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Bruce Lehrmann ordered to pay millions to Network Ten

<p>Bruce Lehrmann has been ordered to pay a whopping $2 million to Network Ten to cover the network's legal fees from his failed defamation lawsuit. </p> <p>Lehrmann's suit against the network, and in turn <em>The Project</em> and Lisa Wilkinson, came to a end when Justice Michael Lee found he had, on the balance of probabilities, raped Brittany Higgins at Parliament House in March 2019.</p> <p>The former Liberal staffer's case was dismissed after Justice Lee concluded he was not defamed by Lisa Wilkinson's tell-all interview with Brittany Higgins on <em>The Project</em> in 2021.</p> <p>Following the conclusion of the case, Lehrmann was ordered to pay Network Ten's astonishing legal fees, returning to court on Thursday to discuss the manner in which they will be paid.</p> <p>Ten’s barrister Zoe Graus on Thursday told the court that the broadcaster had sought a $2m lump-sum payment from Mr Lehrmann which Justice Lee ordered that Lehrmann pay, though he noted Mr Lehrmann was a man of “modest means”.</p> <p>As a result, Mr Lehrmann could be forced into bankruptcy if he fails to meet the hefty costs order.</p> <p>The court was told that Network 10 had offered to pay Ms Wilkinson $607,850 for the journalist’s legal costs, given the fact that she had independent representation during the trial. </p> <p>However, an independent referee will determine the final amount to be paid to Wilkinson. </p> <p><em>Image credits: MICK TSIKAS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Legal

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Why you should expect to pay more tourist taxes – even though the evidence for them is unclear

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a></em></p> <p>In April 2024, Venice began its controversial experiment to <a href="https://www.timeout.com/news/venice-will-charge-tourists-5-to-enter-the-city-from-next-year-090823">charge day trippers</a> €5 (£4.30) to visit the city on some of the busiest days of the year. But it’s not just the lagoon city, with its <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/travel/article/20230928-venices-new-5-entry-fee-explained#:%7E:text=Over%20the%20past%20three%20decades%2C%20Venice%20has%20become,thirds%20of%20visitors%20come%20just%20for%20the%20day.">30 million visitors</a> a year which is interested in trying out new tourism taxes.</p> <p>In the UK, a council in the county of Kent <a href="https://eur01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftheconversationuk.cmail20.com%2Ft%2Fr-l-tiuhhult-iukktlluuk-o%2F&amp;data=05%7C02%7Cr.a.gwilym%40bangor.ac.uk%7C39ac5db833674c1a026508dc63a24fa7%7Cc6474c55a9234d2a9bd4ece37148dbb2%7C0%7C0%7C638494795990617858%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C0%7C%7C%7C&amp;sdata=D6oVizx3pFoiwRaTcKaakQ079%2FIQx86jcbFpj2%2FS0RQ%3D&amp;reserved=0">has recommended</a> introducing a tourism tax on overnight stays in the county. In Scotland, it seems likely that <a href="https://edinburgh.org/planning/local-information/visitor-levy-for-edinburgh/#:%7E:text=The%20Edinburgh%20Visitor%20Levy%2C%20otherwise%20referred%20to%20as,would%20then%20be%20invested%20back%20into%20the%20city.">visitors to Edinburgh</a> will be paying a fee by 2026, and the Welsh government <a href="https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-government-announces-tourists-pay-26591498">plans to introduce</a> similar legislation later this year.</p> <p>Such taxes may seem new to the UK, but there are more than 60 destinations around the world where this type of tax is already in place. These vary from a nationwide tax in Iceland to various towns across the US. Some have been in place for a long time (France was the <a href="https://www.impots.gouv.fr/taxe-de-sejour">first in 1910</a>), but most were introduced during the last decade or two.</p> <p>Before the pandemic really struck (and tourism was put on hold), 2020 was described by one newspaper as the <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/tourist-tax-amsterdam-venice/">“year of the tourist tax”</a>, as Amsterdam joined an ever-growing list of destinations, which includes Paris, Malta and Cancun, to charge visitors for simply visiting.</p> <p>Introducing these tourist taxes has often been controversial, with industry bodies <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-62707152">voicing concerns</a> about the potential impacts on the tourist trade.</p> <p>And it appears that the link between such levies and visitor numbers is not simple, with several studies reaching different conclusions. For example, some have suggested that tourism levies have hindered <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0261517704000238">international tourism in the Balearics</a> and <a href="https://journals-sagepub-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1177/00472875211053658">the Maldives</a>, and that they may dissuade people from participating in <a href="https://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/35087/1/ADEDOYIN%2C%20Festus%20Fatai_Ph.D._2020.pdf">domestic tourism</a>.</p> <p>Yet in one of the world’s most popular tourism spots with a levy, Barcelona, visitor numbers have <a href="https://groupnao.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/TOURISM-TAXES-BY-DESIGN-NOV12-2020_rettet-compressed-2.pdf">consistently risen</a>, with hotel guests increasing from 7.1 million in 2013 to 9.5 million in 2019.</p> <p>In fact, the relationship between a visitor levy and tourist flow is so complex that there is no unified view, even within the same country. Italy has been one of the most studied, and results <a href="https://crenos.unica.it/crenosterritorio/sites/default/files/allegati-pubblicazioni-tes/Indagine_Villasimius_Quaderno_Crenos_ISBN.pdf">are inconsistent</a> <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jtr.2123">there too</a>.</p> <p>Another study, looking at three neighbouring Italian seaside spots finds that only in one destination has the visitor levy <a href="https://www.rivisteweb.it/doi/10.1429/77318">reduced tourist flow</a>. And a study on the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Padua shows that these cities <a href="https://link-springer-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-61274-0_23">have not experienced any negative effects</a> either in terms of domestic or international demand.</p> <p>So the impact of tourism taxes on visitor numbers is inconclusive.</p> <p>But what about other effects, such as the potential benefits of spending the revenues raised? As part of an ongoing research project, we looked at seven different destinations in which tourist taxes are levied to look at how the money raised is then spent.</p> <p>For most places, tourism tax revenues were being used to fund marketing and branding – so invested directly into promoting more tourism. The income was also commonly used to fund tourism infrastructure, from public toilets and walking or cycling paths to a multi-billion dollar <a href="https://www.occc.net/About-Us-Media-Relations-Press-Releases/ArticleID/569/Orange%20County%20Board%20Votes%20to%20Approve%20Convention%20Center%20Completion%20with%20Tourist%20Development%20Tax%20Revenues">convention centre</a> in Orange County, Florida.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.caib.es/sites/impostturisme/en/l/projects/?mcont=95762">the Balearics</a>, revenues tend to go to projects that mitigate the negative impacts of tourism on the environment, culture and society of the islands. These include waste management, conserving natural habitats and historical monuments, and social housing.</p> <p>But in general, tourism taxes have been implemented successfully across the destinations we looked at, and there is little evidence of tourists being put off from visiting.</p> <p>Research also suggests that when tourists are told what the levy is used for – and when it relates directly to <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7099/5/2/21">improving their experience</a> or <a href="https://ejtr.vumk.eu/index.php/about/article/view/2813/605">enhancing sustainable tourism</a> – <a href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.bangor.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S2212571X20301621?casa_token=HcD-yQh65XcAAAAA:GhVRo4vX9JY1E3Lcx5ZPaTr5ZHArMGNrmK_2ASJCtMPjVpdCQLdun25BmFEYquGgz8-1riOWdg">tourists are willing to accept and pay</a> the levy.</p> <h2>Day trippers</h2> <p>For many tourism destinations, the major problem is not overnight tourists, but rather <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fuming-snowdonia-visitors-demand-self-30203642">day visitors</a> who use local resources while making little in the way of a financial contribution. For these reasons, taxes might also be used to deter day visits and instead encourage longer stays.</p> <p><a href="https://www.economist.com/why-venice-is-starting-to-charge-tourists-to-enter?utm_medium=cpc.adword.pd&amp;utm_source=google&amp;ppccampaignID=18156330227&amp;ppcadID=&amp;utm_campaign=a.22brand_pmax&amp;utm_content=conversion.direct-response.anonymous&amp;gad_source=1&amp;gclid=Cj0KCQjw_qexBhCoARIsAFgBleshST3IQMYR8hONLSLnA_loj9dukAqxURhdVCn1RmGeD5iOQzw_r2caAsqrEALw_wcB&amp;gclsrc=aw.ds">Venice is at the forefront</a> of this shift. And in April 2024, after long discussions between the local authority, residents and business owners, Venice started a <a href="https://cdamedia.veneziaunica.it/en/video/it-is-difficult-to-book-a-visit-to-venice/">trial</a> of a day visitor tax (a so-called <a href="https://cda.veneziaunica.it/en">“access fee”</a>).</p> <p>Back in Kent, it may take longer for any such radical plans to come to fruition. In contrast to Scotland and Wales, there are currently no national plans to <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/commons/2023-09-13/199425">introduce tourist taxes</a> in England.</p> <p>This might be considered shortsighted, given the dire need of many destinations in England to improve local infrastructure that tourists rely on, including <a href="https://www.reading.ac.uk/news/2024/Research-News/Swimming-in-sewage-Bathing-forecasts-not-keeping-people-safe">clean bathing water</a> and <a href="https://www.lancs.live/news/cumbria-news/lake-district-warning-parking-issues-27173650">public transport</a>. In <a href="https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/business/finance-strategy/manchester-acts-as-trailblazer-for-tourist-tax">Manchester</a> and <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/0e0385e6-29ec-4302-9903-6fbf63d8854a">Liverpool</a>, businesses have implemented voluntary overnight charges on visitors, in the absence of the statutory basis to implement compulsory levies.</p> <p>Many other English towns and cities will probably follow their lead. Tourism taxes are something we might all have to consider budgeting for in our future travel plans, wherever we choose to visit.<!-- 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/229134/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/rhys-ap-gwilym-1531623">Rhys ap Gwilym</a>, Senior Lecturer in Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/linda-osti-1431286">Linda Osti</a>, Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/bangor-university-1221">Bangor 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/why-you-should-expect-to-pay-more-tourist-taxes-even-though-the-evidence-for-them-is-unclear-229134">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Travel Trouble

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Trying to save money? Our research suggests paying in cash – while you still can

