The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-01-23T11:59:16Z Vision Direct Donates Proceeds of Sales to WWF’s Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund 2020-01-23T11:59:16Z vision-direct-donates-proceeds-of-sales-to-wwf-s-australian-wildlife-and-nature-recovery-fund The drought that has hit Australia over the last few months has been one of the most extreme ever experienced. Temperatures have soared to over 40 degrees and bushfires have spread rapidly across the entire country. So far 29 people have lost their lives, an estimated 1.25 billion animals have perished and hundreds of homes, as well as millions of hectares of Australian land, have been destroyed. Despite the heavy rains, the crisis is far from over with two months still left of the bushfire season.  To help contribute to the relief effort, Australian online eyewear retailer Vision Direct will be donating all proceeds of sales from the Arise Collective brand for a limited period of time. The fundraiser will run from Australia Day (January 26th) until the end of the month.  “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy unfolding in Australia. As a partner of WWF-Australia, we are honoured to be able to contribute to its tireless efforts through our own sales campaign,” said David Menning, Co-CEO of Vision Direct and a native Australian. Vision Direct and WWF-Australia recently partnered to produce ReefCycle with the Arise Collective brand. The sunglasses were made from an upcycled gill net retrieved from the Great Barrier Reef.  “Social responsibility is part of our DNA as we believe in driving positive change in the world. As such, it is important for us that we stand by and support our local community by raising awareness and reinforcing our partnership through these actions. Our thoughts and prayers are with those that have been affected and we look forward to contributing financially to WWF-Australia.” Many other Australian businesses are also assisting in bushfire relief efforts to help raise awareness of the extent of the damage, as well as donating proceeds of sales.  For more ways to support the Australian wildlife and community, read more here. Bushfire Recovery Access Program: Accredited Mental Health Social Workers ready to provide mental health support under new regime 2020-01-17T02:45:05Z bushfire-recovery-access-program-accredited-mental-health-social-workers-ready-to-provide-mental-health-support-under-new-regime The AASW welcomes the Bushfire Recovery Access Program that comes into effect today and will see people affected by the bushfires, including first responders, receive vital mental health supports. The impact of the unprecedented bushfire crisis of 2019-2020 on people’s wellbeing cannot be underestimated and it is important people access help, if they so choose, to better enable them to prepare for the long-term recovery effort. As of today, the Bushfire Recovery Access Program will be rolled out by Medicare and includes 10 immediate counselling sessions and access to more sessions without requiring a GP referral, among other initiatives. Face-to-face or telehealth services can be accessed depending on people’s location and circumstances. Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) are among those who can deliver these services and they have significant expertise in assessment and providing supports with a wide range of complex mental health needs, including grief, loss, trauma, and bereavement. AASW National President Cristine Craik said, “AMHSWs meet the high standards set by Medicare to deliver the Bushfire Recovery Access Program. They are among those professionals currently providing specialist mental health services under Medicare’s Better Access program. "AMHSWs work with children, adults and older persons across a wide range of issues including, depression, anxiety, grief and loss. relationships issues, life crises, family conflicts, trauma and abuse. AMHSWs provide a unique contribution to the mental health space in their holistic approach to working with a person. Working through this lens is such a vital skill set for ongoing recovery work with individuals, families and communities.” ENDS Notes: Visit https://www.aasw.asn.au/find-a-social-worker/search/ to find your local social worker and click here to learn more about how AMHSW can help you. For an explanation of the Medicare changes, visit: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/bushfire-recovery-access-program To interview Christine Craik, please contact Angela Yin on 0413 532 954. Queensland’s move to end ‘conversion therapy’ a positive step, but falls short 2020-01-16T04:10:37Z queenslands-move-to-end-conversion-therapy-a-positive-step-but-falls-short The AASW has called on the Queensland Government to broaden the definition of ‘health service provider’ to better restrict the practice of harmful ‘conversion therapy’, a harmful and discredited practice which purports to convert lesbian, gay and bisexual people into heterosexual. AASW Queensland Branch President Ellen Beaumont said that while the proposal to legislate against ‘conversion therapy’ practice was a commendable step by the Queensland Government, the failure to explicitly include non-regulated professionals such as those claiming to be counsellors or religious advisers in the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, could see the unethical practice continue across the state. Ms Beaumont said, “We welcome the intent of the proposed Bill, but it fails to ensure that non-regulated professionals who engage in conversion therapy are held to