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We have too few aged care workers to care for older Australians. Why? And what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>In a country like Australia, we all expect that when we get old, we’ll be able to rely on a robust aged care system. But aged care providers can’t find staff and a crisis is brewing.</p> <p>If the problem isn’t fixed, there are serious risks to quality and access to services for older people who need support. There are also broader social, economic and political consequences for undervaluing the rapidly expanding health and social assistance workforce.</p> <p>Aged care <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/10/2020-aged-care-workforce-census.pdf">employs</a> around 420,000 people. Around 80% of those are front line staff providing care and demand for them is increasing rapidly.</p> <h2>Australians are ageing</h2> <p>The number of people aged 80 and over is <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/IGR_2010_Overview.pdf">projected to double</a> by 2050. At the same time, informal family care is becoming less available. In the next 25 years, <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/executive/shortfall-of-400000-aged-care-workers-predicted-by-2050/">twice as many</a> aged care staff will be needed.</p> <p>Currently, about 1.4 million older people <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/aged-care">receive</a> aged care services, including basic and more intensive home care and residential care.</p> <p>Health care and social support job vacancies and ads are the highest of any industry. Between 30,000 and 35,000 additional direct aged care workers a year are already needed. By 2030 the <a href="https://cedakenticomedia.blob.core.windows.net/cedamediacontainer/kentico/media/attachments/ceda-duty-of-care-3.pdf">shortfall</a> is likely to be 110,000 full time equivalent workers.</p> <h2>Why don’t enough people want to work in aged care?</h2> <p>Despite recent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/aged-care-workforce/what-were-doing/better-and-fairer-wages">pay increases</a>, it is difficult to attract and retain aged care workers because the work is under-valued.</p> <p>The Australian workforce is undergoing profound change. A generation ago, manufacturing made up 17% of the workforce. Today it has fallen to 6%. By contrast, the health care and social assistance workforce has doubled from 8% to 16%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The manufacturing workforce has declined, while health, aged care and social assistance has risen.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">ABS 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Manufacturing jobs were <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Manufacturing-Briefing-Paper-FINAL.pdf">mainly</a> secure, full-time, reasonably paid jobs dominated by male workers.</p> <p>By contrast, jobs in aged care are often insecure, part-time and poorly paid, dominated by women, with many workers coming from non-English speaking backgrounds.</p> <p>Since moving to take over aged care in the 1980s, the federal government has over-emphasised <a href="https://arena.org.au/a-genealogy-of-aged-care/">cost constraint</a> through service privatisation, activity-based funding and competition, often under the cover of consumer choice.</p> <p>The result is a highly fragmented and poorly coordinated aged care sector with almost 3,200, often small and under-resourced providers centrally funded and regulated from Canberra.</p> <p>This has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/a-matter-of-care-australia-s-aged-care-workforce-strategy.pdf">led to</a> high levels of casualisation, low investment in training and professional development, and inadequate supervision, particularly in the home care sector.</p> <p>Aged care is facing a perfect storm. Demand for care and support staff is increasing dramatically. The sector is poorly coordinated and difficult to navigate. Pay and conditions remain poor and the workforce is relatively untrained. There are no minimum standards or registration requirements for many front-line aged care staff.</p> <h2>What are the consequences?</h2> <p>An understaffed and under-trained aged care workforce reduces access to services and the quality of care and support.</p> <p>Aged care providers <a href="https://www.agedhealth.com.au/content/compliance-and-governance/news/troubled-outlook-for-aged-care-reforms-1224428737#:%7E:text=Its%20report%20found%20that%2053.8,was%20%22impossible%20to%20achieve%22.">routinely report</a> it is difficult to attract staff and they can’t meet the growing demand for services from older people.</p> <p>Staff shortages are already having an impact on residential care occupancy rates falling, with some regional areas now down to only 50% occupancy.</p> <p>That means older people either don’t get care or they are at increased risk of neglect, malnutrition, avoidable hospital admissions and a poorer quality of life.</p> <p>Inevitably, lack of aged care workers puts pressure on hospital services when older people have nowhere else to go.</p> <h2>What needs to be done?</h2> <p>Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach. Australia will need a massive increase in the number of aged care workers and the quality of the care they provide. Wages have to be competitive to attract and retain staff.</p> <p>But better pay and conditions is only part of the story. Unless aged care becomes a career the community recognises, values and supports, it will continue to be difficult to train, attract and retain staff.</p> <p>The recent <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care">Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety</a> highlighted the need for a more skilled workforce, emphasising the importance of ongoing professional development for all staff.</p> <p>To date the federal government’s aged care workforce initiatives have been underwhelming. They are a limited and piecemeal rather than a coherent workforce strategy.</p> <p>In the short term, skilled migration may be part of the solution. But progress to bring in skilled aged care workers has been glacial. Currently only about 1% of providers <a href="https://theconversation.com/overseas-recruitment-wont-solve-australias-aged-care-worker-crisis-189126">have agreements</a> to bring in staff from overseas. At best, overseas migration will meet only 10% of the workforce shortfall.</p> <p>Registration, qualifications and training for direct care work have to become mandatory to make sure care standards are met.</p> <p>Much more significant and systematic incentives and support for training will be needed. Supervision, career progression and staff development will also have to be dramatically improved if we are to attract and retain the workforce that is needed.</p> <p>“Learn and earn” incentives, including scholarships and traineeships for aged care, are needed to attract the future workforce.</p> <p>At the same time, a much broader investment in upskilling the entire workforce through continuing professional development and good quality supervision is necessary.</p> <p>Like manufacturing a generation ago, aged care needs to become valued, skilled, secure and well-paid employment if it is going to attract the staff that are needed to avoid a looming 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232707/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-have-too-few-aged-care-workers-to-care-for-older-australians-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-232707">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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How sustainable is your weekly grocery shop? These small changes can have big benefits

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michalis-hadjikakou-129930">Michalis Hadjikakou</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carla-archibald-283811">Carla Archibald</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ozge-geyik-1402545">Özge Geyik</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/pankti-shah-1547393">Pankti Shah</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>You might think eating more sustainably requires drastic changes, such as shifting to a <a href="https://theconversation.com/vegan-diet-has-just-30-of-the-environmental-impact-of-a-high-meat-diet-major-study-finds-210152">vegan diet</a>. While a plant-based diet is <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-023-00795-w">undeniably</a> good for the Earth, our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352550924001945#f0025">new research</a> shows modest changes to your eating habits can also have significant environmental benefits.</p> <p>We assessed how food products on Australian supermarket shelves stack up against key environmental indicators, such as carbon emissions and water use.</p> <p>We found swapping the most environmentally harmful foods for more sustainable options within the same food group, such as switching from beef burgers to chicken burgers, can significantly reduce carbon emissions – by up to 96% in some instances.</p> <p>The last thing we want to do is take the pleasure away from eating. Instead, we want to help consumers make realistic dietary changes that also help ensure a sustainable future. So read on to find out which simple food swaps can best achieve this.</p> <h2>Informing sustainable diets</h2> <p>The environmental impact of foods can be estimated using an approach known as a <a href="https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(19)30128-9#:%7E:text=In%20this%20Primer%2C%20we%20introduce,cycle%20of%20a%20product%20system.">life-cycle assessment</a>.</p> <p>This involves identifying the “inputs” required along the food supply chain, such as fertiliser, energy, water and land, and tracking them from farm to fork. From this we can calculate a product’s “footprint” – or environmental impact per kilogram of product – and compare it to other foods.</p> <p>Most studies of environmental footprints focus on the raw ingredients that make up food products (such as beef, wheat or rice) rather than the packaged products people see on shelves (such as beef sausages, pasta or rice crackers). Of the studies that do focus on packaged foods, most only consider a fraction of the products available to consumers.</p> <p>What’s more, a lot of research considers only the carbon emissions of food products, excluding other important measures such as water use. And some studies use global average environmental footprints, which <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.aaq0216">vary significantly</a> between countries.</p> <p>Our research set out to overcome these limitations. We aligned environmental footprints with the products people find on supermarket shelves, and covered a huge range of food and beverage products available in Australia. We also included many environmental indicators, to allow a <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2120584119">more complete picture</a> of the sustainability of different foods.</p> <h2>What we did</h2> <p>Key to our research was the <a href="https://www.georgeinstitute.org.au/projects/foodswitch">FoodSwitch database</a>, which compiles food labelling and ingredient data from images of packaged food and beverages. It covers more than 90% of the Australian packaged food market.</p> <p>We combined the database with a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652623029748">mathematical method</a> that sums the environmental impact of ingredients, to quantify the footprint of the product as a whole.</p> <p>From this, we estimated the environmental footprint of 63,926 food products available in Australian supermarkets. We then simulated the potential benefits of making “realistic” switches between products – that is, switches within the same food category.</p> <h2>Our findings</h2> <p>The results show how making a small dietary change can have big environmental consequences.</p> <p>For a shopping basket composed of items from eight food groups, we simulate the benefits of swapping from high-impact towards medium- or low-impact food products.</p> <p>Our analysis assumes a starting point from the most environmentally harmful products in each food group – for example, sweet biscuits, cheese and beef burger patties.</p> <p>A shift to the medium-impact foods for all eight items – such as a muffin, yoghurt and sliced meat – can lead to at least a 62% reduction in environmental impact. Shifts towards the most sustainable choice for all items – bread, soy milk or raw poultry – can achieve a minimum 77% reduction.</p> <p>This analysis ends at the supermarket shelves and does not include additional food processing by the consumer. For example, raw meat will usually be cooked before human consumption, which will expand its environmental footprint to varying degrees, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s43016-020-00200-w">depending on the method used</a>.</p> <p>See the below info-graphic for more detail. The full results are available in <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352550924001945">our study</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="sR5yB" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: 0;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/sR5yB/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>What next?</h2> <p>Many people are looking for ways to live more sustainably. Insufficient or complex information can fuel confusion and anxiety in consumers, <a href="https://theconversation.com/reducing-eco-anxiety-is-a-critical-step-in-achieving-any-climate-action-210327">leading to inaction or paralysis</a>. Consumers need more information and support to choose more sustainable foods.</p> <p>Supermarkets and retailers also have an important role to play – for example, by giving sustainable products <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/07439156211008898">prominent shelf placement</a>. Attractive pricing is also crucial – particularly in the midst of a <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/cost-of-living-crisis-115238">cost-of-living crisis</a> when it can be difficult to prioritise sustainability over cost.</p> <p>Government interventions, such as information campaigns and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/07439156211008898">taxing high-impact products</a>, can also help.</p> <p>Food labelling is also important. The European Union <a href="https://environment.ec.europa.eu/topics/circular-economy/eu-ecolabel/product-groups-and-criteria_en">is leading the way</a> with measures such as the <a href="https://docs.score-environnemental.com/v/en">eco-score</a>, which integrates 14 environmental indicators into a single score from A to E.</p> <p>Apps such as <a href="https://www.georgeinstitute.org/projects/ecoswitch">ecoSwitch</a> can also <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1326020024000268?via%3Dihub">empower consumers</a>.</p> <p>The diets of people in developed nations such as Australia <a href="https://theconversation.com/sustainable-shopping-want-to-eat-healthy-try-an-eco-friendly-diet-89086">exert a high toll on our planet</a>. More sustainable food choices are vital to achieving a <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/commissions/EAT">sustainable future for humanity</a>. We hope our research helps kick-start positive change.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234367/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michalis-hadjikakou-129930">Michalis Hadjikakou</a>, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sustainability, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, Engineering &amp; Built Environment, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carla-archibald-283811">Carla Archibald</a>, Research Fellow, Conservation Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ozge-geyik-1402545">Özge Geyik</a>, Visitor, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/pankti-shah-1547393">Pankti Shah</a>, PhD student, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-sustainable-is-your-weekly-grocery-shop-these-small-changes-can-have-big-benefits-234367">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Australian couple killed in the Philippines identified

