Thursday, May 15, 2014

Drawing competition to celebrate families

Relationships Australia NT will hold a drawing competition to celebrate National Families Week from today, Thursday 15 to Friday 30 May. 

Local Territory kids need to draw a picture of their family to go in the running to win one of three family photography vouchers with InFocus Photography, NT Thunder game passes, a Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge Family Tour pass and more. 

Relationships Australia NT CEO Marie Morrison said the theme for this year’s Families Week is “Stronger Families, Stronger Communities”. 

“The competition is a wonderful way to celebrate family and build acceptance, tolerance and respect for how families are now composed and function,” Ms Morrison said. 

“We’ve held the competition for several years now and seen the diversity of family structure and culture reflected in local children’s drawings. 

“Almost 30% of the Territory’s population is Aboriginal or Islander. In terms of ethnic backgrounds there are more than 100 different migrant groups. Many different family structures are represented including single parent families, step-families, same sex couples with children and extended families.  Children are often raised by grandparents and many parents are not necessarily married. All of this diversity is reflected and celebrated in the children’s drawings.” 

“We help and provide assistance to families in various ways including strengthening relationships, mediation, counselling and support for people going through difficult times,” Ms Morrison said. 

“We also offer specialist services for migrant families and work with a team of Aboriginal liaison officers in remote communities, with offices in Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin, and services in Tennant Creek and the Tiwi Islands.” 

The Relationships Australia NT Families Week Drawing Competition runs until 30 May with the winner announced on Friday 6 June. 

Entries are available from Relationships Australia NT Offices and Palmerston, Karama, Casuarina and Katherine libraries. 

Relationships Australia NT thanks its competition partners InFocus Photography, Nitmiluk Gorge Tours, Crocosaurus Cove, NT Thunder, Territory Wildlife Park, Jumping Crocs, The Darwin Waterfront, Hog’s Breath CafĂ©, Leighton Contractors and McDonalds. 

For more information and the full list of prizes please visit or follow ‘Relationships Australia Northern Territory’ on Facebook.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Data reveals discrimination against working mothers

Recent data compiled by the Australian Human Rights Commission reveals that the situation for working mothers, particularly new mothers returning to work, isn’t the pretty picture painted by card shops and florists on Mother’s Day.

Commenting on the Headline Prevalence Data - Supporting Working Parents: Pregnancy and Return to Work National Review Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Sally Sievers said that one in two women in Australia reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace during their pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work.

“The most common types of discrimination women reported experiencing on returning to work after parental leave included negative comments about breast feeding, working part-time and being denied requests to work flexibly.

“In my experience, working mothers are a great value in the work place, they are generally focussed, and task orientated and come to work to work. Unfortunately some working mothers feel that they need to prove their worth, so they don’t just do things competently, but do them extremely well.

“Employers and families need to understand women’s entitlements in this area. Women are legally entitled to twelve months unpaid parental leave if they have worked for an employer for twelve months or more continuous employment. They are also entitled to a return to work guarantee,” Ms Sievers said.

“Under Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Law even if employees do not meet these criteria, they should not to be treated less favourably in the work place because of pregnancy, breast feeding or parenthood. Employers have to seriously consider requests for flexible work arrangements to accommodate the needs of their employee’s parenting obligations.”

The Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission, the NT Working Women’s Centre and the Fair Work Ombudsman all provide resources for employers and women to better understand their rights and obligations in relation to this matter.

“As we celebrate motherhood this weekend, I remind employers to consider the rights of our working mums and their right to work without discrimination.”

For information on the Australian Human Rights Commission Prevalence Data visit:

Media enquiries: Jeannette Button on 8941 9169 or 0407 727 080

Monday, April 14, 2014

Local construction companies chip in to help child care centre

Thanks to the help of some generous local construction companies the makeover of Mission Australia’s Stuart Park Early Learning Centre has received a much-needed boost.

Works got underway last week after NS Projects and Brierty chipped in labour and materials to the value of $250 000 to renovate the Centre and transform its outdoor play area. 

Mission Australia’s Marie Howard said the organisation had set $160 000 aside for the works including an $80 000 grant from the Abbott Foundation.

“We’re so thankful to NS Projects, Brierty and the team of local businesses who have come on board to not only complete the makeover, but enhance our plans and renovate the Centre to the highest possible standards,” Ms Howard said.

“The scope of construction will improve visitor access, enhance the outdoor space and enable us to increase capacity to cater for more local children.

“In the new outdoor area children will be able to get close to nature and experience many different environments with a creek bed for water play, impressive sandpit, new bike track and vegetable garden.”

