Canberra to trial publicly-funded home births

The ACT government has announced a three-year, publicly-funded home-birth trial. Expectant mothers in Canberra will soon have the option of giving birth at home as part of the first publicly-funded trial in the ACT.
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The ACT government has announced a three-year trial of publicly-funded home births, which is expected to be used by about 24 pregnant women a year.

Applications for the trial will open in October, with the first home births expectedin February.

It is anticipated there will about one or two home births each month.

“Pregnancy is an exciting time for women and their families and I’m pleased we can now provide women more choice when they have their baby,” Health Minister Simon Corbell said.

“Philosophically, it’s important that women are supported to give birth in the environment that’s most suitable for them and which is safe for them, and for many women giving birth at home is an option that they would be like to be supported in having the choice to exercise.”

The trial will be available to eligible Canberra women with low-risk pregnancies who live within a 30-minute catchment area of the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children in Garran.

“This has been a level of service provision that has been long sought after by many pregnant mothers in the ACT,” Mr Corbell said.

“The ACT has been one of the few jurisdictions without such a service, and that’s largely been due to complications with achieving sufficient insurance cover for the government to undertake the service. With those issues now resolved, we’re in a good position to offer the service and I am delighted it will be offered to eligible mothers from October this year for a three-year period.”

Each home birth will have two midwives present. They will work closely with a team of midwives, obstetricians and neonatologists.

Sally Ferguson, from The Publicly Funded Birth at Home ACT action group and an assistant professor in midwifery at the University of Canberra, welcomed the trial.

“It offers women another service,” she said.

“It’s a great way to have a baby for well women having healthy babies.”

The trial is an extension of birthing services offered by Centenary Hospital.

Women choosing to have a home birth will be required to undergo a rigorous eligibility screening process and continuous risk assessments throughout their pregnancy and labour to ensure it is safe for them to have their baby at home.

“Not all women who are pregnant will be eligible for this service. This service is designed to provide support for women to give birth in the privacy of their own home in circumstances where it is clinically safe for them to do so,” Mr Corbell said.

“There will be strict eligibility criteria to protect the safety of both the mother and the infant.”

The publicly-funded home-birth trial comes as the government confirmed it has ruled out a previously-floated proposal under which pregnant women from the northside would have been forced to give birth at Calvary Hospital in Bruce and southsiders at the Centenary Hospital in Woden.

“There was some speculation about that about 18 months ago. No decision had been taken at that time and the position of the government is that we will not be implementing such a system,” Mr Corbell said.

More information about the publicly-funded home-birth trial is available on the ACT Health website.

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Dove & Olive pub hits the market

Dove & Olive Hotel in Surry Hills being sold by the Good Beer Group. Photo: Airphoto AustraliaThe Good Beer Group is selling its Dove & Olive Hotel in Sydney’s Surry Hills with the cash raised being deployed to the planned upgrade of its recently acquired Duke of Gloucester Hotel in Randwick.
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JLL national director John Musca​ is selling the Dove & Olive and said it had established itself as one of the busiest local hotels in Sydney, consistently generating over $100,000 per week in revenues.

Mr Musca said the offerings of craft beer and value-for-money food was what patrons were now seeking instead of just a bar with a television in the corner.

Demand for quality city-fringe hotels is on the upward trajectory as customers leave city-based hotels for a range of reasons, including the lockout regulations.

Pub sales are the hot ticket with close to $200 million of pubs changing hands in the past year in Sydney alone, with Melbourne not far behind.

Pub agents said this appetite  augured well for the upcoming sale of the Keystone Group assets, which involve 16 leaseholds and one freehold food and beverage outlet across the country.

Keystone was placed into the hands of receivers and managers in June after failing to repay a debt of about $80 million owed to Californian private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and the Singapore-based Olympus Capital Holdings Asia.

Morgan Kelly, of Ferrier Hodgson, is working on the sale of the businesses, which include the Jamie’s Italian chain across the country and the Sydney-based Cargo Bay, Sugarmill, Kingsley’s Woolloomooloo and Bungalow 8, among others.

It is understood Mr Kelly is close to launching the sales process.

“The Dove is unique in that it will easily deliver astute purchasers a 10 per cent-plus yield at purchase, a rarity in the food and beverage-centric hotel space, with almost no risk and on a big revenue base, so it’s really a big hotel opportunity on a manageable footprint,” JLL’s Mr Musca said.

Other recent sales in Surry Hills alone, include the Trinity Bar for $8.5 million and the Royal Exhibition Hotel for $19 million.

Mr Musca said recent acquisitions by The Public House GroupDixon Hospitality  have driven strong interest in city fringe hotel opportunities with freehold properties ultimately sought-out on the busiest locations.

Botany View Hotel in Newtown is also being sold through CBRE Hotels’ Sam Handy and Daniel Dragicevich on behalf of the Murphy family, which has owned and operatedthe hotel for the past 25 years.

Located in King Street, Newtown, the pub has extended trading hours and a first-floor beer garden with 2am closing approval.

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Telstra launches new advertising shedding old telco image

This is the first big brand refresh since Andy Penn took over in mid-2015 Photo: Justin McManus Telstra’s new print campaign highlighting smart home technology. Photo: Supplied
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Once a government department managing telephone lines and directory queries, Telstra is rebranding itself as a global company at the core of every future technological advancement.

A new advertising campaign launched on Sunday night came with the tag line “Thrive On” and depicts Telstra shedding the image of the company that sells you a monthly telephone account. Instead it wants to be associated with the magic of experiences, which technology can and will provide.

The telco, which has struggled with popularity in the past because of poor customer service and more recently network faults, wants to become “Australia’s most loved brand by emotionally engaging with people”, according to group managing director of media and marketing at Telstra, Joe Pollard.

“Telstra is evolving from a telco to a techco … Our brand needs to reflect this and demonstrate there are better ways for everyone to thrive in this connected world,” she wrote in blog post released on Monday morning.

The campaign hopes the catch the attention of international businesses that need global communications. It also recognises consumers want the wonder of modern technology without having to understand how it works: Telstra can connect and curate whatever technology comes next for its customers.

The advertisement features a montage of emotional tech experiences such as a grandfather reading to a distant granddaughter, video calls with faraway loved ones or paediatricians, and an attractive artist using her smartphone to complete a large mural.

The campaign is due to launch on television this week and get heavy airplay during the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in August. Telstra also plans to advertise in cinemas, on social media, and in print. It will also leverage its sponsorship partners, such as the Australian Ballet. It is the first re-branding since chief executive Andrew Penn took the reins in May 2015.

His predecessor, David Thodey, brought out the Telstra “colours” re-branding which introduce a rainbow palette to its brands. Telstra is keeping the rainbow theme but will do new photography to create warmer colour palettes and update the faces in its advertising to include more multicultural faces as this is “how Australia looks and is”, says Ms Pollard.

The campaign was done by advertising agency The Monkeys and branding by Interbrand. It features music from electro duo Flight Facilities and was created by film production company Revolver.

The decision to run the advertising campaign through the Olympics comes despite the Australian Olympic Committee seeking to distance Australian athletes from Telstra.

Optus replaced Telstra as an official sponsor of the AOC last year, and the AOC took action in the Federal Court on Friday in to stop Telstra from running olympic-themed television commercials.

“Unfortunately, some companies try to mislead the Australian public into believing they support the Australian Olympic Team or have an involvement with the Olympic Movement when they don’t,” the AOC said in a statement.

“In 2015, Telstra and the AOC mutually decided not to continue their long-standing partnership. It is therefore extremely disappointing to witness Telstra’s “I go to Rio” marketing campaign, which the AOC regards as a clear attempt to deceive Australians”.

Telstra told reporters on Friday that it had already taken steps to address the AOC’s concerns.

Telstra shares last traded at $5.75. The stock has risen 9 per cent since June 15.

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Malcolm Turnbull should listen to Indigenous Australians

A debate is now raging about what sort of government Malcolm Turnbull should lead. Photo: Peter RaeAfter acting like a sook on election night, Malcolm Turnbull re-emerged this past week as something more akin to a statesman or Indigenous elder.
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He said he was touched when Bill Shorten rang to concede. Turnbull was carrying his young granddaughter on his hip. It was a “beautiful reminder” that politicians are “trustees” for future generations. He might just be preoccupied with personal legacy but I’m taking hope from this.

Indigenous Australian have long been trustees, and storytellers as they hand down wisdom to generations to follow. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It was fitting that this year’s NAIDOC celebrations focused on “songlines” in the same week that a marathon count decided who would govern us and shape our story.

Turnbull’s grandchildren won’t think twice about opening school assemblies and parliaments with a “welcome to country”. Yet until the arrival of Kevin Rudd nine years ago it didn’t happen in parliament and often didn’t happen at schools. They will probably not think twice about recognising Indigenous peoples in the constitution. In just a few generations we have moved from seeing Indigenous Australians as backwards to seeing them as custodians with something to teach.

In declaring himself and all parliamentarians “trustees” Turnbull is positioning himself as part of a continuum.

Here are some things he could also take on board from an ancient culture:

Over time our way of doing politics should go deeper into the conceptual framework of Aboriginal Australia, melding Indigenous concepts with those from Western democracies to make something truly our own, and to shape modern songlines befitting a mature opal-hearted nation. Tell me, “I’m not dreaming”.

Toni Hassan is a Canberra writer and an adjunct research fellow with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University.

