Archive for the 'News' Category

Squash Statistics Infographic released by Sydney Squash Academy

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, October 14th 2017, In celebration of World Squash Day, The East Coast Squash Academy is excited to release the most all-inclusive infographic of squash statistics representing the history of squash, its massive global appeal, fun facts and interesting trivia.The Squash Statistics Infographic compresses 187 years of the sport’s history into exciting bite-size morsels of highlights outlining the benefits of squash, statistical and historical data from around the world, celebrating both male and female squash players.

“Squash is one of the world’s most misunderstood sports and our goal releasing this visually exciting infographic is to encourage more people to experience the fun, excitement and health benefits of the game,’ explains Aaron Frankcomb, The Academy’s founding director and head squash professional.

“Worldwide, squash is played by over 20 million people with Australia leading the world with nine gold medals making it the most successful squash nation in Commonwealth Games history. Squash welcomes people of all ages and social groups, it is not just for celebrities and high rollers.” Mr Frankcomb said.

“I don’t know of another sport that challenges your physical ability, technical skill and reflexes as well as combine strategic intent imagination and mental strength and toughness like squash does.” declares Peak Performance Strategist and faculty member, Dr Marc Dussault.
The infographic was created for public distribution to expand the sport’s reach and exposure, please feel free to share it on social media with a backlink to the Academy’s website where more than 100 original references are listed.

To view the Squash Statistics Infographic click “HERE”

________

For more information, please contact:

The East Coast Squash Academy

Founded in 2011 when Aaron Frankcomb retired from the Professional Squash Tour, the East Coast Squash Academy set out to create a business model to expand the presence of squash within local communities surrounding squash centres. The first installation was at Willoughby Squash Club where Frankcomb was the club’s resident squash pro until early 2017.

Since inception, the Academy has produced some stellar results including: Attracting a handful of junior players with aspirations of going on the professional (PSA) tour. Its junior program has the biggest contingent of players on the NSW Squash Junior ranking list, with players on the NSW junior state teams, Australian junior teams and Australian senior players. The Academy has developed NSW and Australian Junior Champions.

The Academy has been home base to two full time senior players that have reached careers highs of top 240 in the world on the Men’s PSA Tour. Its best female professional reached a top world ranking of 130.

The junior program has boasted (pun intended) over 500 children participating in weekly squads and training sessions. Memberships and participation in squads increased by 100% and 300% respectively and tournament registrations reached at an all-time high.

Aaron Frankcomb, The East Coast Squash Academy

Tel: 0424 474 001
Email: Aaron@EastCoastSquashAcademy.com.au
Website: EastCoastSquashAcademy.com.au
Facebook: East Coast Squash Academy

Aaron Frankcomb

Aaron Frankcomb was ranked in the top 100 professional squash players for 8 years, 4 years in the top 50, winning 3 PSA titles. He represented Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was a Junior Champion in all age groups including 2 times in the Under 19 category and holder of scholarships in the Tasmanian and Australian Institutes Of Sport.

He now coaches professionally and remains Sydney’s top ranked squash player and is still considered within the top 5 players in Australia.

Contact details:
Tel: +61 0424 474 001
Email: Aaron@EastCoastSquashAcademy.com.au
Website: www.AaronFrankcomb.com.au 
Facebook: East Coast Squash Academy

Dr Marc Dussault

Marc is the Academy’s Peak Performance Strategist and an avid squash enthusiast (addict). In his mid 40s, he reached the top ranks of squash masters with less than 5 years of competition using his signature techniques of deliberate practice.

When not on court coaching or doing high intensity drills and routines, Marc is the Exponential Growth Strategist mentoring business owners and entrepreneurs who seek to become champions in business.

Website: www.ExponentialGrowthStrategist.com

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Why Australians Will Never Understand US Gun Laws

Click here to see a great article on Why Australians Will Never Understand US Gun Laws.

 

 

 

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Australian fibromyalgia research explores the benefits of floatation therapy

Great news for fibromyalgia sufferers residing in Melbourne, Australia!

Back in 2012, a Swedish fibromyalgia international research initiative shone a light of hope in the dark tunnels of this often confusing disorder. At first, the findings were met with some scepticism, but soon, as more fibromyalgia sufferers joined the study, the light got brighter.

The Swedish Fibromyalgia Research group demonstrated compelling evidence that floatation REST (Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy) “provided significant temporary reductions in pain, muscle tension, stress, anxiety and sadness, as well as significant increases in relaxation, feelings of well-being, energy and ease of movement.”

