The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-03-22T00:28:55Z Harmony is more important than ever this week 2019-03-22T00:28:55Z 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 2019-03-21T01:40:39Z 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 2019-03-19T03:34:52Z 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 2019-03-18T20:34:43Z 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. AASW South Australian Branch calls for Social Worker of the Year nominations 2019-03-08T00:40:31Z aasw-south-australian-branch-calls-for-social-worker-of-the-year-nominations The Australian Association of Social Workers South Australian Branch is seeking nominations for the Social Worker of the Year Awards to give individuals and groups who work with the state’s most vulnerable populations a chance to shine. AASW South Australian Branch President Patricia Muncey said, “We urge South Australians to nominate an inspiring social worker in their network, to honour and reward those making positive contributions health and well-being and upholding best practice across our community.” The Awards have been recognising social workers who are making a significant contribution across the broad spectrum of practice, since 2016. The categories of the Award are: Agent of Change Head, Heart and Hands Leading the Way in the Workplace Rising Star Rural and Remote Impact Student of the Year. Entries can be submitted by the general public as well as professionals who work alongside social workers throughout South Australia. Nominations close on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 at 5.00pm ACDT. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Adelaide on Thursday, 2 May, providing an opportunity to celebrate the valuable contributions of all nominees. For more information and to nominate a social worker, see the AASW website. Balance for Better: Social workers call for action on gender inequality 2019-03-07T23:21:33Z balance-for-better-social-workers-call-for-action-on-gender-inequality The 2019 theme of International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) calling for action on gender inequality. AASW National President Christine Craik said gender equality is vital to health and future of our nation, and to the work of social workers. Ms Craik said, “We need to recognise that when women are disadvantaged, we are all poorer. “Social workers feel the effects of gender inequality both professionally and personally. Professionally, we strive to address the effects of gender inequality with the people and communities we work with at an individual and a systems level. “Personally, social work is also a female dominated profession. It is a highly skilled occupation which can often carry elements of risk in practice. However, like many other female dominated professions, social work is often not paid at the rate of similar male dominated professions, nor does it come with the status of male dominated professions that carry the same risks and the same (or often lower) qualification levels. Social workers well understand the need to Balance for Better. “Australia’s report card for gender equality is not looking good. More women than ever before are being incarcerated around Australia for crimes of poverty and through living lives influenced by trauma, family violence and sexual abuse. “There is an alarming increase in homelessness for women and children as a result of family violence and for women over the age of 55, many of whom find themselves with little in the way of superannuation or savings, due to their years of unpaid and uncounted work of caring and child-rearing. Government policies such as the Centrelink automated debt recovery scheme, robodebt, and the ParentsNext program are punitive, deficit-based and are contributing to increasing numbers of women and children living in poverty. “If we are to Balance for Better this International Women’s Day, then we must address the root causes of inequality and the misogynistic and discriminatory policies which devalue and fail women. If these are not addressed, then the inequitable situation we currently have will continue to enable the unacceptable rates of family violence, sexual violence, poverty, and homelessness that we see now. “This starts with recognising women as equals and that the work women do is of equal value to that of men, whether it is paid or unpaid. It means recognising that women need to be in positions of power, including on boards and in government. “Then we will truly be able to Balance for Better.” Christine Craik is available for interview. 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. New Church in Melbourne - Glow 2019-02-28T03:48:09Z new-church-in-melbourne-glow Glow Church, one of Australia’s fastest growing Christian churches, is set to plant their third location in the city of Melbourne in July 2019. This momentous news was confirmed when Glow Church Senior Pastors, Joel and Ellen Cave announced the new location during Glow’s annual Vision Sunday on the 24th of February 2019. Glow Church Melbourne Lead Pastors, Jimmy and Emma L’Almont will be taking a team of 12 people with them to plant what will be Glow Church’s third location, Glow Melbourne.   After being founded on the Gold Coast in early 2013 as the first ARC Church in Australia, Glow Church has since seen incredible growth and continued momentum. Glow Church exists to see people find Jesus and find home in a loving community, the core values stem from the statement REAL, BOLD, LOVE which incorporates Glow’s heart for the local community, each city and the world.   A few years in, Glow announced their second location, Sydney Australia. For the past 2 years, Glow Sydney has been led by Lead Pastors Grant and Whitney Hoyle and each week is having a growing impact right in the heart of Sydney.   