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State Focus -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. talk t-v program for the ACT as well Welcome to State Focus, our weekly Wales. as southern and central New South Hello its Guy Sweeting. the middle level wage earners in the Today: not only the low income but A.C.T. falling into the debt trap. research that means we can do away Also; world first Wollongong our hands to change channels. with remote controls and just use week, this time in Canberra, by a Then another gadget launched this with a stand up routine. comedian who had a hit in the 80's physical and cyber, has been on a But first up; bullying, both schools. dramatic increase in Canberra issue we're joined by Kate Lyttle To both explain and address the Schools and ACT P&C Council from Parents and Friends of ACT president Kathleen Barden. Welcome both to State Focus. Thankyou. non-Government schools in the ACT? how much of a problem is Bullying in represent the parents of the Okay just to clarify firstly I non-Government school not the children attending the all of society violence is a schools per se and I think as with our children are victims and concern to parents and I think that perpetrators of violent crimes. Is it increasing? indicate that it's increasing but Well the recent study seems to perhaps the message is getting I'm not entirely sure that's true, it more and taking more notice of across that we should be reporting seems to be increasing. it so that could well be why it councils in Government schools in Yeah and Kathleen you represent P&C seen that to be a problem in you the ACT, bullying; what have you area of influence? the ACT, bullying; what have you area of influence? Government schools it has been for It's definitely a problem in understand them suggest that the some years, the figures as I terms of the statistics it is problem is relatively stable to in not necessarily and increase in the stable as far as I understand it's worth also emphasising that with last 12 months but I think it's is happening now the bullying and new reporting requirements and what getting more broadly reported the incidences of violence are has become broader and so it's because the definition of bullying figures also reflect that. important to understand that the problem. Yeah but none the less it's still a how do you interact with - well Kate just from your point of vies of ACT schools how do you interact you're from the Parents and Friends friends of that level? with the concerns of parents and fairly regularly and it's one of It's an ongoing problem, we meet all schools both Government and the issues that we would address, policies in place on how they non-Government are required to have policies to the best of my address it and all of those based issues and some parent based knowledge have addressed the school we're involved in writing those and issues and student based issues and feedback reviewi reviewing those and that sort of there room for improvement? Are you happy with that process, is it, I think the outcome is that I think I'm relatively happy with minimise that and not just minimise we're trying very hard to stop and damage that it can do so that we're it's occurrences but minimise the and how to cope with it because the teaching our children resilience across bullying in other aspects reality is that they will come so on so it's a sort of a broad when they go into the workforce and approach @ so on from Government schools how much Kathleen representing P&C councils Government? cooperation do you need from the think that the numbers themselves - We need alot of cooperation, we decrease in the incidence is an the fact that there isn't a improvement and it's actually indication that there is room for the department on to actually try something that we're working with decrease the incidence of violence and develop strategies to actually distinction between violence and and bullying because there is a bullying so that's also important. part of a save schools task force We are working at the moment as recently been policies introduced to strengthen the procedures into schools or reviewed policies to bullying and critical incidents for the longer term prevention of but there's more work to be done going to be and overnight solution, these incidence and that's not going to require broader Government there's no magic bullet, that's schools, it will involve perhaps support so it's not just the the police, and others as required. the mental health professionals, - that we haven't addressed this And it's not as if - I'm sorry Guy safe schools initiatives and before, there have been a number of New South Wales, the bureau of research has been conducted in say not sure it's the correct name - crime and crime statistics - I'm risk factors, and there were a but they looked into what might be parents that they identified or number of risk factors related to factors relating to schools and families but there are also risk of Government can address and those might be areas that the whole violence in the home, it parents things that for example if there's weather it's their own violence or are exposing their children to violence that they see on even their attitude towards community, those kind of things television or outside in the the likelihood of a child have been identified as influencing committing it's own violent crimes. parents and friends of And being from or representing there still needing a requirement of non-Government sector schools is Government for instance in tackling greater support of the ACT this issue? that can effect people such as Sure I think you know the things differentiated between Government mental illness, their not something that can effect all of and non-Government schools, that's of people would argue that that's society, poverty levels now allot across society that people are less of a problem for us but it's and in many cases with