2016 Australian Communities Forum Recap

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Last Thursday, McCrindle Research and R2L&Associates were proud to present the Sydney Australian Communities Forum (ACF) at Customs House in Sydney. The ACF featured 15 brilliant speakers and 4 jam-packed sessions.


We began the day with tea and coffee on arrival before kicking off our first session, which focused on the research results from the Australian Communities Trends Report into Australia's not-for-profit sector. Before we launched into the findings we received a warm welcome from the honourable Catherine Cusack MLC, Parliamentary secretary to the Premier of NSW, and Professor Kerryn Phelps AM, Deputy Lord Mayor on behalf of our principal event sponsor, the City of Sydney.

SESSION 1 - introduction

Mark McCrindle opened Session 1 with an introduction to Australia's generational landscape and gave a snapshot of the key factors influencing Australian communities and some surprising findings from the just-completed Australian Communities Report. Mark provided an overview of giving in Australia, indicating that 4 in 5 Australians give financially to charities / not-for-profits, and that 1 in 4 give at least once a month.

McCrindle Team Leader of Analytics, Annie Phillips continued to share about the quantitative insights from the research, identifying the top 7 causes Australians support (Children's charities, medical research, animal welfare, disaster response in Australia, disability, homelessness and mental health), the 5 charity essentials and the top communication channels. Annie also provided an explanation of the Net Promotor Score (29) and Net Culture Score (21) for the sector, which were both very high.

Sophie Rention, Research Executive at McCrindle then communicated some of the key qualitative findings from the Australian Communities Trends Report. Sophie highlighted the key blockers (e.g. complex giving process) and enablers (e.g. personal connection) to charitable giving for Australians, as well as the next steps for charities including creating multi-tiered levels of engagement, community building, effective communication of results and fun and engaging experiences. 

We then heard from John Rose, principal at R2L&Associates about what this research means for community organisations and how they can best respond to the findings. In his insights and applications John reminded our delegates that in the midst of changes in the marketplace, trust and relevance is essential. John then presented 5 key issues for charities to keep in mind when engaging with the ever-changing supporter which included aligning, defining, communicating, engaging and leading.

Each of our delegates also received a copy of The Australian Communities Trends Infographic which contains the top line findings from the national study into Australian giving and how charities can engage.


SESSION 2 - keynotes

After a networking break over morning tea Eliane Miles, Research Director at McCrindle shared an engaging keynote presentation on Leading teams and managing change in transformative times. In the post linear, post literate and post logical workforce, Eliane reminded us that to engage and inspire our workplaces we need to ensure a culture of contribution, challenge and celebration within our teams. To attract and retain, to lead and inspire, we need to cultivate authenticity. 

Our next keynote, Josh Hawkins emphasised the importance of creativity in social media and marketing campaigns. Josh showed us that creative and fun campaigns are the ones that get cut through. Josh also inspired us to be authentic with our marketing and leadership to under 30's. Through humour, engaging videos and key takeaways, Josh's presentation reminded us that when you "Give someone a task you'll get what you ask for". But when you "Give them a vision you'll get more than you could ever ask for". 

Our final keynote speaker before lunch was Ivan Motley, found of .id The Population Experts. Specialising in using data to inform decisions and shape the future, Ivan and his team talked us through how analytics can shape the quality of education, housing, health, the environment and education. Using some practical case studies, the id. team showed us why we should be using local data to understand our communities, and how information and data can help transform communities.

SESSION 3 - streams

Stream 1: Understanding Australian Communities

In this stream Geoff Brailey, Research Executive at McCrindle began by giving an overview of the next generation of volunteers and donors, and tips on how to engage and motivate them. This was followed by Nic Bolto who encouraged us to do the hard work as leaders and how to effectively implement insights in organisations. Our last stream speaker for this session was James Ward, a Director at NBRS Architecture who showed us, through a case study, how understanding spaces and building communities can help to improve people's lives.