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lachlan-schomburgk-1535737">Lachlan Schomburgk</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-belli-1538870">Alex Belli</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/arvid-o-i-hoffmann-1150527">Arvid O. I. Hoffmann</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Cash is in crisis. In Australia, it’s now only used for 16% of in-person transactions, down from <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/bulletin/2023/jun/cash-use-and-attitudes-in-australia.html">about 70%</a> in 2007.</p> <p>The situation is so dire that on Monday, independent federal MP Andrew Gee introduced a <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/saving-the-lobster-prawn-and-pineapple-mps-fight-to-force-shops-to-take-cash-20240603-p5jit4.html">private member’s bill</a> that would force businesses to accept cash or else face big fines.</p> <p>The reality is that over the past decade, technological advancements have utterly transformed the way we pay for goods and services.</p> <p>Phones and smartwatches can now easily be used to pay by card, and buy-now-pay-later schemes and cryptocurrency payments offer further alternatives.</p> <p>The shift away from cash only <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/06/29/covid-19-drives-global-surge-in-use-of-digital-payments">accelerated</a> throughout the COVID pandemic, as health experts recommended avoiding using it for hygiene reasons.</p> <p>Despite these big changes in <em>how</em> we spend money, Australians have perhaps been more focused on <em>how much</em> amid a stubborn cost-of-living crisis.</p> <p>In light of this, our research team wanted to investigate how our choice of payment method can interact with our actual spending habits.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022435924000216#bib0104">latest research</a> offers a simple solution for anyone looking to save money — carry more cash!</p> <h2>We pay less when we pay cash</h2> <p>Drawing on both academic and industry sources, our research team combined the results from more than four decades of prior research on spending behaviour and payment methods into a large dataset.</p> <p>This data spanned 71 research papers, 17 countries, and more than 11,000 participants. State-of-the-art meta-analysis techniques then allowed us to collectively analyse the results from all these prior studies, and re-examine their insights.</p> <p>We found that cashless payments were indeed associated with higher levels of consumer spending compared to cash transactions, something that is referred to in the literature as the “cashless effect”.</p> <p>This cashless effect was consistent across all other payment methods in the data set.</p> <p>Put simply, it doesn’t matter whether you use a credit card, debit card or a buy-now-pay-later service – you are likely to spend more money using cashless methods than when you pay with cash.</p> <h2>The pain of paying</h2> <p>Under the traditional economic view that consumers behave rationally, there should be no differences in spending behaviour between different payment methods – money is money after all.</p> <p>But the existence of the cashless effect shows that the payment methods we use do indeed influence our spending behaviour.</p> <p>The leading theory to explain this effect attributes it to differences in the “pain of paying”, a concept <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280711796_The_Pain_of_Paying">first coined in 1996</a> that describes the emotions we feel when spending money.</p> <p>Importantly, our choice of payment method can influence the level of pain felt.</p> <p>When paying with cash, we have to physically count out notes and coins and hand them over. Humans seek to avoid losses, and paying by cash sees us physically lose a tangible object.</p> <p>Conversely, nothing has to be handed over to pay cashlessly. We don’t lose anything tangible with a swipe or a tap, so it feels less painful.</p> <p>Preliminary neurological evidence suggests that the “pain of paying” isn’t just an abstract metaphor, and we may feel actual psychological pain with each transaction we make.</p> <p><a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2901808">Research</a> employing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to observe brain activity in consumers has shown that paying activates brain regions related to experiencing psychological discomfort.</p> <p>Picture this: You’re at a theme park, excited for a fun day. You use your smartwatch to pay for snacks, souvenirs and rides. It’s all so convenient that you don’t realise how much you’re spending until you check your account later and see that you have completely blown your budget!</p> <p>This is the cashless effect in action − if nothing is physically handed over, it’s easy to lose track of how much is spent.</p> <h2>A great tool for budgeting – while it lasts</h2> <p>The cost of living crisis has made spending control front-of-mind for many people. Our meta-analysis suggests that returning to “cold hard cash” whenever possible could be one valuable tool to help.</p> <p>The increased friction felt when using cash could help people better control their money, even just by providing a moment to pause and consider whether a transaction is necessary.</p> <p>This could help individuals make more mindful decisions, saving money while they can in an increasingly cashless world.<!-- 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/231499/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/lachlan-schomburgk-1535737">Lachlan Schomburgk</a>, PhD Researcher in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-belli-1538870">Alex Belli</a>, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/arvid-o-i-hoffmann-1150527">Arvid O. I. Hoffmann</a>, Professor of Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</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/trying-to-save-money-our-research-suggests-paying-in-cash-while-you-still-can-231499">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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The hidden risks of buy now, pay later: What shoppers need to know

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/vivek-astvansh-1318943">Vivek Astvansh</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcgill-university-827">McGill University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chandan-kumar-behera-1479139">Chandan Kumar Behera</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/indian-institute-of-management-lucknow-6023">Indian Institute of Management Lucknow</a> </em><iframe style="width: 100%; height: 100px; border: none; position: relative; z-index: 1;" src="https://narrations.ad-auris.com/widget/the-conversation-canada/the-hidden-risks-of-buy-now-pay-later-what-shoppers-need-to-know" width="100%" height="400"></iframe></p> <p><a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/loans/buy-now-pay-later.html">Buy now, pay later</a> is a relatively new form of financial technology that allows consumers to purchase an item immediately and repay the balance at a later time in instalments.</p> <p>Unlike applying for a credit card, buy now, pay later <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4591446">doesn’t require a credit check</a>. Instead, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-11-2021-0923">these programs use algorithms</a> to perform <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/soft-inquiry.asp">“soft” credit checks</a> to determine <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-it-looks-like-debt-lets-treat-it-like-debt-buy-now-pay-later-schemes-need-firmer-regulation-in-nz-211820">a shopper’s eligibility</a>.</p> <p>This means buy now, pay later loans target <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/jan/27/buy-now-pay-later-schemes-entice-consumers-spend-more">low-income, tech-savvy</a> <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/27/gen-z-and-millennials-prefer-buy-now-pay-later-services.html">millennials and Gen Z shoppers</a> in an effort to <a href="https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2023/09/who-uses-buy-now-pay-later/">supposedly improve financial inclusion</a> for these groups.</p> <p>However, the newness of buy now, pay later programs means existing <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/acfi.13100">consumer credit laws don’t cover it</a>. This lack of regulation puts shoppers at financial risk of accumulating higher levels of debt.</p> <h2>Credit cards versus buy now, pay later</h2> <p>There are three key differences between credit cards and buy now, pay later loans. First, while buy now, pay later loans are a line of credit like credit cards are, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/04/klarna-to-report-buy-now-pay-later-data-to-uk-credit-bureaus.html">they don’t impact credit reports</a>. Because of this, shoppers might be less cautious when using buy now, pay later services.</p> <p>Credit cards typically have annual interest rates ranging from <a href="https://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/what-is-credit-card-apr/#credit-card-apr-vs-credit-card-interest">15 to 26 per cent</a>. While most buy now, pay later loans have no interest, longer term loans have <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/buy-now-pay-later-loans-interest-rate-fees-tips-what-to-know/">annual interest rates of about 37 per cent</a>.</p> <p>Shoppers are <a href="https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/buy-now-pay-later-how-retails-hot-feature-hurts-lower-income-shoppers">at risk of overusing buy now, pay later programs</a> and accumulating more debt than they can manage. In addition, formal lenders, such as banks, currently have no way of knowing what buy now, pay later debt a person is carrying. The lender, therefore, likely incurs more risk than they are aware of.</p> <p>Second, credit cards typically provide <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2022.2161830">an interest-free period</a>, after which <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/03128962211032448">borrowers must pay interest</a>. In contrast, buy now, pay later users typically don’t have interest fees, but can incur <a href="https://doi.org/10.1108/IJBM-07-2022-0324">late fees for missed or late payments</a>.</p> <p>Falling behind on payment terms <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/andriacheng/2020/12/16/why-retailers-are-embracing-buy-now-pay-later-service-this-holiday-season/">can result in charges</a> that exceed <a href="https://stateline.org/2022/02/02/regulators-scrutinize-buy-now-pay-later-plans/">typical credit card interest rates</a>, causing more harm than interest payments. Low-income buy now, pay later users are <a href="https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/buy-now-pay-later-how-retails-hot-feature-hurts-lower-income-shoppers">particularly vulnerable</a> to <a href="https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/consumer-use-of-buy-now-pay-later-insights-from-the-cfpb-making-ends-meet-survey/">using overdrafts to cover their buy now, pay later payments</a>.</p> <p>Third, people typically have just a few credit cards, making it easier to keep track of payments. Buy now, pay later users, on the other hand, usually engage with multiple buy now, pay later lenders through retailers. As a result, it’s difficult for them to keep track of all the buy now, pay later lenders and retailers they made purchases from.</p> <h2>What are the Canadian governments doing?</h2> <p>Canada classifies buy now, pay later as an unsecured instalment loan, which means lenders are subject to laws at the federal and provincial levels.</p> <p>Under federal law, there is an <a href="https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1711291/000171129122000011/curo-20211231.htm">annual interest rate cap of 60 per cent</a>. Provincial laws require buy now, pay later lenders to disclose the cost of credit and extend consumer protection rights to buy now, pay later shoppers.</p> <p>At the provincial level, <a href="https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/loans/buy-now-pay-later.html">specific laws come into play</a>. Manitoba, Alberta, Québec, and Ontario have passed laws that require lenders to be licensed before they offer these products and be subject to regulatory oversight.</p> <p>These laws regulate high-cost credit products that have annual rates of 32 per cent or higher. This means buy now, pay later services <em>should</em> fall under this category. However, I found no evidence of buy now, pay later lenders being licensed in Canada. This means either lenders are not aware they fall under these laws, or no one is enforcing them.</p> <p>This ambiguity over whether or not buy now, pay later lenders are subject to regulatory oversight could be a hindrance for banks like the <a href="https://financialpost.com/fp-finance/fintech/why-higher-interest-rates-threaten-the-buy-now-pay-later-bubble">Bank of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce</a>, as it deters them from entering the buy now, pay later market despite its profitability.</p> <h2>Questions to ask before using buy now, pay later</h2> <p>Before signing up for a buy now, pay later loan, shoppers should consider the following six questions.</p> <p><strong>1. Payment structure.</strong> How much of the invoice amount needs to be paid upfront? The norm is typically 25 per cent. What is the number of remaining instalments? The answer to this is usually four. Lastly, what is the frequency of instalments? The norm is biweekly.</p> <p><strong>2. Sensitive information.</strong> Does the lender require you to provide information about your chequing account? This is sensitive information to give away and puts you at risk of data breaches. Most buy now, pay later lenders withdraw instalment amounts from chequing accounts or debit cards, potentially exposing shoppers to greater risks than credit cards.</p> <p><strong>3. Interest charges</strong> Does the buy now, pay later lender charge interest on instalment payments? The norm is no.</p> <p><strong>4. Late fees</strong> How much is the late fee, when does it apply and what is the maximum amount of the late fee? Typically, late fees don’t exceed $8 or one-quarter of the invoice amount. Late fees usually kick in if your scheduled payment remains unpaid after 10 days.</p> <p><strong>5. Data responsibility.</strong> Who is responsible for your data? Whether it’s the retailer, the buy now, pay later lender or a company whose cloud storage the provider may be using, you should know. In general, the buy now, pay later lender holds this responsibility.</p> <p><strong>6. Licensing.</strong> Is the buy now, pay later lender licensed to sell the loan? Usually, the <a href="https://dfpi.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/337/2020/03/afterpay-settlement.pdf">answer to this question is no</a>.</p> <h2>Buy now, pay later regulation</h2> <p>Two sets of laws and regulations should be implemented to address some of these issues. The first set of regulations focuses on how buy now, pay later lenders interact with consumers. These lenders should clearly communicate <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4359956">all terms and conditions of their loans</a>, including late charges, interest charges and payment schedules, on their platforms to ensure shoppers are fully informed of their financial obligations.</p> <p>The Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom recently issued guidelines allowing buy now, pay later lenders to <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ca428bc8-65c3-49ed-8ba6-0d6f206098aa">terminate, suspend or restrict access to shopper accounts</a> for any reason without notice. Effective September 2024, New Zealand will require buy now, pay later lenders to <a href="https://theconversation.com/if-it-looks-like-debt-lets-treat-it-like-debt-buy-now-pay-later-schemes-need-firmer-regulation-in-nz-211820">check a shopper’s credit</a> before providing them a buy now, pay later loan.</p> <p>The second set of regulations defines the scope and boundaries of buy now, pay later lenders. On Dec. 9, 2022, California became the first American state to <a href="https://dfpi.ca.gov/2022/12/09/buy-now-pay-later-protect-yourself-before-you-check-out/">classify buy now, pay later as a loan</a>. Such classifications allowed California regulators to <a href="https://stateline.org/2022/02/02/regulators-scrutinize-buy-now-pay-later-plans/">question lenders about their transparency in disclosing the terms of their offerings</a>.</p> <p>The hope is that these laws and regulations will facilitate microlending and not impede the existence of buy now, pay later services, but rather make it safer and more secure for both lenders and users.<!-- 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/215421/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/vivek-astvansh-1318943"><em>Vivek Astvansh</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Quantitative Marketing and Analytics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/mcgill-university-827">McGill University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/chandan-kumar-behera-1479139">Chandan Kumar Behera</a>, PhD Student in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/indian-institute-of-management-lucknow-6023">Indian Institute of Management Lucknow</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/the-hidden-risks-of-buy-now-pay-later-what-shoppers-need-to-know-215421">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Money & Banking

