The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2021-04-15T00:00:18Z TASMANIAN ELECTION - AASW RENEWS CALLS FOR SOCIAL WORK REGISTRATION 2021-04-15T00:00:18Z tasmanian-election-aasw-renews-calls-for-social-work-registration-1 With the Tasmanian State Election approaching (Saturday 1 May) the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is calling for an incoming Tasmanian Government to commit to the formal registration of qualified social workers. Chief Executive Officer Cindy Smith said 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. “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.” “For many years, the AASW has been calling formal registration of qualified social workers to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society and the upcoming election is the perfect opportunity for an incoming Tasmanian Government to join South Australia’s legislators in making this issue a priority.” “While many qualified social workers choose to be a member of their professional association, Australia is the only English speaking country which does not require social workers to be registered as a strategy for public protection. As things currently stand anyone can refer to themselves as a social worker with limited accountability, and this must change.” “For social workers to gain registration, they would need to have a recognized qualification, meet a high standard of ongoing professional development, and be accountable to a legal complaints and disciplinary process,” she said. Ms Smith said that families come into Child Safety Services in Tasmania due to a complex set of circumstances and it is vital that they receive support from highly trained and skilled professionals. “Unfortunately, numerous Coroner’s reports from all across Australia have highlighted that this is not the case and some of the most vulnerable children and families in society are being let down by the system.” “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.” “AASW welcomes the great progress that is being made in South Australia in this regard, including the introduction of legislation to formally register all social workers. It is time for the incoming Tasmanian government to begin the process to introduce a similar scheme,” she said. To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. GREYHOUND RACING - WA 2021-04-14T12:47:50Z greyhound-racing-wa Dog lovers from across Perth are expected to protest against greyhound racing outside the Cannington racetrack on Saturday. The peaceful protest, organised by local greyhound advocacy group Free the Hounds, is the second protest in four months. More than 75 people and a dozen pet greyhounds dedicated their New Year’s Eve to the cause, displaying creative anti-racing signs and temporary crosses to represent the greyhounds who lost their lives within the racing industry in the year prior. Free the Hounds has been actively campaigning for an end to greyhound racing in WA since 2015. “Our position is greyhound racing is outdated, inhumane and unsustainable,” said Free the Hounds President, Alanna Christiansen. Racing and Wagering WA’s most recent annual report shows 101 greyhounds in the WA racing industry died in the 2019-20 financial year*, including eight who died right at the track. The report also shows a total of 855 injuries were sustained on WA tracks during this period including fractured bones. This represents a 10% increase in injuries from the previous year. “The rate and severity of these injuries are specific to racing and so the only way to eliminate the risk is to ban greyhound racing altogether. These injuries can cause extreme pain and discomfort to the dog, treatment can involve major surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, and there are often long-term health implications. Some dogs continue to be euthanised due to the severity of their injuries or die under anaesthetic during surgery to fix them. “These dogs deserve so much better than this, and gambling revenue should never be a justification for this suffering,” said Ms Christiansen. Greyhound racing is already banned in the ACT and Free the Hounds believes WA will be the next jurisdiction to outlaw the practice. “The popularity of greyhound racing in Australia has been steadily declining – and even more so here in WA. There are just three tracks in WA and attendance is low. With animal welfare becoming a higher priority for more and more members of the community, now is the time to ban this barbaric industry,” said Ms Christiansen. It is clear from Free the Hounds’ community outreach activities that greyhound racing has lost its social licence and the wider WA community supports an end to greyhound racing. A petition opposing greyhound racing, signed in person by more than 10,000 West Australians will be tabled in WA Parliament in coming weeks.  AASW – CALL FOR A RADICAL REFORM OF THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM 2021-04-07T06:32:45Z aasw-call-for-a-radical-reform-of-the-mental-health-system-1 The Australian Association of Social Workers’ submission to the House of Representatives Select Committee inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention has called for government to seize the opportunity to build a more cohesive system of mental health support that will radically reform Australia’s mental health system.  