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

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dale-boccabella-15706">Dale Boccabella</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ranjana-gupta-1207482">Ranjana Gupta</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>There’s a good reason your local volunteer-run netball club doesn’t pay tax. In Australia, various nonprofit organisations are exempt from paying income tax, including those that do charitable work, such as churches.</p> <p>These exemptions or concessions can also extend to other taxes, including fringe benefits tax, state and local government property taxes and payroll taxes.</p> <p>The traditional justification for granting these concessions is that charitable activities benefit society. They contribute to the wellbeing of the community in a variety of non-religious ways.</p> <p>For example, charities offer welfare, health care and education services that the government would generally otherwise provide due to their obvious public benefits. The tax exemption, which allows a charity to retain all the funds it raises, provides the financial support required to relieve the government of this burden.</p> <p>The nonprofit sector is often called the third sector of society, the other two being government and for-profit businesses. But in Australia, this third sector is quite large. Some grassroots organisations have only a tiny footprint, but other nonprofits are very large. And many of these bigger entities – including some “megachurches” – run huge commercial enterprises. These are often indistinguishable from comparable business activities in the for-profit sector.</p> <p>So why doesn’t this revenue get taxed? And should we really give all nonprofits the same tax exemptions?</p> <h2>Why don’t churches pay tax?</h2> <p>The primary aim of a church is to advance or promote its religion. This itself counts as a charitable purpose under the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/C2013A00100/asmade/text">2013 Charities Act</a>. However, section five of that act requires a church to have only charitable purposes – any other purposes must be incidental to or in aid of these.</p> <p>Viewed alone, the conduct of a church with an extensive commercial enterprise – which could include selling merchandise, or holding concerts and conferences – is not a charitable purpose.</p> <p>But Australian case law and <a href="https://www.acnc.gov.au/for-charities/start-charity/role-acnc-deciding-charity-status/legal-meaning-charity#:%7E:text=Taxation%20Ruling%20(TR)%202011%2F,set%20out%20in%20taxation%20rulings.">an ATO ruling</a> both support the idea that carrying on business-like activities can be incidental to or in aid of a charitable purpose. This could be the case, for example, if a large church’s commercial activities were to help give effect to its charitable purposes.</p> <p>Because of this, under Australia’s current income tax law, a church that is running a large commercial enterprise is able to retain its exemption from income tax on the profits from these activities.</p> <p>There are various public policy concerns with this. First, the lost tax revenue is likely to be significant, although the government’s annual tax expenditure statement does not currently provide an estimate of the amount of tax revenue lost.</p> <p>And second, the tax exemption may give rise to unfairness. A for-profit business competing with a church in a relevant industry may be at a competitive disadvantage – despite similar business activities, the for-profit entity pays income tax but the church does not. This competitive disadvantage may be reflected in lower prices for customers of the church business.</p> <h2>What about taxing their employees?</h2> <p>Churches that run extensive enterprises are likely to have many employees. Generally, all the normal Australian tax rules apply to the way these employees are paid – for example, employees pay income tax on these wages. Distributing profits to members would go against the usual rules of the church, and this prohibition is <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/C2013A00100/asmade/text">required</a> anyway for an organisation to qualify as a charity.</p> <p>Some churches may be criticised for paying their founders or leaders “excessive” wages, but these are still taxed in the same way as normal salaries.</p> <p>It’s important to consider fringe benefit tax – which employers have to pay on certain benefits they provide to employees. Aside from some qualifications, all the usual <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/hiring-and-paying-your-workers/fringe-benefits-tax/how-fringe-benefits-tax-works">fringe benefit tax rules</a> apply to non-wage benefits provided to employees of a church.</p> <p>Just like their commercial (and taxable) counterparts, the payment for “luxury” travel and accommodation for church leaders and employees when on church business will not generate a fringe benefits taxable amount for the church.</p> <p>One qualification, though, is that a church is likely to be a <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/businesses-and-organisations/hiring-and-paying-your-workers/fringe-benefits-tax/fbt-concessions-for-not-for-profit-organisations/fbt-rebatable-employers">rebatable employer</a> under the fringe benefit tax regime. This means it can obtain some tax relief on benefits provided to each employee, up to a cap.</p> <h2>We may need to rethink blanket tax exemptions for charities</h2> <p>Back in an age where nonprofits were mainly small and focused on addressing the needs of people failed by the market, the income tax exemption for such charities appeared appropriate.</p> <p>But in the modern era, some charities – including some churches – operate huge business enterprises and collect rent on extensive property holdings.</p> <p>Many are now questioning whether we should continue offering them an uncapped exemption from income tax, especially where there are questions surrounding how appropriately these profits are used.</p> <p>Debates about solutions to the problem have focused on various arguments. However, more data may be needed on the way charities apply their profits to a charitable purpose, particularly those involved in substantial commercial activities.</p> <p>An all-or-nothing rule exempting the whole charitable sector may no longer be fit for purpose if it fails to take into account the very different circumstances of different nonprofits.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228901/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/dale-boccabella-15706"><em>Dale Boccabella</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Taxation Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ranjana-gupta-1207482">Ranjana Gupta</a>, Senior Lecturer Taxation, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/auckland-university-of-technology-1137">Auckland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-churches-collectively-raise-billions-of-dollars-a-year-why-arent-they-taxed-228901">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Peter Stefanovic slammed for "harsh" question to young million-dollar winner

<p>Peter Stefanovic has been slammed online for bringing up a past crime committed by the 19-year-old, who had his life change overnight when he won $1 million. </p> <p>Keegan Payne was fishing in the Northern Territory when he <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/this-is-crazy-teenager-goes-fishing-and-emerges-a-millionaire" target="_blank" rel="noopener">caught</a> a barramundi worth $1 million, that was part of a years-long fishing competition in the Top End. </p> <p>While dong the media rounds to celebrate his life-changing win, Keegan spoke with Stefanovic on <em>Sky News</em>, who chose to focus on a petty crime Keegan committed when he was just 16-years-old, cutting the joy of his win short. </p> <p>"There is a claim online that you stole a Polaris Ranger and Polaris quad that you and your friends stole and damaged from a business a few years back, first of all, is that true?" Stefanovic asked from his <a id="mol-c0669630-0788-11ef-a01a-6393dcd80371" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/sydney/index.html" target="_self">Sydney</a> studio during the live interview.</p> <p>Payne, who was speaking from the Darwin, simply answered, "Yes".</p> <p>"So, what happened?" Mr Stefanovic pressed.</p> <p>Payne explained he and his friends "were young", and "weren't thinking at the time" but having come up with the idea they "went for it".</p> <p>Stefanovic asked Payne if he regretted the act and he said he did "big time".</p> <p>Social media users were quick to condemn Stefanovic's line of questioning to the teenager, saying he chose to cut him down on live TV, rather than celebrate his success. </p> <p>One person wrote online, "Reporter hears good news. Does everything they can to dig up dirt and be negative. He made a mistake and took the fall out for it and was forgiven way before this win!"</p> <p>Another simply said, "S***ty reporting as usual", while others asked why people couldn't "just be happy for this kid?"</p> <p>"No one's perfect, but to shame him on tv? Talk about rip the carpet from beneath him! Stop kicking people back down when they move forward!" another added</p> <p>"Shows the mentality of dipsh*ts who like ruin other peoples happiness!"</p> <p>Another simply called Stefanovic a "grub", and said he was being "unfair" on the teenager.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Sky News / Million Dollar Fish  </em></p>