Stream 2: Engaging Australian Communities

In Stream 2, McCrindle Team Leader of Communications Ashley McKenzie began this session by giving practical tips and insights on how to communicate complex data in message saturated times. Following on was Salvation Army officer Bryce Davies who shared how The Salvation Army build community in areas of social challenge by creating communities focused on respect, encouragement and belonging. Our final stream 2 speaker Greg Low, co-founder of R2L&Associates gave us five essentials to make your next marketing or fundraising campaign thrive.


Following afternoon tea and some great networking, we gathered back together to hear from our last two speakers, Caitlin Barrett from Love Mercy and Andy Gourley from Red Frogs. 

Caitlin Barrett, CEO of the Love Mercy Foundation kicked off our afternoon session by telling us the engaging story of how Love Mercy was founded after Australian Olympian met Ugandan Olympian and former child soldier Julius Achon. After sharing the vision and mission of Love Mercy, Caitlin shared how they engage the community through telling personal stories, the importance of finding the right audience for the right story and telling the right details to provide an experience.  

Our last speaker for the day was Andy Gourley, founder and director of Red Frogs Australia. After having founded Red Frogs in 1997, Red Frogs is now the largest support network in Australia for Schoolies, festivals and universities. Through the use of engaging stories and hard-hitting realities, Andy effectively communicated how Red Frogs was founded and the crucial role they play in safeguarding vulnerable young people at events like Schoolies and festivals.  

We would like to thank all of our speakers and delegates for making the 2016 Australian Communities Forum a fantastic event. A big thank you to our sponsors, The City of Sydney, Pro Bono Australia, Hope 103.2 and ConnectingUp as well for your support in making this event happen.

What attendees will hear at the Australian Communities Forum 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Australian Communities Forum is happening again in Sydney on Thursday 13th October 2016.

Attendees are in for an excellent, informative and interactive day. View the full program and purchase your tickets here.

Here is an overview of what attendees can expect to hear at the event.

Keynote speakers

MARK MCCRINDLE | Principal, McCrindle Research

Understanding Australian Communities

In this opening session, Mark McCrindle will give a snapshot of the key factors influencing Australian communities and some surprising findings from the just-completed Australian Communities Report. Annie Philips, Team Leader of Analytics at McCrindle, will give an overview of the key insights that came from the national surveys and a statistical overview of giving and community engagement in Australia. Sophie Renton, Research Executive at McCrindle who managed the qualitative components of this national study, will reveal the attitudes, perceptions and priorities of Australians towards not-for-profit organisations. Finally, John Rose, principal at R2L and partners of the Australian Communities Research will discuss what this means for community organisations and how they can best respond to the findings and engage with the ever-changing supporter.

ELIANE MILES | Research Director, McCrindle Research

Leading teams and managing change in transformative times

The volunteer base of community organisations, like the workforce itself, is ageing and fast approaching the biggest intergenerational leadership transfer ever. Over the next decade, the proportion of Baby Boomers in the workforce will halve, while the number of Generation Y and Z workers will more than double. In this session Eliane will give an overview of each generation in the workforce and some analysis of their needs and expectations, as well as strategies to manage change, inspire innovation and create a collaborative and adaptive organisation.

JOSH HAWKINS | Founder, Hi Josh

Social media and under 25s; Connecting, leading and engaging

Josh is a social media expert, having received over 50 million views in the last year from his creative and engaging content. Additionally, he also works with the youth and young adults in his community and holds unique insights into how to connect with this generation of young people. In this session Josh will discuss how to create engaging social media campaigns and how to connect, lead and engage Generations Y and Z.

IVAN MOTLEY | Founder, id.

Demographic trends, future forecasts and how communities can be transformed through data

Ivan Motley is the founder of .id, the population people, specialists in demographics and experts in using data to inform decisions and shape the future. Ivan is passionate about communities and how analytics can shape the quality of their education, housing, health, environment and recreation. In this session, Ivan will share the key demographic trends shaping New South Wales and deliver a future forecast for Australia’s largest state and share case studies to show how information and data can help transform communities.

