The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2018-12-19T01:16:57Z ‘Forgotten Christmas’ Campaign Helps Raise Struggling Families Above Poverty Line in Asia 2018-12-19T01:16:57Z forgotten-christmas-campaign-helps-raise-struggling-families-above-poverty-line-in-asia TOOWOOMBA, Queensland—As holiday shopping in North America is predicted to top $1 trillion this year, GFA World (formerly Gospel for Asia is urging Christians to make the season more Christ-centred by adding someone they don't know to their gift list. GFA's "Forgotten Christmas" campaign ( gives an opportunity to churches and individuals to provide practical gifts, including income-generating resources that can help lift a family out of poverty in Asia, where millions struggle to survive below the $1.90-a-day poverty line.    The centre piece of the effort is a touching three-minute video drama which follows a young American boy as he provides desperately needed groceries for a struggling couple in his neighbourhood.   "Christmas is about so much more than just presents," viewers are told. "Let's bring Christmas back to what it's really meant to be about: giving hope to others. Why not go further than just next door? Make an impact around the world this Christmas."   They can do that through GFA World’s Christmas Gift Catalogue (, which features almost 40 different giving opportunities.   For just $11—the price of three eggnog lattes—a pair of chickens can improve a family's financial situation by breeding more birds that can be sold, or through the sale of their eggs. Other poverty-breaking gifts include a lamb for $65, a sewing machine for $85, and teaching someone to read for $25.   "There is so much to enjoy in the Christmas season, but it is easy to lose sight of the real meaning, if we are not careful," said GFA founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. "Christmas is about Jesus coming into the world, showing us God's love in tangible form.   "Through a simple gift that can completely change their circumstances, we can demonstrate his love to those struggling in poverty. We can show them that they may have been forgotten by the world, but they have not been forgotten by God or his people."   GFA World hopes that in this 12th year of “Forgotten Christmas,” churches and individuals around the globe will join them in seeing families in Asia  receive help to rise above the poverty line. Last year, GFA and its supporters helped more than 230,000 families receive income-generating presents.   One GFA supporter who provides help through the gift catalogue each year said: "What a wonderful way to invest treasure into some of the poorest of the poor—a way that gives them new opportunities for self-support and dignity and demonstrates God's love for them.”  # # #   GFA World ( has – for nearly 40 years ‒ provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions in Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,000 wells drilled, over 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 200,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. Australian social workers support the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, calls on government to restore Australia’s place as a human rights leader 2018-12-09T23:37:49Z australian-social-workers-support-the-70th-anniversary-of-the-un-declaration-of-human-rights-calls-on-government-to-restore-australias-place-as-a-human-rights-leader On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Australian Association of Social Workers calls on the government to take serious action to fulfil its human rights commitments. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The AASW continues to have serious concerns over Australia’s breach of human rights, including the treatment of people seeking asylum, and the systems abuses of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children, including their overrepresentation in the justice system. “Article One of the declaration tells us that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’, and although Australia prides itself on values of respect, dignity and compassion, it is clear the Australian government is failing in this regard. “For example, Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned, often for minor offences like unpaid fines[1], than the rest of the Australian population, and Aboriginal women are the fastest growing prisoner demographic in Australia[2]. “Furthermore, despite being a signatory to many UN conventions that protect human rights, the Australian government appears undeterred by repeated calls by the UN to end offshore ‘processing’ of people seeking asylum. Not only this, we have people who have been held in indefinite closed onshore detention for almost 10 years. “Social workers see first-hand the devastating consequences of government policies that neglect the freedoms provided by the Human Rights Declaration. “People are sick of the political rhetoric and cruelty of the Australian government around people seeking asylum, and they are using their vote to show it, as we have seen in recent by-elections. This is very much an election issue now, and if the government isn’t willing to act on this as a humanitarian issue then perhaps the threat of losing office will move them to action. The election is an important time for those in all political parties to show moral leadership, honour our legacy of compassion and not pander to the politics of fear and racism.” As social workers, we will continue to advocate against human rights violations and look forward to the day when the Australian Government stops exploiting the public’s fear, misconceptions and prejudices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, asylum seekers and refugees for political gain, and becomes a global leader for human rights. The AASW represents over 11,000 professional social workers from around Australia. Christine Craik is an Ambassador for Kids off Nauru. Christine Craik is available for interview. [1] [2] Ibid. Local adoption report published: A time to recommit to the best interests and cultural rights of Indigenous children 2018-11-27T00:44:37Z local-adoption-report-published-a-time-to-recommit-to-the-best-interests-and-cultural-rights-of-indigenous-children The Australian Association of Social Workers’ (AASW) submission to the Federal Government’s review into local adoptions has been cited in the report which was published yesterday, Breaking barriers: a national adoption framework for Australian children. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The report marks an important time for governments to refocus and recommit to upholding the best interests of children in all adoption matters. “Children and young people in the care of the State are amongst the most vulnerable members of society. Adoption must only be considered when all other options for the child’s safety and wellbeing have been expertly assessed as not suitable.” AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Representative Director, Linda Ford said, “In ensuring their safety and wellbeing, attention must be paid to the child’s holistic needs. When working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the AASW contends that planning must be culturally appropriate, with a focus upon the child maintaining connection with their family, culture and other significant relationships. “With the rate of removal of Indigenous children being 10 times that of non-Indigenous children, the pain and trauma of removal of Indigenous children cannot be consigned to the past. “The system’s focus upon punitive removal measures has profound negative consequences, severing family and cultural ties, intensifying transgenerational trauma and contributing to the ongoing dispossession, disadvantage and oppression experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. “For cases where removal is in the best interests of the child, systemic change is needed to address barriers and lack of support available to Aboriginal families that could foster or adopt. Areas for change include the need to amend the inherent bias and discrimination in application forms that demand a certain literacy and education level for applicants. Factors such as these do not determine an individual’s capacity to provide a safe and caring home.” Ms Craik said, “It is governments’ responsibility to support families to live in safe environments, stopping the risk of abuse and neglect before it arises. “With 17 per cent of total child protection funding on family support services for children and their families, compared with 83 per cent on child protection services, the AASW calls on the government to focus efforts on early intervention and family support that are built on partnership and collaboration with Indigenous communities.” The AASW calls on governments to commit and redirect funding to supporting and working with Indigenous communities and families to ensure the rights and needs of every child is upheld. The AASW represents over 10,000 professional social workers from around Australia, many of whom work in child protection. Christine Craik and Linda Ford are available for interview. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women: 25 November #HearMeToo 2018-11-21T01:43:44Z international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women-25-november-hearmetoo The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) supports the theme of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is this Sunday 25 November, #HearMeToo. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “This has been yet another shocking year for violence against women in Australia, with 60 women killed in 2018. Many more are living with, or have survived family violence. “We also know that for many women, for many reasons, it’s not possible to speak. To those women, whose names we may never have the privilege of knowing, we take this occasion to say that we hear you, too; and that we notice the wisdom, the courage and the survival in your silence. “But let this not be another occasion on which women speak only to each other about the devastating consequences of gendered violence. To those who cause harm: we believe in your capacity to change. Only you are accountable to your choice to use violence, and to the pain and fear inflicted in the lives of women and their children. Only you are responsible for seeking support for your behaviour. Today, we implore you to seek support. “To those in positions of power, capable of beginning the huge cultural change we need in our society to end this violence against women, today we also implore you to have the courage and enact that change. “Australian social workers are committed to having a strong voice on matters of social justice and human rights, which is why, importantly, we want to remind Australian governments that gendered violence is common, but it is not inevitable. Gendered violence is a systemic issue, driven by gendered inequality, and it can be addressed by cultural change. “This can only occur when there is a concerted effort, and adequate investment, toward that end. We need a national coordination of prevention, early intervention, crisis and recovery. This is what we are calling on Australian governments to commit to today. As more and more women come forward to speak truth to power, to say ‘hear me, too’, we ask that governments be responsive to the building tide of social change; that one day, the leadership of this country might be able to say, ‘we did’.” Christine Craik is available for interview. She is a renowned expert in family violence and completing her PhD in the subject at RMIT University. Media Release: InStitchu partners with gentSac and 4 Pines to raise funds this Movember. 2018-11-19T23:51:16Z media-release-institchu-partners-with-gentsac-and-4-pines-to-raise-funds-this-movember For Immediate Release InStitchu encourage gents to ‘Invest in Themselves’ this Movember. In partnership with gentSac and 4 Pines, this November, InStitchu are educating gentlemen on grooming, and most importantly of all, raise funds for the Movember Foundation. Australian made-to-measure online menswear brand, InStitchu, is opening their Sydney Showroom doors for their Movember Showroom event, in partnership with gentSac and 4 Pines. In collaboration with gentSac and 4 Pines, suits, grooming consultations and cold beverages are on the cards for InStitchu’s Movember Campaign and Sydney event. Revolving around a central theme of investing in yourself, the event will be raising funds for the Movember foundation—a global movement that addresses the many issues of men dying too early through causes such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues. Why Movember? InStitchu have been offering the modern gents affordable luxury custom, tailored menswear, since 2012, encouraging men to take pride in themselves through the way they dress. As a company for the modern gent InStitchu understands the importance of self-pride and respect and are proud to support Movember. The event will be a masterclass for styling and grooming, with InStitchu’s Stylists on hand for advice on suiting up, and gentSac providing education to guests on getting their grooming right through complimentary consultations via their grooming stations. Guests can also expect refreshing cold brew provided by 4 Pines Beer. The event will focus on the central theme of investing in yourself through the pillars of grooming, dressing confidence, mental health, and physical health. Founder and CEO of gentSac, Shira O’Sullivan-Linker said, “I'm a big believer in self awareness and habits of excellence as the cornerstone to elevated well being, happiness & success. It's a constant work in progress of course and that's totally ok. gentSac