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“We were horrified”: CommBank discovers hidden channel of domestic abuse

<p>Commonwealth Bank has said it will suspend customers who have been using its online banking services to harass and intimidate other users.</p> <p>On Thursday morning, the bank said it had identified more than 8,000 customers who received low-value deposits, often less than $1, with potentially offensive or abusive messages in the digital transaction descriptions in just three months.</p> <p>Catherine Fitzpatrick, General Manager of Community and Customer Vulnerability said the three-month analysis of transaction descriptions came after a disturbing case.</p> <p>“After noticing disturbing messages in the account of a customer experiencing domestic and family violence, we conducted analysis to better understand the problem,” Fitzpatrick told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/commonwealth-bank-australia-technology-abuse-found-in-transaction-descriptions/c826d375-eb30-4d2b-b90c-9c4793af3fb9">9News</a></em>.</p> <p>“We were horrified by both the scale and the nature of what we found.”</p> <p>Fitzpatrick said the nature of the messages ranged from “fairly innocuous ‘jokes’” to “serious threats and clear references to domestic and family violence”.</p> <p>The bank’s new acceptable use policy now states that any customer found to be using NetBank or the CommBank app to stalk, harass or threaten may have their transactions refused, access to digital banking services suspended or discontinued, or account closed.</p> <p>Fitzpatrick said the bank worked with experts, community partners and law enforcement to ensure its policy will not have unintended consequences.</p> <p>“These changes will ensure that all customers can continue to enjoy the benefits of digital banking in a safe and secure way and represents our first step to address the issue of technology-facilitated abuse,” Fitzpatrick said.</p> <p><em>If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, contact the 24-hour support line 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for more information on support and services that can help your situation.</em></p>

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The tiny detail in Woolworths' new paper bags that has angered shoppers

<p><span>Shoppers have slammed Woolworths over their new paper bags being made in China.</span></p> <p><span>The supermarket giant announced the release of the bags, which are made from 70 per cent recycled paper, on June 3 after a trial earlier this year was “very well received” by customers. </span></p> <p><span>But now, some shoppers have taken to Facebook to share their disappointment after noticing the “Made in China” label on the bottom of the bags.</span></p> <p><span>Speaking to </span><em>7News</em><span>, a spokesperson for Woolworths said that they are now exploring options to have the bags made locally.</span></p> <p><span>The announcement came shortly after shoppers voiced their frustration over the bags.</span></p> <p><span>“Just found out that the new paper bags that were announced this week, come from China,” said one shopper on social media.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwoolworths%2Fposts%2F4022736007798500&amp;width=500" width="500" height="587" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p><span>“It would have been nice to have them made in Australia. How can we support Australians if large corporations don’t give us the option? Very disappointed.”</span></p> <p><span>Added another: “Shame on you Woolworths. Promoting the use of the paper bags that are made in China. Surely they should have been manufactured here in Australia.”</span></p> <p><span>“So they’re not made in Australia … When they are then perhaps people might buy them,” said a third.</span><br /><span>Others sided with Woolworths on the decision.</span></p> <p><span>“So you’ll be asking people to throw out and stop using their iPhones when exactly?” asked one.</span></p> <p><span>Said another: “Yeah we should produce them in Australia for 5x the cost and then whinge about how the paper bag costs so much more than the plastic.”</span></p> <p><span>A Woolworths spokesperson said they were brainstorming ideas on how to make the bags locally.</span></p> <p><span>“We’ve been exploring options to source paper bags locally,” the spokesperson said.</span></p> <p><span>“We’ll continue working closely with Australian manufacturers to see if we can find a viable solution as soon as possible.”</span></p>

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Check your super balance: Aussies scammed out of thousands of dollars

<p>At least 150 Australians have had parts of their retirement savings siphoned off by fraudsters in a scam exploiting security holes in the Government’s early release super scheme.</p> <p>Earlier this year, the Federal Government announced eligible individuals affected by the COVID-19 economic crisis can apply to access up to $10,000 of their super.</p> <p>But last month the Government was forced to suspend withdrawals for two days after attackers allegedly lodged fraudulent applications using fake myGov accounts in their victims’ names.</p> <p>Angelee Basset and her husband are among the people being targeted by the scammers. Basset said duplicate myGov accounts were set up in their names and then used to apply for nearly $20,000 in their ATO portals.</p> <p>“Until then I had no idea it was even possible to have more than one myGov account in your name,” she told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-01/scammers-stealing-thousands-through-coronavirus-super-scheme/12301010">ABC</a></em>.</p> <p>“In order to stop this happening to others, one of the things that should be put in place is a limit on the number of myGov accounts an individual is allowed to have.”</p> <p>Basset said the applications were approved in “less than 12 hours” despite the couple not fulfilling the criteria for accessing their super savings early, but they managed to prevent the money from leaving their accounts.</p> <p>Australian citizens and permanent residents must be unemployed, made redundant or have their working hours or turnover reduced by 20 per cent to be eligible for the scheme.</p> <p>The Government claimed the scheme’s security has been improved and there has been no more fraud since.</p> <p>“The ATO constantly recalibrates its systems so that they’re secure, and the system has been working very well since,” Assistant Minister for Superannuation Jane Hume told the outlet.</p> <p>The Australian Federal Police are currently investigating at least 150 cases of identity fraud.</p> <p>As of early May, 1.2 million Australians had used the early release scheme to cash out more than $10 billion.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/types-of-scams/current-covid-19-coronavirus-scams">Australian Competition &amp; Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch</a> has received more than 2,700 reports of coronavirus-related scams since the outbreak – including early access super frauds – with over $1.1 million in reported losses.</p> <p>“Never give any information about your superannuation to someone who has contacted you,” the ACCC advised. “This includes offers to help you access your superannuation early under the government’s new arrangements.”</p>

