News

  • 25 May 2017 2:40 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Today Australia’s small and independent brewers voted overwhelmingly in favour of removing large brewers from the membership of their trade body and renaming it the Independent Brewers Association.

    It is a move designed to create a body that is better placed to address the challenges faced by small brewers in Australia.

    Under new rules for what was the Craft Beer Industry Association, membership will be prohibited for brewers that are more than 20% owned by large brewers or other businesses that hold significant brewery holdings in Australia or overseas.

    Previously the association had allowed membership by companies such as Little Creatures, Malt Shovel and Mountain Goat, all of which are 100% owned by global brewing concerns.

    “This is a great day for our association and for small, independent breweries in Australia,” said Independent Brewers Association chair, Peta Fielding.

    “Our industry is a shining light in Australian manufacturing. There are now more than 400 small, independent brewing businesses, up from just 200 when the association began five years ago. The industry directly employs more than 2100 people and generates an estimated $655 million in economic output.”

    “Our members face challenges in their businesses with issues such as taxation, market access and licencing that don’t align with those of larger global organisations,” Mrs Fielding said.

    “These changes allow us to narrow our focus on addressing the needs of the businesses that need it most.”

    “As we move onto this next chapter of the association we would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the significant contributions the larger brewers made as founding members of the Craft Beer Industry Association.”

    END

    This media release was sourced directly from the Craft Beer Industry Associations website here. 

  • 25 May 2017 2:01 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The focus on housing in tonight’s Budget is an important step in addressing the complex housing affordability challenge that Australia faces according to Housing Industry Association.

    Graham Wolfe, HIA Deputy Managing Director said “the Budget’s housing focus will send important signals to state and local governments and the community that the Government is serious about meet the challenge of delivering more affordable housing

    “There are no simple solutions but providing well targeted assistance to help first home buyers save for their first home and to providers of community housing through the ‘National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation’ will make a difference.

    “Although not an affordability measure, the incentives for ‘downsizers’ will also help stimulate the supply of new housing more appropriate to the needs of our seniors.

    “Much of the work to improve housing affordability rests with state and local governments and the Budget has made significant commitments to encourage action. The National Housing Infrastructure Facility has $1billion behind it is more than just window dressing.

    “Linking the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement’s $1.8 billion to the states and local governments delivering improved housing supply and better planning systems is a significant and welcome reform.

    “The ‘city deals’ expansion into smaller scale projects is also a welcome development: the big ticket projects are important but much can be achieved by removing obstacles to more efficient delivery of homes.

    “However HIA is concerned about the negative impacts on residential building from the Budget’s measures on foreign investment.

    “Plans to tax vacant homes, limit the share of foreign investment in new projects and increase foreign investor duties all send exactly the wrong signal to potential investors in Australia. Barriers to investment are not productive for the building industry or the economy more broadly; investment needs to be encouraged.

    “HIA would urge the Government to build on the Budget’s initial steps towards more affordable housing by making this a standing item on the COAG agenda.

    “In the meantime HIA will continue to urge the Government to undertake a thorough national inquiry into housing affordability and establish a mechanism for the regular monitoring of the crucial supply of land for the residential building industry”, Mr Wolfe concluded.

    For further information please contact:

    Graham Wolfe on 0419 751 188; or

    Warwick Temby, Acting Chief Economist on 0407 692 241

    This media release was directly sourced from the Housing Industry Association's website here

  • 25 May 2017 1:55 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The Minister for Health and Minister for Sport, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, visited the AIS this morning with Australian Sports Commission CEO Kate Palmer to outline the Australian Government's initiative to develop a National Sports Plan.

    Australian Olympic Committee CEO Matt Carroll AM, Australian Paralympic Committee CEO Lynne Anderson and Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips, athletes Shelley Watts (Olympic and Commonwealth Games boxer) and Michael Roeger (Paralympic track athlete) also attended.

    Minister Hunt released the following statement on the National Sports Plan after the event:

    Today I invite all Australians and the sporting community to play a part in shaping the Turnbull Government‘s new National Sports Plan.

    The Plan will be a long-term strategy for the whole of sport and will examine four key pillars of participation, performance, prevention through physical activity, and integrity.

    A national lottery, to be developed with the states, and activity to boost participation are amongst options being considered.

    Consultation will also engage on major sporting events, sports infrastructure, sport governance and funding.

    Throughout this process key stakeholders will work closely with the Government, including the states and territories, the Australian Sports Commission and their respective sports, the Australian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Australia.

    The Commonwealth makes a significant contribution to Australian sport and the Plan will help to inform clear policy objectives across the entire sector.

