• Save historic Frontier Wars site Ravensworth Estate from becoming a coal mine
    A historical Frontier War site of Aboriginal resistance is set to be completely destroyed to make way for an open cut coal mine. Ravensworth Estate in the Upper Hunter a site of Aboriginal resistance and the massacre of Aboriginal people is in the way of an open cut coal mine expansion, so mining company Glencore propose to simply destroy it. The landscape surrounding Ravensworth is a recognised place of cultural significance for Aboriginal people. Mining companies have a long and sordid history of ignoring Aboriginal cultural and land rights, to allow them to destroy a Frontier Wars is unthinkable. Help us preserve this historical site and be part of the growing movement to recognise the reality of colonisation and commemorate resistance by Aboriginal people.
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    Created by David Shoebridge Picture
  • Ticket Scalping Laws
    Music lovers, festival goers and art fans of many genres all miss out on, or pay too much for, tickets to events due to scalping. The resale of event tickets on sites such as Viagogo are eroding fair access to events. Artists are also being exploited by scalpers who benefit from creating scarcity and inflating prices which put what would usually be affordable tickets beyond the reach of ordinary Australians
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    Created by Clinton Baker
  • Utilize this government-owned land for disabled housing
    This would aid those who are on the Very High Needs waitlist for public housing, and may also need ongoing medical treatment at the nearby public Gold Coast University Hospital; also within short reach of two tram stations.
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    Created by Trudy Fox Picture
  • Sack Justin Milne - Chairman ABC Board
    The ABC is an important media asset belonging to the people of Australia. We want it to operate with no indirect or direct instructions from politicians or their proxies on how to perform it's role as independent unbiased reporter. It is not the role of the Chairman to make decisions on who gets hired or fired. The current chairman is not fit to continue in this role.
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    Created by Joe Davids Picture
  • Employ More Staff in Centrelink to Reduce Wait Times
    The KPI for a claim for any type of Pension is 6 weeks. Because of lack of staff and a huge back-log this has now blown out to as much as 12 weeks and sometimes longer. This is even before you know if your claim will be accepted or not. Some people have the resources to cover this long wait, but many don't, which is why they are claiming in the first place. It is better for a person to be cared for in their own home, by a loved one rather than be a burden in either the hospital or aged care system. Adding financial stress to a Carers burden can definitely lead to a depressed mental outlook. Please sign the petition now asking the Federal Minister to Increase Staff in Centrelink so they can address all wait time issues.
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    Created by Maryanne Watts
  • Save Byron
    It is important to protect the residents and community as well as approved accommodation operators, to protect their local residential amenity from the detrimental effects of the new Bill recently passed by the NSW State Government which will come in to effect in 2019. Residential houses and apartments are built for the specific purpose of domestic use and not built or rated for commercial use unless a second development application has been lodged to change the purpose of the building to commercial use. Short Term Holiday Letting is just that - it refers to the short term use of a property - meaning for a limited number of days - not every day. The every-day use of the building for tourism constitutes a commercially operated business. Residents who are neighbours of these STHL properties are being victimised and denied their residential amenity. Approved operators are also disadvantaged with a playing field that is far from level. Genuine operators have abided by the law and are now being under-mined by this Bill. Houses and homes are not meant to be party venues or pop-up hotels. Residential houses are meant to be used as permanent housing which is the intended purpose of residential zoning. While our zoning laws are not being upheld, our community continues to deteriorate. Affordable housing is already in very low supply in our area and virtually nonexistent. Homelessness is on the rise and the impact on our community is highly visible – with scout groups shutting down and whole streets being made into pop-up hotels rather than being used for residential housing. Our zoning laws are being ignored which were designed to protect the community. Many of our residents are citing no sleep in 2 years and some have shared their experiences of verbal and physical abuse by STHL guests. The owners of these properties think it is their right to run unregulated tourist accommodation from residential premises and have also been cited as causing abuse to neighbours. This Bill is creating hostility and is dividing the community. There are minimal choices available for permanent housing as rental prices are exorbitant, however there’s also an invisible homelessness occurring – these are the folks that do have rentals but are evicted for incidental tourism. For example, we have been contacted by a resident that is evicted from her rental for 4-5 months of the year because her landlord insists in profiting from a higher tariff during the music festival weekends and peak seasons such as Christmas and Easter. This particular resident is a professional who operates two businesses and has a 6 year old daughter - this is not only a housing issue but also a human rights issue and duty of care with children. In those times that this resident’s landlord evicts her for weekends or weeks at a time, she sleeps in her car with her child. This 6 year old falls asleep at school. This issue will continue to systematically and quickly rip our community apart. We fear that we are heading for ghettos in our quiet residential areas and this has recently led to increased burglaries with streets full of empty houses. Byron’s infrastructure and roads are also being eroded and without enough funding from Council to maintain these amenities, our infrastructure will fall further into disrepair. Enforcing these STHL to become compliant and paying commercial rates will give Council the ability to raise revenue from our tourists in a fairer way rather than a voluntary tourism tax. We want to offer an amazing experience to our visitors, have our residents engaged, and support a community that offers accommodation and a lifestyle for diverse economic backgrounds. Please hear us when we say that Byron Shire is heading for ruination if we are not granted exemption from this Bill. Sincerely Yours Byron Residents & Approved Operators
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    Created by Byron Residents & Approved Businesses
  • 'Enough is Enough'….All consumers and psychologists in Australia deserve equal access to Medicare!