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Woolies boss' multi-million dollar payout revealed

<p>Chief executive Brad Banducci announced his <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/retirement-life/woolies-ceo-quits-after-disaster-interview" target="_blank" rel="noopener">early retirement </a>on Wednesday, following a series of PR disasters for the brand and just days after a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/i-think-i-m-done-the-question-that-made-woolies-ceo-leave-interview" target="_blank" rel="noopener">trainwreck interview</a> with <em>ABC Four Corners</em>.</p> <p>Now, the staggering amount he will be paid-out for walking away from the top job has been revealed. </p> <p>According to a report published by T<em>he Australian</em>, the supermarket boss will take home a share portfolio worth an estimated $24.4 million.</p> <p>This is in addition to the $6.5 million he would likely be paid-out from his salary. </p> <p>Banducci will step down from his position in September and he will be replaced by former WooliesX leader <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/new-woolies-ceo-s-huge-salary-revealed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Amanda Bardwell</a>, who will take over as Chief Executive then.</p> <p>Woolworths Group has denied the suggestion that the resignation was related to the disaster Four Corners interview where Banducci tried to walk away in the middle of being questioned about price gouging. </p> <p>A senate inquiry is also currently investigating whether major supermarkets across the country have engaged in price gouging, as the cost-of-living continues to rise. </p> <p>Banducci has been involved in a series of public controversies before his retirement, including when he came under fire after the supermarket announced it would <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/woolworths-under-fire-for-dropping-australia-day-merch" target="_blank" rel="noopener">stop selling Australia Day merchandise </a>ahead of the national holiday in January.</p> <p><em>Image: Today</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Happy birthday AUD: how our Australian dollar was floated, 40 years ago this week

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selwyn-cornish-1297285">Selwyn Cornish</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-hawkins-746285">John Hawkins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865"><em>University of Canberra</em></a></em></p> <p>These days, we take for granted that the value of the Australian dollar fluctuates against other currencies, changing thousands of times a day and at times jumping or falling quite a lot in the space of a week.</p> <p>But for most of Australia’s history, the value of the Australian dollar – and the earlier Australian pound – was “<a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/education/resources/explainers/exchange-rates-and-their-measurement.html#:%7E:text=exchange%20rate%20volatility.-,Pegged,or%20a%20basket%20of%20currencies.">pegged</a>” to either gold, pound sterling, the US dollar or to a value of a basket of currencies.</p> <p>The momentous decision to <a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/the-long-road-that-led-to-the-floating-of-the-australian-dollar-20141121-11ra30">float</a> the dollar was taken on Friday December 9 1983 by the Hawke Labor Government, which was elected nine months earlier.</p> <p>As they approached the cabinet room at what is now Old Parliament House, Treasurer Paul Keating asked Reserve Bank Governor Bob Johnston to write him a letter to say the bank recommended floating.</p> <p>The letter, dated December 9, referred to the bank’s concern about the "volume of foreign exchange purchases and its belief that if these flows are to be brought under control we shall need to face up without delay either to less Reserve Bank participation in the exchange market or capital controls."</p> <p>By “less Reserve Bank participation”, Johnston meant a managed float; direct controls were to be considered “as a last resort”.</p> <p>The bank had long maintained a “<a href="https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/the-long-road-that-led-to-the-floating-of-the-australian-dollar-20141121-11ra30">war book</a>”, bearing the intriguing label “Secret Matter”, outlining the procedures to be followed in the event of a decision to float.</p> <p>An updated version was handed to the treasurer the day before the decision.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/articles/floating-exchange-rates-after-ten-years/">US</a> and the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/23/newsid_2518000/2518927.stm">UK</a> floated their currencies in the early 1970s. Since the early 1980s the value of the dollar had been set via a “<a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2018/dec/understanding-exchange-rates-and-why-they-are-important.html">crawling peg</a>” – meaning its value was pegged to other currencies each week, and later each day, by a committee of officials who announced the values at <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/inside-the-floating-of-the-a-20131211-2z698.html">9.30 each morning</a>.</p> <p>If too much or too little money came into the country as a result of the rate the authorities had set, they adjusted it the next day, sometimes losing money to speculators who had bet they wouldn’t be able to hold the rate they had set.</p> <p>Keating had Johnston accompany him to the December 9 press conference instead of Treasury Secretary John Stone, who had argued against the float in the cabinet room, putting the case for direct controls on capital inflows instead.</p> <p>Johnston’s presence was meant to make clear that at least the central bank supported floating the dollar.</p> <h2>Speculators now speculate against themselves</h2> <p>Keating told the press conference the float meant the speculators would be “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/from-the-archives-1983-the-australian-dollar-floats-free-20191206-p53hjq.html">speculating against themselves</a>”, rather than against the authorities.</p> <p>One banker quoted that night confessed to being “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/from-the-archives-1983-the-australian-dollar-floats-free-20191206-p53hjq.html">absolutely staggered</a>”. “I’m not sure they know what they have done,” the banker said.</p> <p>The following Monday on ABC’s AM program, presenter <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2003-12-08/20-years-since-dollar-floated/102568">Red Harrison</a> heralded “a brave new world for the Australian dollar”. He said, "from today the dollar must take its chance, subject to the supply and demand of the international marketplace, and there are suggestions that foreign exchange dealers expect a nervous start to trading when the first quotes are posted this morning."</p> <p>At the time, the Australian dollar was worth 90 US cents. At first it <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/speeches/2013/sp-gov-211113.html">rose</a>, before settling back.</p> <p>Since then, the Australian dollar has fluctuated from a low of <a href="https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/australian-dollar-floated">47.75</a> US cents in April 2001 to a high of US$1.10 in July 2011.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="6ExL8" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6ExL8/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>The long road to the float</h2> <p>The idea first took hold in Australia when Commonwealth Bank Governor <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2022/dec/hc-coombs-governor-of-australias-central-bank-1949-1968.html">“Nugget” Coombs</a> visited Canada in 1953, at a time when it was one of the few countries with a floating exchange rate.</p> <p>On his return, Coombs wrote the bank should consider Canada’s experience.</p> <p>A strong advocate from the mid-1960s was the bank’s economist <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1475-4932.1986.tb00915.x">Austin Holmes</a>. Among those he mentored at what by then was called the Reserve Bank were Bob Johnston, Don Sanders and John Phillips.</p> <p>All three were in the cabinet room when the decision was taken.</p> <h2>Backed by Cairns, opposed by Abbott</h2> <p>An unlikely advocate in the 1970s was the left-wing Labor treasurer <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/05Hawkins.pdf">Jim Cairns</a>.</p> <p>But asked in 1979 whether he was in favour of a float, the then Reserve Bank governor <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/about-rba/history/governors/sir-harold-murray-knight.html">Harry Knight</a> responded by quoting Saint Augustine, saying “God make me pure, but not yet”. An oil shock was making markets turbulent at the time.</p> <p>In 1981, the Campbell inquiry into the Australian financial system delivered a landmark report to Treasurer John Howard, <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/p1981-afs">recommending</a> a float. The idea was backed by neither the Treasury nor Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.</p> <p>Two years later, Howard watched from opposition as Labor did what he could not.</p> <p>The Liberal Party generally backed Labor’s move, with one notable exception – the later prime minister, <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/tony-abbott-wrote-20-years-ago-floating-dollar-didnt-make-sense-20131206-2ywpm.html">Tony Abbott</a>, who in 1994 wrote that "changing the price of the dollar moment by moment in response to each transaction makes no more sense than altering the price of cornflakes every time a buyer takes a packet off the supermarket shelves."</p> <h2>A success by any measure</h2> <p>The floating exchange rate has served Australia well.</p> <p>When the Australian economy has slowed or contracted – in the early 1990s, the Asian financial crisis, the global financial crisis and in the COVID recession – the Australian dollar has fallen, making Australian exports cheaper in foreign markets.</p> <p>When mining booms have sucked money into the country, the Australian dollar has climbed, spreading the benefit and fighting inflation by increasing the buying power of Australian dollars.</p> <p>It’s why these days, hardly anyone wants to return to a <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/education/resources/explainers/exchange-rates-and-their-measurement.html">pegged</a> rate.<!-- 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/217548/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/selwyn-cornish-1297285">Selwyn Cornish</a>, Honorary Associate Professor, Research School of Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/australian-national-university-877">Australian National University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-hawkins-746285">John Hawkins</a>, Senior Lecturer, Canberra School of Politics, Economics and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>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/happy-birthday-aud-how-our-australian-dollar-was-floated-40-years-ago-this-week-217548">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Mariah Carey slapped with multi-million dollar lawsuit over hit festive song

