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Canberra Business Council comments on 2007 ACT Budget

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Canberra Business Council
The Canberra Business Council applauded the government on having the courage to make some fairly hard decisions, even though we might not have fully agreed with all measures taken. We still stand by that support despite the recent ACT budget.

There are a number of very good aspects of this budget, most noticeably the fact that a budget surplus is forecast. Not only is it a surplus but it’s a whopper, and the forward estimates are also very impressive. The Budget forecasts the ACT economy will grow by 4 per cent in 2007-08, the same as currently forecast for 2006-07 and slightly stronger than the Australian Government’s forecast for the national economy in 2007-08 – 3 ¾ per cent.

The Budget contains a number of important spending initiatives that the Canberra Business Council welcomes including:

. Funding for National ICT Australia of $6m
. Funding of some affordable housing initiatives of approx $9.25m
. Funding for ACT export and trade initiatives, including the Exporters Network and at least two ACT trade delegations to promote ACT business and industry in export markets – approx 1.85m
. New funding for the Live in Canberra Campaign – $400,000 over 2 years
. Funding of $492,000 over 2 years for ACT Skills Commission
. Funding for development of the local film and media industry through a revamped ScreenACT

There are no new taxes this year which is welcomed however total tax collections are forecast to increase by 8 per cent to $482 million.

Land tax collections are expected to rise by 14 per cent to $72 million and payroll tax by 9 per cent to $239 million, without any change in existing rates. By not increasing threshold levels to at least match the Wage Prices Index or CPI, especially at a time of skill shortages when businesses are having to pay top dollar to not only attract but retain staff, businesses continue to get inappropriately penalised.

The City Centre Levy and increases in gaming taxes announced in last year’s budget will take effect from 1 July 2007.

While there is some new spending for tourism including Floriade approx $1.6 over 4 years – which the Council welcomes – it is particularly disappointed the Government has not used its strong financial position to restore cuts to tourism funding announced in last year’s budget which take effect this year.

The Council would also have liked this year’s Budget to contain a commitment by the ACT Government to developing a new Convention Centre.

The budget should have addressed the shortage of parking spaces in Civic, which is damaging many City businesses and forcing many to relocate out of the city centre.

Development of improved water infrastructure is another area of pressing need, on which the budget is silent.

The Business Council is disappointed that the Government has not used its strong financial position to restore some of the business cuts it made last year.

Given the nature of last years budget and the fact that this is not an election year, you can’t reasonably expect this years budget would include a swag of new initiatives. However this Budget has missed the opportunity to invest considerably more in the Territory’s economic future to ensure future prosperity.

In order to encourage investment in this city and to continue to prosper, we need to remove taxes that are considered to put us in a very non-competitive environment against other jurisdictions.

The Government has missed the opportunity to reduce its reliance on property transaction revenue and profits from its own land development. Unless it reduces its reliance on land revenue, its praiseworthy Housing Affordability initiatives wont have the intended impact. For the economy to grow sustainably the ACT needs to recapture its lost advantage as a city where young families can find affordable housing.

However the Government needs to be investing in business and economic infrastructure to ensure the benefits of previous tough decisions are realised. This has not yet happened to the extent required but we will continue to work with government in the years ahead to ensure this matter is addressed.

The Government’s sound but painful measures last year have produced a healthy $103 million forecast budget surplus next year – and we confidently forecast the surplus will be much stronger than this. However the government has not included in the budget the impacts of the Territory going to Stage 4 water restrictions, which if such restrictions were enforced for the whole year we understand would have a negative impact of approx $50m plus the indirect impacts on business and the economy.

The credibility of the budget and forward estimates continues to be questioned when such impacts are excluded and when prior estimates bear little resemblance to actual results. This is an area the government must address.

Craig Sloan
Chairman
Canberra Business Council

Women of Spirit Award

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Marjorie (the event''s winner) and Stacey Donnelly, who designed and created the award piece of jewellery
Women of Spirit Award
2007

On the 13th June 2007, Lifeline Canberra partnered with O2C Solutions to launch the Inaugural Women of Spirit Award. The award recognises women of the ACT and surrounding areas who have displayed courage by overcoming adversity and given back to the local community in an inspiring manner. The award honours a woman who, in overcoming her personal adversity and making a positive change in society, inspires others to make a difference in their local community.