NS Projects’ Hermanus Louw said it’s the first pro-bono construction project NS Projects and Brierty had worked on in the Territory. 

“We’ve worked together on several construction projects for the community in Perth and were keen to offer what we could when we learnt about the needs of the Centre,” Mr Louw said.

“We spoke with the managers on site to understand what was needed at the Centre and then set about sourcing a team of local businesses willing and able to donate their time or work for very reduced fees.”

Clouston Associates Landscape Architects, Jackman Gooden Architects, Irwin Consult, B&K Revegetation and Landscaping, and Gus Matarazzo from Darwin Constructions all joined the cause. 

“It’s very exciting to see the work begin in what has been a huge team effort,” Ms Howard said.

“Our parents and staff were involved in the process and asked what they wanted to see in the renovation, while the children drew ideas for the outdoor discovery garden.

“By providing a better and more efficient environment at the Centre we are providing the very best in early education and care for the childrenof Darwin.”

Renovations at Stuart Park Early Learning Centre are expected to be complete by the end of April.
For more information visit

Media interviews & images: Domonique Young of Creative Territory on 8941 9169 or email

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

New program to help Indigenous kids get work

After success in Darwin, Mission Australia has extended its Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program (IYCP) to Alice Springs.

The program aims to increase the number of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in fulltime work or study after school.

“Every student in the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program has a dedicated mentor who will support them through the program,” NT Area Manager Sue Kendrick said.

“It’s similar to a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship in that participants will learn a trade or gain a Certification Two, Three or Four in their chosen field while they complete school.”

Open to Indigenous students in years 10 to 12, Temea Prior and Kaitlyn Armstrong are the first Alice Springs students in the IYCP program.

Alice Outcomes year 11 student Temea is completing a Certificate Three in Community Services with the Gap Youth and Community Centre while St Phillip’s College classmate Kaitlyn is working as a Trainee Broadcaster with CAAMA Radio.

“It can be difficult for students to break into the workforce and I’m really proud to be able to provide a stepping stone for Temea,” Gap Youth and Community Centre CEO Michelle Krauer said.

“The ICYP program has a great support system with not only Mission Australia, but Temea’s school and Charles Darwin University.

“Temea is already growing into her position, relates well to our staff and is learning what’s involved with being a worker.”

IYCP is a federally funded program that provides employers with up to $4750 in incentives for business expenses under the Apprenticeship Scheme Program.

Mission Australia said its currently looking for more Territory business to come on board the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program.

“We have 120 students across the Territory interested in the program with only 38 in Darwin signed and enrolled and now two in Alice, Ms Kendrick said.

“Our mentors work closely with any business taking on an apprentice or trainee, and last year we had three graduates secure fulltime work with their employer.”

Businesses interested in finding out more about the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways can visit or call 8935 0900. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Get to know your neighbours and live longer

Do you know your neighbours or the people living across the street? What about the people that you share the work elevator with?

This Sunday 30 March marks national Neighbour Day and the coming together of neighbours and people who’ve never met.  

“It’s about connecting with the people around us and fostering a sense of community,” Relationships Australia NT CEO Marie Morrison said.

“We all lead busy lives and have precious spare time, but Neighbour Day reminds us to pause, look around and get to know the people next door or in the same street.”

Ms Morrison said getting to know your neighbours isn’t only the foundation of a healthy community, but it will make you happier and help you live longer.

“Evidence says that connecting with your neighbours increases your happiness and longevity,” Ms Morrison said.

“For example, a study by Duke University in the USA found that people aged 55 to 80 who trusted their neighbours lived longer on average over the next 14 years than those who didn’t.

“Other studies have found that interacting with your neighbours lifts your mood, reduces your stress and instils a sense of belonging.

“The better you get to know your neighbours the more likely you are to trust them and the more you stand to gain in health and wellbeing.”

Relationships Australia said it’s holding a morning tea with Neighbour Day Ambassador and Darwin Lord Mayor Katrina Fong Lim for the businesses at 43 Cavenagh St on Wednesday, 26 March.

The community service organisation is also encouraging all locals to get behind the cause.

“Why not hold a BBQ, say a simple hello or head to one of the publicly registered morning teas and barbeques in your area,” Ms Morrison said.