is on a mission to empower men when it comes to their own self-care, grooming and overall daily routine. We open up conversations about confidence stemming from investing in yourself and encourage all men to take a few minutes each day to look after themselves especially when it comes to the essentials such as skin care and their shave or beard ritual. We're very happy to support initiatives that build awareness around men's health and mental health and are proud to be supporting Movember alongside InStitchu and 4 Pines”. Most importantly, the event will be raising funds for the Movember Foundation, a foundation that addresses the many issues of men dying too early through causes such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. When asked about supporting the Movember cause, James Daniel, Brand Ambassador for 4 Pines Brewing company said “For me it’s raising funds and awareness for men’s health and inspiring the men and also women in my life to stay active, eat well and keep in check with their health, both physically and mentally.” To learn more about Movember Foundation, please visit: Most importantly of all, to learn more about how you can donate to a worthy cause that can save lives, and to RSVP for the event, please visit: Event details: Date and time: Tuesday 27th November - 5.30pm Location: InStitchu Flagship Showroom - level 2, 350 George Street, Sydney, Australia, 2000 Entry Fee: Free, except donations welcome! Share your story of personal/hair growth this Movember to raise awareness of this great cause. Simply tag #movemberfoundation #InStitchu #gentSac #showyourmo About InStitchu InStitchu specialises in custom, tailored menswear for the modern gentleman. Launching in 2012, customers are given the choice to either step into a Showroom for their signature old-world tailoring experience over a whisky where they can be measured by a Stylist. Customer’s measurements are saved to their online profile making reordering online easy and convenient. Alternatively customers can enter their measurements and design their custom, tailored garment from the comfort of home, with all orders covered by InStitchu’s Perfect Fit Guarantee—if a customer’s garment is anything but perfectly fitted, InStitchu will alter or remake the garment complimentary. InStitchu’s fabrics are of the highest quality, including Woolmark certified 100% Australian Merino wool, luxurious linens, and crisp cottons and customers can choose from hundreds of customisation options. InStitchu’s garments are luxurious, yet affordable, made-to-measure and constructed by their Saville Row trained Tailors. InStitchu has been featured in AFR, Buzzfeed, Forbes, GQ and more, for information visit InStitchu currently has ten Showrooms across Australia, New Zealand and USA, including: Sydney CBD George St, Sydney CBD Clarence St, North Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland and New York City. For more information and to RSVP, please contact: Hannah Croly P:0424 036 616 E: Massive Murray Paddle boats to be digitally tracked along the 404km river route 2018-11-17T04:38:47Z massive-murray-paddle-boats-to-be-digitally-tracked-along-the-404km-river-route-1 The boats in this year’s Massive Murray Paddle (19th – 23rd of November) will be digitally tracked along the 404km river route – helping to keep participants safe in the water and allowing race supporters to see their progress online. Phase Zero Consultancy Services is leading the safety management efforts at the event and have selected carbonTRACK technology to track the boats and provide regular updates on their location. This is the second time the risk management organisation is working with carbonTRACK to digitise what is one of the longest paddle races in the world. Phase Zero also used carbonTRACK technology at the 2017 event. Prior to carbonTRACK’s involvement, the participants were manually marked when passing each of the checkpoints. Phase Zero recognised that technology could transform this process and selected carbonTRACK to help them overcome the event’s challenges - a 404km course (much of it under thick vegetation and poor cellular coverage) and the need for water-resistant tracking devices with enough power to last 5 days.  To meet this challenge, carbonTRACK has created a bespoke communication network that leverages the LoRaWAN protocol and its own patented Minimal Data Transfer (MDT) protocol over the existing cellular network (where available). This network enables carbonTRACK’s battery operated tracking devices to transmit a signal back to mobile gateways. In the solution created for the Massive Murray Paddle, it is the carbonTRACK SmartHubs that act as the communication gateways. There will be multiple units positioned throughout the course, supported by Safety Drones Australia, a subsidiary of Phase Zero. The drones will carry carbonTRACK’s repeater devices and be used by the Phase Zero safety team to further extend the network coverage where required. With this technology, Phase Zero will have near real-time updates on the location of each boat and the organisation’s team will be on the ground to provide the onshore and afloat safety management program for the event. Race organisers and supporters will be able to track the action via an online portal. Phase Zero has created a list of Frequently Asked Questions on how this will work in practice (see link below). Extending their support of this great community event, a representative from carbonTRACK will also be participating in the paddle race. carbonTRACK’s Head of Customer Engagement, Chris Benson is taking a boat out on the water and raising money for Macquarie University’s research into motor neurone disease (MND). About Phase ZeroPhase Zero Consulting Services specialise in safety and risk management of high-risk operations, activities and environments. We are also a preferred Defence consultancy specialising in Capability Development and Training Analysis. Our subsidiary, Safety Drones Australia, provides aerial support using our fleet of rotary and fixed wing autonomous aircraft. In addition to our primary clientele, Phase Zero also cater our skills sets for large-scale special events. Whether it be an extreme sports event or an outdoor gathering of any scale, we can provide our risk management expertise and Project Management consultants to ensure each event is safe and successful. Phase Zero Consulting is proud to be the safety management providers for the Massive Murray Paddle. For more information about Phase Zero visit About carbonTRACKClean technology company carbonTRACK is best known for its intelligent energy management platform. The company was built on helping homeowners and businesses take control of their energy use and spend, and on creating an ecosystem where energy is consumed sustainably and shared fairly. “carbonTRACK has a bold vision that requires big thinking and advanced technology solutions. As such we’re always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.  