There were 19 nominees for the 2007 Women of Spirit Award, all of whom had faced difficulties, obstacles and challenges, but had displayed resiliency and courage, building opportunity from adversity.

The Women of Spirit Award luncheon was held at the Southern Cross Club Woden. Congratulations to Marjorie Taylor on winning the 2007 Women of Spirit Award. Marjorie was presented with a rare pink argyle diamond pendant set in 18crt gold designed and created by Stacey Donnelly from the Art of Gold.

Marjorie Taylor has led a remarkable life, firstly caring for her husband Reg, who became a paraplegic in 1967 and losing her daughter, Annette, aged 11, to a cerebral haemorrhage in 1975. Marjorie fought to honour Annette’s wish to donate her organs, despite the lack of legislation in Canberra covering organ harvesting and donation. She was successful – Annette’s kidneys were transplanted into two men aged 16 and 54. She remains active in the Canberra community, volunteering at local schools, being an active member of her parish and as the President of the Belconnen Garden Club.

Lifeline Canberra provides an anonymous, caring and supportive telephone counseling service 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days of the year. Over 60% of the 20 000 calls to Lifeline come from women.

O2C Solutions recognises the invaluable service that Lifeline Canberra provides and were delighted to partner with Lifeline to present this prestigious and ground breaking award. O2C Solutions is a transformational company that uses training, coaching and consulting to build successful and resilient people, leaders and organisations.

ASP.NET Blogging Software

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Blogging books booming
Of all of the different kinds of programs on the market today, many people feel that Microsoft’s recently released ASP.NET blogging software is the most advanced. In many ways, this particular program is more adaptable and more versatile than any other blogging software on the market. Although most of the
people who favor the program are accomplished coders
who are familiar with programming languages like html
and C++, this new program from Microsoft is much
easier to use than a lot of other blog design software that incorporates hands-on coding. One of the things that makes ASP.NET stand apart from its competitors is the fact that it allows designers to use a wide variety of programming languages when they build a blog. This means that a larger number of coders can realize their dreams by programming in the language with which they are most familiar and in which they are most accomplished.

A lot of people have welcomed ASP.NET blogging
software with enthusiasm and with open arms. However, that doesn’t mean that the ASP.NET program
is right for everybody. If you are not familiar with
computer languages like javascript or perl, you may
find that the release of ASP.NET does not directly
affect you at all. However, if you are an experienced
web designer, you are likely to find much to celebrate in this exciting new program.

We provide free articles and information. Check us out at Free Articles

Arts Facilities Benefit from Upgrades

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Karin with the Director of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre Evol McLeod.
Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald MLA has welcomed the news that a number of Canberra’s art facilities would be upgraded in the 2007-08 ACT Budget.

More than $320,000 was allocated in the Budget for capital upgrades to Watson Arts Centre, Strathnairn Homestead, Manuka Arts Centre, Ainslie Arts Centre, Gorman House Arts Centre, the Belconnen Theatre and the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

The Tuggeranong Arts Centre will receive new signage and its floor will be resurfaced.

“New signage will better promote the Centre to the community and encourage people passing by to drop in and check out the latest exhibition or play that may be showing,” Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald said.

“The Tuggeranong Arts Centre plays an important role in the arts and general community, so it is wonderful news that funding has been provided to give it a facelift.”

Ms MacDonald also welcomed the announcement that $2.3 million would be invested in public art over the next four years.

The new Percent-for-art Program will see the equivalent of one per cent of each year’s new capital works budget allocated to commission new public artworks and to care for the existing public art collect.

“This funding will enable artworks to be placed into public spaces that Canberrans occupy and move through everyday and will make a significant contribution to the cultural life of the city,” Ms MacDonald said.

Ms MacDonald met with the Director of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre Ms Evol McLeod after the Budget announcement to celebrate the news the Centre would receive new signage and flooring.

Chifley Community Celebrates

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Karin with Chifley residents Rebecca Evans, Martin Miller and his daughter Imogen and Louise Evans and her son Reuben.
Families from the Chifley community met recently to celebrate the Budget announcement that their playground will be upgraded.

The Chifley Shopping Centre playground was allocated $100,000 for an upgrade in last week’s Budget, which will see it expanded and equipment replaced. This is part of the $2.8 million the Government has invested into upgrading and improving facilities and infrastructure at local and district parks across the Territory.

Labor Member for Brindabella Karin MacDonald MLA is a resident of Chifley and has lobbied with the community for the playground to be upgraded.