Improvement in the quality of sleep was also reported. The real beauty of the fibromyalgia research was that participants reported positive health benefits.

Holy Moly! What’s floatation therapy, you ask? Well, you might not remember when you were in your mother’s womb, but a foetus floats in a special liquid called the amniotic fluid. That’s what flushes out when a woman’s water break. A miracle of life! And it’s what made us feel warm and cosy inside the protective womb.

A floatation tank is intended to mimic that experience. As you float in magnesium-enriched water, you feel totally relaxed, and your body is free of the effects of gravity. The combination of zero gravity and relaxing magnesium salt in a protective environment that is free of outside stimuli can work wonders for many patients.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia and swallowing more drugs makes you gag, then register to participate in the Floatation Fibromyalgia Project. If you haven’t tried floatation therapy before, you’re in for a treat! It is totally relaxing, soothing and peaceful. You can learn more about the Fibromyalgia research project here:

http://www.floatationtankmelbourne.com.au/fibromyalgia-floatation-project-ffp.html

This could be just what you need to get those fibromyalgia demons off your back…!

 

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Aussies can enter the A$2 Billion Powerball lottery frenzy!

What would YOU do with A$2 Billion in lottery winnings? That is the new jackpot for the US-based Powerball lottery…

According to today’s Sydney Morning Herald article, you can get in on in the action.

I am not a gambler or a lottery ticket buyer, but A$2 Billion jackpot is too much to resist… Ya gotta be in it to win it!

If you win because of this blog post, please send me a small, $1million gratuity – you’ll be more than able to afford it!

 

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Australia’s First Women’s Squash Camp for Women by Women

PRESS RELEASE

Australia’s First Women’s Squash Camp
For Women By Women

Sydney, 13 July 2015: Squash a gentleman’s sport? Not anymore. The East Coast Squash Academy based in Sydney, NSW is changing the face of squash with the announcement of Australia’s first All Women’s Squash Camp created for women by women.

“There is no reason why more girls and women shouldn’t play squash” explains Aaron Frankcomb, East Coast Squash Academy’s Founder. “Squash is accessible to all levels of physical ability, age, and level of ambition. In the past year, we have more than doubled the participant of female players and thought the time was right to create an all-female squash camp.”

The idea for an all-female camp came from other sports that used this approach as an introduction to their sport – so why not consider it for squash? All-girls or all-women squash camps have been run successfully overseas, but never in Australia – UNTIL NOW.

The camp will feature an impressive all-female faculty, including current World #31 (and former World #13) Donna Urquhart, East Coast Squash Academy Assistant Professional Moana Gray (former World #131), and top USA College Player Tiffany Hau.

As its name suggests, this Women’s Squash Camp is exclusive to female players and structured to accommodate first-timers to the sport as well as competitive players. Senior and masters players are expected to be the majority of participants with the encouragement of mother-daughter registrations.

”It’s always super exciting for me to come to a squash centre and see women competing with men on court, no matter the skill level or age,” Tiffany Hau candidly admits. “Even back home in the U.S., camps like this are either not running or are not marketed enough. It’s a shame for the sport and for women who feel discouraged and ignored in a sport dominated by men. I’m hoping this unique initiative can jump start the growth of women players in squash, at both the club and professional levels.”

Don’t for a second think this is not a serious squash camp! Participants will be on court for more than 12 hours and will also be privy to two hours of sports psychology training by the Academy’s mental toughness coach and resident faculty member, Dr. Marc Dussault.

Dr Dussault’s keynote presentation “How to avoid mental mistakes to instantly improve your squash game” has been a game changer for players across Australia and Canada. The mental aspect of the game is one of the four pillars reinforced by the Academy, along with technical, physical, and strategic development.

The camp will run the weekend of Saturday and Sunday August 22nd-23rd at Willoughby Squash Club (443 Willoughby Road, Willoughby NSW 2068).

Included in the registration fee is all the equipment needed as well as two catered meals and healthy snacks throughout the weekend. Expected to be scheduled only once a year, this is the ideal opportunity for girls and women to  step into the world of squash. The inaugural pricing (early bird pricing is A$495) has been set to entice newcomers to the sport.