<p>An Australian couple who were allegedly murdered in the Philippines have been identified. </p> <p>The bodies of 54-year-old David Fisk and his de-facto partner Lucita Barquin Cortez, 55, were found with their hands and feet tied by hotel staff at the Lake Hotel in Tagaytay city, south of Manila, on Wednesday. </p> <p>The body of another woman, Cortez's  30-year-old daughter-in-law Mary who lives in the Philippines, was also found in the room. </p> <p>Hotel staff were alerted to the issue when they knocked on the door repeatedly to tell the couple it was time to check out. </p> <p>Fisk allegedly had his throat was slit with a sharp object that may have caused his death while the two women apparently may have been suffocated using a pillow, Tagaytay police chief Charles Daven Capagcuan told The Associated Press.</p> <p>Ongoing autopsies would verify those initial indications, he said.</p> <p>Fisk's family, based in NSW's Sutherland Shire, issued a statement saying they "pray for answers and the truth in this horrific matter".</p> <p>"The love we have for our Father and Lucita is so dear and this situation is like living a nightmare," the family said.</p> <p>Capagcuan said the motive for the killings was not immediately clear and added some valuables of the victims, including their mobile phones, were not taken by the suspect.</p> <p>"We were shocked by this incident," Tagaytay Mayor Abraham Tolentino said, apologising to the families of the victims.</p> <p>"We're very sorry to our Australian friends. We will resolve this as soon as possible."</p> <p>Tolentino said investigators were interviewing witnesses and examining security cameras at the hotel which could help identify the suspect or suspects, as a suspicious hooded figure was seen in the corridors of the hotel around the time of their deaths. </p> <p>A Filipino relative of the Australian woman told the AP that the Australian couple flew from Sydney to the Indonesian resort island of Bali for a vacation then headed to the Philippines on Monday to visit her two children from a previous marriage in the country.</p> <p>It's understood the Australian couple had been due to fly back home to Sydney on July 13th. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Cavite Provincial Police Office</em></p>

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‘I keep away from people’ – combined vision and hearing loss is isolating more and more older Australians

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health">ageing population</a> brings a growing crisis: people over 65 are at greater risk of dual sensory impairment (also known as “deafblindness” or combined vision and hearing loss).</p> <p>Some 66% of people over 60 have hearing loss and 33% of older Australians have low vision. Estimates suggest more than a quarter of Australians over 80 are <a href="https://www.senseswa.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/a-clear-view---senses-australia.pdf">living with dual sensory impairment</a>.</p> <p>Combined vision and hearing loss <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/0264619613490519">describes</a> any degree of sight and hearing loss, so neither sense can compensate for the other. Dual sensory impairment can occur at any point in life but is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.004">increasingly common</a> as people get older.</p> <p>The experience can make older people feel isolated and unable to participate in important conversations, including about their health.</p> <h2>Causes and conditions</h2> <p>Conditions related to hearing and vision impairment often <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-lose-our-hearing-and-vision-as-we-age-67930">increase as we age</a> – but many of these changes are subtle.</p> <p>Hearing loss can start <a href="https://www.who.int/teams/noncommunicable-diseases/sensory-functions-disability-and-rehabilitation/highlighting-priorities-for-ear-and-hearing-care">as early as our 50s</a> and often accompany other age-related visual changes, such as <a href="https://www.mdfoundation.com.au/">age-related macular degeneration</a>.</p> <p>Other age-related conditions are frequently prioritised by patients, doctors or carers, such as <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/health-conditions-disability-deaths/chronic-disease/overview">diabetes or heart disease</a>. Vision and hearing changes can be easy to overlook or accept as a normal aspect of ageing. As an older person we interviewed for our <a href="https://hdl.handle.net/2123/29262">research</a> told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t see too good or hear too well. It’s just part of old age.</p> </blockquote> <h2>An invisible disability</h2> <p>Dual sensory impairment has a significant and negative impact in all aspects of a person’s life. It reduces access to information, mobility and orientation, impacts <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/09638280210129162">social activities and communication</a>, making it difficult for older adults to manage.</p> <p>It is underdiagnosed, underrecognised and sometimes misattributed (for example, to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbz043">cognitive impairment or decline</a>). However, there is also growing evidence of links between <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">dementia and dual sensory loss</a>. If left untreated or without appropriate support, dual sensory impairment diminishes the capacity of older people to live independently, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">feel happy and be safe</a>.</p> <p>A dearth of specific resources to educate and support older Australians with their dual sensory impairment means when older people do raise the issue, their GP or health professional may not understand its significance or where to refer them. One older person told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>There’s another thing too about the GP, the sort of mentality ‘well what do you expect? You’re 95.’ Hearing and vision loss in old age is not seen as a disability, it’s seen as something else.</p> </blockquote> <h2>Isolated yet more dependent on others</h2> <p>Global trends show a worrying conundrum. Older people with dual sensory impairment become <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/dad2.12054">more socially isolated</a>, which impacts their mental health and wellbeing. At the same time they can become increasingly dependent on other people to help them navigate and manage day-to-day activities with limited sight and hearing.</p> <p>One aspect of this is how effectively they can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.25522">comprehend and communicate in a health-care setting</a>. Recent research shows <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/healthcare12080852">doctors and nurses in hospitals</a> aren’t making themselves understood to most of their patients with dual sensory impairment. Good communication in the health context is about more than just “knowing what is going on”, <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/12/8/852">researchers note</a>. It facilitates:</p> <ul> <li>shorter hospital stays</li> <li>fewer re-admissions</li> <li>reduced emergency room visits</li> <li>better treatment adherence and medical follow up</li> <li>less unnecessary diagnostic testing</li> <li>improved health-care outcomes.</li> </ul> <h2>‘Too hard’</h2> <p>Globally, there is a better understanding of how important it is to <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240030749">maintain active social lives</a> as people age. But this is difficult for older adults with dual sensory loss. One person told us</p> <blockquote> <p>I don’t particularly want to mix with people. Too hard, because they can’t understand. I can no longer now walk into that room, see nothing, find my seat and not recognise [or hear] people.</p> </blockquote> <p>Again, these experiences increase reliance on family. But caring in this context is tough and largely <a href="https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2020.572201">hidden</a>. Family members describe being the “eyes and ears” for their loved one. It’s a 24/7 role which can bring <a href="https://doi.org/10.1159/000507856">frustration, social isolation and depression</a> for carers too. One spouse told us:</p> <blockquote> <p>He doesn’t talk anymore much, because he doesn’t know whether [people are] talking to him, unless they use his name, he’s unaware they’re speaking to him, so he might ignore people and so on. And in the end, I noticed people weren’t even bothering him to talk, so now I refuse to go. Because I don’t think it’s fair.</p> </blockquote> <p>So, what can we do?</p> <p>Dual sensory impairment is a growing problem with potentially devastating impacts.</p> <p>It should be considered a unique and distinct disability in all relevant protections and policies. This includes the right to dedicated diagnosis and support, accessibility provisions and specialised skill development for health and social professionals and carers.</p> <p>We need to develop resources to help people with dual sensory impairment and their families and carers understand the condition, what it means and how everyone can be supported. This could include communication adaptation, such as social haptics (communicating using touch) and specialised support for older adults to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09649069.2019.1627088">navigate health care</a>.</p> <p>Increasing awareness and understanding of dual sensory impairment will also help those impacted with everyday engagement with the world around them – rather than the isolation many feel now.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/232142/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/moira-dunsmore-295190">Moira Dunsmore</a>, Senior Lecturer, Sydney Nursing School, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/annmaree-watharow-1540942">Annmaree Watharow</a>, Lived Experience Research Fellow, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emily-kecman-429210">Emily Kecman</a>, Postdoctoral research fellow, Department of Linguistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-keep-away-from-people-combined-vision-and-hearing-loss-is-isolating-more-and-more-older-australians-232142">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Tucker Carlson hits back at "stupid" Aussie journalist