“The Chifley Shops is a thriving centre that receives many visitors throughout the day. It is a meeting point for the community and a place for them to come together to enjoy a coffee and a chat and for their children to play,” Ms MacDonald said. “Over the years, the existing playground has become rundown so it is wonderful news it will be upgraded to better reflect the community’s need.”

Canberra Bookworms Reading for a Reason

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Kaleen residents Noah and Merryn take part in MS readathon together
Across Canberra, thousands of eager young minds are swelling, as they take part in reading activities for the 2007 MS Readathon.

The MS Readathon, now in its 28th year of operation, aims to inspire Aussie Kids to read to change the lives of Australians living with Multiple Sclerosis.

For many participants, the Readathon is their first exposure to philanthropy. This makes MS Readathon an important program for the community, having a positive impact for people with MS, as well as enhancing the literacy skills and social awareness of all children involved.

In 2007, 6900 schools across Canberra, including 293 schools from across the ACT region are participating. A staggering 700,000 registration forms have been given out to Australian children, the highest amount that has ever been distributed.

Registrations through the website, www.msreadathon.org.au have been tremendous, exceeding previous years. The all important registrations coming through the post however, especially given the record number of forms available, have left everybody wondering, where are all the bookworms?

A record number of schools hosted a visit from an MS Readathon community representative this year, so they certainly are out there. It is likely they are waiting until the end of June to send their registration forms in. It is important to register as early as possible, to ensure students involved in MS Readathon achieve the maximum benefit from their experience.

“MS Readathon is recognised as one of the most positive fundraising events of the year, and if all students return their registration forms we will have record participation again this year” said Mr Cammell.

It is not too late to register for the Readathon, and read to help improve the lives of Australians living with Multiple Sclerosis.

WHAT: MS Readathon
When: All through June,
How: Post registration forms available from schools and libraries, visit www.msreadathon.org.au or call 1300 677 323.

Panta Rei Fusiondancing

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Panta Rei Fusiondancing at a recent Canberra performance; (from left to right:) Marianne, Jonathan and Panta Rei.
PANTA REI Fusiondancing is a form of dancing that combines dance styles such as Spanish-Gypsy, African, Asian, Middle Eastern dancing and modern dancing, by fusing them yet while retaining many of their characteristic features. The ‘Dancing to World Music’ class is very relaxed and sociable, without the stress to memorise steps. It is a great way to get fit and stay in shape. No previous dance experience is necessary. It’s low impact and there is no pressure – nobody is judged and there are no mistakes, only ‘little variations’ that help towards each dancer’s self-development. You can wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, perhaps you can tie a scarf around your hips, but definitely bring a smile along.

Panta Rei is the philosophy of Heraclitus, who lived around 500 BC in ancient Greece. It translates as “everything flows”, indicating that everything is constantly changing. Applied to dancing, it means that movements smoothly flow into each other, as the dancer is immersed in music and inspired by ambiance.

Panta Rei, the dancer, set out to design choreographies along this philosophy, as well as costumes that emphasise flow, such as veils and wide skirts with lots of flamboyant colours. Panta Rei has been a teacher for most of her working life, teaching different subjects at many different schools, but her real passion has always been with dance. She studied with various dance specialists in Europe, the US, New Zealand and Australia, both in classical, modern and ethnic dance. Eventually, she combined the various styles into a whole new type of dance, resulting in the spectacular choreographies, costumes and rhythms of Panta Rei Fusiondancing.

Dance classes are at Gorman House (B block), Braddon, on most Thursdays or Fridays (call or check the web for details!). The class ‘Dancing to World Music and to Live Hand-Drumming’ starts at 6:15 pm. You don’t need a partner. No need to be afraid to brave the cold, because the hall is heated. Special discounts apply this winter – call for more details!

It is followed by a hand-drumming group at 8.00 pm – bring your own hand-drum (e.g. a darabooka, tabla or djembe), or contact Panta Rei for more information at: 0405 638910
fusiondancing@gmail.com
www.pantarei.org

NEW WEBSITE STREAMLINES GRANTS FUNDING PROCESS FOR COMMUNITY

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Finding and applying for funding through the ACT Government Grants Programs is now much easier with a new website launched today by ACT Minister for Community Services Ms. Katy Gallagher MLA.