-       ENDS –

MEDIA INQUIRIES AND SQUASH CAMP BOOKINGS

Contact Tiffany Hau at tiffany@eastcoastsquashacademy.com.au or at +61 0406 350 161.or go online at http://www.eastcoastsquashacademy.com.au/womens-squash-camp.html

East Coast Squash Academy

Founded 4 years ago by Aaron Frankcomb, the East Coast Squash Academy is based out of Sydney, NSW. And now operates in two locations, the Willoughby Squash Club and the Bondi Waverley Squash Club. The Academy works with players of all levels, from social players to high performance players on the PSA tour providing opportunities for juniors to masters players to be coached and compete at their level of proficiency.

This year, the Academy had 22 juniors ranked on the New South Wales Junior Rankings, two at number one in their divisions.

Aaron Frankcomb

(m) +61 0424 474 001
(e) aaron@eastcoastsquashacademy.com.au
(w) www.AaronFrankcomb.com.au
(w) www.EastCoastSquashAcademy.com.au

_________________________________

 Donna Urquhart

Donna Urquhart (Yamba, NSW) is current World #31 and former World #13. She has won 8 titles while on the tour. In addition, she has represented Australia at the Commonwealth Games, earning a bronze medal.  As a junior, she won 5 titles and came runner-up at both the Scottish and British Junior Opens. Donna is still competing on the tour and will be playing on home soil at the Victoria Open and Australian Open before coming to Sydney to coach the Women’s Camp!

_________________________________

 Willoughby Squash Club

Willoughby Squash Club has been Sydney’s premier squash club for over 30 years. Boasting 10 singles courts and Sydney’s only regulation championship sized doubles courts. Willoughby is also a site for Australia’s #1 squash store, with the largest selection of squash racquets, shoes, and accessories; the club also has an onsite restringing service.

(w) www.WilloughbySquash.com.au
(e) squash@bigpond.com.au
(t) +61 02 9958 1399
(a) 443 Willoughby Road, Willoughby NSW 2068

_________________________________

 Bondi Waverley Squash Club

Bondi Waverley is a member-run club located in the heart of Bondi Junction. A beautiful four-court centre and bar, Bondi Waverley Squash Club has entered teams in Sydney’s pennant competition for over 40 years. In addition to courts, the club is also available for functions with a spacious bar and lounge, with pool tables and poker machines. The club is now the second location for the East Coast Squash Academy and hosts annual tournaments as well as regular programs for all skill levels and age groups.

(i) www.BondiSquashClub.com.au
(e) BondiSquashClub@optusnet.com.au
(t) +61 02 9387 1452
(a) 8 Denison Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022

 

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BRW Rich Women 2015

This year’s list of the BRW Rich Women is out. This is the list of self-made women, inherited wealth recipients not included.

Check out this cool, interactive graphic!

BRW Richest self-made women

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Protect Your Dog!

I just read a shocking blog post about graffiti vandals tagging properties to alert “robbers” to steal dogs for fighting…  If you have a dog or love dogs and see graffiti like this – alert the homeowner immediately!

Below is an infographic for you if you’re a fellow dog lover!

Woofs of Wisdom Infographic

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So-called “sexting” without consent is now an offence in Victoria, according to MSN.com.au.

From today, anyone who maliciously or deliberately spreads intimate images of another person – or threatens to do so – faces prosecution under two new offences.

According to the MSN.com.au article, the ban applies to intimate images of anyone under the age of 18 as well as images of adults without their consent.

  • Those who illegally spread such images can be jailed for up to two years.
  • Those who threaten to distribute them can be jailed for up to one year.

The new laws also introduce exceptions to child pornography offences so those under 18 will not be prosecuted or placed on the sex offenders’ register for consensual, non-exploitative sexting.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said it was important the law kept up with changing technology. “Previously, the law provided only limited protection against malicious distribution of intimate images and this behaviour can cause considerable harm to victims, especially when images go viral,” he said in a statement.

This is a great first step in protecting our online privacy.

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Government Eavesdropping – responses

I recently emailed and posted a link to a petition to stop the government from eavesdropping on all our emails and phone calls and it got a lot of responses – some of them noted below – add your comments below and let’s keep the dialogue open!

____________________

Glad to see you are using your rule of “No Politics” as a guideline not a panacea.  I know this is a rare exception for you and that is good.  I think you have chosen well in having the balls to put your business behind this.  It shows strength, leadership and care on a topic we can all back.  I was not sure that you were willing to take that risk.  I have more TRUST and respect that you have the backbone to make that stand now that I see this about you.

History proves without taking action to use appropriate negative feedback loops and without sufficient accountabilities recognised authorities eventually fail to have a conscience and fail to serve, which is “How Civilisations Fail”, as proven time and again historically (refer to Jarad Diamond’s book “How Civilisations Fail”).

