The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-05-17T00:07:39Z AASW supports International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) 2019-05-17T00:07:39Z aasw-supports-international-day-against-homophobia-biphobia-intersexism-and-transphobia-idahobit On 17 May, the Australian Association of Social Workers recognises the importance of this date and issues raised by IDAHOBIT, as we continue to take a stand against discrimination of the LGBTIQ community. It marks the day the World Health Organization made the decision in 1990 to remove homosexuality as a mental disorder. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “Today is the day before a Federal election. We call on the next government to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’ across the nation. “As social workers, we have noticed that the use of these discredited therapies has actually been on the rise in Australia. It is a situation we have been monitoring. As a profession, it can sometimes be our job to help un-do the damage that these so-called ‘therapies’ can cause to families and individuals.” Ms Craik said much action is still needed to counter discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Australia. “We are saddened and disappointed that homophobic, biphobic, intersexist and transphobic views continue to be broadcast, and that they are given air time in our media and community,” she said. “We only have to look at highly influential but misinformed media commentary which led to the ultimate disbandment of the Safe Schools program nationally. We want to see the Safe Schools program reinstated in its full scope and we urge the next government to do so. These programs save lives.” Ms Craik urged Australia to promote human rights and counter homophobia, biphobia, intersexism and transphobia internationally. “There is much influence that Australia has abroad, particularly in our part of the world. It would be great to see our political leaders taking a diplomatic stance on Brunei, which recently introduced and then retracted the death penalty for homosexuality. It is still illegal though. It is good to see the recent boycotts have gone some way to working. Brunei is a fellow Commonwealth country and one in our region. Now is the time for political leaders to flex diplomatic muscle and use it to promote human rights.” Christine Craik is available for interview. National Families Week 2019: The AASW renews its call for urgent action to address family violence 2019-05-16T23:33:51Z national-families-week-2019-the-aasw-renews-its-call-for-urgent-action-to-address-family-violence During National Families Week 2019 (15-21 May), the AASW celebrates families as the central building block of our society. This year’s theme, Stronger Families, Stronger Communities, highlights their protective and nurturing capacity, while also recognising the threats to families from gender-based violence. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “As social workers, we see the pivotal role that families play in building healthy and supportive communities. In working together to improve wellbeing, we see the great diversity and resilience of families in the face of significant challenges. “However, we also see far too often that the very place that women and children should feel safe, within a family unit, is the very place where they are most at risk.” Family violence is still far too prevalent in Australia, with those who perpetrate family violence destroying the safety and caring that the family unit should provide to all its members. Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that family violence is a leading cause of homelessness in children under 10. The high rate of child protection notifications correlate with the family violence that is perpetrated against women and children. At least one woman per week is killed by a current or former partner in Australia. Ms Craik said, “These devastating instances of family violence need to stop. It begins with cultural change and government policies, including funding of early intervention as well as support at the crisis and recovery level, especially housing and income support for those escaping violence. “We are now in the last throes of a Federal election campaign. In our Election Platform 2019, we have asked for the next government to commit to using the recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence as a blueprint for national systemic reforms. “If Australia is to build Stronger Families and Stronger Communities, this must begin with addressing the national emergency that is occurring within the family home across Australia.” Christine Craik is available for interview. Appointment of new Crime Stoppers Australia Chair 2019-05-16T03:50:44Z appointment-of-new-crime-stoppers-australia-chair Crime Stoppers Australia Board Director and accomplished businesswoman, Ms Diana Forrester, has been announced as the new Chair of Crime Stoppers Australia. Ms Forrester has more than 13 years’ experience volunteering in the successful crime solving and prevention program, including three years as Chair of the Crime Stoppers ACT program. Deputy Chair of Crime Stoppers Australia, Ms Sharon Hanlon, said: “Diana is a true champion of Crime Stoppers and being Canberra-based provides the added advantage of having some of the nation’s most important decision-makers and key partners right on her doorstep” “As Chair of Crime Stoppers ACT, Diana has first-hand knowledge of the challenges and complexities facing our National, State and Territory-based programs. As an active participant on the Crime Stoppers Australia Board for nearly three years she also has a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities that increased stakeholder engagement will achieve at a national level,” she said. “Diana is ideally placed to help raise awareness of the importance of Crime Stoppers nationally and its critical role in contributing to a safer Australia by helping to solve crime, including some of the nation’s most horrific and baffling cases.” In accepting her new role, Ms Forrester said she will be working with the Board to increase national awareness of the importance of Crime Stoppers, as well as delivering important national crime prevention, education and awareness campaigns and establishing new public and private partnerships. “Crime impacts on the entire community and can erode public confidence, so we will continue to actively engage governments, the business community and every Australian, encouraging them to play an active role in keeping Australia safe by reporting to Crime Stoppers. I am very proud to lead Australia’s most recognised and pre-eminent anonymous information reporting service,” Ms Forrester said.   “Crime does not recognise borders, so it is important for Crime Stoppers to adopt a similarly broad approach if we want to help law enforcement to effectively tackle issues such as drug trafficking, major fraud, illegal firearms, people smuggling and a range of other serious and organised crimes,” she said. “The value of Crime Stoppers cannot be over stated. As we celebrate 30 years of this voluntary community-driven program in Australia, our focus will be on continuing to demonstrate the important social and economic contribution that the program makes, which is estimated to be more than $60m and delivery of $11.15 in added value for every dollar invested.” In addition to her comprehensive Crime Stoppers and wider board experience, Ms Forrester is a highly skilled, awarded and respected communication professional with nearly 30 years’ experience in delivering national education and public awareness campaigns across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Ms Forrester is the first woman appointed to the role of Chair of Crime Stoppers. “I am delighted our organisation exemplifies strong governance and a progressive, contemporary profile with a healthy gender balance around our own board table, which extends to the international level where my Deputy Chair, Sharon Hanlon, is the first female President of Crime Stoppers International. I believe this adds great depth and immense value to our decision making,” she said. Ms Forrester remains Chair of ACT Region Crime Stoppers and is also Chair of the College of Fellows (ACT) for the Public Relations Institute of Australia. She was awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal for services to the Australian community in business leadership, and was the ACT Telstra Business Woman of the Year and a national finalist in the government and corporate sector category in 2001. More about Crime Stoppers Australia can be found at www.crimestoppers.com.au Celebrating Volunteers with Minister for Multiculturalism 2019-05-16T03:04:09Z celebrating-volunteers-with-minister-for-multiculturalism SydWest Multicultural Services will be celebrating and recognising the contributions of our volunteers at a special event to be held Wednesday 22nd May 2019 from 10.30am at the SydWest Blacktown office. Special guest to the event will be new Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans, The Hon. John SIDOTI, MP. SydWest Multicultural Services is pleased to be welcoming the new Minister to meet with some of SydWest’s volunteers and learn more about their contributions to our diverse work to connect cultures and build community. Every day, our volunteers donate their invaluable time through English conversation, homework help, learner driver practice, social support, special outings and other among numerous activities that support culturally and linguistically diverse peoples (CALD) live healthy, integrated and productive lives in their local community. Each volunteer will be presented with a certificate and small gift in appreciation by the Chair of SydWest Multicultural Services’ Board, Chief Inspector Robert Fitzgerald. The event will also feature a short presentation by one of our dedicated volunteers, Judith Bennett, who has been leading English Conversation classes for newly arrived refugees at SydWest. She will be sharing her experience of volunteering and what it has added to her life. Judith said: In my voluntary work with SydWest, I give English conversation classes to migrants and refugees in Blacktown and Mt Druitt. They are remarkable people who have lived through extremely challenging times, and it is very rewarding for me to get to know them and to help them to gain confidence in speaking our language.  Elfa Morakitakis, CEO of SydWest Multicultural Services said: SydWest is grateful to the role that volunteering plays in helping us create a stronger, more connected and resilient Australian community. Our volunteers give of their time and expertise and their contribution makes an incredible difference in the lives of people we work with, as well as being role models for our clients. SydWest Multicultural Services is a large community services organisation providing services & supports covering Settlement, Aged Care, NDIS, Women & Families and Youth. Statement Ends AASW South Australian Branch Social Worker of the Year Awards 2019 2019-05-03T07:17:10Z aasw-south-australian-branch-social-worker-of-the-year-awards-2019 The night of nights for social workers in South Australia was held last night at the Beach House in Glenelg, hosted by the AASW’s South Australian Branch. The Awards were an opportunity to celebrate and pay tribute to the tireless commitment that many qualified South Australian social workers provide in their often challenging and complex work. AASW South Australian Branch President Patricia Muncey said, “The South Australian Social Worker of the Year Awards reflect the collaborative efforts of nominees and their commitment to the values of social work. “This year’s winners highlight the breadth and depth of social work practice across South Australia. We are proud to recognise social workers who are at different stages of their careers from student to advanced practitioner.” There were award winners in six categories: Student of the year – Sioban Prideaux, UniSA Ms Prideaux was awarded for generously contributing to the local student community and supporting Women’s Safety Services. Rising Star - Emma Drummond, Department of Child Protection, Adelaide Ms Drummond was commended for applying high levels of cultural responsiveness in her delivery of child protection services. Leading the Way in the Workplace - Cassandra Dunn, Drug & Alcohol Services SA Ms Dunn was commended for her leadership in inspiring students and co-workers to break down barriers for clients in the field of drug and alcohol services. Rural and Remote Impact - Tara Blaikie, Department of Child Protection, Far North Far West Region Ms Blaikie was commended for achieving positive outcomes for children in her region, using knowledge of local communities and social work values. Head, Heart & Hands - Cassandra Dunn, Drug & Alcohol Services SA Ms Dunn was commended for driving changes across clinical guidelines to address the needs of a diverse range of client groups. Agent of Change - Verity Paterson, Country Health SA Local Health Network Ms Paterson was recognised for working tirelessly to address disadvantage in the Eyre and Far North Health region in collaboration with a range of service agencies. Department for Child Protection (DCP) Chief Executive Cathy Taylor said: “We are proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the Awards and recognise the important role of social workers in the community. “We are pleased to partner with the Australian Association of Social Workers to deliver these Awards, which highlight the positive impact social workers have on our most vulnerable children and families. “Social workers are amazing people who make a world of difference to those who are experiencing difficulty in their lives. “I congratulate all the winners and thank all those who nominated, for the effort you put in day in, day out, to help others.” ‘School pressure, family life, digital identity, increased expectations’: the reason Girl Guides exists today 2019-04-30T22:43:54Z school-pressure-family-life-digital-identity-increased-expectations-the-reason-girl-guides-exists-today Girl Guides NSW & ACT will focus on the role Guiding plays in supporting young girls navigate school pressures, family life, digital identity and raised expectations with the launch of a new campaign called A Place To Grow to coincide with May - Girl Guides Month. This vital piece of communication to young girls, their families and thousands of active and potential volunteers, will highlight the diverse experiences on offer and its relevance for the young girls of today. Sarah Neill, State Commissioner said that Girl Guides provides a place for young people to feel secure. “We come together over a variety of activities, build confidence and resilience which makes our young people better able to cope with their lives. “We encourage our