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We have too few aged care workers to care for older Australians. Why? And what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>In a country like Australia, we all expect that when we get old, we’ll be able to rely on a robust aged care system. But aged care providers can’t find staff and a crisis is brewing.</p> <p>If the problem isn’t fixed, there are serious risks to quality and access to services for older people who need support. There are also broader social, economic and political consequences for undervaluing the rapidly expanding health and social assistance workforce.</p> <p>Aged care <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2021/10/2020-aged-care-workforce-census.pdf">employs</a> around 420,000 people. Around 80% of those are front line staff providing care and demand for them is increasing rapidly.</p> <h2>Australians are ageing</h2> <p>The number of people aged 80 and over is <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/IGR_2010_Overview.pdf">projected to double</a> by 2050. At the same time, informal family care is becoming less available. In the next 25 years, <a href="https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/executive/shortfall-of-400000-aged-care-workers-predicted-by-2050/">twice as many</a> aged care staff will be needed.</p> <p>Currently, about 1.4 million older people <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australians/contents/aged-care">receive</a> aged care services, including basic and more intensive home care and residential care.</p> <p>Health care and social support job vacancies and ads are the highest of any industry. Between 30,000 and 35,000 additional direct aged care workers a year are already needed. By 2030 the <a href="https://cedakenticomedia.blob.core.windows.net/cedamediacontainer/kentico/media/attachments/ceda-duty-of-care-3.pdf">shortfall</a> is likely to be 110,000 full time equivalent workers.</p> <h2>Why don’t enough people want to work in aged care?</h2> <p>Despite recent <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/aged-care-workforce/what-were-doing/better-and-fairer-wages">pay increases</a>, it is difficult to attract and retain aged care workers because the work is under-valued.</p> <p>The Australian workforce is undergoing profound change. A generation ago, manufacturing made up 17% of the workforce. Today it has fallen to 6%. By contrast, the health care and social assistance workforce has doubled from 8% to 16%.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&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/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=337&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/607090/original/file-20240716-17-hup1e8.png?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=423&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The manufacturing workforce has declined, while health, aged care and social assistance has risen.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">ABS 6291.0.55.001 Labour Force, Australia.</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Manufacturing jobs were <a href="https://australiainstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Manufacturing-Briefing-Paper-FINAL.pdf">mainly</a> secure, full-time, reasonably paid jobs dominated by male workers.</p> <p>By contrast, jobs in aged care are often insecure, part-time and poorly paid, dominated by women, with many workers coming from non-English speaking backgrounds.</p> <p>Since moving to take over aged care in the 1980s, the federal government has over-emphasised <a href="https://arena.org.au/a-genealogy-of-aged-care/">cost constraint</a> through service privatisation, activity-based funding and competition, often under the cover of consumer choice.</p> <p>The result is a highly fragmented and poorly coordinated aged care sector with almost 3,200, often small and under-resourced providers centrally funded and regulated from Canberra.</p> <p>This has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/a-matter-of-care-australia-s-aged-care-workforce-strategy.pdf">led to</a> high levels of casualisation, low investment in training and professional development, and inadequate supervision, particularly in the home care sector.</p> <p>Aged care is facing a perfect storm. Demand for care and support staff is increasing dramatically. The sector is poorly coordinated and difficult to navigate. Pay and conditions remain poor and the workforce is relatively untrained. There are no minimum standards or registration requirements for many front-line aged care staff.</p> <h2>What are the consequences?</h2> <p>An understaffed and under-trained aged care workforce reduces access to services and the quality of care and support.</p> <p>Aged care providers <a href="https://www.agedhealth.com.au/content/compliance-and-governance/news/troubled-outlook-for-aged-care-reforms-1224428737#:%7E:text=Its%20report%20found%20that%2053.8,was%20%22impossible%20to%20achieve%22.">routinely report</a> it is difficult to attract staff and they can’t meet the growing demand for services from older people.</p> <p>Staff shortages are already having an impact on residential care occupancy rates falling, with some regional areas now down to only 50% occupancy.</p> <p>That means older people either don’t get care or they are at increased risk of neglect, malnutrition, avoidable hospital admissions and a poorer quality of life.</p> <p>Inevitably, lack of aged care workers puts pressure on hospital services when older people have nowhere else to go.</p> <h2>What needs to be done?</h2> <p>Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach. Australia will need a massive increase in the number of aged care workers and the quality of the care they provide. Wages have to be competitive to attract and retain staff.</p> <p>But better pay and conditions is only part of the story. Unless aged care becomes a career the community recognises, values and supports, it will continue to be difficult to train, attract and retain staff.</p> <p>The recent <a href="https://www.royalcommission.gov.au/aged-care">Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety</a> highlighted the need for a more skilled workforce, emphasising the importance of ongoing professional development for all staff.</p> <p>To date the federal government’s aged care workforce initiatives have been underwhelming. They are a limited and piecemeal rather than a coherent workforce strategy.</p> <p>In the short term, skilled migration may be part of the solution. But progress to bring in skilled aged care workers has been glacial. Currently only about 1% of providers <a href="https://theconversation.com/overseas-recruitment-wont-solve-australias-aged-care-worker-crisis-189126">have agreements</a> to bring in staff from overseas. At best, overseas migration will meet only 10% of the workforce shortfall.</p> <p>Registration, qualifications and training for direct care work have to become mandatory to make sure care standards are met.</p> <p>Much more significant and systematic incentives and support for training will be needed. Supervision, career progression and staff development will also have to be dramatically improved if we are to attract and retain the workforce that is needed.</p> <p>“Learn and earn” incentives, including scholarships and traineeships for aged care, are needed to attract the future workforce.</p> <p>At the same time, a much broader investment in upskilling the entire workforce through continuing professional development and good quality supervision is necessary.</p> <p>Like manufacturing a generation ago, aged care needs to become valued, skilled, secure and well-paid employment if it is going to attract the staff that are needed to avoid a looming crisis.<!-- 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/232707/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/hal-swerissen-9722">Hal Swerissen</a>, Emeritus Professor of Public Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe 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/we-have-too-few-aged-care-workers-to-care-for-older-australians-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-232707">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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Airport worker steals half a million dollars of personal items

