THE NETWORK BLOG

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  • 18 Jul 2017 10:20 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    Nicola Butler

    She's a well-dressed corporate legal secretary by day, but what most don't know about Nicola Baker is that after hours, she is a rural firefighter.

    Nicola has been part of the GW team for more than eight years and we thought it was high time we profiled her and the selfless community work she does.

    Nicola joined the Eudlo Bush Fire Brigade in 2009 and she is part a strong team of more than 30 volunteers who work very hard to keep Eudlo and the surrounding communities fire safe.

    The volunteers train up to twice a month and Nicola's role as the Lady Chair of the management committee sees her put a number of hours in each month working on the administration and grant writing for the essential community organisation.

    Since Nicola has been part of the team, the organisation has built and paid for a new shed, they are currently renovating their old shed and they are currently awaiting for formal notification on a federal government grant for a new command vehicle.

    Last weekend, Nicola was on duty undertaking a hazard reduction burn, where she and her team went to a local person's property to conduct a burn to reduce future fire risk and promote new vegetation.

    When asked about how often she gets called out unexpectedly, Nicola said she can go for months without a call, and then in fire season, it can be as often as every week. The last incident she was called out for was a wild fire up behind Maleny in the Conondale area in mid-May. The incident was well managed thanks to the bush fire brigade's back burning skills (and a little bit of rain from the gods also helped to keep it under control too).

    We're very proud of the work Nicola does in our community and we look forward to profiling more the work our valued GW team members and the work they do behind the scenes to make our community such a wonderful place to live.


  • 12 Jul 2017 10:22 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    Tony Hunkin receiving his USC Highest Achievement Award from award sponsor, Ken Waddington of Garland Waddington Solicitors.

    AFTER 20 odd years of owning and managing a well-known Maroochydore pharmacy, Tony Hunkin was thirsty for a new challenge and an approach by some fellow pharmacists two years ago to join them in studying law sparked an unforeseen new career path.

    With a supportive wife, their high-school aged son and daughter and a devoted German Shepherd (Gemma) by his side, Tony enrolled in legal studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2014 and he is now in his final year of a Bachelor of Laws.

    Mr Hunkin admitted that at the mature age of 44, this pursuit seemed a little scary at first and it was a long way from pharmacy but he was confident that even a few law subjects would assist him in whatever else he decided to pursue in life.

    “Despite my initial fears of taking such a big leap of faith, I’ve greatly enjoyed the steep learning curve and the student lifestyle,” Mr Hunkin said. “My wife and family have been extremely supportive and assisted me to make this big change in all of our lives.”

    A firm believer in making the most of one’s life, in 2002, Mr Hunkin was working up to 84 hours a week in his pharmacy when his first daughter was born. “My daughter’s birth was the reality check I needed and she altered my perspective on life,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “I decided to take 12 months off from the coalface and during this time, I relearned how to appreciate a non-stressful great day and not put so much emphasis on the almighty dollar,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “During this time I took up rugby and broke my collar bone in two places. I then subsequently took up hockey which saw me with a broken tibia, bone graft and several knee operations. And then I reverted to cycling, which is a whole other story!”

    As if Mr Hunkin hadn’t experienced enough sport-related injuries in his life. In October last year, fate would have him fall off his bicycle riding home from Uni.

    “I broke my neck (C2, C3), back (T4) and finger,” Mr Hunkin said. “Luckily my bike survived (the chain fell off though) and I only received relatively minor spinal cord damage - although I won’t know the extent for some time,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “This had a profound effect on myself and my family. I was in various neck braces for nearly four months, including a halo, and only managed a couple of hours sleep sitting up per night, for a lot of this time.

    “I was also unable to drive. Fortunately, my lecturers at USC were most accommodating and permitted me deferred oral exams. I studied and sat my exams for Uni in a neck brace, with considerable discomfort.

    “The accident provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my coping mechanisms and watch a considerable amount of late night TV…. and I also learnt a great deal amount about myself during this time and the comfort that food provided to me meant there was a lot more of me to learn about,” Mr Hunkin said with a smile.

    As the saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down and any doubts he was on the right path were swept away recently when Tony was awarded the Garland Waddington Solicitors Property Law Prize at the USC annual Awards for Excellence ceremony for the highest achieving student in several law subjects.