CAITLIN BARRETT | Founding CEO, Love Mercy Foundation

The Love Mercy Story

Caitlin is the CEO of Love Mercy, a foundation created by dual Olympian Eloise Wellings, to empower communities in Northern Uganda to overcome poverty caused by the horrors of war. In this session Caitlin will tell the story of how Love Mercy was founded, the inspiring work they are doing in Northern Uganda and how so many local Australians have been motivated to support global needs.

ANDY GOURLEY | Founder & CEO, Red Frogs

From idea to international; The inspiring Red Frogs Story

Andrew Gourley is the Founder and CEO of Red Frogs Australia which he started in 1997 after seeing the need to safe guard teenagers and young adults. Red Frogs is now the largest support network in Australia for schoolies, festivals and universities students. Currently the Schoolies program is located in 17 different locations around Australia and coordinates over 4000 volunteers to run. In this final session, Andy will share how an idea transformed into reality and has grown and developed to an international program run in countries such as Canada, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, and Poland.

Stream 1; Understanding Australian Communities

GEOFF BRAILEY | Research Executive, McCrindle

Understanding the next generation of volunteers and donors

A specific area of focus in the 2016 Australian Communities Report is analysis of volunteers and supporters aged under 30. In this ession, Geoff Brailey, McCrindle Research Executive will share the findings as well as give practical insights on engaging young people in community organisations and developing the leadership capacity of the next generation of staff and volunteers.

NIC BOLTO | Executive Coach and consultant

From information to application; Putting the insights to work

Nic Bolto is an executive coach and consultant, bringing expertise to the acquisition of goals that are important to organisations, to charities and to their donors. This session will draw from Nic’s expertise in working with many clients and highlight the cost of not applying insights learnt, and ways in which research findings and business insights can be effectively applied and implemented.

JAMES WARD | Director, NBRS Architecture

How architecture can build social capital

James is a Director of NBRS Architecture, an architectural firm committed to innovation in the design of life changing environments. James will outline the case study of their ‘Tiny Homes’ project backed by the research paper BISI Affordable Habitats, as well as how understanding spaces and building communities can help to improve people’s lives.

Stream 2; Engaging with Australian Communities

ASHLEY MCKENZIE | Team Leader, Communications

Communicating complex data in message saturated times

In an era of message-saturation, the challenge for organisations is to deliver quality content that will cut through the noise. In this session, Ashley McKenzie, who leads the communications strategy at McCrindle, will share tips and tactics on how communicate complex data and engaging messages to motivate and inspire audiences.

BRYCE DAVIES | Officer, The Salvation Army

Building community in areas of social challenge

As a Salvation Army officer for 22 years, Bryce will use his vast experience from working on the Bridge program focusing on Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation in both Adelaide and Brisbane, to heading up an inner city drop in space in Fortitude valley in Brisbane to share practical tips and advice on how to develop dynamic and functional communities in areas of social challenge.

GREG LOW | Co-founder, R2L

The 5 essentials to make your next marketing or fundraising campaign thrive

Greg is an expert at helping not for profit organisations with their communication – from fundraising through to brand strategy and visual communications. In this session, Greg will share how organisations can build successful fundraising, marketing and communications campaigns to build better relationships with their stakeholders and supporters.


The Program

The Australian Communities Infographic

The 2016 Australian Communities Trends Infographic

Thursday, October 06, 2016

The results of our annual longitudinal study, which analyses the effectiveness, engagement and awareness of the Not for Profit sector, will be presented at the one-day Australian Communities Forum in Sydney on October 13.

The Australian Community Trends Report delivers a clear analysis of the social context in which the Not for Profit sector is operating, and shows that Australians are a generous bunch, with four in five Australian givers (80%) giving financially to charitable organisations.

Some of the findings which are presented in the infographic below from the 2016 research, will be shared by Mark McCrindle and John Rose (R2L & Associates) at the Australian Communities Forum.

Motivation for giving

When it comes to motivation to give money to or volunteer with a charitable organisation, children and health are the top causes. Australian charitable givers are most likely to be highly motivated to give money to or volunteer for children’s charities (47%) followed by medical and cancer research organisations (46%) and animal welfare and wildlife support groups (44%). Compared to our 2015 research findings, children’s charities have overtaken health and disaster relief as the highest giving priorities in 2016.