<p dir="ltr">Mariah Carey is facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit over her hit festive song, as another musician has come forward claiming she plagiarised an original work.</p> <p dir="ltr">Carey’s song <em>All I Want For Christmas Is You</em> has long been a staple of December, and has sold over 10 million copies since its 1994 release. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, Andy Stone, lead vocalist of Vince Vance and the Valiants, claims Carey infringed on his copyright. </p> <p dir="ltr">Stone co-wrote a song, which has the same title as Carey’s smash hit, in 1989 to which he claims Carey and her team of copying his song’s “compositional structure,” according to the complaint obtained by <a href="https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/mariah-carey-facing-20-million-lawsuit-over-all-i-want-for-christmas-is-you" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Fox News Digital</a>.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/w8HWHd0EYJA?si=IdW0GIKXEQBJqaO_" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">The court documents state that Carey “directly” copied lyrics from Stone’s 1989 hit and “approximately 50 per cent” of the song is copyright infringement.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stone went on to claim that Carey and her team “undoubtedly” had access to his version of <em>All I Want For Christmas is You</em> due to its “wide commercial and cultural success.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Stone’s track charted on Billboard for years, with the band even performing the track at the White House in 1994 - the same year Carey’s festive song was released. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Carey has capitalised on the success of her infringing work,” Stone’s complaint alleged. </p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yXQViqx6GMY?si=Exrq9M0AA2u5XRpB" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">“<em>All I Want For Christmas is You</em> has become a ubiquitous part of popular culture, and Carey’s name has become synonymous with the season.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Stone first sued Carey over the copyright issue in June 2022 in a Louisiana court before dropping the claim five months later. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys list multimillion-dollar home

<p dir="ltr">TV presenter power couple Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys have listed their Double Bay terrace for sale. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple placed their home on the market for $4.5 million, as they start the search for a bigger and better family home for them and their two sons. </p> <p dir="ltr">The four-bedroom terrace with two-and-a-half bathrooms in Epping Rd is scheduled to go under the hammer on August 22nd with a $4.5m price guide via Oliver Lavers of The Rubinstein Group.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stefanovic, a co-host of <em>First Edition</em> on Sky News Australia, and Jeffreys, co-host of <em>Today Extra</em> on Channel 9, had bought the home on a 186 sqm block for $2.7m in 2016.</p> <p dir="ltr">In their seven years at the home, the couple have made a range of improvements including adding off-street parking, and created an impressive outdoor entertainment area with inbuilt seating and barbecue in the rear courtyard.</p> <p dir="ltr">The impressive property boasts open plan living areas, polished timber floors, marble finishes in the kitchen, and underfloor heating in the bathrooms. </p> <p dir="ltr">Two master-sized bedrooms open to balconies, alongside a third on the upper floor, and a versatile fourth bedroom could serve as an office.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple met in 2014 when they were both colleagues at Channel Nine - she was working on <em>The Today Show</em> while he was a foreign correspondent for <em>Nine News</em>, and they bumped into each other in the station’s carpark. </p> <p dir="ltr">Two years later in 2016, Stefanovic popped the question in a French vineyard, and they were married the following year in Kangaroo Valley.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple have two sons - Oscar, who was born in early 2020 and Henry, who arrived a little more than a year later.</p> <p dir="ltr">With their sons growing up and needing more space, the family are looking for a bigger home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: realestate.com.au / Instagram</em></p>