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Kmart worker spills three secrets that’ll save you cash

<p>A Kmart worker has spilled three shopping “secrets” she claims will get you better discounts and treatment in store.</p> <p>Georgia Cook from Sydney shared three tips on TikTok, where it received a lot of attention from bargain hunters.</p> <p>The 23-year-old answered questions from those who wanted to know more, much to the delight of bargain hunters.</p> <p>“We give a 20 per cent or more if something is damaged, just ask,” Georgia said in the video, which was her first tip.</p> <p>She went on to say that “half the workers don’t know where stuff is either”, which is the second tip.</p> <p>The third and final tip was the one that delighted bargain hunters the most, with Georgia saying that “if you ask us if something is out of stock, we will say yes if you’re rude and annoying”.</p> <p>One woman was quick to dispute Georgia’s claims, saying that she was only given a 5 percent discount for her damaged goods.</p> <p>“All Kmarts are different for damaged items, that’s what we do with ours. It’s more if you accidentally bring a damaged item up and you still want it, you can ask for a discount,” Georgia replied.</p> <p>Not everyone was happy with the tips, saying that it was “your job” to show people where items are, even if they were unkind.</p> <p>“I worked retail and even if someone was rude I’d check because that’s what I was getting paid to do,” one said.</p> <p>Others warned she could “lose her job over this” to which she replied: “I didn’t expect it to blow up.”</p> <p>Georgia’s TikTok is now on private and it is unknown if she has lost her job due to the popularity of the video.</p>

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Look out, ALDI: Coles just launched a deal to rival ALDI’s ‘Special Buys’

<p><span>Shoppers go mad for the weekly Special Buys at ALDI – and now Coles is following in their footsteps.</span><br /><span>On Friday, Coles launched a fortnightly “Best Buys” sale, offering items traditionally not sold in supermarkets.</span></p> <p><span>There are 30 cookware items available in the limited deal – which is also currently only available in 28 select stores in Victoria and Western Australia – including a Dutch oven, priced at $19.99 and an air fryer.</span></p> <p><span>A spokesperson for Coles remained tight-lipped when asked if the grocery giant was hoping to rival ALDI with the move, as there’s no denying the similarities.</span></p> <p><span>ALDI recently had a sale on a range of cast iron cookware, all of which were under $30 and caused a stampede among shoppers.</span></p> <p><span>Dutch ovens can set people back close to $530 when sold by designer brands, making Coles $20 offering extremely alluring – and five dollars less than ALDI’s which was on sale for $24.99.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FALDI.Australia%2Fphotos%2Fa.637019469688891%2F3370712356319575%2F%3Ftype%3D3&amp;width=500" width="500" height="677" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p><span>Coles was also selling a 3.5 litre digital air fryer for a reasonable $69.99 – while ALDI recently had an 8-litre version of the appliance for $99.</span></p> <p><span>Coles General Manager for Health &amp; Home Jonathan Torr said the supermarket giant is constantly looking for ways to inspire customers and offer them great value.</span></p> <p><span>“We have introduced Coles Best Buys to add some sparkle to the shopping experience as well as provide convenient and affordable options to our customers,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>“Customers have told us they love it when they can get all of their needs in the one store. We think they are going to love our new Coles Best Buys range, which is a great example of the good things we’re doing to inspire customers by offering them great quality, value and going beyond what they expected when they walked into our store.”</span></p> <p><span>Other items on sale include a dog bed, tupperware and silicone cooking utensils.</span></p> <p><span>In Victoria, the deals are available at Oakleigh, Brimbank, Dandenong, Roxburgh Park, Traralgon, Waurn Ponds, Sunbury, Craigieburn, Cranbourne Park, South Morang, Lavington and Shepparton stores.</span></p> <p><span>In WA, those visiting the Maddington, Forest Lakes, Beechboro, Bassendean, Innaloo, Dianella, Warnbro, Haynes, Wanneroo, Mirrabooka, Bunbury, Lakelands, Whitford, Kalamunda and Gosnells stores can pick up the deals.</span></p> <p><span>If you don’t reside in the above locations, don’t fret as the fortnightly sale will be rolled out across the country over the next few weeks – so the rest of Australia will not be left out.</span></p>

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Kmart shoppers go wild over dirt cheap dirt buster

<p>Avid Kmart shoppers have found the best way to cut your cleaning time in half as the chilly season picks up and wetter weather sets in.</p> <p>Rainy weather means plenty more dirty shoes coming through your house, leaving unsightly prints and marks.</p> <p>If your current mop is not cutting it or everyone simply needs an upgrade, then Kmart has offered a bargain solution.</p> <p>Posting in the Kmart Home Decor &amp; Hacks Australia Facebook group, one mum gave Kmart's new Spray Floor Mop the tick of approval, saying she would “never be going back to buckets and water” after using it.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836258/srtar.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/0fd6ef3c937e4b748379ec35a1bb1a45" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The mop can be purchased for $17 from Kmart. </em></p> <p>At $17 the mop comes in with a built in sprayer section, so all you have to do is simply spray and off you go.</p> <p>“I guess you could say I’ve hacked the way I clean floors,” the happy mum wrote.</p> <p>She said that she had planned to purchase Koh's spray mop for $129.80 but found the Kmart version for a seductive price.</p> <p>“OMFG, it’s brilliant. Mop is light weight, trigger is in a great position on the handle and easy to compress to achieve a wide spray of product,” the poster wrote.</p> <p>“The mat, washable and can purchase replacements, glides across timber and tiles, no residue and floors are basically instant dry. Never going back to buckets and water.</p> <p>“Will still purchase the Koh Starter pack because I believe their products are amazing, but today I saved myself over $100 on a spray mop.”</p> <p>Other shoppers took to the comments to speak on their own satisfying purchase.</p> <p>“How good are these, my Kmart one is over 2 years old and still going strong. Makes it so easy to clean the floors in between a big clean,” one person said.</p> <p>“Love mine for the constant spills I get with my toddler, plus I have fake timber flooring which can’t handle proper mopping,” another wrote.</p>

