Archive for the 'Research' Category

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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What to Consider when Buying your First Motorcycle

What to Consider when Buying your First Motorcycle

Buying First Motorbike

If you have dreams of driving the Great Ocean Road or through the Outback with the wind in your hair, there’s nothing like buying a motorcycle in Australia. Yet for first-timer owners, there are several factors to take into consideration both in terms of safety and value.

You’ll want to pore over motorcycle safety tips and even take a special course before researching the licensing requirements in your state. Reading motorcycle publications and blogs is another good way to learn more about the different types of bikes out there.

Armed with the basics, you’ll be able to then get ready to take the plunge and go shopping! The following tips can help you as you get started.

 

Think about your Needs as a Rider

There are many different shapes, sizes, and levels of power of today’s top motorcycles. Are you looking for a basic moped to drive for recreational purposes, or are you looking for something with more power to travel long distances? You’ll need to think about what you plan on using your bike for, whether it’s practicing your DIY skills or commuting to and from work in style. Making a list of your needs will help you narrow down the wide array of options out there on the market to find a better fit.

Don’t Get Overambitious

It’s tempting to go with the biggest, coolest, and most powerful motorcycle that fits within your price range. Yet if you’re just getting the feel for a motorcycle, you probably want something that’s a little more practical. It’s a common mistake for new riders to purchase a costly bike with far more power than they would ever need or use. You can purchase a slower bike to get started and build your confidence as a rider before you upgrade to something speedier.

Try on Many Sizes

As motorcycles come in different sizes, you’ll want something that is comfortable to ride. Try on a few different sizes at the dealership to get a feel for what you can control comfortably. Narrow down your search to a few different models and take them for a test drive to see how they feel. A bike that seems like the right size may unexpectedly strain your wrists or cause you to feel off-balance, and you’ll never know until you’re astride it.

Think about New Vs. Used

A used bike can be a great starter vehicle. Used vehicles often offer great value for your money, as they have already depreciated and you will not be as concerned about damaging anything. However, they may not be as reliable as a brand new bike and could cause you to spend more money on maintenance. A brand new Yamaha at sites like bikesales.com.au will come with a warranty, and you are guaranteed that they will stay in proper working order while you learn the ins and outs of riding.

Look beyond the Sticker Price

As with purchasing any vehicle, there are a number of additional costs to consider and it’s important to look at the long term picture to find something that fits in your budget. This includes insurance rates, which can be quite high for first time motorcycle owners. Be sure to compare rates with several different carriers, looking at how different models can affect premiums. First time buyers will also need to invest in safety gear, including a high quality helmet, jacket, and gloves. Maintenance will also be a cost to consider, particularly if you are buying a used motorcycle. Fuel costs can vary considerably depending on how often you plan to ride your bike.

The Bottom Line

Unlike a practical family or commuting vehicle, motorcycles are usually purchased purely for the fun of ownership. Although you’ll want to keep the logistical issues mentioned above in mind as you compare and contrast your options, don’t forget that you ultimately want a bike that will be fun to own and ride. Listen to your gut and take your time to compare all your options to find the best starter bike.

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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 Census

Well, here are the latest Australian Census Results according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australian Census

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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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Tips for Buying Used Clothing Online

Buy clothes online at Quicksales.com.au

Image courtesy of Photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Second-hand stores are big business these days. Whether it’s due to a downturn in the economy or a desire to wear a unique look rather than the same high street trends as everyone else, more and more consumers are shopping for used clothing.

Charity shops, vintage boutiques, estate sales, and consignment stores are all great sources of high quality used duds. Yet you can also find even better bargains online, even buying used clothing using your mobile phone with apps like the one provided by Quicksales!

This and eBay are two of the biggest names in resale goods, yet there’s a wealth of designer and vintage clothing available at low cost for savvy shoppers. The following are a few tips to keep in mind as you start your hunt.

Set a Budget

It’s difficult to set a budget when you’re not really sure what things are going to cost until you start searching.

However, it’s wise to set an upper limit on what you’re willing to spend or you could get carried away bidding on sites like eBay and end up spending more than you would have on brand new clothing!

Know your Measurements

Even in most charity shops, you can try on used clothing to see if it fits. There’s a certain gamble when you shop for used clothing online, however, because you not only can’t try it on but you may be purchasing a vintage or unknown brand.