We’re delighted to provide the technology that helps Phase Zero to better manage the safety efforts over the 400km course between Yarrawonga and Swan Hill” - Shavaj Kallamkote, CTO and Co-founder of carbonTRACK.  For more information about carbonTRACK visit RELATED LINKS For more information about the Massive Murray Paddle Phase Zero’s safety information for the Massive Murray Paddle – including the link to the tracking portal Frequently asked questions about the tracking process – for race participants and supporters Gidget Foundation Australia urges parents to Start Talking this PNDA Awareness Week, 11 - 17 November 2018 2018-11-12T22:28:18Z gidget-foundation-australia-urges-parents-to-start-talking-this-pnda-awareness-week-11-17-november-2018 Gidget Foundation Australia urges parents to Start Talking this PNDA Awareness Week, 11 - 17 November 2018 Gidget Foundation Australia urges all Australians, especially new and expectant parents, to ‘Start Talking’ this November in an effort to break down the stigma surrounding perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA). This call to action coincides with Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Awareness Week (PNDA Awareness Week), 11-17 November, which aims to drive awareness of an illness that affects around 100,000 Australians every year. Today, Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt, officially announced the Morrison Government’s investment of $300,000 into the Gidget Foundation. The Gidget Foundation is a national not-for-profit organisation offering free support services to families suffering emotional distress throughout pregnancy and the early stages of parenting. The Foundation's mission is to raise awareness and knowledge of the importance of emotional wellbeing as well as providing treatment services. The Foundation’s latest service, the national ‘Start Talking’ telehealth program which launched in April this year, provides 10 free specialist perinatal psychology sessions for families experiencing PNDA. The new program, available via video call, substantially improves equity of access to perinatal mental health treatment services for people in regional, rural and remote locations across Australia. Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt, said perinatal mental health is of critical importance for new mothers, babies and families. The Minister firmly believes a major step in breaking the stigma surrounding PNDA is to begin a conversation and Start Talking. “Up to one in seven new mums suffer from perinatal depression and anxiety and most are filled with guilt because of this. That is why PNDA Awareness Week and initiatives such as the Start Talking telehealth service are so important in highlighting that these emotions are nothing to be ashamed of and are in fact normal human responses due to circumstances and physical impacts of having a child.” Father of five, Obstetrician, and Chairman of Gidget Foundation Australia, Dr Vijay Roach, re-iterates how vital PNDA Awareness Week is in getting the right message out. “Pregnancy and the first year of parenthood (the perinatal period) can be a uniquely special time. It is also a time of great adjustment and the impact is often underestimated in our society. Our community needs to understand these challenges and support pregnant women and new parents in the acknowledgement of their emotional health, encouraging them to seek help when they are feeling anxious or down,” Dr Roach said. The Gidget Foundation has recruited psychologists to further facilitate this initiative who are supervised by perinatal psychiatrist, Professor Bryanne Barnett AM. The dedicated team of psychologists operate remotely using tablets or computers to conduct the one-hour video call sessions. The national Start Talking telehealth program offers 10 free counselling sessions over the period of 12 months. “Tech has become such a big part of our lives. We’ve found that when people use the video call option, it has a disinhibiting effect, meaning that they find it easier to ‘open up’. Recent evidence also shows that when in expert hands, video counselling is just as effective as being face-to-face,” explained Chris Barnes, Clinical Psychologist at Gidget Foundation Australia. While much of the focus is often placed on the health of the child during pregnancy, and after birth, it is equally important that, as a community, we address the emotional wellbeing of the parents as well. During PNDA Awareness Week, the Gidget Foundation strongly encourages the community to reach out to loved ones and ask a simple question. ‘Gidget’ was the nickname of a vibrant young mother who took her own life while suffering postnatal depression. She hid her suffering from even her loving family and friends. They established the Gidget Foundation in her memory, determined that what happened to Gidget would not happen to others. Today, the Gidget Foundation assists thousands of expectant parents and their families each year. CEO of Gidget Foundation Australia, Arabella Gibson, said: “The foundation provides free psychological counselling services face to face at Gidget House and seven free video calls via the start talking program, as well as the Gidget Emotional Wellbeing Screening Program for pregnant women in hospitals. The Foundation also trains health professionals, supports research, develops resources and has established workplace awareness programs.” -Ends- For further information, images, or an interview please contact Tonic PR: Trudy Dear I I 0449 513 557 Belinda Sieben I I 04 432 474 558 About Gidget Foundation Australia Gidget Foundation Australia is a national not for profit organisation. It exists to promote emotional wellbeing and to raise awareness of perinatal depression and anxiety amongst expectant and new parents, their families, their health providers and the wider community to ensure that those in need receive timely, appropriate and supportive care. Gidget Foundation Australia’s programs include: Gidget Emotional Wellbeing Program, early intervention screening at hospitals Gidget House model of care, providing 10 free face to face psychological support sessions for families experiencing emotional distress during pregnancy and early parenthood Gidget Start Talking Telehealth Program, providing 10 free video call psychological counselling sessions for families experiencing emotional distress during pregnancy and early parenthood Education and awareness programs for health professionals and the community Advocacy and active memberships of professional networks Research and contribution to mainstream and professional publications Development and distribution of resources Gidget Foundation Australia I 1300 851 758 I Instagram @gidgetfoundation I I Eaton parents join daughter’s medical mission to Africa 2018-11-08T05:57:54Z eaton-parents-join-daughter-s-medical-mission-to-africa Wednesday 7 November 2018: Eaton nurse Tamara Lowe loves her job so much that she finally convinced her parents to fly half way across the world to work alongside her on her latest medical mission to Africa. Miss Lowe, who has been volunteering with the international medical charity Mercy Ships on board their hospital ship each year since 2014, had always wanted her dad Mark and mum Liz to share her experience. “I was always saying to Dad, who is a radio engineer back home, that they need a Sound Technician on the Africa Mercy.” “And I knew Mum would always be able to do a number of different jobs on board," Miss Lowe said. "Now I get to share what I do with my parents. Growing up we often used to go to work with Dad; now it’s awesome to get to share this too!” It wasn’t until their youngest daughter Belinda left home this year that Mr and Mrs Lowe took the chance to volunteer.   