The key decision drivers

The key decision drivers for Australian charitable givers are knowledge and trust of the organisation, which is the most significant influence on Australian givers getting involved with a charitable organisation. Almost seven in 10 Australian givers (68%) indicated that this is extremely or very significant as a motivation for getting involved. Australians are also highly motivated by organisations that make the world a better place for the less fortunate (54%) and also by their own knowledge of a need (52%).

The most important communication channels

The most important communication channels in helping Australian charitable givers to engage with causes, Not for Profit organisations and charitable organisations is through word of mouth by way of friends or family members. This was listed as the most influential channel through which Australian givers hear about and engage with charitable organisations, with 39% of Australian givers considering this to be extremely or very important. This validates the ingrained Aussie “scepticism” and our need to hear information from someone we trust in order to fully trust the information we are receiving. Websites are increasingly seen as reliable sources of information with a third (33%) of Australian givers considering these as extremely or very important to them engaging with a charitable organisation.

The Australian Communities Forum 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

On Thursday 13th October 2016, McCrindle Research and R2L & Associates are hosting The Australian Communities Forum at Customs House in Sydney. This one day event is focused on delivering to not-for-profit organisations and community focused businesses the key demographic and social trends transforming Australian communities, and how organisations can best engage in these changing times.

Held since 2012 this annual event provides compelling case studies, the latest research, practical workshops and importantly, great networking over morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Come and hear Mark McCrindle launch the 2016 Australian Communities Report, as well as engaging content and fantastic networking opportunities. This not to be missed event will equip leaders in community engagement with the latest insights into 21st Century Australian Communities.

Purchase your early bird ticket today.

OUr speakers

Mark McCrindle

Mark is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, The Morning Show, ABC News 24 and A Current Affair. 

Terrence Mullings (MC)

Terrence is a lively TV and Radio personality with a unique ability to communicate and truly connect with his audience. A regular guest on The Morning Show, he currently works as a Radio Announcer on HOPE 103.2 as well as TV presenter on Positive Hits TV/Radio. Terrence has previously been a presenter on Channel 10 (the Circle), Chanel 9 Morning and also live T.V host on TVSN. Terrence created and produced music video show: “Positive Hits,” which currently airs worldwide. Terrence is in the business of “communication” and utilises a variety of platforms: TV, Radio, Speaking Events, and even speaking from "The Pulpit ".

Andy Gourley

Andrew Gourley is the Founder and CEO of Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network. He started the Red Frog Program in 1997, after seeing the need for a chaplaincy service to safe guard teenagers and young adults. This Chaplaincy Network is now the largest support network in Australia for schoolies, festivals and universities students. Currently the Red Frog Chaplaincy program for Schoolies is located in 17 different locations around Australia and coordinates over 4000 volunteers to run its programs. 

Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways. 

Josh Hawkins

Josh is the founder and creator of Hi Josh. Which is one of those things that sounds more impressive than it actually is. He enjoys talking in third person and making YouTube videos. He made a few viral videos and now gets recognised at the local McDonalds by Luke, one of the employees. Across various social media platforms Josh has received over 50 million views in the last year, and has a global audience of about 50,000 people over YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat etc.

Nic Bolto

Nic Bolto is an executive coach and consultant specialising in entrepreneurship, strategy execution and change. Nic assignments have included senior government, corporate and not for profit change projects including Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, The Salvation Army, Bupa and the NSW Baird government with Minister Dominello's recent value rediscovery for their social health portfolio. As a Churchill Fellow, Melbourne Business School graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Nic brings significant expertise to the acquisition of goals that are important to community and the people within them, to organisations, to charities and to their donors.

Caitlin Barrett

Caitlin is the founding CEO of Love Mercy, and has a passion for Love Mercy's women in Uganda and about bringing about real change within communities in poverty. Caitlin was committed to setting up the Love Mercy Foundation when Olympic runner and Love Mercy Founding Director Eloise Wellings came back from her first trip to Uganda after meeting Julius Achon and navigated the minefields of the not-for-profit sector. Caitlin worked in a volunteer capacity for three years until becoming the first paid full-time staff member in 2015.