AASW CEO Cindy Smith said the AASW’s extensive submission draws on decades of experience of its members working with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our society and this submission and its recommendations for improvements to the mental health system are consistent with previous submissions. “Social workers have been talking about the failings of the mental health system for decades and here we are in 2021, still beset by long waiting lists to access publicly funded services, inadequate rebate amounts under Better Access, and a shortage of mental health professionals across the country.” “Among our recommendations is that all sectors of the current service system be restructured into a person centred and community based system and that government provide incentives for mental health professionals to work outside of main city centres and increase the amount of mental health support available to people who live regionally, rurally or remotely.”  Ms Smith said one of the terms of reference for the Select Committee Inquiry is to report on the findings of numerous inquiries into mental health over the years, including the Productivity Commission and Victoria’s Royal Commission, among others. “We call on the Federal Government to combine all the recommendations from these Inquiries to inform the development of the sixth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy.” “Through the development of the sixth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy we have an opportunity to radically reform the mental health system and address the social determinants of mental health, including overturning mental health stigma and discrimination currently experienced by many people.”   “As we recover from the impacts of natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic we are provided with a unique opportunity for immediate investment and improvement to the system that better meet the mental health needs of Australians,” she said.  To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954.   AASW – CALL FOR FIVE YEAR FUNDING CERTAINTY TO AID RECOVERY 2021-04-01T03:47:02Z aasw-call-for-five-year-funding-certainty-to-aid-recovery The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) submission to the Senate Select Committee on Job Security is calling for governments at all levels to commit to a five year funding certainty for the precarious community services sector, as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent devastating natural disasters. AASW National President, Vittorio Cintio said that on a daily basis social workers see the distressing and harmful impact that job insecurity has on the people they work with, their families and the broader community, yet the nature of community sector funding means is that many social workers themselves do not have security in their own work. “The community services sector, and social workers in particular, have done so much of the heavy lifting in supporting Australians through recent crises, supporting women and children in situations of family violence, meeting the mental health needs of the community, and preventing some of our most vulnerable people from falling into homelessness.” “While social workers are reporting ever increasing demand for their services and are struggling to keep up with the pressure and stress, without the certainty of their own employment they are in a very precarious and unstable position themselves.” Mr Cintio said social workers are a predominantly female workforce, that is lower paid than other industries and the cumulative lifetime effects of this job insecurity can be devastating. “The tendency now is for newly created jobs to be contract and/or casual is having a detrimental impact on worker’s wellbeing and government needs to take a holistic approach to ensuring people have stable, secure and appropriately remunerated employment.” “Many social workers are employed on contracts tied to short term government funding, some for as short as one year. This hampers their ability to plan for their future and to effectively deliver services and improvements that workers in other industries take for granted.” “It also makes the retention of experienced and highly skilled staff in the community sector difficult, particularly in already under resourced regional and rural areas of Australia. And this job insecurity can impact the wellbeing of those we as a community rely on to support those in need.”  “All workers deserve security, stability and to be paid appropriately for their work. The community sector deserves this too and as a matter of urgency. We urge governments to implement five-year funding contracts as a priority in upcoming Budgets to deliver certainty to a struggling sector,” he said. To interview Vittorio Cintio, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. The #1 Boutique Organic Supermarket in Sydney 2021-03-29T19:38:35Z the-1-boutique-organic-supermarket-in-sydney The site has tried to capture the essence of their work philosophy: the importance of Australian produce from Australian producers and a family feel that sets them apart from the rest! Visit the new site, You'll be able to read the story of Richard and Joanna Maloney and their adventure, that is, Maloneys Grocers. You'll also find information about their passionate-about-food team. They even have a staff photo gallery, so when you visit, even if it's your first time, you'll recognise faces and know who to ask for!  