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WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS

WSBA www.accessnews.com.au

JUNE 2020 ISSUE 110

Western Sydney's most sought-after business publication

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NEW HOSPITAL FOR LIVERPOOL: 2

PARRAMATTA'S NEW POOL: 5 CORONAVIRUS: PARENTS DRINKING

Time to Reboot NSW regions and tourism businesses in Western Sydney are set to receive a major boost with the easing of travel restrictions, as the Government revealed NSW residents took almost two million international leisure trips worth $16.7B last year. SEE TRAVEL CENTRE PAGES

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$790M Liverpool Hospital unveiled HE $790M redevelopment of Liverpool Hospital is one step closer with the unveiling of the designs for the world-class medical, research and education precinct. Health Minister Brad Hazzard thanked the hospital staff and community who contributed to the extensive consultation that has helped shape the project. “This is a major milestone in delivering a medical, research and education hub of excellence to the communities of South Western Sydney,” Mr Hazzard said. “The Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct will deliver significantly expanded and improved health services, with about 200 more beds than previously, an almost doubling of chemotherapy treatment spaces and a doubling of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit capacity. “The NSW Government is continuing its record health infrastructure program, with $10.1 billion in the pipeline over this term, on top of $10 billion already spent, boosting jobs and local economies across the state.” The planning applications have now been lodged for the $740M hospital upgrade and expansion, as well as the new $50M carpark. It follows a comprehensive process of planning and consultation involving Health Infrastructure, South Western Sydney Local Health District, hospital staff, local medical and emergency personnel, community groups and patients.

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Artist impressions of the new Liverpool Hospital.

Successful Tenderer Multiplex has also been announced as the successful tenderer for the next stage of early works, joining contractors Roberts Pizzarotti. Melanie Gibbons, Member for Holsworthy said the Liverpool Hospital redevelopment will boost the local economy and meet growing health care needs. “This next stage includes reconfiguration of car parks, a new kitchen facility, retail spaces, a new mortuary, helipad upgrades and

a temporary education facility and will enable hospital operations to continue when the main phase begins early next year.” The Liverpool Health and Academic Precinct includes: About 900 beds (an increase of more than 20 per cent). Significant expansion in ambulatory services with almost double the number of treatment spaces for chemotherapy (from 35 to 67), as well as an increase to over 330

Liverpool: Home to Season 9 of The Voice

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HE capital of the great South West is now home to the Nine Network’s popular entertainment series, The Voice. “Council is excited for The Voice S9 to make Liverpool its new home, setting a precedent for other large-scale television and film productions to come to our great city in the future,” Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said.

“Our economy is as diverse as our community, with a gross regional product of $11.33B across a myriad of industries including healthcare, education, public administration, manufacturing and retail.” David Mott, CEO and Managing Director of ITV Studios Australia, the production company behind The Voice, said Liverpool provided the answer to Sydney’s lack of studio space to produce the latest series.

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COVER: Relief at last. Tourism businesses are set to receive a major boost with the easing of travel restrictions announced recently.

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JUNE 2020 Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) ACCESS NEWS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD ABN 39 600 436 799 Publisher/editor: Michael Walls M: 0407 783 413. E: michael@wsba.com.au Associate Editor: Dallas Sherringham Journalists: Red Dwyer, Elizabeth Frias, Paul Haigh. Account Managers: Julie Jackson: 0447 291 780; Graham Maughan: 0431 557 791 Contributors: David Pring, Adam Leto, Angela Haynes. Printer: Spotpress Design: Design2Pro, DMC Advertising Group. General enquiries: info@wsba.com.au Phone: 02 4572 2336 Fax: 02 4572 2340 We pay respect to the Traditional Custodians and First Peoples of our region and acknowledge their continued connection to their country and culture.

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spaces to provide expanded clinics, treatment rooms and assessment services. Expanded services for women and children, with 16 new birthing suites, 50 beds across the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery (including a doubling of NICU capacity to 24 beds). Larger emergency department, intensive care unit and more theatres. New multi-storey car park with improved pick-up and drop-off points

IN these challenging times of Coronavirus Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) is taking steps to ensure our readers and clients continue to have easy access to Western Sydney’s leading business news service. We are mindful of following the Government's social distancing guidelines, while maintaining our relationship with the regional business community and our loyal reader base. From the April edition and until further notice WSBA will adopt an online distribution platform and reduce the number of hard copy newspapers delivered. This means that WSBA will be created as usual and posted as a downloadable PDF at www.accessnews. com.au for easy viewing 24/7, as we have always done. Further, we will be broadcasting the edition to more than 50,000 carefully targeted Western Sydney residents and businesspeople via Facebook, LinkedIn and direct email links. We have engaged the services of respected media agency Happy Hippo Media to work with us on this. We are confident that our new online distribution model will result in even more readers of WSBA. As the global pandemic eases, we will resume normal distribution of our newspaper. We wish all Western Sydney residents the very best in these challenging timers. Feel free to contact us at any time of you feel we can be off assistance. info@accessnews.com.au - Michael Walls, Publisher DISCLAIMER: The publisher, authors and contributors reserve their rights in respect of the copyright of their work. No part of this work may be reproduced or copied in any form without the written consent of the publisher. No person or organisation should in any way act on the information and content of Western Sydney Business Access or www. wsba.com.au without first seeking professional advice. The publisher, contributors and agents accept no responsibility for any actions that may arise from the contents of this newspaper or website www.wsba.com.au. The opinions and views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher. Advertisements are published in accordance with WSBA terms and conditions published in the media kit downloadable at www.wsba.com.au. Advertisers agree to indemnify the publisher and his agents for any actions that may arise as a result of published advertisements or contributions. Advertisers agree to abide by the terms of trade outlined by the publisher.

One of Liverpool’s own made it through to the finals of the eighth season of The Voice in 2019. Lara Dabbagh is a South West Sydney singing sensation who has performed at many Council community events including Australia Day. Filming started at Moorebank in February this year. The first episode of The Voice S9 will air on the Nine Network soon.

WSBA enables readers to appreciate and engage with the physical, community, cultural and business environments of one of Australia's fastest growing regions, Greater Western Sydney.

Greater We Western Sydney foo footprint.

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High speed rail back on radar Centres Linked

 DALLAS SHERRINGHAM T has been the most “born again” project in Australian transport history, but High Speed Rail is back on the public agenda courtesy of Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese is arguing for High Speed Rail to be a central part of the rebuilding of Australia’s economy following the COVID-19 crisis. Mr Albanese raised the idea in a recent Shadow Cabinet meeting, calling on Prime Minister Morrison to use it as a springboard back to prosperity. High Speed Rail has been investigated by every Federal Government since 1980 with proponents citing successful launches overseas. However, Australia’s vast distances, combined with its challenging geography and city layouts, have been the major stumbling blocks. Sydney to Melbourne is one of the world’s busiest airline routes, so it would be the most logical link to introduce High Speed trains, Western Sydney would play a key role in the development of the system as it is sure to link with the new Western Sydney Airport complex. Mr Albanese believes the High Speed Rail project, along with accompanying decentralization, should be pursued by the Federal Government as a way to recover and create a more resilient nation. Mr Albanese also wants to combine a commitment to High Speed Rail with local train manufacturing. “We must invest in nation-building infrastructure including iconic projects like High Speed Rail and we should be building trains here,” he said. In 2019, Labor took a $1 billion land acquisition policy for High Speed Rail to the Federal election, however the Coalition has not pursued high speed rail during its time in office.

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In April, Shadow Transport spokeswoman Catherine King nominated High Speed Rail as an “economic game changer” and indicated Federal Labor’s continuing support for a High Speed Rail network linking population centres down the Eastern seaboard. Ms King also said investment in High Speed Rail would encourage economic growth in regional communities. At the time, Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the government’s focus was building the Inland Rail project and pursuing faster rail projects. Ms King said building a High Speed network along the eastern seaboard would be able to cut travel times significantly. “High-speed rail has the potential to revolutionise interstate travel, allowing travel between capital cities in as little as three hours,” Ms King said. In 2019, Labor took to the election a $1B promise to set aside land for an East Coast high speed rail corridor. Between 2010 and 2013 the Australian government investigated the possibility of a

High speed rail concept.

1748km route from Brisbane to Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra. With a speed of 350km/hr this would make the travel times between Sydney and Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane below three hours, the threshold for passengers to swap from air to train travel according to the Australasian Railway Association.

The route alignment mapped out in 2013 also included regional stops such as in Wagga Wagga, Albury Wodonga, Shepparton, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour and Grafton. The cost of linking Sydney and Melbourne with high speed rail would be around $50B. Source: Rail Express

Booze buses back in action

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OLICE will be back out in force to target drink-and-drug drivers as stationary Random Breath Test (RBT) and Roadside Drug Test (RDT) recommence across NSW ahead of Operation Stay Alert this long weekend. Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on licensed premises and regional travel called for

a return of proactive stationary testing operations. “With the easing of restrictions on travel and going out to support restaurants and pubs ahead of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, the community is understandably itching to return to some form of normalcy,” Mr Elliott said. Traffic and Highway Patrol Com-

mander, Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, said more people will be on the road as with restrictions easing and implored the community to be responsible and drive safely. “We understand that people are keen to get out of the house and stimulate the local economy but there is no excuse to get behind the wheel and flagrantly flout the law,” Mr Corboy said

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Artist impressions of the new Parramatta Pool.

Vision of Parramatta’s new pool ITY of Parramatta Council has released images and an animation that give a fresh and detailed look at Parramatta’s state-ofthe-art aquatic and leisure centre as the project reaches a new milestone. The new artist’s impressions and a 3D flythrough animation have been unveiled after Council lodged the Development Application (DA) for major works yesterday. “The submission of the Development Application for the aquatic and leisure centre marks another key step forward for this much-anticipated project. It’s exciting to see it all coming together,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said. “The people of Parramatta are keen to see this significant community facility built, and Council is working hard to deliver it as soon as possible.” The $77M project, which is scheduled for completion in 2023, is being co-funded by the State Government and has the support of Parramatta Park Trust. Acting Minister for Sport Geoff Lee said

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the NSW Government is proud to support this world-class aquatic centre. “We are a step closer in our partnership with Parramatta Council to delivering a state-of-the-art sporting and recreational facility for Western Sydney. This aquatic centre will cater for competition, Learn to Swim classes, recreation and relaxation and will be the pride of Parramatta,” Mr Lee said. Designed by Grimshaw Architects, Andrew Burges Architects and McGregor Coxall, the aquatic and leisure centre will feature a 50-metre, 10-lane outdoor pool with seating; a 25-metre, indoor recreational pool; an indoor Learn to Swim pool; indoor water playground; a range of change rooms and bathrooms; multipurpose community rooms; spa and sauna facilities; a fitness centre, including a modern gym and program rooms; cafe; and 200-plus parking spaces.

“Over the last few months, we have been working closely with our team of architects and key community stakeholders to ensure the facility will meet the needs of our growing population, while also taking into account the heritage restrictions of the site and staying on budget,” Cr Dwyer said.

“With indoor and outdoor heated pools and a wide range of wellbeing and fitness amenities on offer, this impressive centre will no doubt be enjoyed all year round by competitive and recreational users of all ages.” Situated in the Mays Hill Precinct of Parramatta Park, the aquatic and leisure centre has been designed to sensitively integrate with the site’s parkland surrounds. The striking circular design also works to minimise noise and reduce impact on nearby residents, and provides expansive sightlines for better supervision across the facility. Architect Andrew Burges said the design aims to integrate the project into Parramatta Park, while providing a unique and functional space to train, compete and play. “We believe that blending it into the natural park setting will really broaden the appeal of the Parramatta aquatic and leisure centre and make it a popular and enjoyable experience for Parramatta’s diverse and growing community,” Mr Burges said.

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Jobs boom in post-COVID region ESTERN Sydney is set for a further construction boom, with two more projects getting the green light today through the NSW Government’s Planning System Acceleration Program. Planning approval has been given to a new recycling facility in Penrith and a major upgrade to a brick production facility in Horsley Park that, combined, will inject an additional $27.8M into the economy and support more than 130 A worker at Austral Bricks. local jobs. five homes every hour. The facility’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Western upgrade will support 60 construcSydney has been a big winner in the first tion jobs and 35 ongoing operational tranche of projects that have had their assessroles. ments fast-tracked to create jobs and invest• A new $1.8M recycling and transfer ment in response to COVID-19. facility in Penrith, operated by NSW “Western Sydney is undergoing signifiWaste Recycling, that will support a cant growth, which is why we’ve fast-tracked significant increase to waste recycling the assessment of projects in the region over the past three weeks to create opportunities for more than 16,000 local jobs and $1.8B in investment,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The housing and construction industries will be vital to supporting our State’s economy through the pandemic and so we’re doing ENOVATION works have begun at what we can to keep the industry moving.” Baulkham Hills Library. The latest projects approved in Western In preparation for the renovations, Sydney include: books and other resources on-site • A $26M upgrade to the 1960’s Auswere packed away by staff. tral Bricks facility at Horsley Park. The renovations will add a range of The state-of-the-art facility will be exciting refurbishments to the Library one of the most technologically including a new roof, furniture, mobile advanced of its kind in the world shelving and a reading nook for children. and produce enough bricks to build

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in Western Sydney. The project will support 25 construction jobs and 12 operational roles once complete. Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said the Planning System Acceleration Program was a vital lever in the State’s economic recovery. “We have re-prioritised projects in the State’s planning system so projects are assessed more quickly to keep people in jobs and the NSW economy moving during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Stokes said. “We’ll have another tranche of shovel-

ready projects ready to announce shortly, which will also have their assessments finalised within four weeks.” To be considered for accelerated assessment, a project must already be progressed in the planning system, deliver a public benefit, demonstrate an ability to create jobs during construction and once complete, and be able to commence construction or lodge a development application within six months. Western Sydney projects approved in Tranche 1 of the Planning System Acceleration Program include:

Project

Investment value

Jobs

Austral Bricks facility upgrade

$26 million

95

Penrith Resource Recovery Facility

$1.8 million

37

Bunnings Warehouse at Bringelly Business Park

$22 million

400

Mt Druitt CBD rezoning

$1.49 billion

15,000

Rezoning land at Glenlee to create a 60 hectare jobs hub

$94.2 million

188

Rezoning the Bankstown CBD to allow more retail, residential and public space

$166 million

332

TOTAL

$1.81 billion

16,052

Renovations to Hills Library underway

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Mayor of the Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said she is looking forward to when the renovations are complete, and when the doors to Baulkham Hills Library and the Hills Shire Library Service’s other branches can open once the COVID-19 Public Health Orders have been lifted. “Our libraries offer an extremely ver-

satile space for social, academic and community purposes that cater to residents and visitors of all ages, which is why it’s essential to look after these spaces,” Mayor Byrne said. For access to Library resources, download the FREE Hills Shire Library Service App, available on the App Store and Google Play, depending on your device.

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Penrith locals first to explore Fernhill HE Penrith local community will be the first to explore the historic grounds of Western Sydney’s Fernhill Estate, with a new walking track opening to local residents. Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said a new 2.6 kilometre walking track within the Estate will trial opening on weekends from Saturday, June 6. “Fernhill Estate was purchased by the Government for public open space in 2018 and will be a fantastic parkland once it’s fully opened, providing more than 400 hectares of open space for the community to enjoy,” Mr Stokes said. “In the meantime, we’ve created a new loop track for local residents to tour the grounds and the outside of the homestead in what is one of the earliest surviving estates in the Sydney basin.” Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said two neighbouring properties had also been purchased to expand the Estate. “Fernhill Estate will be a wonderful asset for the people of Western Sydney for generations to come and we are working to restore and repurpose it for public use,” Mr Ayres said. “We are developing a Plan of Management that will set out the NSW Government’s vision for the site and outline its future use, management and preservation.” Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies said the new track will give residents a glimpse of the historic homestead and its grounds. “Surrounded by the Cumberland Plain Woodland and boasting beautiful gardens, lakes, paddocks and sandstone buildings from the 19th Century, Fernhill Estate will provide a haven for visitors to enjoy and wildlife to thrive,” Ms Davies said. “COVID-19 has highlighted the importance our parks, tracks and public spaces for the health and wellbeing of the community and this new track will provide a wonderful place for residents to exercise and enjoy the outdoors.”

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Biobanking Blue Mountains National Park

Lake Jessica Hayshed Entrance via Mulgoa Rd

Start/End 2.6km Loop Walk Pedestrian access only, no bikes or vehicles

Chicken Farm 1950s

Orchard 1980s

OAD

Parking Along Driveway

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Biobanking

Views to Racecourse and Sydney

Sorenson Gardens 1969

Fernhill Estate Homestead

Biobanking

Fernhill Walking Trail

Source:Nearmap

The trial will see the 2.6 kilometre scenic walking loop open for Penrith LGA residents on weekends and public holidays between 10am and 4pm, with the view to extend it to the wider Sydney community as COVID-19 restrictions ease. For the safety of the community, the num-

ber of visitors will be capped at 100 people in the morning and 100 people in the afternoon to ensure that social distancing practices can be maintained. Penrith residents will need to register online to book their visit. Community consultation has been reopened to allow the community to have its say

on the future of Fernhill Estate once they’ve had a chance to visit the site. Consultation will be open until Tuesday, June 30 2020. For more information and to register, visit: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/fernhillestate.

Views of the historic Fernhill estate.

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Airport rail plan a win for the future IVERPOOL Mayor Wendy Waller has welcomed the Australian and NSW Governments’ pledge to start construction on a train line to Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport by the end of 2020. “This announcement about the $11B project provides greater clarity of the route and stations, assisting Council to plan for Liverpool’s growth accordingly,” Mayor Waller said. “Importantly for many locals, starting construction this year will provide 14,000 jobs that could support those in Western Sydney and beyond during a time of economic hardship.” Mayor Waller said Council was doing its bit to ensure the success of the future international airport at Badgerys Creek and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, both of which would have stations on the new train line. “In March, Council unveiled its vision for the Fifteenth Avenue Smart Transit (FAST) Corridor, which would provide the vital link

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Mayor Wendy Waller.

between Liverpool city centre and both the Airport and Aerotropolis,” Mayor Waller said. “Council is confident that, as we continue to work closely with the NSW Government, the FAST Corridor project can deliver on the long-standing Western Sydney City Deal commitment for a rapid bus service along this route in time for the airport’s opening in 2026. “We are working with Transport for NSW to ensure a ‘whole of corridor’ high-quality rapid transit service design that is futureproofed for emerging technologies such as trackless trams. “In addition to a frequent and rapid public transport connection to the new airport from Sydney's third CBD, there’s a chance to create new, sustainable communities along the route which are sensitive to their bushland and farming landscape.” Mayor Waller said collaboration was key to delivering planning outcomes that would benefit the Liverpool community for generations to come.

“Council continues to advocate to the NSW Government for funding to fast-track the FAST Corridor project in addition to 21 other capital works projects worth close to $130 million that would provide construction jobs and support the arts and cultural sector, improve community facilities and enhance public amenity,” Mayor Waller said. “We also look forward to discussion with the NSW Government to determine the likelihood of an extension of the Leppington line to the new airport, improving north-south connectivity in the rapidly growing Western Sydney region.” Council has finalised early FAST Corridor project plans and will soon seek community support for its preferred alignment of the separated transit corridor along Hoxton Park Road and Fifteenth Avenue. Visit www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/fastcorridor for upto-date information about Council’s FAST Corridor project.

New fleet for ambulance front line

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FLEET of 89 new state-of-the-art ambulances will be rolled out to communities across NSW as part of a $17M funding boost from the NSW Government. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new fleet will bring provide additional capacity across the state and ensure the health system can deal with any potential surge in COVID-19 cases. “This is another step we are taking to ensure our health system is prepared for any spike in COVID-19 cases, especially as we

ease restrictions and head into winter,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The manufacture of the 89 extra ambulances is well underway and we expect to have them on road within weeks, in regional and metropolitan communities across the state.” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the $17M investment also delivers additional medical supplies including upgraded lifesaving defibrillators. “The package will provide extra defibrillators with features previously only available in acute care environments, as well as critical

airway equipment such as Laryngoscopes used for the intubation of seriously ill patients,” Mr Hazzard said. “This new fleet follows the graduation of 467 new paramedic recruits who will now join NSW Ambulance’s incredible frontline troops who come to our aid and save our lives when we need them the most.” NSW Ambulance Chief Executive Dr Dominic Morgan said the new fleet and additional paramedics will go a long way to helping us meet the demands of the community during these extraordinary times.

“We are one of the largest ambulance services in the world and this boost to our workforce gives us new strength and support to our very valuable frontline workforce,” Dr Morgan said. The allocation of new ambulances is currently being finalised, with priority being given to areas experiencing a higher demand for services. The $17M is part of the NSW Government’s $800M investment to boost ICU capacity and purchase additional services and medical equipment.

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Above: pedestrian access to east St and an artist impression of the completed project.

Transformation of Eat St starts AJOR construction for the Parramatta Light Rail has begun on ‘Eat Street’ in the first step towards the revitalisation of the famous dining strip. Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said the light rail works in Eat Street have started this week. They will include the removal of the existing pavement and road surface, deep excavation and moving or replacing underground utilities including water, gas pipes and telecommunication services. A micro-tunnelling machine beneath the ground will reduce noise and impact compared to street-level work, moving up to 10 metres a day. “We know the community is eager to see this light rail built and we will be working hard over the next five months to make the most of this time,” Mr Constance said. “Our construction timetable together with innovative engineering techniques will see this precinct through to a fantastic new light rail network that will bring passengers into the heart of Parramatta.” A construction grace period will see works cease on 1 November 2020 until 1 February 2021 and outdoor dining restored over the busy warmer months. Member for Parramatta Geoff Lee said the precinct, closed to car traffic in February ahead of light rail works, had been impacted by Covid-19 lockdown measures and would benefit from a vibrant program of events and activities planned to celebrate the distinctiveness of the area. “We’re pleased to give businesses certainty that hoardings will come down at the beginning of November, giving everyone a break from construction,” Mr Lee. “This is in addition to the many other ways we’re proudly supporting Eat Street.” Further NSW Government support measures will include: • Nearly 2000 metres of colourful shadecloth and hoarding will high-

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We’re pleased to give businesses certainty that hoardings will come down at the beginning of November, giving everyone a break from construction.” – Geoff Lee. light the array of local retailers and reflect the popular dining area’s rich cultural diversity. • ‘Activate Parramatta’, a new app, will be launched to attract the community, residents and visitors to dine or shop at businesses along the light rail route, as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease. • A ‘Dine, Scan, Win’ shop local campaign will give the community a chance to win weekly prizes from participating restaurants, cafes and takeaway shops. • Realise Business, appointed by Transport for NSW to deliver free business support services, continues to provide guidance to businesses affected by light rail construction. The $2.4B Parramatta Light Rail will connect Westmead to Carlingford via the Parramatta CBD and Camellia and is expected to open in 2023.

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REPORT | June 2020 WE’VE TAKEN TO THE BOTTLE IN LOCKDOWN

Massive increase in parents drinking  DALLAS SHERRINGHAM EW figures show Australians have disturbingly taken to the bottle in massive numbers during the COVID-19 lockdown. The data from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation shows parents across Australia have been consuming more alcohol, more frequently, during the lockdown, with almost one in six saying they have been drinking every day. It follows the earlier shocking revelation that online gambling had increased by an incredible 67% with weeks of our confinement. In a survey of more than 1000 parents, it was found that since the start of the lockdown period: • More than one in four (29%) of parents had increased their alcohol intake, with millennial parents the most likely to be drinking more (35%), followed by Gen X parents (28%), then baby boomers (16%) • Parents of nine to 12 -year-olds were found to be drinking the most, with one in 10 saying they were drinking “a lot more” following the introduction of coronavirus restrictions • Impressionable nine to 12-year-olds were the most exposed to drinking, with almost a quarter of parents of this age group (23%) saying they have been consuming alcohol in front

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of their children daily or every other day during lockdown • Almost two-fifths (38%) of Australian parents reported heightened levels of stress and anxiety as the reason for their increased alcohol intake, with one in four parents specifically pinpointing the challenges of homeschooling. The data has been released to support a new campaign led by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation called ‘You haven’t been drinking alone’.

It encourages parents to consider how their drinking may have changed during lockdown, the implications it may be having on their own health and, importantly, how it may be influencing their children’s attitudes and behaviors. The survey suggests one of the primary reasons for parents increased alcohol consumption during COVID-19 is heightened feelings of anxiety or stress. The campaign calls on parents to reflect on their drinking behaviors in front of their

Small business grants extended to June 30 MALL businesses in industries highly impacted by COVID-19 have more time to submit applications for up to $10,000 in Small Business Support Fund grants to help pay for unavoidable expenses. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said by extending the closing date to the end of June eligible small business owners now had more time to submit their applications to access this vital support measure. “The grants were designed to help highlyimpacted small businesses hibernate, with the criteria recently extended to provide support for eligible microbreweries, cellar doors and events and commercial vessel businesses,” Mr Perrottet said. “Already more than 40,000 small businesses have applied for the grants, worth more than $400 million, and we’re looking forward to seeing this number grow over the next month and getting more support into the hands of those businesses who need it most. “With the grants set to close at the end of June, we’re now turning our attention from response to recovery and are looking at how we best support our businesses to reopen and welcome more customers." Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the grants had been designed to allow small businesses to get access to help as quickly as possible and this extension meant more businesses would get help to cover utilities, rates and supplier costs. “Comments from applicants such as ‘this was a very user-friendly experience, which is greatly appreciated, especially during this stressful time’, capture the overwhelmingly positive sentiment about the ease of the process,” Mr Dominello said.

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children so young impressionable kids and adolescents do not learn to view alcohol as a coping mechanism or to think drinking alcohol is a healthy lifestyle choice. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation report said it hoped the data would help parents assess how their drinking habits may have changed during lockdown - and “to use the loosening of restrictions as an opportunity to reassess and leave behind any harmful or negative drinking behaviors picked up during what has been an exceptional period.”

World leaders in ICU therapy

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Treasurer Dominic Perrotet.

“Of the 5,500 applicants who chose to leave feedback, over 99 per cent gave the process a thumbs up.” Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the grants were part of the NSW Government’s response strategy aimed at supporting small businesses. “We’re committed to keeping people in jobs and businesses in business, which is why we established the Small Business Support Fund grants to help highly-impacted small businesses to keep the lights on and doors open,” Mr Tudehope said. “Small businesses are the backbone of

our state and support tens of thousands of local jobs and we are committed to easing the burden of COVID-19 on our mum and dad business owners and entrepreneurs.” The criteria for the Small Business Support Fund grants and online application form is available online. Applications must be received by 11.59pm 30 June. For more information about what other measures might be available, visit service.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 and use the assistance tool. To learn more about the NSW Government’s COVID-19 stimulus measures, visit nsw.gov.au/covid-19.

HYSIOTHERAPISTS around the world are using a NSW training program that has already upskilled more than 300 therapists here who treat COVID-19 patients in intensive care. Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government has invested $34M to build its own specialised workforce of physiotherapists and other allied health professionals providing vital ICU care. “These highly skilled therapists play a critical role in the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the ICU, and their recovery after they are discharged, as many experience very challenging medical complications,” Mr Hazzard said. “This initiative is part of the NSW Government’s ongoing efforts to ensure we have the equipment and appropriately skilled workforce to care for our sickest COVID-19 patients.” The training is conducted in partnership with the Australian Physiotherapy Association and is delivered through the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI). The $34M allied health package is part of the NSW Government’s $800M investment for NSW Health to help boost ICU capacity and purchase additional services and medical equipment. VISION: www.accessnews.tv

WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020


Coronavirus Report

Huge growth in webinars during COVID-19 EW research from a leading digital event provider reveals nearly nine in 10 (85 per cent) Australian organisations are utilising webinars as a key marketing and education channel for engaging remote audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic – a 21 per cent increase over the last year. Webinar adoption and spending have also shown high double-digit growth, with almost three in five (59 per cent) organisations looking to spend more on the channel in 2020 – a figure that is 69 per cent higher than in 2019. The findings come from the annual State of Webinar Marketing 2020 study, based on a survey of 127 organisations conducted by digital event specialist Redback Connect (redbackconnect.com.au), whose clients include Qantas, Downer Group, and Sonic Clinical Services, in partnership with webinar platform ON24. Redback Connect designs and hosts hundreds of tailored webinars, live event streams, studio broadcasts, podcasts, town halls, and teleconferences each month. Of the 127 organisations surveyed, the data revealed the primary reason organisations are hosting webinar programs is for lead generation (34 per cent of organisations use webinars for this). In fact, it found that webinars lower the cost per lead for 80 per cent of organisations. The data also shows that webinars are ‘mostly’ to ‘highly’ effective for 47 per cent of organisations. Organisations that run webinars do so regularly: 72 per cent of organisations now run six or more webinars a year, and 33 per cent run more than 20 a year. The report revealed that 62 per cent of organisations – up from 43 per cent in 2019 – build webinars with interactivity in mind, from enabling attendees to take breaks, to creating polls, Q&As or live chats. In fact, 33 per cent of organisations who use webinars say that audience engagement is driven mostly by enthusiastic and knowledgeable presenters, and almost a fifth (16 per cent) of organisations say engagement is driven by interactive platform features – up from just 6 per cent the previous year. Jeff Downs, CEO and Founder at Redback Connect, says: “When managed effectively, webinars provide the interactive and personable content needed to fulfil these purposes. Webinars remove geographical boundaries and are a cost-effective way to engage large, dispersed audiences over time. With social distancing the ‘new normal’ at least until the end of the year, we expect webinars to make up a large proportion of communication between organisations and their stakeholders throughout the 2021 financial year.”

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In March – Australia’s first month of shutdowns – Redback Connect’s webinar-based events were the most popular event category for organisations, accounting for 78 per cent of all events. In April, they were still the most popular, accounting for 76 per cent. Redback Connect’s 10 best-practice tips for using webinars to communicate in a COVID-19-affected world: 1. Choose your event format, structure and speakers wisely. If you are replacing a physical event with a virtual one, perhaps even a conference, don’t make every session live: nobody wants to sit in front of a computer for long periods. However, you may wish to broadcast some sessions live – such as keynotes and panel discussions – and prerecord others, so you can access international speakers in different timezones and make them available on-demand. Choose a webinar provider that can not only deliver your online event, but advise you on how best to format, test, and host it, to ensure it flows. 2. Build in interactivity. Once you have your event structure, format, and speakers sorted, build in your interactive elements. Take full advantage of all the benefits of webinars to include polls, Q&As, competitions, and more. 3. Sort your pricing and sponsorship packages. You can still charge for an online event – but you may wish to lower the price to reflect reduced travel, venue, and catering costs. It is also a good idea to consider offset-

ting the cost of your event with sponsorship. Utilising your on-screen real estate and callto-action-buttons, providing digital resource packs, including a virtual exhibition hall, or even offering online giveaways, are all ways to build sponsors into your virtual events. 4. Set up your spaces. If speakers are presenting from home, talk them through the physical set-up required. They will need to consider lighting, background, and the quality of their camera, microphone, and internet connection. If they will be using their laptop camera, ensure they elevate it to eye level to avoid awkward facial angles. If using a webinar provider or videographer, check how they will maintain social distancing and hygiene during filming at external locations. 5. Consider a studio broadcast. Some studio providers are operating throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, and can provide you with the professional look your webinar needs. However, make sure you ask your provider how they’re observing COVID-19 social distancing and hygiene guidelines in the building and on set. 6. Invest in the right equipment. If you are going to be presenting from home regularly, you may wish to invest in a microphone and webcam to ensure the quality of your video and audio – or use headphones and your laptop camera. 7. Properly train your presenters. If your speakers are presenting remotely, either from home or from their own office, they will need

to know their way around the webinar platform you’re using so they can move their own slides and, if your webinar is being broadcast live, respond to questions from your audience. Ensure they’re comfortable taking questions and running polls if you include features such as those in your webcast. 8. Rehearse your transitions. It is vital to rehearse the content and structure of your digital event as you would for a regular webinar. Practice any transitions, so you can switch between presenters seamlessly, or use a facilitator, to keep your remote event flowing smoothly. It is also a good idea to include breaks between sessions to give you time to test the tech for your next presenter. 9. Conduct a technical run-through. Always run a technical test just prior to the event to ensure your presenters’ internet connection is up to the job, and their webcam and audio are working sufficiently. You might suggest they lock the door if they’re presenting from their office or socially isolating with children and other family members. 10. Have a back-up plan if the internet drops out. Ensure your presenters have a phone nearby so your webinar provider can call them during the event if their internet connection or video drops out. Audio and slides are an excellent back-up. To access a copy of the State of Webinar Marketing 2020 report, visit: https://ww2.redbackconnect. com.au/LP-SOWM-Report-2020

Land tax concessions now open for support

Relief delivered for small businesses

ANDLORDS providing rent relief for eligible tenants in financial distress due to COVID-19 can now apply for land tax concessions online. Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said the land tax concessions were part of a wide range of support measures designed to help those in need and to support jobs and business. “Eligible landlords will be able to apply for a land tax concession of up to 25 per cent of their 2020 land tax liability on relevant properties so long as they pass on the full savings in the form of a rent reduction to their tenants,” Mr Tudehope said. “The land tax concession is expected to be divided approximately 50-50 with around $220 million going to the commercial sector and a further $220 million expected to benefit the residential sector.” Once approved, a concession will be applied to any unpaid 2020 land tax notices, and refunds will be issued for payments already made this year. Those refunds are expected to

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WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

take up to five days to process once determined. Landlords can find out more about eligibility and apply for a tax concession online and are encouraged to complete their applications before October 31, 2020. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the NSW Government was committed to supporting people, communities and businesses during COVID-19. “We are doing everything we can to keep people in jobs and businesses in business,” Mr Perrottet said. “Small businesses severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions may be eligible for the NSW Government’s $10,000 Small Business Support Fund grant and those with a payroll of $10M or less can get a 25 per cent payroll waiver for 2019-20.” To find out more about how the NSW Government is working to bolster our health resources, protect jobs and businesses visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/ covid-19/support

HE NSW Government is providing more than $420M in financial relief this year to help keep businesses in business and people in jobs by reducing insurance premiums for businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining current premium levels. The NSW Government has requested that workers insurance premiums remain unchanged in another move to cushion the impacts of COVID-19 and stimulate the economy. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet confirmed premium rates for the Nominal Insurer, which protects more than 325,000 businesses and their 3.2 million workers, will remain unchanged from June 30, 2020, saving businesses across the State more than $325M. “The Government has deferred or waived a number of taxes, fees, and levies and I have asked icare to do the same despite the scheme being heavily impacted by market volatility associated with coronavirus,” Mr Perrottet said.

“This is another example of our ongoing support for NSW businesses as they deal with the impacts of COVID-19 with icare contacting around 3,000 customers to assist in premium adjustments, payment deferrals and offer advice. “Employers across the State should have confidence the NSW Government is considering all options available to keep people in jobs and businesses in business.” icare has already reduced premiums by $52M for more than 10,000 businesses who have adjusted their estimated wages because of challenges related to COVID-19. In addition, icare has paused more than $43M in premiums for 2,000 customers facing financial hardship. Customers can contact icare on 13 44 22 to discuss their individual business circumstances. Further details on COVID-19 measures and impacts are available on the icare website.

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Coronavirus Report COVID-19 SUPPORT FROM OUR COUNCILS

Guide to how business can get relief  DI BARTOK HILE the Federal and State governments have been providing various relief packages to individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, it has been local councils that are providing the nitty-gritty to keep small businesses viable. Here is a run-down of what your council is doing for businesses during the pandemic economic slump. PARRAMATTA: Residents and businesses having difficulty paying their rates can apply for financial relief under the Rates Hardship Policy. Eligible ratepayers can then enter payment arrangements with Council. Eligible local businesses can also apply for a small business grant of up to $2,000 (from a pool of $100,000) to help modify their operating model and continue to generate revenue during the COVID-19 crisis. Council will also amend its tender policy to support the purchase of local goods and services, where possible BLACKTOWN: Business community initiatives through Blacktown City Council’s Economic Development service have included presenting a free business webinar series for four specific industry sectors: hospitality and leisure, retail, professional services, and manufacturing and logistics, with an expert panel to answer questions from local businesses. This initiative, which ran in April and May, was in partnership with Cumberland City, Penrith City and The Hills Councils. Council has also adapted its small business training program to online workshops to assist small business and not for profit groups improve their operations and sustainability.

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• Published regular e-newsletters to our local business community with updates on government assistance, grants and other forms of pandemic support initiatives. • Supported the ‘buy local’ initiatives of the Member for Chifley, and of Riverstone Schofields Chamber of Commerce in promoting local businesses online. CAMPBELLTOWN: Small businesses and community organisations and groups in affected by the COVID-19 health situation can now access grants of up to $2000 as part of the Council Campbelltown Cares initiative to support the local economy and vulnerable people in the LGA. The Campbelltown Cares Grants include Small Business Support Grants available to micro businesses, sole traders and small businesses in the LGA with an annual turnover of less than $5M to support their resilience and survival. Some examples of business initiatives eligible for a Campbelltown Small Business Support Grant include: • Development of a business website to improve digital marketing, • Expansion of the business into deliveries or online shopping, and • Business planning or improvement courses. WOLLONDILLY: Wollondilly Business Support Plan delivers appropriate support for businesses in three phases – survival, adaptation, and recovery. Aim is to: • Engage and communicate with local business • Promoting shop, visit and love local. • Support business in seeking financial / non-financial assistance • Adapt to a new way of doing business. • Reduce council costs for local busi-

nesses • Advocate to Government on behalf of businesses. • Coordinate support services for local businesses. Council will also consider relaxation of a range of fees and charges to assist local businesses and the community. The first phase is the initial investment from Council of $750,000. HILLS: Will write-off interest charges for a period of six months on outstanding rates whereby the ratepayer has entered a payment plan due to COVID-19, as well as deferrals of rent payments to council for a period of up to six months for small to medium-sized organisations who can demonstrate hardship and deferments of loan repayments owing to cCouncil for a maximum period of up to six months. Also, council has refunded and not charged fees related to the cancellation of council’s Child Care Centre enrolments, Hills Community Care programs and venue hires, including halls and sporting fields. Council also directs businesses to websites with free business webinars. BLUE MOUNTAINS: Has launched a new Business Directory, to assist small businesses who have had to change the way they operate due to COVID-19. The Business Directory is the next phase of council’s Love Local campaign to support Blue Mountains businesses, who are struggling after recent bushfires as well as the pandemic. The Love Local campaign, launched in January, encouraged locals to spend an extra $20 per week so local businesses could recoup money lost after visitors stayed away during bush fires. CUMBERLAND: Council will waive all outdoor dining licensing fees for the rest of this

calendar year, leaving any businesses who have paid up until the rest of this financial year, in credit for future years. Any lessees of council properties can discuss rent deferral options, There also have been free webinar sessions for businesses wanting advice on how to survive the crisis. PENRITH: Council will waive charges and fees relating to outdoor and footpath dining permits for 33 businesses in the Penrith and St Marys CBD’s over the next 12 months. LIVERPOOL: Businesses can apply for up to $5000 each. This applies to businesses • With less than 20 employees (incl. sole traders) if based in the Liverpool CBD or have less than 100 employees if based in the greater Liverpool region; • Have an ABN and have been trading for a minimum of 12 months (businesses who have been in operation for less than 12 months may be considered based on evidence of viability); • Can demonstrate loss of cash flow reduction of 30 percent or more (compared between the same one week period between April 2019 and April 2020); • Can demonstrate that they can or have ‘pivoted’ their good/s or service/s to adapt to current rules (Definition of pivot is when a company makes a fundamental change to their business after determining that their existing operating model or product is no longer working – this may involve selling new products or services, beginning to sell online and beginning to offer deliveries). For more details, go to the councils’ websites.

$50M relief for arts and culture HE NSW Government has announced a $50M Rescue and Restart package for NSW arts and cultural organisations to ensure the sector continues to make an important contribution to the NSW economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Gladys Berejiklian today said this funding was the largest dedicated arts and cultural support package of any jurisdiction in Australia. “This Rescue and Restart package will ensure the survival of some of the most significant arts and cultural organisations across NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The NSW arts and cultural sector is an important contributor to the NSW economy as well as for our community’s well-being. We know that the arts is a place of refuge and a source of inspiration in these challenging times.” The Rescue and Restart package will be delivered in two stages: • Funding available now to enable NSW notfor-profit arts and cultural organisations to hibernate temporarily. • Funding available in the coming months to enable NSW not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations to restart operations after the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding will be available to NSW not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations assessed as being in financial distress across the State on a case by case basis. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the arts sector supports 118,000 jobs across NSW and contributes $16.4B directly and indirectly to the NSW Gross State Product. “This funding is critical to keep more businesses in business and people in jobs as the as the NSW economy begins its recovery,” Mr Perrottet said. “The Rescue and Restart package is intended to assist NSW arts and cultural organisations to hibernate, so they are in a strong position to restart operations when health guidelines permit.”

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For more information, visit the Create NSW website.

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Blue Cow ski resort.

Skiers can hit the slopes from June 22 OLIDAYMAKERS can start planning trips to the state’s ski fields with the NSW Government today announcing the alpine region will be open from June 22. Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro John Barilaro said work is underway to ensure appropriate COVIDsafe measures are in place at Thredbo, Charlotte Pass and Perisher. “One of the highlights of the winter tourism season is a trip to our alpine regions,” Mr Barilaro said. “However, while many people are eager to return to the slopes, it is important that visitors can enjoy themselves safely and responsibly. “The NSW Government, through NSW Health and NSW Police, is working closely with ski field operators, associated businesses, suppliers and industry associations to ensure COVIDsafe measures are in place when the season commences. “These measures will mean that fewer people will be able to visit and stay at resorts this season, so it is essential that

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people book and confirm their travel arrangements and accommodation before they travel.” Some of the measures in place include maintaining physical distancing at resorts, limits to the number of people on ski areas, controlled access to ski lifts, increased cleaning of all facilities and no snowplay. Mr Barilaro said to give ski resorts enough time to implement health and safety measures they will not open before Monday June 22, which means skiers and holidaymakers will not be able to visit ski resorts for the 6-8 June long weekend. “The ski resorts will not be open over the June long weekend, so please arrange travel and accommodation from June 22 and onwards,” Mr Barilaro said. “We are welcoming every visitor to regional NSW with open arms and I will be celebrating by shouting a few beers, but it is more important than ever that we continue to be responsible and maintain good physical distancing while we are enjoying oursleves. “No matter where you are visiting,

make sure you book, check that places you’d like to visit will be open, confirm your arrangements before you travel and, most importantly, if you do feel unwell, postpone your trip.” CEO of the Australian Ski Areas Association Colin Hackworth said The Australian Ski Areas Association welcomes the announcement today by the NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro that the NSW snow season can open from June 22. “The NSW Resorts are of course disappointed to miss the traditional opening of the snow season on the June long weekend but operators are looking forward to the season ahead and are busily preparing for the safe opening of the resorts from 22 June,” Mr Hackworth said. The Mt Selwyn resort will remain closed during the season due to bushfire damage. Several COVIDsafe measures will be in place on the ski fields as well as accommodation, dining and other recreational facilities, with details to be listed on ski resort websites soon.

WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020


Coronavirus Report

Guide for returning to work safely ROM implementing extra cleaning of frequently touched surfaces to appointing a COVID-19 ‘champion,’ a national antiviral sanitisation company has developed a return-to-work applicable to businesses who want to keep their workplaces safe in the new physical distancing environment. Lisa Macqueen, Co-Founder and Director at Australian anti-viral cleaning company Cleancorp ( cleancorp.com), says: “At Cleancorp, we have had more than 1500 inquiries for our anti-viral cleaning services since the start of the pandemic, with one overwhelming question in recent weeks: ‘How do I get my people back to the office, so they feel safe?’ “With many employees anxious about heading back to the office – and some wary to even return to work – the next few weeks will be crucial for many organisations, as they begin a slow and staggered return to the workplace. “If businesses haven’t taken appropriate steps to minimise virus-related risks on-site, it could open them up to the risk of infections, Work Cover claims and negative publicity. We have created a step-by-step guide to help businesses transition back to work and manage this ‘new normal.’” Cleancorp’s 9-step transition plan to minimise COVID-19 risks for employees, customers, and visitors as they return to the workplace: 1. Manage employee expectations. To ensure a successful transition back to the office, employees need to feel their employer has done everything to maximise their safety at work. Before you re-open, organise a full disinfection coronavirus precautionary clean, which includes a precautionary cleaning of all personal spaces in addition to shared touchpoints, such as door handles, remotes, kitchen taps, microwaves, fridges, and coffee machines. 2. Plan your space using the four-square metre rule. The existing seating or working plan of your workplace may no longer be viable for the distancing rule of four-square metres per person. To determine how many staff you can have on the premises at once, calculate the area of the workspace in square metres and divide it by four. To allow for

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objects, such as desks and boardrooms, divide the space by eight. For example, if your office is 160 square metres, you could only have up to 40 people in the room, to allow each person to have four square metres of space.[1] 3. Initiate a rotational working system. Once you have calculated how many employees you can have on site, create a roster system that includes all relevant employees. For example, if you employ 100 people, divide that by five working days, and you’ll find yourself with a 20 person ‘team’ that can come into the office on a set day per week. However, don’t forget the four-square metre rule, which can be achieved by re-configuring furniture to increase physically distancing or getting staff to ‘own’ a different desk to what they are used to. Lisa says: “Whether your employees are rostered on weekly, fortnightly, on a ‘team’ basis, or an every-other-day basis, once you have your roster in place, I strongly recommend that each person uses the same desk or workspace each time they are at work. Hot-desking and shared workspaces present too much of a risk.” 4. Appoint an on-site COVID-19 champion. Select an appropriate person in your organisation to be the ‘champion’ of keeping employees’ hygiene levels on tracks. Someone with Workplace Health and Safety knowledge, such as a human resources team member, would be ideal. They would become the go-to person for other employees to ask ques-

tions about how they can navigate the ‘new normal’ working environment. For instance, the champion would check in with each team member to gauge what’s working, what’s not, and if they require any additional information or support. They would also manage the upgraded cleaning schedule for your office or workspace and ensure team members remember to wipe down and clean their equipment after use. Lisa says: “Choosing a champion that keeps everyone aware of best safety principles – from good respiratory hygiene to encouraging people to stay home if they show any flu-like symptoms – will reassure staff that their health and safety is the priority. It also has the benefit of making them feel like their organisation is ‘there’ for them, and that they have the emotional comradery they need in our new style of working environment.” 5. Create a plan for ongoing sanitisation. Consider equipping each employee with their own bottle of hand sanitiser, hospitalgrade anti-viral disinfectant, and cleaning cloth when they return to the workplace. Having individual sanitary equipment will also alleviate any worry that multiple people are handling the disinfectant. 6. Assess and determine how to use shared meeting spaces. Up until the outbreak of COVID-19, open-plan offices with shared desks and ‘pod’ meeting areas were becoming the preferred way of working for

many organisations. However, for the foreseeable future, these more casual meeting spaces with soft furnishings – surfaces that need to be steam-cleaned, often at a considerable expense – should be avoided, as a virus has the potential to last on these surfaces for up to 24 hours. If you can, choose a more traditional meeting room with hard surfaces. Although the virus can live on glass, plastic, and stainless steel for up to 72 hours, these surfaces are much easier to clean and disinfect. 7. Incorporate company vehicles into your cleaning schedule. If you have company vehicles, forklifts, or trucks, these now also need to be included in your cleaning schedule – especially if multiple people use the vehicles. A minimum of one precautionary COVID-19 clean a week will ensure all surfaces within the vehicle’s interior are fully cleaned, and all external touchpoints are also cleaned, such as door handles and side-view mirrors. 8. Consider a cleaning concierge service. Most organisations – especially larger ones – have high-risk shared touchpoints used by site visitors and staff. These are best managed by a fully trained day-cleaning team who are uniformed and equipped to sanitise and disinfect touchpoints all-day long – whether they be kitchens, bathrooms, or meeting rooms. Though some might regard it as extreme, having an on-demand cleaning service will restore stakeholder confidence in your organisation’s hygiene standards day-in and day-out. 9. Hire a commercial cleaning specialist. Some cleaning companies have had to adapt quickly to the new COVID-19 risk environment, while others, especially professional commercial cleaning services, have been cleaning to a hospital standard for many years. Lisa says that organisations, especially those who have committed to additional safety standards, such as ISO 45001, should seek cleaners whose services are ISO certified. She says: “Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, Cleancorp – which is one of the few Australian cleaning companies to have achieved three ISO Certifications – was using vacuum pumps with HVAC power-operated scrubbers, and chemical foggers, to keep workplaces free from viruses.”

Support package for taxi industry exceeds $12M HE NSW Government has announced a $12.6M support package for the taxi industry to provide operators with some financial relief during the COVID-19 shutdown and help taxis remain on the road. Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said the financial assistance recognises the challenges the taxi industry is facing because of this pandemic. “With a large decrease in passenger trips being taken the taxi industry is really suffering, like so many others. The NSW Government is committed to doing what we can to keep

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businesses in business and people in jobs and this includes helping taxis stay on our roads,” Mr Perrottet said. “Taxis play an important role in NSW and the industry has continued to provide essential passenger services during the COVID-19 crisis. This includes Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATs) that provide services for some of our most vulnerable members of the community,” Mr Constance said. Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the funding would help ease the pressure for taxis operating in the bush. “In some more isolated regional areas, taxi

services are considered the public transport system. The NSW Government is committed to providing assistance to eligible registered taxi vehicle owners to ensure services in regional areas can continue,” Mr Toole said. The support package provides owners of WATs and taxis operating at 1 May 2020 with a $2,900 subsidy per vehicle for six-months costs towards CTP insurance, registration fees and other on-road costs. This will support around 3,500 taxis to continue to operate across NSW. To apply for the subsidy operators will be able to claim through the Service NSW website, www.

service.nsw.gov.au/covid-19, or at a Service NSW Centre from June. In addition, those currently holding a renewable annual taxi licence issued by the NSW Government will receive a 50 per cent waiver of their annual licence fee. Eligible taxi licence holders will be contacted by the NSW Point to Point Transport Commissioner’s office. The support package also provides a $500 waiver of 2018/19 authorisation fees for all authorised service providers, which represents a full annual fee waiver for over 1,800 smaller service providers. For more information visit https://www.pointtopoint.nsw.gov.au/.

Merrylands drive-through COVID-19 clinic ESTERN Sydney Local Health District has boosted its COVID-19 testing capacity, opening a new drivethrough testing clinic at Stocklands Merrylands today to help the local community stay well throughout the pandemic. The clinic will provide a faster COVID-19 swab test for people with symptoms, with most tests done in 10 minutes. A doctor’s referral will be required to attend this clinic. WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy encouraged everyone in the community with symptoms to get tested, even if symptoms are mild. “Getting tested is quick, free and safe. Clinics use strict measures to prevent the risk of transmission,” Graeme said. “This new clinic in Merrylands will also have interpreter resources to assist the culturally and linguistically diverse community. Western Sydney’s state-leading Interpreter Services team is only a phone call away, providing immediate and accurate interpreting into more than 120 languages.” WSLHD thanks WentWest Primary Health Network, Stocklands and NSW Police for their partnership to establish the clinic in Merrylands.

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Merrylands drive through testing.

Anyone with any symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested and self-isolate until you receive your results. Symptoms include cough, scratchy/sore throat, fever and fatigue. For health and testing advice, call your GP or the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

To protect yourself against COVID-19, exercise the following precautions: • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water • Maintain 1.5 metres physical distance from others • Download the COVIDSafe app. The new clinic, which will be open to the public Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, is part of a concerted effort across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) to boost testing, with more drive-through testing clinics planned for the near future. WSLHD also operates a drive-through clinic at Auburn Hospital. This drive-through clinic provides swab testing only and requires a doctor’s referral. NSW Health COVID-19 clinics are also available without a referral at Westmead, Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals. These are among many sites across the state – find your nearest clinic here. WentWest Primary Health Network also operates GP-led respiratory clinics in Castle Hill, Riverstone, Bella Vista.

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w w w. w e x p o . c o m . a u

COMING SOON

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Edited by DALLAS SHERRINGHAM

We’re in the Business of Travel i

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THE EVER STUNNING ROTTENEST ISLAND: 18

BLUE MOUNTAINS MAJESTIC PALETTE: 20

MARGARET RIVER: RICH, FAMOUS, BOUNTIFUL AND BEAUTIFUL: 23

Couple enjoying a picnic at Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley region.

Tourism industry to REBOOT SW regions and tourism businesses are set to receive a major boost with the easing of travel restrictions, as the Government revealed NSW residents took almost two million international leisure trips worth $16.7B last year. To coincide with the June 1 restriction changes, the NSW Government’s tourism and events agency Destination NSW kicks off a major tourism marketing campaign, targeting NSW, Victorian and ACT residents with world-class experiences to be enjoyed right here in regional NSW and Sydney. Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the Now’s The Time To Love NSW campaign would deliver ‘heads on beds’ and visitor spend for tourism operators statewide.

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“NSW is ready to reboot 2020 – our state has so much to offer holidaymakers, there really is nowhere better to take a break right now,” Minister Ayres said. “NSW residents took almost 2 million international leisure trips last year worth $16.7B so there is a huge opportunity to entice our overseas holidaymakers to become NSW's next top travellers. “Forget that overseas escape – we’re showing travellers there is incredible food and wine, amazing outdoor adventures and one-of-akind hikes right here in NSW.” The next phase of NSW’s tourism recovery campaign – Now’s The Time To Love NSW – will run throughout June and July and includes: • A new television commercial and

social media video series highlighting top NSW arts, hiking, wine, family and outdoor adventure experiences • Local Stories video series starring tourism operators inviting travellers to visit • A dedicated webpage showing the top 213 ways to reboot 2020 in NSW, so travellers can make the most of the 213 days that remain this year, and; • international digital advertising to keep overseas visitors dreaming of NSW. “Interest in NSW road trips has jumped with a 125% increase in page views on VisitNSW.com in the past week – the demand is there, now’s the time to show our love for regional NSW,” Mr Ayres said.

“The cumulative effect of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 has been devastating for tourism operators, so we’re asking everyone who can take a holiday to hit the road or get planning as soon as possible.” Tourism businesses can get involved in the campaign by signing up to Get Connected with Destination NSW so they are featured on VisitNSW.com, which is the call to action for all marketing activity that will roll out in the coming months. All travellers are encouraged to phone ahead to ensure operators are open and help with capacity planning, and businesses and visitors must follow health advice regarding physical distancing and personal hygiene. Visit: https://www.visitnsw.com/love-nsw

NEW Stay Local Australia takes on booking giants: 25 WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

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The ever-stunning Rottnest Island

 JOHN NEWTON t is more than 40 years since features since I first stepped ashore on Rottnest Island when there was little more to do than have a swim and finish the day with an ale or two at the local pub. How things have changed - not only on the island but the way you get there on a high-speed ferry - the first non-stop service from Perth. Sealink’s 200-passenger catamaran - Quokka Two - takes just 90 minutes from Perth’s Barrack Street jetty to Rottnest - combining a scenic 60 minutes on the picturesque Swan River with 30 minutes on the Indian Ocean between the port of Fremantle and the island, a mere 18 kilometres away. And, according to Leycester Cory, Sealink’s Commercial Partnerships and Sales manager - Western Australia, the direct run has been a “fantastic addition” to not only the company’s selection of products but also to the Perth market. “The advantage of a direct service makes the unique opportunity to travel from the CBD to enchanting Rottnest even more special. It has performed above all our expectations and visitors and locals alike have left humbling reviews of the experience. Fewer crowds, more river and lots of outside viewing areas have certainly been met with a positive response,” he said. One of Sealink’s prized assets is jack-of-alltrades Jess Featherstone, a fully-fledged captain and the company’s first female engineer. And these are not the only boots she fills - she is also quite happy to lend a hand at the food/ bar, toss out the mooring ropes - and even give the odd commentary about the boat’s capabilities. Jess obviously took to water like an Olympic swimmer after giving up her primary school teaching role. Today, Rottnest is burgeoning - thanks to cute marsupials called quokkas that have become the island’s tourist selfie superstars - along with rising visitor numbers, proposed new developments and much-needed modern accommodation replacing that from a bygone era. This includes a revamped Hotel Rottnest - the major island project for 2020 with an opening date of around September. And there are plans to improve the visitor experience on the jetty and possibly some new products next season for day trippers and extended day tourists.

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Island tours If you are not up to cycling or walking around the Rottnest sights, Sealink has a number of island tours that include same day ferry transfers. These include: * A four-hour Grand Island Tour, which explores the island’s iconic spots by coach and finishes with a historic train ride. * A Segway Fortress Adventure Tour, starting with an in-depth training session before heading to spectacular beaches and gaining an insight into Rottnest’s military history and its role in WW11. * A Bayseeker Island Tour over oneand-a-half hours during which you’ll see the island’s flora and wildlife, as well as its colonial and maritime history.

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Ferries direct daily

Free pick-up

Sealink offers daily direct ferries from both Perth and Fremantle. For bookings, fares and times, go to SealinkRottnest. com.au (Perth or Fremantle office) or Tel: +61 (8) 93259352.

To save the hassle of getting to the ferry terminal in Perth, Sealink provides a free hotel pick-up and drop off shuttle bus, leaving in plenty of time to catch the 8.30am city-Rottnest service and meet the 4.15pm return ferry from the island.

Key initiatives The Rottnest Island Management Plan (RIMP) focuses on areas supported by 18 proposed key initiatives designed to promote new developments and business opportunities on the island, while retaining the island’s character and accessibility. Tennis ace, Roger Federer, probably can’t believe what he’s done for tiny Rottnest on the other side of his homeland. Just a day in the sun and Federer – along with a cute marsupial – have put the island well and truly in the limelight on the world map. But while tourists flock to Rottnest and scramble off the ferries in a mad rush to get to the best selfie quokka spots, there’s much, more to this historical and ever-growing tourist haven. Just for starters, the island has 20 bays and more than 60 breathtaking beaches, diving, snorkelling, swimming coves, can’t-wait-tothrow-the-line-in fishing spots and renting a bike to pedal up to must-see locations, such as Cathedral Rocks, Wadjemup Lighthouse, Geordie Bay, The Basin and Little Salmon bay. And what better way to get to Rottnest than along the majestic Swan River from the West Australian capital to the port of Fremantle before heading to the island across the Indian Ocean. At Chidley Point in Mosman Park (just before you get to East Fremantle), look out for Perth’s smallest yacht club which has just two members. The stand-out blue shed on the foreshore is owned by the people living in the house above. After they’d built the shed, the local council informed them that only yacht clubs could build on the river. This led the owners to open Perth’s most exclusive yacht club. Back on Rottnest don’t forget to grab a bite of the island’s second favourite attraction - the mouth-watering pies from the island’s renowned bakery. According to Jess, the steak, bacon and cheese pie is worth the cost of getting over to the island.

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Outback Australia full of surprises  WORDS AND IMAGES BY DALLAS SHERRINGHAM OURING Outback Australia is one of the great adventures of the world with surprises to be had in virtually every town and city along the way. It is simply a matter of taking the time to find those surprises and to seek the advice of locals who are only too willing to give you advice on what to see and how to get there. Outback Australia can be daunting to the inexperienced, but it is also a friendly place if you want it to be. Having spent many years travelling the length and breadth of our great nation, I never cease to be amazed by what I discover along the way.

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WELLINGTON NSW Wellington’s great claim to fame is the fact that it is the second oldest inland centre in Australia. John Oxley discovered the beautiful setting at the junction of the Macquarie and Bell Rivers in 1817 and next year “Wello”, as it is known to the locals, will celebrate its bicentenary. The town is an outstanding place to explore because of its great old buildings which are strung out along Namina Crescent adjacent to the equally stunning Cameron Park. However just out of Wellington along the Mitchell Hwy is another amazing surprise: Wellington Caves. The caves have been drawing visitors for over a century with the enchanting Cathedral Cave always the jewel in the crown. Recent explorations have found more than 20 caves in the area, some of them offering excellent cave diving opportunities.

BROOME WA Sitting at Cable Beach watching the sun go down over the Indian Ocean is one of the great attractions of visiting Broome. Camels parade by carrying happy travellers and out to sea traditional sailing ships full of tourists pass across the setting sun. However it is after dark that Broome’s greatest surprise comes to life. The outdoor Sun Pictures cinema is the oldest “picture gardens” in the world, having opened in 1916. When it opened locals would catch a horse tram from the town jetty along Carnarvon Street to get there for a night out. It is believed to be the only cinema in the world subject to tidal fluctuations with patrons having to lift their feet above the water to avoid getting wet. While outdoor cinemas disappeared quickly around the world, Broome survived mainly because it was ideal for the tropical climate.

DARWIN NT The northern capital of Darwin holds many surprises for the visitor. However two WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

major events are almost inescapable when visiting. The first is Cyclone Tracy which ripped the city apart in 1974 and the bombing of the city by Japanese aircraft in 1942. Few cities in the world have faced the devastation which befell the city in those two events. Darwin Museum, situated in the Gardens just out of town, has a moving display featuring Cyclone Tracy. The highlight is a chilling sight and sound experience featuring a tape capturing the full fury of the storm. Inside the display, you are totally blocked off from the world in darkness and the sound of the cyclone attacks all your senses. Museum staff told me that some locals who lived through Tracy still cannot enter the display; it is too haunting for them.

Darwin Aviation Museum The collection includes a B52 Bomber, an F111, a Mirage Fighter and a Sabre Jet. The aircraft are in pristine condition and if you are visiting the Top End, do yourself a favour and spend half a day at the museum.

BIGGE ISLAND WA The great attractions of the Kimberley region of WA include Mitchell Falls, Montgomery Reef and the Horizontal Waterfalls. However a little known place well worth a visit by boat is Bigge Island situated in the Bonaparte Archipelago. Bigge Island has colourful rock formations that take your breath away. Set against the sparkling Timor Sea under a blue sky, Bigge Island is a photographer’s delight.

We beached out explorer boat on an unspoilt beach and explored nearby caves which contained haunting Wandjina Man staring back at you from the walls. They were painted by indigenous locals centuries ago and are freshened up occasionally by present day custodians. What makes Bigge Island really unique is the fact that you can also find the mysterious Bradshaw rock paintings there. These paintings date from up to 40,000 years ago nobody knows who painted them. Lying on my back looking up at those ancient drawings, painted by someone before the dawn of time, made me realise just how full of surprises Australia really is and how much there is to see and do. So surprise yourself and go see Australia.

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Majestic global dining palette Ellen Hill and Roderick Eime visit the Grand Lady of the Blue Mountains NSW aucy tales, exotic opulence and the odd celebrity demise. The Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains sits alongside the Hotel Ritz Paris, Raffles Singapore and Claridge’s London as legendary havens of mischief and luxury With staff from around the world welcoming waves of international tourists in a distinctly Australian location, the Hydro Majestic also represents the modern face and cuisine of Australia – as it has for more than a century. The status of the original Blue Mountains party palace as the grandest of the grand hotel in the region was restored when current owner Escarpment Group unveiled its $35 million refurbishment in October 2014. The spectacular Casino Lobby was stripped back to show off that stupendous dome prefabricated in Chicago and imported by original Hydro Majestic owner, department store doyenne Mark Foy. The Wintergarden Restaurant where one takes high tea (traditional or Eastern) is bedecked in understated gold and white elegance with enormous windows giving a breathtaking view over the Megalong Valley. There’s the Majestic Ballroom with its beautiful vaulted ceiling, the revamped Boiler House Café in the old pump house and the sophistication of black and chrome in the Belgravia accommodation lounge. But the best way to appreciate the full

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The Casino Dome (Supplied)

NYE 1936 (Supplied)

magnificence of the Hydro Majestic, the building, the history and the gob-smackingly gorgeous location on the edge of the escarpment, is to stroll along the (in)famous Cat’s Alley hallway, cocktail in hand, and watch the sunset over the Megalong Valley. The golden tendrils seep down the blood red walls, lighting up the peacock feathers and richly

furbished lounges, and bring the original artworks of blood sports to life. Foy, was a visionary, an ambitious and remarkable one, creating the hotel on a mountain top against all odds. Soon the fortunate, the famous, the fabulous, even the infamous, flocked to the Hydro Majestic from around the globe.

Don’t put the FREEZE on your business meetings. Plan for success this winter. Day Delegate Package

With regular festivals and events including the Roaring 20s Festival in February, Escarpment Group has returned the flounce to the old girl’s skirt so the Hydro Majestic is once again the most flamboyant showgirl of Australia’s first tourist destination. Continued on page 21

$60 per person

Winter bonus includes: • FREE WiFi • FREE 30 minute post event drinks in rebellion bar • FREE delicious delight on arrival To book your next event, email: functions_rydgesnorwest@evt.com or call 02 9634 9634 Rydges Norwest Sydney 1 Columbia Court, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153 T: 02 9634 9634 F: 02 9634 9660 rydges.com/norwest Terms and Conditions Apply

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Wintergarden Restaurant (Supplied)

Continued on page 21

The latest event was a seven-course degustation featuring traditional dishes from global locations infused with local flavours served by staff from around the world, heralds a modern era of theatrical dining for Mark Foy’s “Palace in the wilderness’’ Dishes such as Creole-style braised short rib, southern grits, collard greens and corn tamarillo salsa obviously originated from distant shores. However, the ingredients were sourced from a 100-mile radius around the hotel. Rounding off the gastronomic event with lamingtons was the shared food link to Australia. It could be said that the Hydro Majestic represents the modern face and cuisine of Australia – as it has for more than a century. Escarpment Group general manager Ralf Bruegger said: “The Hydro Majestic has always embraced cultural diversity, not because

Views to the Megalong Valley (Supplied)

its first owner Mark Foy was politically correct but because he genuinely loved people of all races, their culture, art and food – just as we do today. “In fact, what is seen as progressive, even outrageous today, has always been normal at the Hydro Majestic. I mean, what was normal for a man who liked to dress in his wife’s clothing and held cross-dressing parties for his friends?’’ With the means to satisfy his every whim, the well-travelled Foy had the famous hotel dome pre-fabricated in Chicago and shipped to Australia. Dr George Baur of the Shoeneck health spa in Switzerland was hired to devise and supervise a program of diets and weird and wonderful treatments. Turkish coffee at the Hydro Majestic was served by Turkish waiters, Chinese tea by Chinese waiters. Louie (“Charlie’’) Goh Mong was just one of many Chinese migrants who reverted to their traditional skills post-Bathurst gold rush era around

WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

the turn of the 20th century and worked as butlers, cooks, nannies, maids and produce suppliers to inns, guesthouses and manor houses across the Blue Mountains during that time. Charlie worked as a cook at Foy’s Sydney home and managed the mayhem at the Hydro Majestic for 35 years. Today, staff from 16 language groups work at the Hydro Majestic including English, French, Canadian, Russian, Chinese (all dialects), Portuguese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Italian, The Megalong Room (Roderick Eime) Indonesian, Thai and more. Mr Bruegger is German and head chef Mate Herceg has by our guests in all other mature tourism a Croatian background. regions of the world.’’ “People visit the Hydro Majestic from all over the world and we must understand Go to www.hydromajestic.com.au or phone (02) and accommodate their cultural needs,’’ Mr 4782 6885 for bookings and more information Bruegger said. “In an internationally reabout the Hydro Majestic Hotel. nowned destination such as the Blue MounWords: Ellen Hill tains it is expected of us and certainly received Images: Roderick Eime and supplies

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Lazy days cruising the Murray  MICHAEL OSBORNE OUTH Australia has so much to offer. The capital city of Adelaide features in Lonely Planet’s top ten must visit cities and is described as “effortlessly chic and like a perfectly cellared red is ready to be uncorked and sampled”. South Australia is synonymous with wine country where the regions offer a drop to suit all palates. Experience the state’s finest wines, feast on fresh produce cooked by acclaimed chefs, and savour the flavours of South Australia. Beyond the plate explore the state’s diverse natural landscapes and experience native wildlife in their habitat. The pristine coastline and rugged beauty of Kangaroo Island is the perfect contrast to the untouched bush of the Flinders Ranges and Outback. Lazy days can be spent cruising on the Murray River or adventure-seekers can get the adrenaline pumping with shark cage diving in Port Lincoln. No matter what kind of traveller you are, South Australia is sure to surprise and inspire you. But for this adventure, we returned to the Murray River at Mannum for a luxury houseboat experience. Having sailed the Murray on the riverboats Murray Princess and Proud Mary, the chance to captain your own houseboat has been on ‘my list’ for some time. From Adelaide we used the services of the brilliantly named ‘Life is a Cabernet Tours’ (www.lifeisacabernet.com.au ). This allowed a relaxed and informative way to pass the few hours’ drive to Mannum, passing through the Adelaide Hills and beautiful towns and villages. For lunch we called into the magnificent Pike & Joyce Cellar Door at Lenswood (www.pikeandjoyce.com.au ). The wine tasting was enlightening, as I had never tried their wines before, which led us to a delicious lunch overlooking the vine covered valleys of their vineyard. Next call was the office of Unforgettable Houseboats for our introduction and briefing on their luxury floating mansions. www.unforgettablehouseboats.com.au To say that all has been thought of in the fitting out and set-up of these boats is almost an understatement. These boats offer such facilities

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as queen and king size bedrooms, fully tiled bathrooms with ensuite facilities, spacious lounge and dining areas complete with cocktail bars and fully equipped gourmet kitchens, sunken spa baths and heated jacuzzis. You don’t even have to bring your own food and liquid refreshments, they will organise it for you, if required. My apprehension of skippering a $1,000,000 houseboat was soon dismissed as Mark took us on an introductory cruise. All you need is a Driver’s License and some common sense. As evening was approaching, we pulled into the river bank and tied up for the night. Each of our group offered to do various tasks to organise sunset drinks and a BBQ to follow. Sitting on the aft upper deck, listening to the sounds of the flocks of birds and watching a splendid sunset – does it get any better? The provided river maps are easy to read and offer great information as to where to moor and the history and attractions of the villages along the river. Do as much or as little as you please. As our media group only had three nights, we chose to cruise along and see as much as possible.

Living heritage and pioneering history Two different Aboriginal groups lived along the Murray River and today you can still find "canoe trees" that were used to make eucalyptus bark fishing boats. Visit Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal site, where local guides take visitors to the birthplace of the Black Duck dreaming and Australia’s first archaeological dig. At Camp Coorong, just out of Meningie, learn the art of basket weaving or join a nature walk with Aboriginal elders. A tribute to the early pioneering days can be seen at the Mannum Dock Museum: home to the PS Marion, which was built in 1897. It's one of the last operational wood-fired, steam-driven, overnight passenger carrying, side paddle steamers in the world. Back on dry land, Old Tailem Town Pioneer Village boasts 12 streets of memories and more than 90 buildings that will take you back “to the old days”. Images by Michael Osborne. Michael Osborne was a guest of South Australian Tourism www.southaustralia. com, Unforgettable Houseboats and Life is a Cabernet.

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Rich, famous, bountiful and beautiful Oak Valley Truffle Farm

Kytren Goats Cheese and Cullen

Basildene Manor

 ARTICLE AND IMAGES BY HELEN FLANAGAN

with a tea and scones stop at quaint Nannup before heading to Manjimup for a tour of the 75ha Oak Valley Truffle Farm, a large contributor to the 85% of Australian truffle production. English oak and hazelnut trees, inoculated with the melanosporum fungus are planted alternatively in rows. “We’ve seen an amazing elevation in truffle quality this season,” says an elated Fabio Deitos, the Oak Valley truffle manager who uses trained truffle dogs ranging from labradors and kelpies to German short haired pointers to detect the ripe Perigord beauties. “Plus there’s been a 130% increase in production”. Time to whet the appetite and be spoilt for choice. An understatement. Vasse Felix was established in 1967 by Dr Tom Cullity. Today it’s one of the region’s largest producers and is owned by the powerful Holmes a Court family. Large sculptures grace the manicured gardens, there’s a chiclooking cellar door and a gallery of paintings houses Janet Holmes a Court’s private collection. Sitting on the deck enjoying a splendid Spring day it’s easy to be placated by chef’s charcuterie plate and a glass of cabernet sauvignon. Since 1971 when Cullen Estate was planted, chemical intervention is minimal and the family’s concern for the environment paramount. All food prepared in the restaurant uses only fresh, biodynamic and organic produce which is sourced mainly from its own garden, such as the chardonnay honey used on the Kytren goats cheese dish. And how about a glass of Kevin John chardonnay before a stroll amongst the vines. Degustations don’t get much better than at light-filled, breezy and view-tiful Wills Domain, where the quiet unassuming chef Seth James creates an impressive six or eight course marathon, using only the best ingredients. Matching wines are optional.

USTRALIA’S hottest food and wine destination when WA finally opens its borders is arguably the Margaret River Region. Forget the blink-and-miss-tour, take the slow indulgent route and let the taste buds dance on the tongue all the way. Seriously. From Perth, turn off the Forrest Highway and meander the wildflower-fringed road to the Margaret River region from Busselton to Albany, the 300km length of Western Australia’s southwest coast, which is bookmarked by the lighthouses of Cape Naturaliste to the north, and Cape Leeuwin in the south. In-between are 40-plus beaches with surflashed sands and huge swells, national parks, karri forests and oft spooky caves, and a region which has successively prospered on timber, cattle and more recently world class wine. Add best surf breaks, hiking tracks, golf, water sports and seasonal whale watching. Little wonder locals are adamant there is no comparable region in Australia. Others say it’s two faced. Cheeky perhaps? Well, there is the glossy magazine profile of fancy pants cellar doors, multi-course lunches, being seduced by the particular ‘nose’ of a chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon or a craft beer plus elegant retreats where fine dining and sumptuous suites are de rigueur. Turn the other cheek and head up a dusty bumpy track to lurk amongst season-worshipping small batch farmers, biodynamic bakers, sheep’s cheese makers, snout-to-ground-pig producers plus small wineries where the pick, crush and pour is done by hand, by the family. And let’s not forget freshly foraged truffles even the French are clamouring for. Where to start? Go In Style with Peter Norris at the wheel of his Jaguar Sovereign,

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WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

Marron at Cape Lodge

For festival aficionados, diarise this November’s three day Margaret River Gourmet Escape extravaganza with over 45 food and wine events including indulgent beach BBQs, sumptuous forest feasts under the stars, extra-long lunches in award-winning wineries plus culinary super-stars such as Marco Pierre White and Rick Stein. Where to stay? The Grand Mercure Basildene Manor, classified by the National Trust of Australia, has sumptuous rooms, delightful breakfasts, and delicious afternoon teas featuring home-made jams plus beautiful gardens to admire. Cape Lodge has the feel of a grand country-house estate. Twenty-two lavish guest suites plus a five-bedroom private residence are arranged across 16ha of parkland, lakes and garden. Forest Suites, with lake and woodland views, private balcony and underfloor heating in the bathroom have an I-could-easily-live-here quality. Stroll to the Cape Dutch-style main lodge for aperitifs in the Drawing Room before a decadent dinner in the award-winning lakeside restaurant. Savour Margaret River wineries’ back vintages and fine fare from executive chef Michael Elfwing, who champions local produce such as Pemberton marron and Arkady lamb and also leads farmgate tours and cooking classes. Who doesn’t love sleeping under the stars? Five stars of course! If you go: www.basildenemanor.com.au www.vassefelix.com.au www.goinstyle.com.au www.oakvalleytruffles.com.au www.cullenwines.co.au www.capelodge.com.au www.willsdomain.com.au www.margaretriver.com www.gourmetescape.com.au

Vineyard table

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Rediscovering our own backyard MICHAEL OSBORNE looks at rediscovering his own backyard. While we never tire of exploring the world, we sometimes need to refresh our easily reached local experiences.

he Legendary Pacific Coast - Covering the coast between Sydney and the Gold Coast, it is divided into easy sections. How often have we driven the highway and not looked at the surrounding areas? So it doesn’t take too long to form a travel plan. Travelling from Sydney, we decide to head to Port Macquarie via Gloucester, Nabiac and Wingham. An easy drive along the Pacific Highway and then along the scenic Bucketts Way, has us in Gloucester for a late lunch.

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The Bee Motel.

The Bucketts Ranges.

Gloucester is also the gateway to the World Heritage Barrington Tops National Park and the National Parks and Wildlife office is also in Church Street, where we collect all the maps and information we need, to allow us to gain the maximum benefit from our short visit. Guided tours are also available. Gloucester and surrounds - World Heritage Barrington Tops National Park is 60km west of Gloucester is accessible via the Gloucester Tops Road and the Barrington Tops Forest Drive. Panoramic Scenery, waterfalls, walking tracks picnic and camping areas. An abundance of wildlife and birdlife. Copeland State Conservation Area is18 km from Gloucester. Incorporates the Mountain Maid Goldmine, boardwalk, rainforest walks, interpretive boards, BBQ and picnic areas. The town is bounded to the west by a range of monolithic hills called The Bucketts -from the aboriginal word Buchan Buchan meaning Big Rocks, and to the east by the Mograni Range. To the north of the town lies the junction of the Avon, Gloucester and Barrington rivers and beyond is a backdrop of hills and valleys stretching into the distance. The Gondwana Rainforests of this Australian World Heritage Area are stunning. Most of the park is declared wilderness, with wild and scenic rivers and winter snowcaps. A range of interesting and inspiring walks feature Antarctic beech forests, snow gum woodlands, tall eucalypt forests, high-altitude swamp and beautiful waterfalls. Wheelchair access is provided at Devils Hole lookout and the Williams River picnic area. Car-based camping is available at numerous camping spots. www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

Accommodation – No shortage of choices in the area, but we chose a name, ‘A Room with a View’ Bed and Breakfast, and what a delight! “A Room with a View” Bed and Breakfast provides comfortable accommodation for discerning travellers on the eastern side of glorious Gloucester Township. Gourmet breakfasts are served on the verandah or in your room or suite. Delicious evening meals showcase our wonderful local

Copeland State Conservation Area.

Room With A View.

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Wollumbin Lyrebird Walk (Sharyn Cairns DNSW).

produce and the mouth-watering cuisine of Jim’s Sri Lankan birthplace. Jim and Sue had owned one of the most successful restaurants and catering businesses in Gloucester, so we took the option of sharing a home cooked dinner with them. A genuine gourmet delight. Ducted air conditioning, wireless internet service and friendly service top off the experience. www.aroomwithaview-bb.com.au

Back on the road, heading for Nabiac and more exciting surprises. The village of Nabiac is situated on the Wallamba River, 24 kilometres south of Taree and 25 kilometres west of Forster/Tuncurry. Nabiac services the surrounding communities of Wootton, Failford, Rainbow Flat, Dyers Crossing, Krambach and Coolongolook. Nabiac means ‘place of the wild fig’ and lies between lands once inhabited by the Biripi and Worimi Aboriginal Tribes. Honeycomb Valley Farm is a place where you can stretch your legs and your mind! This sustainable farm’s motto is “little farm, big picture”. Visit the unique farm-gate shop where you can buy fresh produce, raw honey, sun-baked treats, farm-made balms and goat’s milk soaps. Meet gorgeous farm animals, wander the fascinating ethnobotanical (useful plant) garden and see the biggest solar oven in Australia. We just loved the ‘Bee Motel’ and the newly born animals. www.honeycombvalley.com.au Driving into the Manning Valley, we reach the historic township of Wingham in time for lunch. At Bent on Food – ‘Not just a cafe but a destination’. Bent on Food is a multi-awardwinning cafe specialising in local produce with a great selection of condiments lining the walls. www.bentonfood.com.au Port Macquarie - Continuing on the Pacific Highway for an easy hour and we reach our next destination. Greater Port Macquarie extends from the mouth of the Hastings and Camden Haven Rivers west to the Great Dividing Range, with a coastline of 84kms. The total area of the region is 3693 sqkms. The topography of the area is diverse including sand dunes, coastal wetlands, flood plains, forests and mountain regions. The area enjoys the best climate in Australia, with the average temperature ranging from 7°C to 27°C. http://pacificcoast.com.au We allocated two nights and two and a half days to experience Port and after our first look around we realise that we could easily spend more than a week. Wow! We can’t believe how great the holiday and tourism scene is. http://www.portmacquarieinfo.com.au/ Feature supplied by: www.wtfmedia.com.au

Wingham Historic Post Office. WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020


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AUSSIE STARTUP’S BOLD VISION

Bart Sobies and his new booking service.

Stay Local Australia takes on giants

NEW Aussie booking app is set to become a major player in the bounce back of our nation’s devastated tourist industry. And the app called Stay Local Australia aims to become the “go to” booking site for millions of travellers as the country returns to normal and takes a well-earned holiday. In doing so, it will be taking on the multinational booking companies that scoop huge profits out of Australia and dump them straight into overseas accounts. Stay Local Australia is the brainchild of Bart Sobies who has been a leading light in our tourist industry for more than 20 years. It is estimated 441,000 jobs have been lost in Australia in the accommodation and restaurant industries in a heartbreaking three months since the COVID-19 pandemic struck home. A revolutionary tech startup company, Stay Local Australia, will launch the innovative app at the end of May to support local accommodation businesses impacted by bushfires and the pandemic. With isolation set to ease in different states, Stay Local Australia wants to encourage local travellers to support local accommodation providers that have had it tough over the past six months. Mr Sobies said the app was created in response to the 441,000 jobs lost across the

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We expect travel to pick up but it will be slow and gradual, so we want to make sure that every dollar that goes into local travel goes to local business and supports them in scaling back up to full capacity. Accommodation providers have told us that they are willing to give back by offering deals and promotions for locals.” - Bart Sobies.

restaurant and accommodation space. “The ABS reported last week that 84% of accommodation and food services businesses reported reduced demand for goods and services,” Mr Sobies said. “The accommodation industry has been hit incredibly hard, first by bushfires and then by COVID-19 closures” he said.

Direct Bookings The startup also wants to see accommodation businesses receiving direct bookings, rather than losing fees and much-needed revenue to major booking sites, particularly after the ravaging of COVID-19. “The mission driving #StayLocalAustralia, is to support these local businesses by giving them direct bookings and exposure to local travelers after a time of major downturn.” Mr Sobies said many accommodation bookings had decreased dramatically or disappeared and with international travel unlikely, businesses would be relying on the support of locals to get back on their feet. Stay Local Australia will link these two groups, passing on savings to hosts of up to 60% of the fees associated with a traditional online booking service,” he said. “The accommodation market is dominated by a few big Online Travel Agent’s (OTA’s) who take a clip of up to 15% of the transac-

tion. This puts a lot of pressure on an industry that is already struggling. “The industry has been crying out for a big Australian owned, Online Travel Agent, to compete with the internationals, this is why we are doing it.” Mr Sobies said many travellers were not aware that many OTAs were owned internationally, with headquarters outside of Australia. "Unfortunately, this means that Australians cannot be sure that the fees they pay stay in the country or support local business," he said. “Tourism Australia has been on the front foot supporting the industry with ‘Live from Aus’ showcasing the best Australia has to offer. With Australia home to some of the best tourism spots in the world, there has never been a better time to visit your own backyard. “We expect travel to pick up but it will be slow and gradual, so we want to make sure that every dollar that goes into local travel goes to local business and supports them in scaling back up to full capacity. Accommodation providers have told us that they are willing to give back by offering deals and promotions for locals.” Guests and hosts can support local at www.staylocalaustralia.com.

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Technology Success

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Digital signatures into your business  DARRYL MCALLISTER OW that we're working from home and reducing visits to our customers, we need a new way to sign off on documents. It has become much more complicated to get people together, and as a result, important contracts can be left in limbo waiting on a signature. Say that you’ve just received a large purchase order from a client, but before they can initiate the payment, the PO has to be signed and sent back. If the team member that needs to sign the PO is working at home with no ability to scan in a signed document, that can delay important revenue. Companies rely on all types of documents, both internal and external, in their day-to-day operations, these can include: • Customer contracts. • Purchase orders. • Employee agreements. • Legal letters. • Non-disclosure agreements. • Vendor/supplier paperwork. • Change orders. How can you get a legal signature on a document more easily? Through eSigning.

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What is eSigning? eSigning, or digital signature, is a process that associates a signer with a document using a specific type of electronic key. The eSignature is legally binding, just as a non-electronic signature would be. Using eSigning can significantly speed up the document signing process and solve the problem with not having everyone in the same place. At NetCare, as part of our Technology Success Support for Sydney area businesses, we use and recommend the Nitro Productivity Suite to provide both PDF productivity and eSigning capabilities. This all-in-one solution helps streamline digital workflow and eliminate document obstacles that waste time.

According to the Nitro 2020 Productivity Report, by conquering inefficiencies, companies can help their workforce do more with their time, manage complex document processes, and have better job satisfaction.” What are the Benefits of eSigning & PDF Productivity? Often companies are suffering from inefficiencies that they’re not even aware of. Time spent printing and re-scanning documents or contracts being stalled awaiting a signature can eat away at a company’s profits. According to the Nitro 2020 Productivity Report, by conquering inefficiencies, companies can help their workforce do more with their time, manage complex document processes, and have better job satisfaction. Here are a few important statistics that tell the story: • 97% of surveyed employees said there was room for improvement in the way their company handles documents. • 59% of employees said better document processes would save them time.

• More than one-third of workers have to manually sign documents every day. If manual document processes have been holding back your company’s productivity, here are some ways that implementing digital signatures and other document handling tools can help.

#1 Reduce Costs By using digital signatures in your workflow, you can eliminate certain expenses related to printing, paper, and postage. For example, rather than needing to print out two copies of a document, and mail both for signature, and then send a prepaid return envelope for one, you can do everything digitally. It’s not only more efficient, it cost less in hard paper/postage costs and staff time.

#2 Save Time Getting paid for a purchase order today rather than two weeks from now can make a big difference in cash flow for many small businesses. Using eSigning significantly speeds up the process for all types of documents. When documents are not efficiently managed in a digital format, it can also cause employees to take unnecessary time trying to track them down. Employees spend on average 19.8% of their workday searching for information they need for their job.

#3 Better Tracking & Security

space for filing cabinets. Fewer space requirements can translate to lower costs for your office operations overall.

#5 Eliminate Bottlenecks in Processes It’s not unusual for a project or work process to become stalled while someone is waiting on a signed approval. This slows everyone down and can leave things stalled at one particular point. eSignatures take just a moment and the document can quickly move on its way to the next step, keeping your process flowing smoothly.

#6 Enhance Collaboration Using digital tools for document handling, allows your team to collaborate effortlessly using cloud-based platforms. Documents are able to be annotated and have comments tracked in real-time.

#7 Keep Track of Documents for Compliance Data security compliance requires organizations to control access to sensitive files. With a fully digital document solution, compliance is made easier because you have document access reporting, digital trails, and other data that can tell you when a document was accessed, which pages were viewed, and more.

#8 Improve Company Sustainability

#4 Reduces Office Space Needs

By reducing the number of documents your company prints, you’re increasing sustainability. Reducing your environmental impact is not only positive for your organization, but it can also be a factor that attracts both clients and talent. NetCare can help you get started with the Nitro Productivity Suite, which includes eSigning along with other document management solutions to improve your business productivity and lower costs.

Another benefit of using digital signatures is that you can store files in the cloud or on a server, rather than needing to reserve office

DARRYL McALLISTER is CEO at Netcare. Visit: www. netcare.net.au/

Paperwork with manual signatures is often stored outside your company’s digital security framework. This makes them both more difficult to find (no keyword search) and gives you the limited ability for security and tracking. Keeping your signed contracts in digital form, can improve security and compliance and provide you with audit trails.

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WESTERN SYDNEY

Family Business

With David Pring

Welcome to KPMG Family Business feature articles. If you would like to discuss these articles or how KPMG can help with your business please feel free to contact me on 9455 9996 or davidpring@kpmg.com.au

Welcome COVID-19: Hospitality sector's next step – time to reopen?

What businesses in the hospitality sector need to consider as COVID-19 restrictions ease.  MORGAN KELLY  CAMERON ROAN  PHIL QUINLAN s the restrictions ease, businesses in the hospitality sector need to consider their next steps – towards opening or reimagining their businesses. The hospitality sector has been hard hit by social distancing restrictions imposed by coronavirus (COVID-19). On 23 March, many businesses were all but shut down overnight, meaning leaders in this sector are facing a series of challenges never seen before. This unprecedented move has proved one thing – Australians are adaptable.

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COVID-19 has enacted 10 years of behavioural change in just six weeks, and when the economy reopens, habits formed will be changed forever.”

as the states reopen their borders, this revenue is not expected to replace the inbound tourism market. Corporate travel will also be down – not only have workers become accustomed to doing business via phone and video during the shutdown, there will also be a health and safety concern for leaders asking staff to travel via aeroplanes. Large conference and event centres will potentially need to be mothballed, and businesses that have previously relied on gaming revenue will feel an even greater impact on their bottom line.

To reopen, or not? The Federal Government announced the three-step plan on May 8 around how Australia will come out of the shutdown. The plan will be applied in different stages state by state, with NSW and Victoria’s hospitality sectors potentially feeling the greatest impact. While stage one guidelines are finalised, stages two and three are written in pencil and will remain flexible to the impacts that stage one may cause. While we could be looking at a late July, early August, reopening of pubs and clubs in NSW and Victoria, this could be even later still if there is an outbreak associated with a particular pub or club across the country. Businesses need to start considering what they need to do to reopen. And consideration will need to be given to the additional capital expenditure needed to reconfigure to reopen – including sanitation stations, temperature checking and patron number limitations. When these considerations are coupled with constrained revenue due to trading restrictions and changes in consumer behaviour some venues may find it challenging to reopen. Businesses need to ask themselves if trade will be at a level to sustain profitability, let alone amortisation of debt?

Trading in the ‘new normal’ COVID-19 has enacted 10 years of behavioural change in just six weeks, and when the economy reopens, habits formed will be changed forever. The hospitality industry is a mosaic of business operations and structures and each one will be affected differently. Revenue for restaurants and bars is predicted to be down 40-50 percent when they reopen into a landscape of continued social distancing. It predicted that businesses in the CBD could be hardest hit with not only offices operating with reduced workforces and split teams but a collective tightening of belts from individuals and organisations will mean discretionary spending will be down across the board. And it’s believed that this revenue will not be fully redistributed to suburban venues. Accommodation businesses may find it challenging to get to even a 30 percent occupancy rate in the immediate term. And while domestic demand will increase

WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

If your business is considering reopening, ensure you have the labour force in place, not just casual staff, but key staff and talent as well, and much consideration needs to be given to the health and safety of your staff and your customers. There will be a renewed focus on health, as mandated by the government and general consumer sentiment, and businesses can use this as a competitive advantage. Stationing staff at entry ways to check temperatures, and having staff consciously paying attention to hygiene will allow consumers to feel safe – start to consider what training you can offer staff in these areas. Reconfiguring your business now so that your business is match fit when things start to open will be paramount to future success. Venues will also need to consider how they will reconfigure their physical spaces to comply with government requirements.

• Tables and chairs will need to be repositioned. • Floor markings added to guide customers to stay 1.5 metres away from each other. • Door count procedures to ensure maximum headcount restrictions across each phase are maintained. • Construction to erect plastic barriers • Distancing gaming machines. From an operational point of view, companies should also start contacting their supply chains to ensure they are ready to ramp up again. Will your business be able to source the same quality of produce as before? Did you previously outsource your security and cleaning teams? Businesses will need to mobilise these third party suppliers, ensure that they are sustainable, or have a contingency plan in place. When bars and clubs first reopen there will be a huge amount of pent up consumer demand, but there will be a focus on enforcing the new social distancing laws. Venues that don’t respect these restrictions could face an industry-wide backlash if further shut downs are enacted. There is a real sense that if everyone gets this right, it will make reopening easier for everyone.

Permission to experiment Businesses that reimagined and strategised their way through the economic down turn that the Global Financial Crisis inflicted often found themselves in better shape on the other side, and the same rule applies now. Companies that are using this time to reimagine their offering and giving themselves permission to reinvent could do well in the long run. Restaurants and bars have pivoted to offer take away, pre-packaged food to cook at home and fresh produce direct to their customers – and while considering to continue to offer these services once the economy starts to reopening will assist in replacing some of the lost revenue, it won’t replace it all. Businesses need to consider what the consumer sentiment might be on the other side and consider how they could best place their business to offer what they will want. Moving out of this lock down, we will all have greater sense of community and this could translate as a trend towards Australians supporting Australians. Businesses that take the time to reinforce what they stand for, and communicate that effectively to their customers, will be on the front foot. Hospitality is a hearts and minds industry so use authentic and transparent communications to bring consumers on the journey with you as you look to reopen. Give consumers a direct line to your business’ behind the scenes operations, show them how their sup-

port directly helps you support your staff and Australian suppliers and farmers. This type of approach will help businesses reconnect to their consumers.

Financially fit Companies in the hospitality sector need to consider their financial situation closely. It’s important that you model these financials and how it might change key assumptions when scenario planning. Businesses will need to consider: • What are the funding requirements for the closure and reopening phases? • Are those requirements realistic? • What is the resulting debt profile? • What will trading performance look like factoring in the new future environment? • Will it still be viable invest in the capital spending needed to operate in the new conditions? • Does this performance service and amortise the resulting debt profile? • If not, what will we do? (Debt deferral/rescheduling, equity injection or swap, landlord deals) While no one can predict exactly what it is going to look like when we reopen, we do know that consumers are going to be financially challenged as well. Conversations need to happen now with banks and landlords so that debt profiles are considered, and that this profile is serviceable. Find ways to defer liabilities and capex. Pricing trends such as increased input costs due to fires and drought will continue to contract margins, and the price of putting up costs will be high as consumers become more frugal through either loss of income, or the realisation of how much money they are saving and therefore previously spent in venues. We predict that come October, the stimulus will start to wear off, and while previously November marked the beginning of the party season, many businesses will attempt to last throughout December and January. But there will be an inflection point, a time on the decision tree where businesses will realise there needs to be a consolidation. We expect that there will be an industrywide move towards consolidation and a flight to scale. The new normal will be a vastly different landscape, and one that none of us can predict, but businesses that plan, pivot and act now will be best positioned to get a head start. First published by Morgan Kelly, Partner, Restructuring Services, KPMG Australia, Cameron Roan, Partner, Enterprise Audit & Assurance, KPMG Australia and Phil Quinlan, Partner, Restructuring Services, KPMG Australia on KPMG.com.au on 12 May 2020

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Family Business

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COVID-19: Focus on costs is key for sustainability of SMEs  BRUCE SWEENEY MEs that take a renewed focus on the right cost opportunities will face a more sustainable outcome. The immediate priority for your business is the safety of your people and customers, but long-term sustainability also needs to be considered during this economic crisis. Key takeaways 1. The economic crisis caused by coronavirus (COVID-19) is only just beginning and many industries have already been impacted including the transport, retail, hospitality, tourism and education sectors. 2. Cost optimisation is about improving capabilities – not just cost cutting. 3. Identifying the right cost opportunities and having a plan will avoid unnecessary negative impact to your business, customers and staff. 4. Manage the lifecycle of this crisis – not just the event. 5. Proactive businesses that renew their focus on costs and act before they are forced to will emerge stronger.

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Typical reasons for increased pressure to rethink costs are: financial distress, downward pressure on revenue or prices, changing consumer needs, intensifying competition, need to fund growth or strengthen the balance sheet, pressure from shareholders. It is time to adapt to tougher economic times.

Different approaches for different circumstances Every business will be looking at costs, but what they do will depend on whether they are in a position of relative strength or weakness. Our experience working with private, mid-market and family businesses has shown that organisations that take a more holistic, strategic view will have a greater chance of success.

Now is the time for a renewed focus on costs The coronavirus challenges are having a profound impact on Australian private, midmarket and family businesses. While some industries are experiencing a surge in activity, many are facing a rapid decrease in revenue and an evaporation of their cash reserves. It is unclear how long this crisis will continue or what the final economic impacts will be. To give your business the best chance of surviving through this upheaval, a renewed focus on costs is critical and will allow you to position your business for continued success. Cost optimisation is more than just cost cutting and belt tightening and short-term tactics alone will not lead to sustained business success. Consider the effectiveness of your operating model and if your products, channels and markets still make sense in the current environment, and potential future state.

Our experience has shown that successful businesses: • consider the business and operating model – not just cost savings • understand trade-offs between costs, income, impacts on customer service and risk • adjust or eliminate underperforming operations or investments • prepare to invest in certain cases to get a better outcome • embed a culture of high performance and cost leadership. Some businesses may not have the time or a strong enough financial position to take this more strategic approach. Consider speaking to a corporate restructuring adviser if your business is under significant financial distress.

How to identify the right cost opportunities Understanding your business’ cost drivers is critical to identifying the right cost opportunities and avoiding unnecessary negative impacts on your business, customers and staff. We believe a successful cost optimisation initiative starts with gathering your current cost base and performing a spend analysis. This will help inform your needs and sets a baseline to measure and track success. Industry trends, benchmarking data and access to industry or functional experts may help to improve the identification of the right cost opportunities. Every business is unique, but there are common areas to focus on costs: Supply chain • Accurate demand forecast, informing inventory management and resource planning. • Vendor effectiveness and reliability assessments. • In-bound logistics planning and rationalising. • Inventory management, including critical spare management and contingency planning. Operations • Production planning, relative to demand peaks, shortages and potential labour fluctuations. • Labour reliability and productivity management. • Support function effectiveness planning. • Asset effectiveness, including rent versus hire and build versus purchase assessments. Business model • Divest from non-core markets. • Focus on the organisations existing or emerging market strengths. • Rationalise underperforming products or services. • Close underperforming segments. Procurement • Rationalisation of supplier base. • Streamlining material planning and ordering processes.

• Category management, including the renegotiation of terms. Finance • Process automation. • System integration. • Budgetary process re-design. Systems and IT • Software consolidation. • Outsourcing/off-shoring, including short term and permanent scenarios. • Remote workforce planning. Our experience has shown that poor design principles will result in poor outcomes that could have been easily avoided – for example ‘lean’ and ‘fat’ functions are equally penalised, compromises on service, quality and staff morale. It can be prudent to establish two separate management groups, one for developing the strategy and one to execute it. This approach helps establish a common cost management agenda, drives accountability and engagement, develops future leadership capability and ultimately improves the likelihood of your cost goals being achieved.

Looking ahead to become more resilient in the future Businesses that take a proactive approach will emerge from this crisis stronger and better equipped to adapt and leverage the market opportunities that will eventually emerge. In these testing times business resilience and an ongoing focus around cost optimisation will be required. A one-off cost saving approach or mindset is unlikely to achieve sustainable value. It is important to manage through the entire lifecycle of this crisis – not just the event. As a nation we have learnt over the recent months and various crises the importance of mateship, teamwork and support. Don’t take on the burden of crisis management and costs alone. Now is the time for broad authentic communication, with your people, your suppliers and shareholders. Flex your network, reach out to old mentors and trusted advisors. Now is the time for a renewed focus on costs. First published by Bruce Sweeney, Partner, Enterprise Advisory, KPMG Australia, on KPMG.com.au on 20 April

Marketing in a time of shifting normal  ANDREW BAXTER S we enter an interim period of beginning to live with a COVID-19 impacted world, where times are still uncertain and unclear, there are two main questions that marketers should be considering. How is consumer behaviour changing? And how should they be changing their marketing efforts accordingly in this interim period? And history tells us that a combination of prudent cost cutting and smart investment is the optimal way to endure it, and to set your brand up for success post-recovery. Particularly in a world where your brand’s competitors are also contemplating their next steps, and consumer behaviour and media habits are changing suddenly due to people being isolated at home to help prevent the coronavirus spreading. According to media agency Initiative, media habits in late March and early April have changed significantly. Free to air television ratings on average were up around 10 per cent on the same period the year before. News viewership on these channels was up 30 percent, but sport was down by 50 percent. Globally, Netflix subscriber numbers are up by 22.5 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the year prior. Some Asian countries like Singapore are seeing a 60 percent increase in online video consumption. In the UK, Channel 4’s video on demand offering has seen a 37 percent increase year

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on year in the first couple of weeks of their lockdown, and in the US Tik Tok has seen an 18 per cent increase in downloads in one week in mid-March, whilst Facebook usage was up 50 percent. Likewise, new routines are being formed as consumers begin to live with the implications of isolating at home, with many of those finding themselves on a reduced income. A British study from 2009 found that habit formation takes 66 days. For many countries, including Australia, it is likely that home isolation measures will be in place for at least this number of days, giving marketers an opportunity to tap into these changed behaviours, both in the immediate and longer term. One international study regarding the onset of COVID-19 found that 90 percent of Generation Z had changed their daily routine, and 75 percent of Baby Boomers. The opportunity for brands in this interim period of a suddenly changed market context, is to be customer focussed, agile and tactical. Because for some brands, these changes have meant a sudden increase in demand (booming brands), others a decline (declining but surviving brands), and some brands have unfortunately had to temporarily close their businesses (hibernating brands). Many brands have moved quickly to try and meet these changing needs of their customers, and their changing paths to purchase. Some declining but surviving brands, like local restaurants and cafes, swiftly moved to

takeaway and delivery only, following the social distancing rules that were put in place. Some have begun selling their produce as cook at home packs that include the recipes behind that restaurant’s main dishes. And Panda Express in the USA has simplified its menu only to its most popular dishes, making it easier for its kitchen employees, whilst maintaining customer service and delivery expectations. A great example of quickly re-prioritising its product mix. Many bricks and mortar retailers rapidly upscaled their online businesses and shifted their marketing efforts accordingly. In Australia, retailers like Mecca, Uniqlo, Sephora, Myer, Aesop and Wittner have announced they have closed their physical stores, but that their online stores are still open for business. It’s seen Australian businesses like Super Retail Group boost online sales by 145 percent the first few weeks of COVID-19. And in China similar upticks through the living with COVID-19 phase have resulted in a higher levels of e-commerce penetration in the recovery phase of COVID-19. On the other hand, many brands and organisations are booming in this time. Booming brands like supermarkets have consistently seen record sales days off the back of high demand for cleaning products, fresh produce, home cooked meals and personal hygiene items. Broadband is being stretched through the increased demand for online movies, video conferencing, news, and gaming. And many of our government services are seeing large

increases in website visitation, and call centre and in-shop traffic. For categories such as these, the brands and organisations that are best managing this sudden increase in demand are those that have quickly bolstered their customer experience capabilities online and in person. Particularly around the new moments that matter to customers. They have listened and responded fast. And been genuine and realistic in doing so. The other challenge for these booming brands is to determine whether this is an ongoing trend, or a one-off spike. And therefore, how best to manage their marketing efforts across customer service expectations, pricing strategies, product availability, automation improvements in the case of services brands, integration of any required new technology to meet demand, and what sort of levels of promotion might or might not be required. Booming brands also need to ensure they act with authenticity and empathy, given that many other brands are unfortunately either in hibernation or in decline, and many customers have found themselves in a vulnerable position. This interim period of living with COVID-19 is a testing and uncertain time for marketers. But the benefits will come for those who are customer focussed, agile and tactical. This article first published by Andrew Baxter, Senior Advisory, Customer, Brand and Marketing Advisory, KPMG Australia in Sydney Business Insights and was reproduced on KPMG Newsroom on 25 May 2020. WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020


WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

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Home Life

www.wsba.com.au

Power of the DYI

Research reveals Aussie's preferences



Two T wo in five people (41%) under 55 would also rather tackle a DIY project than go on a date with their partner, although baby boomers still prefer a more classic romantic experience with only four per cent saying they would ditch a date for DIY.”  DALLAS SHERRINGHAM ORGET about being king of the bedroom, women want a man who does his best work in the garage. Now, before all the militant business ladies out there start protesting that Access has descended into the depths of depravity having been in lockdown too long, bear with me. New research by equipment hire company, Kennards Hire, has ‘revealed’ that 64% of Aussies would prefer their partner to be better at DIY than in the bedroom. Tasmania, the land of bushy beards where men are men and trees are nervous, topped the list of those most DIY-infatuated. A whopping 70% of Australians on the map of Tasmania cited their preference for a DIY savvy partner over one that is good in bed.

Kennards Hire is an Australian familyowned and operated company that has been in the hire industry for 70 years, with 180 sites and branches across Australia and New Zealand. While a lack of ambition towards DIY is a clear turn off, it is not enough of a reason for most people to completely end a relationship. However, one in 10 Queenslanders said they have considered it in the past.

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The survey, which quizzed more than 1000 Australian woman from all walks of life, also revealed that one in ten said that a partner being good at DIY played a key role in them wanting to marry them.

The research, which looked into what jobs are high up our to-do list, was undertaken by Kennards Hire encouraging Aussies to stick to their planned projects, because it seems when it comes to DIY skills, handy men are 10 out of 10s.

It is not surprising people value handyman skills in their partner, given one in four people admitted to walking away from multiple DIY projects in the past. For millennials, it was one in three. The top jobs which have caused Aussies to throw in the towel include, painting indoor walls (24%) and landscaping the yard (24%), as well as larger projects such as bathroom overhauls (15%) and kitchen renovations (10%). It is an eye-opening fact that the research found DIY skills were particularly important to millennials, with almost half (45%) agreeing good DIY skills make men more sexually appealing. Two in five people (41%) under 55 would also rather tackle a DIY project than go on a date with their partner, although baby boomers still prefer a more classic romantic experience with only four per cent saying they would ditch a date for DIY. General Manager Marketing & Customer Experience at Kennards Hire Manelle Merhi said with people at home more than usual they had seen an increase of people looking to get stuck in and complete DIY projects around the home. “Rather than gifts, perhaps the way to really wow your partner is to give your backyard a makeover or freshen up your walls with a coat of paint.” “We’ve been known to provide scissor lifts for weddings and metal detectors to find lost engagement rings, so if a floor sander or demo saw will help you win over hearts, we’re here to help.” For tips and tricks on DIY projects around the house visit: www.kennards.com.au/get-inspired/

DIY amateurs falling from roofs HERE has been a major outbreak of medical emergencies during Covid 19 lockdown, but it has nothing to do with the pandemic. In just one week, four DIY homeowners plunged from their roof while attempting to do projects above their property Following the spate of emergency callouts due to serious injuries from people doing their own DIY, tradie experts are imploring residents to contact the professionals instead. According to CareFlight rescue helicopter service, the worrying number of ‘amateurs’ have fallen from their roof carrying out repairs since May 1 – and another 10 were flown to hospital in April. Matt Jones from Tradiematepro, a support and coaching platform for trade-based businesses, said for every ‘wannabe’ tradie that has been flown to hospital, there are countless others who have injured themselves carrying out home repairs. His word of advice for those considering risky DIY is: “Don’t!” “There have been some terrible injuries in the past few weeks from people tackling repairs and home improvements, so it’s always better to call in the professionals,” Mr Jones said. “It’s understandable, especially with the forced isolation, that people have carried out home maintenance to save money and for health reasons, but in many cases it’s a disaster.

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Matt Jones.

“As well as the obvious risk of injury, some projects could be fatal, especially when it comes to electrical or even working on uneven surfaces at a great height. “Plus, nine times out of ten the repairs become even more expensive as the professionals are then called in to fix botched jobs – we’ve had a huge surge in residential repairs and maintenance, in particular plumbing and

electrical work, over the last few weeks,” Mr Jones said.. “And with rentals, landlords, property managers, strata building, and facility managers all have obligations to ensure repairs and maintenance are carried out on tenanted properties”. He said no home improvement was worth risking maiming yourself, “or worse.”

Tradiematepro launched in 2018 to help tradespeople set up their own businesses. Since then, it has helped to educate hundreds of tradies to collectively increase their profits, attract new clients and operate professional businesses with successful futures. It helps with financials, cash flow and profitability, time and team management, marketing and lead generation, sales strategy and helps tradies choose the best apps and software for their business. WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020


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Recruitment

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Leadership through and beyond COVID-19  GREG MITCHELL ITHOUT doubt, the capabilities and character of employers and business leaders have been put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic. While things are beginning to look brighter, it’s clear that we have a way to go before business returns to something more closely resembling “normal”. I was recently invited to chat (via Zoom of course!) with a group of business owners about the challenges and opportunities of managing their teams through and beyond COVID-19. Here’s a snapshot of the material we covered:

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Leadership in Uncertain Times The ability to lead in times of uncertainty is a clear test for any leader. The following tips (informed by an article by Meredith Parfet and Aaron Solomon published on Fast Company), are useful: Rely on experts to strengthen your voice – Good leaders know that they can’t be an expert on everything. Draw on the expertise of others and seek help when you need it. Highlight readiness – While the current situation is unique, most businesses have been through some type of crisis before, and/or have business continuity plans in place. Now’s the time to draw on those experiences and plans. Build community – Particularly during times such as these, most people are seeking connection and a sense of belonging. What can you do to better connect with your team, and connect them with one another? Seek feedback – What are your team thinking and feeling, what suggestions do they have for working through this difficult period?

Be willing to throw some rules out – Unique times often call for alternate protocols, actions and responses. Be flexible and adaptable. Show your work – Take, demonstrate and clearly communicate your actions as a leader to respond to these uncertain times. Emphasise passion over persuasion – More than ever, it’s a time to bring your team together. Work to send a message along the lines of “It’s difficult, but we have a plan and we’ll get through it together.”

Getting on the Front Foot With a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, many leaders are thinking about a return to some level of normality. Consider these tips: Welcome Back! – Mark the occasion in some way (with appropriate precautions) –

morning tea, decorations, afternoon drinks etc… Provide a Business Update – How’s the business positioned, what’s changed, what are our future plans and strategies? Develop and implement a Reconnection Plan (with clients, suppliers, business partners, networks). Develop and implement your COVID Safe Plan – Identify and control risks; Consult, communicate with and train your team; Ensure Personal Protective Equipment is in place (sanitiser, wipes, sneeze screens, gloves etc…); Ensure a clear process for reporting hazards and incidents; Sort out signage. Bonus tip: Safe Work Australia and Safe Work NSW have a heap of free resources to assist – check out their websites. Look after one Another – Keep in mind that some of your staff, clients and others may

The ability to lead in times of uncertainty is a clear test for any leader.” – Greg Mitchell. be particularly anxious/sensitive at this time (anxiety about safety, their families, security of employment etc..). Be attuned to the signs and prepared to respond accordingly. Seek help if need be. Greg Mitchell is the Principal Consultant/Owner of HR Success, which has been supporting businesses and organisations in Western Sydney for over 13 years. Visit www.hrsuccess.com.au for further information or make contact via ph. 1300 783 211 or email support@hrsuccess.com.au for assistance with managing your team.

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Health

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New: why too much coffee is unhealthy  DALLAS SHERRINGHAM OFFEE has joined the long list of life’s pleasures that are bad for us in excess, but that won’t stop businesspeople from enjoying the pleasures of a welcoming takeaway on the way to work. And inevitably the company coffee selfserve will still be the centre of attention because we Aussies are famous for ignoring food warnings when it comes to life’s “essentials”. We may jog for miles, go on strict diets, count calories while nibbling on a lettuce leaf and give up beer and wine, all while wearing a Fit Bit watch, but there is no way we are giving up the daybreak “heart starter”, the morning tea “pick me up” and the lunchtime “refresher”. The latest spoilsport is the University of South Australia which reckons excess coffee consumption is a culprit for poor health. It seems that, while cappuccino, latte or short black, coffee is one of the most commonly consumed drinks in the west, whether it’s good or bad for your health can be clarified by genetics. The world-first study from the University’s Centre for Precision Health shows that excess coffee consumption can indeed cause poor health. I decided to delve deeper and made myself a Moccona while reading on. Using data from over 300,000 participants, researchers examined connections between genetically instrumented habitual coffee consumption and a full range of diseases, finding that too much coffee can increase the risk of osteoarthritis, arthropathy or joint disease and obesity. Six cups of coffee a day were considered the upper limit of safe consumption.

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Professor Elina Hypponen.

Thank goodness I have reduced my intake from a massive 14 cups a day to just three.

Associated risks The University’s expert genetic epidemiologist Professor Elina Hypponen said understanding any risks associated with habitual coffee intakes could have large implications for population health. “Globally, we drink around three billion cups of coffee each day, so it makes sense to explore the pros and cons of this on our health,” Professor Hyppönen says. “Typically, the effects of coffee consumption are investigated using an observational approach, where comparisons are made against non-coffee-drinkers. But this can deliver misleading results.

“Reassuringly, our results suggest that, moderate coffee drinking is mostly safe.” My workmates drew a huge sigh of relief after hearing the good news and headed off to make a “fresh one” and discuss what moderation actually meant. “It also showed that habitual coffee consumption increased the risks of three diseases: osteoarthritis, arthropathy and obesity, which can cause significant pain and suffering for individuals with these conditions,” Professor Hypponen said Professor Hyppönen said the prevalence of these conditions in Australia and around

the world showed how important it was to determine possible causes and influencers of the diseases. “Excess coffee consumption can lead to increased risks of certain diseases,” Professor Hypponen said. “While these results are in many ways reassuring in terms of general coffee consumption, the message we should always remember is consume coffee in moderation – that’s the best bet to enjoy your coffee and good health too.” Personally, I am going to make myself another Moccona and think about it all – two down, four to go for the day’s tally!

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News

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Kids using headphones more? Here’s how to protect their ears  PETER CAREW  VALERIE SUNG URING the coronavirus pandemic, have your kids been using headphones more than usual? Maybe for remote schooling, video chats with relatives, or for their favourite music and Netflix shows? We have to be careful about both the volume and duration of headphone use. Listening too loudly or for too long can do permanent damage to hearing. The good news is there are ways to prevent long-term harm relatively easily.

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Hearing loss in children may be increasing Our hearing needs to be protected throughout life, because damage to hearing cannot be reversed. This is why we have workplace noise exposure standards and guidelines, which tell workers when to use protection such as earplugs or ear defenders. Unfortunately, though, hearing loss in children may be increasing. A study from last year, in which both of us were involved, reviewed the hearing of more than 3.3 million children from 39 countries across a 20-year period. We found around 13% of children had measurable hearing loss by 18 years of age that may impact their ability to decipher sounds important for understanding speech. The study suggested hearing loss in kids is rising – but we don’t yet know why.

More studies are needed to determine if headphone use is causing a decline in kids’ hearing. But there are ways to mitigate the risks regardless. Shutterstock

Not many studies have examined whether headphone use is directly linked to hearing loss in children. But in one study of 9-11-year-old Dutch children, where 14% had measurable hearing loss, around 40% reported using portable music devices with headphones. Could headphones be contributing? Possibly, but unfortunately we don’t know for sure, and more studies are needed.

How do we know whether our children’s hearing is being affected? Adults typically first notice a hearing problem by struggling to hear higher-pitched sounds clearly. Sounds may seem muffled, or the ears may feel “blocked”, or they may notice a ringing or buzzing sound, called tinnitus. Unlike adults, children won’t necessarily know how to describe these symptoms.

Instead they may use terms they do know, like a bee buzzing, a whistle, or the wind blowing. Parents should treat any reported ear symptom as serious and get their child’s hearing tested. It’s best to visit a hearing clinic first, and then a GP if necessary, although this will depend on your location. Continued on page 35

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News

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Continued from page 34

Excessive noise damages hearing Our inner ear (cochlea) contains tiny hair cells, which change sounds we hear into electrical signals for our brain. These hair cells are finely tuned and are responsible for different pitches of sound, like keys on a piano. Exposure to loud noise can damage these hair cells and perhaps the nerve that connects the cochlea to the brain. Repeated excessive noise exposure can lead to permanent hearing loss. Unfortunately, by the time someone experiences hearing problems, some irreversible damage has already happened.

What should we do to protect kids’ hearing? The risk of hearing damage depends on both loudness and duration of sound exposure. Limiting both helps to reduce the risk of hearing damage.

Limiting loudness

Parents can limit the loudness of headphones, as well as the duration of time spent listening with headphones. Shutterstock

We measure the loudness of sound in decibels (dB). But it’s important to note that the dB scale is logarithmic rather than linear. That means a 110dB sound (similar to a chainsaw) is actually much more than 10% louder than a 100dB sound. Parents can download free sound meter apps that help with understanding the volume of different environments and activities. A more difficult task for parents is monitoring the loudness within their children’s headphones. Some headphones leak sounds out, while others insulate the sound into the ear. So a child using “leaky” headphones at a safe volume may appear to be listening to sounds that are too loud, but a child with tightly sealed headphones could be playing sounds at potentially damaging levels without parents noticing. To understand their child’s specific usage, parents can: • Listen to their child’s headphones to understand how loud sounds can become • Check to see if children can hear you talk at a normal volume from an arm’s length away, over the sounds playing on the headphones. If they can, their headphone use is more likely to be at a safe volume. There are headphones designed for children that limit the maximum loudness – usually to 85dB. While a limit is great, listening to 85dB sounds all day every day is not risk-free. Noise-cancelling headphones are another option, albeit expensive. By reducing the

intrusion of outside noise, it should mean children can keep headphone volume lower.

Managing duration We should also monitor how long we’re exposed to sound. Everyday conversation is around 60dB, which will not be a problem regardless of the duration of exposure. However, guidelines say we can be exposed an 85dB sound (like a rubbish truck) for up to 8 hours at a time. But if the loudness of the sound is increased by just 3 decibels to 88dB, the sound energy is doubled, and safe exposure time would drop to just 4 hours. Operating a chainsaw at 110dB would then be limited to around 1 minute before damage is likely to occur. Exposure to noise is cumulative. Noise can also come from other sources in the child’s environment. Consider a child’s activities throughout a day. Parents should try to avoid consecutive noisy exercises, like headphone use, music practice, then noisy toys or games. Considering the total “doses” of sound in the day means parents should schedule some breaks to allow the ears time to recover. Of course, parents should practise what they preach! Modelling responsible use of headphones and awareness of the enjoyment of being able to hear well into adulthood is key. This article was first published at www.theconversation.com.au. Peter Carew is Lecturer, University of Melbourne and Valerie Sung Is Paediatrician, Senior Research Fellow, Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

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Read all editions online www.wsba.com.au WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

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Social Media

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Examining an applicants’ Facebook profile is like opening a Pandora’s box for recruiters. Image: Shutterstock

Discrimination based on women’s likelihood to be coming into childbearing age still comes up in interviews. Image: Shutterstock

Why candidates’ social media profiles are a WASTE OF TIME for recruiters HERE is little to no correlation for recruiters between a job candidate’s social media profile and potential on-the-job performance or retention levels, according to UNSW Business School research Since the advent of social media, employers and recruiters have been known to examine candidates’ social media profiles as part of the recruitment process. Opinions vary about the ethics of the practice, but very little is known about whether it actually provides employers with accurate indications of a candidate’s suitability for the position, future performance, or length of stay in a position. Liwen Zhang, a lecturer in the School of Management at UNSW Business School and her colleagues have created three studies in order to produce some answers to these questions. Using Facebook sites as their source, the experiments covered: 1. A content analysis of job seekers’ social media sites, 2. Whether job seekers’ social media information is related to recruiter evaluations, and 3. Whether structuring social media assessments affects criterion-related validity. “We tried to standardise the process to help improve the validity of these assessments,” says Zhang. “We provided training to recruiters, and provided more standardised evaluation forms, and tried to have multiple recruiters to assess the same applicants. But the results show that this does not really appear to improve the prediction of future job behaviours or withdrawal intentions.”

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Recruiters understandably want to get to the “real” person who might not be revealed in a resumé or an interview. What, for example, of a candidate who reveals racist attitudes on their social media: something which would surely be a concern in our increasingly diverse workplaces?” 36

Do recruiters check out candidates’ social media profiles? So the belief of some recruiters in the utility of accessing candidates’ social media is not borne out by the studies, and Zhang urges a cautious approach to the practice in advance of more research in the area. But the studies also throw up more general questions about the practice. Recruiters understandably want to get to the “real” person who might not be revealed in a resumé or an interview. What, for example, of a candidate who reveals racist attitudes on their social media: something which would surely be a concern in our increasingly diverse workplaces? “Applicants’ discriminatory posts and behaviours are often not welcomed at the workplace,” says Zhang. “We categorise such behaviours and statements as ‘information that may be a concern to an organisation’. According to behavioural consistency theory, I think it could be fair for organisations to review this information from social media and use it in staffing decisions. However, if recruiters use applicants’ ethnicity or marriage status information obtained from social media sites, this will raise legal concerns.” Of course, if candidates don’t want their social media accessed by recruiters, they can change their privacy settings accordingly (although few do). “There are some theories and conceptual papers suggesting that recruiters may be suspicious about job candidates with incomplete information, for example, missing social media profiles,” says Zhang. And while she is not aware of any recruiters directly insisting on access to candidates’ social media, “we do see recruiters [effectively] demanding access in various ways, such as using a social media profile login to create an application profile, or to sign a consent agreement.”

“When anyone examines an applicants’ Facebook profile, it just looks like they are opening a Pandora’s box,” says Zhang. Anita Ziemer is the MD of recruitment specialists the Slade Group, a company with more than 50 years’ experience in talent acquisition. “When this practice comes up for discussion in working groups or industry forums amongst recruiters and employers, there is generally a wide range of views. In our own business we have been very prescriptive about why we don’t and don’t advocate for this practice,” she says. The basic problem for Ziemer is that the practice of examining a candidate’s social media is a slippery slope towards falling foul of anti-discrimination Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) legislation. In her own company’s practice, she insists on strict adherence to this legislation, and always seeks to educate her clients to do the same.

What do recruiters really do? “Furthermore, what people elect to do in their own time, outside of work hours should not be open to subjective interpretation by hiring managers, employers or recruiters.” Ziemer cites a number of examples, such as a brilliant young warehouse manager, who had tattoos from shoulders to ankles but never wore clothes that revealed them, or a marketing manager who was rejected for a role because of a Facebook picture of her standing on her front porch in an ocelot bikini. “[British World War Two leader] Winston Churchill was probably a depressive, but none of these features of their personal lives or backgrounds impacted their ability to do their roles, meet KPIs, gain promotions or build trusted working relationships,” she says. Recruiters don’t fare any better, in Ziemer’s mind, if the justification for examining candidates’ social media is connected to the idea of company culture.

Recruiters understandably want to get to the “real” person to better understand suitability and fit. Image: Shutterstock

“Culture is sometimes a veiled way of saying, we only hire ‘people like us’, and doesn’t actually have depth of meaning regarding more meaningful personal characteristics,” says Ziemer, who cites an example of a senior executive who was discounted for a CEO role because they had once entered a well-known reality TV programme as a contestant. “Discrimination based on women’s likelihood to be coming into childbearing age still comes up as a veiled screening question, and ‘attractiveness’ for reception roles is sadly still a thing, though far more rarely seen these days.” Ziemer does conduct Google searches, though, in one very limited circumstance: when a candidate is being shortlisted for a senior role in government or a publicly listed company. “Relevant media coverage over relevant critical incidents may uncover a matter that will in the future affect a person’s ability to build trusted working relationships. This may lead to a conversation with that person to discover more about the reported incident and then by mutual agreement agree to continue or discontinue the hiring process,” says Ziemer. “Our observation is that the more sophisticated the employer, the less likely they are to practice discrimination based on immaterial matters. That does, however, require advanced HR and recruitment practices that are organisation-wide and embedded.” Zhang concludes that current research findings pose a question mark on whether the approach of accessing candidates’ social media is effective in nature. “I would encourage practitioners to be cautious about this approach. I would hope for future research to provide more data regarding whether this practice is effective,” she says. First published at www.businessthink.unsw.edu.au.

Candidates should change privacy settings if they don’t want their social media accessed by recruiters. Image: Shutterstock WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020


Local People

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Scenes forom Biviano'ss Dural 20th birthday event.

Reflecting on 20 years at Biviano’s Dural

 MAG HOSNY HANK you all for coming along as we celebrate the launch of our 20th anniversary years of Biviano’s Dural. We like to thank Dr Michelle Byrne, The Hills Mayor and Hon David Elliott MP along with Mr Jason Joyce, Superintendent Hills LAC and Mr Michael Edgar, General Manager Hills Shire Council. Apologies of Hon Ray Williams & Dr Jim Taggart OAM and Hon Alex Hawke MP. The last 20 years have been a whirlwind and Biviano’s has been a part of so many lives and integral part of the community. It has been an inspirational adventure as we have watched The Hills District grow and evolve into an area fundamental to the success and growth of New South Wales. In 1996, Mr Gino Belmonte opened Belmontes Café behind Maccas in Dural, where you’d rent a video and pick up a pizza before the days of Netflix and Uber eats. 1999, Raj started working with Mr Belmonte and learnt the pizza section from Belmonte himself. Somewhat overqualified for this position, Raj had come to Australia with a master’s degree in business. Then, Silvio Biviano took over with Raj at his side and in January 2000, renamed it Biviano’s. In 2005, Raj took over from Silvio and the overqualified pizza chef was able to show that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts. It was a rollercoaster ride from then and we’re happy to say that the ride has never stopped.

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WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020

In 2013 Biviano’s moved to the new current building and location: 628 Old Northern Road was previously the Butterfly Café, known to the community for many years. Our dream came to light of what we see today. We have been in this location now almost seven years we are still growing. A huge thank you to The Hills Council for always supporting us along the way. For those of you a bit more on the factual side, some numbers for you: Over the last 20 years we have worked with over 500 staff and watched them grow and develop into passionate individuals. Over 600,000 pizzas have been made and their style is exactly as when Mr Belmonte first taught Raj. We have had the privilege of seating and serving over 1,000,000 guests and have handed out over 100,000 takeaway orders for people to enjoy at home. Over the last 20 years we have hosted more than 800 special events and have enjoyed watching as a life flourishes with a young

girl holding onto her dad’s finger as they walk in to their favourite restaurant Biviano’s and walk out 20 years later on a man’s arm and an engagement ring on her finger. We have had the honour of being a part of memories being made for every guest that walks in our doors. Onto our 20th anniversary year and what a year we have in store for you. We have a fantastic line-up for you ranging from degustation wine dinners to the Melbourne Cup Cocktail party and are throwing things into a flurry with a midnight in Paris themed NYE.

To compliment a year of events, we have a few, well, a lot of ongoing promotions to get you excited. Complimentary Canapes Monday to Thursday for dinner. Complimentary Sparkling wine for lunch Monday to Friday. We have some amazing extra special PLP exclusive benefits and a ‘pretty in pink’ High Tea. We have wine tasting tables on Wednesday for a few of the months and much more. Join is at Biviano’s Dural. Visit www.bivianosdural.com Mag Hosny is marketing manager at Biviano’s Dural.

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WESTERN SYDNEY BUSINESS ACCESS JUNE 2020


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Tuesday, 5th May 2020

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Profile for Access News Australia

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) - June 2020 edition  

WSBA enables readers to appreciate and engage with the physical, community, cultural and business environments of one of Australia's fastest...

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) - June 2020 edition  

WSBA enables readers to appreciate and engage with the physical, community, cultural and business environments of one of Australia's fastest...

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