On the matter of 'creating local jobs' in Mandurah

Keyboard-Warrior

In the lead up to the local government elections, it’s interesting to see the issues people care about here in Mandurah. One of the biggest is local jobs for Mandurah’s youth.

It’s a fair concern. We all want the best for our children, and if possible for them not to have to move away to become gainfully employed. (Side note: There’s still a valid debate to be had as to whether the private sector is more efficient at creating jobs rather than govt, but that’s for another day.)

But new data is showing global trends that, if Mandurah residents pay attention to, could help us to set our youth up very nicely for employability in the future.

For the first time ever, people in the US who did not commute to work at all, but worked from home, earned more money than those who drove to work or took public transport. Those who worked from home earned over $2800 more than those who commuted to work.

The reasons for the new trend seems quite clear. Jobs that can be done from home tend to include white collar and highly technical work. And this work tends to be well paid. The trend is also showing a continued growth in the number of people who are working from home.

When viewed through the lens of this growing trend, Mandurah is actually situated perfectly to position itself as a hub for those who choose to do this kind of work, in much the same way as Mandurah is already a very popular location for those who live the FIFO (fly in, fly out) life. Real estate is extremely affordable, all the ammenities of a large city are on our door step, we have amazing weather, we’re on the coast and have the world’s most beautiful waterways. For most of Mandurah’s suburbs, crime is on par or below places like Perth, Sydney, or Melbourne. And on top of all this we have a train that takes you right to the heart of Perth for the times you do need to meet someone face to face in the city, or visit a legacy office.

I have found over the years that the prestige of an office has grown dimmer and dimmer. As a full time father, telling people I work from home carries absolutely no stigma, and if anything presents a picture of someone who is far more flexible, independent, and can think for themselves.

So what kind of skills should my kids be learning?’

It blows my mind that primary school children are not being taught to code from day one. The skill is far more important than ancient Egyptian history, how to make a papier mâché egg, or mastering heads down thumbs up. But keep in mind that if your child’s school teacher knew much about programming, they would likely be earning twice their current salary with half the stress. So the burden falls on you, the parent, rather than tax payers via the education system, to make sure your kid is equipped for the modern world.

There are countless free and fun software options to introduce your child to the world of programming. Khan Academy has some great options, Apple has some apps for the iPad that are entertaining and educational, and there are lots more that are either free or quite affordable.

Other skills you can encourage that are outside the immediate world of coding include graphic design, video production, game design, and much more.

In addition, traditional fields are seeing more and more ‘work from home’ participants too. Many professionals more or less stare at a screen all day anyway, such as law or accounting, and these jobs in many cases can just as easily be done from the comfort of a home office, versus a cubicle in the Perth CBD.

And if I had to point anyone in the direction of a useful university degree, it would be to consider computer science. It only takes a few minutes on Seek to see how many high paying jobs in the programming space go completely unfilled in Australia simply because we can’t find enough bodies to do the work.

What benefits exist for employers to having staff work from home?

More Candidates

There are plenty of benefits to companies to having staff that work from home. The most obvious is that they can employ anyone from anywhere on earth. Many technical skills needed are highly specialised, and the pool of people in their immediate vicinity who have those skills is likely to be quite small. By expanding their options to anyone on earth who speaks English and has an internet connection, they’re far more likely to find a suitable candidate at an affordable price.

Environment

Apart from massive profits, there’s nothing a big company loves more than to virtue signal, and the carbon emissions created by countless vehicles congesting our roadways 5 days a week is one of the biggest offenders. Businesses that don’t allow workers to cut carbon emissions by working from home will soon (rightly or wrongly) be wearing the label of a company that clearly doesn’t care about our planet, and those who move quickly to give workers such an option will be exalted by likeminded folks world-wide.

Parental participation

Nothing is as cruel in the modern age as dichotomy between the pressure on us all to succeed in the work place, and the hard, cold, biological fact that you need to have babies before you’re 35 or the health risks to the child and mother just become unkind.

Having spent some time now being a full time father, I can appreciate how absurd most companies are in their demands that people spend so much time away from the very thing that makes life worth living, namely your children, requiring you have someone else essentially raise them, ostensibly so you can provide for those very children. The irony is that what children really need is time with their parents, not more stuff.

It’s easy to forget this absurdity is only a recent phenomenon, with the invention of reliable contraception and the changing societal norms the new technology has brought, beginning in the 20th century . So it seems only logical that it may take a generation or two for us to figure this thing out.

