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Government to back new awards following anger over National Disability Awards cancellation

The Government said it will now support new awards that recognise people with disability, after cancelling the long-running National Disability Awards earlier this year.

Assistant Minister for Disability Services Sarah Henderson said the Federal Government will support the National Awards for Disability Leadership on December 3 — the International Day of People with Disability.

Leading disability organisations launched plans for the live webcast event after the Government cancelled the long-running National Disability Awards, a decision advocates say was made without consultation.

The Government said it will provide practical support and $30,000 in sponsorship for the new awards, which were announced hours after the ABC reported many in the disability sector were angered by the government's decision.

The Department of Social Services scrapped the National Disability Awards in February — without telling the nation's biggest disability peak bodies.

“One of our colleagues..

The Government said it will now support new awards that recognise people with disability, after cancelling the long-running National Disability Awards earlier this year.

Assistant Minister for Disability Services Sarah Henderson said the Federal Government will support the National Awards for Disability Leadership on December 3 — the International Day of People with Disability.

Leading disability organisations launched plans for the live webcast event after the Government cancelled the long-running National Disability Awards, a decision advocates say was made without consultation.

The Government said it will provide practical support and $30,000 in sponsorship for the new awards, which were announced hours after the ABC reported many in the disability sector were angered by the government's decision.

The Department of Social Services scrapped the National Disability Awards in February — without telling the nation's biggest disability peak bodies.

"One of our colleagues found out by looking at the website to find out about nominating somebody, and discovered that there was a statement saying that they were no longer running," said Christina Ryan from the Disability Leadership Institute.

"Getting rid of it was disappointing; not telling us was actually really quite appalling. It was a very brutal way of going about it."

The website said: "In 2018, the Government will not run the National Disability Awards as the main celebration of International Day of People with Disability on December 3rd.

"It's time to do something different."

Disabilityadvocate Sue Salthouse was the 2017 winner of the Lesley Hall Leadership award (one of the now former National Disability Awards).

"I felt that it was really a blow to the integrity of the disability sector and that it really devalued us.

"So, yes, it was very disappointing," she told AM.

The Government said it wants to recognise the achievements of people with disability in the broader community, supporting everything from the wheelchair rugby world championship to recognition at the Australian Human Resources Awards.

But until the Government announced it was supporting these new awards, none of these events were happening on December 3rd — the International Day of People with Disability.

"Not having them focussed on this particular day means that they're meaningless as far as our national day goes," Ms Salthouse said.

Peak body holding new awards

External Link: National Disability Awards nominations

After the National Disability Awards were cancelled, some of the nation's biggest disability peak bodies said they plannedto hold the new National Awards for Disability Leadership on December 3 instead.

Organiser Christina Ryan said these awards will be different — they will all go to people with disability.

"What we realised every year as we sat through the award ceremony is that they weren't actually about us," she said.

"They were about other people being recognised for doing good works."

Earlier, Ms Salthouse said these awards were a new chapter, but the damage had been done.

"It doesn't allow the Government to really excuse themselves for having taken such a cavalier attitude to people with disabilities, and I'm very sad about that."

Also earlier, Ms Henderson told AM in a statement that since her appointment in August, she had heard some disappointment from the sector about the awards and she intended to review how to reinvigorate the National Disability Awards.

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Bitcoin overtakes iTunes vouchers as most common payment demanded by tax scammers

Australians have reported more than 28,000 'scam' attempts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), since July 1, and paid almost $1 million to scammers, the ATO says.

The agency said payments through Bitcoin ATMs had overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment reported to the ATO.

A Bitcoin ATM is a method of transferring cash into and out of the cryptocurrency.

“November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay,” Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said in a statement.

She said scammers were becoming more sophisticated and exploiting vulnerable people, often using aggressive tactics to swindle people out of their money or personal information. They were known to impersonate tax agents too.

“Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn't know you owed,” Ms Anderson said.

“Your identifying information like tax file numbers, bank account numbers or your date of birth are the keys t..

Australians have reported more than 28,000 'scam' attempts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), since July 1, and paid almost $1 million to scammers, the ATO says.

The agency said payments through Bitcoin ATMs had overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment reported to the ATO.

A Bitcoin ATM is a method of transferring cash into and out of the cryptocurrency.

"November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay," Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said in a statement.

She said scammers were becoming more sophisticated and exploiting vulnerable people, often using aggressive tactics to swindle people out of their money or personal information. They were known to impersonate tax agents too.

"Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn't know you owed," Ms Anderson said.

"Your identifying information like tax file numbers, bank account numbers or your date of birth are the keys to your identity, and can be used by scammers to break into your life if they are compromised," she added.

External Link: ATO scam audio

The ATO would never ask a taxpayer to make a payment into an ATM or via gift or pre-paid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards, or direct credit to be paid to a personal bank account, Ms Anderson said.

But since July 1, the ATO had seen almost 6,000 taxpayers give away their personal or financial information to scammers through things like phishing scams.

"If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a call, hang up and call us on 1800 008 540," Ms Anderson said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has also reported more scams by people impersonating well-known businesses and the police.

In August, the ACCC said its Scamwatch website had recorded a significant spike in remote-access scams, with more than 8,000 reports recorded in 2018 (to August) and losses totalling $4.4 million.