    “I was very proud of this achievement especially since my final exam in Law 206 was done in trying circumstances,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “I am also appreciative of Garland Waddington for their sponsorship of the award. The prize provided great recognition for a considerable amount of work, and hopefully a good example for my children as they pursue their academic careers.”

    Partner at Garland Waddington, Ken Waddington, said he was delighted to be able to present the inaugural excellence award to Tony, who he coincidentally knows quite well because Tony did part-time work experience with the firm last year.

    “We were fortunate enough to have Tony undertake some work experience with GW last year and he was the ideal role model of an outstanding law student,” Mr Waddington said.

    “Tony has a real enthusiasm for the profession, a passion for assisting people, ability to quickly adapt to a new work environment, and outstanding communication skills – all key qualities for a successful lawyer and team member.”

    “Once Tony completes his degree, he is required to complete PLT (practical legal training) to gain a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and we are already having the conversation with Tony about doing that with our firm.”

    Looking to the future, Mr Hunkin says he’s extremely excited about a new career in law.

    “This new career path allows me to continue to learn, assist people, apply myself to a variety of circumstances to mentally challenge myself and to improve my understanding of the way society functions,” Mr Hunkin said.

    For more information about Garland Waddington, visit www.garlandwaddington.com.au

  • 4 Jul 2017 10:27 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    With divorce rates close to 40 percent, Australia’s Family Law system has never been under greater pressure, with many cases taking up to three years to be resolved through the courts.*

    For those involved in separation, drawn out and often acrimonious proceedings have serious and lasting consequences for families, both emotionally and financially.

    In particular, highly litigious divorce and property settlements can create long-term impacts on the children affected by marriage breakdown. Research shows that these children are more likely to earn less, have babies at an earlier age, and live in multiple relationships.*

    Maroochydore family lawyer Micaela Chomley of Garland Waddington Solicitors, conducted a seminar on the new approach this month showing attendees there was now an alternate option for resolving separation disagreements, without the associated costs, delays and emotional hardship of seeking a judicial ruling.

    Ms Chomley is the first Sunshine Coast lawyer to work in the field of Collaborative Law, which supports divorcing couples to come to mutually-agreed financial and custody outcomes without court proceedings.

    “Around 40,000 children each year are affected by divorce, this approach is important in helping mimimise the devastating impact that separation can have on a family,” Ms Chomley said.

    Under the client-driven process, separating couples and their lawyers sign a Participation Agreement which ensures full transparency, respectful behaviour and a commitment not to go to court.

    “We then hold face to face meetings where separating partners and their lawyers can discuss all matters in an open, non-confrontational way, with the aim of coming to a fair settlement in the best interest of the whole family.”

    Unlike in some other dispute resolution methods, collaboratively-trained lawyers take a problem-solving approach to supporting negotiations, and provide more than just legal advice.

    “We bring in other professionals such as accountants, financial advisors, psychologists and counsellors, when necessary, to assist with whatever issues may come up along the way.”

    While the Collaborative Law approach to dispute resolution can be used by married, de facto or same sex couples when separating, it is not for everyone.

    “We find that this process works best for people who want to spare their children from the emotional damage of the breakup and create the best outcomes for their families,” Ms Chomley said.

    “The collaborative approach requires dignity and respect, so does not suit couples in abusive relationships, those with a ‘win at all cost’ mentality, or those who are not willing to be open and transparent about financial matters.”

    Garland Waddington Solicitors will host another seminar on Collaborative Law in April. For more information, go to www.garlandwaddington.com.au

    Sources
    * Australian Bureau of Statistics, Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2014, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3310.0 (25/11/2015).
    * Australian Institute of Family Studies, Family Matters No. 30 Effects of changing family structure and income on children, https://aifs.gov.au/publications/family-matters/issue-30/divorce-change-and-children

  • 20 Jun 2017 10:29 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    A growing number of Queensland couples are changing the way they separate in an attempt to do away with protracted legal battles and minimise the impact on their children.

    Emotional warfare is how separation has been described in recent times. New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics puts the 2014 divorce rate at 38%, with more than 40,000 children impacted in that year alone. *

    Courts are overwhelmed with cases in relation to matrimonial property settlements and custody of children. This means people can wait up to two years for a hearing and then have to wait again for the judgement of the Court to be given. This is a long time to be ‘on hold’ and is exhausting and expensive for everyone.

    However, there is a silver lining. Much like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s famous ‘conscious uncoupling’ approach, more people are trying to reach agreement with goodwill instead of animosity, a change which has lead to the development of a new branch of law known as Collaborate Law.