same account and are open to the same penalties as health service providers. It also further highlights the necessity of social work registration as profession.” The practice is far more likely to be performed by a non-professional than by a professional, but vulnerable and desperate people may not be able to tell the difference. Ms Beaumont continued, “Our state’s legislative safeguards simply must cover the breadth of services and organisations that may engage in this practice, including religious and spiritual advisers. We need to recognise that whether the person is a health service provider or not, conversion therapy offered by any ‘professional’ or person in a position of power has the risk of causing significant harm and breaches vulnerable peoples human rights.” Ms Beaumont’s comments follow the AASW’s written submission to the Health, Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee on the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 which includes the attempt to outlaw conversion therapy practice by health service providers across the state. While the AASW endorses the prohibition in principle, alongside the need to broaden who the legislation covers, the Association has also called for the Bill to reflect more affirming terminology and to expand on definitions of ‘gender identity’, ‘gender expression’, ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘sex’. Ms Beaumont said, “This is a significant piece of legislation that limits the threat of vulnerable people being subjected to a knowingly harmful practice. But there’s still more opportunity for the Bill to better ensure our state policies reflect inclusive and contemporary terminology and provides a greater breadth of safeguards beyond ‘health service providers’.” Notes See the AASW Queensland Branch submission. The invisible impact of the bushfires: mental health, trauma and family violence 2020-01-14T02:11:37Z the-invisible-impact-of-the-bushfires-mental-health-trauma-and-family-violence Australia’s bushfires are causing devastation on a scale the world has not seen before. The AASW pays tribute to those fighting the fires, those individuals and groups assisting on the frontlines, and those assisting with the recovery process. In addition to the horrendous losses being experienced across the country, we need to prepare for the less visible, but all-important recovery stage, including ongoing mental health, grief and loss and trauma responses. AASW National President Cristine Craik said, “During such harrowing circumstances we have seen incredible examples of compassion, resilience, generosity, and humanity. Our thoughts and our actions are with those who continue to be impacted by the ongoing crisis. Social workers like many others, are assisting at recovery centres across the country right now and have been since the crisis began in November last year.” The AASW welcomes the announcement of that from 17 January people in bushfire-affected areas will have access to 10 immediate counselling sessions and access to more sessions without requiring a GP referral, In conjunction with other initiatives that will increase access to support for people who need it, this is an important step in rebuilding lives and communities. Ms Craik said, “The effects of trauma, grief and loss are considerable in these situations and will have long term implications for individuals, families and their communities. We must not overlook the multitude of issues people are dealing with as they rebuild their homes and lives. One of the strengths of social work intervention is the ability to case manage, advocate and work with trauma symptoms with an understanding that these people have lived through an extraordinary event. Working through this lens is such a vital skill set for ongoing recovery work with individuals, families and communities. “We know that there are many consequences of living through an event where individuals and families struggle to regain control and balance in so many aspects of their day to day life. One of those consequences which we saw during recovery work after the Black Saturday fires in 2009, is an increase in incidents of family violence. Social workers are very much aware of the need to pay attention to these power dynamics in the recovery work that they do. “In addition, we know that many existing government processes can increase the difficulty of recovery and we call for an immediate disbandment of the Cashless Debit Card, especially in those areas affected by fires, blackouts and power shortages. These cards cannot be used during power shortages and access to cash at this time is vital. The current trial sites for the Cashless Debit Card are in rural and remote areas – places that are more likely to be directly affected by fires and subsequent blackouts over this extended fire season.” Along with the Australian community, the AASW is also dismayed at Australia’s lack of leadership on the global stage to tackle the systemic cause of extreme weather events such as bushfires: climate change. “Decades of inaction on climate change have contributed to the increased severity of this bushfire season, a season that started months earlier than any other time in Australia’s history. Our government needs to step up and recognise that climate change is real, is impacting our community, and will continue to impact our community unless we make drastic changes now and into the future,” Ms Craik said. Notes For an explanation of the Medicare changes, visit: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/bushfire-recovery-access-program