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How holidaying in developing countries affects local inequality

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alexander-tziamalis-333272">Alexander Tziamalis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/sheffield-hallam-university-846">Sheffield Hallam University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yuan-wang-1360783">Yuan Wang</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/sheffield-hallam-university-846">Sheffield Hallam University</a></em></p> <p>A few years ago, one of us (Alex) went for a vacation to the Dominican Republic. The motivation was similar to millions of other tourists every year: escape the daily routine, enjoy the sun and beaches, and gather some strength to face another cold winter.</p> <p>Unfortunately, a few things weren’t very conducive to a happy break. The staff at the mammoth hotel were making as little as US$1 (£0.79) for a 12-hour shift. Worse, most of them lived in a shanty town nearby. They had no sewers and no reliable electricity.</p> <p>The hotel also exploited its power over local farmers to procure food exceedingly cheaply. Schools were overcrowded and many children dropped out to work in businesses like these hotels and farms, perpetuating the cycle.</p> <p>This anecdotal picture is corroborated by the country’s economic data. Despite <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.KD.ZG?locations=DO">GDP growth</a> frequently above 5% each year, the Dominican Republic suffers from <a href="https://dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2023/02/17/dominican-republic-shows-a-high-level-of-economic-inequality-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean/">substantial inequality</a>. The wealthiest 1% capture 30% of all income, compared to 18% in the US.</p> <p>But how bad is tourism for inequality in developing countries overall? <a href="https://shura.shu.ac.uk/31942/">Our recent research</a> has sought to answer this, looking at 71 countries around the world. The picture is complicated, but the overall results are not as bleak as you might fear.</p> <h2>Upsides and downsides</h2> <p>Clearly there are pros and cons to tourism. It makes holidaymakers happy while bringing people closer and promoting awareness of other cultures. It empowers communities and provides disadvantaged groups with opportunities, from the local artisan who can sell directly to customers, to women <a href="https://blogs.worldbank.org/psd/empowering-women-through-tourism-0">who would otherwise</a> be struggling to find work.</p> <p>Tourism sustains a lot of jobs and economic value overall, making it attractive to governments as a way of boosting growth. In 2019 there were a whopping <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/209334/total-number-of-international-tourist-arrivals/#:%7E:text=Despite%20the%20significant%20annual%20increase,lowest%20figure%20recorded%20since%201989">1.5 billion</a> international tourist arrivals around the world. They were serviced by <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/1268465/number-of-travel-and-tourism-jobs-worldwide/#:%7E:text=Despite%20the%20increase%2C%20the%20number,to%20320%20million%20in%202023.">nearly 300 million</a> travel and tourism workers, and the sector generated <a href="https://wttc.org/research/economic-impact#:%7E:text=In%202022%2C%20the%20Travel%20%26%20Tourism,%2C%20only%2014.1%25%20below%202019.">over 7%</a> of global GDP.</p> <p>On the other hand, tourism can <a href="https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/consumption/transport-and-tourism/negative-environmental-impacts-of-tourism">degrade the environment</a>. Witness the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes needing to <a href="https://www.machupicchutrek.net/how-many-tourists-visit-machu-picchu-annually/">restrict</a> the number of visitors, for instance, because the site was <a href="https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/d2f4fc1c7b314cc8a6c8af466cec0d24">getting damaged</a>.</p> <p>Equally, <a href="https://www.itmustbenow.com/feature/our-big-questions/exploitation-travel-tourism/">tourism is associated</a> with other <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/galleries/2015-06-19/barcelona-bhutan-places-that-limit-tourist-numbers">knock-on effects</a> such as water scarcity, pollution, crime, sex exploitation and destroying tradition.</p> <p>But what about inequality? The tourism industry <a href="https://www.itmustbenow.com/feature/our-big-questions/exploitation-travel-tourism/">is frequently associated</a> with ridiculously low wages, long hours without a break, and unhealthy conditions for live-in staff. Dedicated trade unions often don’t exist, or they’re underpowered and cannot effectively protect workers.</p> <p>Tourism can also distort the economy. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/10/i-wanted-my-children-to-grow-up-here-how-airbnb-is-ruining-local-communities-in-north-wales">In the UK</a> for example, communities in many popular tourist destinations cannot afford to buy a home anymore.</p> <p>Yet when you look at how tourism affects equality overall, the existing academic literature shows conflicting results. A number of studies <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160738316301281#:%7E:text=Findings%20confirm%20that%20tourism%20increases%20income%20inequality%20in%20developing%20economies.&amp;text=The%20squared%20tourism%20revenue%20has%20a%20significant%20negative%20impact%20on%20income%20inequality.&amp;text=Findings%20confirm%20the%20presence%20of%20Kuznets%20curve%20hypothesis.">find that</a> it worsens income inequality, while others <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0047287520954538">find the opposite</a>.</p> <p>If you were wondering about the Dominican Republic, there’s <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0047287518789272#:%7E:text=The%20results%20showed%20that%20income,in%20the%20distribution%20of%20wealth.">a study</a> showing that tourism actually has a negligible impact on inequality.</p> <h2>Our findings</h2> <p>Ours is the first study to <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/13548166231177106">look at the effect</a> of a few potential determining factors to try and gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between tourism and equality. These factors include the country’s level of economic and financial development, inflation rate and government policies seeking to redistribute wealth.</p> <p>Our dataset spans from 1996–2016. We would have ideally looked at even more than 71 countries, but others had to be excluded because good-quality data was unavailable.</p> <p>We found that tourism eased income inequality in lower income countries when it went hand in hand with redistributive policies. <a href="https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:6nbn68M3_toJ:https://dailynews.co.tz/how-tz-could-attract-more-tourists/&amp;cd=8&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;gl=uk">Tanzania, for example,</a> gets 17% of its GDP from tourism. This has enabled the country to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8121963/">significantly increase</a> its spending on health, education and infrastructure.</p> <p>In wealthier countries, the opposite was counterintuitively the case: increasing tourism exacerbated inequality when combined with redistributive policies.</p> <p>It may be that in places where education and infrastructure are already at high levels, improving them has less effect on inequality. Or it may be that improving the welfare system reduces workers’ incentive to upskill and seek better paid jobs in other sectors. These possibilities need further investigation.</p> <p>Our analysis also highlighted the importance of financial opportunities such as broad access to bank credit. All countries with more inclusive financial systems comparatively reduced inequality when they brought in more tourists.</p> <p>It might be that financial access enables a broader cross-section of entrepreneurs to set up or expand tourist businesses, with knock-on benefits to their communities. This is bad news for developing countries like India, Brazil South Africa and Barbados, where <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/09/14/long-term-finance-shortage-post-2008-crisis-blunts-progress-in-developing-countries">it’s difficult</a> to obtain long-term loan, which usually come with onerous terms.</p> <p>Having said that, the benefits from financial access were more marked in developed countries. In such countries, it may be that this galvanises proportionately more entrepreneurs because they are not being held back to the same extent by other problems like corruption and poor education.</p> <p>When we looked at the effect of inflation, it worsened inequality in richer countries <a href="https://www.niesr.ac.uk/blog/unequal-impact-rising-inflation">like the UK</a> as tourism increases. We suspect that when inflation takes off in wealthier countries, it’s more difficult for tourism workers to renegotiate their wages quickly because employment contracts are more formal.</p> <p>Equally, poorer countries are often more used to higher inflation, so workers may be more adept at such negotiations.</p> <p>So overall, it’s not possible to say that increasing tourism widens or reduces inequality – it very much depends on other factors. But clearly tourism can be good news for inequality in poorer countries when it’s combined with redistributive policies and financial inclusion.</p> <p>This certainly won’t solve problems like worker exploitation across the board, but it does mean that holidaying in developing countries will often be helping them to become more equal over time.<!-- 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/208690/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/alexander-tziamalis-333272"><em>Alexander Tziamalis</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/sheffield-hallam-university-846">Sheffield Hallam University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yuan-wang-1360783">Yuan Wang</a>, Seinor Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/sheffield-hallam-university-846">Sheffield Hallam 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-holidaying-in-developing-countries-affects-local-inequality-208690">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Catriona Rowntree shares her Europe travel hacks she picked up from locals

<p dir="ltr">After decades of hosting <em>Getaway</em>, Catriona Rowntree has learned a thing or two about travelling. </p> <p dir="ltr">Along the way, the 52-year-old has picked up some must-know secrets from locals that every traveller should know before heading to Europe.</p> <p dir="ltr">While in Mallorca in Spain, Rowntree quizzed locals on how to make the most out of her experience, and what faux pas to avoid. </p> <p dir="ltr">She was given advice on the best way to start a day at the markets, told why you should never rent an Airbnb or buy seafood on a Monday, why takeaway coffee is a bad idea and the secret to a longer, healthy life. </p> <p dir="ltr">The TV host shared a little known secret when it comes to buying fresh fish, and said travellers should not buy fish on Monday, because fishermen don’t fish on Sundays, meaning fish purchases on Mondays won’t be fresh. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The life expectancy of a Spaniard is 84, they're a healthy lot, loving a Mediterranean diet, a dollop of sun and a good climate,” she added. </p> <p dir="ltr">The presenter also discovered that all the locals she has spoken to don't like Airbnb accommodation and prefer for tourists to stay in hotels. </p> <p dir="ltr">“All the locals I've spoken to say that's what's pushing them out of their apartments as the town centres are slowly gentrified,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The average wage is low, most locals rent, sadly landlords prefer the higher fee of an Airbnb. Not cool!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Catriona's final tip is not to get your coffee takeaway, but rather sit down in a cafe, enjoy your coffee and take it slow. </p> <p dir="ltr">“People sit down to enjoy their coffee, they don't get a takeaway: 'If you can't sit for five minutes and talk to a person what's wrong with you!',” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Catriona said she was told by a local that the best way to start your day is to explore the markets by getting a hot chocolate and some churros. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Not every day as you'll be round, but market day for sure," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

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Australians are having fewer babies and our local-born population is about to shrink: here’s why it’s not that scary

