The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-01-07T00:23:48Z Watts McCray Law Firm Moves into Platinum Building 2019-01-07T00:23:48Z watts-mccray-law-firm-moves-into-platinum-building-1 Family law firm Watts McCray has a new location in Erina. Its Central Coast office is now located at the Platinum Building. Watts McCray Managing Director Jacqueline Vincent welcomed guests including lawyers and other professionals to share an evening of good company while inaugurating the office. Jacqueline spoke of the terrific team of lawyers including, Kate O’Grady, Michelle Meares and Matthew Weston, and the support staff in the Erina office as well as the collaborative support provided to and by colleagues of each of the other Watts McCray offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Norwest and Canberra. Watts McCray looks forward to continuing to work with the business community on the Central Coast to deliver timely, tailored legal services, the company stated on their website. Originally with one office located in Parramatta, Watts McCray Lawyers has now grown to include seven offices across the Sydney, ACT, and Central Coast markets, including their newest offices at Platinum Building in New South Wales and Norwest Business Park in Sydney. With ten directors/partners supported by a team of highly experienced solicitors, Watts McCray is highly regarded by clients, the Judiciary and the marketplace overall. Their seven locations are ideally situated to ensure convenience for clients across Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, and the Australian Capital Territory. Through the use of technology, they are able to file and conduct proceedings for clients not only in any Sydney, Canberra, Parramatta or Newcastle Registry, but also in any registry around Australia.  They can also assist clients in respect of the impact of Australian Law in the event there are proceedings being conducted overseas. For more information on family and divorce lawyer, de facto property settlement, spousal maintenance and more, visit https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/ 7 Tips for Overcoming Shyness on World Introvert Day - January 2, 2019 2019-01-01T08:46:54Z 7-tips-for-overcoming-shyness-on-world-introvert-day-january-2-2019 SYDNEY, Australia, January 2, 2019—Author, life coach and recovered shy-guy, Joel Annesley, rings in the New Year on World Introvert Day with hands-on hope, and healing advice for wallflowers everywhere suffering from the debilitating effects of shyness.  Between 40 and 60 per cent of adults define themselves as being shy, says Annesley, and most of us, he says, will at some time in our lives experience shyness.   In Quiet Confidence: Breaking Up with Shyness, released today on Amazon and published by Power Writers Publishing Group, Annesley assures those plagued by shyness that they can overcome the traumas that caused their shyness to develop, learn to embrace the beauty within and express themselves with confidence.     Annesley once had an overbearing relationship with shyness, the result of being publicly humiliated in front of his friends by his first-grade teacher. The experience left him insecure and unable to speak up, an affliction that affected him into adulthood, personally and professionally.  Unlike introversion - a basic personality trait characterized by inward-looking thoughts and feelings vs external stimulation - shyness most often occurs as a result of a painful experience, says Annesley. Shyness can be overcome, says Annesley, by changing our inner dialogue and strengthening the voice within.   Annesley overcame his shyness once he began exploring the roots of his shyness and was then able to make the decision to finally break up with shyness, see life with new eyes and live a life of quiet confidence. He shares his journey and offers tips such as these in Quiet Confidence: Breaking Up with Shyness:   1.     Avoid labels. Labels can build you up or destroy you; choose the label that empowers you instead of tears you down. Think Quietly Confident instead of Shy. 2.     Look within. The key to finding your true self is to look within and to celebrate who you really are. Practice non-judgemental awareness, self-compassion and loving kindness for the beautiful person you are inside and the way you see the world.   3.     Stop overthinking everything. Overthinking and shyness go hand-in-hand. Overthinking leads to indecisiveness, mental exhaustion and self-defeating, negative thoughts. The solution is to learn how to outsmart your overthinking. 4.     Find your safe place. When you develop your safe environment, a place where you can be free to be vulnerable, you will have no need to overthink things. When you slowly expand this environment, your Quiet Confidence will also expand and grow. 5.     Find your tribe. Spend time with those who build you up, and support and encourage you unconditionally to express yourself. 6.     Find a creative outlet. Developing and expressing your creative passions can lead you to become a Subject Matter Expert, which will help you will naturally become more confident. 7.     Develop positive body talk. Confidence doesn’t have to be verbal. Becoming aware of, and adjusting, your body language, posture and physical appearance can provide you with instant confidence.   Inside Quiet Confidence: Breaking Up with Shyness, readers will discover simple, easy-to-follow steps to build the courage to break up with their shyness, and embrace the beauty within.   