girls to build life skills, and have the freedom to be adventurous, learn strong communication skills, laugh, and make life-long friendships,” said Commissioner Neill. Ella Ezergailis, aged 12, was inspired to join Girl Guides after hearing her mother’s stories of Guiding and wanted her share of adventure and fun. In 2018, Ella became the youngest Girl Guide to take part in ‘Girl Takeover Parliament’ event, in which she watched Question Time in the Chamber of the House of Representatives. Disgusted by the behaviour, Ella wrote a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison telling him so. “I decided to write to the Prime Minister and ask him to change the culture in Parliament House. I told him he should visit my school to learn how to behave respectfully. “My letter was shared around the world on social media and was reported by news outlets. “Girl Guides has given me the confidence to do such a thing, however the result made me feel that a 12-year-old girl’s voice was important, and girls do have the power to change the world,” said Ella. Now in its 99th year, Girl Guides in NSW & ACT has 7,400 members across 540 Units. Comissioner Neill said recent research revealed that 90% of girls joined the organisation before the age of 11 and stayed because it provided the perfect antidote to the complex and pressured lives of young people. “Our research showed that young girls join for the things they need most at this stage of their lives: fun, meeting friends outside of school and developing new skills. “Parents said they wanted their daughters to join to help them build their confidence, meet new friends and have a community orientation to their life. “Our programs offer a connection to experiences and community that schools and busy families can’t. “We have large scale events and the traditional jamboree, but mostly girls choose their own activities to complete, from creative pursuits to sailing, coding to cooking, orientation to fundraising,” said Commissioner Neill. A Place To Grow will use the 540 Units of Girl Guides NSW & ACT, to promote the stories of resilience, confidence building and friendship it encourages, through social media, local press, local events such as school fetes and Girl Guides own Come and Try nights. Helen White, CEO said, the grass-roots approach is what Girl Guides excel at. “Over 1,000,000 Australians are or have been a Girl Guide. We work at the local level, in communities and across regions supporting and empowering the women of tomorrow. “There is a resurgence of interest in Girl Guides, as young people and their families look at ways to combat the pressures of busy and digital lives. We’re all about supporting someone to find their own path, to build resilience, and life skills to take them wherever they wish,” said Ms White. However, is Girl Guides still relevant for the girls of today? Ella says that it is. “Girl Guides is even more relevant to young people growing up with a digital life. “Girl Guides teaches you how to interact socially, be a responsible citizen, how to deal with emergency situations and gives you the courage to accept challenges. “I even went on camp for a week without my phone, and I survived.” More information: www.aplacetogrow.org.au New Media App Launches To Kill Off The Press Release 2019-04-30T04:15:39Z new-media-app-launches-to-kill-off-the-press-release A new technology platform has launches tomorrow made just for you. This tech platform called Story Match® will change the way that you receive your story pitches. No more emails, no more press releases and no more hassling PRs (I promise not to be one of those…) First, watch this! In 1.5 minutes it will explain it all to you… Story Match® is a two sided market place App and Desktop platform that allows brands to pitch story ideas to journalists, at the same time allowing journalists to select only what topics of stories they want to receive. Journalists, like you, set up their profile using 6 simple steps. You can select from up to 50 industry tags (food, finance, lifestyle, tech, etc etc) and can localise by State and Territories. If there’s a match on industry tags then you see the pitch. Using swiping technology you can scroll through stories, swipe left if you don’t like the story or right if you do. If you swipe right, it will open an immediate and private chat between you and the person who posted the pitch. The best bit…. The pitches have limitations – so brands can only upload selected images, a headline and up to 500 characters to bring their pitch to life. They then select which industry tag their story is relevant to, and localise it. So now you don’t need to read any more press releases or receive any more pitches that you’re not interested in. Story Match® was developed to improve efficiencies in the media industry, and allow all brands, no matter how big or small the opportunity to get their brand noticed. The tech platform has been developed by Founder and Director of Polkadot Communications Dionne Taylor – who has worked both as a journalist and a PR for the last 15 years. Dionne is available for an interview to chat about this new and exciting platform, built just for YOU! If interested in speaking with Dionne, please get in touch. AASW publishes its Federal Election Policy Platform 2019 2019-04-24T01:10:28Z aasw-publishes-its-federal-election-policy-platform-2019 The AASW has today published its Policy Platform in anticipation of the Federal Election, to be held on Saturday, 18 May. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “Now is the time that we have the opportunity to challenge inequality and bring to the fore how we can achieve a just society. “We have written to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition that should they form the next government, there are several issues that require urgent attention. “We look forward to working with whoever forms government to implement our platform, which will ensure an Australia where each individual is valued and is given the opportunity to thrive in a supportive environment.” During this election campaign, the Association will focus on the following issues: Quality of the social work workforce Reconciliation Family violence Medicare, mental health and the role of social workers Refugees and people seeking asylum Mental health People living with disability and the NDIS Income support and employment programs Housing Aged care Redress Sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals. Read our complete Policy Platform 2019. See more of our campaign actions on the Federal Election on our website. This website will be updated as the election campaign progresses. The Association welcomes involvement from all in advancing the Policy Platform. Christine Craik is available for interview. Increasing income support would have made a better Budget than tax cuts, say Australian social workers 2019-04-03T03:20:24Z increasing-income-support-would-have-made-a-better-budget-than-tax-cuts-say-australian-social-workers The projected Budget surplus has been delivered off the backs of Australia’s most vulnerable, according to the Australian Association of Social Workers. The AASW welcomes the establishment of the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, as recommended by the Royal Commission, as well as funding for the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. However, there is much more that can and should be done in the next financial year. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The projected surplus is not a measure of a good Budget, when we have three million people in our country who are living in poverty. “The surplus calculation is nothing to be proud of when it is the direct result of an underspend on the NDIS and when it increases inequality in Australia. Supporting our most vulnerable should have been prioritised over tax cuts. This should have included a substantial increase in Newstart and Youth Allowance and no further roll-out of the Cashless Debit Card, which the government’s own evaluation shows doesn’t work. “Furthermore, family violence is a major national emergency, with one woman a week being killed by a perpetrator. This year’s commitment pales in comparison to the years of neglect. We need comprehensive and continuous funding to seriously address Australia’s real security threat at a structural level. “In this Budget, the government has outlined that trying to win the next election through tax cuts is more important than distributing wealth in way that creates a fair and just Australia for all.” Most households in the lowest income bracket will get no benefit from tax cuts and those on Newstart will also miss out on the one-off $75 (single) $125 (couple) energy assistance payment. Ms Craik said, “The Budget should be measured by how much it is addressing the causes of poverty and making sure that everyone has access to the support they need to improve their lives, which will also have long-term benefits to our country. “To deliver lasting change to Australians, you need to start by ensuring that the Budget makes allocations that will address the causes of poverty and inequality. “These allocations should be considered an investment in our country’s people, not a deficit that is to be avoided at all costs. “As it stands, this Budget surplus has been calculated at a real human cost.” During the 2019-2020 Budget submission, the AASW called for: Lifting the amount of income support payments to the level of the Minimum Income for Healthy Living, which is $866.00 per fortnight for a single person, up from the current amount of $555.70 Replacing the current punitive policies on unemployed people with initiatives that have been proven to create pathways into work, including a thorough review of the cashless welfare debit card before there is a further roll-out Ensuring that the services and programs within the Close the Gap initiative are planned, implemented, evaluated and governed by Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations (ACCOs) Increasing access to rural and remote mental health services Providing for a national housing affordability and homelessness strategy Providing for the full price of services within the NDIS as recommended by the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS Guaranteeing continuous funding for a full range of prevention, early intervention and crisis programs to prevent and respond to family violence Providing an undertaking to implement all recommendations that will be made by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. Read our 2019-2020 Budget submission. Christine Craik is available for interview. Tent of Promise Blessing the Darling River in Wilcannia NSW 2019-03-27T09:11:03Z tent-of-promise-blessing-the-darling-river-in-wilcannia-nsw Tent of Promise Darling River Blessing Wilcannia NSW, March 2019 Contributed by Adele Kenyon Gathered in the dry riverbed of the once mighty Darling River this past week were a handful of sojourners from Queensland who had driven 1,500 kilometres to the tired town of Wilcannia in far western New South Wales. YouTube Video: TENT OF PROMISE - Entering Wilcannia 2019 For this small group the township of Wilcannia was the focal destination of their long drive: with their hearts set on praying and prophesying for the revival of the once mighty river and its communities from this spiritual starting point - gleaned after a sustained period of prayerfulness over several months in their home base up north. Led by Bishop Barry Cunnington, Founder of The Tent of Promise Incorporated, based in southern Queensland, the small team of Christian supporters strongly believe their prophetic/prayer mission begun this month in Wilcannia will usher in not only a revived and flowing river, but a spiritual reawakening within the Wilcannia community and beyond. Bishop Cunnington trusts this is a pivotal season for Christian renewal around Australia and believes the seed of blessing sown this week and symbolically poured directly into the dry Darling River riverbed in Wilcannia will herald a new era of reawakening to spiritual truth tied with genuine reconciliation. He explains the spiritual foundation for the belief as being in the Holy Bible (defined as God’s Word to a holy people). One verse consolidating the stance is in 2 Chronicles 7:14, found in the Old Testament of the Bible. The verse is cited below. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV To bless the river the team prayed together in the riverbed near the Wilcannia Bridge on Thursday, led by Bishop Cunnington, who invited a Christian representative of Australia's indigenous/Aboriginal community to prophesy in partnership with he and Wilcannia’s local minister, Pastor Seta, of the Australian Aboriginal Outreach Ministries (AAOM). The indigenous intercessor present was Hazel Morgan, formerly of Pinnacle Pocket in the Northern Territory and now residing in Brisbane. Mrs Morgan’s representation of Australia’s indigenous peoples was itself significant, said Bishop Cunnington – as the pair had both been present at a 1999 gathering at Yulara near Uluru as part of a Christian reconciliation event organised by the Australian Christian Pastor’s Prayer Network. This year represents the 20th anniversary of that Yulara event. To complete the blessing of the Darling River the three appointed representatives together poured olive oil and red wine into the riverbed, followed by the pouring of clean water. Bishop Cunnington said the oil signified “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our nation” while the red wine signified “the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse the earth” with the oil and wine “coming together to heal our land and our nation”. “The pouring out of the water signifies the welling up of water to flood and fill the River Valley again, in the mighty name of Jesus,” Bishop Cunnington said, adding that this is being fulfilled “as God’s people pray for this town.” “We have the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to bring this (water/healing) today to earth… So today, prophetically, we release that full river of Heaven to flow here in this land,” he said. YouTube Video: TENT OF PROMISE - Blessing The River Darling, Wilcannia March 2019 As the TOP team continues to trust that these faithful steps into the riverbed at Wilcannia will spark a nationwide revival which will well up and out of Australia's rural and indigenous heartland, out of "country" -- the members of the team also have faith in the renewal of the Darling River from the red centre through God’s grace. The team believes the reawakening that will potentially radiate from the Australian heartland/red centre to bush and coastal areas around Australia will usher in a spiritual revival around the nation. This could be a spiritual link to a prophetic word made more than four centuries ago over the south sea lands by Portuguese