    The APS submission (https://www.psychology.org.au/About-Us/What-we-do/advocacy/Submissions/Professional-Practice/2018/APS-Submission-to-the-MBS-Review-Better-Access?) recommends that over two thirds of registered psychologists (many of whom hold higher degrees, specialised training and significant experience in their field) but have not applied for “endorsement” would only be able to provide services to the estimate 10% of clients presenting with mild to moderate disorders. The complicated model states that psychologists may be given an opportunity to “demonstrate equivalent competence” to be able to treat what is, for many, their existing client base. Recognition would almost certainly come at a significant cost. The APS has yet to explain just how this recognition would occur, leaving experienced practitioners at a loss as to how they can protect their livelihood and deliver crucial services to clients. All registered psychologists are currently permitted to practice across all areas of psychology and mental health and can diagnose, assess and treat clients, regardless of whether they are endorsed or not. Ethical guidelines require psychologists to only provide services within their limits of personal competence. Endorsed psychologists primarily operate in urban areas, while the majority of psychologists operating in rural areas are non-endorsed. Data from the Psychology Board of Australia’s ‘Area of practice endorsement data tables: January 2014’, shows that only 23 endorsed psychologists work in remote communities across Australia; 212 in outer regional; while 7 969 work in metropolitan/capital cities. Our rural areas have some of the highest rates of suicide in Australia. If accepted, the APS recommendations will leave rural and regional Australians without access to vital mental health care services. The consequences to Australians in desperate need of mental health care will be disastrous. If accepted, the APS model will result in higher session fees, with clients unable to claim any Medicare rebate unless their preferred practitioner is “endorsed”. Market forces would likely push up out-of-pocket fees to see endorsed psychologists and waiting lists would blow out. By losing a major funding stream, many non-endorsed psychologists would be forced to close their practices, leaving vulnerable clients without access to vital and affordable health services. Many endorsed psychologists do not bulk bill, meaning only those in higher socioeconomic groups would be able to afford treatment for the most debilitating of conditions. There is no evidence to support that better health outcomes are achieved by “endorsed” psychologists. In fact, a significant amount of “endorsed” psychologists achieved this status through historical paid membership to special interest “Colleges”, and not through demonstrated experience or completing a masters/doctorate degree. Some psychologists were granted up to six endorsements via this process. The Australian Clinical Psychology Association stated that ‘More than half of those clinical psychologists currently endorsed by the Psychology Board of Australia do not have qualifications in clinical psychology...’ (source: https://industry.gov.au/Office-of-the-Chief-Economist/SkilledOccupationList/Documents/2015Submissions/ACPA.pdf). Therefore, many endorsed psychologists hold the same level of training and qualifications as non-endorsed psychologists. The APS position is a crushing blow to over two thirds of registered psychologists, many of whom will be unable to continue treating the majority of their clients if the proposal is accepted by the Government. It is clear the APS is not acting in the best interests of its members (who currently pay $640 for annual membership) or their clients, by advocating that the majority of psychologists lose access to the MBS. In fact, if the APS proposal is accepted, 66% of the psychologist board members who are “endorsed”, may personally benefit with increased client referrals, while 64% of registered psychologists will have very limited access to Medicare referrals. Questions must be asked about the ability of the APS Board to represent all psychologists equally, and whether the board members are at risk of breaching their fiduciary duties to the APS with a proposal which effectively destroys the livelihoods of the majority of registered practitioners, for the benefit of a few, including themselves. For over ten years now, clinical psychologist’s services have attracted a $39 higher rebate than non-clinical psychologists. Despite this higher rebate, fewer clinical psychologists fully bulk-bill their clients. Based on the current Medicare arrangements, the proposed changes will represent a significant increase to Medicare, as the cost of providing the same services already being provided by registered psychologists would increase by 47%. A notable research project commissioned by the Australian Government (Pirkis et al, 2011) demonstrated clearly that psychologists treating mental illness across both tiers of Medicare Better Access produced equivalently strong treatment outcomes (as measured by the K-10 and DASS pre-post treatment) for mild, moderate and severe cases of mental illness. This research demonstrates clearly that there is no difference in treatment outcomes when comparing clinical psychologists treating under tier one of Medicare Better Access with the treatment outcomes of all other registered psychologists treating under tier two of Medicare Better Access (Pirkis et al, 2011a). Reference: Pirkis, Ftanou, Williamson, Machlin, Spittal & Bassilios (2011a). Australia's Better Access initiative: An evaluation. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 45:726–739
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    Created by Australian Psychologists
  • Australian Psychological Society (APS) – We deserve transparency and advocacy from our peak body!