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Samantha Armytage slams Sydney Water over price rise notice

<p>Samantha Armytage has slammed Sydney Water after she was informed her rates would be increasing from July amid the COVID-19 downturn.</p> <p>The <em>Sunrise </em>host said she was informed of the price increases on her bill, which she received on Wednesday.</p> <p>“Just got my bill today from Sydney Water where they tell you they’re here to help... and then, oh, a price rise on July 1. What a lovely treat,” she said in a clip posted on her Instagram Stories.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836266/sapost.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/cb5f20d7edd048aeb16a9b2bdf5b4071" /></p> <p>A caption on the video read: “We’re all in this together, except Sydney Water.”</p> <p>The clip came after Armytage shared the things she has learned during lockdown in a column for <em><a href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/stellar/what-samantha-armytage-learnt-in-lockdown/news-story/a664e3f21684e7e722ece5b064e96651">Stellar</a> </em>magazine.</p> <p>“We’ve realised we are not all in this together. There are members of the population who think it’s OK to spit on police officers, who will hoard products, and that there are countries who are so, so, so much worse off than us,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We’ve realised how many large companies were very badly run before COVID. We’ve realised how much we admire doctors and nurses. Ditto teachers. Oh, and beauticians. Waxing is best left to the experts. Enough said.”</p> <p>The 43-year-old also shared the pet peeves she developed during the pandemic.</p> <p>“We’ve realised how annoying it is to see celebrities crying about isolation from their mansions/massage rooms/private gyms. That none of us has much patience for taxpayers bailing out billionaires’ businesses (bag it like Beckham, anyone?) and how many people actually think Ellen DeGeneres is mean,” she wrote.</p> <p>Since public health emergencies were declared by state governments in March, Armytage has spent most of her time isolating at her country estate in Bowral, New South Wales.</p> <p>In April, she returned to <em>Sunrise </em>after taking six weeks off to recover from a respiratory infection.</p>

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Man falls for scammer who posed as Olivia Newton-John

<p><span>A 74-year-old man has admitted he was tricked into believing he had developed a wonderful connection with Australian actress Olivia Newton-John.</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Martinetti is an award-winning cinematographer who had worked with the Aussie starlet on the film The Wilde Girls.</span><br /><br /><span>“I met Olivia and it was like working with any other actor. My job is the same, I have to make them look good, which I did,” he told the program.</span><br /><br /><span>“I got a nice picture with her and that’s what started this whole saga.”</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836224/olivia-newton-john-scam-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1cb9421fab0142f59c1d324cb696ffc6" /><br /><br /><span>He shared the picture to an Olivia Newton-John fan page and shortly after doing so, received a message from a person with the Facebook name Dame Olivia.</span><br /><br /><span>“I almost fainted. I had been looking at this picture and thinking about her and here she comes into my life. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.</span><br /><br /><span>“I think it was a moment of weakness. Emotionally I was weak and that’s how they got me.”</span><br /><br /><span>As the two continued to talk, the person disguised as Ms Newton-John told him she was now divorced and was lonely.</span><br /><br /><span>He said she also told him he was “handsome”.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836223/olivia-newton-john-scam-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/26121f4510754c03b9b1e6e1f1b78cd6" /><br /><br /><span>“I started to feel sorry for her, I thought, ‘oh poor Olivia, she doesn’t deserve all this, she’s such a beautiful human being’,” he said.</span><br /><br /><span>The senior man says he was told he must keep their conversations private, and would have to communicate on the app Telegram.</span><br /><br /><span>The pair talked about meeting each other but the fake Dame Olivia told him that if he wanted them to meet, he would have to pay to cover the costs of her food and hotel room.</span><br /><br /><span>“If you want to have a coffee with Olivia it costs $2000 and if you want to go to a restaurant it costs $5000. I thought ‘this is weird but it must be the way she earns money’,” Mr Martinetti said.</span><br /><br /><span>“I was thinking I didn’t want to be disrespectful to her. Can you say ‘piss off’ to Olivia Newton-John? I don’t think so.”</span><br /><br /><span>He arranged to meet her and ended up paying a whopping $13,000 into two separate Melbourne bank accounts.</span><br /><br /><span>One belonged to a Mary Busuttil and the other a Thelma Fiasco.</span><br /><br /><span>However, the meeting never occurred and Mr Martinetti was hit with the sudden realisation that he had been scammed.</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Martinetti continued talking with the fake account, and eventually convinced them to give an address where he could send money to.</span><br /><br /><span>He gave this information and the conversations to the Gold Coast Police but claims they weren’t interested in taking on the case.</span><br /><br /><span>It was then Mr Martinetti partnered up with A Current Affair who tracked down the scammer by going to the address in Craigieburn, Melbourne, he had been given under the pretence of dropping off more money.</span><br /><br /><span>That address turned out to be the home of Ms Busuttil who was a scam victim just like Mr Martinetti and had no idea of what had been tangled up in.</span><br /><br /><span>“I think it is disgusting. I think that people that prey on other people based on trust and their feelings, to me they are the worst scum in the world,” Mr Martinetti said.</span><br /><br /><span>The scammer behind the Dame Olivia Facebook profile eventually slipped up by accidentally switching the profile picture to their real photo.</span><br /><br /><span>A man called Fidelis Ilechie, was listed as the owner of the account Mr Martinetti believed belonged to Olivia Newton-John.</span></p> <p><em>Image: Facebook.</em><br /><br /><span>Mr Martinetti and Ms Busuttil have filed reports with Victoria and Queensland Police who are now investigating the incidents.</span></p>

