The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-05-27T00:09:28Z Australian social workers celebrate National Reconciliation Week 2020: In This Together 2020-05-27T00:09:28Z australian-social-workers-celebrate-national-reconciliation-week-2020-in-this-together The AASW celebrates National Reconciliation Week during this week 27 May – 3 June and what has turned out be a prophetic theme ‘In This Together’ and calls on all Australians to continue to work towards Reconciliation. It also marks 20 years since Australians marched en masse for Reconciliation in 2000, including the iconic march across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board Director Linda Ford said, “This year, we have been living the theme for 2020 National Reconciliation Week ‘In This Together’ due to the COVID-19 response. This has been a time of incredible challenges and learnings, and we have seen, for the most part, the best of Australia. “The year of 2020 is likely to be remembered for the Coronavirus but throughout this, we should not lose sight of the long-term goals we have as an Australian nation. Goals which are about fairness, compassion, equality, justice and a happy life for all Australians. “As we celebrate National Reconciliation Week this year, we need to remember that it is not just about some of us, not just about Australians that live in cities or rural areas, the Australians that are rich and the ones that are struggling, the new Australians and the ones who can trace their history back to before the boats came. “The theme is about all Australians being ‘In This Together’. As we have demonstrated in our response to COVID-19, we are able to come together for a common purpose. Let us come together for Reconciliation!” AASW National President, Christine Craik said, “Reconciliation is about building meaningful relationships and working together for a more just Australia, and this begins with learning more about the resilience and achievements of Indigenous Australians. This resilience is a lesson for all of us in the current environment. “For social workers, National Reconciliation Week is also about learning from the past and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to address the structural disadvantage and discrimination they face in all facets of their lives, which is an ongoing consequence of colonisation. This includes advocating for Australian governments to listen to Indigenous voices and embrace a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice to parliament.” The AASW continues to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing into social work as a fundamental component of decolonising social work practice in this country. The Association is currently working on its Reconciliation Action Plan 2020-2022. Cleaners Not Receiving Key Resources During COVID-19 2020-05-25T10:31:00Z cleaners-not-receiving-key-resources-during-covid-19 Despite the increased need for high-quality cleaning of workplaces and public areas during COVID-19, a new survey has found nine in 10 cleaners are having to rush essential cleaning work and eight in 10 do not always have enough equipment to complete the job. The survey from the United Workers Union (UWU) also found that 74 per cent of cleaners report not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to do their job safely, and that 70 per cent receive no face-to-face training. UWU director of property services, Lyndal Ryan, said the coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of cleaners, who are doing “essential work in a broken system.” “The crisis has shown everyone that high-quality cleaning that protects public health and safety cannot be delivered on a shoestring budget. Too often cleaners are asked to do too much, in not enough time, without the right training and equipment – because for years and years the contract system has driven cleaning wages and costs down.” “Re-opening the economy is contingent on cleaning – quality cleaning is essential to the management and prevention of COVID-19. We cannot have cleaning that is inadequate for the day to day protection of people as we rebuild public confidence in returning to public spaces.” Ryan said the focus on cleaning and hygiene during COVID-19 would propel a wider industry movement toward cleaners getting the resources and equipment they need. “The survey results show the current reality for our cleaners – rushing work, without enough cleaning equipment to do a quality job and without enough PPE to do their job safely. In the post-COVID world it is time for a reset, for too long contractors have been cutting corners, then cleaners bear the brunt.” “Federal, state and local Government, universities, big building owners, airports and shopping mall owners buy cleaning services and they need to understand that the cleaning of their buildings and services cannot be delivered on the smell of an oily rag. Quality cleaning requires trained cleaners, with the right equipment and enough time to do the job.” Main survey findings: 91% of surveyed cleaners always, often or sometimes have to rush their work because they don’t have enough time 80% of cleaners do not have enough cleaning equipment to do a quality job 74% do not have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to do their job safely 70% receive no face-to-face training Issues reported by cleaners in the survey: Not having enough time to finish work, constant rushing is very stressful Not having enough time to do a more detailed job, always being short-staffed Employers skimping on chemicals supplies and equipment, or diluting chemicals Not having safety issues taken seriously Not supplied with enough training, or with correct working equipment and PPE Domestic Violence Inquiry report a missed opportunity: published without receiving a single submission 2020-05-21T01:03:06Z domestic-violence-inquiry-report-a-missed-opportunity-published-without-receiving-a-single-submission The AASW is today questioning the Senate Committee in charge of the Inquiry into Domestic Violence. This inquiry did not accept any submissions from the domestic and family violence sector and then released its report two days ago, three months ahead of its August due date. In doing so, this inquiry failed to make any substantial contribution to addressing the scourge of domestic and family violence facing Australian women and children. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “We are very disappointed that no domestic and family violence experts and/or victim/survivors were able to contribute to the Domestic Violence Senate Inquiry and that a report has been published three months ahead of schedule without any submissions being accepted. “We need real action on domestic and family violence to prevent the destruction of families and the deaths of women and children. It would have been wise for the Committee to hear from experts such as family violence social workers on this critical issue.” COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the very real dangers facing women and children across Australia, and the contributions of social workers who daily support women through these dangers had the potential to make real change to the lives of so many by adding their voices to this inquiry. To say that public hearings or public submissions would have been of limited benefit given the coronavirus pandemic is a clear message to all women living with increased risk during this pandemic, that their lives do not matter. Ms Craik said, “Too many women have been murdered this year already and for this Senate Committee to not have taken this process seriously is unacceptable and disrespectful to victim-survivors and their children. “We call on the federal government to take family violence seriously, fund the sector properly, and listen to experts in this field. No more women and children should be dying of this.” Last year, there was a review of the family law system which made more than 60 recommendations, some of which addressed the system's capacity to protect women and children. None of the recommendations were implemented. AASW submitted to this review. AASW’s credentialing program recognises specialised social work skills in family violence with its Accredited Family Violence Social Worker credential. National Families Week: AASW calls on increased focus on family violence during COVID-19, and for a separate Medicare item 2020-05-19T03:01:12Z national-families-week-aasw-calls-on-increased-focus-on-family-violence-during-covid-19-and-for-a-separate-medicare-item The AASW calls for an increased focus on family violence during this Family Violence Awareness Month, with the increased incidence of FV during COVID-19. In addition May 15-21 is National Families Week, and while this is a week to celebrate the protective and nurturing capacity of families, we also need to recognise the threats to families from gender-based violence and the added pressures caused by the current COVID-19 environment. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “We welcome the extra $48.1 million announced on Friday, 15 May to address mental health during the current pandemic. , however, it is quite clear that more resources also need to be allocated to family violence, which we know increases during times of crisis. “There has been a rise across the globe in the incidence of family violence during this pandemic, and Australia has not been so lucky with this deadly and destructive toll. In the past month, family violence related hospital visits, increases in calls to emergency departments and increases in victims needing surgery for family violence related injuries have spiked across the country. This increase has been also seen in calls to women’s legal services, calls to police, calls to men’s help lines, family law court cases and frontline family violence services. In the past 10 days, we know of four women who have been murdered in family violence incidents, however there is still no official government death count for family violence deaths across the country as is the case for deaths related to road accidents or COVID-19. “We know that family violence results from attitudes and behaviours based on a belief that the genders are not equal, and from this, a sense of entitlement and control to use power over partners and children. For those who perpetrate abuse we know that during times of crisis, that sense of needing to control becomes focussed on those closest to them, with devastating results. We are seeing risk escalate, and opportunities for victims to escape that risk, decrease. “We call on the federal government to do much more for victim/survivors of family violence. We desperately need services and funding for long term recovery. We need additional funding for therapeutic services that have the ability to work longer term through family court and recovery. These services need to be provided by social workers and counsellors who are family violence accredited. Victim survivors need specialist assistance and are often further abuse by the system if the worker supporting them does not understand the nuances of family violence and control. “We also call on the government to consider a Medicare item number for family violence counselling and therapeutic services distinct from a general practitioner mental health treatment plan. There will be an increase in family violence related cases going through the family court as a result of this pandemic and we need to ensure that perpetrators can no longer use the presence of mental health plans to continue to abuse their victims as is the current situation in the family court.” Christine will be hosting a discussion on COVID-19 and Family Violence for AASW members on Thursday, 28 May 2020 at 6.30pm AEST. AASW’s credentialing program recognises specialised social work skills in family violence with its Accredited Family Violence Social Worker credential. AASW calls for increase in Medicare mental health sessions, publishes guidance for GPs to refer to mental health social workers 2020-05-11T00:18:24Z aasw-calls-for-increase-in-medicare-mental-health-sessions-publishes-guidance-for-gps-to-refer-to-mental-health-social-workers The AASW renews its call for an increase in Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS)-funded mental health sessions in response to COVID 19, said National President Christine Craik. “COVID 19 is having significant impacts in the health and wellbeing of all Australians and we will continue to see the effects for months if not years to come. It is clear now that people need short and long-term mental health supports that are responsive to their needs.” The AASW has joined other key stakeholders in consistently calling for an increase in allowable mental health sessions. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) who provide mental health supports through Medicare know that the current limit of 10 sessions only are not enough for many people. The AASW is calling for an immediate extension of MBS funded sessions from the current 10 sessions allowable per year to at least 20 sessions for the foreseeable future. “Increasing the number of sessions will allow mental health professionals to better support individuals to work through the anxiety and complicated presentations we are seeing at this time. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) have reported instances of their clients rationing their sessions despite significant concerns about their mental health and a worsening of symptoms as this pandemic continues. Social workers have reported observing an increase in service users presenting with suicidal thoughts and concerning behaviours. This is not surprising given the current circumstances, however supporting someone through this is difficult with the limited number of sessions available at the present time. “People are experiencing heightened anxiety with this pandemic, due to many stressors including, loss of income, financial pressure, isolation, uncertainty about the future and for some, dealing with this alongside existing mental health issues. We are seeing an increase in incidents of family violence and worsening drug and alcohol abuse. It is clear that if we are to work to support the mental health of Australians through this pandemic and into recovery, there needs to be adequate service provision.” The federal government’s MBS review has identified the need for an increased number of sessions and the AASW looks forwarding to continuing to work with government on this issue alongside addressing pay parity for all mental health professionals who are undertaking the same work. Ms Craik said, “As stated in our numerous submissions to the inquiry, we believe MBS Better Access needs to be based on need and level of complexity.” One size does not fit all. There are 2,200 AMHSWs who are already supporting people through this current crisis but to be able to address ongoing and complex mental health concerns, there needs to be an increase in the number of sessions available to individuals. AMHSWs are working with GPs to address community mental health issues during this difficult time. AASW has created a COVID-19 flyer for GPs to help refer patients to an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker. Find out more on AASW’s GP webpage and download it today. Inquiry into Newmarch House needed 2020-05-06T08:23:11Z inquiry-into-newmarch-house-needed An inquiry into the COVID-19 tragedy at Newmarch House is urgently needed as the situation has tragically highlighted the desperate need for reform in the sector, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA). “A purposeful inquiry is needed. The investigation will get lost if it is incorporated as part of the very large Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, as has been proposed,” said ALA spokesperson, lawyer and aged care advocate, Ms Catherine Henry. “The residents of Newmarch House and their families have legal rights and, as a community, we need to understand what went wrong in the management of the outbreak at this facility. “One of the significant and ongoing issues in aged care is the lack of transparency and accountability. Holding an inquiry into this disaster will provide the opportunity for open review of the situation and will draw the Federal Government’s attention to the urgent underlying issues. “It seems that what we are seeing unfold at Newmarch House is a failure to meet accepted standards with undertrained, inexperienced staff being forced to handle the outbreak and the facility neglecting to provide adequate resources for its residents. “Residents with COVID-19 don’t appear to be receiving treatment from doctors for days and sometimes are not even receiving treatment from registered nurses.  “We cannot understand why sick residents were not transferred to hospital and those not infected with COVID-19 moved elsewhere when the illness was first detected in the facility. It is inexplicable, and has resulted in a very distressing and tragic situation for the residents and their families.” The ALA says failures in governance, accountability, policy and the regulatory framework are all evident in the current residential aged care system and have contributed to the tragic situation at Newmarch House. “An underlying cause of the systemic problems in aged care is the Aged Care Act 1997 itself. It is weighted in favour of providers and has promoted the privatisation of services and competition, allowing profits to prevail over quality of care,” said Ms Henry. “We need a new Aged Care Act – one that ensures transparency and accountability and includes an independent tribunal to hear complaints of substandard care. “The current system places undue focus on internal complaint mechanisms. We believe the sector needs an independent, external tribunal like the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission.” The ALA recommends that the tribunal’s function should include the capacity to: hear complaints with powers to issue fines; cancel accreditation; publicly reprimand providers; and order monetary compensation. The ALA is a national association of lawyers, academics and other professionals dedicated to protecting and promoting justice, freedom and the rights of the individual. Cousins launch online business in just 13 days to support stranded pregnant women during pandemic 2020-05-06T02:00:32Z cousins-launch-online-business-in-just-13-days-to-support-stranded-pregnant-women-during-pandemic   Sydney, Australia - May 6, 2020   Pregnant women have been among the most vulnerable group to be impacted by Coronavirus with many unable to access essential childbirth education services cancelled by hospitals.   Responding to this urgent need, a Sydney team of two cousins have combined their skills to pivot and launch a new business in just 13 days.   Sarah Tooke, an award-winning midwife has been running antenatal classes at a leading Sydney private hospital for over 10 years as well as privately in people's homes. Recognising the need to quickly provide this essential service online when Coronavirus hit, she reached out to her cousin, Jo Stone, who had already successfully built and scaled several online businesses.   Together, they created, filmed and built three best-in-class online antenatal programs, supported by a website, marketing materials and social media campaigns, all in just 13 days. This was achieved without compromising the quality of the programs and was only possible due to both Sarah and Jo’s years of past experience.   "Being pregnant is an exciting time, but also nerve wracking under normal circumstances. Coronavirus and all the uncertainty it brings, is making these women more stressed than ever, which is not good for them or their unborn baby. I knew I had to move quickly to be able to ensure expectant parents can be as prepared as possible for what awaits them in the birthing suite."   The impersonal nature of online courses had previously put Sarah off the move to digital. However having a successful online coaching business in a different market, Jo knew there was an opportunity to stand out by offering a blend of both online learning with live Q&A calls to ensure the personal touch is kept alive.   "What expectant parents need right now is human connection and reassurance that they're not alone. We don't want them relying on Dr Google or heresy, particularly now when they are locked out of face-to-face hospital classes. This is the beauty of my program that gives everyone access to a live Q&A call with a midwife ensuring no question will remain unanswered."   