The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-03-21T02:06:25Z AIIA celebrates ongoing government–industry collaboration on digital transformation 2019-03-21T02:06:25Z aiia-celebrates-ongoing-government-industry-collaboration-on-digital-transformation Sydney, Australia – 21 March 2019 -- The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the peak member body for the ICT industry, is celebrating the progress made by government and industry since a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) one year ago. Michael Keenan, Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation, was the keynote speaker at the AIIA hosted Ministerial Luncheon held on Tuesday 19 March at the National Press Club. The event marked the anniversary of the shared commitment to continue to deliver the Australian Government’s Digital Transformation Agenda. In his valedictory speech, Minister Keenan emphasised he is an ongoing supporter of the MOU between the DTA and AIIA, highlighting some of the positive outcomes benefiting the industry. The MOU was entered into on 13 March 2018 in order to facilitate practical ways for the DTA and AIIA to engage industry and government agencies in meaningful dialogue. During the first year, participating AIIA members have benefited from ongoing updates on the DTA’s activities relating to its digital transformation agenda. This included the opportunity for AIIA members to contribute directly to DTA on user research. Commenting on the anniversary of the AIIA and DTA MOU, Ron Gauci, CEO of the AIIA, said: “We’ve made great progress identifying opportunities for the parties to exchange information and draw on expertise to deliver better government online services for individuals and businesses. “Our members think this has been a ‘great start’ for industry and government agency dialogue. We hope this model will continue to evolve, and that it can be applied across other agencies.” Several initiatives and activities have been undertaken to support the opening of the dialogue. These include: Regular meetings between DTA CEO and AIIA CEO Cadence meetings between AIIA members and DTA Senior decision makers Being part of the October 2018 USA delegation visiting the following AIIA member offices: Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, IBM, Cisco, Infosys, Qlik, WIPRO, Singtel Innov8 and Oracle. The delegates also attended think tanks such as the World Economic Forum and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, as well as startup incubators at Berkley SkyDeck and the Australian Landing Pad, all showcasing innovative Australian technology start-up companies. # # # About AIIA The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is Australia’s peak representative body and advocacy group for those in the digital ecosystem. Since 1978 AIIA has pursued activities to stimulate and grow the digital ecosystem, to create a favorable business environment for members and to contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity. We do this by delivering outstanding member value by providing a strong voice of influence; building a sense of community through events and education; enabling a network for collaboration and inspiration; and developing compelling content and relevant and interesting information. Media Contacts For more information please contact: Jeffrey Coote Tel: (02) 8355 3130 jeffrey@filteredmedia.com.au Statement on Brisbane City Council distributing disposable breathalysers to staff 2019-03-20T03:03:10Z statement-on-brisbane-city-council-distributing-disposable-breathalysers-to-staff Brisbane City Council has purchased 18,000 disposable personal breathalysers for staff to undertake voluntary testing after lunch or the morning after a heavy night of drinking. https://www.facebook.com/couriermail/posts/10156704673552702 Irwandy Tan, CEO of Andatech, says the amount spent on disposable units, which may have been up to $50,000, could have been better spent on wall-mounted and personal breathalysers to provide a long-term solution. Andatech has the largest number of Australian Standard-certified breathalysers in Australia, which are designed for personal use, workplaces and hospitality venues. Mr Tan said Brisbane City Council and any other workplace/venue can install a wall-mounted breathalyser to determine accurate readings of employees’ BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) to three decimal places. “While many workplaces conduct random alcohol and drug testing, providing a voluntary system where employees can check themselves at any time, allows employees to be responsible for their actions, which is a good thing.” The other suggestion from Irwandy Tan is that for the same amount of money, Brisbane City Council could have purchased around 160 personal breathalysers that employees could take with them to lunches and meetings so they could test themselves before they return to work. “For the Council’s investment, I believe a better option would have been a mix of wall mounted units and hand-held personal breathalysers that come with removable mouthpieces. “Once the units have been purchased, the only other cost is calibration of the fuel cell technology to ensure ongoing accuracy and the purchase of more mouthpieces. “The other concern with having 18,000 disposable units is that they will all end up in landfill,” he added. Ends For more comments please contact: Mr Irwandy Tan, Director and CEO, Andatech. T: 03 8899 6900 M: 0400 338 300 E: irwandy@andatech.com.au https://www.andatech.com.au/ About Andatech: Andatech is a 100% Australian owned company that designs, supplies, supports and services safety products including high quality alcohol and drug testing equipment. The company has the widest range of Australian Standard-certified breathalysers in Australia, which are designed for personal use, workplaces, hospitality venues (wall mounted) and as car interlock devices. Drug testing kits cover saliva and urine testing of up to 9 drug groups, providing error-free results. Andatech also has a distribution channel offering consumer safety products and air quality products include dehumidifiers, air purifiers and humidifiers. https://www.andatech.com.au/ Media enquiries: Wendy McWilliams, WMC PR, T: 03 9803 2588 E: wendy@wmcpr.com.au US expert presents evidence for innovative drug-free pain management device, ActiPatch® 2019-03-13T23:39:19Z us-expert-presents-evidence-for-innovative-drug-free-pain-management-device-actipatch-r Mundipharma was pleased to welcome Biomedical Engineer Dr Sree Koneru to Australia to give a presentation on the innovative pain management device, ActiPatch®, which he helped develop. ActiPatch® uses electromagnetic pulse therapy to provide long-lasting pain relief. Dr Koneru is the Vice President of Product Development for Bioelectronics and visited Australia to present the clinical evidence behind ActiPatch® at the Australian Pharmacy Conference on the Gold Coast. You can watch Dr Koneru discussing ActiPatch® on Chanel Seven’s Weekend Sunrise here. “The new understanding of chronic pain is that nerves ‘memorise’ the initial pain from injury and over time, become hyperreactive,” Dr Koneru said. “When used over a painful area, ActiPatch’s pulsed signal is absorbed by tissue and disrupts hyperactivity of the nerves, resulting in lasting relief.” Electromagnetic pulse therapy helps to relieve pain from mild osteoarthritis and general musculoskeletal pain in the back, knee, heel and other muscle joints. It is also ideal for strains, sprains and other painful conditions. The therapy is completely sensation free, with no heat, tingling sensations or vibration. ActiPatch® is drug-free and can be safely used with any other medications. A registry studyi of more than 5,000 chronic pain sufferers using ActiPatch® indicated that: • More than 65% per cent reported a clinically meaningful reduction in pain from a wide variety of causes and locations of pain • The average pain reduction reported in these individuals was 57% • The 3-month follow-up showed sustained pain relief, decreased oral analgesic medication use and quality of life improvement. “ActiPatch® uses low-level therapy to allow 24/7 use and, as it doesn’t require skin contact, can be used over bandages and clothing,” said Dr Koneru. “Can also be used by people with metallic implants and when not placed directly over them, electronic devices such as pacemakers/defibrillators.” Mundipharma recently acquired the exclusive Australian and New Zealand distribution rights for ActiPatch®, reinforcing its commitment to the multimodal approach to pain management. This multimodal approach includes cognitive behavioural therapies, physical therapies and pharmacological therapies. “Mundipharma has worked collaboratively with healthcare professionals to provide appropriate access to pain relief over the past 20 years,” said Jane Orr, Managing Director of Mundipharma Australia and New Zealand. “Our work with leading clinicians and reputation as a trusted medical advisor will enable us to help more patients benefit from this therapy.” The results of clinical trials involving ActiPatch® can be found here. Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Further information is available from Mundipharma Pty Limited, 88 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW 2000. Phone 1800 188 009 or email medinfo@mundipharma.com.au. For media enquiries, please contact: Rob Bates Communications Manager +61 422 196 238 Rob.Bates@mundipharma.com.au About Mundipharma Mundipharma is a member of a global network of independent associated companies which are engaged in research, development, production and marketing of prescription medicines and consumer healthcare products. Established as a leader in the development and provision of medicines for pain, we have expanded our portfolio to include treatments for cancer, glaucoma, asthma, burns, wounds, skin irritations and the common cold. For more information, please visit: www.mundipharma.com.au. ® ACTIPATCH is a registered trademark. References i Rawe et al. Pain Manag. 5(6):413-423 (2015) IXUP introduces secure data analytics as on demand SaaS model 2019-03-06T23:37:07Z ixup-introduces-secure-data-analytics-as-on-demand-saas-model 7 March 2019: IXUP Limited (ASX: IXU) (“IXUP” or the “Company”), a technology company that secures data analytics, has announced a flexible on-demand software-as-a- service (SaaS) delivery option which will be available to clients in April. This additional deployment model will extend the Company’s market opportunity and enable it to capitalise off the growing use of SaaS technologies in the enterprise space. The SaaS deployment options will enable clients to purchase IXUP’s technology as a subscription-based license and access the secure and governed analytics platform through Microsoft Azure. It allows quick and easy access to IXUP’s secure data analytics technology, with minimal set-up costs, fast deployment and immediate access to analytics. The SaaS model will expedite time to value, save costs and encourage multi-party data analytics use by new clients who will benefit from a range of software bundles at different price points. The growing trend of organisations using cloud technology is driving new buying and consumption expectations, with client behaviour increasingly favouring subscription-based options. This is in line with a shift seen in the market toward a reduction of capital investment in traditional data analytical systems and services. IXUP CEO, Peter Leihn, said: “IXUP’s strategy is based on our core belief that combining one organisation’s insights with that of others delivers new value for customers. However, this can’t occur without the absolute confidence in the security and governance of the analytics and the use of that data. “Offering IXUP’s unique technology through the well proven SaaS model, represents an important progression in the realisation of our beliefs. We are making it quicker and easier for organisations to purchase and deploy IXUP’s platform where and when they want, while creating a platform for forward thinking organisations to partner with likeminded third parties for deeper and more valuable insight.” The Company’s SaaS model will provide a differentiated set of offerings to the market through the following solutions: IXUP Light TM: For new-to-IXUP customers looking to use our encryption technology to gain a capped number of insights per month through data partnerships; and IXUP Expert TM: For larger sophisticated data scientists and organisations that require multiple and repeated data collaboration enquiries per month. This is in addition to the Company’s current Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering renamed: IXUP EnableTM: Designed for IXUP’s Super Collaborators who wish to leverage the platform to conduct secure collaborations with their key clients, on their own Microsoft Azure infrastructure. The addition of the SaaS model to the Company’s sales offering will strengthen IXUP’s go- to-market and sales approach and will address new and expanded market opportunities. -ENDS- About IXUP IXUP Limited (pronounced ‘eyes up’) is a listed technology company (ASX: IXU) that secures data analytics and delivers insights within a governance framework. The platform encrypts and connects data from multiple sources, solving the problems of data loss and misuse by enabling data owners to remain in complete control of their data. IXUP was listed in 2017. For more information visit www.ixup.com. Media Contact Jeffrey Coote Filtered Media +61 2 8188 3616 jeffrey@filteredmedia.com.au Adrenaline Pumping Gold Coast Holiday Activities From Cheap and Affordable Gold Coast Airport Car Hire Rentals Companies in Queensland 2019-03-05T22:02:19Z adrenaline-pumping-gold-coast-holiday-activities-from-cheap-and-affordable-gold-coast-airport-car-hire-rentals-companies-in-queensland With holiday time almost here, thousands of Australians will be streaming to the Gold Coast. Some may just want to chill on the beaches or stroll through stores, but an increasing number are set on letting adrenaline pump out the cobwebs after a year at the office desk, according to Darryl Essington-Wilson, CEO of Gold Coast Family Car Rentals. He sees the Gold Coast adrenaline and extreme activities, already very popular, becoming increasingly so during the Gold Coast’s current tourism industry boom, and the venues and areas where they take place may well be the most visited destinations for those driving his rental cars this holiday season. Choosing the Hard Way Visitors can enjoy their holidays the hard way, or the easy way, says Darryl. They can take in dramatic views of scenic islands and beaches from hot air balloons as the sun rises or sets, or take scenic flights in seaplanes or helicopters. They can also go the kayaking route, take exhilarating hikes and participate in many other outdoor activities. However, more visitors are tending to go for the challenge of high speeds, scary heights or super physical activity, whether it’s on or in the water, up in the sky, on solid ground or somewhere in-between. And, according to Darryl, the Gold Coast is making sure that the toughest challenge for visitors will be in choosing which of the many options available to enjoy first. Up, Up and Away Rather than settling for a seaplane or balloon, those chasing the adrenaline buzz may choose to accept the challenge of tandem sky-diving (the first minute of which consists of free-fall) from 14,000ft above Kirra Beach at Coolangatta; or see what it’s like free-falling the whole way in an indoor wind tunnel at Surfers Paradise. For those who want to hang around between sky and ground, Darryl suggests heading for the trees. The Canyon Flyer guided tour at Mt Tamborine sees brave travellers suspended on zip lines 60m high above the Cedar Creek Canyon, and zipping along at speeds of up to 70km/h. The Tree Top Challenge at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary can occupy up to 3.5 hours of adrenaline pumping time for the adventurous ones in the family, whilst others spend their time enjoying the many animal encounters that the Sanctuary is famous for. Darryl says travellers can alsoget the feeling of being suspended in the air by going parasailing (tandem or alone) behind a powerful boat while surrounded by the views of Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast Islands. Hitting the Water A high-speed Jet-Boat ride will certainly add a splash of excitement to the day. It starts