2021 Social Impact Report

Getting Virgin Australia back on track

In November 2020 Deloitte Restructuring Services partners and joint Virgin Australia Voluntary Administrators, John Greig, Richard Hughes and Sal Algeri, announced the completion of the sale of the Virgin Australia Group, with the shares and the entire business of the airline being transferred to Bain Capital.

Bain Capital took custody of the airline after one of the most challenging administrations in Australia’s corporate history, not least as a business, an employer of thousands of people and a key contributor to national and state economies. Triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a process like no other in Australian corporate history.

This complex appointment was further challenged by the fact that the process was undertaken and completed during Australia’s pandemic shutdown.

Virgin Australia was successfully restructured and recapitalised through the voluntary administration preserving 5,000 plus jobs and ensuring ongoing viability and a competitive Australian aviation industry.

The key success factors included:

  • The management of key stakeholders in Australia and overseas, which included Virgin Australia’s management and staff, unions, equipment lessors and financiers, service providers to the business, the Federal Government, Velocity Frequent Flyer members and the airline’s new owners, Bain Capital
  • An accelerated global sale process
  • The implementation of an operating model restructure plan
  • An innovative approach to the administration process and the sale structure.

The successful conclusion of the administration was a tribute to the assistance given to the Deloitte team by Virgin Australia’s management and staff, who kept the airline flying throughout; the unions who supported them and Virgin’s service providers. All worked together to ensure that Australia’s aviation sector would be vibrant and competitive in the post-COVID.

Proudly sponsoring Sydney WorldPride 2023

Deloitte will support WorldPride 2023 in Sydney as the first major sponsor, helping to bring the event to the rest of the world from the Southern Hemisphere, for the first time in the event’s history.

“Sydney WorldPride 2023 will be the global event that unites LGBTQI+ communities and Prides from across the world and brings them to Asia Pacific. As a major sponsor, we will have the unique opportunity to listen and learn from some of the most isolated LGBTQI+ communities in the world, celebrate and demonstrate our leadership into the future. WorldPride is about diversity in all its forms and the coming together of the LGBTQI+ community with culturally diverse communities across the world. We have the opportunity to be part of unified conversations around diversity and the development of a more inclusive society for all,” according to Deloitte Digital Partner and WorldPride Engagement Partner, Robbie Robertson

Deloitte has been on a journey with the WorldPride team for the past two years, supporting the bid which was led by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Deloitte played a significant role in the bid’s success by providing pro-bono commercial, digital, design and project management support.  The firm is continuing to provide support for Sydney WorldPride’s and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras’ operations and impact. Deloitte will be working with WorldPride in a variety of areas, including digital and the role of technology in LGBTQI+ inclusion. Deloitte Digital will create a platform to bring WorldPride to those who can’t be there due to discrimination or fear of coming out. The platform will be shared globally with the aim of reaching 56 million people across the globe, allowing them to watch, engage and celebrate virtually.

Deloitte will work with Sydney WorldPride and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras over the coming years on key events from 2021 – 2024. Event and project work are already underway in preparation for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2022.

Helping Australians in need gain early release of super

In the first half of 2020, extreme market volatility caused by the COVID-19 crisis, combined with the government’s early release of superannuation legislation, led to a significant increase in superannuation members contacting their funds. The callers were worried. Many of them had lost their jobs or had seen significant reduction in their earning capacity and wanted to know how the early release program could allow them to use some of their super to limit the impact on themselves and their families. Most superannuation funds were unable to deal with the sudden influx of members contacting them, so many of these calls went unanswered.

A team from Deloitte Digital worked with the funds and our internal Risk and Financial Advisory teams to rapidly design, build, and train an AI-powered chatbot that was capable of responding to these enquiries. We called it Superbot and built it so that it was able to be easily implemented on the website of any superannuation fund.

Throughout the year Superbot helped tens of thousands of Australians not only participate in the early release program, but importantly to understand the risks of accessing superannuation ahead of retirement. The chatbot also provided the benefit of reducing the number of calls to funds freeing up their staff to assist members with other enquiries. Superbot was recognised as Deloitte’s signature innovation in the 2020 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies list, being awarded second place. 

Challenging the laws of GRAVITY

Deloitte is helping to activate the space ecosystem and support Australia’s civil space priority to inspire the nation’s use of space technology and capability. One initiative we’ve actively participated in is the GRAVITY Challenge. This is a global technology innovation program for students, universities and entrepreneurs enabling them to collaborate with corporate and government organisations in the design and development of solutions to real, high-value industry, social and environmental problems using space data and capability. Piloted in Australia, the program is now operating globally in more than ten countries and boasts more than 300 world-class innovation teams from the space sector. GRAVITY Challenge has addressed more than 25 challenges, mostly aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals including: climate action; ocean sustainability; protecting and restoring terrestrial ecosystems; sustainable cities and communities; affordable and clean energy; and building resilient infrastructure.

Examples of current challenges the program is tackling include:

  • How to use real-time satellite data to improve supply chain management ultimately facilitating better access to healthcare services and supply
  • How to save our soils and regenerate degraded land
  • How to proactively minimise potentially catastrophic events by accelerating and improving the identification and analysis of a high value event of interest (e.g. plumes of smoke indicating a warning of bush fire) and optimise efficiency of the delivery of emergency management intelligence to users on earth.

Professor Catherine Stoddart, Chief Executive, Department of Health, Northern Territory Government, said, “the quality of the Gravity Challenge innovators in Australia and the UK has been outstanding. Supporting this program has allowed us to connect with global innovators and work towards our goal of being a world leader in the delivery of remote health through collaboration, excellence and innovation.”

Aiding better workplace mental health

The Global Business Initiative for Workplace Mental Health (GBI) is a business-led collaboration that aims to advocate and accelerate positive change for mental health in the workplace globally. Alongside organisations such as United for Global Mental Health, HSBC, Unilever, the World Economic Forum, World Health Organization and the Wellcome Trust, Deloitte was proud to have helped establish this effort.

Like many organisations, Deloitte’s focus on mental wellbeing sharpened in 2020 as our world experienced unparalleled uncertainty and the challenges that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic. We agree the workplace plays an important, impactful role in supporting individuals and society. In addition to implementing robust internal initiatives, Deloitte committed to contributing to mental wellness efforts in the business community at large.

Because of BHP’s track record regarding diversity, inclusion and wellbeing matters, Deloitte Global CEO, Punit Renjen, invited BHP to support this work by becoming a founding partner of GBI, of which there will be ten, comprising non-competitive global businesses representing various sectors and countries. Founding partners collaborate to lead the GBI and its work, and develop recommendations for action that can help deliver on the aspiration of promoting mental wellbeing in the workplace. In addition, CEOs of founding partner organisations sign pledges that publicly convey commitment to the aims of the GBI. The GBI was launched during the Davos Dialogues late in January 2021.