Real Estate

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Amanda Keller snaps up multi-million dollar townhouse

<p dir="ltr">Australian radio and TV presenter Amanda Keller has snapped up a townhouse in Sydney’s Newtown area with husband Harley Oliver. </p> <p dir="ltr">The property set them back $1.923 million, a hefty price tag that likely had a lot to do with its sought after location just steps from the busy Enmore Road. </p> <p dir="ltr">It boasts a modern warehouse-style appearance, with two levels that contain three bedrooms - one with its own built-in wardrobe and balcony - and an additional 47 sq m for garage space. However, the home’s title declares a total of 343 sq m, as it also includes a garden courtyard.</p> <p dir="ltr">Described as being at the back of “a whisper-quiet complex”, the townhouse is one of four, and features polished concrete floors throughout, an open plan living space with bifolds onto a paved courtyard, a renovated laundry, and high ceiling with exposed beams. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The combination of quality modern comforts and generous proportions offers an unsurpassed standard of living,” its listing read. </p> <p dir="ltr">It was listed through Adrian William Real Estate’s Adrian Tsavalas and Kate Ferrante, and was the first time the house had been on the market since 2013, when it sold for less than half of its 2023 price at $870,000.</p> <p dir="ltr">The median price of a three-bedroom home in Newtown has been tracked by PopTrack as $1.876, while in July 2022, it was at a high of $1.95 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">Keller and Oliver reportedly snapped up their latest property as an investment, though there is currently no evidence that it is being advertised on any rental website.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple - who have been married since 1990 - are no strangers to Sydney real estate, having lived in Coogee for over two decades after making a move from the northern beaches. They’ve made their fair share of changes to their home in that time, submitting four different development applications for the likes of a pool and a ‘vergola’.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to CoreData, they bought that long-term home in 2001 for $900,000, while prices now average at around $2.615 million in the suburb.</p> <p dir="ltr">They also own a property in the South Coast at Culburra Beach, and paid only slightly less for it - $1.475 million - than their lavish Newtown buy.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: realestate.com.au, Getty</em></p>

Real Estate

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The Devil Wears Prada iconic townhouse up for grabs

<p dir="ltr">This multi million-dollar house is nothing short of iconic.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Upper East Side townhouse where fictional magazine editor Miranda Priestly resided in David Frankel’s groundbreaking film The Devil Wears Prada has hit the market.</p> <p dir="ltr">Unsurprisingly, the home of the glamorous Runway editor-in-chief, rumoured to be based on Vogue’s Anna Wintour is priced at an eye-watering $40 million. </p> <p dir="ltr">Fans of the beloved 2006 film are sure to recognise the seven-bedroom, six-level home’s grand entrance and spiral staircase as Anne Hathaway’s character Andrea Sachs delivered a mock-up of Runway magazines to Meryl Streep’s character, Priestly in the film. </p> <p dir="ltr">But the infamous staircase also appears on the set of another fictional Upper East Side world.</p> <p dir="ltr">The stairwell briefly appears in the teen drama Gossip Girl’s final episode, for the wedding of Penn Badgley's character Dan and Blake Lively's Serena.</p> <p dir="ltr">Modlin Group boss Adam D. Modlin holds the listing for the neo-Italian renaissance-style limestone and marble townhouse, which last sold in 2003 for $8.8 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home was originally built in 1907 by architect Stanford White and was renovated in 2005 with a tasteful interior design by Diamond Barrata.</p> <p dir="ltr">The top floor of the breathtaking abode includes a custom-built basketball court, as well as a terrace with a spa.</p> <p dir="ltr">Adding to the 129 East 73rd St home’s A-list status, it’s just across the road from American journalist and political activist Gloria Steinem’s NYC pad.<span id="docs-internal-guid-94252d77-7fff-d9d4-58a6-3cd7cc758958"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Instagram/Realestate.com.au </em></p>

Movies

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Million dollar baby! Video of newborn covered in money sparks outrage

<p>The bizarre moment a new father covered his newborn child in $100 bills has gone viral, sending social media into a frenzy over the strange act. </p> <p>The video shows a sleeping newborn in a crib in a hospital's nursery, while an adult covers the baby boy in $100 bills. </p> <p>Despite a blanket covering the baby's body, many were quick to point out just how many germs and bacteria live on cash notes, with many worried about the child picking up an infection from the dirty money. </p> <p>According to <a href="https://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1914560_1914558_1914544,00.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noreferrer noopener">TIME</a>, paper money can reportedly carry more germs than a household toilet - and hundreds of species of microorganisms can live on the cash for days. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Man covers his new born baby with hundreds 😳 <a href="https://t.co/AFEYajIY6N">pic.twitter.com/AFEYajIY6N</a></p> <p>— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) <a href="https://twitter.com/DailyLoud/status/1650660162930196485?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 25, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>People took to Twitter to show their outrage at the germs, with one person saying, "Bro just created a bacteria blanket for a newborn."</p> <p>Another shared the same sentiment, writing, "Unless those are brand new bills straight from the bank, he just covered his baby in a blanket of germs."</p> <p>Another person said, "Very very unhygienic I hope baby doesn't get sick..." while a fourth added, "Money is full of pathogens, I wouldn't compromise the baby's health."</p> <p>Others cut the happy parent some slack, saying it was a strange decision to shower the baby with money, but said they could understand the person's excitement over the bundle of joy. </p> <p>One person said, "Probably a proud first-time father and isn't thinking about how ridiculous this is. Down the line he'll show his baby the picture and they'll have a good laugh out of it."</p> <p>Another wrote, "An unusual way to wish prosperity to the newborn but again different stroke for different folks!"</p> <p><em>Image credits: Twitter</em></p>

Family & Pets

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When’s the best time to use frequent flyer miles to book flights? Two economists crunched the numbers on maximizing their dollar value

