November, 2018

Time to discuss the difficult issues, including uniting states under FFA banner

Up for grabs: Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany, FFA CEO David Gallop,FFA chairman Frank Lowy and SBS managing director Michael Ebeid at the announcement of a four-year deal with Fox Sports and SBS for football coverage in November 2012. SBS is now reconsidering its football commitments. Photo: Brendan Esposito Soccer Broadcasting Service: Andy Paschalidis, Les Murray and Johnny Warren were the faces of SBS football coverage in the early days.
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Up for grabs: Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany, FFA CEO David Gallop,FFA chairman Frank Lowy and SBS managing director Michael Ebeid at the announcement of a four-year deal with Fox Sports and SBS for football coverage in November 2012. SBS is now reconsidering its football commitments. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Up for grabs: Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany, FFA CEO David Gallop,FFA chairman Frank Lowy and SBS managing director Michael Ebeid at the announcement of a four-year deal with Fox Sports and SBS for football coverage in November 2012. SBS is now reconsidering its football commitments. Photo: Brendan Esposito

Up for grabs: Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany, FFA CEO David Gallop,FFA chairman Frank Lowy and SBS managing director Michael Ebeid at the announcement of a four-year deal with Fox Sports and SBS for football coverage in November 2012. SBS is now reconsidering its football commitments. Photo: Brendan Esposito

The game will shortly confront some difficult conversations that we need to conduct openly and always with one fundamental principle in mind: the best interests of the game must prevail at all times. One such conversation was discussed here last week –  the future of youth football in NSW and the roadblocks being thrown up by incumbent clubs that are contrary to both good practice and the game’s interests.

The overriding context is that each of us is only of value to the game to the extent that we contribute to taking it forward. None of us are immune from this test, and playing a role in football is a privilege, not a right.

This test is universal and many sections of the game will be assessed shortly with the imminent release of the FFA’s Whole of Football Plan. Essentially, this was a consultation process to uncover the most pressing and strategically important challenges facing the game and to plot the path towards becoming the No.1 sport, a meritorious goal, as distinct from what used to be merely a dream.

The various pillars of the plan to be released will be, in themselves, worthwhile but I strongly believe that without taking a fully integrated approach as the starting point, football can never fulfil its true potential.

Following a wonderful Asian Cup and with the A-League flying, now is the perfect time to discuss complete alignment from top to bottom, to maximise efficiencies in what is still a fundamentally inefficient administrative structure and create the ideal conditions for unhindered growth.

It is time to have the difficult conversation about aligning the states under one entity as subsidiaries of the FFA rather than semi-autonomous political bodies, with the same rationale applied all the way down the chain to the grassroots and including the hundreds of associations across the country.

Every rung of the football ladder represents a level of politics we have no need for and that serves no purpose other than to create unnecessary wastage of time and resources. The game can be managed as a unified entity with a clear set of priorities and a singular focus and voice.

Spending time in Canberra playing against the politicians for Harmony Day earlier this week also reinforced this view, with the feedback that football remains fragmented in its approach and largely uncoordinated in its message as measured against other sports with a consistent, national strategy and relatively simple, administrative pyramid.

Face it, sometimes the different levels of the game fight against each other for finite resources, and the game needs to be able to allocate these in a more strategic and efficient manner.

Before we look at each of the  components of a 20-year plan, let’s utilise the conditions of unity resulting from a decade of change and progress and together confront the elephant in the room – the multiple political and administrative levels the game still labours under – to undertake an historic realignment that is the single most important hurdle to a glorious future.

It is great that we are now at the point of having conversations about the long term, however difficult, so let’s tackle the challenge of full alignment in a spirit of service to the game, and never the other way around.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

More women join Holcim

Karina Berzins has no qualms working in a male-dominated industry.
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Karina Berzins has no qualms working in a male-dominated industry.

Karina Berzins has no qualms working in a male-dominated industry.

The employment of women in the building and construction sector has long been at low levels, but Holcim Australia is doing its best to rectify that situation.

At its Lynwood quarry site near Goulburn, New South Wales, five of its 30 employees are women, with those numbers expected to grow in 2015.

Karina Berzins (lab technician), Alana White (senior environment and community liaison manager), Elizabeth Phillips (weighbridge/administration operator), Cathy Marsh (weighbridge/administration operator) and Rebecca Dolby (administration) are the five women employed.

For Berzins, who works in a new multimillion-dollar lab, it was a dream come true to be hired by a company that  knew she was pregnant. “I can’t fault Holcim at all because I was pregnant when I went for the job interview and I told them I wanted to take maternity leave shortly after starting so I was surprised when they offered me the job,” Berzins says.

Berzins, who previously managed medical clinics in the city and Double Bay, says her new job will provide an interesting insight into the specifics of quarries.

“We will be testing material from the quarry to ensure that they meet the specifications required,” she says. “The tests can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days.”

The company has invested $250 million into the region to help build vital community infrastructure such as roads, houses, schools, civil projects and commercial buildings.

The state’s Minister for Women, Pru Goward, is adamant that women can make a difference in any industry. “Women today have more career choices than ever before,” Goward says.

“Despite the number of options available, however, women are still under-represented in traditional male-dominated trades and apprenticeships.

“Change will take time, however, male-dominated industries are realising that in order to be competitive they need to employ the best people, including women.

“The best career advice I could give to a young woman is not to hesitate taking the next step. Women should take risks and back themselves to get ahead. Women need to stop believing they need to be overqualified to do the job. There’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty and getting experience under your belt.”

