Community Business

Coles sports grants help Little Athletics clubs stay on track

COLES Little Athletics Community Fund is helping Little Athletics centres to stay on track with more than $250,000 in sports equipment grants to be distributed to 73 local centres across Australia for this summer’s season.

The latest round of grants takes Coles’ donation to grassroots Little Athletics centres to more than $2.2 million in four years. The funds help centres to buy new sports and safety equipment such as javelins, discuses, hurdles and defibrillators to support aspiring athletes and community volunteers.

This year’s grants have been made possible with money raised by Coles, its banana growers and customers during the inaugural Coles Little Athletics Banana A-Peel held earlier this year, when 10 cents of every kilogram of Cavendish bananas sold in Coles supermarkets was donated to the cause.

Coles Little Athletics Australia CEO Myles Foreman said the grants should “help centres immensely, particularly those severely impacted by the NSW and Queensland floods in February”.

“The past two seasons have been extremely testing for our clubs and centres who have battled numerous challenges such as COVID-19, floods and bushfires,” Mr Foreman said. 

“These natural disasters and the pandemic have not only impacted on Little Athletics centres’ ability to fundraise at a local level but it’s also had a huge impact on the morale of the centres. The grants from this round of the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund will not only help centres buy new equipment but it will lift the spirits of their volunteers, athletes and families for the new season.”

Coles general manager for corporate and Indigenous affairs, Sally Fielke said Coles was “delighted to continue to support grassroots Little Athletics through initiatives like the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund and banana donations”.

“Coles has been a proud supporter of Little Athletics for over five years, and we’re delighted to provide more than $250,000 in sports equipment grants to help local centres kickstart their new season,” Ms Fielke said.

“We’re very aware of the challenges local Little Athletics centres have faced over the past two years and we’re proud to do our bit to help them to recover and grow so that kids and families can continue to enjoy Little Athletics each week.”

Among the centres to receive a grant is Maryborough Amateur Athletics Club in Queensland whose clubrooms were under water seven months ago.

Club president Gavin Grantz said the grant would help the centre to rebuild and recover from the devastating floods.

“The floods last season destroyed some of our equipment and it also damaged our buildings, grounds and canteen equipment, which means that our ability to fundraise this season will be severely impacted,” Mr Grantz said.

 “The grant from Coles will allow volunteers to concentrate on training the athletes rather than constant fundraising as the club is still needing to pay for other repairs to the grounds.  It will help us to buy a new trolley for our volunteers to move equipment safely and efficiently and the new hurdles and javelins will provide a more enjoyable experience for our athletes.”

In addition to providing more than $2.2 million in equipment grants, Coles has donated more than 3.7 million bananas to Little Athletics centres since 2017.


Registered charities see benefits of Qld reform cutting red tape

RED TAPE cuts for all Australian charities that conduct fundraising are now in place, with the latest reform now taking effect in Queensland.

Charities that conduct fundraising in Queensland, which are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), are now only required to report information about their fundraising activities to the ACNC in their Annual Information Statement.

The ACNC will share that information with Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading, eliminating the need for charities to report to two government bodies.

In addition, Queensland incorporated associations that are also registered charities can now report once to the ACNC and this will satisfy their reporting obligations to the Queensland regulator.

Acting ACNC Commissioner Deborah Jenkins said it was a big step to reduce the burden on charities. 

“We know charities want to focus on their main goals — to help people, animals, the environment and a range of causes. Many rely on fundraising to achieve their goals, so this reform matters to charities a great deal,” Ms Jenkins said.

“Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading has worked with us to streamline the processes around reporting and fundraising, and we are grateful for the collaboration to achieve this mutually beneficial outcome.”

Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Fair Trading, Shannon Fentiman said the reduction in duplicated reporting would save more than 5,000 Queensland organisations precious time and money.

“Incorporated associations, charities, and community purpose organisations are a vital part of Queensland communities and our economy, and I’m pleased that so many will benefit from this reduction in regulatory obligations so they can focus on their core purpose of helping others,” Ms Fentiman said.

