‘Why aren’t you here?’ Canberra protesters call on government to listen to Indigenous voices | The Canberra Times


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January 26 is a public holiday for most Canberrans but for Indigenous Australians, it’s a day of mourning and, ultimately, survival. Uncle Mulla of the Aboriginal protest motorcycle group Black Death Australia said it was wonderful to see Canberra’s Invasion Day rally grow so large in his fourth year attending. The protest saw a large crowd gather on the front doorstep of Parliament House on Tuesday morning. Uncle Mulla said it was important to keep showing up on January 26 to remind Australia it was not a joyous day for First Nations people. “We’re still in mourning for the invasion that happened in 1778,” Uncle Mulla said. “It’s no day of celebration for us, you know, for anyone really, this is a day of murder, rape, pillage everything like that. “[But] this is really wonderful, black and white together, and so it should be.” Justine Brown gave an impassioned speech during the rally, calling on the politicians who work within Parliament to start paying attention. She was proud that so many non-Indigenous people were taking notice and showing up, but it was now up to those in positions of power to follow suit. “Our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters are having those conversations with us and having a deeper understanding as to why we come here, and why we chant, what we chant, and why we have speakers that speak so proudly,” Ms Brown said. It was Ms Brown’s 27th year of showing up to Invasion Day protests, and she noted 2021’s was one of the biggest turnouts she’s ever seen in Canberra. “It makes me feel proud. It makes me feel that my people aren’t alone,” Ms Brown said. “We have allies that are willing to put their selves on the line for a cause like this. Anything could have happened today, anything, and they still came with their families and they still stood strong.” Watching the speakers from the side of the crowd was Dwayne Connors. He also wants politicians to wake up and start listening to First Nations people. “Obviously this is Aboriginal land … we’ve been here for 60,000 years, so I’m just here to help support me and my people,” Mr Connors said. “We’ve come together, we’re stronger, our voices will be heard a lot louder. We’re out here so we’re not staying silent anymore.” For Leah Brideson and her family, the threat of COVID-19 transmission meant they traded in their usual trip to Yabun in Sydney for Canberra’s rally. Ms Brideson said it was important for all Australians to acknowledge that it wasn’t a day the whole country could get behind. “This day is not Australia Day for me, it’s about survival of my people and about acknowledging and respecting the past,” Ms Brideson said. While she was usually in Sydney for the protest, she was heartened by the big turnout locally. “It’s quite empowering,” Ms Brideson said. “I have so many non-Aboriginal friends that come and support us, it feels so empowering that we have support behind us.” She had a simple message for the politicians who had attended official ceremonies across Lake Burley Griffin for the day: “Why aren’t you here?” Ms Brown added it was a simple first step for politicians to start recognising some of the injustices Indigenous Australians were still facing more than 200 years after the arrival of white settlers. She invited Mr Morrison to sit down with the community at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, just a short few hundred metres from Parliament House. “Come to the Tent Embassy and have a yarn with our elders, have a proper consultation and see what the needs are of our people,” Ms Brown said. “You can’t advocate if you’ve never listened.”

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Job losses from virus 4 times as bad as ’09 financial crisis


GENEVA (AP) — Four times as many jobs were lost last year due to the coronavirus pandemic as during the worst part of the global financial crisis in 2009, a U.N. report said Monday.

The International Labor Organization estimated that the restrictions on businesses and public life destroyed 8.8% of all work hours around the world last year. That is equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs – quadruple the impact of the financial crisis over a decade ago.

“This has been the most severe crisis for the world of work since The Great Depression of the 1930s. Its impact is far greater than that of the global financial crisis of 2009,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. The fallout was almost equally split between reduced work hours and “unprecedented” job losses, he said.

The United Nations agency noted that most people who lost work stopped looking for a job altogether, likely because of restrictions on businesses that hire in big numbers like restaurants, bars, stores, hotels and other services that depend on face-to-face interactions.

The drop in work translates to a loss of $3.7 trillion in income globally — what Ryder called an “extraordinary figure” — with women and young people taking the biggest hits.