Employment in the Goulburn area is not easy with few opportunities therefore those  those who can find work are grateful.

For Marsh, who job shares with Phillips –  both work a 32-hour week –  it is a dream to work so close to home. “They are flexible with time off, which is great because I have two children to look after,” Marsh says. “Finding work in the area isn’t easy.”

And what it is like to work in a male-dominated industry?

“You need a good sense of humour,” Marsh says, laughing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Boy, 4, thrown from crash vehicle

A four-year-old boy is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being thrown from a car in a crash in WA’s north.
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Major Crash investigators are seeking public assistance in their investigation of the crash, which happened at the remote community of Wangkatjungka, near Fitzroy Crossing, 2568km north of Perth, on Friday afternoon.

Police say that about 5:30pm, a blue Holden Commodore sedan being driven on the Wangkatjungka Community Access Road, about 150kmeast of Fitzroy Crossing, was involved in a crash.

It is believed, for an unknown reason, the boy fell out of the vehicle while it was in motion.

He was taken to Fitzroy Crossing Hospital and flown by Royal Flying Doctor Service to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children on Saturday morning.

The 30-year-old male driver and his 27-year-old woman passenger were uninjured.

Police would like to speak to anyone who saw the crash or the vehicle prior to the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.  Follow WAtoday on Twitter

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Medicare branch closures and digital push makes it hard for seniors

Closed: 170 Medicare branches around Australia have been closed for alternative Medicare Centrelink one-stop shops. Photo: Jeffrey Chan The Medicare office in Town Hall Arcade has closed.
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Closed: 170 Medicare branches around Australia have been closed for alternative Medicare Centrelink one-stop shops. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Closed: 170 Medicare branches around Australia have been closed for alternative Medicare Centrelink one-stop shops. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The ongoing closure of Medicare branches, amid a push to move government services online risks disenfranchising older Australians, seniors advocacy groups say.

Since January, Medicare branches in King Street, Town Hall and Wynyard have been closed and replaced by a digital hub in Martin Place.

The myGov shopfront, which centralises Centrelink, Medicare and Australian Taxation Office services, has staff on hand to help people use government services online and includes a mobile apps bar and self-service computers.

In November 2009, a major overhaul of the sector began merging Medicare and Centrelink branches into “one-stop shops” in an effort to cut “red tape”.

More than 170 Medicare branches across Australia have since undergone the merge, however advocacy groups are warning government agencies to consider the different markets they must service.

“Within the marketplace there are a range of participants and you simply cannot sustain dismissing part of the market,” said Michael O’Neill, chief executive of National Seniors Australia.

The decision to create a one-stop shop was based on a reduction in the number of customers visiting service centres to claim, due partly to the “increasing number of doctors offering patients the ability to claim electronically at their surgery”, said Hank Jongen, general manager of the Department of Human Services.

“Nationally, more than 95 per cent of all Medicare claims are lodged electronically at the point of service.”

Mr O’Neill said a common complaint voiced by National Seniors Australia members is that many GPs and specialists are still not set up for the on-the-spot payment.

Medicare figures from last month show more than 91 per cent of general practitioner claims and more than 73 per cent of specialist claims were lodged at the point of service.

A recommendation in the Financial Systems Inquiry last year identified the need for a “technology-neutral approach to regulation”, allowing businesses to shift to electronic service delivery as a default.

Implicit in this was the need to ensure older Australians or those with limited internet access could “select alternative methods to access services”.

“There will continue to be people who won’t be able to embrace technology or won’t be able to remain current … all government decisions need to make sure people aren’t disenfranchised from operating,” Mr O’Neill said.

Research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority shows 81 per cent of Australians are now connected to the internet at home, and smartphone penetration will reach 91 per cent by 2017.

Users of the government’s smartphone services have slammed a number of new apps linked to the MyGov portal in recent weeks.

“Horribly non-functional app”, “useless”, and “truly awful” are some of the iTunes online user reviews for the government’s Express Plus Medicare app.

While online services can provide real benefits for a broad sector of the community, they don’t meet the needs of everyone, said Amelia Christie, manager of research and advocacy at Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW.

“The fact is there are a lot of older people who aren’t online and they should not be expected to go online to access essential government services.”

Mr Jongen said the Department of Human Services is continuing to roll out the one-stop shop initiative to ensure the best value for taxpayers.

“In many cases this has resulted in the co-location of services that are in close proximity to each other, resulting in savings to the department through reduced property operating costs.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

South Canberra shock defending champs Arawang in netball opener

Defending champions Arawang have had an early reminder their title defence won’t be plain sailing after they were shocked 44-43 by South Canberra in the first round of the state league netball competition on Friday.
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After finishing second from bottom last season, a goal on the full-time buzzer from South Canberra goal shooter Victoria Schmahl sealed the upset.

In other games, last year’s grand finalists Tuggeranong defeated Canberra 48-38, while Belconnen proved too strong for Queanbeyan winning 55-34.

Tuggeranong trailed by a goal at half-time but seven straight goals at the start of the third term was the difference.

“Our first half was pretty scratchy, but the second half we got our game together,” Tuggeranong coach Nicole Bowles said. “Defensively we were strong and I was really happy with Sophie Immonen at goal attack. Losing last year’s grand final has made the girls determined to go one better this year, but we’re just taking it one game at a time.”

Canberra coach Tara Steel said her players would be better for their first game effort.

“I thought for three quarters we played well and there are a lot of positives for us to work on going forward,” Steel said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.