Now in the church’s sixth year, Glow Melbourne is gearing up to be a positive influence in the city and extension of the church’s growing impact. Carrying Pastor Joel and Ellen’s vision for the church, Pastor Emma and Jimmy along with their team have been planning the launch of Glow Melbourne and the outreach that will occur from the plant. Ultimately, the location plant is set to continue the church’s mission of "bringing the light of Jesus to the community, city and world". Glow Melbourne will embrace the creative, fast paced and unique nature of Melbourne to create a vibrant, welcoming community that exists for people to find Jesus and purpose.   From the very beginning, Glow’s senior Pastors have sewed vision and authenticity into the church and this year’s Vision Sunday came as no exception. Across their four Sunday services, the Gold Coast and Sydney locations celebrated this exciting time in the young church’s life, the announcement of Glow Melbourne. Melbourne is a city that has been on Jimmy and Emma's heart for the past 6 years, Jimmy being born and raised there, and Emma travelling there regularly over the past years. Glow will be a place where people can find their purpose and be known and needed. Contact the Glow Melbourne team if you are looking for a church in Melbourne. Media Contact:Glow Church MelbournePhone: 0497708057melbourne@glowchurch.com.au Wilted roses – understanding post-Valentine’s day disappointment 2019-02-15T00:41:42Z wilted-roses-understanding-post-valentine-s-day-disappointment St Valentine’s day has a certain irresistibility – why is this so? Are people overly romantic about romance? A recent survey of 845 Australians by Better Place Australia shows how strongly the prevalence of romantic beliefs are amongst both males and females. The survey looked into romantic beliefs and focussed on three common themes of romantic ideals relating to ‘there can only be one true love for me’, ‘all you need is love’ and ‘love at first sight’.   Serge Sardo the CEO of Better Place Australia says, “To our surprise men have higher levels of romantic beliefs than women. When comparing results between men and women, we see that 65% of men agree that all you need is love compared to 57% of women. This rate increases to 70% for men aged 30-39 years and 64% for women in the same age group. Men are more inclined to believe that if you truly love each other the relationship will work despite any differences, problems or obstacles.”  Most people are romantic optimists with over 60% of respondents believing that if another person and I truly love each other, the relationship will work despite any differences and problems.  With such a rosy picture how can it be that St Val’s dinner dates don’t all lead to the altar? Romance still reigns, however, we as a community may have outgrown the one and only true love belief. Survey respondents did not all think that you will only ever have one true romance. Only 40% believe that there can only ever be one true love whom I will be with forever. The survey indicates that we now include the possibility of more than one romantic partner in our lifetime. Serge Sardo says, “As a provider of relationship counselling and family dispute services we know that the longer you wait to get married the less likely you are to get divorced, and the higher levels of satisfaction you’ll experience. You can have more than one true love. Don’t be disappointed if last night’s dinner wasn’t a bed of roses. The St Valentines romantic date is another step in your journey – don’t expect it to be the turning point. The understanding and distinction between an immediate desire and a deep caring love is important. Recognise that love at first sight is making a life-long commitment over the date dinner table whilst in a state of pressure may not be very prudent.” So, if you’re in first phase of attraction reflect upon your dinner date for what it is and hold off on the wedding plans. Perhaps wait till you transition through the smelly socks, interfering parents, irritating habits and the expanding waistlines before you say, “I do”. Serge Sardo is available for interview - 0439 578 277. He is also available to travel to Melbourne Studios.  Other media contacts - Graeme Westaway 0438 318 311 graeme.westaway@betterplace.com.au Local Perth businesses supporting each other to serve transport, mining & agriculture 2019-02-14T05:18:05Z local-perth-businesses-supporting-each-other-to-serve-transport-mining-agriculture Twelve years ago ex-Truckline employee Paul Simons set out on his own, using his sought-after expertise to establish Driveshafts Australia. Today, the Western Australian business is well respected for its quality workmanship and responsive timelines. In industries where time matters - mining, transport and agriculture - Paul manages to go the extra mile for his customers; prioritise expertise, quality and innovation; and do his bit for the environment all at the same time. To read more about the principles that set this small business apart please read below or attached. Photos are also attached and available in higher resolution. To arrange an interview with Paul please don't hesitate to contact me. Kind regards, Alison Treloar Seftons | Truckline media relations 02 6766 5222 alison.treloar@seftons.com.au Driveshafts Australia goes the extra mile for customers with assistance from proven parts provider It’s the day before a long weekend and you’re heading off to catch up with friends. But then a phone call comes in from a customer who’s had a machinery failure and needs help – fast. The afternoon plans are abruptly cut short and it’s back to work. That’s all part of the service for Driveshafts Australia (DSA) whose customers rely on the highest quality product, delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible. DSA was