<p>Traveling during major holidays like Thanksgiving can be expensive, since so many people want to see their friends and families, wherever they might be.</p> <p>It’s especially hard this year with <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CPIAUCSL">inflation soaring</a> at the fastest pace since the early 1980s. Airline fares <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CUSR0000SETG01#0">were up 43% in October</a> from a year earlier – only a <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.t02.htm">handful of categories increased by more</a>.</p> <p>One way to ease the blow to your wallet or purse is by using frequent flyer miles. While there’s <a href="https://doi.org/10.1145/2733384">quite a bit</a> of research on when is the <a href="https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/215872">best time to use cash</a> to buy flights, <a href="https://www.bu.edu/questrom/profile/huseyin-karaca/">we wondered</a> – as travel lovers – if there’s an optimal time to use miles. So with the help of <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HikpvLqt_M8OfXrCXta4rm76Z_JreLJt/view">our research assistant</a>, we investigated this question, with a focus on flights over the Thanksgiving holiday.</p> <h2>Americans return to the skies</h2> <p>The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days to travel in the U.S.</p> <p>Before the COVID-19 pandemic upended travel, the Transportation Security Administration <a href="https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus/passenger-throughput">screened 2.6 million people</a> on Thanksgiving eve of 2019, just shy of the 2.9 million record. While the number plunged in 2020 as demand dropped, it picked up to 2.3 million last year and <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/this-thanksgiving-is-expected-to-be-one-of-the-busiest-for-travel-in-decades-11668532148">is expected to return</a> to pre-COVID-19 levels this year.</p> <p>The surge in demand, along with significantly higher jet fuel costs, are key factors in leading to more expensive air fares.</p> <p>To offset these higher costs, <a href="https://newsroom.wf.com/English/news-releases/news-release-details/2022/New-Study-Americans-Lean-Into-Credit-Card-Rewards-to-Offset-Rising-Costs--Including-Travel/default.aspx">many consumers</a> may turn to frequent flyer miles – whether accumulated from other travel or from credit cards – to avoid forking over so much cash.</p> <h2>Frequent flying 101</h2> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2015.1096095">Frequent flyer mile programs started</a> in the late 1970s after the <a href="https://www.faa.gov/about/history/brief_history">federal government stopped regulating</a> airfares. Before the change, fares, routes and schedules for all domestic flights were set by the federal Civil Aeronautics Board.</p> <p>Besides slashing fares, <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Travel/airline-frequent-flyer-miles-30-years/story?id=13616082">airlines reacted by creating frequent flyer programs</a>. Texas International Airlines, which ultimately merged with United, and Western Airlines, which later joined Delta, were among the first to institute frequent flyer programs.</p> <p>In a particular airline’s frequent flyer program, you earn miles when you fly with that airline. Many people get miles by using their credit cards as well. These accumulated miles can then be redeemed for free air travel.</p> <p>Frequent flyer programs were designed to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/02634509810199535">build customer loyalty</a>, as they provide a rebate to regular passengers. They are also <a href="https://hbr.org/1995/05/do-rewards-really-create-loyalty">meant to lock travelers</a> into a particular airline – since they have a strong incentive to only fly with that carrier.</p> <p>One downside is that many business flyers go out of their way to use their preferred airline, <a href="https://www.informs.org/About-INFORMS/News-Room/Press-Releases/Study-Finds-that-Frequent-Flyer-Programs-Increase-Cost-of-Business-Travel">which boosts their company’s travel costs</a>.</p> <p>And although airlines use frequent flyer programs to increase customer goodwill, they frequently <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/united-airlines-loyalty-program-status-update">change the rules and rewards</a>, which often <a href="https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/delta-just-announced-a-change-that-will-make-people-very-mad-its-actually-a-brilliant-move.html">frustrates customers</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://doi.org/10.1145/2733384">Researchers have looked</a> at the <a href="https://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/215872">optimal time to buy</a> airplane <a href="https://doi.org/10.1057/s41272-019-00193-7">tickets</a> with cash. In general, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2022/08/31/best-time-to-book-a-cheap-flight/?sh=23fdd1e72ebc">they have found prices</a> tend to dip anywhere from two months to three weeks before the travel dates. Prices are highest for those who want to book their flights very early, to lock it in, and last-minute travelers booking just before their departure dates.</p> <h2>How frequent flyer miles compare</h2> <p>To see when’s the best time to book with miles, we looked at <a href="https://www.oag.com/busiest-routes-right-now">one of the busiest routes in the U.S.</a> – New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX). Each month, airlines have over a quarter of a million seats flying direct on that route. There are about 30 nonstop flights a day, run by <a href="https://www.aa.com/en-us/flights-from-new-york-to-los-angeles">three</a> <a href="https://www.delta.com/us/en/flight-deals/united-states-flights/flights-to-los-angeles">different</a> <a href="https://www.jetblue.com/destinations/los-angeles-california-flights">airlines</a>.</p> <p>Starting about three months before Thanksgiving, we collected weekly data from the online booking sites of these three airlines. We tracked the frequent flyer miles needed as well as the price for every coach flight scheduled to take place within one week of Thanksgiving.</p> <p>As miles are not interchangeable between airlines in general, we needed an alternative measure for more direct comparison between different airlines. So we calculated how much a frequent flyer mile is worth by dividing the number of frequent flyer miles needed by the ticket price. We then compared the dollar worth of 1,000 miles, depending on the airline, when the booking was made and the flight date.</p> <p><a href="http://businessmacroeconomics.com/">Economic theory</a> tells us that when there is lots of competition and the product is almost identical, competition should result in all businesses charging roughly the same price.</p> <p>That wasn’t what we found.</p> <p>In mid-October, Delta was asking 69,000 miles to fly the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. American Airlines was only asking 33,000 miles for roughly the same flight. This means if you have a <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-travel-credit-cards/">general travel rewards credit card</a> that lets you use miles on different airlines, it pays to shop around.</p> <p>Just because an airline has a high price in miles doesn’t mean the price will not come down. At the start of November, Delta wanted 69,000 miles to fly at dinnertime on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. A week later the airline cut the price to 53,000 miles. A week after that, it was down to 36,500 miles, a price drop of almost 50% in two weeks.</p> <p>While in general the earlier you book, the better, booking too early can cost you. We found the best time to spend your frequent flyer miles for Thanksgiving travel was to book during the first week of October, which was about eight weeks out. In early October, 1,000 frequent flyer miles were worth over $14 in airfare. The last week of October, about four weeks before Thanksgiving, those same miles were only worth shy of $12.</p> <h2>The best day to fly</h2> <p>As for what is the best day on which to travel to get the most from your miles, there are two answers. On the Monday before Thanksgiving, your miles are typically worth the most, on average $15 per 1,000 miles. This is in sharp contrast to $11 for the day before Thanksgiving. However, flying Thanksgiving Day itself had required the lowest average number of miles, about 27,000 miles.</p> <p>If you haven’t booked flights yet, you may be too late to find the best value in frequent flyer miles. However, while we are still gathering and analyzing data, these tips look like they will hold up for future holidays.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/whens-the-best-time-to-use-frequent-flyer-miles-to-book-flights-two-economists-crunched-the-numbers-on-maximizing-their-dollar-value-194893" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Travel Tips

