The latest gathering restrictions announced by the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, have even further slammed home one of the most universal difficulties in the fight against COVID-19: being unable to see or be close to family and friends.

“So many people have been turning to technology such as Houseparty, or Zoom, Skype and other video conferencing apps to stay connected and stay safe,” said Peter Apostolopoulos, director and co-founder of Australian virtual care technology experts, mCare Digital.

Mr Apostolopoulos is a public e-health and telecare expert with direct experience managing both the SARS and Avian influenza outbreaks in Hong Kong and Singapore in the early to mid 2000s.

“This technology is wonderful, but the fact is that many of the most vulnerable and at risk, who might need to be connected even more than others, are missing out. They are simply unable to use or access this kind of technology,”

That’s where more specialised virtual care and well-being related solutions can help. And, according to, Mr Apostolopoulos, demand for the most accessible and easy-to-use options is on the rise now.

“The Prime Minister has now even more strongly urged certain people to self isolate: those aged over 70, anybody aged over 60 with a chronic illness and Indigenous people over the age of 50. As absolutely necessary as these measures are, those people, their families and friends are now experiencing even more intense anxiety as they struggle to find ways not just to keep connected, but to stay safe while in self-isolation – and know they can get help at the touch of a button if they need it.”

mCare Digital specialises in keeping families connected with a range of remote based technological options developed with the elderly and other vulnerable people in mind. Its ConnectiveCARE™ software, mobile personal alarms and wearables are in popular use both by individuals throughout the community and in aged care and other facilities.

“The features that are really appealing to people at the moment are things like a single touch SOS button that calls pre-set numbers if there’s a problem, automatic fall detectors and advanced locator functions, so everyone can be sure they know where their loved ones are – and that strict social distancing and self-isolation requirements to safeguard their well-being are being met,” said Mr Apostolopoulos.

One of mCare Digital’s newest solutions, the mCareMate, is gaining particular attention. It’s a personal alarm developed after extensive consultation with individuals, families and organisations which support the elderly and people with disabilities.

“We found that sometimes, alarm devices are too complex. The so-called ‘best’ technology isn’t the best if it’s just left in the bedside drawer and never used,” said Mr Apostolopoulos.

“The mCareMate overcomes this. It’s multi-function but also very easy to use, waterproof so you can wear it in the shower, and can be clipped to a belt or worn around the neck. It has automatic back up with a total of six SOS numbers, and it will keep calling until one of them answers, plus GPS locator and other functions.”

Mr Apostolopoulos said another popular feature of the mCareMate was that it arrives pre-configured, so there’s no need to worry about complex set-up or technology know-how.

“We get the basic information from you when you buy, set it all up and send it to you. It’s an easy process and you’re fully supported by our all-Australian team if you have any issues or questions,” he said.

“It seems to us that when a lot of our society is already being left behind on technology that now more than ever before, we need to ramp up what we’re doing. Be smart, be inventive, use what’s out there and that will give us all the best chance to keep everyone safe and get through this,” he concluded.

The mCareMate is available online from $299 plus setup fee and the annual service plan. Find out more about mCareMate and other mCare Digital solutions to support safety, independence and peace of mind at www.mcarewatch.com.au

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For more information or an interview:
Media Contact: Paul Apostolis +61 423 387 201; [email protected]
www.mcarewatch.com.au
Case studies available

About mCareDigital

mCare Digital is a fully Australian-owned and run assistive technology provider. Its technology is developed to help those most vulnerable in our society continue being themselves and maintaining their dignity, independence and safety, with products and services for both consumers and enterprises.

Launched in 2012 with a range of solutions for aged care, mCare Digital has since expanded into the disability sector and into personal safety, for example for remote and lone workers and domestic violence support.

