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Roadside cameras set to target more infringements

<p>Millions of Aussie drivers are being warned as authorities expand the number of infringements being targeted by roadside cameras. </p> <p>The technology, initially used to detect mobile phone use, will now target new road rules. </p> <p>"The laws were brought in and this technology was brought in as a preventative measure ... to stop people getting behind the wheel and taking risks that jeopardise the safety of others," NRMA head of media told <em>Yahoo News. </em></p> <p>"The road toll is terrible nationally in Australia ... So we need to do everything we can to reduce risks on our roads."</p> <p>In NSW authorities are expanding the capabilities of their roadside mobile-detection cameras. </p> <p>From July 1 the cameras will be able to catch drivers wearing their seatbelt incorrectly. </p> <p>This comes after Queensland reportedly became the first jurisdiction in the world to roll out seatbelt-spotting detection along with mobile-detection. </p> <p>Last year, Victoria also rolled out dual mobile phone and seatbelt detection cameras last year after a two year trial.</p> <p>No grace period will be granted when they issue the seatbelt fines. </p> <p>"The expansion of mobile phone detection cameras to also apply to seatbelt offences reinforces the NSW Government’s commitment to enforcing the 50-year-old seatbelt law, actively contributing to improving road safety and reducing fatalities on NSW roads," a statement read on their official website. </p> <p>The department told Yahoo that all images captured by roadside cameras are automatically reviewed by software. </p> <p>Those that do not contain evidence of an offence will have their images deleted within an hour. </p> <p>Drivers in the ACT will need to make sure they have proper insurance and registration.</p> <p>From August, the roadside cameras alongside speed cameras and red light cameras will be used to send hefty fines to those driving without proper registration or insurance. </p> <p>Those caught by the cameras will have their paperwork manually checked by transport staff. </p> <p>An infringement for driving an unregistered vehicle in the ACT is $700 while the fine for driving an uninsured car is $973. </p> <p>The mobile detection cameras could also soon be programmed to detect speeding in the ACT. </p> <p>In South Australia, authorities began testing overhead mobile detection cameras at four busy locations in April, fines are currently not being issued, but the grace period is due to finish on June 19. </p> <p>Drivers caught using their phones in Adelaide will be fined $540 and three demerit points. </p> <p><em>Image: </em><em>Stepan Skorobogadko / Shutterstock.com</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Millions of Aussies set for pay rise

<p>Millions of Aussies are in line for a boost on July 1, with the Fair Work Commission set to hand down their decision on minimum pay rates on Monday morning. </p> <p>The workplace umpire's annual wage review, which affects minimum and award wage earners, is expected to hand down an increase of between 3.5 per cent and 4 per cent on the pay rate of $23.23 an hour.</p> <p>These wage increases factor in economic conditions and broader goals such as closing the gender pay gap. </p> <p>A substantial boost was handed out last year - 5.75 per cent for awards and 8.6 per cent for the national minimum - with the commission basing their decision on factors like low unemployment, falling wages and high inflation.</p> <p>The Albanese government has submitted that it would prefer the “real wages of Australia’s low-paid workers do not go backwards." </p> <p>“We want to see strong and sustainable wages growth because we see this as part of the solution to the cost-of-living challenge, not part of the problem,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said ahead of the decision.</p> <p>No number was specified but they are advocating to an increase which keeps up with inflation, which was at 4.1 per cent annually in the March quarter. </p> <p>In their submission, the government also said that tax relief due to kick in mid-year should not be viewed as a replacement to a wage boost. </p> <p>Meanwhile, peak employee representative the ACTU, has advocated for an increase of 5 per cent, arguing that workers affected by the cost-of-living pressures deserve a hike to their pay. </p> <p>Australian Industry Group has proposed a wage increase of 2.8 per cent, warning that an excessive pay boost could increase the risk of job losses, as the economy is slowing and labour market is weakening. </p> <p>Economists have also warned that an increase of over 4 per cent could further complicate the Reserve Bank’s efforts in fighting inflation, which  have already slugged borrowers with 13 rate hikes in the last two years. </p> <p>But AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said that an increase of at or just below 4 per cent, could help the RBA return inflation back to its target band of two to three per cent. </p> <p>“A rise around 4 per cent would give workers a real wage rise, it’s not so high as to add to the risk of a wage price spiral, … and in line with the rough assessment that 4 per cent wages growth is consistent with 2 per cent to 3 per cent inflation.”</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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Racist street name set to change