<p>The poster boy for conservative America has locked horns with an Aussie journalist in a heated exchange that has gone viral.</p> <p>Tucker Carlson, a former Fox News host in the USA and all round controversial figure, is currently doing the rounds Down Under as a guest of Clive Palmer, and took to the stage to make a speech at the Australian Freedom Conference at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra on Tuesday. </p> <p>With his signature move being to look for an argument, Carlson found a worthy opponent in AAP Newswire’s Kat Wong, who wasted no time in attempting to get under the 55-year-old’s skin.</p> <p>Wong quizzed Carlson about his controversial immigration views, saying he had “talked” about the “Great Replacement Theory” and how “white Australians, Americans and Europeans” are being replaced by “non-white immigrants”, but Carlson was quick to challenge the question.</p> <p>“Whites are being replaced? I don’t think I said that,” he interjected.</p> <p>“Well, it’s been mentioned on your show 4000 times,” Wong replied.</p> <p>“Really? When did I say that? I said ‘whites’ are being replaced?” he responded.</p> <p>When Wong insisted he had, Carlson challenged her to “cite that”.</p> <p>“I said native-born Americans are being replaced, including blacks,” he continued.</p> <p>“African-Americans have been in the United States, in many cases, for more than 400 years and their concerns are as every bit as real and valid and alive to me as the concerns of white people whose families have been there for 400 years."</p> <p>“I’ve never said that ‘whites’ are being replaced. Not one time and you can’t cite it.”</p> <p>When Wong said “I believe that’s untrue”, Carlson took it up a level.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Meet the Australian media. <a href="https://t.co/IyiEqihPkb">pic.twitter.com/IyiEqihPkb</a></p> <p>— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) <a href="https://twitter.com/TuckerCarlson/status/1806034521369776406?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 26, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>“We just met, but when our relationship starts with a lie, it makes it tough to be friends,” he said.</p> <p>“You actually can’t cite it because I didn’t say it and I don’t believe it, and I’m telling you that to your face. So, why don’t you just accept me at face value?”</p> <p>Carlson doubled down on his views by calling immigration "immoral", saying governments were negligent by “shifting their concern” to immigrants in order to solve the population growth. </p> <p>“In my view, happy people have children,” he said. “And a functioning economy allows them to do that.”</p> <p>“So you need to fix the economy and fix the culture so the people who want to have kids can,” he continued. “You don’t just go for the quick sugar fix of importing new people. That’s my position and if you think that’s racist, that’s your problem.”</p> <p>Wong replied by saying “I never called you a racist” but it only fired Carlson up more.</p> <p>“But of course, you are suggesting … I must say one of the reasons why people don’t like people like you in the media is that you never say exactly what you mean,” Carlson said.</p> <p>“Your slurs are all by implication. You’re about to tell me the Great Replacement Theory is racist or antisemitic, whatever. I’ve said what I’ve said to you right now like 100 times in public."</p> <p>“I hope to, if I live long enough, to say it 100 more times. I think it’s completely honest and real, not racist or scary. It’s factually true. It’s not a theory, it’s a fact."</p> <p>Carlson then took the fight to the issue of gun control when Wong suggested that it is Americans the same immigration theories that turn to violence and commit mass shootings, to which Carlson quickly rejected as he took aim at Wong.  </p> <p>“Oh god, come on,” Carlson said. “How do they get people this stupid in the media? I guess it doesn’t pay well. Look, I’m sorry, I’ve lived among people like you for too long. I don’t mean to call you stupid, maybe you’re just pretending to be."</p> <p>He clarified his stance by saying, "But I’m totally against violence."</p> <p>But Wong wouldn’t stop her line of questioning, asking “Right, so therefore you support gun control?” </p> <p>“What?! I thought it couldn’t get dumber, but it did,” he said.</p> <p>“No, I don’t support disarming law-abiding people so they can’t defend themselves, so the government has a monopoly on violence. I don’t think so."</p> <p>Before leaving the stage, Carlson took a broad swipe at Australian media, saying, "I got here and the country is so unbelievably beautiful, and the people are so cheerful and funny, and cool, and smart. "</p> <p>“I’m like, ‘your media has got to be better than ours. It can’t just be a bunch of castrated robots reading questions from the boss’."</p> <p>“And then it turns out it’s exactly the same. Maybe even a tiny bit dumber.”</p> <p>A lengthy clip of the tense exchange has since gone viral amongst conservative X users, with <em>Sky News Australia</em> host Rita Panahi chiming in on the discourse. </p> <p>“If you are going to show up and make outrageous claims and try to connect Tucker Carlson to mass killers, then I don’t know, perhaps go to the trouble of citing a source, have a direct quote from the man,” Ms Panahi said.</p> <p>“Otherwise, you are going to look like an absolute fool.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: LUKAS COCH/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 24px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; font-size: 18px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </p>

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Wellness is not women’s friend. It’s a distraction from what really ails us

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-seers-1131296">Kate Seers</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-hogg-321332">Rachel Hogg</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a></em></p> <p>Wellness is mainly marketed to women. We’re encouraged to eat clean, take <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYqaatWPxvy/">personal responsibility</a> for our well-being, happiness and life. These are the hallmarks of a strong, independent woman in 2022.</p> <p>But on the eve of International Women’s Day, let’s look closer at this <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-neoliberalism-colonised-feminism-and-what-you-can-do-about-it-94856">neoliberal feminist</a> notion of wellness and personal responsibility – the idea women’s health and well-being depends on our individual choices.</p> <p>We argue wellness is not concerned with actual well-being, whatever wellness “guru” and businesswoman Gwyneth Paltrow <a href="https://goop.com/wellness/">suggests</a>, or influencers say on Instagram.</p> <p>Wellness is an industry. It’s also a seductive distraction from what’s really impacting women’s lives. It glosses over the structural issues undermining women’s well-being. These issues cannot be fixed by drinking a turmeric latte or #livingyourbestlife.</p> <h2>What is wellness?</h2> <p>Wellness <a href="https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/press-room/statistics-and-facts/">is an</a> unregulated US$4.4 trillion global industry due to reach almost $7 trillion by 2025. It promotes self-help, self-care, fitness, nutrition and spiritual practice. It <a href="https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/what-is-wellness/">encourages</a> good choices, intentions and actions.</p> <p>Wellness is alluring because it feels empowering. Women are left with a sense of control over their lives. It is particularly alluring in times of great uncertainty and limited personal control. These might be during a relationship break up, when facing financial instability, workplace discrimination or a global pandemic.</p> <p>But wellness is not all it seems.</p> <h2>Wellness blames women</h2> <p>Wellness implies women are flawed and need to be fixed. It demands women resolve their psychological distress, improve their lives and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1360780418769673?journalCode=sroa">bounce back from adversity</a>, regardless of personal circumstances.</p> <p>Self-responsibility, self-empowerment and self-optimisation underpin how women are expected to think and behave.</p> <p>As such, wellness <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CZs2iIxrSwb/">patronises women</a> and <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CT3bw_Yhsp6/">micro-manages their daily schedules</a> with journaling, skin care routines, 30-day challenges, meditations, burning candles, yoga and lemon water.</p> <p>Wellness encourages women to improve their appearance through diet and exercise, manage <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ7IO7qJHZ_/">their surroundings</a>, <a href="https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5489-female-leadership-advice.html">performance at work</a> and their capacity to <a href="https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/working-women-balance">juggle the elusive work-life balance</a> as well as <a href="https://medium.com/authority-magazine/having-a-positive-mental-attitude-and-thinking-process-is-a-successful-key-to-healthy-wellbeing-ae11e303969c">their emotional responses</a> <a href="https://theconversation.com/planning-stress-and-worry-put-the-mental-load-on-mothers-will-2022-be-the-year-they-share-the-burden-172599">to these pressures</a>. They do this with support from costly life coaches, psychotherapists and self-help guides.</p> <p>Wellness demands women <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CaFc2o7OHSf/">focus on their body</a>, with one’s body a measure of their commitment to the task of wellness. Yet this ignores how much these choices and actions cost.</p> <p>Newsreader and journalist Tracey Spicer <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CaDh28nBp4k/">says</a> she has spent more than A$100,000 over the past 35 years for her hair to “look acceptable” at work.</p> <p>Wellness keeps women <a href="https://www.hercampus.com/school/bu/the-male-gazes-effect-from-beauty-ideals-to-mental-health/">focused on their appearance</a> and keeps them spending.</p> <p>It’s also <a href="https://medium.com/artfullyautistic/the-dark-reality-of-wellness-culture-and-ableism-307307fcdafb">ableist</a>, <a href="https://www.byrdie.com/wellness-industry-whitewashing-5074880">racist</a>, <a href="https://msmagazine.com/2020/07/16/tools-of-the-patriarchy-diet-culture-and-how-we-all-perpetuate-the-stigma/">sexist</a>, <a href="https://www.self.com/topic/anti-aging">ageist</a> and <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/on-the-inside/422517/the-pursuit-of-wellness-wellness-is-for-the-wealthy">classist</a>. It’s aimed at an ideal of young women, thin, white, middle-class and able-bodied.</p> <h2>But we can’t live up to these ideals</h2> <p>Wellness assumes women have equal access to time, energy and money to meet these ideals. If you don’t, “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/may/08/the-self-help-cult-of-resilience-teaches-australians-nothing">you’re just not trying hard enough</a>”.</p> <p>Wellness also <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1360780418769673?journalCode=sroa">implores women</a> to be “adaptable and positive”.</p> <p>If an individual’s #positivevibes and wellness are seen as <a href="https://ideas.ted.com/why-we-should-say-no-to-positivity-and-yes-to-our-negative-emotions/">morally good</a>, then it becomes morally necessary for women to engage in behaviours framed as “investments” or “self-care”.</p> <p>For those who do not achieve self-optimisation (hint: most of us) this is a personal, shameful failing.</p> <h2>Wellness distracts us</h2> <p>When women believe they are to blame for their circumstances, it hides structural and cultural inequities. Rather than questioning the culture that marginalises women and produces feelings of doubt and inadequacy, wellness provides solutions in the form of superficial empowerment, confidence and resilience.</p> <p>Women don’t need wellness. They are unsafe.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ourwatch.org.au/quick-facts/">Women are</a> <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release">more likely</a> to be murdered by a current or former intimate partner, with reports of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-governments-can-do-about-the-increase-in-family-violence-due-to-coronavirus-135674">pandemic increasing</a> the risk and severity of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/dec/01/the-worst-year-domestic-violence-soars-in-australia-during-covid-19">domestic violence</a>.</p> <p>Women are more likely to be employed in unstable <a href="https://lighthouse.mq.edu.au/article/april-2020/Pandemics-economic-blow-hits-women-hard">casualised labour, and experience economic hardship and poverty</a>. Women are also bearing the brunt <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/womens-work/">of the economic fallout from COVID</a>. Women are more likely to be juggling a career with <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/374/bmj.n1972">unpaid domestic duties</a> and more likely <a href="https://www.mercyfoundation.com.au/our-focus/ending-homelessness/older-women-and-homelessness/">to be homeless</a> as they near retirement age.</p> <p>In their book <a href="https://www.dukeupress.edu/confidence-culture#:%7E:text=They%20argue%20that%20while%20confidence,responsible%20for%20their%20own%20conditions.">Confidence Culture</a> UK scholars Shani Orgad and Rosalind Gill argue hashtags such as #loveyourbody and #believeinyourself imply psychological blocks, rather than entrenched social injustices, are what hold women back.</p> <h2>What we should be doing instead</h2> <p>Wellness, with its self-help rhetoric, <a href="http://www.consultmcgregor.com/documents/research/neoliberalism_and_health_care.pdf">absolves the government</a> of responsibility to provide transformative and effectual action that ensures women are safe, delivered justice, and treated with respect and dignity.</p> <p>Structural inequity was not created by an individual, and it will not be solved by an individual.</p> <p>So this International Women’s Day, try to resist the neoliberal requirement to take personal responsibility for your wellness. Lobby governments to address structural inequities instead.</p> <p><a href="https://www.mindful.org/why-women-should-embrace-their-anger/">Follow your anger</a>, not your bliss, call out injustices when you can. And in the words of sexual assault survivor and advocate Grace Tame, “make some noise”.<!-- 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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-seers-1131296">Kate Seers</a>, PhD Candidate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-hogg-321332">Rachel Hogg</a>, Lecturer in Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/charles-sturt-university-849">Charles Sturt University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/wellness-is-not-womens-friend-its-a-distraction-from-what-really-ails-us-177446">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"A true fighter": Tragic loss to Australian media