<p>A trusted worker at Sydney Airport has been jailed for two years after stealing more than $450,000 worth of personal items from airport cargo. </p> <p>The 38-year-old man from Western Sydney, who was a freight handler at the airport, was identified as a potential suspect when the thefts of personal electronic items were first reported in February 2022.</p> <p>Several months later, he was found with $189,000 cash in the boot of his car, according to Australian Federal Police. </p> <p>The AFP then found that a further $261,000 had been transferred into the man’s personal bank accounts, after a number of stolen devices had been “sold, gifted, or kept for personal use”.</p> <p>“This money, which totalled $450,000, was criminal proceeds generated from the sale of the stolen electronic devices,” AFP said.</p> <p>The man was charged with receiving stolen property and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime, while his partner, a 45-year-old woman, was charged with two counts of dealing with money or other property reasonable to be suspected of being proceeds of crime under $100,000.</p> <p>The pair pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2023, and on Wednesday the man was sentenced to three years and four months in jail, with a non-parole period of two years.</p> <p>The woman was to an intensive corrections order of 70 hours community service.</p> <p>AFP Sydney Airport Police Commander Morgen Blunden said the pair was “motivated by profit and greed”.</p> <p>“People with trusted access in an airport precinct are critical to the successful operation of Australia’s tourism and trade sectors,” Blunden said.</p> <p>“But the AFP will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who abuse this trust. AFP has zero tolerance for those to abuse their access to air-side operations for their illegal pursuits.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How Guy Sebastian was conned by a Telstra worker