Cheers
Andrew B.

____________________

Done!

Thank you, Marc. Glad you have a social conscience.

Of course, it is our own fault. We have tolerated our governments covert dealings for years and perversely justify our unknowing as integral to our interests.

Terrorism spells fear for a weak politician. It is the Shadow – small as this seems now – that arises and engulfs when we abrogate responsibility.

One day when Sunshine comes – when governments disband their CIA’s – we will know what we are all up to and earning, have friends with, and we will wonder what the fuss was about.

Kind Regards,

Nicholas B-Y

____________________

Marc,

I am impressed with much of your work, but I’m disappointed at what appears to be naivety, or self-interest with respect to this issue.

You are a clever man, how would you track down these extreme Islamist terrorists people before they strike?

Were you aware that Australia is the most potent source of home grown extreme  Islamist terrorists in the Western world?

Our intelligence agencies have averted a number of attacks on significant targets which could have cost hundreds and thousands of lives. The people who get seduced into extremist Islamist terrorism are home grown Australians. They live here amongst us, using our internet to connect and share extreme views, recruit others, and plot terrorist attacks to kill their fellow Australians. If we allow their numbers to grow amongst us we could one day become the next Iraq where the ISIL mass murdering hundreds and thousands of non-believers to take over lands and create a Islamist Caliphate.

What would you suggest is the most effective way to find these people before lives are lost?

You talk about loosing our privacy, but what does that mean? Why should we be concerned if a law enforcement agency maintains records of online activities? How is this going to affect me?  I’m a law abiding citizen. The bigger online threats we should be concerned about are those threats from online fraud, distributed access denial attacks, etc.

I agree that the cost and logistics of government’s proposed approach needs to be thought through, but in the absence of a better way to track down extremists, I think it’s the right thing to do.

Correct me if I’m wrong but surely the only people to fear their data being stored are those who have something to hide from authorities.

So, what is your reason for running this campaign to stop the legislation? Did not know that Australia is such a potent source of extreme views, or do you have a better way to find them, or is there something you have to hide from the Authorities?  If you have a better way, why not share it with us?

Kind Regards,

Malcolm L.

____________________

Hi Marc to fix the problem we have with this internet reading is that there are 15 million people online in australia so all we have to do is for 3 months just talk about guns bomb making killing etc etc and try downloading rubbish like this and that will give the Federal police ASIO etc enough work to last them like 12yrs of flat out understaffed work and it will just go in the too hard basket reverse psychology

John G.

____________________

The statements below are incorrect. Reading emails etc without a warrant is not what is proposed.

John L.

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Imagine if ANYONE could read ALL your personal emails and listen to ALL your private phone calls…

Imagine if ANYONE
could read ALL your personal emails and
listen to ALL your private phone calls?!?!
 
I am not into “causes” – but I can’t let the privacy pirates get away with this.
I received this information from Avaaz.org and believe we need to come together to ensure this doesn’t happen:Phone TappingGeorge Brandis is trying to rush through a plan to monitor ALL internet traffic in Australia. Mandatory metadata retention would mean that every phone call, every tweet, every email would be stored and law enforcement would be able to access it without a warrant. It’s a huge privacy breach, but we can stop this plan before it becomes law.
The government is counting on us not understanding exactly what the policy threatens — but the same ISP companies that will be burdened with collecting the data are some of the most vocal opponents to the plan. One of the bill’s authors, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has opposed similar moves in the past and as the founder of the Internet company, Ozemail, he knows the negative impact the bill will have.
Let’s overwhelm Malcolm Turnbull with a call to fight within Cabinet to scrap this over-reaching plan.
Sign the petition now to stop the snooping.
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/asio_in_your_email_2/?baiPCgb&v=43546

Collecting and storing huge amounts of data on citizens is a radical move. Brandis claims that the new measures are necessary to protect us from the threat of terrorism, but current laws provide intelligence agencies with more than enough information, while maintaining strict rules on privacy. And now Tony Abbott appears to have massively broadened the scope of the proposed scheme.

Telco’s don’t want this plan to go ahead either. The collection and storage of so much information may add up to 100 terabytes of data a day. It’s also extraordinarily expensive and is estimated to cost $500 million for each provider — a cost that will inevitably be passed on to customers.

Malcolm Turnbull was critical of the previous Labor government’s plans for mandatory data retention and has said he is “absolutely committed to individual liberty and privacy”.