Since their launch just weeks ago, Sarah has been overwhelmed with the demand for quality education and the reluctance of already tired pregnant people to sit through 8 consecutive hours of Zoom classes, which is often the alternative being provided. "We've had such lovely feedback about the program from clients. They love how easy it is to understand, how practical it is and how much more confident it makes feel. Being able to pivot so quickly, with such a great response and doing it all with family, has just been the icing on the cake," said Sarah.   Having two young kids each, Jo and Sarah know the challenges that each of these expectant parents will face. How they've managed to pull off such a successful business launch in so little time, all while home schooling their children in the middle of a pandemic, is a little miracle of its own.     Further information about Sarah's online antenatal programs with a difference is available at About Sarah Tooke Sarah is a registered nurse, registered midwife and childbirth educator who has developed, designed and delivered childbirth education for over 1,000 couples over the last 10 years. She's also in high demand for private antenatal classes and is recommended by many of Sydney's top obstetricians for her evidence based yet down-to-earth approach to childbirth and parenting. About Jo Stone Jo is a coach and consultant who has successfully launched and grown a number of online businesses, leveraging her 15 years Marketing experience in large corporates. Jo's the marketing and digital smarts of the company, ensuring a best-in-class experience is delivered and is the perfect complement to Sarah's clinical knowledge.     Australian social workers encourage everyone to download COVIDSafe app 2020-04-27T04:47:35Z australian-social-workers-encourage-everyone-to-download-covidsafe-app The AASW welcomes the introduction of the COVIDSafe app, launched by the Australian government yesterday and encourages everyone to download the app. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The Australian community has come together over the past few weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19. “We have done so well in this regard that some states are even beginning to cautiously lift restrictions, which is going to have a positive effect on mental health.” The introduction of a tracing app will assist health authorities to isolate actual and potential cases of COVID-19. “The AASW is asking everyone to download this app and play your part in helping to eliminate this virus. Social workers are working so hard to help people through this time, and anything we can do to assist this, needs to be done. “You simply make sure your Bluetooth is on, download the app and complete a short, non-identifying questionnaire. You do not have to use your real or full name, if you do not want to. “Downloading the app will assist in life returning to normal much more quickly, which is something everyone wants.” Australian social workers have made adjustments during this time to provide essential mental health, family violence, child protection, health, aged care, school social work services and other services that social workers provide. Ms Craik said, “Social work services have continued during this period and the Association is supporting its members through these extraordinary times, to deliver the very best services to the Australian public.” Mental health support for mums: anywhere, anytime 2020-04-27T04:14:03Z mental-health-support-for-mums-anywhere-anytime Birthing classes, mothers’ groups and community support programs all around Australia have come to a sudden stop due to COVID-19 requirements. While this has helped to keep new mothers and babies well, it hasn’t helped their mental health. Margaret Grove, President of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) says, ‘Babies are still being born, new parents are still needing support but we are hearing that, under current restrictions, new parents are finding it hard to access postnatal, breastfeeding and mental health services. We are getting lots of calls, emails and messages from new parents who don’t know where to turn. What should be one of the happiest time of their life has turned into a very anxious experience and they are turning to the ABA for help.’ ‘ABA has a number of free programs that support mothers and fathers and those supporting them to look after their babies. Our qualified counsellors can help mums and dads with questions not only about breastfeeding but also about sleep, settling, play and baby-friendly foods’, says Margaret. ‘ABA’s National Breastfeeding Helpline and online LiveChat service are staffed by dedicated volunteers who aim to empower parents everyday by providing evidence-based support to every parent who contacts these services for help.’ ‘As well as this, we have developed online Breastfeeding Education Live classes to respond to parents’ needs to learn more about what to expect when they have their newborn and bring them home. These classes are for expectant parents and they cover everything from what to expect in terms of baby poo, number of nappies a day to basic breastfeeding information.’ ABA has also developed online mothers’ groups to help combat the feeling of isolation that some mums are currently experiencing. Margaret believes that, ‘Mums want to keep their babies safe but they have also told us that they still want to be able to talk to other mums and have a chat to a qualified expert if needed. Our virtual ABA meetings provide exactly that — a friendly environment where mums can relax and just talk about what they are experiencing without feeling judged. Mums can find out more about what online sessions are running by visiting our website and searching for their local group under the contact tab.’ The National Breastfeeding Helpline is provided with funding from the Federal Government and is a resource that Australian parents can access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if they need breastfeeding support or have a question. ‘Give 1800 686 286 a call if you need to talk to someone who can support you and help you with your new baby’, says Margaret. ‘It is staffed by highly-trained ABA volunteers, who are mothers themselves. Every caller to the Breastfeeding Helpline can count on high quality peer support from someone who is empathic and understands the challenges that can come with having a baby. If you need someone to talk to in these uncertain times, give ABA a call. We are here to help.’ ENDS Spokesperson To arrange an interview with an Australian Breastfeeding Association spokesperson, please contact Vanessa Campbell, ACT/ NSW Public Relations Officer at: or 0413 111 261. Photo Opportunity We have a wide range of mums, babies, toddlers, families and breastfeeding advocates who would love to pose for a photo to accompany your story, in a safe and socially distant manner. To line up a photo opportunity please call the media contact outlined above. Resources We also have an extensive image and footage library. To access these resources please contact our marketing team at: or by phone at ABA National Office 03 9690 4620. Find out about ABA services available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local Group Activities Local ABA groups will host virtual events throughout May that focus on the importance of mother-to-mother support and ways mothers in our communities, both online and offline, can empower each other. Details about ABA’s local support groups can be found at: Both ABA members as well as parents who are not ABA members are invited to come along and share in a positive, welcoming community. Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Program • Post coronavirus legacy & overdevelopment concerns dampen Residents Assoc 3rd anniversary 2020-04-19T23:16:17Z post-coronavirus-legacy-amp-overdevelopment-concerns-dampen-residents-assoc-3rd-anniversary Fawkner Residents Association (FRA) third anniversary and achievements since its inception has been clouded by ongoing concern regarding overdevelopment and the immense disruption and hardship caused by the coronavirus to Fawkner’s residents said founder and spokesperson Mr Joe Perri.    Commenting further Joe Perri said whilst FRA has had many successes over the past year that includes increase in members; successfully campaigning to save open space and giving a voice to the suburb’s elderly and disabled – these have been clouded by apprehension for the future.   “As a community, we are adjusting to the pandemic way of life and new vocabulary that comprises the words quarantine, lockdown, working remotely, self-isolation and social distancing”, said Joe Perri.   “Of even greater concern is the post coronavirus mental health legacy that will leave a deep mark on the lives of families and individuals beyond the end of the pandemic”.   Joe Perri described the current situation as a ‘Circle of Fear’ impacting everyone from the very young to the most senior.    Fear of contracting the virus or dying from infection; fear of being unemployed and how to sustain life in financial hardship; fear of losing the family home; fear of being isolated and detached from friends and family; fear by children that a hug could kill Nanna or Granddad; and fear for the future including prospects for employment.   It’s for this reason that FRA called on Moreland to freeze rates for 2020-21 said Joe Perri.  “In light of so many people enduring financial distress as the result of being unemployed, forced to take leave without pay or close their businesses, an increase in rates would only serve to compound the hardship of residents.    “In good times of low unemployment, the trickery of raising rates by the CPI or market value property increases was tolerated.  To do so in this environment will only serve to fuel deep resentment and tarnish the standing of Council and Councillors”.   Looking to the future, the other issues that concern the Residents group is ensuring that the parkland adjacent to the Merri Creek at 84 McBryde Street is saved from development.  The area in question is owned by VicRoads who have declared it surplus to their needs and offered it to Moreland Council for acquisition.  It also borders a significant area of open space that was acquired by Council in 2019 as the result of a community campaign initiated by the FRA.    Finally, appalling examples of inappropriate high-density development are slowly increasing in number with the Jukes Road area and more recently Hood Crescent being targeted by developers with ‘profit before people’ the only objective.    New developments in Jukes Road and Hood Crescent are characterised by the deliberate exclusion of senior and disabled buyers with not one project able to meet the Liveable Housing Design gold and platinum levels guidelines.      The latest is five triple storey townhouses on a single block at 122 Jukes Road bringing the recent tally to 32 that purposefully exclude disabled and mature age buyers.   As a result, seniors and mobility challenged are being deprived of access to housing suitable for their needs in the suburb’s only area that provides access to shopping, medical, transport and other social amenities.   Then there are 8 townhouses planned for Hood Crescent that will bring the total to 18 in the small enclave.  Seniors and disabled who would benefit immensely from access to the Merri Creek parkland quiet surrounds again find themselves with nothing on offer from developers.   A total of 50 new townhouses and not one dwelling that adheres to the Liveable Housing Design gold and platinum levels guidelines.       “Moreland Council boasts it has many policies that are supposed to ensure equal opportunity, anti-discrimination and dignity of life for all.  Yet building application after application that intentionally excludes disabled and seniors by denying them access to amenities specific to their needs is approved by Council or VCAT.    “It’s time for Council to seriously address this issue”, concluded Joe Perri.   ENDS   Issued by the Fawkner Residents Association   Media enquiries:     Mr. Joe Perri                                     Mobile:  +61 412 112 545  Email: Afford TeleCare Delivers Contact-Free Allied Health to the Disability Sector Across Australia in Response to COVID-19 2020-04-15T21:59:59Z afford-telecare-delivers-contact-free-allied-health-to-the-disability-sector-across-australia-in-response-to-covid-19 16 APRIL 2020 – Leading Australian disability not-for-profit, Afford, has today launched, Afford TeleCare; an innovative, contact-free and virtual method of delivering disability supports to individuals across Australia who need continued access to essential care from allied health professionals for overall health and mental wellbeing. Adapting to Australia’s current COVID-19 social distancing and isolation measures, Afford’s (The Australian Foundation for Disability) new initiative will give people living with disability access to continued care and support from the comfort of their own home. Afford TeleCare connects individuals to allied health professionals across a range of services including, but not limited to, psychology, occupational therapy, emotional regulations and speech pathology via a virtual platform, to develop routines and explore meaningful activities during isolation. Afford understands the importance of continued development of social skills, sensory modulation and various other supports for mental health and overall wellbeing. “Afford TeleCare will change the way disability supports are delivered. The virtual platform will give every individual access to their regular allied health supports from the comfort of their own home. Using various forms of technology, Afford can provide remote, contact-free care so that clients can be assured of regular health management, throughout the current isolation and social distancing measures,” said Afford CEO, Steven Herald. Afford TeleCare is available for existing and new clients who wish to access these services. Afford is committed to developing new methods of delivering disability supports so that every person living with disability has the opportunity to achieve their goals and feel assisted during Coved-19 under the NDIS. Watch this video to find out more about Afford Telecare: Afford is a registered charity and has been operating in Australia for 68 years, providing a range of disability supports to thousands of people every day. As one of Australia’s longest-serving not-for-profit disability organisations, Afford goes beyond traditional service offerings to adapt to new operating environments to support individuals achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. More information: ·        Afford Telecare - email or call1300 379 308.  ·        Afford - visit or call 1300 233 673. END Media Contact: Maria Crema: Crema PR m 0402 239 929 e About Afford - The Australian Foundation for Disability is a registered charity providing disability services to thousands of people across Australia. The supports provided by Afford include Shared Living; Overnight Respite; Social and Community Programs; Transition to Work Programs; Transition to Retirement Programs; Carer Support; Disability Employment Services; Supported Employment; Allied Health Support, Support Coordination and Supported Holidays. OZiHOUSE Group Launches ozihelper, a Delivery Service That’s Supporting International Students 2020-04-15T08:17:20Z ozihouse-group-launches-ozihelper-a-delivery-service-that-s-supporting-international-students In light of recent developments with COVID-19, OZiHOUSE Group, a Melbourne based international student services and accommodation provider launched a new service called ozihelper. This new concept delivery service for Melbourne CBD and the Box Hill area aims to help everyone who, in the midst of business and delivery shutdowns and restrictions, is left without a way to reach a store or would rather stay home.  At the same time, ozihelper is creating opportunities for one of the most financially impacted groups - international students that are left without a way to cover their housing, living, and educational expenses during this difficult time. So many of them are now faced with an even harder choice: try finding a new source of income or withdraw from studies. This can have devastating impacts on both the Australian economy and the education of a younger generation.   Seyun Kim, CEO of OZiHOUSE Group, explains how ozihelper helps keep the Australian economy afloat during the COVID-19 crisis: "Over the past few months, we’ve all heard the media highlight the amount of revenue we are losing from international students not returning to Australia or dropping out from their degrees.”  Given that international education makes up a large chunk of Australia’s export sector and education-related personal travel being the third-largest export that is steadily increasing each year, it’s important that international students are cared for during this time.  He continues: “The primary goal of launching ozihelper is to help our international students during this pandemic, and at the same time giving our fellow Australians the opportunity to connect with and support the international student community whilst filling a gap that suspended supermarket deliveries have left as a result of stockpiling.”  He is well aware how crucial international students are for Australia: “In the long run, keeping both international students and Australia residents safe by offering new services will help reduce the impact of the crisis on our overall economy". With ozihelper, students can continue their earnings through three distinct services:  - By helping with grocery delivery for those Australians who wish to stay at home - By delivering food from local restaurants without the steep percentage charge to restaurant owners from other companies.  - By helping with moving, buying specific non-food items, and doing deliveries between households that can’t have contact.  Students are also encouraged to utilise this opportunity to engage with the local community by sharing their favourite “taste of home” recipes on social media. Those interested in the meals can then order the groceries needed to make the meals themselves and students will deliver everything that’s needed.  While ozihelper helps them earn, it also connects them with the local community and builds a stronger safety net for them.  Ananda Prasetio who is among the first to use ozihelper, is thankful for the opportunity: "Lots of small businesses we usually work for have closed due to the shutdown restrictions. Being non-residents, we can’t receive any of the government support packages either so ozihelper allows us to keep an income stream.”  When asked about the delivery concept, Ananda applauds the idea: “I am humbled by the opportunity to support all the people who can't visit their local shops or go out during this time and I’m looking forward to doing my part to keep others safe."  About ozihelper: ozihelper is a Melbourne based delivery service established to support international students during the COVID-19 pandemic. ozihelper is part of OZiHOUSE Group. One of the largest student services and accommodation providers in Victoria, housing over 1000 students every year. OZiHOUSE group recruits students from all over the globe, who come to Melbourne to study English and experience all the wonders that Melbourne and Australia have to offer. Orders can be placed via WeChat/Kakao or Line: ozihelper or call 0405 686 598  Website: Facebook: Instagram: Happy Pot Plants Delivered by People with Disability Bring Joy to Locals 2020-04-09T02:34:07Z happy-pot-plants-delivered-by-people-with-disability-bring-joy-to-locals MIAMI, QLD - 9 APRIL 2020 - While the world faces extraordinary challenges, it is acts of selflessness and giving, such as the Happy Pot Plants Project initiated at Afford Miami Hub, that bring hope and happiness to locals in communities across Queensland. Afford (The Australian Foundation for Disability) is one of Australia’s longest-serving not-for-profit disability organisations that supports individuals achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. During the current unprecedented world events, Afford is continuing to deliver meaningful care and support to people living with disability in local communities right across Queensland. The brainchild of Afford staff members, Jelena and Louise, the Happy Pot Plants Project was first established to support participants attending the Day Program to get involved in gardening and art activities that they love. The project then progressed into a mission to bring joy to locals and businesses affected by community isolation measures, by gifting them Happy Pot Plants, decorated and planted by creative individuals living with disability who attend Miami Hub. The creation of the pots involves participants first decorating the pots, then filling them with soil, planting the succulents and finally making the finishing touches to give out to the community. Nicky receives one-to-one support at Miami Hub and enjoys painting smiley faces on the pots along with bright and colourful designs and patterns. Thanks to the generosity of many Miami Hub families, succulents have been donated to plant into the pots, which shows just how strong a community project can be in bringing people together for a good cause. Jelena Bekic, Team Leader at Miami Hub says that the Happy Plants Project is more than just a gardening and arts project. “It’s about supporting clients to consider others in their community. To give back and be an active leader in a positive way. It’s about offering new life experiences and opportunities to each client so they can understand more about the world around them and the value of their contribution to wider society,” Jelena said. The Happy Plant Project is already proving a popular initiative. 