Readers will learn to create a life-changing blueprint to release the grip that shyness has held over them for far too long, and help them develop the calm, quiet, and courageous voice they have always dreamed of but never thought they would ever find.   About Joel Annesley   A self-proclaimed introvert and recovered shy-guy, Joel Annesley was born in Queensland, Australia to two alternative-thinking parents who nurtured his passion for the natural world. He attended the Queensland University of Technology where he earned a Bachelor of Creative Industries.   To order copies of Quiet Confidence: Breaking Up with Shyness, visit quietconfidencebook.com New Women’s Economic Security Statement Will Help Domestic Violence Victims 2018-12-21T13:18:33Z new-women-s-economic-security-statement-will-help-domestic-violence-victims Family law firm Watts McCray has published details of the new government initiative - the Women’s Economic Security Statement. It has detailed the impact of the initiative on family law matters and has covered in detail its main features - the small claims property pilot, lawyer assisted property mediations, superannuation and family violence measures. On 20 November 2018, the Commonwealth Government announced a new package of funding measures; the Women’s Economic Security Statement.  The package includes access to superannuation and eligibility for no-interest loans for women including those leaving relationships of domestic violence.  The package also proposes a new settlement process for small property pool disputes in family law matters. The sweeping changes were instigated by the minister for women, Kelly O’Dwyer. In the first Women’s Economic Security Statement, an initiative announced in the 2018 budget, O’Dwyer unveiled a range of modest initiatives in the four-year A$109 million package. The package provides for $5.9 million to fund federal Family Courts and the Attorney-General’s Department to conduct a two year trial of a new process designed to create faster resolution of property disputes where the parties property pool is less than $500,000. The pilot is proposed to be run in selected Family Court Registries across Australia.  There will be two options for separated couples with a net asset pool of under $500,000: 1.      Registrar Led Resolution – to assist couples to prepare and file Consent Orders. 2.      Judge Led Resolution – where matters are allocated to a Judge to determine the property dispute using a “short form process which may include dealing with the matter without a hearing.” There is to be a two-year trial of funding for Legal Aid lawyers to provide advice and assistance to parties to resolve their property disputes if their net asset pools are under $500,000. There is also additional funding for Family Relationship Centres to provide mediation services in property disputes. Victims of family and domestic violence will also be eligible to apply for early release of their superannuation.  In 2018, the Attorney-General introduced the Family Law Amendment (Family Violence & Cross-Examination of Partners) Bill 2018 to ban perpetrators of family violence from cross-examining their victims in family law proceedings. There will now be funding for Legal Aid to provide representation to self-represented parties subject of the ban. There has also been further funding announced for Legal Aid’s specialist domestic violence units and Health Justice partnerships. These services deliver legal assistance to family violence victims at hospital and health centres. Watts McCray is committed to excellence in client service with a focus on family law. They keep up with the latest changes in legislation and are able to advise their clients the best course of action when dealing with family matters. Watts McCray’s website https://www.divorce.com.au/ provides detailed information and guides to help people understand the filing, waiting periods, and other complexities of the divorce process – as well as other considerations that may arise. It also provides information on separation and divorce, best divorce lawyer Sydney, de-facto relationships separation entitlements, divorce and property and more. Have Yourself a Happy Gut Christmas. 2018-12-11T22:00:30Z have-yourself-a-happy-gut-christmas The festive season is often a time of over-indulgence. It’s a familiar sight. Reclined on the lounge, hands resting on bloated stomach, sighs and moans of regret (and a little satisfaction, let’s be honest) after a big Christmas meal. For those of us who don’t want to scrooge on the delicious food, but would prefer to avoid the bloat, Hemple Nutritionist Liv Kaplan shares cleaner twists on classic festive recipes and a few helpful tips. Liv’s tips: 1. Keep routines and the right motivation... For many the holidays is an excuse to let health go out the window. While I’m all for letting go, when your motives for making healthy choices are in the right place you’ll find you naturally make good (or at least better) choices. This means eating well because you want to feel healthy and happy, and not to reach any specific weight or follow any diet. 2. Make gut friendly alternatives... These days with so many amazing gut friendly foods available, that taste amazing too, it’s so easy to say no to desserts and foods that may set off digestive issues. Since most of the time we’re celebrating with food, bring a platter of your favourite gut friendly desserts. What does this look like? Well for optimal gut health you want something free of gluten, wheat and refined sugar. Even better is to keep natural sugars like dried fruit to a minimum. Stuck for ideas? How about our gluten and dairy free Raw Vegan Mince Tarts, Christmas Hemp Halva Slice or Hemp Blinis for appetisers! 