Current family law system does not adequately protect women and children from violence, say Australian social workers 2019-12-19T00:52:44Z current-family-law-system-does-not-adequately-protect-women-and-children-from-violence-say-australian-social-workers Commission’s Family Law System Review without delay. AASW National President Christine Craik said that the current family law system does not adequately protect women and children from family violence. Ms Craik said, “Although the family law system recognises physical violence, it has not identified coercive control such as psychological, emotional and financial abuse. Family violence and abuse is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men and its victims are overwhelmingly women and children. “Since the current system cannot always recognise or intervene when violence and abuse are present, it does not always respond to the needs of the people who are trying to escape this abuse. This means that it denies them their right to safety.” The family law system is built on the assumption that both parties enter the system as equals, but social workers know that this is unlikely to be the case where violence and abuse is involved. Ms Craik said, “Having lived under years of fear, coercion, and humiliation, women who are attempting to escape abuse and violence are more susceptible to threats and more easily discouraged by the slow and complex legal process. Social workers have observed many instances where perpetrators know this and use the adversarial process to their advantage. This is called systems abuse, and the current Family Law system enables this abuse.” Ms Craik was speaking as the AASW made its written submission to the joint select committee on the Family Law system. The Australian Law Reform Commission’s Family Law System Review was conducted by some of the most respected professionals in their fields and heard from service users, health and community service professionals and legal practitioners. It made 60 recommendations for a widespread reform of the legislation and improvements to the system. The AASW endorses the Review’s main finding that the current Family Law system is under-resourced and therefore struggles to deal with the ever-increasing complexities of the families who use it. Changing the Family Law system so that it protects people from abuse means improvements to all aspects of it, and this is what the Review proposed. Ms Craik said, “It represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acknowledge, validate and take steps to protect women and children from abuse.” Year of housing access inequality for seniors & disabled ends – and another about to start says Residents Assoc 2019-12-15T21:36:13Z year-of-housing-access-inequality-for-seniors-amp-disabled-ends-and-another-about-to-start-says-residents-assoc One of the most worrying aspects of Spring Street’s obsession with development at all costs is the unintended consequence of social inequality and access to suitable housing for seniors, mobility challenged and families coping with parents and children with disabilities said Fawkner Residents Association spokesperson Mr Joe Perri.    Commenting further Joe Perri said, “Developments are coming onto the market in Fawkner in designated high-density zones and not one meets the Liveable Housing Design gold and platinum level guidelines.  As a result, seniors and the mobility challenged are being deprived of access to housing suitable for their needs in areas that are close to shopping, medical, transport and other amenities”.     “By far the worst example is Jukes Road and more recently Hood Crescent”.   27 new dwellings over seven sites in Jukes Road have been approved and not one meets the gold and platinum level guidelines.    Seniors and the mobility challenged would appreciate and benefit from a home on Jukes Road with access to the nearby Bonwick Street retail precinct, library, community centre, swimming pool and CB Smith Reserve sporting complex.  Instead developers are ignoring the needs of these people in their planning.   It’s almost like the developers have banded together and constructed a large sign declaring Jukes Road as a seniors and disabled free zone said an infuriated Joe Perri.   There is currently an application before Moreland Council for 8 townhouses to be constructed on Hood Crescent bringing the total to 18 with the adjacent development that was approved by VCAT earlier this year.   Seniors and the mobility challenged would benefit immensely from access to the Merri Creek parkland that surrounds the quiet East Fawkner residential enclave, however they again find themselves with nothing on offer to suit their needs from developers.   “If all this wasn’t bad enough, it’s the lost opportunity and unrealised potential that I regard as the most disturbing”, said Joe Perri.    “Fawkner has a quite a number of elderly residents living lonely lives in homes that are beyond their means to maintain physically and financially.  However, they can’t consider down-sizing as developers are deliberately not providing housing to accommodate their specific needs.    “So instead of a win-win scenario providing an incentive to downsize that in turn would result in more properties coming to market to address the inner-city housing shortage – we have a missed opportunity and an appalling example of greed embodied in uncaring, unsustainable housing projects that deliberately excludes seniors, disabled and the mobility challenged”.   