<p>Trailblazing journalist and editor Judith Whelan has passed away at the age of 63. </p> <p>The ABC confirmed Whelan's death, saying she died on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.</p> <p>ABC managing director David Anderson was among the first to pay tribute to the “loved and respected” Whelan, confirming her death. </p> <p>“We have lost a great friend and journalism has lost a true fighter,” <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/about/media-centre/statements-and-responses/judith-whelan-announcement/104027286?utm_content=link&utm_medium=content_shared" target="_blank" rel="noopener">he said in a statement</a> released by the public broadcaster.</p> <p>“Judith always had the instincts that made her such a formidable journalist. She carried with her a commitment to truth and accountability and instilled these values in those who worked with her."</p> <p>“A valued mentor to younger journalists, Judith nurtured while leading by example. Judith was tough but caring and wanted those around her to succeed. Young reporters knew Judith would champion their work if the story needed to be told.”</p> <p><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em> editor Bevan Shields said Whelan will always remain a beloved part of their team.</p> <p>“Judith was a wonderful editor, colleague and friend. She was at the Herald for more than three decades and remains part of our DNA. We are heartbroken by her death,” he told the <em>Herald</em>.</p> <p>“She had a finely tuned news radar but also revelled in journalism that could entertain and inform readers. She was a natural leader and a beautiful person. Our thoughts are with Chris, Sophia and Patrick.”</p> <p>Whelan first joined the ABC in 2016, where she was first appointed Director of Regional and Local News before taking the role of ABC editorial director in 2022.</p> <p>Prior to her work at the public broadcaster, Whelan worked for several other publications, including<em> Sydney Morning Herald</em>, where she also served as news director and editor of its weekend edition.</p> <p>The talented media executive was one of just three female editors in the SMH’s history.</p> <p>Well respected in her field, Whelan’s career also saw her stationed in both the Pacific and Europe as a foreign correspondent, and she was also nominated for a Walkley Award for her news and feature writing.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC</em></p>

Caring

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First lady of Australian television dies aged 92

<p>Renowned Australian children’s presenter Dawn Kenyon has died aged 92.</p> <p>Kenyon, originally Dorothy Dingwell, was born in Toowoomba in 1932 and made her TV debut in 1956, the same year that it was introduced in Australia. </p> <p>She became the country's first female host of children's show, with her appearance on <em>Captain Fortune</em>, and was later referred to as the “first lady of Australian television”.</p> <p>Known affectionately as Miss Dawn, she hosted several early Australian children's shows and became a household name with her role on Channel Seven’s <em>Romper Room</em> in the late 1950s, almost a decade before <em>ABC’s Play School </em>made its debut in 1966.</p> <p>In addition to her on screen roles, she also made significant contributions behind the scenes as a producer and screenwriter. </p> <p>A year after she made her TV debut, she married Fred Kenyon, a British TV engineer, and they share three children, Steven, Peter and Anne. </p> <p>After her marriage she chose to step away from her presenting career and relocated to England when her husband accepted a job there. </p> <p>Her legacy endured, with her friends in the media industry paying tribute to her as news broke of her death. </p> <p>“Dawn was always a shining light,” Australian journalist Anita Jacoby said.</p> <p>“She was so often the first to greet us, introduce us to new families, and lead us deeper into that magic of the Merry Makers,” <em>60 Minutes’ </em>Jeff McMullen said.</p> <p><em>Image: National Archives of Australia/ news.com.au</em></p>

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"These can't be real": Boomers' Olympic uniform sparks instant outrage

<p>Australia’s basketball uniforms for the Paris Olympics have hit a new low, or should we say a new “high jump” with the kit’s release on social media sparking a full-blown hoopla.</p> <p>Designed by Asics, these uniforms have quickly become the butt of jokes faster than a basketball rolling down a court.</p> <p>The “outfit” features a bright yellow singlet with “Australia” across the chest, an Asics logo on one shoulder, and the coat of arms on the other – and the reactions have been nothing short of a slam dunk of disdain.</p> <p>Daniel Moldovan, a basketball player manager with a flair for theatrics, didn’t hold back. “Let’s just call a spade a spade," he wrote on X, "yet another embarrassment for a team full of NBA players at the peak of their sport. Our guys are going to be dressed like marathon runners. If the old adage ‘Look good, feel good’ has any truth to it, then our guys are going to feel like trash.”</p> <p>He even suggested that whoever approved these “marathon runner uniforms” for the Boomers should have their citizenship revoked. “What the f*** is this abomination?” he asked. Even past and present Boomers players chimed in.</p> <p>Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder’s rising star, simply commented “lol absolute joke”. Jock Landale of the Houston Rockets humorously mused, “Looks like we are off to throw a javelin.” And Andrew Bogut, never one to mince words, quipped that the Australian Olympic Committee had Stevie Wonder design the uniforms. Ouch.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Let’s just call a spade a spade. This is a fucking DISGRACE. Yet another embarrassment for a team full of NBA players at the peak of their sport. </p> <p>Our guys are going to be dressed like marathon runners. </p> <p>If the old adage of “Look good feel good” has a modicum of truth to it,… <a href="https://t.co/mSxlLeHvGl">https://t.co/mSxlLeHvGl</a></p> <p>— Daniel Moldovan (@AgentMoldovan) <a href="https://twitter.com/AgentMoldovan/status/1800659140022595903?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 11, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>The social media backlash was swift and savage. Benyam Kidane of NBA Australia tweeted, “Nah, this disrespectful. Boomers gonna bring home the gold in the decathlon.” Sam Vecenie from The Athletic added, “Pumped to see the Australian basketball team compete in the high jump at the Olympics. Probably not the optimal use of their skill, but will be fun to see them in these track-and-field-ass uniforms.”</p> <p>NBA Straya was in on the joke too: “Great to see we’re following in a hallowed Aussie tradition and getting Bali knockoff jerseys for the national team.” And one user couldn’t believe their eyes: “Is April Fools Day a different day? These can’t be real!!”</p> <p>The ASICS website, in its defence, claims the design incorporates Indigenous Australian artwork and Japanese design features. They boasted about the recycled fabrics and the artworks by Paul Fleming and David Bosun. While noble, it seems like they may have missed the mark on “aesthetic appeal”.</p> <p>The Boomers are set to kick off their Paris Olympics campaign on July 27, with warm-up matches against Japan, China, Serbia and the USA. Let’s just hope they’re not mistaken for a track-and-field team when they step onto the court. After all, no one wants to see them dribble with a javelin.</p> <p>In the end, perhaps the real win would be for the Boomers to win gold while sporting these “unique” threads. It might just prove that in the world of fashion, sometimes the ugliest outfits make for the most unforgettable moments.</p> <p><em>Images: Asics</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Worrying pattern of cancellations shows Australian TV's grim future

<p>As the future of free-to-air Australian television continues to be more and more "uncertain", a worrying pattern of dozens of cancelled programs show how the industry has been in trouble for quite some time. </p> <p>In recent years, dozens of seemingly popular shows have been axed across three major networks with thousands of people across the industry preparing themselves for further cancellations, pay cuts, job losses and career changes.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/exclusive-34-axed-aussie-shows-revealed-as-future-of-free-to-air-tv-uncertain-224725084.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Lifestyle</em></a>, 34 shows across Seven, Nine and Ten have either been axed, put on an indefinite hiatus, or quietly removed from TV schedules with no mention of it again over the last five years. </p> <p>Many Aussie TV staples such as <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em>, <em>The Bachelor</em>, and <em>Australian Ninja Warrior</em>, which were all once the highest rated shows on television, have been binned due to declining viewership and dwindling ratings. </p> <p>Channel Ten's <em>The Masked Singer</em> has also become a casualty in the TV wars, as host Dave Hughes <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/hughesy-spills-the-beans-on-major-shows-set-to-be-axed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared</a> that he simply hadn't received a production schedule for the new season of the show, only to discover it had been shelved. </p> <p>In an attempt to breathe new life into the channels, newer shows like Shaynna Blaze’s <em>Country Home Rescue</em> or Kate Langbroek’s <em>My Mum, Your Dad</em> premiered, but have only survived for single seasons after failing to grab an audience. </p> <p>Even revived classics like <em>Big Brother</em>, <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> and <em><a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/channel-10-axes-another-show-amid-ratings-crisis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gladiators</a></em> haven’t been able to survive as they now face growing competition from streaming giants like Netflix and Stan.</p> <p>As the list of cancelled shows continues to grow, one seasoned lighting director, who asked to remain anonymous, told Yahoo Lifestyle that job insecurity for casts and crews is a major concern. </p> <p>They said, “Every year the breaks between jobs are getting longer and longer to the point a lot of us (crew) are now leaving the industry. Ten years ago we’d be booked consistently with jobs locked in 12 months in advance for all of the networks, now everyone’s scrambling to try to get on a three-day pilot shoot. Everything is so uncertain.”</p> <p>Below are all of the free-to-air shows from the last five years that haven’t been renewed.</p> <p id="channel-seven"><strong>Channel Seven</strong></p> <p>Big Brother (2001-2008, 2012-2014, 2020-2023)</p> <p>SAS Australia (2020-2023)</p> <p>This Is Your Life (1975-1980, 1995-2005, 2008, 2011, 2022-2023)</p> <p>Blow Up (2023)</p> <p>Million Dollar Island (2023)</p> <p>We Interrupt This Broadcast (2023)</p> <p>The Voice: Generations (2022)</p> <p>Big Brother VIP (2021)</p> <p>Holey Moley (2021)</p> <p>Ultimate Tag (2021)</p> <p>Wife Swap Australia (2012, 2021)</p> <p>House Rules (2013-2020)</p> <p>Plate of Origin (2020)</p> <p>Pooch Perfect (2020)</p> <p id="channel-nine"><strong>Channel Nine</strong></p> <p>Millionaire Hot Seat (2009–2023)</p> <p>My Mum, Your Dad (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Beach House Escape (2023)</p> <p>Rush (2023)</p> <p>Snackmasters (2021-2022)</p> <p>Australian Ninja Warrior (2017-2022)</p> <p>Beauty and the Geek (2009-2014, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Celebrity Apprentice (2011-2015, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Country Homes Rescue (2022)</p> <p>This Time Next Year (2017-2019)</p> <p>Australia’s Most Identical</p> <p id="channel-ten"><strong>Channel Ten</strong></p> <p>Gladiators (1995-1996, 2008, 2024)</p> <p>The Bachelor (2013-2023)</p> <p>Studio 10 (2013-2023)</p> <p>The Masked Singer (2019-2023)</p> <p>The Traitors (2022-2023)</p> <p>Would I Lie To You? Australia (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Real Love Boat (2022)</p> <p>The Bachelorette (2015-2021)</p> <p>Bachelor In Paradise (2018-2020)</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten / Seven </em></p>