The ILO report expects a bounce back in jobs in the second half of the year. But that depends on a reduction in coronavirus infections and the rollout of vaccines. Currently, infections are rising or remain stubbornly high in many countries and vaccine distribution is still slow overall.

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Canberra e-bike library set to grow due to demand | The Canberra Times


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Additional bikes are set to be added to Canberra’s electric-bike library, as demand for the service grows. The initiative, which allows Canberrans to loan an electric bike for two weeks to test them out before buying one, has encouraged more than 40 people use the service since it was set up mid last year. However, the waiting list for people to hire the electric bikes has expanded to more than 200 people. See-Change, the organisation that runs the library, said it was looking to add extra vehicles to the fleet to help clear the waiting list, as well as potentially shortening the loan time from 14 to 10 days. Executive officer Brook Clinton said more people were looking to see how electric bikes would fit into their lives and daily routine. “The waiting list has expanded as more people have heard about it,” Ms Clinton said. “The bike fleet at the moment is small, but we’re hoping to see the pilot extended and allow for more people to try out the bikes.” The pilot program was initially slated to run until June this year. Ms Clinton said the cost of electric bikes, with basic models starting at around $5000, had been a deterrent for many wanting to buy one of the vehicles, and that the library was helping people to make up their minds on a potential purchase. “There are some standard e-bikes that people can try or there’s other models that are more suited to carrying children or other passengers, and others that are accessible for older people,” Ms Clinton said. Paris Lord was one of the Canberrans who loaned one of the electric bikes from the library in December last year. While the Hawker resident already had a small electric bike for his own use, he was in the market for a larger cargo e-bike, which could take more weight and more passengers. “It was a lot weirder to ride at first because they’re much longer than a standard bike,” he said. “The main thing was that it was so much fun. I hoped initially that it would also be able to carry my greyhound in it … but it could also carry supplies from Bunnings and bags of groceries. “There are alternatives to using a car and the electric-bike library was a way to try to find that alternative.” Christopher Budd had also loaned a bike from the library for the fortnight back in October. He said he had been considering getting a new bike, but was not sure about the cost of an electric model. “It basically became the second family car,” Mr Budd said. “We had it for two weeks but it only took two days to make a decision to buy one.” In recent weeks, the bike library had been running single sessions for people to try the e-bikes in order to help clear some of the waiting list. While many had taken to trying the bikes for a short period of time, Mr Budd said the two-week trial the library gave to people was a way to really test its use. “When you test out a bike from a bike store for just an hour, it’s not really the same,” he said. For faster access to the latest Canberra news, download The Canberra Times app for iOS and Android.

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Lessons for SMEs on revamping your business model during tough times


The events of the past year have ushered in big changes for Australian SMEs, with many having to pivot quickly to adapt to the changing times.

As an owner of a small Pilates business, an agile approach has been paramount to the shifting direction of our business model.

When the pandemic hit and lockdown ensued, it was a huge deal for the company, as we were forced to close all three of our Pilates studios. However, my business partner and I soon realised that the demand for our classes wasn’t slowing, as people sought to continue workouts at home.

We made it our priority to understand exactly what the needs of our customers were and realised that they still wanted to take our classes, but virtually. Through these insights, we made the decision to invest in pivoting our business to an “online-centric” model, to accommodate the changing needs and behaviours of our key audience.

With the demand for Pilates increasing during lockdown, we very quickly revamped our online offering from a single purchase offering to an always-on subscription model, catering to the demand by providing unlimited digital classes to our customers. As a result of reinventing the way customers could access our services, revenue has increased by more than half, and more than doubled compared to last year.

It isn’t easy to make big changes during times of uncertainty, but there are a few key things I believe helped us navigate it well. Here, I want to share my learnings from the past six months on revamping a business successfully, during a challenging climate.

Know your customer

This one is crucial! As a small business owner, the most important thing is to know your audience. When lockdown hit, we had a solid understanding of who our customers were and what they wanted. This meant that we were quickly able to define what our digital offering should be, based on the needs of our customer base.

