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Coles launches new meal kits

<p><span>Coles has expanded into the meal-kit business with its new offerings to compete with HelloFresh and Marley Spoon.</span></p> <p><span>On Wednesday, the supermarket giant launched its <em>What’s for Dinner </em>range, with 48 recipe-based bundles of ingredients that shoppers can add to their online order.</span></p> <p><span>The prices of each kit vary between $15 and $30, with each kit containing two to four serves. Also available are meat-free options, including broccoli fried rice and ricotta and spinach pasta.                                                                   </span></p> <p><span>Coles chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson said the range was developed based on one of the supermarket’s “biggest customer studies ever”.</span></p> <p><span>According to the research, 55 per cent of Australians only decide what they want to have for dinner on the day, with ingredient preparation being the biggest pain point.</span></p> <p><span>“We have created meal plans to help customers with some of the biggest challenges they face preparing dinner every night – from lack of time to cook from scratch to kids who turn their noses up at healthy options, and boredom with cooking the same handful of dishes every week because it seems too hard to try something new,” Ronson said.</span></p> <p><span>Retail analyst Neil Rechlin said he is not surprised that Coles is entering the fresh food delivery market, which has grown significantly in the past five years and shifting customers away from supermarkets.</span></p> <p><span>“Customers are buying Marley Spoon and HelloFresh, and Woolworths and Coles have been losing business to those companies,” Rechlin told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/meal-kits-what-are-the-best-hello-fresh-marley-spoon-coles-woolworths/613bc7c0-df0d-4e3a-a37e-e49f0239cc48"><em>9News</em></a>.</span></p> <p><span>“This is a way to keep customers in the Coles store.”</span></p> <p><span>In June, Woolworths announced that it would <a href="https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/page/media/Latest_News/woolworths-group-invests-a30-million-into-strategic-partnership-with-leading-subscription-based-meal-kit-provider-marley-spoon">invest $30 million</a> into Marley Spoon over the next five years, which will lead to the supermarket owning a nine per cent stake in the meal kit company. </span></p> <p><span>Last month, Woolworths said it will add an extra $4 million into the investment, bringing the total amount to $34 million.</span></p>

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Looking to rent a home? 6 things that will help or hinder you

<p><a href="http://shelter.org.au/site/wp-content/uploads/The-Australian-Rental-Market-Report-Final-Web.pdf">Two-thirds</a> of tenants in Australia rent through a real estate agent. A <a href="http://shelter.org.au/site/wp-content/uploads/fly-factsheet-australia-updated-16-September-2014.pdf">national shortage</a> of private rental housing forces these tenants to impress the real estate agent to secure a property – their application needs to stand out from other applications.</p> <p>An analysis of articles on leading online real estate sites www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au identifies six aspects of interactions between the real estate agent and tenant that affect a tenant’s ability to secure a rental property. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02673037.2019.1621271?journalCode=chos20">My research</a> reveals the power of the agent over the tenant. Agents strongly stigmatise certain tenant characteristics during the property search.</p> <p>These real estate articles typically fail to recognise the systemic issues of housing shortages in Australia. As <a href="https://theconversation.com/affordable-housing-lessons-from-sydney-hong-kong-and-singapore-3-keys-to-getting-the-policy-mix-right-123443">owner-occupied housing becomes more unaffordable</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/focus-on-managing-social-housing-waiting-lists-is-failing-low-income-households-120675">public housing becomes less available</a>, a variety of household types are competing in a high-demand private rental market.</p> <p>Households have differing economic, cultural and social capital. This puts some applicants for a rental property at a disadvantage. But real estate sites present the issue of secure rental housing as an individual problem that can easily be overcome once a tenant understands how to highlight their desirable characteristics when applying for a rental property.</p> <p><strong>How do agents assess tenants?</strong></p> <p>When assessing a rental application, the two most important qualities a real estate agent looks for are a tenant’s ability to pay the rent on time and their ability and/or willingness to care for the rental property.</p> <p>In addition, a tenant’s ability to impress the real estate agent matters. My research identifies six aspects of interactions between agent and tenant that affect the ability to secure a rental property:</p> <ol> <li>responsibility – positive reference/s from previous agents and/or landlords help demonstrate this</li> <li>making an impression – dress appropriately and be on time for inspections, engage with the agent and present an easy-to-read, error-free application form</li> <li>established relationships – a previously established relationship with the agent or landlord improves the tenant’s chances</li> <li>honesty – tenants are encouraged to be honest with their agent about their lifestyle</li> <li>flexibility – be flexible about lease length and the cost of rent</li> <li>creative thinking – for example, bringing cupcakes to a rental inspection.</li> </ol> <p>Through these interactions, tenants can highlight their desirable characteristics while downplaying their undesirable characteristics.</p> <p><strong>Selection process reinforces disadvantage</strong></p> <p>The ability to make a good impression on the agent, however, is largely based on a variety of factors that place some tenants at a disadvantage.</p> <p>For example, tenants are advised that several lifestyle factors may hamper their ability to secure a property. These include pets, dependent children, age, a negative rental history and other potential housemates.</p> <p>These findings match those of an <a href="http://shelter.org.au/site/wp-content/uploads/The-Australian-Rental-Market-Report-Final-Web.pdf">Australian survey of private renters</a>, commissioned by Choice, National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations. It found 50% of renters have experienced discrimination in the private rental sector. This includes discrimination on the basis of: pets (23%), receiving government payments (17%), age (14%), having young children (10%), being a single parent (7%), race (6%), needing to use a bond loan (5%), gender (5%), disability (5%) and sexuality (2%).</p> <p>Further, when it comes to making an impression, some tenants are at a significant advantage. For example, factors such as English proficiency and the ability to “dress to impress” are often a reflection of economic and cultural capital.</p> <p>The articles assume that presenting an application form with no spelling and grammatical errors is simply a matter of taking a little extra care. However, a newly arrived migrant may find this difficult, not because of laziness but because they may not yet be proficient in English.</p> <p>The articles also highlight a tenant’s willingness to be flexible as important. Flexibility is presented in the following ways:</p> <ul> <li>where demand for properties is high, tenants are advised to offer more rent</li> <li>when a tenant has no rental history, they are advised to offer to pay rent in advance</li> <li>tenants are also advised to cater to the needs of the real estate agent and landlord by being flexible about the length of the lease.</li> </ul> <p>Tenants’ ability to be flexible in these ways varies greatly. For example, not all tenants have the means to offer more rent or pay rent in advance. The ability to be flexible about lease length also differs depending on individual circumstances.</p> <p>My research shows the process of securing a rental property could reinforce the disadvantage of some tenants. This raises an important question. When private rental housing is the only option, what happens to those tenants who fail to impress the real estate agent?</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Bronwyn Bate, PhD Candidate, Urban Research Program, Western Sydney University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/looking-to-rent-a-home-6-things-that-will-help-or-hinder-you-123753" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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5 questions about superannuation the government's new inquiry will need to ask