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amanda-davies-201009">Amanda Davies</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p>Australians are having fewer babies, so many fewer that without international migration our population would be on track to decline in just over a decade.</p> <p>In most circumstances, the number of babies per woman that a population needs to sustain itself – the so-called <a href="https://www.who.int/data/gho/indicator-metadata-registry/imr-details/123">total fertility rate</a> – is 2.1.</p> <p>Australia’s total fertility rate dipped below 2.1 in the late 1970s, moved back up towards it in the late 2000s (assisted in part by an improving economy, better access to childcare and the introduction of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-the-baby-bonus-boost-looks-like-across-ten-years-81563">Commonwealth Baby Bonus</a>), and then plunged again, hitting a low of <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/population-projections-australia/2022-base-2071#assumptions">1.59</a> during the first year of COVID.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="CHdqj" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/CHdqj/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The latest population projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics assume the rate remains near its present 1.6% for <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/population-projections-australia/2022-base-2071#assumptions">the next 50 years</a>.</p> <p>An alternative, lower, set of assumptions has the rate falling to 1.45 over the next five years and staying there. A higher set of assumptions has it rebounding to 1.75 and staying there.</p> <p>A comprehensive study of global fertility trends published in March in the medical journal <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext#%20">The Lancet</a> has Australia’s central case at 1.45, followed by a fall to 1.33 by the end of the century.</p> <p>Significantly, none of these assumptions envisages a return to replacement rate.</p> <p>The bureau’s central projection has Australia’s population turning down from 2037 in the absence of a boost from migration.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="oi55c" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oi55c/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>It’s easy to make guesses about reasons. Reliable contraception has been widely available for 50 years. Rents, mortgages and the other costs facing Australians of child-bearing age appear to be climbing. It’s still <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-17/career-or-baby-michelle-battersby-pregnancy-gender-/103186296">difficult to have a career</a> if you have a child, and data show women still carry the substantive burden of <a href="https://theconversation.com/mind-the-gap-gender-differences-in-time-use-narrowing-but-slowly-191678">unpaid work around the home</a>.</p> <p>The US fertility rate has fallen <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/children-per-woman-un?tab=chart&amp;time=1950..latest&amp;country=OWID_WRL%7EUSA%7EAUS">much in line with Australia’s</a>.</p> <p>Reporting on <a href="https://theconversation.com/us-birth-rates-are-at-record-lows-even-though-the-number-of-kids-most-americans-say-they-want-has-held-steady-197270">research</a> into the reasons, Forbes Magazine succinctly said a broken economy had “<a href="https://fortune.com/2023/01/12/millennials-broken-economy-delay-children-birthrate/">screwed over</a>” Americans considering having children.</p> <p>More diplomatically, it said Americans saw parenthood as “<a href="https://fortune.com/2023/01/12/millennials-broken-economy-delay-children-birthrate/">harder to manage</a>” than they might have in the past.</p> <h2>Half the world is unable to replace itself</h2> <p>But this trend is widespread. The <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext#%20">Lancet study</a> finds more than half of the world’s countries have a fertility rate below replacement level.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/chinas-population-shrinks-again-and-could-more-than-halve-heres-what-that-means-220667">China</a>, which is important for the global fertility rate because it makes up such a large share of the world’s population, had a fertility rate as high as 7.5 in the early 1960s. It fell to 2.5 before the start of China’s <a href="https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3135510/chinas-one-child-policy-what-was-it-and-what-impact-did-it">one-child</a> policy in the early 1990s, and then slid further from 1.8 to 1 after the policy was abandoned in 2016.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="idC4X" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/idC4X/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>South Korea’s fertility rate has dived further, to the world’s lowest: <a href="https://time.com/6488894/south-korea-low-fertility-rate-trend-decline/">0.72</a>.</p> <p>The fertility rate in India, which is now <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-no-153-india-overtakes-china-as-the-worlds-most-populous-country/">more populous than China</a>, has also fallen <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?page=&amp;locations=IN">below replacement level</a>.</p> <p>Most of the 94 nations that continue to have above-replacement fertility rates are in North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Some, including Samoa and Papua New Guinea, are in the Pacific.</p> <p>Most of Asia, Europe and Oceania is already below replacement rate.</p> <h2>A changing world order</h2> <p>The largest high-fertility African nation, <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/the-world-population-in-2100-by-country/">Nigeria</a>, is expected to overtake China to become the world’s second-most-populous nation by the end of the century.</p> <p>But even Nigeria’s fertility rate will sink. The Lancet projections have it sliding from 4.7 to <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext#%20">1.87</a> by the end of the century.</p> <p>The differences mean the world’s population growth will increasingly take place in countries that are among the most vulnerable to environmental and economic hardship.</p> <p>Already economically disadvantaged, these nations will need to provide jobs, housing, healthcare and services for rapidly growing populations at a time when the rest of the world does not.</p> <p>On the other hand, those nations will be blessed with young people. They will be an increasingly valuable resource as other nations face the challenges of an ageing population and declining workforce.</p> <h2>An older world, then a smaller world</h2> <p>Global fertility <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext">halved</a> between 1950 and 2021, shrinking from 4.84 to 2.23.</p> <p>The latest projections have it sinking below the replacement rate to somewhere between 1.59 and 2.08 by 2050, and then to between <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext">1.25 and 1.96</a> by 2100.</p> <p>The world has already seen peak births and peak primary-school-aged children.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext">2016</a>, the world welcomed about 142 million live babies, and since then the number born each year has fallen. By 2021, it was about 129 million.</p> <p>The global school-age population aged 6 to 11 years peaked at around 820 million in <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-no-152-population-education-and-sustainable-development-interlinkages-and-select-policy-implications/">2023</a>.</p> <p>The United Nations expects the world’s population to peak at 10.6 billion in <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/the-planet-s-population-will-get-to-10-4-billion-then-drop-here-s-when-we-reach-peak-human-20231213-p5er8g.html">2086</a>, after which it will begin to fall.</p> <p>Another forecast, produced as part of the impressive <a href="https://www.healthdata.org/research-analysis/gbd">Global Burden of Disease</a> study, has the peak occurring two decades earlier in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30677-2/fulltext">2064</a>, with the world’s population peaking at 9.73 billion.</p> <h2>Fewer babies are a sign of success</h2> <p>In many ways, a smaller world is to be welcomed.</p> <p>The concern common <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-long-fuse-the-population-bomb-is-still-ticking-50-years-after-its-publication-96090">in the 1960s and 1970s</a> that the world’s population was growing faster and faster and the world would soon be unable to feed itself has turned out to be misplaced.</p> <p>Aside from occasional blips (China’s birth rate in the <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/1973601">Year of the Dragon</a>) the fertility trend in just about every nation on Earth is downwards.</p> <p>The world’s population hasn’t been growing rapidly for long. Before 1700 it grew by only about <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/population-growth-over-time">0.4% per year</a>. By 2100 it will have stabilised and started to fall, limiting the period of unusually rapid growth to four centuries.</p> <p>In an important way, lower birth rates can be seen as a sign of success. The richer a society becomes and the more it is able to look after its seniors, the less important it becomes for each couple to have children to care for them in old age. This is a long-established theory with a name: the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4116081/">demographic transition</a>.</p> <p>For Australia, even with forecast immigration, lower fertility will mean changes.</p> <p>The government’s 2023 <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/2023-intergenerational-report">Intergenerational Report</a> says that whereas there are now 3.7 Australians of traditional working age for each Australian aged 65 and over, by 2063 there will only be 2.6.</p> <p>It will mean those 2.6 people will have to work smarter, perhaps with greater assistance from artificial intelligence.</p> <p>Unless they decide to have more babies, which history suggests they won’t.<!-- 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/228273/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/amanda-davies-201009"><em>Amanda Davies</em></a><em>, Professor and Head of School of Social Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>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-are-having-fewer-babies-and-our-local-born-population-is-about-to-shrink-heres-why-its-not-that-scary-228273">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Viral pic of illegal camper sparks local outrage

<p>A viral photo capturing an L-plated Mazda hatchback sprawled across two parking spaces with a rooftop tent erected atop has ignited a storm of controversy in Noosa, Queensland.</p> <p>The image, taken at the Woods Bay carpark by Facebook user and Noosa local Martin Doyle, has thrust the issue of illegal camping and parking violations into the spotlight, prompting calls for stricter enforcement from exasperated locals.</p> <p>The uproar stems from a perceived flouting of parking restrictions and an apparent disregard for Noosa's efforts to curb illegal camping. In response to mounting complaints from the community, Noosa Shire Council implemented a trial "no-parking" zone from 10pm to 4am in August 2023. Despite these measures, reports of overnight campers persist, raising concerns about the strain on local infrastructure and the environment.</p> <p>After Martin shared his contentious photo online, lamenting the lack of enforcement, he urged the council to take firmer action. “Come on council get some teeth and get serious about this camping illegally business,” he wrote. “This was not the only one overnight camping in the area and clearly not homeless.”</p> <p>His sentiments echo those of many residents who are frustrated by the sight of carparks resembling makeshift campgrounds, complete with tents and – worst of all – human waste.</p> <p>While some sympathise with the financial burden of traditional camping accommodations, others argue that respecting parking regulations is non-negotiable, particularly in densely populated tourist hubs like Noosa.</p> <p>The issue also extends beyond Noosa's shores. Similar conflicts between locals and visitors occur in tourist destinations nationwide, from Newcastle's Horseshoe Beach to coastal towns in Far North Queensland. The allure of scenic vistas and budget-friendly travel often collides with the need to maintain order and protect fragile ecosystems.</p> <p><em>Image: Martin Doyle | Facebook | Noosa Council</em> </p>

Travel Trouble

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"It's just not fair": Driver slams council for misleading parking fine