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Millions of Aussies set for pay rise

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

Money & Banking

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Jock Zonfrillo's widow pays tribute to her late husband

<p>Jock Zonfrillo's widow Lauren has paid tribute to her late husband with a simple but powerful homage. </p> <p>Up until recently, the marketing expert has been known in a professional capacity by her maiden name Lauren Fried, even after marrying the late chef in January 2017.</p> <p>However, after appearing on ABC's marketing program <em>Gruen</em>, the mother-of-two was introduced as 'Lauren Zonfrillo'. </p> <p>Lauren took to Instagram ahead of her debut on the panel show, sharing behind the scenes footage where she is seen in the ABC's hair and make-up department, with the name 'Lauren Zonfrillo' clearly labelled on her dressing room door. </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/C7QXliXvAqb/?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/C7QXliXvAqb/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Lauren Zonfrillo (@laurenzonfrillo)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The marketing expert has also changed her name on her LinkedIn, Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter, profiles.</p> <p>In the days before the one year anniversary of Jock's death, Lauren shared an emotional video to social media explaining how she plans to share Jock's legacy with his fans, saying she wants to focus on posting previously unseen content of the chef.</p> <p>She began by saying how she has been "finding her feet" as a "solo parent" and how her two kids have adjusted after their tragic loss.</p> <p>In the emotional video, she shared, "Next week will be a year since we lost Jock. I have no idea where that time went."</p> <p>"I really did have plans to get more of his projects out but somewhere between trying to find my feet as a solo parent - and just going through long periods of time where I found it really hard to look at videos and photos of Jock - the plan didn't go to plan."</p> <p>She continued, "So now I just want to focus on the work."</p> <p>"I've got hundreds and hundreds of hours of Jock cooking his favourite recipes explaining what vinegar or oil he used in different things, things he discovered on our travels, fun behind-the-scenes stuff, interviews, and it's a part of my life I want to start sharing with everyone again."</p> <p>"The purpose of putting it up is for us to enjoy it, to enjoy Jock, so I hope you do."</p> <p>Jock Zonfrillo was found dead in a hotel in Carlton, near Melbourne's CBD, on April 30th 2023 while Lauren and their two children were in Italy, and his death is still being investigated. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Family & Pets

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"What an honour": Kevin Costner pays tribute to fallen Yellowstone costar

<p>Kevin Costner has paid tribute to his <em>Yellowstone</em> costar Dabney Coleman, who has passed away at the age of 92. </p> <p>Coleman, who played the role of  John Dutton, Sr. in the Paramount drama, died on Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, according to his daughter Quincy Coleman, who broke the news in a statement to <em>The Associated Press</em>.</p> <p>She said he "took his last earthly breath peacefully and exquisitely."</p> <p>“My father crafted his time here on earth with a curious mind, a generous heart, and a soul on fire with passion, desire and humour that tickled the funny bone of humanity. As he lived, he moved through this final act of his life with elegance, excellence and mastery,” she said.</p> <p>Yellowstone shared the news on Instagram with the message, "We're saddened by the passing of the Dabney Coleman, a legendary actor and member of the <em>Yellowstone</em> family."</p> <p>Kevin Costner stars as John Dutton, the son of Dabney's character on the show, paid tribute to the late actor as he shared a powerful flashback scene from the season 2 finale to his Instagram. </p> <p>Along with a photo from the moving TV moment, Costner wrote, "One of the most heart wrenching scenes I've been a part of. What an honor to have gotten to work with Dabney Coleman. May he rest in peace."</p> <p>Fans left thoughtful comments about Dabney's performance as John Dutton, Sr. on the show, with one person writing, "Most touching scene of the whole show when he played that part! He will be greatly missed." </p> <p>Dabney earned his first acting credit in an episode of <em>Naked City</em> in 1961, before he went on to appear in countless TV spots over the course of his career, including <em>The Donna Reed Show</em>, <em>I Dream of Jeannie</em>, <em>Columbo</em>, <em>Law & Order: SVU</em>, <em>Recess The Guardian</em>, <em>Boardwalk Empire</em>, and <em>Ray Donovan</em> before landing his role on <em>Yellowstone</em>. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Caring

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Woman shares fury after unknowingly paying for her engagement ring

<p dir="ltr">A new wife has shared her fury after she discovered her husband had been paying off her engagement ring from their joint bank account. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 28-year-old woman was overjoyed when her partner proposed to her with an $8,000 two-carat lab diamond ring, which he bought on a payment plan because he “didn’t have the funds available” when he bought it. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple got married just three months later at the courthouse after they realised they could not afford a big, fancy wedding. </p> <p dir="ltr">After their big day, the new wife was shocked and annoyed when she discovered she had “unintentionally partially paid for two instalments”, which now makes her a “part owner of the ring”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I found out after we married and merged our finances that he has been withdrawing funds from our joint account — we make roughly the same — to finance this ring,” the furious woman shared in a Reddit thread.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have been having some arguments lately and he feels that the ring is a wedding expense and it’s only fair that I contribute towards it too, and that as a woman of this day I shouldn’t hesitate to be an equal partner.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She took particular issue with her husband for making her pay her share on what was supposed to be a gift from him.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I was just taken aback and honestly put off by the fact he is making me pay for a gift he gave to me. You don’t make the recipient of a gift pay for the damn gift,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman said if she had known her husband was going to make her pay for the ring, she wouldn’t have agreed to “buy it”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Mutual consent is essential when a couple is deciding to invest in an asset. Owning a house or a car jointly requires two ‘yeses’ and I wouldn’t certainly have said yes to jointly owning a ring he was supposed to give to me as a gift,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although the woman admitted that she had asked her partner for a “nice” ring before he proposed, saying that she “deserved a quality piece symbolising our love”, she said she wished her partner talked to her about the big expense before signing her up for payments. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My then-fiancé knew about the expectation I had of him and was upfront about things from the get go,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He could’ve discussed things with me and we could’ve seen if we were truly compatible like that. What I didn’t know was that he was plotting to ‘get even’ with me by taking out a payment plan and using our funds to finance it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t mind splurging for him, but this whole situation has left a very bad taste in my mouth.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Now she’s demanding her husband return her engagement ring to the jewellery store because she refuses to pay for it.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Reddit post has racked up thousands of comments, with some people jumping to the woman’s defence. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “I’d be livid if I found out I was diamond poor instead of house poor.”</p> <p dir="ltr">However, not everyone thought the wife’s actions were justified, with one person writing, “You’re married, there is no ‘my money’ and ‘his money’. Money he spends towards the debt for the ring is money that can’t be spent on other things for your lives together. You wanted an expensive ring, they aren’t free”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Why don’t Australians talk about their salaries? Pay transparency and fairness go hand-in-hand