James Ward

James is a Director of NBRSARCHITECTURE and a member of the Executive Leadership Team. James' strength is in understanding complex situations and developing management strategies to guide the development of improved outcomes that can change the way people think and live. With a strong background in senior executive management and strategic planning in both for-profit; fast moving consumer goods and the not-for-profit industry sectors, James has been involved with many varied commercial situations.

Ashley Fell

Ashley Fell is a social researcher and Team Leader of Communications at McCrindle. As a trends analyst she understands how organisations can communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage and motivate them. From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms, content creation and event management, Ashley is well positioned to advise how to achieve cut through in these message-saturated times. Her expertise is in training leaders and teams on how to communicate across generational barriers.

Bryce Davies

Bryce has been a Salvation Army Officer for 22 years. For 9 years he worked in The Salvation Army Bridge program focusingon Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation in both Adelaide and Brisbane. In recent years Bryce has headed up an inner city drop in space in Fortitude valley in Brisbane that has evolved into a dynamic and functional community with a broad and effective raft of services. Bryce is now based in Sydney heading up a new project called “Communities of Hope” Assisting Salvation Army leaders develop welcoming and authentic community life.


Purchase your early bird ticket today.

Australian Census 2016; What you need to know

Monday, August 08, 2016

As demographers and social researchers there are a few calendar events that cause for celebration. Among them include population milestones, special data set releases and, of course, the Census. Rolling around only every 5 years, the Census provides us all with vital information about our nation’s population growth, infrastructure and future-planning needs.

In 2016 the Census will be held tomorrow, Tuesday 9th August. It has been conducted every 5 years since 1911, and is the biggest democratic activity in Australia. While July’s election counted 14 million votes, the 2016 Census will include every household, age group, resident and visitor – all 24 million of us.

So here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming 2016 Census.


This will be the most unique Census Australia has ever seen. In keeping with these technological times, 2 in 3 people will complete their form online, up from just 1 in 3 in 2011 and 1 in 10 back in 2006 (the first time there was an electronic option).


Firstly, the Census will show that our national population is growing, having hit a new record in February of this year and surpassing a population of 24 million people. Additionally, it will also show that Australia’s largest city – Sydney, has broken through the 5 million milestone.

Not only will the Census show that our population is growing, but also that we are ageing. Our population profile will no longer be a “population pyramid”, because for the first time there will be more Australians aged over 55 than under 20.

So the Census will show that our population is growing, ageing and as a result, it will show that we are moving. For the first time this Census will reveal that one in four Australian households live in townhouses or apartments rather than detached houses – the highest figure ever, up from just one in ten in 1966.


This year there will be a change to the religion question with the option of “No religion” now appearing at the top of that question rather than at the bottom, so it might attract some more numbers.

Additionally the question asked of women: “How many babies has she ever given birth to” states “live births only”, but will now include stillbirths and give acknowledgement of that loss And the question: “Is the person male or female” - will allow an alternative blank box for those who identify with neither gender.


Like participating in the election, it is compulsory to complete the Census. But for everyone in the country, not just citizens or residents. The Census and Statistics Act takes sitting the Census very seriously, with fines for non-completion after receiving an order to complete incurring a fine of $180 per day, and false answers can attract a fine of $1800.

But the good news is that the Act takes privacy very seriously as well and answers cannot be divulged by the ABS to anyone – even government agencies. Confidentiality is assured.


If we thought we had to wait a while for the election results, be prepared for a longer wait for the Census findings. It will be analysed at record speed, but that still means a wait of 8 months, April 2017, with the full results not coming out until 2018!

Making Sense of the Census

Friday, August 05, 2016

It comes around once every five years and next Tuesday night, the census will count 10 million dwellings, making it the biggest in history. While the information helps to piece together where we live and what we do, changes to this year’s survey have sparked concerns over privacy. But that isn’t the only change. Faith is now in the spotlight with experts predicting Australia could be losing it’s religion.

How is this year’s census different?