Adding his voice, Mr Gino Iannazzo of Australian Pensioners' Voice said, “I’m not surprised that elderly residents have been overlooked in yet another example of profits before people”.   “Instead of access to housing options that would provide peace of mind and quality of living in their twilight years – they have nothing.  Is it any wonder seniors feel abandoned by government”?   Moreland City Council and Spring Street must join forces to address this situation with decisive action in 2020 affirmed Joe Perri.    Issued by the Fawkner Residents Association   Media enquiries:     Mr. Joe Perri                                     Mobile:  +61 412 112 545    Email:  jperri@joeperri.com.au   A healthy environment is a fundamental human right: Human Rights Day 2019-12-09T23:33:46Z a-healthy-environment-is-a-fundamental-human-right-human-rights-day On Human Rights Day, the AASW calls on all governments to commit to immediate action on climate change and celebrates the advocacy of young people in striving for a more just and sustainable world. Having access to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a fundamental human right and something that governments worldwide are failing to achieve. The theme this year is 'Youth standing up for human rights’ and it also marks 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is incredibly pertinent given it is young people and children who are showing real leadership in the fight for climate justice. Article 24 of the Convention states that appropriate measures must be taken against the dangers and risks of environmental pollution for the wellbeing of a child. Australian social workers strongly support young people’s collective action to claim their right to a sustainable future, as they have shown in the Fridays for Future which sees young people across Australia and internationally rally for action on climate change. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “Young people are actually fighting for their own and for everyone else’s human rights, because global leadership is failing to act on climate change. “We reject suggestions from our country’s leaders that it is climate activists who are making young people anxious, or that young people should not protest and rally on the issue of climate change. “Article 15 of the Convention upholds their right to do so, stating that we must ‘recognise the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly’. “If young people are anxious, it is because they can see the consequences of climate inaction from our political decision-makers. We know as social workers, that having a voice and working towards some control of your own future actually combats anxiety and mental health issues. Like everyone else, they are seeing the lungs of the world disappearing in catastrophic weather events both here in Australia and overseas. “We commend young people for exercising their right under the Convention to advance what we are seeing and experiencing is a national and global emergency.” Today reminds us that young people are the ones who will live with the long-term consequences decisions taken today. Like all of us, young people want to see our decision makers focus on our long-term needs and the right of all young people to a clean and healthy planet. Decision-makers must resist the temptation to put convenience and short term interests ahead of long-term protection of rights. The climate activism of young people shows that they understand this also. Ms Craik said, “The right to a clean, life-sustaining natural environment is key for the vision of the future for many children and young people. They believe that the generation who are currently making decisions do not appreciate the long-term consequences of their climate inaction for future generations. “In this context it is important to recognise today’s young people in their collective action and to recognise how important this action is in setting up a sustainable, healthy and just world.” "I'm Done, Get Me Out Of Here" 2019-12-06T06:17:14Z i-m-done-get-me-out-of-here   The Age & Business Insider reported that January is “Divorce Month” and the first Monday back to work sees a stampede of Divorce Enquiries.   According to Cheryl Duffy, founder of “The Divorce Centre” and author of bestseller "The Divorce Tango", “there are 5 Top Tips if your partner's New Year’s resolution is "I'm Done, Get Me Out Of Here”   Know your current financial position - Identify ALL Assets, debts and income Get legal advice - Have initial consultation on what your entitlements are before agreeing to anything with your ex Suggest Marriage Counselling - Try to make it work, but know it takes two to want it to Don’t move out of the house - Don’t incur increased financial burden by renting elsewhere - await legal advice on entitlements Negotiate for a fair outcome - To work to an agreeable outcome is far better than dragging it out seeking more than you are entitled to or trying to get revenge which only increases legal costs in your divorce and impacts future financial security   CHERYL DUFFY is the founder of “The Divorce Centre”, a Certified Divorce Recovery Coach, and author of the bestseller "The Divorce Tango". Having moved on after 8 years of a hellish divorce recovery, she now helps others through and beyond divorce so they can move on and create a happy life. TO INTERVIEW CHERYL, Please contact shannon@marksonsparks.com / 0459513862 CLOSING THE INDIGENOUS LITERACY GAP KEY TO EDUCATING FUTURE GENERATIONS 2019-12-02T22:21:50Z closing-the-indigenous-literacy-gap-key-to-educating-future-generations Campion Education, Australia’s largest supplier of education resources to secondary schools, partnered with The Indigenous Literacy Foundation in 2018, upon hearing about the vital programs they provide, as well as a shared vision and focus on providing education for all children across Australia. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation are a national book industry charity, which aims to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children in remote Indigenous communities across Australia, by lifting literacy levels and instilling a lifelong love of reading. They do this through 3 core programs; Book Supply, Book Buzz and Community Literacy Projects. Campion Education supports this great cause through donations from parents and students at its 14 Retail Service Centres across Australia, as well as fundraising events including the Great Book Swap, held every year on Indigenous Literacy Day in September. Mark Rubbo, Indigenous Literacy Foundation Board Member met with Campion Education’s Managing Director, James Cathro to accept Campion Education’s latest donation of more than $1,700, on behalf of the Foundation. “Campion Education’s vision is to deliver innovative education resources to children across Australia. We care about the education of all children, and we support a number of causes that assist children to achieve their education goals” says James Cathro, “reading is so important for children to assist in brain development, helping to develop vocabulary, critical thinking and memory skills. The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is a crucial organisation in raising literacy in remote areas of Australia, and we believe it is such an important cause.” Only 36% of Indigenous Year 5 students in very remote areas are at or above the national minimum reading standards. “We are working tirelessly to improve Indigenous literacy, but there is still a long way to go,” says Indigenous Literacy Foundation Executive Director, Karen Williams “Our Foundation relies on the generosity of individuals, organisations and communities, and we are so thankful to partners like Campion Education who provide valuable and ongoing support for our programs.” Campion Education also supports other charitable organisations including Skyline Education Foundation Australia, to assist in the education of all children across Australia. If you or your workplace are interested in supporting the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, please visit their website here: www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au Campion Education An Australian family-owned business, Campion Education is the largest supplier of education resources to secondary schools in Australia.  We continuously seek to provide innovative educational resources, solutions and services which enable schools to focus on providing the best learning outcomes for their students. Drawing on 23 years of experience, Campion Education supplies nearly 3,000 schools with printed and digital resources from Australia’s widest range of publishers, as well as all forms of stationery and art supplies. We have to talk about poverty and inequality: Royal Commission into Mental Health Interim Report 2019-11-29T05:02:45Z we-have-to-talk-about-poverty-and-inequality-royal-commission-into-mental-health-interim-report The AASW welcomes the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System Interim Report and sees the recommendations as a good start but calls on all Australian governments to address the root causes, including poverty, discrimination and inequality. AASW National President Christine Craik said the Commission needs to make sure they consider how social disadvantage plays a significant factor in understanding mental health outcomes, as was highlighted in our and numerous other submissions. The Commission has identified what is fundamentally a broken system in need of urgent reform. The recommendations provide an important start so people have access to the supports they need but this has to be matched with a comprehensive strategy that looks at how larger social, cultural and economic factors contribute to a person’s mental health. Ms Craik said, “As a society, we don’t do enough to acknowledge and address the role that poverty, family violence, lack of affordable housing, and a lack of resourcing in education, that enables the conditions for mental health issues to arise in the first place. “The evidence is clear that disadvantaged people disproportionately experience poor mental health outcomes. For social workers, this is our daily reality.” The interim report acknowledges this to some degree, but it needs to be matched with a far greater call for action and a sector wide response. Ms Craik said, “The recent senate inquiry into Centrelink’s practices highlights how much mental health and poverty intersect, revealing the level of trauma that this is causing people. Then there are the significant mental health impacts that 25 years of low Newstart rates have had on the lives of so many. “It is clear that to understand mental health, we need to look at how age, gender and sexual identity, socioeconomic status, ability, culture, ethnicity and a whole range of other factors interact. Otherwise, we will continue down a highly individualistic path of service provision that will not address the causes. “These factors greatly influence a person’s sense of belonging and stability and are known as the ‘social determinants of health’. People need to be confident that their basic needs for nutrition, shelter, safety and security are met before they can attain the state of overall wellbeing, as outlined