struggling with paying their bills to pay that school fee at the non-Government schools they choose life so it still effects alot of us. expense of other aspects of their jurisdictional issues like if mental And is there sometimes a few the separate school system, is it health for example and you've got each other sometimes because you've difficult for them to work in with thing, is that something that can be got privacy issues and that sort of worked around? they can be worked around and the You do have the privacy issues but on the ball to make this work schools need to be well and truly professionals and the other because of course the mental health unless the schools through their professionals don't get called in students and possibly their parents counselling services refer the yes it does require alot of to those other support services so cooperation @ ye And how best - and you're representing parents bodies and so forth - how best can parents be sort of informed of how this system works? I guess they can speak to you and your organisational structure? Well our view is that parents do need to be kept informed, in some cases they actually need to be educated because if the issues of violence and the bullying stem from the family situation or the house hold situation it may be more then just disciplining the student, their might be allot more assistance required, education of those parents and possibly counselling and support services for the parents themselves aswell as the students so that's not going to be a simple solution but there's no one size fits all formulae either Guy it's very complicated. Okay well you've touched on some interesting aspect there thanks for coming in today. Thankyou for having us. You're welcome thankyou. Kate Lyttle from the Parents and Friends of ACT Schools and ACT P&C Council president Kathleen Barden. And what do you think of bullying in our schools? Is it also a growing problem in our other areas and is enough being done to address it? Have your say at our mytalk website. Follow the links. You can also email us. Details again at the end of the program. Still ahead; Wollongong research which means we won't need remote controls in our lounge rooms anymore. But next; how middle income earners in the ACT are joining the low paid in the debt trap. Back shortly. In Galong and Galore, you're watching State Focus. Still ahead; how Wollongong research means you can now use your hands to change channels instead of a remote control. But now a rise in the number of Canberra wage earners suffering financial hardship. And while there's a continued amount of low income earners struggling, a new group has joined the money battlers, the middle level paid workers. To explain, we're joined by David Tennant from Care Financial Counselling Canberra. Welcome to State Focus. Thanks Guy. How long has this been a problem that the middle level wage earners are starting to get caught in the debt trap? It's something that I guess we've seen become pronounced over the last 2 years and it's I think in the last 6 months we've seen probably 12% of our intake reporting incomes of over $45 thousand a year so it really is in that income bracket. And Canberra has got a unique situation with people that earn above the national average and accommodation both rental and buying your own - your first house - or buying a house generally is fairly expensive, has that exacerbated the situation locally? Absolutely I mean people are quick to point out that Canberrans per the country, conversely we also carry the highest amounts of debt per capita in the country and as running a households become more expensive and the price of properties has gone up more people who are in that sort of middle earning bracket have found it difficult to keep a household budget in check and I guess we're seeing some of the fall out from that @ seeing s Is that to blame, the fact that the Canberra economic climate or is it other factors aswell? No it's much bigger then just Canberra infact this is a situation that's playing out nationally at the moment, Australians have had a love affair with consumer credit over a very long period of time, when I started at Care in 1995 we owed about $5.5 billion on credit cards and it's now just topped $40 billion so that's and extraordinary increase @ billion That's the national figure isn't it? That's right yes. So but by general indication it's not heading in a good direction? It's not and the thing that concerns us the most is how many people are struggling with their mortgage repayments and not just with the payments but with mortgages that on their face appear like they were unaffordable right from the outset. Yeah and what worries me is there seems to be less guards, less criteria to stop this sort of things occurring in the first place. Would you agree with that? I would, I think there are some big problems in the types of questions that people are asked about their capacity to make payment from the outset and in turn if you have prices going upwards and lenders that are over eager to lend and perhaps stretching the boundaries then you have a kind of a toxic cocktail that pushing prices up, making people think that they can actually afford to do what really isn't affordable. Okay so you're with Care financial counselling in the ACT, I guess you get people coming into you talking about these sort of problems, what advice do you offer? Well the very first thing that people should do if they're expecting a period of financial difficulty of indeed their starting to experience one, is to seek assistance early and usually it's a good idea to tell any creditors that you have that you're anticipating or you're experiencing some difficulty and asking for help, if you don't get what you think is a reasonable response then agencies like care are a good point of call to be able to do some of that negotiation for you, or indeed to better understand your situation, to try and make it