Thursday, 29 September 2022

Good afternoon, it’s my great pleasure to address you this afternoon as your patron. I trust the day has been productive and an opportunity to renew connections.

I congratulate the recipients who earlier received fundraising shields and long service awards. Thank you for your heartfelt contributions to Red Cross and its mission.

Having engaged with the Red Cross at the opening of this Percy Court headquarters, as well as meeting your leaders at Government House and hosting a reception to present the National Red Cross Awards, I am in no doubt about the importance of the humanitarian work of Red Cross.

This work touches many areas and has engendered great respect and admiration both locally and globally.

The Red Cross symbol is instantly recognisable and signals hope, no matter how complex and unpredictable the situation.

You are there to support people when adversity strikes in bushfires, droughts, wars, heatwaves.

We need look no further than the COVID-19 pandemic to understand the importance of Red Cross in mobilising people to respond and meet a pressing community need.

  • More than 20,000 outreach telephone calls were made to people in isolation.
  • More than 900,000 Rapid Antigen Tests were distributed through six pickup points across the State.
  • 700,000 Rapid Antigen Tests were packed and repacked to support SA Health.
  • 18,000 care packs were prepared and distributed to people in long testing lines.

Behind these statistics is people’s relief in knowing that there are others out there who care about them.

I know this recent work has been acknowledged as a valued part of our State’s COVID response efforts.

Not only this, but your reputation has spread further afield, both national and internationally.

Out of 2009 extreme heat event in South Australia, the Telecross REDi Extreme Heat program was developed in partnership with the State Government.

Under the program, an emergency procedure is triggered if a wellbeing phone call goes unanswered or if someone is in distress.

I understand that both Queensland and the Hellenic Red Cross, Greece, on becoming aware of the program, decided to implement the scheme themselves, resulting in Red Cross staff travelling to Greece to assist.

Friends

While today I have spoken about some of the work Red Cross undertakes to support people affected by recent emergencies, I also want to commend Red Cross for other areas work in which you are involved:

  • Supporting new migrants.
  • Working in correctional settings.
  • Walking alongside First Nations people.
  • Social support and transport.

In this way Red Cross, and importantly you the members of the Red Cross family, are helping to create a community that is focussed on volunteering and giving back.

As your patron, I support the important work of the Australian Red Cross as a humanitarian organisation which has made a genuine difference in the lives of people and communities for more than 100 years.

We live in challenging times and yet the organisation continues to be well positioned to respond in the face of key external drivers such as climate change, international conflict, including forced migration, and COVID-19 disruption.

Importantly, you have a clear purpose; to bring people and communities together in times of need and build on their strengths.

I am pleased as SA patron that Australian Red Cross recognises the need to review what it does and how it does it to ensure it is fit for this purpose and that your board is planning for organisational transformation.

That is what good organisations do to ensure they deliver on their purpose in a sustainable way for the long term.

By supporting each other and working together, you will position yourselves well for the future.

Thank you all for mobilising the power of humanity.