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Thousands of dollars now available for flood victims

<p dir="ltr">The victims of recent flooding events in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania are now eligible for financial support from the federal government.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thousands of dollars in support will include ongoing payments for eligible Aussies who have lost income as a result of the floods, paid at the same rate as JobSeeker.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The disaster recovery allowance is a payment that’s currently being made across all 71 LGAs (local government areas) ... for a total of up to 13 weeks,” Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen told <em>Sunrise</em>.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-17a7461f-7fff-8d81-d790-8fdc3bbb12f0"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s to help people that have lost work or income as a direct result of the floods, regardless of whether you’re an employer, sole trader or an employee.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Financial support is now available for people affected by flooding in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.</p> <p>Claim online through <a href="https://twitter.com/myGovau?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@myGovau</a> or call our Emergency information line on 180 22 66.</p> <p>Read more: <a href="https://t.co/JZxDScPQsJ">https://t.co/JZxDScPQsJ</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NSWFloods?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NSWFloods</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VicFloods?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#VicFloods</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TasFloods?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TasFloods</a> <a href="https://t.co/oF1ZEnpT40">pic.twitter.com/oF1ZEnpT40</a></p> <p>— Services Australia (@ServicesGovAU) <a href="https://twitter.com/ServicesGovAU/status/1581867612853899264?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 17, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jongen explained that those already on JobSeeker weren’t eligible for the allowance, which is available on top of a one-off sum of $1000 for adults and $400 per child to help those seriously affected by the floods.</p> <p dir="ltr">But, fewer Local Government Areas (LGAs) qualify for the lump sum along with the allowance, with eligible LGAs being determined by the National Emergency Management Agency.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is an ever-changing situation and the National Emergency Management Agency is constantly monitoring, and it works with other government agencies in order to make these declarations,” Mr Jongen explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">The national support comes after <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/monetary-help-confirmed-for-victoria-s-flood-victims" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced assistance</a> would be available for victims of the floods which inundated the state since last Friday.</p> <p dir="ltr">To determine whether you are eligible for financial assistance from the federal government, head <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/natural-disaster-events?context=60042" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-b290c595-7fff-b55a-8661-cfa4f8957290"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Meghan Markle's million-dollar giveaway

<p>Meghan Markle has announced a $1 million giveaway to women in need.</p> <p>The project is the first of its kind for Meghan and Prince Harry, in partnership with their Archewell Foundation and the duchess' podcast Archetypes.</p> <p>Meghan said she was inspired by the "two things" that bring her joy: "supporting women, and the spirit of giving".</p> <p>The Archewell Foundation is partnering with the Ving project, which gives young people the chance to surprise someone in need with a $1,000 cheque ($1500 AUD).</p> <p>The project was inspired by <em>Archetypes</em>, Meghan's podcast series on Spotify which explores stereotypes and labels that hold women back.</p> <p>In a statement, Meghan said, "Two things that bring me great joy are supporting women and the spirit of giving."</p> <p>"With the return of <em>Archetypes</em>, Archewell Foundation and VING have come together to create the perfect combination of these loves."</p> <p>"By donating $1 million in grants to women in need, our hope is not to only provide support where it may be felt deepest, but also empower young adults to embrace the gift of giving at an early age."</p> <p>"I'm very proud of this partnership and the good we hope to see come from it."</p> <p>Teenagers aged between the age of 14 and 18 are being urged to nominate a woman in their life who has inspired them and defied life's hardships, and explain the reasons behind their nomination.</p> <p>Nominees must be adult US residents, non-extended or immediate family members and in need of financial assistance to be eligible for the cash prize.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Woman shares why she planned to sue after winning multi-million dollar jackpot

<p dir="ltr">A UK woman who won over a million dollars through the lottery has described it as a “twisted fairytale” rather than a dream come true.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jane Park, who won the £1 million Euromillions lottery in 2013, said winning big isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, revealing that she has been blackmailed and threatened with violence ever since, per <em><a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/19570621/jane-park-lottery-pleas-money-strangers/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a></em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The lottery should come with a health warning similar to smoking or drinking,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I understand they can’t make winning sound awful but they have a responsibility to not mislead the public.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After threatening to sue Camelot, the company that sold her the fateful ticket when she was just 17, prompted changes preventing those under 18 from having a gamble, she said the change doesn’t go far enough.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Park also wants ads for the game to be aired later at night - rather than during time slots that kids will be watching - and thinks that Lotto chiefs shouldn’t wait until someone wins to warn players of what’s in store.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The adverts should be aired later in the evening and advertising should be out of the way from children,” she said,</p> <p dir="ltr">“It sounds silly but children dream of either being famous or winning the lottery, and if it wasn’t so glamorised maybe there would be more ambition rather than gambling.</p> <p dir="ltr">“People always refer to the lottery as ‘playing the lottery’, but it’s not ‘playing’, it’s just plain gambling, apart from picking some number there is no game element to it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“How it wasn’t held to the same legislation as gambling from the beginning baffles me.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Park revealed that she is bombarded with pleas for help in the form of cash from strangers and that she’s even proposed to on a weekly basis.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It may be parents with terminally-ill children or needing life-changing surgery. Uni students want me to pay for their education,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I also get a lot of marriage proposals, I’d say I get at least one a week. It’s not from anyone interested in me, it’s from people interested in the money.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Edinburgh native has previously spoken about her fight to increase the age limit, which she had planned to take to court until her cause became the subject of media attention.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was prepared to go to court to get my argument known, but the media attention it received got my point heard by the right people and I didn’t need to go that far in the end,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I know that is directly because of the attention I brought to the subject.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Part one of my mission was to have the age range increased, part two is to try and make advertising the lottery more truthful.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She added that it’s “wrong” that the lotto is glamorised as “dream come true money”, when in reality she described it more as a “twisted fairytale” where strangers ask about her bank balance daily.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m proud that I have invested my money wisely and nine years later I’m still living a good life,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It just feels like people are waiting for the day I become broke and homeless, but I won’t let that happen.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A spokesperson for the Department of Media Culture and Sport said the law was changed so that only those over the age of 18 could take part in the National Lottery, up from the previous minimum age of 16.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The National Lottery is regulated by the Gambling Commission and we will not hesitate to act further if we consider it necessary,” they said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-ecf45aca-7fff-7df7-9cbc-ec78fdfc4615"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: @janeparkx (Instagram)</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Million-dollar home sold with squatter living in the basement