The grants portal (www.grants.act.gov.au) is a single access point that will provide information on all grants programs across the ACT Government.

Grants will be listed under two key streams: health and community wellbeing grants and city and territory service grants.

“Local organisations and individuals can apply for funding under 22 diverse grants programs,” Ms. Gallagher said.

“Each year we see the ACT Government’s grants funding at work through the delivery of a range of community-based services – along with innovative projects that enhance our wellbeing, the arts, the environment and our heritage.”

“In the past, information about the ACT Government’s grants rounds has been spread across a number of agency websites.”

“By using the new grants portal, people can access everything they need to know about the grants process – including the different types of programs, the amount of funding available, eligibility criteria and the assessment process.”

“People will also find tips on putting together an application, as well as information on initiatives funded in previous grants rounds. Future enhancement of the website will work towards online lodgement and monitoring of applications.”

The grants portal was a commitment under the 2006-07 ACT Budget. The site is managed by the ACT Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services.

For more information visit www.grants.act.gov.au. Full list of ACT Government Grants Programs attached.

Tobacco reform continues

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The ACT Government had significantly reformed the laws governing the sale and use of tobacco for the promotion of better health for people living in the ACT, the Minister for Health Ms. Katy Gallagher said today.

“We have made great advancements in reform around control, use and sale of tobacco – but there is still more work to be done,” Ms. Gallagher said.

Nearly 19,019 Australians die from tobacco-related illnesses every year, compared to 2,831 from alcohol, 863 from drugs.

The Minister said that the work that had already been done was vast, and covered many aspects such as the enclosed public places legislation which ensured that indoor areas of pubs, clubs and restaurants in the ACT went smoke-free from 1 December 2006.

“This reform seeks to protect workers and the public from being exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, reduces the chances of young people taking up smoking and encourages smokers to make the decision to quit smoking,” she said.

ACT’s progress on tobacco reform include:

. 1994 – smoking banned in many enclosed public places – retail shops, sporting, educational and recreational facilities;
. 1995 – Restaurants and cafés go smoke-free
. 1999 – age of consent from young people increased from 16 – 18 years old;
. August 2005 – the sale of fruit flavoured cigarettes prohibited;
. September 2006 – vending machines banned in the ACT;
. December 2006 – enclosed public places legislation enacted;
. 2006 – Legislation enacted for compliance testing for sale of tobacco to minors;

“The ACT’s licensing system – which has required retailers and wholesalers to be licensed since 1999 – allowed the government to move swiftly to ban the sale of fruit flavoured cigarettes through a condition on the licenses in August 2005.”

Since 2000, there have been restrictions on the number of points of sale for tobacco, product displays and health warning signage requirements which reduced the visibility of tobacco products to the general public.

“Vending machines were banned on 1 September last year, which makes it more difficult for young people to make illegal purchases of tobacco,” Ms. Gallagher said.

The Tobacco (Compliance Testing) Amendment Act 2006 was passed in 2006 to achieve and maintain high levels of retail compliance to the ‘sales to minors’ provision of the Tobacco Act.

“As the common age to begin smoking is 15-16 years of age, compliance tests ensure that tobacco products are not sold to people under 18 year olds.”

The government has more reforms currently under consideration including further restricting tobacco use in outdoor eating areas, around building entrances, and at under-age functions.

Future tobacco reforms currently being considered by the Government include:

. Seller controlled units;
. Further point of sale restrictions;
. Legislating on split packs and fruit flavoured cigarettes;
. Prohibition of smoking in outdoor eating areas;
. Prohibition of smoking in front of building entrances
. Prohibition of smoking at underage functions;
. Prohibition of smoking in playgrounds
. Prohibition of smoking in cars with children;

The government will be progressing these reforms this year.

Ms Gallagher said tobacco was the single largest preventable cause of premature death in Australia and as long as this was the case, governments would need to continue to do more to change this fact, and work to reduce the harmful effects that smoking has on the community.

April sees highest ever elective surgery throughput

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ACT Health Minister Ms. Katy Gallagher MLA announced today that for the first 10 months of this financial year, our public hospitals have provided 7,428 elective surgery operations – an increase of 151 above the 7,277 elective surgery operations reported for the same period in 2005-06.

“The 687 elective surgery operations provided in April 2007 was the highest ever April total for an April which included the Easter break,” Ms Gallagher said.
“This total number of operations provided in April was 102 higher than the 585 elective surgery operations provided in April 2006 – that’s a 17% increase.”
“This level of activity occurred at a time when levels of emergency surgery have increased significantly.”