at Surfers Paradise and speeds along the Gold Coast Broadwater, complete with 360-degree spins and other adrenaline-inducing tricks. There’s also the chance to fly about 10m off the water and at a speed of up to 45km/h while powered by a jetpack or enjoy the jet-propelled Flyboard experience both on and above the water. Don’t Forget the Kids The Gold Coast has plenty of activities for kids, says Darryl. Many of the theme parks that are becoming synonymous with Gold Coast tourism, like Sea World, Movie World, Dreamworld, andWet‘n’Wild water world, and Game Over offer a selection of rides, thrills and activities both outdoors and indoors. Youngsters can also go whizzing around on wheels on dry ground; or walk, turn, run and slide across the water inside giant water balls at the Royal Pines Resort in Benowa, near Surfers Paradise. These adrenaline-pumping activities found at Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta and Mt Tamborine are all within easy reach of Gold Coast city in a rental car from Gold Coast Family Car Rentals, with travelling times of no more than 30 minutes. And booking one of Darryl’s cars is just as easy - To find one to travel in the Gold Coast area, and particularly from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, and including the Gold Coast Airport, make sure to book onlinewith Car Hire Gold Coast or Gold Coast Airport Car Rental, or call + 61 7 5508 3333. Pick up and drop off at the Gold Coast Airport can be arranged. Syndicated by Baxton Media. AIIA urges Government to co-design Consumer Data Rights with industry and consumers 2019-03-05T01:25:50Z aiia-urges-government-to-co-design-consumer-data-rights-with-industry-and-consumers Sydney, Australia – 5 March 2019 -- The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the peak member body for the ICT industry, is calling for the Government to work with industry and consumers to co-design the proposed Consumer Data Rights (CDR) regulatory framework before its phased implementation from 1 July 2019. The CDR Bill 2019 is designed to create an extensive regulatory framework for the sharing of consumer data across industry sectors and was introduced into House of Representatives in February. It was immediately referred by the Senate to its Economics and Legislation Committee for inquiry and a report, due by 18 March 2019. Commenting on the proposed CDR Bill, AIIA CEO Ron Gauci said: “AIIA members support the establishment of a CDR regulatory framework that protects consumer data while fostering innovation in the telecommunications sector. However, AIIA members do not support the imposition of a CDR ‘template’ that is developed to suit the characteristics of the banking and energy sectors. Our members are clear of the need for a telecommunications specific template. “There is a real risk that inadequate stakeholder engagement and rushed implementation will result in an ambiguous and complex CDR regulatory framework. This could potentially create an unnecessary and onerous compliance burden for the different industry sectors and alienate consumers. “The CDR initiative is just one example of where Government legislation and regulatory frameworks struggle to keep pace with technology-led business change and innovation. Therefore, we urge the Government, consumers and the telecommunication industry to work together to co-design a clear and trusted CDR regulatory framework.” The AIIA recommends: The implementation of the CDR regulatory framework should include iterative review points. Data collected and lessons learnt from the review points should be incorporated into the regulatory frameworks for the energy and telecommunications sectors of the economy. These reviews should include consideration of technological advancements and the adequacy of existing regulatory frameworks that already apply to the telecommunication sector. AIIA has made two previous joint submissions to Government on the CDR regulatory framework in September and October 2018. The issues raised in these joint submissions by AIIA and Communications Alliance members remain current. The Bill is due to be debated in Parliament during its 2 April 2019 sitting days. The Bill, if successfully enacted, is due to come into effect from 1 July 2019. # # # About AIIA The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is Australia’s peak representative body and advocacy group for those in the digital ecosystem. Since 1978 AIIA has pursued activities to stimulate and grow the digital ecosystem, to create a favorable business environment for members and to contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity. We do this by delivering outstanding member value by providing a strong voice of influence; building a sense of community through events and education; enabling a network for collaboration and inspiration; and developing compelling content and relevant and interesting information. AIIA’s members range from start-ups and the incubators that house them, to small and medium-sized businesses including many ‘scale-ups’, and large Australian and global organisations. While AIIA’s members represent around two-thirds of the technology revenues in Australia, more than 90% of our members are SMEs. Media Contacts For more information please contact: Jeffrey Coote Tel: (02) 8355 3130 jeffrey@filteredmedia.com.au The TV Week Logies Most Popular TV Commercial Finalists Announced 2019-03-03T22:58:13Z the-tv-week-logies-most-popular-tv-commercial-finalists-announced THE TV WEEK LOGIES MOST POPULAR TV COMMERCIAL FINALISTS ANNOUNCED 4th March 2019 Bauer Media is proud to announce the finalists in the Most Popular Television Commercial category at the 61st annual TV WEEK Logie Awards, to be held on the Gold Coast later this year. Twelve of Australia’s best advertisements are eligible for the new Logie Award. In its inaugural year, the Most Popular TV Commercial category received an overwhelming number of entries from agencies all across Australia. A panel of leading industry experts were responsible for shortlisting the numerous submissions and undertook a rigorous selection process in order to narrow down the top 12 advertisements to move forward to the public vote. 2019’s judging panel consisted of some of Australia’s most authoritative voices in media and advertising; Pippa Chambers, Editor of Ad News, James Manning, Editor of Mediaweek, Michael Lynch, CEO and Founder of Campaign Brief, David Hovenden, Editor and Publisher of B&T, Thomas Woodgate, Editor of TV WEEK and Jane Waterhouse, General Manager of Bauer Media’s Story54. Thomas Woodgate, Editor TV WEEK said: “We had an overwhelming response to this campaign in its very first year and we are thrilled to be submitting some of Australia’s finest creative for the consumer vote. It’s been really pleasing to see how the industry has embraced this award. It was our intention to showcase the creativity within the advertising industry and the level of submissions was superb. Some of the best creative is being produced right here in Australia and the commercials this year proved that. We were looking for ads that really captured the diverse nature of our country and there were plenty. Judging was an extremely tough process, so thank you to all that submitted for making our jobs so difficult! It’ll be over to the public to decide the final winner, so I wish all entrants the very best of luck.” The top 12 commercials shortlisted for 2019 include: Australia Santa Crashes Christmas by Aldi Dundee: Australia's Tourism Ad in Disguise by Tourism Australia First Dance by Apple Frank by Westpac I AM the captain of my soul by Invictus Games It's a Mystery by Budget Direct Join The Queendom by Bonds Lamb Side Story by MLA Making My Christmas by Myer Naked Wrestling by KFC Serena Project: I Touch Myself by Berlei Tastes Like Australia by Vegemite Public voting officially opens today, Monday the 4th of March on the digital home of TV WEEK, Now to Love. The 61st TV WEEK Logie Awards will be held at The Star Gold Coast in Queensland. All the action from the red-carpet arrivals and awards-show celebrations will be telecast on the Nine Network and 9Now. IS THE FUNERAL INDUSTRY ON THE ACCC’s RADAR 2019-02-28T23:48:27Z is-the-funeral-industry-on-the-acccs-radar In the past few