But the page also gives you information about the local producers'. People like Denis and Dean, producers of "Mandolé Orchard Almond Milk", the first and only single-origin Almond milk and the only wholly family-run Almond milk business! Or Barry and Mel, owners of "The One That Got Away", Bondi's premium seafood merchants. Caitlin and Stuart Williams, plus four-legged Lucy, from "Blueberry Greens" and their 13-year passion for growing the best seasonal fruit in Australia! And of course, there's Darren from "The Little Coffee Co.", roasting coffee beans here in Lawson NSW. There's even a page dedicated to their "Featured Products". With things like the one of a kind, traditional pork pie! Made on the banks of the Murray River, from free-range, locally sourced pigs! Vannella Cheese, a beautiful, award-winning artisanal cheese that will make your mouth water! They even stock 100% free-range, 100% organic, 100% Australian Mulloon Creek Eggs!  So if you're looking for something special, something organic or free-range, why not take a look at the new website, or visit one of their stores: SURRY HILLS: 4/490 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 WOOLLAHRA: 68 Moncur Street, Woollahra, NSW 2025 COOGEE: 214 Coogee Bay Road, Coogee, NSW 2034 Understated Sea Haven Nuances For Mirage Haven’s New Cushion Line 2021-03-25T07:32:33Z understated-sea-haven-nuances-for-mirage-haven-s-new-cushion-line GOLD COAST | Pandemic-stricken 2020 saw a rise in the cocooning phenomenon where a vast majority were forced to stay home and work from there. Overnight, the focus shifted to the home environment.  As such, this emergent trend is presently seeing an increasing market share for furniture, furnishings and home accessories.  Against the tide of gloomy economic outlooks and naysaying, Mirage Haven astutely launched their first 60-piece collection of deluxe cushions with much success in May 2020.  Barely a year into the launch, the brand keeps garnering a rising reputation, a stellar one resting on high-quality, beautifully designed luxury cushion collections that give more bang for their buck.  As an online opening success encourages a next launch, a new summer line in 2021 is on hand, here to greet the sunny season. This latest collection draws on the easy, languid mood of the tropics. Natural fibers, such as linen, cotton, and hemp are the omnipresent fabrics of note, speaking to organic nature, sustainable materials, and breezy, summer vibes.  But true to its penchant for elevated looks, Mirage Haven advances this tropical boho feel to a more sophisticated plantation mañana vibe with mixed compositions of gold embroidery and fine hemp rope stripes. This charming new collection also experiments with new techniques and materials, a conscious move from the lush velvets we’ve seen in their debut line.  Interestingly, this season collation has cropped an exciting side note. An outdoor cushion collection grew from the drawing board to become a last-minute addition. Designer Junie Lin had been contemplating crafting a cushion line to withstand outdoor weather, wear and tear for quite some time but never found the right fabric. Until now. Better than the ubiquitous olefin, Spuncrylic™, the brand’s outdoor fabric of choice mimics the look of luxury indoor fabrics but has the added assets of easy cleanability, years of durability, and 1000-1500 hours of colour fastness.  The outdoor cushion luxe line is a handsome assortment of captain blue stripes and blocks on off-white. The whole look is nuanced by seacoast and maritime elements, so convivial to both indoor and outdoor ambiences.   On sharing her source of inspiration for this collection, founder and Creative Director Junie Lin reveals, “The pandemic for the most part of 2020 forced us to stay home, and surprisingly we found that the place most people, including we, missed is the you will see heavy nautical influences in our collections, from navy blues to crisp whites and soft linens, plenty of horizontal stripes…but the collection still continues our Mirage Haven’s hallmark/signature style of timeless style and longevity.”   Staying true to their commitment of affordable luxury, their cushions across their store start at a surprisingly reasonable $39. The new collection is now available at GRAVE CONCERNS OVER PASSAGE OF CHILD PROTECTION AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2020 (QLD) 2021-03-24T05:36:59Z grave-concerns-over-passage-of-child-protection-and-other-legislation-amendment-bill-2020-qld Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Chief Executive Officer Cindy Smith and Queensland Branch President Yasmin Dunn have described the passage of the Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (QLD) as a missed opportunity to protect the best interest of vulnerable children and their families. The AASW made two submissions to the Inquiry of this Bill and is afraid that its concerns and those of other community organisations have been ignored and the legislation that passed the Queensland Parliament yesterday (23 March) may have an unintended consequence of expediting adoptions, instead of prioritising the best interest of children. CEO Cindy Smith said the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, makes it very clear that ‘the child for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding’. “Governments have a responsibility in the first instance to concentrate efforts on creating such environments in which children and families are supported and assisted, so that the various factors that contribute to the need for child protection intervention by the state is substantially reduced.” “Adoption does not address the underlying cause of child protection intervention and what is needed is more resources for frontline support for vulnerable families, to prevent child protection issues arising at all.” Queensland Branch President Yasmin Dunn said access to appropriate supports, case planning and casework is the priority and what is needed, and adoption should only be considered as one of the possible responses after all other options for achieving the