All that is a long winded way of saying that working from home can truly help bring some balance back into our family lives, which for a company means content staff who are more likely to stick with that employer; and the glue that holds this whole miracle that is society together, i.e. the family, can continue to endure.

What else could stop Mandurah from succeeding in this area?

  • If Canberra screws up the proposed upgrades to the NBN, companies will not want to outsource a lot of work to our shores. To be fair, most programming requires only a very basic internet connection. But if you’re working on streaming, or need to teleconference with other people, or you need to test complex software or streaming products, a crappy upload speed can really be your undoing. And as video production continues to grow, if the content you product cannot quickly be uploaded, you’re very much behind the curve when it comes to competing.

  • If our absurd new spying laws aren’t addressed, this might also present concerns for global companies looking for programmers. Laws in Australia that allow authorities to compel staff members to do things without informing their bosses means many companies could get very nervous about employing your child in Mandurah to be a lead programmer on their application. They’re far safer choosing someone in the USA or elsewhere where they don’t face the same risks. While law enforcement certainly need solutions to help fight the scourge of child abuse images and human trafficking, giving up EVERYONE’S privacy is something many companies are simply not willing to compromise on.

  • Programmers can go and live anywhere in the world they choose. If we keep overdeveloping this region and destroying our environment, it’s going to be hard to keep people here. There are plenty of other concrete jungles and McSuburbs to choose from. We don’t need to be yet another. We need to preserve what makes Mandurah special.

What should I do? I don’t want my kids addicted to devices!

One of the biggest problems with modern technology and kids is not that it’s inherently addictive, it’s that it’s so easy and intuitive to use, one no longer naturally learns the skills needed to build things on the devices by using the devices. Thinking your kids will learn programming simply from using these devices a lot is like someone thinking you’ll become a mechanic if you drive a new car. One can hardly SEE the engine on modern cars, let alone work on them.

If you want to present your kids the opportunities to learn to program, and maybe develop a passion for it, it will usually take some deliberate effort. Use your best efforts to get them in front of an app that actually requires them to build something, and consider trading time on Minecraft or Fortnite as a reward for completing a programming task or goal you’ve set together.

Not every child will warm to the challenge. And far be it from me to advocate making your child do something that in no way aligns with what they’re passionate about. But there are many kids among us who would make wonderful developers if they were presented with the opportunity to play and explore in the field while they’re young.

Automation is only going to continue to increase. Jobs you take for granted today will not exist tomorrow. Jobs you haven’t thought of will become well paying professions. Jobs will continue to be outsourced around the world to anyone with the skills. But in the new world the playing field has been levelled, and there is absolutely no downside to being based in Mandurah. If anything, your kids may just be able to have the best of both worlds… an affordable home in a beautiful location, with a high paying job previously reserved for concrete jungles.

Scientists: "Keep eating red meat"

There are some great butchers in Mandurah. And you can frequent them with even more confidence now.

A team of 14 researchers have published a series of studies that systematically reviewed existing research evidence, and looked at health effects of processed and unprocessed red meat. The group used a grading system that gave more weight to better evidence, and their conclusions fly in the face of the “avoid red meat” trope that I’ve heard since birth. From Vox:

On a range of health outcomes — from deaths due to cancer and cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer incidence, stroke, all-cause mortality, and heart attack — the researchers generally found either no benefit on cutting back on meat or one so small, and based on such weak evidence, as to be unreliable.

My own experience of changing my attitude toward red meat began in 2017, when I experimented with a carnivore diet. The result was my sciatica disappeared completely, my sinuses cleared miraculously, and I haven’t been sick since. I usually get at least 2 or 3 major colds/flus each year. I’m certainly not an omnivore now, but I credit my major health improvements with greatly increasing the amount of red meat I eat every day.

You can read the papers here, here, here, here and here.

A beautiful afternoon in Erskine

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It’s hard to feel like I’m not on holidays living in Mandurah. A sunny Sunday catching up with friends while the kids played this weekend reminded me of how great it is living here.

It’s challenging to put into words the pure pleasure of just watching birds dive for fish on the estuary, the kids playing in the sunshine, and some good company.

It’s always odd to me that any other image gets conjured in someone’s mind when they think of Mandurah. Perhaps social media and the news in general isn't the best place to go to shape your view of the world.

The spaces. The company. The water. Far be it from me to try and sell it to you, but I do know there’s nothing missing if the things you value in life include beauty in nature, quality relationships, and a pace that allows you to enjoy your life, instead of watching it slip through your hands like sand.

Being graced with all of the above this weekend, as always really, reminds me of how important what we have here is, why it’s worth protecting to be able to pass on to our children, and why this is home.