Its technology is designed to complement existing care and promote transparency, trust and collaboration to improve care plans. Its solutions are easy to use, reliable and cost effective.

mCare Digital managing director and co-founder, Peter Apostolopoulos, was an advisor to the Department of Health in Hong Kong and the Ministry of Health in Singapore in the early and mid 2000s. He helped oversee the development and implementation of the Public Health Information System / Crisis Management Systems to manage the communicable diseases during the SARs and Avian Flu outbreaks in those countries.

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More than 2,900 Australian funerals have already been affected by new Government regulations which limit attendance to 10 people, or just six mourners allowing for up to four funeral staff. Travel restrictions are also preventing family and friends from attending funerals to pay their respects.

Mourning the loss of a loved one is a vital part of the grieving process, and while its critical to adhere to the social distancing rules, we also need to farewell our loved ones in a meaningful way.

According to Funeral Director Craig Stevens, the Funeral industry has to reinvent itself and move away from focussing on traditional models if it is to meet the needs of grieving Australians during the Covid-19 crisis and into the future.

He says an emerging style of funeral known as direct cremation – offers a unique solution.
Direct cremation means the body is cremated privately, removing the urgency of the funeral ceremony but allowing the public celebration to be held in a time and a place the loved ones chose.

“Even before the Covid-19 crisis, more and more people were choosing Direct Cremation as a better way to celebrate the life of their loved ones. Rather than rush to a funeral in a traditional chapel, families were gathering for a memorial service in Parks, gardens or places with a special meaning for the deceased”, said Stevens.

“Now, with new social distancing rules and travel restrictions in place, it’s the only way families can mourn their loved ones with the love and respect they would normally have chosen”, he said.

Stevens, who’s company Timeless Funerals has handled 3 of NSW Covid-19 Funerals urges Australian’s to push back on funeral companies which only offer the traditional service.

“Don’t feel you need to rush into a funeral with only a handful of mourners. Take the time to plan the memorial you want to have for your loved ones, where everyone can join together to mourn the passing and celebrate a life”, he concluded.

ENDS

For more information contact Craig Stevens: 0424424606 or [email protected]

About Timeless Funerals
Timeless Funerals is a family run Funeral service that specializes in No Service Direct Cremations and Memorial services. Timeless Funerals services the Sydney Metropolitan area and the Central Coast. This business was created to fill a void in the industry with the aim of providing an affordable yet dignified service to families who are looking for a simple send off without all the fuss and cost of a full funeral. Further information at www.timelessfunerals.com.au

Key funeral facts
An average of 150,000 funerals a year in Australia
Average cost is $7,449
Cremations are favoured by 66% of Australians, with 59% of Australians prefer honouring their loved ones in a relaxed/reflective tone with only 1% desiring a solemn/serious tone. The remaining 40% desire a ceremony that is dignified (12%); jubilant/celebratory (14%) or fun/irreverent (13%). (Source: McCrindle Research Summary into deaths and funerals, a statistical snapshot)

MEDIA RELEASE for immediate release: Sunday, 29 March 2020

Mental health charity Mind Medicine Australia (MMA) calls for and strongly supports all recommendations to form a Mental Health Innovation Taskforce to be immediately established in order to guide the government in planning the next steps to manage the increasing mental health pandemic triggered by Covid-19 and the recent bushfires tragedy.

Medicine-Assisted Psychotherapies are highly innovative and should be made available in Australia to treat critical mental illnesses caused or exacerbated by the current Coronavirus crisis. Therefore, the Taskforce must include a senior psychiatrist familiar with both these treatments and the global developments taking place right now. MMA stands ready to help the federal government identify the most appropriate candidate to assist with the Taskforce.

The treatments involved in Medicine-Assisted Psychotherapies use psilocybin for depression and MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as part of psychotherapy in medically-controlled environments. Medicine-Assisted Psychotherapies have already been granted “breakthrough therapy designation” in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration to fast track the approval process. They are available to doctors and their patients on a limited basis through expanded access schemes in the United States, Switzerland, and Israel.

