The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2018-12-09T23:37:49Z Australian social workers support the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, calls on government to restore Australia’s place as a human rights leader 2018-12-09T23:37:49Z australian-social-workers-support-the-70th-anniversary-of-the-un-declaration-of-human-rights-calls-on-government-to-restore-australias-place-as-a-human-rights-leader On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Australian Association of Social Workers calls on the government to take serious action to fulfil its human rights commitments. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The AASW continues to have serious concerns over Australia’s breach of human rights, including the treatment of people seeking asylum, and the systems abuses of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children, including their overrepresentation in the justice system. “Article One of the declaration tells us that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’, and although Australia prides itself on values of respect, dignity and compassion, it is clear the Australian government is failing in this regard. “For example, Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned, often for minor offences like unpaid fines[1], than the rest of the Australian population, and Aboriginal women are the fastest growing prisoner demographic in Australia[2]. “Furthermore, despite being a signatory to many UN conventions that protect human rights, the Australian government appears undeterred by repeated calls by the UN to end offshore ‘processing’ of people seeking asylum. Not only this, we have people who have been held in indefinite closed onshore detention for almost 10 years. “Social workers see first-hand the devastating consequences of government policies that neglect the freedoms provided by the Human Rights Declaration. “People are sick of the political rhetoric and cruelty of the Australian government around people seeking asylum, and they are using their vote to show it, as we have seen in recent by-elections. This is very much an election issue now, and if the government isn’t willing to act on this as a humanitarian issue then perhaps the threat of losing office will move them to action. The election is an important time for those in all political parties to show moral leadership, honour our legacy of compassion and not pander to the politics of fear and racism.” As social workers, we will continue to advocate against human rights violations and look forward to the day when the Australian Government stops exploiting the public’s fear, misconceptions and prejudices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, asylum seekers and refugees for political gain, and becomes a global leader for human rights. The AASW represents over 11,000 professional social workers from around Australia. Christine Craik is an Ambassador for Kids off Nauru. Christine Craik is available for interview. [1] [2] Ibid. Local adoption report published: A time to recommit to the best interests and cultural rights of Indigenous children 2018-11-27T00:44:37Z local-adoption-report-published-a-time-to-recommit-to-the-best-interests-and-cultural-rights-of-indigenous-children The Australian Association of Social Workers’ (AASW) submission to the Federal Government’s review into local adoptions has been cited in the report which was published yesterday, Breaking barriers: a national adoption framework for Australian children. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The report marks an important time for governments to refocus and recommit to upholding the best interests of children in all adoption matters. “Children and young people in the care of the State are amongst the most vulnerable members of society. Adoption must only be considered when all other options for the child’s safety and wellbeing have been expertly assessed as not suitable.” AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Representative Director, Linda Ford said, “In ensuring their safety and wellbeing, attention must be paid to the child’s holistic needs. When working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the AASW contends that planning must be culturally appropriate, with a focus upon the child maintaining connection with their family, culture and other significant relationships. “With the rate of removal of Indigenous children being 10 times that of non-Indigenous children, the pain and trauma of removal of Indigenous children cannot be consigned to the past. “The system’s focus upon punitive removal measures has profound negative consequences, severing family and cultural ties, intensifying transgenerational trauma and contributing to the ongoing dispossession, disadvantage and oppression experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. “For cases where removal is in the best interests of the child, systemic change is needed to address barriers and lack of support available to Aboriginal families that could foster or adopt. Areas for change include the need to amend the inherent bias and discrimination in application forms that demand a certain literacy and education level for applicants. Factors such as these do not determine an individual’s capacity to provide a safe and caring home.” Ms Craik said, “It is governments’ responsibility to support families to live in safe environments, stopping the risk of abuse and neglect before it arises. “With 17 per cent of total child protection funding on family support services for children and their families, compared with 83 per cent on child protection services, the AASW calls on the government to focus efforts on early intervention and family support that are built on partnership and collaboration with Indigenous communities.” The AASW calls on governments to commit and redirect funding to supporting and working with Indigenous communities and families to ensure the rights and needs of every child is upheld. The AASW represents over 10,000 professional social workers from around Australia, many of whom work in child protection. Christine Craik and Linda Ford are available for interview. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women: 25 November #HearMeToo 2018-11-21T01:43:44Z international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women-25-november-hearmetoo The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) supports the theme of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is this Sunday 25 November, #HearMeToo. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “This has been yet another shocking year for violence against women in Australia, with 60 women killed in 2018. Many more are living with, or have survived family violence. “We also know that for many women, for many reasons, it’s not possible to speak. To those women, whose names we may never have the privilege of knowing, we take this occasion to say that we hear you, too; and that we notice the wisdom, the courage and the survival in your silence. “But let this not be another occasion on which women speak only to each other about the devastating consequences of gendered violence. To those who cause harm: we believe in your capacity to change. Only you are accountable to your choice to use violence, and to the pain and fear inflicted in the lives of women and their children. Only you are responsible for seeking support for your behaviour. Today, we implore you to seek support. “To those in positions of power, capable of beginning the huge cultural change we need in our society to end this violence against women, today we also implore you to have the courage and enact that change. “Australian social workers are committed to having a strong voice on matters of social justice and human rights, which is why, importantly, we want to remind Australian governments that gendered violence is common, but it is not inevitable. Gendered violence is a systemic issue, driven by gendered inequality, and it can be addressed by cultural change. “This can only occur when there is a concerted effort, and adequate investment, toward that end. We need a national coordination of prevention, early intervention, crisis and recovery. This is what we are calling on Australian governments to commit to today. As more and more women come forward to speak truth to power, to say ‘hear me, too’, we ask that governments be responsive to the building tide of social change; that one day, the leadership of this country might be able to say, ‘we did’.” Christine Craik is available for interview. She is a renowned expert in family violence and completing her PhD in the subject at RMIT University. Filming/photo opportunity: WW1 Remembrance Event 2018-11-07T21:00:00Z filming-photo-opportunity-ww1-remembrance-event Event: Rookwood Cemetery honours Australian war heroes at WW1 Remembrance Memorial for 1700 unofficially recognised service men and women buried at Rookwood Cemetery Date & Time: Friday, 9 November 2018 from 10am to 2pm at Rookwood Cemetery’s All Souls Chapel Interview: George Simpson, CEO, Rookwood Cemetery Overview The World War I centenary marks the completion of a four year long project for Rookwood General Cemetery, identifying and documenting the unofficial graves of servicemen and women who served in WW1 and buried in the grounds of Rookwood. The project was managed by a team of Rookwood General Cemetery staff and volunteers, who located the graves, undertook research about the individuals and their families, and cleaned or repaired the grave stones. Throughout the project, Rookwood appealed for public assistance to help identify family members of those who served during World War I and were buried at Rookwood. The project uncovered 1700 graves of Australian service men and women, with family members sharing their stories and photos. The memorial event on Friday will honour these Australians, share some of their remarkable stories and acknowledge their bravery and sacrifice. Following is an example of one of many veteran stories that will be shared at Friday’s event: Edwin Arthur Hollinworth: Grew up in Texas, Queensland Was known as the horse breaker (he owned a beautiful horse named, Starlight). Served in Cairo with Starlight, and was a classic example of the close bond between a man and his horse He died on May 25, 1936 in Coogee after demonstrating to a visitor how a bomb, that had already been detonated, would have worked (the bomb was a souvenir he brought back from the war). However, the salt in the air, combined with remnants of gun powder still in the bomb, caused an explosion which led to Edwin’s death. The WW1 Remembrance Event will include: An official ceremony (held from 10:30am to 11:30am) Video tribute Morning tea Gun-fire salute Anzac Tours Open-air museum View the full program at or call 8575 8100 for further information. Social workers in Shepparton to quiz candidates ahead of Victorian state election 2018-11-07T04:58:00Z social-workers-in-shepparton-to-quiz-candidates-ahead-of-victorian-state-election The Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group, with the support of the AASW Victorian Branch, is hosting a “Meet the Candidates” forum of the Shepparton District tomorrow, Thursday in the lead up to Victoria’s state election, Saturday, 24 November 2018. Representatives who will be there include: Suzanna Sheed - Independent (current MP) Bill Heath - Labor Peter Schwarz - Nationals Nickee Freeman - Greens Liberal candidate Cheryl Hammer will be an apology. Goulburn Murray Social Workers spokesperson David Tennant and CEO of Family Care said, “The purpose of the forum is to ask local candidates how they plan to address the issues that are affecting marginalised sections of our community. We want to see these issues brought to the fore at this election. These include homelessness, child protection, family violence, rural and regional development, treaty and reconciliation and climate change. “This is an area of Victoria that politicians must watch. The 2014 state election saw a large shift in this district’s voting patterns and we want to make sure that prospective representatives are listening to our needs. “Social workers are busy every day in Shepparton working with individuals and rural communities to find solutions to the barriers they face; people that rarely get a say in political debates. Everyone deserves to have their voices heard.” AASW