Pages tagged "Big Impact"

  • WSP Australia

    From early March 2020, WSP provided pro-bono services to support the community on Kangaroo Island (KI) in South Australia. As part of the BizRebuild initiative, WSP provided work on two projects– West End KI Community Recovery Project and the Parndana Town Hall.

    The WSP team, led by Jennifer McDonnell, Principal Stakeholder Engagement Consultant with support from Adelaide-based team members Stacie Reeves and Joanne Chong in addition to Jodie McPhee from Queensland, was honoured to provide project management and stakeholder engagement services. Leaving their own homes and families at short notice and arriving on the island within weeks of the bushfire disaster, the WSP team utilised their skills and experience to provide on-the-ground assistance to the community of 4,500 residents as well as businesses including agriculture and tourism organisations.

    “WSP staff have played a significant leadership role in the development of implementable solutions whilst being attentive to community needs” – CEO Kangaroo Island Council

    Not only did the Kangaroo Island community face the impact of the fires, but they were also subsequently impacted by COVID-19. The severe business downturn combined with job losses due to both the bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic had significant economic and psychological impacts on the local community. 

    WSP’s contribution led to the resumption of both economic activity and community recovery through facilitating the development of several rebuild and recovery projects on the island.

    As a key tourism destination for South Australia, Kangaroo Island’s economy, which is driven by many local businesses, has been severely impacted. This included the loss of 231 out of the 263 commercial accommodation beds as well as the loss of residential and holiday home beds. The community knew that a significant rebuilding and recovery exercise was needed urgently. Equally they realised that worker accommodation was required as a necessity with the nearest major settlement of Kingscote some 50 minutes’ drive away. This infrastructure would not only support the many local businesses and residential rebuilding efforts but also those of the destroyed Flinders Chase National Park facilities.

    Following engagement with key local stakeholders and the BizRebuild team, the West End KI Community Recovery Project was created as a significant, community supported initiative. This project will substantially contribute to the island’s economic recovery and future growth of visitors by providing valuable accommodation and services in the west.

    Another key project has been the renovation and refurbishment of the Parndana Town Hall – a community asset in the ‘heartland’ of the island. During the bushfires, the hall became the central meeting point for those in immediate need of aid – it was a base for the Emergency Response Committee for community bushfire briefings and provision of donated clothing, food and water. The hall came under attack from embers from the approaching fire fronts four times during the bushfire emergency. Today, it has become a symbol of strength, refuge, resilience and protection. The local Parndana Progress Association Inc (PPA), developed a project scope for its refurbishment. With BizRebuild’s support, WSP helped progress this opportunity to renovate and refurbish the hall, creating an inviting and functional space for the benefit of the whole community.

    In addition to these two projects, WSP has been pivotal in identifying and assisting in developing support for the Kangaroo Island Local Government authority to progress businesses cases identified in Council’s Prospectus and Bushfire Response to help with the rebuilding and recovery on the island and the energising of the Kingscote Farmer’s Market proposal.

  • Westpac Group

    In mid-January, Westpac released its Bushfire Recovery Support Package to supercharge its response to the crisis. This involved paying customers’ home loans which has helped more than 820 customers and provided almost $230 million in assistance. They provided interest free home loans, extended relief to firefighters and supported volunteer efforts with uncapped paid leave.

    They helped 1,653 customers whose properties had been damaged or destroyed with grants up to $2,000 each totalling $2.64 million. As St George customer Lyn Grey at Lake Conjola said “$2,000 is a lot when you’ve got nothing’’.

    Westpac also assisted 119 business owners with grants of up to $15,000 each, totalling $1.46 million. The group provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and support to community groups including $500,000 to Financial Counselling Australia to help people get back on their feet and $20,000 to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

  • The University of Sydney

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a sweeping impact on domestic and international students studying at Australian universities, on top of prevailing public health, economic and social crises.

    In March 2020, travel restrictions for international students from China were followed closely by the introduction of remote study for all students.

    Faced with an array of new challenges, students grappled with changes to their study, work and living arrangements. Many lost face-to-face contact with their friends and University staff, making social relationships difficult to cultivate and information more cumbersome to access, initially.

    The University of Sydney’s Peer Support Advisor (PSA) Program was created to tackle the complex social, academic, wellbeing and administrative challenges faced by the whole student community.

    The PSA Program involves a team of student advisors, who are trained and paid as University casual staff and assist their peers remotely through a range of online workshops, groups and one-to-one interactions.

    University of Sydney Vice Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence AC said that the initiative “provided invaluable support to thousands of students impacted by COVID-19, through approachable remote support, assistance in navigating services and peer connections, to reduce stress during a time of great disruption.”   

    Student advisors are currently enrolled students who are fluent speakers of English and Mandarin.

    Their supervisory team includes a clinical psychologist, who provides training and one-to-one support as needed. They also receive structured training in University-related information and referrals, compassionate communication and empathy, and boundary setting.