“While the level of demand for emergency surgery has moderated in recent months, to the end of March 2007 our public hospitals have managed 7% more emergency surgery cases than for the same period last year.”

“This data provides continuing evidence of the effectiveness of the Government’s increased investment in elective surgery in the ACT.”

“In previous years, increases in emergency surgery meant a decrease in elective care. The additional elective surgery funding provided by the Government in recent budgets has effectively ended this relationship.”

“We will maintain our focus on people who have been waiting too long for care and while I can report that the number of people waiting more than one year for surgery has dropped by 26% over the two years between April 2005 and April 2007 – there are still 934 people on the lists who have been waiting over 365 days for surgery.”

“Last week in the 2007-2008 budget, we announced additional funding for elective surgery which will enable the commissioning of a 10th operating theatre at The Canberra Hospital for five days per week.”

“The additional funding in this Budget will result in an estimated 9,620 removals from the elective surgery waiting list during 2007-08,” Ms. Gallagher concluded.
The newly established surgical services taskforce will continue to consider a range of issues facing surgical services in the ACT, including how to make further inroads into the number of people waiting too long.

New agreement for public sector nurses reached

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The ACT Minister for Health, Ms. Katy Gallagher MLA, today announced that agreement ‘in principle’ had been reached between ACT Health and the Australian Nursing Federation on a new Union Collective Agreement for public sector nurses and midwives.

Ms Gallagher said she had been very heartened by the spirit of cooperation that had permeated negotiations between ACT Health and the ANF.

“I believe that this outcome will be mutually beneficial for all involved and demonstrates the good-will between the two parties from the beginning,” Ms. Gallagher said.

“I would like to extend my thanks to the ANF for their willingness to negotiate an outcome which is beneficial to both the government, and to the nurses,” she said.

Ms Gallagher said that the Government acknowledged the pivotal role that nurses and midwives play in the ACT Health system.

“We recognise that attracting and retaining high quality nurses and midwives, who choose to work in ACT Health, is key to the capability of the health system being able to deliver quality health services,” Ms Gallagher said.

Ms Gallagher said the draft ACT Public Sector Nursing and Midwifery Staff Collective Agreement 2007-2009, which replaces the ACT Public Sector Nursing Staff Agreement 2004-2007, seeks to provide exceptional working conditions for nursing and midwifery staff, with a particular focus on achieving a work-life balance.

“This recognises the nature and demographics of the nursing and midwifery workforce and the need for them to be empowered to continue to deliver high quality health care services,” Ms Gallagher said.

Features of the new Agreement include:
. salary increases of 4.5 per cent from the first pay period after 23 March 2007, and 3.75% in March 2008 and March 2009;
. increases in the annualised salary loading from 25% to 35% for midwives employed in the Canberra Midwifery Program;
. various flexible shifts duration from 4 to 12 hours subject to mutual agreement;
. establishment of a new classification – Assistant in Nursing; and
. implementation of the Enrolled Nurse Level 2 classification.

The draft Agreement will now be checked by the Workplace Authority (previously known as the Office of the Employment Advocate) to ensure that it contains no prohibited content.

Once that check has been done, the final draft of the Agreement will be made available to nurses and midwives for consideration, over a seven day period.

A secret ballot for a formal vote will then be independently conducted.

If the Agreement is accepted by the majority of nurses and midwives who vote, then the new Agreement will be signed by the parties and lodged with the Workplace Authority.

Ms Gallagher said negotiations for the new draft agreement had progressed well considering the new Federal industrial relations legislation regime.

She said the agreement would incorporate the relevant conditions of the ACT Nurses Award 2000 and the common conditions of the ACT Public Service Core Template Agreement to form a comprehensive Agreement.

ACT Health and the ANF are now in the final stages of concluding the drafting of clauses.

Canberra clinical researchers showcased at TCH

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Clinical researchers were ideally placed to help translate robust research into good clinical practice, ACT Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, said today.

Ms Gallagher was opening a showcase of clinical research in Canberra at the Canberra Hospital.

“Those who work as clinicians, the doctors, nurses and allied health professionals, as well as conducting research, both as individuals and groups, are ideally placed to assist the translation of robust research into good clinical practice,” she said.