Victorian Branch President Alex Bhathal said, “This is an important opportunity for candidates in the state seat of Shepparton to present their perspectives on concerns that matter to a key professional grouping. Social workers are often the first health and community sector professionals to observe trends in social needs. Social workers also see the impacts of politicians’ decisions on people and communities. The AASW Victorian Branch welcomes this initiative by the Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group." A number of local organisations have contributed to making the discussion possible, including St. Vincent de Paul, The Lighthouse Project, Goulburn Valley Primary Care Partnership, and La Trobe University. The forum is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, 8 November, 7.00pm – 8.30pm at La Trobe University, Cnr Fryers and North Sts Shepparton. Light refreshments will be provided afterwards. Register your interest on Eventbrite by going to: You can also call Lachlan on 0403 170 711 with any queries. ENDS About the Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group The Goulburn Murray Social Workers Group has a rich 20-year history, working to improve the wellbeing of some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people in Shepparton and the Goulburn Murray region. It is affiliated with the AASW Victorian Branch and will soon submit an application to the Branch to become an official practice group. AASW Symposium provides global leadership on responding to trauma 2018-11-06T23:36:50Z aasw-symposium-provides-global-leadership-on-responding-to-trauma The Western Australian Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers will host a thought-provoking and action-oriented Trauma Informed Care Symposium this Friday, 9 November in Perth. The Symposium has gathered together social work leaders and researchers from the Noongar nation, Australia and the United States to explore together how we can respond to the devastating impacts of trauma at individual, family, community and global levels. Some of the speakers who will be presenting at the Symposium include: Respected Noongar Elder Elizabeth Hayden joins Noongar social workers Glenda Kickett and Dr Michael Wright to begin the Symposium with a ‘Yarning about Trauma’ session with Elder Jim Morrison. Together, they bring decades of experience of working with people and communities who have experienced trauma across generations. Dr Alicia Boccellari from the University of California and the founder of the Trauma Recovery Centre (TRC), which she launched in 2001. This Centre works with victims of abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and other violent crimes. The AASW National President Christine Craik who has worked as a social worker in family support, housing, community health and hospitals with a focus on domestic violence, sexual abuse and refugees for almost three decades. Dr Ann O’Neill, who is an inspiring speaker, an award-winning humanitarian, victimologist, social worker, educator, activist, volunteer and researcher. Ann is a specialist in the areas of trauma, criminal victimisation and advocacy. AASW WA Branch President Michael Berry said, “When people are experiencing trauma and seek support they can be re-traumatised by the way in which individuals and services respond. This Symposium is an opportunity for people who work in this area to learn how to respond in ways that are healing. We are especially pleased to welcome Noongar Elders and have Dr Boccellari join us from the United States.” AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The Symposium aims to develop practice skills and knowledge for social workers and other workers who are responding to trauma at all levels. It will provide an opportunity for people to transform trauma, connect with each other to learn, challenge and share ideas.” Minister Simone McGurk, Minister for Child Protection; Women’s Interests; Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence; Community Services was pleased the State Government through the Department of Communities was able to support this Symposium as a key sponsor. She said, “It is an excellent opportunity for social workers in our state to hear and learn from experts who respond to trauma. “I am a strong believer that we will only be able to address some of our most complex social issues by looking to evidence-based practice. “Understanding the impact of trauma on brain development, children’s well-being and family functioning is crucial to improving outcomes for individuals and families who have experienced trauma.” The AASW encourages live tweeting during the event, with the hashtag #AASWTrauma Register on the AASW’s website. You can also flag that you are attending the Symposium on Facebook and check into the event on the day. AASW National President Christine Craik is available for interview. ENDS Diamond Sponsor: Supported by the Department of Communities Silver Sponsors: AnglicareWA, angelhands, RUAH Community Services, Indigo Junction, Slater and Gordon Lawyers Media contact AASW Angela Yin Communications Lead P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954 Media contact Department of Communities Steve Worner Manager, Media Relations Phone 08 6217 4077 WHO ARE PROPEL FUNERAL PARTNERS? 