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Not fair! Aldi shopper with huge Special Buys haul sparks fury

<p>A group of Aldi shoppers have slammed a man online after he bought a haul of Special Buys items in one go.</p> <p>As keen shoppers rushed to the store to get a $69.99 Stand Mixer when they hit the shelves, many walked away empty handed due to limited stock.</p> <p>However, an annoyed shopper who was disgruntled that they missed out took to Facebook to slam a man for buying six when they couldn’t even purchase one.</p> <p>She posted to the Aldi Mums Facebook page explaining the situation.</p> <p>“I went to Aldi this morning at 8.30 am to buy a stand mixer from Special Buys today,” she posted in the group.</p> <p>“I end up having nothing at 8.35 am because of this. Is it fair? As per ALDI staff, they can't put any limits on Special Buys. That guy ended up buying six of the stand mixers.”</p> <p>People in the group were quick to agree, saying that there should be a limit on how many you can purchase in one go.</p> <p>“Two is ok but not six, they should limit it,” one user wrote on the post.</p> <p>“Not fair at all. This always happens,” another user agreed.</p> <p>Some commenters were curious as to why he had bought so many.</p> <p>“And I bet he will sell them for more online. I hate people who do that,” one user commented.</p> <p>Others jumped to the defence of the man, saying he can purchase whatever he likes.</p> <p>“It's his business of why he had so many, not for the rest of Australia to judge,” one user wrote.</p> <p>“Maybe he's the nominated shopper for the street? Maybe he has a big family? Maybe we should mind our own business,” another commented.</p> <p>“Don't know who's worse… The guy with the trolley or the person taking the photo,” another added.</p>

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg admits $60 billion JobKeeper error is “regrettable”

<p>Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken responsibility for a “regrettable” $60 billion JobKeeper reporting error.</p> <p>In an opinion piece published on <em>The Australian </em>Monday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Treasury massively overestimated the number of people who would need the JobKeeper wage subsidy because it assumed in March the COVID-19 health crisis would be much worse.</p> <p>The Federal Government had previously said more than 6 million workers would receive $1,500 fortnightly wage subsidy, but on Friday admitted that the scheme would only cover about half that number.</p> <p>It also revised the program’s estimated cost from $130 billion to $70 billion.</p> <p>“Ultimately, I have to take responsibilities for those things,” Morrison said on Sunday.</p> <p>“So sure, the estimate was overstated.</p> <p>“But what it means is Australians won’t have to borrow as much money. This is not money that is sitting in the bank somewhere, this $60 billion, that is all money that would have otherwise had to be borrowed.”</p> <p>On Friday, Frydenberg said the mistake was “good news” and had been picked up before it impacted the payments that the government had already released.</p> <p>“It is welcome news that the impact on the public purse from the program will not be as great as initially estimated,” he said.</p> <p>Labor has called for Frydenberg to explain the miscalculation to a Senate inquiry.</p> <p>Opposition Senate Leader Penny Wong told the ABC’s <em>Insiders</em> the mistake was a “$60 billion black hole in the economic credibility” of the government.</p> <p>“When you’ve got a budget blunder of this size, I reckon it’s about time you fronted up and explained it,” Wong said.</p> <p>Wong previously said the $60 billion should be used to expand the JobKeeper program to include more casuals.</p> <p>Frydenberg said he would not answer calls from Labor to front a senate committee.</p> <p>“This is just a political stunt from the Labor Party,” he told the ABC on Monday.</p>

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ALDI issues recall after four-year-old spots embarrassing mistake

<p>ALDI has pulled a popular kid’s item from shelves after a four-year-old boy pointed out an embarrassing mistake.</p> <p>The supermarket’s Learning Desk Mat – sold in their May 20 Special Buys sale – includes math times tables, so children can learn while they eat.</p> <p>But a clever four-year-old quickly realised something wasn’t right on the $3.99 chart, as it read “12 x 12 = 60” instead of “12 x 12 =144”.</p> <p>A spokesperson for ALDI has issued an apology for the mistake, confirming that the item will be removed from stories.</p> <p>Mum Melanie pointed out the error on a popular Facebook page, saying she was “disappointed”.</p> <p>“Check your placemat guys,” wrote Melanie on the ALDI Mums Facebook page.</p> <p>“My number obsessed four-year-old (with autism) is upset that the times tables contain a big stuff up... I’ll be returning it tomorrow, so disappointed.”</p> <p>Fellow ALDI Mums members were impressed by the boy’s math skills.</p> <p>“Oh no! Good pick up little one,” said one.</p> <p>Added another: “Wow! Well done! Took me a while to find the mistake.”</p> <p>Said a third: “My six-year-old autistic son would lose it if I got him this. Numbers and language are his thing. Oh my.”</p> <p>Speaking to<span> </span><em>7News</em>, a spokesperson for ALDI has urged shoppers who have purchased the mat to return it to their local store.</p> <p>“There are at least 144 reasons why this printing error on the Learning Desk Mat Special Buy is awkward,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p>“We agree, that 12 x 12 does actually equal 144.</p> <p>“We take every effort in ensuring our products are of the highest quality and apologise to kids learning their times tables (and their parents) for this oversight.</p> <p>“We are in the process of removing this product from our stores and encourage any customers who have purchased this product to return it to their local store for a full refund.</p> <p>“We always encourage customers to contact ALDI directly through the Customer Service Team so we can promptly and thoroughly conduct an investigation into any issues.”</p>

