The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-02-18T04:47:56Z “I’ll Never Give up!” 12 Months after the abduction and illegal retention of his children Australian father vows to fight on to bring his children home! 2020-02-18T04:47:56Z ill-never-give-up-12-months-after-the-abduction-and-illegal-retention-of-his-children-australian-father-vows-to-fight-on-to-bring-his-children-home MEDIA RELEASE: TUESDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2020“I’ll Never Give up!” - 12 Months after the abduction and illegal retention of his children in Colombia, Australian father of two vows to fight on to bring his children home!On Thursday 20 February, Australian father of two, Robert Clarke will light a candle as a symbol of hope that soon his precious children Benjamin (Benny) (4) and Lucia (16 months) will be returned to Australia where they belong.In marking the 12-month anniversary (20 February 2019) of their abduction and illegal retention in Ipiales by their Colombian mother, Maria Yepez Oviedo during the family’s annual holiday to visit her family; Robert Clarke vowed to fight on to bring his children home to the country of their birth, Australia.The children’s mother who has lived in Australia since 2013 is a permanent resident of Australia. Prior to their Colombian holiday, the couple had planned to marry and purchase a home in Melbourne. However, without Robert’s knowledge Maria had planned to retain the children in Colombia having taken Benny and Lucia’s birth certificates and withholding their passports to prevent them from returning home to Australia. It is believed that the children’s abduction and retention by their mother in Colombia came about because their maternal grandmother, Mrs. Oviedo Heurtas is a convicted criminal serving a 4-year home detention sentence in Ipiales (where they are now living) and is unable to travel to Australia to visit her daughter and grandchildren.Putting his faith in the international Hague Convention and the Australian Government, on 12 March 2019, Robert immediately filed legal action to have the children returned to the country of their birth under The Hague Convention. Australia and Colombia are both Contracting States to The Hague Convention which is designed to protect children from harm caused by cross-border abductions (and wrongful retentions) with procedures designed to bring about the prompt return of these children to the State of their habitual residence.Under The Hague Convention Benny and Lucia should have been immediately returned to Australia within 6 weeks. However, the Colombian authorities (including the Colombian Central Authority) and the Colombian Judge delayed proceedings. This delay obstructed compliance with The Hague Convention; the effects and consequences of which are both human and international in nature and in direct contravention of the principles of The Hague Convention.More than nine months following the children’s abduction and unlawful retention and more than eight months after Mr Clarke filed for their immediate return, on 5 December 2019, Colombian Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina ruled the Clarke children had been illegally retained by their mother (according to The Hague Convention) but failed to order their immediate return to the country of their birth and habitual residence; asserting the children were now settled and should stay in Colombia claiming it would be harmful to the children if they returned to Australia. In one of the first Hague Convention cases of Australian children being abducted and unlawfully retained in Colombia; the Colombian Government has failed to honour their responsibilities under The Hague Convention causing harm to young Benny and little Lucia and placing their personal safety at risk. Robert Clarke and his Australian family have just one opportunity to appeal the Judge’s decision. In early January 2020, Robert’s legal representatives were told the appeal would be heard in February 2020. However, 12 months after their abduction and with February almost past, Robert has still not been advised of the date for the appeal hearing with Colombian officials once again delaying proceedings in favour of the children’s Colombian mother.It’s been a painful year for Robert. Only fragments of what was once a happy family remain in his Melbourne home. Once filled with the sounds of Benny and Lucia’s laughter, the house is now quiet. Much loved toys are still, neatly assembled in rooms where photographs of a happy family hang on walls while Benny’s little dog, Nacho wonders from room to empty room looking for his much-loved little playmate.On the mantelpiece stand two Cadbury Easter Bunnies that Robert bought for his children last year, placed carefully beside unopened Christmas packages from relatives, awaiting Benny and Lucia’s return.Determined to do whatever he can to bring his children home, on Australia Day 2020, Robert launched a campaign inviting people to sign his petition to the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, asking him to honour Colombia’s commitment to The Hague Convention and “Help bring his precious little Australians home!” The petition has more than 16,000 signatures and continues to grow daily with men and women expressing outrage at Colombia’s failure to adhere to the principles of The Hague Convention while others ask, “What is the Australian Government doing to help bring the children home?”Ipiales, on the border of Colombia and Ecuador where the children are now living is a very dangerous place where criminal activity is rife and kidnapping, extortion and violence appear to be accepted as an everyday occurrence. “As the only Western children living in Ipiales, the longer Benny and Lucia remain in Colombia, the greater the risk to their personal safety and the greater the harm being done to their well-being,” said Mr Clarke.“On Thursday I will light a candle for my beautiful children to keep the flame of hope burning that soon they will be returned home safely to the country of their birth,” he said. “I hope people will help us and add their voices to our pleas to the President of Colombia by signing the petition calling for Colombia to honour The Hague Convention principles so I can bring my children home.” Mr Clarke said. To learn more about Robert Clarke’s plea to President Iván Duque Márquez to help bring his children home and how you can help, sign and share our petition, please visit: or Follow us on Facebook.#HelpBringMyChildrenHome #HagueConvention #BennyandLuciaClarke #SignPetition-ENDS-LINKSWEBSITE: MEDIA REQUESTS Insight Communications: +61 2 9518 4744 or For detailed Journalist notes please contact Insight Canberra electrician makes a difference in Africa 2020-02-13T00:36:43Z canberra-electrician-makes-a-difference-in-africa 13 February 2020: Canberra electrician Bobby Gane has found a way to use his skills to help others by volunteering on board the world’s largest independent hosptial ship in Africa. “A friend saw a Facebook post from Mercy Ships announcing electricians were urgently required. He told me about it, sounded amazing, and I went,” Mr Gane said. Mr Gane first signed up to serve in 2018. Since then he has spent six months with Mercy Ships in Cameroon and recently two months in Senegal. “I had a very rare cancer when I was 18 months old. It took six treatments and 18 months until they found a way to cure it.” “If it wasn’t for the love of my family and the skill and devotion of the medical teams, I would not be alive today.” He said that anything he can do to help will create a lifetime of difference to those in need. “I love that Mercy Ships is devoted to people who live in Africa and fixing people with broken bodies.” “I have no medical skills myself but using my skills to keep the hospital ship functioning so that others can do that work is a tremendous honour.” The Africa Mercy serves in each African port it visits for 10 months and during this time provides thousands of life-changing surgeries on board, treats thousands more at a land-based dental clinic and also trains local medical professionals. “I don’t know much about the specifics of these countries but what I do know is that there are a lot of people with limited or no access to affordable health care.” “That is until the Africa Mercy showed up.” An electrician with ActewAGL back home, Mr Gane has been exposed to various electrical challenges before but never those found on a ship. “I loved the electrical and engineering team I served with and the challenge of learning to be a ship’s electrician.” “I think all services on the ship are invaluable and electrician is no different in that respect.” Mr Gane also had the opportunity to mentor a local Cameroonian electrical apprentice named Denise. “She has a rare opportunity to become a qualified professional in a country that favours men in such roles.” “She pours her gratitude into her work and her ongoing passion is an example to me of how much our presence means to the people of West Africa.” Mr Gane said there is always a need for more electricians like him to serve with Mercy Ships and he would encourage anyone with the skills to do so. “I loved it on board the ship; I don’t think I’ve ever done anything so valuable.” See how your technical skills can make a difference at  ENDS About Mercy Ships Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.66 billion, with more than 2.77 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. Mercy Ships Australia, one of 16 international support offices, is based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. For more information, visit Notes to Editors High resolution photos of Mercy Ships volunteer Bobby Gane are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships. For more information, please contact: Melissa MasonNational Office ManagerMercy Ships Australia(07) 5437 DAMsmart Asia, Silver Trak Digital and TransMedia Dynamics launch Digital Media Supply Chain Centre of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur 2020-02-11T03:17:20Z damsmart-asia-silver-trak-digital-and-transmedia-dynamics-launch-digital-media-supply-chain-centre-of-excellence-in-kuala-lumpur In a world first on 11 February 2020 DAMsmart Asia, Silver Trak Digital and TransMedia Dynamics (TMD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to officially launch a Digital Media Supply Chain Centre of Excellence in a purpose-built facility in Kuala Lumpur. The facility was officially opened by YB Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia, alongside representatives from the Australian and British High Commissions. The new Digital Media Supply Chain Centre of Excellence is part of Silver Trak Digital’s same expansion in and commitment to south east Asia, and now acts as a hub that offers a full range of digital media services to government, media and entertainment clients throughout the region. There’s also high-capacity digitisation and preservation services for any form of aging audio and videotape. Then the facility offers content aggregation, language, quality assurance and checking for digital video and film, electronic content distribution, DCI mastering, duplication and distribution services integrated with full media asset management using TMD’s highly-acclaimed Mediaflex UMS system. All in all, this new facility