Our new ways of serving the NRMA community

By Wade O'Leary on 09 May 2017
NRMA patrolman on a farm

The world is changing and so are our Members' needs, so we are looking for new and different ways to deliver on these expectations through the concept of Shared Value.

This is the guiding philosophy that ensures the delivery of products and services that are beneficial to Members and also to the wider community.

Our new website is designed to help us bring Shared Value to our Members and communities, stand up on issues, share the voice of our Members to drive positive change and create indispensable connections with our Members’ mobility.

The NRMA plans to focus on ‘keeping people moving’ and we are going to do this by concentrating on three strategic priorities: Safe Mobility, Access for All and Sustainable Communities.

Our strategic pillars

Safe Mobility is about investing in transport infrastructure and protecting vulnerable road users while encouraging safer driving and the purchasing of safer vehicles.

As members of the community use our roads, public transport networks, cycle lanes or footpaths, it is important to have the opportunity of mobility without limitations or compromises to personal safety or security.

The NRMA believes that governments, industries and individuals have an obligation to prioritise safety so that the whole community can feel safe as they go about their day-to-day activities getting from A to B.

Access for All is vital to ensure people are connected to economic and education opportunities as well as vital health and social services.

Without access to transport, communities are denied the opportunity to participate fully in society and therefore are likely to be marginalised.

Despite its importance, some of our citizens are physically excluded from use of transport due to inadequate infrastructure – such as ramps and lifts – or face excessive time and financial penalties for transport use.

Many of our remote communities and hubs lack integrated transport systems and despite recent investment in the regions, poor road infrastructure and substandard transport options remain obstacles to free movement and accessibility.

The dual impact of growing congestion and limited access to public transport in the growing outer suburbs in Sydney is also of particular concern and note: for instance, travel times from outer western suburbs to the job-rich CBD regularly exceed 90 minutes, while in some suburbs less than 25 per cent of the population reside within 400 metres of public transport.

This is reflected in the time spent travelling to work and the cost of transport, which has risen substantially over the past two decades so that the typical Sydney worker now spends over six weeks commuting per year.

Sustainable Communities recognises that many centres, both urban and regional, lack necessary connections to services, social infrastructure and economic opportunities.

As a country with a low population density centred in a small number of major cities, it is often difficult to fund infrastructure – especially in the regions.

Contrary to the popular view, regional Australia is not uniformly in decline: many regional communities, particularly where adjacent to a metropolitan centre such as Queanbeyan and Tweed Heads or coastal regions like the Northern Rivers and Central Coast, are experiencing significant growth.

Similarly, large regional town centres are drawing people in from neighbouring centres but this growth is placing pressure on existing infrastructure and services. 

Some smaller communities and a handful of large centres such as Broken Hill and Gilgandra are in decline and as populations drop, services are withdrawn – forcing the community to travel in order to access health and education.

This increases the importance of transport infrastructure to these communities at a time where government funding and service provision is often under pressure.

For the NRMA, Sustainable Communities is about improving access to services and employment opportunities, increasing the number of connections between regional communities and growing the capacity to support visitation to regional areas.

While high quality transport infrastructure is essential to provide connections to new markets in neighbouring communities, so too are these connections important to facilitate inbound movements in the form of tourists and visitation.

Facilitating tourism in Sydney and regional NSW is a way of diversifying regional communities and encouraging employment: the NRMA is already a strong backer of regional tourism as the second-largest operator of holiday parks across Australia.

Built to last

Our Sustainability journey is an integral part of how we'll achieve our vision.

Improving our digital reach, especially on mobile, is a major driver of efficiency – as is taking our advocacy campaigns online continues to give Members a voice on important issues – but we still believe in the human touch.

We’re committed to going carbon neutral by 2020 and are well on track, having reduced our emissions by 16 per cent since 2010, and our corporate buildings use a third less energy following efficiency programs that also delivered significant cost savings.

We use solar power at some of our car servicing locations and we have moved into new, even more efficient and productive purpose-built headquarters at Sydney Olympic Park.

With such a large fleet of vehicles, sustainable practices are critical – and they make good business sense.

We reduce carbon emissions through innovations such as LED lighting and carry lightweight equipment to save fuel while the safety of our Members and employees remains paramount, as reflected in our improving workplace safety figures.

Going the extra mile

This feeds into the philosophy behind our Community unit, which is based on the belief that we thrive when we all keep moving.

Whether by servicing the vehicles of drought-stricken farmers or helping vulnerable Australians obtain their driver licence to access employment, we're here to help.

Moving to a new country is a difficult process at the best of times, so we're playing our part in helping refugees during their first stages of settlement by partnering with Gymea Community Aid and Information Service on the DriveTime Program, a driver licensing support scheme for refugees in Wollongong and Fairfield.

Partnering with Outback Links, we’ve been able to connect our motoring expertise with communities in need and we’ve completed four trips to Lightning Ridge since 2014 where our trained NRMA volunteers have delivered over $100,000 worth of work across over 40 farms fixing equipment, tractors, utes, motorbikes and more.

Our vision for reconciliation is one where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have equal access to mobility and the opportunities that it brings.

Together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, the NRMA can achieve this vision and create positive change for Australia's First Nations Peoples.

In December 2016 the NRMA was awarded Innovate status for its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a practical plan built on relationships, respect and opportunities delivered through business and educational initiatives.

And despite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples making up two per cent of the eligible driver population, only 0.5 per cent are driver licence holders.
Access to roadworthy cars and licensed drivers to supervise practice is key to improving this statistic and the NRMA is proud to be partnering with The George Institute for Global Health Australia on Driving Change, a licensing support program in Wagga Wagga.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learner drivers are now completing the equivalent of 50 log book hours through NRMA Safer Driving, with the remaining 70 hours being supervised by NRMA Members.

The NRMA Education Unit serves people of all ages by providing information about road safety, with a particular focus on primary school-level education and engagement.

It also provides programs on infant and child safety, young drivers and older road users as well as online booking for older driver education programs.
Finally, NRMA supports numerous volunteering initiatives and encourages all Members to take part in giving back to the community.

In recent years, 450 NRMA employees gave their valuable time to charities such as Starlight Children's Foundation, Leukaemia Foundation, Royal Far West, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Exodus Foundation, RSPCA NSW, Parramatta Mission, Foodbank NSW, Coast Shelter and Dress for Success.

It is this leadership by example that demonstrates the commitment of the NRMA to the principles of Shared Value, which is driving our advocacy and community work towards our centenary in 2020.