The focus of the Taskforce will need to be on innovation in treatments and pragmatic implementation to reach the millions who are suffering from a mental illness. Already, one in five Australian adults have a chronic mental health condition, and one in eight Australians (and one in four older adults) take antidepressants, and suicide rates are increasing.

Experts warn that a long-term mental health pandemic is looming in Australia that will potentially surpass the physical health impacts of the coronavirus. Frontline charities are suggesting that the effects of the current pandemic on mental illness could be “seven times” worse than the spike in mental illness caused by the recent bushfires.

MMA’s call to action follows the Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, representatives from the Mental Health Commission, and other relevant experts participating in emergency consultations last week.

The Hon. Andrew Robb AO, former Trade Investment Minister and a Director of MMA, argues that the development of a government strategy to tackle the burgeoning mental health crisis must include the introduction of innovative treatment options like Medicine-Assisted Psychotherapies. “Remission rates for people experiencing common mental illnesses using the standard treatments of antidepressants and psychotherapy are only about 35 per cent effective. But Medicine-Assisted Psychotherapies have been shown to have remission rates of 60-80% in recent overseas trials after just two to three treatments.”

According to the chairman of MMA, Peter Hunt AM, “A proactive approach to broadening the treatment options available for people who have a mental illness is desperately needed. With the likelihood of the coronavirus pandemic continuing for months to come, many more Australians will experience anxiety, trauma and depression and suicide rates could significantly increase in the absence of affirmative action.”

Tania de Jong AM, Executive Director of MMA, says, “The remission rates that could be achieved with Medicine-Assisted Psychotherapies will release vast financial resources to help governments around Australia develop and fund more proactive agendas to assist the nation’s recovery. The financial burden from mental illness, which represents an enormous amount of human suffering, can be expected to increase significantly in the future if governments don’t take decisive action to introduce new treatment options. Unlike conventional treatments which often require patients to endure years of daily medications and weekly support from a mental health professional, Medicine-Assisted Psychotherapy can be effective after just two to three dosed sessions, and the medicines are safe and non-addictive when properly used in a medically-controlled environment.”

For further information on Medicine-Assisted-Psychotherapies, please visit the MMA website: www.mindmedicineaustralia.org.

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The Hon. Andrew Robb AO, Peter Hunt AM, and Tania de Jong AM are available for interview.

For all media enquiries please contact:
Brad Grimshaw, Communications Consultant
E: [email protected] M: 0476 230 970

Hello,

In a time of uncertainty, when much of the nation find themselves working remotely and no longer commuting or spending leisure time outside the home, there comes a great opportunity to get back in touch with nature and spend more time in the garden.

At Hoselink, we’re trying to see the positive and want to encourage Australians to use their free time to build new connections with nature, and each other, in the backyard. We have put together some fun gardening activities for kids we hope you can make use of (see press release attached), and have a whole host of similar content we’d be happy to share with you free of charge. To access copy and imagery, please email PR & Content Manager Natalie Crofts on [email protected]

Whether you want to avoid the crowds and low-stocked shelves to grow your own food, or simply bond with the kids over a fun outdoor project, the garden presents a range of opportunities to be creative, practise mindfulness, or discover a passion you never knew you had. The benefits of gardening stretch far and wide, even proving to have a positive impact on mental health.

Now is the time to rally together and get out in the garden to grow some good!