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/carol-t-kulik-150471">Carol T Kulik</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>In Australia, it’s not the done thing to know – let alone ask – what our colleagues are paid. Yet, it’s easy to see how pay transparency can make pay systems fairer and more effective.</p> <p>With more information on how much certain tasks and roles are valued, employees can better understand and interpret pay differences, and advocate for themselves. When pay is weakly aligned with employee contributions, pay transparency can be embarrassing for firms.</p> <p>As the government continues to <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/think-your-male-colleagues-earn-more-than-you-soon-you-ll-know-for-sure-20240104-p5ev7i.html">legislate for pay transparency</a>, wise employers should move to identify – and correct – both real and perceived inequities.</p> <h2>The salary taboo</h2> <p>At one extreme, imagine that you work for California-based tech company Buffer, which develops social media tools.</p> <p>Buffer lists the salary of every company employee, in descending order, on its <a href="https://buffer.com/salaries">website</a>. Salaries are non-negotiable and all Buffer employees receive a standard pay raise each year. Prospective job applicants can use Buffer’s online <a href="https://buffer.com/salary-calculator/senior-data-engineer/intermediate">salary calculator</a> to estimate their pay.</p> <p>Does Buffer’s pay system make you cheer – “yay, no uncomfortable salary negotiations!”, or squirm – “what, my salary is on the website?”</p> <p>Most probably, both. There is a persistent social norm researchers call the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272723000725">salary taboo</a>. We want to know, but we don’t like to ask, and we definitely don’t want anyone to know that we’re asking.</p> <p>In Norway, an app that enabled users to <a href="https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20160256">access neighbors’ tax-reported income</a> was enormously popular – but only while the user could remain anonymous.</p> <h2>The problem with not knowing</h2> <p>Historically, companies have given employees only minimal information about their pay systems, and some have even prohibited them from sharing their own pay information.</p> <p>Such non-transparency creates two big problems.</p> <p>First, managers place <a href="https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/achieving-meritocracy-in-the-workplace/">too much trust</a> in organisational systems. The more managers become convinced that pay decisions accurately reflect employee contributions, the less diligent they become about monitoring their own personal biases. Without accountability, it’s easy for an organisation’s pay system to drift into inequity.</p> <p>Second, in the absence of comparative information, employees often suspect they are being underpaid – even if they aren’t.</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.payscale.com/research-and-insights/fair-pay-impact/">survey</a> of over 380,000 employees by data firm Payscale, 57% of employees paid <em>at</em> the market rate and 42% of people paid <em>above</em> the market rate all believed they were being underpaid.</p> <p>However, unfounded it might be, a nagging sense of inequity can drive people out the door. Payscale estimates that people who <em>think</em> they are underpaid are 50% more likely than other employees to seek a new job in the next six months.</p> <h2>Pay transparency is trending</h2> <p>Broadly speaking, pay transparency policies see companies report their pay levels or ranges, explain their pay-setting processes, or encourage their employees to share pay information.</p> <p>Some companies voluntarily share pay information in response to workforce demand, but there’s also a trend toward mandating pay transparency.</p> <p>In Australia, pay secrecy terms are <a href="https://theconversation.com/pay-secrecy-clauses-are-now-banned-in-australia-heres-how-that-could-benefit-you-195814">banned</a> from employment contracts and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency is <a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/about/our-legislation/publishing-employer-gender-pay-gaps">publishing employers’ gender pay gaps</a>.</p> <p>The European Union’s <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/es/ip_22_7739">Pay Transparency Directive</a> already publishes gender pay gaps and requires employers to provide comparative pay data to employees upon request. Several US states and cities now require employers to <a href="https://www.govdocs.com/pay-transparency-laws/">include salary ranges</a> in their recruitment materials.</p> <h2>Pay transparency usually has positive effects</h2> <p>In equitable pay systems, pay differences align with the differential values employees bring to the business. When pay systems are transparent, it’s easy for employees to recognise when they – and their coworkers – are being appropriately rewarded for their contributions.</p> <p>Evidence is building that such transparency is often a good thing.</p> <p>For one, it can increase employee <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/002224377801500204">performance and job satisfaction</a>. People also generally <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/717891">underestimate their bosses’ salaries</a>, so pay transparency can inspire employees to aspire to higher-paid senior positions. And pay transparency identifies staff with unique expertise, so <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2016-01521-001">employees seek help</a> from the right coworkers.</p> <p>Pay transparency has also been shown to help narrow gender pay gaps. As pay transparency rules spread across public academic institutions in the US, the pay gap between male and female academics <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01288-9">dramatically narrowed</a> (in some states, it was even eliminated).</p> <p>In Denmark, where firms are now required to provide pay statistics that compare men and women, the national gender pay gap has <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jofi.13136">declined by 13%</a> relative to the pre-legislation average.</p> <h2>But it can still be risky</h2> <p>Every pay system has pockets of unfairness, where managers have made <a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-01537-002">special arrangements</a> to attract or retain talent. Pay transparency exposes these exceptions, so they can be immediately explained or corrected.</p> <p>But if there are too many such pockets, managers need to brace for a productivity downturn. When pay transparency reveals systematic inequities – for example, disparities based on gender – overall organisational <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4341804">productivity declines</a>.</p> <p>Over the long run, pay transparency leads to <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jofi.13136">flatter and narrower</a> pay distributions, but distributions can also be too flat and too narrow. Managers making pay decisions are aware that their decisions will be directly scrutinised and may <a href="https://journals.aom.org/doi/10.5465/amj.2020.1831">become reluctant</a> to assign high wages even for high performance.</p> <p>If pay <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01288-9">loses its motivating potential</a>, employees can become disheartened, especially <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/peps.12054">star performers</a>.</p> <h2>Proceed with caution</h2> <p>As stakeholders on this issue demand more transparency, employers would be wise to stay ahead of legislative moves.</p> <p>Independently making the first move is a show of good faith and can unfold in stages. A good first step is to reveal the pay ranges associated with groups of related roles, giving employers time to conduct internal audits, communicate with employees and systematically correct inequities as they surface.</p> <p>In contrast, having to reveal pay data because of a government mandate can publicly expose patterns of inequity and cause permanent damage to a company’s reputation.<!-- 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/224067/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/carol-t-kulik-150471">Carol T Kulik</a>, Research Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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/why-dont-australians-talk-about-their-salaries-pay-transparency-and-fairness-go-hand-in-hand-224067">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Does hosting the Olympics, the World Cup or other major sports events really pay off?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</a></em></p> <p>After a long battle, <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20240213-paris-booksellers-stay-olympics-macron-bouquiniste-france">Paris’s beloved <em>bouquinistes</em> will be staying put</a> this summer. The decision, announced on 13 February by the French government, came after considerable public backlash to the police prefecture’s original plan to move part of the iconic Seine booksellers elsewhere for the inauguration of the Olympics Games on 26 July.</p> <p>Meanwhile, less than six months away from the event, Parisians continue to grumble over a <a href="https://www.ouest-france.fr/jeux-olympiques/cest-aberrant-ce-maire-vient-dapprendre-que-sa-ville-accueillera-les-jeux-de-paris-ab1fa968-cfd1-11ee-89c0-6cefac77e04a">lack of consultations</a> with locals, warnings of <a href="https://www.rfi.fr/en/france/20231130-paris-vehicle-traffic-to-be-heavily-restricted-during-2024-olympic-games">gridlocked traffic</a>, closed metro stations, extensive video surveillance and other grievances. So for host countries, what was the point of the Olympics, again?</p> <p>In academia, the debate about the potential positive and negative effects of large-scale sporting events is ongoing. Although these events are often associated with substantial economic losses, the long-term benefits are the main argument in favour of hosting them. These include the development of material and soft infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants or parks. Big games can also help put the host region on the map as an attractive place for sports and cultural events, and inspire a better entrepreneurial climate.</p> <h2>The pros and the cons of big sporting events?</h2> <p>The cost of these benefits, as the Parisians have realised, is steep. Host countries appear to suffer from increased tax burdens, low returns on public investments, high construction costs, and onerous running cost of facilities after the event. Communities can also be blighted by noise, pollution, and damage to the environment, while increased criminal activity and potential conflicts between locals and visitors can take a toll on their quality of life. As a result, in the recent past several major cities, including Rome and Hamburg, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/6-cities-that-rejected-the-olympics/a-46289852">withdrew their bids to host the games</a>.</p> <p>A common feature of the economics of large-scale sporting events is that our expectations of them are more optimistic than what we make of them once they have taken place. Typically, expenditure tends to tip over the original budget, while the revenue-side indicators (such as the number of visitors) are rarely achieved.</p> <p>When analysing the effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist visits, it is important to take into consideration both the positive and negative components of the overall effect. While positive effects may be associated with visitors, negative effects may arise when “regular” tourists refuse to visit the location due to the event. This might be because of overloaded infrastructure, sharp increases in accommodation costs, and inconveniences associated with overcrowding or raucous or/and violent visitors. On top of that, reports of poverty or crime in the global media can actually undermine the location’s attractiveness.</p> <h2>When big sporting events crowd out regular tourists</h2> <p>In an <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1527002523120639">article published in the <em>Journal of Sports Economics</em></a> with Igor Drapkin and Ilya Zverev, I assess the effects of hosting large-scale sporting events, such as Winter and Summer Olympics plus FIFA World Cups, on international tourist visits. We utilise a comprehensive dataset on flow of tourists covering the world’s largest destination and origin countries between 1995 and 2019. As a first step, we built an econometric model that effectively predicts the flow of tourists between any pair of countries in our data. Subsequently we compared the predicted tourist inflow in a hypothetical scenario where no large-scale sporting event would have taken place with the actual figures. If the actual figures exceed the predicted ones, we consider the event to have a net positive impact. Otherwise, we consider that it had a “crowding out” effect on “regular” tourists. While conducting this analysis, we distinguished between short-term (i.e., focusing just on the year of the event) and mid-term (year of the event plus three subsequent years).</p> <p>Our results show that the effects of large-scale sporting events vary a lot across host countries: The World Cup in Japan and South Korea 2002 and South Africa 2010 were associated with a distinct increase in tourist arrivals, whereas all other World Cups were either neutral or negative. Among the Summer Olympics, China in 2008 is the only case with a significant positive effect on tourist inflows. The effects of the other four events (Australia 2000, Greece 2004, Great Britain 2012, and Brazil 2016) were found to be negative in the short- and medium-term. As for the Winter Olympics, the only positive case is Russia in 2014. The remaining five events had a negative impact except the one-year neutral effect for Japan 1998.</p> <p>Following large-scale sporting events, host countries are therefore typically less visited by tourists. Out of the 18 hosting countries studied, 11 saw tourist numbers decline over four years, and three did not experience a significant change.</p> <h2>The case for cautious optimism</h2> <p>Our research indicates that the positive effect of hosting large-scale sporting events on tourist inflows is, at best, moderate. While many tourists are attracted by FIFA World Cups and Olympic games, the crowding-out effect of “regular” tourists is strong and often underestimated. This implies that tourists visiting for an event like the Olympics typically dissuade those who would have come for other reasons. Thus, efforts to attract new visitors should be accompanied by efforts to retain the already existing ones.</p> <p>Large-scale sporting events should be considered as part of a long-term policy for promoting a territory to tourists rather than a standalone solution. Revealingly, our results indicate that it is easier to get a net increase in tourist inflows in countries that are less frequent destinations for tourists – for example, those in Asia or Africa. By contrast, the United States and Europe, both of which are traditionally popular with tourists, have no single case of a net positive effect. Put differently, the large-scale sporting events in Asia and Africa helped promote their host countries as tourist destinations, making the case for the initial investment. In the US and Europe, however, those in the last few decades brought little return, at least in terms of tourist inflow.<!-- 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/222118/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/ivan-savin-678930">Ivan Savin</a>, Associate professor of quantitative analytics, research fellow at ICTA-UAB, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/escp-business-school-813">ESCP Business School</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/does-hosting-the-olympics-the-world-cup-or-other-major-sports-events-really-pay-off-222118">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Think $5.50 is too much for a flat white? Actually it’s too cheap, and our world-famous cafes are paying the price