by the World Health Organization in its definition of health. “In our rush to treat the symptoms, we often forget the causes. Paying attention to and dealing with the enablers, is the great strength of social work in the mental health arena.” The Royal Commission is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform how we understand mental health in Australia, and this must begin by broadening our appreciation of the larger contributing factors. Without this, we will continue to prop up a system that does not address many of the causes of mental health. The AASW sees this report as an important first step and looks forward to continuing to work with the Commission towards improving the health and wellbeing of all Australians. International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women: AASW stands with Generation Equality against rape 2019-11-25T00:41:59Z international-day-for-the-elimination-of-violence-against-women-aasw-stands-with-generation-equality-against-rape On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 25 November, the AASW supports this year’s theme and stands with Generation Equality against rape. Violence against women is our national shame, made worse by the disproportional rates of violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in this country. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “While the legends, folklore and contemporary Australian culture continue to celebrate and be dominated by the overwhelming importance and attention of all things masculine, such as mateship, and male sporting legends - little attention is paid to the consequences of this entitlement, namely violence against women and girls in the form of rape, sexual assault and family violence.” Social movements such as #MeToo are building on decades of feminist work, assisting new generations to become galvanised, aware, and to join older activists in addressing this toxic culture and the silencing of women’s voices that allows rape culture to continue. We know sexual violence is an epidemic in Australia and we know the majority of women do not feel safe or supported to report these crimes to anyone, let alone the police. Ms Craik said, “Australia is a country built on white patriarchal structures which continue to enable and deliver unequal power to men over women, and despite some advancements in gender equality, women in this country bear the brunt of this on a daily basis. This gendered inequality plays out in all facets of social life, including the fact that we have one of the most gender-divided workforces in the world with ‘women’s work’ being valued less on every measurement. “In social work, we know this only too well. Our profession of social work is female-dominated, with many social workers having their own lived experiences of violence against women. We are equally or more skilled and educated than most male-dominated professions and we often face elements of risk in practice, including exposure to further violence.” Yet social work, like so many other female-dominated professions, continues to be paid less than most male dominated professions. The continuing message this sends to society is that women and their work are not as valued as men. Ms Craik said, “This pernicious message informs the attitude of the wider culture and enables the continuation of male entitlement, the result of which makes women vulnerable to violence. “As social workers, we know that violence against women is a complex social problem with white patriarchal structures at its core, leading to continued gender inequality. The skills of social workers in identifying and working with systemic discrimination such as this, leaves the profession is in a unique position to address the structural causes of violence against women while also assisting victim-survivors at an individual level. “We obviously have a long way to go in dismantling the foundations that result in violence against women and we call on the Australian government to examine the ways in which so many of our cultural and social structures contribute to this, especially those practices that are not safe for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. These is a desperate need to do this, alongside an increase in funding for primary prevention, early intervention, crisis work and recovery. We need real action, right now.” AASW will attend the Annual Walk Against Family Violence in Melbourne, Victoria today at 12.00pm in Federation Square. Give A Safe Night's Sleep This Christmas 2019-11-20T00:29:10Z give-a-safe-night-s-sleep-this-christmas Give A Safe Night’s Sleep This Christmas At StreetSmart we believe everyone should have somewhere to call home and have a safe night’s sleep. You can never underestimate the simple benefits of having clean bed linen, a towel, a shower and a bed to sleep in for the night. It’s the foundation we all need to build a meaningful life, yet homelessness is increasing and effecting more people each year in Australia.  That’s why StreetSmart Australia, and iconic Australian homewares brand Sheridan, have collaborated to launch SleepSafe, with the aim to provide local homeless shelters, refuges and accommodation services with much needed material and financial support. With every $15 raised in store at Sheridan outlets, or online, a sleep kit including a towel and a sheet set, is sent to a local homeless shelter where it’s needed most. Sheridan are subsidising the cost of the sheets and towels, partnering with suppliers to manufacture products using excess fabric.   “Everyone loves the feeling of a freshly made bed, and the people using our crisis service are no different. It’s these small comforts in life that make all the difference. Being able to give a person experiencing homelessness a brand new sleep kit is huge. Often, the people in our service have their belongings in a single bag, and these kits help us show that we care about them.” Grace Rullis, The Haymarket Foundation (who received the first donated Sleep Kit) This Christmas you can gift someone a Sleep Kit and help provide a safe night’s sleep. Donations can be made on line at https://streetsmartaustralia.org/ Or at your closest Sheridan store. For more information, stories, photos and interviews please contact Geoff Hills at StreetSmart on 0428 909 097. John Jarratt Announced as MC for Explosive Rodeo 4 Life Charity Event 2019-11-19T00:25:03Z john-jarratt-announced-as-mc-for-explosive-rodeo-4-life-charity-event John Jarratt Announced as MC for Explosive Rodeo 4 Life Charity Event Today, Rodeo 4 Life producers announced that John Jarratt, Australian screen legend will officiate as Master of Ceremonies in the explosive rodeo and country music charity event at WIN Entertainment Centre in his home town of Wollongong on Saturday 30 November, to help fund world-first research at the RPA Transplant Institute. Best known for his portrayal of Mick Taylor in the iconic Wolf Creek films and television series on Stan, Jarratt has long been committed to lending his name and his support to many worthwhile causes. “I believe we each have a duty to support important causes that make a real difference. Helping give people a second chance at life through promoting organ donation and funding transplantation research is up there for me as one of the most important things we can all do to help save lives,” said Jarratt. “I grew up in Wongawilli in the Illawarra so I’m really excited about heading back to my home town to be part of such an important cause when Rodeo 4 Life rocks The Gong!” he said. Rodeo 4 Life’s producer Doug Vickers OAM said, “We’re very grateful to John and all those getting behind Rodeo 4 Life so together we’ll be contributing to saving the lives of many with 100% of profits supporting the vital work of the RPA Transplant Institute to help increase the number of life-saving liver and kidney transplants each year. “The audience should be prepared for an ‘edge of their seat’ experience when Rodeo 4 Life explodes with a thrilling, action-packed night of electrifying live rodeo and country music entertainment,” Mr Vickers said. Rodeo 4 Life’s star-studded line-up includes John Jarratt as MC and seven-time Golden Guitar winner and back-to-back CMC Male Artist of the Year, Travis Collins performing a full length concert with some of Australia’s toughest bull riding superstars fighting the odds to stay mounted on the legendary JP Gill and Sons’ mightiest rodeo bulls as they compete for the championship title and a whopping $30,000 in prize money! Rodeo 4 Life will also star Australia’s legendary rodeo clown, Big Al Wilson, rodeo protection clowns Gene McDonald and Rodney-Ray (Rude) Mancell - both risk takers who’ll put their lives on the line to distract the bulls away from the grounded riders, rodeo announcer Glen Morgan whose name is synonymous with Australian rodeo sports; and, the spectacular mighty rodeo bulls bred by John “Happy” Gill and Sons Rodeo Contractors who’ll be doing their darnedest to send Rodeo 4 Life’s bull riding superstars flying! For tickets to the Rodeo 4 Life arena spectacular visit Ticketmaster or rodeo4life.com.au -ENDS- INTERVIEW REQUESTS Insight Communications on: 02 9518 4744   Access images from the Media Centre:  http://rodeo4life.com.au/media    Rodeo 4 Life will be conducted in accordance with policies, rules and industry standards of Rodeo Services Australia (RSA), and the NSW Code of Practice for animals used in rodeo events. Whilst the event is raising funds to go toward Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Transplant Service; the hospital or Sydney Local Health District is not involved in the conduct or organisation of this event. NSW and ACT Guiding Community merges with NT to create A Place To Grow Together 2019-11-18T03:48:23Z nsw-and-act-guiding-community-merges-with-nt-to-create-a-place-to-grow-together The NSW & ACT Girl Guides community will merge with Girl Guides NT to form Girl Guides NSW, ACT and NT from January 2020 creating a 7,800 strong member organisation. The merger offers a chance to expand learnings and foster collaboration between the state and territories. Girl Guides in NT will have access to greater resources and opportunities through this partnership, with all the administrative and operational benefits of a larger Association. More opportunities will be available to assist with the geographical challenges faced in the NT. The partnership will also allow Guides in the NT to participate in creative initiatives run by Girl Guides NSW & ACT such as GirlMade which supports girls to express themselves creatively. The NT community hope to share their unique experiences and perspectives with the NSW & ACT members, to further support the growth and empowerment of the next generation of Australian women. Letitia Baldwin, NT Regional Manager, Girl Guides NT, is looking forward to this new step in NT Guiding history, believing it will bring great benefit to the girls and Leaders. “I have a brilliant team of Leaders and we will work well with the NSW and ACT teams. It is important to have fresh ideas and the chance to network, especially for our adult members so they can share that with the