<p>A furious motorist has taken aim at a Sydney council's parking solution that resulted in an "outrageous" and "unjustified" fine. </p> <p>Ben drives to the Campbelltown train station in South West Sydney every day for his workday commute, and has recently been forced to find alternative parking plans due to a major disruption. </p> <p>A multi-deck carpark is being built near the station to accommodate the influx of traffic, but while the site is under construction, a makeshift parking lot has been set up. </p> <p>While the new car park will add 500 parking bays when completed, residents have claimed the council has drastically reduced the number of spaces in the meantime.</p> <p>Ben told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/sydney-parking-rules-drivers-outrage-over-tiny-detail-in-parking-fine/4cfe4d45-c311-4587-b68a-fc1d017675fc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9news.com.au</a></em> parking had become "a nightmare" since the temporary lot opened, leaving many motorists with no option but to park along the fence line. </p> <p>It's this act that saw Ben receive a $129 parking fine in the mail. </p> <p>He was outraged when he was issued a fine on February 9th for "not stand vehicle in a marked parking space" when he had no other parking option. </p> <p>"They've advertised that the temporary car park is the same amount of spaces lost during the construction, which is severely incorrect," he said.</p> <p>"I can only assume they are fining loads of drivers as that space along the fence line is always full of cars parked the same as mine was."</p> <p>Along with the fine itself, ticket inspectors supplied Ben a photo of a wordy and confusing sign located near the entrance to the lot, which only added to his frustration with the local council.</p> <p>He said while there were no marked bays along the fence line, signage was not clear enough to indicate to drivers they weren't allowed to park there.</p> <p>"I mean it's just not fair. It's a temporary gravel parking lot," he said.</p> <p>"They've created this mess and now they are targeting innocent commuters fighting to just leave their car somewhere to catch public transport into work."</p> <p>A spokesperson for Campbelltown City Council told <em>Nine News</em> they understood the construction of the new car park would "create some disruption".</p> <p>"A temporary 113-space parking lot has been opened adjacent to the existing parking lot in order to offset some of the parking loss," they said.</p> <p>The council was "actively monitoring and reviewing the current parking and signage arrangements as well as community feedback, to identify any further improvements that could be made and inform any additional community notification required".</p> <p>"While this review takes place, vehicles will only be fined where a safety risk to both other vehicles and/or pedestrians is identified," the spokesperson said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

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"That was so good!" Pink shocks local theatre group with standing ovation

<p>The magic of theatre collided with the star power of Pink in an unforgettable moment that left the Sydney community buzzing with excitement this week.</p> <p>The community theatre group PACA Sydney received the surprise of a lifetime as the iconic American singer, Pink, graced their final performance of "In The Heights" at Chatswood Concourse.</p> <p>Accompanied by her husband Carey Hart and their kids Willow and Jameson, Pink's presence sent shockwaves of delight through the theatre. What's even more heartwarming is that the global superstar reportedly purchased her own tickets, embodying humility and genuine support for the arts.</p> <p>As the curtains closed, the real show began backstage, where Pink mingled with the performers, leaving them star-struck and overjoyed. A video capturing their ecstatic reactions flooded social media, showcasing the sheer disbelief and elation of the theatre group as Pink showered them with praise and admiration.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3POaWjJ5jg/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3POaWjJ5jg/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Pan Academies of Creative Arts (@panacademies)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Expressing her admiration for the performance, Pink shared her own struggles to stay seated, confessing, "I want to dance too!" </p> <p>In a touching moment, Pink's genuine appreciation for the show was evident as she applauded the cast with a standing ovation. The impact of her visit resonated deeply with the performers, who were left speechless by her kind words and support.</p> <p>Choreographer and event coordinator Janina Hamerlok captured the essence of Pink's visit, <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13077395/Pink-shocks-Sydney-theatre-group-surprise-visit-Australian-tour.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">describing her as</a> "completely lovely and extremely down to earth". Pink's recognition of the production's homage to the Latino community, on which "In The Heights" is based, really showed her genuine appreciation for the arts.</p> <p>Despite her superstar status, Pink opted for tickets in the upper level dress circle. However, her presence inevitably led to a well-deserved upgrade to house seats.</p> <p>Pink's surprise visit clearly uplifted the spirits of the theatre group. As she continues her Summer Carnival tour across Australia, her impromptu visit shows her unwavering support for the arts and her genuine connection with fans – especially in Australia!</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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"Pathetic": Council slammed after move against FREE health program

<p>A woman who runs a free mental health yoga program has been ordered to pay the council $10,000 because her classes at St Kilda beach in Melbourne have become too popular. </p> <p>The City of Port Phillip Council was slammed for their actions after they told Eliza Hilmer she must pay them hundreds of dollars  per session for her <em>Feel Good Flows </em>classes.</p> <p>Hilmer, who does not make a profit from the classes, said she started the program during the pandemic to help people manage their mental health. </p> <p>“I play by the rules as much as I can,”  Hilmer told <em>Yahoo News</em>, adding that she acquired personal trainer permit as requested by the council. </p> <p>“We’ve been operating as an outdoor gathering for mental health practices more than anything, and it’s been really incredible." </p> <p>The classes, which initially attracted a few people, has gained a bit of traction with around 50 to 80 regular attendees. </p> <p>Hilmer encourages her attendees to leave a donation and provides free hot drinks and a live musician at the biweekly sessions. </p> <p>Because of its popularity, the council have classified <em>Feel Good Flows </em>as a commercial event, as the classes exceed the number of people covered by Hilmer's personal training license, and she was ordered to pay $400 a session. </p> <p>Hilmer was also given the option to cap the sessions at 15 people a time, but she said that "this isn't an option" as “many vulnerable people” rely on the service.</p> <p>With Hilmer having to pay three months upfront to keep classes running, the total adds up to $10,000, and locals are furious. </p> <p>"Another pathetic decision by useless bureaucrats,” one wrote on social media. </p> <p>“This council is being very mean spirited. Leave her alone!!”</p> <p>“Keep on going love don’t bow to the council,” a third added. </p> <p>Despite the outrage and being asked to pay to host her free yoga sessions, Hilmer remains positive. </p> <p>“I don’t want to fight,” she said.</p> <p>“The council can be the solution”.</p> <p>Port Phillip Mayor Heather Cunsolo replied saying that while she was "delighted" to see so many taking part in yoga sessions, "the business needs to adhere to its Personal Training Licence" to "ensure our popular public spaces remain available, safe and enjoyable for everyone." </p> <p>“We encourage Feel Good Flows to look at hosting additional yoga sessions on the foreshore to support its growing popularity," the <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Port Phillip </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">mayor said. </span></p> <p>“Other businesses operating along the foreshore pay a licence fee for the use of public open space and adhere to the 15 person limit per session.</p> <p>"These capacity limits help provide fair access for many businesses operating with a Personal Training Licence, while minimising any potential disruption for visitors to our foreshore." </p> <p>She added that she has been in contact with  Feel Good Flows, and are happy to discuss details further. </p> <p>"If the petition is sent to Council the matter will be heard in the Council Chamber.”</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Council accused of "endorsing criminals" after statue vandalised

<p>The Yarra City Council has been accused of pandering to those who <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/captain-cook-memorial-vandalised-ahead-of-january-26th" target="_blank" rel="noopener">vandalised</a> a statue of Captain Cook in the days before Australia Day. </p> <p>In the early hours of the morning on January 25th, a statue of the British colonist was sawn off at the ankles, while "The colony will fall" was spray-painted on the stone column. </p> <p>Now, the Victorian city council will vote on whether to remove the statue for good, with one councillor claiming that replacing it would be a "waste of money".</p> <p>However, a spokesperson for local residents said "giving in" to vandals would only encourage such destructive behaviour.</p> <p>"If you're going to let vandals and criminals win, then you might as well give up altogether," Adam Promnitz, founder of the Yarra Residents Collective, told Melbourne radio station <em>3AW</em>.</p> <p>While Mr Promnitz admitted there were changing conversations around Australia Day in the inner Melbourne are,a he said this was the wrong way to have a discussion about removing the 110-year-old statue.</p> <p>"This isn't the right way to do things," he said.</p> <p>"You don't just get your own way by being destructive and anti-social and causing criminal damage."</p> <p>"How can it be a good outcome for any body when it is basically a green light for vandals and criminals everywhere that we'll let you get away with what you want and you'll get what you want if you behave like this?"</p> <p>Councillor Stephen Jolly said the majority of the council didn't share this view, telling the <em>Herald Sun</em> that replacing the statue would come at a cost that would better spent elsewhere in the community. </p> <p>"Even people who love Captain Cook, who love Australia Day, will see that repairing a statue that costs thousands to fix isn't the most important thing to spend money on," Cr Jolly said.</p> <p>"Residents want better bin services, more childcare services, cheaper swimming pools."</p> <p>"All of these things are a better way of spending the money [than] on a statue that we know is absolutely certain is going to get ripped down again."</p> <p><em>Image credits: 9News</em></p>

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"Surely this is a prank": Council slammed for ridiculous parking restriction

<p>Melbourne City Council has been slammed online for offering free parking, but only for a measly 15 minutes. </p> <p>The new initiative, which was shared in a video to the City of Melbourne Instagram account, details how parking fees will be waived for drivers needing to run a quick errand in the CBD, as long as they return to their vehicle within 15 minutes.</p> <p>Drivers can park in a “green signed” parking space such as a ‘2P Meter’, and start a 15-minute session on the Easy-Park app to claim the offer.</p> <p>The council said they introduced the initiative for those who want to “run an errand, support a local business and take in city vibes”.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0lApxrt35h/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0lApxrt35h/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by City Of Melbourne (@cityofmelbourne)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The initiative, however, has been rinsed online, with many people pointing out that 15 minutes is not enough time to do anything, especially in the CBD.</p> <p>“Surely this is a prank?” one person questioned.</p> <p>“As if you can take in the vibes in 15min. And based where the carpark spots are, you’d barely make it to the shop or restaurant and back in 15,” said another.</p> <p>“15 mins? Such overwhelming generosity,” another commented. </p> <p>“How can you support any business in 15 minutes time? By sprinting to a shop and run back to the car only to find a ticket on the dashboard?,” wrote another person. </p> <p>Despite the negative feedback, City of Melbourne said more than 90,000 people had taken up the free parking offer since it was first introduced in the central city in July. </p> <p>"Drivers are embracing the flexibility of our new free 15-minute parking system, which is opening up the city by giving more drivers access to free parking outside more businesses and services,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said in a statement in November. </p> <p>“Early data shows our parking improvements are working exactly as intended – keeping spaces turning over outside city businesses, while making it easier to find a park.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"What an embarrassing effort”: Locals furious over "pathetic" Christmas tree

