Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

National Volunteer Week – Swietelsky’s commitment to community

National Volunteer Week provides the time to celebrate the invaluable contributions of volunteers. This year, during May 20 -26, communities across the country will come together to recognise the efforts of those who dedicate their time and energy to making a difference.

At Swietelsky Rail Australia (SRA), the commitment to community engagement extends beyond professional endeavours. The company acknowledges the profound impact of volunteering on society and takes pride in supporting employees in their volunteer efforts. By offering one day of paid volunteer leave per year, along with flexible working arrangements, SRA empowers team members to pursue their passions and contribute to causes close to their hearts.

Dean Rowe, SQE Advisor, aligns his passions with the company’s commitment to community safety as a volunteer lifeguard and board member for Surf Life Saving. His leadership as a board member further strengthens the club’s capacity to educate and protect beachgoers, making a tangible difference in the community’s well-being.

“Everyone should, if they can, volunteer in an organisation like Surf Life Saving, or State Emergency Services,” he said.

“I’m proud to have volunteered for Surf Life Saving for 25 years, and planning on many more to come.”

Blake Richardson, Ballast Cleaning Operator and Maintainer, is an enthusiastic umpire, and showcases his passion for cricket through volunteering at his local school’s cricket competitions. With a love for the game, Richardson inspires future generations of cricketers.

Ben Senior and Kyle Mathieson, both integral members of the SRA team, coach kids’ sporting teams. Senior channels his enthusiasm for the sport into coaching his son’s Under 7’s rugby league team, while Mathieson shares his expertise as he coaches his daughter’s football team. Their dedication not only helps young athletes develop their skills but also fosters a sense of teamwork within the community.

“Having the flexible work arrangements with Swietelsky obviously helps with finding the time to volunteer, I’m able to utilise my time in the office and on the soccer field, which is great from a personal and family perspective,” Senior said.

Tahnee Sumner, HR Manager, volunteers her time to Hunter Animal Rescue, her local animal shelter. With a passion for animal welfare, Sumner devotes her time to selling merchandise, cooking, transporting animals, fundraising and caring for shelter dogs, providing them with some much-needed companionship.

“Besides the fact that I get to play with animals, it’s a feel-good activity for so many reasons. I highly recommend anyone considering volunteering to give it a go,” Sumner said.

“Because at Swietelsky Rail Australia we are able to use one day paid volunteer leave, the benefit in that is that once one person starts to utilise their volunteer leave, other employees feel that they can get behind the initiative to volunteer and contribute and give back to the community as well.

“We have found that often this initiative can be the first impetus for someone to start volunteering, and they go on to provide so much more of their own time as well.”

Anne Modderno, Managing Director, serves as a board member at Liberty House Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services. With a deep-rooted commitment to supporting people impacted by domestic violence, Anne and other volunteer board directors provide strategic direction, ensuring that essential services of Liberty House reach those in need. The work of Liberty is far reaching and spans from directly supporting individuals and families affected by domestic violence, to delivery of purposefully designed preventative education programs taking much needed action to get upstream of Australia’s current domestic violence crisis.

“Liberty House Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Servies is a not-for-profit organisation based in my home community, Port Macquarie NSW,” Modderno said.

“The ability to be able to contribute to such an amazing not for profit with a cause that is close to my heart, and to have our business support even just this small part of my time to contribute, is something really special.”


These SRA individuals embody the spirit of volunteerism, encouraged and supported by their employer. For SRA, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles hold significant importance, extending beyond regulatory obligations. Recognising that businesses are integral parts of the communities they serve, SRA prioritises ESG initiatives to strengthen environmental stewardship, enhance social responsibility, and uphold ethical governance practices.

The commitment to ESG is evident in SRA’s ongoing efforts to benchmark performance, identify areas for improvement, and actively engage with the communities it serves.

National Volunteer Week serves as a natural extension SRA’s core values of social responsibility and commitment to giving back to the local community. By encouraging volunteerism and community involvement, SRA strengthens its ties to the communities, through collective action and shared values, and remains dedicated to making a positive impact, both locally and globally.

You can see the SRA team in action here