TV

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1 in 5 deaths are caused by heart disease, but what else are Australians dying from?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garry-jennings-5307">Garry Jennings</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Nobody dies in good health, at least in their final moments. But to think the causes of death are easy to count or that there is generally a single reason somebody passes is an oversimplification.</p> <p>In fact, in 2022, four out of five Australians had multiple conditions at the time of death listed on their death certificate, and almost one-quarter had five or more recorded. This is one of many key findings from a <a href="https://pp.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-deaths/what-do-australians-die-from/contents/about">new report</a> from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).</p> <p>The report distinguishes between three types of causes of death – underlying, direct, and contributory. An underlying cause is the condition that initiates the chain of events leading to death, such as having coronary heart disease. The direct cause of death is what the person died from (rather than with), like a heart attack. Contributory causes are things that significantly contributed to the chain of events leading to death but are not directly involved, like having high blood pressure. The report also tracks how these three types of causes can overlap in deaths involving multiple causes.</p> <p>In 2022 the top five conditions involved in deaths in Australia were coronary heart disease (20% of deaths), dementia (18%), hypertension, or high blood pressure (12%), cerebrovascular disease such as stroke (11.5%), and diabetes (11.4%).</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="MzQHA" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/MzQHA/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>When the underlying cause of death was examined, the list was similar (coronary heart disease 10%, dementia 9%, cerebrovascular disease 5%, followed by COVID and lung cancer, each 5%). This means coronary heart disease was not just lurking at the time of death but also the major underlying cause.</p> <p>The direct cause of death however was most often a lower respiratory condition (8%), cardiac or respiratory arrest (6.5%), sepsis (6%), pneumonitis, or lung inflammation (4%) or hypertension (4%).</p> <h2>Why is this important?</h2> <p>Without looking at all the contributing causes of death, the role of important factors such as coronary heart disease, sepsis, depression, high blood pressure and alcohol use can be underestimated.</p> <p>Even more importantly, the various causes draw attention to the areas where we should be focusing public health prevention. The report also helps us understand which groups to focus on for prevention and health care. For example, the number one cause of death in women was dementia, whereas in men it was coronary heart disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="NosVz" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/NosVz/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>People aged under 55 tended to die from external events such as accidents and violence, whereas older people died against a background of chronic disease.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="1l3OS" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1l3OS/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>We cannot prevent death, but we can prevent many diseases and injuries. And this report highlights that many of these causes of death, both for younger Australians and older, are preventable. The top five conditions involved in death (coronary heart disease, dementia, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes) all share common risk factors such as tobacco use, high cholesterol, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, or are risk factors themselves, like hypertension or diabetes.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="7Eb8O" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/7Eb8O/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Tobacco use, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese and poor diet were attributable to a combined 44% of all deaths in this report. This suggests a comprehensive approach to health promotion, disease prevention and management is needed.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="2MmGg" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/2MmGg/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This should include strategies and programs encouraging eating a healthy diet, participating in regular physical activity, limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and seeing a doctor for regular health screenings, such as the Medicare-funded <a href="https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/heart-health-checks">Heart Health Checks</a>. Programs directed at accident prevention, mental health and violence, especially gender-related violence, will address untimely deaths in the young.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231598/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/garry-jennings-5307"><em>Garry Jennings</em></a><em>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-in-5-deaths-are-caused-by-heart-disease-but-what-else-are-australians-dying-from-231598">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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Major Australian cruise line shuts down

<p>After almost a century of voyages, one of Australia's most trusted cruise lines is shutting down. </p> <p>In a shock statement on Tuesday, P&amp;O Australia announced it will cease to exist from early 2025, with the family-friendly cruising company wrapping up operations. </p> <p>The cruise liner’s parent company Carnival Cruises announced the shocking news in a statement, which read, “In March 2025, the company will sunset the P&amp;O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, which has served the South Pacific since 2013 and is today the world’s most popular cruise line."</p> <p>“When the transition is complete next year, the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will begin sailing under the Carnival Cruise Line brand while the Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet at that time.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise said those who are booked on a currently available itinerary with P&amp;O Cruises Australia will “operate business as usual” and guests will be “notified in the coming days” of any changes to future bookings as a result of the announcement.</p> <p>Josh Weinstein, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation, said the increasing operating costs and the South Pacific’s “small population” had weighed in on the decision to close up shop. </p> <p>“P&amp;O Cruises Australia is a storied brand with an amazing team, and we are extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together in Australia and the broader region,” Mr Weinstein said.</p> <p>“However, given the strategic reality of the South Pacific’s small population and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs, we’re adjusting our approach to give us the efficiencies we need to continue delivering an incredible cruise experience year-round to our guests in the region.”</p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/po-cruise-australia-to-shut-down-after-almost-a-century-of-voyages/news-story/9c7f34641337edf06a764849241a35b0" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>, P&amp;O Cruises Australia will continue setting sail as planned until March next year before Carnival Cruises absorbs P&amp;O customers and redistributes keen travellers on different Carnival ships. </p> <p>Ahead of the announcement, president of Carnival Cruise Line Christine Duffy warned there would be major job losses as a result of the decision. </p> <p>“This is not an easy decision for the company to shut down or sunset the P&amp;O Australia brand,” she told <a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Daily Telegraph</em></a>.</p> <p>“We will continue to maintain an office here in Sydney. We don’t want to get into the numbers of people this impacts.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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4 anti-ageing mistakes most women make

<p>While there’s no denying it, wrinkles are just part of the natural ageing process, there are some mistakes we all make that will speed up the ageing process. So if you want to keep your youthful glow for longer, be sure to avoid these beauty blunders. </p> <p><strong>Skipping sunscreen</strong></p> <p>READ CAREFULLY: Sunscreen IS THE ultimate anti-ageing tool. Even when it’s not beach-worthy weather outside, but the sun’s UV rays can still damage your skin. This is namely photoageing, the wrinkling, spotting and loss of elasticity caused by exposure to sun. So as part of your daily routine, make sure you slip, slap, slop. </p> <p><strong>Rubbing tired eyes</strong></p> <p>While we’re all guilty of this seemingly harmful action, did you know that simply rubbing your eyes will stretch delicate skin and may cause it to slacken? The skin around our eyes and on our eyelids is the most sensitive and least elastic on our face and the most vulnerable... so keep your fingers away.</p> <p><strong>Skimping on sunglasses</strong></p> <p>As well as being a fashionable accessory, sunglasses also do wonders to minimize lines around your eyes. Shading your eyes from the sun’s glare prevents squinting and crow's feet wrinkles, of course, but it also shields delicate skin from the destructive onslaught of UV rays. Make sure you opt for a pair with UV protection.</p> <p><strong>Neglecting your neck, chest and hands</strong></p> <p>The delicate skin of these areas lack the oil glands of other areas of skin, which results in dryness and accelerated aging. Plus, these areas are often fraught with sunscreen neglect. As well as remembering to apply sunscreen to these areas you should also pay attention to them by applying an anti-ageing serum. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Doctors at war

<p><em>In the annals of military history, the valour and sacrifices of doctors who served alongside soldiers in combat zones often go unrecognised. Yet their stories, as retired colonel Robert Likeman poignantly illustrates in his Australian Doctors at War series, reveal a legacy of courage and commitment that is integral to understanding the full scope of wartime heroism.</em></p> <p>---</p> <p>Winston Churchill, in his <em>Sketches on Service During the Indian Frontier Campaign of 1897</em>, wrote, “The spectacle of a doctor in action among soldiers, in equal danger and with equal courage, saving life where others are taking it, allaying pain where all others are causing it, is one which must always seem glorious, whether to God or man”.</p> <p>It is certainly true that doctors in a combat zone share the risks of shot and shell equally with the fighting soldier, but they also experience the added stress of taking responsibility for those wounded and dying on the battlefield, and in situations where the best of treatment cannot be readily given.</p> <p>Glorious or otherwise, the stories of our Australian Army doctors at war remain relatively unrecognised. Doctors have always been among the first to volunteer – in all 1,242 doctors served with the first Australian Imperial Force, careless for their own safety, and 55 of them failed to return. These men represented a significant proportion of the medical workforce in Australia, which by 1937 only reached 5,000. In World War 2, with the introduction of compulsory military service, the number of serving doctors exceeded 2,500. Hardly any of them are still with us today, but their children and grandchildren are our fellow citizens, and in many cases our local doctor may be one of these. It is a legacy not to be dismissed lightly. </p> <p>Those who have served in the Army know that treating the ailments of soldiers and preserving their health occupies much more time than dressing their wounds. In World War 1, fought over the agricultural lands of Europe, infectious diseases such as gas gangrene, tetanus and trench fever were common. In the deserts of World War 2, these were replaced by hepatitis, sandfly fever and eye infections. New Guinea presented a wholly different spectrum of disease, dominated by malaria, scrub typhus and amoebic dysentery. The maintenance of “fighting fitness” was a daily struggle for the doctors. </p> <p>The 2021 Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide did not identify medical officers as being particularly at risk of psychological injury as a result of their service in a war zone. But in view of their exposure to mass trauma and death, they might be assumed to have a significant risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, both from the chances of being wounded or killed, and from the guilt associated with the failure to preserve life. Two of the medical officers who served at Gallipoli shot themselves on their return to Egypt, perhaps because they had seen men die who might have been saved with better medical attention. Fourteen other doctors from the 1st Australian Imperial Force are known to have committed suicide after their return to Australia. </p> <p>Close to 3,000 Australian nurses served overseas with the Australian Army Nursing Service in World War 1, but female doctors were not permitted to enlist. A significant number of them however, at least 19, served in the British Army or in voluntary hospitals in Europe. One of them, Phoebe Chapple, was awarded the Military Medal for Bravery. In World War 2, 22 women doctors were commissioned in total – moreso due to the shortage of manpower than from egalitarian principles – though none of them were posted overseas. In recent overseas deployments, women doctors in the Army have quite properly taken their rightful place.</p> <p>The military service and civilian practice of all the Australian doctors who served in both World Wars has been meticulously documented in my six-volume series, <em>Australian Doctors at War</em>, published by Halstead Press. Your relatives may be among them.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/06/Robert_Likeman_01.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p><em>The Inevitable Hour</em> is the sixth and final volume of my <em>Australian Doctors at War</em> series, covering the period from January 1943 to the disbanding of the Second Australian Imperial Force in April 1947. Even after the Japanese had been driven from Papua and New Guinea, they still retained most of the archipelago. The threat to Australia was great, and despite being a then small nation, the country mobilised quickly to disrupt Japanese holdings in Madang, Wewak and Wau. Overcoming the constant influx of wounded men needing treatment, suffering themselves from afflictions such as hepatitis, dysentery and depression, aggravated by extreme and tropical climates, Australia’s medical officers were under considerable pressure, during the war and in the monumental demobilisation of the 2nd AIF that followed Japanese defeat.</p> <p><em><strong>ABOUT THE AUTHOR</strong></em><br />Robert Likeman is a graduate of Oxford University, where he studied Classics, Oriental Languages and Medicine. He is a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology, in tropical medicine, and in rural and remote medicine. After service in the British Army he migrated to Australia in 1972. He is the author of seven books of military history and two biographies, and co-author of a textbook of obstetrics and gynaecology for doctors practising in developing countries.</p> <p><em>Images courtesy of Robert Likeman.</em></p>