If you haven’t checked out this park yet in Erskine, it’s nice. I’ve put a map below. But of course, there’s so many nice places in Mandurah to check out. If you have your favourite I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment or shoot me a message.

 


A very helpful law firm in Mandurah

One of my favourite things about running Everything Mandurah is getting to discover some fantastic local businesses with amazing people. I was very fortunate recently to have a chat with Nia Lumley from Petherick Cottrell, a local law firm that offers a broad range of legal services.

The field is a personal interest of mine, as I’ve recently begun a law degree, and Nia Lumley from Petherick Cottrell was kind enough to sit down and have a chat.

Nia Lumley - Petherick Cottrell

Nia Lumley - Petherick Cottrell

Ms Lumley has been in the field since 1998, originally based in North Wales, and has been with Petherick Cottrell since July last year. She says it’s a fantastic place to work with a great team environment.

“It’s really got a good culture,” she told me. “I really like the people I work with. If you get on with the people in your team, and everybody works together to help everybody else, it’s the client that benefits at the end of the day.”

Nia shared a little about what she enjoys most about practicing law. “It’s getting that satisfaction of being able to help somebody. Predominantly people come to see you when they’re in a bit of a pickle, when things aren’t actually going according to plan, [but] getting that good result at the end and seeing that you’ve actually made a positive difference to somebody’s life, it just gives you a really good feeling.”

Petherick Cottrell’s services on offer are quite broad, from wills and probate, to family, commercial, employment, criminal and other areas of law.

Ms Lumley shared a little about her experience with wills.

“I’ve got quite a bit of experience with wills. You’re talking about your very last document, and it’s such an important document. I recommend to people when they’ve got a will, [even when] they think it’s all done and dusted, it’s unlikely to be suitable for the whole of your life. Every year, perhaps when you’re renewing your car insurance or something, just have a look at your will and then have a look at your assets. See what’s changed, and ask yourself ‘do I need to update my documents?’ Once it’s done people forget about it, but they shouldn’t forget about it, because they do need to change it as their circumstances change.”

Petherick Cottrell are open from 8:30am each weekday, and also offer “by appointment” times outside office hours.

If you have any legal needs you can give them a call on 08 9535 4604 or visit their website here: petherickcottrell.com.au

Customer service and Property Settlements, a chat with Orion Settlements in Mandurah

We had a chat recently with Tammie Sanders, the Senior Conveyancer at Orion Settlements in Mandurah, about the property settlement industry, what’s involved, and the services Orion offer.


What are the services Orion offer?

Orion Settlements cover all types of property settlements for freehold titles. Primarily we complete transactions involving residential, vacant land, commercial and strata titled properties. Our services are not only limited to a person selling or buying a property, we also manage other transactions; including application for lost titles, application by survivorship in the event of a deceased proprietor or application by executors of estates. Our in house lawyers at Petherick Cottrell Lawyers can also manage the lodgement and withdrawal of caveats.

Tammie Sanders - Orion Settlements

Tammie Sanders - Orion Settlements

Why does settlement exist at all? What isn’t it “I just hand over my house and I get the money?”

A settlement agent prepares the legal documentation required in order to transfer the ownership of a property from a seller to a buyer and complete the financial transaction. There are many aspects involved in the transfer of ownership of a property and a settlement agent is there to act in your best interest. As part of the settlement transaction settlement agents check to ensure all the promises in the contract have been fulfilled, make the necessary enquiries about the property such as title searches, notification/interests and encumbrance searches, rates, taxes and orders or requisitions with the local council. Its important to have an experienced professional acting on your behalf at settlement.

What sort of things might that be?

An example of an issue that may be raised during settlement is if there was an unapproved structure at the property and the buyer was unaware. If this is held on the local authorities database, it should be made available during our orders and requisitions search. This is why it’s important for your settlement agent to undertake these checks during the settlement process.

Where do your clients come from? Referrals from agents or people that seek you out.

Repeat clients and referrers. We take a lot of pride in what we do and the level of service we provide. This is how we have become to be in a very short period of time. Orion Settlements is only a few years old and during this time has successfully continued to build its clientele. Our repeat clients and referrers are generated simply by offering a profound level of service, updates, feedback often and has been built simply overtime by offering a great service.

Have you started to see any repeat business?

Yes definitely, repeat business is important to us and we are passionate about helping people find the settlement process as stress free as possible.

So you’ve personally been in the industry for a while?