<p>The government’s new <a href="http://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/review-retirement-income-system">retirement incomes review</a> will need to work quickly.</p> <p>On Friday Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he expected a final report by June, just seven months after the issues paper he wants it to deliver by November.</p> <p>The deadline is tight for a reason. In recommending the inquiry in its report on the (in)effeciency of Australia’s superannuation system this year, the Productivity Commission said it should be completed “<a href="https://theconversation.com/frydenberg-should-call-a-no-holds-barred-inquiry-into-superannuation-now-because-labor-wont-114079">in advance of any increase in the superannuation guarantee rate</a>”.</p> <p>In other words, in advance of the next leglislated increase in compulsory superannuation contributions, which is on July 1, 2021.</p> <p>The next increase (actually, the next five increases) will hurt.</p> <p>The last two, on July 1 2013 and July 1 2014, took place when wage growth was stronger. In 2013 wages growth was 3% per year.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/265468/original/file-20190324-36267-olwp2z.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/265468/original/file-20190324-36267-olwp2z.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/rates/key-superannuation-rates-and-thresholds/?anchor=Superguaranteepercentage" class="source">Source: Australian Tax Office</a></span></p> <p>And they were small – an extra 0.25 per cent of salary each.</p> <p>The next five, to be imposed annually from July 1 2021, are twice the size: <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/rates/key-superannuation-rates-and-thresholds/?anchor=Superguaranteepercentage">0.5% of salary each</a>.</p> <p>If taken out of wage growth, they’ve the potential to cut it from its present usually low 2.3% per annum to something with a “1” in front of it, pushing it below the rate of inflation, for five consecutive years.</p> <p>If we were going to do that (even if we thought the economy and wage growth could afford it) it would be a good idea to have a good reason why. After all, compulsory superannuation is the compulsory locking away of income that could otherwise be spent or used to pay down debt or saved through another vehicle, regardless of the wishes of the person whose income it is.</p> <h2>Question 1. What’s it for?</h2> <p>Fortunately, the new inquiry doesn’t need to do much work on this one.</p> <p>For most of its life compulsory super hasn’t had an agreed purpose. At times it has been justified as a means of restraining wage growth, at times as means of restraining government spending on the pension, at times as means of boosting national savings.</p> <p>In 2014, more than 20 years after compulsory super began, the Murray Financial System Review asked the government to <a href="http://fsi.gov.au/publications/final-report/executive-summary/#recommendations">set a clear objective for it</a>, and two years later the government came up with one, enshrined in a bill entitled the <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r5762">Superannuation (Objective) Bill 2016</a>.</p> <p>The bill lapsed, but the objective at its centre lives on as the best description we’ve come up with yet of what compulsory super is for:</p> <blockquote> <p>to provide income in retirement to substitute or supplement the age pension</p> </blockquote> <p>Which raises the question of how much we need. For compulsory super, the answer is probably none. People who want more than the pension and their other savings can save more through voluntary super. People who don’t want more (or can’t afford to save more) shouldn’t.</p> <h2>Question 2. How much do people need?</h2> <p>Assuming for the moment that how much people need in retirement is relevant for determining how much compulsory super they need, the inquiry will need to examine what people need to live on in retirement.</p> <p>The “<a href="https://www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/retirement-standard">standards</a>” prepared by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia are loose. The more generous of the two allows for overseas travel every two or so years, A$163 per couple per fortnight on dining out, $81 on alcohol “or equivalent spent with charity or church”.</p> <p>It isn’t a reasonable guide to how much people need to live on, and certainly isn’t a reasonable guide for how much the government should intervene to make sure they have to live on. They are standards it doesn’t intervene to support while people are working.</p> <p>And there’s something else. Super isn’t what will fund it. Most retirement living is funded outside of super, either through the age pension, private savings, or the family home (which saves on rent). Most 65 year olds have <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/912-Money-in-retirement-re-issue-1.pdf">more saved outside of super than in it</a>, and a lot more than that saved in the family home.</p> <p>It’s a slight of hand to say that retirees need a certain proportion of their final wage to live on and then to say that that’s how much super should provide.</p> <h2>Question 3: Does it come out of wages?</h2> <p>The best guess is that, although paid by employers in addition to wages, compulsory super comes out of what would otherwise have been their wage bill.</p> <p><a href="http://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-09/foi_2534_document_set_for_release_re.pdf">Treasury</a> puts it this way:</p> <blockquote> <p>Though compulsory superannuation guarantee contributions are paid by employers, wage setting generally takes into account all labour costs. As such, it is widely accepted that employees bear the cost of higher superannuation guarantees in the form of lower take home pay.</p> </blockquote> <p>The inquiry will probably make its own determination. If it finds that extra contributions <a href="https://theconversation.com/productivity-commission-finds-super-a-bad-deal-and-yes-it-comes-out-of-wages-109638">do indeed come out of what would have been pay rises</a>, it will have to consider the tradeoff between lower pay rises (and they are already very low) and the compulsory provision of more superannuation in retirement.</p> <h2>Question 4: Does it boost private saving?</h2> <p>It’d be tempting to think that the compulsory nature of compulsory superannuation meant that each extra dollar funnelled into it increased retirement savings by an extra dollar. But it doesn’t, in part because wealthy Australians who are already saving a lot have the option of offsetting it by saving less in other ways.</p> <p>For them, the increase in saving isn’t compulsory.</p> <p>For financially stretched Australians unable to afford to save (or for Australians at times in times life when they can’t afford to save) the compulsion is real, and unwelcome.</p> <p>The inquiry will have to make its own assessment, updating <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2007/pdf/rdp2007-08.pdf">Reserve Bank research</a> which found in 2007 that each extra dollar in compulsory accounts added between 70 and 90 cents to household wealth.</p> <h2>Question 5: Does it boost national saving?</h2> <p>Boosting private saving (at the expense of people who are unable to escape) is one thing. Boosting national savings (private and government) is another. The tax concessions the government hands out to support superannuation are expensive. The concession on contributions alone is set to cost $19 billion this year and $23 billion in 2022-23, notwithstanding some tightening up. It predominately benefits high earners, the kind of people who don’t need assistance to save.</p> <p>On balance it is likely that the system does little for national savings, cutting government savings by as much as it boosts private savings. But because the question hasn’t been asked, not since the Fitzgerald report on national saving in 1993 shortly after compulsory super was introduced, we don’t know.</p> <p>It’ll be up to the inquiry to bring us up to date.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/124400/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Peter Martin, Visiting Fellow, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/5-questions-about-superannuation-the-governments-new-inquiry-will-need-to-ask-124400" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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Why shopping addiction is a real disorder