2018-11-01T03:34:31Z who-are-propel-funeral-partners The funeral industry in Australia is currently estimated to be $1.1 billion and provides essential services to individuals and families dealing with, or preparing for, death and bereavement. However, navigating the funeral industry when someone has died can leave many of us vulnerable to upselling and confused with no understanding of the industry and little idea of our funeral rights and choices. In Australia there are two main listed players, being InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC)and the newer Propel Funeral Partners Ltd (ASX: PFP). Between them they likely account for more than 40% of the Australian market after recent acquisitions. The following information is provided in a series of articles to assist consumers learn more about some of the largest funeral companies in Australia. In this article we provide an overview of Propel Funeral Partners. About Propel Funeral Partners? Propel Funeral Partners was established in FY12 and is now the second largest private provider of death care services in Australia and New Zealand. Propel was founded and is managed by Propel Investments Pty Ltd. The company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in late November 2017 as it sought to emulate InvoCare by buying up smaller family owned funeral homes. They own funeral homes, cemeteries, crematoria and related assets in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and New Zealand. Propel performed over 10,000 funeral services in FY18 and the Company’s portfolio currently comprises 108 locations (54 freehold and 54 leasehold) in Australia and New Zealand, including 24 cremation facilities and 7 cemeteries. It’s recent acquisitions include Seasons Funeral Homes in Western Australia and Norwood Park in New South Wales, Newhaven Funerals in Queensland. Which funeral homes are owned by Propel Funeral Partners? Corporate versus Independent Funeral Directors Although most consumers will pick a funeral home brand based on expensive marketing campaigns, it pays to shop around. We wouldn’t consider buying a car or paying for a wedding without learning everything we can about the product or service. The same decision making process should also apply to funerals! Choosing between a corporate or family-owned funeral home is a personal question. Corporate funeral homes are often able to charge a premium due to brand recognition and the belief that their services will be of a higher professional quality. On the other hand, independent funeral homes in Australia work for consumers and not shareholders of publicly listed companies, InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners. They are often more connected with the communities they serve and have more freedom to tailor funerals to reflect the wishes of the family (rather than being bound by strict package options). GRAVE CONCERNS HELD FOR FUNERAL CONSUMERS EZIFUNERALS CALLS ON CONSUMERS AND FAMILY OWNED FUNERAL HOMES TO CHALLENGE THE FUNERAL DUOPOLY Make the Independent Funeral Choice the Right Choice If local ownership and community involvement are important to you, you should ask who owns and operates the funeral home you are considering. By choosing to use the services of an independent funeral director, listed with eziFunerals, you are selecting the help of a trusted professional – who can help you anywhere, anytime. They are not distracted or bound by corporate rules handed down from head office and shareholders but can be flexible and responsive to individual needs, providing a highly personal and compassionate service. So make the right choice and get value for money by selecting an Australian, independent and family owned funeral director to conduct a funeral. For more information on funeral costs in each of the states, see our city specific pages: Funeral Directors Sydney Funeral Directors Melbourne Funeral Directors Brisbane Funeral Directors Adelaide Funeral Directors Perth Funeral Directors Hobart About eziFunerals eziFunerals is a free consumer advocacy and funeral planning platform that supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company. Founded by consumers frustrated by how difficult it was to get independent information, eziFunerals supports consumers plan a funeral, compare prices and select the right funeral director anywhere, anytime. AASW commends decriminalisation of abortion in Queensland 2018-10-25T07:14:00Z aasw-commends-decriminalisation-of-abortion-in-queensland The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) commends the historic decriminalisation of abortion in Queensland. Social work is founded on the principles of social justice, human rights and professional integrity. Women’s access to reproductive health services, including abortion, cannot be separated from fundamental human rights and social justice. AASW Queensland Branch President Dr Fotina Hardy said, “Queensland’s passing of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill marks an important step forward in protecting a woman’s right over her reproductive health. “We cannot however, become complacent. Now is the time to make sure that abortion services are accessible to women across Queensland. We know rural and remote Queensland women have more difficulty and greater expense in accessing terminations. Therapeutic support services should also be available for women before and after a termination of pregnancy, should they choose to access them. “The decriminalisation of abortion in Queensland has been a long time coming and is a huge victory for human rights and gender equity.” Criminalisation of abortion in Queensland meant that women were denied appropriate access to their reproductive rights. In particular, it disadvantaged women experiencing poverty and homelessness, young women, women dealing with family violence, women with a disability, sexual assault survivors, women in rural and remote locations and women from non-English speaking backgrounds. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “These are the very people and issues that social workers work with, day in, day out. The criminalisation of abortion in Queensland was an added burden for women who were already dealing with family violence and sexual abuse or other challenging circumstances. There is a strong link between family violence, unplanned pregnancy and the ability to access contraception and termination. Marie Stopes Australia’s white paper published recently shows that reproductive coercion plays a larger role in family violence tactics than previously thought. There is no doubt that the criminalisation of abortion worked against women. “The new Queensland legislation puts abortion where it should properly be – in a separate Act that deals with it as a health issue. Making terminations accessible for women where and when they need it, particularly in the less populated areas of Australia is another issue governments need to address, but this was certainly a welcome step.” Christine Craik is available for interview. You can read the AASW Queensland Branch’s letter here. Immediate action needed to address increasing homelessness, says AASW on World Homeless Day 2018-10-10T08:00:38Z immediate-action-needed-to-address-increasing-homelessness-says-aasw-on-world-homeless-day-1 On World Homeless Day, the AASW calls on all Australian governments to take meaningful action to assure that every Australian is afforded the basic human right to affordable, safe and secure housing, including addressing the needs of vulnerable women who are affected by family violence, and older women. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The rates of homelessness are a national emergency and the vulnerability of many people, including women and children affected by family violence, needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Lack of affordable housing and inadequate services continue to put women and children at risk, impacts on mental health and wellbeing, and means too many people are unable to participate in their communities. “Social workers on the front lines of service delivery witness the ever-increasing number of women and children needing supports to escape situations of abuse. Inadequate access to housing is not only forcing families into homelessness, in many cases it’s a barrier to leaving violence,” she said. “Better services is only part of the issue as we need system wide reform that places much greater emphasis on removing the perpetrator and enabling women and children to remain in their homes and connected to their social supports, including friends, family and schools. “For example, while we welcome in principle the recent federal proposal for family violence leave, the fact that it is unpaid and for only 5 days does little to support victims to leave violent situations. Measures like this continue to highlight a welfare and judicial system that does not understand the dynamics of family violence and the links to homelessness,” said Ms Craik. In addition, the needs of older women are too often overlooked in homelessness discussions and responses. The number of older women experiencing homelessness has risen by 31 per cent since 2011 with ABS figures show that superannuation balances for women aged 55 to 64 were on average 37 per cent lower than those for men. “Older women often have less access benefits such as superannuation as a result of raising children, and caring for family members, which has removed them from the workforce. With an ageing population, this will only continue to increase and we need immediate action.” As we move towards a Federal Election, we need national leadership on this issue and as the AASW, along with many other groups, has argued this begins with a desperately needed national homelessness strategy. The AASW represents over 11,000 professional social workers in Australia who are committed to working with communities and individuals to promote wellbeing, human rights and social justice. Many practise directly with, and advocate for, housing rights, welfare, and women experiencing family violence. Read the AASW’s position statements about homelessness. Christine Craik is available for interview. Social workers urge Australians to challenge assumptions and stereotypes on World Mental Health Day 2018-10-10T07:57:01Z social-workers-urge-australians-to-challenge-assumptions-and-stereotypes-on-world-mental-health-day-1 World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2018 is an opportunity to renew our commitment to increasing awareness, reducing stigma and challenging structural issues surrounding mental health disparities within our communities, Australian Association of Social Workers National President Christine Craik said today. “With one in five Australians experiencing mental health issues, days like today are important to challenge how people understand mental health, including negative assumptions and stereotypes. Social workers see firsthand the resilience and courage of individuals and families impacted by mental health issues, and the effects that misconceptions can have of the lives of so many. “This is an issue that touches individuals, families and communities, highlighting the need for a society wide response,” she said. “One of the reasons we have so many mental health issues in our society is that lack of recognition of the damage done to individuals and families by poverty, family violence, lack of affordable housing, and a lack of resourcing in education, especially for support within education for young people developing mental health issues as a result of these other issues. “Until these larger structural issues are addressed, we will continue to have poorer outcomes around mental health and wellbeing. It is also important to remember that behind those statistics are individuals, families and young people in crisis,” Ms Craik said. “While the causes of mental health issues are numerous, what we do know is that central to positive wellbeing is a strong social support network, including friends, family and an understanding community.” Recent statistics continue to highlight the need for systemic change. The rate of people dying by suicide in Australia has increased by 9.1 per cent over the last year,[1] with suicide also being the leading cause of death for Indigenous Australians aged 15-34 [2]. “The AASW welcomes the announcement this week of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health and the proposed focus of the Inquiry on the cost of poor mental health on incomes, living standards, physical wellbeing and social connectedness, and how better outcomes can be achieved. A number of reviews and inquiries have been undertaken, but the system remains fragmented, and with the introduction of the NDIS and loss of funding at state and federal levels, consumers have been left confused and without vital mental health supports,” said Ms Craik. “Furthermore, we are concerned about reports that so-called ‘conversion therapy’ is on the rise in Australia. Giving weight to archaic practices does nothing to reduce shame, discrimination, and isolation, in fact it further marginalises young LGBTQI+ people, putting them at increased risk of suicide. We welcome the recent motion by the Federal Senate to ban ‘conversion therapy’ and hope this results in