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New training opportunities

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Under an arrangement with the ACT Department of Education a series of courses are being conducted to assist emerging, new and existing small business owners and operators. All of the courses run through a small business networking group will result in successful candidates receiving a Statement of Attainment toward either a Diploma or Certificate IV. For more information about these courses contact Will Lewis on 02 9420 4322 or 0430 296245.

Free listing for Business

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Disability ACT and the Citizens Advice Bureau are currently undertaking a joint initiative in developing a new online ACT Disability Services Directory.
The new directory will be a fully searchable database, which will provide easily accessible information to people with a disability, their family, carers and support agencies, with regard to disability services in Canberra and its surrounding region.
Disability ACT and the Citizens Advice Bureau would like to invite local businesses to be a part of this valuable web-based resource. The businesses we seek are those who “go that extra mile” by providing for people with a disability, for example wheelchair accessible cafes, restaurants, hairdressers and health providers.
The listing of accessible businesses will be free of charge and will assist people with a disability and their carers in finding ‘disability friendly’ businesses in our local area. We can be contacted for information on this new venture at the Citizens Advice Bureau. Contact: Kaye Dudderidge on 6257 1687 or
email: kaye@citizensadvice.org.au

Do you have available funds to place into super?

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Vanzwan
BY DAVID BOUCHER
Seek advice as soon as possible to save tax and meet the 30 June deadline
If you want to build up your super and save tax, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to contribute up to $1million dollars of post-tax money into super – but you only have until 30 June this year.
From 1 July 2007, the level of money you can place into your super fund (post-tax contributions) will be limited to $150,000 per financial year*, potentially restricting the amount you will be able to save for your retirement. After this time, if you go over the $150,000* limit, your contributions will be taxed at the highest marginal tax rate 46.5%!
Wayne Byrne, an authorised representative of Count Financial suggests now is the time to consider placing greater amounts into your super fund to minimise tax and save for retirement. Seek advice if you have funds available from:
– The sale of a property, business or other investments;
– An inheritance, windfall or payout; or
– Any surplus money.
If you are waiting on funds from a sale, you may also be able to borrow money over the short-term to place into super to meet the 30 June deadline – seek advice on your situation.
For further information, Wayne may be contacted at Vanzwan Accounting Plus at 80 Emu Bank Belconnen or on 02 6251 4888
Wayne Byrne is an Authorised Representative of Count Financial Limited, an Australian Financial Services Licence Holder (No. 227232) and Australia’s largest independently owned network of financial planning accountants and advisers.
The advice provided is general advice only as, in preparing it, we did not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. Before making an investment decision on the basis of this advice, you should consider how appropriate the advice is to your particular investment needs, objectives and financial circumstances.
*$150,000 per person aged 65 and over, who meet the Work Test (per financial year), or $450,000 averaged over 3 years for those under 65. This applies to post-tax (non-concessional) contributions made into a super fund.
The $1million dollar limit currently available includes post-tax contributions made into super from 10 May 2006 – 30 June 2007.

