The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2021-06-11T05:30:17Z OLDER AUSTRALIANS DESERVE SUPPORT AND RESPECT NOT ABUSE 2021-06-11T05:30:17Z older-australians-deserve-support-and-respect-not-abuse-1 One of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society is elder abuse.  On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (15 June) the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is drawing attention to the marked increase in cases of elder abuse being reported across Australia.  AASW CEO Cindy Smith said that as COVID-19 restrictions ease we are seeing older people returning to activities that are sadly leading the incidence of abuse to coming to light. “With older people beginning to return to GPs, community health services, aged care services and other supports, social workers are reporting that many more cases of elder abuse are now being picked up by these services across the country.” “Social workers are also reporting an increase in the severity of cases, particularly for older people who were in COVID lockdowns with abusive family members. A trend which is very concerning.”  Ms Smith said that awareness campaigns, such as Victoria’s Respect Older People: Call it out campaign, have also led to a greater recognition of the types and impacts that elder abuse can have on an older person. “The more people who know this, the better equipped we are as a society to end elder abuse. However, we also need more funding for frontline elder abuse services, and we need more aged care staff, whether they work in residential or in-home care, to be better trained to pick up on signs of elder abuse and to be able to respond effectively.” “As we have seen with the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety elder abuse is far too common, but now that a light has started to shine on its prevalence, we need to take the opportunity to ensure that no older Australian ever experiences abuse again,” she said. Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.  To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. ‘Australian Female Founder Making Waves on Changing the Face of Leadership Across the Globe’ 2021-06-10T22:20:13Z australian-female-founder-making-waves-on-changing-the-face-of-leadership-across-the-globe ‘Australian Female Founder Making Waves on Changing the Face of Leadership Across the Globe’     Sonia McDonald CEO & founder of LeadershipHQ knew that the world needs a new way of leading and leadership. If there is one thing that COVID has shined a light upon is that leaders and organisations who lead with kindness, courage and inclusiveness are the ones who will stand out during this pandemic. This is why she and her team have created the Global Outstanding Leadership Awards to champion this leadership for our generations of today and tomorrow. We are championing the change we want to see.   Leaders who selflessly lead with authenticity, compassion and impact due credit has never been more needful at a time like this. The prestigious Outstanding Leadership Awards celebrates the enormous contributions of five-star leaders who serve with courage, kindness, and inclusivity.   An ivy league of brands harnessing their shared vision have spectacularly combined to showcase a befitting recognition of stellar leadership under the auspices of LeadershipHQ. In the wake of an era that has been fraught with disruptive change and challenges, demonstrating the need for, and acknowledgement of courageous, kind, and inclusive leadership should be everyone's cup of tea. The Outstanding Leadership Awards 2022 comes as a timely, well-deserved recognition in this wise.   The second instalment of the internationally acclaimed awards, this platform is primed to reward the exploits of a few distinguished individuals and teams who have demonstrated their ilk in leadership. A swathe of visionary brands featuring Central Queensland University, Kay by Design, McDonald Inc., Specialists in Communications, Veriskills/QTAC and Digital 8 have all lent their voice to the global recognition of a bunch of courageous, inclusive and authentic leaders.   "Nothing quite celebrates the virtue of people-first leadership, and the truth in 'rising by lifting others' more than the Outstanding Leadership Awards. Our motivation for this initiative is to reward leaders that lead with courage, kindness, and deep consideration for diversity and inclusion," said CEO of LeadershipHQ, McDonald Inc., and renowned leadership advisor, Sonia McDonald. "Throughout the corporate world, media, and political space, there is an urgent void that only this kind of positive change in leadership can fill. I'm uber-excited about the prospects of our partners jointly showcasing and creating leaders of today and tomorrow who espouse this type of leadership yet again."   Leaders do not exist in a vacuum. They express their leadership capacity flowing from a set of prevailing sectors, circumstances, cultural influences, backgrounds, and enabling environments. This reality finds expression in the proliferation of categories of leadership to be awarded in this event namely (and in no particular order):   ·      Start-Up Leader ·      Women in Construction Student ·      Student Leader ·      Women In STEM ·      SME Business Leader ·      Community Leader ·      Public Sector Leader ·      Future Leader ·      Indigenous Leader ·      Team Leader of the Year ·      Courageous Leader of the Year ·      Courageous Team – Public Sector ·      CEO- Large ·      CEO- Medium ·      Courageous Team – Community ·      Courageous Team – Corporate   The selected nominees will not just epitomise all the key criteria for their nominated category but demonstrate in all walks that they are leaders par excellence.     For this prestigious event, the distinguished panel of expert judges boast an array of exquisite leaders like David Thodey, Nyunggai Warren Mundine, Andrew Leakey, and a host of other similarly amazing leaders who have made efforts and set examples for the adoption of people-first, courageous leadership across the Globe.   Sonia added "We, along with our partners are being part of the conversation around a movement of positive change across the globe that will set the paradigm for kind, courageous and inclusive leadership. This bodes well for our prospects of having an even better quality of leadership - and leaders - now, and beyond."   If you know a Courageous Leader or Team, then have them recognised for their courageous Leadership by nominating them. Nominations will close on 31st January 2022!   