concrete outcomes. “World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate and acknowledge the strength and resilience of people experiencing mental health issues who are living successful and full lives every day, while recognising much more needs to be done to prevent and respond to people’s mental health needs.” The AASW represents over 11,000 professional social workers, many of whom work at the forefront of mental health. The AASW encourages people seeking external support for mental health issues to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or their online chat or trial text service at, MensLine 1300 78 99 78, BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636, 000 or to visit their GP. Christine Craik is available for interview. [1],%20key%20characteristics~3 [2] Australian social workers welcome the Royal Commission into aged care 2018-09-19T05:42:16Z australian-social-workers-welcome-the-royal-commission-into-aged-care Experiences shared on Tuesday night’s 4 Corners program are devastating, but do not come as a shock to Australia’s social workers. The AASW welcomes the announcement on the weekend of a Royal Commission into aged care and hopes it will address the cultural changes that are needed to correct a range of failings. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “Social workers have a long tradition of working with older Australians in supporting healthy positive ageing and would like to see the Royal Commission take a holistic approach to wellness, including a focus on emotional wellbeing and social connectedness. “There are systemic issues in our institutionalised care of older Australians. When profit is often put before holistic and decent care, social workers and the work we do towards connectedness and emotional and physical wellbeing, is not seen as a priority. “Without proper funding and resources, using skilled and trained social workers, holistic case management does not occur and those most vulnerable are often left isolated and disconnected. This has serious consequences for the mental health and wellbeing of many older Australians receiving support and care in residential settings, as well as in the community. “The quality of care depends on a number of key elements. One is resourcing and staffing; coupled with the skills and experience of those staff. “Another is improved effectiveness and quality of overseeing bodies. They need to be more accessible to consumers, and their families, more responsive to their concerns and they need to have powers to enforce improvements in care. “Lastly, staff need to be skilled at identifying emotional and social, as well as physical and wellbeing issues for the people in their care, including elder abuse. There needs to be more attention to the ways of reporting, investigating allegations and responding to elder abuse. It is a complex issue and the sector as a whole needs to better understand the factors that contribute to it and the forms it takes.” The AASW calls on the Royal Commission to work with stakeholders to identify and create a culture throughout the aged care sector that gives priority to the voice of the older people and enables them to exercise control over the care they receive. Ms Craik said, “Social workers are integral to services that cater for the health and wellbeing of older Australians in all settings across the aged care continuum including government, non-government organisations, hospitals, health settings and private practice. Social workers are skilled in recognising people’s strengths as the first step in building capacity and creating opportunities for change, in people and in organisations. “While social work has a long tradition of working in aged care, the push for aged care facilities to make a profit means that social work, alongside many other trained professions, has been pushed out. “It’s not rocket science; there needs to be much higher standards, much better quality control and many more skilled professionals paid to work in these facilities.” The AASW has previously participated in many previous inquiries and taskforces aimed at improving care and looks forward to contributing to this Royal Commission. We hope that this step will result in the better outcomes that we all seek for older people requiring care and support now and into the future. You can read our February 2018 submission Inquiry into the Quality of Care in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia. Christine Craik is available for interview. SAVING OUR INDIGENOUS HERITAGE ONE PIECE AT A TIME 2018-09-12T00:56:46Z saving-our-indigenous-heritage-one-piece-at-a-time Leski Auctions Media Release 12 September, 2018 SAVING OUR INDIGENOUS HERITAGE ONE PIECE AT A TIME Daryl Blythman was a precocious kid who saw treasure where others saw trash. As a young boy in the late 1950s and living on a family farm in regional Australia, he was surrounded by Aboriginal stone artefacts and axes that dated back to the Indigenous history of the area. Locals, older but hardly wiser, dismissed these historical relics as having no intrinsic value, be it cultural or financial. Daryl thought otherwise. “My father fuelled my interest in Aboriginal history, because he understood that the artefacts we found were part of Australia’s unique heritage,” Daryl said. “His hobby became my obsession when I understood that every piece we found was part of our story as a nation, and the more we collected the closer we came to understanding what that story revealed to us.” In his 30s, Daryl began to actively collect as much Indigenous art as he could to preserve it for future generations. It took him from local second-hand shops to auctions of tribal memorabilia in Australia and eventually to auctions and private sales in London, New York and New Zealand. “The Blythman Collection is a remarkable testament to the vibrancy of a living community that predates European migration to Australia by thousands of years,” says Harry Glenn, an auctioneer and valuer with Leski Auctions. “The preservation of Indigenous art and culture is extremely important to any community that values its history. It’s a privilege for us to offer Daryl’s remarkable collection.” Lot 47 (late