Archive for the 'Australian News' Category

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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 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.



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.


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…


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


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

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!


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


Gillard Government Blogs

This is a uniquely Australian Blog and when I came across this story about the Gillard Government Blogging, I thought it was an ideal opportunity to highlight a few things.

First, this is a classic case of government over-spending. I run 7 independent blogs with another 3 in foreign languages – with no staff, at essentially no cost.

Second, when small business people see the government spending $53,000 on blogging, they think they can’t afford to do it.

Third, If the government is blogging, that tells you that you, as a small business should be.

Of course you don’t want to be spending that kind of money – which is why you’ll want to consider our Business Blogging Webinar. It will help you get going with your new blog or improve your existing blog leveraging proven, legitimate Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategies to generate more online traffic that converts to paying clients.


Average Australian Woman

In a recent cover story in The Sunday Telegraph edition of Body + Soul, this image was said to reflect the average Australian Woman.

I thought it was “provocative enough” to ask what the cover story asked…

Is this woman fat?

Average Woman, Australian Average, Average Weight

Tell us what you think by placing a comment below.


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
Australians work to live.”

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

Ya gotta love this country!!!


All Of Today’s news in one VIEW

The Internet is overflowing with news and information. Google’s great when you KNOW what you want to search for, but what if you just want a quick overview of Today’s News? Well guess what? Someone’s solved the problem with a MOSAIC VIEW of Today’s news… Click on the hyperlink and be wowed with what smart people can do with RSS feeds and a little ingenuity!

When you come across great stuff like this – please let us know so we can keep you on the leading edge of the latest and greatest stuff on the web!


Australia keeps up with accelerating technology

Australian Synchrotron, Research, AstrophysicsThe pace of technology is certainly daunting. Which always raises the issue of how to keep up with it especially when you only want information about specific aspects and niche subjects.

This is one area where blogs can really excel. Picking the right blog to subscribe to can provide you with a stream of useful and targeted information that you can’t get from just searching the web each day.

A great example of this can be found at the Successful Endeavours’ blog where author Ray Keefe recently brought our attention to the Australian Synchrotron, a remarkable piece of high tech equipment that can be used by Australian businesses to create breakthrough technology.

The incredible thing is that the $300 Million Synchrotron is available for a mere $400/hour!


Australian Refugees get paid $56,680/year?










  • A JOB,

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

The Australian Federal Government provides the following financial assistance:-

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?


Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year

The 2012 BRW Entrepreneur of the Year is one of the pre-eminent Australian business awards designed to discover Australians who are building and leading successful, innovative businesses and inspiring others with their vision and personal commitment.

If you believe you have what it takes to be Australia’s leading Entrepreneur and want the recognition you deserve, click on the hyperlink to give it go!

Good luck!

BRW, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Entrepreneur Award


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


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.


Teen cut in half in train accident – spraying graffiti

What a headline – I took it straight from the Channel 7 website.

Unfortunately not enough kids are reading these stories, understanding that graffiti can kill.

Graffiti is vandalism, costing companies, property owners or the public a fortune pure and simple.

What’s sad about these stories is that graffiti deaths are preventable – they can just stop vandalising property.

Hopefully this and other blog posts like it will save at least one future death.

It’s just not worth it.


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.


Peter Cosgrove Tells It Like It Is

I teach clients presentation skills in a variety of programs and events. I often explain that it’s best to tell it like it is… But this example takes the cake.

Major General Peter Cosgrove was interviewed on the radio recently.

Read his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children.

Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you have to love this! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time.

In a portion of an ABC radio interview between a female broadcaster and General Cosgrove who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military Headquarters.

So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

We’re going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery and shooting.

Shooting! That’s a bit irresponsible, isn’t it?

I don’t see why, they’ll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

Don’t you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

I don’t see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

But you’re equipping them to become violent killers.

Well, Ma’am, you’re equipped to be a prostitute, but you’re not one, are you?

The radiocast went silent for 46 seconds……..


Graffiti Can Kill

Just last week, I posted some statistics on the costs of graffiti in Australia. Mark Mackenzie of Graffiti Eaters just sent me an article that a teenager, Ryan Smith, lost his life as he fell from a bridge as he was engaged in ‘Extreme Graffiti‘.

We’ve all been young and daring, but I am sure you’ll agree it’s sad when a life is lost to something that is preventable.

Mark and I were speaking recently about the primary source or motivation for graffiti artists – significance. Society needs to find a way for artistically oriented youth to express themselves in non-destructive ways. As we can see with this tragic example, it costs us all way too much and in the end it’s really not worth it.

If you come across any programs that you think could re-direct their energy into a more positive direction, please place a comment here and I’ll make sure it gets the exposure it deserves.


Costs Of Graffiti In Australia

Cost Of Graffiti, Graffiti Vandalism, grafiti, graffitti


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’