<p>Locals in the coastal NSW town of Forster are furious over a "pathetic" Christmas tree that was decorated by the council. </p> <p>In an attempt to spread Christmas cheer, the local council haphazardly threw lights over a huge Christmas tree in the middle of town, prompting outrage from the community. </p> <p>One local posted a photo of the tree to Facebook, insinuating the tree looks like it was decorated by "Mr Squiggle", while tagging the council in the post to ensure they saw the complaint. </p> <p>“This is absolutely pathetic, what an embarrassing effort,” they wrote.</p> <p>“Not that I expect anything less from our council, but this needs to stop. Keep in mind before reading — the Mr. Squiggle effort took three days to complete."</p> <p>“There is nothing that screams neglect and lack of interest more than an unthoughtful, rushed, ugly, non-Christmassy, rope light installation on arguably one of the most noticeable trees in the entire Forster-Tuncurry."</p> <p>The poster then compared a Christmas tree from another year with the recent one, and asked whether this is the best that the council could create.</p> <p>“Is that really the best the creative minds at the council can come up with? A bit of rope light dangling out of a tree?” they asked.</p> <p>Other locals flocked to the post and agreed with the sentiment, sharing their disappointment in the Christmas tree.</p> <p>“It honestly would have been better off not being done at all … it’s a hideous mess,” wrote one.</p> <p>“Our beautiful paradise deserves a lot more so ugly such a disaster effort,” a local wrote.</p> <p>“How embarrassing for the town.”</p> <p>The local council caught wind of the disappointment from locals and posted a response to the matter on its website a day later.</p> <p>It said its staff were not “professional tree decorators” and pointed out that this “comes at a cost”.</p> <p>“MidCoast Council is aware of the community comment on social media on the Christmas decorations installed on an iconic tree in Forster,” the statement read.</p> <p>“Council’s Director of Liveable Communities, Paul De Szell, said that while the lighting might not be appreciated by some in the community, even the small amount of decorating comes at a cost."</p> <p>The council then said that in years to come, locals will be able to have their say for the town's Christmas decorations, with the website stating, "Some sections of the community appear to be very passionate about the lighting and this will give them the opportunity to be involved in the decisions around it."</p> <p>“Providing Christmas lighting is not a core service of Council, or something we have expert skills in, hence the decision to allow the community the opportunity to take ownership of the lighting going forward.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Sustainable tourism needs to be built with the help of locals

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745">Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</a></em></p> <p>In the wake of the pandemic, tourism is experiencing a period of transition in which <a href="https://theconversation.com/el-futuro-del-turismo-inteligente-digital-y-sostenible-153965">two trends</a> which were already prevalent pre Covid-19 have gained momentum:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Sustainability, together with climate change, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.</p> </li> <li> <p>Digitalization, together with the new technological revolution.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If we focus on sustainability – whilst still emphasizing that technological ecosystems are essential for the development of tourism – we have to be aware that making sustainable that which has not been designed as such (a destination, a resort, a mode of transport, etc.) is not easy, fast or affordable. This is especially true since, rather than conforming to standards, labels or certifications, we must change our relationship with the environment in order to be sustainable, rather than just appearing to be so.</p> <h2>Sustainability must be economical, environmental and social</h2> <p>When a term is used so frequently, its meaning tends to become diluted. In fact, in this case, the term sustainable tourism is increasingly being replaced by regenerative tourism.</p> <p><a href="https://doughnuteconomics.org/">Not all aspects of sustainability</a> are addressed with equal emphasis. Economic sustainability is taken for granted and environmental sustainability is taken into immediate consideration, while social sustainability is put on the back burner (see, among many others, <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-the-party-over-in-the-balearics-b9qw9j7qp">the case of Ibiza and the cost of housing</a>).</p> <p>If there is to be true social sustainability, which in turn drives economic and environmental sustainability, the governance of tourism has to evolve.</p> <p>Before the pandemic, and in the post-pandemic period, news related to the sustainability of tourism appeared in the media.</p> <p>Negative attitudes towards tourism are once again prevalent, although in reality these are not directed against tourism itself but against certain models of tourism development, the product of a certain governance where it is important to take a look at who makes decisions and how.</p> <p>More than a one-off phenomenon, the problem of mass tourism is being tackled with various types of measures, such as the following:</p> <ul> <li> <p>The use of fiscal measures(e.g. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_tax">ecotaxes</a>).</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting the capacity of certain spaces (or even temporarily closing them).</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of the variable prices to regulate demand.</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of technological tools that assist in redirecting tourist flows, in an attempt to disperse the masses to other attractions that are not overcrowded (assuming that those affected wish to do so).</p> </li> <li> <p>The sanctioning of certain behaviour.</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting accommodation options.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The case of <a href="https://www.euronews.com/travel/2023/06/22/sardinia-popular-beaches-protected-with-towel-bans-pre-booked-tickets-and-entry-fees">the island of Sardinia and its beaches</a> is perhaps less well known than others, but very telling in this context.</p> <h2>Appreciating tourism</h2> <p>The positive attitude of the population towards the impact of tourism development in their area may change significantly if <a href="https://theconversation.com/saturacion-turistica-un-problema-global-creciente-100778">the negative impact is perceived as outweighing the positive effects of it</a>.</p> <p>This happens when the tolerance level of the local community is exceeded and tourism no longer contributes positively to their quality of life. The problem arises when those who live there permanently begin to feel that friction with tourists disturbs and damages their lives to excess.</p> <p>When no one asks them, listens to them, takes them into account and decisions are made that severely affect their lives, it is not surprising that citizens turn against tourism when, in reality, the problem is not tourism, but the management of it.</p> <p>It is only by involving these communities in decision-making that we will find the missing link in tourism governance.</p> <p>Today, we usually speak of co-governance rather than governance. In other words, public-private partnership: a two-way governance which, although necessary, is not sufficient because they alone are not the only stakeholders involved.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/como-superar-el-efecto-guggenheim-196421">A partnership with citizens</a>, in a broad sense, is essential to ensure their welfare and to avoid or reverse the trend of disconnection with tourism activities.</p> <p>The point is that tourism is required as an economic activity that affects the entire community, and the latter is something that seems to be missing or unwilling to be addressed. Tourism should not be created by political and business representatives without the local people, but with them. That’s the big difference.</p> <p>There is an added complexity, particularly in terms of legitimacy, in identifying the representatives of stakeholders in the territory and establishing effective participation mechanisms – not only with a voice, but also with a vote in certain decisions. However, this is the best way to support the tourism industry and to overcome mistrust and detachment.</p> <p>We must move towards inclusive and integrative governance, with <a href="https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284420841">a three-pronged approach</a>: public, private and community, whose study and application are virtually unknown fields.</p> <p>The question is not so much of what to do, but how to do it: a new model of shared leadership must include a redistribution of power within the system, which will require an extra effort to break down barriers and overcome resistance.</p> <h2>Co-governance and well-being</h2> <p>To avoid negative attitudes towards tourism, and promote harmonious relationships between locals and visitors as a path to sustainability, tourism must be able to forge a broad alliance with society.</p> <p>It is not about managing a destination, but a community with permanent residents and tourists, the latter being understood as temporary residents. The well-being of both must be at the core of the governance architecture.</p> <p>Although there is usually short-sightedness in political decisions – marked by electoral horizons – and in business decision-making – especially if they are geared towards speculation and immediate returns – the lack of support from the local population will end up generating a boomerang effect.</p> <p>Do we know the type of tourism development desired (or tolerated) by host communities? Are the voices of the local population heard and taken into account in the decision making processes, with a view to their well-being? Local communities have a much more decisive role to play in consolidating democracies. A tourism-oriented society must be geared towards tourism and committed to its development and co-creation.<!-- 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/211296/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/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745"><em>Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</em></a><em>, Catedrático de Universidad, área de Organización de Empresas, Dirección Estratégica, Turismo (empresas y destinos) - Jubilado, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</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/sustainable-tourism-needs-to-be-built-with-the-help-of-locals-211296">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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“Deeply disappointed”: The Wiggles hit out at council’s “harsh” use of iconic song

<p dir="ltr">The Wiggles have taken aim at the Western Australian city of Bunbury for using their iconic song in a “harsh” way. </p> <p dir="ltr">The childrens’ entertainers found out the local council had been playing their song <em>Hot Potato</em> on an endless loop to deter homeless people from congregating. </p> <p dir="ltr">The song had been playing at the Graham Bricknell Music Shell, a stage in one of the town’s parks, that plays host to bands and events. </p> <p dir="ltr">When not in use for entertainment purposes, homeless people would gather under the shell and pitch tent to seek shelter from the elements. </p> <p dir="ltr">After being alerted to the fact that their song was being used in such a callous way, The Wiggles contacted The City of Bunbury and banned them from using the song.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a statement given to the <a href="https://thewest.com.au/entertainment/the-wiggles-slap-the-city-of-bunbury-with-music-ban-over-homelessness-row--c-12413889" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>West Australian</em>, </a>they said, “The Wiggles’ music is created to bring joy and happiness to children and families around the world, and we are deeply disappointed to hear that it is being used in any other way.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The council had been using the Wiggles’ song for around six months before the band issued their ban. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor of Bunbury Jaysen Miguel defended his decision to play the music, saying, “The City of Bunbury has been running music on and off there for the past six months, as happens across Australia and across the world where you can have music in certain areas to deter anti-social behaviours.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But... there has been a known problem where people are getting in and turning the music up to full bore.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Local homeless cafe provider Intown Centre said the council needed a better response to the homelessness crisis, as Chair David Bailey said, “In the last couple of days, I have been walking around and I have heard it, but I did not think it was the council.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I thought it was someone with a CD player,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It did strike me as odd. It is harsh . . . (and) there needs to be a better response.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Caring

