Evelyn Zaragoza

Evelyn Zaragoza

Sunday, 28 November 2021 22:13

Making Parramatta inclusive for all

Making Parramatta inclusive for all

City of Parramatta Council is leading the way with a new campaign celebrating people of all abilities.

To mark International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) on Friday 3 December, Council has organised a number of activities aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability.

“We have a responsibility to make services and facilities in Parramatta inclusive and accessible to all, and I’m proud to say we do a great job,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Steven Issa said.

“We are using International Day of People with Disability to draw attention to what Parramatta offers and how we can all do better to break down barriers and promote inclusion.

“As a Council, we encourage everyone - particularly service providers and the community - to keep the needs, interests and goals of those with disabilities at the centre of their support and participation. Every person is an individual, and there is no single experience of disability.”

As part of Council’s program of activities associated with IDPwD, Parramatta Libraries, Community Capacity Building, Riverside Theatre and Parramatta Artists' Studio are jointly running an art competition, ‘Everyone is Beautiful’, for people with disability. Entries close Saturday 27 November, with the selected winners’ artworks to be displayed at Riverside Theatres throughout December.

Parramatta Heritage Centre is staging Nature Walk and Wheel programs, a First Nations Cultural Walk and a First Nations Weaving Workshop from next Thursday 2 December to Saturday 4 December.

Parramatta Libraries will hold a month of inclusion activities, including an advice session on the National Disability Insurance Scheme on Monday 29 November at 10.30am.

Among Riverside Theatres’ offerings will be a panel discission on Friday 3 December entitled Stages of Change: Unpacking Representation, featuring speakers with different experiences of disability discussing the current Australian arts scene and how it could be developed for a more inclusive future.

Information on how to participate in any of these activities – which are all wheelchair accessible - can be found here.

In addition, Council this week approved works worth nearly $1 million over the next two years to improve accessibility at Council community halls across the local government area.

City of Parramatta Council is also currently seeking feedback on its Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), the primary tool for Council in identifying and delivering on practical measures to meet the diverse needs of people with disability and build strong and equitable communities.

Council wants to hear about people’s experiences, big ideas and what they see as opportunities for the City of Parramatta to create a more inclusive community. Submissions close at 5pm on Wednesday 8 December.

Adjusted opportunity knocks…why more Australians need to know about workplace adjustments


Australian employers are missing out on a significant opportunity to broaden their workforce and future-proof their workplaces, with new research[1] by JobAccess, the national hub for disability employment information, revealing that 70% of Australians have not heard of workplace adjustments, one of the most effective ways to enable people with disability to gain and retain employment.

“One workplace adjustment that has recently gotten a lot of attention is working from home,” Daniel Valiente-Riedl, General Manager of JobAccess, says. “However general awareness of workplace adjustments is very low, which is concerning considering the existing employment gap, where people with disability are twice as likely to be unemployed as the rest of the population.[2]”

Workplace adjustments are administrative, environmental or procedural changes made to enable people with disability to access employment opportunities and work efficiently and comfortably. “They are a powerful asset when building truly inclusive and accessible workplaces,” Valiente-Riedl adds.

While the awareness of workplace adjustments is low, the research reflects that the majority of Australians recognise that living with disability makes it harder to find a job, and 77% agree that young people with disability, including mental health conditions, deserve extra support in getting their first job. This suggests that the issue is a lack of knowledge and awareness.

Importantly, the survey found that awareness of workplace adjustments is not only low among the general population, but also among people with disability. “When a person with disability requires adjustments, they might not even know that they could ask for them or that support to arrange them is available,” Valiente-Riedl says. “That could mean they miss out on an opportunity and an employer misses out on a productive, skilled employee because of this lack of knowledge.”

This is further compounded by the finding that one in five respondents believed that it would be hard to implement workplace adjustments, and two in five estimate the cost as significant. Additionally, the majority of Australians think that employers carry the cost of making workplace adjustments alone.

“The assumption often is that workplace adjustments are difficult and expensive to implement,” Valiente-Riedl says. “But there is support through JobAccess and the Australian Government’s Employment Assistance Fund (EAF). Our internal research[3] shows that half of modifications cost less than $1,000, and that many adjustments can be made at no cost at all, like providing flexible work hours or locations.”