<p>The name of a street in northern NSW is set to be changed after an Uber driver stumbled across it and alerted locals to its racist background. </p> <p>Byron Shire Council announced that Hottentot Crescent in Mullumbimby, will soon be renamed Moonlight Close, after the council deemed Hottentot - a racist term for Indigenous South Africans - no longer appropriate for use. </p> <p>Jonny Simons, a local man who moved to Australia from South Africa in the 1980s, was the first person to petition for the name change back in November, after the Uber driver tipped him off. </p> <p>He garnered 383 signatures in the petition, but not all residents and community members supported the change. </p> <p>Last year, there were 12 submissions from past and present residents objecting to the council's name change proposal. </p> <p>One resident insisted on keeping the name saying: “My understanding is that our street name was chosen decades ago, after a tree, the Hottentot Bean Tree (Schotia Brachypetala). Never in my time as a resident here, have I heard another person ever relate the street name in regards to a racial slur." </p> <p>“While I appreciate the concerns raised, it is essential to acknowledge that names can change in meaning and connotation over the years.</p> <p>“Altering the street name would greatly impact residents and the council long term with endless administrative changes and potential financial costs.”</p> <p>However, five other submissions were in favour of the change, with one writing: “a racial slur is a racial slur even if a tree is named after it. As much as I loved the sound of the name, it has to go.” </p> <p>A few other names were put forward, including Drunken Parrot Place - named after a nearby tree full of lorikeets getting drunk in spring and summer - but the council ultimately decided on Moonlight Close. </p> <p>In November, following community consultation, the council’s director of infrastructure services Phillip Holloway, recommended the name change “on the basis that there is more lasting value in trying to minimise the type of hurt this particular name could cause some people over the long term", over avoiding costs to the residents in the short term.</p> <p>He added that many of the residents were unaware of the racist connotation of the name "beyond naming the relevant tree", and that "the tree name itself is racially loaded" because it is linked to the slur used towards the Khoisan people "who used the tree for food during South Africa’s colonisation.”</p> <p>Simons, who petitioned for the change, said he doesn't hold anything against the residents who were against the name change as "they didn't know what it meant". </p> <p>"They thought it was the name of a tree, but that tree was named as such because the Khoisan people of South Africa ate the fruit of that tree," he said. </p> <p><em>Image: Google Maps</em></p>

Legal

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“Turn his life around”: Paul Hogan’s grandson set to be released from prison

<p>The grandson of Crocodile Dundee is set to be released from prison after 57 days behind bars. </p> <p>Jake Paul Hogan, 34, broke down in court after learning that his father has moved to Sydney to support him in living a life without crime when he leaves jail.</p> <p>His father Todd Hogan, who is the son of the Crocodile Dundee star, flew back from New Zealand to support his son at the sentencing at the Downing Centre Local Court, which Jake appeared at via audio link. </p> <p>The younger Hogan was in custody on remand after his bail was refused in March, and was sentenced on Wednesday for breaking into apartment buildings to fund his “high-level drug habit” and for breaching a court order against an ex-girlfriend.</p> <p>Before falling into a life of drugs, Jake worked as a carpenter but soon became homeless after his drug addiction took hold.</p> <p>In order to fund his drug habit, the 34-year-old began sleeping in abandoned buildings, and stealing clothes and other items to sell for cash. </p> <p>Deputy Chief Magistrate Sharon Freund described Jake’s actions as a “sudden escalation of offending” after his life broke down, while also telling the court she was “comforted” by the fact he was supported by his father Todd and sister in court.</p> <p>“This is a young man that needs some scaffolding, he totally has the ability to turn his life around,” she said. “No doubt you were having difficulty seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and managing to find your way out of the hole.”</p> <p>The court was told Jake’s father was having trouble contacting his son during his difficult times, and had even flown to Sydney from New Zealand to find him.</p> <p>“Mr Hogan you are phenomenally lucky to have these supports,” Ms Freund said.</p> <p>She told the court Jake’s father is set to remain in Sydney to give him support when he leaves custody.</p> <p>Jake was convicted of all charges and sentenced to a community corrections order for two years, and an intensive corrections order for nine months.</p> <p>“I wish you good luck Mr Hogan,” Ms Freund said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook </em></p>

Legal

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Hughesy spills the beans on major shows set to be axed

<p>Dave Hughes has shared his prediction that <em>The Masked Singer</em> is die to be axed from Network Ten's lineup this year as the network continues to battle dwindling ratings. </p> <p>The host of the show made the admission on his radio show on Tuesday, saying he hadn't been given any updates on when filming was due to commence. </p> <p>“We’ve been waiting on a production schedule. That production schedule has not come through, so as far as I know, <em>The Masked Singer </em>won’t be filmed this year for Channel 10,” Hughes said on his show Hughesy, Ed and Erin on 2DayFM.</p> <p>“We’ve had such a great time over those years, it’s been such a fun show to be on, so many great singers have been on,” he continued. “We’ve had great panels. We started with Jackie O, Dannii Minogue, [Lindsay] Lohan, then Urzila Carlson came in, we’ve got Abbie Chatfield, Chrissy Swan, Mel B. All stars in their own right."</p> <p>“It’s a tough one for the production team.”</p> <p>Later during the radio show, Hughesy and the team called Osher Günsberg to question whether <em>The Bachelor </em>was facing the same grim fate as <em>The Masked Singer</em>. </p> <p>“I tell you what, I haven’t cancelled our trip to Fiji, which is in the middle of the shooting window we normally have [for <em>The Bachelor</em>],” Günsberg, who has been host of the dating show since 2013, said.</p> <p>Osher went on to criticise Australian TV for putting British and American shows on prime time, rather than favouring homegrown talent. </p> <p>“I personally feel we really need to value our own stories, and our culture, and our own voices far more highly,” he said. “And we’ve got to do what we need to do to make that happen on our screens."</p> <p>“If we’re not going to sing our own songs and tell our own stories – we’re just going to be this weird echo of the US and the UK, and that’s not going to work out well for us.”</p> <p>Last year's season of <em>The Bachelor</em> premiered to the franchise’s lowest ratings in its decade-long history, while personalities involved with <em>The Masked Singer</em> have repeatedly said "it is a very expensive show to produce". </p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten </em></p>

