In late August 2009, after more than thirty years of lobbying, the Wiradjuri people opened doors to the specialist health clinic they’d been fighting for, the Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service (AWAHS).
Now, almost ten years down the track, AWAHS supports over 4,000 patients and employs over 50 staff including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, and a social wellbeing team dedicated to helping close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. But providing such a comprehensive and culturally safe health service means things aren’t cheap, leaving Practise Manager, Sharryn Ward, to juggle a critical role.
“My days consist of anything from payroll to finding new ways for us to save money because, we’re a not for profit who relies on government funding, every little bit counts. Saving helps us continue to provide top quality practitioners who can work with the Stolen Generation, alcohol and drug, or provide holistic therapy.”
The downside for Sharryn is, regardless of bridging disadvantage and changing lives, AWAHS still operates within the pragmatic business world; where rising operating costs, and energy meters, wait for no man. For many businesses the last year has put their viability to the test, with energy bills increasing up to 30 percent and some gas bills increasing by 50 percent.
“As a business we run a huge amount of expensive machinery like electrocardiograms, spirometers, and special computers, all the time. We also have lighting on, for security reasons, 24/7 so our energy bills are really high — even with solar. We normally look at paying between $5,000 and $7000 per quarter, it’s a massive cost, but after using the energy saving program we’re going to save about $2,000 annually.”
Sharryn, in her vocational pursuit to save money, found Australian Business's energy comparison service. A new program that helps members, and non-members, find the best energy deal on the market for their home or business by comparing providers.
“It was so simple, I literally had a quote within 24hours and, in the end, our provider actually offered us the same discount in order to keep us.”
“The program is doing more than finding the best deal for companies and helping them save, it’s actually calling out the providers who are not willing to offer affordable energy and pressuring them to change.”
“A $2,000 saving goes straight back into our services. Everything we pursue is for the betterment of our clients and we just can’t afford to not have the best possible deal on the market. I’m so glad we made a connection with the Chamber and had this experience.”
This article originally appeared on NSW Business Chamber.