The EAF can provide funding to eligible people with disability for physical modifications to a workplace, assistive technologies, Auslan interpreting, awareness training, and specialist support services. JobAccess has managed over 57,000 applications for workplace modifications, support and training since 2006, with over 90% of employers saying that employees became more productive after the adjustments were implemented.3

“These changes can also benefit other workers. In fact, while 17% of Australians in our research identified as living with disability, twice that number believe they have benefited from a workplace adjustment,” Valiente-Riedl continues.

Despite these positive effects, Valiente-Riedl says there is still work to be done. “These survey results present us with an opportunity to educate employers and individuals, so workplace adjustments become business-as-usual. Less than half of managers know how to arrange workplace adjustments for their employees with disability, meaning that they are lacking a vital tool in their toolboxes.”

He concludes, “This knowledge gap is an issue for everyone, not just people with disability, because employers are missing out on a huge talent pool when they don’t provide accessible, inclusive workplaces. It’s well documented that employees with disability have lower rates of absenteeism and staff turnover and fewer workplace injuries than other workers[4]. Hiring a person with disability shouldn’t be seen as an issue to be overcome, but an opportunity to build stronger teams.”

For employers looking to increase their disability confidence, there is a wide range of support available. Visit the JobAccess website to view the Employer Toolkit or call 1800 464 800 to speak to a Professional Adviser. The National Disability Recruitment Coordinator (NDRC) is the Employer Engagement service of JobAccess. The NDRC partners with larger employers across Australia to improve their disability confidence through free, tailored 12-month partnerships

NSW GOVERNMENT TAKES PRECAUTIONARY STEPS IN RESPONSE TO OMICRON VARIANT

The NSW Government has taken precautionary steps in relation to quarantine arrangements for overseas arrivals following the introduction of additional national border security measures by the Australian Government.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the new measures would help keep people safe as we work through this latest development with COVID.

“Authorities around the world are still investigating the risk posed by this new variant,” Mr Perrottet said.
“As a result the NSW Government will continue to put community safety first by taking these precautionary but important steps until more information becomes available.”

The new measures, which will take effect at midnight tonight, are:

· In line with Commonwealth measures, all travellers arriving in NSW who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, Malawi, and the Seychelles during the 14 day period before their arrival in NSW must enter hotel quarantine for 14 days, irrespective of their vaccination status;
· All travellers who have been in any other overseas country during the 14 day period before their arrival in NSW must travel directly to their place of residence or accommodation and isolate for 72 hours, pending further health advice;
· All flight crew who have been overseas during the 14-day period before their arrival in NSW must travel directly to their place of residence or accommodation and isolate for 14 days or until their departure on another flight that leaves Australia, consistent with the current rules for unvaccinated flight crew;
· Anyone who has already arrived in NSW who has been in any of the nine African countries within the previous 14 days must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, and call NSW Health on 1800 943 553;
· All unvaccinated travellers from any overseas country will continue to enter hotel quarantine.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said no cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in NSW to date, but urged everyone to stay vigilant.

“I remind the community that vaccination, social distancing and hand hygiene remain our best defence against COVID,” Mr Hazzard said.
Public health advice on quarantine arrangements and isolation requirements will be provided as soon as new information emerges on the risk posed by the new variant and the extent of its international transmission.
People can get the latest information by visiting nsw.gov.au.

Sunday, 28 November 2021 22:05

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The 2022 NSW Australians of the Year have been announced at a ceremony at Luna Park, Sydney this evening.

Premier Dominic Perrottet congratulated Professor Veena Sahajwalla, the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year, and NSW’s three other inspirational recipients in the categories of NSW Senior Australian, Young Australian and Local Hero.

“Each of the NSW recipients have been nominated due to their impact and making real life differences to the community in a range of fields. From instrumental roles in science and engineering, establishing not-for-profit welfare services for people in need, healthcare for the vulnerable and creating lifesaving campaigns and charities - they have all demonstrated an outstanding spirit of service to our nation.” said Mr Perrottet

“The Australian of the Year Awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of remarkable Australians – people making immense contributions to our society."

“The NSW recipients embody the Australian spirit and despite life’s challenges, they have led the way in founding social, environmental and life-saving initiatives. All are selfless in their dedication, and their individual stories remind us all that we have the power to help others, to bring about real change and to improve the lives of many in the community.”

The NSW Australian of the Year, Professor Veena Sahajwalla is the founding director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the University of New South Wales and is renowned for pioneering the high-temperature transformation of waste – turning it into a new generation of green materials and products. Veena is most well known for her invention of Polymer Injection Technology, or ‘Green Steel’.