explorer, Pedro Fernandez De Quiros, who in 1606 hoisted a banner in the New Hebrides and proclaimed this region and lands beyond it as the "Terra Australis del Espiritu Santu", the last two Spanish words meaning “Holy Spirit”. De Quiros reportedly thought he was in the island -continent of Australia. (Reference:https://christianfaith.com/lookout/sacred-australia or TACL Vol 27 #1 2006). In more recent times, a popular Australian Christian song, “The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit”, written by Geoff Bullock, features lyrics echoing the Portuguese explorers’ proclamation. The song’s chorus captures the essence: “This is the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit A land of red dust plains and summer rains To this sunburnt land we will see a flood And to this Great Southland His Spirit comes”. The TOP mobile ministry is affiliated with The Promise Faith Centre Churches International (PFCCI), with a base in Coolangatta, Queensland. Bishop Cunnington oversees the PFCCI and on its website (https://www.promisefaithcentre.org/about_us) explains how he has personally experienced transformation in his life and knowing the Grace of God “is compelled to bring the revelation of God's Word in the Power of God's Holy Spirit to those who have the need and Grace to receive”. Syndicated by Baxton Media, the Market Influencers. Tent of Promise Relaunch with Panorama in Wilcannia 2019-03-27T09:09:21Z tent-of-promise-relaunch-with-panorama-in-wilcannia TENT OF PROMISE Relaunch with Panorama in Wilcannia Wilcannia NSW, March 2019 Contributed by Adele Kenyon As Wilcannian locals entered their community hall last week expecting a devotional time and a church service as part of a mission-outreach by a visiting Queensland group to their dry and sweltering township, most of the local residents were stunned to find a gigantic 36 metre illustrated display of highlighted accounts from the Holy Bible plastered around three walls of their large hall. On discovering this magnificent wall display several childrens' jaws dropped and many pairs of eyes - including those of adults - were fixated on the impressive illustrations depicting key events from the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, which when considered chronologically depict God's carefully crafted plan of salvation for every person who accepts the heavenly Father’s gift of eternal life given through his precious Son, Jesus Christ. Reflected in the closing sections of the illustrated Bible display are the joy and peace infilling Christians who have accepted God’s gracious gift of life. The impressive Bible Panorama is a key feature of the Tent of Promise (TOP) touring ministry which was relaunched in Wilcannia in Outback New South Wales this month after almost a decade in recess. TOP leaders are confident the new outreach will generate much interest and as the touring ministry gains momentum will ultimately lead many people around Australia to discover and commit or re-commit to the Christian faith. Bishop Cunnington explained that the team’s confidence in these positive outcomes is due to the team’s collective faith in the Word of God combined with its outward expression(s) of this faith. TOP Founders, Barry and Sandra Cunnington, have remobilised this ministry with team members from their Coolangatta Promise Faith Centre Church in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit. They believe Australia is poised for a faith revival which will sweep the nation. TOP Founder, Senior Pastor and Bishop, Barry Cunnington, believes the power of God’s Word spoken by his righteous people will prevail. The four participating TOP pastors are not new to this form of mobilised outback ministry. For many years they took this style of ministry outreach to various Australian townships, including eleven years on the road with an earlier Bible panorama which they hauled around Australia with help from a devoted mobile pastoral team. Now the panorama has been digitally revamped and the mobilisation process refined so it is all more portable - this helpful to the more senior pastors and other team-members, several of whom while agile and young-at-heart are aged in their seventies. The senior pastors are assisted in this mobile ministry by their younger counterparts, Reverend(s) Timothy and Leah Knowling of Alectown, NSW. Pastor Leah, in addition to her wide range of responsibilities, ably coordinates the music ministry for the TOP team, including contributing her impressively strong and powerful vocals which were well appreciated during this Wilcannia trip. During the TOP team’s visit Bishop Cunnington liaised with Wilcannia’s local minister, Pastor Seta, of the Australian Aboriginal Outreach Ministries (AAOM), so TOP could use some of the local facilities during its visit to the town. Pastor Seta’s worship team also contributed readily to the music ministry during the six-day TOP visit, while Pastor Seta was also a key participant in the blessing of the Darling River Related Article: TENT OF PROMISE - Darling River Blessing YouTube Video: TENT OF PROMISE - Blessing The River Darling, Wilcannia March 2019 The Wilcannia launch of the new TOP mission, now renamed "The Tent of Promise:- Now Mobile", did not disappoint. As local visitors were welcomed, not only were they fascinated by the illustrated Bible highlighted on the hall walls, they were challenged by the delivered oratory during the times of devotion and moved by the music - so much so that in the final stages of the time-of-ministry on the first evening, dozens of children and youth independently went up for prayer with the visiting team. These same children and visiting families subsequently revisited various ministry activities springing up over the next few days and brought along friends and new folk -- who were also treated to a vibrant puppet show/singalong. Outreach activities culminated in an outdoor community prayer time for the River Darling held on the final Sunday evening in The Mallee neighbourhood park. This was attended by many local residents, with music provided by the local Wilcannia pastors and other worship team members as well as by Pastor Leah, followed by a celebratory barbecue to finish -- all well received and attended. Local pastors enthusiastically participated in the music ministry during the TOP visit so a range of musical-worship styles were catered to over the period. The TOP mobile ministry is affiliated with The Promise Faith Centre Churches International (PFCCI), with a base in Coolangatta, Queensland. Bishop Cunnington oversees the PFCCI and on its website (https://www.promisefaithcentre.org/about_us) explains how he has personally experienced transformation in his life and knowing the Grace of God “is compelled to bring the revelation of God's Word in the Power of God's Holy Spirit to those who have the need and Grace to receive”. Syndicated by Baxton Media, the Market Influencers. Harmony is more important than ever this week 2019-03-22T01:28:55Z harmony-is-more-important-than-ever-this-week Harmony Week in Australia coincided with important dates this week, including the International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, World Social Work Day and the aftermath of the devastating terrorist attack in Christchurch. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “These events remind us that ‘harmony’ within our communities and across society rests on recognising the dignity of every person, while welcoming diversity. “That is how we promote the human rights of everyone. “This year’s Harmony Week shows us how important it is that we all promote inclusion and end discrimination based on differences in heritage, culture or belief.” This year’s AASW World Social Work Day events took time to reflect on the tragedy in Christchurch and how important social work values are in countering racism. Ms Craik said, “Social workers are passionate advocates for justice and helping families, communities and societies to build relationships based on solidarity and mutual respect. “This is how we will eliminate racial discrimination in our country. We need to reflect on the culture that can make politicians believe that there are votes to be gained by blaming refugees, immigrants or Indigenous people for issues that are not related to them, such as pressure on health care, crowded cities or welfare spending. It’s the same culture that led to the terrible act of violence last Friday.” “Social workers are dedicated to creating a society which is just and inclusive in which it is possible for everyone to flourish and thrive. Eliminating racial discrimination is fundamental to our vision. “Now is the time when we look to our leaders to set an example and we call on politicians, business and community groups to commit to join us in eliminating all forms of discrimination.” Christine Craik is available for interview. AMHSWs are experts in complexity, new report published today says 2019-03-21T02:40:39Z amhsws-are-experts-in-complexity-new-report-published-today-says Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) provide a vital service to those experiencing mental health disorders according to its new report Accredited Mental Health Social Workers: Qualifications, Skills and Experience. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “This report will be an important resource in the Association’s advocacy for greater recognition of AMHSWs under Medicare, other programs, and private health funds. “In documenting the breadth of skills and experience, high standard of qualification of AMHSWs, this report demonstrates that AMHSWs are truly experts in complexity.” AMHSWs are one of the few designated allied health professional groups eligible to provide private mental health services to people with diagnosable mental health conditions or people ‘at risk’ of developing mental health conditions under the Commonwealth Medicare initiative. There are currently more than 2,200 AMHSWs working across major cities, regional, rural and remote regions. As a group of providers, AMHSWs are the second largest after the combined group of Clinical Psychologists and Registered Psychologists. This report provides an overview of the skills, knowledge and services provided by AMHSWs, and is based on extensive analysis of AASW data, including 2013 and 2018 member surveys. According to the report: More than 40 per cent of AMHSWs provide services in rural and remote areas More than 60 per cent of AMHSWs have postgraduate qualifications More than 75 per cent of AMHSWs have over 10 years’ practice experience AMHSWs use a wide range of therapeutic interventions, including cognitive behavioural therapy, strengths-based approach and mindfulness People can access the service of AMHSWs through several programs including Medicare, NDIS, DVA and some private health funds. To further illustrate the contribution of AMHSWs, illustrative case studies are included throughout. The AASW is responsible for the accreditation of AMHSWs and is committed to maintaining the high standard of practice of the profession in this sector. Read the complete report. Access the infographic that summarises the report. Christine Craik is available for interview. An interview with an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker is also available. VIVID SYDNEY 2019 ENTERS A NEW DECADE OF INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY 2019-03-19T04:34:52Z vivid-sydney-2019-enters-a-new-decade-of-innovation-and-creativity MEDIA RELEASE: 11.30am, Tuesday 19 March, 2019 VIVID SYDNEY 2019 ENTERS A NEW DECADE OF INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY ARGYLE CUT IN THE ROCKS RETURNS WITH PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS, CAMPBELLS COVE AND HICKSON ROAD RESERVE REJOIN LIGHT WALK, GAME CHANGERS SPIKE LEE AND ESTHER PEREL HEADLINE VIVID IDEAS PLUS THE CURE, RÜFÜS DU SOL, FKA TWIGS & UNDERWORLD ROCK VIVID MUSIC. 2019 PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO CONTENT AND IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE AT:www.vividsydney.com/media-centre Vivid Sydney, the largest festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere, will ignite the Harbour City this winter from Friday 24 May to Saturday 15 June 2019 as it enters a new decade of innovation and creativity with an inspiring and star-studded program of events. Destination NSW CEO and Executive Producer - Vivid Sydney, Sandra Chipchase said, “Australia’s most loved and awarded festival, now in its eleventh year, will bring together light artists, music makers and brilliant minds to showcase Sydney as the creative industries hub of the Asia-Pacific. “This year’s Vivid Sydney program is bold, exciting and diverse, offering something for everyone so I encourage those who want to experience this unmissable event to start planning their trip now.” Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, and in 2018 attracted 2.25 million attendees, delivering $172.9 million in visitor expenditure into the NSW economy. “I am proud to say our marketing activities saw a record 185,887 travel packages sold to domestic and international visitors for Vivid 2018 - an increase of 37 per cent over the previous year. Vivid Sydney is a must-attend event for travellers and motivates people to visit Sydney and beyond,” Ms Chipchase said. “It doesn’t matter your age or interests, whether it is your first time to Sydney or if you are a local - Vivid Sydney has universal appeal. The Vivid Sydney 2019 program offers inclusive and accessible installations, events and experiences that you can enjoy for one evening or over 23 nights.” Ms Chipchase also announced the inaugural Vivid School for High School students in years 9-12 to assist students to learn more about the creative processes involved in imagining, designing and delivering light-based artworks for this huge global event. “This initiative will enable students and their teachers to meet the professionals behind Vivid Sydney’s iconic building projections and light walk installations, and to hear from artists, designers and technicians about their career paths and how they harnessed opportunities to build their skills for future projects and employment,” Ms Chipchase said. VIVID LIGHT This year’s Light Walk sees over 50 radiant works curated into the largest outdoor gallery of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, stretching for more than three kilometres. In a partnership first, Academy-Award winning Pixar Animation Studios will illuminate Sydney’s heritage-listed Argyle Cut in The Rocks with a creative light projection that will delight visitors of all ages as they are transported through a visual feast of behind-the- scenes artwork and the evolution of iconic animation. The return of the Argyle Cut to the Vivid Light program will be a huge drawcard for festival goers featuring the captivating characters of Pixar films, including