3. Keep calm and don’t stress... Easier said than done I know, but I think many if not most of our gut symptoms can be attributed to the mind rather than the plate. So relax! Focus on the fun times spent with friends and loved ones and stop stressing about food. 4. Breathe deeply... For optimal digestion, we want our bodies to be in the “rest and digest” state rather than the “fight or flight”. Unfortunately lots of stress, caffeine, lack of sleep and disrupted circadian rhythms leave us in this state constantly! It’s no wonder gut distress is at an all time high. So what do you do? Of course slowing down, less caffeine, yoga and meditation help. But immediately? Just 10 deep belly breaths is enough to take us out of fight or flight and into rest and digest. You’ll find your digestion is far better after doing just this one, simple thing! Recipes: Raw Vegan Mince Tarts Serves: 12 Prep time: 30 mins Typically a sugar-filled treat, Liv’s gluten-free version of a Christmas favourite, mince tarts, brings all the flavour of the original, plus plant protein and a low GI. Ingredients 1.5 cup almond meal 1/2 cup Hemple Raw 1/2 cup dried inca berries 6 dried figs chopped Zest of one orange 2 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup coconut oil Avocado frosting 2 avocados 3⁄4 cup coconut yoghurt 20 drops liquid stevia 1⁄4 cup raw cacao powder (for the chocolate flavour) For serving: Fresh raspberries Dried orange slices Hemple Hearts Cacao powder Method 1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until a sticky dough forms. 2. Using your hands, press into a silicone mini muffin tin, or a normal mini muffin tin lined with paper cases. Place in the fridge to set. 3. To make the frosting place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth! For the green version of the frosting, omit the cacao powder. Or divide frosting into two and make one green and one chocolate! Christmas Hemp Halva Bites Serves: 20-30 To up this dish’s health cred, the traditional sesame seeds are swapped for omega 3 and 6 balanced hemp. This raw, vegan, gluten and sugar-free recipe has the nutty sesame-like flavour of the original, and since it’s Christmas, Liv adds all-natural plant pigments for a festive finishing touch. Ingredients 5 cups dessicated coconut 2 cups Hemple Hearts 20 drops liquid stevia 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped 1 tablespoon beetroot powder Method 1. In a high powered blender or food processor, blend the coconut and Hemple Hearts until the texture is smooth and liquid. ​ 2. Add in the stevia and vanilla and combine. 3. Split mixture into two bowls. Reserve one aside. Stir beetroot powder into the other bowl and pour into loaf tin lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge to set for 1 hour. 4. When set, remove from the fridge and pour in the other bowl. Place back into the fridge to set completely. Slice to serve. 3 Ingredient Hemp Blinis Makes: 8 A light bite that’s gluten and dairy free, easy to digest, high in bioavailable protein and tastes even better than the original. Ingredients 1/4 cup Hemple Raw 1/4 cup hemp or nut milk 1 medium egg 1 pinch sea salt Coconut oil for cooking Method To make the blinis, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Heat a large pan over a medium heat and grease with a little coconut oil. Pour in two tablespoons worth of the mixture for each blini. Leave to cook and wait until bubbles appear, about 2–3 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Top with your favourite toppings to serve! For avo and hemp seed, top with sliced avo, Hemple Hearts, Hemple Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil and salt and pepper. For the salmon, top with smoked salmon, red onion, fresh dill, capers and coconut yoghurt. Drizzle with Hemple Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. To request high res images or more information contact: Georgia Branch Ph: 0410 690 408 Email: georgia@hemple.com About Hemple: Stocked in over 350 stores nationally, Hemple worships your body with functional hemp-based nutrition supporting body and mind. For more healthy recipes visit www.hemple.com and for discussions on life-changing wellbeing search for the Hemple Podcast on iTunes. Link to: Hemple product images 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. Regional centres ripe for investment in 2019 2018-12-07T02:29:42Z regional-centres-ripe-for-investment-in-2019 Sydney and Melbourne’s property markets may be correcting but it’s far from game over for investors looking to make a profit in the new year. Your Investment Property magazine has just released its Annual Top 100 Suburbs Guide, an in-depth ranking of the best property markets for 2019.     Using the latest data from CoreLogic together with input from a panel of experts, the Guide ranks suburbs based on key factors such as affordability, demand, demographics and growth prospects. And the message to homebuyers is to look outside the big cities for the profit opportunities.     “There are some major regional centres on the experts’ radar for 2019 – places like Ballarat, Wagga Wagga, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast,” said YIP editor Sarah Megginson.     “The median price in most of these areas is around or below $500,000. This provides a real opportunity for investors to take advantage of an affordable property market that is expected to grow,” she said.      Suburb  State  Median price  Property type  Ballarat  VIC   $448,750   Houses  Cairns City  QLD   $327,000   Units  Noosa Heads  QLD   $740,000   Units  Caloundra  QLD   $555,000   Houses  Launceston  TAS   $485,000   Houses  Wagga Wagga  NSW   $410,000   Houses     The full report and list of 100 suburbs is available in the January issue of Your Investment Property magazine, on sale now.     Media contact:  Lisa Narroway  lisa.narroway@keymedia.com.au      About Your Investment Property  Your Investment Property is the intelligent property owner’s choice when it comes to learning about Australia’s $4 trillion property market. Your Investment Property provides you with the most complete set of property data, independent commentary and thoroughly-researched articles about all aspects of investing in property in Australia and abroad. Every issue features in-depth analysis of the market trends that affect your investment, practical tips and advice on how to manage and finance your investments to help you make the best decisions. Your Investment Property carries the most comprehensive data section of any Australian property magazine, with extensive and exclusive data about every suburb in Australia to help you decide where to put your money.      Watts McCray Participates in LAWASIA Conference 2018-12-03T01:28:02Z watts-mccray-participates-in-lawasia-conference Justin Dowd, recently re-elected Vice President of LAWASIA and Watts McCray Director attended the 31st LAWASIA Conference in Siem Reap Cambodia. The Conference is a platform for the convergence of bar leaders, jurists, professional organisations and individual lawyers from across the Asia Pacific and is designed to facilitate the discussion of regional developments in law. Justin Dowd believes it is important to maintain a regular dialogue of the issues impacting modern legal practice with neighbours in our region. The Annual Conference is LAWASIA’s flagship event and the highlight of its professional events program. The Conference is a platform for the convergence of bar leaders, jurists, professional organisations and individual lawyers from across the Asia Pacific, and is designed to facilitate the discussion of regional developments in law, including such issues as judicial practice, legal education, cross border business and investment law and cross-border dispute resolution. As a generalist legal event, the Annual Conference also serves as an important forum for sharing ideas, building professional networks, reinforcing shared professional values, advocating for the rule of law in varied jurisdictions, and advancing the status of the legal profession in the Asia Pacific. There were also 35 teams from over 18 countries that participated in the International Moot Competition of the LAWASIA Conference.  University of Malaya won the LAWASIA Best Oralist Team Trophy. National University of Singapore was the runner up. Senior Advocate Shyam Divan was also elected Vice President of LAWASIA. Divan was the Bar Association of India's nominee for the post. LAWASIA’s central aim is to strengthen professional and business relations among law associations, lawyers, the private sector and government representatives in the Asia Pacific. LAWASIA holds a number of legal conferences, seminars and meetings throughout the year as a means of supporting professional development, regional networking and the exchange of legal knowledge and insight. These events are open to the broader legal profession and span both generalist and specialised areas of law, such as family law, children’s rights, employment law, intellectual property and human rights. The 32nd LAWASIA conference will be held in Hong Kong next year. For more information on de facto relationship separation entitlements, family law child custody, last will and testament, prenuptial agreement and more, visit https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/ Debra Parker Gets Accredited Specialist Status in Dispute Resolution 2018-12-03T01:20:47Z debra-parker-gets-accredited-specialist-status-in-dispute-resolution Debra Parker of Watts McCray Lawyers has obtained the accredited specialist status with the Law Society of NSW in Dispute Resolution. This is in addition to her specialist accreditation in Family Law. Specialist Accreditation is a structured peer to peer assessment process enabling legal practitioners to be recognised for their expertise. The program consists of meticulous assessments on both legal knowledge and its application in practice. Debra is the only practitioner in the Australian Capital Territory with both accreditations. Debra has also recently been recognised by her peers as a leading mediator and leading family lawyer in the ACT in the Doyle’s Guide. Debra joined the Watts McCray team as an equity partner in February 2015. She has over 20 years’ experience in mediation. After completing training in the early 90’s in Mediation and Arbitration she was one of the successful early pioneers in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Canberra. Furthermore, during her time as a Registrar, Debra was the appointed Court mediator for thousands of mediations for de facto and married couples going through the