The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-03-22T00:28:55Z Harmony is more important than ever this week 2019-03-22T00:28:55Z harmony-is-more-important-than-ever-this-week Harmony Week in Australia coincided with important dates this week, including the International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, World Social Work Day and the aftermath of the devastating terrorist attack in Christchurch. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “These events remind us that ‘harmony’ within our communities and across society rests on recognising the dignity of every person, while welcoming diversity. “That is how we promote the human rights of everyone. “This year’s Harmony Week shows us how important it is that we all promote inclusion and end discrimination based on differences in heritage, culture or belief.” This year’s AASW World Social Work Day events took time to reflect on the tragedy in Christchurch and how important social work values are in countering racism. Ms Craik said, “Social workers are passionate advocates for justice and helping families, communities and societies to build relationships based on solidarity and mutual respect. “This is how we will eliminate racial discrimination in our country. We need to reflect on the culture that can make politicians believe that there are votes to be gained by blaming refugees, immigrants or Indigenous people for issues that are not related to them, such as pressure on health care, crowded cities or welfare spending. It’s the same culture that led to the terrible act of violence last Friday.” “Social workers are dedicated to creating a society which is just and inclusive in which it is possible for everyone to flourish and thrive. Eliminating racial discrimination is fundamental to our vision. “Now is the time when we look to our leaders to set an example and we call on politicians, business and community groups to commit to join us in eliminating all forms of discrimination.” Christine Craik is available for interview. AMHSWs are experts in complexity, new report published today says 2019-03-21T01:40:39Z amhsws-are-experts-in-complexity-new-report-published-today-says Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) provide a vital service to those experiencing mental health disorders according to its new report Accredited Mental Health Social Workers: Qualifications, Skills and Experience. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “This report will be an important resource in the Association’s advocacy for greater recognition of AMHSWs under Medicare, other programs, and private health funds. “In documenting the breadth of skills and experience, high standard of qualification of AMHSWs, this report demonstrates that AMHSWs are truly experts in complexity.” AMHSWs are one of the few designated allied health professional groups eligible to provide private mental health services to people with diagnosable mental health conditions or people ‘at risk’ of developing mental health conditions under the Commonwealth Medicare initiative. There are currently more than 2,200 AMHSWs working across major cities, regional, rural and remote regions. As a group of providers, AMHSWs are the second largest after the combined group of Clinical Psychologists and Registered Psychologists. This report provides an overview of the skills, knowledge and services provided by AMHSWs, and is based on extensive analysis of AASW data, including 2013 and 2018 member surveys. According to the report: More than 40 per cent of AMHSWs provide services in rural and remote areas More than 60 per cent of AMHSWs have postgraduate qualifications More than 75 per cent of AMHSWs have over 10 years’ practice experience AMHSWs use a wide range of therapeutic interventions, including cognitive behavioural therapy, strengths-based approach and mindfulness People can access the service of AMHSWs through several programs including Medicare, NDIS, DVA and some private health funds. To further illustrate the contribution of AMHSWs, illustrative case studies are included throughout. The AASW is responsible for the accreditation of AMHSWs and is committed to maintaining the high standard of practice of the profession in this sector. Read the complete report. Access the infographic that summarises the report. Christine Craik is available for interview. An interview with an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker is also available. World Social Work Day: Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships 2019-03-18T20:34:43Z world-social-work-day-promoting-the-importance-of-human-relationships World Social Work Day is held each year on the third Tuesday of March to celebrate the profession of social work and the role of social workers in the community. This year’s theme is Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships. This year, it is held on 19 March. The Australian Association of Social Workers, as the professional body representing more than 11,000 social workers, is marking World Social Work Day with celebrations throughout Australia. AASW National President Christine Craik said human relationships are at the essence of what social workers do, in the diversity of settings in which they work. Ms Craik said, “The vital work of social workers can be seen in a wide variety of settings. Whether we work in health, mental health, schools, child protection, aged care, disability, family violence, academia or management, we bring the values of our profession to wherever we work.” In a world dominated by individualism and the changing nature of community, it is necessary to emphasise the importance of our relationships to one another and the role that this plays in creating an inclusive and supportive society. Ms Craik said, “This is at the heart of the work we do. Promoting the importance of human relationships means recognising the rights and dignity of fellow human