sustainable in the future. We're running out of time but contact details if people want to find out more about your organisation? Our info line operates every weekday morning between 9 and 12 and the number is 2657 1788, we've got a variety of face to face services and a drop in that operates every Wednesday evening between 5:30 and 7:30. Alright thankyou for coming in to tell us about that today. It's a pleasure thank's Guy. Thankyou. David Tennant from Care Financial Counselling ACT Still ahead; comedian George Smilovici who had a hit in the 80's with I'm Tuff and why he's in Canberra launching a germ free hand wash of all things! But now to a fascinating new invention in Wollongong which means you don't have to have a huge pile of remote controls to drive the plasma, DVD player, stereo and whatever else it is that you have in your lounge room! Prashan Premaratne from the Wollongong University's School of Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering is involved in the world first research which means you can change the channel simply by waving your hands. Prashan joins us now in our Wollongong studio. Welcome to State Focus. Thankyou very much Guy for inviting me to be here. Tell me about how you came across this research where you can use your hands to change the channels by doing different hand signals and things? Well it all happened about 2.5 years ago and we all just like any other Australia family we have issues finding the remote and sometimes we are too lazy to pick up the remote when it was lying about 3 metres away from us when we are sitting in the lounge. So it works basically you have a little camera don't you or some sort of set top box on top of you TV or DVD or whatever and it's connected up to a little camera which zooms in on or focuses in on your hand I guess and it reacts to the different bending of the light from the different hand movements that you make is that right? That's right you know so yes basically we have the camera it's the most important part, followed by this camera takes a snapshot of your hand, your self the lounge everything that's behind you and the information is sent to a uncompleted where we have developed software that will identify just the hand so that's the clever part of this one and to identify the hand without being bogged down by the other information and it's a very revolutionary step and it also - you don't necessarily have to be close to the camera or far away, it works anywhere and you could have your had in rotated or in any position aswell and the camera puts this into the computer... Let quickly go through what the different ones are, the different hand movements. Okay so this one is the clenched fist is to start the system and this one is infact for going up for volume of the channel and this is for going down which is for the volume or the channel and this one will change the volume and this one is for the changing the channel. For instance if you want to have volume up what you should have is volume followed by up and you can get your volume up. That's great isn't it, now very quickly when might this be available to the whole world? Yes now I'm currently having negotiations with the major players in the world, I don't want to mention any names and hopefully I'm expecting more manufacturers to talk to me and this will be out there in about 3 years time but Guy I want to mention to you that this is not just meant as a replacement for the remote, it could be more then that, it could be in the next generation of the game consoles where people can use their hands to perhaps change - you know to perhaps switch from one level to the next and go and do things just by using their hands. Thankyou very much for letting us know about it today.

Thankyou Guy. Prashan Premaratne from Wollongong University joining us in our Illawarra studio. Still ahead: 80's hit comedian George Smilovici returns in the new millennium with a germ busting hand wash of all things! But next the next fire season a little way off, but already volunteer bush fire fighters are needed in the Canberra region. Stay with us.

From Taronga to Matong, this is State Focus. Still ahead: why 80's hit comedian George Smilovici and his gang of germ busters are in Canberra. While its still a little way off to the official start of the bushfire season which starts October 1, the Canberra fire storm disaster of Saturday the 18th of January 2003 remains a scary memory for many of us. So to make sure we're prepared well in advance this coming season, the ACT Rural Fire Service is already recruiting volunteers. To tell us more, we're joined by Tim McGuffog from the ACT Rural Fire Service. Welcome to State Focus. Thanks very much Guy. Thank's for coming in, looking for volunteers for the upcoming season? We're looking at up somewhere around 50 new volunteers to be recruited for the coming season. We're looking at up somewhere recruited for the coming season. Now volunteers can at any time express in interest in joining the ranks can't they? How can they do that? Yes certainly, we promote and we take anyone on board but the general process is we'd like to take them in bulk and then we can get the training done and certainly that's why we're starting so early is that we can get people trained up before the season. Now the benefit we've had the last few months obviously is a whole lot of rain and some relief to the drought at least in the ACT and immediate region, does that make things for the rural bushfire situation alot easier? Well we're hopeful but certainly that depends on the follow up rain, we would expect that in the spring time we would get grass growth, if we get spring rain then that'll carry over but that really depends on how the rest of the season pans out, though certainly we do expect to have grass around the place in Summertime @ to have Yeah now I guess the follow up rain then would sort of stop too much grass that is already there or grassland that