offers a complete set of cutting-edge services and solutions under one roof in a single south-east Asian location. DAMsmart’s Joe Kelly said, “DAMsmart is the leading specialist archive digitisation and management services provider in Australia. With the backing of our parent company Silver Trak Digital, we launched DAMsmart Asia and this new facility in Kuala Lumpur. It’s clear that all forms of media archives are now at risk of permanent loss within the next few years if urgent action is not taken to convert the physical holdings of videotapes, audiotapes and film into data, due primarily to technology obsolescence and media degradation. With this new facility, our significant experience and expertise in these areas are now available to government agencies and private sector organisations in Malaysia as well as other countries throughout the region.” DAMsmart Asia are using TMD’s latest generation of Mediaflex®-UMS (Unified Media Services) platform, which provides them with a cloud-native, service-oriented architecture delivering media aware, software-defined workflows. Mediaflex-UMS supports the management of both physical media and digital content. It enables DAMsmart Asia to manage the digital supply chain of their media content, including acquisition, creation, digitisation, re-purposing, preservation, enrichment, delivery, publishing and archiving through TMD’s own applications and from its extensive list of integration partners. TMD CEO Carlton Smith added, “The new Digital Media Supply Chain Centre of Excellence is unique. Within the centre TMD will support and maintain the Mediaflex-UMS platform and services and provide general IT support for the entire facility. It truly is a world first and one of a kind offering.” The new Centre of Excellence also specialises in motion picture film scanning for any film gauge at any resolution and is the first to utilise the new GoldeneyeNet global franchise network, launched this year by one of the centre’s key technology partners, Digital Vision World (DVW). GoldeneyeNet includes the acclaimed Goldeneye IV Archival Scanner and Phoenix and Loki suite of products that enable DAMsmart Asia to offer clients world-class and award-winning DVO restoration and file-based image processing tools. The GoldeneyeNet network is central to the facility’s overall offering for film preservation, restoration and archival work with its truly unique Universal Optics and the fact that any film from 8mm to 70mm, including Pathé and every format in between, can be scanned. DVW’s Director of Global Sales, Mark Coleman, said, “By launching our new GoldeneyeNet platform with DAMsmart at the new Digital Media Supply Chain Centre of Excellence we offer a unique and valuable opportunity to the market. As the most versatile high quality The final offering in this amazing new facility comes from Silver Trak Digital themselves who will offer local project management for localisation services throughout the region. Silver Trak Digital CEO Tim Creswell said, “The new Digital Media Supply Chain Centre of Excellence is an incredible technological achievement and of great value to companies and organisations throughout the region. The local feedback we’ve been given is that south east Asia needs a new, honest, experienced player in the digitisation, restoration and preservation space. There is a digitisation deadline looming due to tape degeneration and format obsolescence and this facility offers the best technologies to address these issues along with excellent customer service to complement them.” About DAMSmart AsiaDAMsmart, a Silver Trak Digital company, is Australia’s leading audiovisual digitisation service provider. We deliver to you a dedicated and crafted service to digitise and save your videotape, audio or film archive. It’s all we do – it’s our passion. We set-up the business over ten years ago to make it possible for you, and any project success. For us, there are two absolutely crucial elements that are needed to enable us to safeguard your content for the future: access to the right technology to perform the task and the expertise and knowledge to use it. DAMsmart has About Silver Trak DigitalSilver Trak Digital is a technology company providing content owners and media companies with innovative, software, cloud-based media logistics and distribution services. With over 30 years of experience, the company is trusted by the industry's biggest names and is an important supplier to broadcast, media, production, distribution, government and corporate markets. Silver Trak Digital's staff have a wealth of experience in versioning and compliance, content aggregation, media management and sales fulfilment. Through many Australian media industry firsts, Silver Trak Digital's media services enable content owners and media companies to address the complexities they face operating in a globalised TransMedia DynamicsTMD is a highly focused and dynamic organisation specialising in the development and delivery of solutions and associated services to the global media, broadcast and archive industries. We innovate and deploy services which enable our customers to have smarter processes and create more efficient organisations. Our client base spans both global and national organisations highlighting the fact that TMD is small enough to care yet big enough to deliver. TMD's management team has years of experience in the development of systems for the broadcast industry, TMD was founded in 1998 with the specific goal of providing the global media marketplace with a Media Asset, Workflow and Resource Management System capable of driving businesses forward by effectively managing the existing plethora of linear based media, such as film and tape, as well as the new and evolving digital formats. Equally as important is providing a smooth and manageable transition between them. The result is Mediaflex-UMS.www.tmd.tvAbout GoldeneyeNetLaunched by Blisstek and Digital Vision World (DVW), GoldeneyeNet is a first-of-its-kind global franchise model which gives digital media partners the opportunity to use Blisstek’s leading technology solutions to digitise and restore moving image content. Goldeneye IV is a high-speed, high-resolution film scanner for motion picture film. With its unique Universal Optics, it can scan any film from 8mm to 70mm, including Pathé and every format in between. DVW’s Phoenix and Loki suite of products offer clients world-class and award-winning DVO restoration and file-based image processing Increase in Apprentice and Trainee Enrolments 2020-02-07T05:43:12Z increase-in-apprentice-and-trainee-enrolments Minister for Innovation and Skills, Hon David Pisoni MP, visited PEER on Friday 7 February 2020, announcing key findings from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) publication: Government funded students and courses – January to September 2019. He highlighted the large increase in apprentice and trainee enrolments across critical sectors for the SA economy.   Key findings from the report, indicate an increased confidence in the South Australian economy, with over 700 business taking on an apprentice for the first time. This is attributed to the Marshall Liberal Government working closely with industry and businesses, to continue the turnaround of the state’s training system.   Minister for Innovation and Skills, Hon David Pisoni MP said, “The first full year of the Skilling South Australia program has yielded fantastic results, with over 13,000 new apprenticeship and traineeship commencements.”   “We’re seeing strong growth in government funded VET program enrolments across critical sectors for the SA economy, including community services, agriculture, horticulture, conservation and land management, construction and traditional trades, as well tourism, hospitality and events.”   The Minister also stated that the Skilling South Australia projects, are growing the state’s skilled workforce, while meeting the needs of employers.“There are almost 100 Skilling South Australia projects underway, co-designed by industry and business, to grow our skilled workforce, build careers and meet the needs of employers by driving growth in apprenticeships and traineeships. Encouragingly, we’re also delivering increased participation in terms of Aboriginal students and increased female participation in skills training.”   Peter Nolan, Chief Executive of leading South Australian training organisation PEER, said that the State Government’s investments in skills and expansion of subsidised training, is delivering positive results for the sector.   Mr. Nolan stated: “2020 has commenced very positively for PEER and we have seen a strong uptake of apprentices already. We have 42 new well-trained, high quality apprentices either commenced or commencing soon. We also have vacancies in the refrigeration and air-conditioning trade and are always looking for more females in all of our trades. The Skilling South Australia projects have been of great benefit to new apprentices and the demand for well-trained apprentices is continuing to grow.” About PEER  PEER is a non-profit industry-based organisation, a Group Training Organisation (GTO) and an award-winning Registered Training Organisation (RTO), delivering nationally accredited trade training packages to meet South Australia’s skill development needs.  We are the largest employer of apprentices within the Building and Construction industry in SA and we deliver VET in schools training, apprenticeship training, upskilling, short courses and skills recognition training.  Agile and innovative, PEER is highly regarded for delivering trade training and assessment excellence in the following trades: electrical, plumbing, data & communications, refrigeration & air-conditioning.  We are proud, to be the winner of the 2018 SA Training Awards, Training Provider of the Year and the 2018 Australian Training Awards Small Training Provider of the Year.  Gartner CIO Survey Identifies Organisational Disruption and Funding Shortfalls as Key Challenges for Governments 2020-02-07T00:15:41Z gartner-cio-survey-identifies-organisational-disruption-and-funding-shortfalls-as-key-challenges-for-governments 7 February 2020 — Fifty-eight percent of government CIOs faced organisational disruption during the past four years, according Gartner, Inc.’s 2020 global survey of CIOs*. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they had also faced a funding shortfall in that same time frame. These figures are higher than those for all other industries. “Governments are struggling in many areas, following disruptions including changes in leadership, reorganisations and funding shortfalls,” said Alia Mendonsa, senior research director at Gartner. “For many government CIOs, disruption will affect their IT budget growth, and the funding and launch of new business initiatives will suffer. Inflexible funding models exacerbate this issue, due to budgetary processes and cycles within government.” CIOs of government organisations are still developing their digital leadership skills and strategy. “The government sector is lagging behind other industries in all aspects of strategy, particularly in its ability to communicate a clear and consistent business strategy that articulates how the organisation will achieve its vision,” said Ms. Mendonsa. The survey found that less than half (48%) of government CIOs said their organisation had a clear and consistent overall business strategy. “In the absence of a formal business strategy, government CIOs need to incorporate strategic business outcomes into their digital government strategy,” said Ms. Mendonsa. “Business outcomes will be validated by the business as part of the strategy approval process.” The survey results showed that government CIOs are ahead of other industries in enhancing citizen-centricity by developing and delivering digital services, however they remain slightly behind other industries in most IT process domains. “To fix this, government CIOs should assess the maturity of their IT processes to identify areas of strength and weakness, and then prioritise implementation of improved processes and workflows according to the results,” said Ms. Mendonsa. Data and Analytics, AI and Cloud Technologies Remain Game-Changers The survey found that data and analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technologies remain game-changers for government CIOs in 2020. Survey results showed that within the next 12 months the majority of the respondents had already deployed or are focused on deploying cybersecurity (84%), AI (37%) and robotic process automation (33%).  “Government CIOs need to prioritise investment in emerging technologies according to potential value for their institution,” said Ms. Mendonsa. “More mature technologies such as cloud, and data and analytics, offer immediate benefits in terms of capability and scalability for delivering digital government services, and therefore may be prioritised. Experiments with AI and robotic process automation may start small initially, and once their value can be demonstrated, initiatives involving these emerging technologies may be scaled up over time.” Gartner clients can learn more in the report “2020 CIO Agenda: A Government Perspective.” Learn more about leadership and how to win in the turns in the Gartner CIO Agenda for 2020. Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo Learn more about CIO leadership and how to drive digital innovation to the core of your business at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2020. Follow news and updates from the conferences on Twitter using #GartnerSYM. *Note to Editors The 2020 Gartner CIO Survey was conducted online from June to August 2019 among Gartner Executive Programs members and other CIOs. A total of 130 government CIOs took part in the survey. About Gartner Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organisations of tomorrow.   Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and an objective resource for more than 15,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.   To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit # # # Gartner: Skills Gap is the top emerging risk globally 2020-02-05T01:16:57Z gartner-skills-gap-is-the-top-emerging-risk-globally The survey of 137 senior executives showed that concerns about “talent shortages” now outweigh those around “accelerating privacy regulation” and “cloud computing”, which were the top two risks in the previous Emerging Risk Monitor. Every year the gap between jobs and a trained digital workforce grows wider. Plans to encourage untapped talent pools to consider a career in IT is growing in momentum globally and Australian IT company CT4 is leading the way, now into its second year of the Digital Apprentice Program (DAP) located in Ballarat, Victoria, is building a skilled talent pool for Australia’s digital future.  The next tranche of the DAP is open and accepting applications. CT4’s Customer Success Manager Tegan DeClark said the DAP is an excellent way to introduce people into IT and address the global skills gap. “CT4’s DAP traineeship provides regional Victorians a great opportunity to reskill or upskill to enter a booming industry, and the program to date has been a great success. We’re proud of our most recent cohort who have just completed the initial phase of the program”.  DeClark also strongly encourages women looking for a career change to consider IT as a career path and to join the program.  “We believe that diversity is the lens through which unique problems are solved and we value the different backgrounds and life experience which contributes to our organisation and the industry as a whole. Upon successfully moving through the first phase of the program, trainees begin to do more specific work on current and new technology with CT4’s DevOps team.  Among this recent group, is Elizabeth Eldridge, who is a mature-aged student, making a career change from a non-IT background and as a result of the program, has a promising future in IT. Eldridge joined the program in 2019 and said it has given her an advantage with future work opportunities, with a level of exposure to IT which she didn’t have otherwise.  “Women of my age often don’t have much to do with IT.  This program has given me confidence and I’m starting to now understand the background of IT and what technology can do.” Craig Adams, Group Managing Director said that both the program and the industry at large can be challenging at times but for those successful candidates, opportunities abound with the current digital skills shortage  “CT4 is proud to be a flexible, fast paced, diverse and dynamic workplace with one major criterion for staff to be the best they can be within their role. For trainees who have display a good work ethic, team work and the ability to work in a secure and sensitive IT environment, the rewards are palpable.” When asked if Eldridge would recommend the program to others, especially women looking for a career change, she wholeheartedly says yes. “Definitely, I’d say go for it!  It’s been fantastic and I’m glad to have had the opportunity, I’m in it for the learning and to see how far I can go” Applications for CT4’s 2020 Digital Apprentice are now open to all candidates interested in a paid traineeship in IT.  Go to and keyword ‘CT4’ for more information CREATIVE VICTORIA APPOINTS LOCAL BUILDER FOR BENDIGO’S NEW CREATIVE INDUSTRIES HUB 2020-02-04T22:29:35Z creative-victoria-appoints-local-builder-for-bendigo-s-new-creative-industries-hub Formerly known as Bendigo Creative Industries Hub, The Studio will transform the ground floor of the former Morley’s Emporium site on Mitchell Street in Bendigo’s CBD into a place for the region’s creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and businesses to work, connect, build their skills and expand their networks.   Gerard K House Pty Ltd, led by managing director, Gerard House, is one of Bendigo’s best-known builders with over 40 years’ experience delivering major commercial and residential projects in the region.   Major projects completed by the company in recent years include the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) multi-purpose regional office fit out in Bendigo, which was completed in 2017; the Carisbrook Primary School’s new multi-million dollar learning centre; the Castlemaine North Primary School New Learning Centre (and refurbishment works); and the new Total Tools Warehouse and offices in Kangaroo Flat - all completed last year.   Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, said the appointment of this respected local team reflects the project’s commitment to supporting local businesses.   “This project provides a space for the local creative community to come together, share their knowledge and build their business capability. Gerard K House Pty Ltd is part of a highly skilled local team working with ACMI to make sure The Studio is by, for and about the local community - and I look forward to seeing the results.”   Gerard K House Pty Ltd will work alongside local architect firm, e+ architecture to transform the ground floor of the 110-year old Mitchell Street building into a bespoke coworking and event space.  An initiative of the Victorian Government’s Creative State strategy and led by the team behind ACMI and a Local Advisory Group – The Studio will offer workspaces, meeting rooms, project spaces, a communal kitchen and a presentation space for local creatives and creative businesses to work on site.   The building, originally built in 1910 by prolific Bendigo architects, Keogh and Austen, for the Morley and Johnson and Co furniture warehouse, has stood empty for more than three years after Morley’s Emporium, a retail and hospitality enterprise, closed in October 2016. Before that it housed a large Toyworld outlet.   The Studio manager, David Hughes, says Gerard K House Pty Ltd will work with e+ architecture and ACMI to honour the heritage of the historic building while offering the latest in agile workplace design.   “We received a very high quality of tenders to work on this exciting project but Gerard K House Pty Ltd really impressed us with their comprehensive and well thought out tender,” Mr Hughes said.   “They also come with an esteemed reputation within the Greater Bendigo region, having completed dozens of high-quality projects of a similar scale and type. We are incredibly excited to be working with Gerard and his team,” he said.   Mr Hughes said elements of the Romanesque revival style of the building, including the original pressed metal ceilings will be maintained as part of The Studio’s new design.   In December, a Local Advisory Group, made up of some of the region’s most respected creative professionals, was appointed to work with ACMI ahead of the opening of The Studio in the months ahead.   The 10-member Local Advisory Group brings a deep understanding of the creative landscape within the Greater Bendigo region and rich, grass roots connections that will ensure The Studio is relevant to those who use it.   Supported by a dedicated manager and a part-time administrator, coworkers at The Studio will have access up to 24 workstations, high speed wi-fi, bookable meeting rooms, printers, a workshop and presentation space, a kitchen, and access to The Studio’s business and social program. Coworkers will also have access to a bookable desk at ACMI X, ACMI’s coworking space located in the Melbourne Arts Precinct in Southbank.   Gerard K House Pty Ltd joins e+ Architecture, The Local Advisory Group, The Studio’s manager David Hughes, local design and digital marketing agency Creative Revolution and Bendigo-based PR strategist Greta Donaldson as the local team leading The Studio’s development.   -ends-   For more information about The Studio, Bendigo please contact; The Studio manager, David Hughes, at:   For media enquiries or interviews please contact; Greta Donaldson, Greta Donaldson Publicity, 0427 658 638 or Fisher Leadership Announces New Partner, Andrew Medard 2020-02-03T19:27:58Z fisher-leadership-announces-new-partner-andrew-medard MEDIA RELEASE TUESDAY 4 FEBRUARY:  Fisher Leadership is pleased to announce new Partner, Andrew Medard, will be joining the team this week. Andrew brings 15 years of executive search and recruitment experience across private sector senior leadership positions. Combining his wealth of knowledge in commercial leadership skills with Fisher Leadership’s emphasis on positive impact, Andrew believes there has never been a better time to bring together future skills throughout public, private and not-for-profit sectors.   