Yes, I actually started working in the real estate and settlement industry when I was 16 years old. I have been very privileged to have worked in both real estate and settlement agencies during this time having completed my real estate agents licence when I was 18 was a large asset to my career in the settlement industry. Having the knowledge of a property sale and settlement from the very start of a transaction right through to settlement has allowed me advantages for clients to help make the process as streamlined and stress free as possible.

What changes have you seen in the field since this time?

There have been many changes to the industry during this time. With some of the most recent being the most significant to improving the settlement industry. These changes include, As of the 1st of December all eligible transactions must be completed using PEXA (Property Exchange Australia) (Electronic Conveyancing) and the requirement to complete a verification of identity for both sellers and buyers, this is extremely important in remaining vigilant against property fraud. Some smaller but significant changes include the requirement to lodge all contracts with the office of state revenue within 2 months of date of contract, failure to do so can involve penalties or the newly invoked Foreign Investment Duty – a higher stamp duty rate for foreign investors. All of these changes are important to paving the way to improving an already great industry.

How are you finding that system?

I feel the PEXA system is very good and really brings the conveyancing industry to a new level. One of the biggest benefits for clients (sellers) is that the money transfers are almost immediate, this means that funds are received much faster than has been seen in previous years. It also aids in the way we liaise with other professionals, making it far more efficient communicating with mortgagees, helping to achieve settlement in a timely manner.

How do you find having a lawyer in-house with Petherick Cottrell Lawyers?

This is an extremely important aspect for our agency. Settlement agents must abide by the settlement agents code of conduct, the importance of this and having the law firm available is that a settlement agent under the code of conduct “must if it is necessary or prudent, recommend to a the client that they seek the advice of a lawyer in respect of a transaction or a part of a transaction” Having the availability of lawyers in our office means that our clients have this service readily available and they can use this immediately, should they choose to.

Do you personally utilise having the lawyers there?

Yes I do, in the event I am unsure of any aspect of a transaction I will liaise with our senior lawyers as required.

Is there anything you’re doing to try and build your repeat client base?

Not intentionally, I am very passionate about offering good customer service, offering my clients a level of service that exceeds their expectations is very important to me. Being able to go above and beyond naturally aids in building repeat clientele.

What do people appreciate the most in a settlement?

I feel that what is important to most people is contact and regular updates. Buying and selling property is the most stressful thing people will do in their lifetime. Being able to pick up the phone and ask the questions is very valuable and I will often talk with my clients at 8pm at night or I have my emails straight to my phone so if required I can respond immediately. This makes a stressful process far less daunting.

If someone is interested in either learning more about Orion or Employing your services, as either a property buyer or seller at what point in the process should they make contact with you?

On the offer and acceptance there is usually a place to nominate your chosen settlement agency, this lets the real estate agent know who they need to provide written instructions to so the settlement agent can commence their file. It is a good idea to have your settlement agent nominated at this time, however most people will obtain a settlement quote at the time of offer exchange (once the offer and acceptance has been completed) Once they have obtained a settlement quote they are happy to proceed on and if it has not been nominated on the offer and acceptance, then they just need to notify their real estate agent and myself. The real estate agent will provide our office with formal written instructions and we will commence with our file.


If you’re interested in learning more about Orion Settlements or speaking to them about your needs you can reach them on Facebook here, visit their website here, or call them on 9535 4604.

Why the recent hack on the Liberal, Labor and National parties is WAY worse than you think

You may have seen the reluctant announcement in the media today or yesterday about the Liberal party, Labor party, and National party all having their databases compromised by some sort of hack.

Details at the moment are very thin on the ground. Those tasked with giving the bad news to the public are trying hard to divert your attention to the wonderful lengths they’re going to to fix the problem and catch this bad person or country that has done such a ghastly deed, as if attempting to access private information from foreign countries wasn’t something our own nation does every damn day.

But all that aside, here’s what I’m not seeing discussed which is of greatest concern.

The databases of the Liberal, Labor, and National parties are essentially giant honey pots of information that are very desirable for any state actor because of what Australian privacy laws allow these parties to collect.

Your private data is, well, private. So Australia has robust laws that allow you to contact any private company you’ve had dealings with, request a copy of any information they have about you, and also demand it be deleted in most cases if you choose. But for some very strange reason, politicians tasked with implementing these laws decided that political parties should be completely exempt from such regulations.

It’s insanity. The very people we trust the least, have the most power to collect masses of information about anyone and everyone, and they do.

Now if you have never worked closely with a major party, this next bit might sound like flat earth conspiracy nonsense, but I assure you my sources are very trustworthy. Large political parties employ people (or get volunteers) to specifically collect every snippet of information that appears about different individuals in the media and elsewhere, and gather that info together. Before we were so immersed in the digital age this involved cutting out articles from newspapers. Today, as much information as possible is collected digitally.