child’s safety are thoroughly explored. “By enshrining adoption as an option for vulnerable children in the Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD), the bill runs a high risk of streamlining and fast-tracking adoption. This will disproportionately impact Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children who are already over represented in the out of home care system.” “Before making further amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD), we recommend the Queensland Government to undertake further consultation with Aboriginal community controlled organisations and experts and invest in early intervention programs, family support services and the child protection workforce,” she said. To interview Cindy Smith or Yasmin Dunn, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. CLOSE THE GAP NEEDS CULTURAL WELL BEING FOCUS 2021-03-17T05:49:13Z close-the-gap-needs-cultural-well-being-focus On national Close the Gap Day (18 March) the Australian Association of Social Workers is calling for significant investment to reach the targets set out in the Closing the Gap Refresh, and a greater emphasis on First Nations people’s right to culture and language.    AASW Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Board Director, Professor Sue Green, said the government has set a number of targets, including 16 new targets, with most having a ‘by’ date of 2031, but to make any of these achievable there needs to be a focus on cultural wellbeing, including all First Nations people having access to their language and culture.  “Australia currently views the Closing the Gap targets through a Western lens and uses colonial structures, for example the Western education system, to measure progress. This is not how First Nations people shape their worldview, and it is not the way to see real progress in eradicating the inequality experienced by First Nations people.” “The only way to Close the Gap is to stop seeing First Nations people as if they are the problem, or as if they are entrenched in the problem. We need to start ensuring that every man, woman and child, regardless of their age and location have access to their language and their culture, and that this is done in a culturally appropriate and safe manner.”  “Language and culture are paramount to First Nations people and they do not exist without each other. Language and culture strengthen peoples’ cultural identity and create the foundations for cultural wellbeing. This then sets the ground for all other forms of wellbeing and social inclusion.”  “This means that the learning of language and culture must have teaching adults, with elders and others as the starting point, so that they can teach young people and children.” “The teaching of language must be done culturally and not as an academic exercise and thus the teaching of language must remain in the hands of the peoples whose language it is. Only then will we see the lives of First Nations people improve across the country,” Professor Green said. Susan Green is a Galari woman of the Wiradjuri nation and the Association’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director. Sue holds the role of Professor in Indigenous Australian Studies and GCWLCH Co-ordinator at Charles Sturt University. Sue has had an extensive history spanning 20 years in Indigenous Higher Education across a number of roles such as student support and teaching. Her research interest includes Welfare History, Indigenising Social Work education and practice, Cultural Responsiveness and Cultural Support, Colonial History and Decolonisation. Her foremost interest is ensuring that Wiradjuri Language and Culture underpins her all aspects of her personal and professional life. Susan is Chair of the Association’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and a Member of the National Ethics Committee. To interview Professor Green, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954 AASW - WORLD SOCIAL WORK DAY 2021-03-15T00:34:24Z aasw-world-social-work-day World Social Work Day (16 March 2021) is the annual celebration where social workers across the globe stand together to highlight the contributions of their profession, raise the visibility of social services and reaffirm their commitment to defend social justice and human rights. Australian Association of Social Workers, Chief Executive Cindy Smith said for more than three decades World Social Work Day has been a major feature of the social work calendar. “This year highlights the theme of Ubuntu: I am Because We Are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness, a concept and philosophy that resonates with the social work perspective of the interconnectedness of all peoples and their environments.” “At a time when global politics has become partisan, Ubuntu is a powerful message that our future is dependent on recognizing everyone’s involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair and socially just future,” she said. Ms Smith said the social work profession in Australia is very broad and diverse, and at times misunderstood, unseen and undervalued by government and some sections of the general public. “The principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work, so it is important on a day such as World Social Work Day to highlight our role in facilitating social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.” “While social workers play a crucial role working with individuals, families, groups and community health and wellbeing, they also are heavily involved in developing social policy, in management, leadership and administration, in education and training, and in