Individuals and organisations interested in partnering with LeadershipHQ on this exciting journey should contact them here:   Find out more about the Awards:   To find out more about the Outstanding Leadership Awards 2022, to support the awards and to nominate a leader, visit   Contact: For more information or to interview Sonia McDonald, contact: Sonia McDonald or Katie Watts 0424 447 616 | 1300 719 665     SOCIAL WORKER REGISTRATION IS ESSENTIAL IN AUSTRALIA 2021-06-09T05:13:51Z social-worker-registration-is-essential-in-australia-1 A recent ABC investigation of a sex offender who reportedly misrepresented his qualifications and suitability to work with young people, allegedly breaching the data of dozens of vulnerable young clients and using it to groom a victim, highlights the need for our systems and procedures to better protect the most vulnerable members in our society. Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Chief Executive Cindy Smith said the story on ‘The 7:30 Report’ (7 June) is an unfortunate example of system failures which have exposed young people to risk.  “This case underscores the importance of a thorough regulatory process that is rigorous and stringent to ensure that only appropriately qualified, registered and the most suitable people are employed for these crucial roles of trust.” Ms Smith said that as the professional body representing qualified social workers in Australia, it is important that the AASW continually emphasise the advantages of, and the need for a proper registration scheme, to both government and the general public. “Social workers work with people at their most vulnerable and the safety, health and wellbeing of the people we work with will always be the driving force behind the work of our members.” “Unfortunately, at the moment there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from calling themselves a social worker when they do not actually hold a social work qualification.” “Comparable countries such as the UK, USA, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada have long recognised the complexity of social work and have regulatory schemes for social workers. It is a genuine concern to our members, and should be to the broader public, that social work is not a registered profession and this is something that must change.” Ms Smith said a Bill is expected to be introduced into the South Australian Parliament later this year to develop specific legislation for the statutory registration of social workers. “When this legislation is introduced it will significantly improve the quality and safety of social services in the South Australian community by establishing processes to confirm the qualifications of social workers working with people in vulnerable situations. Hopefully it will have a ripple effect and be replicated in every state and territory in the near future,” she said.  To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. IMB Bank Community Foundation funding grants – applications close June 30 2021-06-09T00:37:06Z imb-bank-community-foundation-funding-grants-applications-close-june-30 “Anyone who is focused on improving the lives of others in their community, who has a great idea or a program already underway, should consider applying for a grant through the IMB Bank Community Foundation. If it’s a great not-for-profit idea, that helps people, we want to hear about it.” - Robert Ryan, IMB Bank CEO Images and vision available here 9 June 2021 – More demand and not enough money to go around. It’s the challenge that many not-for-profits and grassroots community groups have faced since the global pandemic hit Australian shores. In a silver lining for the charitable sector, extra funding is available from the IMB Bank Community Foundation. Not-for-profits, charities and grassroots community groups are encouraged to submit their cause or project for funding consideration by June 30 via IMB’s website: “The last 12 to 18 months have been unprecedented with fires, floods and of course the global more than ever our community groups could use a helping hand. That’s where we hope IMB Bank’s Community Foundation can play a key role,” says Robert Ryan, IMB Bank CEO. “We’ve heard a lot about ‘resilience’ over the past 12 to 18 months, but it’s hard to be resilient in the face of COVID or a natural disaster unless you’ve got financial support. IMB Bank Community Foundation is here to offer that helping hand, and to build stronger, more empowered communities,” continued Mr Ryan. The Foundation has a history of supporting more than 750 community projects that deliver essential disaster relief, education, health care, sports and recreation, arts and culture, aged care, and many other services to Australians in city, regional and disadvantaged communities. “We are again calling for those people and groups, taking action and making a real difference in their neighbourhoods and networks, to come forward and apply for IMB Bank Community Foundation funding.” Following the global pandemic, almost half of charities, not-for-profits and social enterprises reported an increase in demand for their services. [1] While around 1 in 4 charities depend on giving and philanthropy for 50% or more of their total revenue,[2] in the midst of the global pandemic, 31% of social purpose organisations had not received government support. Smaller organisations and those in regional and rural areas were also less likely to have access to or receive government assistance[3]. COVID-19 has also impacted the giving behaviour of Australians, with one in four givers expected to decrease their giving this year.[4] This comes as just over a quarter (26%) of social purpose organisations report a decline in philanthropic grants and funding. To combat these statistics, the IMB Bank Community Foundation’s grant funding program aims to offer the financial boost that many of the teams and volunteers on the front-line need to continue supporting people in their local communities. “Since 1880, IMB Bank has been strongly invested in the communities in which we operate. We have enabled hundreds of local groups to access essential funds to advance and strengthen their communities. We encourage all not-for-profits to apply for funding this year by June 30,” said Mr Ryan. Projects supported by IMB Bank Community Foundation range from larger, far-reaching initiatives - such as the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute state-wide Heart Health Tour - to smaller local projects, such as sustainable gardens in bushfire-ravaged South East NSW, and inclusive netball tournaments in the Hunter region. The IMB Bank Community Foundation supports