You have no legal right to demand the Liberal or Labor party hand over the information they have gathered about you. Nor do you have any right to demand they delete the information.

There’s absolutely no need for every party to have this amount of data on everyone they want.

The only thing needed for a fair political process is if each party plays on an even playing field. If they ALL were required to delete their databases then all is fair.

But the arms race of collecting data that these short sighted parties have undertaken has lead them to make absolutely moronic decisions with regards to anything and everything technical.

Because almost all of our State and Federal politicians themselves couldn’t tell the difference between a hard drive and a hard hat, they are relying on advisors which they have absolutely no way of knowing if they posses the skills needed to keep our data safe or not. And we now know they do not know what they’re doing.

And their track record is appalling.

Let’s rattle off a few doozies.

The Federal Govt purchased crappy worn out copper from Telstra to use in the NBN, then had to replace most of it when they went and tried to use it, because it was so past its use by date.

They tried to get all 25 million people in Australia to do a census electronically at once, then when everything crashed we were told to swallow the lie that there was a DDOS attack. (There wasn’t.) Most people couldn’t do the census the night they were meant to. Meaning for the next 4 years the census data every govt department relies on is extremely dubious at best.

They invested in a random crypto currency called Power Ledger that no-one really knows what it does, or can explain how it works or why it’s needed, but were so bedazzled by the word “blockchain” that it meant tax payer money had to be spent. (I am a blockchain and cryptocurrency educator and even I can’t explain to you why anyone would pay money for the Power Ledger digital token.)

They passed legislation that literally mandates that electronics manufacturers and software developers HAVE to build unsafe backdoors into their software and hardware or risk the threat of going to jail. They are somehow under the notion that these backdoors will be allow police and politicians to easily access all of our communications but can magically posses the ability to completely prevent hackers from doing the same. (Spoiler: no, the backdoors always get found by nefarious hackers too.) (Sidenote, I don’t want potentially corrupt or compromised Police or other “authorities” spying on my communications without a warrant and probable cause either. But that’s for another day.)

These technically illiterate politicians are so clueless about how encryption works, how databases work, how networking technologies work, and how honeypots attract hackers, that it blows the mind.

We have CLEAR EVIDENCE in the most recent USA Presidential election that foreign (to the US) parties purchased advertising and created countless social media accounts in an effort to influence the outcome of the election and sow discord within the nation.

And yet Andrew Hastie, our Federal member for Canning, refuses to answer any questions on such an eventuality occurring in an Australian election, and David Templeman, the WA MLA for Mandurah, keeps tweeting about implementing electronic voting of all things. I’m not sure he actually knows how to use Twitter to be honest.

These politicians cannot keep the secret data they have on all of us safe, cannot get everyone decent internet speeds, and haven’t got the foggiest idea about suitable legislative responses to overseas election influences via social media. If we think these same people will be able to create a perfectly unhackable way to do electronic voting, we’ve got rocks in our heads.

Contact your local politician today and demand they hand over every bit of data they have about you, demand they delete it as soon as they have, and demand they change the legislation so we can be protected from incompetent (or worse) politicians who think God endowed them with special rights that the rest of the population doesn’t posses. Political parties should NOT be exempt from privacy laws, and should not be allowed to collect data on us unchecked. Especially when their ENTIRE DATABASES may well end up in the hands of the Chinese government.

Shaping the Future of Mandurah - The Politicians, Councillors and Us

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If there’s one thing local governments like to talk about, it’s about improvements for the future. Understandably so, tax payer funded institutions rely on a message of “hope is just over the horizon” and “the last politician couldn’t fix things but I can”. There’s little incentive for would-be politicians to say the truth, namely “anyone who’s travelled will tell you life is really good here, and even if you do elect me there’s not a lot I myself can do because I’ll just be a public servant, not a leader per se, and most of the issues you want fixed are underlying social issues that will require generations of cultural influence to move the needle.”

But when you combine the incentives of a politician who needs you to believe the sky is falling with the modern media product that needs you to click on their links, which, as it turns out, you’re more likely to do if it’s telling you the sky is falling, we end up in a never ending spiral of content being fed to us assuring us the fabric of society is falling apart at the seems and our only hope is for more government interference in more areas of our lives.

But when we step back from the noise for a while, it becomes clear that what we could really do with is a re-calibration of what it is we should be expecting from our elected officials.