Governments are in business

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BY NEIL PRIMROSE
Whether political leaders and public administrators know it or not, they’re all in the business of growing Canberra and the Capital Region. And a business that’s not growing is in decline.
We are in tough competition with innovative and entrepreneurial regional cities, such as Geelong, Newcastle and Wollongong whether we realise it or not..
We’re in competition for people, investment, cultural and sporting fixtures, infrastructure, quality of lifestyle and all the things that go to make one city a location of choice for people and businesses.
And Canberra lags well behind.
Our population base is too small to sustain the amenities and lifestyle to which we’re accustomed. We’ve lost our AFL team. We’ve lost the women’s tennis championship. We’ve lost the Australian Ballet. We’re losing our youth. Our public infrastructure is getting ragged and we can’t afford to maintain it.
Notwithstanding the current commercial building boom and the impressive building program by the Australian Government, we have below average population growth and our municipal services under increasing strain. And we can’t be complacent that the current boom will last for ever. It’s not the norm.
And let’s not get caught up in a barren debate on marginally fluctuating numbers. We have a problem – let’s turn our minds to solving it together.
Canberra, with the Capital Region, needs growth for its long-term health as a vibrant community.
The basis of growth is more people and more jobs. At this point in time it is simply more people to fill the jobs we already have.
Certainly, growth needs to be well managed for our future to be sustainable. But we must have it. And “well managed” doesn’t mean the detailed official control of a centrally planned economy.
It means partnership between governments and the wealth creators, in consultation with a wise community. Which may sound idealistic. But our city is still small enough and smart enough to achieve such partnership and to be a leader in designing a post-modern democracy.
At the moment, the biggest impediment to growth is the increasing contradiction between the old style of detailed government control and the burgeoning private sector economy that is the driver of our export-led economy.
Old mindsets about raising public revenue are forcing up house prices, creating tensions with our neighbours in the Capital Region, restricting our ability to fund public infrastructure and hampering investment in new products and services. Those businesses that succeed in Canberra do so in spite of the prevailing “control mind set”.
Much committed and earnest work is being done by our governments, but we are lagging behind our competitors – our governments’ competitors – because we are stuck in the mindset of the past.
We urgently need a robust public debate among serious people about:
. population growth;
. the role of government in partnership with the private sector;
. a different approach to raising revenue for the ACT; and
. different approach to the funding of government services.
The Canberra Business Council, with its kindred organisations, is preparing a series of position papers and public forums throughout this year to address these issues.
The first of these is on the taxi shambles. This is crippling Canberra’s reputation as a place to do business. It’s a major problem for Canberra residents. The position paper is soon to be published on the Business Council’s website at www.canberrabusinesscouncil.com.au
Dr. Neil Primrose chairs the Action Agenda Co-ordination Group of the Canberra Business Council.

Family business and succession planning

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BY CHRISTINE VINER
Family owned businesses can be found in all shapes, sizes and industries.
In many ways the family business is like any other business in that it provides products or services, has employees and generates revenue. However, the family-owned business stands unique in one respect – its principals and many employees also share a family relationship.
This family relationship fosters bonds and behavioural patterns that inevitably carry over to the workplace and as a result this overlap and the intertwining between family and business interests and concerns can create special issues which exist only in the family business environment.
One such issue, and one of the most important considerations for family businesses, is that of Succession Planning.
A 2003 study* into Australian Family and Private Businesses found that although 32% of family business owners want their business to remain a family business, only 25% of owners have sought professional Succession Planning advice – figures which support the tendency for many to put it off because of the time and effort involved in reaching the best solution.
The ACT Branch of Family Business Australia (FBA) – a member-based, not-for-profit national network of owners of family business’ and advisors – says that despite every family’s situation being different, the solution to working out a Succession Plan actually comes down to the same core considerations:
. Family business members should be encouraged to express their individual wishes and expectations in an environment which is open and constructive.
. Trust and confidence should be respected by all individual members.
. Short and long term objectives of the business need to be looked at and balanced against the needs of the family.
. Future issues and challenges for the business need to be anticipated where possible – and allow for flexibility.
. All possible options for the business should be investigated including ownership succession or management succession, taking into account the implications and consequences for each option.
. All relevant family members need to agree on the Succession Plan – if everyone cannot agree on a plan within their family, consider using the services of a specialist advisor who can assist with bringing the family together, mediating difficult issues and helping to draw up the succession plan.
More information on Succession Planning for family businesses can be obtained from visiting the Family Business Australia website on www.fambiz.com.au.

Understanding children with learning difficulties

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Hillside Health advertisement
Good hearing is the most important sense for early learning. If you compare children who are born deaf which those who are born blind, by fourth grade, the deaf children will be two years behind the blind children. Good listening is the foundation for learning. Listening is what we do with the sounds our ear capture.
10-20% of children have learning and attention problems. The causes are complex. Poor attention can be caused by an auditory processing disorder, anxiety, learning disability, a food/chemical sensitivity or even giftedness. About 70% percent of children diagnosed with a ‘learning disability’ have an auditory processing problem.
You need fast processing to understand speech. If it is slower than 100ms, you will not be able to distinguish “T” from “I” in the word “TICKED” and spelling will be hard. Processing slower than 200ms will add confusion of the “ck” sound. If it is slower than 400ms, you will be lost – the sounds will have no order at all. Children processing slower than 700ms have severe language delay and speech problems.
The earlier you start treatment for a learning difficulty, the easier it is to fix – because brain plasticity declines with age.
Hillside Health Centre (02) 6231 9111 understands learning and behavioural difficulties. We help hundreds of children each year to reach their potential – some come from as far away as India.
If you bring this when you book a listening assessment, you will receive a free Sound Health CD of your choice.