President of the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association (IWWA), 72 year old Abla Kadous is the NSW Senior Australian of the Year. Abla helped establish the country’s first welfare service for muslim women after moving to Australia from Egypt. IWWA offers anti-discrimination forums, school-readiness programs, youth camps, cooking classes and also provides food and other essentials to people in need. Her generosity has seen her volunteering for more than 35 years while also raising her five children and overcoming many obstacles when creating IWWA.

Founder of Street Side Medics, Dr Daniel Nour is the NSW Young Australian of the Year. Dr Nour identified a gap in healthcare for vunlnerable people in NSW and as a result of his leadership, this not-for-profit GP-led mobile medical service for people experiencing homelessness has changed the lives of more than 300 patients. Its clinics treat many communicable and non-communicable illnesses and detect conditions that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Shanna Whan, who is the founder and CEO of Sober in the Country, is the NSW Local Hero. After almost losing her own life to alcohol addiction, Shanna established a one-woman grassroots campaign creating radical social impact and change around how people discuss and use alcohol in rural Australia. Shanna has dedicated her life since 2015 to saving lives across the country, first as a volunteer to help others locally, and now as the founder of the national charity Sober in the Country.

NSW’s four recipients will join those from other states and territories for the national awards ceremony in Canberra on 25 January 2022.

The 68th Sydney Film Festival tonight awarded There Is No Evil, by Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof, the prestigious Sydney Film Prize. The work was selected from 12 Official Competition films by a prestigious jury headed by David Michôd, who also awarded a Special Mention to Limbo directed by Ben Sharrock.

The $60,000 cash prize for 'audacious, cutting-edge and courageous' film was awarded to Rasoulof at the Festival’s Closing Night Gala awards ceremony at the State Theatre, ahead of the Australian Premiere screening of Wes Anderson’s comedy-drama The French Dispatch.

Accepting the award virtually from Tehran, Mohammad Rasoulof said, “I want to thank the jury. I am really happy there is something more than a simple appreciation in this prize. Being heard and understood is what keeps hope alive. Thank you Sydney Film Festival.”

Filmmaker Matthew Walker was awarded the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary’s $10,000 cash prize for I’m Wanita, a no-holds-barred introduction to Tamworth’s renegade ‘Queen of Honky Tonk’ which follows her journey to Nashville to record an album. With a Highly Recommended going to Television Event from Jeff Daniels.

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films saw the $7,000 cash prize for the Dendy Live Action Short Award presented to Peeps directed by Sophie Somerville. The $7,000 Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director, going to Taylor Ferguson for tough. The $5,000 Yoram Gross Animation Award went to Olivia Martin-McGuire’s Freedom Swimmer.

The $10,000 Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award, bestowed by Create NSW to a trail-blazing NSW-based screen practitioner, went to AACTA Award winning producer and director Karina Holden.

Filmmaker Darlene Johnson was awarded the 2021 Deutsche Bank Fellowship for First Nations Film Creatives. The Fellowship provides a $20,000 grant to an Australian First Nations film creative to further develop their skills through international placement or other professional development.

The first ever recipient of the $10,000 Sustainable Future Award, made possible by a syndicate of passionate climate activists led by Award sponsor, Amanda Maple-Brown, was Australian documentary Burning directed by Eva Orner.

Audiences are able to stream SFF award winners including Sydney Film Prize winner There Is No Evil, I’m Wanita, Peeps, tough and Freedom Swimmer nationally until November 21 as part of SFF On Demand.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said, “Congratulations to all the award winners. The Sydney Film Festival is one of the leading international Film Festivals and each award is significant.”

“The NSW Government is a proud supporter of the Festival investing $5 million over four years to 2024. Over the last 12 days we have also supported 16 titles screening, from Opening Night’s Here Out West, Leah Purcell’s The Drover’s Wife Legend of Molly Johnston, through to the Screenability short films.”

“As NSW roars back into action, Sydney Film Festival will deliver the best of its program to regional centres via the Travelling Film Festival. 13 NSW locations, including Ulladulla, Wagga Wagga and Tamworth will enjoy Festival highlights as part of the tour through to March 2022,” he said.

Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore said: “What a welcome, breath-of-fresh-air the Sydney Film Festival has been this year, with a really terrific selection of international and Australian productions drawing crowds back into our theatres and the city as we re-open post-lockdown.”