<p>Guy Sebastian was allegedly duped into performing at a young girl's birthday party, when he thought the event was for a charity. </p> <p>The singer was one of many people who were scammed by former Telstra salesman Gerard Cecil Vamadevan, 56, who has been sentenced to a maximum two years jail after pleading guilty to making hundreds of harassing phone calls to 19 separate victims.</p> <p>On Monday, the NSW District Court heard how Vamadevan would tell victims he was either a “talent scout” or a “TV agent for Channel 7” to gain their phone numbers before making “sexually explicit” and “vulgar” anonymous phone calls to them.</p> <p>In addition to his 19 seperate victims, Guy Sebastian was also conned by Vamadevan, who he met over a decade ago, as his claims came to light following the conclusion of the case in court. </p> <p>At the beginning of their relationship, Sebastian was tricked into performing at Vamadevan's daughter's birthday party, although he told the singer it was a charity event for Telstra. </p> <p>The court heard how Vamadevan would use social media pictures with Sebastian, other celebrities and business leaders he had met through work to convince his victims of his “connections” to the entertainment industry. </p> <p>Sebastian’s manager said the pair knew each other about a decade ago and said the singer was used “for the convicted’s own personal benefit”.</p> <p>In a statement to news.com.au, a spokeswoman for Telstra said they were “very concerned” about allegations the former employee had “misrepresented his relationship” with the company, as Vamadevan long claimed he worked for the Telstra "charity arm". </p> <p>Vamadevan was sentenced to two years imprisonment, although will be eligible for release June 30th 2025 on good behaviour. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Legal

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"You've done bugger all": Ray Hadley unleashes over death of childcare worker

<p>Ray Hadley has erupted over the alleged murder of a childcare worker, calling on the government to have tougher laws in place for those out on bail. </p> <p>Molly Ticehurst, a 28-year-old from the NSW Central West town of Forbes, was found dead in her home during a welfare check in the early hours of Monday morning. </p> <p>Her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Billings, has since been charged with murder (domestic violence) and contravening a apprehended violence order.</p> <p>At the time of Ms Ticehurst’s alleged murder, Mr Billings was on bail after being charged with raping the mother-of-one three times, stalking her, causing damage to her property and abusing a 12-week-old puppy.</p> <p>While discussing NSW Premier Chris Minns' pledge to review why Billings was out on bail, 2GB radio host Ray Hadley unleashed on the government for doing "nothing". </p> <p>"It just keeps happening, and happening, and happening," he began. </p> <p>"I know you're probably sick of me saying it, and I'm probably sick of saying it myself, but in the 34 years I've been doing this type of morning program, absolutely nothing has changed."</p> <p>"Until there's a societal change in the way judicial officers and others deal with men who are violent towards women, we'll have what we're dealing with again this week."</p> <p>He slammed politicians for what he described as "a lack of action" on keeping alleged offenders facing serious charges out of the community.</p> <p>"What have you done about it? You've done bugger all about it," he said.</p> <p>"And as a result, another young woman is dead because you've done nothing about it. You sit there and wax lyrical and w*** on about what you're going to do."</p> <p>Hadley said Minns should instead directly work to change the bail laws with the cooperation of NSW opposition leader Mark Speakman.</p> <p>"Woman after woman after woman is murdered because the government is too gutless to either offer a mandatory minimum to these people, or do something about the bail laws," he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine / 2GB</em></p>

Legal

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"This is a tragedy": Aussie aid worker killed in Gaza identified