<p>UK-based healthcare group the Priory is well-known for treating gambling, sex, drug, alcohol and computing addictions – especially of the <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7327125/the-priory-celebrity-guests-katie-price-rehab-centre-cost/">rich and famous</a>. Now it has added a new condition to its list: shopping addiction.</p> <p>Research suggests that as many as <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13223">one in 20 people</a> in developed countries may suffer from shopping addiction (or compulsive buying disorder, as it’s more formally known), yet it is often not taken seriously. People don’t see the harm in indulging in a bit of “retail therapy” to cheer themselves up when they have had a bad day.</p> <p>Indulging in the occasional bit of frivolous spending is not a bad thing, if it is done in moderation and the person can afford it. But for some people compulsive shopping is a real problem. It takes over their lives and leads to genuine misery. Their urges to shop become uncontrollable and are often impulsive. They end up spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need.</p> <p>The worst part is that compulsive buyers continue to shop regardless of the negative impact it has on them. Their <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMc1805733/">mental health gets worse</a>, they get into serious debt, their social network shrinks, and they may even contemplate suicide – but shopping still provides the brief dopamine rush they crave.</p> <p>There is no doubt that people who engage in this behaviour suffer, and often badly. But it is debatable whether compulsive buying disorder is a condition in its own right or a symptom of another condition. Often it is difficult to diagnose because people with compulsive buying disorder have symptoms of other disorders, such as <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1994-29953-001">eating disorders and substance abuse</a>.</p> <p><strong>Formal criteria needed</strong></p> <p>The most commonly used manuals for diagnosing mental disorders are the <a href="https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm">DSM</a> and <a href="https://icd.who.int/en">ICD</a>, and neither include diagnostic criteria for compulsive buying disorder. One reason may be that there are many theories about what kind of illness the disorder is. It has been likened to <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1995-01870-001">impulse control disorder</a>, mood disorders, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1360-0443.1987.tb00424.x">addiction</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005789402800259">obsessive-compulsive disorder</a>. How the disorder ought to be classified is an ongoing debate.</p> <p>What is also an <a href="https://www.macmillanihe.com/page/detail/Consumption-Matters/?K=9780230201170">ongoing debate</a> is what the disorder should be called. To the general public, it’s known as “shopping addiction”, but experts variously call it compulsive buying disorder, oniomania, acquisitive desire and impulse buying.</p> <p>Researchers also struggle to agree on a definition. Perhaps the lack of a clear definition stems from the fact that research shows that no single factor is sufficiently powerful to explain the causes of this compulsive behaviour.</p> <p>What most experts seem to agree on is that people with this condition find it difficult to stop and that it results in harm, showing that it is an involuntary and destructive kind of behaviour. People with the condition often try to hide it from friends and partners as they feel shame, thereby alienating themselves from the people who are best placed to support them.</p> <p>Although the disorder has not yet been clearly defined by name, symptoms or even category of mental health problem, most researchers agree on one thing: it is a real condition that people truly suffer from.</p> <p>The fact that the Priory, a well-established healthcare group, is treating people with compulsive buying disorder, may help to raise awareness of the condition. Hopefully, this will result in more research being conducted to help define diagnostic criteria. Without the criteria, it will be difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose the illness and treat it. This is a condition that is crying out to be properly recognised and should not be trivialised.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/123813/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Cathrine Jansson-Boyd, Reader in Consumer Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/shopping-addiction-is-a-real-disorder-123813" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Australia's top 10 favourite brands revealed

<p>Australia’s top brands for customer experience have been revealed, with an international company grabbing the number one spot.</p> <p>KPMG’s 2019 <span><a href="https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/au/pdf/2019/customer-experience-excellence-report-2019-au-summary.pdf"><em>Customer Experience Excellence</em></a></span> report surveyed more than 2,500 Australians on their experiences with 114 Australian and foreign brands.</p> <p>Singapore Airlines came out as the highest-rated brand, followed by RACQ Insurance, Bendigo Bank, PayPal and Afterpay.</p> <p>Financial services dominated the top 10 list and rose as the second best-performing sector after grocery retail. Dan Murphy’s dominated the retail sector, with the report noting its wide product range and optimised store experience. Following Dan Murphy’s were ALDI at number 18, First Choice Liquor at 19, and BWS at 21. Woolworths, Coles and IGA came up with a wide gap at number 46, 47 and 48 respectively.</p> <p>The report said the findings indicated that customers prefer brands that are community-led and values-driven.</p> <p>“Brands that are community-led, abiding by collective values and playing an active role in the community are likely to engage customers over brands that are focused solely on building their customer base,” KPMG Australia customer, brand and marketing advisory partner Sudeep Gohil.</p> <p>“It’s evident amongst customer experience leaders across industry that holding an altruistic stance has become common practice and therefore organisations that choose not to be community focused risk falling behind in years to come.”</p> <p>The overall customer experience has stagnated at 7.14 out of 10 in the 12 months since the previous report, reflecting “good but not great delivery”.</p> <p><strong>Top 10 customer experience brands in Australia</strong></p> <ol> <li>Singapore Airlines</li> <li>RACQ Insurance</li> <li>Bendigo Bank</li> <li>PayPal</li> <li>Afterpay</li> <li>ING</li> <li>NRMA Insurance</li> <li>Dan Murphy’s</li> <li>RACV Insurance</li> <li>Subway</li> </ol>

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Why rising inequality in Australia isn't about incomes