“There has truly been a film for everyone this year, from the opening night offering Here Out West - a wonderful celebration of Australia’s rich multicultural heartland from young local filmmakers - to the highly anticipated closing film The French Dispatch by extraordinary auteur Wes Anderson.”

“A hearty congratulations to all this year’s winners, and to the festival for breathing life back into the city.” she said.

Sydney Film Festival CEO Leigh Small said, “After segueing to a June 2020 67th Virtual Edition and delaying the festival twice this year, SFF finally made it into cinemas two weeks after the lifting of COVID restrictions. With COVID capacity restrictions and a smaller program, we were thrilled to see cinemas over 55% full and 52 sessions sold out.”

Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley said, “This year, despite delays and challenges, the Festival presented one of its most impressive programs on record and became the first major Festival to return to cinemas in Sydney. Our juries have been blown away by cutting-edge works from visionary Australian filmmakers and international auteurs like 2021 Sydney Film Prize winner Mohammad Rasoulof who delivered a rousing virtual acceptance speech tonight.”

“It was incredibly rewarding to witness elated audiences entering theatres, engaging in inspired post-screening discussions and completely immersed in powerful stories from acclaimed and emerging filmmakers from across the globe. This infectious enthusiasm extended to filmmakers and actors, including director Granaz Moussavi who got the chance to see her Oscar submitted film When Pomegranates Howl on the big screen for the first time and the many international filmmakers who provided captivating virtual pre-screening introductions,” he said.

THE SYDNEY FILM PRIZE

On awarding the Sydney Film Prize to Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof’s There Is No Evil, Jury President David Michôd said:

“Picking a winner from a collection of films as diverse as this one is never easy, but pick one we did for its moving, multi-angled exploration of a singular theme, about the ways in which an entire culture can carry the burden of institutional cruelty. It's a movie adventurous with form and genre, beautifully performed and realised with a deft touch for simple, elegant filmmaking craft. We award the 2021 Sydney Film Prize to Mohammad Rasoulof for There is No Evil.”

Banned from making films in Iran, Mohammad Rasoulof won the 2020 Berlinale Golden Bear for There Is No Evil, a powerful take on the death penalty and its impact on Iranian society.

The Festival jury was comprised of Australian writer and director David Michôd (Jury President); Australian actor Simon Baker (High Ground, SFF Summer Season 2021); NITV Head of Commissioning & Programming Kyas Hepworth; director and producer Maya Newell (Gayby Baby, SFF 2015); and Australian filmmaker Clara Law (Drifting Petals, SFF 2021).

Previous winners are: Parasite (2019), The Heiresses (2018), On Body and Soul (2017), Aquarius (2016), Arabian Nights (2015); Two Days, One Night (2014); Only God Forgives (2013); Alps (2012); A Separation (2011); Heartbeats (2010); Bronson (2009); and Hunger (2008).

The competition is endorsed by FIAPF, the regulating body for international film festivals, and is judged by a jury of five international and Australian filmmakers and industry professionals.

The selection of films in Competition for the 2021 Sydney Film Prize are listed HERE.

THE DOCUMENTARY AUSTRALIA FOUNDATION AWARD FOR AUSTRALIAN DOCUMENTARY

The Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary was awarded to I’m Wanita directed by Matthew Walker. The Jury comprising Michael Cordell, Cornel Ozies (Our Law, SFF 2021) and Catherine Scott in a joint statement said:

“As a compelling portrayal of a complex character I’m Wanita illustrates observational documentary at its finest. Made with great empathy, respect and intimacy it takes the audience inside Wanita’s world and her last-ditch effort to follow her dream to become the Queen of Honky Tonk on the world stage. At times she teeters on the edge and must overcome challenges, many of her own making, but this big-hearted film doesn’t shy away from difficult issues. The triumphant ending challenges expectations and stereotypes that an audience might bring to this story.”

“We also highly recommended Television Event, a documentary that revisits a dramatic story at the height of the nuclear arms race and shows that films really can change the world. It's an object lesson in the vision, tenacity and risk-taking often required by great storytellers tackling confronting stories. An inspiring untold history that couldn’t be more relevant for today,” they said.

2021 marks the twelfth year of the competition and the eighth year the prize has been supported by the Foundation. The winning film is Academy Award-eligible.