Neighbour Day public events in your area on Sunday 30 March:

·         Jonathan Pilbrow BBQ, Larapinta. Connect with ‘Friends of Larapinta’ Facebook group
·         Kylie Adams BBQ, Sadadeen
·         Allan Mitchell BBQ, Anula 
·         Alice Springs Town Council BBQ, Frank McEllister Community Park, 10am to 2pm

Please call Relationships Australia and ask for Tracey for all the details on 8923 4926 or visit

For media enquiries please contact Domonique Young on 8941 9169 or email

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Top Enders urged to check their insurance following power outage

TIO has urged Top Ender residents and businesses to check their insurance policies if they have suffered a loss as a result of today’s major power outage.

General Manager Insurance Michael Hoare said some losses may be covered by insurance policies depending on the type and level of cover they have.

Types of losses that could occur include food spoilage, damage to electrical equipment and business interruption.

“Whether people are covered depends very much on the type of insurance policy they have and the level of cover,” Michael said.

“The best way to check is to read through your insurance policy, contact your insurer or check with yourbroker.”

Michael said customers should check equipment as power is restored to ensure they are still operating properly, particularly air-conditioners, pool pumps and electrical appliances.

Specific advice for householders

TIO policy holders with Premium cover can claim for spoilt food up to a value of $1000. Policy holders should do the following:
  • Make a list of the food
  • Take a photo if possible
  • Provide approximate prices.

TIO policy holders with Essentials cover only are not covered for spoilt food.

TIO Policy holders may also be covered for electrical equipment and appliances if they have sustained damage as a result of the outage. Customers are urged to check the equipment and contact TIO.

Specific advice for businesses

Businesses may be able to claim for a number of losses including spoilt food, equipment damage andbusiness interruption. The extent to which they can claim will depend on the type and level of cover they have taken out. They should contact their broker or TIO directly to check.

Michael said TIO had received nine calls from customers checking their insurance coverage with one enquiring about a claim for spoilt food.

TIO’s call centre was able to operate throughout the outage using backup generators. Darwin and Palmerston branches were impacted along with most of the ATM network. Palmerston branch has now reopened and the ATM at the TIO office in Mitchell street and at Palmerston are both available.

Top Enders urged to act now to minimise potential loss

Top Enders impacted by the major power outage have been urged to take action now to minimise potential spoiling of food in fridges and freezers.

TIO General Manager Insurance Michael Hoare said residents who followed guidelines published by the NT Government’s environmental health unit should suffer minimal loss of food.

“While some insurance policies do cover people for loss of food in a major power outage, there are steps people can take now to keep their food safe,” Michael said.

“Keeping your fridge and freezer doors closed during an outage can make a major difference to the usable life of food.”

For businesses, similar steps should be followed to protect food where possible.  Some businesses may have taken additional cover for food spoilage and they should check their own policies or contact their broker.

More information on food spoilage is available on the Northern Territory Government website

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Traditional Credit Union comes to Tennant Creek

The Traditional Credit Union will open a new branch in Tennant Creek next week.

It comes as the organisation celebrates 20 years in business.

In what started as a request by Traditional Owners in Arnhem Land for banking services in 1994, the Traditional Credit Union has grown from one branch in Milingimbi to a network of 17 across the far reaches of the Northern Territory.

It is Australia's only Aboriginal credit union owned by and run for Aboriginal people.

Traditional Credit Union CEO Cathy Hunt said the establishment of a new branch in Tennant Creek reflected growing demand for its services.

“We’re very excited to open our doors in Tennant Creek and provide local Indigenous people with new and culturally relevant banking services and products, and employment and training for their future,” Ms Hunt said.

The Traditional Credit Union currently services more than 7 400 members, many of whom live in remote communities.

“We play a vital role in the communities that we operate and are often the only financial institution for hundreds of kilometres,” Ms Hunt said.

“We help people with their personal banking needs, as well as provide business banking solutions, financial counselling and education services, and community sponsorship.”

TCU provides stable employment and career development for people in remote communities where job prospects are often limited.

“We currently have 85 staff  (78 per cent are indigenous) across our branches in communities from Wadeye to Numbulwar  and the Tiwi Islands .

“We are very proud of their and TCU’s achievements, and look forward to continuing to providing banking solutions and employment for indigenous people into the future.”

The Traditional Credit Union branch in Tennant Creek is located at 135 Patterson  Street and will be open to customers from Monday, 17 March 2014.

For more information please visit

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Commissioner calls for human rights for NT women and children

While International Women’s Day is seen by many as a day to celebrate the milestones of gender equality, for far too many Northern Territory women discrimination remains a frightening fact of life.

The Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sally Sievers says equality is not being achieved in the Territory, particularly when women and children are deprived of the fundamental right to be safe and free from violence.