<p>Compared to the rest of the world, income inequality is not particularly high in Australia, nor is it getting much worse.</p> <p>The real problem is housing inequality.</p> <p>Rising house prices have increased <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-the-bureau-of-statistics-didnt-highlight-our-continuing-upward-redistribution-of-wealth-121731">wealth inequality</a>. Rising housing costs have dramatically widened the gap between high and low disposable incomes.</p> <p>The gap between low-income and high-income households in Australia is <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/916-Commonwealth-Orange-Book-2019.pdf">close to the OECD average</a>. Income inequality – measured by the gini coefficient – <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6523.0Main+Features12017-18?OpenDocument">has fallen</a> slightly over the past decade.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/rising-inequality/rising-inequality.pdf">Productivity Commission</a> says inequality has increased only slightly in the past three decades. Economists at the <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/rdp/2015/pdf/rdp2015-15.pdf">Reserve Bank</a> have come to similar conclusions.</p> <p>But inequality is growing once housing costs are factored in, with the poor being hurt the most.</p> <p>Incomes for the lowest 20% of households <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/901-Housing-affordability.pdf">increased</a> by about 27% between 2003-04 and 2015-16. But their incomes after housing costs increased by only about 16%. Low-income Australians are spending <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/901-Housing-affordability.pdf">much more</a> than they used to keep a roof over their heads.</p> <p>In contrast, incomes for the highest 20% of households increased by 36%, and their after-housing incomes by 33%.</p> <p><strong>Leaving the young and poor behind</strong></p> <p>Home ownership is increasingly benefiting the already well-off. Since 2003-04, increasing property values have contributed to the wealth of high-income households increasing by more than 50%. Wealth for low-income households has grown by less than 10%</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/289162/original/file-20190823-170922-dg3w9b.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/289162/original/file-20190823-170922-dg3w9b.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span></p> <hr /> <p>As we’ve <a href="https://theconversation.com/retiree-home-ownership-is-about-to-plummet-soon-little-more-than-half-will-own-where-they-live-115255">noted previously</a> rising housing costs have widened the gap between renters and home owners. As property prices have escalated, the higher deposit hurdle has seen rates of home ownership falling fast among the young and the poor.</p> <p>In 1981 more than 60% of those aged 25-34 had a mortgage; by 2016 it was 45%. The trends are similar among older groups. In the same period, home ownership among the poorest 20% of households has fallen from 63% to 23%.</p> <p>The big winners of the property boom have typically been older typically Australians <a href="https://theconversation.com/for-the-first-time-in-a-long-time-were-setting-up-a-generation-to-be-worse-off-than-the-one-before-it-121983">lucky enough</a> to buy a house before prices took off. Housing has thus compounded <a href="https://theconversation.com/three-charts-on-the-great-australian-wealth-gap-84515">inequality between the young and old</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="OX09s" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/OX09s/6/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This could lead to higher inequality in the future, because the children with wealthier parents can rely on the “bank of mum and dad” to break into the housing market, and then inherit their parents’ home as an investment property.</p> <p>Many low-income Australians <a href="https://theconversation.com/rethink-inheritances-these-days-they-no-longer-help-the-young-they-go-to-the-already-middle-aged-122029">won’t be so lucky</a>, which is why the share of Australians who own their homes is expected to <a href="https://theconversation.com/retiree-home-ownership-is-about-to-plummet-soon-little-more-than-half-will-own-where-they-live-115255">fall sharply</a> in the decades ahead.</p> <hr /> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/268787/original/file-20190411-44785-55hftp.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/268787/original/file-20190411-44785-55hftp.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>A clearer policy agenda</strong></p> <p>Despite the clear evidence housing is key to inequality in Australia, housing policy is thin on the ground.</p> <p>In the dying days of the federal election campaign, the Coalition announced a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-brutal-truth-on-housing-someone-has-to-lose-in-order-for-first-homebuyers-to-win-117010">plan</a> to help those struggling to save the 20% deposit normally required to buy a home.</p> <p>The federal government has also made it easier for people to access their <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/withdrawing-and-using-your-super/first-home-super-saver-scheme/">super</a> to pay the deposit.</p> <p>These policies might be popular but do little to improve housing affordability for low-income earners; they might even <a href="https://insidestory.org.au/another-lost-opportunity-for-housing-affordability/">do more harm than good</a>.</p> <p>Labor, meanwhile, ran with a <a href="https://theconversation.com/shortens-subsidy-plan-to-boost-affordable-housing-108881">proposal</a> during the last election campaign to build 250,000 new affordable housing dwellings, using a mechanism similar to the earlier National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). On our <a href="https://blog.grattan.edu.au/2019/09/learning-from-past-mistakes-lessons-from-the-national-rental-affordability-scheme/">analysis</a>, though, the original NRAS was poor value for money, and did not target those most in need.</p> <p>Addressing inequality requires a clearer view on what to do about rising housing costs.</p> <p>The priority should be to <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/commonwealth-orange-book-2019/">boost Rent Assistance</a> by 40% – an extra A$1,410 a year for singles and A$1,330 for couples – and benchmark it to rents paid by low-income renters.</p> <p>The federal government should also give <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/commonwealth-orange-book-2019/">more funding</a> to the states for social housing carefully targeted to people at serious risk of homelessness.</p> <p>Emulating the Rudd-era <a href="http://www.nwhn.net.au/admin/file/content101/c6/social_housing_initiative_review.pdf">Social Housing Initiative</a>, which resulted in 20,000 new social housing units being built and thousands more refurbished at a cost of A$5.6 billion, would provide a much-needed boost to housing construction when the pipeline is <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2019/may/pdf/statement-on-monetary-policy-2019-05.pdf">drying up</a>.</p> <p><strong>Supply-side economics</strong></p> <p>But redistribution alone won’t be enough. Housing is a A$6.6 trillion market. Subsidies can only paper over market failures arising from overly strict zoning rules that <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/housing-affordability-re-imagining-the-australian-dream/">prevent greater density</a> in our major cities.</p> <p>Housing inequality will really only fall if housing costs fall. That requires building more houses. We <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/housing-affordability-re-imagining-the-australian-dream/">estimate</a> building an extra 50,000 homes a year for the next decade would make house prices and rents 10% to 20% lower than they would be otherwise.</p> <p>This is primarily a challenge for state governments. They govern the local councils that set most planning rules and assess most development applications. But the federal government can and should <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/916-Commonwealth-Orange-Book-2019.pdf">encourage</a> the states to boost housing supply by reforming land-use planning and zoning laws.</p> <p>If Scott Morrison really believes in “<a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/scott-morrison-pays-tribute-to-grandmother-in-mardigras-ritual/news-story/5af22d241145aae979e8d694d2f7dbe7">a fair go for Australians</a>”, he needs to tackle the housing crisis.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/119872/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Brendan Coates, Program Director, Household Finances, Grattan Institute and Carmela Chivers, Associate, Grattan Institute</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/rising-inequality-in-australia-isnt-about-incomes-its-almost-all-about-housing-119872" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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How Aussies are overspending on food

<p><span>Most Aussies agree that take-outs and barista-made coffee are an unnecessary expense – yet we still spend nearly $1,700 every year on these treats, a new report has revealed.</span></p> <p><span>Suncorp’s <a href="https://www.suncorpgroup.com.au/news/features/food-for-thought-australians-spend-272-billion-on-food-annually"><em>Cost of Food</em></a> report found that a staggering 60 per cent of Australians blow over their allocated food budget, with the average person spending close to $300 a week on food and drinks.</span></p> <p><span>One in four Australians do not stick to their food budget, while a third do not budget for food at all. </span></p> <p><span>The bank’s behavioural economist Phil Slade said the findings showed that Aussies are ruled by “instinct” when it comes to purchasing food. </span></p> <p><span>He noted that an average person spends $140 each month – or $1,680 each year – on take-away food and café beverages despite recognising them as an “unreasonable expense”.</span></p> <p><span>“We all have good intentions when it comes to our finances, but for many of us our brains go into auto-pilot when it comes to food,” Slade said.</span></p> <p><span>“As we get busier, we tend to ‘throw money’ at painful problems or situations as an easy solve – hunger or boredom are examples of painful problems we tend to solve by spending on food.</span></p> <p><span>“This is why we shouldn’t go shopping when we’re hungry, as our brains are more focused on addressing the hunger than thinking about our finances.”</span></p> <p><span>Slade said the rise of food delivery services could also lead Aussies to break their budget. </span></p> <p><span>“While the rise of food delivery services are perceived as making life simpler, they’re also giving us another outlet to spend money in moments when we’re experiencing pain [hunger], which in most cases hasn’t been budgeted for,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>The report, which polled more than 1,500 Australians across the country, discovered that the average shopper spend $135 on groceries, $52 on dining out, $31 on alcohol, $22 on takeaways, $13 on coffees and teas, $12 on food delivery services, $12 on supplements and $11 on health foods, totalling to $288 every month.</span></p> <p><span>Slade said meal planning would help people keep their expenses in check. “A good trick is only planning meals a couple of days in advance, so you only buy what you need. This also allows you to buy what’s on special, and avoid food getting lost in the freezer.”</span></p>

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How robo-debt class action could deliver justice for tens of thousands of Australians