Please download the attached PDF here:

“Spending quarantine time in the kitchen”.
During this time of social distancing, finding ways to connect with people is more important than ever.
Join Kara Mallia, a private chef based in Elwood who is offering daily live cooking demonstrations via her instagram page, and connecting people from all around the globe.
After living in Italy for eight years and having worked as the personal chef for the Ambassador of Australia in Rome, for Benetti yachts and the private chef for the villa of Giorgio Armani, she prides herself on honest and simple cooking. “Now more than ever is the time to really simplify and make use with what we have” chef Kara said “To utilize what we have in the pantry and make substitutes where need be”. During this time of limited access to our daily rituals like going out for brunch, it is invaluable to be able cook for ourselves and our families.
The daily live sessions are raw and authentic and engage people from around the world through the language of food. The idea started when the chef instinctively made pasta and thought “What is everyone actually doing with all of that flour”? Does anybody actually know what to do with these ingredients?
Having an autoimmune disease and chronic illness the chef understands the importance of staying at the home during this period, and opens her kitchen and heart to the world everyday as she challenges herself to cook “what’s in the pantry”! She makes cooking look effortless as she prepares nutritious meals in under twenty minutes.
Join her in the kitchen and remain connected with people through cooking and talking about food together.
Instragram Kara.privatechef

SPINIFEX BREWING CO AND LIMESTONE COAST BREWING COVID-19 ANNOUNCEMENT

20th March 2020
Western Australia

As the COVID-19 virus continues to wreak havoc on the world and in response to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrisons request to ask companies to make a wartime shift to produce vital medical supplies due to increasing shortages and disruptions to existing supply chains, SPINIFEX Brewing Co and Limestone Coast Brewing announced jointly today that they are stepping up to the plate and are immediately moving to the production of High Alcohol Content Hand Sanitiser for supply to Western Australia.

Effective immediately this will see the production of World Health Organisation (WHO) Grade sanitiser using approximately 80% ethanol for maximum effect with production commencing today Friday 20th March 2020.

Limestone Coast Brewing is based in Malaga WA will produce commercial quantities of High Grade Hand Sanitiser and are looking to include the infusion of Lemon Myrtle which has additional proven health and Hygiene benefits with anti – viral and anti – fungal properties.

Limestone Coast/SPINIFEX will immediately commence discussions with the Western Australian state government and Shire of Broome to look to immediately fast track plans to create a manufacturing plant in the Kimberley town of Broome Western Australia.

Due to the exponential risk to the Indigenous population with relation to COVID-19 and underlying health issues of that population.

Suitable premises have already been offered by Broome local Troy Thomas owner of Kimberley Quest so we are calling on the WA Government to engage with us immediately to assist in getting this project underway.

The partnership which is already successfully in place for the production of the SPINIFEX Brewing Co range of beers, will be extended to the immediate and ongoing production of Hand Sanitiser with Limestone Coast responsible for production and SPINIFEX Brewing Co, under a new brand SPINIFEX PROTECT, taking responsibility for Sales and Distribution.

SPINIFEX Managing Director and proud Yamatji man, Michael Little stated that provision of hand sanitiser to Aboriginal communities as one line of defence against Corona infection is critical.

“I am immensely proud of my team in taking up the challenge and being able to bring SPINIFEX PROTECT to the Aboriginal and broader Western Australian community.”

Limestone Coast Managing Director/Spokesperson says “We are proud to be able to do our part in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The fact that we can apply our world leading locally developed technology to manufacture this product, providing local employment and further develop the process/ technology to be sustainably deployed in other regions of Australia such as Broome is personally satisfying, especially given how tough it is out there for our community right now.”

SPINIFEX Protect Spokesman and Director of Sales Adam Barnard says, we are pleased to be making this shift and playing our part as Australia faces one of its greatest challenges in modern history. It is clear beyond doubt that COVID-19 will now spread through community transition and as the entire world competes for medical supplies the need for Australian manufacturing has never been more important. Our priority for distribution will be in order of need with a particular focus on regional Western Australia including Indigenous communities and health centres first followed by those at most need and finally corporate sales to the Resource sector to ensure the engine room of our economy continues to operate.

We invite organisations interested in consideration for supply to register via email [email protected]

For media enquiries; Please contact Adam Barnard at [email protected] 0438 924 624

Sydney, NSW March 20, 2020—Today, the Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital, specially equipped with a respiratory care unit, opened in Cremona, Italy. The 68-bed unit was airlifted to Italy on March 17 using the relief organization’s DC-8 cargo plane to provide critical surge capacity to an overwhelmed hospital. The tent facility began receiving patients as soon as it opened so that staff could begin helping Italians with urgent medical needs.