    Recently 74 Queensland lawyers underwent further training to use the Collaborative Law approach, which is considered to be the ‘friendlier’ approach to solving separation issues.

    The first Sunshine Coast based Lawyer to work in the Collaborative Law field is Garland Waddington family lawyer Micaela Chomley. She says the adversarial nature of traditional legal processes in a marriage or relationship can be detrimental to ongoing relationships.

    “Parental separation disrupts the lives of one in five young Australians*, whether that’s financially, physically or emotionally,” Ms Chomley said.

    “Parents may not realise it at the time, but they are writing the story their kids will tell about their childhood. Most people don’t want their kids to remember those years for the endless bickering that happened in and out of the Courts.

    “Couples these days realise they will always be linked by their children and, because of that, there is a desire to resolve disputes quickly and smoothly.”

    In Collaborative Law, each partner works with a specially trained Lawyer and agrees to a collaborative contract which ensures transparency and respectful behaviour.

    “We hold four-way meetings in which everyone works together and gives full and frank disclosure in relation to property and discusses what the praties want to achieve. We also discuss what is in the child’s best interest in order to come to an agreement that both parties are satisfied with,” said Ms Chomley.

    “The parents are present at all times during negotiations and are empowered to participate in their own negotiations. The clients drive the process instead of the lawyers, resulting in greater ownership of the outcome as they address their specific needs, issues and those of their families”.

    “The parties sign an agreement that the parties will not use the threat of going to Court in order to reach an agreement. This approach advantages both parties and disadvantages neither.”

    However Ms Chomley stresses that just like every family, every family law matter is unique and people should seek tailored advice for their circumstances.

    “Obtaining the correct advice at the time of your separation, or even before you separate, can minimise the devastating impact separation has on the family unit.”

    Ms Chomley will be hosting a series of free information seminars on Collaborative Law in February 2016. If you’d like to find out more and reserve your seat at a seminar, contact Garland Waddington direct on 5443 4866.

    For more information in relation to a family law matter or to obtain professional advice, visit www.garlandwaddington.com.au

    *Australian Bureau of Statistics, Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2014, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3310.0 (25/11/2015)

    *Australian Institute of Family Studies, Family Matters No. 30 Effects of changing family structure and income on children, https://aifs.gov.au/publications/family-matters/issue-30/divorce-change-and-children

  • 6 Jun 2017 10:31 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    Can the hack affect your divorce?

    While the initial shock of the Ashley Madison hack is fading from the memories of many, the families of those involved are still dealing with the aftermath.

    In August, the dating website with the slogan 'Life is short. Have an affair', was hacked, leaking more than a million Australian subscriber details onto the internet.

    The exposed affairs are leading many couples to consider what their legal rights are, according to Garland Waddington family lawyer Micaela Chomley.

    So, does having an affair or committing adultery mean one party is more favoured in divorce proceedings? Or is that just what happens in the movies?

    Ms Chomley said people may be greatly disappointed (or some greatly relieved) to hear that the release of this information will bear little or no relevance in a family law matter in Australia.
    “Since the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975, Australia is a “no fault” jurisdiction which means that a Court is not particularly interested in the circumstances surrounding the breakdown of your marriage,” Ms Chomley said.

    “Prior to 1975, if parties wanted to get a divorce, then one had to prove that there was a ground for divorce.

    “Today, if one party wants to walk away from the marriage simply because they have had enough, then provided there is 12 months of living separately, they can file for a divorce.”

    Ms Chomley said that when a relationship breaks down and family law issues arise, there is often a lot of stress and emotions that can cause physical and financial repercussions.

    “This can be life shattering for both parties and particularly for the children involved in the break up,” Ms Chomley said.

    “Every family law matter is unique and it is important you receive advice tailored to your own facts and circumstances. The number one priority for people seeking divorce is to look after the best interests of their children and to protect their assets.

    “Obtaining the correct advice at the time of your separation (or even before you separate) can minimise the devastating impact separation can have on the family unit.”

    For more information in relation to a family law matter or to obtain professional advice, visit www.garlandwaddington.com.au

  • 25 May 2017 10:32 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    Same-sex relationships can stand up in courts without marriage.

    While the same-sex marriage debate continues, a Sunshine Coast law firm has weighed in on what same-sex couples can do as an interim solution to formalising their relationship in the eyes of the courts.