“These researchers also provide excellent examples of scholarship to students and junior medical, nursing and allied health staff and encourage them to pursue their own research.

“This showcase of clinical research provides the opportunity for clinical researchers in the Canberra region to highlight their research activities in the hospital and ACT Health community.”

Ms Gallagher said the showcase was being held as part of Medical Research Week organised by the Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR).

She said the showcase brought together an exciting range of topics involving local scientists.

These topics covered research aimed directly at improving the health of the community, clinical trials conducted at Canberra Hospital and first-hand accounts by researchers on how their research improved their clinical practice.

The winner of the Guan Chong Young Investigator Award is Dr Peter Tyrer. His research area is enterocyte-moncyte relationships with application to pathophysiology research, oral vaccine development and drug delivery.

Go RED for women's health this June

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Minister for Health and Women, Ms. Katy Gallagher MLA has this week urged Canberrans to get involved in The Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women Campaign and be part of a fun campaign which seeks to raise awareness about the risks of heart disease.

Friday 15TH June is Go Red For Women Day and The Heart Foundation needs your help in raising awareness about heart disease in women and at the same time, to raise much needed funds.

Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian women – a fact that will surprise many Australians. On average heart disease kills almost 220 women per week or 31 Australian women each day. Women are also four times more likely to die of heart disease than breast cancer.

“This campaign aims to alert women about their risk of heart disease and inform them about the actions they can take to improve their heart health,” the Minister said.

“Many people are still not fully aware of the tragic reality of heart disease,” she said, “and in particular, women don’t see heart disease as a leading cause of death in women.”

“Go for Red” – that is – wear something red on Friday the 15th of June and/or participate in an activity where you can help raise awareness of heart disease in women.”

Women can reduce their risk of heart disease by making smart health choices such as not smoking, eating healthy foods, doing some form of regular physical activity and by ‘knowing their numbers’. This means finding out their cholesterol level, blood pressure and waist circumference.

Friday, June 15 2007 is the official ‘red letter day’ when all Canberrans can support Go Red for Women by wearing a splash of red. You can also sell and or purchase special Go Red for Women merchandise to raise vital funds for the Heart Foundation for research and education into women and heart disease. Go Red for Women merchandise items include key rings, pens, emery boards, pins and flashing hearts in the ACT.

To register for a Go Red for Women merchandise kit call 1300 550 282. To find our more information about Go Red for Women events in your state or territory go to www.heartfoundation.com.au.

Cut-A-Rama – What a Success!

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Shaving a beard off!
A freezing cold night on the second day of winter didn’t deter the Just Cuts Stylists at this year’s Cut-A-Rama in Yass. Running throughout the evening of Saturday, June 2nd, the Stylists shaved, snipped and sprayed their way through over 200 participants to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service on the eve of the annual Royal Flying Doctor Outback Car Trek.

Just CutsTM Founder and CEO, Denis McFadden says, “It was a highly successful Cut-A-Rama, with over $6,230 raised for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The most outstanding credit should go to those who had their heads shaved, sprayed and chopped in some of the craziest styles yet. Also to those who helped make the night such an amazing success and raise the money.”

Canberra based Franchise Owners Robert & Sonia Holgate whose Stylists worked at the event says, “Wow, what a night! Great Smiles, great attitudes and good humour made this event a huge success, especially for our team of Stylists who felt privileged to be a part of the Just Cuts effort in raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.”

“Cut-A-Rama is a night that a lot of people look forward to, so much so, that some leave their hair uncut for up to six months. We even had a lady shave all of her hair off for this event!” Says Denis McFadden, currently on the trek for the ninth year running.

Die hard trekkers arrived from as far away as Scotland and New Zealand to be a part of Cut-A-Rama and the Outback Car Trek. Les Coles who has participated in the Cut-A-Rama and the Outback car trek for the past 13 years.

The staff at the Royal Hotel in Yass certainly had their work cut out for them, with over 300 people attending the night. Hotel owner, Trudy Price says, “Everyone in the town came along to celebrate and really got into the whole spirit. Our licensee, Robbie Senior even had his head shaved into a mohawk. The atmosphere was utter craziness!”

Since 1998, Just CutsTM stylists and Franchise Owners have raised over $250,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Their reason for this is simple: “Royal Flying Doctors is an iconic Australian institution,” says McFadden. “We needed to choose a charity that related to every state and territory throughout Australia because we’re located nationally.”