Every day, hundreds of people are dying in Italy as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and the Cremona Hospital has been forced to suspend all medical care except for maternity and pediatrics due to the overwhelming number of people suffering from the virus. The hospital is out of beds and people are suffering. To date, no patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit have survived the virus.

“The situation in Italy is desperate. The hospitals are overrun and people are dying,” said Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham. “We are called to respond in hard places. That’s why our team of disaster response specialists are on the front lines—providing life-saving medical care and sharing God’s love to people who are hurting.”

The Emergency Field Hospital is adjacent to the local hospital. When Samaritan’s Purse arrived with more than 20 tons of critical medical supplies, the hospital’s staff were overwhelmed with gratitude. One staff member said, “You are bringing hope to the city—even if it is dangerous, even if it is a crisis moment. I think this is going to change my country.”

In addition to what has already been sent, the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 will airlift a second cargo load of medical supplies along with disaster responders to Italy on March 21.

Media Opportunities
• Interviews – Dan Stephens Samaritan’s Purse Australia and New Zealand Disaster Response Manager
• Broadcast-quality b-roll will be available upon request
• High-res photos of the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 being loaded are available here

Media Contact:
Nikita Kumar – [email protected]; 0434 319 722

As Samaritan’s Purse provides critical care in Italy, the disaster response team continues to monitor the developing situation and has the capacity to respond in other locations if needed. Our infectious disease experts have been working in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the team is taking necessary precautions.

Samaritan’s Purse Australia and New Zealand responds to physical and spiritual needs of individuals in crisis situations–especially in locations where few others are working. Led by President and CEO Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution. For more information, visit SamaritansPurse.org.au

MOVE OVER STAND-UP DESK
FIT-BALL INTEGRATED INTO AN ERGONOMIC OFFICE CHAIR TO KEEP YO ACTIVE AT YOUR DESK
Endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association
Australian Made & Owned

With COVID-19 health alert and with people forced to work remotely there is a great deal of emphasis in creating a healthy active work environment for their wellbeing. View: https://bit.ly/3ddnFYB

Annique Rochecouste has created a world’s first active ergonomic office chair designed to allow you to flip from a conventional seat to an active cushion boasting all the health benefits of a fit ball, to stimulate movement while sitting.

Sitting static is killing our bodies! With the average Australian spending almost 40 hours per week at work, 3.7M+ Australians experience back pain daily, costing $4.8B per year to fix it is fundamental that more focus is put on the sedentary behaviour in the workplace.

Sitting static at a desk all day leads to conditions related to metabolic syndrome, poor posture, spinal disc compression, decreased flexibility, reduced blood flow, stiff joints and tension, lack of energy and loss of productivity. By overwhelming support of clinical evidence, consistent movement is the key to combat a sedentary work.

The ErgoFlip forms part of an ‘active movement’ and is the missing link to complete a dynamic work-space environment.

The ErgoFlip innovative interchangeable cushion to allow the user the opportunity to vary their posture to move freely on the active cushion to prevent muscular tension in the body and relieve back pain.

The ErgoFlip promotes core and back strength, reduces spinal load, creates blood flow and increases energy expenditure. The ErgoFlip is unique as it is the first of its kind to offer active sitting with complete ergonomic features with high adjustability (seat height, backrest height, backrest lumbar support, seat surface,) to individualise the device to the user.

Leading Ergonomists and health professionals claim that “muscular activity” is the only way to negate this major problem and consequences of sedentary work and behaviour! Standing however is not the only solution as the latest research reveals standing is now resulting to inflammation in the ankles, fatigue, and discomfort. View: https://bit.ly/3bg0M4P

Over 4 years of development and research alongside Physiotherapists and Occupational Health Therapists, it’s the only chair exclusively endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA).

