Tag Archives: energy industry

International Women’s Day

Social-Media-International-Women's-Day-15To celebrate today, International Women’s Day, we asked women in the transport and energy industries what inspires them personally and professionally. While they each come from different backgrounds and work in different roles, they are all leaders in their field and demonstrate that women are an integral part of today’s workplace, even in industries that are traditionally male dominated. So be inspired by what inspires these fantastic mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, colleagues and leaders!

Triple inspiration

Kathryn Tomlinson_resized‘There are three women who inspire me every day because they all ask, ‘what can I do?’

My mother, who at the age of 79 is the unpaid President of a St Vinnies Op Shop where she manages over 50 volunteers.

The public figure, Quentin Bryce, who has just handed down her report ‘Not now, Not ever,’ putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland.

And, the mother of Luke and Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, who has found the courage to speak out against domestic violence.

All of these women inspire me to be a better person and to focus on the part that I can play, to make the world a little better, too.’

Kathryn Tomlinson, Consultant, Health and Wellbeing, Organisational Performance and Risk Corporate Operations, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Recognising women in the workplaceMich-Elle Myers_resized

‘Despite the maritime industry being male-dominated, women play an ever-growing and vital role within it.

This day is important to recognise how essential women are to all workplaces; whether it be the wharf, the deck, the emergency room, or the truck driver’s seat.’

Mich-Elle Myers, National Women’s Liaison Officer, National EAS Coordinator, Growth and Campaigns Team, Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

Shining a light on our amazing industry

Sharon Middleton_resized‘Knowing how vital the road and transport industry is to everyday life inspires me to strive for excellence and professionalism, so our industry is viewed in a positive light in the broader community and the business and government sectors.’

Sharon Middleton, Director, Whiteline Transport; President, South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA); Australian Trucking Association (ATA) National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year 2013; and part of the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

Positive changes add up to a lot

Jenny Fellows_resized‘Family and community are my inspiration. Living in a relatively small community, the strength of the community never ceases to amaze me. Every individual has a story and these inspire me, particularly people who achieve a lot in their lifetime. The positive changes and contributions that an individual or group can make to their communities also encourage me.’

Jenny Fellows, Fellows Transport, pictured with her youngest son Tom and her nephew, Will.

Because everyone is an equal

Kathy Sutherland_resized‘What has inspired me personally and professionally is hard work, honesty, learning from mistakes, learning from others, treating all as equals, empowering colleagues to learn and grow and not being afraid to take chances in my career (something I’ve learnt far too late in life!).’

Kathy Sutherland, VP, HR APAC Cab and Vehicle Assembly, Volvo.

For the good of a great industry

‘I have been inspired by a variety of people over the years and I suppose it is all about having a better industry and lifestyle. Being a small operator, I had wanted to support/mentor other small operators, particularly those women managing their various businesses while their husbands/partners were away driving and earning a living.

In thePam McMillan and Sharon Middleton_resized early 90s Bruce McIver – then the Road Transport Forum (RTF) Chairman – absolutely inspired me to try to do great things, and to know that it WAS possible.

Phyllis Jones is also an inspiration to me, she just gets in and does stuff, no fuss and bother and age is no barrier.

Noelene Watson inspires me with her no-nonsense attitude and the struggle it was for her losing a husband and just getting in and taking over her business and raising a family, and then getting involved in industry organisations for the good of the industry. These people are all selfless and don’t promote themselves for accolades which I believe is an admirable quality in anyone.’

Pam McMillan, DP Haulage, pictured with Sharon Middleton.

Inspired by drivers, inspired by their families

Tracie Dickenson_resized‘Although I became involved in this industry by default (falling in love with a truck driver), it is one of the most challenging industries I believe exists. I am inspired by the drivers and their families. I believe they do not receive the recognition they deserve. I know there are certain drivers who may taint the industry but there are far more good drivers than not.

It is important that we recognise and encourage women in our industry, as I believe women are very capable of many aspects in the transport sector. I am very proud to say today that my daughter Betina spoke at the annual Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) Women’s International Day Breakfast with two other very inspiring women who all spoke about how to make it happen. I am hoping to continue to look at ways to involve both the youth and more young women in our industry and work on keeping them with us throughout their careers. Transport is not for everyone, but once you become involved, it’s very hard to leave such a great industry.’

Tracie Dickenson, Daryl Dickenson Transport.

Courage, positivity and passionElaine-Felstein_resized

‘Personally, my late mother’s courage, positive attitude and determination to overcome her battle with cancer inspired and continues to inspire me every day. Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to work with talented and innovative people who have inspired me to stretch beyond what I thought was possible and encouraged my passion for life-long learning. This has inspired me professionally.’

