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Rt Health Fund - Now the energy industry's fund, too!

For the first time in our 125-year history, rt health fund, one of Australia's oldest and most trusted health funds is now the official health insurer for the energy industry!

To mark this important advance, it was my pleasure to take my seat as a major sponsor at the recent Energy Skills event in Queensland.

ESQ

This annual conference is the state's premier event and it's dedicated to meeting the needs of the energy industry as well as those in the mining, utilities and telecommunications sectors. Presentations were led by some of the most talented and innovative speakers industry-wide. And, it was a great pleasure to meet representatives from the electricity supply and generation industries, the sustainable and renewable energy industries and many more.

Skilling for Productivity was the theme of the event and it was a great fit for rt health fund, reflecting our ethos. Speakers detailed some of the challenges that face the industries and explained how better health initiatives could enhance people's lives in the future.

Respected speakers

Of the many highly respected speakers, one who particularly stood out for me was Dr Stefan Hajkowicz.

Principal Scientist in Strategic Foresight from the CSIRO, Dr Hajkowicz spoke about future challenges relating to health and healthcare, and in particular, the challenges facing a workforce that's growing older and set to become much less healthier. Why? Our increasing weight problem.

A staggering two out of three Australians are already overweight and this figure is set to skyrocket. Being overweight, Dr Hajkowicz explained, can have a profound impact on a person's physical and emotional health.

Overweight and obesity raises the risk of chronic (long-term) conditions such as heart disease, which remains Australia's number one cause of death. It increases the risk of sleep problems, bone, joint and mobility problems and there's the added risk of some cancers, too. Physical ailments aside, being overweight has a huge a negative emotional impact.

As poor lifestyle choices continue to impact on people's health, inevitably, the result will be a massive burden on our healthcare system and related costs.

Putting people first

This is a major concern for rt health fund. Clearly, our not-for-profit nature is evidence that we put our members' needs first when it comes to spending fund monies. But putting our members first when it comes to health and the promotion of it is equally important.

For example, while our official association with the energy industry is very recent, we've partnered with a number of energy giants already – including Energy Super and Energy Australia.

Planning for health

We have created, launched and promoted workplace health plans for a range of organisations, including small businesses and professional bodies, unions, industry super funds and membership associations.

Working together and providing targeted and most of all, useful and useable information, we know we can help to reduce the burden of disease and enhance quality of life for people and their families. We understand the need to help prevent and manage chronic conditions and we know about the need for targeting workplace specific materials.

We've recently opened our own dental and optical centres in Sydney and Newcastle, with Brisbane set to open in 2015 and more planned in the future to provide excellent care at competitive prices for fund members. Our commitment to preventative healthcare means that individuals can receive hundreds of dollars in preventative dental treatments and optometry checks every year.

Thank you to our VIP guests for attending, thank you Energy Skills Queensland for enabling us to be a part of your incredibly absorbing industry event. And finally, thank you to the wider energy industry. I know that together, rt health fund and the energy industry can work to help boost health, provide health cover to suit people's ever-changing needs, and provide excellent award winning service.

Looking forward to working with you energy industry - we're going to make sparks fly!

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