ERGOFLIP® TESTIMONIALS
A recent survey conducted across major Government Departments and private businesses together with health professionals asking what the individual likes the most about the ErgoFlip reveals extreme benefits to negate the consequences of sedentary work and behaviour. View: https://bit.ly/3bg0Ph1

Please note we have an ErgoFlip Active Stool version of the chair which integrates the invention where we have devised tutorial exercises which can also be performed on the chair. Ideal for home users. View: https://bit.ly/3a10a2Z

Some leading health professionals involved in making the ErgoFlip a reality:
– Dave Hall – Physiotherapist, Australian Physiotherapist Association – National President of Occupational Health
– Stephen Hehir – Australian Postal Corporation, Manager Safe Design- (also President, Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Australia)
– Kathryn Anderson – Physiotherapist Master Trainer APPI – Business owner at Viva Physiotherapy
– Todd Smith – Physiotherapist, Training Manager at Kieser
– Ryan Ebert – Physiotherapist, Operations Therapy Unit BUPA
– Aidan Rich – Physiotherapist, Clinical Manager at Life Care
– Dr. Nashwa Botros – Owner of Family Care Clinic

The ErgoFlip comes complete with certifications that comply with Australian standards
• Australia Physiotherapy Association Endorsed
• TGA Approved
• Australian Made and Owned
• Manufactured Nationally
• 10-year manufacturer’s warranty
• Patented and Design Registered

JOIN THE OZ SIT-ACTIVE MOVEMENT
www.ergoflip.com.au
Download Images Collection: https://bit.ly/2wbWE7n

As many Australians face very real challenges of self-isolation and social distancing in light of the ever-changing Covid-19 situation, it’s important to be aware of the many ways we can play our part to help boost the local economy.

Approximately 70% of all businesses in Australia are family owned and operated [1]. With over 50% of the Australian workforce employed by a family business, Family Business Australia (FBA) is encouraging consumers to think about Australian family businesses when shopping for goods and services.

Greg Griffith, CEO of Family Business Australia, says “Family businesses are the backbone of the economy and statistics show that 75% of consumers trust family businesses. Therefore it is important, now more than ever to tap into these trustworthy businesses. It’s time to come together to support Australian family-owned businesses and there are many ways buyers can do that”.

Australians are renowned for sticking together during hardship and difficult times. Below are ways which FBA believe you can help.

Search the ‘We are family owned’ directory

What do Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, Wittner, Coopers Brewery, Haigh’s Chocolate, Kennards Hire, A.H. Beard and La Porchetta all have in common? They are all family-owned Australian businesses.

There are over 1,000 family owned Australian businesses listed on the’ we are family owned’ directory. From building services, education and training, food and beverage, manufacturing, transport and viticulture to name just a few, there is a family business to suit your needs. Browse the extensive catalogue of brands here > https://www.wearefamilyowned.org.au/

Look for the Family Owned Australian Business Emblem

Buying from a family owned Australian business can make a significant difference not only for the business but for the entire Australian economy. Many of these businesses are pillars of their local community and employ over half of the Australian workforce. Plus, when you spend with an Australian family owned business, you are helping to keep people employed and the wealth in your country.

Look for the Family Owned Australian Business emblem on products, websites and signage and shop locally where possible.

Like, follow, share

The power of social media knows no bounds and there are many ways to support family businesses – digitally.

An online footprint as simple as a like, comment, follow or share may seem small, but it can increase promotion of a brand dramatically. Connecting with and endorsing brands online can increase its reach to other users on their news feeds and discover pages. This is free, user-driven marketing that can create new customers for these businesses.

Purchase a gift card to use later

Working from home, cancelled events and self-isolating measures indicate that consumers are rethinking their social activities, food sources and shopping habits. Buying a gift card to family owned shops, restaurants or stores is an immediate way to inject cash into the business. This will help keep these businesses afloat for a while to ensure they are still there to enjoy after this is over.