We knew that there was a demand for easy ways to get fit at home without losing the feeling of being at a class, and that spearheaded our decision to change the way we offered our services online, and then informed the format in which we developed out our refreshed content offering.

Don’t be afraid of change

When the pandemic hit, the prospect of closing our studios – and main sources of revenue(!) – was incredibly daunting. However, we knew that big changes were abreast and that innovation was needed. Our bold approach to revamping our digital offering was scary, but we knew we had to pivot quickly. Don’t be afraid to change things and make bold moves – they often pay off!

Keep up to date with industry trends

Finally, I would recommend that whatever industry your SME is in, to keep on top of the trends within your field.

For us, we are predicting there will be a shift in health and wellness businesses offering digital options for customers to incorporate into a training routine and fitness apps will continue to gain popularity. Our clients are increasingly seeking a hybrid model, as people look to buy blocks of classes at our studios while also training online, due to the convenience. With this intel in mind, we’re already planning the next stage of our business model growth.

My advice is don’t forget how important is to be across the trends gaining momentum. Staying relevant and ahead of the curve during times of big change is – in my opinion – priceless.

Tori Clapham, Founder, Peaches Pilates



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ETMGS 2021 Day 2: Indian equity market to deliver low-to-mid double-digit returns over next three to five years, says Prashant Jain – The Economic Times Video


MUMBAI: HDFC AMC’s Chief Investment Officer Prashant Jain expects the Indian equity market to deliver low-to-mid double-digit returns over the next three to five years. “We have been surprised by the recovery in the Indian market, but even at current levels, the market cap-to-GDP in India is still not excessive,” Jain said at the ETMarkets Global Summit 2021.



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ACT SES volunteer says mental health focus needed after nightmarish fire, hail events | The Canberra Times


news, latest-news, mental health, emergency services agency, ses, bushfires, volunteer, peak fortem

One year on, the impact of Australia’s recent bushfires remains a terrifying memory for the nation. While many watched in horror at the news or worried for relatives and friends in threatened areas, ACT’s SES volunteers, like Tammy Bennett, worked for months supporting critical services. It’s an effort the volunteer, who’s put on the uniform for eight consecutive years, feels proud to be apart of. “When it rains, everyone runs inside to get out of the rain, and the SES runs out,” Ms Bennett said. The first few months of the devastating bushfire season meant Ms Bennett drove firetrucks from the territory to northern parts of New South Wales to help support fatigued firefighters early on. But only a few months later in January 2020, the danger had landed on their very own door step. On a hot afternoon on January 22, a grassfire began burning out of control in the Pialligo Redwood Forest, threatening the ACT’s Emergency Services Agency headquarters just down the road. While it was a concern for the Fairbairn office, Ms Bennett admitted, the team simply treated it like any other fire and added it to the list. “When the Beard fire ignited, I was actually working here in [the ESA] headquarters in the incident room … and teams just went into action straight away – there was no fear,” Ms Bennett said. “It was like when you get an email, and you have to deal with another email on top of the 10 emails that you’ve got, so [the response team] just changed their tactics, made their plans and dealt with it.” But it was another freak weather event that stretched the volunteer force even further – Canberra’s monstrous hail storm. The event only lasted around 15 minutes on January 20 but the damage it had wrought on the nation’s capital was enormous, resulting in 2500 call outs to the emergency service. “We had fires on one side [of the incident room], and we had hail damage and everything happening on the other side and it just escalated,” Ms Bennett said. “Once again, we activated volunteers and they had been working hard over the fire season so they were quite exhausted … but they all jumped up and they just got about their business.” READ MORE: It took around two weeks to clear the 2500 jobs the storm had added to the team’s workload but Ms Bennett said it was their professionalism that got it all over and done with. “We’ve never experienced something like this before and it did open our eyes,” Ms Bennett said. “It’s all about what team you’ve got working behind the scenes.” It was an intense time for many and Ms Bennett, who had to face many of the events head on, admitted it could take a toll on her mental health. “Some events are quite gruelling, quite hard, fatiguing,” Ms Bennett said. “[I just] step away, take a breath, and then come back into it and get a whole new perspective, as long as you can take that time.” It’s part of the reason why she agreed to support a new initiative aimed at helping first responders cope with the impact their work has on their mental health. It’s called Peak Fortem and Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday it would become available for free to all first responders and their families in the country to encourage mental fitness. Ms Bennett said she hoped the program would encourage those like her to recognise the signs and to work on strategies to reduce their impact. “You don’t actually know that you might need help until it might be too late,” Ms Bennett said. “It’s not something that’s brought to your attention straight away and to start to stop and think and take that breath and go, ‘you know what? I might need to talk to someone or I might need to sit back’. “I think as a first responder in the heightened emergency situations that we do deal with, looking after your mental health [is important]. If you’re not right, how can you help someone else?” The program is one step in the process. Ms Bennett said it was important having a support network at home once the job’s over but having a supportive and understanding workplace was just as crucial. “Remembering that family connection is very important – making sure you step away and take that time to regroup with your immediate family,” Ms Bennett said. “But as you join the service, you start to have another family in the service too.”