    As psychologists, our livelihoods and the welfare of our clients depends on the Australian public's access to affordable psychological services. Currently, our clients receive a rebate of $84.80, while clinical psychologists attract a rebate of $124.50 for providing the same 50-minute session. Many non-clinical psychologists can’t maintain their practices due to this lower rebate and due to financial pressure, have to pass on some out-of-pocket costs to their clients. There are 29 213 registered psychologists in Australia with only 8298 of these holding endorsement as clinical psychologists (28%) (Psychology Board of Australia, 31 March 2018). The APS is split into a number of colleges representing each endorsed area of practice. We are concerned as the submission by the APS College of Counselling Psychology, advocates to maintain the current unfair and unfounded two-tier rebate system with their own members placed on their higher tier alongside their clinical colleagues. This means the majority of Australians will still need to pay substantial gap fees to see their psychologists. Polls conducted in our Facebook group suggest that more non-clinical psychologists could fully bulk-bill their clients if their rebate was the same as their clinical colleagues. Of the 9 Director/Psychologist positions on the APS Board, 6 (66%) hold endorsement as clinical psychologists, while less than 30% of psychologists hold clinical endorsement. The representativeness of the APS Board has been rightfully questioned due to these figures. The Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) has recommended to the MBS review to ‘cash’ the majority of psychologists out of Medicare and therefore prevent our clients from receiving any Medicare rebate for our services. How could 8298 clinical psychologists (who geographically congregate around the capital cities) service the Australian population? To add further insult, we discover that the author of the ACPA submission recommending the removal of rebates for non-clinical psychologists and their clients (https://acpa.org.au/submission-to-medicare-review/) is granted a place on the Medicare review committee. With submissions like these being made to the MBS review, non-clinical psychologists need representation and advocacy from the APS as their peak body. ACPA have spread false information and written multiple submissions to government departments and Medicare, denigrating all non-clinical psychologists. Unfortunately, the APS has not spoken out or reprimanded those who have denigrated the reputations of around 70% of their membership base. Many clinical psychologists hold the same level of training and qualifications as ‘generalist’ or ‘registered’ psychologists. In fact, a large portion of ‘generalist‘ psychologists hold postgraduate qualifications such as masters, PhDs or specific training in particular techniques such as EMDR. It is reported by the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA) that ‘more than half of those clinical psychologists currently endorsed by the Psychology Board of Australia do not have qualifications in clinical psychology…’ (source: https://docplayer.net/7212127-Skilled-occupation-list-sol-2015-16.html). Psychologists cannot be considered better trained or skilled by virtue of holding the title ‘clinical psychologist’. The quality, skills and knowledge of a psychologist cannot be deemed by endorsement status alone. All registered psychologists can diagnose, assess and treat clients, regardless of whether they are clinically endorsed or not. We also have nine areas of endorsement in Australia (health, forensic, counselling, educational/developmental etc.), however only clinically endorsed psychologists' services receive the higher rebate. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that any type of psychologist is better or more effective than any other type of psychologist. A notable research project commissioned by the Australian Government (Pirkis et al, 2011) demonstrated clearly that psychologists treating mental illness across both tiers of Medicare Better Access produced equivalently strong treatment outcomes (as measured by the K-10 and DASS pre-post treatment) for mild, moderate and severe cases of mental illness. This research demonstrates clearly that there is no difference in treatment outcomes when comparing clinical psychologists treating under tier one of Medicare Better Access with the treatment outcomes of all other registered psychologists treating under tier two of Medicare Better Access (Pirkis et al, 2011). Pirkis, Ftanou, Williamson, Machlin, Spittal & Bassilios (2011). Australia's Better Access initiative: An evaluation. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 45:726–739 Consumers of psychology services should be able to receive the same rebate to see whichever psychologist best meets their needs and geographical location.