<p>The announcement by Gordon Legal of a <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-17/robodebt-centrelink-class-action-lawsuit-announced/11520338">class action</a> to compensate victims of the government’s so-called robo-debt scheme is welcome, perhaps even groundbreaking.</p> <p>Standing alongside class action litigator Peter Gordon at a press conference in parliament house on Tuesday, former opposition leader and shadow government services minister Bill Shorten said the <a href="https://gordonlegal.com.au/about/">legal veteran</a> was the man who “took on big tobacco in America, took on asbestos cases, took on thalidomide compensation”.</p> <p>Gordon said he only began looking at robo-debt when Shorten took over the portfolio in May and invited him to examine the government’s curious behaviour of wiping the debts at the centre of legal challenges rather than pursuing them and establishing its right to the money in court.</p> <p><strong>What is robo-debt?</strong></p> <p>Robo-debt is a part-automated process in which recipients of government benefits are sent letters asserting that they owe the government money because they have been overpaid. Many of the debts are <a href="https://www.notmydebt.com.au/the-issue">false or highly inflated</a> because they are calculated using an inaccurate formula that averages employment earnings over a series of fortnights rather than identifying what actually earned in the relevant fortnight.</p> <p>Robo-debts have been routinely overturned as lacking a legal foundation when appealed to the first level of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Although the rulings have always been accepted by Centrelink in the individual cases taken before the Tribunal, Centrelink has not applied them to cases not taken to the tribunal.</p> <p>Nor has Centrelink <a href="http://www.unswlawjournal.unsw.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/006-Carney.pdf">ever challenged</a> those individual rulings at the second level of the tribunal, where the hearing and the reasons for decision are made public.</p> <p>A Federal Court challenge by two Australians who are arguing the illegality of robo-debts remains underway, but Centrelink <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/sep/06/centrelink-wipes-robodebt-in-second-case-set-to-challenge-legality-of-scheme">wiped both debts</a> after the case was launched. Argument remains about whether this means there is still a live legal issue to be heard. The case is not expected to return to court until December.</p> <p><strong>What is “unjust enrichment”?</strong></p> <p>What is incontrovertible is that very large sums of money are being raised by a scheme that verges on extortion. “<a href="https://gordonlegal.com.au/news/gordon-legal-to-fight-illegal-robodebt-clawback/">Unjust enrichment</a>” is the term Gordon Legal plans to use in the action, a term that applies when one entity is enriched at the expense of another in circumstances the law sees as unjust.</p> <p>It is also investigating whether the so-called collection fees levied by Centrelink should be refunded and whether those who have wrongly paid all or part of the amounts claimed should be paid interest on the amounts collected and whether they are entitled to compensation.</p> <p>Between July 2016 and March 2019 the government issued <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/06/robodebt-faces-landmark-legal-challenge-over-crude-income-calculations">500,281</a> robo-debt notices, asserting debts of A$1.25 billion, with the average being $2,184, but not uncommonly as much as $10,000.</p> <p>Much less has as yet been collected, but tax return garnishees, debt collection agencies and staff “quotas” are <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/may/29/centrelink-still-issuing-incorrect-robodebts-to-meet-targets-staff-claim">driving it up</a>.</p> <p><strong>What’s different about the class action?</strong></p> <p>The class action differs from Administrative Appeals Tribunal reviews or Federal court actions by seeking remedies for a whole class of people, not only those with the knowledge or personal stamina to lodge an appeal.</p> <p>It is form of legal process that cannot be stopped or slowed by wiping the debts of a few individuals. Being a judicial process, it is aired in public (first-tier tribunal decisions remain private).</p> <p><strong>What’s being claimed?</strong></p> <p>The simple argument that will be put is that the government has obtained monies to which it was not lawfully entitled. Not having a lawful basis for the collections (their being, in a sense, an unwarranted “tax” on the supposed debtors), it will be argued that it should return (“restitute”) the monies and pay damages as compensation for unjust enrichment.</p> <p>There are a number of <a href="http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/UWSLRev/2001/2.html">special features and technical requirements</a> to be satisfied before a class action can successfully be lodged for consideration, including obtaining a sufficient number of plaintiffs.</p> <p><strong>Where to now?</strong></p> <p>It is still very early days. There are many procedural and legal hurdles yet to be crossed.</p> <p>However, unlike the paths trodden to date, the class action holds the potential of being able to deliver justice to the many rather than to the few who win private victories without ever testing the government’s powers in open court.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Terry Carney, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Sydney</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/robo-debt-class-action-could-deliver-justice-for-tens-of-thousands-of-australians-instead-of-mere-hundreds-123691" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

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"An insult": Why welfare recipients condemn cashless card

<p>“This is a bit controversial, we know that,” deputy prime minister Michael McCormick told the <a href="https://www.michaelmccormack.com.au/media-releases/2019/9/16/address-to-the-nationals-federal-council-canberra-14-september-2019">National Party’s federal council</a>, which on the weekend voted for a national roll-out of cashless debit cards for anyone younger than 35 on the dole or receiving parenting payments.</p> <p>The Nationals have joined the chorus within the federal government proclaiming the cards a huge success.</p> <p>The Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, has even gone so far as to claim welfare recipients are “<a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6355110/welfare-card-users-full-of-praise-govt/">singing its praises</a>”.</p> <p>Really?</p> <p>Both McCormick and Ruston have proclaimed success based on the most recent trial of cashless welfare in Queensland. This trial began barely six months ago, and the independent evaluation by the <a href="https://www.adelaide.edu.au/future-employment-skills/research#review-of-cashless-debit-card-cdc-trial-in-the-goldfields-region-of-wa">Future of Employment and Skills Research Centre</a> at the University of Adelaide is ongoing.</p> <p>A more complex story emerges out of my research into lived experiences of the first cashless debit card trial, which began in Ceduna, South Australia, <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children-programs-services-welfare-quarantining-cashless-debit-card/cashless-debit-card-ceduna-region">in March 2016</a></p> <p>I spent about three months in the town of Ceduna between mid 2017 and the end of 2018 talking to people <a href="https://insidestory.org.au/weve-lost-our-vision-a-card-cannot-give-vision-to-the-community">about life on the card</a>.</p> <p>All communities are diverse and people’s experiences diverge. Some liked the card, or had come to accept it, others were caught up dealing with far more significant problems.</p> <p>But I talked to people who found the card “an insult”. They told me it made them feel “targeted” and “punished”. They talked of degradation and defiance. They also told me the card didn’t work.</p> <p>As for the the claim by both Ruston (and her ministerial predecessor <a href="https://www.paulfletcher.com.au/portfolio-speeches/speech-to-sydney-institute-welfare-personal-responsibility-and-the-cashless">Paul Fletcher</a>) that the card empowers people to “demonstrate responsibility”, the opposite was true. In the words of June*, an Indigenous grandmother, foster carer and talented artist: “It has taken responsibility away from me. It’s treating me like a little kid again.”</p> <p><strong>Indigenous testing grounds</strong></p> <p>Ceduna, in the far west of South Australia, was the first of four sites chosen to trial cashless debit cards. The second was in the East Kimberley</p> <p>The location of these two trial sites meant early trial participants have been predominately Indigenous. I am of the view that Indigenous communities are being used as testing grounds for new technologies and controversial measures.</p> <p>In the first two trial sites, income support recipients younger than 65 have just 20 per cent of their payment deposited into their bank account. The remaining 80% goes on to their debit card, which cannot be used at any alcohol or gambling outlet across the nation. Nor can they be used to withdraw cash.</p> <p>The lead-grey cashless debit card is similar but different to the lime-green BasicsCard, introduced as part of the 2007 Northern Territory National Emergency Response (the “Intervention”). The use of the BasicsCard as an “income management” tool was extended to non-Indigenous people in the Northern Territory in 2010, and to other states in 2012.</p> <p>The BasicsCard generally quarantines 50% of a social security recipient’s income so that it cannot be spent on alcohol, gambling, tobacco or pornography. BasicsCard holders need to shop at approved stores. In contrast, the cashless debit card, administered by financial services company <a href="https://www2.indue.com.au/">Indue</a>, can theoretically be used wherever there are Eftpos facilities.</p> <p><strong>Shame and humiliation</strong></p> <p>My research wasn’t based on collecting statistics but “hanging out” and getting to know people. I came to see the stigma associated with the “grey card” sometimes resonated with past experiences.</p> <p>Robert*, for example, told me about growing up on a mission and then suddenly finding himself as “one little blackfella” in a large high school. He was acutely sensitive to the “smirks” and judgements of others whenever he used the grey card to pay for things.</p> <p>Pete* left high school after a couple of weeks to join an itinerant rural workforce that has since vanished. After decades of manual work, finding himself unemployed due to ill health was devastating enough. Being issued the grey card compounded his humiliation.</p> <p>Others voiced their belief the grey card was designed to induce shame. But they refused that shame, expressing instead a defiant belief in the legitimacy of their need for support.</p> <p>The welfare system often defines people by the one thing they are not currently doing – waged employment. But many people I spent time with in fact laboured constantly: it just wasn’t recognised as work. People like June*, for example, looked after sick kin, the elderly and children. Yet the grey card treated <em>them</em> as dependents.</p> <p>I heard about ways of getting around the card’s restrictions. As one acquaintance put it: “Drunks gonna drink!” One strategy involved exchanging temporary use of the card for cash. With terms that nearly always disadvantage the card holder, it has the potential to make life tougher for people living in hardship.</p> <p>These observations concur with the sober assessments of experts such as the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/cashless-welfare-card-trial-not-working-drug-and-alcohol-centre-says-20190910-p52pv5.html">South Australian Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council</a>.</p> <p>The evaluation of the Ceduna trial for <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/10_2018/cashless-debit-card-trial-final-evaluation-report_2.pdf">the Department of Social Services</a> was more positive, noting that alcohol drinkers and gamblers reported doing so less frequently. But it also noted no reduction in crime statistics related to alcohol consumption, illegal drug use or gambling. And the Australian National Audit office was so critical of the government’s evaluation it <a href="https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/implementation-and-performance-cashless-debit-card-trial">concluded</a> that it was difficult to ascertain “whether there had been a reduction in social harm” as a result of the card’s introduction.</p> <p>Which makes simplistic claims about the card’s success look a bit rich.</p> <p>*<em>Pseudonyms are used throughout</em>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/123352/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Eve Vincent, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/an-insult-politicians-sing-the-praises-of-the-cashless-welfare-card-but-those-forced-to-use-it-disagree-123352" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Cancer Council calls for tobacco licence for businesses