Elaine Felstein, Senior Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator, Energy Skills Queensland.

Inspiration is all around

Katharina Gerstmann_resized‘My professional inspiration is no different from my personal inspiration and it is everywhere, in the strangest places… Thoughts about how to improve a process, create a more cohesive team, add a service offering, entice a member or create a sales opportunity. It may strike at anytime or happen while attending a non-related industry meeting, reading a newspaper or journal, daydreaming, or talking with colleagues about their experience. I would encourage everyone to just be ready for when you may be inspired!’

Katharina Gerstmann, Senior Associate Transport / Market Segment Lead Rail, Beca.

A passion for life

‘My life experience in the transportation industry has been extraordinary! I have Jacquelene Brotherton_resizedtravelled to many countries and visited many transport and associated businesses within the industry and met incredible people who share my passion, which inspires me.  Although not a natural choice for most women, the transport industry has enabled me to fulfil most of my life ambitions.’

Jacquelene Brotherton, Transport Manager, Oxford Cold Storage.

Personal and professional inspirationJulie Puttockdriver trainer for NSW Trainlink, who is also an RTBU delegate and member of rt health fund_resized

‘Personally, my mum inspires me, being a cancer survivor. My kids also inspire me daily to be the best mum that I can be. Professionally I am inspired by aiming to be the best in my role as a driver trainer and to be someone that people can look up to.’

Julie Puttock, Driver and Trainer, Sydney Intercity, NSW TrainLink and RTBU delegate, pictured with her children Jess and Cameron.

Inspiration through life lessons 

‘I have learnt that life can change in an instant and that inspired me to cherish every moment. Living with my foster siblings, who had gone through some terrible times, was inspiring growing up as I saw that people can get through whatever obstacles come their way and they taught me compassion and deep love.

Heather Jones - credit Tony McDonough 2_resized
Photo credit: Tony McDonough

Being in an abusive marriage as a young mother of small girls, I learnt to walk my own road. I made a choice not to be a victim but a survivor and to take charge of my life’s direction. I became a professional truck driver and took my girls on the road. I wanted to share this fabulous career with other women, which lead me to start my own business, Success Transport. In 2014 I co-founded Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls to showcase the incredible achievements of women in the transport sector and to encourage more women into truck driving careers.

In the words of Hillary Clinton, ‘Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world’, so let’s use them!’

Heather Jones, Director, Success Transport.

Professional and personal strength

Jodie Broadbent_resized‘I have been inspired by a lot of women in the trucking industry. Women like Noelene Watson, who have a ‘just deal with it’ no-nonsense approach to their work and life, have been great to learn from. Watching people like Noelene, who has dealt with some tremendous issues in her life, I have learnt that it simply does not matter whether you’re a woman or a man. Achieving what you need to, efficiently, safely and capably, is what’s important, in business and in life.’

Jodie Broadbent, Manager, Road Freight NSW.

Brought to you by Strategic Business Development Manager, Rebecca Delahaye and Key Account Managers; Alison Weatherill, David Stock and Cassandra Steen from rt health fund.


Happy Australia Day!

Matthew Moore
Matthew Moore is CEO at rt health fund

As Australia celebrates its 227th year as a nation, I’d love to reflect on our shared history spanning 126 years! So sit back with a cuppa, relax and enjoy all things Australian!

1889 – rt health fund was established

In 1889, alongside the completion of the railway network between Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, rt health fund was born!

1901 – Australia the nation

On 1 January 1901, Australia’s six colonies became the Commonwealth of Australia and later that year, the Australian Flag was raised for the first time in Melbourne.

At this point, rt health fund had already been around for over 10 years and around 75 per cent of the employees in the Great Railway and Tramway Service were fund members. Female employees also became eligible to join.

WW11914-1918 – World War I

Australia was an important part of the fight for freedom and by 1st November 1915, up to 3,000 railway and tramway employees had enlisted for active service[i].

1919 – The Spanish flu

By the time the war was over 60,000 Australians lost their lives and in 1918, the remaining troops started returning home. The Spanish Flu also arrived on our shores and health authorities appealed to the Railway Commissioners asking for masks to be manufactured at the Randwick Tramway Workshops. Within three days of the appeal, 41,000 masks were manufactured at Randwick and 21,000 at the Eveleigh Railway Workshops.

Harbour Bridge old1920s – rebuilding Australia

Construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge began, Qantas was founded, and that other Aussie icon, Vegemite, came on the scene. The first woman, Edith Cowan, was elected to parliament.

During the 20s, health was a major focus and in 1921, the Commonwealth Department of Health was founded. Eight years later, the Public Hospital Act was passed – arguably the most significant piece of legislation affecting public hospitals in NSW history.