Ms Jenkins said the ACNC was proud to have reached agreements with all state and territory jurisdictions over the past few years to achieve significant red tape cuts, and the ACNC looked forward to working with them to make further progress.

“Red tape reduction is a priority for us,” Ms Jenkins said. “One of the ACNC’s objects is to promote the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations. There remains much to do, however, we are celebrating this significant step.”

All Australian charities can now submit their 2022 Annual Information Statement to the ACNC. This applies to the majority of charities that report to the ACNC on a financial year basis.

See more about the ACNC’s red tape reduction here.


Just Jeans, Lorna Jane, Myer on Oxfam's critical Naughty list

OXFAM WANTS MAJOR FASHION retailers and brands in Australia – such as Just Jeans, Lorna Jane, Myer and Peter Alexander – to be open about how and where they manufacture their clothes, to help lift the women who make them out of poverty.

Oxfam made the call ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas sales period, with the international development and human rights organisation released its updated Naughty or Nice list. The list is a crucial one for responsible fashion brands and retailers to be on the right side of in making commitments around living wages and avoiding being 'called out' to do better. 

Oxfam Australia chief executive Lyn Morgain said it was particularly unfortunate that some brands had failed to make commitments to ensure the payment of a living wage during the pandemic, "a time when the industry has grown yet many garment workers have lost their jobs". 

A living wage means enough money is earned to cover basic essentials for a family including food, housing, healthcare, clothing, transport, education and some money for unexpected events.  

“Sunlight is the best disinfectant, which is why transparency around issues of power, whether business or politics, is so important,” Ms Morgain said. 

“Three major clothing companies in Australia – Lorna Jane, Myer and The Just Group – have failed to take the basic step of publishing key information about where they manufacture their clothes. 

“It’s particularly disappointing to see brands that promote the wellbeing of women, such as Lorna Jane, failing to be transparent about the factories in which their clothes are made. This supports a culture of secrecy that is harmful to the wellbeing of all women, including those who make our clothes, and entrenches the massive power disparity between brands and garment workers.” 

While those three companies have found themselves on the Naughty list, others have taken positive steps towards backing up their commitment to a living wage. Those on the Nice list this year are Best & Less, Big W, Bonds, City Chic, Cotton On, Country Road, Dangerfield, David Jones, Forever New, Gorman, H&M, Kmart, Mosaic brands including Rivers and Katies, and Target. 

Oxfam’s recent report, Shopping for a Bargain, revealed that poor business practices – including aggressive price negotiation, inaccurate forecasting of orders, short lead times and last-minute changes to order – are having a profound impact on the lives of workers. 

“To help combat this, last year we asked brands to commit to separating out labour costs to ensure there was clarity between factories and brands about the expectations of payment to garment workers. It’s been so heartening to see so many brands step up to the plate,” Ms Morgain said. 

Meanwhile, other brands – such as Jeans West and Zara – have made some progress, but still have work to do to catch up to the Nice brands on their living wage journey. 

“What is at the heart of this issue is the garment workers – mainly women in low-income countries – who make our clothes. These women aren’t paid enough to build a better future for their children, because their low wages keep them in poverty. 

“It’s time for Australian brands to acknowledge and use the power they have to ensure these women are empowered to lift themselves out of poverty through the payment of a living wage.  

“This Christmas, we want shoppers to demand better from the brands they love so that our celebrations don’t come at the expense of the women who make our clothes and their families.” 

Oxfam's 2021 Naughty or Nice list is here



New CBA-Lifeline partnership to help meet record mental health demand

A NEW $500,000 donation from Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is helping Lifeline meet record demand and support thousands of Australians in crisis, Lifeline Australia chairman John Brogden and Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn said in a joint statement.. 

“Demand for Lifeline has smashed records this year and we’re on track to take more than 1.2 million calls by the end of the year," Lifeline's Mr Brogden said.

“Just two years ago we were averaging under 2,500 calls a day, today we are regularly seeing more than 3,500 – a 40 percent increase.