c19th Rainforest Shield from Far Nth Qld has a pre-sale estimate of $10,000 - $15,000. (NB: Image available at The lot will be sold by Leski Auctions ( on Sunday, 23 September from 2.00pm. About Leski Auctions Leski Auctions was established in 1973. Today, it is regarded as one of Australia’s leading auctioneers of Sporting Memorabilia, Australian Art & Antiques, Collectibles and World Philately. Among the many significant collections that Leski Auctions has been privileged to sell are those of Shirley Strickland, Ron Clarke, Sir Reginald Ansett and former RSL President, Bruce Ruxton. It has sold more ‘baggy green’ caps than any other auction house in the world. Charles Leski is a registered valuer for the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts’ Cultural Gifts Program. He is also the valuer of the displayed items at the National Sports Museum at the MCG, Melbourne. Harry Glenn, an industry veteran with more than 20 years experience, has been working with Charles since 2012. The company is located at 727-729 High Street Armadale, Victoria 3143 Australia. Tel +61 3 8539 6150 and Issued by: Harry Glenn, Leski Auctions Michael Krape, Michael Krape Consulting Tel: +61 (0) 425 790 735 Tel: +61 (0) 403 135 880 AASW welcomes historic step taken to protect the most vulnerable in society, with the introduction of a Bill to register social workers in South Australia 2018-09-04T22:57:38Z aasw-welcomes-historic-step-taken-to-protect-the-most-vulnerable-in-society-with-the-introduction-of-a-bill-to-register-social-workers-in-south-australia Steps are being taken to formally register qualified social workers in South Australia, following numerous government reports and coroner’s reports, and input from the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), the national peak body of the profession, with the introduction of a private member’s bill to South Australia’s upper house today. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “This is an historic day for the protection of the most vulnerable people in society, especially children, which is significant given that this week is National Child Protection Week. “We have campaigned for years for the registration of social workers in Australia. The purpose of social work registration and regulation is to protect the public from unprofessional practice. “Regulation will mean that for social workers to gain registration, they will need to have a recognised qualification and be accountable to a Code of Ethics. “This is especially important for professionals who are doing complex and highly skilled work with very vulnerable people. “The introduction of today’s legislation is a welcome development and a step towards social workers being registered across the country. When implemented well, it will go a long way towards public confidence in the skills and accountability of Australian social workers. “Comparable countries such as the UK, USA, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada have long recognised the complexity of social work and have regulatory schemes for social workers. This move is one in the right direction.” AASW CEO Cindy Smith will attend the tabling of the Bill by The Hon Tammy Franks MLC into the South Australian upper house today, Wednesday, 5 September, which will make provision for the registration of Social Workers and establish a Social Workers Registration Board. Ms Smith said, “We look forward to continuing to work with Ms Franks, the South Australian Government and all parliamentarians towards progressing this Bill. I think we can all agree the safety of the public, especially vulnerable children, is paramount.” ENDS Christine Craik is available for interview. Christine Craik is the National President of the AASW and has worked as a social worker in family support, housing, community health and hospitals with a focus on domestic violence, sexual abuse and refugees for almost three decades. Christine currently lectures full time in the undergraduate and post graduate Social Work Degrees at RMIT University, is an active member of many community groups, including Chair of Project Respect, working with women trafficked into the sex industry. Christine holds a Master’s Degree in Social Policy and Management and is currently completing her PhD in domestic and family violence. Cindy Smith is available for interview in Adelaide on Wednesday, 5 September 2018. Cindy Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Social Workers. She has over 15 years’ experience as a social worker across a wide range of positions including as a housing worker, counsellor in community health, team leader in out-of-home care, and as general manager of a child, youth and family directorate in community health. Cindy is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, fellow of the Australasian College of Health Services Management. Media contact Angela Yin Communications Lead P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954 Child Protection Week 2018: AASW renews its call for greater investment in early intervention and workforce regulation 2018-08-30T23:32:53Z child-protection-week-2018-aasw-renews-its-call-for-greater-investment-in-early-intervention-and-workforce-regulation Australian governments must make a significant investment in early intervention services to ensure children and families receive the support they need from skilled and knowledgeable professionals, said the AASW National President Christine Craik on the eve of National Child Protection Week. “The AASW has consistently argued that governments have a responsibility to create environments that support children, young people and families to substantially reduce the various factors that increase the likelihood of abuse,” said Ms Craik. "We currently have a situation where state and territory governments across Australia spend only 17 per cent of total child protection funding ($700 million a year) on family support services for children and their families, compared with $3.5 billion on out-of-home care and other crisis interventions. "The system is punitive and intervenes when it is too late. Furthermore, Indigenous children are 9.8 times more likely to be removed from their family