    Garland Waddington Solicitors suggests same-sex couples waiting for a legislative decision on marriage equality could register their relationship with the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

    Family lawyer at the firm, Micaela Chomley said while same-sex couples were not currently afforded the right to marry, registering their relationship would formalise their de-facto status as an interim solution in appropriate circumstances.

    “I understand it’s not the same thing as getting married, however registering a relationship is a way of formally acknowledging the relationship exists and protecting the rights of both parties,” Ms Chomley said.

    “There was a recent case in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, where a same-sex couple had parted ways and couldn’t agree on a property settlement.

    “When the application for a property settlement between two men who were previously a couple was presented in court, the Judge determined that a de-facto relationship did not exist between the parties and therefore there was no jurisdiction for the Court to make Orders.

    “The judge made this decision based on one party’s argument that a de-facto relationship didn’t exist,” Ms Chomley said. “If the couple had formally registered their relationship through the Office off Births, Deaths and Marriages, they would have been deemed a de-facto couple and the outcome in Court may have been very different.

    “The same applies for hetero-sexual relationships too. If for some reason, the two parties are unable to get married, however they want to formally protect their rights, it is a real solution to formalise the relationship and protect their assets,” Ms Chomley said.

    Last week, Federal backbencher, Warren Entsch, became the first Coalition party member to introduce a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. However, it's highly unlikely the bill will be voted on before next year's election.

    Fast Facts:

    • To register a relationship it is easy and inexpensive and will formalise a de-facto relationship.
    • Registering a relationship shows a clear intention of a recognised relationship where marriage is unavailable.
    • When electing to register your relationship you can elect to receive a certificate as proof of your de-facto status.
    • Same sex or opposite sex couples, may enter into a registered relationship if: -
      • The person is not married or in a registered relationship;
      • The person is not in a prohibited relationship; and
      • One person in the proposed registered relationship has lived in Queensland for at least six months.

    It is important to get legal advice prior to entering into a registered relationship as this will have a number of impacts on other areas of your life such as health insurance (ie. your next of kin), superannuation, wills and estate planning (including family provision claims contesting a will).

    For more information or to seek advice on your own personal situation, visit www.garlandwaddington.com.au

  • 19 May 2017 10:34 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    For the past 150 years when completing a property settlement lawyers and banks have met face-to-face to check and swap documents and bank cheques.

    The party that received the documents then had to lodge them at the Land Registry to notify government authorities about the transaction.

    The commencement of the new Australia-wide PEXA e-conveyancing system will radically change the conveyancing process. Local firm, Garland Waddington Solicitors, are embracing the innovative, government-endorsed system.

    Partner, Ken Waddington, believes this new property settlement system will be faster, safer, more accurate and more efficient than past methods of property exchange and that it will benefit the entire industry.

    “There are a lot of things that can go wrong with a manual process involving the physical signing and handling of documents,” Mr Waddington said.

    “Simple errors like a misspelt or missing names, names that don’t match across documents or wrong cheque details sometimes cause settlements to fail or be delayed.

    “The new PEXA system provides an electronic online business environment for completing property transactions including electronic lodgement with Land Registries and the electronic settlement of payment of funds.

    “The benefits will include tangible time and cost efficiencies, no requirement for the exchange of physical documentation at settlement, no requirement to physically attend settlements, and a reduction in human error and settlement failure.”

    Mr Waddington confirmed Garland Waddington was now PEXA accredited and using the new system with their conveyancing clients.

    “As you can imagine, since there are no physical signed documents being exchanged there needs to be rigorous checks and security to ensure your property is not transferred without your authority,” Mr Waddington said.

    If you would like to know more about e-conveyancing or would like help with your property matter visit Garland Waddington at www.garlandwaddington.com.au

  • 20 Apr 2017 10:35 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    It's not an industry well known for altruism, but the next generation of financial planners could prove the cynics wrong if University of the Sunshine Coast student Joe Hirst is an example of his peers.

    The 20 year old third year student plans on making a difference to people’s lives by helping them with one of life’s biggest struggles: managing money.

    “To be honest, throughout my high school years, I wanted to be able to help people in some way; maybe as a paramedic, but I was never very good at science,” said Joe.

    “I achieved good grades in English and Mathematics, so when I left school, I eventually decided to study Financial Planning instead because it’s a profession where I am able to do my bit for society.