decades, various state and territory governments have conducted inquiries into the funeral industry, with the aim of addressing community concerns relating to: the high cost of funerals a lack of competition the need for increased regulation. The last major inquiry occurred in 2011, when InvoCare Limited (InvoCare) acquired Bledisloe Group Holdings Pty. Following this inquiry, the ACCC determined that this acquisition would be unlikely to substantially lessen market competition and did not oppose it, subject to (Section 87B) undertakings being provided by both companies. ‘Despite these inquiries, not much has changed’ Despite these inquries, not much has changed. In fact, some may even argue that things have got a lot worse for consumers. The funeral industry in Australia has now grown to a $1 billion dollar industry, and is currently dominated by two ASX listed companies, InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners. At the time of the ACCC inquiry in 2011, InvoCare operated 178 funeral homes and 12 cemeteries and crematoria nationally. It now currently operates over 270 locations and 16 cemeteries/crematoria with a current turnover of approximately $477 million a year. InvoCare currently controls 33% (projected to grow to 40%) of the Australian market. In 2017, Propel Funeral Partners (Propel) became the latest funeral company to list on the ASX, and is now the second largest private provider of death care services in 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. 'ASX listed funeral companies fight for market share' In a race to grow their market share even further, both InvoCare and Propel have been busy buying up smaller family owned funeral homes across Australia. Since 2018, InvoCare has acquired $14.0 million of Australian-based funeral providers, as part of their ‘Protect & Grow 2020 Plan', with more acquisitions planned. InvoCare’s recent acquisitions of small independent and family owned funeral homes, since March 2018 include: English Rose Funerals, South Australia Lester & Son Funerals, Victoria/New South Wales Southern Highlands Funerals, New South Wales J A Dunn Funerals, Tasmania Archer & Sons Funerals, Western Australia Grafton & District Funerals, New South Wales Hastings Funerals, New South Wales Harrison Funerals, Victoria. Propel's recent acquisitions of small independent and family owned funeral homes, since November 2017 include: John Hossak Funerals, New South Wales/ACT William R Groves Funerals, New South Wales/ACT White Dove Funerals, New South Wales/ACT Parkview Funeral Home, New South Wales/ACT McGuiness Funerals, New South Wales/ACT Acacia Funerals, New South Wales/ACT Manning Great Lakes Memorial Gardens, New South Wales Norwood Park, New South Wales, Queensland Newhaven Funerals, Queensland Morleys Funerals Pty Ltd, Queensland Conway Funeral Home, Victoria Seasons Funerals, Western Australia Just Cremations, Western Australia. Should we follow the UK inquiry into the funeral industry The funeral industry in the UK has some interesting parallels to the Australian marketplace. Just like Australia, the UK industry is dominated by two corporate funeral chains, Co-op Funeral Care and Dignity. However, the UK funeral chains only control approximately 27% of the market, whereas, InvoCare and Propel control around 40% of the Australian industry (and it’s growing). In response to community concerns, the UK funeral industry is currently facing a major inquiry from the competition watchdog after findings by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Issues found by the CMA during its six-month review included: The price of the essential elements of a funeral has increased by more than two thirds in the last 10 years. The CMA says that today, people generally spend between £3,000 ($5,200 AU) and £5,000 ($8,700 AU) organising a funeral. It says for those on the lowest incomes, this amounts to nearly 40% of their annual outgoings, more than they spend on food, clothing and energy combined. Customers could save over £1,000 ($1,700 AU) by looking at a range of choices in their local area. Despite choice being available, the CMA says that people organising a funeral are usually distressed and often not in a position to do this – making it easier for some funeral directors to charge higher prices.The CMA has also found that prices are often not available online, making it difficult to compare options. Some larger chains have implemented policies of consistently high year-on-year price increases. The CMA says that a number of these have now introduced lower cost funeral options, but this doesn’t go far enough to make up for years of above inflation price hikes.The CMA’s evidence also indicates most people who organise a funeral remain extremely vulnerable to exploitation and future rises in charges. Fees charged by crematoria have increased by 84% on average in the past 10 years. The CMA says that cremations account for 77% of funerals, yet there are limited choices for most people in their local area.It says the cost increase amounts to more than three times the rate of inflation. Other findings from the review include how funeral directors are: Failing to inform customers about cheaper options unless they specifically raise concerns about cost; Not providing a clear breakdown of prices online so families can compare like‑for-like funeral packages; Luring in customers with low-cost deals and then selling more expensive options once they are in the branch; Using family names to give the impression branches are independent when they are, in fact, owned by the same group. Is it time for Australia’s competition watchdog (ACCC) to protect consumers at their time of grief eziFunerals has expressed ongoing concerns about the funeral industry in Australia. The monopolisation of any marketplace can be a bad thing for consumers, especially when they are most vulnerable. In a market economy, monopolies are able to demand higher prices for their service because they have limited competition. They can become immensely powerful and use this power and economies of scale to further benefit themselves, at the expense of consumers. The issues found by the CMA in the UK raises similar concerns about the Australian industry. However, unlike the UK Competition and Markets Authority, the ACCC has been silent in monitoring the way the funeral industry operates nationally. Most funeral homes in the industry do the right thing, but government regulators in Australia need to act in the interests of consumers, even when there are marketplace reasons not to do so. Only time will tell if the fallout from the UK funeral inquiry will have serious flow on effects for the funeral industry in Australia. Related articles Funeral Inquiry Raises Serious Concerns RIP Off Claims Force Funeral Inquiry Australia’s Biggest Undertakers Keep Getting Bigger Grave Concerns For Consumers Where is Australia’s Funeral Watchdog? Do We Neeed A Funeral Royal Commission About eziFunerals eziFunerals 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 understand their rights and select the right funeral director anywhere, anytime. Cutting Gold Coast Holiday Costs From Cheap and Affordable Gold Coast Airport Car Hire Rentals Companies in Queensland 2019-02-27T22:40:44Z cutting-gold-coast-holiday-costs-from-cheap-and-affordable-gold-coast-airport-car-hire-rentals-companies-in-queensland Visitors holidaying on the Gold Coast needn’t look at paying in gold nuggets. All it takes, according to Gold Coast Family Car Rentals CEO Darryl Essington-Wilson, is a bit of careful budgeting for travellers to be able to enjoy a gold star trip on a silver or bronze budget. He says visitors should include in their planning a list of priorities aimed at a gold star experience that will fund memories for a long time, rather than result in red figures on the bank balance when they get home. And these priorities should be considered with regard to how they get to the Gold Coast; what they do, eat, and buy while there; and the rental car they use in order to do these things. In most instances, getting anywhere in Australia involves flying, because of the distances involved. Saving money on flights involves conscious planning in terms of when’s best to book, and when is best to fly, as well as