They travelled to the Canary Islands in July to join the hospital ship on its sail to the West African nation of Guinea and will return home this week, while Tam will continue serving on board until June 2019.   “Guinea is the same as all of Africa; the problem is too big so why should I try, what can I do? But if we all, and I mean all, do our bit we can make a difference,” Mr Lowe said of his motivation to volunteer. “I know that the majority of people in Guinea are some of the poorest in the world,” Mrs Lowe added. “One thing I like about Mercy Ships is that they spend a lot of time and effort in training the locals. Whether it be the doctors or dentists or any other field of expertise we can train, it means that when we leave the country is better off because of those who live here now have more skills.” The Africa Mercy hospital ship arrived in the port city of Conakry, Guinea, in August 2018 with plans to provide 2,500 life-changing surgeries on board, treat over 8,000 people at a land-based dental clinic and provide health care training to local medical professionals during 10 months in port. “I absolutely love the work,” Tam said. “It is hard and challenging at times, but I find it very rewarding to be able to help the people we serve to heal from their physical and often emotional wounds. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to see them come out of their shells and take a step back into society.” “I am often asked what it’s like having my parents on board this time. It is different to the other times I have been here. It is nice to be able to have a hug from Mum and Dad and to share this experience.” “I will definitely be sad when they leave.” “The best thing has been seeing first hand where Tamara has been living and working for the past five years and also meeting some of the friends she has made,” Mrs Lowe recalled.  “Nothing can prepare you for this except love and compassion and a willingness to serve,” Mark concluded. END 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 $1.3 billion, with more than 2.6 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 are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships. For more information, please contact: Melissa MasonNational Office ManagerMercy Ships Australia(07) 5437 Australian hospital ship captain calls for maritime volunteers in Africa 2018-11-08T05:55:44Z australian-hospital-ship-captain-calls-for-maritime-volunteers-in-africa Thursday 27 September 2018: Australian man John Borrow never planned on being a full-time volunteer but when he first heard about Mercy Ships in the 1990’s, he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. His long journey with the organisation that operates the world’s largest independent hospital ship, Africa Mercy, has taken Mr Borrow and his family from Belrose, NSW, around the world and since 2016 he has served as the ship’s Captain. More than 400 volunteers from over 40 nations live and work on board the ship at any one time to provide free surgical services and health care education to those without access in the developing world. Mr Borrow learnt of Mercy Ships through a friend. He later visited Newcastle, where the previous Mercy Ship Island Mercy was docked, and after setting foot on board he knew he wanted to be part of its crew. “I was kind of disillusioned with my sea career. It’s not a great culture to be in,” Mr Borrow recalled. “I went up to check out the ship and I was pretty excited. I kept thinking that I had found my thing; I found my calling.” Joining as the Island Mercy’s Third Officer, Mr Borrow travelled to Papua New Guinea on a three-month commitment and absolutely fell in love. After hearing about his trip, Mr Borrow’s partner Lee-Anne, who was a dietician and had just finished her master’s degree in nutrition, was also eager to join. After the couple married in 2001, they boarded the now-retired Caribbean Mercy, where Mr Borrow served as Chief Officer before moving on to the original Mercy Ship, Anastasis, in 2005, where the couple raised their first child Tim for the first 18 months of his life. Eventually they returned to Australia to have their second son, Sam. After 8 years of being at home and working ashore Mr Borrow knew it was time to return to Mercy Ships. The Borrows joined the current flagship, Africa Mercy, in Madagascar in 2015, allowing John to jokingly claim that he’s been the Chief Officer on every Mercy Ship except for one. He took over as Captain in August 2016 and after three years of long-term service which also took them to Benin, Cameroon and Guinea, Mr Borrow and his family are now returning home which leaves a vacancy in his role. “We are struggling right now to find long term Deck Officers, especially Chief Officers and Captains.” “These roles are not only critical for the safe operation of the ship, but also to lead our deck crew, which are mostly Africans and the nicest, most gentle, respectful bunch of men you’re ever likely to meet.” “Our three years on board the Africa Mercy has been an amazing experience and we’ve met some truly inspiring people here, all with the same goal to help those not as lucky as we are.” “Once you see this level of pain and suffering you cannot be unaffected. You cannot ignore it, something changes, and you have to help.” To learn more about how to make Mercy Ships part of your sea career, visit 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 $1.3 billion, with more than 2.6 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 are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships. For more information, please contact: Melissa MasonNational Office ManagerMercy Ships Australia(07) 5437 Filming/photo opportunity: WW1 Remembrance Event 2018-11-07T21:00:00Z filming-photo-opportunity-ww1-remembrance-event Event: Rookwood Cemetery honours Australian war heroes at WW1 Remembrance Memorial for 1700 unofficially recognised