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‘Artists chronicle our times’: gallery ready for Archibald


The Archibald Prize takes its finalists on the road to regional areas every year, and this year it’s coming to the Tweed.
When her gallery makes the list for the regional tour, Tweed Regional Gallery director Susi Muddiman is delighted.

“It’s a thrill because we’d all want the Archibald to be here more often,” Ms Muddiman said.

She said it was “fantastic” to see the prize won by an Aboriginal artist for the first time in its 99 year history.

Vincent Namatjira claimed this honour with his depiction of Adam Goodes in the work Stand Strong for Who You Are.

The exhibition will open at the gallery in Murwillumbah this Friday and she said work was well under way to get the finalist works in place before Thursday night.

An extra joy of the prize travelling to the Tweed is the fact two North Coast artists, Angus McDonald and Craig Ruddy, are among the finalists.

 

<< Behrouz has never entered Australia but he has left a profound mark >>

<< North Coast talent on show as Archibald goes regional >>

<< Two local artists named as Archibald 2020 finalists >>

 

Six time Archibald Prize Finalist Angus McDonald with Michael Brand, Director of the Art Gallery of NSW after Angus McDonald wins the 2020 Archibald Prize ANZ People’s Choice award for his portrait of Behrouz Boochani a Kurdish – Iranian writer, poet, filmmaker and journalist at the NSW Art Gallery in Sydney Australia. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

“It says a lot about our region and the acknowledged talent that lives and works where we live,” Ms Muddiman said.

She said the exhibition they took down to make space for the Archibald was a collection of work from “well known Australian artists who happen to live here” and those who have painted while on the Tweed.

Mr McDonald’s portrait of refugee, journalist and writer Behrouz Boochani has been named People’s Choice.

“I’ve always maintained that artists chronicle our times,” Ms Muddiman said.

“They paint about what is happening now, it’s a social commentary.

“It’s very much a topic that’s at the forefront of people’s minds at the moment.”

 

Archibald Prize 2020 finalist Dark Emu' – portrait of Bruce Pascoe; by Byron Shire resident Craig Ruddy; acrylic, oil, charcoal and varnish on canvas; 168 x 153 cm.

Archibald Prize 2020 finalist Dark Emu’ – portrait of Bruce Pascoe; by Byron Shire resident Craig Ruddy; acrylic, oil, charcoal and varnish on canvas; 168 x 153 cm.

She said Mr Boochani’s story was a “poignant subject” but the super-realistic painting is also artistically striking.

“From an artistic point of view … you gravitate towards him,” she said.

“Representational portraiture always strikes a cord with visitors or audiences.

“I love the voyeurism of portraiture.

“It’s not as if we know, personally, the sitter but it feels like we’ve got a connection with them.”