keeping a sharp eye on any special deals, according to Darryl. Departure points, as well as flexibility about flying dates and days of the week, can also save a few dollars. And when they consider rental car options, they should be sure to take into account all the costs involved in hiring a car, including insurance excesses and fees for added extras like child seats, and not just consider the basic rental fee when budgeting on rental car costs. Location, Location, Location As most tourists are drawn to the Gold Coast by its beaches, the surf and those that ride it, Surfers Paradise is often the first choice for accommodation and attractions. However, Darryl points out that the Gold Coast has 52 km of pristine beaches within an easy drive of Surfers Paradise and the attractions there. These include Broadbeach (11minutes), Main Beach (12min), Burleigh Heads (17minutes), and Coolangatta (30mins), all of which offer cheaper accommodation and a better family holiday environment than Surfers Paradise, according to Darryl. All have beautiful beaches, and their own day and night entertainment. He adds that visitors should also remember that the length of stay can also make a difference. Short one or two-night stops may work out more expensive per night, while a free night or two may be included when the stay is longer. Putting Money Where the Mouth is While wonderful dinners and tasty lunches are readily available on the Gold Coast, Darryl mentions that this could see holidaymakers literally putting too much money where their mouths are. Sandwich bars, food from street markets, store-bought supplies for some meals, or having an Australian-style beach barbeque using the free BBQs at many of the beaches, might make both visitors and their bank balances more comfortable about enjoying a dinner on the town now and then. Holidaymakers can take home-packed picnic lunches on outings, including trips to Theme Parks. Money-saving Tips for Going Out and About The Gold Coast and its hinterland offer a wide range of experiences which cost nothing at all, like the views, the beaches, the rainforests, and the streams. In some cases, a blend of paid entry and free options balance out to a good value for money outing, according to Darryl. Currumbin, less than half an hour away from Surfers Paradise, offers visitors the chance to stroll on the beach at Currumbin, splash around in rock pools in the Currumbin Valley, enjoy markets, feed the birds at the Bird Sanctuary, and appreciate wildlife, or take to the treetops in Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Much of this is free and admittance fees at the Wildlife Sanctuary are sometimes governed by deals or membership options which reduce that cost. Similarly, special passes are available online for access to theme park “worlds” like Dreamworld, Wet ‘n' Wild, Movieworld, Seaworld, and White Water World, all of which offer multiple activities like rides and slides. Some offer multiple park access, while others allow for return visits to one, grant early entry, or sanction queue skipping. Once inside, visitors may find other savings, like buying refillable drinks, or bring their own water. Visitors looking to hire a rental car on the Gold Coast with a value for money guarantee, pickup and drop-off at the airport, free child seats and concessionary rates on other holiday add-ons, can book onlinewith Car Hire Gold Coast or Gold Coast Airport Car Rental, or call + 61 7 5508 3333. Syndicated by Baxton Media. Last Minute Planning Tips for a Gold Coast Holiday Trip From Cheap and Affordable Gold Coast Airport Car Hire Rentals Companies in Queensland 2019-02-27T08:33:07Z last-minute-planning-tips-for-a-gold-coast-holiday-trip-from-cheap-and-affordable-gold-coast-airport-car-hire-rentals-companies-in-queensland For thousands of holidaymakers, the countdown is on for the forthcoming school holidays and festive season. For many of them, the destination will be the Gold Coast, Australia’s favourite holiday destination, and their arrival is just around the corner. And whether they’ve got tickets and bookings in hand, or are still trying to organise a last-minute trip, it’s time for some heavy-duty last-minute planning, according to Gold Coast Family Car Rentals CEO, Darryl Essington-Wilson. While early planning for a trip to a city like Gold Coast, is certainly a wise move, Darryl believes not all doors are closed to those still wanting to make a visit this season. And the unclosed doors include those on the car rentals they will need in order to enjoy the scenic beauty and entertainment available on the Gold Coast. Flexibility and Perseverance However, he says access to the three basic requirements of any Gold Coast holiday - how to get to there, where to stay, and how to get around while there – is becoming more limited with each passing day. This might mean that last-minute holidaymakers need to show greater flexibility with regards to dates of arrival and departure, and perseverance when it comes to finding suitable flights and accommodation. Once these aspects have been researched, investigated and booked, both the early birds and late planners can get onto the fun side of things, like deciding what to do and see while staying on the Gold Coast, and finding the right rental car to hire, says Darryl. Last Minute Checklist But it doesn’t stop there - further planning is necessary to ensure a happy holiday, and no nasty shocks on returning home. Darryl’s advice on getting ready to travel starts with packing wisely by choosing clothing to suit the summer weather and planned activities, including suntan lotions, sunglasses and sufficient quantities of any prescribed medication, and being sure to take relevant documents, wallets, cell phones and cameras. However, he also recommends taking steps to ensure the security and safety of their home. To avoid possible electrical problems arising as a result of equipment failure, floods, or fire while they are away, Darryl recommends that, at the very least, holidaymakers turn off TVs, bedside lights, kettles and other appliances which won’t be used while they are away. These should be switched off at the wall socket, and removed from the socket where possible, as inline toggle switches, auto-offs and standbys on electrical goods can prove dangerous. If possible, fridges should be left free of perishable items, bins emptied and freezers cleared to prevent nasty (and smelly) homecomings should the power fail. Ensuring the Safety of the Home Even better, Darryl says, would be to turn off the trip switches at the distribution board for circuits that will not be used, like the hot water unit, stove, dishwasher and washing machine, as well as unnecessary lights. However, care must be taken to leave active those circuits powering security systems like the alarm and security lights, as well as the fridge and freezer, unless both are empty. Switching gas off at the cylinder, and water at the mains would also be a wise move in case of any leaks. Darryl, who moved to the Gold Coast and opened his family car rentals operation there 17 years ago, has handed rental car keys to many holidaymakers over the years. To take advantage of his best-value-guaranteed service in the Gold Coast area, and particularly from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, and including the Gold Coast Airport, make sure to book onlinewith Car Hire Gold Coast or Gold Coast Airport Car Rental, or call + 61 7 5508 3333. Pick up and drop off at the Gold Coast Airport can be arranged. Syndicated by Baxton Media. Australian-First Autism and Drowning Report Highlights Serious Risks For Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder 2019-02-23T21:00:00Z australian-first-autism-and-drowning-report-highlights-serious-risks-for-those-with-autism-spectrum-disorder MEDIA RELEASE 24 February 2019 Australian-First Autism and Drowning Report Highlights Serious Risks For Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are 160 times more likely to die from drowning An Australian-first report launched today by Autism Swim addresses the very serious risk factors associated with “wandering” and drowning for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research indicates that children with ASD are 160 times more likely to die from drowning, compared to other children.