TV

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Woman fined after paid car park gets set up around her parked vehicle

<p>Josephine Williams had been leaving her car in a gravel clearing at Westgate in Auckland, alongside other commuters to catch the bus into the city for months. </p> <p>The New Zealand woman was left with a "nasty surprise" when she returned from work on Monday to find a NZ $85 ($77) fine sitting on her windshield. </p> <p>"To my unfortunate surprise - and many others - I was greeted by an $85 parking ticket for a breach and a flyer from Wilson Parking saying paid parking had started that day," Williams told <em>Stuff</em>.</p> <p>"But what breach exactly was made? How was I supposed to know paid parking started that day when there was nothing at all displayed anywhere in the car park?"</p> <p>Williams claimed that the Wilson Parking car park had been set up around her already parked car, even providing dash cam footage that showed her pulling into the gravel clearing at 7.45am, with no paid parking signs or Wilson branding in sight. </p> <p>By 6pm, a large red and white Wilson sign had been put up at the entrance, with "12 hours for $4" written on it. </p> <p>"Wilson deliberately put their sign up sometime after 9am and then took it upon themselves to fine every single car that was already parked there from the morning," Williams said.</p> <p>"$85 is a lot of money - it would have been two weeks' worth of grocery shopping for me," she added. </p> <p>"I'm lucky that I know the law and my rights, but some other people might not. What about students or the elderly or people who don't know English well?"</p> <p>She estimated that there was usually around 50 and 100 cars in the gravel clearing. </p> <p>Wilson argued that the carpark was always there and they had just added more signage, but have since waived Williams' fine after she lodged a request to have it reviewed by Parking Enforcement Services. </p> <p>Wilson Parking also said that they had started to set up the car park and installed a "clear signage" on April 22. </p> <p>"It was not set up around parked cars on 29 April as suggested," a Wilson spokesperson said.</p> <p>"Several payments were made by customers via the Parkmate app from 22 April proving that signage on the site was clear and effective," they said.</p> <p>They added that on April 29 more signs were added to all entry points of the car park. </p> <p>"In acknowledgment of the increased signage added on the 29th at the entry we've made the decision to refund all payments made until 30 April and waive any breach notices issued up to this date."</p> <p>They also denied issuing any breach notices before the signs were put up.</p> <p>"Payment options were available and signed from 22 April - but no infringement notices were issued prior to the 29th."</p> <p><em>Images: Stuff</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

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Why this iconic view of Mt Fuji is set to be obstructed

<p>One small town in Japan is fed up with disrespectful tourists, and is set to take drastic measures to block an iconic view of My Fuji to deter travellers. </p> <p>Fujikawaguchiko, at the foot of the Yoshida Trail to Mount Fuji, has long been overrun with tourists who are hellbent on getting the perfect picture of the Japanese mountain. </p> <p>Tourists specifically flock to the Lawson convenience store to take their pictures, with the contrast between the busy neon-lit shop and the peaceful mountain behind it making for the perfect holiday snap. </p> <p>However, in recent years since Japan reopened its borders to international tourists after harsh Covid lockdowns, these tourists have had the run of the town, and locals have had enough. </p> <p>To combat the over tourism of the area and deter travellers, local officials of the town are set to erect a giant mesh barrier atop the store, blocking the picture perfect view.</p> <p>One town official said that there have been ongoing problems with tourists leaving trash and not following traffic rules, despite signs and security guards being posted to warn them.</p> <p>"It is regrettable that we had to take such measures," the official said.</p> <p>The net, which measures 2.5 meters high and 20 meters long, will be erected early next week.</p> <p>The crowds plaguing the small town, which is in Yamanashi prefecture, to the north of Fuji and about 100 kilometres west of Tokyo, is just one part of a larger over tourism issue in the whole of Japan. </p> <p>"Overtourism – and all the subsequent consequences like rubbish, rising CO2 emissions and reckless hikers – is the biggest problem facing Mount Fuji," Masatake Izumi, a Yamanashi prefectural government official, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/travel/mount-fuji-overtourism-intl-hnk/index.html">told CNN Travel</a> in 2023.</p> <p>Some locals had even nicknamed the 3,776-meter (12,388-foot) mountain, called Fuji-san in Japanese, "trash mountain."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

International Travel

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Hospice nurse reveals six unexplainable "death bed phenomena"