established by Paul Simons 12 years ago and specialises in the repair, balance and manufacture of drive shafts, as well as a custom-design service. The DSA team works on all types of drive shafts – from automotive and industrial, to those for heavy vehicles in the transport, mining and agriculture industries - and Paul says his staff understand just how important their job is to the customers who rely on them. It doesn’t matter when an urgent call comes in, it needs to be dealt with – no matter the hour. “The guys know the rules. It could be 3.55pm and we think we’re knocking off at 4 o’clock, but we get a phone call saying a truck’s broken down and that’s it. A couple of guys will stay back and we’ll get the job finished. It’s about providing the quickest service we can to keep people rolling. While the trucks and machines aren’t moving, they’re not making money,” Paul said. Parts are all important to a business like DSA and to ensure they can source the best-quality drive shaft products, at the best price, when they need them, they use Truckline, which has a similar philosophy to Paul’s: get the customer what they need as quickly as possible, with the best advice and support available. It’s no surprise to learn then that Paul was once a Truckline employee, starting with the company 30 years ago and working for them for almost two decades. He said he was taught by some great people at Truckline, who all instilled in him the values of loving what you do, and doing it to the highest standard. Paul said he has a close relationship with his nearest Truckline branch manager and most of the parts they needed were always available from the branch. If not, he said they could rely on Truckline to source them as quickly as possible. “Every month when we put a stock order in, they supply it quickly and ensure everything keeps running smoothly. We know we can count on them,” he said. The drive shaft business is a competitive one and DSA is always striving to go that extra mile in all they do, from customer service, right up to the most technical of design and manufacturing requests. “A lot of people have this idea about drive shafts – ‘oh yeah, it’s only a drive shaft’ – but if the drive shaft is not working properly it can cause a lot of problems,” Paul said. “Transmission problems, differential problems, that kind of thing. That’s why when we started the business we invested in Schenk balancing, which is German technology, They’re one of the leaders in this area, so when you’re doing your balancing, which is one of the most important aspects of it, you know it’s being done right. For a large manufacturing business with the pressure of tight deadlines and maintaining profit margins while remaining competitive, caring for the environment might seem to be the last thing on the priority list, but for DSA it’s always been a consideration. “We’ve had a big solar panel system for quite a few years which is our way of doing something for the environment. People ask ‘how much did that cost you?’ and I say that doesn’t matter. I did it for the reason of reducing our carbon footprint because I think anything you can do, it’s all going to help,” Paul said. Going that extra mile is all part of the DSA philosophy, whether it’s for the sake of the environment or the customer who needs assistance fast. “We take pride in what we do and that’s one of the things I instil in the guys. If you’re not happy with the job you do, don’t expect the customer to be happy with it,” Paul said. “We’re also always learning and looking for new ways of doing things. While some businesses might say ‘sorry we can’t help you’, we think the opposite and say ‘yes, we can help you - we’ll get you going again.” Paul’s Five Business Mantras The customer always comes first Be happy in what you do Be proud of what you do Every day is a new day to learn Pursue your passion ENDS For further information or interview inquiries please contact Alison Treloar, Seftons, on email at alison.treloar@seftons.com.au or phone 0422 093 639 / 02 6766 5222. Photo Caption: Driveshafts Australia founder Paul Simons. Driveshafts Australia founder Paul Simons (L) with son Marcus Simons. Driveshafts Australia, in Kewdale, is an expert in fast turnaround for transport, mining and agriculture industries. The Driveshafts Australia team take pride in going the extra mile. L-R Jessica May, Rebecca Simons, Gerard Smith, Marcus Simons, Paul Simons, Mark Hughes, Alexander Hunt, Richard Gilmour, Paul Grandin, Geoffrey Gilmour. About Truckline Truckline is Australia’s largest retailer of aftermarket truck and trailer parts, supporting all makes and models of North American, European and Japanese commercial vehicles. During the company’s 65 years servicing the Australian trucking industry, Truckline has built an extensive network of 23 company owned stores nationally, all with warehousing facilities. Owned by CNH Industrial, Truckline sources renowned products from leading suppliers around the world to cater for Australia’s unique conditions and climate. With a catalogue of more than 77,000 competitively priced parts and accessories, Truckline caters for all road transport needs. Whatever the age, make or model of the truck or trailer, Truckline’s highly skilled team is dedicated to providing parts to fulfil each customer’s requirement. Truckline is committed to keeping its customers moving. Australian social workers welcome the Victorian Government’s plan to ban ‘conversion therapy’ 2019-02-07T00:17:51Z australian-social-workers-welcome-the-victorian-governments-plan-to-ban-conversion-therapy As the Victorian Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers took to the streets on Sunday to support LGBTIQ Victorians at the Midsumma Pride March, the Association welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement that it plans to outlaw ‘conversion therapy’. The harmful and thoroughly debunked practice aims to change, suppress or eliminate an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. While the practice is not outlawed, it sends a message that LGBTIQ individuals are not ‘normal’ and need to be fixed. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “These messages do so much damage and need to be stopped. We stand with LGBTIQ Australians and support the Victorian Government’s stance on banning conversion therapy. This planned ban follows an extensive investigation into conversion practices by the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC), who found those subjected to this so-called ‘therapy’ experienced long-term psychological harm and distress. This is something that social workers and other mental health professionals have known for many years. “The Victorian Government’s announcement sends a clear and positive message to young people who may be dealing with the stress and anxiety of knowing they are same-sex attracted and the social pressures that are associated with it in an unaccepting environment. “We call on other Australian states and territories to follow Victoria’s lead in outlawing the practice. We further call on the Australian Government to support the states and territories by fully funding the Safe Schools Program, which aims to create understanding and stop the bullying and marginalisation of LGBTIQ children and young people in schools. “The Australian Government must also make clear that discrimination against employees or students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated. “We all have a role in taking a stand against homophobia, including internalised homophobia, which is when LGBTIQ individuals can sometimes believe the homophobic messages and attitudes around them. It causes needless harm and division in communities and can lead to poorer health and wellbeing outcomes in LGBTIQ individuals, which we have seen is sometimes fatal. “This is why the Victorian Government’s announcement is so important – it is a welcome step in continuing to affirm the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ Australians.” Christine Craik is available for interview. Media contact Angela Yin Communications Lead P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954 ‘Forgotten Christmas’ Campaign Helps Raise Struggling Families Above Poverty Line in Asia 2018-12-19T01:16:57Z forgotten-christmas-campaign-helps-raise-struggling-families-above-poverty-line-in-asia TOOWOOMBA, Queensland—As holiday shopping in North America is predicted to top $1 trillion this year, GFA World (formerly Gospel for Asia www.gfaau.org) is urging Christians to make the season more Christ-centred by adding someone they don't know to their gift list. GFA's "Forgotten Christmas" campaign (www.forgottenchristmas.ca) gives an opportunity to churches and individuals to provide practical gifts, including income-generating resources that can help lift a family out of poverty in Asia, where millions struggle to survive below the $1.90-a-day poverty line.    The centre piece of the effort is a touching three-minute video drama which follows a young American boy as he provides desperately needed groceries for a struggling couple in his neighbourhood.   "Christmas is about so much more than just presents," viewers are told. "Let's bring Christmas back to what it's really meant to be about: giving hope to others. Why not go further than just next door? Make an impact around the world this Christmas."   They can do that through GFA World’s Christmas Gift Catalogue (www.gfaau.org/gift), which features almost 40 different giving opportunities.   For just $11—the price of three eggnog lattes—a pair of chickens can improve a family's financial situation by breeding more birds that can be sold, or through the sale of their eggs. Other poverty-breaking gifts include a lamb for $65, a sewing machine for $85, and teaching someone to read for $25.   "There is so much to enjoy in the Christmas season, but it is easy to lose sight of the real meaning, if we are not careful," said GFA founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. "Christmas is about Jesus coming into the world, showing us God's love in tangible form.   "Through a simple gift that can completely change their circumstances, we can demonstrate his love to those struggling in poverty. We can show them that they may have been forgotten by the world, but they have not been forgotten by God or his people."   GFA World hopes that in this 12th year of “Forgotten Christmas,” churches and individuals around the globe will join them in seeing families in Asia  receive help to rise above the poverty line. Last year, GFA and its supporters helped more than 230,000 families receive income-generating presents.   One GFA supporter who provides help through the gift catalogue each year said: "What a wonderful way to invest treasure into some of the poorest of the poor—a way that gives them new opportunities for self-support and dignity and demonstrates God's love for them.”  # # #   GFA World (www.gfaau.org) has – for nearly 40 years ‒ provided humanitarian assistance and spiritual hope to millions in Asia, especially among those who have yet to hear the Good News. Last year, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,000 wells drilled, over 11,000 water filters installed, Christmas presents for more than 200,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. RetireAustralia launches informative ‘Retire Ready’ guide 2018-12-16T23:07:42Z retireaustralia-launches-informative-retire-ready-guide RetireAustralia has launched a comprehensive new guide aimed at helping seniors and their families make informed choices about retirement village living. Retire Ready provides information on moving into, living in, and leaving a retirement village. RetireAustralia’s CEO, Alison Quinn, said Retire Ready is designed to help seniors plan their futures with confidence. “We know making a decision about your future is an important step and we hope this guide helps you feel better informed and more confident about making your choice when the time comes,” she said. “[It’s] important to have the facts, so we can make informed choices that set us up for the future we want.” The 24-page guide covers the various types of village available, retirement village lifestyles, how to choose a suitable village, costs, contracts, care options, and much more. It is available online as a download or in print form from a RetireAustralia village. The launch of Retire Ready coincides with the Retirement Living Council’s new ‘A Wise Move’ campaign, of which RetireAustralia is a part. The ‘A Wise Move’ campaign is designed to provide information to potential residents and their families about retirement living options and benefits, and address misconceptions about retirement communities. Retire Ready is available now! Download your free copy at: http://info.retireaustralia.com.au/retire-ready  Australian social workers support the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, calls on government to restore Australia’s place as a human rights leader 2018-12-09T23:37:49Z australian-social-workers-support-the-70th-anniversary-of-the-un-declaration-of-human-rights-calls-on-government-to-restore-australias-place-as-a-human-rights-leader On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Australian Association of Social Workers calls on the government to take serious action to fulfil its human rights commitments. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The AASW continues to have serious concerns over Australia’s breach of human rights, including the treatment of people seeking asylum, and the systems abuses of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children, including their overrepresentation in the justice system. “Article One of the declaration tells us that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’, and although Australia prides itself on values of respect, dignity and compassion, it is clear the Australian government is failing in this regard. “For example, Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned, often for minor offences like unpaid fines[1], than the rest of the Australian population, and Aboriginal women are the fastest growing prisoner demographic in Australia[2]. “Furthermore, despite being a signatory to many UN conventions that protect human rights, the Australian government appears undeterred by repeated calls by the UN to end offshore ‘processing’ of people seeking asylum. Not only this, we have people who have been held in indefinite closed onshore detention for almost 10 years. “Social workers see first-hand the devastating consequences of government policies that neglect the freedoms provided by the Human Rights Declaration. “People are sick of the political rhetoric and cruelty of the Australian government around people seeking asylum, and they are using their vote to show it, as we have seen in recent by-elections. This is very much an election issue now, and if the government isn’t willing to act on this as a humanitarian issue then perhaps the threat of losing office will move them to action. The election is an important time for those in all political parties to show moral leadership, honour our legacy of compassion and not pander to the politics of fear and racism.” As social workers, we will continue to advocate against human rights violations and look forward to the day when the Australian Government stops exploiting the public’s fear, misconceptions and prejudices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, asylum seekers and refugees for political gain, and becomes a global leader for human rights. The AASW represents over 11,000 professional social workers from around Australia. Christine Craik is an Ambassador for Kids off Nauru. Christine Craik is available for interview. [1] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/australia [2] Ibid. A Gift to the City - A video presentation on the Digital Tower at Yagan Square 2018-11-29T03:56:17Z a-gift-to-the-city-a-video-presentation-on-the-digital-tower-at-yagan-square Schools of Early Learning – Children breaking new ground… A dedicated group of our Schools of Early Learning (SOEL) educators from across all 5 of our centres have been busy working on a long-term research project with groups of 4 year old kindy children, around community and relationships. Each location explored the unique and reciprocal nature of their relationships with their peers, community and local indigenous culture, and then came together for regular meaningful visits to Yagan Square. The children named themselves ‘The Together Group’ and produced ‘gifts to the city’ in the form of mark-making and clay sculpting, leaving these works behind are returning days later to see how they had been changed by the city. We'll be revealing our children’s gifts to the city via a video presentation on the digital tower in Yagan Square, with the launch screening on Friday 30th of November, at 6:30pm sharp! It will be running for a number of weeks and is complemented by large stickers on the ground in the area featuring children’s work and links to further information.   Find out more at: https://soel.com.au/yagan-square/   More than just child care, SOEL is a candidate IB World School offering the Primary Years Programme with a focus on the Early Years. We build partnerships with families and the community through collaboration, to create opportunities in which children are listened to, respected, mentored and challenged, so that they can be local, national, international and global citizens.