research.” “Social workers often work across different areas of practice and might be known by different titles – case worker, family therapist, consultant, allied health clinician, child safety officer, or senior research assistant, counsellors or welfare officers and this can, at times, be confusing for the general public.” “Social workers are concerned with the biological, psychological, social and cultural wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, working in the context of their environments, their past and current lived experiences, and their cultural and belief systems.” “It is rewarding, gratifying, physically and mentally draining work that, at times, can go unnoticed by the wider population. So, it is important on an occasion like World Social Work Day, that we take the opportunity to celebrate and restate the vital role every social worker plays in assisting society’s most vulnerable people, and challenging and addressing the systemic and structural issues that create inequality, injustice and discrimination in our society and across the globe,” Ms Smith said. To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021-03-05T04:25:54Z international-women-s-day On International Women’s Day (8 March 2021) the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is highlighting the achievements of women leaders and calling for the advancement of women’s participation and decision making in public life. AASW Chief Executive Cindy Smith said this year’s International Women’s Day theme is celebrating the role of women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on women, those standing at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers providing support for family violence and mental health and a range of other issues, to caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most effective national leaders in combating the pandemic.” “The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry. As the vaccinations roll out across Australia and life begins the journey of returning towards a more normal routine, we have an opportunity to not only elevate the role of women but also achieve some meaningful change.” “Representing a predominantly female workforce, the AASW takes the opportunity on International Women’s Day to celebrate and acknowledge the significant work and impact social workers have made during the pandemic.” “Without the contribution of social workers Australia would not be in the recovery position we are in today. The nature of their work makes all social workers leaders in supporting those who often get left behind,” she said. Ms Smith said that we also take this occasion to call on governments at all levels to ensure proper funding for all the services required as we move into the vaccination and recovery stage of the pandemic in Australia. “The need for family violence, mental health, homelessness and other services is always there, more so in times of crisis. As life returns to normal the social work sector will need certainty and proper funding to assist those impacted by COVID-19,” she said. International Women’s Day was first marked by the United Nations in 1977. The Day was born out of labour movements as women moved into the labour force in the early 1900s. In the 21st century IWD marks the achievements of women across many domains and is also a rallying point to continue to build on women’s rights throughout the world. Schools reap surprise benefits from shutdowns: Nationwide principal study finds 2021-02-17T05:09:41Z schools-reap-surprise-benefits-from-pandemic-shutdowns A national survey of school principals has laid bare the extreme challenges faced by Australian schools and students during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic – but also revealed unexpected benefits that could lead to permanent changes in the way we run schools and educate our children. Hundreds of principals from all school sectors – government, Catholic and independent, primary and secondary – have provided extensive accounts of how staff and students, particularly those in socially and economically disadvantaged schools, are being harshly impacted by shutdowns due to COVID outbreaks. Pivot Professional Learning CEO, Amanda Bickerstaff highlights, “This is a landmark study that brings together the experiences and priorities for principals from every sector and context in Australia. Now more than ever we must prioritise listening to our school leaders. We need to ensure our schools are future-proofed and able to support an equitable education for all students.”  The principals tell how the pandemic has exposed and compounded existing inequalities in the system, with students from disadvantaged schools lacking access to basic technology for remote learning, and suffering disproportionate impacts on their learning, mental health and general wellbeing.  However, many who took part in the survey also reported surprisingly positive lessons and impacts from the crisis, some of which could lead to major changes in schooling after the pandemic is over.   Principals from all sectors reported closer bonding between schools and their communities. The head of one Catholic school observed: “The community really values their constant interaction with the school.  The increased closeness among school leaders and family members emerged in part because remote learning increased the visibility of teachers’ pedagogical practice for families.”  The leader of another school wrote:  “Through remote learning, parents appreciated the deeper knowledge and understanding they developed about how their child learns and their capabilities. Parents were very affirming about the great job teachers do. There was genuine respect.”  