<p>Hospice nurse Julie McFadden has lifted the lid on six unexplainable "death bed phenomena" that occur within a person's last weeks of life. </p> <p>The LA-based nurse, who specialises in end of life care, explained that as a person nears the end of their life, they will experience a range of unusual things, including hallucinations, random bursts of energy and even choosing when they're going to die. </p> <p>McFadden once again took to her YouTube channel to educate people on what happens when you're on your death bed, detailing each of the six strange occurrences. </p> <p>Julie explained that patients often experienced "terminal lucidity", "hallucinations", "death stares", and more in their final weeks. </p> <p>She began by explaining the first wild thing that happened at the end of life was terminal lucidity, in which people get a "burst of energy" in the days before they die, sharing that it happens "very often". </p> <p>She said, "Just enjoy it and expect that maybe they will die soon after because that's the kicker with terminal lucidity, it looks like someone's going to die very soon then suddenly they have a burst of energy."</p> <p>"They maybe have a really great day, they're suddenly hungry, they're suddenly able to walk, they're suddenly very alert and oriented, and then shortly after usually a day or two they will die, so that can be the hard part if you're not ready for it, if you don't know what's coming you can think they're getting better and then they die, which can be very devastating."</p> <p>Julie then described how most people in their final days will encounter "death visioning" or "hallucinations", as many people describe seeing the ghosts of loved ones in their final days. </p> <p>"I wouldn't have believed it unless I saw it for myself over and over again," the nurse admitted. </p> <p>"Number three, this is really crazy - people choosing when they're going to die. I have seen some extreme cases of this, people just saying, 'Tonight's when I'm going to die I know it, I can feel it,' and they do. There's also a time when people will wait for everybody to get into town or get into the room arrive at the house whatever it is and then they will die," the nurse explained. </p> <p>The fourth phenomena is known as the "death reach", according to Julie.  </p> <p>She explained, "It's when the person's lying in bed and they reach up in the air like they're seeing someone or they're reaching for someone either to hug them or to shake their hands. A lot of times they'll hold their hands up for a long time, like they're seeing something that we're not seeing and they're reaching for someone that we can't see."</p> <p>Julie then listed "number five is the death stare," explaining that the death stare and the death reach often "go together". </p> <p>"It usually looks like someone is staring off into the corner of the room or the side of the room basically looking at something intently, but if you're snapping your finger in front of their face or trying to say their name to kind of snap them out of it, they won't," she said.</p> <p>The last wild thing the nurse has seen is known as a "shared death experience" and is "most impactful", according to Julie. </p> <p>She explained, "A shared death experience is when someone who is not dying feels or sees or understands what's happening to the person who is dying."</p> <p>"It's kind of like the dying person gives you the sensation of what they're going through. From what I experienced, it was a very good feeling. It was like the person was giving me these feelings of freedom and joy and kind of telling me that they were okay."</p> <p>"At the time, I was shocked, I didn't know what was happening, but I've come to find out that that's called a shared death experience."</p> <p><em>Image credits: YouTube / Instagram </em></p>

Caring

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Teen with Down Syndrome sets new world record

<p>A 19-year-old teen with Down Syndrome has conquered the London Marathon and became a Guinness World Record after just five months of training. </p> <p>Lloyd Martin from Cardiff completed the 42.1 km course across the capital with his mother cheering him on. </p> <p>Guinness World Record has awarded him the certificate for becoming the youngest person in his learning disability category to finish a marathon. </p> <p>"I'm so excited to run London. I love being fit and healthy and I want to make my family and friends proud," the teenager said. </p> <p>Mum Ceri Hooper also told the<em> BBC</em> how proud she was of her son's accomplishment. </p> <p>"In Lloyd's words, it's achieving his dream," she said. </p> <p>"Really anything is possible if you put your mind to it. With a bit of work, you can achieve it."</p> <p>Recalling the experience, the proud mum said: "He ran continuously for 14 miles which is the longest he's ever run before." </p> <p>Although Lloyd walked for a bit after his 14-mile-long streak, the crowd cheered him on every step of the way, and despite the challenge the mother-and-son duo had "a ball". </p> <p>The pair were at a loss for words when he finally crossed the finish line and they both "burst into tears." </p> <p>Lloyd is also now the third Welsh Special Olympics athlete to compete in the London Marathon. </p> <p>Prior to completing the world-famous marathon, Lloyed had completed an astonishing 30 Parkruns. </p> <p>Until last Christmas the teenager had never run further than three miles, but his mother was determined to get him marathon-ready. </p> <p>Ceri, who has taken on the London Marathon four times, created a specialised training regime for her son which included weekly runs. </p> <p>Lloyd managed to secure a spot in the marathon thanks to the help of the Special Olympics GB, where he is also a footballer and a gymnast. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Twitter</em></p>

Caring

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The Wiggles set sail for their latest venture