Let’s keep Turnbull accountable to his previous statements — sign the petition now.
As a community, we have to come together to protect the freedom of all citizens in this digital age, we can’t let them get away with this.

If you don’t stand up and be counted NOW, you can’t then whinge about the government you’ll tracking and monitoring you 24 hours a day, seven days a week – secretly.

All we’re asking is that you take 10 seconds to click on the petition.

If you want to do more than that, “your share” of the solution would be to promote this through social media and/or your email lists as I have done to TENS OF THOUSANDS of fellow Aussies and let’s stop this dead in its tracks – NOW while we still can.

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More Australians working from home

Today’s post is an interesting infographic showing more Australians are working from home with as many as half of Australia’s working population now identified as ‘digital workers’, using the internet to work from home or on the go. New research reveals it actually enhances the productivity of employees through increased flexibility, but at the cost of their independence and the ability to shut “off” from work.
SOHO, Working From Homw, ACMA, Infographic

Because it can be very lonely, remote workers need support mechanisms to make up for the physical isolation they find themselves in. Being part of a MasterMind Group helps.

A big thank you to Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours in Melbourne for forwarding this to me so I could share it with you. If you come across stuff like this, send it to us at info @ AustralianBlogs.com.au.

 

 

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Car Trends in Australia

In Australia, $78.4bn is spent on cars every year, compared to $2.2bn on public transport. A number of trends are in evidence.

Fuel Efficient Subaru Liberty

Subaru Liberty

Cars are becoming more fuel efficient since petrol prices stubbornly refuse to fall. The Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla and Holden Cruze all sell well.

The Subaru Liberty is one of the most fuel efficient petrol engine medium-sized cars available. Diesel vehicles are becoming more attractive now that they are cleaner, quieter and more efficient.

Brad Wielstra, the Sales Manager for one car dealer, said, “Fuel efficiency is becoming a more frequently asked question.” Years ago, he remarked, people purchased large cars because they were safer, but small cars are now just as safe.

In 2011, 46,980 passenger and light commercial (PLC) vehicles were stolen in Australia, more than the year before. A car is stolen every ten minutes.

Thefts can be for short-term use, such as joyriding, or profit, with the former category comprising 71 percent of cases. The cars most often stolen for short-term benefit were the Hyundai Excel X3 and Holden Commodore VN and VT. The cars most frequently stolen for profit were the Holden Commodore VT, VS and VW.

Most short-term thefts take place between 8pm and midnight with peaks on Fridays and Saturdays. Vehicles stolen for profit are usually not recovered because they are rebirthed or stripped for parts. The number of cars stolen from outside homes has increased significantly in the last three years, and now represents nearly half of thefts. The doors of 20 percent of stolen cars were unlocked. The contents of a car can provoke theft, with the most-stolen items including work tools, sunglasses, smart phones and audio equipment.

Volkswagen Up

Volkswagen Up

70 percent of cars are fitted with an immobiliser, with this feature being standard in the Volkswagen Up. It’s possible to purchase a used Volkswagen Up at carsales. Given the prevalence of immobilisers, thieves break into homes. Ray Carroll, the executive director of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, said, ”Nine times out of 10 the keys will be sitting on top of someone’s fridge or in the fruit bowl, then you can just drive away.”

When it comes to colour, Ford customers in the United States prefer the classic core colours of black, white, grey and silver. French and Italian motorists are keen on cream-coloured vehicles. The Irish gravitate to silver. In Denmark, black is preferred, while in Belgium the choice is grey. Almost half the vehicles sold in Turkey are white. Australians are sportier, living as they do a more active lifestyle, and they choose blue and intense citrus colours while prestige buyers choose richer metallics.

Emily Lai, Ford’s Colour and Materials Design Manager for Australia, said the country’s climate was bright and rich, which produced an intensely coloured landscape. She added that with Australia’s economy being healthy, people were more able to keep abreast of fashion. In Sydney and Melbourne, people prefer sporty colours and sophisticated metallics, while in the tropical north, customers choose lighter colours that reflect heat and provide a psychological perception of cool. Government and fleets prefer the more traditional colours of white, silver and blue.

In 2012, there were 94 fatalities involving cars on the roads of Australia, with the number falling for some years. 67 percent occurred on rural roads. 77 percent of the victims were male. 30 percent of people who died were not wearing a seatbelt, a point emphasised by the crash that killed Princess Diana: the three people who died weren’t wearing seatbelts, but the sole survivor was. 40 percent of fatal crashes involved alcohol or drugs. In 27 percent of cases, a car was speeding or otherwise driving dangerously.