Andrew commenced his finance and accounting career in London and Sydney, honing his skills in large companies such as Hewlett Packard as a Business Analyst for several divisions, before joining the recruitment industry in 2004. Having built a prominent reputation, Andrew founded amge+ in 2009 and has specialised in connecting talent to executive positions in the areas of finance, systems & technology and General Management roles across Commercial, Procurement and HR divisions.   Andrew is passionate about mobilising the future skills needed to harness the new digital economy. He says, ‘For leaders and businesses to continue to evolve and improve, we need to proactively challenge the status quo on the types of people, skills and thinking styles they need to develop or bring into their business.’ Andrew points to his depth of operational and talent-based knowledge in the financial sector, where ‘human skills’ such as cross-functional team leadership and HR are ranking as some of the fastest-growing skills for financial leaders both globally (increasing by 11% and 8% respectively) and locally (increasing by 5% and 7% respectively)1.   Andrew is also committed to promoting emerging ways of working. Balancing his own family life with his career, Andrew is keen to ensure the next wave of leadership champions diverse backgrounds, an openness to emerging trends and an appreciation of the importance of personal growth. Managing Director of Fisher Leadership, Michelle Loader, comments ‘Andrew offers high-value outcomes for clients bringing together his enterprise knowledge of how businesses succeed with his intimate understanding of what motivates leaders. He recognises the value of having an integrated, thriving personal life as well as a challenging and fulfilling professional life.’    Andrew notes that he feels ‘a natural values fit’ with the Fisher Leadership team. He attributes the decision to come onboard as a new partner to the opportunity ‘to thrive as a part of a collaborative team; one that positively supports, challenges and cares for each other as we strive to achieve great outcomes for those in our ecosystem and for ourselves.’    Andrew Medard can be contacted on to assist with Executive Search for leadership roles in the commercial, corporate and public sectors and within not-for-profit organisations.   For more information on our Executive Leadership Solutions, visit or call 1300 347 437. For additional images, interviews or media enquiries please contact Nikki May, Head of Creative, on 1.          LinkedIn Talent Insights data (retrieved 27/01/20: Image: Australian Father Launches International Campaign To Bring His Abducted Children Home 2020-01-24T13:01:00Z australian-father-launches-international-campaign-to-bring-his-abducted-children-home-1 MEDIA RELEASE: AUSTRALIA - EMBARGOED: FRIDAY 24 JANUARY 2020 - MIDNIGHT AEDT +1100UTC:Australian Father Launches International Campaign To Bring His Abducted Children Home TODAY, in a desperate bid to rescue his two small children after a family holiday turned to disaster with the abduction and illegal retention of his children in Colombia; Australian father of two, Robert Clarke, has launched an Australia Day international appeal 'Help Bring My Children Home' for assistance from authorities and the public to help bring his two precious little Australians home.Grave fears are held for Mr Clarke’s son Benjamin (Benny) Clarke (4) and his baby daughter, Lucia (now 16 months) who were abducted and are being illegally retained by their Colombian mother Maria Nelly Yepez Oviedo and her family in Ipiales on the border of Colombia and Ecuador where corruption, violence and criminal activity are rife with travel warnings issued by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the region.“I’m hoping the authorities and people from all corners of the globe will join me in my appeal for help from the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez and sign our petition calling on the President to honour the Colombian Government’s international responsibilities under The Hague Convention and expedite the immediate return of my two precious children to their habitual residence in the country of their birth, Australia,” Mr Clarke said.Robert Clarke, who hasn’t seen his children since February 2019 when he was forced to leave Colombia under threat to his personal safety, holds desperate fears for the well-being and safety of his two young children Benny and Lucia who have been the subject of an international legal battle to return them to Australia.Immediately following their abduction by their mother, Mr Clarke applied for the return of his children to Australia under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the Australian Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986.In the first Hague Convention case of Australian children being abducted and unlawfully retained in Colombia; to date the Colombian Government has failed to honour their agreement under The Hague Convention causing serious harm to young Benny and little Lucia as a result of their non-compliance placing their personal safety at risk while living in an environment where kidnapping, extortion and violence are an everyday occurrence. “When two countries are both Contracting States to the 1980 Hague Convention as both Australia and Colombia are, the procedure for the return of children to their home country is designed to be simple and swift to minimise the harm caused to children by their illegal retention by the offending parent,” said Mr Clarke.“However, what should have been a straight-forward legal process under The Hague Convention to return Benny and Lucia to Australia, the Colombian authorities (including the Colombian Central Authority) and the Colombian Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina knowingly delayed proceedings in what appears to be an attempt to justify the illegal abduction and retention of Benny and Lucia by their mother in Colombia,” he said.After unprecedented delays, on 29 November 2019 the first hearing took place in Ipiales 9 months and 9 days (282 days) after the children’s unlawful abduction on 20 February 2019, and 8 months and 15 days after Robert, their father, filed his formal Application for the Return of The Children with the Australian Central Authority.On 5 December 2019, Colombian Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina handed down his ruling and although he agreed that the children had been illegally retained by their mother (according to The Hague Convention), he failed to order their immediate return to the country of their birth and habitual residence asserting that “the children are now settled and should stay in Colombia as it would be harmful to the children for them to return them to Australia”.In February 2020, Robert Clarke and his Australian family have just one opportunity to appeal this decision.The lawyer for Mr Clarke said this deliberate delay of proceedings showed a complete lack of vigilance and failure in the execution of the six-week limit to order the return of the children to the country of their birth which is in direct contravention of the fundamental principles of The Hague Convention. “The children’s retention is wrongful and the Colombian Government has an international obligation to preserve the safety and well-being of these two little Australians and expedite their immediate return to the country of their birth and habitual residence in Australia,” said Fernando J Herrera Ramirez.The ruling by Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina is a direct breach of the principles of The Hague Convention that clearly maintains: “Where a child has been wrongfully removed or retained in terms of Article 3 and, at the date of the commencement of the proceedings before the judicial or administrative authority of the Contracting State where the child is, a period of less than one year has elapsed from the date of the wrongful removal or retention, the authority concerned shall order the return of the child forthwith.”“My children are living with their mother in the home of Mrs. Oviedo Heurtas (the maternal grandmother) who is a convicted criminal serving four (4) years home detention for crimes committed in Colombia and who shows little respect for the law and authority in a community where crime and violence are accepted as a part of everyday life. “The longer Benny and Lucia remain in Colombia, the more they are being emotionally and mentally harmed as a result of their illegal retention, while the risks to their safety increases daily in a country ranked 5th in the world for violent deaths by the World Health Organisation (WHO),” Mr Clarke said.With statistics released in 2017 showing that Colombia had 23,530 violent deaths (the second leading cause of death in Colombia) compared to Australia’s 224, Mr Clarke and his Australian family are living in constant fear for the safety of their two precious little Australians.“Every day Benny and Lucia remain in Colombia, I fear for their safety and well-being. I worry about the values and dangers they are exposed to. I worry about the emotional harm being inflicted on them. I worry that every day they are there, their Australian culture, their birthright, is being erased and that soon I will come to mean nothing to my beautiful children. I worry that the laughs, hugs, lessons and values I shared with them will be erased by a narrative being told to them that is untrue – that I abandoned them. I can already feel this happening.“The longer this goes on, the greater the harm caused to my precious children who have the right to live and grow up happy and safe in the country of their birth with all the privileges that being an Australian citizen affords.“I hope people will add their voices to my pleas to the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez and sign the petition to help bring my children home.” Mr Clarke said.To learn more about Robert Clarke’s plea to President Iván Duque Márquez to help bring his children home and how you can help, sign and share our petition, please visit: or Follow us on Facebook.