process of relationship change. She established an excellent reputation as a skilled and accomplished mediator and conciliator. She regularly assisted people to mutually agree to resolve their Court disputes without having to go through a lengthy court trial. She is a Nationally Accredited Mediator (MSB) and a member of the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators, and in 2018, Debra became a member of the Mediators Panel of the Law Society of New South Wales. Debra accepts referrals for private mediations as well as individual representation in traditional negotiation. Debra is also an Accredited Collaborative Law Practitioner. Collaborative law and negotiation works on the understanding that each party trusts and respects one another and a final settlement is achieved between the parties out of Court, with assistance as required from their lawyers and other experts such as accountants or psychologists. Bringing this invaluable experience as a Registrar to Watts McCray, Debra has the skills to provide clients with sound, practical advice about family law issues and to tailor service to meet their specific needs. She guides her clients through the process maze and the difficult circumstances of relationship change. Family law issues and relationship breakdown can be complex. Debra takes the time to understand her clients and what they want to achieve. Her years of experience as a solicitor; living abroad; raising a large family and her skills as a Registrar combine to enable her to give clients sensible, fair solutions and how to get there. When a marriage or a relationship breaks down it is natural that the circumstances of both parties will change. There are also legal rights and responsibilities associated with these changes, such as parenting arrangements and property and financial settlements. Watts McCray has also developed an online resource for people who want information on family law matters. Divorce.com.au can be used by those who want to find out more about divorce in Australia, quickly and easily apply for a divorce, or contact a divorce lawyer in Australia to help them resolve their situation. For more information on best divorce lawyer Sydney, divorce solicitors, solicitors for divorce, family law lawyers Sydney, how to apply for divorce in Australia and more, visit divorce.com.au Fawkner Residents Assoc joins forces with academics to survey local quality of life & mental health 2018-11-29T01:04:24Z fawkner-residents-assoc-joins-forces-with-academics-to-survey-local-quality-of-life-amp-mental-health Fawkner Residents Association’s (FRA) Mr Joe Perri has announced that concern regarding the consequences of rampant overdevelopment and its social / community impact on the quality of life and mental health has brought Dr Amirul Islam and Dr Jessica Sharp of Swinburne University of Technology and FRA together to initiate a project to survey this matter.   Commenting further, Joe Perri said stress and mental health concerns are not unique to living in inner city suburbs like Fawkner, but they are being magnified as the result of this current wave of high-density development.    “As more and more development is imposed onto suburbs that were never designed to cope with high density living – the residents (new and old) are being forced to deal with the multiple demands of streets choked with traffic and parked cars, public transport that exceeds peak hour and safety capacity, noise, pollution, crime, lost open spaces and parks, and the list goes on”, said Joe Perri.   Research suggests that psychological distress is the leading cause of non-fatal burden of disease in Australia with mental health conditions such as depression further associated with chronic diseases and other related concerns.   Joe Perri continued, “As single homes are being replaced by multiple townhouse dwellings or high storey towers in order to accommodate population growth, neighbourhood factors and community infrastructure such as parks, transportation and swimming pools are not increasing in kind”.    “It is likely such changes to community character and insufficient infrastructure are impacting quality of life and physical and mental health among community members – and this has given rise to the proposed project”.    However, it has not been researched to document the fact and the consequences.     Fawkner Residents Association will reach out to local businesses and community groups for funding to support the project in collaboration with the Swinburne University of Technology.   In the pursuit of development at all costs, government and developers have abandoned the valuable lessons learnt over the centuries about socially responsible and sustainable town planning – hence FRA’s very deep concern for the social welfare, multicultural and health needs of Fawkner’s residents – in fact throughout the municipality and Melbourne as a whole.   Joe Perri concluded, “Dr Islam, Dr Sharp and I believe the suburb of Fawkner and the municipality of Moreland would be ideal communities to assess the health and wellbeing of residents, in relation to increased development and neighbourhood factors, which could then be expanded into broader and more comprehensive research in metropolitan Melbourne”.   It is anticipated that the research would extend for several years, and provide key insights into residents’ health and wellbeing over time. While this issue is already apparent to community leaders and resident associations, the aim is to raise awareness to government and policy makers, and to facilitate the development of healthy sustainable communities.      