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-felton-143029">Emma Felton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>Even in a stubborn cost-of-living crisis, it seems there’s one luxury most Australians <a href="https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/news/what-australians-wont-give-up-cost-of-living-crisis-report/">won’t sacrifice</a> – their daily cup of coffee.</p> <p>Coffee sales have largely <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/866543/australia-domestic-consumption-of-coffee/">remained stable</a>, even as financial pressures have bitten over the past few years.</p> <p>So too have prices. Though many of us became upset when prices began to creep up last year, they’ve since largely settled in the range between $4.00 and $5.50 for a basic drink.</p> <p>But this could soon have to change. By international standards, Australian coffee prices are low.</p> <p>No one wants to pay more for essentials, least of all right now. But our independent cafes are struggling.</p> <p>By not valuing coffee properly, we risk losing the <a href="https://bizcup.com.au/australian-coffee-culture/">internationally renowned</a> coffee culture we’ve worked so hard to create, and the phenomenal quality of cup we enjoy.</p> <h2>Coffee is relatively cheap in Australia</h2> <p>Our recent survey of Australian capital cities found the average price of a small takeaway flat white at speciality venues is A$4.78.</p> <p>But in <a href="https://pabloandrustys.com.au/blogs/drinkbettercoffee/global-coffee-prices">some international capitals</a>, it’s almost double this, even after adjusting for local <a href="https://www.investopedia.com/updates/purchasing-power-parity-ppp/">purchasing power parity</a>.</p> <p><iframe id="gaplH" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/gaplH/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>In London, a small flat white costs about A$6.96. Singapore, A$8.42. In Athens, as much as A$9.95.</p> <h2>The cafe business is getting harder</h2> <p>Over the past few decades, coffee prices haven’t kept pace with input costs. In the early 2000s, after wages, food costs, utilities and rent, many cafes <a href="https://www.coffeecommune.com.au/blog-why-are-cafes-so-expensive/">earned healthy profit margins</a> as high as 20%.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.ibisworld.com/au/industry/cafes-coffee-shops/2015/">most recent data from IBISWorld</a> show that while Australian cafe net profits have recovered from a drop in 2020, at 7.6%, they remain much lower than the Australian <a href="https://www.money.com.au/research/australian-business-statistics">average business profit margin of 13.3%</a>.</p> <p>For an independent owner operating a cafe with the <a href="https://www.ibisworld.com/au/industry/cafes-coffee-shops/2015/">average turnover of A$300,000</a>, this would amount to a meagre A$22,800 annual net profit after all the bills are paid.</p> <h2>What goes into a cup?</h2> <p>Just looking at the cost of raw inputs – milk, beans, a cup and a lid – might make the margin seem lucrative. But they don’t paint the whole picture.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=600&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/584949/original/file-20240328-24-rlngpk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=754&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A takeaway coffee cup showing the price inputs, with wages and operation costs making up over 65% of the cost of a coffee" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Chart: The Conversation.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://pabloandrustys.com.au/blogs/drinkbettercoffee/whats-in-the-cost-of-coffee">Data: Pablo and Rusty's Coffee Roasters</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Over the past few years, renting the building, keeping the lights on and paying staff have all become <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/ground-down-australia-coffee-shops-an-early-inflation-casualty-2023-07-10/">much bigger factors</a> in the equation for coffee shop owners, and many of these pressures aren’t easing.</p> <p><strong>1. Green coffee price</strong></p> <p>Increasingly <a href="https://www.aa.com.tr/en/environment/brewing-crisis-how-climate-change-is-reshaping-coffee-production/3113886">subject to the effects</a> of climate change, the baseline commodity price of green (unroasted) coffee is <a href="https://perfectdailygrind.com/2024/02/demand-for-robusta-prices-record-high/">going up</a>.</p> <p>Arabica – the higher quality bean you’re most likely drinking at specialty cafes – is a more expensive raw product. Despite levelling off from post-pandemic highs, its price is still trending up. In 2018, it <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/675807/average-prices-arabica-and-robusta-coffee-worldwide/">sold</a> for US$2.93 per kilogram, which is projected to increase to US$4.38 dollars in 2025.</p> <p>Robusta coffee is cheaper, and is the type <a href="https://www.lavazza.com.au/en/coffee-secrets/difference-type-arabica-robusta-coffee">typically used to make instant coffee</a>. But serious drought in Vietnam has just pushed the price of robusta to an <a href="https://www.barchart.com/story/news/25094367/coffee-rallies-with-robusta-at-a-record-high-on-shrinking-coffee-output-in-vietnam">all-time high</a>, putting pressure on the cost of coffee more broadly.</p> <p><strong>2. Milk prices</strong></p> <p>The price of fresh milk has risen by <a href="https://cdn-prod.dairyaustralia.com.au/-/media/project/dairy-australia-sites/national-home/resources/reports/situation-and-outlook/situation-and-outlook-report-march-2024.pdf?rev=b0222df4b01b40d0ae36cf8ac7b01bc0">more than 20%</a> over the past two years, and remains at a peak. This has put sustained cost pressure on the production of our <a href="https://gitnux.org/australian-coffee-consumption-statistics/#:%7E:text=Coffee%20is%20a%20beloved%20beverage,approximately%206%20billion%20cups%20annually.">most popular drink orders</a>: cappuccinos and flat whites.</p> <p><strong>3. Wages and utilities</strong></p> <p>Over the past year, Australian wages have grown at their <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/jim-chalmers-2022/media-releases/real-wages-growth-back">fastest rate</a> since 2009, which is welcome news for cafe staff, but tough on operators in a sector with low margins.</p> <p>Electricity prices remain elevated after significant inflation, but could <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/heres-how-much-your-energy-bills-might-go-down-by-and-when/k8g00jheg">begin to fall mid-year</a>.</p> <h2>Specialty vs. commodity coffee: why price expectations create an industry divide</h2> <p>One of the key factors keeping prices low in Australia is consumer expectation.</p> <p>For many people coffee is a fundamental part of everyday life, a marker of livability. Unlike wine or other alcohol, coffee is not considered a luxury or even a treat, where one might expect to pay a little more, or reduce consumption when times are economically tough. We anchor on familiar prices.</p> <p><iframe id="oDbah" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oDbah/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Because of this, it really hurts cafe owners to put their prices up. In touch with their customer base almost every day, they’re acutely aware of how much inflation can hurt.</p> <p>But in Australia, a huge proportion of coffee companies are also passionate about creating a world-class product by only using “<a href="https://medium.com/@samandsunrise/why-is-specialty-coffee-so-expensive-6cf298935e4b#:%7E:text=Specialty%20Shops%20Feature%20High%20Grade%20Coffees&amp;text=Their%20coffees%20are%20hand%2Dpicked,even%20on%20the%20same%20tree.">specialty coffee</a>”. Ranked at least 80 on a quality scale, specialty beans cost significant more than commodity grade, but their production offers better working conditions for farmers and encourages more sustainable growing practices.</p> <p>Although not commensurate with the wine industry, there are similarities. Single origin, high quality beans are often sourced from one farm and demand higher prices than commodity grade coffee, where cheaper sourced beans are often combined in a blend.</p> <p>Running a specialty cafe can also mean roasting your own beans, which requires a big investment in expertise and equipment.</p> <p>It’s an obvious example of doing the right thing by your suppliers and customers. But specialty cafes face much higher operating costs, and when they’re next to a commodity-grade competitor, customers are typically unwillingly to pay the difference.</p> <h2>Approach price rises with curiosity, not defensiveness</h2> <p>When cafe owners put up their prices, we often rush to accuse them of selfishness or profiteering. But they’re often just trying to survive.</p> <p>Given the quality of our coffee and its global reputation, it shouldn’t surprise us if we’re soon asked to pay a little bit more for our daily brew.</p> <p>If we are, we should afford the people who create one of our most important “<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-cafes-bars-gyms-barbershops-and-other-third-places-create-our-social-fabric-135530">third spaces</a>” kindness and curiosity as to why. <!-- 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/226015/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/emma-felton-143029"><em>Emma Felton</em></a><em>, Adjunct Senior Researcher, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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/think-5-50-is-too-much-for-a-flat-white-actually-its-too-cheap-and-our-world-famous-cafes-are-paying-the-price-226015">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Who will look after us in our final years? A pay rise alone won’t solve aged-care workforce shortages