Books

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Australian superannuation changes and your retirement savings

<p>Superannuation has been a working retirement model plan for years, and the government makes constant changes to ensure these approaches remain feasible in today’s society. The Australian government announced changes to superannuation in February 2023, and since then, there have been new considerations for employers to deliberate over regarding super account plans for employees. Here is a look at the most recent alterations and what they mean for your super account and retirement plans. </p> <h2>Understanding Superannuation</h2> <p>Superannuation, or “super,” is money put aside in an account throughout an employee’s work experience. The sole purpose is for these individuals to have something to live on when they retire. </p> <p>For most people, it involves their employers taking from their salary and putting aside the dictated sum in a super account. These contributions are paid outside your wages or salary and are based on existing laws on how much recruiters must pay. There are also age and earning limits involved. For instance, you may not be eligible for a super account if you’re under 18 and work less than 30 hours weekly. Eligible individuals have to work over 30 hours weekly and have an earning cap of $450 or more (before tax) to be paid super. </p> <p>These funds are typically invested in assets like stocks, bonds, real estate, and others that can help yield interest over time. You can also manage your investments through the forex market using an advanced <a href="https://www.oanda.com/au-en/trading/platforms/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Australian trading platform</a>. </p> <h2>Recent Superannuation Changes in Australia</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/06/Australian-superannuation-changes-and-your-retirement-savings01.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p> </p> <p>Following the introduction of the Superannuation Bill in 2016, a series of changes have been made to the annotation laws. </p> <p>On November 9, 2016, the Australian government introduced the bill, which was meant to help preserve the objectives of superannuation in the legislation. From the onset, this model aimed to provide income in retirement to replace or supplement the age-pending laws. The objective of this scheme has remained the same, and changes made over the years have been towards improving efficacy rather than impeding its relevance. </p> <p>The most recent of these reforms took place in 2013, and below is a summary of what these changes entail and how they affect retirees.</p> <h2>Superannuation on Paid Parental Leave</h2> <p>One of the first alterations was the announcement that superannuation would be payable to the Commonwealth’s Parental Leave Scheme to close the gender super gap. This means that superannuation will be paid on Government-funded Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for parents who give birth or adopt children on or after July 1, 2025. </p> <p>It’s easy to understand why this measure was introduced. When implemented, it is expected to benefit over 18,000 parents annually. Also, it will bring more balance to the ratio of payables between women and men. </p> <h2>Increase in Super Guarantee</h2> <p>The May 2024 Federal Budget also revealed the legislated increase of the Sper Guarantee to 12% will remain the same. From July 1, 2024, the fee will increase to 11.5%, after which an additional 0.5% will be added on July 1, 2025. </p> <p>Employees can look forward to this increase as some extra long-term payment to their retirement funds. Although it might seem like a slight increase, the addition over the long-term working period accumulates too much and could make a significant difference, especially with compound interest. </p> <h2>Super Payment at the Time of Salary and Wages</h2> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2024/06/Australian-superannuation-changes-and-your-retirement-savings02.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This particular change was proposed but is yet to be legislated. It states that from July 1, 2026, employers will be required to pay their workers suer at the same time they pay salary and other wages. </p> <p>This change aims to better track these payments and mitigate issues, such as non-payments or discrepancies. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) also revealed that monitoring compliance from employers to their employees will be easy. </p> <p>Furthermore, there are reasons to believe this will bring better yields on the end of the receivers since fees paid faster will compound better ad yields and higher interests. </p> <h2>Additional Changes to Be Legislated</h2> <p>From July 1, 2025, a 30% concessional tax rate will be implemented for future earnings for balances over $3 million rather than the usual 15%. </p> <p>This alteration will impact over 80,000 people between 2025 and 2026. Lastly, the existing 2-year freeze on deeming rates at 2.25% has been shifted forward until June 30, 2025. </p> <p>This translates to retirees <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2024/mar/26/little-planning-for-looming-retirement-crisis-blackrock-chief-warns" target="_blank" rel="noopener">continuing to benefit</a> from the present rate of 0.25% until the new allocated time. This measure can help alleviate the cost of living and is currently benefiting over 876,000 income support recipients and 450,000 aged pensioners. </p> <h2>Maximising Your Retirement Savings With Super</h2> <p>Super savings were introduced to allow employees to save a percentage of their earnings towards retirement so they have something to live on in their non-working years. The recent changes will surely improve things, and all you have to do is be sure that your employee is paying your super and doing so at the expected time. You can use the <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/calculators-and-tools/super-estimate-my-super" target="_blank" rel="noopener">“estimate my super”</a> tool offered by the government to estimate how much your employee should pay. </p> <p><em>All images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>In collaboration with OANDA.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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How one widow has changed how women solo travel

<p>After Yvonne Vickers' husband passed away in 2014, she thought her opportunities to travel and see the world had slipped away. </p> <p>Yvonne had always been a keen traveller and went on trips with her married friends after becoming a widow, but she "got over being the third wheel", she admitted to <a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/cruising-solo-female-older-passengers/9553953c-84e8-418a-9c2b-8c9b847b9ba4" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9Travel</em></a>. </p> <p>Still wanting to see the world on her own terms, Yvonne took to Facebook where she created a group seeking like-minded women who share her passion for adventure. </p> <p>Now, the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy is an ever-growing group that has connected thousands of women looking for travel companions. </p> <p>Whether they're single, widowed, or just married to someone who doesn't want to travel, the group is open to women across the globe to join.</p> <p>Thanks to her newfound community, Yvonne has taken 41 cruises and dozens of land trips since her husband's death, all while making friends for life, and the rest of the group's members are in the same boat.</p> <p>"It's wonderful to get feedback from ladies saying that it's helped to change their life," Yvonne said. "That's the rewarding part of it for me."</p> <p>Members can make a post in the group, detailing a cruise sailing or trip that they have their eye on booking, to see if anyone else would like to join them.</p> <p>"We have a lot of widows in our group who are cashed up and want to travel but don't have anyone to travel with or share their experiences with," Yvonne said. "The group gives them the opportunity to be able to do that."</p> <p>"There are also a lot of ladies who are married but their husbands don't want to travel. It gives them the opportunity to be able to travel."</p> <p>Yvonne says that cruising is a perfect way for older females to travel, especially if they're on their own.</p> <p>"It's a really safe way to travel as a solo female," she says, also noting that it's an easy way to get around and see places. Recently, she did a 35-day trip around Hawaii with a group of women from the group.</p> <p>For the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy group, there's even more fun trips on the horizon.</p> <p>Yvonne just came back from a trip to Japan with 14 group members, and is heading to Bali in August with a friend she made through the group.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News \ Facebook</em></p>