Most sellers will list the measurements of garments for sale, or should be able to provide this for you if you send a request. This can be far more accurate than the size on the label.

Buy clothes online Quicksales.com.au

Image courtesy of Stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Try Different Keywords

One way to search for used clothing online is to browse through categories on sites like eBay. However, most ecommerce shops and online marketplaces also have a search function, so you can look for specific brand names.

Try different combinations of keywords to increase your chances of finding what you’re looking for. For example, instead of just searching for “women’s top,” you can look for “halter top vintage” to find a chic 70′s summer top.

Use Social Media

Many online shops will offer special deals or information about sales via their social media profiles or blogs. Big marketplaces like Quicksales.com.au have Facebook profiles which allow you to stay in touch with what’s happening. This could alert you to a sudden sale or new items of clothing coming in that match what you’re looking for.

Check the Shipping and Return Policies

If shipping and return policies aren’t made clear in a listing, it’s worth taking the time to contact the seller to find out more. Even with measurements and accurate photos, sometimes an article of clothing simply won’t be what you expected, and you don’t want to have to relist it yourself.

By shopping around and using all the online tools available, you can find some truly superb bargains online. Fill out your wardrobe with one-of-a-kind designer and vintage wear, or simply stock up on basics. The key is to have fun with it and don’t be afraid to keep looking for a better deal.

With the fast pace of the internet, one is most likely just a click away.

 

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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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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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Top 100 Things You Love About Australia

I recently read an article in Forbes Magazine – the Top 100 things to love about the United States… It was a feel good list that I thought we could create for Australia… Here are some of mine – in no particular order.

  • Kangaroos – let’s face it, they’re dumb, but cute!
  • The Sydney Opera House
  • The Sydney Harbour and the bridge – you can’t have one without the other
  • Qantas – it’s not just the kangaroo logo, I really like safety.
  • Beaches
  • “Mate”

Add your contributions below by placing a comment and let’s see what we come up with!

Psst! You don’t have to come up with the whole list of 100 – just your own top 3, 5 or 10 things you love about Australia…

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Overheard On The Oprah Show…

Workaholic, Stressed Out, Overwhelm, Helplessness, DepressionOprah, when she taped her recent Great Australian Adventure Series last year, asked a Melbourne BBQ guest the difference between Australians and Americans:

“Americans live to work
whereas
Australians work to live.”

I have to admit, that sums it up very succinctly.

Ya gotta love this country!!!

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Australian Refugees get paid $56,680/year?

*** NOW, LET ME SEE IF I’VE GOT THIS RIGHT….

IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOUR.

IF YOU CROSS THE IRANIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU ARE DETAINED INDEFINITELY.

IF YOU CROSS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET SHOT.

IF YOU CROSS THE SAUDI ARABIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE JAILED.

IF YOU CROSS THE CHINESE BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU MAY NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.

IF YOU CROSS THE VENEZUELAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE BRANDED A SPY AND YOUR FATE WILL BE SEALED.

IF YOU CROSS THE CUBAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO A POLITICAL PRISON TO ROT.

IF YOU CROSS THE AUSTRALIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET:

  • A JOB,
  • AN INTERPRETER,
  • FREE LEGAL AID,
  • A DRIVERS LICENCE,
  • A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER,
  • WELFARE,
  • CREDIT CARDS,
  • FREE EDUCATION,
  • FREE HEALTH CARE,
  • THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE
  • THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY’S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DO NOT GET ENOUGH RESPECT.

Sensationalism? Then think about just this one [not so] small aspect…

The Australian Federal Government provides the following financial assistance:-

AUSTRALIAN AGED PENSIONER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS/
REFUGEES LIVING IN AUSTRALIA
Weekly allowance $253.00 $472.50
Weekly Spouse allowance $56.00 $472.50
Additional weekly hardship allowance $0.00 $145.00
TOTAL YEARLY BENEFIT $16,068.00 $56,680.00

Let’s open up the debate… Post your comments and tell us what you think.

Is this true or Internet False Propaganda?

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Australian NBN

NBN Co is an Australian government-owned corporation tasked to design, build and operate Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN). But how does Australia compare to other countries when it comes to Internet speed and cost?