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Target to close up to 75 stores across Australia

<p>More than half of Target and Target Country stores across Australia will be shut or converted to Kmart sites in a massive restructure.</p> <p>The retailer’s owner Wesfarmers said up to 167 locations will either be converted or shut in a move that could see more than half of Target’s 284 outlets gone.</p> <p>The company will close between 10 and 25 large format Target stores along with 50 small format Target Country stores.</p> <p>Up to 40 large format Target stores and about 52 remaining Target Country stores will be converted to Kmarts.</p> <p>The news came as the company unveiled $780 million of writedowns on its Kmart Group and industrial and safety division.</p> <p>Wesfarmers told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-22/up-to-75-target-stores-to-be-closed-down-others-to-be-converted/12275390">ABC</a></em> it expects between 1,000 and 1,300 job losses over the next 12 months as a result of the closures.</p> <p>“For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue,” managing director Rob Scott said.</p> <p>“With the exception of Target, Wesfarmers’ retail businesses are well-positioned to respond to the changes in consumer behaviour and competition associated with this disruption.</p> <p>“The actions announced reflect our continued focus on investing in Kmart, a business with a compelling customer offer and strong competitive advantages, while also improving the viability of Target by addressing some of its structural challenges by simplifying the business model.”</p>

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Bar owner slams no-show customer in open letter

<p>As restaurants and bars across New South Wales reopen with a limit of 10 diners at once, a Sydney restaurant has published an open letter criticising a customer who did not show up for her reservation.</p> <p>Aref Jaroud, owner of Surry Hills bar Low 302, unleashed on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Saturday evening after a party of four under the name “Aimee” decided not to show up without cancelling.</p> <p>The post began by thanking Aimee for making a booking for four people, or “40 per cent of our entire capacity”, and then failing to show up without having “the common courtesy to call us up and cancel”.</p> <p>“We had people on a waiting list who would have been happy to take your reservation,” Jaroud wrote.</p> <p>“Maybe you have no idea the financial impact this has on a restaurant right now. Maybe you don’t care.</p> <p>“You have single-handedly set the worst of precedence for our entire industry at this most difficult time.”</p> <p>Jaroud said the no-show forced the venue to move to a deposit booking system, “something we really wanted to avoid having to do”.</p> <p>The post was signed off with the message: “Aimee, there is a special place for you to burn in hospo hell.”</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FLow3o2%2Fposts%2F2929795243754894&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=552&amp;height=225&amp;appId" width="552" height="225" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>Jaroud told <em><a href="https://kitchen.nine.com.au/latest/struggling-sydney-restaurant-owner-blasts-no-show-diner-on-first-day-of-relaxed-restrictions/4bc47d3c-301b-4610-98f6-a66472c59c66">9Honey</a></em> he had changed his mind about taking deposits from patrons since the post was published.</p> <p>“If a person is feeling a bit unwell they should not feel any pressure to attend a booking because they fear they may lose their deposit. For that reason alone we will not be asking for deposits and will ‘take it on the chin’ for no shows,” he told the outlet.</p> <p>“I understand that there may be circumstances whereby a person cannot make a cancellation and that's fine, but my point being if you can pick up the phone because you’ve just changed your mind, please do.”</p> <p>Jaroud told <em><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/sydney-restaurant-slams-customers-decision-during-new-virus-rules-041714361.html">Yahoo News Australia</a> </em>he doesn’t regret the Facebook post, saying it was a “reminder to people that restaurants really are doing it hard”.</p> <p>Mat Lindsay, owner of Surry Hills wine bar Poly, also experienced a no-show on Saturday night. He said the two people who did not show up made up about seven per cent of loss in “possible takings”.</p> <p>“That night when it happened to us it was 5pm – we had a whole bunch of people we had to say ‘Sorry, the space is taken’ to, and they left disappointed,” Lindsay told <em><a href="https://www.broadsheet.com.au/sydney/food-and-drink/article/love-sydney-please-show-your-restaurant-reservation">Broadsheet</a></em>.</p> <p>“They were excited – they could finally go out and have dinner and a glass of wine and we said we couldn’t fit them in. Then those seats sat vacant. That was the more upsetting thing about it – turning people away.”</p>

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Hiding in plain sight: Bizarre $10 note conspiracy theory