people and communities in IMB’s key markets - Sydney, the Illawarra, Hunter, South Coast, Southern Highlands, Canberra and Melbourne. It is focused on building strong, resilient and forward-focused communities - which is at the heart of IMB Bank’s core philosophy. IMB Bank Community Foundation 2021 funding applications close on 30 June 2021. Community groups should visit to apply. ENDS For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact Blue Planet Public Relations:   Maria Crema – or +61 402 239 929 Sophie Blue - or +61 416 006 821     About the IMB Bank Community Foundation The IMB Bank Community Foundation was established in 1999 to support the communities that IMB Bank calls home. Since inception, the Foundation has supported more than 750 community projects with over $10m in donated funding. The Foundation is proud to support projects which strengthen local communities through the transfer of skills and knowledge, encouraging and supporting volunteer input, and building sustainable community assets.   [1] Reset 2020 - NATIONAL IMPACT+NEED RESEARCH STUDY, Phase 2 - September 2020 Survey Interval [2] [3] Reset 2020 - NATIONAL IMPACT+NEED RESEARCH STUDY, Phase 2 - September 2020 Survey Interval [4]   National report confirms incidence of blood cancer continues to rise in Australia 2021-06-09T00:32:10Z national-report-confirms-incidence-of-blood-cancer-continues-to-rise-in-australia Wednesday June 9, 2021 • Over 50 Australians to be diagnosed every day in 2021, new report confirms • Blood cancers combined cemented as Australia’s second most diagnosed cancer and second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the country • Early detection, better blood cancer understanding and movement on National Strategic Action Plan critical to reduce lives lost The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Cancer Data in Australia 2021 report, released this week, confirms more than 50 Australians will be diagnosed with a blood cancer every day this year, an increase from 47 people daily in 2020. The report also cements the status of blood cancers combined as Australia’s second most diagnosed cancer and second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the country. The report revealed incidence rates for cancers overall have stabilised since 2009, however blood cancer is bucking the trend, rising from 12,294 Australians diagnosed with the disease annually in 2009 to 18,485 expected to be diagnosed in 2021. “While overall cancer incidence rates in Australia have been levelling out thanks to the introduction of national screening programs, improved early detection and improved treatments, unfortunately blood cancer incidence rates have risen by more than 50% since 2009,” Leukaemia Foundation CEO Chris Tanti said. “Unlike other cancers, blood cancer can develop in anyone at any stage of life – there are no screening programs to detect it, there’s no way to prevent it through lifestyle change and in many cases blood cancer symptoms can be mistaken for infections like the flu and this can result in a delayed diagnosis. “This is all a stark contrast to cancers that originate in a particular organ or area of the body as a solid mass which have national screening and detection campaigns in place, and as this report shows, that early diagnosis has been key to driving down mortality for these cancers over time.” Mr Tanti said for the 15 Australians who lose their life to blood cancer every day, there was more work to be done. “These numbers truly reinforce the critical importance of organisations like the Leukaemia Foundation and groups like the Blood Cancer Taskforce which are uniting the national blood cancer community to build awareness and improve understanding of blood cancer, ensure earlier detection and deliver better treatment options that will ultimately change and save lives,” he said. “Australia now has a National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer which maps a clear path to improve outcomes for people living with blood cancer and their families by catalysing health system reform, accelerating research, enabling access to novel and specialised therapies and empowering patients. If we are serious about achieving the blood cancer community’s shared vision of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035, we need urgent and real action on this plan today. “This report clearly shows movement on the National Action Plan – together with the Leukaemia Foundation’s work to break down barriers to accessing the right treatment, supportive care, education and information about blood cancer at the right time, wherever you live – has never been more vital.” Mr Tanti urged all Australians not to postpone trips to their doctor and to address any health concerns immediately, or if you have any questions about blood cancer, to contact the Leukaemia Foundation. To access the full Cancer Data in Australia 2021 report, visit – END –Blood cancer in Australia facts and figures: • It is expected that 18,485 Australians will be newly diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma in 2021. This is equivalent to over 50 people per day or one person every 28 minutes. • Incidence of blood cancer continues to grow. Incidence of blood cancer has increased by 40% in the past 10 years, or 50% since 2009. • When combined, blood cancers are the second most diagnosed cancers in Australia, and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the country.  • More than 110,000 people are living with a blood cancer or blood disorder in Australia today. By 2035, more than 275,000 Australians are expected to be living with a blood cancer or blood disorder (ref). • Over 5,700 people in Australia are expected to lose their life to blood cancer or related blood disorders this year. This is equivalent to 15 people per day. • Blood cancer continues to remain the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer (0-14 years) accounting for over 45% of all diagnoses. Australia’s most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2021, persons, all ages. Australia’s most common cause of cancer-related death in 2021, persons, all ages 1.        Breast cancer 20,030 1.        Lung cancer 8,693 2.      Blood cancers combined 18,485 2.     Blood cancers combined 5,789 3.       Prostate cancer 18,110 3.       Colorectal cancer 5,295 4.       Melanoma of the skin 16,878 4.       Pancreas cancer 3,391 5.       Colorectal cancer 15,540 5.       