    Australians love sport. It is one of the defining characteristics of our culture and it is in our DNA.

    We come together to play sport at local ovals, fields, courts, parks and beaches. We jump out of bed on a Saturday morning for junior sport and flock to the footy, netball and countless other sports to support our sporting champions.

    Participating in sport also makes us healthier both physically and mentally and it is the basis for so many friendships.

    Being physically active also reduces our risks for many diseases including heart disease and type two diabetes.

    Further details on the Plan, including options for submitting views, are available at www.sport.gov.au. Contributions and ideas are due by 31 July 2017.

    Submissions should consider the key issues listed on the website. Further guidance on topics for discuss will be released in the coming week. This is not an exclusive list but is designed to stimulate debate and discussion.

    This process of public consultation is one part of a wider program of extensive stakeholder consultation, designed to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their say.

    This release was directly sourced from the Australian Sports Commission website here. 

  • 25 May 2017 11:53 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The Commercial Vessel Association of NSW (CVA) has voted to merge with the Boating Industry Association (BIA), becoming the latest industry body to come under the BIA’s auspices.

    The CVA is the largest industry body for the commercial vessel sector and represents a range of commercial boating companies including private ferry operators, tourist boats and charter boat operators. It includes large companies such as SeaLink Travel Group which operates Captain Cook Cruises as well as smaller one-person operations. The merger includes most of the 250 charter vessels and private ferries currently operating on Sydney Harbour.

    The CVA will become a new organisational division of the BIA along the lines of other divisions for marinas, boat builders, retailers and other industry sectors.

    According to Howard Glenn, BIA national CEO, the CVA decided to join in order to gain access to increased support and services for its members.

    “The BIA is proud to merge with the CVA and the businesses that give so many people their first boating experience,” he said.

    “The merger means that the BIA now represents the widest range of recreational and commercial vessels, at a time when the distinctions between the two sectors are being blurred by new forms of boat share, and the emphasis on boating tourism.

    “A more inclusive coverage of the boating industry, sharing resources and infrastructure, gives all of us a bigger voice to government and the community.”

    The announcement of the merger comes in the lead-up to the Marine17 conference which this year will feature a dedicated program of presentations for light commercial marine operators.

    This article was originally sourced from the Marine Business website here. 

  • 25 May 2017 11:46 AM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Having a diversity of workers with a range of qualifications contributes to the success, not the stress, of the sector, writes Australian Community Workers Association CEO Sha Cordingley.

    I read with interest the article Workplace Stress is Reaching Toxic Levels in Social Sector, particularly as it highlighted one of the main issues identified by our own members of the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA). While I agree with the premise of the article, and indeed with Dr Harrison’s main thesis, I reject the suggestion that “diploma-level” workers are not suitably qualified and that this is contributing to a “de-skilled workforce” and high workplace stress.

    Unfortunately, workplace stress in the community sector is not a new concern, nor is it one that has been adequately addressed over the years. One of the most pervasive sources of stress in the workplace can be attributed to the practice of outsourcing and tendering; a situation not unfamiliar to Victorians who worked in the community sector during the Kennett years.

    Over the past couple of decades not-for-profit organisations have been forced to compete both against other not for profits and for-profit organisations for a dwindling pool of funding. As a consequence, and in order to remain in business, many not for profits have had to reduce their operating costs by subsidising the financial shortfall between the income they receive and what is actually needed to provide a decent service. Often the burden of covering this shortfall has fallen on the shoulders of staff and volunteers with profound and damaging effect.

    A second contributor to stress is the ineffective management, supervision and support of staff. Most certainly inadequate funding plays its part, but the calibre of staff hired to manage frontline staff is critical in maintaining an effective service and good workplace culture.

    ACWA’s experience is that most calls coming to our helpline are about incompetent managers, lack of constructive supervision, and in the not-for-profit arena, disengaged boards of management. Underpinning these concerns is that in very many community service organisations (both for and not for profit) there are no safe and systematic processes in place for addressing staff concerns and consequences of stress.

    The reality for many community sector workers is that organisations spend a substantial part of their resources on achieving output or outcome targets with little or no resources devoted to ensuring proper management and staff support systems are in place.

    If workers are well supported, appropriately managed, and given the opportunity to have their concerns addressed, workplace culture is improved and good client-service follows. This makes good business sense – it not only reduces staff turnover and thus operating costs but also makes for a happier, less stressed and more productive workforce.