girls. I want to make this community as big and beautiful as it can be. “I think the opportunities are going to be endless; NSW & ACT have an exciting range of things for girls to do and now we will be able to leverage this and get the girls involved in so many more activities. “It is great to know we’re not alone; we are a part of a large network. I am looking forward to NT standing proud and showing off what we can do,” said Ms Baldwin. Eboney Prentice, Leader Darwin District, Girl Guides NT, has been a member of the Guiding community for 30 years; having had many unique experiences with Guiding including travelling the world, she is now sharing the Guiding experience with her daughter. “Guiding focuses on the community, it encourages girls to think about more than just themselves, to learn from others and give back to the world around them. The joining of our communities will support this Guiding mission and enhance the girls experience,” said Ms Prentice. Sarah Neill, State Commissioner, Girl Guides NSW & ACT, travelled to NT earlier this year and met the Guiding community; she is thrilled to be partnering with them. “I am looking forward to working closely with Letitia and her team who have such a deep passion for Guiding. The girls as always are at the centre of what we do and we know this partnership will enhance their Guiding experience with increased support,” said Mrs Neill. -ENDS- Notes to editor: Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT are devoted to the growth and development of girls. They provide a place where girls can learn, build their skills and connect with like-minded peers. The benefits also extend to the Leaders and volunteers who play a vital role in supporting the girls. Guides work to serve their community and help those in need offering help where they can. They participate in many local activities and initiatives aimed at giving back to the community. Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT offers girls A Place To Grow. For media enquiries please contact: Simone Gur | ZADRO Agency | simone@zadroagency.com.au | 0417 778 511 Oakley Grioli I ZADRO Agency I oakley@zadroagency.com.au | 02 9212 7867 IMAGES Images are available for use. For high-resolution images, please contact: oakley@zadroagency.com.au Image: Letitia Baldwin, NT Region manager, Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT. Image: Eboney Prentice, Unit Leader Darwin District, Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT. Image: Sarah Neill, State Commissioner, Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT. Image: Girl Guides NT. Image: Girl Guides NSW & ACT. Schools need social workers: AASW welcomes call for improved wellbeing in schools 2019-11-06T08:54:34Z schools-need-social-workers-aasw-welcomes-call-for-improved-wellbeing-in-schools The AASW welcomes the interim report on mental health by the Productivity Commission, and its emphasis on schools as places where young people’s mental health concerns can be addressed early and effectively. AASW National President Christine Craik said the call by the Commission to have ‘wellbeing teams’ in schools aligns with the Association’s long-term advocacy for social workers in all schools. “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. We agree with the Productivity Commission’s conclusion that schools are an ideal place to provide services for young people because they can be as general or as specialised as the students require. “Social workers specialise in mental health as it is a core part of their professional training. “For example, they provide early intervention measures which identify and deal with risk factors and deliver early support and treatment. And they also provide specialist, targeted counselling and support for students with ongoing mental health issues.” Ms Craik said that services located in schools are sufficiently unobtrusive to enable young people to approach them with confidence. She said, “Many young people are reluctant to use services within a mainstream service, or may not have the independence necessary to access these. Alongside issues facing young people in their homes and communities, school social workers can focus on the school’s culture and environment to remove barriers or inequities, and to develop safe and inclusive school communities. Ms Craik said, “We recommend a minimum of one school social worker per 500 students.” Speaking about the other points made in AASW’s submission to the Productivity Commission, Ms Craik said, “One of the reasons that stigma persists for people living with mental health issues is that we, as a society, don’t do enough to acknowledge and address the role that poverty, family violence, lack of affordable housing, and a lack of resourcing in education, that enables the conditions for mental health issues to arise in the first place. “These factors greatly influence a person’s sense of belonging and stability and are known as the ‘social determinants of health’. People need to be confident that their basic needs for nutrition, shelter, safety and security are met before they can attain the state of overall wellbeing, as outlined by the World Health Organization in its definition of health. In our rush to treat the symptoms, we often forget the causes. Paying attention to and dealing with the enablers, is the great strength of social work in the mental health arena.” The AASW looks forward to working in and with all sections of the service system to implement the improvements recommended by this inquiry and thanks the Productivity Commission for this opportunity.