Issued by the Fawkner Residents Association   Media enquiries:      Mr. Joe Perri   Mob:  +61 412 112 545   Email: joe.perri1@gmail.com 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. ACS Releases New Course- Telephone and Online Counselling 2018-11-22T05:43:57Z acs-releases-new-course-telephone-and-online-counselling ACS Distance Education have just written and released a new 20-hour course in Telephone and Online Counselling. Increasingly, communication is conducted online and via the telephone.  People may be dealing with difficult customers, people who are in distress or stressed. We have developed a brand-new course to train people in how to deal with supporting clients or customers who are experiencing difficulties. Our new Telephone and Online Counselling course will help students to develop their skills in: ·         Dealing ethically with people in distress. ·         Dealing with difficult customers and clients. ·         Listening and paying attention. ·         Good communication online and by telephone. The great thing about studying our short 20-hour courses is that you can work through them at your own pace and put as much or as little as you feel you need to make the most of your studies. There are many opportunities to do extra studies to delve deeper into the topic if you need to. Upon completion of this course, you would be awarded a Certificate of Completion. Learn more about this course: https://www.acsbookshop.com/product-telephone-and-online-counselling-6039.aspx Warakirri College’s Fairfield and Blacktown campuses now accepting enrolments for 2019 2018-11-21T03:42:33Z warakirri-college-s-fairfield-and-blacktown-campuses-now-accepting-enrolments-for-2019 “There are no typical days at Warakirri!” says Principal Carolyn Blanden. “Many of our students have disconnected from mainstream education or cannot get a place in a traditional school. Some have mental health challenges, like anxiety and depression, that prevent them attending a large school. Our small friendly classrooms and family atmosphere enable them to cope better, and they’re able to complete their schooling instead of dropping out. “Some students face enormous life challenges. Often school is the only stable part of their lives, and the only source of support. We help by providing counselling, food and even clothing if it’s needed, and referrals to therapists, Transition to Work providers and other educational institutions. We also provide all books and teaching materials and there are no fees. “We run quite a lot of excursions, such as to plays, career expos, museums, Taronga Zoo and the mangrove swamps at Bicentennial Park. The Australian bush and beach can both be very dangerous if you haven’t been shown how to keep safe. To combat this we organise outdoor education experiences like bushwalks and camps. “The best job I’ve ever had has been as Principal of Warakirri College. It is such an honour to work with young people who desperately need a second chance. When I hear some of their stories at the enrolment interviews I’m often shocked by their experiences and the challenges they face. I feel very privileged to be able to help them get their lives back on track and enjoy the opportunities that come from completing their schooling. It is so rewarding to see them at graduation, supported by multiple family members who tell me: “This is the first person in our family to finish Year 10 or get the HSC!” Warakirri student snapshot: Rhiannon Rhiannon came to Warakirri suffering such bad anxiety that she couldn’t do an oral presentation unless the classroom was empty and the teacher was hiding under the desk listening to her. She had very low self-esteem and wasn’t coping at her mainstream school. She achieved excellent results in her HSC and graduated as Dux of Year 12. Warakirri provided lots of support with her university application. One teacher accompanied her to several campuses, talked to lecturers and helped with the UAC application. Currently Rhiannon is really enjoying studying Forensic Science at the Western Sydney University Hawkesbury campus, as well as tutoring other students.  Warakirri student snapshot: Elia Elia had been enrolled in various schools overseas but was finding it difficult to settle into a mainstream school in Australia, so she came to Warakirri to complete her HSC. After school, Elia started working in the hospitality industry and kept on being promoted. She’s now working full time as a function centre manager and is part of a management training program. She’s planning to study events management and wants to open her own function centre one day. Warakirri student snapshot: Cheyenne Cheyenne came to Warakirri after an unhappy time at several mainstream schools. His anger management problems had led to difficulties with peers and teachers. The smaller, friendly environment at Warakirri helped Cheyenne control his anger and he was able to successfully complete his RoSA. Cheyenne is now happy and confident, and working as an apprentice plumber. www.warakirricollege.nsw.edu.au MTC Australia is the social enterprise that gives people the inspiration, capability and opportunity to create a fulfilling life. We deliver high impact employment, training and youth programs that help people gain skills for employment and entrepreneurship, build self-worth, and