    “COVID-19 has completely changed the way how we study, work and communicate with others, so a lot of students contacted us and expressed their loneliness and concerns when studying all by themselves” said Sophia Jin, a medical school student who participated as an student advisor in the program.

    Students using this service gain access to someone who is experiencing similar challenges, but with specialised training and experience in navigating key aspects of university life.

    Empathy and understanding were at the core of this initiative, as student adviser Jun Chu explains:

    “The entire team is made up by current students, we understand their position and we know exactly what they are going through.”

    In addition to the program, the university also responded with a comprehensive support package for students that included additional financial and legal support for all students facing hardship, additional mental health and student counselling services and online one-to-one career consultations to assist students with their career planning and job search, online workshops and employer information sessions.

  • UBS

    The battle against the coronavirus pandemic is far from over but UBS donations and fundraising efforts in 2020 are helping communities around the world. 

    Globally, UBS clients and employees have generously donated more than A$21 million to their COVID-19 relief fund, managed by UBS Optimus Foundation.  This is on top of the firm’s A$41 million commitment and contributions directly to our community partners.

    Anthony Sweetman co-country head of UBS Australasia said: “The financial industry plays a key role in giving back to the community and as a leading Investment Bank we are proud of the significant contributions UBS’ employees and clients have made through financial and in-kind support in 2020.”

    UBS shipped over 160 tons of protective gear, disinfecting wipes and other critically needed supplies to health facilities in hot spot areas including St Vincent's Clinic's domestic violence safe houses, transition housing facilities and aged care facilities throughout Sydney.

    UBS responded to the drought and bushfire crisis during Brokerage Day on 12 February. This day saw more than A$1.6 million raised from clients, staff and the UBS Australia Foundation. 

    Funds raised were allocated to the Australian Red Cross, The Community Rebuilding Trust (Business Council of Australia initiative), Lifeline Australia, The Smith Family and WWF-Australia.

    Lifeline CEO Colin Seery said at the time: “I personally want to thank everyone involved in the Brokerage Day. These past few months have been extraordinary for all of us and your support couldn’t have come at a more critical time. Lifeline has never been more needed.”

    “The collective mental health burden of the bushfire crisis and the virus is something we have not seen or experienced before.” Mr Seery added.

  • The Star Entertainment Group

    When the federal government directed non-essential indoor venues to close their doors in March 2020 in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic it was a decision that forced The Star Entertainment Group to temporarily stand down more than 95 per cent of their almost 9,000 staff.

    The personal and human impacts arising from the crisis were significant and remained so for several months as restrictions prevented The Star's properties in Sydney, the Gold Coast and Brisbane from returning to pre-COVID levels of operation.

    The Board and Management were mindful of the ramifications for their workforce, and mitigation programs were developed.

    In May, Star launched their SOS payment scheme - Star Offers Support. This support was for team members experiencing sudden and severe financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

    "Our workforce is the heartbeat of our business. To ensure our most vulnerable team members were provided with financial support in such unforeseen circumstances was never in doubt." Star Entertainment Group CEO Matt Bekier said.

    Between May and October 2020, The Star ran six rounds of the SOS hardship program, approving over 620 requests for support for a direct contribution to team members of around $4 million.

  • Telstra

    Telstra’s immediate focus during the bushfires was on restoring connectivity lost through power outages and damaged infrastructure as quickly as possible. Their engineers and field technicians worked around the clock, riding through Red Zones with firefighters in trucks and helicopters to restore connectivity once it was safe to do so.

    They also provided financial support for businesses, homeowners and people at the heart of the crisis. They led the way in wiping the bills of around 10,000 volunteer firefighters and other essential workers and provided them with free connectivity for the months they were on the front line. In total, their investment in supporting customers and restoring bushfire damage to its infrastructure, will be around $44 million.

    During COVID, to assist in the transition to a world of online-everything, Telstra fast-tracked the provision of unlimited data allowances on fixed broadband and gave extra mobile data for Telstra’s consumer and small business customers, at no cost; provided vital connectivity to areas of the nation forced into tough lockdowns, bolstered Australia’s connectivity with the world, and provided ongoing discounts to those on JobSeeker and other concession schemes.

    They also brought forward $500 million of capital expenditure from the second half of FY21 into the 2020 calendar year, providing the economy with much needed investment. And, to provide certainty to those doing it tough, they made the decision to give their people peace of mind by freezing job cuts for 12 months.

  • Tata Consultancy Services

    This year, more than 41% of the Australian workforce needed to be nimbly transitioned into workplaces from their homes within a few weeks amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Having created secure, borderless workspaces for hundreds of thousands of our own employees in response to the pandemic, Tata Consultancy Services helped keep 32 major Australian businesses up and running by launching a massive program to ensure business continuity using Secure Borderless WorkSpaces™ (SBWS™) infrastructure.

    In doing so, they helped companies enable their employees to work from home to power and ensure business continuity for many mission-critical industries and leading businesses including major supermarkets, utilities providers, banks and airlines.