<p>The Wiggles have collaborated with an unusual partner to help Aussie families have the ultimate holiday experience.</p> <p>The children's entertainers have teamed up with Royal Caribbean Cruises for a series of exclusive Wiggles Sailings which will begin their voyage in the summer of 2025-2026, with the Wiggly Friends joining in the fun. </p> <p>Taking centre stage on the cruises are the likes of cast favourites Captain Feathersword, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Henry the Octopus, Wags the Dog and Shirley Shawn the Unicorn.</p> <p>Captain Feathersword spoke exclusively to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/the-wiggles-nextlevel-move-revealed/news-story/04d9d6be943dda7b66ea25e008a9aad4" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> to reveal what families can expect from the unique cruising experience. </p> <p>“Ahoy there, me hearties! Gather ‘round and listen close. The Wiggles have been sailin’ the seas of family fun for over three decades, and now, we’re settin’ course for an even bigger adventure,” he said. </p> <p>“Prepare yourselves for a tidal wave of excitement. Picture this: me, Captain Feathersword at the helm, Dorothy the Dinosaur dancin’ on the deck, Henry the Octopus wavin’ his tentacles in delight, Wags the Dog waggin’ his tail with joy, and Shirley Shawn the Unicorn prancin’ about in all their splendour." </p> <p>“It’s a cast of characters fit for a tale as legendary as the sea itself. So, me hearties, batten down the hatches and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime with The Wiggles and Royal Caribbean. Ahoy and hooray.”</p> <p>Kathryn Lock, senior marketing director at <a href="https://www.royalcaribbean.com/aus/en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Royal Caribbean Cruises</a>, said they wanted to take their family adventures to the “next level” and create a truly unique adventure for current fans, first time cruisers and families alike. </p> <p>“The Wiggles have been entertaining Australian families for over 30 years, it’s one of Australia and the world’s most iconic family entertainment brands,” Ms Lock told <em>news.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“This exclusive partnership will enrich our cruise experience for the whole family and give them an impressive array of Wiggly Friends themed entertainment and trusted friends to guide them on their adventures with Royal Caribbean. We’re extremely excited for this partnership and what’s to come.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Cruising

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Why a one-cent stamp is set to sell for millions

<p>An extremely rare stamp that was once bought for a measly one cent is set to sell for millions of dollars, breaking records at a US auction house. </p> <p>While to the untrained eye, the blue stamp seems like any old stamp, the 1868 one-cent Z-grill is actually the rarest stamp in America due to its unique history and rarity. </p> <p>On June 14th, the one-cent Z-grill will be put up for sale by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, marking the first time the rare stamp has been on auction since 1998. </p> <p>Experts from the New York auction house say it could fetch $6 million to $7.5 million (AUD), which would make it the single most expensive US stamp ever sold.</p> <p>The reason for the extraordinary price comes down to the fact that out of the two known Z-grill stamp copies, the one up for auction is the only copy available for private purchase by collectors, while other historic copy is held at the New York Public Library.</p> <p>The Z-grill is unique due to its signature embossed paper, which was introduced to the US postal service after the Civil War to prevent stamps from being reused. </p> <p>Since 2005, the coveted stamp has belonged to billionaire investor and “bond king” Bill Gross.</p> <p>“It’s considered the trophy of collecting United States stamps,” said Charles Shreve, who has managed and built Gross’ extensive stamp collection for years and serves as director of international auctions at Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries.</p> <p>“There’s only one. If you want to brag, that’s the stamp.”</p> <p>Mr Gross' entire collection is estimated to be worth $22.6 million to $30 million AUD. The top 100 stamps from the collection will be auctioned off on June 14th, while the remaining stamps will be sold on June 15th.</p> <p>“There’s multiple stamps that’ll bring $500,000 or $750,000 (USD) but the (one-cent) Z-grill is the star of the show,” Shreve said.</p> <p>“I just know some people who are lusting for it, and we want to try to get as many people interested in it as possible.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Millions of Aussies set for power bill relief

<p>Millions of Aussies are set for some financial relief, with electricity costs set to drop by up to 7 per cent in the coming months. </p> <p>The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and Victoria's Essential Services Commission (ESC) both released their draft default market offers - the maximum energy retailers are allowed to charge customers - for the 2024-25 financial year. </p> <p>Under the AER draft, residents in Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter on the default offer will pay between 3 and 3.4 per cent less for electricity starting from July 1. </p> <p>The biggest drop is set for Victoria, with the ESC proposing a 6.4 per cent decrease. </p> <p>Those in Western Sydney, the Illawarra, and South Coast, will see their electricity bills decrease by 1.9 to 7.1 per cent. </p> <p>South Australians will receive a drop between 0.5 and 2.5 per cent. </p> <p>A number of small business customers will also benefit from lower power bill costs with 9.7 per cent for Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter; 4.4 per cent for Western Sydney and the South Coast; 0.3 per cent for South-East Queensland; 8.2 per cent for South Australia; and 7 per cent for Victoria.</p> <p>Energy Minister Chris Bowen welcomed the news of lower power bill costs, but acknowledged that it will continue to play a part in the cost of living challenges faced by many Australians. </p> <p>"This is encouraging news," he said.</p> <p>"Encouraging for those small businesses and families who will receive lower energy bills as a result.</p> <p>"But nobody should suggest that there aren't real cost of living pressures around the world and in Australia, and energy prices are of course part of that and will continue to be."</p> <p>Not everyone will see a drop, with customers in the rest of regional NSW to get a small increase of 0.9 per cent, while the default offer for South East Queensland will increase by up to 2.7 per cent.</p> <p>While not all households are on the default offer, Bowen said that the AER's decision will also affect those not on the offer. </p> <p>"This either impacts directly or indirectly your energy bill," he said.</p> <p>"Directly for those on the default market offer. For those who aren't on the direct market offer, indirectly - the energy companies have to benchmark themselves against this, tell their consumers how they compare to this, and it provides very real pressure on them to match it.</p> <p>"If they don't, consumers will know about it and will make choices accordingly.</p> <p>"It's partly about those on the default market offer, but it actually impacts on all our bills indirectly."</p> <p>AER chair Clare Savage said that the cost of living crisis was the main contributor for their draft decision. </p> <p>"We know that economic conditions have put pressure on many Australians and the increases in electricity prices over the last two years has made energy less affordable for many households," she said. </p> <p>"In light of this, the AER has, in this decision, placed increased weight on protecting consumers." </p> <p>The draft decision is not final, with both the AER and ESC to receive consultation and feedback from stakeholders before confirming their default market offers in May.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Rise in insurance premiums set to devastate Aussies