the beloved duo of Woody and Buzz Lightyear. For this year’s eagerly anticipated Lighting of the Sails, Los Angeles-based Chinese American artist-filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang presents Austral Flora Ballet. This hypnotic tribute to Australia’s exquisite native plants and flowers incorporates a dancer’s movements in response to the sensuous arcs of the Sydney Opera House’s silhouette. Visitors can once again weave their way through the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney for close encounters with illuminated artworks that reflect and refract both light and nature. Glowing, darting, hovering above the ground, Firefly Field is a mesmerising installation of 500 flying light points that simulate the aerial ballet of these tiny nocturnal lampyridae. Viewers are encouraged to look beyond the night sky and wonder what secrets lie beyond the stars throughKA3323, a retro-futuristic satellite dish overgrown with alien plant matter that has mysteriously landed in the Botanic Garden. While at I Hear You (But Do You Hear Me?), an array of LED light poles generates a space between two people with their voices starting a conversation of light and sound, questioning inequality in the digital era. Across the Quay, the imposing art-deco façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia will be transformed by award-winning Australian-Columbian artist Claudia Nicholson who, together with light veterans Spinifex Group, reimagine her vibrant artworks into Let Me Down, an animated cycle of creation, destruction and regeneration underscored by the cool and contemporary sounds of Lonelyspeck. Next door, in addition to an incredible experience at Foundation Hall, Samsung Electronics Australia will create a once in a lifetime experience at First Fleet Park using some of the most exciting features of the Galaxy S10 to reimagine how you see Vivid Sydney. Watch your chips! in The Rocks examines the collective behaviour of birds, mimicking the way gulls sometimes harass humans for food scraps while Nostalgia Above connects the romance of nature to data-driven climate technology, creating a virtual barometer that forecasts rain and thunderstorms, clear or gloomy skies. Campbells Cove is back with Ballerina, an eternal dance solo that shimmers along the harbour’s edge as if in a dream, while Let it Snow makes it seem that giant snowflakes have landed at Hickson Road Reserve offering great views from the water. Celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the southern pylon of Sydney Harbour Bridge is set to come to life with Eora: Broken Spear curated by Rhoda Roberts AO with projection design by The Electric Canvas. This powerful work reminds us to reflect, to call country, to read country and listen to country. The façade of Customs House is once again transformed to become an aquatic wonderland in Under the Harbour by Spinifex Group, sure to delight children and adults alike. The watery world with neon sea creatures, botanical wonderlands, and unclassified oddities will provide a playful and exquisite escape into an extraordinary underwater fantasy certain to inspire audiences and deepen the appreciation of Sydney’s aquatic haven. VIVID SYDNEY PRECINCTS Popular precincts Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Chatswood, Barangaroo and Luna Park also light up in 2019. On the north shore, festival favourite Taronga Zoo’s Lights for the Wild adds to its illuminated trail of interactive lanterns featuring endangered species. Joining the star-spangled Asian Elephant, a family of glowing Silverback Gorillas, the iridescent Marine Turtle and the Weedy Sea Dragon, is the Sumatran Tiger Cubs marking the birth of three new tiger cubs and highlighting the Zoo’s commitment to conservation. In its second year, the ever-grinning Luna Park Sydney dazzles again after dark. This year adrenaline seekers can get airborne in the new family thriller Volaré studded with thousands of LED lights which perfectly complements the light-laced iconic Ferris Wheel. Vivid Sydney at Chatswood, a family favourite, is set to radiate with peace and harmony. The Concourse will shine with Co-existence, a large-scale projection work by Hungarian artist collective Limelight while music fans can catch shows by Vince Jones and Lisa Fischer as well as performances by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. Vivid Ideas weighs in with a festival/conference for girl gamers and free sessions on clean beauty, fit- tech and wellness. Barangaroo offers a feast for the senses with Exchange Place set to become a wondrous Winter Camp each night with the glowing six-metre tall spirit Marri Dyin (Great Woman) visiting Thursdays to Sundays. Visitors are invited to join her to hunt and gather through illuminated bushlands and enjoy light-inspired fare at all price-points from over 40 restaurants, bars and cafes. At Darling Harbour, Robot SPACELand imagines a not-too-distant future where a new civilisation rises from our post-industrial debris. This is where you will get to meet mind- boggling electro-automotive super-bots that have been sent to sow the seeds of a brighter, greener tomorrow. Vivid Sydney’s inclusive playground Tumbalong Lights is back with the support of Access and Inclusion partner Cushman & Wakefield. Inspired by the next frontier, playSPACE will bring together super-scale installations that give intrepid explorers an opportunity to walk Under the Milky Sky, play with Spaceballs, and share different perspectives with See What I See. Low-sensory sessions will be catered for too. VIVID IDEAS Vivid Ideas brings to Sydney 23 days and nights of talks, hands-on workshops and industry- shaping forums delving into the meaning of love, loneliness and belonging in our fast-paced, ever-connected lives. This year’s Game Changers challenge assumptions on race and relationships. Hollywood trailblazer Spike Lee opens up about his personal politics, story-craft and tips for making movies that matter, while iconic psychotherapist and creator of the wildly popular podcast Where Should We Begin? Esther Perel investigates modern love in the digital age and looks at the ways relationships are being affected by technology. The New Horizons series tunes into signals from the future. Highlights include Future of Sex researcher and podcast creator Bryony Cole charting the frontiers of sextech, Marc Fennell exploring loneliness and how and why many people in Japan feel overworked and undersexed, and Eileen Ormsby shines a chilling light into the dark underbelly of the web. Scientists and researchers from UTS, the ABC and CSIRO will also shed light on what’s coming next in AI and ethics, space exploration and more. In The Mark Colvin Conversation: Net Worth, Pulitzer prize winner author Sebastian Smee, psychologistJocelyn Brewer and artist and author Holly Throsby look at the value of an ‘inner life’ and ask what price we’ll pay for our constant digital distraction. Vivid Art After Hours returns to the Art Galley of NSW for free Wednesday evenings that combine art activities, live music and talks by creative thinkers addressing issues of belonging - including comedian and ‘bad Buddhist’ Meshel Laurie, rapper, poet and author Omar Musa and artist Abdul Abdullah in conversation about cultural identity, and the team behind the hit ABC TV show You Can’t Say That celebrating social diversity. Citizens of the World workshops and other how-to sessions will unlock