<p>A cohort of Australian conspiracy theorists has claimed they found “proof” of an organised coronavirus conspiracy on the $10 note.</p> <p>Some “COVID-19 truthers” said the sign of a global conspiracy is featured on the Australian $10 banknote in the form of a gold reflective illustration.</p> <p>“The new $10 Australian note complete with corona virus symbols. You can’t make this up!” one Facebook post read.</p> <p>The coronavirus conspiracy movement, which has led to small protests in Sydney and Melbourne in recent weeks, reportedly believe the pandemic is an orchestrated effort by billionaires and governments to force vaccinations on the general population.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7836144/embed.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/867ee92f4dd04f68bdf656e11078bd70" /></p> <p>The Reserve Bank said the $10 note feature is an illustrated version of Bramble Wattle.</p> <p>“Tilt the banknote to see a rolling colour effect, which is visible on both sides of the banknote,” the Reserve Bank said on its website.</p> <p>“The feature appears on each denomination of the Next Generation Banknotes series, with a different type of wattle depicted in the design on each banknote. In this instance, the design framing the feature is a designer’s interpretation of Bramble Wattle.”</p> <p>Katie Attwell from the University of Western Australia said conspiracies receive “worrying” level of traction because of the uncertainty the general public is facing.</p> <p>“The general public is uncertain, afraid, and experiencing cognitive impairment from the strain of it all,” Attwell wrote on <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-anti-vaxxers-arent-a-huge-threat-yet-how-do-we-keep-it-that-way-138531">The Conversation</a></em>.</p> <p>“Governments overseas, most notably the US government, have failed dismally in responding efficiently to COVID-19. This has the potential to devastate citizens’ trust.</p> <p>“In this volatile cocktail, the distinction between what is ‘bats**t crazy’ and what is worryingly plausible starts to break down.”</p> <p>In a <a href="https://10daily.com.au/news/a200519xdyqc/one-in-eight-australians-believes-bill-gates-is-responsible-for-coronavirus-and-wow-20200519">recent survey of 1,073 Australians</a>, one in eight said they believe Microsoft founder Bill Gates is somehow responsible for the coronavirus and the 5G wireless network is spreading the disease.</p> <p>“For those who reject these premises, it’s hard to understand how conspiracists sustain this alternative reality. But for those with long histories of rejecting government and expert authority, it’s completely conceivable,” Attwell said.</p> <p>“Many of those who reject vaccines, or strenuously object to COVID-19 health measures, are influenced by interconnected social groups with clear identities.”</p> <p>Attwell said it might be best to “quietly ignore” lockdown protesters to stop the spread of misinformation, “like a parent walking away from their child’s supermarket tantrum”.</p> <p>“When we walk away from a child having a tantrum in a supermarket, we are also saving them from themselves – even if they can’t appreciate it.”</p>

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Australians should be given $100,000 to avoid full-blown financial crisis, economist says

<p>Every Australian should be handed $100,000 to wipe out household debts and prevent a full-blown financial crisis from the coronavirus pandemic, an economist has said.</p> <p>Professor Steve Keen of the University College of London said the economy cannot recover from the COVID-19 shock unless a large chunk of private debt is written off.</p> <p>“Give $100,000 per person as a flat rate to everyone to eliminate the private debt,” he told <em><a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8330913/Every-Australian-handed-100-000-stop-country-sliding-financial-disaster.html">Daily Mail Australia</a></em>.</p> <p>Australians have the world’s second-largest household debts, sitting at around 120 per cent of GDP. A <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/finance/retirement-income/most-australians-struggle-managing-their-debts-amid-covid-19-survey-finds">recent survey</a> also found that about three in five Aussies could not manage their debt amid the COVID-19 outbreak.</p> <p>“We let ourselves get into the biggest debt bubble in human history,” Professor Keen said.</p> <p>He said bank lending had “financed” the private debt bubble, which pushed up house prices and in turn led to even higher levels of debt.</p> <p>The solution was to reduce individual debt to the rates Australia had before the recession of the early 1990s.</p> <p>Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said $200 billion worth of loans had been deferred, most of which were residential mortgages.</p> <p>Nearly 600,000 people left the workforce in April, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said, wiping away two years of jobs growth.</p>

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“Nothing can stop it”: Financial expert predicts two-year crisis

<p>Australia is set to see “massive bankruptcies”, quadrupling unemployment rates and crashing property prices within months, a financial expert predicts.</p> <p>US demographer and financial writer Harry Dent said the COVID-19 pandemic is simply the “perfect trigger” to set off a depression for an already struggling economy.</p> <p>“Central banks and governments have stimulated the economy so much that the entire world is on the brink of a 1930s style meltdown,” he said.</p> <p>“They have literally printed trillions and trillions of dollars, and along with the Australian Government’s multi-billion dollar stimulus package, have created a property and mortgage bubble that combined with increased unemployment will be the catalyst for massive bankruptcies.</p> <p>“This is a two-year meltdown between late 2020 and late 2022 and nothing can stop it.”</p> <p>Dent said conditions were “much worse” now than before the Global Financial Crisis and predicted Australia’s real estate market could fall as much as 50 per cent.</p> <p>“The bubble is off the charts. It’s so obvious and there’s no easy way out and no magic solution,” he told <em><a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/world-economy/finance-expert-predicts-massive-bankruptcies-in-twoyear-meltdown/news-story/eb31a77fa22a108646973e06e1a0f388">News.com.au</a></em>.</p> <p>“This is a once in a lifetime thing and its closest correlation is not the GFC, it’s not the recessions of the 80s or 90s – it’s like the early 30s.</p> <p>“It’s the greatest bubble in history … there’s no way [central] banks can beat the monsters they created with financial asset bubbles.”</p> <p>Dent said people still had time to sell assets they did not want to keep for life.</p> <p>“Get out of risky assets for a couple of years,” he advised.</p> <p>“This will not last forever, I’m not bearish at all, but it’s the biggest risk of a crash we’ll see in our lifetime so if you don’t get serious about your financial assets, you’re going to be in trouble. It’s D-Day.</p> <p>“My point of view is simple and you can believe it or not.”</p> <p>Financial commentator Peter Switzer offered a more optimistic outlook, saying Australia could see a few years of rising stocks after the coronavirus crisis ended.</p> <p>He said the pandemic only brought forward the inevitable market crash that would have taken place in 2021 due to the bull market cycle.</p> <p>“No one knows how the anti-pandemic economic stimulus packages will play out around the world and whether we’ll be crushed by a second-wave of infections that will close economies down again, but right now the stock market is into a range because it doesn’t know either – but it’s leaning to the positive!” Switzer wrote on his <a href="https://switzer.com.au/the-experts/peter-switzer/kiyosaki-and-dent-say-doom-is-coming-does-it-pay-to-believe-them/">website</a>.</p> <p>“Cautious investors could wait about six months and in that time they could see a great buying opportunity after another big leg down, or they could wait for another leg up driven by the best-case scenarios for the virus and the economy.”</p> <p><em>Rich Dad Poor Dad </em>author Robert Kiyosaki, who will be joining Dent and property analyst Martin North on a May 24 webinar to discuss the crisis, said the world’s current level of debt was “unprecedented in history”.</p> <p>Kiyosaki told the outlet Australia was at risk because China was in a compromised financial position and “when China catches a cold, Australia gets pneumonia”.</p> <p>He said the crisis presented an opportunity for entrepreneurs.</p> <p>“Einstein said ‘imagination is more important than knowledge’ and I’m very optimistic the future will belong to entrepreneurs and not corporate guys because they’re nimble and can make changes more quickly.”</p>