service men and women buried at Rookwood Cemetery Date & Time: Friday, 9 November 2018 from 10am to 2pm at Rookwood Cemetery’s All Souls Chapel Interview: George Simpson, CEO, Rookwood Cemetery Overview The World War I centenary marks the completion of a four year long project for Rookwood General Cemetery, identifying and documenting the unofficial graves of servicemen and women who served in WW1 and buried in the grounds of Rookwood. The project was managed by a team of Rookwood General Cemetery staff and volunteers, who located the graves, undertook research about the individuals and their families, and cleaned or repaired the grave stones. Throughout the project, Rookwood appealed for public assistance to help identify family members of those who served during World War I and were buried at Rookwood. The project uncovered 1700 graves of Australian service men and women, with family members sharing their stories and photos. The memorial event on Friday will honour these Australians, share some of their remarkable stories and acknowledge their bravery and sacrifice. Following is an example of one of many veteran stories that will be shared at Friday’s event: Edwin Arthur Hollinworth: Grew up in Texas, Queensland Was known as the horse breaker (he owned a beautiful horse named, Starlight). Served in Cairo with Starlight, and was a classic example of the close bond between a man and his horse He died on May 25, 1936 in Coogee after demonstrating to a visitor how a bomb, that had already been detonated, would have worked (the bomb was a souvenir he brought back from the war). However, the salt in the air, combined with remnants of gun powder still in the bomb, caused an explosion which led to Edwin’s death. The WW1 Remembrance Event will include: An official ceremony (held from 10:30am to 11:30am) Video tribute Morning tea Gun-fire salute Anzac Tours Open-air museum View the full program at or call 8575 8100 for further information. Social workers in Shepparton to quiz candidates ahead of Victorian state election 2018-11-07T04:58:00Z social-workers-in-shepparton-to-quiz-candidates-ahead-of-victorian-state-election The Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group, with the support of the AASW Victorian Branch, is hosting a “Meet the Candidates” forum of the Shepparton District tomorrow, Thursday in the lead up to Victoria’s state election, Saturday, 24 November 2018. Representatives who will be there include: Suzanna Sheed - Independent (current MP) Bill Heath - Labor Peter Schwarz - Nationals Nickee Freeman - Greens Liberal candidate Cheryl Hammer will be an apology. Goulburn Murray Social Workers spokesperson David Tennant and CEO of Family Care said, “The purpose of the forum is to ask local candidates how they plan to address the issues that are affecting marginalised sections of our community. We want to see these issues brought to the fore at this election. These include homelessness, child protection, family violence, rural and regional development, treaty and reconciliation and climate change. “This is an area of Victoria that politicians must watch. The 2014 state election saw a large shift in this district’s voting patterns and we want to make sure that prospective representatives are listening to our needs. “Social workers are busy every day in Shepparton working with individuals and rural communities to find solutions to the barriers they face; people that rarely get a say in political debates. Everyone deserves to have their voices heard.” AASW Victorian Branch President Alex Bhathal said, “This is an important opportunity for candidates in the state seat of Shepparton to present their perspectives on concerns that matter to a key professional grouping. Social workers are often the first health and community sector professionals to observe trends in social needs. Social workers also see the impacts of politicians’ decisions on people and communities. The AASW Victorian Branch welcomes this initiative by the Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group." A number of local organisations have contributed to making the discussion possible, including St. Vincent de Paul, The Lighthouse Project, Goulburn Valley Primary Care Partnership, and La Trobe University. The forum is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, 8 November, 7.00pm – 8.30pm at La Trobe University, Cnr Fryers and North Sts Shepparton. Light refreshments will be provided afterwards. Register your interest on Eventbrite by going to: You can also call Lachlan on 0403 170 711 with any queries. ENDS About the Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group The Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group has a rich 20-year history, working to improve the wellbeing of some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in Shepparton and the Goulburn Murray region. It is affiliated with the AASW Victorian Branch and will soon submit an application to the Branch to become an official practice group. AASW Symposium provides global leadership on responding to trauma 2018-11-06T23:36:50Z aasw-symposium-provides-global-leadership-on-responding-to-trauma The Western Australian Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers will host a thought-provoking and action-oriented Trauma Informed Care Symposium this Friday, 9 November in Perth. The Symposium has gathered together social work leaders and researchers from the Noongar nation, Australia and the United States to explore together how we can respond to the devastating impacts of trauma at individual, family, community and global levels. Some of the speakers who will be presenting at the Symposium include: Respected Noongar Elder Elizabeth Hayden joins Noongar social workers Glenda Kickett and Dr Michael Wright to begin the Symposium with a ‘Yarning about Trauma’ session with Elder Jim Morrison. Together, they bring decades of experience of working with people and communities who have experienced trauma across generations. Dr Alicia Boccellari from the University of California and the founder of the Trauma Recovery Centre (TRC), which she launched in 2001. This Centre works with victims of abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and other violent crimes. The AASW National President Christine Craik who has worked as a social worker in family support, housing, community health and hospitals with a focus on domestic violence, sexual abuse and refugees for almost three decades. Dr Ann O’Neill, who is an inspiring speaker, an award-winning humanitarian, victimologist, social worker, educator, activist, volunteer and researcher. Ann is a specialist in the areas of trauma, criminal victimisation and advocacy. AASW WA Branch President Michael Berry said, “When people are experiencing trauma and seek support they can be re-traumatised by the way in which individuals and services respond. This Symposium is an