Australian Taxation Office assistant commissioner Kath Anderson on the phone

The ACCCs Targeting Scams report said more than 200,000 scam reports were submitted to the ACCC, Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other federal and state-based government agencies in 2017.

Australians lost $340 million – a $40 million increase compared to 2016, and more than in any other year since the ACCC began reporting on scam activity, it said.

ATOs tips to spot a scammer:

  • Scammers are often aggressive or abusive
  • They will often threaten you with immediate arrest
  • They request payment via unusual methods such as iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards
  • They request personal security information such as your tax file number or bank details via email or SMS or social media sites
  • They ask for money in order to process a refund or other payment

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Get your childs immunisation history or else face risk of exclusion: health authority

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is encouraging parents and carers to download their childs immunisation history statement before the start of primary and secondary schools in 2019.

A WNSWLHD spokesperson said principals of primary and secondary schools must request an immunisation history statement when children enroll.

“If children do not have an immunisation certificate on file, or whose certificate shows they are incompletely vaccinated, they may be excluded from school in the event of a serious vaccine preventable disease outbreak, for example, measles,” the spokesperson said.

However, parents are not required to show the certificate if their children are transferring straight from a public primary to a public secondary school.

“The immunisation history will transfer with their other records, so parents do not need to show the certificate again,” the spokesperson said.

Parents of other students are encouraged to download their childs statement from the Australian I..

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is encouraging parents and carers to download their childs immunisation history statement before the start of primary and secondary schools in 2019.

A WNSWLHD spokesperson said principals of primary and secondary schools must request an immunisation history statement when children enroll.

“If children do not have an immunisation certificate on file, or whose certificate shows they are incompletely vaccinated, they may be excluded from school in the event of a serious vaccine preventable disease outbreak, for example, measles,” the spokesperson said.

However, parents are not required to show the certificate if their children are transferring straight from a public primary to a public secondary school.

“The immunisation history will transfer with their other records, so parents do not need to show the certificate again,” the spokesperson said.

Parents of other students are encouraged to download their childs statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

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WNSWLHD provides health services in most of the Central West cities, including the Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo local government areas.

NSW Health director of communicable diseases, Vicky Sheppeard, said the new requirements are crucial in stopping the spread of diseases.

“It's important for schools to have an immunisation history statement for each enrolled student to help manage disease outbreaks,” Ms Sheppeard said.

The immunisation history statement includes all vaccines given to the child and reported by the provider to the AIR.

All children registered with Medicare can obtain their immunisation history statements, including those who have had no vaccines, or those who have medical exemptions to certain vaccines.

Parents and carers can obtain their childs immunisation history statement by:

• using their Medicare online account through myGov

• using the Medicare Express Plus App

• calling the AIR General Enquiries Line on 1800 653 809.

NSW Health said it has achieved its highest vaccination rates through the immunisation programs.

It will spend a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2018-19.

This story Get your childs immunisation history or else face risk of exclusion: health authority first appeared on Western Advocate.

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West Busselton public house left trashed

West Busselton public house left trashed
A public housing home in West Busselton was left trashed after tenants vacated the property several weeks ago leaving the home in disarray.

An old mattress, doors, junk, and rubbish littered the property with items sprawled across the front lawn and backyard, including a destroyed bicycle which had been hung from a tree out the front of the home.

Neighbour Steve Sewell said it was unacceptable the tenants were allowed to live in the home in such an unkept state and it was frustrating the Department of Communities did not conduct more regular inspections.

“It is a typical case of the department not doing their job, it is the only house which has not been looked after in the whole street, as you can see,” he said.

Mr Sewell said several complaints had been made to the department against the tenants including the number of people who lived at the home.

“If they were having regular house inspections, which we pay for, it would not be the way i..

West Busselton public house left trashed

A public housing home in West Busselton was left trashed after tenants vacated the property several weeks ago leaving the home in disarray.

An old mattress, doors, junk, and rubbish littered the property with items sprawled across the front lawn and backyard, including a destroyed bicycle which had been hung from a tree out the front of the home.

Neighbour Steve Sewell said it was unacceptable the tenants were allowed to live in the home in such an unkept state and it was frustrating the Department of Communities did not conduct more regular inspections.

“It is a typical case of the department not doing their job, it is the only house which has not been looked after in the whole street, as you can see,” he said.

Mr Sewell said several complaints had been made to the department against the tenants including the number of people who lived at the home.

“If they were having regular house inspections, which we pay for, it would not be the way it is today.”

In a letter, obtained by the Mail, from the Minister for Housings office about the property it stated that the department expected public housing tenants to maintain properties to a standard consistent with the community.

The letter, dated July 13, stated routine inspections were conducted at the property from 2016 to 2018 and the department found the property to be neat, tidy and undamaged with no cause for concern.

“The department does not consider that the property would require significant maintenance work that is beyond general wear and tear should it become vacant in the future,” the letter stated.

Department of Communities acting assistant director general regional and remove service delivery Brad Jolly said inspections for public housing were conducted annually or more frequently if a problem was identified.

“Where a tenant vacates a property, inspections are conducted shortly after and any cleaning and maintenance works will generally be completed within 28 days,” he said.

“The department does not condone tenants damaging properties. Where damage can be attributed to the actions of tenants, they are billed for repairs and carry that liability even after they vacate a property.”

Mr Jolly said terminating was a last resort and was decided by a Magistrate.

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