38 pots have been created and the team at Miami Hub are being inundated with great ideas and suggestions for more pot plants. “We had no idea just how awesome our Happy Plant Project was going to be. Some of our clients like arts and crafts and some aren’t as keen. But we’ve found that those who aren’t too keen on crafts are the ones really getting into the pot plant project,” said Jelena. “Everyone is enjoying painting a pot plant and they all chat together and discuss colours and ideas. During the project our clients are relaxed and smiling a lot, which is great to see.” The first pot plants were delivered by Nicky and Talia to local businesses, including The Shack in Nobbys and Piccolo Express, exercising safe distancing measures all the while. From the smiles on the faces of the many Happy Pot Plant recipients, Miami Hub’s project has been successful in achieving its main goal of bringing happiness to members of their local community. The Happy Plants Project has been so well received by clients, families and staff of Miami Hub, that Jelena and her team see the project continuing for a long time yet. Afford continuously goes beyond traditional service offerings to deliver new life experiences, work opportunities, and social connections under the NDIS. Afford is a registered charity and has been operating in Australia for 68 years, providing a range of disability supports to thousands of people every day. For more information about Afford, visit or call 1300 233 673. ENDS Media Contact: Maria Crema: Crema PR m 0402 239 929 e Editors Note: Images available via:  About Afford - The Australian Foundation for Disability is a registered charity providing disability services to thousands of people across Australia. The supports provided by Afford include Shared Living; Overnight Respite; Social and Community Programs; Transition to Work Programs; Transition to Retirement Programs; Carer Support; Disability Employment Services; Supported Employment; Allied Health Support, Support Coordination and Supported Holidays. Increased funding for thousands at risk of FDV during COVID-19 highlights challenges for victims and service providers 2020-04-01T01:21:26Z increased-funding-for-thousands-at-risk-of-fdv-during-covid-19-highlights-challenges-for-victims-and-service-providers On average one in six women experiences physical and/or sexual violence by a current or previous cohabitating partner*. Vulnerable women and children in forced isolation due to Coronavirus pandemic are potentially at even higher risk than usual. The announcement of dedicated funding of $150 million by the Prime Minister on Sunday evening will allow support to many more at-risk families during this highly stressful and high-risk period and highlights an important unwanted side-effect of attempting to minimise the spread of the virus.   "Domestic and family violence is likely to significantly increase due to social distancing, social isolation and the impact of job losses," says Sharon Grocott, Head of Research and Innovation at Interrelate.   Interrelate provides specialist domestic and family violence support through several centres around Australia, including in regional areas. Having successfully transitioned to online service delivery on 26th March, Interrelate welcomed the Government’s initiative that will provide vital access to help during this heightened period of risk.   "The ability to service our clients through online platforms and via the phone was already in progress supporting families in remote areas," she says. “As the potential for restrictions on social contact became evident at the beginning of this crisis, we prioritised this service access across all of our programs to enable vulnerable and at-risk people access to vital support.”   Because of the necessary measures implemented to slow the spread of the virus, women and children will be more vulnerable as a result of being cut off from informal and formal support systems, exacerbating the risk of violence for women and children.   "During this period, we will be providing more support than ever before, checking in regularly with clients at risk.    "In addition to the specialist domestic violence services support, we will be waiving the small service fee that is normally incurred for counselling services, ensuring that we are helping as many people as possible to navigate this difficult time safely.”   It is vital that people who are experiencing increased or new forms of family and domestic violence understand that there are services that are available to them, even at a time when they are unable to physically visit a centre.   “We can also help the victims of family and domestic violence by continuing to work with men who are using violence in their relationships,” says Eloise Neylon, Practice Specialist – Clinical Governance, Interrelate.   “We work closely with the perpetrators of this behaviour, helping them to moderate and adjust their approach to relationships, their families and their community.”   “It’s important that this work is able to continue even though we are disconnected physically from our clients,” she adds. “This waiving of fees will mean that those who have been financially affected through job losses or a reduction in work hours feel that they can still access counselling that will help them, without adding to their financial concerns.”    Under the guise of COVID-19 perpetrators have many more opportunities to exercise power and control, for example by restricting access to essential items.    With the potential for increased mental health issues such as substance abuse, suicidality, depression and anxiety, the resulting changes in behaviour can also pose a greater safety risk for others in close contact.   Anyone who feels at risk of abuse can visit the Interrelate COVID-19 page to download resources: And, if they need face-to-face support online, they can request assistance via the website chat function or call 1300 473 528.   *ABS 2016 – included in Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019 Family, Domestic and sexual violence report 2019)   How those at risk can help themselves during isolation ·       Try and organise a ‘confidante’ outside of the home. Ideally someone like a work colleague or community member who you would be in regular contact with so as to not rouse suspicion ·       Stay engaged with children. Keeping them occupied with new and interesting activities will ease their boredom and potential impact on your relationship ·       If you are struggling to regulate your emotions and feel you may be at risk of harming your partner, reach out to a counsellor and organise strategies and techniques that you can implement on your own   About Interrelate Interrelate empowers people to thrive in the most vital part of their lives – their relationships. We offer education programs, counselling services and skills development. We enable people to transform their relationships into ones that are centred on respect, and we enable people to transform their relationships. Our experienced educators empower more than 130,000 children and families through 1400 schools each year to navigate their way through bullying, puberty, sexuality and discovering healthy relationships. Interrelate has the acknowledgement of government, education and health authorities to provide relationship education in schools. You can read more about Interrelate’s relationship services for schools and families at JCDecaux launches ‘Thank You’ Out-of-Home campaign for essential services workers 2020-03-31T22:45:42Z jcdecaux-launches-thank-you-out-of-home-campaign-for-essential-services-workers JCDecaux today launches a series of Out of-Home campaigns across its extensive network to thank essential workers and support local businesses and charities across Australia.    JCDecaux will host the series of community messaging campaigns across its large format and Smart Frame digital and transit platforms around Australia, in addition to providing support for Government health campaigns.   The “Thank You” campaign, created by JCDecaux’s in-house creative team, thanks those people in essential services, working to help our nation get through the fight against COVID-19. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers, aged care workers, childcare workers, farmers, supermarket and warehouse workers around the country, as well as delivery drivers and cleaners. The purpose of the campaign is to show gratitude and call out the incredible job these people in our communities are doing to keep us safe.   JCDecaux ANZ CEO, Steve O’Connor, said: “In a time of tremendous upheaval and uncertainty for us all, there are many Australians working night and day to keep us cared for and making sure we have access to necessary services, and of course our medical professionals – true heroes, facing great challenges and potential threats to their own health to keep us safe. Our hope is they see this campaign on their way into work and home again, and they know that we recognise and applaud their contributions.”   JCDecaux has also partnered with Broadsheet Media to promote local businesses, such as cafes and restaurants, who are currently experiencing significant strains on their businesses due to restrictions to their trade. The Out-of-Home campaign provides communities with information about their new offerings of take-away and meal delivery services.   Broadsheet Publisher, Nick Shelton, said: “We wanted to work with JCDecaux to help support Australia’s local restaurant and café sector during this tough time, so we have created a ‘Live List’ for each capital city detailing how our beloved cafes and restaurants are pivoting towards take out and ready to eat meals. Our goal is to create a centralised point where audiences can go to learn how they can support their favourite local businesses.”   The ‘Live List’ content will feature across JCDecaux Smart Frame digital panels in five capital cities via an API geo-targeted feed – ensuring that audiences within specific suburbs can receive content with relevant offerings from local businesses near where they live. In addition, JCDecaux will support its charity partner RUOK? by promoting its important and timely ‘Stay Connected’ messages across its Australian transit network, encouraging communities to look out for one another and to remind us that staying connected leads to stronger mental health.   JCDecaux Chief Marketing Officer, Essie Wake, said: “JCDecaux connects organisations with communities, whether they are in the hearts of cities or deep in the suburbs. In these uncertain times, our ability to be a platform for good is at its most powerful – which is why we are carrying a number of important government health messages as well. Our role right now is to help connect, support and educate communities.”   Globally, JCDecaux is also running similar gratitude campaigns across its Out-of-Home advertising network. The campaigns in Australia will run across all JCDecaux’s digital and transit portfolio from this week. ENDS   For more information, images or interviews please contact: Rochelle Burbury  Third Avenue Consulting  +61 (0) 408 774 577      About JCDecaux JCDecaux is the number one out-of-home media company worldwide, with more than 1 million advertising panels in more than 80 countries and more than 13,000 employees. For FY19, JCDecaux reported revenue of approximately €3,890 million. Incorporated in 1964 in France, JCDecaux was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange in 2001. JCDecaux has been providing high quality, architecturally designed street furniture in Australia since 1997. Its Australian and New Zealand businesses includes 40,000 assets spanning airports, rail, transit, static and digital billboards.   Key figures ·       2019 revenue: €3,890m ·       Present in 4,030 cities with more than 10,000 inhabitants ·       A daily audience of more than 800 million people in more than 80 countries ·       13,030 employees ·       Leader in self-service bike rental scheme: pioneer in eco-friendly mobility ·       1st Out-of-Home Media company to join the RE100 (committed to 100% renewable energy) ·       JCDecaux is listed on the Eurolist of Euronext Paris and is part of the Euronext 100 and Euronext Family Business indexes ·       JCDecaux is recognised for its extra-financial performance in the FTSE4Good index and the MSCI and CDP ‘A List’ rankings ·       1,061,200 advertising panels worldwide ·       N°1 worldwide in street furniture (528,660 advertising panels) ·       N°1 worldwide in transport advertising with more than 170 airports and 277 contracts in metros, buses, trains and tramways (326,970 advertising panels) ·       N°1 in Europe for billboards (137,020 advertising panels) ·       N°1 in outdoor advertising in Europe (645,540 advertising panels) ·       N°1 in outdoor advertising in Asia-Pacific (239,300 advertising panels) ·       N°1 in outdoor advertising in Latin America (72,880 advertising panels) ·       N°1 in outdoor advertising in Africa (24,170 advertising panels) ·       N°1 in outdoor advertising in the Middle East (16,450 advertising panels)