opportunity for people who work in this area to learn how to respond in ways that are healing. We are especially pleased to welcome Noongar Elders and have Dr Boccellari join us from the United States.” AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The Symposium aims to develop practice skills and knowledge for social workers and other workers who are responding to trauma at all levels. It will provide an opportunity for people to transform trauma, connect with each other to learn, challenge and share ideas.” Minister Simone McGurk, Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services was pleased the State Government through the Department of Communities was able to support this Symposium as a key sponsor. She said, “It is an excellent opportunity for social workers in our state to hear and learn from experts who respond to trauma. “I am a strong believer that we will only be able to address some of our most complex social issues by looking to evidence-based practice. “Understanding the impact of trauma on brain development, children’s well-being and family functioning is crucial to improving outcomes for individuals and families who have experienced trauma.” The AASW encourages live tweeting during the event, with the hashtag #AASWTrauma Register on the AASW’s website. You can also flag that you are attending the Symposium on Facebook and check into the event on the day. AASW National President Christine Craik is available for interview. ENDS Diamond Sponsor: Supported by the Department of Communities Silver Sponsors: AnglicareWA, angelhands, RUAH Community Services, Indigo Junction, Slater and Gordon Lawyers Media contact AASW Angela Yin Communications Lead P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954 Media contact Department of Communities Steve Worner Manager, Media Relations Phone 08 6217 4077 Population Review needs to be balanced and sensitive to community cohesion says Settlement Services International 2018-11-02T02:05:31Z population-review-needs-to-be-balanced-and-sensitive-to-community-cohesion-says-settlement-services-international-1 Settlement Services International (SSI) welcomes NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s appointment of an expert panel to develop a population policy for NSW, especially if it brings balance, fact and data on Australia’s migration program and ensures Australia’s successful multicultural social fabric and community cohesion are not undermined. The panel will consider "the current rate of population growth and infrastructure pipeline" and "how long is needed for infrastructure to catch up with population growth rates". In her announcement (link:, the Premier renewed her call for net overseas migration levels to return to more sustainable Howard-era rates until a proper population policy is put in place. She said, “It is becoming increasingly clear that the current high rates of population growth are putting even more pressure on our infrastructure.” A "Howard era" benchmark — when NSW's net migration averaged at 45,000 people per year under the Howard government — would require halving the current levels, which have averaged above 100,000 for the past two years. SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said, “Discussions about levels of immigration are essential in an inclusive and democratic country like Australia, however we do not want to compromise our successful multicultural cohesion by focusing only on impacts to planning and infrastructure.” Ms Roumeliotis said while Ms Berejiklian believed, "NSW’s economic success is attracting a far greater share of total immigrant numbers than it has in the past" she also needed to acknowledge that much of that economic success could be attributed to the migrant population. She said, “Migration has clear economic and social benefits for Australia. Australia’s migration levels prevented our economy going into a technical recession after the World Financial Crisis. “The Productivity Commission Inquiry Report Migrant Intake into Australia (2016) found that with net migration at the historic average rate, GDP per person is projected to increase by some 7% relative to zero net overseas migration by 2060.” Ms Roumeliotis said there were planning pressures in any big city but “we must remember that migrants come to Australia with high levels of social and economic capital and a strong willingness to contribute and, further, have shaped modern Australia since World War II.” She said SSI supported the Productivity Commission’s recommendation that, in determining migrant intake, the Australian government should give greater consideration to the implications for planning and investment and that State and Territory governments should develop detailed infrastructure plans that are consistent with population growth. She said SSI also agreed with the Productivity Commission’s recommendations that the Australian government: develop and articulate a population policy, and calibrate the size of the annual migrant intake according to that population policy; and in determining the migration intake, give greater consideration to planning and investment in infrastructure. However, Ms Roumeliotis said, “Planning of population levels and infrastructure should involve all levels of government and other stakeholders, including industry and employer bodies, education and training providers, other service providers, academia, planners and representatives of relevant migrant and other community groups.” Settlement Services International have co-hosted the International Metropolis Conference held this week in Sydney. NOTES TO EDITORS For more information and interviews with Violet Roumeliotis, please contact: Stephen Webb l l 0488 684 163 WHO ARE PROPEL FUNERAL PARTNERS? 2018-11-01T03:34:31Z who-are-propel-funeral-partners The funeral industry in Australia is currently estimated to be $1.1 billion and provides essential services to individuals and families dealing with, or preparing for, death and bereavement. However, navigating the funeral industry when someone has died can leave many of us vulnerable to upselling and confused with no understanding of the industry and little idea of our funeral rights and choices. In Australia there are two main listed players, being InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC)and the newer Propel Funeral Partners Ltd (ASX: PFP). Between them they likely account for more than 40% of the Australian market after recent acquisitions. The following information is provided in a series of articles to assist consumers learn more about some of the largest funeral companies in Australia. In this article we provide an overview of Propel Funeral Partners. About Propel Funeral Partners? Propel Funeral Partners was established in FY12 and is now the second largest private provider of death care services in Australia and New Zealand. Propel was founded and is