21 million dollars
over the last 5 years.

As a result of the negotiation the Australian Government also agreed to make
an Annual Grant of five million dollars to Australian Red Cross by way of a
general purpose grant.

Also, importantly, in the course of that negotiation we sought and received a
welcome recognition from the Minister for Health Mr Abbott on behalf of the
Governments of Australia of the crucial role played by the Australian Red Cross
in mobilising half a million Australians for that wonderful humanitarian
endeavour of voluntary blood donations to save the life of others.


I now want to give you some sense of our vision for the future and reaffirm our
commitment to become a leader in innovation in the not for profit sector.

In 2007 we will be embarking on a range of projects across Australia which
seek to either boost our capacity, address new areas of vulnerability, or to
document and build on existing programs in order that we have the capacity to
roll them out nationally.

It is an exciting agenda of reform.

Examples include the work of our colleagues in Western Australia to document
the Food Cents program and develop business and strategic relationships
which would enable that program to be extended to other states. This is a
program targeted towards low income clients and seeks to teach people the
benefits of healthy shopping and cooking and the direct relationship between


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healthy eating and more effective running of the household budget. This
program also has huge potential for application in the Pacific.

Our colleagues in South Australia are pioneering some vital work expanding
Red Cross services in the remote Aboriginal communities in the north of that
state and also piloting a program supporting isolated and marginalised boarding
house clients in Adelaide.

Our Tasmanian team is helping lead the roll out to other parts of the country of
the successful MATES program, targeting people with a mental illness living in
the community. They will also pilot another program directed towards prisoners
and their families.

Victoria will undertake two pilot programs. One in Geelong will operate on the
MATES model. The second will work with prisoners, and staff will collaborate
closely with colleagues involved with the similar project in Tasmania.

In Queensland we have some very important work being done in Indigenous
communities and have funded the employment of an Indigenous staff member
to assist with policy and capacity building work in that state and in SA and the
Northern Territory.

NSW will undertake a new pilot program working with newly arrived migrant
communities in Western Sydney. We hope to include among their number
members of the Islamic community of Sydney and will seek an ongoing
collaboration with the NSW Community Relations Commission to advance that
objective.

I am also pleased to report that the NSW Government will provide significant
funding to allow the development of Telecross with particular emphasis on
informing HACC service providers and service users, and the recruitment,
support and training of volunteers. We are strongly encouraged that there may
also be some Federal interest in this vital program in the coming months. We
are in the process of developing plans to boost of this wonderful service for
older Australians across Australia.

In the Northern Territory we have funded an Indigenous Youth Leadership
Development program and another which will provide computer access and
training to older or socially isolated members of the community.

In the ACT the Executive Director, Ian Rentsch, is playing a leading role in
encouraging the professional development of the national management team.

We will provide an additional 250,000 dollars for Breakfast Clubs particularly in
remote communities, including Indigenous communities in WA, SA, NT and
Queensland.

Funds will also be allocated for a number of other domestic pilots and
development work in youth programs, emergency services and fundraising
marketing and communications, to boost our self reliance and capacity.

Australian Red Cross is truly an organisation on the move.


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But the innovation does not stop with our domestic programs. We will spend
close to a million dollars this to do the following:
• further develop the Basic Training Course for our intending overseas
   delegates and make the course far more accessible to the wider community.
• bring our Human Resource Management practices for overseas delegates
   into the modern era with the efficient use of information technology, and
   apply this capacity to our wider HR systems and practices.
• boost our emergency response capacity.
• enter into a long term commitment with the Red Cross of East Timor, to work
   with them in the challenging project of nation building which they face.
• enter into a long term commitment to work with the Red Cross of PNG to
   address the HIV/AIDS spread which threatens that whole country. Our
   commitment to PNG will of course not be at the expense of other areas of
   the Pacific but the threat in PNG is a most critical one and threatens to claim
   the lives of up to 50 thousand people by the year 2010.

A further major initiative this year will be a high level human resource
management policy review across the whole of ARC conducted by our newly
appointed General Manager of Human Resources.

Let me add at this point an important vote of thanks to my colleague Executive
Directors and other members of the National Management Team, without
whose involvement and commitment, these initiatives would not be possible. In
so many of the these new initiatives, I am working shoulder to shoulder with
Dale Cleaver and his team and I want to especially thank him for his support
and leadership.