<p>Australians struggling with the cost of living are set to be hit with another blow to their wallets as health insurance premiums rise. </p> <p>Coming into effect on April 1st, private health insurance premiums are set to rise by more than 3 per cent, in the biggest increase in five years.</p> <p>The federal government has approved an average industry premium rise of 3.03 per cent, which will impact 14 million Australians paying for private health cover. </p> <p>The 2024 increase is slightly higher than a rise of 2.9 per cent in 2023, and 2.7 per cent in 2022 and 2021.</p> <p>In 2019, premiums rose by 3.3 per cent, making the 2024 rise the biggest in five years. </p> <p>Health Minister Mark Butler said the rise was smaller than the increase in wages, the age pension and inflation.</p> <p>“I wasn’t prepared to just tick and flick the claims of health insurers, as the opposition asked me to do,” Butler said.</p> <p>“I asked insurers to go back and sharpen their pencils and put forward a more reasonable offer for the 15 million Australians with private health insurance.”</p> <p>“Private health insurers must ensure their members are getting value for money,” Butler said.</p> <p>“When costs rise, Australians want to know that higher premiums are contributing to system-wide improvements like higher wages for nurses and other health workers and ensuring that affordable services are available.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Money & Banking

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"We've all gone": Why Jackie O stormed off set

<p>Jackie O Henderson has marched out of KIIS FM in the middle of <em>The Kyle and Jackie O show, </em>after finding out that the station has the highest gender pay gap disparity across Australian radio.</p> <p>“Southern Cross Austereo has a disgraceful 5.9% pay gap. At Nova and Smooth FM it is even worse, six per cent." <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Kyle Sandilands told listeners on Tuesday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">"But unfortunately, the number one spot is at KIIS FM, – at the top of the tree with a 12% pay gap disparity.”</span></p> <p>Sandilands, who famously fought for Henderson to secure equal pay on their radio program, then brought on one of the show’s producers Pete Deppeler and another female KIIS FM producer, who revealed she was only being paid half of what Deppeler was. </p> <p>“Are you freaking joking? Why is Peter getting that much money? I’m so angry about that, it makes my blood boil,” Henderson replied. </p> <p>She then left the studios with all her female colleagues. </p> <p>“We’ve all gone,” she said.</p> <p>"We are just here with the fellas. I don’t know whether I am enjoying this, bring the girls back!” Sandilands told listeners. </p> <p>On Tuesday, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency published the gender pay gap for more than 5,000 Australian companies.</p> <p>This was done after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese ordered the information to be made public for the first time ever, so the data can be compared within and across industries.</p> <p>The new data revealed that the national gap for total remuneration sits at 19 per cent and the median Australian female worker is taking home $18,461 less than their male counterpart.</p> <p>Despite a few criticisms on Albanese's decision to publicise this data, Workplace Minister Tony Burke has said that releasing this data is effective. </p> <p>“People on this side know that releasing that sort of data is effective and you will only find in the other side of politics anyone arguing that it is useless,‘’ he said.</p> <p>“The days of secretly paying women less than men are now over.”</p> <p><em>Images: Kyle and Jacki O Show</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Zimmerman founder sets new price record for Bondi home

<p>Simone Zimmerman has set a new home price record for Bondi, and she didn't even need to take out a mortgage. </p> <p>The fashion guru and founder of Zimmermann has splurged $30 million for her four-bedroom, three-bathroom home just moments away from the iconic Bondi Beach. </p> <p>“This ocean front executive residence is tucked away in a quiet street only moments to the iconic Bondi Beach and all it has to offer,”  the listing for the beachside home read. </p> <p>According to property records, the home - which is located just behind the popular Bondi to Bronte walk - last sold for $5.75m in June 2008.</p> <p>The fashion mogul is reported to have bypassed local real estate agents, purchasing the home directly from a local investor. </p> <p>No major changes have been made to the home since, but prior to Zimmerman's purchase it was being rented out at $4,400 per week. </p> <p>According to PropTrack the median house price for Bondi is around $3.75m, which went up by 4.7 per cent over the past year. </p> <p>The stunning home features 4 double bedrooms, all with large built-in wardrobes and a separate study perfect for the business-woman. </p> <p>It also has a gourmet kitchen with a stainless-steel benchtop and large open dining room. </p> <p>The lounge room opens onto a large deck with beautiful ocean views and plenty of natural lighting. </p> <p>This comes after the luxury womenswear label sold a majority stake in its company to private equity investors in August last year. </p> <p>Sisters Simone and Nicky Zimmerman are founders of the brand, which initially began as a stall in Sydney’s Paddington market, before the sisters opened their first local shop in Darlinghurst. </p> <p>It now operates across 58 global destinations in the USA, UK, Europe and China, with the sisters now having an estimated net worth of around $1bn each. </p> <p><em>Images: Realestate.com.au</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Crown Princess Mary set to make history