<p dir="ltr">A house in the US state of Virginia has sold for way above the asking price, despite coming with a stranger living in the basement. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to public records, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom house sold for $A1.1m ($US805,000) to an unnamed buyer on April 15th. </p> <p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3709-Prado-Pl-Fairfax-VA-22031/51836844_zpid/">online listing</a> quickly went viral, after it noted that putting an offer in on the home required  “an acknowledgement that home will convey with a person(s) living in lower level with no lease in place.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“NO ACCESS to see lower level,” the listing added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Just days after the home was listed, an Instagram account called Zillow Gone Wild posted about the bizarre listing, noting that it came with “a specific clause in the purchase price”. </p> <p dir="ltr">The post racked up over 35,000 likes and comments from users speculating about the identity of the basement tenant and poking fun at the unusual circumstances of the sale.</p> <p dir="ltr">“800k for 5 bd, 4 ba and your own serial killer,” a user commented.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Is the basement haunted? Feels like the basement is haunted,” another wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Before the sale closed, the listing agent told the <a href="https://nypost.com/2022/04/14/virginia-man-selling-home-after-squatter-refuses-to-leave/">New York Post</a> that the seller of the home was an elderly man who was sick in the hospital and had offered the basement dweller a place to stay three years ago after she cleaned his home and “convinced him that she needed a place to stay”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So he offered her the basement, but then she never left. And she does not pay rent,” Rodgers-Rickert added.</p> <p dir="ltr">The agent told the publication that the man’s family was hoping to sell the home before he died because he didn’t have a will and they didn’t have the money to hire a lawyer to work on the eviction of the “tenant”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rodgers-Rickert declined to comment to NBC News on the circumstances of the seller or the basement dweller following the sale of the house to a new owner. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Zillow</em></p>

Real Estate

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Million-dollar reward offered 20 years after woman disappeared

<p dir="ltr">Two decades after she disappeared, authorities have increased a reward of $1 million for information relating to the whereabouts of missing NSW woman Amber Haigh.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Haigh vanished on June 5, 2002, and was reported missing on June 19 after she didn’t return to her Kingsvale home where she lived with her six-month-old son and a married couple.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-60d548c7-7fff-8689-2430-fd8ad5e1bbf8"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">According to a statement from NSW Police, they were told the married couple dropped Ms Haigh off at Campbelltown train station on Wednesday 5, as she had planned to travel to Mt Druitt to visit her hospitalised father.</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnswpoliceforce%2Fposts%2F366441632194929&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="638" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">The increase was announced by the NSW Government and NSW Police Force, in a move that has been welcomed by Ms Haigh’s family.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rosalind Wright, Ms Haigh’s mother, said she “knows in her heart she (Amber) would never have left her son” while Ms Haigh’s sister, Melissa Millar-Hodder, has urged anyone with information to come forward.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any information would help, please contact police,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Amer had a kind, warm, loving soul. She would help anyone she can if she needed help.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Her son never got to know or grow up with his caring, loving mum.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a58e8558-7fff-a5c0-585e-4cd05fae1fc1"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“This impact this has had is feeling incomplete, feeling lost. Not knowing where she is and what happened to Amber, not even to lay her to rest, or pick up the phone or give her hugs one last time; that has been taken away from us.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/04/haigh-relatives.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Amber Haigh’s sister (left) and mother (right) shared a video message urging anyone with information to come forward. Image: NSW Police (Hightail)</em></p> <p dir="ltr">After a 2011 Coronial Inquest found Ms Haigh to be deceased as a result of homicide or other misadventure, a formal review of the case was conducted in 2020 resulted in the investigation re-commencing under Strike Force Villamar II.</p> <p dir="ltr">Detective Superintendent and Homicide Squad Commander Danny Doherty told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/amber-haigh-reward-of-1-million-offered-20-years-after-nsw-woman-suspiciously-disappeared/2439461c-ea78-44fc-a052-8ed3237acf85" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News </a></em>police believed Ms Haigh was met with foul play but were yet to find enough evidence to prosecute.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But, to date, we have been unable to find enough evidence to prosecute anyone over her disappearance,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Police can only expect breakthroughs in these sorts of cases with the help of the public, so please, do what is right and come forward.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Anyone with information that could assist Strike Force Villamar II investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or <a href="https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au./" target="_blank" rel="noopener">online</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-91f906c0-7fff-cf6c-7f0a-5daf7937a3de"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: NSW Police (Hightail)</em></p>

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Elderly couple turn down million-dollar offer to buy their home

<p dir="ltr">An elderly couple has had a seemingly endless amount of money thrown at them by The Augusta National Club, which hosts the annual Masters Tournament, but they have continued to refuse to sell their long-held home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Herman and Elizabeth Thacker first built their home in Augusta, Georgia, in 1959, and have watched as the homes in their neighbourhood have been bought out and turned into a free car park across from the golf club over the last 10 years, according to the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2022/04/12/owner-of-holdout-house-on-masters-golf-course-shun-1m-offer-to-leave/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a>.</em></p> <p dir="ltr">In a 2016 interview with <a href="https://www.nj.com/golf/2016/04/masters_2016_the_house_that_au.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NJ.com</a>, the Thackers said their modest home was where they hoped to live out their final days.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We really don’t want to go”, Elizabeth said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Money ain’t everything,” Herman added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whenever a representative from the golf club came by to make an offer, including up to $1 million offers, the pair always invited him inside.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-8b8bc719-7fff-4063-fdaa-45a86009bec1"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“He’ll come by here every so often and he’ll say, ‘Just want to let you know we’re still interested in your property’,” Herman said. “And we’ll tell him the same thing again.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/04/google-maps-georgia.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Herman and Elizabeth Thacker have lived in the home since they built it in 1953. Image: Google Maps</em></p> <p dir="ltr">For Herman, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom home he’d lived in for more than 65 years was where he took his final breaths. The golf fan passed away in 2019 at age 86.</p> <p dir="ltr">Elizabeth, his wife of 64 years, is still living in their home.</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the years, the couple raised their two children in the home, and their family has since grown to include five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren who all manage to squeeze in when they visit for the holidays.</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the last 20 years, the golf club has spent more than $200 million purchasing over 100 properties that span a whopping 270 acres, according to the <em><a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/augusta-nationals-makes-a-200-million-land-grab-11554897600" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Wall Street Journal</a></em>, including a smaller property the Thackers owned across the street.</p> <p dir="ltr">They eventually sold their second home to the glub for a hefty $1.2 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They called us over there for the first time and made us an offer,” Herman said in the 2016 interview.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I asked him: ‘Is that your bottom line?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Well, we’ll see you then’, and we got up and walked out. It wasn’t long before he was calling back over here, wanting to know if he could talk to us again.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-c9f13199-7fff-6172-3383-41414b6396b0"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: NJ.com</em></p>