<p><span>Around 10,000 businesses would be required to purchase a licence to continue selling tobacco products under a new proposal to reduce smoking-related cancer deaths.</span></p> <p><span>Cancer Council has called on the New South Wales government to introduce a ‘tobacco licence’ to reduce the number of stores selling the controversial item in the state.</span></p> <p><span>According to a study that the non-profit organisation conducted with the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University, an annual licencing fee would help discourage stores from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. </span></p> <p><span>In Western Australia, the only state in the study that has licencing fees, around one in eight former tobacco retailers said the licence was the reason they stopped selling the product.</span></p> <p><span>The research surveyed more than 4,500 businesses in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia, with about 1,830 of these selling or having previously sold tobacco.</span></p> <p><span>“Tobacco is among the most widely available consumer goods in Australia, and this wide distribution increases consumption, maintains smoking and undermines smokers’ quit attempts,” said Christina Watts, Cancer Council NSW’s tobacco control senior project officer and lead author of the research.</span></p> <p><span>“This research shows that a fee-based tobacco licence can contribute to a reduction in the availability of tobacco.” </span></p> <p><span>Currently, retailers in Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have to pay between $242 and $297 to sell tobacco products. NSW, Victoria and Queensland do not require businesses to pay any annual fee for tobacco sales.</span></p> <p><span>“Licensing can be used to restrict the number of retailers within areas, limit the types of outlets that can sell tobacco and/or deter retailers from selling or continuing to sell,” said Watts.</span></p> <p><span>The survey found up to 45 per cent of NSW tobacco retailers to be in support of an annual fee if the money was put towards greater enforcement and education of laws.</span></p> <p><span>“Smoking still places a huge burden on the community and on people’s lives,” Watts said.</span></p> <p><span>“If the NSW Government are to achieve the goal of restricting the availability and supply of tobacco, as outlined in their tobacco strategy, the introduction of an annual licence fee for retailers is a common-sense next step,” she concluded.</span></p>

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Alan Joyce tops list of highest-paid CEOs in Australia

<p>Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has emerged as Australia’s highest-paid executive for 2018, taking home more than 275 times the full-time average wage.</p> <p>Joyce topped the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI)’s list of highest-paid ASX100 CEOs for the 2018 financial year with a realised pay of $23.87 million, or a little over 275 times the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-17/ceo-bonuses-soar-as-qantas-boss-alan-joyce-tops-list/11518356" target="_blank">average Australian full-time salary of $86,736</a>.</p> <p>In the same financial year, the airline turned in a <a rel="noopener" href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/finance-news/2019/09/16/ceo-salary-top-10/" target="_blank">record $1.6 billion profit</a>.</p> <p>Joyce was one of the only two CEOs receiving more than $20 million in the year, along with Macquarie Group’s Nicholas Moore.</p> <p>Across the nation’s 100 largest companies, the average realised pay declined from $6.23 million in the 2017 financial year to $5.66 million in 2018.</p> <p>Although fixed pay for CEOs have remained largely flat over the decade, the median realised pay for top 100 CEOs has increased by 21 per cent in five years to $4.5 million.</p> <p>ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said the list showed that corporate Australia had a culture of “entitlement”, where executives received bonuses supposedly reserved for outperformance as a given.</p> <p>“Bonuses are being treated as fixed remuneration and a defined part of executive pay,” said Davidson. “These results suggest boards aren’t exercising the discretion they should over remuneration.”</p> <p>Fiona Balzer, policy director of the Australian Shareholders Association, said CEOs should not receive bonuses if they do not exceed targets.</p> <p>“We want to see CEOs having skin in the game so that after three years they should have one year’s fixed remuneration in shares,” Balzer said. “There is no reason why a CEO should get a bonus, unless they do something to really shoot the lights out.”</p> <p>The 10 top paid CEOs based on realised pay in the 2018 financial year:</p> <ol> <li>Alan Joyce, Qantas Airways ($23,876,351)</li> <li>Nicholas Moore, Macquarie Group ($23,855,580)</li> <li>Michael Clarke, Treasury Wine Estates ($19,024,334)</li> <li>Bob Vassie, St Barbara ($13,246,088)</li> <li>Craig Scroggie, NextDC ($12,515,914)</li> <li>Sandeep Biswas, Newcrest Mining ($12,083,392)</li> <li>Brian Benari, Challenger Group ($11,696,001)</li> <li>Raleigh Finlayson, Saracen Mineral Holdings ($11,284,256)</li> <li>Andrew Bassat, Seek ($10,744,472)</li> <li>Colin Goldschmidt, Sonic Healthcare ($10,017,376)</li> </ol>

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How to manage your phone's data use

<p>Smartphones give you access to a wealth of information and media, but most networks put a cap on the amount of data you can use each month. A typical phone contract includes a data allowance of between 500MB and 10GB per month; the more data, the higher the monthly cost. Your usage can mount up surprisingly quickly – watching a film on the phone is about 700MB in SD, an hour of streaming TV is around 500MB or 60-140MB for the same of radio, chatting on Skype for an hour is around 40MB. Try these tips to better manage your data usage:</p> <ul> <li>If possible, wait until you can connect to free Wi-Fi before using your phone’s data features.</li> <li>When you are on the road, use your car’s GPS, not your phone, to find your way. The phone has to download map data as you move, but maps are preloaded in a GPS, making this free to use.</li> <li>Be careful of how many “free” games you play on the move. Many of these are funded by ads that pop up on your screen. Every ad has to download through your network, using up your data allowance.</li> <li>If you regularly need to use a lot of data on your phone, consider a data-compressing app, such as Onavo (<a href="http://www.onavo.com/">www.onavo.com</a>). It compresses</li> <li>data before it is fed to your phone, so you use less of your monthly allowance. You may have to subscribe to such compression services, so you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s worth the cost.</li> </ul> <h4>Travel Smart</h4> <p>Using your phone overseas can be costly. Before you go, see if your carrier offers prepaid or flat-rate roaming. At your destination, if your phone is unlocked, you can buy a local prepaid SIM to replace yours, or buy a cheap prepaid phone and use free Wi-Fi for internet.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/How-to-Manage-Your-Phone-Data-Use" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Income