“Violence against women is the worst form of discrimination against women,” Ms Sievers said.

“Hospital and crime statistics paint a gruesome picture of domestic and family violence in the Northern Territory, and it is not just women that are suffering. Territory children often witness family violence which impacts their childhood development and results in long term consequences for their health.”

In Australia a woman is killed by a current or former partner each week.*

One in three Australia women have experienced violence since the age of 15 and almost one in five have experienced sexual violence. (ABS 2012)

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) statistics from 2010 reveal in 2009/2010 that 27 non-indigenous women in the Northern Territory were admitted to hospital for treatment after being assaulted. In the same period and for same reason over 840 Aboriginal women were admitted, Territory Aboriginal women are 80 times more likely to be hospitalised as a result of assault.

Homicide rates in the Northern Territory show that 61% of homicides occur in a domestic context. The Territory homicide rate is also starkly higher than other jurisdictions, with 8.2 per 100 000 compared to the national rate of 1.2 per 100 000 people.

“The solutions need to be long term and day to day,” Ms Sievers said.

“The NT Government is currently working on a Domestic and Family Violence Reduction Strategy to meet its national obligations and arrive at a multi-facet approach to meet the needs of our diverse community.

“It is crucial that this plan includes and expands the reach of programs that are known to work in the NT, such as the Outreach Program at the Alice Springs Women’s Shelter -providing early intervention and support for women and their children.

“Domestic and family violence is a community problem and needs the whole community to be involved in the solutions. We must look at a number of ways to prevent this situation, we need to educate people of respectful relationships right from our school children through to our leaders.

“As we approach International Women’s Day let’s reflect on what we as individuals and as a community can do to ensure all women and children are afforded this basic human right to be safe and free from violence.”

The Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commissioner will speak at the Working Women’s Centre showing of the film Girl Rising on Friday 7 March 2014 and the International Women’s Day Walk – Saturday 8 March 2014 at Parliament House.

For further information on International Women’s Day activities in the Northern Territory go to!/OfficeOfWomensAdvancement

*Chan, A and Payne, J (2013). Homicide in Australia: 2008 -09 to 2009-10 National Homicide Monitoring Program annual report. Canberra. Australian Institute of Criminology. <>

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Mission Australia NT celebrates program success

Mission Australia is celebrating the success of threeyoung Indigenous women who secured fulltime employment after graduating from the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program (IYCP) last year.

Deanne Kenyon, Shinade Djerrkura and Lateesha Barlow are the first IYCP graduates in the Northern Territory to gain fulltime work after completing the program.

“We’re very proud to see our first graduates now working fulltime and making a difference in their community,” Mission Australia NT State Leader Sue Kendrick said.

“These girls are shining examples of how the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways can help young people transition into work or study after school.”

Deanne Kenyon, who is now working fulltime as a tour guide in her family-owned Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours on the outskirts of Darwin, said the program helped her stay on track and achieve her goals.

“Doing the IYCP program with Mission Australia was great,” Ms Kenyon said.

“It was that outside encouragement. Not someone from the school or family telling you what to do but someone to help you see the big picture.

“I wanted to be like my Dad, he’s a Park Ranger, so I followed him and studied Conservation and Land Management.”

Deanne enrolled in the IYCP program with Mission Australia in July 2012 and studied a Certificate Two in Conservation Land Management and Certificate Three in Tourism over eighteen months.

But she readily admits she wasn’t always this dedicated.
“You could say that I went through a phase of being a rebel and not seeing the point in school,” Deanne said.
“I started wagging classes and told my Dad that I didn’t want school. I didn’t want peer pressure and I didn’t want to put up with fights. Friends where you fight one week and are friends the next, only to do it all over again next month,” she explains.

“I tried home schooling for a while and only wanted to go back to school if I could do something to help me with work and that’s when Mum told me about the Mission Australia program.

“I’m so glad that I did it. I now have qualifications and the courses helped me step out of my comfort zone and get used to talking to thousands of tourists a week.

“While I’ve always grown up knowing my bushtucker and culture, it improved my customer skills and taught me how to deal with conflict situations or confronting questions.”

Mission Australia’s Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program began in Darwin in June 2012 with the vision to increase the number of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in fulltime work or study after school.

“Every student in the Indigenous Youth Career Pathways Program has a dedicated mentor who will support them through the program,” Ms Kendrick said.

“It’s similar to a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship in that participants will learn a trade or gain a Certification Two, Three or Four in their chosen field while they complete school.”

IYCP is a federally funded program open to Indigenous students from Years 10 to 12.

For more information visit