Great Depression

1930s – The Great Depression

The Wall Street Crash of October 1929 marked the start of the Great Depression, and a quarter of the Australian work force was unemployed by 1931[ii]. During this time the fund held fundraising carnivals in Petersham Park.

This photo, “Training Photo of Pilot Lt. Robert L. Mains and B24 Crew: WWII, 8th Air Force (Mighty Eighth), 2nd Air Division, 448th, 714th Squadron, Seething, UK.” is copyright © David Foster and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

1939-1945 – World War II

Australia once again prepared troops for deployment to fight with the allies.

Around this time (1941), 40 per cent of Railways and Road Transport and Tramways employees were members of the fund[iii].

Dame Edna
This photo, “Dame Edna” is copyright © Eva Rinaldi and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

1950s post-war growth

In the 1950s, employment rates were high and Australia was prospering. Barry Humphries introduced the much loved, Dame Edna to the Australian stage and television was broadcasted for the first time in Australia.

For rt health fund, the 1950s saw electrical workers formally incorporated into the fund membership rules – around 2,500 railway employees in jobs associated with electricity generation were transferred to the new Electricity Commission.

In 1953, the National Health Act and the Commonwealth Medicare Benefits Scheme was established, changing the health insurance landscape.

This photo, “The Sixties” is copyright © Tetsumo and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

1960s Administrative changes

The swinging 60s saw social walls surrounding racism and sexism starting to crumble; there were large-scale protests about the Vietnam War, equal opportunities, fair wages and fights for indigenous rights. The Commonwealth Electoral Act was amended to give all Indigenous Australians the right to enrol and vote at federal elections. The Beatles World Tour came to Australia. Plus, Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared while swimming at a beach.

Legal changes at this time meant that the fund had to be registered as a Friendly Society. In 1963, we also changed our name to the NSW Railway and Transport Employees’ Hospital Fund (tramways had been replaced by buses in Sydney).

This photo, “What to wear” is copyright © Imagaday and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

1970s The health insurance landscape

Marked by iconic fashion trends, discos, hippies and big hair, the 70s was also a time of great political and social growth in Australia. In 1972, after 23 years of Liberal Government, Gough Whitlam’s Labor Government was voted in and many social reforms followed.

One of the key health proposals was the introduction of a National Health Scheme to be financed by a compulsory income levy – the precursor to the modern-day Medicare scheme[iv].

At the 1978 annual general meeting, the fund’s President played an active role in forming an association of closed hospital funds – the Health Insurance Restricted Membership Association of Australia or HIRMAA which continues to be an active forum for all restricted membership health funds.

Crocodile Dundee
This photo, “Paul Hogan” is copyright © robinmcnicoll and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

1980s – the impact of Medicare

In 1983, after hospital charges increased by 60 per cent, rt health fund was required to install its first computer system for rapid identification of claims.

It was a time of retro fashion, pop music and the new national anthem, Advance Australia Fair. In the same year, 1984, Medicare was established[v]. Four years later, we celebrated our bicentenary and the opening of Parliament House in Canberra.

In 1989 rt health fund celebrated its 100th anniversary with the issue of a centenary medallion plus celebrations at the Railway Institute. Later, in the year, the fund launched extra’s cover to pay benefits for services not covered by Medicare.


The 90s wasn’t all butterfly clips, double denim, and bleached hair – we welcomed Queenslanders into our membership and celebrated the opening of our new office in Brisbane. By 1994, Queensland members represented 12.95 per cent of total membership.

This photo, “Olympic Rings. Quayside, Newcastle.” is copyright © Craig Deakin and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

2000 and beyond

Australia celebrated in the year 2000 with the Sydney Olympic Games. In 2008 we welcomed the first female Governor General, Quentin Bryce and in 2010 Liberal, Ken Wyatt became the first Indigenous Australian to be elected into the House of Representatives[vi].

Over the last decade or so rt health fund has celebrated many occasions. We opened our new Brisbane office in 2000, launched the rt Families Foundation (a registered charity run by rt staff) in 2006, and also rebranded and adopted the name ‘rt health fund’. Our new tagline “be well. get well. stay well.” showed our focused commitment to taking an active role in helping people take care of their health. In 2009, rt health fund was named one of the best value health funds by the Smart Investor magazine.

Four years ago we relocated our headquarters to our current premises in Surry Hills. And in 2013, global research company, IPSOS found that members of rt health fund are most likely to recommend, least likely to be considering switching funds, are happier members and strongly associate rt with value for money, better claim rebates and making private health insurance easy to understand. In fact, rt health fund scored the highest in the health insurance industry for member service[vii]. These were incredible results and we’re so honoured to be recognised by our members!

clinicDuring 2013 and 2014 our first dental and optical clinics – rt healthy eyes and rt healthy teeth clinics in Surry Hills and rt healthy eyes in Charlestown opened. They are designed to serve and give quality care to our members along with the wider community. Last year saw a change in our membership eligibility, which means that all employees within the energy industry can now join us, too!