The things that are wrong in Mandurah are not the fault of the politicians and councillors

When everyone around you believes a certain thing to be true, it’s hard to tell if you’re the crazy one or if everyone else is.

I’ve long questioned the dictum I’ve been fed all my life that politicians are greedy and corrupt and completely to blame for all the ills in society. Peeling back the curtain of the political and legal system reveals, more often than not, nothing more than very real human beings, flesh and blood, trying with the limited tools afforded them in life to make the world they live in a little more pleasant.

And as far as I can tell, while they’re often referred to as our “leaders”, this is a terrible description for what politicians actually are. They’re more accountable to the public than any regular citizen, they’re criticised in the media to an extent that would drive most of us to tears, they’re constantly having to re-apply for the position by way of election, they receive nothing in the way of saleable equity for any value they create during their tenure, and their names are very quickly forgotten and buried in unread history books the moment they step away from their position. Far from fitting the moniker of “leaders”, their task far more resembles that of an employee, or a public servant.

But if they’re just employees…

In Australia, when an employee stuffs up and causes harm to someone, the employer is often the one who is sued. If a bouncer at a pub assaults you while you’re enjoying a drink, you will likely be able to sue the employer of the bouncer. This is called “vicarious liability”. The underlying principle is that an employer is ultimately responsible for the negligent acts of their employees while the employee is carrying out their job.

If politicians and councillors are just employees, not leadesr, then who is the employer? The Queen of England? Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe in this analogy the employer is you and me. Maybe the responsibility for what’s still wrong in our community doesn’t rest on the shoulders of whoever is in public office. Maybe it’s our responsibility.

The last 37 years have shown me that blaming politicians achieves very little.

Even when a useful program is brought in by government, it’s constantly at risk of being defunded, it ends up spending more tax payer funded resources in administration and butt-covering than doing the actual work, and when the reason for its existence is no longer present, instead of quietly fading into the night, it becomes a self perpetuating beast using the very funding given to it by the government to lobby the government for it to continue to be funded. It’s a maddening cycle that I’ve watched play out time and again.

So how can we improve our community then?

Part of the reason we like to blame politicians and governments, I believe, is because it absolves us of responsibility. We don’t have to do anything if we live under the narrative of “our leaders were meant to fix this.”

It’s very convenient to simply complain that everyone is obese and addicted to anti-depressants, then vote for someone who promises to fix these problems, knowing full well they have no idea how to accomplish such a thing, and then be up in arms when they try to ban donuts and video games.

If we instead understood politicians to be nothing more than temporary staff, and it was US who were the bosses, I believe we’d have a far clearer picture of reality. This clearer picture would lead to solutions to our problems that would not simply involve a ban or a tax. People might begin to feel empowered, like their life was meaningful, that what they did mattered, because ultimately it does.

The cloak of victimhood would not be a trophy to brag about. Instead we’d realise that there’s no powerful person in charge who is meant to fix all the problems. If we need something done, we should do it.

It’s not the Councillors at the City of Mandurah’s job to entertain me, feed me, clothe me, tuck me in to bed and night and tell my I’ll be ok. They’re my employees who provide a service I pay for. The same goes for my State and Federal representatives.

Our city is full of people who have had great ideas to improve this community, and they didn’t wait for someone else to implement it. They just went and did it. They started their business… they launched their community group… they opened their coffee shop… they cleaned up their street… they shared their artwork… The work these people do is amazing. They’re never at risk of being defunded. They take full responsibility for creating the world they want to live in. And they’re making Mandurah a wonderful place to live in.

I’m fortunate to have met many of these people, and even showcase some here on Everything Mandurah.

If you know some local heroes who deserve being showcased, please drop me a line here.

If you need legal help you should know about Peel Community Legal Services

About 8 months ago I made the decision to become a lawyer. My interest in the field spawned gradually over the last 6 years running a local media company. For one reason or another, I found myself one day down the rabbit hole learning about the legal businesses and institutions that existed in Mandurah, and I came across Peel Community Legal Services.

Like many not for profit organisations, a large budget for marketing is not available to PCLS, so perhaps it was understandable that I didn’t know they existed, and why many in the local community don’t know they’re here.

In a nutshell, they can assist anyone in the area on a low income with most legal matters, and with family domestic violence they can assist anyone regardless of household income. They’re also able to assist any tenants with various issues relating to their tenancy.

It would be unlikely to be able to navigate through life without needing some legal assistance at one time or another, or knowing someone who might need some assistance. So it may pay to keep this organisation in mind, both in terms of being able to utilise or recommend their services when the need arises, but also in terms of advocating for keeping such a vital service in our community funded.