[1] Autism Swim Founder, Erika Gleeson says the report, Autism and Drowning – The Underreported Issue brings together, for the first time, the most pertinent evidence-based data to better understand the drowning deaths associated with ASD and wandering (also sometimes referred to as absconding, elopement or fleeing). The report provides a valuable and compelling insight into why we need toraise awareness of this tragically common issue and what needs to take place to reduce the number of drowning deaths. Senior Behaviour and Skill Development Specialist in ASD and Cognitive Deficit, Erika Gleeson says that wandering is very common among children with ASD, with nearly 50% reported to wander.[2] Wandering is when the individual tries to leave the safety of a responsible person’s care or a safe area. This has the potential to result in harm or injury. “Wandering is a very stressful behavior for parents of children with ASD – 58% report it as the most stressful.[3] Many children with ASD are particularly attracted to water, therefore drowning is a significant risk for those who wander. “In addition to drowning, wandering brings other high-risk factors including exposure to the elements, dehydration, falls, hypothermia, traffic injuries or encounters with strangers.” [4] “It’s alarming to think that children with ASD are 160 times more likely to die from drowning, compared to other children. Yet, so very little is known or reported about this issue.” It was this lack of knowledge and resources around wandering and the risk of drowning that prompted Erika Gleeson to establish Autism Swim in 2016. This organisation is the first and only certifying body in the world specific to ASD and aquatics. “Autism Swim’s mission is to ensure parents, care givers, aquatic professionals and the community at large have access to the necessary knowledge, practical skills and support relating to wandering and drowning prevention. “To do this, Autism Swim certifies swim centres, swim instructors, therapists, and other aquatic professionals as ‘Autism Swim Approved’. Additionally, they run a range of programs such as their modified “Nippers” program, called Dippers at beaches around Australia. “Parents benefit from receiving expert resources, training, workshops, individualised programs and strategies on preventing their child / children from wandering and drowning. Importantly, those with ASD benefit from specialist preventive and responsive programs and water safety education. The Autism and Drowning – The Underreported Issuereport provides a clear outlook on the way forward in starting to rectify some of the associated challenges.” This Australian social enterprise has been embraced globally, with Autism Swim currently operating across six countries including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Canada and USA. To download a free copy of the report, learn more about how to become an Autism Swim Approved swim centre, instructor or other aquatic professional; locating these services, as well as other drowning prevention tools for parents and those living with ASD, visit www.autismswim.com.au Join us on Facebook (@Austimswim) Find us on Instagram (autism_swim) ENDS ABOUT AUTISM SWIM Autism Swim, founded in Australia, is an international, social enterprise of experts specialising in the prevention of wandering occurrences and drowning for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other abilities. MEDIA CONTACT: To arrange an interview with Autism Swim Founder, Erika Gleeson, and/or a parent of a child with ASD, please contact: Cheryl Pettinau QUAY Communications Ph. 02 9386 9161 or 0424 157 714 Email. cheryl@quaycommunications.com.au [1]J Guan, G Li. Injury Mortality in Individuals with Autism. American Journal of Public Health. 107, no.5 (1 May 2017): pp 791-793. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303696. [2]L McIlwain, W Fournier. Lethal Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Wandering and Elopement. National Autism Association. January 2012. [3]ibid [4]E Gleeson. Autism Swim, Wandering – A Community Responsibility. 2018. Accessed via https://autismswim.com.au/2018/04/23/wandering-a-community-responsibility/ News Opportunity: Australian-first Autism and Drowning Report Highlights Serious Risks for Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder 2019-02-21T04:52:11Z news-opportunity-australian-first-autism-and-drowning-report-highlights-serious-risks-for-those-with-autism-spectrum-disorder Embargo: 24 February 2019 00:01am Australian-First Autism and Drowning Report Highlights Serious Risks For Those with Autism Spectrum Disorder Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are 160 times more likely to die from drowning An Australian-first report launched today by Autism Swim addresses the very serious risk factors associated with “wandering” and drowning for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research indicates that children with ASD are 160 times more likely to die from drowning, compared to other children.[1] Autism Swim Founder, Erika Gleeson says the report, Autism and Drowning – The Underreported Issue brings together, for the first time, the most pertinent evidence-based data to better understand the drowning deaths associated with ASD and wandering (also sometimes referred to as absconding, elopement or fleeing). The report provides a valuable and compelling insight into why we need to raise awareness of this tragically common issue and what needs to take place to reduce the number of drowning deaths. Senior Behaviour and Skill Development Specialist in ASD and Cognitive Deficit, Erika Gleeson says that wandering is very common among children with ASD, with nearly 50% reported to wander.[2] Wandering is when the individual tries to leave the safety of a responsible person’s care or a safe area. This has the potential to result in harm or injury. “Wandering is a very stressful behavior for parents of children with ASD – 58% report it as the most stressful.[3] Many children with ASD are particularly attracted to water, therefore drowning is a significant risk for those who wander. “In addition to drowning, wandering brings other high-risk factors including exposure to the elements, dehydration, falls, hypothermia, traffic injuries or encounters with strangers.” [4] “It’s alarming to think that children with ASD are 160 times more likely to die from drowning, compared to other children. Yet, so very little is known or reported about this issue.” It was this lack of knowledge and resources around wandering and the risk of drowning that prompted Erika Gleeson to establish Autism Swim in 2016. This organisation is the first and only certifying body in the world specific to ASD and aquatics. “Autism Swim’s mission is to ensure parents, care givers, aquatic professionals and the community at large have access to the necessary knowledge, practical skills and support relating to wandering and drowning prevention. “To do this, Autism Swim certifies swim centres, swim instructors, therapists, and other aquatic professionals as ‘Autism Swim Approved’. Additionally, they run a range of programs such as their modified “Nippers” program, called Dippers at beaches around Australia. “Parents benefit from receiving expert resources, training, workshops, individualised programs and strategies on preventing their child / children from wandering and drowning. Importantly, those with ASD benefit from specialist preventive and responsive programs and water safety education. The Autism and Drowning – The Underreported Issue report provides a clear outlook on the way forward in starting to rectify some of the associated challenges.” This Australian social enterprise has been embraced globally, with Autism Swim currently operating across six countries including Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Canada and USA. To download a free copy of the report, learn more about how to become an Autism Swim Approved swim centre, instructor or other aquatic professional; locating these services, as well as other drowning prevention tools for parents and those living with ASD, visit www.autismswim.com.au Join us on Facebook (@Austimswim) Find us on Instagram (autism_swim) ENDS ABOUT AUTISM SWIM Autism Swim, founded in Australia, is an international, social enterprise of experts specialising in the prevention of wandering occurrences and drowning for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other abilities. MEDIA CONTACT: To arrange an interview with Autism Swim Founder, Erika Gleeson, and/or a parent of a child with ASD, or to visit a Dippers program at Coogee beach on Sunday 24 February, please contact: Cheryl Pettinau QUAY Communications Ph. 02 9386 9161 or 0424 157 714 Email. cheryl@quaycommunications.com.au [1] J Guan, G Li. Injury Mortality in Individuals with Autism. American Journal of Public Health. 