enable possibilities for transformative change. www.mtcaustralia.com.au   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. Living life without fear 2018-11-20T20:27:33Z living-life-without-fear When life doesn’t turn out as planned, many become paralysed with fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Life crises of all kinds are fuelled by these emotions – only by uncovering the meaning of our own life can we find our way out. While some manage to work through their feelings, others are consumed by their own darkness, frightened that any choice they make may be the wrong one. Thankfully, a new resource promises to guide them toward the light. Next month, Canberra author Andrew Hackett is poised to release a series of books called ‘Fearless’. These guides will offer readers a series of processes and tools that can help snap them out their self-imposed inertia and move them towards their goals and dreams. What is the Fearless Series about? The Fearless series is a set of books built off the experience of personal development author Andrew Hackett. Each book leads into another, as they use the lessons learned in the previous volume to lead you toward your success, whatever that may be. ‘Ending Your Unconsciousness’ shines a light on unquestioned daily habits and how they have a negative impact on your life. ‘Awakening to Your Truth’ guides you through the process of finding your own life’s meaning. ‘Manifesting You Journey’ breaks down the steps towards creating anything you desire. ‘Accepting Your Success’ lays out the tools that successful people use to achieve their goals, while the final book, ‘Creating Your Destiny’, brings it all together and applies it to your personal situation. Essentially, this series acts as a roadmap for anyone who currently feels lost. By following it, they can identify their passions, disarm their fears, and make rapid progress towards their goals. The world is experiencing record levels of anxiety and depression Life has become much more stressful in recent years. Employment is less secure, the climate is changing, and thanks to social media, we’re constantly comparing our ‘B roll’film to everyone else’s, highly manufactured, and finished product. IT’s no wonder success seems impossibly out of reach. Without a way to cope with this often self imposed, yet relentless pressure, anxiety disorders and depression are the inevitable results. This fact motivated Andrew Hackett to create the Fearless series. Rather than watch his fellow Australians struggle, he created simple processes anyone can follow so they can use their own untapped potential to create the life of their dreams.    DineSmart is Here and Making it Simple to Give Back This Christmas 2018-11-14T22:45:08Z dinesmart-is-here-and-making-it-simple-to-give-back-this-christmas For immediate release | November 2018      As we wrap up another year, many of us turn our minds to friends, family and to those who are less fortunate. DineSmart is back and with a host of new restaurants taking part it’s simple to lend a hand to people who are homeless this Christmas. DineSmart has applied the simple model of asking diners to chip in an extra $1 on their bill and granting those donations to combat homelessness in the local community. You won’t be able to get a loved one a present with $1 this Christmas but you could help change someone's life, and it’s the collective power of restaurants and locals working together that makes it such a success. There are 120 participating restaurants and thee campaign runs from November 21st – December 31st and hopes to raise at least $250,000 for homelessness projects during the busy run into Christmas. Now entering its’ 16th year, DineSmart has helped to raise over $5million in essential funds. Who would have thought that the simple idea of asking diners to leave a small donation on their bill could have made such a huge impact for so many people experiencing homelessness? Sadly, homelessness is on the rise and on any given night there are an estimated 116,000 people are without a safe, secure place to call home. With unprecedented demand, and shrinking funding, the funds raised by DineSmart have become an essential lifeline for frontline services and been a key source of funding for innovative ideas. DineSmart has sparked a number of innovative projects that are leading local responses to homelessness. Organisations such as Orange Sky Laundry, HOMIE, The Street Socceroos, FareShare, Wear for Success, HOMIE, Second Bite, all received early funding from DineSmart and have gone on to have lasting impact. DineSmart welcomes new restaurants including Broadsheet Kitchen at Saint Crispin, Noir Restaurant, Supernormal, Ryne, Nighthawk Diner, 48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar, La Cache a Vin and more. To find all the restaurants involved check out the google map at  www.streetsmartaustralia.org/dinesmart “Christmas is a time when many people struggle, particularly those who are homeless. On the flip side many of us are out and about having a good time, catching up with family and friends. DineSmart is a simple idea that gives us all the opportunity to chip in a small donation to help fund some critically important and innovative community projects. What else will you do with $1 this Christmas, that will have such a profound impact on someone’s life?” ENDS. For more information or to sign up your restaurant visit: www.streetsmartaustralia.org/dinesmart