Prostate cancer 3,323 Source: AIHW Cancer data in Australia report Blood cancer signs and symptoms: Symptoms of all blood cancers can sometimes be subtle or even similar to other conditions, such as a flu. However, ongoing symptoms like recurrent infections, increased fatigue, night sweats, bone pain, bruising or enlarged lymph nodes should be immediately discussed with your GP or specialist. Early diagnosis can play a key role in surviving blood cancer, so it is crucially important that you are examined and treated properly. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with a blood cancer, reach out to the Leukaemia Foundation on 1800 620 420. Accessing our support is free of charge.  About The Leukaemia Foundation:The Leukaemia Foundation stands with Australia to help cure and conquer blood cancer – with care. Together we are attacking every blood cancer, from every direction, in every way we can. We stand beside every Australian to be their voice and their someone-to-turn-to, fighting to get them access to the best care. We also accelerate research that’s delivering rapid advancements in blood cancer diagnosis and treatments. Plus, we provide services and support that empower people living with any blood cancer to live well after diagnosis. You can learn more about the Leukaemia Foundation and blood cancer at  New app protects against ransomware menace 2021-06-08T21:55:17Z new-app-protects-against-ransomware-menace At least seventy Australian firms are among hundreds of companies that are infected with the same ransomware that last week crippled giant meat processor JBS and Colonial Pipeline. Ransomware hackers encrypt company files to paralyze a firm’s operations. They also issue an ultimatum to these companies: pay up or face having your internal files published online. If companies refuse to pay, the hackers increase the pressure on firms by leaking bits of their data day by day. In some cases cybercriminals have posted photos of employee passes, customer credit card images, and CEO passports. Recent Australian ransomware attacks against businesses large and small have highlighted the need to protect data from criminals. Ransomware typically prevents users from accessing their files. A worrying new development is cyber-criminals releasing sensitive corporate data if a ransom is not paid. Syncdocs defends against ransomware on two fronts: 1. It secures files with an extra layer of security, meaning no sensitive data is exposed 2. It provides a safe and easy way to restore any data lost from the cloud Secure and Protect Google Drive Australian developed Syncdocs is the first solution to provide fully automatic end-to-end encryption for Google Drive.  Syncdocs also allows users to restore their data to the pre-ransomware state, thanks to full versioning of all files and folders in the cloud. Google only secures the Google Drive data while in transit, not at rest. That means anyone who can hack the Google account can access your Google Drive files. It is also all too easy to mistakenly share a sensitive file. Syncdocs is different: it encrypts Google Drive files locally, before they ever leave your PC, Mac or phone. Files and folders are securely protected in the cloud with military-strength AES256 encryption. Syncdocs also provides full versioning, allowing companies to “rewind” their files to any point in time and to restore their business to this date. I you want online security, ransomware protection, or simply just want to improve Google Drive, grab a free evaluation copy of Syncdocs from Introducing the new kids on the (chopping) block, Farmers Pick. 2021-06-08T01:23:30Z introducing-the-new-kids-on-the-chopping-block-farmers-pick-1 Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes, they are the guys who are simply trying to do their bit to make Australia a better place. This environmentally conscious start-up is on a mission to combat food waste that costs the Australian economy $20 billion per year. So far, they’ve found a home for more than 20 tonnes of fresh fruit and veggies. And they’re just getting started.  Introducing Farmers Pick. Melbourne’s freshest produce delivery service that is bringing you weird and wonderful, fun and bendy, blemished and oddly shaped seasonal produce, direct from the farm to your door. They also offer a culinary adventure in every box with a variety of produce in all shapes and sizes celebrating the wonder of Mother Nature all as a convenient subscription model service.   Farmers Pick have teamed up with farmers across the country who are in desperate need of a solution to salvage around 25% of their harvested crops that are being wasted due to being rejected by leading supermarkets based on their appearance. The result of this rejection is that millions of tonnes of perfectly imperfect food never leave the farm or is taken to landfill each year.  Farmers Pick co-founders, Josh Ball and Josh Brookes-Duncan, knew that there had to be a way to help. Their passion for the Australian land and people drove them to creatively develop the Farmers Pick concept to help bridge the gap between Aussie farmers and people. The idea began back at the beginning of COVID on a walk through the supermarket, “...that’s when we observed how perfect every piece of produce was. We asked one another, “What happens to the curly ones?”. Nights of researching and some mornings talking to growers at farmers markets, it became clear how big of a problem we had stumbled upon. That’s when Farmer’s Pick was born, and it has become our mission to find these little guys a home.”  Every Farmers Pick box is filled with fresh seasonal produce direct from farmers. The produce varies week-to-week ensuring a good variety in every box, revolutionising the way we currently get our five-a-day! Farmers Pick also caters to all living arrangements, from singles to family’s portion sizes, ensuring affordability and value for money is achieved with boxes starting from $35 with free delivery on all orders.   Currently, up to 5 million Australians are experiencing food insecurity. As part of their commitment to help Victorians reduce their weekly food bills and have access to nutritious and fresh food, Farmers Pick has partnered with Melbourne based Alex Makes Meals, who prepare and deliver warm and nourishing meals to Victorians who need it most, by donating up to 7 meals for every box sold. Founder and fellow Aussie super-hero, Alex Dekker, shares his optimism in joining forces with Farmers Pick, “We are super excited to be working with Farmers Pick...Having Farmers Pick provide fresh produce for all of our food packages is a big part of achieving this goal. We’re thrilled to be working with another entrepreneurial company who are making a difference in our community.”  