The head of a disadvantaged government school in Victoria reported:  “This school community has been remarkable in the way it has endured and then thrived during the pandemic. Care, compassion, generosity of spirit and goodwill have existed throughout.” Principals also enthused about how moving some school meetings and events to video had enabled greater parent participation in their children’s education. Some schools had decided to continue using the technology after the pandemic to keep the family involvement going. Others described plans to continue offering virtual parent workshops and family-teacher interviews. In other responses, around two-thirds of principals thought the pandemic had positive impacts on the quality of teaching, and on teachers’ relationships with students and school leaders. These positive perceptions emerged from all school sectors – and advantaged and disadvantaged schools alike.  The researchers noted that such positive developments could lead to many practices that emerged during the crisis being carried on into the future. But a large majority of principals also reported negative impacts on their teachers’ mental health and social-emotional health, and many expressed concern about how to address the problem. A deputy principal from one Queensland school wrote: “Often the problem with staff wellbeing is that we can see that they are struggling mentally but they cannot.’’ Andrew Pierpoint, President of the Australian Secondary Principals’ Association said, “This study is very significant as it pulls together concepts that Principals and teachers address each and every day”. He went on to say that “it is very important to hear directly from principals – it provides a unique and important window into Australian schools,  raising issues that go beyond COVID-19”. The survey was conducted in late 2020 by the Australian education company Pivot Professional Learning in partnership with the Coalition of Australian Principals. Leaders of primary and secondary schools across the nation were invited to participate in an online survey about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In all, 456 principals and other leaders across the government, Catholic and independent sectors – representing all parts of the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) spectrum – responded to the survey. In other major findings, it was revealed: Many schools have moved to provide increased levels of mental health support, advocacy and food support to their communities as a result of problems exposed or exacerbated by the pandemic. Principals of socio-economically advantaged schools were twice more likely to report a successful transition to remote learning than those leading less advantaged schools. Among leaders of schools with an ICSEA score above 1000, 65.6% reported a successful transition, compared to just 36.1% from lower ICSEA schools.  Principals of lower-ICSEA schools were significantly more likely to report insufficient technology access. This finding held true for every type of technology and internet access. Principals at lower ICSEA schools were significantly more likely to believe the impact of the pandemic on student learning had been negative (52% v 30%)  Surprisingly, 22% of lower-ICSEA school principals and 34% of those at higher-ICSEA schools actually rated the impact on student learning as positive.  81% of principals believe that teachers' mental health was negatively impacted and a further 76% believe that their wellbeing was also negatively impacted.  Significant socioeconomic differences emerged in estimates of student learning. Most principals reported students had learned 51-90% of the curriculum in the past six months, but those at higher ICSEA schools were twice as likely to report students had learned 91-100% of the curriculum. Many reported plans to address learning loss in the coming year. A full version of the survey report and analysis is available from Friday 19th February 2021 at  Register for the live webinar with Pivot Professional Learning and the leaders of the Coalition of Australian Principals on Wednesday 24th February 2021 at 6:30pm - 7:30pm. They will be discussing the research and recommendations in the aim to future-proof our schools for an equitable education. To register go to,  Pivot Professional Learning Pivot Professional Learning (Pivot) is an educational insights company dedicated to enhancing teaching effectiveness by harnessing the power of the student voice as a driver of evidence-based improvement. Pivot’s tools and systems are supported by international research and data from over 700 schools.   Coalition of Australian Principals (CAP)  The Coalition of Australian Principals (CAP) is an unconstituted, collaborative group of the six national peak principals associations, which first came together to discuss topics of common interest in 2019. The CAP coalition is characterised by high levels of trust, respect and abiding commitment to all sectors of school education in Australia.  