#HelpBringMyChildrenHome #HagueConvention #BennyandLuciaClarke #SignPetition-ENDS-MEDIA REQUESTS: PETITION: OR Youtube Channel: Various video including footage of Rob with the children, interviews with Rob, his mother Dr Alison Clarke and his sister Dr Emily Clarke. ***HELP BRING MY CHILDREN HOME CAMPAIGN JOURNALIST NOTESThe aim of Robert Clarke and his Australian family’s campaign is to attract global media attention on the illegal abduction and retention of Benny and Lucia Clarke under The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. A key focus of the campaign is to draw international attention to the failure on the part of the Colombian Government to honour their agreement under The Hague Convention and publicly reveal the harm being caused to young Benny and Lucia as a result of Colombia’s non-compliance. How can people help? People are invited to sign and share our petition across social media channels, write to President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez the Australian Prime Minister and other high ranking officials asking for their support to bring Benny and Lucia home and print posters from our website to increase awareness of Benny and Lucia’s plight.For more details on how you can help please visit our website here: HelpBringMyChildrenHome.comTHE ABDUCTION AND ILLEGAL RETENTION OF AUSTRALIAN CHILDREN, BENNY & LUCIA CLARKE IN COLOMBIARobert Clarke is the father of two Australian born children, Benny (4 years) and Lucia (16 months) Clarke.Their Colombian mother Maria Yepez Oviedo, has lived in Australia since 2013 and is a permanent resident.Both children were born in Melbourne, Australia: Benny April 3rd 2015 and Lucia September 18th 2018.Benny and Lucia are both Australian citizens and hold Australian passports.Both children had resided in Australia from birth prior to being abducted and unlawfully retained in Colombia.On 20 February 2019, while on a family holiday, Benny and Lucia were illegally retained in Colombia by Maria and her family. Robert has not seen his children since.On 12 March 2019, Robert commenced legal proceedings under The Hague Convention to have his children returned to the country of their birth.On 20 December 2019, the Colombian judge ruled the Clarke Children had been illegally retained in Colombia but failed to rule that they be returned home to Australia.This ruling by Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina in Ipiales Colombia, is in breach of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.In February 2020, Robert Clarke and his Australian family have just one opportunity to appeal this decision.COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT FAILS TO MEET OBLIGATIONS OF THE HAGUE CONVENTIONThe Hague Convention exists for the purpose of protecting children from the harmful effects of cross-border abductions (and wrongful retentions) by providing a procedure designed to bring about the prompt return of such children to the State of their habitual residence.Benny and Lucia Clarke are the first Hague Convention case of Australian children being abducted and wrongfully retained in Colombia.With many Colombian citizens living in Australia, this case will set a precedent for others that may follow so it is vital that the Colombian Government fulfil their obligations under The Hague Convention.Robert Clarke, his family with the support of the Australian Central Authority have consistently and rigorously undertaken every legal avenue possible to have his Australian born children returned to the country of their birth under the Hague Convention. However, contrary to the principles of The Hague Convention “to expedite the process”, the Colombian Government has failed to meet its obligations as an Admitted State to The Hague Agreement.The Colombian Central Authority (ICBF) and the Colombian Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina deliberately delayed proceedings showing a complete lack of vigilance and failure in the execution of the six-week limit as determined by The Hague Convention to order the return of the children to the country of their birth. This delay obstructed compliance with The Hague Convention; the effects and consequences of which are both human and international in nature and in direct contravention of the principles of The Hague Convention.KEY FACTS - BENNY AND LUCIA CLARKE’S ABDUCTION & ILLEGAL RETENTION IN COLOMBIA Benjamin (Benny) Murray Clarke (4 years) and Lucia Marie Clarke (16 months) were both born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Both are Australian citizens and hold Australian passports.On 20 February 2019 (the family’s scheduled return date to Australia following a holiday in Colombia), Maria Nelly Yepez Oviedo (the children’s Colombian mother) abducted Benny and Lucia and illegally retained them in Ipiales, Nariño in the home of Maria’s mother, Mrs Irma Oviedo who is serving a 4-year home detention sentence for crimes she committed in Colombia.There was no agreement on the part of Robert Murray Clarke, the Australian father of Benny and Lucia Clarke, for his children to remain in, or relocate to Colombia.The children’s retention is wrongful under The Hague Convention and the Australian Family Law (Child Abduction Convention) Regulations 1986.Australia and Colombia are both Contracting States to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.On 12 March 2019 (20 days after the children were wrongfully abducted and retained in Colombia by their mother), Robert commenced legal proceedings through the Australian Central Authority (ACA) and filed an Application for the Return of Children in accordance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Children Abduction for the Return of Children Wrongfully Removed from or Retained outside Australia.This is the first Hague Convention case of Australian children being abducted and unlawfully retained in Colombia.On 16 April 2019, the ICBF in Bogota received Australia’s fully translated complete Hague application (less than 2 months after the illegal retention).On 31 May 2019, the ICBF Ipiales completed its investigations and Maria (the mother) refused the voluntary return of the Australian born and raised children, Benny and Lucia Clarke.The ICBF has consistently been extremely slow and frequently unresponsive to the ACA's requests and inquiries, with the ACA required to ask to the Australian Embassy to intervene to achieve any responses from the ICBF regarding court orders.The ICBF delayed sending Colombian court orders to ACA despite knowing that these orders had to be translated by the ACA before they could be understood and acted on. The ICBF should have been liaising with the Colombian Court to facilitate judicial proceedings.The ICBF failed to provide a complete copy of the court order.Despite repeated requests to have access to a copy of the mother’s statement to the court (Maria's affidavit – Doc ID - E301201 Dated 31/5/19) this document has not been supplied providing the children’s father with no opportunity to see the mother’s statement to enable a detailed and accurate account of the matter to be submitted to court.The sudden refusal of all the dates originally proposed by Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina for hearings in October came just 1-2 days after successful video linkup testing occurred raising unanswered questions.No court hearing was held until 29 November 2019. A six month delay.Concerns for the children’s welfare and safety are paramount. Benny and Lucia are the only known Australians currently residing in Ipiales - A Spanish speaking town on the border of Colombia and Ecuador where the children are at risk of serious harm as a result of their abduction and unlawful retention in Colombia.The children’s father, Robert and their extended Australian family (Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles) fear for the children’s safety and for the loss of the children’s Australian identity, culture and heritage.Studies on the harm caused to children who are illegally abducted and retained by a parent in another country show long-lasting and very significant harm in terms of their mental health, and that these effects are ongoing into adulthood continuing for many years after their abduction.The children are also at risk of physical harm due to the culture of the community where they have been illegally retained.The Colombian Central Authority (ICBF) the Colombian Court and Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina have deliberately and knowingly delayed court proceedings in an attempt to justify the illegal abduction and retention of Benny and Lucia Clarke by their mother in Colombia.To date, the Colombian Government has failed to honour their agreement under The Hague Convention which has caused grave harm to young Benny and little Lucia as a result of their non-compliance.The unlawful retention of Benny and Lucia and the Colombian authorities’ failure to return the children to the place of their birth and habitual residence in Australia, is in serious breach of The Hague Convention created for the purpose of child protection.According to The Hague Convention, Benny and Lucia Clarke must be immediately returned to the country of their birth, Australia to preserve their safety and well-being.It is hoped that the Colombian authorities will honour their commitment to the principles of The Hague Convention and immediately return the children to their habitual residence in Australia.THE PENALTY FOR COLOMBIA’S FAILURE TO ADHERE TO THE PRINCIPLES OF THE HAGUE CONVENTIONAustralia and Colombia are both Contracting States to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Given the serious nature of Colombia’s non-compliance to the principles of The Hague Convention in the case of Benjamin and Lucia Clarke; should the Colombian Government fail to rectify their non-compliance and act promptly to correct this breach by ordering the immediate return of the children to their home State of Australia, there will be calls for their removal as a Contracting State to The Hague Convention.BENNY & LUCIA ARE AT GRAVE RISK OF SERIOUS HARM BY REMAINING IN COLOMBIAEVIDENCE OF HARM BEING CAUSED TO BENNY AND LUCIA CLARKECourt documents put before Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina on 24 May 2019 demonstrate the psychological harm being caused to Benny and Lucia as a result of their abduction and wrongful retention by their mother in Colombia.Having a child returned to the parent left behind can be relatively straightforward when the other country is a signatory to the Hague Convention. However, when a country breaches the principles of The Hague Convention as Colombia has done in this case, serious long-term harm is known to be caused to the victims of wrongful retention – the children.Since Benny and Lucia were abducted and retained in Colombia by Maria (their mother) and her family, the harm already perpetrated on these precious two little Australians, Benny and Lucia, has been extensive.Benny and Lucia have been deprived of:Access to their father who has parental responsibility and rights.Meaningful parenting by their father who has played a loving and attentive role in their lives.Their Australian culture and language.The comforts of their home and neighbourhood where they were born and raised.Significant loving relationships with grandparents, aunts and uncle etc., their beloved cousin Samantha and their little friends, their toys, Benny’s dog Nacho and their loving Australian family.Access to their Australian family through phone and video contact to eradicate their memories of home.Significantly, they have been deprived of their Australian way of life, their heritage, their birthright and all the opportunities Australia has to offer them.STUDIES ON HARM TO CHILDREN ILLEGALLY ABDUCTED & RETAINED BY A PARENTOf the studies conducted into the extent of psychological harm caused to children when abducted and illegally retained by a parent, the most comprehensive study into the long-term effects of international child abduction found more than 70 per cent of the children involved reported suffering significant effects on their mental health.Overall, the studies and reports refer to child abduction by a parent as ‘child abuse’. DR MARILYN FREEMAN - PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION: THE LONG TERM EFFECTS - 2014British researcher and family law specialist Dr Marilyn Freeman conducted the study which determined that children who had been abducted spoke repeatedly about their confusion, feelings of shame, self-hate, loneliness and insecurity. The study found that a high proportion of the participants reported suffering very significant effects from their abductions in terms of their mental health, and that these effects were ongoing into their adult lives very many years after the abduction.The study concluded more must be done to protect children from parental abduction and its effects.Freeman, M. (2014) Parental Child Abduction: The Long Term Effects. International Centre for Family Law, Policy, and Practice. studies that demonstrate the harm perpetrated on children abducted by a parent include:DR LENORE C TERR - CHILD SNATCHING: A NEW EPIDEMIC OF AN ANCIENT MALADY - 1983Terr, L. (1983) Child Snatching: A new epidemic of an ancient malady. Journal of Paediatrics. 