    So what is the solution? We know that the sector is comprised of a diversity of professionals who work across the spectrum of community services including youth work, aged care, child protection, disability services, family and child services etc. They are qualified, professional, dedicated and eager to develop their skills and knowledge. Many hold diploma qualifications which provide them with the knowledge and practical fieldwork experience to work in the sector to good effect. Ironically, many of them are poorly managed by those with a higher qualification.

    I believe it is squarely within government’s purview to demand through tender specifications that, in the interests of service recipients and the broader community, staff have manageable caseloads, access to supervision, support and training, and are appropriately qualified for the role. It is government’s’ responsibility to ensure the expenditure of public money provides the best outcome for service recipients without the exploitation of the workforce.

    It cannot be stressed enough that graduates of diploma courses are qualified. And without that particular set of qualified workers, the industry will collapse and we will lose the very people who are qualified and trained to provide frontline services.

    We are happy to join with peak bodies and other professional associations to try to address the issues of workplace stress providing that it is recognised that a diversity of workers with a range of qualifications contribute to the success of the sector.

    About the author: Sha Cordingley is the CEO of Australian Community Workers Association and chair of the Community Sector and Development Industry Skills Committee.

    This article was originally sourced from ProBono News here

  • 24 May 2017 6:37 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s not-for-profit sector.

    The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000 and $8,000 to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs.

    The leadership development programs are part-time and delivered nationally via WLA’s blended learning model. Scholarship funding is strictly limited and has to be allocated prior to the end of this financial year (June 30).

    Expressions of Interest
    Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to June 16, 2017: http://www.wla.edu.au/assoc-june17.html

  • 24 May 2017 3:25 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The AMA is calling on the Australian Parliament to legislate for marriage equality, and to end the divisive public debate over same-sex marriage.

    AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, has written to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, urging a bipartisan approach to marriage equality.

    Releasing the AMA Position Statement on Marriage Equality 2017, Dr Gannon said that excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage has significant mental and physical health consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer/questioning (LGBTIQ) Australians.

    “Discrimination has a severe, damaging impact on mental and physiological health outcomes, and LGBTIQ individuals have endured a long history of institutional discrimination in this country,” Dr Gannon said.

    “This discrimination has existed across the breadth of society; in our courts, in our classrooms, and in our hospitals.

    “Many of these inequalities have been rightly nullified. Homosexuality is no longer a crime, nor is it classified as a psychiatric disorder. The ‘gay panic’ defence is no longer allowed in cases of murder or assault, and same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children in most jurisdictions.

    “However, LGBTIQ-identifying Australians will not enjoy equal treatment under Australian law until they can marry.

    “It is the AMA’s position that it is the right of any adult and their consenting adult partner to have their relationship recognised under the Marriage Act 1961, regardless of gender.

    “There are ongoing, damaging effects of having a prolonged, divisive, public debate, and the AMA urges the Australian Parliament to legislate for marriage equality to resolve this.”

    While there is no definitive data on the number of Australians who identify as LGBTIQ, same-sex couples made up approximately 1 per cent of all Australian couples in the 2011 Census, and more than 3 per cent of respondents to a 2014 Roy Morgan survey identified as homosexual.

    People who identify as LGBTIQ have significantly poorer mental and physiological health outcomes than those experienced by the broader population. They are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviours such as illicit drug use or alcohol abuse, and have the highest rates of suicidality of any population group in Australia.

    “These health outcomes are a consequence of discrimination and stigmatisation, and are compounded by reduced access to health care, again due to discrimination,” Dr Gannon said.

    “The lack of legal recognition can have tragic consequences in medical emergencies, as a person may not have the right to advocate for their ill or injured partner, and decision-making may be deferred to a member of the patient’s biological family instead.

    “Marriage equality has been the subject of divisive political and public debate for the best part of the past decade.

    “It is often forgotten that, at the core of this debate, are real people and families. It’s time to put an end to this protracted, damaging debate so that they can get on with their lives.

    “As long as the discrimination against LGBTIQ people continues, they will continue to experience poorer health outcomes as a result.

    “LGBTIQ Australians are our doctors, nurses, police officers, teachers, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. They contribute to this country as much as any Australian, but do not enjoy the same rights.

    “It is time to remove this discrimination.”

    The AMA Position Statement on Marriage Equality 2017 is at https://ama.com.au/position-statement/marriage-equality-2017

    This media release was directly sourced from the Australian Medical Association's website here.  

  • 24 May 2017 3:15 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    Talented overseas scientists have already started turning down prestigious research positions in Australia following the federal government's changes to 457 visas, the medical sector says.

    One of Australia's top medical research heads says at least six institutes have had their job offers rejected by star scientists abroad following the federal government's recent visa overhaul.

    Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes president, Tony Cunningham, has raised the alarm over last month’s changes to 457 visas, which saw hundreds of jobs cut from the list of eligible occupations.

    Hundreds of other occupations are now on a restricted list which offers a visa for two years instead of four, and cuts off any pathway to permanent residency.

    “In many cases we find that those people who come here are so valuable that we want to keep them," Mr Cunningham told SBS World News.

    "An example of that would be Ian Frazer who came from Scotland and invented the papilloma virus vaccine.

    “We run the risk of people leaving after two years and leaving us in the lurch in the middle of excellent funded research projects.”

    American researcher Sarah Palmer, 57, has been working in Australia for five years to develop a cure for HIV.

    She told SBS World News being restricted to a two year stay would have been enough to change her mind on whether to make the move.

    "For my sort of research it would not be possible to come for two years and really to set up the full research plan," Dr Palmer said.

    “It would definitely make me think twice about coming to Australia, that is true, in fact I probably would not have come."

    Dr Palmer is one of the most renowned researchers in her field but is now nervous about what will happen when her 457 visa runs out in 2020.

    She applied for the visa under the "life scientist" category, which has now been abolished as part of the recent changes.

    “She's an example of the sort of person that we need to fill niches in Australia which cannot be filled by Australian scientists," Mr Cunningham said.

    The Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes has met with officials from the Department of Immigration to talk about possible exemptions.

    “The major problem for us is really about three or four occupations which are not on the medium-term list," Mr Cunningham said.

    "They are life scientist and bio-statistician and a couple of others like biotechnologist.

    “It can be done very easily, we just simply put these occupations back on the list or alternatively we do what some countries have done and have a special science visa.”

    Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has hinted that exemptions may be possible.

    “Where people are highly skilled, particularly if they're being employed in medical research institutes or tertiary hospitals or university research projects etc, in many cases they won't be affected by the changes that we've made,” Mr Dutton told reporters in Brisbane.

    Some of the country’s largest companies have also raised their concerns about changes for the position of chief executive. It now also qualifies for a two year visa instead of four years.

    Katie Lahey, executive chairperson of international recruiting company Korn Ferry, fears the two-year restriction will affect the ability of Australian companies to find the world's best talent for chief executive roles.

    "I think there's a feeling that this really is going to limit the attractiveness of Australia as a working destination for very senior people," she told SBS World News.

    “A lot of these very senior jobs will only become available for a two-year period and if you're going to uproot your life in the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore to come to Australia for two years … for a very senior person they're not going to do that."

    More than a third of chief executives employed at ASX100 listed companies were born overseas.

    Gregory Robinson, managing partner at executive search and board advisory firm Blenheim Partners, said the government's visa changes were already forcing some companies to put their applicant searches on hold.

    "We've already had phone calls from the ASX100 heads of HR, chief executives, c-suite executives who are currently engaged on executive searches in bringing talent in from offshore, having to put that on hold, having to stop the process, having to rethink the approach and in some cases actually turning away senior executives," he told SBS World News.

    "It's actually quite an embarrassing situation."

    Mr Dutton has said there would be regular reviews of the government's occupation lists, with the first one scheduled for July.

    "We'll continue to work with employers because there is an important place for some people to come in on that visa stream but I want the default position to be Australian workers to fill those jobs," he said.

    This article was originally sourced from SBS News here and was written by Marija Jovanovic. 

  • 24 May 2017 3:07 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    JOINT STATEMENT BY:​​

    Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA)​; Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA); Australian Collectors & Debt Buyers Association (ACDBA); Association of Securities and Derivatives Advisers of Australia (ASDAA); Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council (ATHOC); Association of Independently Owned financial Professionals (AIOFP)

    The above peak industry associations (Associations) represent about 80 per cent of all financial firms in the Australian market. Their members are currently members of either the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO).​

    The Associations reject a key recommendation of the Final Report into Australia’s three financial sector ombudsman schemes. The report, prepared by a panel led by Professor Ian Ramsay, recommended a single ombudsman scheme to replace FOS, CIO and the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT).

    The government, in response to the Ramsay report, has announced the creation of a ‘onestop shop’ ombudsman scheme, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which will replace FOS, CIO and the SCT and will consider disputes about financial firms.

    The Associations believe the ‘onestop shop’ will undermine the fabric of external dispute resolution (EDR) in the financial services sector because, as the weight of evidence submitted by industry suggests, the continued and separate existen​ce of FOS , CIO and the SCT is vital in ensuring accountability, innovation and cost control in EDR.

    Disappointingly, the Ramsay review based much of its recommendation on the views of consumer advocates who represent consumers in less than five percent of all complaints received by FOS and CIO.