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Paul 'Fatty' Vautin lists multimillion-dollar penthouse

<p dir="ltr">Former footballer Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin and his wife Kim have listed their penthouse to fuel their dream home build.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple first bought the four-bedroom apartment for $1.8 million when it was newly built in 2009.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We walked in and thought ‘wow’ and then we walked on to the roof terrace, saw the views and thought ‘are you serious?’. We just knew we had to have it,” Mr Vautin <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/footy-pundit-paul-fatty-vautin-looks-to-offload-mermaid-beach-penthouse-for-4mplus/?rsf=syn:news:nca:news:spa:strap" target="_blank" rel="noopener">said</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think we might have overpaid but we didn’t care, we just wanted it and we have lived comfortably here ever since.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Spread over two floors and accessed via a private lift, the apartment is one of just three in the building and boasts panoramic views from its rooftop terrace that could fit up to 100 people.</p> <p dir="ltr">Inside, the apartment’s second floor features a cosy lounge area, a bedroom, bathroom, and a servery window connected to the flat’s fully-equipped kitchen.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the lower level you’ll find the family living spaces, master suite and three bedrooms with balconies.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even though they bought it more than a decade ago, “renovation queen” Ms Vautin has made sure the home has maintained a modern look that suits its highly sought-after coastal location.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is a great apartment but you always need to upgrade to stop spaces looking dated,” she explained. “And we wanted to renovate the rooftop to make it more functional.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It has been Ms Vautin’s love of renovating that has prompted the couple to sell to fulfil their dream of building their own home.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Kim always wanted to build a house, so we’ve decided to sell this, bank the money and then take our time to look around for something else,” Mr Vautin said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Whether we find an old home, knock it down and rebuild, we don’t care, we just want to have the time and space to do a good job.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Vautins are unsure where they’ll live once the penthouse sells, but they have two rental properties they could choose from.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s only going to be a year. We might even go travelling for a while, because we love travelling,” Mr Vautin said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home has been <a href="http://www.qldcoastrealty.com.au/20887172" target="_blank" rel="noopener">listed</a> through Queensland Coast Realty for offers over $4 million.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty Images, Queensland Coast Realty</em></p>

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Rundown Rose Bay mansion sells for 10,000 percent profit

<p dir="ltr">A crumbling mansion last sold in 1974 has gone under the hammer, selling for a 10,000 percent profit.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite sorely needing a paint job, its dilapidated roof, and <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-house-nsw-rose+bay-138314474" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a lack of interior photos</a> due to the state it was in, the property in Sydney’s Rose Bay was one of Sydney’s biggest auctions this year.</p><p dir="ltr">Its sky-high final price of $16.5 million can be attributed to its priceless 180-degree views of the city skyline, including the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.</p><p dir="ltr">The house was purchased by company director Norman Barrett in 1974 for $153,000, who died at 84, according to a death notice from last year.</p><p dir="ltr">The notice described him as the “loving father of Duncan and Amelia”, who he shared with the late actress Carmen Duncan.</p><p dir="ltr">Due to a caveat on the title, Duncan and Amelia stand to benefit from the property’s sale.</p><p dir="ltr">With nine registered parties and four competing in the sale, bidding opened at $12 million and jumped by increments of $100-200,000.</p><p dir="ltr">The new owner will build a new home on the 744 square-metre block to take advantage of the views, as reported by <em><a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/rose-bays-crumbling-mansion-that-last-traded-for-153000-sells-for-165m-at-hot-auction/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Realestate.com.au</a></em>.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Realestate.com.au</em></p>

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“Fairytale” chateau re-listed with million-dollar discount

<p dir="ltr">An estate dubbed Chateau Jardin Perfume has taken a price cut after being on the market since mid 2021.</p><p dir="ltr">The chateau-inspired mansion was first listed for $8 and $8.8 million, and has been <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/sassafras-vic-3787-2017057790" target="_blank" rel="noopener">relisted</a> with a price guide between $5.7 and $6.2 million.</p><p dir="ltr">Located in the town of Sassafras in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, the home has been renovated and filled with French chandeliers, Italian porcelain floors, custom statues, and an imported staircase.</p><p dir="ltr">The three-bedroom, three-bathroom house sits on 2600 square metres and has been described as a “fairytale”, “off-the-charts” and a “palace in the sky”.</p><p dir="ltr">Its current owners first bought the home in 2016 for $2.66 million, when it was marketed as “Beauxbatons Manor”, referencing the French wizardry school in the Harry Potter books.</p><p dir="ltr">After completing a swift, multimillion-dollar renovation, Peninsula Sotheby’s International says it has become the kind of home you’d find in the Hollywood Hills.</p><p dir="ltr">“When you look at the colouring of the decor, the splashes of pink, the outdoor furniture, which is all from LA, the Rolls-Royce in the garage, it is very Hollywood Hills, even with the aspect over Melbourne city which is typical of what you would see in LA,” agent Rob Curtain said.</p><p dir="ltr">Along with the glamourous finishings, the home features vivid colours and patterns like fuschia and leopard print throughout.</p><p dir="ltr">Originally, the interior and exterior furniture and furnishings - except the artwork - were included with the home.</p><p dir="ltr">With the relisting of the home, Mr Curtain told <em><a href="https://www.nine.com.au/property/news/fairytale-mansion-dandenong-ranges-for-sale/aef16231-7655-4cee-85a5-351dbc618f47" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Domain</a> </em>that the price would be readjusted accordingly if the prospective buyer didn’t wish to buy the fixtures and fittings - which may explain the new, reduced price.</p><p dir="ltr">Other luxe features include two separate master wings, a six-car garage, a “gold-class” theatre room with space for eight people, and an opulent cigar room.</p><p dir="ltr">The extensive renovations also saw the grounds undergo a major transformation, with the 2400-square-metre grounds undergoing extensive landscaping to create gardens filled with roses, camelias, gardenias, tulips, freesias, hyacinth, jasmine and Mexican orange blossom.</p><p dir="ltr">The fairytale atmosphere is made complete with the stunning pool featuring a mosaic tile rose on the bottom, as we</p><p dir="ltr">ll as with a series of stone paths and twinkling lights.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Domain</em></p>

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