The big change is the number of people expected to fill out the census form online or on a device. Such as this era five years ago, it was available as an e-census but less than one third filled it in that way. This year it is expected that more than two thirds will go for the online version.

How have the questions changed?

The religion question has changed, it used to list all the different religions and denominations and at the very bottom it said ‘no religion’. ‘No religion’ is now going to be the first option because a lot of people are going to select that. Nonetheless, as last time (where 61% chose Christianity in one form or another) it will probably be in the majority, but may fall a little bit.

For the first time the ABS is keeping some personal data, what about privacy?

People do worry about privacy and those names and details being kept for four years, but it’s for further ongoing analysis of where people live or how they move, age or people born in a certain year and further analysis of the data. The ABS or the Census have a pretty good track record of data security and I’ve even looked up the Census Act and there are serious penalties for people who in any way reveal data, so I think we can relax that it will be kept secure.

Are There are going to be new jobs included that weren’t there before?

If we even think of the five years since the last census, jobs like App Developer, Cyber Security Professional or Drone Pilot are new jobs that have emerged. I’m sure we will find a lot more jobs rather than just teacher and nurse in the Census under your occupation this year.

The Shopper's Pick: Understanding Australia's new village green

Thursday, July 14, 2016

This year we were delighted to write up and design the third and latest report in the Trolley Trends Series, ‘The Shoppers Pick’ for Woolworths Limited. From developing the survey through to conducting the analysis, this report is the perfect blend of quality research with segmentation and visuals, making the research easy to consume.

With 1 in 5 (20%) Australian supermarket customers going to the supermarket at least once a week, the report reveals that a record number of people (44%) consider the local shopping centre to be central to community life and has truly established itself as the new village green – a place for connection and engagement with the wider community, perhaps even more so than the local pub, school or community centre.

It is the theme of local which is clearly the key message of ‘The Shopper’s Pick’, which provides a unique look into modern Australia’s living, eating and shopping habits today.


As Australia becomes increasingly connected to global economies and new technologies, there is an equal if not stronger desire among shoppers to support Australian made products and local growers. It is increasingly important to Australian shoppers to know where their food comes from.

More than half of Australian shoppers (52%) state that buying local food is extremely or very important to them. In fact, around a quarter of shoppers prefer to purchase meat and poultry, bread and grains, and seafood and fish that are sourced locally in their own region rather than sourced further afield in their own state or within another region in Australia.


Australians are impacted in different ways by the changing seasons. Australia’s Seasonal Personalities explores the different personalities of Australians and the impact seasons have on their lifestyle. Which Seasonal Personality are you?


Australians are becoming increasingly health conscious and aware of the foods they consume. This trend towards healthy eating is demonstrated in the increase of health foods being included by Australians in their weekly shop.

Just over half of shoppers (52%) buy health food products weekly (i.e. sugar free, additive free, gluten free, dairy free, organic, raw, salt free or vegan), with sugar free products the most likely to be on Australians’ shopping lists and purchased by just over half of shoppers (51%), followed by organic and raw foods (both at 35%), and additive free foods (27%).


Australians are a nation of savvy shoppers, who seek products that are value for money. Nearly 7 in 10 shoppers (69%) state that buying on discount is extremely or very important to them. These values are reflected in the ingredients they purchase for meals cooked at home, with 99% of Australian shoppers saying price is an important factor they take into consideration. As part of being savvy shoppers, Australians are also creative savers. Almost 6 in 10 shoppers (58%) save money by purchasing groceries based on weekly specials, while just over half (52%) save money by writing a shopping list and sticking to it. Stocking up and bulk-buying are two other ways Australians save money, with just over half of shoppers (53%) currently saving money by stocking up on discounted non-perishables.

This report follows on from the 2014 Trolley Trends Report which focused on the increasing importance of ‘Fresh’ amongst the Australian population. The report also found that one of the most common community connections for Australians is the local shopping centre. To access the Future of Fresh report, please click here.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016


As Australia’s social researchers, we take the pulse of the nation. We research communities. We survey society. We analyse the trends. And we communicate the findings.

Every Tuesday we release a trend about Australia for #TuesdayTrend. Be sure to follow, share and interact with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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