Through drought, bushfires and flooding rains; to facing an international pandemic it has been a year of unexpected and trying times for many Australians.
Across our nation we have seen the determined resilience of Australians rise in response to these challenges, acknowledging that together we are stronger.
At times like these, we can take opportunity to reflect upon the many people who risked their lives to save others.
Whether it be our frontline fire-fighters saving communities, families and the habitats and wildlife from the impact of the devastating bushfires across the many states of Australia; to our medical workers on the frontline helping people through this recent pandemic.
With already fragile animal populations diminishing, the sadness for the many homes destroyed, and the distressing irreversible damage to families and human life, our hearts are with the victims and their families at through these times of devastation and rebuilding.
The ARA Group holds at its core a belief that businesses have a responsibility to give back to the communities in which they operate. This is a responsibility The ARA Group Executive Chair and Managing Director, Mr Edward Federman, has continued over the past year.
Supporting the Australian Red Cross
Image Credit: Australian Red Cross
The Australian Red Cross have been operating as humanitarian and community service body since 1914 and continue to support people in need, no matter who you are, no matter where you live.
Following the difficult bushfire season earlier this year, the ARA Group contributed $100,000 to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal.
Opportunity was also given to our ARA employees and the wider ARA Community to make a personal contribution to this cause by using a GoFundMe, with the benefit that ARA would match all contributions in addition to the $100,000 contribution made.
With just under $30,000 donated by employees, this has been matched by ARA and together we have been able to continue to support the work of the Red Cross in rebuilding the lives of families around Australia.
Image Credit: Australian Red Cross
In a time when so many were facing devastation and loss, our Executive Chair and Managing Director Edward Federman reflected, that it was heartening to see our ARA employee’s give so generously.
Supporting Taronga Conservation Society Australia
Image Credit: Taronga Conservation Society Australia
Taronga works to safeguard the future of Australian Wildlife and the ARA Group is proud to be a Presidential Sponsor of The Taronga Conservation Society.
Fires and long-term drought have ravaged our beloved country, estimations are that hundreds of millions of animals have perished from fires alone, many more when the effects of the drought are considered.
Taronga has responded to this emergency helping save wildlife from the devastation of these bushfires and droughts by providing emergency shelter, medical care and rehabilitation for koalas, platypus, wallabies, bats and critically endangered frogs and fish.
Image Credit: Taronga Conservation Society Australia
As well as continuing our Presidential level sponsorship, as part of the “Taronga Says Thanks” campaign ARA made a one-off donation to The Taronga Conservation Society of $50,000. This donation assisted around 16,000 eligible emergency responders, wildlife carers and their families to visit Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo free of charge.
ARA’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
ARA would like to acknowledge and thank our frontline healthcare workers. They and their families have borne the brunt of this pandemic day in and day out. They worked to ensure the safety and care of those who have been impacted by COVID-19.
To the states, communities and families that have endured lockdown, all doing their bit to stop the spread of COVID-19, ARA is very grateful.
To all ARA employees, our Senior Management Team and the ARA Board of Directors extend our thanks to you for your vigilance and consideration of your fellow workers and or customers during this time.
At the start of the pandemic, ARA established a Pandemic Committee to assist our business to adapt quickly to the challenge of COVID-19. We are very fortunate that many of the essential services ARA provides, throughout Australian and New Zealand, continued to operate within new health and safety guides.
Frequent updates were given to all staff and teams across ARA from our Managing Director, Edward Federman, providing up to date information. These communications included practical tools on how to face the multiple challenges COVID-19 raised for our physical health: including hand washing advice, availability of free flu shots for all ARA employees; mental health tools: offer of the Employee Assistance Program, encouragement on seeking support and tools on how to support our children in adjusting to the COVID-19 health crisis.
ARA has remained committed to its support of the Arts in Australia
This year when the Performing and Literary Arts in Australia experienced great hardship due to the closure of venues, exhibitions and a pause placed on all gatherings, ARA continued to honour its commitments, under the leadership of Executive Chair and Managing Director Edward Federman, in the face of COVID-19.
ARA continued as a Principal Partner to the Sydney Writer’s Festival. Although the Sydney Writer’s Festival in May 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19, ARA maintained its level of sponsorship for the Festival and its Russ the Bus initiative.
The Festival moved online with the release of six podcast conversations, that were scheduled to occur during the event. The Sydney Writer’s Festival continues to release new podcasts each week – bringing the writing, ideas and debates from this year’s program to audiences in Australia and the world.
Russ the Bus visits schools throughout NSW welcoming and inspiring children whilst celebrating, storytelling, reading and creativity. Whilst programming and school visits have been adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is exciting to hear that following public health advice and in consultation with schools some visits have been rescheduled and are now able to go ahead.
In 2018 ARA began a five-year partnership with the Monkey Baa Theatre. Executive Chair and Managing Director Edward Federman ensured support of the Monkey Baa Theatre Company and their ‘whole of childhood’ approach to programming, continued.
During 2020, the ARA Group established the ARA Historical Novel Prize. This literary prize was for the best historical novel by an Australian or New Zealand author.
This year the ARA Group was pleased to recognise and reward outstanding writing and preserve the past through historical literature, to three talented authors. The ARA Historical Novel winning prize of $50,000 was awarded to Mirandi Riwoe for Stone Sky Gold Mountain. Her fellow shortlisted authors, Sienna Brown for Master of My Fate and Catherine Jinks for Shepherd, also received $5,000 each in acknowledgment of their achievement.
The prize gives Australian and New Zealand historical fiction authors a chance to be recognised in a class of their own.
With the effects of COVID-19 causing significant impacts to many artists, performers and authors’ incomes, ARA Group is incredibly grateful to have been able to work to honour these commitments in the Australian Arts Industry.
ARA is focused on moving forward
The ARA Group remains focused on continuing to build its offering of comprehensive solutions for facilities and infrastructure projects. Our diverse staff work to deliver a wide range of services to major customers through the industrial, commercial and government sectors.
Across our seven divisions ARA Fire, ARA Mechanical, ARA Electrical, ARA Security, ARA Products, ARA Building and ARA Property Services we continue to take a comprehensive approach to problem-solving for facilities. Our extensive in-house capabilities offer you multi-industry solutions that are tailored to meet every aspect of your facility.
Executive Chair and Managing Director Edward Federman, recently reflected in our Annual Report, that ARA has become a better company due to the challenge of COVID-19. Across the ARA Group increased communication has led to greater collaboration across all divisions resulting in better outcomes for the facilities and infrastructure projects managed by ARA.
Focused on the future, this financial year ARA has completed two acquisitions. In October, ARA acquired an electrical services company with bases in Melbourne and Sydney. Recently terms were agreed upon for the acquisition of Tru-Bilt doors and docking system product lines, which will expand our manufacturing capabilities in New Zealand, whilst keeping manufacturing in New Zealand.
In what has been an unprecedented year for most businesses across Australia and New Zealand, ARA remains ready with our team of experts to safely support you and your company.
To all our frontline workers and emergency responders we thank you for your ongoing commitment to keeping Australian’s safe, including through the upcoming holiday season. We hope that during this season you are able to spend time with your families and be refreshed. We wish you a safe, happy and festive summer.
To all our business partners, clients, employees, the Senior Management Team and ARA Board: to you and your family we wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Thank you for this year and we hope that you are able to relax and enjoy this time together with your family, friends and loved ones.