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Here's how much the lockdown is costing the Australian economy every week

<p>Australia’s coronavirus shutdown is costing the economy $4 billion a week, according to new Treasury analysis that will be considered as the national cabinet meets to decide which restrictions to lift.</p> <p>Treasury has estimated the mass closures of businesses and activities will shrink Gross Domestic Product by 10 to 12 per cent by June, equivalent to $50 billion. The crisis has also been predicted to leave 700,000 more Australians to lose their jobs.</p> <p>Every extra week the current restrictions stay in place costs the economy another $4 billion, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is expected to say in a planned speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday.</p> <p>“Notwithstanding Australia’s success to date on the health front, and the unprecedented scale and scope of our economic response, our economic indicators are going to get considerably worse in the period ahead before they get better,” Frydenberg will say.</p> <p>He will warn that people need to get back into work quickly.</p> <p>“In the early 1990s, unemployment increased by 5 per cent over three years, but took seven years to get back to its pre-crisis level,” he will say.</p> <p>“It underlines the importance of getting people back to work as soon as possible to avoid the long-term economic and social impacts from a high unemployment rate.”</p> <p>Frydenberg will say he is “<a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/coronavirus-shutdown-costing-economy-$4-billion-a-week/12213612">reassured</a>” by the national cabinet’s decision to expedite its consideration of opportunities for COVID-19 restrictions.</p> <p>“The economic shock the world is confronting dwarfs the Global Financial Crisis,” he will say.</p> <p>“Reassuringly, national cabinet has signalled that from this Friday, it will assess more opportunities for easing restrictions, building on decisions already taken to date, such as around elective surgery, or in some states, limited gatherings, and visitations.”</p>

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What does the rate rise postponement mean for me?

<p>Most private health funds have cancelled or postponed their annual premium increase until at least 1 October 2020.</p> <p>The announcement was made by Private Healthcare Australia (PHA) which collectively represents 97% of people covered by private health insurance nationally.</p> <p>Social distancing measures put in place to combat COVID-19 have resulted in large savings for insurers due to the forced closure of many extras providers and the cancellation of elective surgeries.</p> <p>There have also been concerns of mass cancellations due to the widespread financial hardship caused by the pandemic.</p> <p><strong>Which funds have already agreed to postpone the rate rise?</strong></p> <p>As of 9 April 2020, the following funds have already agreed to postpone or cancel their rate rise, and others may well follow suit.</p> <ul> <li>ACA</li> <li>ahm</li> <li>Australian Unity</li> <li>Bupa</li> <li>CBHS Corporate</li> <li>CBHS Health</li> <li>CUA</li> <li>Defence Health</li> <li>Doctors’ Health</li> <li>GMHBA</li> <li>GU Health</li> <li>HBF</li> <li>HCF</li> <li>Health Partners</li> <li>HIF</li> <li>Latrobe</li> <li>Medibank</li> <li>Mildura Heath</li> <li>myOwn</li> <li>Navy Health</li> <li>Nib</li> <li>Nurses &amp; Midwives Health</li> <li>Peoplecare Health</li> <li>Phoenix Health</li> <li>Queensland Teachers’ Union</li> <li>Railway &amp; Transport Health</li> <li>Luke’s Health</li> <li>Teacher’s Health</li> <li>Transport Health</li> <li>TUH</li> <li>Westfund</li> </ul> <p>If you do not see your provider in the list above, be sure to visit their website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.</p> <p><strong>What does this mean for my premium?</strong></p> <p>If your health fund has agreed to the price freeze, this means you will continue to pay your 2019 premium until you are told otherwise by your insurer.</p> <p>Prior to the outbreak, premiums were due to increase by an average of 2.92%, which is the smallest annual increase since 2001.</p> <p>It is likely the price increase will come into effect on October 1 2020, meaning singles will pay on average an additional $35 per year, with families paying an extra $103 more, according to the Minister for Health.</p> <p>While the price freeze is in place, now is a great time to review your health insurance and compare what other providers are offering to ensure you’re paying the right price for the right cover.</p> <p><strong>Are health insurers offering any other relief?</strong></p> <p>Many health funds are also extending additional help to their members in the wake of the ongoing issues caused by the virus.</p> <p>The following measures are being provided by some funds:</p> <ul> <li>Offering comprehensive coverage at no additional cost</li> <li>Giving members the ability to suspend their policies</li> <li>Offering members to access relief on their premiums</li> <li>Providing mental health support via additional phone lines</li> </ul> <p>Get in touch with your fund to learn more about what additional support you could be receiving.</p> <p><strong>Will this affect my level of cover?</strong></p> <p>No, you will still have access to the same level of cover you had prior to the announcement.</p> <p><strong>Will I be covered for costs related to COVID-19?</strong></p> <p>If your fund is represented by Private Healthcare Australia, and you hold any hospital policy, you will be eligible for full hospital coverage if you are affected by coronavirus.</p> <p>If you are not a member of a PHA fund visit your funds’ website for more information regarding coronavirus.</p> <p><strong>How can I continue to save on my health insurance?</strong></p> <p>While the price of private health insurance won’t change for the next six months, after the freeze period it’s expected some insurers may increase premiums by as much as 5.6%.</p> <p>There’s never been a better time to review your health insurance and compare against our panel of providers to ensure you’re prepared for the expected price hike.</p> <p><strong>Get Started Now:</strong></p> <p><strong>Step 1:</strong> Select your <strong>state below</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Step 2:</strong> After answering a few questions, you will have the opportunity to compare quotes in your area and could be eligible for significant savings.</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://healthinsurancecomparison.com.au/form/step1/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=affiliate&amp;utm_campaign=hic-sponsoredarticle-may&amp;utm_content=rate-rise-postponement&amp;utm_term=widget" target="_blank"><img style="width: 399.70501474926243px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835882/hic-060.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5b2d773a43404c3ca150d0bd3022b36d" /></a></p> <p><em>This article is opinion only and should not be taken as medical or financial advice. Check with a financial professional before making any decisions.</em></p> <p><em>This article is made in partnership with <a rel="noopener" href="https://healthinsurancecomparison.com.au/" target="_blank">Health Insurance Comparison</a>.</em></p>