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Aged-care workers will receive a significant pay increase after the Fair Work Commission <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">ruled</a> they deserved substantial wage rises of up to 28%. The federal government <a href="https://ministers.dewr.gov.au/burke/fair-work-decision-aged-care">has committed to</a> the increases, but is yet to announce when they will start.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Tens of thousands of aged care workers will receive a major pay rise after the Fair Work Commission recommended the increase. <a href="https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9">https://t.co/NeNt1Gvxd9</a></p> <p>— SBS News (@SBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/SBSNews/status/1768557710537068889?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 15, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>But while wage rises for aged-care workers are welcome, this measure alone will not fix all workforce problems in the sector. The number of people over 80 is expected to <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-08/p2023-435150.pdf">triple over the next 40 years</a>, driving an increase in the number of aged care workers needed.</p> <h2>How did we get here?</h2> <p>The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, which delivered its <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care/final-report">final report</a> in March 2021, identified a litany of tragic failures in the regulation and delivery of aged care.</p> <p>The former Liberal government was dragged reluctantly to accept that a total revamp of the aged-care system was needed. But its <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/respect-care-and-dignity-aged-care-royal-commission-452-million-immediate-response-as-government-commits-to-historic-reform-to-deliver-respect-and-care-for-senior-australians#:%7E:text=Minister%20for%20Senior%20Australians%20and,%2C%20dementia%2C%20food%20and%20nutrition.">weak response</a> left the heavy lifting to the incoming Labor government.</p> <p>The current government’s response started well, with a <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthony-albanese-offers-2-5-billion-plan-to-fix-crisis-in-aged-care-180419">significant injection of funding</a> and a promising regulatory response. But it too has failed to pursue a visionary response to the problems identified by the Royal Commission.</p> <p>Action was needed on four fronts:</p> <ul> <li>ensuring enough staff to provide care</li> <li>building a functioning regulatory system to encourage good care and weed out bad providers</li> <li>designing and introducing a fair payment system to distribute funds to providers and</li> <li>implementing a financing system to pay for it all and achieve intergenerational equity.</li> </ul> <p>A government taskforce which proposed a <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-will-aged-care-look-like-for-the-next-generation-more-of-the-same-but-higher-out-of-pocket-costs-225551">timid response to the fourth challenge</a> – an equitable financing system – was released at the start of last week.</p> <p>Consultation closed on a <a href="https://media.opan.org.au/uploads/2024/03/240308_Aged-Care-Act-Exposure-Draft-Joint-Submission_FINAL.pdf">very poorly designed new regulatory regime</a> the week before.</p> <p>But the big news came at end of the week when the Fair Work Commission handed down a further <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/pdf/2024fwcfb150.pdf">determination</a> on what aged-care workers should be paid, confirming and going beyond a previous <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/work-value-aged-care/decisions-statements/2022fwcfb200.pdf">interim determination</a>.</p> <h2>What did the Fair Work Commission find?</h2> <p>Essentially, the commission determined that work in industries with a high proportion of women workers has been traditionally undervalued in wage-setting. This had consequences for both care workers in the aged-care industry (nurses and <a href="https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/CHC33021">Certificate III-qualified</a> personal-care workers) and indirect care workers (cleaners, food services assistants).</p> <p>Aged-care staff will now get significant pay increases – 18–28% increase for personal care workers employed under the Aged Care Award, inclusive of the increase awarded in the interim decision.</p> <figure class="align-center "><figcaption></figcaption>Indirect care workers were awarded a general increase of 3%. Laundry hands, cleaners and food services assistants will receive a further 3.96% <a href="https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decision-summaries/2024fwcfb150-summary.pdf">on the grounds</a> they “interact with residents significantly more regularly than other indirect care employees”.</figure> <p>The final increases for registered and enrolled nurses will be determined in the next few months.</p> <h2>How has the sector responded?</h2> <p>There has been no push-back from employer groups or conservative politicians. This suggests the uplift is accepted as fair by all concerned.</p> <p>The interim increases of up to 15% probably facilitated this acceptance, with the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-budget-mean-for-medicare-medicines-aged-care-and-first-nations-health-192842">recognition of the community</a> that care workers should be paid more than fast food workers.</p> <p>There was <a href="https://www.accpa.asn.au/media-releases/accpa-welcomes-further-aged-care-wage-rises">no criticism from aged-care providers</a> either. This is probably because they are facing difficulty in recruiting staff at current wage rates. And because government payments to providers reflect the <a href="https://www.ihacpa.gov.au/">actual cost of aged care</a>, increased payments will automatically flow to providers.</p> <p>When the increases will flow has yet to be determined. The government is due to give its recommendations for staging implementation by mid-April.</p> <h2>Is the workforce problem fixed?</h2> <p>An increase in wages is necessary, but alone is not sufficient to solve workforce shortages.</p> <p>The health- and social-care workforce is <a href="https://www.jobsandskills.gov.au/data/employment-projections">predicted</a> to grow faster than any other sector over the next decade. The “care economy” will <a href="https://theconversation.com/care-economy-to-balloon-in-an-australia-of-40-5-million-intergenerational-report-211876">grow</a> from around 8% to around 15% of GDP over the next 40 years.</p> <p>This means a greater proportion of school-leavers will need to be attracted to the aged-care sector. Aged care will also need to attract and retrain workers displaced from industries in decline and attract suitably skilled migrants and refugees with appropriate language skills.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/demand-driven-funding-for-universities-is-frozen-what-does-this-mean-and-should-the-policy-be-restored-116060">caps on university and college enrolments</a> imposed by the previous government, coupled with weak student demand for places in key professions (such as nursing), has meant workforce shortages will continue for a few more years, despite the allure of increased wages.</p> <p>A significant increase in intakes into university and vocational education college courses preparing students for health and social care is still required. Better pay will help to increase student demand, but funding to expand place numbers will ensure there are enough qualified staff for the aged-care system of the future. <!-- 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/225898/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/stephen-duckett-10730">Stephen Duckett</a>, Honorary Enterprise Professor, School of Population and Global Health, and Department of General Practice and Primary Care, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></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/who-will-look-after-us-in-our-final-years-a-pay-rise-alone-wont-solve-aged-care-workforce-shortages-225898">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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How will Meta’s refusal to pay for news affect Australian journalism – and our democracy?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-greste-616885">Peter Greste</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>When we speak of media freedom, we generally mean it in terms of freedom <em>from</em> unnecessary legal restrictions, so journalists and their sources are not threatened with prosecution for exposing the misdeeds of governments.</p> <p>But the announcement by Meta (Facebook’s parent company) on March 1 that it will <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-03-01/meta-won-t-renew-deal-with-australian-news-media/103533874">stop paying for Australian news content</a> poses a different kind of threat to media freedom.</p> <p>The most progressive <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-push-to-make-social-media-companies-liable-in-defamation-is-great-for-newspapers-and-lawyers-but-not-you-127513">media freedom laws</a> in the world are meaningless if news companies can’t afford to hire experienced journalists to run expensive investigations. It doesn’t matter how free the laws are if there are no journalists to do the reporting.</p> <p>A <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-37265-1_4">key part of any successful democracy</a> is a free media, capable of interrogating the powerful and holding governments to account. Even in a world overflowing with digital content, we recognise the need for good journalism, produced to ethical and professional standards, to help inform public debate and good policy-making.</p> <h2>It was always going to fall apart</h2> <p>Three years ago, in 2021, under <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/by-industry/digital-platforms-and-services/news-media-bargaining-code/news-media-bargaining-code">the News Media Bargaining Code</a>, the government forced Meta and Google to negotiate with news organisations and pay for the right to access and post their stories.</p> <p>The government introduced the code after <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2024/3/1/facebook-owner-meta-to-end-deals-funding-news-in-australia-germany-france">Facebook and Google were accused of putting news content on their platforms</a>, while denying news organisations the advertising revenues that used to pay for journalism.</p> <p>Although we don’t know exactly who gets paid what, it is estimated that the two digital giants injected <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/1b-for-journalism-at-risk-in-new-warning-over-google-facebook-20240223-p5f78j.html">about $250 million a year</a> into Australian journalism.</p> <p>It wasn’t enough to end the crisis in news caused by the collapse of the old business models, but it <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Communications/Regionalnewspapers/Report/Section?id=committees%2Freportrep%2F024888%2F79305">helped prop up</a> a lot of struggling companies. In some cases, it helped pay for otherwise unprofitable forms of journalism.</p> <p>One of the big problems with the code was that it pushed media companies into inherently unstable and unpredictable deals with commercial behemoths, whose only interest in news was as a commodity to help drive profits. It was always going to fall apart, if and when news became too expensive and Facebook users became disinterested.</p> <p>It is hard to criticise Meta for deciding the deals weren’t worth it. The company is doing what it is supposed to, making hardheaded commercial decisions and maximising shareholder returns. But Meta’s interests are not the same as the Australian public’s.</p> <p>Or more accurately, Meta’s interests are not the same as our democracy’s. Meta doesn’t need high-quality news, particularly if its users are more interested in sharing family photos than sober reporting on inflation rates. But collectively, our society does need it.</p> <p>High-quality news is expensive. It doesn’t cost much to send someone to report on <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-taylor-swift-tickets-so-hard-to-get-the-economics-are-complicated-208567">Taylor Swift’s</a> Melbourne concert, but it is hugely expensive to cover <a href="https://theconversation.com/other-nations-are-applying-sanctions-and-going-to-court-over-gaza-should-nz-join-them-224132">the war in Gaza</a> or investigate allegations of government corruption.</p> <p>I suspect not that many Australians have read Adele Ferguson’s reporting about the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/adele-ferguson-on-the-cost-of-whistleblowing-and-need-for-a-bank-royal-commission-20160505-gomxc4.html">corrupt practices of our biggest banks</a>. Her investigations took years of work, and cost far more than the Sydney Morning Herald would have recovered in subscriptions and advertising revenue for her stories.</p> <p>But her reporting triggered the <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/banking">Banking Royal Commission</a> and a suite of reforms that benefit everyone with a bank account.</p> <h2>A news levy?</h2> <p>If we accept that news is a public good, not something we can treat as a product to be traded like soap, then we have to develop economic models that somehow get the public to pay for it. It could be something like a levy – similar to Medicare’s – that recognises even if we don’t all consume news equally, we are collectively better off by having good journalism that’s free from commercial or political pressure.</p> <p>It is a difficult conversation to have, particularly when most Australians say <a href="https://www.edelman.com.au/trust/2023/trust-barometer">they don’t trust the media</a>, and more and more of us are <a href="https://www.canberra.edu.au/uc-alumni-canvas/canvas-articles/posts/news-blues-over-half-of-australians-avoid-the-news">giving up on news altogether</a>.</p> <p>And that brings us to the other truth this crisis has exposed: our consumption of media <a href="https://www.canberra.edu.au/about-uc/media/newsroom/2023/june/digital-news-report-australia-2023-tiktok-and-instagram-increase-in-popularity-for-news-consumption,-but-australians-dont-trust-algorithms">has changed irreversibly</a>. Fewer and fewer people are reading long news stories or wading through heavy TV bulletins. Now, short-form videos on TikTok, YouTube and Facebook are dominant. The news industry needs to meet audiences where they are, and accept that the ways of presenting news must also radically change.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3RW1U9Q-lzw?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Our ways of consuming the news have changed, with short-form videos now dominant.</span></figcaption></figure> <p>This is not to suggest all journalism should henceforth be presented as TikTok videos. But forcing digital giants to prop up analogue-era news companies cements a system that is no longer fit for purpose.</p> <p>By trying to make the big digital giants pay for content they ultimately profit from, the News Media Bargaining Code started with the right intention. But now that Meta has decided it is no longer worth it, we have a chance to radically rethink and redesign how we finance and deliver news – in a way that works for us all.</p> <p>Our democracy depends on it.<!-- 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/224872/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/peter-greste-616885">Peter Greste</a>, Professor of Journalism and Communications, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p>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-will-metas-refusal-to-pay-for-news-affect-australian-journalism-and-our-democracy-224872">original article</a>.</p>

