Transurban: Strengthening communities through transport

aerial photography of gray concrete roads

Transurban: Strengthening communities through transport

We recently caught up with Jane Calvert, Customer and Communities Advocate at Transurban to reflect on their incredible journey since launching the Foundation FIAP and completing the Progress Verification* with EY.

Here are some highlights of our conversation:

Congratulations on recently completing the Progress Verification with EY and your Foundation FIAP. What has been a highlight of the past 12+ months?

Undoubtedly, I am most proud of Transurban’s response to COVID-19. Our toll credit program which launched in April, has now provided $9.5 million worth of free travel to over 40,000 people most impacted by the challenges of 2020.

Based on the success of the program and the recognition that social and financial vulnerability is a long-term issue, we have also recently announced that toll credits are here to stay, to help cover essential travel for those experiencing hardship due to a range of issues. These might include having to take children or parents to hospital for medical treatment, family violence issues or mental health challenges, to name a few.

Our long-term response has also included entering into two significant partnerships to ensure our most vulnerable Linkt Assist customers get the holistic support they need now and into the future.

One is a partnership with Good Shepherd to deliver Linkt Assist 360, a program to provide wrap around welfare support to those customers experiencing a range of complex issues.

The other is working with The Thriving Communities Partnership and a number of other corporate and community sector partners, to seed fund and co-design the One Stop One Story Hub, an Australian-first digital platform which will allow people to connect with the extensive support they are eligible for across a range of services and sectors.

What have you learnt about financial inclusion, resilience and wellbeing along the journey?

I think the past year has really helped our business at large recognise that anyone can experience vulnerability, and it can happen at any time. I think the challenges and conversations of the past year around how we as a business can respond have also helped us to more fully appreciate the role the business sector can and should play in contributing to enhancing financial inclusion and resilience. There is a much wider appreciation of our role in the ecosystem, and the opportunity we have to act at a critical point in a customer’s journey, and to work with the community sector, other corporate partners and government stakeholders, to ensure we all step up and play our role to hopefully prevent anyone from slipping through the cracks, and in doing so, ultimately restore their social and financial wellbeing.

Can you tell me the story of one person that you were able to have an impact on through your FIAP actions?

We recently had a customer who had used our toll roads to escape a family violence situation several times over the past few months. ‘Marie’ wasn’t able to work and had no permanent safe place to stay. She was incredibly shaken on the phone call into our Linkt Assist team and revealed enough information for the team to identify she needed more help, beyond her tolling debt.

After approving Marie for toll credits to cover off her existing debt and bring her account back into credit, they talked to Marie about Linkt Assist 360 and referred her through to Good Shepherd for further community welfare support.

Marie rang back a few days later to say it was amazing that she didn’t have to provide paperwork to prove her situation as she was exhausted explaining it over and over again, and it was such a relief to speak with an organisation that actually cared and went beyond their role. She advised Good Shepherd were fantastic – they put her in touch with a support worker in her local area that has already been assisting her in with finding her accommodation and food vouchers.

What would you like other organisations to learn from Transurban’s approach?

That it is never too late to start advocating for or embarking on a journey to become a more financially inclusive organisation. When we first joined the FIAP and Thriving Communities Partnership networks, I had moments of feeling like such a new kid on the block. But really tapping into these networks and drawing on the learnings of what other organisations had done before us, all proved so helpful in helping to build the case for us to invest in some major initiatives to improve our approach to financial inclusion for all our critical stakeholders. Had this background work not been done, there is no way we would have been able to respond to the challenges of 2020 is such a quick, robust and effective way.

You can learn more about Transurban’s achievements and an update on their FIAP here:

*The term ‘verification’ is used in the FIAP program to provide a level of assessment and consistency over the FIAP process and outcomes and does not refer to any conclusion or opinion being expressed in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards.