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Edition 7: Jan-Mar 2012

North Coast

Big Picture

North Coast in Community Recovery Department of Communities fair, cohesive and vibrant communities

RED message Peter Ryan, Regional Executive Director

Welcome to the first edition of the North Coast Big Picture for 2012. While it seems like a long time since the Christmas break, I’d like to welcome everyone to this new year. I trust that you all had a good holiday season and feel as refreshed and as enthusiastic about the year ahead as I do. I sense an element of deja vu surrounding the start of 2012. The rain came down in January and the South-West Region went into community recovery mode, closely followed by our own region in midFebruary. I’d like to say thankyou to everyone involved in this effort. I realise it’s often difficult work that disrupts your everyday tasks and sometimes involves giving up precious weekend time. In the year ahead I expect us to continue with the reform in which we’ve been actively involved over the past year. Projects like the ongoing development of the disability pathway and the consolidation of the Regional Intake Service will remain key priorities. Early in March the RELT had a very successful meeting with the department’s senior executive in Brisbane for the six-monthly operational performance review—always a good opportunity to reflect on and assess how we’re travelling. We were complimented on our performance and you all deserve my thanks for your outstanding efforts. The significant contribution our RELT make to the broader strategic operations of the department was also acknowledged. While we’re talking about performance, I’d like to congratulate all the North Coast nominees and our finalist in the Staff Excellence Awards, Kelly Swan. Read more about these outstanding people later in this issue. I’m taking six weeks leave from mid March. Glen Knights, Director Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, will be acting Regional Executive Director. Glen brings a wealth of regional leadership experience to the North Coast, so please make him welcome.

2  North Coast Big Picture

Inside International Women’s Day


The North Coast celebrates a day for women and girls try a trade.

Foster Carers Awards.


Bruce and Denise Morcombe hand out awards to some special carers.

Community Recovery

The coast cleans up after wild storms and flooding.

8 Certificate IV in results

Study pays off for dedicated ATSIS staff.

13 Girls can do anything


Some talented Communities women talk about their experience on the water.

Behind this month’s big picture Tammy Myles has joined the Department of Communities as Regional Director Community Services Sport and Recreation. To find out a bit more about Tammy we asked her 10 questions in 10 minutes. Read the answers on page 12.

Scott Charters tries boxing at Deception Bay during the Super Sports Sign On Day. Photo: Tim McIvor.

Successful Super Sports Sign on Day A very successful Super Sports Sign– On Day was held at Caloundra and Deception Bay on Sunday 12 February 2012.

Broncos; Lisa Curry, Commonwealth swimmer; Bo Hansen, Olympic rower; and Christian Sprenger, Olympic swimmer.

The event, organised by Sport and Recreation Services, is a great opportunity for children to learn about the variety of junior sport and recreation activities on offer from local clubs, have fun and enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle.

At the Deception Bay Sporting Complex and PCYC budding sports stars checked out gymnastics, taekwondo, Oztag, netball, touch football, cheerleading, and softball. On hand to provide encouragement and inspiration was Olympic softballer Jodie Bowering and former rugby league star, Michael De Vere.

Luckily, it was a fabulous sunny day and about 500 people ventured out to find out about their local sport and recreation clubs by talking to club members. More than 200 registrations were taken by clubs on the day across both venues. At Caloundra there was an opportunity to try and watch AFL, hockey, gymnastics, rugby league, rugby union, tennis and touch footy. Visitors were able to meet legendary athletes, Darren Smith, Brisbane

From left to right: Shellee Jeffery, Julie-Ann Cork, Narelle Profke, Tania Lewis and Peter Ryan. Photo: Tim McIvor.

Photo: Tim McIvor.

Photo: Tim McIvor.

gender pay gap, superannuation balances, leadership ratios with everyone at Maroochydore, while Community Services Sport and Recreation Regional Director Tammy Myles spoke about her inspirational career journey at a Caboolture lunch.

These girls had a great day learning how to construct a photo frame. Photo: Sunshine Coast Technical Trade Training Centre.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year was ‘everything is possible’—chosen to support and increase the number of women pursuing non-traditional careers in the mining, science, engineering, construction, transport and technology industries.“Everything is possible” encourages women and girls to challenge stereotypes, explore all career options and embrace the opportunities that Queensland has to offer in traditionally male-dominated fields.

The North Coast regional Office for Women celebrated International Women’s Day 2012 with two great events. Girls in Hard Hats Sunshine Coast Try-a-Trade at the Sunshine Coast Technical Trade Training Centre had fifty girls from grades 9 and 10 throughout the North Coast region brave the cyclonic weather on 5 March to participate in hands-on activities such as plumbing, tiling, electrical, cabinet making, bricklaying and carpentry. Natalia Broadhead from Channel 10’s ‘The Renovators’ and other local trades-women provided some added inspiration and motivation. One young lady summed up what most thought of the day, ‘I really enjoyed the experience, knowing that we can amount to anything is great.’ To mark the actual day, Community Services, Sport and Recreation teams from Maroochydore and Caboolture celebrated with a lunch. Nicki Trenham, Regional Coordinator of Office for Women shared statistics on the

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2012 from left to right were: Freya Matanovich, Pam Negerevich, Lee Stebbings, Tiffany Elgar, Jessica Bohan,Tania Wilson, Fleur McLeod, Semone Robinson, Jackie Martin, Keleigh Martin, Linda Fraser, Amanda Jones & Ange Brown. Photo: Andrea Ferris

Fifty coast school girls had a fantastic chance to try a trade and celebrate International Women’s Day. Photo: Office for Women

Community Services Forum A Community Services Forum organised in conjunction with the North Coast Compact Committee was held at the Currimundi Active Recreation Centre on 1 March 2012 attracting more than 120 people from more than 60 funded community organisations. These forums are key opportunities for our department to put the Queensland Government Compact commitments into action. The forums, held quarterly, are part of the department’s continuing engagement strategy to provide an opportunity for people from Department of Communities funded community service organisations to meet people from each of our service areas and to discuss and share information about new initiatives, policy, practice and other significant issues impacting the sector. We, in turn, get a better understanding and appreciation of how these services are operating so we can improve or enhance our support and strengthen our partnerships. Program areas of homelessness, domestic violence, family support, community support, youth, child safety, disability services, housing, neighbourhood centres, sexual assault, seniors, and HACC were all represented at the forum. The event began with a welcome from the Regional Executive Director Peter Ryan and was followed by a strategic information session. Craig Hodges, Director Strategy and Policy, gave a briefing on the Fair Work decision and the afternoon was spent in program-based discussion groups around the new Disability Services Pathways and Community Services Skilling Plan and Workforce Development Strategy.

Enjoying the Community Services Forum from left to right: Regional Executive Director Peter Ryan, Lyn Guidrey, Melinda Fleming, Michael Henning, Patricia Occelli, Janet Forder, Kaye Deeley, Tammy Myles. Photo: Andrea Ferris

A tour of the Currimundi facility was available at lunchtime for anyone considering its use in the future. Something new for this event was a fun networking session held along the lines of ‘speed dating’ whereby people had just two minutes to say what they did and what they were trying to achieve before moving on to the next person. More than 40 people gave feedback and indicated a very high level of satisfaction with the event. Overall, the event had a good atmosphere where people felt confident to raise their issues. The next forum is planned for July.

Resources available to support North Coast events A reminder that catalogues promoting resources available to staff for events are available in a shared ‘communications’ folder on U: Drive. Located at U:\NC\General\Comms\Event resources, the folder features a banner and signage catalogue listing almost 100 items available for North Coast staff to loan. The folder also features an event equipment catalogue that features everything from audio and visual equipment, including a portable PA system, through to display items like brochure holders and a plaque unveiler. To book items contact the Office of the Regional Executive Director on 5352 7218.

Issue 7: March 2012 


Website for Seniors

Act as 1 Update

A new website launched in November 2011 improves access to information and services for Queensland seniors. Channel Management Program Executive Director, Victoria Chalmers said the website was a reflection of the thoughts and ideas of more than 100 people to ensure the website met the needs of its target audience—Queensland seniors. ‘People no longer need to understand the structure of government to find the information and services that are of most value to them. ‘Regardless of who owns the content, seniors can now access a range of government information all within a single, easy-to-use website,’ Chalmers said. The website features content about lots of services like public transport, vehicle registration, police, education, housing and the law. ‘All the information relating to senior’s living is on one website—with a consistent, user-friendly look and feel,’ she said. Visitors to the website can provide feedback through the “useful” and “not useful” feature on each page. ‘Since the launch we’ve received 1256 pieces of feedback—with 91 per cent of visitors rating the pages as useful,’ Chalmers said. More than 600 visitors have gone the extra step and provided written feedback, with a particular focus on the online Seniors Card application form. ‘I’m pleased to report the majority of feedback we have received so far is positive—other feedback has assisted us in refining the site so it aligns even more closely with our customers needs,’ she said.

The Act as 1 against domestic and family violence campaign rolls out its third year of activities during May 2012—Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month. This year we want the campaign to reach everyday people in places where they work, live and play. The campaign mobilises community support from mums and dads, neighbours, work colleagues, and business and community organisations to end domestic and family violence and its devastating effects in our communities. The North Coast community has really embraced the cause and, so far, we lead the state in the amount of innovative events and activities planned. Corporate and community sponsorship has exceeded all expectations with events planned ranging from a round of local rugby league to a family fun bicycle ride as part of the Noosa Winter Festival and a unique simulcast breakfast program by the Coast’s two leading radio stations. Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Moreton Bay and Somerset councils are all keen to support the campaign and have generously donated resources and venues across the region for community events. No matter who you are, there’ll be something to attend so you can show your support for the campaign. Visit the website between now and May to find out what’s on.

6  North Coast Big Picture

Foster and Kinship Carer Week The achievements of Nambour foster carers Kristen and Ben Warner were recognised and celebrated at a special luncheon at Mooloolaba during Foster and Kinship Carer Week. The Warners won the 2012 Foster and Kinship Carer Excellence Award for the North Coast Region for making an extraordinary contribution to the children in their care.

visit the children and have even done some baby sitting.’ The theme for 2012 Foster and Kinship Carer Week, Celebrating carers, fostering futures, emphasised the vital role that foster and kinship carers, along with their communities, play to strengthen the lives of the children and young people.

Tireless child safety advocates, Bruce and Denise Morcombe from the Daniel Morcombe Foundation joined more than 40 carers and Department of Communities’ staff to present 10 nominee certificates and the overall winner’s award to the Warners. The annual awards are considered a great opportunity to personally thank carers for the extraordinary work they are doing with Queensland’s most vulnerable children. Kristen and Ben Warner took in four Indigenous children from one family and fostered them for two years. The children were returned to their family in January this year. Kristen Warner said the award was unexpected but was pleasing in that it recognised the couple’s hard work. ‘Fostering is challenging at times but you have good times as well,’ she said. ‘It’s good to see the kids happily back with their family. We have good relations with the family, we

Presenting Kristen and Ben Warner with their award was Bruce and Denise Morcombe from the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. Photo: Andrea Ferris. Main picture: Knitted toys donated to the foster carers by the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

Issue 4: July 2011 


Community Recovery on the North Coast The North Coast region had a number of storm and flooding events on the coast in late February that largely affected the communities of Cooroy, Pomona, Cooran and Tewantin. We undertook targeted outreach in those communities and then a week later had further heavy rain that took the operation north with a more significant impact in the Gympie disaster district. For those that don’t know, targeted outreach means visiting people at home who are affected by the disaster and is based on the data from State Emergency Service call outs, the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service inundation reports and those that call the 1800 assistance number.

Department of Communities officers go into the field and offer personal support, counselling, and referral to community service agencies for things like help with housing and give financial assistance for those in personal hardship. This particular Community Recovery operation, which involved a seven day a week service, was well supported by staff from all the service streams of the department and by our colleagues in Central region who share the border between the North Coast and South Burnett. People undertaking outreach need to have done community recovery training to enable them to give personal support, talk to people after a disaster and distribute funds. Less experienced people often accompany trained personnel to receive mentoring and ‘on-the-job’ training. Our 2012 efforts received good feedback from councils and disaster management groups. Community Recovery will wrap up as soon as the community’s needs are met. Everyone involved agreed that it’s been a good experience that went well to plan. It is a ‘tried and tested’ successful formula that has a plan, partner agencies and good data.

The event that started it all. Cooroy main street after a freak storm.

8  North Coast Big Picture


The Mary River in flood at Gympie. Karen G au Commu lt lent a hand m nity Rec anning th overy. e busy p hones d uring

Requests for help came from all over the North Coast region.

Nikki King cheerfully sorts through the hundreds of requests for help during Community Recovery

ham g and Gra Craig Kin


Issue 4: July 2011 


GLAM cupcakes made as part of a group exercise.

Girls go Glam

The Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Centre has launched the Girls Living Amazing Moments (GLAM) program.

‘The group developed quite a strong bond and were genuinely concerned about each other when someone couldn’t attend,’ she reported.

In 2010, Youth Justice Case Workers were surveyed to identify the needs of young women being case managed. GLAM was the result—a program built around young women’s issues with health, relationships, personal safety and emotional resilience.

‘Some of them also thought it was a good idea to meet outside the group, so they went out together and had “girly” chats.’

Five young women from throughout the North Coast region were part of the first GLAM event held over 10 weeks in Mooloolaba in late 2011.

Any truly successful program has a dedicated team behind it and the GLAM organisers are grateful for the strength, knowledge and skills of Fiona Maclean (yoga); Kate Ramm (nutrition); Karen Marsh (Centacare – healthy relationships); Michelle Chamberlan (Centacare – family stuff); Mark Tomasich (QPS – self defence); Kellie Cartwright and Rachel Camille (self esteem and body image); Samantha Spencer (Focus – substance use); and Ellie McAlister (Queensland Family Planning – sex stuff).

Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Youth Worker and GLAM program facilitator, Paula Bessems, said a variety of activities were used to motivate and educate the girls. ‘We used vision boards for the women to tell a story about themselves and had great sessions on self defence, yoga, and hair and beauty,’ she explained.

GLAM had great feedback being described as “good” and “amazing” and “the best girl group ever”.

‘In one really interactive session, a young woman who identified herself as a “bully” heard from another woman, who believed she was a “victim”, how bullying affected her life. Then the “victim” heard how to manage a bully from her peers. ‘I think the biggest achievement was seeing the growth in the young women’s confidence as they learnt really positive life skills that they will use for the rest of their lives,’ Bessems said. ‘A good example was one girl that really learned to change how she presented herself; did her own hair and makeup for a function and won an award for best presentation.’ Erin Dreger, Youth Worker and GLAM co-facilitator was impressed by the way the women interacted.

10  North Coast Big Picture

Youth Workers Paula Bessems and Erin Dreger with a sample of the vision boards the young GLAM women created as part of the program. Photo: supplied.

Some of the 300 wooden toys that have made many Coast families very happy.

300 toys later Hundreds of Sunshine Coast families’ lives have been made a little brighter thanks to a generous and innovative program run by the Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Centre. Each Christmas for the past four years the Centre has donated bright, cheerful, child-friendly wooden toys to the Salvation Army’s Wishing Tree at Maroochydore KMART—last Christmas the 300th toy found its way to the tree. What’s even more heart warming about this story is that the toy makers are errant young people that have been ordered to complete community service by a judge or magistrate. Each is involved in every stage of the production from cutting the wooden templates to assembly and painting. The variety of toys is only limited by imagination and there are a few toy boxes around the coast that are home to a wagon, a game of noughts and crosses, a fun puzzle, a train or a friendly hobby horse. Last year the surprise under the tree was a cart with blocks, and carry-alls with blocks and puzzles.

‘Recently we had Valerie Cash and Lieutenant Ashley Barkmeyer from the Salvation Army speak to a group of young people and our staff about how the simple gift of a wooden toy touched families. Valerie told us about a woman that cried because she was so grateful that someone would spend time making something for her family. ‘It was really worthwhile to have the feedback,’ Jenkins said. ‘But I always like to remind everyone this great achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of “volunteer extraordinaire”, Keith Lanham, Youth Justice Workers such as Tom de Goey, and of course the young toy makers themselves.’

Proudly displaying the wooden toys are from left to right: Youth Worker Tom De Goey, Salvation Army Val Cash, Salvation Army Lieutenant Ashley Barkmeyer, Manager Melody Arnold and Program Coordinator Toni Jenkins. Photo: supplied.

Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Centre Program Coordinator, Toni Jenkins, is understandably proud of this special program that has a double-whammy effect—helping both the young participants and the children who receive the toys. ‘There are practical skills to be learnt as well as great personal benefits from giving to others less fortunate,’ she explained.

Issue 4: July 2011 



questions in minutes

Tammy Myles Regional Director Community Services & Sport and Recreation What word would you use to describe your first day in the job?

If you were able to have an image on your computer screen, what would it be?

Energising. Because I like people: it’s a good team.

I have a number of computers at home and each has a different image. One has an orchid because I love and grow orchids. Another has a beautiful northern Cape sunset and another has water lilies on it. If I had another one it would be Lake Bled— my favourite holiday place in Slovenia. I was there in autumn and it’s a gorgeous lake surrounded by trees with gold and red leaves and there is an ancient island in the middle of it.

What is the one thing your mother taught you that helps you day-by-day? It never hurts to be kind to others. Is there something special you bought from home for your new office? My pictures. They have some good history. I bought them when I was the Regional Director in Mackay during the floods. On Sundays I would go to the markets and buy them and it wasn’t ‘til I got home that I realised every one was a drought picture. But they have some hilariously funny statements on them!

Do you have something special that you wear or take to an important meeting? I always have my gold fob chain on. I’ve had it for years. I wear red, it’s my favourite colour and I have a deep love of brooches. I try to find quirky unusual ones that have a story.

What personality trait do you have that you couldn’t do without to do this job?

If your career aspiration for the next 12 months was a car, what model would it be?

I can’t quite work out if it’s my sense of humour or nothing-phases-me. This job is about balancing and juggling an awful lot and having your head across many things.

A Toyota Sportivo—it’s classy, reliable, goes fast and has lots of energy.

In a difficult situation, who is your ‘phone a friend’ for the best advice? It depends. One would be a fellow Regional Director in another region, Nicola Jeffers as we began together in the department. And Cathy Taylor who is now an Executive Director and was a previous boss and a good sounding board.

12  North Coast Big Picture

If all you had to spend this week was $10, what would you buy? Chocolate! Given that you are a member of RELT at work, what would the acronym RELT stand for in your personal life? Reliable, Energetic, Loving and Talented.

Certificate IV in practical results! Both women said that the course gave them a logical sequence to follow and a uniform way to deliver training. ‘I feel fortunate to have been accepted to do the course,’ Smyth said. ‘I had the passion, but I needed the confidence and the structure.’ Because of the sheer volume of work the women had to get through, both were appreciative of the peer support. ‘I felt really supported because of how the course was delivered and how we supported each other,’ Skinner explained. ‘It became a realistic achievement for me because I was supported by my fellow Department of Communities learners.’ Sana Smyth and Jillian Skinner. Photo: Andrea Ferris

Department of Communities staff Jillian Skinner, Sana Smyth and Amanda Stapleton have achieved some impressive results in their workplaces since completing a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment through the Sunshine Coast TAFE. The course included six full day workshops at TAFE over three months and they had to commit to study and out of session work. Two workbooks had to be completed as part of the assessments.

Smyth felt it was really useful to have met other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the department also doing the course and agreed it was great to have the support of colleagues to do assignments. After waiting 13 years to do this particular course, Skinner said she would ‘encourage anyone to do it’. ‘The whole group deserves much praise for completing the course in such a short time,’ she said. ‘Hats off to us!’

Child Safety Support Officer, Sana Smyth, described the course as ‘full on’. ‘We had to do the course and juggle our usual workload. However, we were creative and implemented the final assignment into our workplace so we could tick two boxes at once. ‘My assignment, which I invented and implemented, was based around cultural heritage identification and confirmation for indigenous children in care.’ ATSIS Principal Project Officer, Jillian Skinner used her assignment to deliver a training session to service providers and described it as a ‘full on challenge’. ‘I engaged staff in a cultural capability checklist to find out the health of their engagement experience and then I sat with managers and identified where we could enhance the confidence of service providers to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with housing services.’

Certificate IV Training & Assessment Course Content

Design and develop learning programs

Use training packages/courses

Plan assessment activities

Assess competence

Participate in assessment

Provide work skills/instructions

Plan and organise group-based delivery

Plan and organise learning in workplace

Make a presentation

Issue 4: July 2011  13  

Traditional Indigenous Games Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services and Sport and Recreation Services teamed up with the Gympie community recently to deliver a Train-the-Trainer (Traditional Indigenous Games) workshop. Traditional Indigenous games can be played by children and adults and are a great way to bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal people; promote reconciliation; and encourage a healthy lifestyle. The purpose of the Gympie workshop was to train some local people so they can pass on the knowledge to others in the community rather than contracting accredited trainers from outside the region.

Traditional Indigenous games can be played by everyone. Photo: Tanya Easterby.

The workshop, which attracted 29 participants, was funded by the Learning Earning Active

Places (LEAP) program and included the purchase of an Indigenous Games Kit containing equipment to play up to 40 different games.


Strengthen the capabilities (health, wellbeing,

education and skills) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples—focusing on individual development.

Increase access to social, economic and cultural

opportunities and address the barriers to participation— improving access to services.

Promote healthy lifestyle choices that lead to

positive long-term change for families and communities— supporting prevention and early intervention approaches.

Strengthen relationships and connections between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider Queensland community—promoting social cohesion and reconciliation.

Support stronger cultural identities of Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander communities in cities, towns and regional centres—supporting cultural growth and awareness.

The Young Women’s Strategy call for mentors The Young Women’s Strategy is a local initiative to support young women between the ages of 13 and 15 at risk in our community. Its third program is about to commence in Nambour, but they have 15 young women referred to the program and only four mentors. Mentor applications close Thursday 5 April 2012. There is a Mentor Information session on Tuesday 10 April 2012 from 6–7 pm at The Shack, Price Street, Nambour. The Mentor training nights will be on Tuesday 17 and 24 April 2012 at SCYP/Life Bridge in Maroochydore. The first meeting by the mentors with the girls is on Wednesday 2 May 2012 at The Shack. The first official mentoring session commences on Wednesday 30 May, 5.30–6.30pm. Mentoring continues once a month, but mentors are welcome to also attend the optional monthly workshops. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor, please contact the Sunshine Coast Youth Partnership on 5479 0070 or Life Bridge on 5451 0555.

14  North Coast Big Picture

What’s an MEO? MEO stands for Ministerial Events and Opportunities. Each week, Regional Liaison Officers throughout the state receive an email from Communication Services with an MEO spreadsheet calendar attached to it. The idea is that each region adds to the spreadsheet any events or activities that may present an opportunity for a minister to be present—and therefore the media to also attend or report on the event. Through the MEO calendar, Communications Services are advised of when the event will take place; which minister it will involve; what sort of event it is and why it’s taking place; the service area to which it belongs; how much money it involves if the event is a handover of grant funding for example; where the event will take place; which electorate it will occur in; and the organiser’s contact details. The purpose of the MEO is three-fold: it prompts regional offices to think about upcoming events that could involve ministers; it provides Communication Services with a forward calendar to enable them to offer opportunities to ministerial staff and plan the branch’s forward workload; and it provides ministerial staff with future opportunities for the minister.

Tips for a good MEO? • Is it something new or innovative? •

Does it involve successful partnerships with other government departments/ agencies or the private sector?

Does it have a significant impact on the community or an individual?

Is there something quirky or unusual about it?

Is it a good resolution for a problem that has received media coverage in the past?

Does it align well with a national or state themed day or week?

Does it involve the handing over of funds?

Does it relate to an initiative to which a minister has made a public commitment?

The RLO liaises with each service area through the Regional Executive Leadership Team to update the spreadsheet and return it to Communication Services. When planning an event or an activity, consider whether it presents

Staff service covers legal and financial support PPC Worldwide is the department’s Employee Assistance Service.

What can I ask the EAS? Finance Assist Can I claim something in my tax return? Legal Assist My partner wants me to sign a prenuptual agreement. In the case of a separation, what am I entitled to? Mortgage Assist Can I change my mortgage provider because of lower interest rates?

In addition to individual counselling for staff and their immediate family members, there are a number of other services they provide to staff.

It is not intended as a full service that replaces the need for an in-depth professional analysis with a lawyer, accountant or mortgage advisor.

Assist Services – Legal Assist, Finance Assist and Mortgage Assist – is a dedicated online email service aimed at providing prompt professional advice to people who are in a quandary over legal, finance or mortgage issues that are either current or pending.

To access PPC online, logon to the website and enter your username (communitiesqld) and password (Queensland). To make an appointment with EAS, call 1800 604 640. 

Issue 4: July 2011  15  

Girls can do anything ... Kayak commute

Josie takes on the boys In the true spirit of an International Women’s Day message, Girls Can Do Anything, a story has emerged from the Service Access Team of Disability Services of a woman who could proudly wear that particular sticker across her forehead!

Crossing First Avenue usually raises a few eyebrows! Photo: Michele Ashton.

What do you do when parking is a pain? Kayak to work of course! Regional Liaison Officer, Andrea Ferris, talks about her unusual commute. I leave home at Bli Bli just after 6.00am and walk to the Maroochy River with the kayak on a purpose-built two wheeled trolley. I’m on the water in fifteen minutes and the trip to Maroochydore takes just on an hour of constant paddling. It’s really relaxing as there’s not much river traffic at that hour of the morning, the water is generally calm and there’s plenty of bird life to check out. I’ll admit to feeling pretty smug when I spot the traffic congestion on Bradman Avenue and I’m cruising along the river on my commute!

On New Year’s Day, Josie Pike, a fit-looking 32-year old dynamo, took on 13 blokes in one of Australia’s premier ocean endurance events—the Dial Before You Dig Surf Ski Marathon. Paddled alongside the George Bass Surf Boat Marathon—described as the longest, toughest surf boat race in the world—the course follows the coast of New South Wales for 190 km over seven days starting at Batemans Bay and finishing at Eden. Pike’s training for the event, which carries a warning online about its “considerable demands”, involved regular squad sessions with the Mooloolaba Surf Club, of which she is a member, and a paddle every second day of up to three hours. Pike knew she was in for a tough week having completed the George Bass event in 2009 with the Canberra Vikings women’s surf boat crew.

My craft is a sea kayak with storage compartments and water-tight hatch covers. I put my clothes, shoes, lunch and other day-to-day paraphernalia in ‘dry’ (waterproof) bags in one hatch and the trolley, which comes apart, into the other hatch. Even though there’s not a huge risk of tipping over in the river, you just never know what can happen and it would be a disaster to arrive at work with sopping wet clothes and a soggy sandwich! I land the boat at the sandy beach just near the Cornmeal Creek bridge; put the trolley together, slip it under the boat, tie it on and wheel it over the road, through the car park and under the building—simple as that! Thanks to the excellent end of trip facilities, I can have a nice, hot shower, slip into a frock and high heels, put my ‘face’ on and no-one would guess how I got to the office. As much as I’d like to paddle to work everyday, it’s supposed to be fun (as well as good exercise) so I avoid rainy days and try to pick the outgoing tide in the morning and incoming in the afternoon.

16  North Coast Big Picture

Josie Pike competes in the Dial Before You Dig Surf Ski Marathon. Photo: courtesy

Dragon Boat Queen The Queensland Dragon Boat Federation website describes dragon boaters as “innovators and organisers”, words that would describe Maroochydore Housing Service Centre Housing Officer Ange Brown to a tee. As she explains, the sport of dragon boating is very big in Asian countries and has been popular in Australia and New Zealand for more than 20 years. Ange Brown and Mandi Cook show off their dragon boating medals. Photo: Andrea Ferris.

‘The biggest chunk of members used to be in the 20–40 age group, but now there’s more people over 50 paddling and it’s difficult to get young people involved. ‘When I first got in a dragon boat 20 years ago I loved it. I loved the paddling, the feel of the water, the camaraderie, the parties—I loved it all.’

‘I knew what I was getting myself into on the ski in terms of distance and how the event works, but this time I’d be looking forwards instead of backwards!’, she laughed.

After moving to Australia from New Zealand in 2002, Brown paddled with a local Sunshine Coast club before joining the Brisbane River Dragons to take her paddling to a competitive level.

‘On a good day with the wind behind and a following swell I managed between 15 and 20 km/hr and paddled for around two hours. On a bad day into a headwind it took more than three hours,’ she explained.

In 2007, she made the Queensland squad and won gold representing Australia at the World Dragon Boat Championships in Sydney.

‘The weather was mild, although I did wear a thermal top, and the water temperature was a lot colder than the Sunshine Coast; starting at 19 degrees and finishing up at a pretty cool 14 degrees. ‘The wildlife was fantastic with penguins and seals swimming around us and even the odd scary shark!’ With the competition (and testosterone) levels running high, Pike didn’t have too much time to admire the wildlife or spectacular coastline. ‘I paddled pretty hard because I didn’t want to be the token ‘girl’ in the field. A couple of the guys got upset on the first day when I came in better than mid-field because they thought I’d be the girl at the tail end. But most thought my effort was great. ‘The day we had to go into the headwind proved that I had to rely on my technical surf skills rather than brute strength.’ Pike finished fifth overall in the all-male field of 14 competitors—a fantastic effort considering she only started paddling a surf ski 13 months before the marathon! ‘What I hated most about the event was finishing! It’s a perfect holiday for me because it’s over the Christmas break; I get to spend it with like-minded people; and in small quiet country towns. I’ll definitely be out there again in 2014.’

After a couple of years off, she went back to paddling in Brisbane, but had a burning ambition to start another club on the Sunshine Coast. The Brisbane River Dragons supported her dream; provided a dragon boat and a six-metre outrigger canoe and the Maroochy Sea Serpents was born. ‘We now have a core of about 30 people paddling with several members representing the club at state level,’ she said. Senior Housing Officers, Mandi Cook and Valmai Sinkinson are fellow dragon boaters and office bearers of the Maroochy Sea Serpents. Brown’s involvement with dragon boat paddling borders on obsessive! She is either paddling or organising a session six days a week and when she’s not paddling she’s trying to ‘fit in the rest of my life’. ‘You don’t need to be ultra fit to paddle a dragon boat,’ Brown says. ‘Anyone can do it. The youngest person we’ve had in the boat was10-years old and the oldest is 80! ‘The only thing you need to have is the ability to keep in time and you can learn that. You just have to want to do it. If you like to be around a lot of people and you’re social it’s a great sport.’ The Sea Serpents hold paddling sessions from their Fishermans Road clubhouse each Wednesday afternoon at 5.00 pm and Sunday mornings at 8.00 am. She’ll be representing Australia again this year at the International Club Championships in Hong Kong in July.

Issue 4: July 2011  17  

Kelly’s a finalist in staff excellence Congratulations to Kelly Swanwho was a finalist in the 2011 Staff Excellence Awards held recently in Brisbane. Kelly Swan has focused her Principal Child Safety Officer role on enhancing collaborative practice in the case management of children with disabilities, who require service delivery responses from Child Safety, Disability and Housing Services. She has demonstrated her ability to build long-term relationships that promote mutual understanding and partnership between service streams and a broader stakeholder group. Kelly’s professionalism and integrity has achieved innovative and seamless collaboration leading to some positive outcomes for children. Finalist in the 2011 Staff Excellence Awards was Kelly Swan. Photo: Lyn Corbett.

She has also driven value for money in the placement context. North Coast Region has the lowest rate of usage and associated costs for Transition Placements in a great part thanks to Kelly.

Mammas fulfils a dream Congratulations to Executive Assistant Mammas Ghavami who completed her last round of law exams, enabling her to practice in Australia. Prior to immigrating to Australia, Mammas completed a Law Degree and Masters in Law in the United Kingdom, specialising in International Human Rights Law, Law and Government and Civil Liberties. In Oz, she has completed seven units of a law degree and all the study components of the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, as required to practice in Australia. Mammas said, ‘It’s been a long journey to fulfilling a dream.’ Congratulations Mammas Ghavami who can now practice law in Australia. Photo: Di Britten

Share deadly stories The department’s deadly stories campaign celebrates the many achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Queensland – and it’s easy to get involved. The North Coast Region would like to encourage people to share their own deadly story, a story about someone they know or a story about a project happening in their community on its online deadly stories gallery. On the gallery, you’ll find stories about quiet achievers, budding entrepreneurs and international sports stars, people who are following their dreams, working hard and making a difference – whether it’s in their own local communities or on the national stage. Everyone is welcome. It’s all about sharing challenges and triumphs, and getting the good news out there about the great contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to our state everyday. To read and share deadly stories, go to

18  North Coast Big Picture

Update from the SWIM team The North Coast Regional SWIM Team (Safety Wellbeing Injury Management) are meeting with regional leadership teams to update staff on the latest harmonisation of the new Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations 2011. The new law states that a duty holder is required to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable. If it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, the duty holder is required to minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable. The SWIM team are developing documentation to help managers and staff meet the requirements of the new laws. The Regional Executive Leadership Team has endorsed the initial Regional SWIM program. The SWIM team provide legislative, policy, technical advice and support on SWIM policies, procedures and guidelines.

For more information about SWIM contact Mark Smallwood on 0447 729 171, Ngaire Graham on 0423 020 011 or Brendon Whyte on 0434 603 509.

ACP Online Training If you haven’t already done so, it is time to transition your Achievement and Capability Plan (ACP) into the new online format — ACP Online.

and see how they have been addressed, enabling succession planning and evaluation of training expenditure.

All permanent or temporary staff members engaged for six months or more should have an ACP in place.

To commence the process, log on to Learning Station and click on ‘my ACP dashboard’. The steps are listed in the flow chart provided on the infonet.

ACP Online supports ACP conversations between you and your supervisor. ACP Online replaces the paper-based system and provides you, your supervisor and the department with several new benefits including: • email reminders when plans are assigned, and when mid-point and final reviews fall due • enables accurate reporting of the status of ACP in a particular business area • facilitates the selection of development activities available through Learning Station • allows business areas to aggregate and prioritise development needs identified through ACP. As you complete your ACP cycle, you and your supervisor can track your development needs

If you need help, the following assistance is available: • electronic by way of e-learning courses for supervisors and team members and other online help • dedicated email boxes for Learning Station specific enquiries au and for ACP policy and procedure queries • regular infonet messages including tips and assistance available • ACP policy and procedure as well as other helpful tools and information. Issue 4: July 2011  19  

ART attendance and are now open to referrals from Child Safety Services and our youth at risk partners such as the Flexi-schools. Conducting ART training for our community partners will increase their understanding of the program and build departmental and community capacity to offer it to more young people more often—basically as an early intervention option.

ART training participants from left to right: Jan Heath, Case Worker, Maroochydore Youth justice Service Centre, Darren Hill, Youth Worker, Edmund Rice FlexiSchool Gympie and Sandy Peiper ,Acting Team Leader, Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Centre. Photo: Supplied.

Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Centre organised and hosted two Aggression Replacement Training (ART) workshops during February. ART is a successful core youth justice program that has been running for about three years. Maroochydore ART referrals were initially accepted from Conferencing

The courses were popular: 16 people attended the co-facilitator training—five North Coast Child Safety staff and 11 community agency people from Integrated Family and Youth Services, United Synergies, Noosa Edmund Rice Flexible Learning Centre, The Shack, and Training and Employment Support Services Inc. Seven people from the Maroochydore, Caboolture and Gladstone Youth Justice Service Centres attended the main facilitator training sessions. Practice Support Unit, Youth Justice and an ART Master Trainer Sue Eustace-Earle said she was amazed at the large number of community partners willing to undertake training to help provide offence-focussed programs to youth justice clients on the Sunshine Coast.

Another International Women’s Day pic!

Celebrating International Women’s Day was from left to right: Felicity Tilbrook, Karen Williams, Lyndal Harris, Colleen Sielaff, Kaye Storch, Nicki Trenham, Karen Stallan, Pam Norman and Janice Hemmings-Wilcox.

20  North Coast Big Picture

National Youth Week (NYW) is the largest celebration of young people in Australia. The Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Centre has planned an innovative activity for up to 30 ‘at risk’ young people from the Sunshine Coast and Gympie areas. Can’t Say It? Spray It. is a graffiti art project created on car parts with a theme based on mental health issues. NYW partner, Youthbeyondblue, funds activities during the week that promote education and awareness about mental health in the youth community. The North Coast’s budding artists (or those simply keen to try something different) will learn how to prepare the car parts, create the design and apply the art. But, while there’ll be lots of fun on offer, the activity also presents an opportunity for the participants to learn first-hand from a peer what it’s like to take the journey through a mental health experience; meet local mental health practitioners; and find out what support services are available where they live. Maroochydore Youth Justice Service Centre Program Coordinator, Toni Jenkins, said that feedback from the 2010 Youth Week event indicated young people enjoyed an interactive activity and actually absorbed information about mental health and support services. ‘Graffiti-based art really interests young people so they are happy to take part,’ she said. ‘However, they will also learn about workplace health and safety in relation to graffiti, legal and social ramifications of graffiti, art skills, career pathways, drawing and spray painting,’ she said. ‘They will also have the opportunity to practice a range of soft skills such as communication, leadership, negotiation, conflict resolution, and problem solving.’ Kingdom Graffiti will guide the artists through the project. This Sunshine Coast business has a mission to reach out to the struggling youth and young adult society across the world by recognising that every individual has talents and a purpose in life. This program would not be possible without the support of a range of mental health partners such as Child and Youth Forensic Service, Child and Youth Mental Health, Cultural Healing and Beautiful Minds. Referrals will be open to youth justice clients and opened up to Child Safety Service clients if vacancies remain. The finished creations will be placed on display at either a government office or donated to an appropriate community agency.

Issue 4: July 2011 


The amazing race The Caloundra community were understandably a little curious one Wednesday in January when 18 young people aged between eight and 16 ‘raced’ around town to decipher a set of clues in a bid to become team of the day. The ‘Amazing Race’, as it was dubbed, was just one event organised regularly by the staff at the Caloundra Child Safety Service Centre to find fun ways to connect with young people in care. Senior Practitioner with the Centre, Colin Smith, says developing fun days for the kids has become a tradition. ‘Events like this bring a fresh layer to relationships; are such a pleasure and fun for those involved; and invigorate staff—reminding us why we do what we do,’ he said. The Ongoing Intervention Team, that organised the Caloundra race, developed a set of clues and the participants had to overcome several obstacles and challenges to find the answers. Some of the challenges presented to unpick the clues around town included: climbing over an inflatable course at the aquatic centre; taking on the flying fox; and hanging upside down on play equipment. ‘Honours on the day went to the blue team,’ Smith said. ‘But the true prize for the young people was the pure fun of it all and the relationships forged.

22  North Coast Big Picture

‘Young people in care often miss out on a lot time with their family, so we revel in watching their happiness and enjoyment. This event was clearly sheer pleasure, despite the challenges and heat, for these children. ‘Some of the comments were priceless: “Such a good day”, “Just like Wipeout”, and “What, we have to wait another year?” were pretty typical. ‘Something that made my day was when the youngest, a little eight-year old who was initially afraid to go in the pool, called out from the water, “This is the best day of my life!” ‘As everyone, kids and staff, sat around the table at the end of the day there were no barriers. Three young people that had only met each other on the day discovered they would all start Grade 8 at Beerwah High in the coming weeks. Others had shone as leaders. But, everyone had found a voice and laughter rang out as we relived the day with photos and funny anecdotes. ‘It was an awesome job by a dedicated group of people: new and lasting connections were made and everyone was tired, but elated at days end.’ There’s little doubt that it will be a whole year before the next fun-filled event as ideas have already started to flow in from the young people and Centre staff have been set a challenge of their own—to top ‘amazing’.

Diary Dates 13 - 22 April Youth Week

18 April

FOGS Indigenous Employment and Careers Expo

27 April

International Guide Dog Day.


Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month

15 May

International Day of Families

18 May

Walk Safely to School Day

Flying high at Super Sports Sign Up Day.

26 May

National Sorry Day

27 May - 3 June

National Reconciliation Week

2 - 11 June

Queensland Week

Share your story in the Big Picture Email stories and images to The North Coast Big Picture is an internal publication produced

3 June

Mabo Day

6 June

for and in concert with staff working in the Department of Communities’ North Coast Region. Published by: Office of the Regional Executive Director, Level 4/12 First Avenue, Maroochydore Qld 4558

Queensland Day

2 - 9 July


Issue 4: July 2011  23  

North Coast Big Picture - Unpublished  

An example of an internal newsletter that I designed in InDesign. The newsletter was not published due to an imminent state government elect...