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From this week, you’ll be able to look up individual companies’ gender pay gaps

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/natasha-bradshaw-1358801">Natasha Bradshaw</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p>There will be nervous executives all over Australia this week.</p> <p>Come Tuesday, large private sector organisations will have their company’s gender pay gaps published for the first time for all to see, name, and shame.</p> <p>As they brace for the fallout, let’s look at how what we will be told is changing, and what it will mean for you.</p> <h2>What is changing?</h2> <p>Every year, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (<a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/">WGEA</a>) collects information from every employer with more than 100 employees. Until now it has published only a summary of the findings on its website, including Australia’s overall gender pay gap, and the gap by industry and employment arrangement.</p> <p>But for the first time legislation enacted last year also allows WGEA to publish the gender pay gaps of individual employers.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>Tuesday’s release will include each large company’s median gender pay gap, and the share of women it employs in lower- and higher-paid jobs.</p> <p>Employers will have the chance to publish a <a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/data-statistics/data-explorer">statement</a> alongside their results to provide context.</p> <p>That means from Tuesday you will be able to look on the <a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/">WGEA website</a> and find the median gender pay gap of your large private sector organisation, or of an organisation you are thinking of joining, and how it stacks up against its competitors.</p> <h2>Why the change?</h2> <p>Australian women, like women elsewhere, have made astounding progress in the workforce in recent decades.</p> <p>Women are both working and earning more than ever before. But progress has stalled, and the gender pay gap remains stubbornly persistent.</p> <p>The Albanese government has shown its commitment to gender equity by increasing the <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/child-care-subsidy">childcare subsidy</a> and extending <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/parental-leave-pay">paid parental leave</a>.</p> <p>But beyond this, the options for governments are limited. Most of the barriers to women getting better-paid jobs can only be broken by employers.</p> <p>The public naming and shaming that will begin on Tuesday will push accountability onto employers, holding them responsible for the conditions in their workplaces.</p> <p>Workers and bosses are going to take notice: when employer gender pay gaps were released in the UK in 2018 it was the <a href="https://www.genderpay.co.uk/wp-downloads/moving-forward-may-2018/presentations/Gender_Pay_Gap_Moving_Forward_May_2018_Studio_2_5_Nick_Bishop.pdf">biggest business news story of the year</a>, with coverage rivalling the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.</p> <p>At a time when companies are fighting for top talent, it is going to make it more difficult for employers with large pay gaps to hire talented women.</p> <p>Research shows that on average women are willing to accept a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3584259">5% lower salary</a> in order to avoid working for the employers with the biggest gender pay gaps.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vAr1Lhaw0Ao?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Workplace Gender Equality Agency.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Let’s not rush to judge</h2> <p>While <a href="https://www.wgea.gov.au/about/our-legislation/publishing-employer-gender-pay-gaps">naming and shaming</a> will help make this policy effective, we should be careful about rushing to judgement.</p> <p>It is possible for an employer to be making serious efforts to improve while its gap remains large.</p> <p>And some actions aimed at improving things, such as implementing a gender quota on entry-level positions, can worsen a company’s apparent gender pay gap in the short term by temporarily increasing the number of lowly-paid women.</p> <p>Also, there will be firms that have a low gender pay gap because they pay both men and women poorly.</p> <p>On Tuesday, we should instead look closely at whether the organisation has outlined clear steps it will take to improve, and how it compares to its competitors. In future years, we will be able to see how things have changed.</p> <h2>What will matter is what employers do next</h2> <p>Since the UK reforms were introduced in 2018, the gender pay gap has narrowed by <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3584259">one-fifth</a>, with the biggest improvements coming from the worst offenders.</p> <p>UK companies have also become more likely to include wage information in their job ads, equalising the starting point of wage negotiations for all applicants.</p> <p>But for existing employees, the narrowing of the gap has been caused more by slower growth in men’s wages than faster growth in women’s wages, which isn’t good news for anyone looking for a pay rise.</p> <p>The full effects of the Australian reforms won’t be seen for some time.</p> <p>It is likely that making high-paid jobs more accessible to women will allow employers to tap into a new talent pool and encourage more highly credentialed women into the workforce, adding to productivity growth.</p> <p>What is clear now is that if we want to narrow the gender pay gap, we need to know what’s happening. The avalanche of data due on Tuesday will be a start.<!-- 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/224167/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/natasha-bradshaw-1358801"><em>Natasha Bradshaw</em></a><em>, Senior Associate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</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/from-this-week-youll-be-able-to-look-up-individual-companies-gender-pay-gaps-224167">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"Absolute joke": Hefty pay rise for traffic controllers met with outrage

<p>A new union pay agreement that would see junior labourers and traffic controllers working 36-hour weeks earn $120,000 a year has received mixed reviews. </p> <p>According to reports by the <em>Herald Sun</em>, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU) was close to cementing a new pay agreement with the Victorian state government that will see its workers given “at least” a 5 per cent pay rise.</p> <p>The three-year agreement would guarantee that basic labourers and traffic controllers would earn more than $2000 per week plus another $260 a week in travel allowance, equating to 23 per cent more than the average full-time weekly income of $1838.</p> <p>Those working overtime or more than five days per week would earn much more than the $120,000 a year figure, which is for a basic 36-hour week.</p> <p>CFMEU boss John Setka told the publication that the rise was to help workers combat the rising cost of living. </p> <p>“It could be more than 5 per cent,” he said.</p> <p>“Everyone is allowed to increase the cost of everything but we are not allowed to increase wages — fair dinkum? We want a pay rise to keep up with the cost of living and we are not allowed? We are not going to be the sacrificial lambs.”</p> <p>The proposal was met with mixed reactions online, with some people on social media wondering how the labourers were able to make higher wages than those with valuable degrees. </p> <p>“Let me see. Get a tertiary education and become a teacher or a paramedic. Or hold up a pole all day and get paid 50 per cent more. Only in Victoria,” one person wrote.</p> <p>“Visit any of the train crossing removal sites around town and you’ll see dozens of people doing nothing but standing around and looking at their phones, and just a handful doing anything that could be described as work. It’s an absolute joke,” another said.</p> <p>A third added, “Who other than the union thinks it’s realistic for a labourer to earn $120,000 in the same state where a trained doctor earns $83,000 first year post grad and doesn’t get to $120,000 until five years post grad.”</p> <p>Despite the outrage, many came to the defence of workers, saying the pay rise is well overdue. </p> <p>“It’s called traffic control and it is dangerous, hard work,” one X user wrote.</p> <p>“We respect trades in this country do not try to be America about this. Also a field that’s becoming more and more female dominated I’m sure that plays no part in the righteous indignation of men who earn $200,000 a year to say things on radio.”</p> <p>Another said, “I dare anyone talking s**t about this job to do it for a single summer day.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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“So tacky”: Bride slammed for using GoFundMe to pay for wedding

<p dir="ltr">A cash-strapped bride has been slammed for considering using GoFundMe to help pay for her wedding. </p> <p dir="ltr">Taking to a wedding page on Facebook, the bride explained that she and her partner had been saving as much money as possible for their wedding, but were struggling with their finances. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Our wedding is next year but I'm still so stressed that we won't be able to pay for the things that we need let alone actual decorations,” the bride began.</p> <p dir="ltr">Given the large expense of a wedding, the bride questioned if it was “tacky” to use GoFundMe, a crowd-funding website used for emergencies, to fund her big day. </p> <p dir="ltr">People were quick to chime in on the idea, with many people labelling it as “inappropriate” to use such a site for wedding expenses. </p> <p dir="ltr">The bride didn't share how much extra money she needs to fund the wedding, but many said she should continue to save rather than rely on others.  </p> <p dir="ltr">“Have the wedding you can afford, or wait and save,” one said bluntly. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Personally I think it is [tacky]. If you want to have a wedding you should be funding it yourself. If you can't afford all the things you want, then I guess you have to decide if you would rather go without or postpone until it's in your budget,” another wrote. </p> <p dir="ltr">One woman said it's “insensitive” since GoFundMe pages are for emergencies only, such as medical situations. </p> <p dir="ltr">“If you can't afford to have the wedding you want you really have two choices - postpone until in a better position financially or scale back your plans to fit within your means,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

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Tenants forced to pay landlord after fleeing their “uninhabitable” rental