Looking back leading up to Australia Day, we are grateful for our long history that has been interwoven with Australia’s history at large. I am looking forward to 2015 and all that it will hold and I and the people that make rt health fund are excited that you’ll be with us on the journey for the next 125 years and beyond!

With all the changes that have happened since 1889 and continue to happen, we are more committed than ever to helping our members in every way and building a healthier Australia.

[i] N.S.W. Railway & Transport Employees Hospital Fund. 100 reflections of 100 years 1889-1989.

[ii] N.S.W. Railway & Transport Employees Hospital Fund. 100 reflections of 100 years 1889-1989.

[iii] N.S.W. Railway & Transport Employees Hospital Fund. 100 reflections of 100 years 1889-1989.

[iv] Parliament of Australia. Medicare – Background Brief. http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/Publications_Archive/archive/medicare

[v] Medicare. Medicare for providers. http://www.medicareaustralia.gov.au/provider/medicare/

[vi] ABC TV. Your Politics. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/mp-profiles/hasl.htm

[vii] Ipsos Healthcare and insurance in Australia 2013

rt health fund – now the energy industry’s fund, too!

For the first time in our 125-year history, rt health fund, one of Australia’s oldest and most trusted health funds is now

Rebecca Delahaye, Strategic Business Manager, rt health fund
Rebecca Delahaye,
Strategic Business Manager, rt health fund

the official health insurer for the energy industry!

To mark this important advance, it was my pleasure to take my seat as a major sponsor at the recent Energy Skills event in Queensland.


This annual conference is the state’s premier event and it’s dedicated to meeting the needs of the energy industry as well as those in the mining, utilities and telecommunications sectors. Presentations were led by some of the most talented and innovative speakers industry-wide. And, it was a great pleasure to meet representatives from the electricity supply and generation industries, the sustainable and renewable energy industries and many more.

Skilling for Productivity was the theme of the event and it was a great fit for rt health fund, reflecting our ethos. Speakers detailed some of the challenges that face the industries and explained how better health initiatives could enhance people’s lives in the future.

Respected speakers

Of the many highly respected speakers, one who particularly stood out for me was Dr Stefan Hajkowicz.

Principal Scientist in Strategic Foresight from the CSIRO, Dr Hajkowicz spoke about future challenges relating to health and healthcare, and in particular, the challenges facing a workforce that’s growing older and set to become much less healthier. Why? Our increasing weight problem.

A staggering two out of three Australians are already overweight and this figure is set to skyrocket. Being overweight, Dr Hajkowicz explained, can have a profound impact on a person’s physical and emotional health.

Overweight and obesity raises the risk of chronic (long-term) conditions such as heart disease, which remains Australia’s number one cause of death. It increases the risk of sleep problems, bone, joint and mobility problems and there’s the added risk of some cancers, too. Physical ailments aside, being overweight has a huge a negative emotional impact.

As poor lifestyle choices continue to impact on people’s health, inevitably, the result will be a massive burden on our healthcare system and related costs.

Putting people first

This is a major concern for rt health fund. Clearly, our not-for-profit nature is evidence that we put our members’ needs first when it comes to spending fund monies. But putting our members first when it comes to health and the promotion of it is equally important.

For example, while our official association with the energy industry is very recent, we’ve partnered with a number of energy giants already – including Energy Super and Energy Australia.

Planning for health

We have created, launched and promoted workplace health plans for a range of organisations, including small businesses and professional bodies, unions, industry super funds and membership associations.

Working together and providing targeted and most of all, useful and useable information, we know we can help to reduce the burden of disease and enhance quality of life for people and their families. We understand the need to help prevent and manage chronic conditions and we know about the need for targeting workplace specific materials.

We’ve recently opened our own dental and optical centres in Sydney and Newcastle, with Brisbane set to open in 2016 and more planned in the future to provide excellent care at competitive prices for fund members. Our commitment to preventative healthcare means that individuals can receive hundreds of dollars in preventative dental treatments and optometry checks every year.

Thank you to our VIP guests for attending, thank you Energy Skills Queensland for enabling us to be a part of your incredibly absorbing industry event. And finally, thank you to the wider energy industry. I know that together, rt health fund and the energy industry can work to help boost health, provide health cover to suit people’s ever-changing needs, and provide excellent award winning service.

Looking forward to working with you energy industry – we’re going to make sparks fly!