beings and treating them and their ways of knowing, with respect and compassion. “Promoting the importance of human relationships for social workers means more than just that phrase. As social workers, we work to identify, name and change the systems and attitudes in our society that impact, diminish and work against healthy relationships. “For example, in promoting the importance of human relationships, we need to call out and advocate against the discriminatory and abusive policies and structures that continue to oppress some of the most vulnerable groups in society. “These include our welfare, housing, legal, medical, political and many of our religious systems – that often disregard the importance and crucial nature of ‘relationship’ in this work.” The large scope of social work practice can be seen in the diversity of the celebrations taking place across Australia. The Association is hosting celebrations in every state and territory through its branches. The complete list of events, resources, posters and social media frames are available on the AASW website. Ms Craik said, “I encourage everyone to engage with this year’s theme of Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships. On 19 March, join our Twitter campaign and tweet us using #WSWD19, with a photo depicting human relationships. “So join social workers all over the world in celebrating the amazing work that we do, and have a happy World Social Work Day.” Christine Craik is available for interview. You can view Ms Craik’s World Social Work Day video on Facebook. AASW South Australian Branch calls for Social Worker of the Year nominations 2019-03-08T00:40:31Z aasw-south-australian-branch-calls-for-social-worker-of-the-year-nominations The Australian Association of Social Workers South Australian Branch is seeking nominations for the Social Worker of the Year Awards to give individuals and groups who work with the state’s most vulnerable populations a chance to shine. AASW South Australian Branch President Patricia Muncey said, “We urge South Australians to nominate an inspiring social worker in their network, to honour and reward those making positive contributions health and well-being and upholding best practice across our community.” The Awards have been recognising social workers who are making a significant contribution across the broad spectrum of practice, since 2016. The categories of the Award are: Agent of Change Head, Heart and Hands Leading the Way in the Workplace Rising Star Rural and Remote Impact Student of the Year. Entries can be submitted by the general public as well as professionals who work alongside social workers throughout South Australia. Nominations close on Wednesday, 13 March 2019 at 5.00pm ACDT. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Adelaide on Thursday, 2 May, providing an opportunity to celebrate the valuable contributions of all nominees. For more information and to nominate a social worker, see the AASW website. Balance for Better: Social workers call for action on gender inequality 2019-03-07T23:21:33Z balance-for-better-social-workers-call-for-action-on-gender-inequality The 2019 theme of International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter, with the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) calling for action on gender inequality. AASW National President Christine Craik said gender equality is vital to health and future of our nation, and to the work of social workers. Ms Craik said, “We need to recognise that when women are disadvantaged, we are all poorer. “Social workers feel the effects of gender inequality both professionally and personally. Professionally, we strive to address the effects of gender inequality with the people and communities we work with at an individual and a systems level. “Personally, social work is also a female dominated profession. It is a highly skilled occupation which can often carry elements of risk in practice. However, like many other female dominated professions, social work is often not paid at the rate of similar male dominated professions, nor does it come with the status of male dominated professions that carry the same risks and the same (or often lower) qualification levels. Social workers well understand the need to Balance for Better. “Australia’s report card for gender equality is not looking good. More women than ever before are being incarcerated around Australia for crimes of poverty and through living lives influenced by trauma, family violence and sexual abuse. “There is an alarming increase in homelessness for women and children as a result of family violence and for women over the age of 55, many of whom find themselves with little in the way of superannuation or savings, due to their years of unpaid and uncounted work of caring and child-rearing. Government policies such as the Centrelink automated debt recovery scheme, robodebt, and the ParentsNext program are punitive, deficit-based and are contributing to increasing numbers of women and children living in poverty. “If we are to Balance for Better this International Women’s Day, then we must address the root causes of inequality and the misogynistic and discriminatory policies which devalue and fail women. If these are not addressed, then the inequitable situation we currently have will continue to enable the unacceptable rates of family violence, sexual violence, poverty, and homelessness that we see now. “This starts with recognising women as equals and that the work women do is of equal value to that of men, whether it is paid or unpaid. It means recognising that women need to be in positions of power, including on boards and in government. “Then we will truly be able to Balance for Better.” Christine Craik is available for interview. Australian social workers welcome the Victorian Government’s plan to ban ‘conversion therapy’ 2019-02-07T00:17:51Z australian-social-workers-welcome-the-victorian-governments-plan-to-ban-conversion-therapy As the Victorian Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers took to the streets on Sunday to support LGBTIQ Victorians at the Midsumma Pride March, the Association welcomed the Victorian Government’s announcement that it plans to outlaw ‘conversion therapy’. The harmful and thoroughly debunked practice aims to change, suppress or eliminate an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. While the practice is not outlawed, it sends a message that LGBTIQ individuals are not ‘normal’ and need to be fixed. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “These messages do so much damage and need to be stopped. We stand with LGBTIQ Australians and support the Victorian Government’s stance on banning conversion therapy. This planned ban follows an extensive investigation into conversion practices by the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC), who found those subjected to this so-called ‘therapy’ experienced long-term psychological harm and distress. This is something that social workers and other mental health professionals have known for many years. “The Victorian Government’s announcement sends a clear and positive message to young people who may be dealing with the stress and anxiety of knowing they are same-sex attracted and the social pressures that are associated with it in an unaccepting environment. “We call on other Australian states and territories to follow Victoria’s lead in outlawing the practice. We further call on the Australian Government to support the states and territories by fully funding the Safe Schools Program, which aims to create understanding and stop the bullying and marginalisation of LGBTIQ children and young people in schools. “The Australian Government must also make clear that discrimination against employees or students on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated. “We all have a role in taking a stand against homophobia, including internalised homophobia, which is when LGBTIQ individuals can sometimes believe the homophobic messages and attitudes around them. It causes needless harm and division in communities and can lead to poorer health and wellbeing outcomes in LGBTIQ individuals, which we have seen is sometimes fatal. “This is why the Victorian Government’s announcement is so important – it is a welcome step in continuing to affirm the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ Australians.” Christine Craik is available for interview. Media contact Angela Yin Communications Lead P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954 Australian social workers support the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, calls on government to restore Australia’s place as a human rights leader 2018-12-09T23:37:49Z australian-social-workers-support-the-70th-anniversary-of-the-un-declaration-of-human-rights-calls-on-government-to-restore-australias-place-as-a-human-rights-leader On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Australian Association of Social Workers calls on the government to take serious action to fulfil its human rights commitments. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The AASW continues to have serious concerns over Australia’s breach of human rights, including the treatment of people seeking asylum, and the systems abuses of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and children, including their overrepresentation in the justice system. “Article One of the declaration tells us that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’, and although Australia prides itself on values of respect, dignity and compassion, it is clear the Australian government is failing in this regard. “For example, Indigenous Australians are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned, often for minor offences like unpaid fines[1], than the rest of the Australian population, and Aboriginal women are the fastest growing prisoner demographic in Australia[2]. “Furthermore, despite being a signatory to many UN conventions that protect human rights, the Australian government appears undeterred by repeated calls by the UN to end offshore ‘processing’ of people seeking asylum. Not only this, we have people who have been held in indefinite closed onshore detention for almost 10 years. “Social workers see first-hand the devastating consequences of government policies that neglect the freedoms provided by the Human Rights Declaration. “People are sick of the political rhetoric and cruelty of the Australian government around people seeking asylum, and they are using their vote to show it, as we have seen in recent by-elections. This is very much an election issue now, and if the government isn’t willing to act on this as a humanitarian issue then perhaps the threat of losing office will move them to action. The election is an important time for those in all political parties to show moral leadership, honour our legacy of compassion and not pander to the politics of fear and racism.” As social workers, we will continue to advocate against human rights violations and look forward to the day when the Australian Government stops exploiting the public’s fear, misconceptions and prejudices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, asylum seekers and refugees for political gain, and becomes a global leader for human rights. The AASW represents over 11,000 professional social workers from around Australia. Christine Craik is an Ambassador for Kids off Nauru. Christine Craik is available for interview. [1] https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/australia [2] Ibid. 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 www.rookwoodcemetery.com.au 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: http://bit.ly/GMSWG18. 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 www.communities.wa.gov.au 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.