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5 simple things you can do to boost your retirement nest egg

<p>There’s a lot to look forward to about retirement. You will have more time to travel, read and spend time with those you love. You might even take up a new hobby or two. But to truly enjoy this beautiful time in your life, it helps to be financially secure.</p> <p>If you’re nearing retirement age, now is the time to pull out all the financial stops to set yourself up for a stress-free retirement. Here are a few simple steps you can take to boost your retirement nest egg.</p> <p><strong>1. Get out of debt</strong></p> <p>Taking debts into retirement with you is the last thing you want – so pay off any debts as fast as you can. Work overtime if possible, or delay retirement by a year or two if need be. It might feel like a bit of a hard slog for a while, but paying off debts without regular income will be much harder. Sell items you no longer need and cut down on unnecessary spending. That retirement cake is going to taste so much sweeter knowing you’re in the black.</p> <p><strong>2. Make extra pre-tax super contributions</strong></p> <p>Your superannuation is your retirement savings plan and the more you look after it while you’re still working, the better it will look after you when the time comes.</p> <p>Consider putting extra money into your super. You can do this by asking your employer to contribute some of your pre-tax salary on your behalf, or you may be able to make a personal contribution if you complete the appropriate paperwork.  The current cap is $25,000, including the employer contribution and the new “catch-up” legislation will allow you top up if you missed out – seek advice on details. This is an incredibly tax effective strategy that will boost your super while you save on tax.</p> <p><strong>3. Make your investments work harder</strong></p> <p>Do you know how well your superannuation investment strategy is performing? If you haven’t paid much attention to this in the past, now is a great time to start.</p> <p>A lot of people prefer to go conservative with their investments later in life, but if you’re still a few years away from retirement you could consider investing in higher growth assets to build your wealth more quickly.</p> <p>The right mix of conservative and high-growth strategies for you may have changed over the years so it’s important to get the right balance for your circumstances. If you like to DIY, visit ASIC’s <span><a href="https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/publications/factsheet-choosing-a-super-strategy">MoneySmart</a></span> website which explains some investment terminology, but note every fund is different so perhaps seeking professional financial advice before making any changes is wiser.</p> <p><strong>4. Downsize and reap the benefits</strong></p> <p>If you’re bouncing around in a big family home and no longer need the space, selling it is a great way to free up some extra cash for retirement.</p> <p>If you’re over 65, you may be eligible to put proceeds from the <span><a href="https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/superannuation-and-retirement/income-sources-in-retirement/selling-the-family-home">sale of your home towards your super</a></span> up to a maximum of $300,000 per person. This is on top of any other voluntary contributions you may have made.</p> <p>Of course, selling an asset like this can be an emotional decision and is not to be taken lightly, but if it works for you, it could be a great earner.</p> <p>There are a few hoops to jump through with this, so if you’re interested in doing it, read up on the rules via the <span><a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/Growing-your-super/Adding-to-your-super/Downsizing-contributions-into-superannuation/">Australian Tax Office website</a></span> and get some independent advice.</p> <p><strong>5. Get professional advice</strong></p> <p>I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to sit down with a qualified financial adviser to ensure you’re setting yourself up for a great retirement.</p> <p>A financial adviser is a bit like a physiotherapist who looks at an athlete’s physical condition, identifies weaknesses and devises a strategy to reach optimum fitness ahead of a big game.</p> <p>A good financial adviser will be able to examine your assets, investments and debts, and develop a plan to put you in a much stronger financial position when you retire.</p> <p>Money certainly can’t buy happiness, but having enough of it allows you to spend less time worrying about your finances and more time focusing on what matters to you.</p> <p>By working hard to grow your nest egg now, you will reap the rewards with a worry-free retirement. The earlier you start, the better.</p> <p><em>Helen Baker is a licenced Australian financial adviser and author of two books: </em>One Your Own Two Feet – Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence<em> and </em>On Your Own Two Feet Divorce – Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide<em>. Helen is among the one per cent of financial planners who holds a master’s degree in the field. Find out more at <a href="http://www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au">www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au</a> Note this is general advice only and you should seek advice specific to your circumstances.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Run don't walk! Woolworths launches brand new collectables range

<p>Woolworths has launched a new promotional campaign aimed at getting Aussie families to grow their own food.</p> <p>The Woolworths Discovery Garden came after the supermarket’s Ooshies plastic collectables series sparked widespread backlash over environmental concerns.</p> <p>Starting today, shoppers will be able to collect a seedling kit for every $30 spent in-store or online. Among the 24 varieties of fruits, veggies and herbs on offer are beetroots, tomatoes, basil, coriander, pansies and bok choi.</p> <p>The supermarket is also rewarding customers who spend at least $15 of their $30 purchase on fresh produce with an additional bag of seeds.</p> <p>According to research by agency T-garage, more than 40 per cent of Australians did not grow their own herbs and veggies – but of these, 70 per cent said they would be interested.</p> <p>Sarah De La Mare, Woolworths Fresh Food Kids Programs Manager said the program will help “encourage meaningful discussions” about food and fresh produce among Aussies of all ages.</p> <p>“Learning about fresh food, where it comes from, how it grows, how long it takes to grow, whether it’s easy or challenging are all questions that will encourage meaningful discussions at home, at school and even at work,” she said.</p> <p>“After planning this program for the past year, we cannot wait for our customers gardens to flourish across Australia.”</p> <p>Dr Shane Norrish, CEO of environmental non-profit Landcare said the campaign will help children develop a better understanding of where their food comes from.</p> <p>“A program like the Woolworths Discovery Garden enables children of all ages to learn about biodiversity and how to grow their own food.”</p> <p>Woolworths and Coles had become the subject of environmental campaigns and petitions, which called for the supermarket to ban plastic toys for their promotions.</p> <p>“With a total disregard for the delicate balance of our ecosystems, Woolworths has manufactured an ungodly number of cheap plastic toys in a bid to get you to spend more of your money in their stores,” the <a rel="noopener" href="https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/woolworths-coles-backlash-plastic-toy-collectibles-future-landfill-070043724.html" target="_blank">Future Landfill campaign stated on its website</a>.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Woolworths' new collectables.</p>

Retirement Income

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Aussies are spending less on coffee and clothes despite tax cuts