They’ve even covered the challenge of what to cook with exciting new recipes created by renowned New York City chef and fellow philanthropist, Curtis Beisser, who is dedicated to serving delicious recipes that can be made at home.  Each year we waste around 7.3 million tonnes of food – this wastage equates to about 300kg per person or one in five bags of groceries. Every Farmers Pick box you buy supports farmers, saves fresh produce from landfill and donates meals to those in need. They’re on a mission to make a difference for a better future – what’s not to love!  To learn more about Farmers Pick fresh produce boxes or to try one for yourself, visit their website   END   For all interviews enquiries with Founders, Josh Ball & Josh Brooks-Duncan, media enquiries and more information about Farmer Pick and combating food waste in Australia, please contact:   Olivia Novello, OM Digital  0431 377 114     Daylesford Wine Tours asks why tour operators have been forgotten 2021-06-07T01:42:16Z daylesford-wine-tours-asks-why-tour-operators-have-been-forgotten Daylesford Wine Tours asks why tour operators have been forgotten? Cancellations are thick yet support is thinner than ever. Daylesford, 7th June, 2021: As a huge integral part of the Daylesford tourism sector, Daylesford Wine Tours has been professionally delivering clients visiting the region to wineries, Cidery, distillery, sights, dining and accommodation venues for the past 10 years. But, with the latest round of lockdowns and cancellations, owner/operator Clayton Watson questions why tour operators around regional Victoria have been completely forgotten, are not being reimbursed for cancellations and why tours in vehicles specifically are being classed as a restricted service? “We have seen 100% of our bookings cancelled over the busiest month of our peak season. The tours division regionally has been completely overlooked - once again - by the Victorian Government. There’s a huge grey area within our sector where our core operators are forced to call each other to actually find out what we are and aren’t allowed to do. Currently, we are informed “The two square metre density rule is not mandatory on tour vehicles. There are no group limits for tour transport, however physical distancing of 1.5 metres between groups is encouraged where possible.” Whereas, “Tourism services by vehicles - closed“ is the real information required. As with the last lockdown, operating - even with all Covid rules & regulations adhered to - felt like we were breaking the law because we weren’t 100% sure if we were in the right. Even calling VTIC daily was a waste of time as they didn’t even know themselves!” As well as the grey area, in the last rounds of lockdowns all cancellations through accommodation venues were reimbursed whereas “we were completely forgotten”. “Every sector seemed to be covered very well by the Victorian Government but the tour operators. This isn’t haven’t a whinge. This is my wife and I’s FOR RELEASE 10 A.M. 7TH JUNE, 2021. DAYLESFORD WINE TOURS ASKS WHY? PAGE 2 livelihood that feeds my two children and we’ve simply been pushed to a very slow back-burner. It’s not bloody good enough. The small people just get trod over. We’ve got no International, no Interstate, no Melbourne and now no regional visitors allowed to tour with us.” “We have no idea what this Queen’s birthday weekend - our busiest weekend of the year - will hold. The slow trickle of information the tour operators receive will probably mean we find out we could have operated this weekend in a months time. Who knows. It’s seems strange to us that places of worship can hold up to 50 people inside at a 4 square meter rule and we can’t even have a big bus with the same square meterage rule delivering clients to an outside tasting area at cellar doors. Doesn’t everyone have to enter through the same door to a church or a bus in exactly the same manner?” “We absolutely smashed our intensive Covid cleaning of our buses - adding some 2 to 3 hours of work everyday - as well as our cellar door partners. We really upped the ante on strict guidelines, QR’s, temperature checks, tracing lists etc. much to the demise and exorbitant costs added to our small profit margin and overheads. The fact that the regional $200 vouchers were for accommodation and tours shows how integral tour operators are - why not back it up with swift information and reimbursement for our cancellations on an equal plane?” Clay is well known as an Australian actor for his roles in the Matrix franchise, playing Ian Chappell and winning an AFI for his role in Always Greener. His upcoming role in Dwayne Johnson’s “Young Rock” saw him receive numerous Covid tests to shoot in Queensland but says the film sector is covered very well by State and Federal Governments. “It’s a huge difference and drastically tangible compared to what we see with the touring sector. It’s a well oiled machine and points to how much monetary gain the government looks at on a list of first come fist served. The hierarchy is plain to see.” With the future unknown and information forthcoming even more unknown, Clay along with his counterparts in the Yarra, Mornington and further afield to the Barossa and Hunter Valleys chat constantly and wait on a baited line. “We’re spending our time watching news headlines, updates on VTIC and Vic Gov websites, calling as many people as we can get ahold of with the so-called right information, detailing buses and updating uniforms and cellar door partners - it just seems we need someone to step up and fight for us pronto!” This week will be a make or break for many of the tour operators around the regions in Victoria. “We urge the Victorian government to do the right thing and reimburse us and allow us to operate instead of being looked at like a big grey ball of “I don’t know about them”. The time has come and gone already numerous times - let us do our job and deliver customers professionally and safely as per usual.” Free French Pastries for Melbourne COVID lockdown Sufferers 2021-06-06T03:56:29Z free-french-pastries-for-melbourne-covid-lockdown-sufferers Melbourne, Australia, June 6, 2021: Melbourne start-up company, ONYA Thanks!, is delivering French-inspired pastries by Laurent Bakery to struggling Melbourne COVID lockdown residents as part of their pre-launch initiative. Co-Founder, Alice Tran, said the philanthropic initiative was grounded in the company’s core values to support and give back to the community.  “We put a call-out through our social channels for people to nominate others doing it tough during the lockdown, and started gifting surprise boxes of six mixed Laurent Bakery doughnuts,” added Ms Tran.  “Our company is currently in its pre-launch phase, but the situation was deserving of our support and we wanted to lift spirits with some incredible pastry treats free of charge. “We are running this promotion until the lockdown ends and we hope to bring a smile to the faces of many more Melbourne residents before then.” ONYA Thanks! was created by husband-and-wife duo, Albert and Alice Tran, after organising gift deliveries during lockdown but left feeling disappointed when required to ask the gift recipient their address, ruining the surprise.  Ms Tran said ONYA Thanks! provided a solution to the problem of self-disclosure when trying to gift a surprise package to a family member, friend or colleague.   “ONYA Thanks! is provided the recipient’s name and contact number, and arranges delivery on behalf of the sender, which retains the all-important element of surprise,” added Ms Tran. “We also create a trusted privacy barrier where a recipient may be hesitant to disclose their personal address to a sender, and instead feel comfortable doing so with ONYA Thanks! as a reputable service.  “Our concept was originally designed for corporate gift-giving situations where many people are now working from home or remotely, so it’s not as simple as just sending a gift to an office address anymore. “But it works in any situation where the sender doesn’t have the receiver’s address, so gifting for a birthday, anniversary, engagement, baby announcement, or any other occasion can be done without giving away the surprise of where the gift is coming from.”  As well as partnering with Laurent Bakery, ONYA Thanks! has also recently secured Brown Brothers’ Brown & Co. vegan-friendly rosé to its gift range. To find out more about ONYA Thanks!, search @onya.thanks on Facebook or Instagram. The ONYA Thanks! website will go live in July.  -ENDS- About ONYA Thanks!: ONYA Thanks! was created by Melbourne couple Albert and Alice Tran. The company’s unique delivery model helps retain the element of gift-giving surprise by facilitating its gift box delivery on behalf of the sender. Gift boxes are filled with a range of local Australian products including wine and pastries. ONYA Thanks! is derived from the colloquial term good on ya, thanks! in a nod to good old fashioned Australian dialect. Currently servicing the metro Melbourne area, the company has planned expansion into Sydney and Brisbane over the next 18 months.  JustSociale Brings Together National Stakeholders for a Special Event 2021-06-02T07:12:29Z justsociale-brings-together-national-stakeholders-for-a-special-event On Tuesday 1st June, JustSociale welcomed key individuals from government and non-profit organisations, media and technology industries, as well as the private sector for a special VIP cocktail reception held in Chippendale. The evening was an opportunity for various national stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to get together to raise a glass to online human rights. “The event was a huge success. We were thrilled to see so many people supporting our cause and it was a great opportunity to remind people what we are working towards,” says Sarah Liberty, CEO of JustSociale. “We were also able to release some initial results from a poll we are currently running, giving our attendees first access to information about the surprising online activities of Australians. These results indicate that the majority of people around the country do not understand their online human rights, which is a huge concern.” Sarah goes on to explain: “In 2012, the UNHCR declared that our online human rights are no different to our offline human rights. Yet - almost ten years on - how can it be that so many Australians are still unaware that they have online human rights, or how to guarantee they are protected? Our vision is to ensure that the internet is universally accessible, inclusive and safe, so that diverse Australians can use it to stay #WellConnected with each other and the global community.” JustSociale is Australia’s first ACNC-accredited NGO dedicated to promoting online human rights and good digital citizenship. Last year JustSociale launched the nation’s first Online Code of Conduct. The Code has quickly gained momentum, with support from stakeholders across the business, non-profit, creative, tech and media sectors around the country. The #WellConnected campaign is a movement that JustSociale is using to encourage all Australians to interact on digital platforms in a way that is not detrimental to physical or mental health. It means creating a safe online space for all, working to protect your own online rights, as well as the rights of others. JustSociale’s Code of Conduct makes it easier for businesses and individuals to ensure they are promoting a healthy online environment. The Code aims to increase trust in online platforms by enhancing the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of the Code’s signatories.  Over the course of the evening, Sarah shared her motivations for founding JustSociale in 2020. It was her own personal experience of being hacked and digitally surveilled by a formerly abusive partner that made Sarah discover a flaw in the system. Today, Sarah is dedicated to enabling all Australians to feel safe and self-empowered online, and to tap into the unparalleled opportunities offered by the Internet and those who operate in the digital space.  The event was held at Jung Sung, located in the Old Rum Store on Kensington Street in Chippendale. Head Chef Insup Kim created a menu specifically for the occasion, turning signature Jung Sung dishes into canapes for the evening.  For more about JustSociale, #WellConnected and the Code of Conduct, visit Ends –  Sarah Liberty is available for comments, interviews and photo opportunities.   w: Facebook: @justsocialeaustralia | Instagram: @justsociale | Twitter: @justsociale  Sarah Liberty Bio:   Sarah Liberty is the Founder and CEO of JustSociale. A social entrepreneur, public speaker, radio presenter, podcaster and human rights advocate, her career has spanned executive roles in the media and NGOs in London, New York, Jogjakarta, Sydney and Paris. Sarah recently completed her Master of International Relations: Human Rights, at Sciences Po University, Paris, and hosts a weekly international #FeministFriday Podcast available on all major podcast platforms reaching 42 countries. Sarah is an Ambassador for UN Women’s #GenerationEquality campaign and is regularly approached by the media to comment on human rights, social entrepreneurship, international relations, technology and social media news.  