    The Associations are also disappointed in the way the Ramsay review was conducted. The panel only held two public consultations with industry, during which it refused to articulate the reasons for proposing a single monopoly scheme and failed to engage with the credible arguments put forward by the Associations.

    The success of EDR is largely reliant on both consumers and financial firms committing to resolve their disputes through the schemes’ processes. The aim of EDR is to bring the parties together and assist them to reach a mutually acceptable and fair outcome. This can only be achieved if the parties have trust in the scheme’s processes. Such outcomes are much less likely to occur in the absence of trust in the EDR process.

    Submissions made by the Associations to the Ramsay review expressed the view that a single monopoly scheme would not have the trust or support of over 80 per cent of all financial firms represented by the Associations.

    The vast majority of financial firms are extremely concerned with the recommendations of the Ramsay Review because:​

    At no point has the case for change been adequately made, nor have the sensible alternative approaches proposed by industry for improving the current multiprovider EDR system been in any way considered.​​​

    Credible evidence provided by industry to inform the review’s deliberations were largely ignored.

    A ‘onestop shop’ ombudsman scheme which is a monopoly is likely to be less accountable to stakeholders and less responsive to industry’s legitimate concerns.​

    Large financial firms, who are members of FOS, will be the main beneficiaries of the single ombudsman monopoly because their ombudsman costs will be subsidised by the significant number of smaller financial firms (presently members of CIO) who will be made to join the new single scheme.​

    Smaller and more innovative financial firms, most of which are represented by the Associations and which operate on thinner margins and lack market dominance or the benefit of scale, will struggle to absorb or pass on any increased cost which may result from an inefficient single scheme monopoly.​​

    The Review fails to explain how the proposed single ombudsman scheme will deal with the kind of major financial scandals that have undermined trust in the sector.​​

    The Associations call on the Government to abandon its plans to establish a single monopoly EDR scheme.

    This media release was directly sourced from the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia's website here. 

  • 24 May 2017 2:50 PM | Kerrie Green (Administrator)

    The National Australian Pharmacy Students’ Association (NAPSA) has signed a revised partnership agreement with the peak national body for pharmacists, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).

    “We are delighted to continue this strong relationship with PSA,” said NAPSA President Shefali Parekh. “PSA has provided strong support for NAPSA over many years and values the contribution pharmacy students can make to the profession.”

    “NAPSA thanks PSA for its continued support of pharmacy students in Australia and allowing their attendance at PSA’s annual conference.”

    PSA CEO Dr Lance Emerson said as the peak body for all pharmacists, PSA was delighted to once again partner with NAPSA to support the future of the profession.

    “PSA has enjoyed a long and proud history of supporting pharmacy students, who make up a vital part of PSA’s membership. Our role is to ensure the profession has a vibrant future and our members have rewarding and exciting career pathways. PSA is delighted to be supporting NAPSA to ensure there is a professionally and financially rewarding and sustainable future for young pharmacists in Australia. We encourage all pharmacy students to become PSA members with free student membership.”

    Pharmacy students are also encouraged to attend the flagship conference for pharmacists, PSA17 which has a range of guest speakers and panel sessions along with other activities targeted to help students kick-start their careers and substantially improve their skills and knowledge base.

    Ms Parekh said: “Students can gain a lot by attending the conference as the sessions can really give you an edge in your career as they are focussed on pharmacists’ needs and are presented by people with expert knowledge in their fields.”

    NAPSA is also proud to announce that in addition to this agreement, they will be a key partner to the Early Career Pharmacist forum: the future of pharmacist practice. A dedicated NAPSA lounge area will be available for NAPSA representatives to have a priority presence. Ms Parekh said: “We look forward to interacting with PSA17 delegates in a fun and informal space”.

    Ms Parekh will also be a panellist on the first-ever Women in Leadership Panel: “Thank you PSA for the opportunity to inspire female pharmacy students at PSA17.”

    PSA Early Career Pharmacist Board Director Taren Gill said: “I’m excited NAPSA and PSA are working together – the winner here is a pharmacy future full of motivated ECPs and leaders in the profession. PSA17 is a great opportunity to build your network of future colleagues and I look forward to meeting NAPSA members at the ECP event.”

    PSA17 is being held at The Hyatt Regency Sydney, in Darling Harbour from 28-30 July 2017. To register and find out more visit www.psa17.com

    -ENDS-

    This media release was directly sourced from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia's website here

    Media Contacts:

    NAPSA: Shefali Parekh 0422 394 905

    PSA: Brad Watts, Executive Director Communications 0487 922 176


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