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Family devastated after council mistakenly kills their dog

<p>A couple from New Zealand is grappling with profound sorrow following the euthanasia of their cherished family pet, Sarge, due to a heart-wrenching case of mistaken identity. Sarge, a dog equipped with a microchip for identification purposes, tragically met his end, according to a statement from the Gisborne District Council in New Zealand's North Island.</p> <p>The council expressed deep regret over the incident, attributing it to "human error", explaining that Sarge had been tragically misidentified as another dog slated for euthanasia on the same day. This grievous mix-up has left Sarge's owners, Logan and Piri, shattered.</p> <p>Sarge, a microchipped and well-cared-for dog residing in a securely fenced rural property, was affectionately described by the couple's friend, Kara Hull, who spoke on behalf of the distraught owners. Hull, <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/gisborne/300976911/beloved-family-dog-killed-by-gisborne-district-council-by-mistake" target="_blank" rel="noopener">speaking to Stuff.co.nz</a> on behalf of Logan and Piri, conveyed their devastation and criticised the council's response, likening it to a hypothetical scenario where a human life is accidentally taken, followed by a mere media statement.</p> <p>Sarge was also an integral part of Hull's fitness boot camp business, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/hullkfit/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Hullkfit</a>, and had become something of a mascot. He was adored and recognised by clients who frequented the fitness sessions. Hull shared fond memories of Sarge, portraying him as the epitome of a gentle and friendly canine, rarely uttering a bark. She emphasised that Sarge was a beloved family member and an indispensable presence in their lives.</p> <p>On that fateful Friday, while Logan and Piri were at work, a council animal officer picked up Sarge and transported him to the pound, despite the protests of concerned neighbours who vouched for his safety. Despite the owners being called to retrieve their pet, Sarge was tragically euthanised before they could reach him.</p> <p>The couple received the devastating news from a council representative who arrived at their doorstep, informing them of the fatal mistake. Their grief was compounded when they saw Sarge's lifeless body, shrouded in a bag, upon their arrival at the pound. To their horror, they discovered that he had been euthanised using a bolt gun, a method that the SPCA opposes for dogs, advocating instead for euthanasia by a veterinarian through lethal injection.</p> <p>A council manager visited Logan and Piri on Saturday, but according to Kara their anguish was too overwhelming for them to engage in a conversation. The Gisborne District Council has issued an unreserved apology and initiated a thorough investigation into the circumstances leading to this tragic error.</p> <p>Council leadership has reached out to the grieving family to address the matter further, acknowledging the irreplaceable bond between families and their pets. "We understand that nothing can replace the deep bond and memories shared between a family and their pet, and we are deeply saddened by the unfortunate event."</p> <p>"Council is also providing support to the Animal Control officer involved, who is deeply remorseful and shaken."</p> <p>"We will take appropriate measures to ensure we learn from this and ensure it does not happen again. Gisborne District Council strives to provide an excellent standard of service to our community. In this case, it's clear, we have failed. We sincerely apologise."</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / Hullkfit</em></p>

Family & Pets

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The 30 best places to explore in London, according to a local