than non-Indigenous children, highlighting the need for early and culturally appropriate supports. "Improving the distribution of resources and adequately funding appropriate services is an action all governments can immediately take,” said Ms Craik. The AASW is also calling for greater workforce regulation in the sector. Ms Craik said, "Child protection is incredibly complex work with some of the most vulnerable children and families in society. That is why greater focus needs to be given to how the workforce is recruited and regulated. "Coroner and government reports continue to identify failures in the child protection system. This has led to the call for the formal registration of social workers to improve regulation, as we are seeing in South Australia. "The statutory registration of social workers would be a significant public safety measure and reduce the risks to vulnerable people by assuring education, practice and professional development standards. “The AASW welcomes the great progress that is being made in South Australia in this regard, including the introduction of legislation in September to formally register all social workers. This is a long overdue development and we continue to campaign for the professional registration of social workers nationwide. “Most importantly, we believe that this week is a time to raise awareness to the broader community that we all have a role to play in making sure that every child across Australia has a loving and supportive environment in which to meet their full potential." National Child Protection Week is 2-8 September 2018. ENDS AASW National President Christine Craik is available for interview. She is also an ambassador for the #KidsOffNauru campaign. Media contact Angela Yin Communications Lead P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: 2018 2018-08-08T22:58:00Z international-day-of-the-worlds-indigenous-peoples-2018 Australian social workers today commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year’s theme is Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement. AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander director Linda Ford said, “As social workers, we are acutely aware that the world's Indigenous peoples are often one of the most vulnerable, disempowered and marginalised groups in society. “This means that as social workers we have a responsibility to empower our First Nations people to attain equality, through assisting them to access services and supports, to value their ability to survive and overcome some of the most horrific treatment and history and to promote and preserve two of the world’s oldest cultural heritages. This is an opportunity to celebrate how far we have come as First Nations people and how far as a country we still have to go in addressing the challenges that we are still facing and overcoming.” This year’s theme of migration and movement of Indigenous peoples is a poignant one as it relates to the Australian experience, Ms Ford explained: “Many First Nations people were dispossessed from their traditional lands, their country and forced onto reserves and missions which still exist today. In some cases, these forced removals were punishments for speaking out against conditions or treatment of Indigenous people. People were forced away from their families and country and sent to live with other kinship groups which may have been culturally inappropriate to live with. The most significant example of this was the Stolen Generation in which many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were removed and placed away from their families. This caused significant fracturing within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as many aspects of culture were lost such as language, stories and relationships as well as the decimating impact of separation on children and families. The effects of these experiences are still felt today throughout the whole Australian community as discussed in the Apology speech of the then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.” Ms Ford has used her position as an experienced Aboriginal social worker to harness global power and solidarity to advance justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. She said, “One of the opportunities I’ve had is becoming a member of the International Federation of Social Workers International Indigenous Committee which represents all Indigenous social workers across the globe. This enables the AASW to have an international voice in relation to the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. Further to this, it gives me the opportunity to contribute to media campaigns about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and encourage members to speak at the national and international level about key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander challenges, social status and achievements.” Social workers have an important role to play in addressing the continued injustice towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ms Ford said, “Social work is the lead profession which is at the forefront of any social justice and equality discussion or debate and the AASW is the voice for Australian social workers. Social work also provides the opportunities for research and public discussion, opinion, debates and media commentary to highlight the plight of our vulnerable Australians including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The United Nations declared that 2019 will be the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Ms Ford said, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have recognised the importance of language when it was proclaimed the NAIDOC theme in 2017. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians celebrated “Our Languages Matter” from the 2-9 July 2017 ‘which aimed to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in both cultural identity, linking people to their land and water, and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song…’ “Next year, it would be useful to revisit some of the learnings from this year and how we as a nation celebrated languages in 2017 and develop these further to celebrate with the UN in 2019.”