Cruising

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Too many Australians aren’t getting a flu vaccine. Why, and what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/holly-seale-94294">Holly Seale</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s childhood immunisation program gets very good uptake every year – <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/immunisation-data/childhood-immunisation-coverage">almost 94% of five-year-olds</a> have had all their routine vaccinations. But our influenza vaccine coverage doesn’t get such a good report card.</p> <p>Looking back over <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">recent years</a>, for kids aged six months to five years, we saw a peak in flu vaccine coverage at the beginning of the COVID pandemic at 46%, which then declined to 30% by the 2023 season.</p> <p>While we’re still relatively early in the 2024 flu season, only <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data">7% of children</a> under five have received their flu shot this year so far.</p> <p>Although young children are a particular concern, flu vaccination rates appear to be lagging for the population as a whole. Reports indicate that <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-07/calls-to-vaccinate-young-children-against-flu-as-season-begins/103783508">from March 1 to April 28</a>, 16% fewer people were vaccinated against the flu compared with the same period last year.</p> <p>So what’s going on, and what can we do to boost uptake?</p> <h2>Why do we vaccinate kids against the flu?</h2> <p>Last year, <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-12/aisr-2023-national-influenza-season-summary.pdf">reported cases of flu</a> were highest in children aged five to nine, followed by those aged zero to four. This is not a new trend – we record a high number of flu cases and hospital admissions in kids every year. So far <a href="https://nindss.health.gov.au/pbi-dashboard/">this year</a> children aged zero to four have had the highest number of infections, marginally ahead of five- to nine-year-olds.</p> <p>While kids are more likely to catch and spread the flu, they’re also <a href="https://theconversation.com/kids-are-more-vulnerable-to-the-flu-heres-what-to-look-out-for-this-winter-117748">at greater risk</a> of getting very sick from it. This particularly applies to children under five, and the flu vaccine is available for free for this age group.</p> <p>The flu vaccine isn’t perfect – it may not prevent infections entirely – but it’s definitely our best chance of protection. Research has shown influenza-related visits to the GP were <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27577556/">more than halved</a> in vaccinated children compared with unvaccinated children.</p> <h2>So why are kids not receiving the vaccine?</h2> <p>Often, it comes down to misunderstandings about who is eligible for the vaccine or whom it’s recommended for. But we can address this issue by nudging people via <a href="https://www.annfammed.org/content/15/6/507?sf174332549=1">a text message reminder</a>.</p> <p>Some parents <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X17318285">report concerns</a> about the vaccine, including the old dogma that it can cause the flu. The flu vaccine <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/flu-influenza-immunisation">can’t give you the flu</a> because it doesn’t contain live virus. Unfortunately, that myth is really sticky.</p> <p>For <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpc.15235">some parents</a>, the challenge can be forgetting to book or accessing an appointment.</p> <h2>It’s not just kids at higher risk</h2> <p>Adults aged 65 and over are also <a href="https://theconversation.com/im-over-65-and-worried-about-the-flu-which-vaccine-should-i-have-204810">more vulnerable</a> to the flu, and can receive a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">free vaccine</a>. For this group, we usually get around <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">65% vaccinated</a>. So far this year, <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-all-people-age-group">around 35%</a> of over-65s have received their flu vaccine.</p> <p>Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are likewise eligible for a free flu vaccine. While previously coverage rates were higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared to the overall population, this gap has narrowed. There’s even some movement backwards, especially <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">in younger age groups</a>.</p> <p>The flu vaccine is also free for pregnant women and anyone who has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/when-to-get-vaccinated/immunisation-for-people-with-medical-risk-conditions">a medical condition</a> such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes or kidney disease.</p> <p>Past studies have found flu vaccine coverage <a href="https://www.phrp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/PHRP31232111.pdf">for pregnant women</a> varies around the country from 39% to 76% (meaning in some jurisdictions up to 60% of pregnant women are not getting vaccinated). When it comes to adults with chronic health conditions, we don’t have a good sense of how many people receive the vaccine.</p> <p>The reasons adults don’t always get the flu vaccine overlap with the reasons for children. Often <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08870446.2021.1957104">concerns about side effects</a> are cited as the reason for not getting vaccinated, followed by time constraints.</p> <p>We also know <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/coordination-of-health-care-experiences-barriers/summary">accessing medical services</a> can be difficult for some people, such as those living in rural areas or experiencing financial hardship.</p> <h2>Filling the gaps</h2> <p>In Australia, GPs offer flu vaccines for all ages, while flu vaccination is also available at pharmacies, generally from age five and up.</p> <p>While some people make a conscious decision not to get themselves or their children vaccinated, for many people, the barriers are related to access.</p> <p>Programs offering vaccination outside the doctor’s office are increasing globally, and may assist in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14760584.2019.1698955">filling gaps</a>, especially among those who don’t have regular access to a GP.</p> <p>For some people, their only point of contact with the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34272104/">medical system</a> may be during emergency department visits. Others may have more regular contact with a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7046372/">specialist</a> who coordinates their medical care, rather than a GP.</p> <p>Offering vaccine education and programs <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0009922810374353">in these settings</a> has been shown to improve immunisation rates and may play a pivotal role in filling access gaps.</p> <p>Outside medical and pharmacy settings, the workplace is the most common place for Australian adults to receive their flu vaccine. A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1326020023004272">survey</a> showed Australian adults find workplace vaccination convenient and cost-effective, especially where free or subsidised vaccines are offered.</p> <p>Expanding vaccination settings, such as with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/19375867221087360?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">drive-through</a> and mobile clinics, can benefit groups who have unique access barriers or are under-served. Meanwhile, offering vaccination through faith-based organisations has been shown to improve uptake among <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37013523/">racial and ethnic minority groups</a>.</p> <p><em>Eleftheria Lentakis, a masters student at the School of Population Health at UNSW Sydney, contributed to this article.</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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229477/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/holly-seale-94294"><em>Holly Seale</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, School of Population Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/too-many-australians-arent-getting-a-flu-vaccine-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-229477">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Australian churches collectively raise billions of dollars a year – why aren’t they taxed?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dale-boccabella-15706">Dale Boccabella</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ranjana-gupta-1207482">Ranjana Gupta</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>There’s a good reason your local volunteer-run netball club doesn’t pay tax. In Australia, various nonprofit organisations are exempt from paying income tax, including those that do charitable work, such as churches.</p> <p>These exemptions or concessions can also extend to other taxes, including fringe benefits tax, state and local government property taxes and payroll taxes.</p> <p>The traditional justification for granting these concessions is that charitable activities benefit society. They contribute to the wellbeing of the community in a variety of non-religious ways.</p> <p>For example, charities offer welfare, health care and education services that the government would generally otherwise provide due to their obvious public benefits. The tax exemption, which allows a charity to retain all the funds it raises, provides the financial support required to relieve the government of this burden.</p> <p>The nonprofit sector is often called the third sector of society, the other two being government and for-profit businesses. But in Australia, this third sector is quite large. Some grassroots organisations have only a tiny footprint, but other nonprofits are very large. And many of these bigger entities – including some “megachurches” – run huge commercial enterprises. These are often indistinguishable from comparable business activities in the for-profit sector.</p> <p>So why doesn’t this revenue get taxed? And should we really give all nonprofits the same tax exemptions?</p> <h2>Why don’t churches pay tax?</h2> <p>The primary aim of a church is to advance or promote its religion. This itself counts as a charitable purpose under the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/C2013A00100/asmade/text">2013 Charities Act</a>. However, section five of that act requires a church to have only charitable purposes – any other purposes must be incidental to or in aid of these.</p> <p>Viewed alone, the conduct of a church with an extensive commercial enterprise – which could include selling merchandise, or holding concerts and conferences – is not a charitable purpose.</p> <p>But Australian case law and <a href="https://www.acnc.gov.au/for-charities/start-charity/role-acnc-deciding-charity-status/legal-meaning-charity#:%7E:text=Taxation%20Ruling%20(TR)%202011%2F,set%20out%20in%20taxation%20rulings.">an ATO ruling</a> both support the idea that carrying on business-like activities can be incidental to or in aid of a charitable purpose. This could be the case, for example, if a large church’s commercial activities were to help give effect to its charitable purposes.</p> <p>Because of this, under Australia’s current income tax law, a church that is running a large commercial enterprise is able to retain its exemption from income tax on the profits from these activities.</p> <p>There are various public policy concerns with this. First, the lost tax revenue is likely to be significant, although the government’s annual tax expenditure statement does not currently provide an estimate of the amount of tax revenue lost.</p> <p>And second, the tax exemption may give rise to unfairness. A for-profit business competing with a church in a relevant industry may be at a competitive disadvantage – despite similar business activities, the for-profit entity pays income tax but the church does not. This competitive disadvantage may be reflected in lower prices for customers of the church business.</p> <h2>What about taxing their employees?</h2> <p>Churches that run extensive enterprises are likely to have many employees. Generally, all the normal Australian tax rules apply to the way these employees are paid – for example, employees pay income tax on these wages. Distributing profits to members would go against the usual rules of the church, and this prohibition is <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/C2013A00100/asmade/text">required</a> anyway for an organisation to qualify as a charity.</p> <p>Some churches may be criticised for paying their founders or leaders “excessive” wages, but these are still taxed in the same way as normal salaries.</p> <p>It’s important to consider fringe benefit tax – which employers have to pay on certain benefits they provide to employees. Aside from some qualifications, all the usual <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/hiring-and-paying-your-workers/fringe-benefits-tax/how-fringe-benefits-tax-works">fringe benefit tax rules</a> apply to non-wage benefits provided to employees of a church.</p> <p>Just like their commercial (and taxable) counterparts, the payment for “luxury” travel and accommodation for church leaders and employees when on church business will not generate a fringe benefits taxable amount for the church.</p> <p>One qualification, though, is that a church is likely to be a <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/hiring-and-paying-your-workers/fringe-benefits-tax/fbt-concessions-for-not-for-profit-organisations/fbt-rebatable-employers">rebatable employer</a> under the fringe benefit tax regime. This means it can obtain some tax relief on benefits provided to each employee, up to a cap.</p> <h2>We may need to rethink blanket tax exemptions for charities</h2> <p>Back in an age where nonprofits were mainly small and focused on addressing the needs of people failed by the market, the income tax exemption for such charities appeared appropriate.</p> <p>But in the modern era, some charities – including some churches – operate huge business enterprises and collect rent on extensive property holdings.</p> <p>Many are now questioning whether we should continue offering them an uncapped exemption from income tax, especially where there are questions surrounding how appropriately these profits are used.</p> <p>Debates about solutions to the problem have focused on various arguments. However, more data may be needed on the way charities apply their profits to a charitable purpose, particularly those involved in substantial commercial activities.</p> <p>An all-or-nothing rule exempting the whole charitable sector may no longer be fit for purpose if it fails to take into account the very different circumstances of different nonprofits.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228901/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dale-boccabella-15706"><em>Dale Boccabella</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Taxation Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ranjana-gupta-1207482">Ranjana Gupta</a>, Senior Lecturer Taxation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-churches-collectively-raise-billions-of-dollars-a-year-why-arent-they-taxed-228901">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Australians lose $5,200 a minute to scammers. There’s a simple thing the government could do to reduce this. Why won’t they?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>What if the government was doing everything it could to stop thieves making off with our money, except the one thing that could really work?</p> <p>That’s how it looks when it comes to <a href="https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams">scams</a>, which are attempts to trick us out of our funds, usually by getting us to hand over our identities or bank details or transfer funds.</p> <p>Last year we lost an astonishing <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/scam-losses-decline-but-more-work-to-do-as-australians-lose-27-billion">A$2.74 billion</a> to scammers. That’s more than $5,200 per minute – and that’s only the scams we know about from the 601,000 Australians who made reports. Many more would have kept quiet.</p> <p>If the theft of $5,200 per minute seems over the odds for a country Australia’s size, a comparison with the United Kingdom suggests you are right. In 2022, people in the UK lost <a href="https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/system/files/2023-05/Annual%20Fraud%20Report%202023_0.pdf">£2,300</a> per minute, which is about A$4,400. The UK has two and a half times Australia’s population.</p> <p>It’s as if international scammers, using SMS, phone calls, fake invoices and fake web addresses are targeting Australia, because in other places it’s harder.</p> <p>If we want to cut Australians’ losses, it’s time to look at rules about to come into force in the UK.</p> <h2>Scams up 320% since 2020</h2> <p>The current federal government is doing a lot – <em>almost</em> everything it could. Within a year of taking office, it set up the <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/national-anti-scam-centre">National Anti-Scam Centre</a>, which coordinates intelligence. Just this week, the centre reported that figure of $2.74 billion, which is down 13% on 2022, but up 50% on 2021 and 320% on 2020.</p> <p>It’s planning “<a href="https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2023-464732">mandatory industry codes</a>” for banks, telecommunication providers and digital platforms.</p> <p>But the code it is proposing for banks, set out in a <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/c2023-464732-cp.pdf">consultation paper</a> late last year, is weak when compared to overseas.</p> <h2>Banks are the gatekeepers</h2> <p>Banks matter, because they are nearly always the means by which the money is transferred. Cryptocurrency is now much less used after the banks agreed to limit payments to high risk exchanges.</p> <p>Here’s an example of the role played by banks. A woman the Consumer Action Law Centre is calling <a href="https://consumeraction.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Joint-submission-CALC-CHOICE-ACCAN-31012024-Scams-Mandatory-code-treasury-consultA.pdf">Amelia</a> tried to sell a breast pump on Gumtree.</p> <p>The buyer asked for her bank card number and a one-time PIN and used the code to whisk out $9,100, which was sent overseas. The bank wouldn’t help because she had provided the one-time PIN.</p> <p>Here’s another. A woman the Competition and Consumer Commission is calling <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Targeting%20scams%202022.pdf">Niamh</a> was contacted by someone using the National Australia Bank’s SMS ID. Niamh was told her account was compromised and talked through how to transfer $300,000 to a “secure” account.</p> <p>After she had done it, the scammer told her it was a scam, laughed and said “we are in Brisbane, come find me”.</p> <h2>How bank rules protect scammers</h2> <p>And one more example. Former University of Melbourne academic <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377766055_Scams_Blaming_the_Victims">Kim Sawyer</a> (that’s his real name, he is prepared to go public) clicked on an ad for “St George Capital” displaying the dragon logo of St. George Bank.</p> <p>He was called back by a man using the name of a real St. George employee, who persuaded him to transfer funds from accounts at the AMP, Citibank and Macquarie to accounts he was told would be in his and his wife’s name at Westpac, ANZ, the Commonwealth and Bendigo Banks.</p> <p>They lost <a href="https://www.afr.com/wealth/personal-finance/i-lost-2-5m-of-my-super-to-scammers-20240423-p5flzp">$2.5 million</a>. Sawyer says none of the banks – those that sent the funds or those that received them – would help him. Some cited “<a href="https://www.choice.com.au/money/financial-planning-and-investing/stock-market-investing/articles/st-george-capital-investment-scam">privacy</a>” reasons.</p> <p>The Consumer Action Law Centre says the banks that transfer the scammed funds routinely tell their customers “it’s nothing to do with us, you transferred the money, we can’t help you”. The banks receiving the funds routinely say “you’re not our customer, we can’t help you”.</p> <p>That’s here. Not in the UK.</p> <h2>UK bank customers get a better deal</h2> <p>In Australia in 2022, only <a href="https://download.asic.gov.au/media/mbhoz0pc/rep761-published-20-april-2023.pdf">13%</a> of attempted scam payments were stopped by banks before they took place. Once scammed, only 2% to 5% of losses (depending on the bank) were reimbursed or compensated.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/information-for-consumers/app-fraud-performance-data/">the UK</a>, the top four banks pay out 49% to 73%.</p> <p>And they are about to pay out much more. From October 2024, reimbursement will be compulsory. Where authorised fast payments are made “because of deception by fraudsters”, the banks will have to reimburse <a href="https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en-us/posts/investigation-fraud-and-risk/app-fraud-uk">the lot</a>.</p> <p>Normally the bills will be split <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/news-and-updates/latest-news/news/psr-confirms-new-requirements-for-app-fraud-reimbursement/">50:50</a> between the bank transferring the funds and the bank receiving them. Unless there’s a need for further investigations, the payments must be made within five days.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.psr.org.uk/media/as3a0xan/sr1-consumer-standard-of-caution-guidance-dec-2023.pdf">only exceptions</a> are where the consumer seeking reimbursement has acted fraudulently or with gross negligence.</p> <p>The idea behind the change – pushed through by the Conservative government now led by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – is that if scams are the banks’ problem, if they are costing them millions at a time, they’ll stop them.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thepost.co.nz/business/350197309/banks-given-fraud-ultimatum">New Zealand</a> is looking at doing the same thing, <a href="https://www.biocatch.com/blog/mas-shared-responsibility-fraud-losses">as is Singapore</a>.</p> <p>But here, the treasury’s discussion paper on its mandatory codes mentions reimbursement <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-11/c2023-464732-cp.pdf">only once</a>. That’s when it talks about what’s happening in the UK. Neither treasury nor the relevant federal minister is proposing it here.</p> <h2>Australia’s approach is softer</h2> <p>Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones is in charge of Australia’s rules.</p> <p>Asked why he wasn’t pushing for compulsory reimbursement here, Jones said on Monday <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/stephen-jones-2022/transcripts/interview-mark-gibson-abc-perth">prevention was better</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>I think a simplistic approach of just saying, ‘Oh, well, if any loss, if anyone incurs a loss, then the bank always pay’, won’t work. It’ll just make Australia a honeypot for these international crime gangs, because they’ll say, well, ‘Let’s, you know, focus all of our activity on Australia because it’s a victimless crime if banks always pay’.</p> </blockquote> <p>Telling banks to pay would certainly focus the minds of the banks, in the way they are about to be focused in the UK.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ausbanking.org.au/submissions/">Australian Banking Association</a> hasn’t published its submission to the treasury review, but the <a href="https://consumeraction.org.au/scams-mandatory-industry-codes-consultation-paper/">Consumer Action Law Centre</a> has.</p> <p>It says if banks had to reimburse money lost, they’d have more of a reason to keep it safe.</p> <p>In the UK, they are about to find out. If Jones is right, it might be about to become a honeypot for scammers. If he is wrong, his government will leave Australia even further behind when it comes to scams – leaving us thousands more dollars behind per day.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228867/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australians-lose-5-200-a-minute-to-scammers-theres-a-simple-thing-the-government-could-do-to-reduce-this-why-wont-they-228867">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Our housing system is broken and the poorest Australians are being hardest hit