    “I believe it is a way I can help people by ensuring that their finances are optimised in the most efficient manner whilst giving ethical and sound advice to help them with their future,” Joe said.

    Joe is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), majoring in Financial Planning and Accounting part-time, and working full-time for family owned Caloundra firm, Garden Financial Services.

    He was recently awarded with a prize for being the highest achiever in his Tax and Estate Planning course at the USC Faculty of Arts and Business awards and prizes ceremony.

    Sunshine Coast lawyer and prize donor, Ken Waddington of Garland Waddington Solicitors, said he was delighted that students like Joe are the recipients of his firm’s sponsored awards.

    “I’m inspired by people like Joe because he is intelligent, not afraid to go out on a limb to reach out to people, and truly passionate about making a difference to the lives of others,” Mr Waddington said.

    “The future of the financial planning industry looks bright with students like Joe entering the workforce. He’s a credit to himself, his family, the University and his employer.”

    Garland Waddington donated five awards this year for the highest-achieving students from USC’s courses in Property Law, Retirement and Superannuation and Tax and Estate Planning.

    “For us, giving these awards is about encouraging students to achieve high standards for the ultimate benefit of their careers and future clients,” Mr Waddington said.

    For more information about Garland Waddington, visit www.garlandwaddington.com.au


  • 14 May 2013 10:37 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    Update from Our Network President: Michalle Faulkner

    As your President, I sit on the Board of the Sunshine Coast Chambers Alliance and in this capacity, share our network’s points of view and vote on key aspects of sustainable business here on the Sunshine Coast. Our membership to this group as well as our membership to the Sunshine Coast Business Council ensures that we are at the forefront of information and can table issues affecting us locally in business. I take this responsibility very seriously. It is very important to me that I can share this information back to you our members, and where we need to give our views, ask for and receive your contributions and valuable feedback.

    I will provide members with regular updates of these meetings and the outcomes:

    February 2013 Meeting:  ICN Gateway:

    Industry Capability Network (ICN) is a business network that introduces Australian and New Zealand companies to projects large and small.

    Companies are encouraged to register on the ICN Gateway for works packages that may become available in the coming months with respect to work on the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital. Companies, who aren’t registered, cannot be considered.

    CCIQ

    There was a unanimous decision at the last meeting of all collective chambers and networks represented to merge with Chamber Of Commerce And Industry | Queensland. The Sunshine Coast Chambers Alliance will now be known moving forward as CCIQ Sunshine Coast.

    What does this mean for SCBWN members?

    The chambers alliance is a group collective of representatives from each of the local business chambers of commerce as well as large networking organisations such as the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network. Merging with CCIQ ensures that we as collective network of local businesses owners (members of our respective groups) can have our regional issues gain interest at a national level. As one voice, we will have more leverage.

    Michalle Faulkner, Managing Director, EastCoast Human Resource Group

  • 5 May 2013 10:41 AM | Jane (Administrator)

    Simone Leslie has presented to millions on television and live audiences for almost two decades. She first began presenting on Good Morning Australia and other prime time programs at the age of 20, moving on to co-create and direct the company Success Partners Pty Ltd, a training and coaching business working with corporations such as Kellogg’s Australia, and public groups.

    Currently the founder and director of Neuro Success, Simone is a master Neuro Strategist and has had the privilege of working with hundreds of people over the past 15 years from the unemployed to top corporate executives, elite athletes and everyday Australians. She specialises in creating lasting change by identifying and clearing neurological blockages at the brains core programming level.

    A very natural and endearing presenter, she is transparent and truthful offering revelation and wisdom, both comical and crucial.  Simone’s authority in the area of change and results comes from years of research as well as her own personal experience in the area of overcoming and breakthrough.

    Her life message as touched on in her book, “It’s OK to be Beautiful – Heavenly Whispers to a Broken Heart”, is to clean up the core programs we run off that are stored in our brain, setting us up for a life loved, lived and fulfilled!

    "It is often said that “decisions shape our destiny,” but the real key is finding what shapes our decisions! We are each individually wired according to the programs in our brains.  These programs determine the decisions we make which affect the actions we take and the results we make.  I help individuals to step back from the picture and determine whether the programs are empowering or hindering their results.  If they are not helpful we simply rewrite them in order to run off more empowering tracks (just like a train). The key to the life we desire is the ability to renew our mind!" Simone explains.

    The above blog was sourced from Simone Leslie.

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