<p dir="ltr">A family has been ordered to pay their former landlords $3,000 after they “abandoned” they “uninhabitable” rental property. </p> <p dir="ltr">Bechara Rizk and Ariye Atayi Juma claimed that the Sydney home was unlivable, given the unrelenting infestation of cockroaches and other bugs. </p> <p dir="ltr">When the couple moved into the home with their young daughter on April 29th 2023, they immediately noticed “tiny insects and small cockroaches” in the linen cupboard, living area, master bedroom, second bedroom and main bathroom.</p> <p dir="ltr">They said the house was completely inundated with insects, as they found them on the walls, doors, skirting boards, carpets and in the toilets.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rizk emailed the real estate agency saying he did not consider the property habitable — especially for his young daughter.</p> <p dir="ltr">“(We) went to the property an hour ago for the first time since we received the keys yesterday and there were tiny insects and cockroaches alive and dead in every room,” the email said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I have taken some videos if you need to see evidence but, most importantly, we are not comfortable bringing a small baby who is crawling to live in this apartment.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am writing to formally pull out of the lease and wanting to understand what the repercussions are for us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The real estate offered to arrange a pest control service, to which the couple turned down as they believed the problem was too far gone to be fixed easily. </p> <p dir="ltr">After returning the keys on May 1st, Rizk sent an email the next day requesting their bond and deposit be returned.</p> <p dir="ltr">A pest controller treated the home on May 3rd, recording that a “small amount of (insect) activity” had been located and treated.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a letter to Rizk and Juma the next day, the real estate agency said the pest controller had found “no evidence of a pest infestation in the property” and the couple’s claim the property was uninhabitable was without merit.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rizk replied, “We have pulled out of our lease not due to a change of mind, it is uninhabitable and simply not what we signed up for.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We cannot live in an insect-infested apartment with a young baby.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“As any parent should understand, our child is our first priority and at the very least it would be irresponsible and the most could potentially put her in harm.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The matter between the family and the landlord ended up in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, with the couple seeking repayment of their bond while the landlords asked for compensation for the couple’s “abandonment” of the lease.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tribunal member Ross Glover found that the couple did in fact abandon the property, and were ordered to pay their former landlord $3,000 in compensation. </p> <p dir="ltr">The amount was deducted from the couple's bond which left no remaining balance to be refunded to them. </p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 14pt;"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-ce22768c-7fff-0303-0182-7d6aa3cd857a"></span></p>

Money & Banking

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"Proud to pay more": The billionaires who want to pay more tax

<p>Over 250 millionaires and billionaires have issued an <a href="https://proudtopaymore.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">open letter</a> to global leaders encouraging them to implement wealth taxes to combat the cost-of-living crisis. </p> <p>This comes just as a report by the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/money-banking/shocking-amount-australia-s-richest-people-earn-per-hour" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Oxfam Charity</a> revealed that the global wealth of billionaires have only grown in the last three years despite inflation. </p> <p>The open letter, signed by super-rich individuals from 17 countries, includes signatories like Abigail Disney, the grand-niece of Walt Disney, <em>Succession </em>actor Brian Cox, and American philanthropist and Rockefeller family heir Valerie Rockefeller.</p> <p>They said that they would be "proud to pay more taxes" in order to address the  inequality.</p> <p>"Elected leaders must tax us, the super rich,"  the letter read. </p> <p>"This will not fundamentally alter our standard of living, nor deprive our children, nor harm our nations' economic growth.</p> <p>"But it will turn extreme and unproductive private wealth into an investment for our common democratic future."</p> <p>Austrian heir Marlene Engelhorn is also among the voices demanding that they pay more in taxes.</p> <p>"I've inherited a fortune and therefore power, without having done anything for it. And the state doesn't even want taxes on it,"  Engelhorn, who inherited millions from her family who founded chemical giant BASF, said.</p> <p>The letter was released just as global leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.</p> <p>Abigail Disney, whose net-worth is measured at more than $100 million, said that lawmakers need to come together to make a meaningful economic and social change. </p> <p>"There's too much at stake for us all to wait for the ultra rich to grow a conscience and voluntarily change their ways," she said.</p> <p>"For that reason, lawmakers must step in and tax extreme wealth, along with the variety of environmentally destructive habits of the world's richest."</p> <p>A recent <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/63fe48c7e864f3729e4f9287/t/6596bfb943707b56d11f1296/1704378297933/G20+Survey+of+those+with+More+than+%241+million+on+Attitudes+to+Extreme+Wealth+and+Taxing+the+Super+Rich.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">survey</a> of almost 2400 millionaires found that 74 per cent of them supported the introduction of a wealth tax to fund improved public services and deal with the cost-of-living crisis.</p> <p>The open letter also said that one-off donations and philanthropy "cannot redress the current colossal imbalance" of societal wealth.</p> <p>"We need our governments and our leaders to lead," the letter said. </p> <p>"The true measure of a society can be found, not just in how it treats its most vulnerable, but in what it asks of its wealthiest members."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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What are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ debts, and which should I pay off first?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/angel-zhong-1204643">Angel Zhong</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>With the cost of living soaring and many struggling to get a pay rise, it’s not surprising people are using debt to navigate life’s financial twists and turns.</p> <p>Owing money can sometimes feel challenging, but not all debts should keep you awake at night.</p> <p>So which debts are good and which are bad? And in what order should you pay them off? As it all depends on your personal circumstances, all I can offer is general information and not financial advice. Ideally, you should seek guidance from an accredited financial adviser. But in the meantime, here are some ideas to consider.</p> <h2>What is a ‘good debt’?</h2> <p>Good debts can be strategic tools and help build a solid foundation for your future. They usually increase your net worth by helping you generate income or buy assets that increase in value.</p> <p>With good debts, you usually get back more than what you pay for. They usually have lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. But personal finance is dynamic, and the line between good and bad debt can be nuanced. If not managed properly, even good debts can cause problems.</p> <p>Some examples of “good debts” might include:</p> <p><strong>Mortgages</strong>: A mortgage allows you to buy a house, which is an asset that generally increases in value over time. You may potentially get tax advantages, such as <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/forms-and-instructions/rental-properties-2023/other-tax-considerations">negative gearing</a>, through investment properties. However, it’s crucial not to overstretch yourself and turn a mortgage into a nightmare. As a rule of thumb, try avoid spending <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/select/mortgage-affordability/">more than 30% of your income</a> per year on your mortgage repayments.</p> <p><strong>Student loans</strong>: Education is an investment in yourself. Used well, student loans (such as <a href="https://www.studyassist.gov.au/help-loans/hecs-help">HECS-HELP</a>) can be the ticket to a higher-paying job and better career opportunities.</p> <h2>What is a ‘bad debt’?</h2> <p>“Bad debts” undermine your financial stability and can hinder your financial progress. They usually come with high interest rates and short repayment terms, making them more challenging to pay off. They can lead to a vicious cycle of debt.</p> <p>Examples of bad debts include:</p> <p><strong>Payday loans</strong>: A payday loan offers a quick fix for people in a financial tight spot. However, their steep interest rates, high fees and tight repayment terms often end up worsening a person’s financial problems. The interest and fee you may end up paying can get close to the loan amount itself.</p> <p><strong>Credit card debt:</strong> Credit cards can be like quicksand for your finances. If you don’t pay off your purchase on time, you’ll be subject to an annual interest rate of around <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/statistics/tables/">19.94%</a>. For a A$3,000 credit card debt, for example, that could mean paying nearly $600 annual interest. Carrying credit card debt from month to month can lead to a seemingly never-ending debt cycle.</p> <p><strong>Personal loans:</strong> People usually take personal loans from a bank to pay for something special, such as a nice holiday or a car. They often come with higher interest rates, averaging around <a href="https://www.finder.com.au/personal-loans">10%</a>. Spending money that you don’t have can lead to prolonged financial headaches.</p> <p><strong>Buy-now-pay-later services:</strong> Buy-now-pay-later services often provide interest-free instalment options for purchases. This can be tempting, but the account fees and late payment fees associated with buy-now-pay-later services can lead to a long-term financial hangover. The convenience and accessibility of buy-now-pay-later services can also make it easy to get further and further into debt.</p> <h2>So in what order should I pay off my debts?</h2> <p>There is no one right answer to this question, but here are three factors to consider.</p> <p><strong>Prioritise high-interest debts</strong>: Start by confronting the debts with the highest interest rates. This typically includes credit card debt and personal loans. Paying off high-interest debts first can save you money and reduce your total debt faster.</p> <p><strong>Negotiate interest rates or switch lenders:</strong> Don’t be shy. A simple call to your lender requesting a lower rate can make a significant difference. You may also take advantage of sign-on offers and refinancing your loan with a new lender. In the banking business, customers are not usually rewarded for their loyalty.</p> <p><strong>Consider different repayment strategies:</strong> Choose a debt repayment strategy that aligns with your preferences. Some people get a psychological boost from paying off smaller debts first (this is often called the “<a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/goals-credit/smarter-credit/manage-your-debt/snowball-vs-avalanche-paydown/#:%7E:text=The%20%22snowball%20method%2C%22%20simply,all%20accounts%20are%20paid%20off.">snowball method</a>”). Others focus on high-interest debts (often known as the “<a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/goals-credit/smarter-credit/manage-your-debt/snowball-vs-avalanche-paydown/#:%7E:text=The%20%22snowball%20method%2C%22%20simply,all%20accounts%20are%20paid%20off.">avalanche method</a>”). Find what works for you. The most important thing is to have a plan and stick to it.</p> <p>Review the terms of each debt carefully. Certain loans offer flexibility in repayment schedules, while others may impose penalties for early settlement. Take note of these conditions as you develop your repayment plan.</p> <p>Debt can be a useful tool or a dangerous trap, depending on how you use it. By understanding the difference between good and bad debts, and by having a smart strategy for paying them off, you can take charge of your financial future.<!-- 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/217779/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/angel-zhong-1204643"><em>Angel Zhong</em></a><em>, Associate Professor of Finance, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-good-and-bad-debts-and-which-should-i-pay-off-first-217779">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Flower tycoon pays $76 million in CASH for epic mansion

<p>A Sydney businessman and flower mogul has expanded his real estate portfolio, snapping up one of NSW's most prestigious properties. </p> <p>Leo Lynch and his wife Christina have bought a Federation mansion in Sydney's Bellevue Hill, with the eight-bedroom eight-bathroom property boasting impressive views of Sydney Harbour. </p> <p>The mansion, which was built in the 1890s, also showcases a pool, tennis court, and endless luxury amenities for the well-off buyers. </p> <p>"Designed by architect Walter Vernon," read the listing for the property, "the home is considered his most significant residence. Other heritage buildings designed by Vernon include the Australian Museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Central Railway Station. A truly rare offering to earn a piece of Australian history."</p> <p>While securing the house seems like a huge feat in itself, the Lynch's decided to take the purchase to the next level, buying the home for $76 million in cold hard cash. </p> <p>Despite paying the whopping eight-figure for the mansion, the home needs work and is set to undergo renovations. </p> <p>The purchase of the property, named Leura, comes just after the Lynch's sold their former home for $52.4million more than he bought it.</p> <p>The same night he made the enormous purchase for the Leura estate, he sold his mystery home, just blocks away, for $61.5 million after rebuilding the property he had bought for just $9.05 million in 2014.</p> <p>Leo Lynch, 60, is a third generation of the wholesale flower family's company, founded in 1915 and for which private equity group Next Capital took a majority interest in 2015, before it was publicly listed in 2021.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Domain</em></p>

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