    Enabled by SBWS since March 2020, TCS has supported more than 100,000 Australian employees transition to secure workspaces from their homes and enabled delivery of more than 50 business critical projects delivered under SBWS ™, leveraging location independent agile methodologies.

    Vikram Singh TCS ANZ Country Head said: “I am proud of the contribution and widespread impact Tata Consultancy Services has made in helping Australian business amidst COVID-19.”

  • Tabcorp

    Over the past 12 months, Tabcorp have delivered a range of community initiatives that have delivered more than $9 million and other support to not-for-profit causes. 

    Tabcorp took a strong position on helping communities affected by the devastating bushfires across Australia. They held the one-off Bushfire Benefit Draw, which raised $1.9 million through proceeds from the regular Saturday Lotto draw on 25 January. Funds were shared across nine charitable organisations providing support to communities, volunteer firefighters and wildlife.

    Jaimie Robertson, Rural Aid’s Fundraising Marketing and Communications Manager said: “Tabcorp have been regular partners with Rural Aid on initiatives to support the vision that farming and rural communities are safeguarded, ensuring their sustainability both during and after these natural disasters.”  

    Over the past 12 months, Tabcorp’s Lotteries business contributed more than $6 million from prize money and lottery proceeds to important causes across Australia. Highlights include a $1 million donation to the University of Queensland School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

    In August, a team from The Lott’s marketing department volunteered their time to give a 90-minute online workshop on digital marketing, social media and SEO to 45 charity and community partners to help them continue to spread their message in the absence of face-to-face fundraising during the pandemic. 

    “We take responsibility for the role we play in communities and we’re committed to making a positive impact, especially during times of hardship.” Tabcorp CEO David Attenborough said.

    “We’re proud to be a part of a business community which meaningfully helps the communities it operates in and builds a stronger Australia.”

  • Sydney Airport

    Sydney Airport never closed the doors to any of its terminals, even in the darkest and most uncertain days of the COVID crisis, despite losing close to a million dollars a day to do so.

    They knew it would have been catastrophic for thousands of essential workers, foreign nationals heading home, the more than 100,000 Australians who have repatriated since March, and the critical freight flights that kept our export industries afloat.

    They realised early in 2020 that if Sydney Airport as a business was to get through the crisis, everyone who called the Airport home would need to get through with them. They closed the East-West runway to allow our airline partners to park aircraft free of charge. This in-kind assistance ran into millions of dollars in forgone revenue. In April, they offered 100% rental waivers to ‘mum and dad’ tenants that went well beyond what was required by the Code of Conduct.

    On multiple occasions, they were called on to ‘stand up’ new procedures for processing passengers, sometimes with less than 12 hours’ notice. For context, undertaking an operational change like moving all Melbourne flights to the International terminal would typically take months of planning – during COVID this was turned around in 48 hours. In response to these issues, they rolled out a volunteer program called ‘SYD Support’ which saw the deployment of predominately head office staff into the terminals.

    Superintendent Andy Holland, Commander, South Sydney Police Area Command said: “I would go as far to say that the work put in by the Sydney Airport has been instrumental restricting and reducing the transmission of the COVID-19 spread across NSW.’’

  • Stramit (Fletcher Building)

    As a proud Australian manufacturer, Stramit is embedded in the Aussie way of life. The bushfires over summer 2019/2020 was truly heartbreaking for our communities, our wildlife and our farming and rural way of life.

    As Timothy Broxham, Executive General Manager of Stramit put it: “With a blazing backdrop of fire impacting Australian communities over the 2019/20 summer, tragic east coast bushfires tore through communities, razing homes, destroying farmland and wiping out countless livestock and wildlife.”

    “Bushfires live long in the memory and legacies of such a disaster lingers on. For Stramit, many were impacted by the all too imaginable events and felt the lonely helplessness faced with such real adversity.”

    In keeping with their grassroots approach, a Stramit Emergency Response Team was established to give everyone in their national team the opportunity to generate ideas and suggestions. This led to the Shed50 rollout.

    This resulted in the manufacturing of 50 sheds with distribution and install to replace key buildings in high need areas such as Mallacoota in the East Gippsland region of Victoria where fires shut off the town and thousands were huddled on the beach to escape.

    Local community centres like the Mallacoota Pony Club were destroyed.

    Club President Stephanie Mew said they lost everything: “Mallacoota is a small community of about 800 people, so when a club like ours is affected like this, it hurts so many – our members range from 3 years old to those in their 60’s.”

    But with the support of Stramit, a new shed not only meant their members had a new clubhouse and a place to store equipment, but it also contributes to the restoration of hope in the local community.

    Stramit also set up a staff salary deduction and donation scheme, coordinated company funded volunteer days and blood donation drives and organised local site fundraising barbeques across their national network.

    Mr Broxham added: “For Stramit, many were impacted by the all too imaginable events and felt the lonely helplessness faced with such real adversity.

    “There was, however, another legacy, that of unifying purpose, the power of common good and ultimately the return of ‘we’.”