107, no.5 (1 May 2017): pp 791-793. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303696. [2] L McIlwain, W Fournier. Lethal Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Wandering and Elopement. National Autism Association. January 2012. [3] ibid [4] E Gleeson. Autism Swim, Wandering – A Community Responsibility. 2018. Accessed via https://autismswim.com.au/2018/04/23/wandering-a-community-responsibility/ AIIA calls for cohesive national approach to upgrade digital skills at tertiary education level 2019-02-20T22:03:16Z aiia-calls-for-cohesive-national-approach-to-upgrade-digital-skills-at-tertiary-education-level Sydney, Australia – 21 February 2019 -- The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the peak member body for the ICT industry, is calling for a cohesive national approach to raise the standard of digital skills education and training at tertiary education institutions to better meet the demand for skilled digital workers. A staggering 46 per cent of Australian 15- to 19-year-olds participate in vocational education and training (VET). This provides a real opportunity to reach young Australians and provide them with digital skills to enhance their career options. Yet take-up of information technology courses ranked 12th out of 13 fields of education according to 2017 VET data. The Australian Government’s review of the VET system is an opportunity to develop a national policy that can align vocational training approaches and outcomes across all states and territories. This will enable Australia to maximise the benefits of the $6 billion annual VET investment and focus on growing digital skills in the workforce. Commenting on the importance of upgrading digital skills, AIIA CEO Ron Gauci, said: “The Government urgently needs to take every opportunity it can to ensure that Australian industry, businesses and the public sector have access to highly trained, digitally skilled young people that are ready to enter the workforce. “The development of a national policy for tertiary education digital skills and training that is backed by appropriate investment in the system will create opportunities for both students and industry. This will require the Government to assume a lead coordination role to ensure collaboration across each of the states and territories. “The alternative is to continue to offshore IT jobs to offset skills shortages in Australia, and increase the industry’s growing reliance on imported digital talent. “The low VET participation rate of older Australians reskilling for new careers is also a concern. Nationally consistent policies that encourage and support VET retraining of older workers in digital skills will benefit individuals and business alike - both on a local level and in regional areas where there is a digital skills shortage,” added Mr Gauci. # # # About AIIA The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is Australia’s peak representative body and advocacy group for those in the digital ecosystem. Since 1978 AIIA has pursued activities to stimulate and grow the digital ecosystem, to create a favorable business environment for members and to contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity. We do this by delivering outstanding member value by providing a strong voice of influence; building a sense of community through events and education; enabling a network for collaboration and inspiration; and developing compelling content and relevant and interesting information. Media Contacts For more information please contact: Jeffrey Coote Tel: (02) 8355 3130 jeffrey@filteredmedia.com.au Travelling Tips From Cheap and Affordable Gold Coast Airport Car Hire Rentals Companies in Queensland 2019-02-20T04:57:27Z travelling-tips-from-cheap-and-affordable-gold-coast-airport-car-hire-rentals-companies-in-queensland Gold Coast Family Car Rentals prides itself on providing top service and best value for money deals, and they have gold medal Consumer Fairness status to prove it. However, CEO Darryl Essington-Wilson says disputes do sometimes arise when clients return hired vehicles, and they are usually because of misunderstandings regarding certain usage restrictions, and the higher bills that can result. Darryl says that all rental companies have restrictions on where their vehicles may be driven, with the smaller companies restricting users to local motoring only. Larger rental groups with multiple branch locations generally offer a wider scope of driving destinations.Darryl says that apart from when you want a car, the next question that his staff asks customers is where they want to go in the car. This is an early opportunity to discuss any usage area issues, preventing post rental negativity. His staff often suggest expanded usage zones where they believe that particular customers might enjoy travelling to popular attractions or areas that are “out of town”. All of Darryl’s rental contracts clearly describe the permitted driving areas, whilst most other rental companies, make no similar specification, relying on the fine print of their rental terms and conditions.Not Just Anyone Can Drive the Car Letting just anybody drive the rental car could cause serious problems if something went wrong, including leading to the insurance on the car being cancelled, and any claim nullified. Darryl points out that this is why all those other than the principal driver who might drive the car at some point during the rental period also need to be registered when the rental contract is signed. Many operators require all drivers to be present, with their drivers’ licences in hand, when the contract is signed, however, his company is happy to accept licence details over the phone for supplementary drivers.Watch Where You Drive ItIf a car rental company does not advertise that you can drive their vehicles “off road”, or on beaches, they do not permit such activity. The vast majority of rental companies do not allow their vehicles to be driven on unsealed roads, the more understanding rental companies have created exceptions to such a ban to allow for unsealed areas of roads under repair or for access to holiday resorts or private residences.Darryl is only aware of a couple of rental companies that allow their cars to be taken on licenced car ferries, despite such vessels being an integral part of the Australian transport infrastructure. In some areas, there are time of day restrictions in relation to rental cars – remote areas generally exclude driving between sundown and sun up. The issue is knowing whether you are in such an area.Whilst there is reasonable freedom for cross border travel between Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Queensland, almost every car rental operator excludes cross border travel into or out of Tasmania, Northern Territory and Western Australia.However, those who choose to ignore the challenges these terrains offer, and the restrictions placed by most car rental operations on where their rentals may be driven, could well find themselves in trouble when they check their account at the end of the rental period, as it could be a lot steeper than expected due to vehicle damage or for breaching the restrictions.How Far Can You Go?Usage zones which set boundaries on the area within the rental car can be driven, and the distances that can be cover in a day or during the entire rental period, may differ from one car rental to another. In some cases, unlimited distance allowances are offered when the rental period is longer than 3 days. And it may sometimes be possible to extend usage zones for a single day or for the