The national peak associations are:  Australian Special Education Principals Association (ASEPA) National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association (NATSIPA);  Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA); Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA); Australian Heads of Independent Schools Association (AHISA); and the Catholic Secondary Principals Australia (CASPA). AASW HONOURS THE NATIONAL APOLOGY ANNIVERSARY 2021-02-11T23:34:10Z aasw-honours-the-national-apology-anniversary-1 The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) honours the 13th anniversary of the National Apology. This Day is one for reflection and a commitment to action, when the social work profession can reflect on the harm it has caused Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but also look to the future and renew its commitment to Reconciliation, to ensure that the wrongs committed are never repeated. AASW National Vice President, Linda Ford said the National Apology acknowledged the hurts and injustices of the past, now we need to continue moving forward and embrace the opportunities that have arisen since the National Apology, that can bring us together as a country. “The anniversary of the National Apology provides the social work profession with a powerful reminder of the continuing impact of history on our profession and the communities our profession serves. We take this opportunity to acknowledge the strength and resilience of our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander colleagues, community members and clients. May we move forward together in a spirit of solidarity for a more united Australia.” “The AASW in its commitment to Reconciliation, has continued to take meaningful action by launching its 2020-2022 Reconciliation Action Plan in mid-2020.  This is the Association’s third RAP ensuring that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members are represented in our decision making, our activities and our future directions.” “With this plan and alongside our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander colleagues, we will strive to be the best possible allies, by actively listening, by decolonising the way we work, by working in partnership and by making sure Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander colleagues and members of our communities shape our work.” “We also know that to look forward and build authentic partnerships requires truth-telling and real understanding. Acknowledging the black history of our country, the historical role of Social Work and the current status of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in our community is essential in building partnerships that are grounded in truth,” she said. AASW – IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO SUPPORT DISADVANTAGED AND MARGINALISED COMMUNITIES 2021-02-11T07:02:56Z aasw-immediate-action-needed-to-support-disadvantaged-and-marginalised-communities-1 With the Western Australian State Election looming, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) has launched its 2021 Election Policy proposal document calling for an incoming government to take immediate action on the key issues such as child protection and Aboriginal children in care, mental health, climate change and workforce regulation. In a joint statement, AASW CEO Cindy Smith and Western Australia Branch President Michael Berry, declared now is the time for an incoming government to challenge inequality and ensure that the most disadvantaged and marginalised communities in Western Australia are supported. WA Branch President Michael Berry highlighted the devastating reality that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children are much more overrepresented in out of home care in Western Australia, compared to other jurisdictions. “Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children are 16.7 times more likely than non-Aboriginal children to be in the Out of Home Care system in Western Australia. This is the highest rate in Australia.” “Even more concerning is the fact that, 52 percent of the 605 new Protection Orders were granted for Aboriginal children in 2019.” “We are witnessing a chronic cycle where Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children entering and remaining in the child protection system for years. It points to a bigger picture where the child protection and family support services systems in Western Australia have failed them.” AASW CEO Cindy Smith said that the AASW continues to call for action to address systemic failures of child protection systems across Australia. “A prime example is that Australia is the only English speaking country that does not have professional registration of social workers.” “Families can come into the child protection system, due to a complex set of circumstances and it is vital that they receive supports from highly trained and skilled professionals.” “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 recommends the introduction of legislation to register social workers in Western Australia, as is currently occurring in South Australia, to protect the best interest of children and the community.” “We look forward to working with the new government to further our policy proposals, which will ensure each individual is valued and is given the opportunity to thrive in a supportive environment,” Ms Smith said. AASW - EDUCATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT WOULD PUT STUDENTS AT RISK 2021-02-10T06:02:07Z aasw-education-legislation-amendment-would-put-students-at-risk-1 The Australian Association of Social Workers, NSW Branch President, Jack Whitney is calling on the New South Wales Government to reject the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020, as it undermines the professional service delivery of social workers in schools and will put vulnerable students at risk. Mr Whitney said the Bill’s intent to silence the professional practice social workers in schools, is undermining the mental wellbeing of students and their families. “Having social workers in schools is a well-established specialist area of social work practice and an example of the unique contribution that