To each and every one of you I want to extend a vote of thanks on behalf of the
whole organisation for your work and I look forward to building on our
achievements through 2007 and beyond.

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND DRIVING EFFICIENCIES

I do not however wish to leave you with the impression that Australian Red
Cross is embarking on a spending spree. Rather the exact opposite is the case.
The Board has insisted upon, and management has delivered a balanced cash
budget for the current financial year and indeed has managed to generate a
substantial surplus above and beyond this Board objective.

During the course of the year we will be giving effect to another Board decision
and that is to lead an organisation wide review of services in the lead up to the
next budget timetable. During that review of services your Board will be
properly asking that everything be put on the table.

We have to ask ourselves some really hard headed questions about the range
and diversity of services we are delivering.

Are we really targeting the most vulnerable people in our communities?

Are we performing more and more services under contract from government
which makes us increasingly an arm of government or indistinguishable from it?



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What does this increasing focus on government contracts do for our image in
the eyes of the community and given that these services are most often
delivered by paid staff are we eroding our volunteer base and ethos by
increasingly going down this road?

Should we more rigorously apply criteria to what services we deliver or are we
going to take any contract which comes our way irrespective of how divergent it
is to our core business?

Should we be demanding a better deal from Government when we are
delivering services almost at cost which would otherwise cost government a
whole lot more to deliver?

How do we chart a course through these potentially conflicting priorities and
challenges?

These are some of the many issues to be considered in this major review of
services, operations and administration over the course of the coming year.

The Board has also endorsed a review to maximise the benefit to Australian
Red Cross of the 190 plus shop enterprises we conduct across the length and
breadth of the country. This review will also occur over the course of the coming
year.

At last year’s conference I said this "We have yet to achieve the essential
financial management reforms which will enable the organisation to move
forward as it must" and talked about our commitment as an organisation to
achieve "one Australian Red Cross financial system by the time of the
2006/2007 budget." I am delighted that we have taken giant strides to achieve
that objective with the abolition of the so called quota and the move to one
national budget for the organisation. I would like to place on record my
appreciation for the work of John O'Connor in moving towards this objective and
here in NSW would be remiss if I were not to also thank Dick Dunn and John
Fries for their contribution to this process. As well, the role Garry Richardson
has played has been invaluable.

There is of course still much to be done as we move to give effect to the Board
endorsed Strategic Plan.

We are embarking upon another year of reform and innovation and this will also
involve the preparation of a new Implementation Plan. I commit myself to again
consult widely on the preparation of this plan and to involve the whole of the
organisation in the preparation of this document which will be so important to
charting our course for the future.

Let me conclude with an important point which underpins all our reforms and
innovation in Australian Red Cross: we are moving forward on a foundation of
respect for and acknowledgement of the tireless work of our longstanding and
dedicated members in the branches and units across Australia. Our objective is
to see more services in rural Australia and a greater level of resources available
in local communities so many of which are feeling the pain of the drought on top
of other challenges.


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Australian Red Cross is becoming a more empowered and cohesive national
organisation where everything is done from a national office in Melbourne. That
is not and has never been what the reforms are about.

The role our Divisional offices, and indeed regional offices play, and that of their
staff, volunteers and members, is absolutely critical to the growth and
development of Australian Red Cross. As you can see from what I have said
today we are seeing so much of our innovation and creativity being driven from
those Divisional offices.

The difference however between now and even one year ago is that we are
now all increasingly working together. Developing ideas, spreading best
practice and making sure that we operate our national programs and initiatives
in a cohesive way across the country. When we seek funding from major
corporations and the national government they want to see a coherent national
model of service delivery which minimises risk and maximises the level of
service to clients. State and Territory governments also like to support proven
models of community service delivery and the Australian people clearly identify
and support the model of one Red Cross in Australia. This indeed is what our
very fundamental principles dictate.

We are working together at a very exciting time in the development of Red
Cross in Australia and I promise if you stay the course of the journey, as I know
you will, that you will be inspired and delighted by the contribution we are going
to make to the well-being of the people of our country and of our region.

Thank you very much for listening to me today.




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