entire period at a small extra insurance cost. Darryl says in most cases these changes can be negotiated beforehand to fit a planned itinerary or phoned in if plans suddenly change. Drivers should always interpret unlimited distance allowances to mean “unlimited distance allowances within the permitted usage area”.Keeping on the Right Side of the LawDarryl warns that renters will end up carrying the bill (and the penalty points) should they contravene any road rules or traffic laws. When and how they pay is dependent on how and when they receive the ticket and fine. If the fine notice is attached to the car, or given to the driver in person, payment must be made directly by the driver before the expiry date on the notice. If this notification is ignored, both the authorities and the car rental operation will add penalties to the amount before it is deducted from the renter’s credit card. If it’s a camera fine, it will still ultimately reach the driver, but with steeper added costs. Generally, an unpaid parking fine will be sent to the rental company as registered owner, with a small additional fee added for a registration search. The rental company will add their service fee to this amount and charge the renter. Service fees vary between rental companies, some charging $25 or less, others charging $99 to $150. Speed camera fines require the rental company to make a statutory declaration as to the identity of the person responsible, statutory declaration fees vary from $25 to $250, depending on the rental company. For those planning to travel in and around Gold Coast city and into the Gold Coast Hinterland in a rental car, learn more details about these restrictions, or book a guaranteed best value for money Gold Coast car rental, all it involves is booking online with Car Hire Gold Coast or Gold Coast Airport Car Rental, or call + 61 7 5508 3333. Pick up and drop off at the Gold Coast Airport can be arranged.Syndicated by Baxton Media. Why Do My Heels Hurt - Plantar Fasciitis Says Leading Sydney CBD and North Shore Sports Podiatrist 2019-02-19T22:00:26Z why-do-my-heels-hurt-plantar-fasciitis-says-leading-sydney-cbd-and-north-shore-sports-podiatrist If you experience a sharp stabbing pain in your heel, especially first thing in the morning, you may have a condition called plantar fasciitis. Heel pain is one of the most common complaints patients bring to podiatrists. Heel pain to the extent that it disrupts your preparation for the day, is cause for some concern. Leading Sports Podiatrist and director of Footwork Podiatry in Sydney, Mark Lin, understands this common complaint and possibilities for treatment. "The plantar fascia is a collection of strong connective tissue and ligaments that support the foot arch," says Lin. "Composed of a broad band of collagen fibres, the plantar fascia absorb walking related shock, and any time you are pounding your heels down while you walk, all that shock goes to the plantar fascia." It seems too much hard walking and not enough cushioning can damage the plantar fascia. Fallen arches and flat feet unbalance the biomechanical system of the feet and can contribute to the development of the condition. Lin agrees and adds, "Wearing high heels often can lead to development of plantar fasciitis, as this causes the Achilles tendon to tighten." Sorry Jimmy Choo! "The condition is also more prevalent with ageing, as the heels naturally flatten as we grow older, putting tension on the ligament," Lin says. Why does my heel hurt in the morning? A sore heel in the morning, also known as ‘first-step’ pain, is post static dyskinesia which is pain that’s worse and most noticeable after rest, or after getting out of bed in the morning. Lin comments, “During the day, the fascia adapts to the impact of daily movement but during sleep, the ligaments and connective tissue of the foot and calf naturally contract. When stretched out again as you take your first morning steps, this can cause a sharp stabbing pain. This is a typical indication of strain on the tendons and fascia”. Nerve entrapment A nerve entrapment condition called Baxter’s neuritis can also be caused by plantar fasciitis and is often misdiagnosed as plantar fasciitis, as the symptoms overlap. "Neuritis in the foot is fairly common, as the nerves can easily be damaged when any other part of the foot suffers an injury. In the case of plantar fasciitis and Baxter’s neuritis, small tears in the plantar fascia cause inflammation and thickening of the tissue. This can pinch or trap the Baxter’s nerve, which runs under the plantar fascia," says Lin. The pain is often described as a shooting pain from the heel to the middle of the foot, and some sufferers are unable to stand on their feet for more than a few minutes. What’s worse is that pain medication may not bring relief. Heel spurs Chronic inflammation and pulling on the plantar fascia can result in the development of a heel spur. This is a bony growth that develops underneath the heel bone or on the back of it and is also related to tightness in the Achilles tendon. A heel spur can become very painful, especially when it rubs on the Baxter’s nerve. Treatment for heel pain Heel pain treatment is focussed on reducing pressure on the heel and alleviating the stress in the soft tissue of the foot. Footwork Podiatry offer various non-invasive treatments to alleviate heel pain, with Foot Mobilisation Therapy and Trigenics® being principal among these. Foot Mobilisation Techniques (FMT) is a hands-on therapeutic method used to treat musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and leg. Lin says, "FMT improves joint mobility by breaking up connective tissue adhesions and restrictions around the joints. Freeing up these restrictions and relieving stiffness improves the position of the joints to naturally restore optimal biomechanics." What is Trigenics? On the other hand, TRIGENICS® is a neurological muscle assessment, treatment and training system which reprograms the way the brain communicates with the body. Mark Lin is the first Podiatrist in Australia to be trained and specialised in this unique neuro-muscular treatment system. Says Lin, “When a joint, tendon, muscle or ligament suffers damage, stress or injury, their nerve sensors send improper or false signals which confuse the brain. The brain responds by sending false controlling signals to the muscles and tendons. These muscles then become neurologically tight or weak, causing dysfunctional joint movement through a process known as neurological inhibition. If left untreated, this leads to weak links and abnormal muscle pull patterns, resulting in chronic pain, re-injury and deterioration”. Footwork Podiatry employ a multi-modal treatment system, combining Trigenics® with a number of other treatment techniques for a cumulative therapeutic effect and enhanced treatment outcome, Radial Shockwave therapy is another cutting-edge technology. This technique uses high-intensity sound wave treatment to break down scar tissue or adhesions and stimulate tissue repair. The sound waves penetrate up to 4cm deep and create therapeutic cavitation bubbles and microscopic biological effects within the tissue, activating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Shockwave therapy has proven to be effective where around 80% of patients report a substantial improvement of their condition after only three treatment sessions. Contact Footwork Podiatry to find out how Foot Mobilisation Therapy and Trigenics® can assist with your heel pain. They can help reduce reliance on medication for pain relief for chronic conditions and they will perform a measurable and functional assessment to determine whether you are at risks of other pain and injuries. Their evidence-based assessment system allows them to collect meaningful data that convert to an accurate treatment plan. Footwork Podiatry are situated in Roseville on Sydney’s North Shore and Sydney CBD. For further information, visit the Sports and Podiatrist Clinic to book online, or call Mark Lin or Wei Lee and their friendly team on +61 2 9416 7889. This information is provided in good faith and is not intended to be nor is it to be used as a substitute for any sort of professional, medical or podiatric advice. Syndicated by Baxton Media.