“The good news is that with the support of partners like Commonwealth Bank, we’re answering more calls than ever before. Australians are reaching out for help and they are getting it, supported by generous donations like this,” Mr Brogden said.  

Commonwealth Bank's Mr Comyn said, "As many Australians continue to face a variety of personal challenges during these difficult times, we know that this is not just a physical health pandemic. 

“The impact on people's  mental health has been significant and should not be underestimated. It’s important that we acknowledge the huge contribution organisations like Lifeline make in providing care and assistance to people and communities when they need it most.

"We hope this contribution will allow Lifeline to support even more people when they reach out for help,” Mr Comyn said. 

Mr Brogden said a donation like this was crucial, with unprecedented demand expected to continue into the future with the pandemic and lockdown restrictions leaving a long tail of trauma in the community. 

“We want everyone to know that Lifeline is always there for them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said.

“If you, or someone you know are feeling overwhelmed, we encourage you to connect with Lifeline in the way you feel most comfortable. Phone us to speak to a Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14.” 

Lifeline is Australia’s leading suicide prevention service, operating the 13 11 14 telephone line within 40 centres around the nation.




Canon Oceania Grants Program supports small businesses again

CANON Oceania has opened submissions for the second year to Australian small businesses for its 2021 Grants Program. 

Canon Oceania managing director Akira ‘Dave’ Yoshida said, in the spirit of Canon’s guiding philosophy of Kyosei – which means living and working together for the common good – over the last 15 years, Canon Oceania has supported more than 75 schools, not-for-profits and community groups with more than $420,000.

“Australian communities and organisations have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. As the JobKeeper program has drawn to a close, it’s important for us to get behind small businesses and support their shift from survival to recovery mode,” Mr Yoshida said. 

“Last year we extended our Grants Program to include small businesses for the first time and we were thrilled to see the positive impact this delivered. 

“Looking ahead, it’s imperative that small businesses not only adjust to the ‘new normal’ but are set up for success in the future. We’re committed to helping our local business community navigate a COVID-19 world.” 

That is why Canon is once again including a small business category in its Grants Program, he said.

Winners will also be selected from two additional categories: Community, which is open to organisations ranging from not-for-profits, to grassroots groups and environmental causes; and Education, which is open to schools and other educational centres for children and adults alike.

Winners will be selected based on the strength of their initiative and the impact it will have on their community or business. 

Each grant recipient will receive $5000 in cash and Canon products, ranging from cameras and printers, to projectors and other accessories. This year the value of the Grants will be equally divided between cash and equipment – $2500 each – reflecting organisations’ greater need for cash to help rebuild themselves in a weaker economy. The split prior to 2020 was $1000 in cash and $4000 in products. 

Mr Yoshida said, “At Canon, we believe the Kyosei philosophy is something we live and breathe every day, so we’re pleased to continue supporting small businesses as they take the important next steps towards recovery.” 

The winner of the 2020 Small Business Grant was Dogs for Kids with Disabilities, an organisation that raises and trains assistance and therapy dogs for children whose everyday activities are restricted by emotional, physical and intellectual challenges. They used their prizes from the grant to create videos that drive awareness of their work among the wider community. This awareness has been imperative in helping Dogs for Kids secure sponsors so that they have the means to continue their important work for children with disabilities.

“The Canon equipment has been wonderful in enabling us to create educational videos to promote the work of our amazing volunteers, staff, families and of course, our incredible dogs,” Dogs for Kids with Disabilities chair, Tracey Harris said.

“Educating the community and attracting new sponsors has been critical during the lockdown period,” she said. “At the same time, it’s been very rewarding to connect with our community through the love of assistance dogs.

“For any small business in need of support – big or small – I encourage you to apply for Canon Oceania Grants.” 

Telethon Speech and Hearing, an independent school offering therapy services for children with hearing loss and speech delays, was another worthy 2020 winner. Telethon’s grant was used to develop a ‘mobile pack’ to facilitate tele-therapy sessions. 