103(1). 151-156,+L.+(1983)+Child+Snatching:+A+new+epidemic+of+an+ancient+malady.+Journal+of+Paediatrics.&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholartDR NANCY FAULKNER PhD – PARENTAL ABDUCTION IS CHILD ABUSE - 1999 Dorothy S. Huntington PhD - PARENTAL KIDNAPPING: A NEW FORM OF CHILD ABUSE - 1982Huntington, DS (1984) Parental Kidnapping: A New Form of Child Abuse BENNY AND LUCIA – THEIR PERSONAL SAFETY IS AT RISK IN COLOMBIAThe reporting by the international media of the ongoing violence, corruption and illegal activity; and, the high number of road deaths in Colombia has emphasised the terrible risks to Benny and Lucia’s personal safety which is of grave concern to their father, their family and to Australia as a whole. The statistics published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) relating to road deaths and deaths by violence provide clear evidence that both Benny and Lucia Clarke’s safety is at risk in Colombia and that they should be immediately returned home to the country of their birth, Australia.ROAD DEATHS IN COLOMBIA COMPARED TO AUSTRALIAMaria and her family in Ipiales do not own or use child car safety restraints. Maria and her Mother, Irma Oviedo Heurtas both hold baby Lucia in their arms when being driven. Adult seat belts are seldom used even if available.According to divs released in 2017 by the WHO :Colombia had 605% more road fatalities (9133) compared to Australia (1295) with a 328% increase in ‘risk of death’ by road accident.Colombian road fatalities accounted for 4.28% of total deaths or 18.82 deaths per 100,000 head of population) compared to Australia which had road fatalities accounting for 1% of total deaths or 4.94 deaths per 100,000 head of population.Death caused by Road Traffic Accidents is the 7th leading cause of death in Colombia compared to Australia which is ranked 18th.NOTE: Although Mrs. Oviedo Heurtas is a convicted criminal sentenced to 4 years home detention, prior to receiving any work permission, she has openly left her house and travelled with Maria and the children demonstrating her lack of respect for the legal process. Evidence of this breach has been provided to Fernando Montenegro at INPEC Ipiales. To date nothing has been done. VIOLENCE IN COLOMBIA COMPARED TO AUSTRALIAAccording to divs released in 2017 by the WHO :Colombia had 23,530 violent deaths compared to Australia’s 224; equating to 10,405% more deaths due to violence in Colombia Vs AustraliaViolence is the second highest cause of death in Colombia with 47.07 people per 100,000 head of population dying violently. Compared to Australia where death by violence is ranked 41 with 0.92 people per 100,000 head of population dying violently.Globally, Colombia is Ranked 5th for Violent Death compared to Australia who ranks 166. THE HIGH RATE OF CRIME & VIOLENCE IN COLOMBIAOverall, Ipiales has a high crime rate making it an unsafe place for Benny and Lucia to live compared to their home in Australia. In Ipiales robberies are common place. Mobile phones are not used on the street and cars are never left on the street overnight. Houses have security bars and suburbs pay for their own security guards, etc. There has been both paramilitary and FARC presence in this community.The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) have issued a travel warning for Australian’s travelling to Colombia advising “to exercise a high degree of caution”.This travel warning was taken seriously by representatives of the Australian government who felt it was unsafe to travel to Ipiales for the hearings into the abduction and illegal retention of Benny and Lucia Clarke.SEE LINK TO DFAT - THE RISKS OF PERSONAL DANGER TO BENNY & LUCIA ARE EXTREMELY CLOSEThe children’s maternal grandfather, Jairo Miguel Yepez Ponce, a business man in Ipiales has been a victim of extortion and a bombing attack that destroyed the entry to his home. Mr Yepez Ponce used a friend in the Police to investigate and found that the man behind the attack was one of Mr Yepez Ponce ex business partners.Benny and Lucia spend significant time at Mr Yepez Ponce home increasing the risks to their personal safety. KIDNAPPING & EXTORTION IN COLOMBIA – GRAVE FEARS ARE HELD FOR BENNY & LUCIA’S SAFETYThere are profound fears that Benny and Lucia (the only Australian children living in Ipiales) will become targets for kidnap and extortion.Kidnapping and extortion is a grave risk in Colombia. On New Year’s Eve (2015/16) Carlos Julio Bravo (a friend of Maria’s) was travelling between Ipiales and Pupiales (about 10 kilometres away) when he was kidnapped and held for ransom. The local kidnappers tried to extort $900KAUD (approximately) from the young man’s wealthy father. When the police launched a rescue operation, Carlos Julio Bravo was killed.Articles relating to the kidnapping and death of Carlos Julio Bravo include: COLOMBIAN MOTHER ALIENATES BENNY & LUCIA FROM AUSTRALIAN FATHER, THEIR FAMILY, CULTURE & THE LAND OF THEIR BIRTHMaria Yepez Oviedo, mother of the children and her family have taken significant steps to alienate the children from their father, their Australian heritage and their large Australian family who have loved and cared for them from the moment they were born.Maria has consistently denied Benny and Lucia contact with their loving Australian family and failed to provide photographs of the children (for six months) to Benny and Lucia’s grandparents.There is a great deal of evidence that substantiates Robert’s assertions that Maria and her family are actively alienating Benny and Lucia from their Australian father, their family, their culture and heritage.DR ALISON CLARKE (BENNY & LUCIA’S PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER) WAS DENIED ACCESS TO THE CHILDRENFor seven-and-a-half months (7.5), Dr Alison Clarke (Benny and Lucia’s Australian grandmother) has consistently tried to speak with her beloved grandchildren making 52 voice phone calls to Maria. These calls were unanswered or declined. 4 calls were answered – 3 calls in March (9, 14 and 21 of March 2019) and 1 call on 2 November 2019.SAM CLARKE (BENNY & LUCIA’S UNCLE) WAS DENIED ACCESS TO THE CHILDRENBenny and Lucia’s paternal Australian uncle Sam, and the father of Benny’s much loved cousin Samantha has made seven (7) video calls to Maria in the hope of speaking with Benny and Lucia and so little Samantha can speak with her best little mate, Benny. Maria has never answered or returned those calls. Sam also sent two messages via WhatsApp pleading with Maria to allow them to speak with Benny and Lucia. Maria did not respond.DR EMILY CLARKE (BENNY & LUCIA’S AUNT) WAS DENIED ACCESS TO THE CHILDRENBenny and Lucia’s paternal Australian aunt, Dr Emily Clarke has made 23 calls to Maria in the hope of speaking with Benny and Lucia. Of these, Maria ignored or missed 19 calls, answered 4 calls, and returned Emily’s calls 4 times.ROBERT CLARKE – FATHER’S ONLY CONTACT WITH HIS CHILDREN – LONG DISTANCE PHONE CALLSBetween 22 February 2019 (the date Robert was forced to return to Australia) and 18 August 2019, Robert has spoken with his children Benny and Lucia 110 times. The average length of Robert’s phone calls was 35 minutes, with the longest being 1.04 hours. During these calls, Benny showed distress that he was being retained in Colombia away from his father and Australian family. He desperately wanted his “Daddy”.When the court hearing commenced, Robert’s contact with his beloved children was thwarted when Maria stopped taking Roberts calls, cutting off all access and communication between father and son.The last time Maria allowed Robert to speak with his children was 3 January 2020Daily, Robert continued to try and speak with his son but he’d been blocked by Maria and her family.Maria and her parents also blocked the children’s Australian family (Emily, Murray, Alison and Sam) on WhatsApp and other social media applications – effectively blocking their ability to communicate with Benny and Lucia and alienating the children even further from their homeland.After Robert’s many appeals to Maria to be allowed to speak with Benny, Maria told Robert that she would only permit him to speak with Benny if he sent her a phone and a sim card with pre-paid data.Robert is arranging for a phone and sim card in the hope that Maria will allow him to speak with Benny. However, based on Maria’s previous actions it is believed that she will continue to deny father and son to maintain their close-knit bond. MOTHER REPORTS FALSE & MISLEADING INFORMATION TO THE COURTAs part of the court process, the court ordered two reports be prepared: Psychological Assessment Report, Social Worker Report.These two poorly researched and written reports were presented as evidence to Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina (Reports dated 20 May 2019 and 24 May 2019). However, the people involved in preparing these reports failed to conduct adequate research to verify the facts including interviewing Robert, (the father). This incompetent reporting resulted with conclusions based solely on the view of Maria (the mother) which contained many untruths with the reports strongly biasing the opinion of the Judge to rule in favour of the mother. THE REPORTS SHOULD BE DISCREDITED & INADMISSIBLE TO THE COURTThe information provided in those reports appears to be ‘tailored’ and provides a large number of false accounts and accusations made by Maria including: In regard to the social conditions in which Benny and Lucia are being wrongfully retained.The report fails to include mention that the Australian children are living with a convicted criminal (the maternal grandmother) who is serving four (4) years home detention for crimes committed in Colombia. This woman is not financially well resourced having limited capacity to provide an appropriate environment for the children, now or in the future. psychological assessment and conclusions in the report are drawn on the basis of minimal examination during a single visit for a limited period of time.This report is based primarily on the view of the mother reporting an extensive number of untruths and ignoring substantiated evidence. This includes failing to acknowledge the loving and caring relationship shared between Robert and his children from the moment of their birth in AustraliaThe report also fails to acknowledge that the care and raising of the children was shared equally by their father from birth until the mother wrongfully abducted and illegally retained Benny and Lucia in Colombia.The report is based on untruths and false assertions throughout including Maria’s claim that Robert abandoned her when he travelled to Cali in preparation for his brother’s wedding. This is easily proven to be untrue. The airline tickets purchased by Robert for Maria and the children to fly to meet him for the wedding verify this fact. Maria unilaterally chose to remain in Ipiales with the children (as per evidence given by Irma Lucy Oviedo Huertas in court) to action her premediated plan to illegally abduct and retain the children in Colombia.By providing misinformation Maria is perpetrating untruths to the court to substantiate her wrongfully retention of Benny and Lucia in Colombia which is causing serious and long-term psychological harm to the children.The psychologist who prepared the report has failed in his duty of care to undertake appropriate investigations assuming that everything Maria has told him is true and correct and failed to take an appropriate clinical perspective and conduct an interview with Robert. It appears that the psychologist has not considered the case appropriately having failed to investigate if the claims made by Maria (included in his report) are truthful; and significantly, has failed to consider possible alternate reasons behind these claims including Narcissistic Personality Disorder.Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the working diagnosis of Maria’s psychologist in Melbourne, on the basis of repeated consultations (as per Point 16 of Rob’s Reply Affidavit dated 13 August 2019). Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterised by lying, manipulation, a lack of empathy, sense of entitlement, lack of guilt and relationship difficulties. THE CHILDREN’S MOTHER’S FURTHER MISREPRESENTATION OF TRUTHUnder instructions from his client, Maria’s lawyer stated in court that Dr Alison Clarke (the Australian grandmother) was unable to help Maria care for the children because she needed to care for her invalid husband. This is untrue. Dr Murray Clarke is fit and well. Dr Murray Clarke continues to undertake numerous physical activities including extensive hiking and bike riding. Maria is aware that both paternal grandparents enjoy an active retirement. In January 2019, Murray and Alison completed a 4 day hike to Cuidad Perdida in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia and a 9 day hike in Patagonia, Chile. Medical reports of the health and fitness of the paternal grandparents have not been requested by Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina. Medical reports can be provided to the court to refute this assertion made by Maria in an attempt to support her illegal retention of the children in Colombia.SOCIAL WORKER REPORT – EDIT MARIELA CARDENAS ROSASIn the psychological assessment report submitted to Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina on 24 May 2019, it states:Page 17: Under Conclusions and Recommendations, “Taking the foregoing into we recommend this for the divs of authority and affection: Encourage the parties to carry out the voluntary return of the children in order not to produce major trauma”Page 10: “We are told by the person in charge of the Goticas de Colores kindergarten that he (Benny) has been losing his identity as, initially, he would speak English and would show different cultural manifestations.” And, “At the beginning there were difficulties with the changes in the different environments, but because of the boy’s age there were no major difficulties”.It is evident that on his return to Australia, Benny will experience few difficulties in becoming happily settled in the environment in which he was born and raised and where he shares loving relationships with his father, his cousin Samantha (of the same age), his grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, and where he was to attended pre-school with a number of his little Australian friends. THE DESTRUCTION OF BENNY AND LUCIA’S AUSTRALIAN IDENTITY, CULTURE & HERITAGEWhile growing up in Australia, Robert and his family consistently encouraged the children’s family connection to the Colombian culture. However, while they continue to be illegally retained in Colombia, Maria and her family are actively discouraging the children’s connection to Australia, their family and their heritage.In accordance with the principles of The Hague Convention, Benny and Lucia Clarke must be returned to Australia. While they remain in Colombia, the continuing harm caused to the children is extensive and includes their loss of identity as Australian citizens – the loss of their birthright.Benjamin (Benny) Clarke was born in April 2015. Lucia Clarke was born in September 2018. Both were born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Both Benny and Lucia are Australian citizens by birth and hold Australian passports.Robert encouraged the children’s Colombian heritage and Benny would communicate with his relatives in Colombia via skype or WhatsApp daily.Robert and his Australian family learned to speak Spanish to encourage the children’s Latino culture.Annually, the family would travel to Colombia for lengthy periods to nurture the children’s relationship with Maria’s family and their Colombian heritage.Australia has been the habitual residence of both children prior to being abducted and unlawfully retained in Colombia by their mother, Maria and her family.Where the children are being illegally held in Ipiales, there is zero Australian culture. Apart from Benny and Lucia, Robert believes not another single Australian lives there. In Ipiales there is zero connection to the culture of their birth in Australia; while a life in Melbourne allows connection to their Colombian culture. On their return to Australia, Benny and Lucia will have the opportunity to maintain their Australian culture while enjoying the culture of Colombia.Melbourne has routinely been rated as the World’s most liveable city providing the children with a beautiful, peaceful and safe community where they can freely play, grow and be educated.In Melbourne there are approximately 10,000 expat Colombians and many more thousands of Latinos from other South American countries. Melbourne features 4 Colombian restaurants, Colombian/Latino night clubs and a South American grocery store that stocks Colombian items. There are regular Colombian social events and Colombian entertainers have toured Melbourne. Corrective Services NSW Selects Infor to Achieve Critical Workforce Utilisation Efficiencies 2020-01-17T04:34:24Z corrective-services-nsw-selects-infor-to-achieve-critical-workforce-utilisation-efficiencies SYDNEY, Australia – Jan 17, 2020 - Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialised by industry, announced that Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) has chosen Infor CloudSuite Workforce Management to future-proof aspects of its scheduled staff rostering needs through a competitive market process.Infor’s comprehensive workforce management solution and associated business process changes will provide efficient and effective staff scheduling procedures, and provide ongoing workforce utilisation efficiencies.Infor’s industry-leading workforce scheduling system will deliver a host of benefits to Corrective Services NSW, including:Providing live scheduling monitors in key locations that enhance staff safety and securityContinually adapting its workforce scheduling approach to new business modelsMitigate the risk of potential compliance errors by ensuring team members are rostered and paid in compliance with their respective Public Sector Awards.The rostering of CSNSW employees is a critical business function that supports 6,885 rostered staff within 109 rostered sites state-wide 24 hours 7 days a week. Rostered staff comprises custodial, industrial, security and intelligence, administration, and clerical employees that attract any form of penalty rate payment during the performance of their duties. These CSNSW employees are situated in correctional centres, courts, operational or support locations across NSW. Infor ANZ Managing Director Jarrod Kinchington said that the complexity of a state-wide workforce demands a flexible and intuitive workforce management system that can be deployed with minimal disruptions to day-to-day activities.“We are thrilled that Corrective Services NSW has chosen Infor for its cloud-based workforce management needs. Our Infor CloudSuite solution will provide the organisation with a central location to easily manage employee resources, as well as the ability to track operational and labour performance and comply with the necessary legislation, regulations and procedures,” Kinchington said. About Corrective Services NSW Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) is a division of the Department of Communities and Justice. It delivers professional correctional services and programs to reduce re-offending and enhance community safety. As an important element of the criminal justice system, CSNSW manages remand and sen​tenced inmates as well as offenders in the community. About InforInfor is a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry. With 17,300 employees and over 68,000 customers in more than 170 countries, Infor software is designed for progress. To learn more, please Infor customers include:The top 20 aerospace companies 9 of the top 10 high tech companies14 of the 25 largest U.S. healthcare delivery networks19 of the 20 largest U.S. cities18 of the top 20 automotive suppliers14 of the top 20 industrial distributors13 of the top 20 global retailers4 of the top 5 brewers17 of the top 20 global banks9 of the 10 largest global hotel brands7 of the top 10 global luxury brands Bushfire Recovery Access Program: Accredited Mental Health Social Workers ready to provide mental health support under new regime 2020-01-17T02:45:05Z bushfire-recovery-access-program-accredited-mental-health-social-workers-ready-to-provide-mental-health-support-under-new-regime The AASW welcomes the Bushfire Recovery Access Program that comes into effect today and will see people affected by the bushfires, including first responders, receive vital mental health supports. The impact of the unprecedented bushfire crisis of 2019-2020 on people’s wellbeing cannot be underestimated and it is important people access help, if they so choose, to better enable them to prepare for the long-term recovery effort. As of today, the Bushfire Recovery Access Program will be rolled out by Medicare and includes 10 immediate counselling sessions and access to more sessions without requiring a GP referral, among other initiatives. Face-to-face or telehealth services can be accessed depending on people’s location and circumstances. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) are among those who can deliver these services and they have significant expertise in assessment and providing supports with a wide range of complex mental health needs, including grief, loss, trauma, and bereavement. AASW National President Cristine Craik said, “AMHSWs meet the high standards set by Medicare to deliver the Bushfire Recovery Access Program. They are among those professionals currently providing specialist mental health services under Medicare’s Better Access program. "AMHSWs work with children, adults and older persons across a wide range of issues including, depression, anxiety, grief and loss. relationships issues, life crises, family conflicts, trauma and abuse. AMHSWs provide a unique contribution to the mental health space in their holistic approach to working with a person. Working through this lens is such a vital skill set for ongoing recovery work with individuals, families and communities.” ENDS Notes: Visit to find your local social worker and click here to learn more about how AMHSW can help you. For an explanation of the Medicare changes, visit: To interview Christine Craik, please contact Angela Yin on 0413 532 954. Get your Pet’s Paw through the Door 2020-01-14T23:00:29Z get-your-pet-s-paw-through-the-door Aussie Renters are getting their Pet’s Paw through the Door with this handy site There are new proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 affecting Pet Owners. The proposed changes could mean more rental properties in Australia allow Pets and cut down on pet surrender numbers to the RSPCA. PetCloud has a FREE Digital Pet Resume for all renting Pet Owners, to use in their rental applications. This January, Pet Owning tenants in the thousands across Australia will have leases ending and will be facing the prospect of having to find a suitable Pet Friendly Rental Property. In fact, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) records state that 2.16 million renting Australian families are Pet Owners.  Now thanks to PetCloud, Australia’s most trusted Pet Services booking website, Australian Pet-Owning Tenants can breathe a sigh of relief that the process has been made much easier through their FREE Digital Pet Resume. PetCloud’s CEO Deb Morrison says; “Our mission is all about making responsible pet care easy, so enabling Pet Owners to create their very own Pet Resume to include in their Property  Applications to Landlords and Property Managers has been added value we have wanted to provide for a while now.” Is adopting out your pet a solution? “It’s a less than ideal solution.  People have a strong emotional bond with their pets. It’s not the same as giving away a piece of furniture.” Is finding a Pet Friendly Property really that difficult? “Yes. Years ago, before PetCloud existed, I struggled to find anyone to look after my pets, I’d had a change in living circumstances, and couldn’t find any rentals that were pet friendly.  It got to the stage where I too had to give my little dog Charlie away. I had no choice. Pets are family. They help keep you accountable with daily exercise, they are great company, and are beneficial for mental health.” What would you say to Landlords who are scared of their investment property being devalued through destroyed fixtures and noise complaints? “I too, have been a landlord of an unhygienic pet-owning tenant. I believe the solution is to 1) introduce a Pet Bond to cater for potential damage to fixtures and carpet cleaning and 2) Screen for Pet Owner Lease Applicants who can prove they have attended a Council or Dog Obedience course with their pet so they take responsibility and understand how to train, exercise, clean & enrich their pets. PetCloud’s Pet Resume will help them with this.” Where can renting Pet Owners go to create their Digital Pet Resume? Thousands of Pet Owners have already created their pet’s profile -head to and then create a Profile for themselves and one for their Pet. In their Pet’s profile they will see there is a link saying “Pet Resume”. They can share their link with their Landlord or Property Manager in their rental application. ______________________________________________________________________________ Contact for Media Enquiries:  Deb Morrison Notes for Editors: PetCloud, is Australia’s largest and most trusted Pet Care Services network, with over 30,000 Pet Sitters, Dog Walkers, Pet Taxis and more. Customer support is run by RSPCA Qld’s National Call Centre.  Eaton announces appointments to ANZ senior leadership team 2020-01-13T23:34:58Z eaton-announces-appointments-to-anz-senior-leadership-team Power management company, Eaton today announced an expansion to its senior leadership team in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) with two new appointments. Mark Anning appointed General Manager, Circuit Protection and Control (CPC) and Kevin Nesdale appointed General Manager, Power Distribution Systems and Services (PDSS). Dan Agnew, Managing Director of Eaton ANZ said the appointments strengthen Eaton’s power distribution offering as it focuses on meeting growing demand for products, systems and engineering services that deliver safe, reliable and sustainable power. “With energy requirements continuing to transform across the entire power train and in most communities across the region, it is critical that we continue to work closely with our customers and channel partners to help customers solve challenges and invest for the future.” Based in Melbourne, Mark Anning will build on his previous role at Eaton which saw him revamp and significantly expand the Power Distribution Partner Program. Prior to joining Eaton in 2017, Mark spent 10 years at ABB in sales and channel management roles. “Mark brings an incredible amount of experience to the role and a deep understanding of the electrical channel. He will continue to grow the Power Distribution Partner Program and drive market growth across Eaton’s circuit protection and control products including our xEnergy switchgear which will play a vital role as the AS/NZS 61439 standard is mandated in 2021.” Based in Sydney, Kevin Nesdale brings more than two decades of technical and leadership expertise from his previous roles with Eaton, Cooper Power Systems, Eaton & electrical utilities. Working with Australia and New Zealand’s leading utilities and other MV customers, Kevin is focused on delivering power systems that help support energy transformation being driven by renewable energy, affordability and reliability. “Kevin will lead our Power Distribution Systems and Services team which includes our Cooper Power Systems range that has supported the energy sector for over 50 years in Australia and New Zealand. Kevin will be focused on harnessing our extensive local and global engineering, customer service and technical expertise to drive value for our customers.” - ENDS - About Eaton Eaton is a power management company with 2018 sales of $21.6 billion. Its energy-efficient solutions help customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power more reliably, safely and sustainably. The company is dedicated to improving the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services. Eaton employs 99,000 people worldwide, and sells products to customers in more than 175 countries. For more information, visit CODY WALKER & REACH OUT WORLDWIDE CHARITY TEAM COMING TO HELP 2020-01-13T03:08:04Z cody-walker-amp-reach-out-worldwide-charity-team-coming-to-help CODY WALKER & ROWW CHARITY TEAM COMING TO HELP # LATE PAUL WALKER’s REACH OUT WORLD WIDE CHARITY SENDING 6 STRONG TEAM TO HELP  #  6 VOLUNTEERS ARRIVE FROM USA 8.50AM MONDAY 13th JANUARY Fast & Furious’s late Paul Walker started the ROWW ( Reach Out World Wide Charity) to provide physical assistance globally in disaster & crisis situations.  His brother Cody Walker has Team ROWW landing into  Sydney at 8.50am Monday 13th January to do just that here in Australia.   Paul Walker’s brother, Cody Walker says “Australia has supported ROWW with funds raised in the last 5 years when I teamed up with United Cinemas Australia for the release of Fast & Furious 7 & 8. As soon as the enormity of what is happening with the bushfires came to our attention we have been planning with Roy Mustaca of United Cinemas to send a team so now we’re coming to do anything and everything in our powers to help and assist in any way we can over the next week or so.” Roy Mustaca from United Cinemas Australia with Cody & Felicia Walker from Reach Out Worldwide are deploying resources on the ground with much needed supplies to help with the devastation the Australian people & animals are facing right now with the ongoing fires throughout New South Wales & Victoria. The ROWW team from the USA arrived into Sydney from Los Angeles with one of our very own Aussie Fire Fighters Craig De Meillon. The team will head to areas affected in NSW first then make their way towards Canberra & Victoria.  The ROWW Team Craig De Meillon- Australia - Aviation FF Jennifer Stansell - Oregon - Wildland FF / EMT Isabell Isenhart - Kentucky - FF Scott McNair - Oregon - ROWW volunteer Joshua Stout - Oregon - ROWW director of Deployments and Response - Gold Beach FF / EMT/ SAR Justin Hester / California / Pasadena FF / Paramedic Donations have already been received of large supplies of water and soft drinks for distribution and anyone who has donations of supplies/food and products can drop them off at all United Cinema locations across Australia.  Those wanting to give much needed supplies and general items please donate what ever you can at any United Cinemas location nationally via the box office. Any supplies or gold coin/money donated will be deployed by ROWW to those families & animals that are very much in need of your help. For those wanting to make a donation online please go to: United Cinemas Australia are rallying together with other major Australian Distributors & Exhibitors to raise as much money as possible via all ticket sales nationally on Sunday the 19th of January. We are donating $2 from every movie ticket sold to bushfire relief. Any Film and Any Session. FURTHER DETAILS and to interview Cody Walker or Roy Mustaca email or call Max Markson 0412501601     Panic About Vaping, Safest Way Forward. 2019-12-22T15:23:06Z panic-about-vaping-safest-way-forward At the moment there are public health related issues in the news about vaping. A few months ago there were stories coming out of the United States about death relating to electronic cigarettes. We can have a look at the statistics that have been released; so far this year the number is 805, with a median age of 23. The number of deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States had grown to 12. Uncertainty about exactly what’s causing this spike in sickness has fueled an emotional public response. There appears to be a unanimous consensus that something should be done to better understand and prevent this vaping-related harm. The message from many in the public-health community simply has been to avoid vaping. Abigail Friedman, who studies tobacco use at the Yale School of Public Health, points out that the majority of the most popular vaping products have been on the market for at least a few years. The question is not whether vaping itself is safe or unsafe, she emphasizes, but what elements of the practice are causing these acute diseases: “An e-cigarette is fundamentally a device, not a substance. One thing that I think is really confusing people is that vaping just means using an e-cigarette. It doesn’t tell you what people put in it. You could put water in an e-cigarette, right?” Vaping water should be a harmless, but adding nicotine to that vapor, on the other hand, noticeably affects the cardiovascular system and brain. Be aware of what you are buying and what you are using with your device. Stick to the recommendations and avoid anything you are not sure of. These are our recommendations at VapeStreet.