Anyone wishing to follow the trends will buy a fuel efficient, small, citrus-coloured vehicle with an immobiliser. To avoid theft, keep the doors locked, don’t leave enticing items on display, don’t own a Hyundai Excel X3 or a Holden Commodore and don’t leave your keys in an obvious place. To avoid becoming a fatality statistic, wear a seatbelt and don’t drink and drive.

 

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Australian Moon

The video below is from an Australian Astrographer, Colin Legg. The video won first prize in the animation category and the filming used a number of special techniques and captures some unique or unusual events such as:

1.    Comet Lovejoy
2.    Exploding Meteor and vapor train
3.    A Total Lunar eclipse from start to finish

To see some stunning astronomical photos click on the hyperlink. This site runs a competition for their calendar each year. The link shows the entries and the winners.

Attached is a shot of the moon taken by Ray Keefe from his own 25cm Newtonian reflector telescope with a Canon 400D camera.

The square kilometre array in Australia will be a key part of an expansion in our ability to look in more detail at the universe about us.

SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) will be using it once it is online and there is a detailed explanation for the technically minded in this IEEE article by the new head of SETI . The movie Contact is a popular film based on the life of Jill Tartar who headed SETI for most of its existence. (They did extrapolate a bit).

One thing most people have not considered is the ability for many researchers to get data from the array at the same time. Because each antenna has its own feed and can be accessed independently, many different parts of the sky can be searched simultaneously by combining these feeds together mathematically in different ways. The only restriction is that the dishes can only point in one direction at a time. But within their pickup zone everything is potentially accessible at once. This is the one of the most advanced applications of aperture synthesis undertaken so far.

And good thing we are doing the NBN because the ASKAP will generate massive amounts of data that will need to be moved to researchers all over the world!

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How To Choose Car Insurance That’s Right For You

Choose The Right Car Insurance

Let’s cut to the chase; buying car insurance can be confusing.

Whether you’re a new driver looking to buy it for the first time, or you’re an experienced driver looking to renew your policy, all you want to do is find the right policy that will give you enough confidence that you’ve got the cover you need, at a price you can afford.

But, with so many insurance policies around, how do you know that the car insurance you’ve found is right for you?

Well, you’re not alone; because year after year, thousands of Australians are left unsure whether they’ve actually got the right car insurance or not.

So, to help ensure you get the right policy when you come to buy your car insurance, here are a few thoughts that will help you to feel more in control when you do so:

1. Shop Around

Whether you’re looking to buy the latest fashions or the latest technologies, everyone knows that the best way to get the best deal on any product or service, is to shop around – and this should be no different when it comes to buying car insurance.

But, one of the best things about shopping around for insurance is that it also allows you to talk to more people.

Now, I know what you’re thinking; “I don’t want to talk to more people, I just want to buy car insurance!” Well, hear me out – because if you take time to shop around for it, it will not only help you to find out about the different kinds of policies and prices out there, but it will also help you to find out more about what everything means.

Mystifying phrases like ‘voluntary excess’, ‘fully comprehensive’ or ‘third-party-only’ start to become less of a concern as you figure out what they mean, how they affect your safety and yes, what they cost.

2. Know What Brings The Cost Down

When you think about it, car insurance is a pretty simple process; if you’re a young driver with a fast car and not much experience, it’s going to be more expensive than your dad who has been driving his Ute for years.

But, there are lots of things you can do to bring the dollars down, and most of it is commonsense – when you see it from the insurer’s position.

Like increasing your voluntary excess, for example. Voluntary excess is the amount you as the driver must contribute to the repairs or damages if you get a bump. Currently, most insurance companies set a fairly standard amount, but if you can afford to pay more, then upping the amount that you agree to pay yourself if you do have an accident will lower the risk on the insurer – lowering your premiums as a result.

Second, think hard about how much mileage you’re going to do in a year. If you’re never going on a long roadie from Sydney to the Gold Coast, don’t include that kind of mileage in your yearly assessment – the fewer miles you drive, the lighter it is on your bank account.

Next, always garage your car or try and make sure you keep it in a secure location. Being locked up in a garage means you lock down fewer premiums, and if your car also has an alarm or tracking system (car electronics), these will also be useful for helping to lower your payments.

Fourth, steer away from motors that have super tuned engines, exotic modifications and any other items that may be expensive for the insurer to replace.