Bipolar and schizophrenia:peer support can make all the difference

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Care on Call advertisement
Friends and family are often the first to help us through life’s challenges. It’s a great feeling when we can share our thoughts and emotions; to listen and offer encouragement to one another. Opportunities to talk openly like this can make all the difference.
There are many people who live with bipolar and schizophrenia who are just like you. They too want to relate with someone, to talk about the issues confronting them. This was certainly the case for Peter Howard, a 23 year old chef who lives with schizophrenia.
“Talking to people that couldn’t understand what I was going through was frustrating”. Peter says. Recognising this, a friend spotted a brochure on the Mental Health Foundation’s Peer Support Service and encouraged Peter to attend. Now Peter is able to talk through issues in a relaxed and friendly environment with people who understand.
The Peer Support Service is a volunteer based program funded by the ACT Government. People can meet with volunteers to discuss their circumstances, opinions and to share information on services.
Volunteers are uniquely placed to provide support to those facing challenges of living with Schizophrenia or Bipolar, as they themselves have faced similar experiences. All volunteers have completed specialist training and have a strong interest in helping others.
If you know someone who may benefit from using this service and would like to find out more information, contact the Mental Health Foundation on (02) 6282 6658 or visit www.mhf.org.au or
email info@mhf.org.au

Caring for Canberra

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Carelink advertisement
By Dee McGrath
Carers ACT provides a wide range of holistic services for family Carers including:
.Information;
.Counselling;
.Respite;
.Advocacy;
.Education Workshops;
.Social/Networking
with other Carers.

The Commonwealth Carelink Centre will give you immediate access to these services as well as source information about all community care services across the ACT. The Centre provides a free information and referral service for Carers, older people and people with disabilities to assist them to live independently in their own homes, or to assist them with the move to a residential facility.
The Commonwealth Carelink Centre has information about:
.Household help
.Home modification
.Personal nursing
.Meal services
.Day care centres
.Transport
.Special services for dementia
.Continence assistance
.Aged care homes
.Allied health care, including podiatry, and
.Support Groups

The Centre can also tell you about eligibility requirements for these services and most waiting times and costs involved.
There are over 50 Commonwealth Carelink Centres across Australia and they are all linked by a free 1800 phone system which means if you are concerned about a family member living in another part of the country you can ring and be transferred through to their nearest centre for local information.
The Centre for the ACT is located at Carers ACT at the Torrens Shops, although information can also be collected at the Belconnen office. Centres can be visited in person between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or by a free phone call to 1800 052 222.
We also have resources available for those who have English as their second language and for those with hearing or sight impairments. Translating and Interpreting Service 131 450, National Relay Service (TTY) 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 052 222

On for young and old – Seniors Week a hit!

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More than 1500 Seniors attended the two concerts at the Vikings Auditorium in Erindale. Major Geoff Grey was the Musical Director and Compare for the shows, which featured the RMC Band, Louise Page, Tom Millhouse, Gordon Nicholson, Graham Robertson
BY SUE JORDEAN
The Executive Director of COTA (ACT), Mr Paul Flint declared that this year’s Seniors Week was the best ever. The Chief Minister, Mr John Stanhope officially launched the Week at a Breakfast at the Ainslie Football Club.
There were more than sixty events during the week. Seniors were encouraged to attend exercise classes, go on walks around the suburbs, try their hand at sailing on Lake Tuggeranong, go supermarket snooping with Diabetes Australia, find out about the Independent Living Centre in Weston or attend free seminars that were held during the week.
“Mythbusters” were introduced last year when the Mosque at Yarralumla and the Masonic Centre in Barton were opened. This provided an opportunity for seniors to discover something new about our community. These openings proved to be very popular so we added another seven organisations.
More than 1500 Seniors attended the two concerts at the Vikings Auditorium in Erindale. Major Geoff Grey was the Musical Director and Compare for the shows, which featured the RMC Band, Louise Page, Tom Millhouse, Gordon Nicholson, Graham Robertson, Georgia Pike and Joe McGrail-Bateup and the Legs Dancers. Both concerts were a great success.
The Great Debate was held at Old Parliament House with much style and ceremony. I was that adjudicator for the debate and was dressed in the speaker’s robes, wig and all, and was accompanied by the Clerk of the House and the Usher of the Rod. The two teams, Rostrum and the University of the Third Age debated the topic “Old Parliament House turns 80 this year and is past its use – by -date”.
Seniors Day unfortunately had to be cancelled because the venue, The Ainslie Arts Centre was badly damaged in the hailstorm on the 28th of February, and is still not habitable. We were able to notify most people that the day had been cancelled, but one of the staff and a volunteer set up a Morning Tea stand outside the building, so those who turned up were at least able to get a cup of coffee.
Even with the cancellation it was a good week – It was certainly on for young and old!

Auto Italia 2007 – beautiful Italian machinery

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Auto Italia show
BY JENNY RANSLEY
Enthusiasts flocked to Grevillea Park on March 25th to drool over the 500 beautiful Italian cars, motorcycles and scooters, revelling in the many shining examples of Italian mechanical genius clad in designer bodywork that were on display for the 23rd Auto Italia meet.
Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Lancias, Alfa Romeos, Fiats, Ducatis, Moto Guzzis, Aprilias, MV Augustas, Laverdas, Paiggio, Bimota, Benelli, Vespa Lambretta, Gilera and Italjet. Whatever Italian machinery takes your fancy, it was there!
The best of Italian machinery was on show at Auto Italia” said Judith Hazel, President of the Auto Italia Committee “It was not a concourso event but more of a social gathering. These cars, bikes and scooters are driven daily with love. Auto Italia is a fun occasion for the ordinary enthusiast”.
The featured marque for 2007 was the Lamborghini and we celebrated the 50th birthday of the Fiat 500. Race bikes are featured along with Lambretta scooters who are celebrating their 60th birthday!”
See also www.autoitaliacanberra.com.

Designer furniture exhibition

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Front Row, L-R: Rolf, Josh, Daniel and teacher Angus Watson.
BY THOMAS McCOY
The work of final-year cabinet making students from the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) will be showcased on the top level of the Canberra Centre in April.
Over a dozen pieces will be on show at the annual Furniture Design Display, including the winners of the CIT Awards for Excellence in Furniture Making Craftsmanship.
“What’s on display this year is stunning,” says teacher Des Hill, originally from Dublin. “I’ve been involved in these awards since they began in the early eighties, and every year we ask ourselves what the students can possibly do that will be original and different from what we’ve seen before. And every year they amaze us with their creativity and craftsmanship.”
Students are given just one semester to create an original piece of furniture based on a design brief. Although each piece must contain at least one drawer and a door, and feature several types of joint, students are generally free to build any furniture item they like.
“The most unusual thing we’ve ever had was a ‘coffin table’, which was a coffee table in the shape of a coffin, with a hinged lid and internal draw,” explains teacher Mirsad Ramic. “This year we have a superb selection of pieces ranging from an intricately constructed ladies sewing desk, in the classic tradition, to funky storage cabinets, plus sideboards, cocktail cabinets, entertainment units and low tables. The one thing they have in common is the quality of the workmanship and we’re delighted that people will be able to see these inspiring pieces at the Canberra Centre.”
The CIT Furniture Design Display will be on show at the top level of the Canberra Centre from Monday 2 April, right through Easter, until Sunday 15 April.
For more information on CIT courses in cabinet making, ring the CIT Information Centre on 6207 3166 or visit their website at
cit.act.edu.au.