<p><span>Aussies are spending less on clothes, shoes and coffee, as retail turnover stalled despite the government’s tax cuts.</span></p> <p><span>According to data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, sales fell over the month of July for two thirds of the industries across six of the eight states and territories.</span></p> <p><span>Spending on clothing, footwear and accessories fell by 1 per cent. Other non-essential purchases also took a hit – cafes, restaurants and takeaway services dipped 0.6 per cent while department stores were down 0.2 per cent.</span></p> <p><span>The whole retail sector sunk by 0.1 per cent nationwide despite the government’s tax cut package giving out up to $1,080 per person.</span></p> <p><span>Figures by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries also revealed that new car sales slumped 10.1 per cent in August compared to the same month in the previous year.</span></p> <p><span>While discretionary spending declined, essential goods such as food and household products grew by 0.3 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively in the same month.</span></p> <p><span>July saw spending dip in Queensland (-0.2 per cent), New South Wales (-0.1 per cent), South Australia (-0.5 per cent), Victoria (-0.1 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.5 per cent), and Tasmania (-0.1 per cent). On the other hand, Western Australia (0.6 per cent), and the Northern Territory (0.3 per cent) increased.</span></p> <p><span>National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominique Lamb said the numbers “are not good news” for retailers and the economy.</span></p> <p><span>“A drop in turnover shows that consumer confidence remains stubbornly low, despite measures such as the personal tax cuts and reduction in interest rates,” Lamb said.</span></p> <p><span>“Retail is one of the largest sectors in Australia and the biggest employer of young people, so it’s importance to the overall economy cannot be overstated.”</span></p> <p><span>The NRA said Aussie shoppers should “not shy away” from supporting their local retail outlets. </span></p> <p><span>In July, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he expected the tax refunds to encourage 10 million people to spend in shops, and thus give a <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/tax-cuts-will-boost-spending-frydenberg-20190709-p525fj">boost to the weak economy</a>.</span></p> <p><span>Last week, the economy was revealed to be at its weakest in a decade as growth fell to 1.44 per cent over the past financial year.</span></p> <p><span>Frydenberg said the numbers showed the “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/spending-growth-in-nsw-hits-zero-as-australia-s-economy-slumps-to-gfc-levels-20190904-p52o3e.html">remarkable resilience</a>” of the Australian economy amid the sluggish global outlook.</span></p> <p><span>“I want to emphasise that Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Singapore and others experienced negative growth in the June quarter,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>However, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said, “If the Treasurer thinks that these weak economic growth numbers are good, then he’s even more out of touch than we feared.”</span></p>

Retirement Income

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Get it moving”: Jacqui Lambie advocates for drug testing of welfare recipients

<p>The Morrison government is after welfare recipients as parliament resumes after the winter break and is advocating for cashless welfare card trials across the country.</p> <p>The government has the backing of key Senate crossbencher Jacqui Lambie in the cash welfare card trials.</p> <p>“I’ve always been a big supporter of the cashless welfare cards — I’ve seen the result that has had,” Senator Lambie told reporters in Canberra, according to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/national/politics/drug-testing-on-agenda-as-parliament-meets/news-story/18920c2d771f76d22e2436a07941ec35" target="_blank"><em>news.com.au</em></a>.</p> <p>“I will say this, though, get those algorithms right because quite frankly it’s taking you way too long, get it moving.”</p> <p>The government is also planning to have another try at passing legislation that will trial drug-testing for welfare recipients.</p> <p>Lambie supports this, but is also calling for her fellow MPs to be drug and alcohol tested.</p> <p>“I want to see the politicians up there grow a spine and you don’t go and put something on someone else that you don’t expect to put on yourself,” she said.</p> <p>“If you’ve got nothing to hide up there in that big white house then it’s now your turn to go and do that random drug and alcohol test. What’s wrong with you people, might miss a few wines after 8 o’clock at night, will we? That’ll keep the backbenchers in line.”</p> <p>The drug and alcohol testing idea has been rejected twice by the previous parliament, but Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is defiant it will work.</p> <p>“We want to support and encourage Australians to deal with any barriers they are facing in terms of getting back into the workforce,” Senator Cormann told the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-06/welfare-recipients-drug-testing-new-bill/11483512" target="_blank"><em>ABC</em></a>.</p> <p>“That is, of course, why we believe that through this drug testing trial, that we should assess whether there’s better ways to channel Australians into treatment.”</p> <p>The Australian Medical Association opposes the trial, believing it will stigmatise people.</p> <p>“It may actually make their chance of getting another job later much harder,” AMA federal councillor Chris Moy said.</p> <p>“The next thing is, there’s actually no evidence from international trials that this actually works.”</p> <p>The Labor party has argued that this policy is divisive.</p> <p>The two-year drug testing trials would be rolled out in three locations, which are Logan in Queensland, Canterbury-Bankstown in NSW and Mandurah in WA.</p>

Retirement Income

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How to tell when a special deal is not so special

<p>Special offers at the supermarket aren’t always what they seem. It doesn’t mean you can’t get better value by taking advantage of discounts and deals – you just need to make sure it really is going to save you money. Here are some “deals” that you should approach with caution:</p> <p><strong>1. Price cuts that aren’t real</strong></p> <p>Just because some deals say it costs less than full price, it doesn’t always mean it was on sale at the higher price for long. Sometimes promotions featuring a “was/now” price change sticker are on sale at the reduced price for longer and more often.</p> <p><strong>2. Bigger packs more expensive</strong></p> <p>Big “value packs” suggest the best value. But it’s sometimes the case that it’s cheaper to buy the smaller packs. You can also get caught out by the packaging being downsized but the price staying the same, or fruit and vegetables being cheaper sold loose rather than in packs (and vice versa).Tip: Most supermarkets have the unit price (eg, per 100g) on the label located on the shelf, so you can check whether it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.</p> <p><strong>3. Multi-buys can cost more than single items</strong></p> <p>If you need more than one of an item, multi-buys such as Buy One, Get One Free, can save you cash. Be careful though: some supermarkets have been found to increase the price of one item when they’re in a promotion and lower it when they’re not. This makes you think you’re saving more than you really are.</p> <p>The word “Special!” makes the shopper believe the product on sale is scarce, available only in one shop, and for a short time only. The shopper responds almost instinctively by buying the product – retail psychologists called this response the Scarcity Effect.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/money/How-to-Tell-When-a-Special-Deal-is-Not-So-Special" target="_blank"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Income

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Most Australians fail this financial “consciousness” test

<p><span>Would you describe yourself as financially literate?</span></p> <p><span>On the surface, Australians may seem to have a great understanding of finances – in the <a href="https://gflec.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/3313-Finlit_Report_FINAL-5.11.16.pdf?x70028">Standard &amp; Poor's 2015 Global Financial Literacy Survey</a>, Australia ranked ninth worldwide for the proportion of adults who met their criteria for financial literacy. </span></p> <p><span>However, there was a considerable gap in literacy between the rich and the poor – while three quarters of the richest 60 per cent of Australian households had satisfactory levels of literacy, only half of the poorest 40 per cent gained the same grade. </span></p> <p><span>The outlook is even worse for women. The <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/retirement-income/3-common-money-mistakes-that-aussie-women-make/">2018 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey</a> found that women showed significantly lower levels of financial literacy than men. </span></p> <p><span>Now, a new index has found that the financial ‘consciousness’ of Australians has dipped further, with the average person scoring 48 out of 100.</span></p> <p><span>The <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/wp-content/themes/ctm/documents/Financial-Consciousness-Index-report-2019.pdf" target="_blank">Financial Consciousness Index</a>, developed by Deloitte Access Economics and commissioned by Comparethemarket, surveyed 3,000 individuals on their financial experiences and understanding of various financial topics.</span></p> <p><span>The survey included calculation questions surrounding interest rate, savings and investments as well as those pertaining personal habits such as “What best describes your approach to your finances?” and “When making significant financial decisions, who do you typically consult with?”</span></p> <p><span>The index found that while Australians could still be considered as financially conscious, their average score in the index has declined from 51 in 2018 to 48 this year.</span></p> <p><span>According to the index’s analysis, there are now an estimated 7.5 million Australians who struggle with their bills, savings and job security, up by nearly 2 million from last year.</span></p> <p><span>The report said the slump in the levels of financial consciousness was not “necessarily surprising”, as low household income growth weakened people’s financial position and brought their comprehension of financial matters down. </span></p> <p><span>Try the quiz yourself <a href="https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/financial-consciousness/the-quiz/">here</a>.</span></p>

Retirement Income