I had a chat recently with the PCLS General Manager, Kathy Johnson, in order to share with the wider Peel community what exactly they do, and who they can assist.

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What is Peel Community Legal Services and what does it do?

We provide general legal advice to people on low income or people in a family domestic violence situation, and advocacy and support to access Centrelink, or those sort of things.

What does advocacy support mean?

Helping people fill out forms, helping people negotiate the process, knowing where to put the form, with any agency they might be having trouble with. We’ve helped with ombudsman applications, complaints,

How what is the income cut off to be able to access assistance from PCLS?

If you’re a tenant it’s not income tested,

For legal or lawyer issues, the test is $50,000 family annual income or less [household income], but with tenancy [issues] it’s for anyone who is a tenant having issues. We don’t [advocate on behalf of] landlords.

What sort of tenancy issues do you assist with?

Bond issues, getting your bond back, termination notices, property reports, rent arrears, negotiating to pay back rent arrears. We negotiate with housing authority too, for people in housing authority rentals.

The whole point [of the tenancy advocacy work] is to keep people in their homes, to negotiate with landlords, or the department of housing, to stay in their homes.

I understand you met with a number of property managers in the area recently.

We told them we just want the law and the act to be fulfilled, and the rights and responsibilities of everyone, and if they’ve (the tenants) done the wrong thing, well they’ve done the wrong thing, we’re going to tell them that. But we also need to negotiate, keep someone in their house if we can.

[With regards to the property managers,] it’s not us and them and we’re not out to get them.

With domestic violence assistance, is that income tested?

No. If it’s family domestic violence we don’t even ask income. So if someone is experiencing that they’re not even asked. This is because you may not be able to access the income of your partner.

How do people get in touch with PCLS, because obviously there can be safety concerns in a domestic violence situation?

We do go to Pat Thomas house, the refuge, and we do outreach, and see clients. All the community organisations know that if they have a person in that situation that we will go see them if we need to. They just need to call, we will go to their organisation to the client. We wouldn’t normally go to someone’s house, because there’s safety issues for us around that, but we would see them at another agency, or at the legal service here.

If they don’t feel safe to come here though, … I mean,

If you walk in to a legal service and someone sees you, especially in a small town like Mandurah, [you may not] feel safe to come here, so we do do outreach at the family relationship centre as well, so they’ll make appointments for clients of theirs, and we’ll go there.

And that keeps the meeting discreet?

Yes. We also do outreach to Pinjarra and Waroona, we go there every month.

What is the catchment area? Who can use your services?

The whole Peel region, so that’s out to Boddington, out to Serpentine, Jarahdale. It’s a huge area.

What happens if someone comes to you for help but the other party has already contacted you and there’s a conflict of interest?

We’ll refer them to another agency, like SCALES in Rockingham, or Southwest in Bunbury… We’ll try to do a warm referral. SCALES and Bunbury do the same with us. If they have someone who’s conflicted out, they’ll refer them to us.

If I’m confident I would fit under the $50,000 a year means test, and I’ve got a legal matter that I want some advice on, do you have only certain legal issues you’ll talk to me about or can I just come with any legal concern, like if I was assaulted, or I was in a car accident …?

Any legal concern. The only thing is we don’t represent people in court.

What happens if I do think I’ll need to go to court?

We would help you initially, and then if you couldn’t afford it we would help with the legal aid application, or a law access application. Law Access is an organisation that will help link a client with a pro bono lawyer. Pro bono means for free.

What about wills and things like that?

We can help with that, but we won’t do a will because there’s storage and other issues. But we’ll help people with information on wills, with what’s best to have in a will, but we won’t do a will. Same with EPAs and Advance Health Directives. We’ll help people with those, but we won’t do them.

If we can’t [assist in a matter], if we don’t have the resources or we can’t fit someone in, we’ll refer. We’ve got a list, the staff here have been around for a while, and know all the local agencies and what they do,

Where does support for PCLS come from?

From the Commonwealth Government, from the State Government, and from the Department of Mining, Industrial Regulation and Safety [DMIRS, formerly Dept of Commerce]. So that’s where our funding comes from.

And there’s some local organisations and businesses that have assisted over the years, like PEACH , Personnel Employed at Alcoa Charity Help. They gave us some money to replace our carpet and blinds in our office, and that was last year, and a lockable cabinet for our documents. City of Mandurah have given us a small grant to do some research about housing options for older people.