Why Vietnamese Community in Australia Care About “Yellow Flag”? 2021-06-01T03:03:21Z why-vietnamese-community-in-australia-care-about-yellow-flag Recently, a group of Vietnamese students in Australia insulted “yellow flag”, the national flag of former South Vietnam, which angered the Vietnamese Community in Australia. The community immediately started a petition for sanctions against the students and it has been signed by 15,000 people. What is the Vietnamese Community in Australia? Why is this Community so angry? And what is the relationship between this community and the current Communist government of Vietnam? After the Vietnam War in 1975, Vietnamese refugees fled to Australia in order to escape the dictatorship of the Communist Party of Vietnam. In 1978, the Vietnamese Community in Australia was established and mainly operated in New South Wales and Victoria. The community is financially supported by the Australian government. The leaders of the community often interact with Australian officials. The community was originally founded to help Vietnamese refugees settle in Australia. As time went on, it not only serves the Vietnamese in Australia but also begins to participate in political activities. The community members are opposed to the current Communist government of Vietnam, for it once forced them to leave their homeland. Although the current government welcomes the return of overseas Vietnamese, the community still does not approve of it. It even went against its mission of promoting Vietnamese culture to disrupt the performance of the Vietnamese Art Troupe in Australia. Furthermore, it tried to disrupt the 13th National Congress of the Vietnamese Communist Party.  On the issue of sovereignty over the South China Sea, the Vietnamese Community in Australia accused the Vietnamese Communist Party for selling Vietnam’s national sovereignty and other interests to the Chinese Communist Party.   In order to reduce the influence of Communism in Australia, the community held many rallies, demonstrations and protests in the Parliament House, the State Library of Victoria, Flinders Street Railway Station and the Crown Casino. They gave out pamphlets to the Australian people, calling on them to “understand the danger and evil nature of Communist dictatorship and protect Australia from the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party.  It can be seen from the community’s activities that it still supports the Republican government of former South Vietnam and holds negative attitude towards the Communist government of Vietnam. This explained why the community was so angry with students who insulted the “yellow flag”. International travel agent keeps the travel dreams of clients alive while business expansion dreams are put on hold. 2021-05-27T23:44:25Z international-travel-agent-continues-to-keep-the-travel-dreams-of-clients-alive-as-his-own-business-expansion-dreams-are-put-on-hold Just two years ago, successful local travel agent Steve Cairns was planning to open multiple storefronts for his growing Liberty Tours travel agency, with dreams of launching a companion premium travel brand. Steve Cairns is the Managing Director of the Liberty Tours Group - an AFTA and CLIA accredited* independent travel agency based in Sydney's inner west – who has optimistically kept the doors of his primary business open over the past 16 months but has now made the difficult decision to downsize rather than expand. “I established Liberty Tours with my partner Alex four years ago, and while the initial years saw incredible growth, Covid imposed travel restrictions have had a dampening effect on our planned business aspirations,” said Steve. “Great value global holidays is what we are known for - with Alex expertly packaging wonderful air/land/sea itineraries across Europe and the Mediterranean.” Prior to international boarder closures, Steve had bold plans for growth and expansion, with a steady stream of clients booking international land tours and back-to-back cruises all over the globe. They had also bolstered their sales and marketing capabilities in late 2019, employing destination specialists familiar with South America and Northern Europe, plus a marketing specialist to help drive effective client communications and social media engagement. Even as extended border closures loomed as the Pandemic spread worldwide, Liberty Tours continued to help loyal customers with travel exemptions book one way journey to their homelands and looked with confidence into the future. “We saw the “pause” in travel as an opportunity – channelling our energies into enhancing some of our core website functions to develop an expanded online booking portal, conducting online information sessions, investing in systems and training and continuing, as always, to provide exceptional customer service to existing and new clients who were still travelling with approved travel exemptions, and those who needed their travel credits managed,” said Steve. As borders closed and future trips were cancelled, new customers were unable to confirm holiday and business plans, so Steve and his team pivoted, working with the destination knowledge they had, and embarked on a regular series of online “Travelogues” to keep travel dreams alive. Steve reached out to his trusted travel partners, and featured guest presenter covering destinations both locally and abroad, covering topics as diverse as the Goldfields of Victoria, the secrets of Sri Lanka and even had a third generation Sherpa take clients on a virtual trek in Nepal! Steve took clients on virtual tours of the Battlefields of Western Europe on Anzac Day and discussed the appeal of tours of faith at Easter. So confident was Steve in the future of travel that he launched a second brand, Luminosity Travel in mid 2020. Designed with purpose to assist those holiday makers seeking longer and more destination immersive holidays - both land tours incorporating five star experiences and longer luxury cruises – they did a soft launch his new brand offering into the Australian market with a purposeful look and feel, new website, new trade arrangements, dedicated social media presence and paid advertising to entice future bookings from new clients into 2021 and beyond. While Steve is still confident that both his business will survive and again flourish, knowing that Australians will be keen to travel again once the international borders open up, his resilience is now being tested. Sadly, his dreams to further expand his dual travel businesses further are currently paused. Even