<p><strong>Top things to do in London</strong></p> <p>London ranks high among the best places to travel in the world, attracting millions of visitors from all corners of the globe every year. It may not be one of the cheap places to travel, but there are so many things to do in London that it’s definitely worth a visit. So, once you’ve figured out the best time to visit London and the best time to book a flight – and you’ve watched King Charles’s coronation to get in the mood – where to start?</p> <p>If you’ve never been to London, you’ll want to make sure to see the most important sights, but also some hidden gems we locals enjoy. I have been living in London for more than five years. I planned to just stay for a few weeks, but I fell in love with the city at first sight – and I still schedule in regular time for exploring my adopted home. I love to share my favourite spots as a travel writer, and I am on speed dial for friends, family and friends of friends who are visiting.</p> <p>It’s impossible to fit everything London has to offer into one trip (or even one lifetime!), but it’s easy to make the most of your time if you just know how.</p> <p><strong>Big Ben</strong></p> <p>Big Ben is London’s most famous landmark, so it’s a must-see for all travellers. The name refers to the huge bell inside the clock tower, which first chimed on May 31, 1859, but the whole building at the north end of the Houses of Parliament goes by this nickname. Big Ben was renamed Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II‘s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, but most people don’t call it that.</p> <p>The tower underwent extensive renovations from summer 2017, and there was much excitement when the bells first rang again in November 2022. It’s still not possible to climb up Big Ben quite yet, but the big reopening for visitors is scheduled for later in 2023. Your best bet for a picture-perfect view of the tower and the Houses of Parliament is from Westminster Bridge.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: If you want to take a selfie with Big Ben, the best spot is just behind the landmark, on Great George Street. When coming from Westminster Bridge, walk past the tower and the tube station (Westminster) toward St James’s Park, Westminster Abbey to your left. While it might be a bit cliché to pose next to a red phone box, the photo will still look great on your Instagram – and many Londoners snap this shot too.</p> <p><strong>Westminster Abbey</strong></p> <p>If you followed King Charles‘s coronation (or other festive royal events such as Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s wedding) you’re probably already familiar with Westminster Abbey. But London’s most iconic church is even more impressive when you step foot inside yourself. Westminster Abbey was founded in 960 AD and has been the coronation church since 1066. It is also the final resting place of no fewer than 17 monarchs (the late Queen Elizabeth is buried in Windsor Castle), scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton and world-famous writers including Charles Dickens.</p> <p>Westminster Abbey is both one of London’s top tourist attractions and a working church with daily services – so be prepared for crowds and parts of the abbey closed. The church is busiest in the mornings, so visit after lunchtime if you can book a time slot.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: While it’s perfectly possible to explore the abbey with an audio guide (included in the ticket price), their guided tours are worth a bit of extra money. You will get to see parts of Westminster Abbey that are normally closed to the public, including royal tombs, the Poets’ Corner and Lady Chapel – and you’ll get to hear lots of interesting facts and anecdotes.</p> <p><strong>The London Eye</strong></p> <p>The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the Thames River, and it’s been a London landmark of its own for over 20 years, so no list of the things to do in London would be complete without mentioning it. But is it really worth it? Let’s face it, the 30-minute-ride comes with a big price tag and potentially long queuing times on top. However, on a sunny day (or at night!) the views are truly stunning. If you’re lucky, you’ll not only see all the London sights including Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge but all the way up to Windsor Castle too. So, if you are new to London and don’t mind spending some cash, go for it. Fun fact, the London Eye is also one of the top places in the UK for people on romantic getaways – and, in fact, to get engaged. They even offer special proposal packages with private pods and champagne.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Technically, you can just show up and buy your ticket on-site, but booking online saves you time and money. There are also discounted combination tickets including a river cruise or entry to Madame Tussaud’s.</p> <p><strong>The Tate Modern</strong></p> <p>Museums rank high among the most popular attractions in London – and not just because you can visit them regardless of the weather. If you only have time for one, make it the Tate Modern, which is one of the most popular museums in the world. The massive art space with its iconic tower is housed in the former Bankside Power Station and sits right near the Thames, across from St Paul’s Cathedral.</p> <p>The exhibition spaces spread over seven floors and include original works by the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Warhol. Like most museums in London, the Tate Modern is free to visit, unless you want to see a special exhibition (book well in advance in that case). Should you be keen to see the Tate’s sister gallery Tate Britain as well, hop on the Tate Boat right in front of the building and travel door to door in style. Boats run every 20 to 30 minutes during museum open hours.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Fancy turning your Tate Modern visit into a fun night out? Keep an eye on the monthly Tate Lates, a mix of art workshops and talks, DJs, bars and live music.</p> <p><strong>Buckingham Palace</strong></p> <p>Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of the British monarchs since 1837, and even though all the royal family currently live at other royal estates, it remains the place most associated with the crown. A highlight not to be missed is the Changing of the Guard, a traditional ceremony that sees one detachment of troops taking over from the other, marching along The Mall to Buckingham Palace with musical accompaniment (expect both traditional tunes and pop songs). It takes place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and daily during the summer, at 11 AM. It’s one of the best free tourist attractions in London. For a prime spot, arrive at least one hour in advance, as the area gets packed year-round.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The State Rooms inside Buckingham Palace are open to visitors on selected dates during winter and spring, as well as for 10 weeks in summer. Tour tickets sell out quickly, so check dates and book as early as you can.</p> <p><strong>The Tower Bridge</strong></p> <p>Walking across the Tower Bridge is a must-do when in London. But nothing beats watching the landmark lift for tall vessels, including cruise ships, to pass through. River traffic has priority on this stretch of the Thames by law, meaning ships can request a lift any time of the day, bringing the traffic on the bridge to a complete halt. On average, the Tower Bridge opens twice a day. But what’s the secret behind being at the right place at the right time? Luckily, it’s pretty simple, as you can check online to see when the bridge next lifts.  Then, make sure to arrive on time to watch the spectacle unfold.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: For a full view of the lift (and great photo opportunities), position yourself on the river banks or a bridge opposite Tower Bridge. For a more close-up experience, stand on either end of the bridge.</p> <p><strong>Portobello Road Market</strong></p> <p>In the 1990s, the movie Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, made the West London neighbourhood of the same name known around the world as a romantic travel destination. But even if you’re not a fan of rom-coms, Notting Hill and its famous Portobello Road Market – considered the largest antique market on the planet – have a lot to offer. The stalls, fold-out tables and shops are packed with vintage treasures, from lamps and chairs to paintings, jewellery and second-hand clothing, which makes it a great place for souvenir hunting. The market is open six days a week, but Saturday is the main day when all the sellers, antique hunters and street food vendors are out.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Notting Hill’s signature pastel houses are just as famous as the market, and selfies on the steps around the Hillgate Place and Lancaster Road area are high on many visitors’ bucket lists. Please keep in mind though that people actually live in these houses, so don’t stare into their windows or leave trash behind.</p> <p><strong>The West End</strong></p> <p>The West End is the heart of London’s commercial theatre and musical productions in the UK. More than 16 million people watched performances here in 2022, making tickets one of the hottest holiday gifts. Whether you’re into the classics such as Les Miserables (running since 1985) and The Phantom of the Opera (since 1986) or want to see a feel-good musical featuring songs by Tina Turner, ABBA or Queen, this is the place. The Disney musicals are among the most popular things to do in London with kids, but they’re just as fun to watch as an adult. For crime fans, Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is a must-see.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: If you haven’t set your mind on a specific show, you can score excellent last-minute deals on the day using the TodayTix app (look for “rush tickets” at 10 a.m. sharp). I’ve found myself sitting in some of the best seats in the house for around $30, especially on weeknights. Ticket booths around Leicester Square also sell discounted tickets.</p> <p><strong>The Tower of London</strong></p> <p>No list of the best things to do in London would be complete without the Tower of London: an iconic castle, former prison and execution location – as well as the home of the crown jewels. The royals’ precious accessories have been stored here since 1661 and only leave the Tower when used on official occasions. Want to see King Charles’s and Queen Camilla’s crowns? They are right here!</p> <p>The Tower of London is more than 900 years old, and you can feel its history in every corner. Keep in mind that the complex is not only impressive but also huge, so plan at least a few hours to see everything. Besides its exhibitions, historic halls and the guards with their signature fur hats, the Tower is famous for its wild ravens. According to legend, the kingdom will fall if the six resident ravens ever decide to leave.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Tickets to the Tower of London come with audio guides. If you’d rather have a human companion, opt for a tour with a Beefeater, a working guard at the fortress.</p> <p><strong>Borough Market</strong></p> <p>Dating back to the 13th century, Borough Market, on the south side of the Thames, is London’s oldest food market and a great food travel destination with more than 100 stalls and plenty of small restaurants and wine bars where you can enjoy lunch or dinner. While the market originally focused on British produce, you can now get Indian curries, pad Thai, Ethiopian stews, falafel wraps, pasta dishes and, of course, the obligatory fish and chips. There are also plenty of stalls to stock up on bread, veggies, wines and sweets to take home or have later in the day. The market is open Tuesday to Sunday.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Borough Market is a lunch favourite with people working at the nearby offices, so expect long queues around noon. If you can’t find a quiet spot to eat, make yourself comfy at the riverbank a few minutes away by foot.</p> <p><strong>Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter</strong></p> <p>London is full of locations featured in the Harry Potter movies (think St. Paul’s Cathedral, Leadenhall Market, Borough Market or Tower Bridge), which you can explore on your own. But no place gets “muggles” (non-magic people) closer to Harry Potter’s world than the Warner Bros. Studio Tour just outside the city. Here you will walk through Diagon Alley, peek into Harry’s cupboard under the stairs and explore Hogwarts rooms such as the Great Hall or Dumbledore’s office. You can even sample butter beer! The studio decoration changes according to season. I have seen the summer and Christmas versions so far, and Halloween is next on my list.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Advance booking is essential, even during shoulder seasons. Since muggles are, unfortunately, unable to arrive by broom, a shuttle bus from London’s Watford Junction is included in the ticket price.</p> <p><strong>Columbia Road Market</strong></p> <p>Columbia Road Flower Market may be London’s most popular place for flower shopping, and it’s a weekend institution in East London. Rain or shine, the whole street gets packed from 8am every Sunday with dozens of stalls that sell tulips, roses, cacti, spider plants and banana trees. Judging by Instagram posts and people with cameras around their necks, the market might look like a bit of a tourist trap at first glance. But the majority of the visitors are locals who stock up on flowers after coffee or brunch at one of the little cafes in the neighbourhood. The flowers are certainly the main selling point on a Sunday, but Columbia Road is dotted with little art shops and galleries too, so take your time to have a look around.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Columbia Road Market tends to be busy year-round, but if you want to avoid the largest crowds, it pays to show up right when it starts. For the best flower deals, come after lunchtime. The stalls close at around 3pm.</p> <p><strong>Sky Garden</strong></p> <p>London’s highest public garden, Sky Garden, sits on the 35th floor of the “Walkie Talkie,” one of the city’s landmark skyscrapers, and it provides spectacular panoramic views. Sky Garden is an oasis of plants, with an observation deck, an open-air terrace and two restaurants. Entry is free, but advance booking is essential. However, once you’re in, you’re in, so you can technically spend a whole day among the plants.</p> <p>If you can’t get into Sky Garden (or want to shoot more skyline pictures from a different angle), head to The Garden at 120, an open-air rooftop garden on the 15th floor about a five-minute walk away. It might not be as fancy as Sky Garden, but it’s usually a lot quieter. I have had the whole garden to myself on weekday mornings more than once.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Tickets for the Sky Garden are released every Monday, and you can book up to three weeks in advance. If you’re in the area but don’t have a ticket, it’s still worth trying your luck at the door, as they sometimes accept walk-ins.</p> <p><strong>Traditional afternoon tea</strong></p> <p>While Brits are the champions of tea drinking, afternoon tea is a lot more than just sipping on your favourite blend. The ritual dates back to the 19th century, when the ladies of the high society met for a light meal to shorten the time until dinner was served. Today, it’s mainly saved for special occasions, but it also makes one of the most fun things to do in London when on a city break. A traditional afternoon tea menu includes small sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and a selection of pastries and cakes. Earl Grey, Darjeeling and English Breakfast are the classic tea blends. If you really want to treat yourself, book a table at the glamorous salon at Cafe Royal. Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and David Bowie were regulars here. Live piano music and champagne are included too.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Looking for a more casual afternoon tea option that doubles as a sightseeing tour? Hop on the Afternoon Tea Bus for a 90-minute ride.</p> <p><strong>Shakespeare's Globe Theatre </strong></p> <p>While the Globe Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames isn’t the original one from Shakespeare’s time (that one burned down in 1613), it’s still considered the writer’s London home and the closest you could ever get to the original experience. The venue was rebuilt in the same shape and layout, using the original type of wood (green oak) and building techniques. Watch world-famous plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors and fully immerse yourself in the world of Shakespeare.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The cheapest way to see a play (or get into an otherwise sold-out show) is the “5£ Rush Tickets.” These are standing tickets right in front of the stage. While you might miss the comfort of a seat, you’ll be closer to the action than anyone else (and save a lot of money too!). Tickets are released every Friday at 11 am for the following week.</p> <p><strong>Little Venice</strong></p> <p>London is an amazing city to explore on foot, and once you’ve ticked off all the major sights, it’s time to enjoy one of the locals’ favourite walks. When I moved to London, I was amazed at how many locals lived on houseboats – it reminded me of The Netherlands, where I spent my college semester abroad. Regent’s Canal is dotted with colourful narrowboats, and you can often watch their owners navigate them to and from their mooring spots. The most beautiful stretch is from King’s Cross to Little Venice, a beautiful water canal area full of cafés and pubs and framed by willow trees. You will pass Camden and Regent’s Park along the way.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Before you head on your two-hour walk, check out Coal Drop’s Yard right behind the King’s Cross station, with its restaurants, pubs and artsy shops, and Word on the Water, a floating bookstore.</p> <p><strong>Shoreditch</strong></p> <p>East London’s Shoreditch is one of the hippest districts in the city, with little cafes, quirky shops and bars on every corner. It’s also the heart of London’s street-art scene. Living in Shoreditch, I’m continuously amazed by all the murals and graffiti popping up overnight (and, sadly, often disappearing just as quickly). If you are like me and love taking edgy pictures, you will feel right at home. I always recommend Shoreditch Street Art Tours to friends visiting, a fun and comprehensive introduction to the local street-art scene. If you head out on your own, save Brick Lane, Fashion Street, Hanbury Street, Princelet Street, New Inn Yard, Redchurch Street and Shoreditch Highstreet Station on Google Maps.</p> <p>To kill two birds with one stone, visit Shoreditch on a weekend when Brick Lane market (lots of food and some art and clothes stalls) takes place. Truman Brewery on Brick Lane is also home to the biggest indoor vintage market in the U.K., which is open seven days a week.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: For a quick and inexpensive snack to go, head to Beigel Bake. The 24-hour shop is the most famous bagel place in London. Attention: They only take cash!</p> <p><strong>Kensington Gardens</strong></p> <p>One of London’s eight royal parks and formerly part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens is a popular recreational area where you can take a stroll, have a picnic, check out exhibitions at the Serpentine galleries, visit Kensington Palace or – if you’re traveling with kids – make the most of the Diana Memorial Playground (including a wooden pirate ship and sculptures inspired by Peter Pan).</p> <p>Ring-necked parakeets have spread all over London, but this park is your best bet to see them up close. And while nobody seems to be quite sure how they originally ended up in London, thousands have called it home since the 1990s. Here, the parakeets are so used to people they will land on your outstretched hands (or your shoulders or your head!) when you bring snacks (apples or seeds) – and sometimes even if you don’t. Be aware, though, that the cute birds have surprisingly sharp claws, so your arms might end up looking like you’ve just been scratched by an angry cat.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The parakeets can be found near the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Garden. If you arrive by tube, get off at Lancaster Gate, walk past the lake and follow the squawking.</p> <p><strong>Barbican Conservatory </strong></p> <p>The Barbican Centre is London’s largest multi-arts venue. Movies, live gigs, plays, exhibitions, restaurants – you name it, the iconic complex has it all. One of the lesser known gems is their indoor garden on Level 3, which houses 2000 species of plants and trees as well as three small ponds. It’s a great place if you need a break from sightseeing or want to spend a relaxing hour or two hiding from the rain. Plus, it’s quite romantic – a friend of mine got engaged amidst the plants! Unfortunately, the whole Barbican complex tends to feel like a labyrinth with tons of confusing walkways. Schedule in some extra time just in case you get lost, and don’t sweat it, because it regularly happens to pretty much every Londoner.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The Conservatory is only open on selected days. Entry is free, but book a time slot in advance to make sure you’ll get in. Tickets are released one week in advance on Fridays at 10 am, with a limited number of additional ones available at 9.30am on the day.</p> <p><strong>God's Own Junkyard</strong></p> <p>God’s Own Junkyard is a surreal exhibition place packed with blinking neon signs, old movie props, circus lighting and retro displays. It’s the private collection of the late owner Chris Bracey, who made signs for Soho’s strip clubs before he went on to work with some of our greatest directors, including Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Christopher Nolan (Batman) and Stanley Kubrick (Eyes Wide Shut).</p> <p>The gallery-turned-warehouse isn’t exactly close to the city centre, but it ranks high among the best things to do in London. Entry is free, however you might end up taking a neon sign home from their small shop. There’s also a cafe and fully licensed bar, if you want to linger for a bit.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: It might be tempting, but God’s Own Junkyard is, unfortunately, not the place to try out your latest camera gear. You are allowed to take pictures with your phone (for personal use and social media) but not with any cameras or professional equipment.</p> <p><strong>Cahoots Underground </strong></p> <p>If you like colourful cocktails and immersive experiences, make sure to check out some of London’s hidden bars. One of the coolest places I’ve been is the 1940s-inspired Cahoots Underground, located in a retired tube station around the corner from Soho’s Carnaby Street. The speakeasy bar is decorated with tube signs and maps, the cocktails (with names like “Winston Churchill” and “Judy Garland”) are listed in a newspaper instead of a regular menu, and the waiters are dressed up as ticket inspectors. What’s more, there’s a live piano player taking requests from guests (everything from Frank Sinatra to Miley Cyrus). Be prepared for spontaneous singalongs and people dancing between the tables.</p> <p>Other hidden bars worth checking out include Nightjar Shoreditch (old-school glamour, candlelit tables and live jazz and swing), Discount Suit Company (in a former suit tailor’s storeroom), Opium in Chinatown (a 1920s Shanghai-themed bar tucked away behind red curtains), Purl (1920s theme, live music and cocktail mixing classes) and Ladies &amp; Gents (in a former public washroom).</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Better safe than sorry – all the above-mentioned bars are very popular, so book a table just in case.</p> <p><strong>Dennis Severs' House</strong></p> <p>If you’ve ever wondered what every day London life looked like in the 18th century, Dennis Severs’ House gives you a first-hand taste. The building was left exactly as when the original owners, a family of silk weavers, lived there. The rooms are lit by fire and candlelight, and visitors are encouraged to tour them in complete silence to “not disturb the family.” You will find yourself wandering around the living room full of faded photographs, old carpets, mugs and books. The kitchen has a fully laid table – bitten apples included! It almost feels like the family is about to return and go on with their daily routine any moment. To make the time-travel experience even more authentic, there are also added scents of food, woodsmoke and chatters of the occupants.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip:</em></span> Walk-up tickets are available, but unless you don’t mind standing in line for up to an hour or two, I’d recommend booking a time slot.</p> <p><strong>Camden</strong></p> <p>Talk to any Londoner and they’ll probably tell you that Camden is just not what it used to be. And I’m not going to lie, the North London neighbourhood has dramatically changed in recent years. Its edgy, alternative vibe is pretty much gone. Many of the charming parts of Camden Market were replaced by fancy stalls, food courts and colourful hanging umbrellas. However, Camden is still well worth a visit, you just need to do a bit more digging. Ignore the souvenir shops and look for the small creative sellers that have stood their ground. Then head to The Hawley Arms, my go-to Camden pub and a musician’s hangout. The late, great Amy Winehouse was a regular.</p> <p>Camden’s music scene is legendary, and many pubs have live gigs and open-mic nights. Some of the most iconic venues to check out for gigs include KOKO (frequented by supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss in their heydays), Electric Ballroom, Spiritual Records, Dingwalls and Jazz Cafe.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The annual Camden Rocks Festival sees hundreds of gigs around Camden Town.</p> <p><strong>A pub for Sunday roast</strong></p> <p>Sunday roast is a British meal traditionally consisting of roasted meat of some sort (beef is the most common), mashed and roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, seasonal greens, gravy and apple or mint sauce. It’s a big, hearty meal typically enjoyed early or late Sunday afternoon. Classic drinks to go with the foodie feast include local beers and ciders.</p> <p>Sunday roasts rank high among the top things to do in London, and luckily there are plenty of options all around the city. One of the most popular is Camberwell Arms, which features five options served for two people to share. Other good choices are the trendy Blacklock Shoreditch (located inside a former furniture factory) and Quality Chop House, which has fed hungry guests since 1869. If you’re a vegan, like me, or just curious about a meat-free option, head to The Spread Eagle, London’s first fully plant-based pub.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: All the above pubs (and many others around the city) are packed on Sunday, so booking is essential.</p> <p><strong>Royal Albert Hall</strong></p> <p>pened in 1871 by Queen Victoria (and dedicated to her husband Albert, hence the name), Royal Albert Hall is probably the world’s most famous concert hall. Its annual highlight is The Proms, an eight-week series of classical music organized by the BBC. But even if you’re not a fan of orchestra performances, the venue is worth a visit. It’s stunning inside and out and has the best acoustics you can find in the city.</p> <p>What’s more, the program is a lot more varied than you might expect. They also feature regular pop and rock gigs, and Eric Clapton, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, David Bowie and the Beatles have played here. You can also catch circus performances, movie nights, yoga sessions with live music and the occasional sumo wrestling event. If you go to a live gig, be prepared for the band to leave the stage mid-concert for a mandatory interval. When I saw Bryan Adams in 2022, he apologised for the break, then jokingly explained that even rock stars had to follow the Royal Albert Hall’s strict house rules.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Many of the events at Royal Albert Hall are instant sell-outs, but it’s always worth checking at the box office or their website for last-minute tickets on the day of the event. If you’re interested in a peek behind the scenes, book a backstage tour.</p> <p><strong>Natural History Museum</strong></p> <p>The Natural History Museum in posh South Kensington is one of the best things to do in London with kids. It houses more than 80 million animals, plants and rocks spanning 4.5 billion years that are displayed in about 20 galleries. The main eye-catcher upon arrival is a 25.2-metre-long blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. The female animal died in Ireland more than 120 years ago and was given a name when moved to its new home: Hope. Other highlights include dinosaurs, a giant gorilla, a Moon rock sample from the 1972 Apollo 16 mission, meteorites and an earthquake simulator. The Natural History Museum is free to visit except for special exhibitions.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Watch out for museum events such as yoga and tai chi classes, silent disco nights or sleepovers for grown-ups.</p> <p><strong>Greenwich</strong></p> <p>Greenwich makes a fun day out of the city – without actually leaving the city. Located in the southeast of London, it’s home to an artsy market with lots of food stalls, a beautiful park perfect for taking London skyline pictures, the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, one of the oldest and best-known tea clipper ships in the world. There’s also the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory, where you can stand with one foot in the western hemisphere and the other foot in the eastern. Greenwich can be reached by tube, bus and train, but the most fun way is to take a boat from central London. Hop on board at Westminster Pier and see famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge from the water.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: While it’s possible to buy tickets for the boats from the ticket booths and machines at the pier, the easiest way is to just use your bank or credit card and tap in and out like you would at the bus or tube.</p> <p><strong>Highgate Cemetery </strong></p> <p>Walking around graves might not seem the most obvious choice for a fun day out in London, but Highgate Cemetery is worth making an exception. The Victorian cemetery looks a bit cramped and chaotic, but the sunken headstones, faded engravings and missing names on the tombs make it beautiful and charming at the same time. Highgate is the final resting place of no less than 170,000 people, including many celebrities. The one resident most visitors are looking for is German philosopher Karl Marx. His grave can be found in the east part of the cemetery and is easily recognisable by a giant sculpture of his head.</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Pro tip</span></em>: To enter the cemetery, you need a ticket, which you can buy online or on site. If you want some background info (and to hear morbid anecdotes), you can also book a guided tour.</p> <p><strong>Hackney City Farm</strong></p> <p>Big cities and farms might not go together well at first glance, but London does have several working farms close to its busiest districts. One of the loveliest is Hackney City Farm in East London, which has pigs, donkeys, ponies, sheep, ducks, a vegetable garden, a small shop that sells homemade produce and a restaurant. The farm opened in 1984 and regularly welcomes local school kids. They also run workshops in animal handling and arts classes including pottery and woodworking.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Visits are free, but donations are welcome. Don’t leave without a drink in their cute backyard garden.</p> <p><strong>Independent cinemas</strong></p> <p>While London’s big-chain movie theatres around Leicester Square all come with XXL screens and the latest technology, the independent ones are where the real magic happens. Just around the corner from Leicester Square towards China Town is Prince Charles Cinema, where both the latest blockbusters and classic movies are shown. They also have movie marathons – from Harry Potter to Terminator and Lord of the Rings – where fans gather for up to 24 hours to watch the whole series. They even encourage singalongs during music-movie marathons by projecting lyrics on the screen for a karaoke vibe.</p> <p>I am a regular at Genesis Cinema in East London, which has been showing movies since 1912 and comes with bar events such as open-mic and comedy nights on top. They also charge only £5 Monday to Thursday, which is less than a third of what you’d pay on Leicester Square. Other great places include Electric Cinema, which has leather armchairs and double beds in the front row; Lexi Cinema, a volunteer-run place supporting charities in South Africa); and Everyman Screen on the Green, where wine and pizza are served to your seat.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: London hosts tons of small and large film festivals throughout the year, so watch out for premieres, Q&amp;As and other special events.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/tips/the-30-best-places-to-explore-in-london-according-to-a-local?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Gorgeous iconic department stores throughout history


