This year marks the 10th consecutive year that Fair Wealth Australia has run the Salaried Officers, Operations and Wages picnic. These picnics date back 100 years, and we are honoured continue this historic tradition.
The picnic is only one of many ways Fair Wealth Australia has supported transport workers throughout history. Originally known as The NSW Railway Employees Patriotic and Welfare Fund, the organisation was founded in 1945, during the last year of World War II. The Commissioner for Railways created the fund to support employees during a difficult period in history, at the back of the success of The Comfort Fund which sent packages overseas during the war.
Today Fair Wealth Australia aims to maintain its grassroots as a ‘comfort fund’ assisting transport employees throughout history in challenging periods of their lives where they need help; that may be through financial, emotional and community support. We have also developed our services to established members with life coaching and financial services.
Fair Wealth Australia has been an integral pillar to supporting transport employees and their families in times of grief, natural disasters, economic change, injury and illness through many major events dating back to WWII. Such as the Granville disaster (1977), Cowan Rail Accident (1990), Nyngan Floods (1990), Glenbrook Train Disaster (1999), the Waterfall Train Derailment (2003) and the GFC (2008).
Here are four examples of how we helped during these times:
1. We would be notified of the decease of an employee and contact the family to become the intermediary between the organisation and the family. In all cases offering support to the family, completing the documentation to release the final payments from the railway, was a key role we performed, as well as emotional support and visiting the family members.
2. After the Granville train disaster our welfare officers attended to the families of dozens of victims, catering to the emotional and financial needs of the family . We attended all 83 funerals as support.
3. During natural disasters such as floods, employees and families were provided emergency relief for those who homes were inundated.
4. We would be notified of any employees on sick leave for 2+ weeks and would follow up and work with HR to attend to the employees needs. We would plan out the financial side and work out how we could help through grant support. We would also assist with the mental health side of being away from work and ensure that the employee had a support system in place.
More recently we have assisted transport employees through many railway structural and management changes, the challenges and uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, natural disasters and the current economic tightening environment.
In between major events, life does bring surprises that catch even the well-prepared off guard. The core of our work, it has been helping individuals and families through those moments to provide assistance and a plan to move forward.
We have extensive experience and have built relief systems through our grants initiative, counselling and funeral services, low-cost loan program, natural disaster relief, insurance covers and community support.
Five examples of how we continue to support today:
1. With ongoing financial support through grants, a middle-aged railway employee was supported with long-term medical costs. This employee also received the costs for their son’s funeral covered in full.
2. Support with isolation and grief through ongoing counselling, a 30 year old single women grieving the death of her mother was assisted.
3. We have a fund-raising team who has held events to collect donations, for employees who experience large expenses for long term injury or illness.
4. We continue to help many employees (low credit score included) with loans for up to $3,000, at half the cost of what other small lenders can charge. This originated to help with expensive dental work in early 2000s. We also have experienced brokers, who can navigate other lenders to find a solution for personal loans, car loans and home loans.
5. Members have a number of different funeral cover options, ranging from small contributions to help with costs attending to a family funeral, and in covering loved ones or themselves up to $15,000. A member recently claimed their combination of a $10,000 policy + $12,000 in their funeral contribution fund towards their funeral.
Although we can’t be all things to all people, we do work hard to connect the network of people we have and have built an experienced system to support others through a holistic approach.
During life events, big, small and in between, we’ve been providing comfort and security to railway employees for over 78 years.
Find out more on how we can help you, your family and peers for $11 per week here or give us a call to enquire on 1300 216 215.