It’s Time to Address Domestic Violence in the Workplace

According to research, 2.2 million Australians have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner, whilst 3.6 million have experienced emotional abuse from a partner[1]. As a national welfare issue, domestic and family violence not only affects the victim in their personal lives but in their professional life too.

Employers have an important role to play and need to take the issue seriously, the cost of domestic violence to the Australian workplace could rise to $9.9 billion annually by 2021/2[2]. AccessEAP acknowledges the role employers and work play in supporting women dealing with this issue. Domestic violence has very real impacts on employees and the workplace. For the victim, health and economic costs can increase and mental health can deteriorate. For organisations, this can lead to lower productivity, efficiency, staff retention rates and motivation, as well as higher absenteeism.

What’s more, some of these employees’ suffering doesn’t end once they leave the house. Victims of abuse can still be subject to unbelievable pressures when they reach the office, such as email and phone harassment, with partners trying to force them to resign or get fired. In extreme cases, they may even be targeted by their abuser at their place of work. This type of behaviour then affects the workforce as a whole, with staff exposed to the abuse in person.

Many organisations recognise it is important and relevant to have a Domestic Violence policy in place to support employees and to provide training to managers and their staff about how to respond and how to offer support. Victims should always feel that there is someone they can confidentially talk to in the workplace, yet only 20 per cent of employees feel comfortable helping a colleague who is experiencing domestic abuse[3]. Work can often become a sanctuary away from abuse and as an employer, it’s important to encourage a working environment that is safe for employees. By creating a non-judgmental space where victims feel confident to talk about their experiences, it can help raise awareness and make sure that someone is getting the help they deserve.

AccessEAP is committed to creating safe workplaces and encouraging workplace wellbeing to the forefront. We can assist organisations in developing domestic violence policies with training based on three elements; Recognise, Respond, Refer.

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DV must be better addressed in the workplace

Published in Wellness Daily 15th November 2019.

AccessEAP clinical director Marcela Slepica said employers and work play a significant role in supporting women dealing with this issue.

“Domestic violence has very real impacts on employees and the workplace. For the victim, health and economic costs can increase and mental health can deteriorate. For organisations, this can lead to lower productivity, efficiency, staff retention rates and motivation, as well as higher absenteeism,” she said.

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How can employers create a sense of purpose?

Published in Human Resources Director NZ 8th November 2019.

A sense of purpose can significantly improve psychological wellbeing, said Marcela Slepica, Clinical Director, AccessEAP.

Poor mental health and a lack of purpose in work can negatively impact employees and could make them feel worse.

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Domestic Violence, A Workplace Issue

In November we highlight the very important topic of Domestic and Family Violence. We were disappointed to hear that White Ribbon Australia have made the difficult decision to close their doors, and at AccessEAP we are committed to continuing to stand against this pressing and prevalent issue in society. The 25th of November marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and we will continue to speak out against violence in our society. We will continue to raise awareness and support you, our customers, via training and organisational consultancy.

Domestic & Family Violence is often referred to as the “hidden crime”. The statistics indicate that women are the main victims of Domestic Violence in 70% of the cases. One in three women experiences physical violence and almost one in five experience sexual violence in their lifetime, most often from an intimate partner. One woman in Australia is killed per week as a result of Domestic Violence. We do acknowledge same-sex violence and other forms of family violence and we encourage all workplaces to join us in focusing on this important social issue.  

Violence against women results in major health, social and economic consequences for individual women, their families, organisations and society. It has significant effects on women’s physical and mental health as well as their material and financial stability. There are also considerable economic costs to individuals affected, employers and society.

While these statistics are sobering and deeply concerning, you may be wondering why this is a workplace issue. The statistics tell us that a significant number of women experience violence in their workplace from known colleagues and peers; more than 60 per cent of women report experiencing some form of violence at work and 75 per cent report experiencing unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour at work. However, the actual prevalence may be higher because there is evidence that many women do not seek help or report violence when it occurs. 

Domestic & Family Violence does have implications for organisations, including an increase in staff turnover, absenteeism (an employee’s time away from work due to illness) and presenteeism (an employee who is physically at work but not extremely productive).  It also often decreases work performance due to its impact on mental health and wellbeing and may extend to staff morale if it occurs in the form of sexual harassment. This can extend to an organisation’s reputation.

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Creating a Supportive and Respectful Work Environment

Following on from our CEO Feature, Domestic Violence, A Workplace Issue.

A key component of creating a zero-tolerance to violence in the workplace is to develop and/or review workplace policies and procedures that address gender equity and violence against women. The next step is to develop strategies to promote a more inclusive, respectful workplace that explicitly values staff experiences, such as a code of conduct, training on communication and decision making, and democratic conflict resolution processes.

In addition, training and raising awareness can go a long way to create the kind of culture that is required. Investing in this sends a powerful message to employees and other organisations, that you care and take this seriously.

It can be confronting when someone tells you they’ve experienced harassment and violence. You’ll probably have feelings of your own to deal with and might not think there’s much you can do to help. The good news is that your colleague/employee trusts you enough to talk about their experience, and there are many things you can do to support them. The most important ones would be to:

Listen: Hear what they say and try not to interrupt. Let them talk at their own pace. Show them you are listening by making eye contact and nodding. Don’t worry if they stop talking for a while – silences are OK.

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Making Time for Self Care

There are many things which can get in the way of prioritising ourselves and our own wellbeing on a daily basis. Whether it be dependent family members, a demanding job, or both, at the end of the working day it may seem that there is little time or energy for looking after ourselves. Eventually however the costs of not prioritising our own wellbeing can be significant.

Here are some tips for creating and maintaining a self-care routine:

1.  Recognise that not prioritising self care is a common reaction during times of stress or in emotionally demanding jobs, and learn from your peers about different ways of building resilience.

2.  Look for the good in people and situations.

3.  Allow time for healthy distractions away from work e.g. a “feel good” movie, listening to comedy, hobbies, sports, and social outings.

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Men's Health this Movember

This November it's time to talk about Men's Health. The Movember Foundation is taking a stand to Tackle Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Mental Health And Suicide Prevention. To challenge the stigma of Mental Health they encourage everyone to Talk, Ask, Listen, Encourage Action and Check In.

We often hear from men that they feel pressure to be seen as invulnerable, stoic, and fearless. This can lead to unrealistic expectations that as a man you should be able to cope no matter what, and “get on with it”. Emotions become synonymous with weakness and powerlessness. Men may also dismiss their feelings as unimportant and worry about burdening other people with their concerns.

Men experience emotions just as much as women do, however the pressure not to show emotion or vulnerability means that emotions will build-up and result in what appear to be random and unexpected behaviour. Reluctance to talk about or acknowledge emotion can manifest in all sorts of unhelpful ways including:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Addiction to gambling or betting
  • Ending relationships prematurely
  • Resigning suddenly from their job
  • Stopping activities of interest e.g. sports
  • Neglecting friends and family
  • Working longer hours
  • Communication only via emails or text messages
  • Aggression or violence
  • Excessive time watching fantasy, films, or gaming

Click here for more information about Movember and how to get involved.

For more information or to book an appointment, call us on 1800 818 728 or visit our website, www.accesseap.com.au

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White Ribbon Australia closes but the important work continues

Although White Ribbon Australia have made the very difficult decision to close their doors, they have advised the following, ‘For all those who are already planning for White Ribbon Day, we encourage you to continue with those plans alongside the international White Ribbon movement. Continue to raise your voice.’ 

With White Ribbon Day at the end of November and many organisations in the midst of White Ribbon Accreditation, there is a level of uncertainty with how to proceed. Here at AccessEAP, we are currently going through the accreditation process ourselves. We will continue with our accreditation and our commitment to the process as we recognise the important work that White Ribbon was trying to accomplish. Violence against women is a pressing and prevalent issue within our society and our commitment to continue with the accreditation process stands firm. 

We are a White Ribbon approved training provider and we will continue to provide Domestic and Family Violence Awareness Training. We have received positive feedback from organisations that we have supported in achieving their accreditation and raising awareness on this matter. For organisations that are considering the accreditation process or are in the process of doing so, AccessEAP encourages all organisations to continue with their commitment in addressing and raising awareness of such an important issue. 

At AccessEAP we are sensitive to the complexities that surround Domestic and Family Violence, and our aim is to continue to support you via training and organisational consultancy. At AccessEAP our mission is to create thriving workplaces and hope that you will join us in supporting increased awareness and education involving violence against women. 

If you or your organisation needs further advice please contact AccessEAP on 1800 818 728.

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Leaders to Challenge Stigma of Mental Health

October 10th Marks World Mental Health Day

Employees with mental health issues report that that they are unlikely to tell their managers about their issues for fear of being judged. There is still a stigma around mental health is some workplaces. This fear and not speaking out creates more stress for employees and possibly impacts on absenteeism and presenteeism. While many companies are making an effort to move mental health and wellbeing to the top of the agenda, a lack of time and resources are often used as excuses for not following through.

The 10th October is World Mental Health Day and encourages us to unite in efforts to improve the mental health of people around the word and challenge the misconceptions about those experiencing mental illness.

According to research, 45% of Australians have experienced mental health issues in their lifetime[1], and while the workplace is not the main reason for people developing a mental health issue, it is definitely a contributing factor. Long hours, stressful workloads, job insecurity and lack of engagement are sometimes normalised within companies, yet they affect the mental wellbeing of employees and can lead to issues such as anxiety or depression.

“As a manager, you are in a unique position to promote positive mental health at work, explains Marcela Slepica, Clinical Director here at AccessEAP. “Given the prevalence of mental health issues in Australia, it is likely that at any given time someone in your team will either be experiencing symptoms or will be vulnerable to developing symptoms.

“There are so many ways in which you can actively challenge stigma and help a person in your team remain connected, stay productive and feel valued at work, whilst they experience mental health concerns. One simple action that organisations can take is to nominate a mental health or wellbeing ambassador, someone within the team who can have peer-to-peer conversations with colleagues about mental health issues and encourage them to seek help.”

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Fires are out but impact still felt

Natural disasters: How can HR help? Published in Human Resources Director 28th September, 2019.

Natural disasters such as the recent Queensland and Northern NSW bushfires impact entire communities, including organisations, their employees and their families. 

Marcela Slepica Clinical Director at AccessEAP says a tragic disaster such as a bushfire can have a damaging effect on people, and it is common to experience a range of intense emotions following a traumatic event like a natural disaster. 

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Support Act & AusMusic T-Shirt Day 2019

This November Support Act is partnering with triple j and the Australian Recording Industry Association for AusMusic T-Shirt DayIt's a great way to show support for Australian music - and the people who make it. The day will be held on Friday the 15th of November and will help raise funds to provide crisis relief and mental health services to artists, crew and music workers who are doing it tough.

The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is a free, confidential counselling service that is available to anyone working in Australian music (all genres), or the Australian Performing Arts, who needs to talk to someone about any aspect of their wellbeing. It is delivered in partnership with Access EAP, and is staffed by professional counsellors who offer expertise in all areas related to mental health (e.g. depression, anxiety, addiction, suicidal feelings) as well as issues which can be mental health related (such as loneliness, relationship breakdown, financial worries, illness and workplace conflict).

 

AusMusic T-Shirt Day-Watch out for when the official website for this year goes live in October so you can register your company and create your page.

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Become an AccessEAP Ambassador this October

Join our AccessEAP Ambassador® Program.

Find out more information here.

Are you:

- Approachable - Empathetic - Reliable - Respectful of confidentiality - A believer in the power of peer support?

Do you:

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Mental Health - Share the Journey

September was a very busy time for us here at AccessEAP with everyone getting involved in R U OK? Day. We were very excited to partner with many organisations to run training sessions, toolbox talks and webinars. R U OK? Day may be over for another year but the message and purpose of the foundation continues. With World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October and each state dedicating a week or a whole month to Mental Health Awareness, now is the perfect opportunity to keep the conversation going. We are passionate about breaking down the stigma around Mental Health, encouraging and supporting people to ask for help. Connecting with colleagues and checking in on them is an important part of Mental Health Awareness and links with this year’s theme for Mental Health Month, “Share the Journey”.

The research continually tells us that asking for help can be a powerful tool in keeping ourselves mentally healthy. It also means that the people in our lives will trust us more to ask for help when they need it. Asking and receiving help is a way to ensure that we all share the journey together. “Share the Journey” is an effective message around mental health but it can be hard to put strategies into place on a day to day level. It can be helpful to think about ways to deepen your own social connections to avoid isolation, increase your leisure time and find inexpensive and sustainable ways to reduce stress. Walking, particularly in open spaces and/or where you can appreciate nature is about the cheapest way I know but this is personal and you need to find what works for you.

At AccessEAP, we have had our own journey to make sure that our people are healthy and their wellbeing is in our focus. Last year we invited employees from different teams to volunteer as our own Wellbeing Champions. This allowed our employees to be involved, to contribute and engage in our wellbeing initiatives. One of our recent themes focused on Self Care. The Wellbeing Champions invited each employee to think about their self care strategies which were then shared with all employees. It was a great initiative with lots of engagement. An effective strategy highlighted from the initiative was the importance of being able to ask someone for help. We were challenged to “put as much energy into caring for ourselves as we do into caring for others.” For some, this was the difficult part. As an organisation, we learnt the most important part of the challenge was for us to individually do something and form a new habit, rather than just thinking or talking about it. Many organisations have their own AccessEAP Ambassadors whose role is to check in and encourage teams to look after themselves as well as working passionately to reduce stigma and ask for help.

I encourage you to invite a friend, colleague, team to come along with you this month and participate in whatever activities you do. It can be simple such as walking together at lunchtime, sharing a healthy lunch, becoming an EAP Ambassador, getting a meditation group together or a Friday afternoon gathering in the kitchen to celebrate the end of another great week. Whatever activity you choose, the research tells us that if it something that you enjoy, it will go a long way to improving your mental health.

We are very happy to discuss with you further about our own Ambassador program and the way that we can help you put your People in Focus.

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White Ribbon approved Domestic Violence Awareness Training

AccessEAP provides White Ribbon approved training programs and trainers to assist organisations in their commitment to support the victims of domestic violence in the workplace. This training may form part of your DV Plan or may be part of your White Ribbon accreditation process. AccessEAP supports companies in educating employees as part of creating a domestic violence action plan based around three elements; Recognise, Respond, Refer. The training includes raising awareness and understanding and challenging stereotypes.

Recognise

When a woman is experiencing domestic violence, it is likely that her patterns of behaviour will change. Managers should remain connected to their team to be able to recognise any changes. Some behaviours to look out for may include;

  • Frequently arriving to work very early or very late
  • Frequent personal phone calls that leave the employee distressed
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Not attending out of hours work functions or engaging socially with colleagues
  • Stress
  • Ill health and increased leave usage
  • Wanting to resign or relocate

Respond

If someone has taken the difficult step of sharing their experience of violence or abuse, it is vital to respond in an appropriate and supportive manner. Firstly, you should believe the person and listen without judging. Be supportive, encouraging, open and honest. There are also some practical considerations which will help make the person feel safer and more supported.

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This simple life change will make you more productive at work

Published in Lifestyle 9th August, 2019.

“We’ve become an ‘always-on’ society and while it may seem like a win for businesses, what they gain in hours is lost in efficiency,” says Marcela Slepica, Clinical Director at AccessEAP.

“Keeping our phones and laptops within arm’s reach at all times to work at any given time has a significant impact on our mental and physical health. In this fast-paced environment, something has to give, and for many it’s sleep. We are in a dangerous cycle of not getting all of the work done because we’re sleep deprived, and not sleeping because we’re not getting all of the work done,” Marcela tells.

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Mental Health Month October 2019

 

The only way to truly reduce the stigma associated with Mental Health symptoms is through education.

During Mental Health Month this October, AccessEAP would like to partner with you to put your People in Focus and ensure we connect with as many people as possible. We have developed a variety of options to spread Mental Health Awareness and reduce the stigma associated with Mental Health.

 To book in any of these options contact your Relationship Manager today.
FACE TO FACE TRAINING
Mental Health Awareness
  • 1 hr Standard Training Session - Download Training Outline
  • 2 hr Manager Session - Download Training Outline
  • Ask your Relationship Manager for a quote.
  • Signed quotes must be received two weeks from your delivery date, so we can coordinate resources, and allow you time to communicate and promote the training. 
Stress Awareness and Building Resilience
  • 1.5 hr Training Session - Download Training Outline
  • Ask your Relationship Manager for a quote.
  • Signed quotes must be received two weeks from your delivery date, so we can coordinate resources, and allow you time to communicate and promote the training. 
Introduction to Mindfulness
  • 1 hr Training Session - Download Training Outline
  • Ask your Relationship Manager for a quote.
  • Signed quotes must be received two weeks from your delivery date, so we can coordinate resources, and allow you time to communicate and promote the training. 

LIVE WEBINAR
Mental Health Awareness
  • 30 mins Webinar - Download Webinar Outline
  • Running at 11am on Thursday the 10th of October.
  • This can be purchased for only $300 + GST or 2 hours from your pre-purchased allotment, for unlimited employee attendance.

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Ask "R U OK?" on September 12th

Published in Safety Solutions 3rd September, 2019.

Ahead of R U OK? Day on 12 September, we at AccessEAP are advising workplaces to focus on mental health issues, to normalise and have meaningful conversations to try to identify, help and avoid potential incidences of suicide. And while the day marks the starting point of communication within the workplace, it’s imperative to consider that a long-term commitment to suicide prevention is vital and should be instilled within every workplace.

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Clinician - Sydney based

  • Leading Employee Assistance Program provider
  • Relationship development focus
  • Let your passion and commitment shine

At AccessEAP our mission is to create thriving workplaces. We partner with each customer to promote, positive organizational behaviour, enhance employee well-being, improve workplace productivityand effectively manage the mental health of every employee. As an Australian owned not for profit Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) provider, our emphasis is on understanding the unique needs of our customers and tailoring our services to support and prevent mental health issues in the workplace. Due to continued growth we are expanding the clinical services team and need a passionate and committed professional to help ensure the provision of best practice counseling and ancillary services that meet or exceed customer and client expectations.

Your role will be to develop strong relationships with key customers to understand their needs and work on tailored solutions to solve specific or complex people issues.  You will provide a range of clinical services including: Face to Face, telephone and emergency counseling, mediation, manager support, critical incident response, EAP briefings and webinars. Additionally you will provide key operational management support to the Director Clinical Services, Clinical Services Manager and work with the broader AccessEAP team to build relationships and provide quality services such as consulting, coaching, reflective supervision and training.

With a degree in Psychology or Social Work and professionally registered your track record of success will reflect your impartial and insightful thinking capabilities.  You will be adept at engaging with a broad range of people, comfortable working autonomously, and respond well under pressure to balance multiple priorities.

Your key skills will include your rapport building, analysis, judgment and outstanding interpersonal skills. Most importantly you will enjoy working in a team environment that is driven by respect, collaboration and accomplishment. AccessEAP take the health of employees seriously and you will be working in an environment that genuinely cares about the wellbeing of all employees.

For more information call David Williams on 0414 551 795 or to apply send your resume to dwilliams@kurtispaige.com.au

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New EAP Industry Study

The purpose of the survey is to identify how the health and safety of people at work may be improved.

At AccessEAP, we are excited to be a part of and contribute to this Australian first. So, what does this mean for your organisation? Your employees who book in for counselling will be offered the opportunity to be a part of this study. Participation is entirely voluntary and optional and will be conducted by the University of South Australia, a respected and impartial research institution. The link to the study will remain open for the month of September. Participants can opt out at any time. 

The survey is designed to take five minutes and will include a follow up survey 4 weeks later. Data will be handled by UniSA in accordance with their strict data protection policies. All answers will remain anonymous and confidential to the researcher and no identifying information of any individual will be released.

If you have any further questions, please contact us on 1800 818 728.

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3 Things to do on R U OK? Day - Talk, Talk, Talk

When I started as CEO at AccessEAP about eight years ago, I would not have imagined that I would be talking about suicide prevention. Talking about my feelings, especially my feelings at work was something I was not entirely comfortable with. It made me feel vulnerable. Today I am passionate about the work that we do at AccessEAP. We talk about mental health and we encourage and support others to talk about mental health and suicide prevention. September 12th is an important day for us at AccessEAP. R U OK? Day is a theme we are passionate about and one of the busiest days in our Wellbeing Calendar. It is also closely aligned with our vision for all workplaces to have mentally healthy employees.

The "R U OK" Foundation aims to raise awareness and prevent suicide. Suicide in Australia is growing year on year, with a 9.1 per cent increase from 2017 to 2018 and has become the leading cause of death among people 15 – 44 years[1]. Mental health issues are one of several causes that contribute to this worrying trend, with depression present in 43 per cent of suicides between 2017 and 2018[1]. We are seeing an increase in organisations requesting support for their employees following the loss of an employee to suicide. The impact of suicide on families, friends, peers, colleagues is devastating and immeasurable, making it vital that we all become involved.

Throughout an adult's life, they will spend up to 4,821 days at work. This suggests that workplaces can and need to play a role in suicide prevention. Through our work at AccessEAP, and my own experience, I know that talking about mental health and suicide is challenging and confronting. People may feel helpless and unsure of what to say. People may experience anxiety about how people may respond if they ask, "R U OK?". What if they are not ok, what will I say or do? It is normal to feel anxious and to avoid asking or talking about mental health. Some of our organisations ask us to come to their workplaces but request that we don't talk about suicide, to soften our language because they are concerned about how their employees may react. I understand it can be confronting or challenging, I and the team at AccessEAP are committed to talking about mental health and suicide and to help others learn how to have those conversations. It is important to talk about mental health, to break down the stigma, to tackle the barriers which prevent people asking for help if we are to make a difference to the lives of people with who we work.

R U OK? Day creates an opportunity for managers and HR leaders to start a dialogue with their staff about mental health, to create an environment of acceptance and to normalise asking for help. Managers can play a vital role in the culture of their workplaces. The easiest way is through talking and encouraging others to talk, especially about uncomfortable topics such as mental health. Leaders can empower their employees and facilitate a culture where it is normal to talk about anxiety and depression. They can learn the steps or the skills on how to ask those who may be struggling and can provide helpful information and the support structures which employees may need. For tips on how to have a conversation on R U OK? Day, see our latest newsletter article, Time to Connect.

I could talk about a business case for creating mentally healthy workplaces, instead, I will encourage you to have a conversation about asking R U OK?

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indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away
.

indig_flags.jpg

AccessEAP acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we work on and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using this content are advised that it may contain images, names or voices of people who have passed away.