We have 10 staff total, we don’t have any full time staff, and that’s not because we don’t want to, it’s because we can’t afford to. We’ve got 3 solicitors, 2 that are 9 days a fortnight, and our principle solicitor who is Michael, he works 5 days a fortnight, but he’s on call if I need him. He has his own business, but if I need him or the others need him, he’ll answer. And then we have 2 advocates, and the admin staff, there’s 5 of them. And a bookkeeper 1 day a week.

I don’t think we’re as well known as we should be. I here a lot of people say ‘ we didn’t even know you were here, we didn’t even realise this service existed’. I’ve worked in not for profits a lot, and I didn’t even really know that a generalist legal service existed. So I think a lot of people don’t realise they can come and get that help.

Are there any legal changes on the horizon that the local community should be aware of?

Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act with regards to family domestic violence, on breaking leases. It will be easier to break a lease if there’s evidence of domestic violence. It’s also going to be easier to change leases, and to change locks.

How long is the wait to get an appointment at PCLS?

Kathy Johnson PCLS

Kathy Johnson PCLS

About two weeks. If it’s a crisis we can normally fit people immediately. Normally if it’s a crisis we’d say come through an organisation. If they (a local community help organisation) have a client that they think really needs to see us now, if they call, if the organisation calls, we’ll fit them in quickly.

Other developments in the future?

This year we’re going to focus more on community legal education, getting out into the community, giving people information, doing information sessions,

On dealing with youth:

We go in to schools if we’re asked to. We’ve been to Calvary House a few times, which is a youth crisis accommodation place, and Passages; we’re going to be doing stuff with them this year.

What sort of things do you speak with youth about?

Debt, phones, that sort of thing, what to do if Police stop you, the implication of ignoring your fines, how that can affect the rest of your life, what sexting is and the consequences of that, which is a big one. Also tenancy issues for youth.


PCLS is a not for profit with charity status, so donations are welcome, and are tax deductible.


Getting in touch with Peel Community Legal Services:

Ph: 9581 4511 .

Website contact form: peelcls.com.au/contact/

Location: Suite 6, 2 Sutton Street
Mandurah

OPENING HOURS

Mandurah: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
9:00am to 4:30pm (closed for lunch 12:30pm – 1pm)
Pinjarra: 1st Wednesday of each month
Waroona: 2nd Wednesday of each month

 

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This Mandurah hair salon specialises in natural products

Over the last couple of decades we’ve all become far more aware of what we put in our bodies, with many of us trying to eat more natural foods or at least less of what is obviously crap. So it’s only natural that we’d also begin to look at what chemicals we’re absorbing through our skin.

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I’m not normally a huge fan of hair salons. Usually the fumes from walking past one is enough to make me feel like I just spent an hour bathing in a Kwinana fuel refinery. But I can honestly report being inside Claire Hair Boutique I barely smelled a thing.

The proprietor Claire tells me that your body begins to absorb toxic chemicals through the skin within about 26 seconds, and her research into this is what lead to her salon adopting a low-toxicity range of products called Natulique.

But do the products actually work?

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This is the question I know you’re asking, because we’ve all been sold fairy tale promises of magical abilities that the new fad herb, oil, or cleaning clothe can produce. And we’ve all been disappointed.

So I had a chat with a friendly client, Paula, who’d just finished up having her hair done. She tells me she’s been using Clair Hair Boutique for the last four years.

“I used to have a problem with my scalp, with burning and itching. I don’t get that with Natulique.” Paula also spoke highly of the team at Claire Hair. “I get done what I want here, I don’t get coerced into having a different style. If I say I want to have it cut short, I don’t have anyone saying ‘Oh no why?’ So you feel as though you’ve been listened to. Obviously Claire and the team will tell me if it’s going to damage my hair or you can only go this far or that far, but you always feel like you’re being accommodated with what you really want.”

Suzanne, a staff member at Claire Hair since August, says she loves the atmosphere at work. “I love the precision cutting, and we do a lot of that here.” And with respect to the products the store uses, Suzanne also sings high praises. “Natulique I think is the best product I’ve worked with in the hair dressing industry. I’ve been in the industry for 11 years now. I’ve worked with all sorts of (products). You can’t smell it. It’s low toxic. You can have 6 colour services happening and you can’t smell it.”

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Suzanne also says the public is embracing the products, are not that skeptical, and are more than happy to try Natulique. “A lot of people now think ‘I don’t need chemicals in my life’.”

Where can I find out more?

Claire Hair Boutique also offer hair education, have Afterpay now available, and are open late night on Wednesday. If you’re interested in chatting with the team, making an appointment, or trying out the products click here for more info. 

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