Alps under water-

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Alps under Water
By Claudia Chaseling
With an intricate painted line work and grid structure Claudia Chaseling’s art captures the rhythm and movement of the natural sources of water and light.
In Alps under water Chaseling’s reputation as a contemporary artist is taken to new heights with a series of works combining industrial landscapes and historical and modern images with water (and light, as in the lead?). The exhibition consists of 12 print media works, three watercolours and one large mixed media on water colour paper. The exhibition’s centrepiece-Alps under water-is in eight parts and measures
220 cm x 480 cm.
“Water represents life and transition,” says Chaseling. “I use it in a cultural sense as a symbol of survival and sustainability, painting its rhythmical dynamic and its layers, depths and reflections. Different perspectives exist near each other in my work and are visible through each other,” says Chaseling whose reputation nationally and internationally is rapidly growing. In 2006 she won two prestigious awards – the Toni and Albrech Kumm Prize and a Samstag Scholarship.
Born in 1973 in Munich, Germany, Chaseling has exhibited in major galleries in her home country and in the United States, Italy, Austria, and Australia. In 2007 she will have two major solo exhibitions, one in the Staedtisches Museum Eisenhuettenstadt and the other in Kunstverein Uelzen.

Ethiopian artist & printmaker

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Falaka Armide Yimer
The unusual works of award winning Ethiopian artist and printmaker Falaka Armide Yimer will be on exhibition for the first time in Canberra at Stephanie Burns Fine Art 27 March to 28 April.
“Drifting in Time” is a rare collection (more than 20 pieces) of a small number of Yimer’s previous works and a larger number of new works representing his changing focus and style. “I used to just tell stories about daily life in Ethiopia,” says Yimer. “Although life in Australia is wonderful and free, I observe here, as I do everywhere I go, that people from my homeland continue to suffer. My focus now is to create Afro-Australian works.”
Woodblock print making, one of the oldest techniques which few perform with Yimer’s precision, is challenging and truly ‘black and white’. “You have to know exactly what you’re cutting,” says Yimer. “You can’t make mistakes. You cut the wood once and go to print. There’s no going back and there’s no time for tomorrow or after tomorrow.”
Yimer, who has more than 30 years experience as an artist, is recognised throughout Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Africa. His work is in the National Museum of African Art (Washington), the National Museum (Addis Ababa), the New York Carbide Building, Edgar A. Lipman (Maryland), Yankil Ginsburg (Washington), the German Cultural Institute (Addis Ababa), and the Ethiopian Embassy (Washington). His important work, “Drifting in Time”, was commissioned by Campbelltown Gallery and Arts Centre.

The Chinese New Year Spectacular

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Chinese Spectacular
By Songfa Liu
The NTDTV Chinese New Year Spectacular, which showed in Canberra Theatre on March 20 and 21, has completed its Australian tour for 12 shows in 5 cities but the interest in traditional Chinese culture is just beginning.
Produced by the New York based independent Chinese television network, New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), the Spectacular combined dance, music and song to present popular myths and legends from ancient Chinese culture including those from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
Mr Zhong Lee, president of NTDTV, said China has a 5000 year history and NTDTV’s aim in producing this show was to facilitate a renaissance of traditional Chinese culture through its art forms and folklore.
The interest for such culture is certainly there in Canberra as evident in the two full house shows in Canberra including an extra show added due to popular demand.
Despite the luxuriance of colour and splendid costuming in the dance scenes, the stage setting remained largely minimal with colour and variety provided by clever use of digitally animated backdrops. This was not a big budget operation but the excellent combination of beautiful traditional costumes and scenes, digitally mastered animation, stories that promote honesty, goodness and loyalty, and fascinating dancing has produced a memorable subtle entertainment of tremendous creativity and depth of feeling.
Helen Musa, arts editor of the Canberra Times, said she was captivated by the show and there was something in it for everyone. Ms Musa said you “can’t go past the costuming and dancing in the show” but acknowledged that she found the Buddhist influence in the Spectacular “extremely interesting”.
Ms Musa said she understood that the show touched on many different levels and said for her it had been most effective. “Not just the eyes, not just the ears but on the heart and soul” she said.
However, the Spectacular met disapproval of the communist Chinese government. Its consulate in Sydney advised diplomats and federal and state politicians not to see the show as reported by ABC Lateline. What are they afraid of such a nice traditional culture show?