 

The Archibald Prize 2020 will be exhibited at the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre, 2 Mistral Rd South Murwillumbah, from January 22 to March 7.

The Young Archie competition, featuring young artists from across parts of the Northern Rivers and Gold Coast, will be on show simultaneously.

The Archibald is a ticketed event; details here.



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Parliamentarians in COVID-19 affected areas require exemption to travel to Canberra | The Canberra Times


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MPs and senators from COVID-19 affected areas in Sydney must apply for a formal exemption to travel to the ACT. The next sitting week begins on February 2, but while the situation may change before then Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said the ACT government is currently processing exemption applications for several parliamentarians. “We do have a formal exemption process and there are a list of professions including care workers, parliamentarians, construction industry and a whole lot of essential services and we assess that on a case by case basis,” Dr Coleman said. She said exemption applications would be assessed on factors including if travel to the ACT was necessary for applicants to conduct their work. From 3pm today travel restrictions between the ACT and the Northern Beaches will be removed allowing quarantine-free travel. However, people from 10 local government areas in western and southwestern Sydney are still required to quarantine for 14 days if they travel to Canberra. Those areas are:

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Payment times improve in December, but lag over 2020


While COVID-19 undoubtedly impacted the industry during 2020, retail was
among the sectors that significantly reduced its payment times to suppliers and
small businesses during December, according to CreditorWatch.

According to the firm’s data, payment times improved 31 per cent during December, though over the course of 2020 they actually rose 29 per cent as the industry grappled with an intense increase in online retail and the grocery sector.

Similarly, transport, postal and warehousing saw a much-needed improvement in the speed of payment processing in December of 53 per cent, though the length of time invoices remained unpaid doubled over the course of the year due to the massive increase in demand for delivery services.

Payment times in general now must be publicly disclosed, with the Payment Times Report Act coming into effect on 1 January this year.

The Act, which was introduced to parliament in 2018, aims to address the issue of delayed payments impacting the cashflow and financial buoyancy of smaller suppliers.

Businesses must issue payment reports within three months of the end of a six-month reporting period, with the first reporting period beginning 1 January, making the first report due on 30 September.

This story first appeared on our sister publication Inside Retail



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Icon Water warn drier and hotter summers could put pressure on supplies | The Canberra Times


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Following extreme temperatures and two of Australia’s driest years on record, water storage levels across the ACT dropped below 45 per cent last summer, causing Icon Water to warn against impending water restrictions this time last year. A wetter than average winter and La Nina’s arrival in spring has meant storage has recovered significantly, with overall levels now at 98.26 per cent. While supplies look healthy, Icon Water has warned against complacency as the provider anticipates future drought. Customer engagement manager Davina McCormick said Icon expected changed weather in Canberra. “Australia is the second driest continent on Earth, and we cannot rule out significant drought again in our future,” Ms McCormick said. “Based on current climate science advice, we expect that in the long term, weather conditions in the Canberra region could become hotter and potentially drier. “This will impact water availability and increased demand may result in additional stress on the ACT water supply.” Ms McCormick said it didn’t mean Canberrans should anticipate water-supply shortages, having avoided restrictions during Australia’s worst drought. “Canberra’s long-term water future is considered to be secure following major investments in source water infrastructure coupled with reductions in demand following the Millennium Drought,” Ms McCormick said. Prior to the drought, the ACT’s annual consumption was around 70 gallons. Since 2000, Canberrans have maintained a 35-40 per cent reduction in water use, with annual consumption around 50GL despite the growth in population. McCormick said conservation measures such as only using a sprinkler in the cooler parts of the day, the use of water-efficient appliances in new dwellings, population density creating smaller blocks with smaller gardens and the increased cost of water, all contributed to the drop in water use. READ MORE: She said behavioural change had the biggest impact. “When water restrictions were introduced during the Millennium Drought, the reductions in water usage achieved by the Canberra community prevented us from running out of water,” Ms McCormick said. “Water usage has only increased marginally since restrictions were removed – indicating a permanent shift in behaviour.”

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