Last, pay in one go – saving monthly interest can mean significant reductions and you may find you get one or two months off for a lump sum up front.

3. Read The Small Print

The cheapest policy is not always the cheapest in the long run – or even the short run for that matter.

Look for things like how much legal cover is provided, and find out about breakdown cover and whether it is provided or not. Also ask questions such as “will I be offered a courtesy car if I do break down?” – because having one will certainly help to make your life easier in the unfortunate event that you’re left without your car for a few days.

Also, make sure you think about things like windshield cover. With some companies it’s a free replacement, while others may ask you to pay a portion up front.

And last but not least, never be afraid to ask simple, silly questions when looking to buy insurance. There are so many companies out there, such as Budget Direct Car Insurance Australia who will be more than happy to help you with any questions – big or small – that you might have. At the end of the day, the more you ask, the more you will know, which will all help to ultimately get the right policy – for you.

Lara Anderson, an experienced freelance writer, wrote this article. Lara specialises in providing useful and engaging lifestyle advice for others.

 

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Australian Trends in Hybrid Cars

The move to more fuel-efficient vehicles looks to be here to stay. At the Detroit auto show in 2010, there were no trucks or SUV debuts, and Stefan Sielaff, Audi’s chief designer, said, “I have a feeling that there is a paradigm shift.” Australia certainly requires such vehicles. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission stated that Australia would probably become ever more reliant on imports of refined fuel.

Worldwide, sales of hybrids will increase eightfold by 2018, according to the research firm, IHS Automotive. Pure electric vehicles, it added, could be only two-thirds as popular. They can run for only between 20 and 50 miles and have larger batteries. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation said that electric and hybrid cars would play an increasing role in the fuel industry within the next three decades, eventually becoming the dominant element.

Australia could become a centre of excellence for electric and hybrid vehicles. A government-sponsored plan, Automotive Australia 2020 – a Technological Roadmap, said that Australia had some strengths in the area but recommended 32 measures to secure the future of this aspect of the automotive industry.

Among these were the development of supercapacitors that store energy and more efficient and lightweight batteries and electric motors. The report predicted consolidation and restructuring of Australian companies involved and greater competition from low-cost producers such as Russia, India, Brazil and Thailand.

Volkswagen (VW) was initially reluctant to enter the market for cars using electric power, but will now deploy a “considerable” proportion of its $9.2bn annual budget in this area. It will launch a minimum of two high volume hybrids over the next few years. Its subsidiary, Porsche, will act similarly, so there will be sporty hybrids targeted at wealthier customers. VW’s electric car chief, Rudolf Krebs, said that hybrids were a trend that could not be reversed.

Toyota Prius Green Motoring Trends in Hybrid Cars

Toyota Prius

Australians have been less enamoured of hybrids than was foreseen. In 2012, Peter McGregor, Toyota’s Australian Divisional Manager, said sales had fallen short of expectations, but hoped the situation would improve due to a facelifted Prius, a $1,000 price cut for the Prius and the new Camry hybrid.

Hybrids, he said, were a vital component of the future of his company and the industry. The global marketing information company, JD Power, said that reductions in cost would be key to converting interest in hybrids into sales.

As reported by the Herald Sun, hybrids could already be benefiting from the trend. Glass’s Managing Director, Santo Amoddio, declared that hybrids were already selling more than twice as more to fleets than to private buyers but were now increasingly on the shopping lists of private buyers due to growing awareness and appreciation of their reliability. He saluted Toyota’s re-pricing of the Prius and Camry.

 

Toyota Camry Hybrid Australian Trends in Hybrids

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Research into the kind of person who buys a hybrid was reported by www.smartcompany.com.au. JD Power found, after interviewing more than 40,000 car owners, that people who purchase hybrids tend to be older, richer and more educated than the average car buyer: 54 years-old, university-educated and with above-average wealth.

They are also proud advocates of green vehicles all-too-keen to tell others of their benefits. Another study, this time by Mindset Media, discovered that hybrid drivers were free-thinking, spontaneous and creative.

 

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Aussie Rules to Car Hire

Car Rental, Rental Car, Car Leasing

Hiring A Car In Australia Via Expedia

Hiring a car can be a pretty daunting prospect and it’s no wonder why; All of the small print and multiple insurance options, what have I signed up for? Was breakdown cover included? What happens if I have an accident? All this isn’t helped by those horror stories of unscrupulous companies piling on extra charges that you need a degree in advanced algebra to understand.