As the illustration below shows, there’s some good news (lost cost) and bad news (low speeds)…

NBN, National Broadband Network, Australia Broadband, Australia NBN, National Broadband

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Australian First Home Buyer’s Grant – The Chance Of A Lifetime

Buy A Home, Australian Grant, Australian Real EstateThe Australian First Home Buyer’s Grant is intended to help individuals, especially young couples to easily purchase their first home. Grants are given to these people so they can have a jump start in their burgeoning careers.

Because of the high cost of real estate today, many people, especially those who are just starting their careers are deterred to buy their own home. Some are content to rent because it fits their current financial capability.

This is the purpose of the First Home Buyer’s Grant – to help these people start their life and move them a step forward toward independence.

The First Home Buyer’s Grant was first instituted in Australia last July 1, 2000. From 2000 until 2011 the grant stayed at $7,000, by the coming of 2012, the Australian government has announced that the grant will remain at $7,000, though some expect an increase due to the increase of home costs.

First Home Buyer’s Grant is made available to those who purchase a home that is worth at least $600,000. The purpose of this condition is to help invigorate the building of houses and boost the construction industry.

Though the First Home Buyer’s Grant should help first time buyers to more easily purchase their new home, some in the real estate market tend to think that many house prices are artificially increased to meet this minimum threshold. Because of this, some argue that first time home buyers seem to be disadvantaged.

Many potential first time home buyers will be dismayed by the current status of real estate prices. Because of the minimum threshold price increase, many argue that it would be better to purchase a house without the grant at a lower price, than to avail it and acquire a higher level of debt.

Addressing this issue, on January 1, 2012, the house price limit to be eligible for the grant was set at $500,000 to $600,000. This can help people get a discount due to the increase of the grant and the increase of the coverage. An average person can have benefits up to $24,000 due to the First Home Buyer’s Grant.

You can consult a home loan calculator to see detailed information about loans so you can decide if you should apply for a grant and get your dream home now or wait a little longer.

In many areas, the real estate market is softening and many are taking advantage of the situation as an opportunity to buy. With the First Home Buyer’s Grant and falling prices of houses these days, the timing might just be right for you. To own your own home and live the Australian dream.

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Be Careful This Christmas

A safety warning courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

  • 31 Australians have died since 1996 by watering their Christmas tree while the fairy lights were plugged in.
  • 19 Australians  have died in the last 3 years by eating Christmas decorations they believed were  chocolate.
  • Hospitals reported 4 broken arms last year after cracker pulling incidents.
  • 101 Australians since 1997 have had to have broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet.
  • 18 Australians had serious burns in 1998 trying on a new jumper with a lit cigarette in their mouth.
  • A massive 543 Australians were admitted to casualty in the last two years after opening bottles of beer with  their teeth or eye socket.
  • 5 Australians were injured last year in accidents involving out of control slot cars.
  • 3 Australians  die each year testing if a 9V battery works on their tongue.
  • 142 Australians were injured in 1998 by not removing all the pins from new shirts.
  • 58 Australians are injured each year by using sharp knives instead of screwdrivers and finally:
  • 8 Australians cracked their skull in 1997 after falling asleep (passing out) while throwing up into the toilet.
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Australian Sickie Stats

Today’s post is based on an article that was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on July 23, 2011 forwarded to us by The Gourmet Guardian, an Australian Food Safety Specialist who helps food service companies avoid food poisoning.

Bob Hawke said it best in September 1983 after watching Alan Bond’s 12-metre yacht, the Australia II, sail to victory in the America’s Cup: ”I tell you what, any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.” And a stellar moment in the Australian tradition of ”chucking a sickie” was born.

Sickie Stats, Absenteeism Stats, Australian Sickies, Australian AbsenteeismAustralian workers took an average of 10 days each in unplanned leave last year, including sick leave, carers leave and personal leave, according to a survey by Direct Health Solutions. Sick leave is estimated to account for three-quarters of this time, or 7.5 days a year.

So are we really sick one week in the year? It’s clear employers don’t think so. According to the survey, almost three-quarters of employers surveyed believe between 10 to 25 per cent of absences are ”non-genuine”. Employers also report two in three Australian workers regard paid personal and sick leave as an entitlement.

Employers estimate this loss of work time comes at a cost to the economy of $20 to $30 billion a year and have introduced all manner of ways to control it, including requiring medical certificates and employing the services of companies such as Direct Health Solutions whereby workers must ring a registered nurse to present their ailment before taking the day off.