Self-isolated? It’s never been easier to shop online

It comes as no surprise that 80% of Australians shop for goods and services online. Regardless of whether you are self-isolating or unable to purchase what you want from your nearest store, it has never been easier to buy the goods and services you need through various online platforms.

These are just some of the ways you can support the family businesses who truly are the backbone of the Australian economy.

What is Family Business Australia?

Family Business Australia (FBA) is the peak membership body for family businesses in Australia.

FBA serves over 3,000 family business members and advisors and understands the vital role they play in the global economy. Their main aim is to empower family owned Australia businesses and provide the tools necessary to thrive in the future.

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For more information please contact:
Lou Hill | National Senior Marketing Coordinator
Family Business Australia
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 03 8582 4864
Website: https://www.familybusiness.org.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Familybusinessaustralia/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fambizaus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/family-business-australia
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/familybusinessaustralia/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFj5khbBvbY6ZpNDBkeP26A

Media Release: Immediate Distribution
PR Contact: Amanda Lacey, POPCOM
Mobile: 0418 448 570 Email: [email protected]

Sydney, 2020: Senior litigation lawyer from McCabe Curwood shares insights on how to respond to ACC “Dawn Raids”.

When granted with the necessary warrant, the ACCC has the power to conduct civil searches of your business, which essentially consists of them searching the premises and seizing documents and materials.

“These searches, otherwise known as “Dawn Raids” can cause a great deal of stress and confusion to businesses,” says Chiara Rawlins, Principal in the McCabe Curwood’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group. “Many business owners may not be aware of the scope of the ACCC’s powers and are unsure of their rights and obligations when these raids occur.”

So, what are your rights and obligations?

It’s important to understand that you are entitled to observe the search being conducted, but Rawlins notes that only to the point where it does not obstruct the search.

However, you are obligated to assist the executing officer and any officer assisting with all reasonable facilities and assistance so they can exercise their power effectively. You must also answer questions and provide evidential material, but only that relate to the warrant.

What should you do in a dawn raid?

Rawlins directs that when first presented with the search warrant, you should both review it and ask to make a copy for your own records. You should also look at the warrant carefully and ensure the time period on the warrant aligns with the time period of the search; certify those conducting the search are authorised to do so under the warrant; and that the premises stated on the warrant is in fact your premises.

“You may also ask to see a copy of [the raiders] ACCC identity cards and we recommend that you request to make photocopies for your records,” Rawlins adds, to ensure they are certified to conduct the raid. “If the answers to the above are “no”, you do not have to allow the ACCC access to your premises.”

When the warrant is first presented to you, Rawlins suggests you ask if they can wait for a short period of time before commencing the raid so you may obtain legal representation. If they refuse, it is important you do not impede on the search.

It is also important that you accompany the ACCC officers on their raid and record the documents they examine and the questions they ask.

Rawlins said: “If you are not sure why a document or question falls within the scope of the warrant, ask the ACCC officer and make a note of their answer. This will particularly be the case for documents or things that may be subject to legal professional privilege.

“The ACCC is not entitled to take documents that are subject to privilege, however do not withhold documents from the ACCC. Tell the ACCC officer you reserve your rights in relation to privileged documents and inform your lawyer that the ACCC may have taken possession of privileged documents.”

As discussed prior, it is crucial to be fully cooperative, answering all questions and providing any material related to the warrant.

“Make sure you ask the ACCC to provide you with copies of all documents seized and a receipt for everything seized before they leave,” says Rawlins.

For the full article visit the McCabe Curwood website https://mccabecurwood.com.au/dawn-raid-accc/. Chiara Rawlins is a principal at Mccabe Curwood in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group and is available for interview. For more information on McCabe Curwood, please contact Amanda Lacey at [email protected]