When AWU Site Delegate Wayne Pringle and Tomago Aluminium’s Communications Advisor Katie Burns got together to talk about the dwindling membership numbers for the smelter’s Workplace Giving Program, the result was a massive financial boost for local charity groups.

One initial discussion led to this year’s total revamp with policy changes that saw every new starter automatically signed up to the new Workplace Giving Program along with heavy onsite promotion for the 35-year-old program. Less than 12 months’ later employee participation has lifted to 70 per cent and the annual donation amount has significantly increased.

The massive changes also resulted in Tomago Aluminium’s Workplace Giving Program receiving two award wins in the national Workplace Giving Excellence Awards.

This week the Workplace Giving Program will donate $143,000 to local charities with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and four other groups set for a financial windfall.

From a record pool of $143,000, the helicopter rescue service will receive $75,000 and the remaining $68,000 will be split between four local charities - Ronald McDonald House, Survivor’s R Us, Cancer Research (HMRI) and Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary.

The charities were chosen by Tomago employees as part of the Workplace Giving Program’s annual charity support campaign which this year raised significantly more than the previous year’s thanks to the changes, with a corresponding 15 per cent increase in the average donation amount.

The campaign was also strongly supported by Tomago’s management, which this year generously donated an additional $25,000 to the fund.

Commenting on the generosity of Tomago Aluminium’s employees, company Chief Executive Officer, Matt Howell, said the employee-led initiative reflected the importance of giving back to the community to the Tomago workforce.

“Despite a challenging year, our employees still managed to dig deep, coming together to support the less fortunate and that is always something we will support,” Matt said.

The effort that went into the relaunch did not go unnoticed. Late last year the Tomago Workplace Giving Fund won gold in the ‘Best Launch or Refresh’ category of the highly-respected Workplace Giving Excellence Awards and was awarded bronze for the Best Overall campaign.

Wayne Pringle said the revisions were brought on by a drop in member numbers and a confusing two-part scheme. The decision to merge the two schemes into the Workplace Giving Program and to change the policy so that every new starter is automatically signed up has received brought positive feedback.

"When new employees start at Tomago they are joining a company that has a culture of giving back to the community so it is our policy now that they are automatically signed up as members," Wayne said.

"Through our Workplace Giving Program, which was generously supported by our management team, we've been able to give to so many worthwhile groups in the Hunter," Katie Burns said.

“We are part of a great community and we like adding to that community spirit,” she said.

Wayne Pringle, Katie Burns and members of the smelter’s management team will, in the next few days, personally visit Ronald McDonald House, Survivor’s R Us, Cancer Research (HMRI) and Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary to distribute the $68,000 split between each organisation.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter team will visit the Tomago smelter on Wednesday, June 23, to receive their cheque for $75,000 at a special morning tea, giving program members and Tomago employees a chance to hear firsthand how their money is being spent to help save lives.

Tomago Aluminium employees and management have been heavily involved with charity work since 1985, raising over $2 million for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and dozens of Hunter-based charities.


Related Articles

  • Sky-high generosity

    The Westpac Rescue Helicopter made our site its landing pad for a lunch with a twist recently.

  • Electrical distribution model safe guards TAC site

    Over the past year, TAC’s Senior Electrical Engineer, Antonie Jacobs has had the pleasure of watching Newcastle University student, Mat Barton develop his skills by bringing an electrical distribution model to fruition.

  • New pot design could deliver $10m in annual savings

    One of the most significant costs in the manufacture of aluminium is power. Reducing use of electricity in the production of aluminium remains a key challenge at TAC.