though he has now laid off all staff members, his mobile travel operations to continue to service those loyal clients who have travel credits and have indicated they will be booking holidays again as soon as the Government allows international travel to resume. “We are meeting still with clients and operators in our favourite local cafes. I’ve had my first vaccination. I’ve started going to the gym. We keep scouting for new retail locations and we are looking forward to cruising again – we are doing all we can to keep the travel dreams of the future alive and kicking,” said Steve with a smile. Steve is happy to share his story, his hopes and the challenges he and Alex have faced over the past 16 months. They know that travellers will return, seeking guidance to rebook the overseas holiday experiences they have put on hold and to discover new destinations, people and cultures. He and Alex will be there to design and deliver the holidays of their dreams when the world re-opens. AFTA Australian Federation of Travel Agents  CLIA Cruise Line International Association   Catch Australia Exclusive Sales & Offers 2021-05-27T12:45:50Z catch-australia-exclusive-sales-amp-offers If you’ve missed out on mother’s day sales, Memorial Day deals, or any other, don’t fret as Catch and many other retailers are offering a great deal this June. So instead of wandering around scratching your head, rush to Catch to enjoy the biggest sales and events of all time. Retailers offering products on sale say, during the coronavirus pandemic, they have experienced massive exponential growth in online shopping. A famous coupon site Revounts, say that during pandemic the usage of catch coupon code and other voucher codes has far exceeded their initial expectations. Though availing of coupons while shopping is not relatively new to the region where consumers use coupons for getting items at discounted prices. But shoppers are extensively using it to buy products they need at a more reasonable price. So if you planning to shop at discounted rates or if you haven’t prepped anything for the upcoming events. Then at Catch store, you can easily find everything that is hard to find anywhere else. Just avail of the coupon and get hands on massive discounts. Thinking about where to grab these codes? Revounts is the best and secure place where you can get the latest and exclusive coupons and deals in no time. Besides you also find coupons from all different brands. Reconciliation It’s more than a word. We are ready to take action. Are you? 2021-05-27T05:01:09Z reconciliation-it-s-more-than-a-word-we-are-ready-to-take-action-are-you Reconciliation NSW have been promoting, educating, and calling out for Reconciliation for 24 years. Australians are well and truly ready to embrace reconciliation and to Learn, Act and Share knowledge and values that address racism, truth telling, equity and equality, institutional integrity and unity. This year during National Reconciliation Week May 27– June 3, we are asking all Australians to take action that proves how ready we are! How? 1.       Learn what Country you are on, and the stories of that place. Knowing the history of where you live allows you to understand, relate and respect the traditional custodians and to be connected to a time and story beyond a mere 250 years of colonisation.   2.       Take action by signing the Uluru Statement from the Heart canvas and write to your local MP to let them know that First Nations People must have a voice and that voice needs to be embedded in the Constitution. Reconciliation NSW Indigenous Co-Chair, Joshua M. Gilbert, a Worimi man, says: “The 2021 State of Reconciliation Barometer (from Reconciliation Australia) indicates that over 95% of the general population believe it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to have a say in matters that affect them. The Uluru Statement from The Heart is seeking to achieve this through Voice, Treaty, Truth.”   3.       Share your support for First Nations people and issues on social media, in education, at home, buy books, support Aboriginal controlled organisations, challenge racism, show your support visibly. Reconciliation NSW non-Indigenous Co-chair, Annie Tennant says: “A reconciled Australia offers everyone the opportunity to celebrate the oldest living culture in the world, and the world expects, and deserves no less.” Reconciliation NSW Says: Learn, Act, Share to create a proud Australian identity! We are thankful to the Fred Hollows Foundation for partnering with Reconciliation NSW to develop these three Learn Act Share Factsheets: Factsheet for Everyone                   Factsheet for the Workplace           Factsheet for Schools COVID-19 Announcement: Melbourne Goes Back Into Circuit Breaker Lockdown 2021-05-27T03:27:13Z covid-19-announcement-melbourne-goes-back-into-circuit-breaker-lockdown Melbourne is headed back into a Circuit Breaker lockdown once again in a bid to curb the recent COVID-19 outbreak.  The first measures since summer were brought in on Tuesday without success causing heavy restrictions on movement to come into effect as of 11:59pm Thursday Night.   Victoria will enter a 7-day circuit breaker lockdown. There will be only 5 reasons to leave your home. Shopping Authorised Work/Permitted Education Exercise – 2 Hour Limit Caregiver/Compassionate/Medical Reasons To get Vaccinated This is all with a 5km radius travel limit.   On Wednesday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told media that volume of new cases and the type of exposure sites would be critical in deciding the future of the state.  A Melbourne Lockdown has been avoided in 2021. While Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland have utilised lockdowns to stop the virus from spreading any further to varied success.   According to the Victorian Governments Department of Health Twitter Updates – there has been 12 new locally acquired cases pushing the active cases over 30 for the first time since January 22 2021. There are no current cases that are receiving treatment for COVID-19 in the hospital.   As of yesterday, 324,381 Australians have received a first dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine.   There are currently more than 70 exposure sites, these include the MCG and Marvel Stadium. Cafe’s and businesses across Melbournes North, South East and Mornington Peninsula are also on the list of new exposure sites.    *Read more: is one if Australia's leading online comparison websites specialising in finding you the best deal for Life Insurance, Home Loans, health Insurance, Electricity and Gas and more.