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Play School presenters past and current share memories of the iconic show

Alex Papps says Play School encourages children to celebrate who they are. Benita Collings believes the show’s one-on-one connection is powerful.
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Missing link: Simon Burke. Photo: Luis Ascui

Stories to tell … Don Spencer with other presenters on set celebrating Play School’s 50th year. Photo: Supplied

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Your most memorable gaffe? I once had to do a segment about tiny turtles and describe the way they pop their heads out of their shells. The rehearsal went brilliantly with each of the four turtles poking their head out. During the segment, none popped their heads out so I had to ad-lib as I tried to entice them out of their shells. When the show finished, we decided to find out why the turtles didn’t appear. We discovered that all the turtles had died during the segment due to the heat from the studio lights. So not only did I feel like a fool, I felt like a murderer…

What makes Play School so special? Play School is timeless because of the formula and the effort taken to communicate with children watching the show. It is not based on commercialisation of products. It’s a program lovingly scripted to be informative for the young viewers. Eddie Perfect (2015-present)

Play School in one sentence? Imaginative play for every single Australian child.

Your favourite presenter? I always loved John Hamblin for his warmth, his lively mind and his mischievous nature.

Your most memorable gaffe? I actually love the moments that go wrong. Play School is scripted, but for me there’s nothing more exciting than being “in the moment” when things go wrong. Often our mistakes make the most interesting moments.

What makes Play School so special? Play School will always be relevant to each new generation of children because, at its heart, it’s a show that engages directly with a child through music, storytelling, and turning everyday household items into wonderful, imaginative craft. Alex Papps (2005-present)

Play School in one sentence? Play School encourages the children to celebrate exactly who they are and to develop their sense of self, creativity, imagination and respect for others through play.

Your favourite presenter? All the presenters were like friends. John Hamblin’s mischief and great clowning always made me laugh.

Your most memorable gaffe? I wouldn’t take back any of the funny little mistakes that happen from time to time. I think people appreciate those moments. Life is imperfect. So is Play School.

What makes Play School so special? People have come to trust Play School. They know that their child will be entertained. But they also trust that they will be exposed to values and themes around co-operation, tolerance, inclusion and regardless of background or circumstance, Play School invites everybody inside to play. Play School embraces the very unique and short-lived time in a person’s life when nobody expects anything of you other than to live entirely in the moment and to be wholeheartedly yourself. Miranda Tapsell (2016)

Play School in one sentence? Having fun and playing games

Your favourite presenter? I loved watching Play School every day and loved anyone who came on, but I was particularly ecstatic when Noni (Hazlehurst) would come on. She just had such a warmth and playfulness that I really attached to as a child.

Your most memorable gaffe? One I would take back was when I upset Little Ted when I called him Big Ted. I’ll never live it down!

What makes Play School so special? The magic of Play School is trying new things. As children we go on that journey with the presenter, so whether it’s making something you’ve never made before or learning about the way other people live their lives – you can’t deny the impression it makes on you. The ever-changing world was less scary for five-year-old Miranda, because Play School made her brave. Benita Collings (1969-99)

Play School in one sentence? To encourage a child to explore the world around them, and use their imagination to play and learn.

Your favourite presenter? I wish! In those days no television, only radio!

Your most memorable gaffe? When something I was making that had always worked in the rehearsal, however when the program was being filmed, it just wouldn’t work, and I did drop “the magic word”, so filming stopped! Not my most “engaging” moment.

What makes Play School so special? Its original premise of “imagine, learn, wonder, feel”. The program has always kept that in mind plus the presenters talking to the camera as if it is “a child”, not children. That one-on-one connection is very powerful, and the child really believes you are talking to them. Zindzi Okenyo (2013-present)

Play School in one sentence? A wonderful delight.

Your favourite presenter? I loved Trisha (Goddard), because she was brown like me! She also pulled really great funny faces.

Your most memorable gaffe? Probably in my audition when I had to make a clay dinosaur and the legs just kept falling off! I think my hands were shaking because I was so nervous!

What makes Play School so special? It is simple in its approach to craft, play and storytelling. The tone is never condescending and the show doesn’t try to be “cool”. The show is approached with heart and warmth and we all genuinely love children so it makes it really enjoyable to connect in that way. Simon Burke (1988-2007)

Play School in one sentence? People with games, and stories to tell.

Your favourite presenter? I’m the missing link – I am the first Play School presenter just young enough to have watched it – no one before me had and no one after me hasn’t. I remember loving Benita with all my heart and so it was very exciting that my very first episode shot in 1988 was with her.

Your most memorable gaffe? When I was singing The Kangaroo Song to Noni (which ends with “Goodness Gracious what big feet”) and she said: “Well, you know what they say about big feet Simon?”

The greatest honour? Ten years ago, being asked with Justine Clarke to accept Play School’s Logie Hall of Fame Award on behalf of the scores of presenters who have worked on the show over the years.

What makes Play School so special? Knowing its audience, both children and adult. Endless helpings of integrity and love. Michelle Lim Davidson (2013-present)

Play School in one sentence? Play School encourages children to interact, participate, learn and play in a safe and loving environment.

Your favourite presenter? My sister and I grew up watching Play School. I don’t remember having a favourite presenter but I remember having a favourite toy; Jemima of course.

Your most memorable gaffe? During the record of an episode I was on all fours pretending to be different animals. I got a bit confused and started singing the cow goes “quack quack”.

What makes Play School so special? At its simplest form it is two people taking time to be with one child. It has an honesty and integrity that is unique and special.

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