essential skills for living a more creative, better informed and fulfilled life and Semi Permanent returns with a jam-packed program of design goodness featuring vice president of design for Uber, Michael Gough and other luminaries. The Vivid Ideas Exchange will once again reside on Level 6 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia with 23 days of stimulating talks and skill sharpening workshops including future-facing industry forums, deep-dive conferences, panels and showcases where we brighten up your perspectives and challenge your ideas. VIVID MUSIC Vivid Sydney spotlights the city’s live music culture by both bringing in influential overseas acts and placing a firm focus on local talent, this year’s line-up is set to impress. Dynamic electronic act RÜFÜS DU SOL and genre-bending popstar FKA Twigs headline this year’sCarriageworks program while the warehouse party of the year, Curve Ball curated by Fuzzy Events returns featuring Hayden James, Touch Sensitive and Mallrat. The City Recital Hall presents four musically diverse highlights including Australian music legend Paul Kelly and leading Australian composer James Ledger performing thirteen new songs and soundscapes inspired by birds, pop-darling Kate Miller-Heidke, internationally acclaimed pianists ZOFO and Concertos on Fire. Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House celebrates artists at the cutting edge of their genre and visionaries who create on their own terms. British alternative rock pioneers The Cure mark the 30th anniversary of their landmark album Disintegration with four sold-out Australian exclusive performances. Their compatriots, UK electronic titans Underworld are set to transform the Concert Hall into a euphoric dance floor with four exclusive shows, while rising American synth-pop star Maggie Rogers makes her Sydney Opera House debut bringing her singular fusion of melodic folk and percussive beats to showcase her incredible new record, Heard It in a Past Life. Acclaimed singer songwriter Sharon Van Etten also sails in for an electrifying one-night-only performance and legendary jazz ground-breaker Herbie Hancock’s only Sydney show will be unmissable. 2019 marks X|Celerate’s third big year and partnership between the City of Sydney and Destination NSW supporting the ongoing growth of Sydney’s thriving music scene. 23 inner city venues including a hair salon, church and brewery showcase emerging grassroots acts across every imaginable genre, with acts like The Catholics, Set Mo, Carlotta and I Know Leopard, while Heaps Gay returns for the Qweens Ball at the Sydney Town Hall. Vivid Art After Hours returns to the Art Gallery of NSW with the fused Vivid Ideas and Music program on Wednesday evenings. Catch Andrew Bukenya’s Do the Spike Thing, OKENYO taking a sonic deep dive into the human condition andJZ Lunar Capsule presenting an Astronaut’s Playlist celebrating the music of space travellers as imagined by the Apollo 11 astronauts 50 years ago. VIVID SYDNEY SPONSORS Vivid Sydney thanks its sponsors for their support of Vivid Sydney 2019. American Express returns as partner for the third consecutive year with the American Express Lounge at Cruise Bar as well as supporting the Vivid Sydney Volunteer Program. Samsung Electronics Australia and official energy partner TransGrid also return as partners with Pixar Animation Studios joining as partner for the first time. Supporters include City of Sydney, Sydney Opera House, Technical Direction Company and 32 Hundred Lighting and ICC Sydney. For the third year, Vivid Sydney’s Access and Inclusion Partner is Cushman & Wakefield and the festival continues its sustainability partnership with the Banksia Foundation and Informed 365. Vivid Sydney’s collaborators include Art Gallery of NSW, Australian Museum, BEMO, Carriageworks, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Event Engineering, Kennards Hire, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, PropMill, Spinifex Group, State Library NSW. The official charity party is the Royal Flying Doctor Service, South Eastern Section. The full 2019 Vivid Sydney media kit, program announcement and high-res imagery including 2019 Vivid Sydney light renders and broadcast quality video footage of 2018 festival highlights, are available to download at www.vividsydney.com/media-centre Media Enquiries Nathan McIlroy, The Mint Partners 0421 668 440 Jo Hocking, Destination NSW 0429 507 328 World Social Work Day: Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships 2019-03-18T21:34:43Z world-social-work-day-promoting-the-importance-of-human-relationships World Social Work Day is held each year on the third Tuesday of March to celebrate the profession of social work and the role of social workers in the community. This year’s theme is Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships. This year, it is held on 19 March. The Australian Association of Social Workers, as the professional body representing more than 11,000 social workers, is marking World Social Work Day with celebrations throughout Australia. AASW National President Christine Craik said human relationships are at the essence of what social workers do, in the diversity of settings in which they work. Ms Craik said, “The vital work of social workers can be seen in a wide variety of settings. Whether we work in health, mental health, schools, child protection, aged care, disability, family violence, academia or management, we bring the values of our profession to wherever we work.” In a world dominated by individualism and the changing nature of community, it is necessary to emphasise the importance of our relationships to one another and the role that this plays in creating an inclusive and supportive society. Ms Craik said, “This is at the heart of the work we do. Promoting the importance of human relationships means recognising the rights and dignity of fellow human beings and treating them and their ways of knowing, with respect and compassion. “Promoting the importance of human relationships for social workers means more than just that phrase. As social workers, we work to identify, name and change the systems and attitudes in our society that impact, diminish and work against healthy relationships. “For example, in promoting the importance of human relationships, we need to call out and advocate against the discriminatory and abusive policies and structures that continue to oppress some of the most vulnerable groups in society. “These include our welfare, housing, legal, medical, political and many of our religious systems – that often disregard the importance and crucial nature of ‘relationship’ in this work.” The large scope of social work practice can be seen in the diversity of the celebrations taking place across Australia. The Association is hosting celebrations in every state and territory through its branches. The complete list of events, resources, posters and social media frames are available on the AASW website. Ms Craik said, “I encourage everyone to engage with this year’s theme of Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships. On 19 March, join our Twitter campaign and tweet us using #WSWD19, with a photo depicting human relationships. “So join social workers all over the world in celebrating the amazing work that we do, and have a happy World Social Work Day.” Christine Craik is available for interview. You can view Ms Craik’s World Social Work Day video on Facebook.