are already there drying up too much is that what might happen? Yeah we've obviously got grass left over from the previous season so it'll be the new body of grass and particularly with the soil moisture the way it is and if get follow up rain then potentially we could get another body of grass and a fire season into the summer. Do you get concerned when there's a couple of years after a major disaster because normally - not that I know alot about bushfires but from the little I've seen - I've noticed that every 2 or 3 years or maybe even 4 years you start to get a really bad one again because the growth tends to build up. Are we starting to get to a time now where we're getting little bit more concerned then we have been the last couple of years? I think you know particularly after the 2003 fires there's still that concern in the ACT but because of the drought the accumulation of fuel probably hasn't been as rapid as during a normal season but we are gradually building up and I guess part of the process is to monitor that and to make sure that we have the various means of reduction hazard in place. Well lets hope so, thank's for coming in today. Okay thankyou. Tim McGuffog from the A.C.T. Rural Fire Service. What has 80's hit comedian George Smilovici got in common with a germ busting hand wash and Canberra. Well we're about to find out. Since having popular chart success with his stand up routine I'm Tuff in 1985, George has joined the Germstars to promote a new product and a new era in public, hygiene and water conservation. To explain, we're joined by George along with Jacqui D'Arcy and Dr Barry Gilbert. Welcome all to State Focus. Thankyou very much. Thankyou. Now firstly to you George, I'm probably going to take you back to somewhere where you don't want to go but here I have a 1985 comes alive album - compilation album - I found when I was a kid and on the back of it it's got 'I'm Tuff' George Smilovici and a picture of you with, is that cigarettes in your ears? Cigarettes in my ears. Why is that? I had a problem with smoking, I had a smoking problem, a severe smoking problem @ a smokin Alright from those days to the Germstar and tell me how you made the transition, what's been happening across all that time? Well as you know in the 80s alot of us shocking comics were accused of using dirty words. So you needed to clean up your act a bit? It's the irony of life, there had to be a catharsis of some kind and this is it, I'm washing my hands clean of the past and I'm here promoting this what I think is a great product, it's like a little robot thing and the amazing about it is that you don't even have to touch it, you just wave your hand underneath it and the cleaning agent comes out and fixes you. Alright and Jacqui you're the CEO in Australia of Germstar, just tell me about it. Tell you about the product or how we found it actually. We were on a cruise on the Norwegian Jewel a beautiful cruise ship and they were everywhere and the things that interested us the most was the quick take up, people just suddenly started using them so we asked the ships doctor why? Why do you have these things? and he said the dominant problem with cruise ships is that germs spread very quickly and people, they have to close the ship down, it costs them an awful lot of money sop once these came on board, they haven't turned back a single ship. Okay just very quickly we'll go through the components so firstly it's and I've got it in sample form here it and instant hand sanitiser which is a specific compound I guess of things, that's one component and the other component is that you can with this machine you don't have to touch it, it automatically senses and is comes out. That's right and the touchless thing is really important because alot of the dispensers that currently exist are subject to cross contamination, you touch them you have to touch the nozzle, the nozzles get clogged, this one is totally touchless as George said and then once the bladder is finished you throw it away and you have a complete new one with a completely new nozzle, it's just fabulous @ comple Alright and Doctor this is all above board as far as the whole medical thing goes, it's a good way to go? You have to make us look good here. You're our credibility. Well you've opened up a can of worms, no I think that look there's been lots of evidence that this is the new ways of infection control particularly in a health care setting for instance the early 2000s in Australia alcohol has gradually been replacing hand washing, perhaps not as fast as it should because I guess the knowledge that it actually is a very effective way of cutting down cross contamination has been there for a long time, Europe in fact has been using this for vastly longer periods of time then we have but the issues all about getting people to do things as a habit and then make it as easy a possible as they can do without them leaving behind some sort of residue. Great new concept, thank's very much for coming in to explain it. Thankyou. Comedian George Smilovici and fellow germstars Jacqui D'Arcy and Dr Barry Gilbert. Before we go, our viewer feedback contact details. You can have your say on our website mytalk.com.au or email us statefocus@scbnetwork.com.au. Also check our mytalk digital TV channel for local information and highlights of State Focus programs. That's as it happened this week. I'm Guy Sweeting. Join us next week for State Focus, but to end this week a little of George Smilovici as he reaches for his guitar and the Soaptronic song: The Soaptronic theme. My Normal guitar had a baby. (SINGS): I'm a guy they call a comic, I'm the one they say is iconic. Georgy Germstar I kill germs, that's my schtick soaptronic. I'm the wise guy, I'm the tough guy, Germs aren't nice I want to kill them twice, got no time for getting sick, soaptronic that's my trick, coming clean soaptronic, it's a clean machine soaptronic. coming out on the album 2007 Comes Alive!