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    Created by Australian Psychologists
  • Protect Families and Children From Gun Violence - Let's give women and children a say!
    Last week two teenagers, Jennifer and Jack Edwards, were shot dead by their father, John Edwards, a 68-year-old Financial Planner. Mr Edwards was able to join St Mary's Indoor Shooting Centre, he then obtained a firearms licence and permit before legally buying two high-powered firearms, which he used to shoot his children. Mr Edwards was estranged from his wife Olga Edwards and custody proceedings had commenced in the Family Court. As the law currently stands, when a person applies for a firearm licence or permit to acquire additional firearms, the spouse of the applicant does not need to be notified or consulted, even when a family law matter has commenced in the courts and there has been previous history of threats and fear. If the law had required police to notify and consult with Olga Edwards before approving Mr Edwards' application for a firearm, then his firearm application could have been denied. Samantha Lee, Director of GCA states, “Current gun laws fail to adequately protect women and children from gun violence because the law requires an AVO to be in place or a charge for a criminal offence before a firearm may be revoked or suspended. By then, it may be too late to save a life.” “What GCA wants to see happen is a more pro-active approach which gives woman and spouses a voice in the gun licence continuation, application or acquisitions process.” Gun Control Australia (GCA) is calling for the implementation of robust new family law firearm safety checks to better protect families from gun violence. The call comes after the recent horrific shooting of two teenagers in West Pennant Hills by their father who legally obtained several firearms including high-powered handguns. Under the current law, police do not have to notify a spouse when their partner or ex-partner applies for a gun licence or a permit to obtain additional firearms. GCA is calling on all State and Territory Attorney General's to support our proposal for family law firearm safety checks.The checks would be compulsory and required to be undertaken once a proceeding has been lodged in the Family Court. The checks would include: (1) Firearm Licence Review, and (2) Spousal notification for all new applications for a firearm licence and permits to acquire a firearm application Firearm Licence Review The Firearm Licence Review (FLR) would require police to check if any party to the family court proceedings has a gun licence and if so, if there is any concern for the safety for the firearm licence holder, their immediate family or the public. The police would have the power to suspend or revoke a licence or not issue a permit. Spousal notification Spousal notification would require police to notify the spouse/ partner who is a party to family law custody proceedings when the other party has a gun licence or has made an application for a firearm licence or an application to obtain a permit to acquire a licence. The notification would then allow the spouse/partner to object to the continuation of the licence or the application on the grounds of concerns for personal safety to himself, herself or others. Full Scale Review We also call for the commonwealth and state parliaments of Australia to initiate a full-scale review of our nation's gun laws, which have been steadily weakened after decades of pressure by an NRA style gun lobby here in Australia. We need your support to change our gun laws to better protect families from gun violence. This petition is endorsed by Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service NSW Inc. Samantha Lee Director Gun Control Australia https://www.guncontrolaustralia.org/
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    Created by Gun Control Australia Picture
  • Ministerial intervention
    An application to sponsor Assiatou Diallo was made by her brother Thierno Diallo to visit Australia for 6 months & assist in caring for her twin niece & nephew. The twins were born in January 2018 & spent 4 weeks in hospital due to their very small size and poor weight gain. They continue to struggle with weight gain & their mother has been suffering with post natal depression. With no other family support available in Australia, they gratefully accepted Assiatou’s offer to assist. However the application for a family visitors visa was promptly refused as it was determined that there was not adequate incentive for Assiatou to return to her country at the end of her stay. It was furthermore determined that having a husband & family remaining in Guinea was not adequate incentive to return. While the decision maker at department of foreign affairs could have requested a bond as surety of Assiatou returning to Guinea, this was not requested. Instead the visa was refused outright and this family of Australian citizens are left without support in caring for 2 vulnerable babies. On the basis of the rationale provided by Department of Foreign Affairs, none of Thierno’s family will ever be able to visit him in Australia.
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    Created by Kirsty Diallo Picture
  • NAB and CEO Andrew Thorburn - Return This Pensioner his Money
    Ordinary Australians deserve to have trust in the banks and their lifelong savings protected. Do the right thing and have a moral conscience National Australia Bank
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    Created by Rashmi Dixit Picture
  • HELP create sustainable care for Veterans and their families
    Research has shown that Military Veterans have more marital problems, family violence, their partners have higher levels of distress and, their children have more behavioural problems than Veterans without PTSD. Figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), between 2001 and 2015, reveal the tragedy of 292 current and ex-defence personnel taking their lives. This highlights the importance of sustainable access to psychological care for this particularly vulnerable group.
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    Created by Drew James Picture
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