Previous winners are: Descent (2020), She Who Must Be Loved (2019), Ghosthunter (2018), The Pink House (2017), In the Shadow of the Hill (2016); Only the Dead (2015); 35 Letters (2014); Buckskin (2013); Killing Anna (2012); Life in Movement (2011); and The Snowman (2010). In 2009 the inaugural prize was shared between Contact and A Good Man, and each film received a $10,000 cash prize.

The 12 finalists for the 2021 Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary are listed HERE.

THE DENDY AWARDS FOR AUSTRALIAN SHORT FILMS

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films were awarded to Sophie Somerville for Peeps (Dendy Live Action Short Award), Taylor Ferguson for tough (Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director), and Olivia Martin-McGuire for Freedom Swimmer (Yoram Gross Animation Award).

The Jury comprising producer Emile Sherman, producer-director Sheila Jayadev and 2020 Dendy Award winner Alex Wu in a joint statement said:

“In a year which showcased an extraordinary breath of visions, cultures, tones and genres, we were unanimous in choosing three highly original and beautifully realised films.”

“Peeps, our winner of the Dendy Live Action Award, is a soaring, operatic and highly original opus about a group of teenage girls flittering around a suburban mall.”

“Freedom Swimmer, our Yoram Gross Animation Award winner, is a meticulous, powerful and poetic ode to the yearning for political freedom and the necessity of story to preserve the legacy of the past.”

“And tough, winner of the Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director, draws us in with subtlety, surprise and heart to the life of a young rural tween. All the films showcase the great talent of Australian storytelling and the visual power of cinema,” they said.

The Festival’s short-film competition celebrates its 52nd year in 2021; and has been sponsored by Dendy Cinemas since 1989. Winners of the Dendy Live Action Short Film award and the Yoram Gross Animation award, sponsored by Yoram Gross Films, are Academy Award-eligible, opening new pathways for many Australian filmmakers.

These ground-breaking awards have kick-started the careers of many prominent filmmakers, with past competitors Warwick Thornton, Ariel Kleiman, Cate Shortland, Jane Campion, Phillip Noyce and Ivan Sen among Dendy Awards alumni.

The 10 finalists for the 2021 Dendy Award for Australian Short Film are listed HERE.

DEUTSCHE BANK FELLOWSHIP FOR FIRST NATIONS FILM CREATIVES

Established in 2021, the first Deutsche Bank Fellowship recipient is Darlene Johnson. The Fellowship is an important investment in developing and nurturing the talents of local creatives and enhancing global awareness of Australia’s vibrant First Nations filmmaking talent.

The UNESCO Sydney City Of Film Award

The $10,000 Sydney-UNESCO City of Film Award, bestowed by Create NSW to a trail-blazing NSW-based screen practitioner, went to AACTA Award winning producer and director Karina Holden.

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE AWARD

The inaugural Sustainable Future Award was presented to the Australian Documentary Burning, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Eva Orner.

Burning takes an unflinching look at Australia’s catastrophic ‘Black Summer’ bushfires – as well as our nation’s woeful record on climate change action.

SFF’s prestigious jury of filmmakers and climate advocates comprised: school student and Strike4Climate activist Natasha Abhayawickrama; documentary filmmaker Bettina Dalton; Deputy-Vice Chancellor Research Office and Climate Council Member Professor Leslie Hughes; actress and philanthropist Amanda Maple-Brown, and documentary filmmaker Tom Zubrycki.

The full Sydney Film Festival 2021 program can be found online at sff.org.au.

SFF On Demand’s online program runs 12-21 November. Tickets to Sydney Film Festival 2021 are on sale now. Please call 1300 733 733 or visit sff.org.au for more information.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Amber Forrest-Bisley, Publicity Manager
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. P: 02 8065 7363 M: 0405 363 817
Alex Clampett, Communications Advisor
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. M: 0411 046 734

***Sydney Film Festival Press Pack and Images Available HERE and live Festival photography HERE

EDITOR’S NOTES

ABOUT SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL

From Wednesday 3 November to Sunday 14 November 2021, the 68th Sydney Film Festival offers Sydneysiders another exciting season of cinema amidst a whirlwind of premieres, in-depth discussions with film guests, and now a virtual offering with SFF On Demand streaming nationally from 12-21 November.

Sydney Film Festival is a major event on the New South Wales cultural calendar and is one of the world’s longest-running film festivals. For more information, visit sff.org.au.

The 68th Sydney Film Festival is supported by the NSW Government through Screen NSW, the Federal Government through Screen Australia and the City of Sydney.

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