NAB Ready Together is helping customers, colleagues and their communities withstand and recover from natural disasters.
1 min read
First Published 22.12.2022
Beginning in the summer of 2019, Australia’s bushfire season caused devastation on an enormous scale.
As deadly bushfires tore across the nation, the East Coast of Australia was battling a Black Summer. More than 450 Australians lost their lives and the fires destroyed more than 3000 homes, burnt over 18 million hectares and killed 3 billion animals. (Source: Climate Council)
While fires burned in New South Wales and Victoria, Queensland was being confronted by floods.
NAB colleagues were out there protecting their community as well as supporting customers impacted by natural disasters with their banking needs.
In 2019, NAB Home Loan Business Banker Amy-Lee Monkley fought fires on the frontline as a volunteer with the Pacific Palms Rural Fire Brigade in NSW, defending properties in areas where she knew a lot of her customers lived.
NAB provided emergency service volunteers like Amy-Lee as much paid crisis leave as they required during emergencies.
In recognition of the scale and severity of the bushfires, NAB pledged $5 million support for bushfire recovery, to provide immediate relief to business and agriculture customers and support longer-term recovery and rebuilding efforts in communities across Australia.
"I did think a lot of the time while on the fire ground, ‘I wonder if this is a customer’s home I’m defending."
Amy-Lee Monkley, NAB Home Loan Business Banker
NAB READY TOGETHER
As Australians continue to battle the threats of fires, floods and cyclones each year, homes are destroyed, and lives are devastated. In 2022 heavy rainfall and flooding caused devastation across New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.
NAB Ready Together is NAB’s investment in supporting Australians to withstand and recover from natural disasters. We exist to serve customers well and help our communities prosper, so when they’re threatened by natural disasters, we will help respond.
Through NAB Ready Together, the bank has committed funding and resources to customer and community support projects. In 2022 alone, NAB has provided more than $5 million in disaster relief packages for customers and colleagues in regions impacted by flood events around Australia.
NAB Foundation has provided $1.2 million in community grants each year. Mental health and wellbeing funding for volunteer emergency first responders, rebuilding lost koala habitats and providing fire safety education for children are among projects the grants have supported to date.
The NAB Foundation also launched the Environmental Resilience Fund in 2020. The first project with Greening Australia and WWF-Australia provides $2m in funding to defend the landscape from natural disasters.
NAB Group CEO Ross McEwan said the bank’s role went beyond supporting just the initial recovery of unplanned events and that customers and the wider community needed extra support in the face of increasing natural disasters.
“Floods, fires and cyclones have torn apart communities and left many Australians to put the pieces of their lives back together afterwards. That includes many of our customers and the businesses we support,” Mr McEwan said.
“Forecasts indicate these disasters are only going to come more often. As a bank that’s here to serve customers well and help our communities prosper, we must help.”
Ross McEwan, NAB CEO
Supporting Australia’s disaster relief and emergency services organisations
NAB has also partnered with organisations that are first on the ground responding and working to build resilience to natural disasters.
Girls on Fire is a not-for-profit organisation that provides firefighting and resilience programs in practical outdoor learning settings for teenage girls and young women. It received a NAB Foundation Community Grant in 2021, which funded the rollout of a greater number of Girls on Fire & Resilience Programs in areas impacted by the 2019 and 2020 bushfires.
Founder Bronnie Mackintosh said the motivation for starting the not for profit was two-fold.
“Firstly, it’s about community resilience and making people more prepared for what’s happening in the world and the state of uncertainty we’re living in – with earthquakes, floods, fires, natural disasters and the pandemic,” Ms Mackintosh said.
It’s also about creating an environment that builds girls and young women up.
“We’ve all been that teenage girl who is feeling awkward, insecure or uncertain and who needs a boost. An intervention like Girls on Fire where it’s really empowering, where you’re willing to be physical and strong and learn concepts of resilience, leadership and teamwork can really help,” Ms Mackintosh said.
“It’s incredible and with NAB’s support I’m going to be able to really take Girls on Fire into new places – it just builds scope and momentum.”
NAB has also supported the QLD Rural Fire Service (RFS) to increase the wellbeing and resilience of the RFS volunteers protecting Queenslanders from natural disasters. Activities included funding the Mindarma wellbeing program, activating our Queensland retail branches to raise community awareness about the contribution of volunteers through RFS week and Yellow Ribbon Day, and bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of NAB skilled volunteers to provide recommendations on improving the volunteer onboarding process for new RFS recruits.
In 2022, NAB colleagues took the equivalent of 2,698 days volunteer leave.
Giving back through volunteering
NAB colleagues can use their volunteer leave to help customers, colleagues and their communities clean up and recover after natural disasters.
NAB partner Disaster Relief Australia is an organisation that responds quickly to large-scale disasters, rapidly deploying disaster relief teams in Australia and around the world in the wake of natural disasters.
When floods hit Victoria in October, NAB colleagues joined the Mud Army, volunteering to provide immediate support on the ground, helping people in Maribyrnong and regional communities clean up and rebuild.
In October, 29 NAB colleagues from the Strategy and Innovation and Risk teams travelled to Rochester to help with the clean-up for residents whose houses were affected by the floods in Northern Victoria.
NAB’s Rohan Claffey, Executive, Execution, was one colleague helping residents get back in their feet.
NAB partners with Australian Business Volunteers to run skilled volunteering challenges where NAB colleagues use their skills to help solve business problems for not-for-profit organisations, like Girls on Fire.
NAB Graduate Spencer Haymes and NAB Digital Sales Consultant Stephanie Warden both participated in a skilled volunteering opportunity with Girls on Fire.
The task was to deliver a three-year strategic plan to support the not-for-profit’s growth.
“I thought it was such a good offering NAB had and I had always wanted to get involved in skilled volunteering,” said Stephanie. “Girls on Fire as an organisation was interesting to me too – particularly the focus Bronnie has on female empowerment and female representation in emergency services.”
For Spencer, it presented an opportunity to work on a strategic project aligned with his future career goals.
“I thought it was an awesome opportunity to do something really cool and where you could see your impact, more than maybe your day-to-day job,” Spencer said. “I’m also really interested in strategy for my future career direction so it was really valuable to get exposure to that in some capacity.”
Stephanie and Spencer also attended a Girls on Fire training camp in Tamworth, where they got to see their strategic recommendations in action.
“Seeing Bronnie in action and the positive effect the camp had on the girls was fantastic. It was also good to see the physical manifestation of some parts of the strategy we had worked on and that we’d heard so much about,” Spencer said.
Stephanie said the strategy continues to be of value for Bronnie as she takes Girls on Fire from strength to strength.
“Bronnie was so involved with the group of NAB volunteers developing the strategy and we had constant contact points with her, so she saw it come to life as we were building it out,” Stephanie said.
“Bronnie has used it in her conversations with stakeholders and continues to refer back to it. So it does feel like it was a pretty valuable artefact for her.”
At a time when Australia’s climate is changing and communities and the environment face increased risk from natural disasters, NAB will continue to work with our colleagues and customers to help our communities prosper.
Whatever comes, we’re ready together.
The NAB Foundation is currently seeking applications for Community Grants. Grants of up to $10,000 are available for projects that help communities prepare for natural disasters, support long-term recovery and build resilience to future disasters and climate change. The next round closes on 28 February 2023 and will be awarded in April 2023. For more information visit the NAB Foundation website.
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Liz has 10+ years experience as a writer and content creator. She’s worked in communications in financial services, health sciences and law. Her focus is website development and channel management for NAB News.