So are we really a nation of layabouts? Or is the tradition of the ”sickie”, like our legendary relaxed, beachside persona, more myth than reality?

Three decades on since Hawke effectively declared his national holiday, the Australian workforce is transformed. We work longer hours, the longest in the developed world on some measures.

The invention of emails, smartphones and iPads mean we are ”plugged in” to the office for more hours of the day, while the number of hours spent at physical work, but unpaid, has also risen.

A study by the Australia Institute for its inaugural national ”go home on time day” last November estimated Australians put in more than two billion hours of unpaid overtime a year. This translates to a $72 billion gift to employers each year in unpaid work, eclipsing the $30 billion employers estimate they lose from workers claiming their sick leave and personal leave entitlements.

Perhaps Australians are just stealing back what time has been stolen from them.

But then again, maybe we really are sick. And maybe we’re so sick because we work so hard.

Almost half of Australians surveyed by the Australia Institute said work commitments prevented them from doing exercise. One in four said they were ”too busy” to see a doctor.

Indeed, a separate survey by the economic modellers Econtech for the health insurer Medibank Private has looked into the problem of ”presenteeism” – the opposite of ”absenteeism”.

Econtech estimates a $26 billion hit to the Australian economy from lost productivity from workers turning up to work while really sick.

Health experts this week revealed a fourfold increase in the number of Australians suffering the flu this month compared to last year. Baffled, they speculate it could be due to more people spending more time together indoors.

Some days it really is worth staying in bed.

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Costs Of Graffiti In Australia

Cost Of Graffiti, Graffiti Vandalism, grafiti, graffitti

Graffiti

In the early 1990’s Western Australian State Governments attempted to address graffiti proliferation using various methods and management models.  Despite this public concern continues to grow and so does the burden of state-wide graffiti removal costs.  A tougher approach, which focuses considerable effort on offender management and behaviour, has now been adopted. A State Graffiti Taskforce has been established to deal with the problem.

Graffiti removal costs have been estimated at up to $30 million dollars per year within Western Australia.  However, this figure is likely grossly underestimated due to the difficulty in obtaining an accurate cost largely to the nature of graffiti offences, its reporting and removal.

In 2005, the cost of criminal damage Australia wide, which included but was not limited to graffiti vandalism, was estimated to be $1.58 billion annually. This estimate is likely to be a conservative one given that graffiti vandalism, like other forms of criminal damage, is not always reported to police. It also gives no consideration to the social cost of graffiti vandalism; in particular the impact on perceptions of safety and public amenity.  It is evident throughout Western Australia regardless of the social, economic or cultural status of the community that its persistence, spread and visibility have served to heighten the public’s sensitivity to it as a threat against civic order and safety in their community

 

It is estimated that it costs Australians half a billion dollars a year to clean up graffiti. The police are fighting an ongoing battle and the Public Transport Authority has resources in place with 1200 cameras spread through the system at stations and platforms.

According to the government, graffiti costs the NSW economy and taxpayers more than $100 million a year.

Continue reading ‘Costs Of Graffiti In Australia’

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How global are we really?

In a recent edition of The Economist Magazine, Pankaj Ghemawat of IESE Business School in Spain points out that many indicators of global integration are surprisingly low. Only 2% of students are at universities outside their home countries and only 3% of people live outside their country of birth.

Only 7% of rice is traded across borders. Only 7% of directors of S&P 500 companies are foreigners—and, according to a study a few years ago, less than 1% of all American companies have any foreign operations.

Exports are equivalent to only 20% of global GDP. Some of the most vital arteries of globalisation are badly clogged: air travel is restricted by bilateral treaties and ocean shipping is dominated by cartels.

So what are your thoughts about the world being flat and accessible to all?

Is it just globaloney?

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Fluoride: Good Or Bad? You Decide

We’re not taking sides, but this is an interesting debate . As a blogger, you want to pick sides (or not) when there is heated debate. That means there’s interest and traffic – INTERESTED people. In this instance, we’re staying out of it, We decided to post it because it’s obviously an issue of interest to many!

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Raw Data Is Valuable, In Fact It Can Save Lives!

This TED TALK by Tim Berners-Lee is another classic example of Antimimeticisomorphism in action. I won’t spoil the presentation for you except to say it’s amazing what smart people can do when they put their minds to it AND the data is available.

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