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Survey reveals the brands Aussies trust the most

<p><span>The coronavirus pandemic is forcing change, and that includes the trust that people have in brands.</span></p> <p><span>In the 21st annual list of <em>Australia’s Most Trusted Brands</em>, the list identifies the brands that we have faith in and the innovative ways brands are responding to new issues.</span></p> <p><span>The independently conducted survey has polled a cross-section of more than 3,000 people, to name the most-trusted brands across more than 70 leading consumer categories. Not only were the <em>Most Trusted Brands</em> polled, Our most-trusted professions have also been polled, and the results appear exclusively in the latest issue of <em>Australian Reader's Digest</em>.</span></p> <p><span>The key findings shown by an independent poll concluded:</span></p> <ul> <li><span>Band-Aid is Australia’s overall most trusted brand</span></li> <li><span>Vegemite is Australia’s ‘Most Iconic’ brand</span></li> <li>Guide Dogs is Australia’s most trusted charity</li> <li>Healthcare workers (Doctors, nurses, paramedics) top ‘Most Trusted Professions’</li> </ul> <p><em>Reader’s Digest</em> editor-in-chief Louise Waterson said: “While COVID-19 has certainly changed the marketplace, and the way we go about being consumers, other things remain the same when it comes to our relationships with brands.</p> <p>“For the brands themselves, trust matters when it comes to weathering a crisis, and ultimately trust is built on the traditional foundations of quality, consistency, honesty and delivering on your promise.</p> <p>“In terms of this current situation, with this pandemic, that also means getting proactive and reaching out to your customers like never before. It’s very much about maintaining a relationship with that particular individual.”</p> <p><strong>How a brand is likely to be voted as a <em>Trusted Brand</em></strong></p> <p>There are many things a brand can do in order to be voted as a <em>Trusted Brand</em>, but the main message is to be reassuring, reliable, consistent, and offer value for money as these are the common traits shared by brands that Australians trust.</p> <p>Another beneficial tip is to respond well in a crisis, which has been shown by many brands in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>We’re seeing brands that are on the frontline supporting customers with their concerns, advising how to get help, and reassuring them in a very personal way.</p> <p>With Dettol (3) upping its communications on how to kill germs in our homes, Qantas (7) flying in our stranded family members home from overseas and Toyota (19) keeping their service centres open to make sure that Australians still have reliable vehicles, brands are expected to support customers with their concerns and offer reassurance during this crisis.</p> <p>Other brands are striving for consistency and innovation, which helps brands remain in the top spot. Winner of this year’s<span> </span><em>Iconic Brand</em>, Vegemite (16) has a range of fun and delicious recipes to help with the boredom of being at home during a pandemic on their website.</p> <p>This year, <em>Trusted Brands Australia</em> has also included the '<em>Most Trusted Professions'</em>, which saw doctors take out the top spot, with nurses and paramedics quickly following behind in second and third place.</p> <p>Unlike amateur experts or celebrities motivated to increasing their own popularity, doctors stick to the observable facts, they avoid controversy and are the calm protectors we all turn to when we and our families are feeling most vulnerable.</p> <p>Together with paramedics and nurses, who came in 2<sup>nd</sup> and 3<sup>rd</sup>, these professions are the real deal.</p> <p><strong>Australia’s top 20 most trusted brands – across all categories are:</strong></p> <ol start="1" type="1"> <li>Band-Aid</li> <li>Energizer</li> <li>Dettol</li> <li>Colgate</li> <li>Dyson</li> <li>Cadbury</li> <li>Qantas</li> <li>Dulux</li> <li>Finish</li> <li>Sanitarium Weet-Bix</li> <li>Weber</li> <li>Panadol</li> <li>Cancer Council Sunscreen</li> <li>Bega Cheese</li> <li>Bridgestone</li> <li>Vegemite</li> <li>Aerogard</li> <li>Bunnings</li> <li>Toyota</li> <li>Victa</li> </ol> <p><em>Check out the full results at <a id="LPlnk469183" rel="noopener noreferrer" href="http://www.trustedbrands.com.au/" target="_blank">www.trustedbrands.com.au</a></em></p>

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