However, using online companies means that you can compare car hire prices from different rental companies from the comfort of your laptop rather than ringing around or walking into the nearest rental company at the airport. And, in order to wade through the minefield of terms and conditions, we have created an Aussie rules guide to car hire, which will help to translate any of the lingo you may come across, into something resembling understandable.

Check The Fuel Policy

Different companies have their own policy when it comes to fuel. A common one is that you pick up the car with a full tank and return it as empty as you can. This is good if you are not feeling confident enough to use a petrol station abroad but, if you don’t travel enough to empty the tank, it means you are paying for fuel you don’t use. So decide what’s best for your circumstances and be aware of this policy when shopping around.

Common Extra Charges

Companies that do require the hire car to be returned with a full tank will charge you much more than the same amount at a gas station, so make the effort to find a gas station near to where the car is to be returned and do it yourself for less. Insurance excess, this is the same as your own car insurance excess if the vehicle is damaged on return.  It’s so, so important to check the vehicle thoroughly for any existing damage before you drive it off the lot so you are not held liable for it. Some companies offer an extra insurance to even cover the excess, so regardless of damage, you won’t be liable for any charge.  In Australia this is commonly termed a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). A similar policy is the Excess Reduction Fee (ERF) which, as it sounds, just brings down the price of the excess. Make sure you take an accident report telephone number from the rental company at the time of booking.

Road Rules

These vary slightly from state to state, so if you’re travelling through more than one state, do your research on the driving laws in each one.

Are You Old Enough?

In Australia, most car rentals will require the driver to be 25 years of age and hold a full driving licence, which you will need to produce before you will be allowed to take the vehicle. Younger drivers may still be able to hire, but will have many additional charges, much higher insurance fees and only be permitted to hire a vehicle from a limited group.  Your driving licence should be in English with your photo ID and signature.

Facility Charge

This is the charge you will pay for being picked up from the airport or hiring your vehicle at the airport. Airports charge the rental companies this fee, which they pass on to the customer. If you wanted to save some money, find a car hire company near the airport, but not in it.

And remember, read over the agreement before you sign it and ASK if there is any part you don’t understand. You won’t be the first.

Experienced freelance writer, Lara Anderson, wrote this article. Lara specializes in providing travel advice for all destinations around Australia.

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Sydney: Top 10 Best Places To Live

Well, don’t take our word for it – Sydney has been voted a Top 10 City To Live In…

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Australian Solar Eclipse Tomorrow!

Sun Eclipse, Australian Solar EclipseOn the 14th of November (Australia time, 13th November UTC) a special event occurs in Australia. An partial eclipse of the sun will be visible in all parts of Australia including Western Australia where the sun will rise partially eclipsed. And in Cairns you will be able to see a total solar eclipse.

The percentage of the sun covered in most major capital city is shown below:

  • Adelaide 52% at 7:31am
  • Brisbane 83% at 6:54am
  • Canberra 62% at 8:04am
  • Darwin 92% at 6:11am (sunrise)
  • Melbourne 52% at 8:06am
  • Perth 37% at 5:11am (sunrise)
  • Sydney 67% at 8:02am

This information is provided by the Astronomical Association of Queensland via the Australian Amateur Astronomy Community Solar Eclipse for the Capital Cities and brought to our attention by Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours.

Australian Solar Eclipse, Eclipse, Sun Eclipse

Australian Solar Eclipse

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Australian Astronomers Recognised Globally

The material for this post was provided by Ray Keefe of Successful Endeavours who is an amateur astronomer and member of IceInSpace, the Australian Amateur Astronomy community. Australian astronomers are a surprisingly active group with some recent recognition on the world stage.

First there was Australian Astrographer, Colin Legg, who won the first prize in the David Malin Awards animation category to be covered in a future blog post.

And now Martin Pugh has been recognised in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition held by the Royal Observatory for his picture of the Whirlpool Galaxy.

IceInSpace run a monthly newsletter and have an extremely active forum allowing interaction between members on a wide range of topics. Typically a forum is more interaction than a blog and is a better format for a widely varying multi-way dialogue like this. You can check out the IceInSpace forums at http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/index.php.

A good example of the sort of news you get from them is the upcoming Solar Eclipse on 13th November which is visible in Australia just after dawn. If you are in Western Australia the sun will rise eclipsed!

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Australia Versus America

We can be proud to be Australian have a look at these stats!

America Versus Australia, USA - AUS comparison, US Economic Stats

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