<p>Crown Princess Mary is set to make history, after a surprise announcement from Queen Margrethe has shaken up the Danish royal family. </p> <p>On New Year's Eve, Queen Margrethe, who is currently Europe's longest-serving monarch, announced that she would be stepping down as the Danish monarch from January 14th, making her eldest son, Crown Prince Frederik, the country's new King. </p> <p>The Crown Prince will be known as King Frederik X, and his wife, Australian-born Crown Princess Mary, will be his Queen Consort, and will be known as Queen Mary. </p> <p>While there have been monarchs known as Queen Mary in the past, the Tasmanian native will be the first ever Australian to hold the title. </p> <p>Unlike the British royal family, King Frederik and Queen Mary will not be crowned in a coronation service. </p> <p>Instead, a proclamation of the new reign will be made at Christiansborg Palace on January 14th, as the prime minister has proclaimed each new monarch on the balcony of the Danish palace since the early 1900s.</p> <p>The announcement from Queen Margrethe was made during her annual New Year's Eve speech, where she reflected on having surgery on her back in February 2023. </p> <p>“The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future – whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation,” she said in the televised speech.</p> <p>“I have decided that now is the right time. On 14 January 2024 – 52 years after I succeeded my beloved father – I will step down as queen of Denmark,” she said.</p> <p>“I leave the throne to my son, Crown Prince Frederik,” she added.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Carer allowance and disability pension set to increase

<p>Over 936,000 Aussies are set to see a cash boost in the new year, as indexation to government payments takes effect from January. </p> <p>Australians receiving youth, student or carer support will receive a 6 per cent boost to their payments, as additional support to help them navigate the rising cost of living. </p> <p>“Australia’s social security system is a safety net that is continually strengthened and improved to support all vulnerable Australians,” Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said.</p> <p>“Through regular indexation, our payments are adjusted in line with changes in the cost of living to retain their purchasing power.”</p> <p>For over 600,000 carers, the Carer Allowance is set to increase to  $153.50 a fortnight, while the Disability Support Pension for Australians under 21 will increase by $31.10 to $44.90 a fortnight. </p> <p>Youth Allowance payments are also set to increase between $22.40 and $45.60 a fortnight, while Austudy payments will increase by between $36.20 and $45.60. </p> <p>The new year increases are being set into motion after a $40 a fortnight increase to youth and student payment rates, which was effective from September 20. </p> <p>A complete list of the new payment increases can be found on the <a href="https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/benefits-payments/previous-indexation-rates" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Department of Social Services website</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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New outdoor cinema with Queen-size beds opening

<p>Do you ever find yourself torn between wanting to catch a flick and the irresistible allure of your comfy bed? Well, brace yourself, because Sydney's movie scene is about to get a serious dose of comfort with the grand opening of Mov'in Bed in Barangaroo.</p> <p>Yes, you read that right – a cinema where you can literally Netflix and chill on a queen-size bed!</p> <p>Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Barangaroo skyline, Mov'in Bed promises a cinema experience that'll make you question why you ever settled for uncomfortable theatre seats in the first place.</p> <p>Picture this: a giant 15-metre 4K screen, plush queen-size cloud-like beds, and a total transformation of Barangaroo's Harbour Park into a sandy tropical paradise. It's like combining a day at the beach with a movie night – talk about the best of both worlds.</p> <p>The grand opening on January 12 marks the return of Mov'in Bed after an extended intermission courtesy of the pandemic. If you've been waiting for the perfect excuse to combine your passion for cinema with your love of lounging, this is it. The lineup promises a mix of new-release blockbusters and timeless classics, with films like <em>Trolls</em> and <em>Barbie</em> making their debut on the giant Mov'in Bed screen.</p> <p>For those who like to take their movie nights up a notch, Mov'in Bed offers VIP packages that include unlimited popcorn, bubbly on arrival and even a personal butler. Because why settle for a regular cinema experience when you can have someone cater to your every cinematic whim?</p> <p>But what about the practicalities, you ask? Fear not, for Mov'in Bed has thought of everything. Each bed comes with comfy blankets, LED-lit bedside tables for those all-important snacks – and, of course, comfy pillows for all your cinematic napping needs. And to ensure you don't miss a single dialogue or explosion, noise-cancelling headphones are provided – because the only explosions you want to hear are on the screen, not your neighbour's popcorn bag.</p> <p>And let's not forget the halftime experience; a nostalgic nod to classic drive-in nights where you can replenish your snacks or hit the bathroom during those longer films. Scorcese's epic <em>Killers of the Flower Moon</em> with its 3-hour-and-26-minute runtime? No worries, you've got time for a quick snack break without missing any plot twists.</p> <p>Mov'in Bed isn't just a cinema; it's a full-blown cinematic event. Partnering with local restaurants, you can savour delicious dinners while catching the latest blockbuster. It's the perfect excuse for a summer evening date night or a laid-back hangout with friends.</p> <p>So, mark your calendars, Sydney-siders! Mov'in Bed Barangaroo is here to redefine your summer nights from January 12 to April 14, 2024. Whether you're a film buff, a beach lover, or just someone who appreciates the genius of combining the two, <a href="https://movinbed.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Mov'in Bed</a> is the place to be.</p> <p>Because why settle for a regular movie night when you can have a cinema experience that's fun, chill, laid-back and upbeat – all while lying in the lap of luxury? Get ready to sink into cinematic bliss under the glistening Sydney moon!</p> <p><em>Images: Mov'in Bed.</em></p>