<p>Do you remember shops with names like Farmer’s, Boan’s, John Martin’s, Buckley & Nunn, or McWhirter’s? Or maybe you're more familiar with David Jones and Myer? If any of these names ring a bell, a team of historians wants to speak to you.</p> <p>Professor Robert Crawford leads a team of historians at RMIT University and Macquarie University that are researching the history of department stores in Australia since the Second World War.</p> <p>“Department stores have played such an important role in the lives of countless Australia, but their history has hardly been documented,” explains Professor Crawford.</p> <p>Supported by the Australian Research Council, the project aims to collect Australian stories and experiences of their department store.</p> <p>While the project is keen to collect stories from those who worked in these stores, it is equally interested in hearing from shoppers.</p> <p>“Shoppers are an essential part of this story – their custom makes or breaks any retail outlet and department stores are no different,” notes Professor Crawford.</p> <p>“By collecting the stories of shoppers and staff, this project offers a unique perspective of the department store,” he adds.</p> <p>The research team has already interviewed a range of people across the country.</p> <p>“This week I spoke to a lady about shopping with her mother at Grace Brothers in Sydney in 1947 and the next day I spoke to a man about taking his daughter to David Jones in suburban Brisbane in 1995,” recounts Crawford.</p> <p>Participants of the project have recalled a range of familiar and forgotten experiences. <br />“Many have recounted their family’s unique rituals of going into to town and having lunch at the cafeteria, while others remember specific bits like the lift operators or the pneumatic tubes to transfer cash from the tills.”<br />While the project has undertaken many interviews, the research team is eager to speak to more people about their unique memories and experiences, so that they can get a fuller picture of the past.</p> <p>If you’re interested in participating in the project or learning more about it, further details can be found at <a href="https://www.departmentstorehistory.org.au/">https://www.departmentstorehistory.org.au/</a> </p> <p><em>Image credit: WikiMedia</em></p>