social work can make to the mental wellbeing of young people. Social workers have been employed in Australian schools for more than 65 years and in UK and US schools for more than a century.” “Our members have told us that students who are struggling with their sexuality and gender identities often seek counselling services at school and are referred to specialist services if required. This service model plays a key component in reducing the soaring youth suicidal rate in NSW and is recommended by the recent publication of Productivity Commission’s report ‘The Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health’.” “If the Bill is passed, this jeopardises the professional practice of social workers in schools and further marginalises LGBTIQ students and families,” he said. Mr Whitney said that among mental health professions, the person-in-environment approach of social workers in schools is unique. “The person-in-environment approach maintains a dual focus on the student and on the school environment, in order to facilitate successful learning outcomes through the relief of distress, the removal of barriers or inequities, and the development of a safe and inclusive school and community.” “We are concerned that the passage of this Bill can create public health concerns, considering that LGBTIQ students are more vulnerable to youth suicide. Therefore, we highly recommend the legislation be rejected,” he said. The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is the professional body representing more than 13,000 social workers throughout Australia. The AASW sets the benchmark for professional education and practice in social work and have a strong voice on matters of social inclusion, social justice, and human rights and issues that impact on the quality of life of all Australians. To interview Jack Whitney, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. How to be happily single & avoid depression this Valentine’s Day 2021-02-10T01:17:02Z how-to-be-happily-single-avoid-depression-this-valentines-day WHILE Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a day of joy and romance, many single people spend the day feeling lonely, depressed and suicidal. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report shows that relationship problems are the top cause of suicides today and psychologists worldwide suggest that Valentine’s Day on February 14 is the start of an annual rise in suicide rates that peak in April. It doesn’t have to be this way however as there are many positives to being single, as Gold Coast author Louisa Pateman shares in her new book Single, Again, and Again, and Again… “It takes courage to be single and it’s a big myth that when you meet ‘the one’, you will live happily ever after,” Ms Pateman said. “Your ultimate goal should be happiness - single or not. We all have our own unique life journey. If I had waited for ‘the one’, I wouldn’t have had such an amazing life.” Louisa, 47, has travelled to 73 countries, had multiple properties and chose to have her son solo using a sperm bank at age 37 after stressing out about her biological clock ticking and having more than 13 failed relationships since the age of 21. A civil engineer for 25 years, she created exciting and rewarding life experiences through travel, investing and spending time with girlfriends. “I spent 20 years looking for my soulmate and my son, Nicholas, is now the love of my life. I wouldn’t give him up for any man,” she said. Her tips for being happily single include: Embrace/ accept your situation for what it is and what you have Learn to be present- enjoy the moment Find other single people you can relate to but don’t exclude yourself from couple situations. Find opportunities where you can be around people you can connect with, who have lived part of your journey Love yourself and appreciate your self worth. You determine your own worth by what you will and won’t put up with Find inner contentment and the good in all your challenges. Don’t be a man/ woman hater or shun couples. If you are bitter, resentful or hold grudges from past relationship failures, that bitterness permeates your present experience. Find exciting and rewarding life experiences that you can do on your own. When you come out of a relationship, write down a list of all the things you want to do without a partner and do it, like going on a girl’s retreat or writing a book (eg. I was up 10pm to 2am most nights when writing my book). Stay optimistic about life. Have an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for what you have - big and little things. List things you’re grateful for and realise things aren’t that bad. Look at life from a macro perspective and realise how small your issues are in the overall scheme of things Remind yourself that not everyone in a relationship is happy. You may be better off than some people who don’t have the courage to be single Ms Pateman’s tips are also in line with Singles Awareness Day (or Singles Appreciation Day), which is celebrated on February 15 each year. “It is a celebration of love in all forms recognising the love between friends, family and loving yourself. You have to accept you are where you are,” Ms Pateman said. “I’m not saying you can get rid of your desires. I’m saying if you don’t have courage to live a rewarding life on your own, life could pass you by and you could miss out on a lot of opportunities.” For more details or for a copy of the book Single, Again, and Again, and Again…, visit ENDS ___________________________________________________ MEDIA CONTACT ONLY: AA Xpose Media Director/ Photojournalist Aldwyn Altuney ph: 0409 895 055