Movies

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“Bed of the future” baffles travellers

<p>People usually don't get confused about how to use a bed, but Virgin Hotel's latest addition has gone viral for just that.</p> <p>The Richard Branson bed, has been named the "hotel bed of the future" and it looks like any other bed, aside from the seat-like nooks attached to the corners. </p> <p>"We're very confused by this thing on the edge of my bed," TikTok user Danielle said in the viral video, which has racked up over 3 million views. </p> <p>"It's not a chair, and it doesn't swivel out," she explained.</p> <p>Danielle then proceeds to come up with a few theories about the feature's function. </p> <p>"It's so you don't bump your knee when you're getting up or going back to bed after going to the bathroom," she said. </p> <p>"Or, we're wondering if it's so you can sit and chat with your friends."</p> <p>Other users were quick to comment and here are a few of their hilarious responses: </p> <p>"That's where you stack your laundry when you don't feel like putting it away," one person wrote. </p> <p>"I thought this was so your dog could have a comfy spot to lay," another commented. </p> <p>"Without getting too graphic … the possibilities are endless," added a third. </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 580px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7296702849298337066&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40danielle_carolan%2Fvideo%2F7296702849298337066%3Fis_from_webapp%3D1%26sender_device%3Dpc%26web_id%3D7142332295764346370&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp19-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Ftos-useast5-p-0068-tx%2F53b6a23d5bbd4af1a1907e2073c2b818_1698896032%7Etplv-dmt-logom%3Atos-useast5-i-0068-tx%2Fo4IRiSlAxEom0dpDDDEQQQFBJAAC3gffEGEA6J.image%3Fx-expires%3D1699570800%26x-signature%3DIMlG9WO44PlRm5CNyVIyayR4AxM%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>One commenter came to the rescue with the answers everyone was looking for, and confirmed that Danielle's second guess was right, and told her to look up the "Richard Branson lounge bed".</p> <p>The bed itself was patented by Virgin Hotels and features two "cubby holes" which allow three people to sit comfortably on the bed and socialise or do their own thing. </p> <p>"Everybody has a cubby hole where they can sit and talk and still work with devices,"  Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal explained when the bed was first introduced in 2015. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

International Travel

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Dave Hughes sets the record straight over famous Block house purchase

<p>Dave Hughes has hit back at long-standing rumours that he grossly overpaid for his house in Melbourne at <em>The Block</em> auctions. </p> <p>The radio host addressed the speculation on <em>2DAY FM’s Hughesy, Ed & Erin</em> breakfast show, as his co-host Erin Molan queried him about how the investment property was performing. </p> <p>In 2017, Hughesy bought the five-bedroom home in Elsternwick, built by contestants Josh and Elyse on Nine’s long-running reno show, for $3.067 million: a whopping $447,000 over the reserve. </p> <p>Given the steep increase of the price, the purchase of the house led to a lot of talk that Dave Hughes had overspent. </p> <p>Molan told her co-host on-air that a recent value estimate of the property that she’d found online put the home at $3.4 million.</p> <p>Six years on from his purchase and with inflation, stamp duty and other factors weighted, Hughes noted that that $300,000-odd increase in value would actually put him at a loss.</p> <p>However, Hughes said he had recently had the house valued himself, and the news was much better: He was told it is currently worth around $5 million.</p> <p>After the purchase of the house, even Hughes himself conceded that he may have spent much more than what the house was worth. </p> <p>In an interview with <em>Stellar</em> magazine in February 2018, he said that the bank had valued the property at “much less” than he paid.</p> <p>“I went to get a bank loan the other day and they haven’t valued it the same as I paid for it, which is fine, but annoying because there were five bidders,” he said.</p> <p>He said it was “enough less that it made me annoyed”.</p> <p>“For f**k’s sake … I just think it’s good value and in a few years’ time people are going to be going, ‘Well, f**k, didn’t he do well with it!’ I am playing the long game, all right? That is what I say to my wife, anyway.”</p> <p>In September of 2018, he told his then-co-host Kate Langbroek that he’d “copped so much flak” over the purchase.</p> <p>He said, “It was ridiculous and it’s gone on and on and on. A lot of experts weighed into my purchase … There are articles that have been written all year having a go at me. One article from one mob called Property One or something, they had a dinner party discussion about how I paid too much.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

Money & Banking

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