International Travel

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Four-year-old entrepreneur wins out against council complaints

<p dir="ltr">Four-year-old Leo Tyres is the proud owner of his very own fruit and vegetable stand, better known as Leo’s Little Shop, but his enterprise hasn’t come without its share of struggle. </p> <p dir="ltr">He first had to overcome a hurdle most small business owners know an awful lot about - a slow start. And from there, things escalated, when a complaint made to the local council against his stand almost shut down business for good. </p> <p dir="ltr">Leo operates his pop-up store, selling discounted fruit and vegetables with slight defects from outside his home in Gatton, Queensland. </p> <p dir="ltr">And as Lockyer Valley Mayor Tanya Milligan told<em> 9News</em>, the complaint had been about “a business that was operating in a residential area. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Like most councils, we are complaint-driven, we have an obligation to go and check it out.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“If it’s a permanent structure, it becomes a shop,” she explained, before noting that if that were the case then the young family would have had a lot of hoops to jump through. </p> <p dir="ltr">Luckily for little Leo - and the 2000 locals who got behind a petition to save his venture - Milligan was of the opinion that “it’s no different to me than the old-fashioned lemonade stall or garage sale.” </p> <p dir="ltr">And so, the stand remains open for business, with Leo at the helm. </p> <p dir="ltr">As for how his regulars feel about the outcome, Leo was happy to report that “they say ‘good on ya’.” </p> <p dir="ltr">Leo’s mother, Barbra Sanchez, is delighted with the result as well, and shared some of the benefits of his experience, noting that “he is learning several life skills from interacting with people, [and he’s] saving money.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Those people are, of course, his customers, but also his suppliers. Local business is important to the youngster, who sources his produce from local farmers who are unable to sell the fruit and vegetables due to the ‘imperfections’ in their appearance.</p> <p dir="ltr">While he started out with just a bag of limes and two pumpkins, Leo’s empire has grown from there, and he now has his very own trailer to help with the crucial work of sourcing, carrying, and selling his wares. </p> <p dir="ltr">He was more than eager to share this proud achievement, too, declaring that he can now “take 10 pumpkins in the trailer! 10 pumpkins.” </p> <p dir="ltr">And for anyone wondering just what the four year old might be doing with his hard-earned savings, Leo was happy to explain, telling <em>9News</em>’ Cam Inglis, “I just buy toys.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: 9News</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Where you can snap up a home for just $30,000

<p>More than a dozen homes in the mining town of Coober Pedy are being auctioned off for as little as $30,000 for an unusual reason. </p> <p>The properties in the regional South Australian town are being sold in an attempt to recoup unpaid council rates. </p> <p>Andrews Property director Warren Andrews said 16 properties are up for sale, due to years of outstanding rates payments. </p> <p>They ranged from residential blocks, commercial premises and incomplete underground dwellings or “dugouts” that needed plumbing or electricity fitted, he said.</p> <p>Andrews went on to say that some properties were in good condition, while others needed major refurbishments. </p> <p>Their prices started from about $5000 for an 800sqm residential block, to $800,000 for an entire office building.</p> <p>Andrews said the prices were great value for money, as prices that low wouldn’t be commonly seen outside the regional town.</p> <p>The price of a three-bedroom home varied between $30,000 to $550,000, he said.</p> <p>“I’m expecting a lot of buyers to be external. Coober Pedy attracts a lot of interest from NSW and Victoria. It’s very cheap real estate,” he said.</p> <p>The town of Coober Pedy is located in the centre of South Australia, nine hours from the capital of Adelaide and boasts a population of only 1,500. </p> <p>It is known as the “opal capital of the world” for its opal mining.</p> <p>Coober Pedy real estates and the district council have long been auctioning off homes in the hopes of recouping outstanding rates payments, as in 2021, 33 properties went to auction for the exact same reason. </p> <p>Although the town of Coober Pedy is located deep in the outback, Andrews said people have already shown interest on the auctions, with many seeing it as a desirable place to live away from bustling city life, or a great place to purchase an investment property. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

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Rod Stewart's ultimate surprise for like-minded hobbyists

<p>Rod Stewart has paid a surprise visit to a local business in Sydney's west, mingling with like-minded hobbyists. </p> <p>On Wednesday night, the 78-year-old rockstar took to the stage of Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena in front of 21,000 adoring fans, performing his classic hits in a signature leopard print jacket. </p> <p>But just hours before, he stopped in at Woodpecker Model Railways, a model train store located in Pendle Hill, in search of model trains to add to his vast collection.</p> <p>"Look who casually walked into our shop," the business shared on their Facebook page, alongside a photo of staff members smiling with the rock legend.</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwoodpeckermodelrailways%2Fposts%2Fpfbid0Nfb2LeEtR5yXAcfCiBW8g4GVLqncdVbNz9AKJnZVwFzB345DUXMDt3C6ZvcGpReyl&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="504" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>"That's amazing!!!" one follower wrote on Facebook.</p> <p>"WOW how awesome !! Lucky you !!I think I would be in total admiration [and] shock if Rod walked into a shop I owned or was in lol," another said.</p> <p>"A very accomplished modeller..... sings a bit as well....." another wrote.</p> <p>Rod Stewart has long been known as a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/rod-stewart-s-hidden-track-inside-his-beverly-hills-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">keen model train builder</a>, revealing in a 2019 interview with Railway Modeller magazine that he had been working on a giant and intricate model of a United States city at home for the previous 23 years.</p> <p>Following his admission in the interview, BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine suggested Stewart did not build the model himself, to which Stewart rebutted as he called into Vine's show to set the record straight himself.</p> <p>"I would say 90 per cent of it I built myself," Stewart insisted to Vine. "The only thing I wasn't very good at and still am not is the electricals, so I had someone else do that."</p> <p>"A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby, but it's a wonderful hobby," he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Music

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Check your rates: Couple's warning after being overcharged for more than a decade

<p>A disgruntled couple from the NSW south coast town of Kiama have slammed their local council after discovering they have been overcharged by around $8,000 for a rubbish bin they weren’t even using.</p> <p>The couple, Kim and Geoff Oppert reached out to <em>A Current Affair</em> to warn other ratepayers to carefully check the fine print on their bills.</p> <p>The pair had made the decision to downsize their red-lid general waste bin after their daughter moved out of the family home, which ideally would have lowered their rates.</p> <p>Due to a mistake on their bills - clouded by legal jargon - the couple were paying twice as much for their red-lid garbage bin.</p> <p>This meant Kiama Council had been charging them for TWO bins for the past 12 years.</p> <p>"Look at your rates notice and check you're paying for just one bin," Mr Oppert told A Current Affair.</p> <p>"Over 12 years we paid $16,000 in garbage waste disposal and it really should have been half that," he said.</p> <p>"Our rate notice doesn't clearly say how many bins we have. It's bureaucratic speak no one could understand."</p> <p>When the couple finally realised the mistake they went straight to the council.</p> <p>"But they would only give us a refund for two years and quoted some tax act as the reason why," Mr Oppert explained.</p> <p>"It is so unfair and just not right," Mrs Oppert added.</p> <p>"It was their mistake not ours, and they admitted it.”</p> <p>Mr Oppert seeks to warn all Australians paying a council for a bin service, "Check your rates notice and make sure you're not getting ripped off.”</p> <p>Kiama Council were made aware of the situation and gave a partial refund to the couple.</p> <p>"When this matter was brought to our attention, Kiama Council acted quickly to rectify the situation, in accordance with the law, as outlined below.”, a Kiama Municipal Council spokesperson said in a statement.</p> <p>“We refunded the amounts of $805.72 for 2021-22 and $818.61 for 2022-23.</p> <p>The couple have not received a full refund due to tax laws.</p> <p>"The Office of Local Government has advised that, where charges go back more than 1 year, the Recovery of Imposts Tax Act 1963 applies as follows", the spokesperson continued.</p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/03/BINS-PIC.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p>"In addition, Kiama Council is now working on an audit of all our urban and residential waste services to ensure our charges are correct.</p> <p>"Council reminds all ratepayers to check their bills and if anything is unclear, please get in touch with us to discuss, we are always happy to help."</p> <p><em>Image credit: A Current Affair/Kiama Municipal Council</em></p>

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