managed by Propel Investments Pty Ltd. The company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in late November 2017 as it sought to emulate InvoCare by buying up smaller family owned funeral homes. They own funeral homes, cemeteries, crematoria and related assets in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and New Zealand. Propel performed over 10,000 funeral services in FY18 and the Company’s portfolio currently comprises 108 locations (54 freehold and 54 leasehold) in Australia and New Zealand, including 24 cremation facilities and 7 cemeteries. It’s recent acquisitions include Seasons Funeral Homes in Western Australia and Norwood Park in New South Wales, Newhaven Funerals in Queensland. Which funeral homes are owned by Propel Funeral Partners? Corporate versus Independent Funeral Directors Although most consumers will pick a funeral home brand based on expensive marketing campaigns, it pays to shop around. We wouldn’t consider buying a car or paying for a wedding without learning everything we can about the product or service. The same decision making process should also apply to funerals! Choosing between a corporate or family-owned funeral home is a personal question. Corporate funeral homes are often able to charge a premium due to brand recognition and the belief that their services will be of a higher professional quality. On the other hand, independent funeral homes in Australia work for consumers and not shareholders of publicly listed companies, InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners. They are often more connected with the communities they serve and have more freedom to tailor funerals to reflect the wishes of the family (rather than being bound by strict package options). GRAVE CONCERNS HELD FOR FUNERAL CONSUMERS EZIFUNERALS CALLS ON CONSUMERS AND FAMILY OWNED FUNERAL HOMES TO CHALLENGE THE FUNERAL DUOPOLY Make the Independent Funeral Choice the Right Choice If local ownership and community involvement are important to you, you should ask who owns and operates the funeral home you are considering. By choosing to use the services of an independent funeral director, listed with eziFunerals, you are selecting the help of a trusted professional – who can help you anywhere, anytime. They are not distracted or bound by corporate rules handed down from head office and shareholders but can be flexible and responsive to individual needs, providing a highly personal and compassionate service. So make the right choice and get value for money by selecting an Australian, independent and family owned funeral director to conduct a funeral. For more information on funeral costs in each of the states, see our city specific pages: Funeral Directors Sydney Funeral Directors Melbourne Funeral Directors Brisbane Funeral Directors Adelaide Funeral Directors Perth Funeral Directors Hobart About eziFunerals eziFunerals is a free consumer advocacy and funeral planning platform that supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company. Founded by consumers frustrated by how difficult it was to get independent information, eziFunerals supports consumers plan a funeral, compare prices and select the right funeral director anywhere, anytime. Shergold to take an evidence-based approach to NSW population policy 2018-11-01T00:27:30Z shergold-to-take-an-evidence-based-approach-to-nsw-population-policy Western Sydney University Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold who was announced on NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian’s three-member panel to develop a NSW population policy, addressed a global delegation at the International Metropolis Conference in Sydney yesterday. When asked about his involvement in the panel he told the 700 strong audience: ''We need to take an evidence-based approach to ascertain how much of the problem is one of urban infrastructure and how much of it relates to temporary and permanent migration. ''I look forward to gathering a range of opinions and data to assist in making recommendations to the Premier,” said Professor Shergold. Premier Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that she wanted the state to return to ‘Howard-era immigration levels’, which would mean halving the state’s migrant intake, due to concerns about population expansion. “It is becoming increasingly clear that the current high rates of population growth are putting even more pressure on our infrastructure," she said in a statement. The International Metropolis Conference, Sydney is the largest migration and multicultural event in the world. It continues until Friday 2 November. Violet Roumeliotis, CEO of Settlement Services International and Chancellor Professor Peter Shergold Notes to Editors For more information or to interview those featured in this press release, please contact: Marlise Beasley I Senior Account Manager, ZADRO via 0423 624 013 Felicity Zadro I Managing Director, ZADRO via 0404 009 384 Limited Media Passes are available for relevant and interested parties and subject to approval. If you would like a media pass, please contact Marlise Beasley on About the Event The International Metropolis Conference will be held at the ICC Sydney 29 October – 2 November 2018. Metropolis 2018 is the only platform to bring together international, national and local migration influencers alongside academic, government, practitioner and community perspectives to highlight the latest research, challenges, insights and successes in migration, diversity and integration. Metropolis 2018 is important as the thought leaders and brightest minds of the migration sector will come together to drive enterprise, innovation and social change. We will see and hear the stories of lived experience center-stage at our event, and we will encourage debate on the hard questions, whilst seeking important new solutions. Metropolis is committed to sharing the intricacies of 21st Century migration, to shape 21st Century solutions. The Conference Chairs are: Violet Roumeliotis, CEO, Settlement Services International and Telstra Business Woman of the Year 2018 Dr Bulent (Hass) Dellal AO, CEO, Australian Multicultural Foundation Hakan Harman, CEO, Multicultural NSW The conference theme is Global Migration in Turbulent Times. It will focus on the following eight sub-themes: Enterprise, Innovation and Employment – catalysts for social change? Migration and Mobility – the dynamic shifts in the Asia-Pacific region Displacement and asylum – new dimensions driving an old phenomenon Visible and powerful – migrant voices in a connected world Conflicting agendas? National, local, regional and global responses to the governance of migration Religious diversity – a bridge or a barrier to belonging? Migration and inequality – complex challenges under the microscope Australia a multicultural paradise – myths and realities For all conference and program information