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>Just when we think the price of rentals could not get any worse, this week’s <a href="https://www.anglicare.asn.au/publications/2023-rental-affordability-snapshot/">Rental Affordability Snapshot</a> by Anglicare has revealed low-income Australians are facing a housing crisis like never before.</p> <p>In fact, if you rely on the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/youth-allowance">Youth Allowance</a>, there is not a single rental property across Australia you can afford this week.</p> <h2>How did rental affordability get this bad?</h2> <p>Several post-COVID factors have been blamed, including our preference for <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/new-insights-into-the-rental-market.html">more space, the return of international migrants</a>, and <a href="https://www.corelogic.com.au/news-research/news/2023/could-the-peak-in-interest-rates-signal-an-end-to-rising-rents">rising interest rates</a>.</p> <p>However, the rental affordability crisis pre-dates COVID.</p> <p>Affordability has been steadily declining for decades, as successive governments have failed to make shelter more affordable for low-to-moderate income Australians.</p> <h2>The market is getting squeezed at both ends</h2> <p>At the lower end of the rental sector, the growth in the supply of social housing persistently lags behind demand, trending at under <a href="https://povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/data/annual-growth-rates-social-housing-stock-and-population-2011-2020/">one-third</a> the rate of population growth.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="OA0cS" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/OA0cS/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>This has forced growing numbers of low-income Australians to seek shelter in the private rental sector, where they face intense competition from higher-income renters.</p> <p>At the upper end, more and more aspiring home buyers are getting <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03085147.2021.2003086">locked out</a> of home ownership.</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2024-02/AHURI-Final-Report-416-Affordable-private-rental-supply-and-demand-short-term-disruption.pdf">study</a> found more households with higher incomes are now renting.</p> <p>Households earning <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2024-02/AHURI-Final-Report-416-Affordable-private-rental-supply-and-demand-short-term-disruption.pdf">$140,000</a> a year or more (in 2021 dollars) accounted for just 8% of private renters in 1996. By 2021, this tripled to 24%. No doubt, this crowds out lower-income households who are now facing a shortage of affordable homes to rent.</p> <h2>Why current policies are not working</h2> <p>Worsening affordability in the private rental sector highlights a housing system that is broken. Current policies just aren’t working.</p> <p>While current policies focus on supply, more work is needed including fixing <a href="https://theconversation.com/governments-are-pouring-money-into-housing-but-materials-land-and-labour-are-still-in-short-supply-205471">labour shortages</a> and providing greater <a href="https://theconversation.com/people-want-and-need-more-housing-choice-its-about-time-governments-stood-up-to-deliver-it-122390">stock diversity</a>.</p> <p>The planning system plays a critical role and <a href="https://theconversation.com/confusing-and-not-delivering-enough-developers-and-councils-want-new-affordable-housing-rules-139762">zoning rules</a> can be reformed to support the supply of more affordable options.</p> <p>However, the housing affordability challenge is not solely a supply problem. There is also a need to respond to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/home-prices-are-climbing-alright-but-not-for-the-reason-you-might-think-158776">super-charged demand</a> in the property market.</p> <p>An overheated market will undoubtedly place intense pressure on the rental sector because aspiring first home buyers are forced to rent for longer, as house prices soar at a rate unmatched by their wages.</p> <p>Yet, governments continue to resist calls for winding back the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-02-15/ken-henry-australias-tax-system-in-worse-position-after-15-years/103465044">generous tax concessions</a> enjoyed by multi-property owners.</p> <p>The main help available to low-income private renters - the Commonwealth Rent Assistance scheme - is <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-billion-per-year-or-less-could-halve-rental-housing-stress-146397">poorly targeted</a> with nearly one in five low-income renters who are in rental stress deemed ineligible, while another one in four receive it despite not being in rental stress.</p> <h2>Can affordable housing occur naturally?</h2> <p>Some commentators support the theory of <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022-09/Executive-Summary-FR387-Filtering-as-a-source-of-low-income-housing-in-Australia-conceptualisation-and-testing.pdf">filtering</a> - a market-based process by which the supply of new dwellings in more expensive segments creates additional supply of dwellings for low-income households as high-income earners vacate their former dwellings.</p> <p>Proponents of filtering argue building more housing anywhere - even in wealthier ends of the property market - will eventually improve affordability across the board because lower priced housing will trickle down to the poorest households.</p> <p>However, the persistent affordability crisis low-income households face and the rise in homelessness are crucial signs filtering <a href="https://cloud.3dissue.com/122325/122578/143598/WhyNewSupplyisnotExpandingHousingOptionsfortheHomeless/html5/index.html?page=1&amp;noflash">does not work well</a> and <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/sites/default/files/documents/2022-09/AHURI-Final-Report-387-Filtering-as-a-source-of-low-income-housing-in-Australia-conceptualisation-and-testing.pdf">cannot be relied upon</a> to produce lower cost housing.</p> <h2>Location, location, location</h2> <p>Location does matter, if we expect building new housing to work for low-income individuals.</p> <p>What is needed is a steady increase of affordable, quality housing in areas offering low-income renters the same access to jobs and amenities as higher-income households.</p> <p>The <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/housing-policy/accord#:%7E:text=The%20Accord%20includes%20an%20initial,5%20years%20from%20mid%E2%80%912024.">National Housing Accord</a> aims to deliver 1.2 million new dwellings over five years from mid-2024. But it must ensure these are “well-located” for people who need affordable housing, as suggested in the accord.</p> <p>Recent <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02673037.2023.229051">modelling</a> shows unaffordable housing and poor neighbourhoods both negatively affect mental health, reinforcing the need to provide both affordable and well-located housing.</p> <h2>The upcoming budget</h2> <p>While the <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2023/payments-cra_budget_fact_sheet_fa_0.pdf">15% increase</a> in the maximum rent assistance rate was welcomed in the last budget, the program is long overdue for a major restructure to target those in rental stress.</p> <p>Also, tax concessions on second properties should be wound back to reduce competition for those struggling to buy their first home. This would eventually help ease affordability pressures on low-income renters as more higher-income renters <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8454.12335">shift into homeownership</a>.</p> <p>The potential negative impacts on rental supply can be mitigated by careful design of tax and other changes that guard against market destabilisation concerns.</p> <p>Overall, housing affordability solutions have to be multi-faceted. The housing system is badly broken and meaningful repair cannot be achieved unless policymakers are willing to confront both supply and demand challenges.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228511/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: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachel-ong-viforj-113482">Rachel Ong ViforJ</a>, ARC Future Fellow &amp; Professor of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/our-housing-system-is-broken-and-the-poorest-australians-are-being-hardest-hit-228511">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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