“During lockdown, the prize money and cameras from the Canon Grant allowed us to facilitate online delivery of high-quality learning to families in remote Western Australia,” Telethon Speech and Hearing CEO Mark Fitzpatrick said.  

“A highlight has been providing children in our Chatterbox Program (aged up to five years) and their families with access to specialised teachers, regardless of their location. Thanks to Canon, we’ve been able to conduct virtual intervention, ensuring that distance isn’t a barrier to quality support for children in the early years of development.” 

The winner of the 2020 Community Grant, Action for Dolphins, is working to stop cruelty and gain legal protection for dolphins. The organisation is using equipment supplied by the grant for everything from recording evidence of animals trapped in underwater nets to recording interviews with experts. 

“We were lucky enough to receive the Canon Grant which enabled us to create a video warning against illegal handfeeding of dolphins on North Stradbroke Island,” Action for Dolphins CEO Hannah Tait said.  

“The video was displayed on the ferry to the island, educating visitors as well as our local community about how to end activities that harm marine life.”

The 2021 grants will be awarded under the following categories: 

1 x Small Business Grant – $5000 
Open to any for-profit entity that employs fewer than 20 people and have less than A$10 million aggregated turnover (according to ABS and ATO guidelines). 

1 x Community Grant – $5000 
Open to a range of organisations keeping their community at the heart of what they do, ranging from not-for-profits, to grassroots groups and environmental causes. 

1 x Education Grant – $5000 
Open to schools and other educational centres for children and adults alike. 

1 x Runner-up Grant – $1000 
A runner up will be selected from any of the categories above. 

Submissions are now open until Friday July 30. The wider community will vote on finalists in August, and winners will be announced in September.



Axon helps secure 'financial future' of Defence community, reaching $100m milestone

ACKNOWLEDGING the immense challenges faced by Australia’s service men and women transitioning from military to civilian life, Axon Property Group (Axon) is creating a sense of community and purpose for the Defence Force community. Axon provides personnel with property coaching and mentoring to best utilise their unique housing entitlements.

Since the business was first established on the Gold Coast in 2017, Axon has enabled 191 Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, veterans, and their families to build and invest in more than $106 million worth of property. 

In 2018, ex-servicemen were 21 percent more likely to commit suicide than other men, and ex-servicewomen 127 percent more likely than other women, an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report found.

Axon co-founder and general manager, Tamara Turner said Axon was purpose-built to provide not only property coaching to current serving ADF members and the community, but a sense of connection and purpose to combat these disturbing figures.

“We set out to support our community by offering property guidance and to help them navigate their ADF property entitlements. As the business has evolved, we’ve realised this is only scratching the surface of how we can help,” Ms Turner said.

“We know our work not only provides mentoring and property coaching to current serving members and Veterans, but a community and culture that feels and sounds like home and lets them know they’re not alone as they go through the essential process of transitioning into civilian life.

“Many on our team are Veterans themselves, and so the world of Defence is built into our culture – the mindset, the terminology, and the unique experience of service life.”

Starting out as an idea on a Gumtree-bought whiteboard, Axon now has a team of 14 employees, including nine veterans, with a combined 117 years of service and more than 23 deployments. The experience of the team also includes 72 years in the property sector.

This business model of service for the Defence community extends to charity and community work through partnerships with iconic veterans’ charities.

“We give back by supporting many Defence charities (like Soldier On) through community involvement and financial support. To date we have donated over $38,000 to these charities” Ms Turner said.

“We also run weekly Live Q&A nights on Facebook for the community to respond first-hand to any questions that our community has around using their unique housing entitlements, the very casual and interactive nature of these sessions provide continued comradery and mateship among the Defence community.

“These events initially started as a way for serving ADF members and their families to access property guidance and coaching in a supportive setting. It has since become a weekly catch up for the community to share knowledge, support each other, and network.

“We do this because of our love of this community. Axon is a Veteran-owned and operated company and are passionate about supporting and empowering one another.

“Our service men and women are real Aussie heroes; and we hope to be their ‘soft landing from Defence’ as they make the undeniably challenging transition into civilian life,” Ms Turner said.


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