<p>The identity of an Australian humanitarian worker killed in a recent airstrike in Gaza has been confirmed as Melbourne-born Lalzawmi "Zomi" Frankcom.</p> <p>Ms Frankcom, along with three other international aid workers and a Palestinian driver, was killed in Central Gaza while working with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity, with video footage posted to social media showing their bodies at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The group were travelling through Northern Gaza into Central Gaza when their vehicle was targeted in an airstrike, Mahmoud Thabet, a Palestinian Red Crescent paramedic, <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/australian-aid-worker-killed-in-airstrike-in-central-gaza/69263304-6e35-42c9-bd71-5cea880a4d2b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told the <em>Associated Press</em></a>.</span></p> <p>They had been distributing aid supplies to civilians in Northern Gaza and were returning to Central Gaza when the airstrike hit them. </p> <p>Staff produced the passports of three British, Australian and Polish workers who perished, with the nationality of the fourth not immediately known – however, all five were clothed in protective gear with the charity's logo on it.</p> <p>It is unclear why the vehicle was targeted, and the source of the strike has not been confirmed. </p> <p>WCK confirmed the attack with a statement: "We are aware of reports that members of the World Central Kitchen team have been killed in an IDF attack while working to support our humanitarian food delivery efforts in Gaza."</p> <p>"This is a tragedy. Humanitarian aid workers and civilians should NEVER be a target. EVER."</p> <p>Frankcom, 44, has engaged in both national and international humanitarian work, and helped provide aid to communities affected by the Blacksummer2019 bushfires in Braidwood, NSW, according to <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/world/australian-aid-worker-killed-in-airstrike-in-central-gaza/69263304-6e35-42c9-bd71-5cea880a4d2b" target="_blank" rel="noopener">9News</a>.</p> <p>She successfully completed a course at Harvard University focusing on Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster in 2021. </p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the ABC he was concerned by the news.</p> <p>"I'm very concerned about the loss of life that is occurring in Gaza," he said. "My Government has supported a sustainable ceasefire, we've called for the release of hostages, and there have been far too many innocent lives – Palestinian and Israeli – lost during the Gaza Hamas conflict."</p> <p><em>Image: Supplied</em></p>

Caring

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Bunnings worker wins $1.25 million payout

<p>Bunnings is set to fork out $1.25 million after a worker was seriously injured on the job. </p> <p>Sarah Jane, 31, worked as a merchandiser for Neutrog at Seven Hills Bunnings in Western Sydney in 2018  when she severely injured her back while trying to lift and drag forward a bucket of fertiliser to the front of a pallet.</p> <p>Each bucket weighed between 10.8 and 11.2 kilograms, and Jane said that she continues to suffer from the injury today. </p> <p>Her case was heard in the NSW Supreme Court this week with Bunnings agreeing to pay $750,000 in a settlement plus legal costs, which are estimated to be about $500,000.</p> <p>Neutrog, who was her employer, has also been ordered to contribute to the costs. </p> <p>As part of the settlement, Bunnings admitted they “knew or ought to have known” the foreseeable risk when they failed to train Jane to use a pallet jack, which could have prevented her injury.</p> <p>Jane was only trained using a Bunnings module, but was not told that pallet jacks were available to help her move stock forward. </p> <p>The pallet are regularly used by Bunnings workers but court documents note that they “did not apply the same rigour or adopt the same precautions for the merchandisers, who were nonetheless subject to Bunnings control and oversight”.</p> <p>Jane’s lawyer, Luke Power, said that the settlement was a "win for the little guy" after a lot of push back from Bunnings regarding the case. </p> <p>“There has been a lot of push back and we were told on numerous occasions there was no case,” Power said.</p> <p>“This has been incredibly stressful for her, and it was fought tooth and nail.”</p> <p>Despite winning the big payout, Jane, who is also a mother, has said that the injury has dramatically changed her life. </p> <p>“It’s a win but it doesn’t really feel like a win,” she said. </p> <p>“Not just everything that they’ve put me through, but just the injury itself, and how much it’s changed my life and how much I’ve missed out on with my kids when they were young.”</p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au</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>

Money & Banking

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Supermarket worker finds 2000 Olympics relic between the shelves

<p dir="ltr">A worker at an Aussie supermarket has discovered a relic of Australian culture that is over two decades old. </p> <p dir="ltr">While moving some old shelves in the grocery store as they prepared for renovations, the supermarket worker was shocked to discover a long-expired chocolate bar that was released for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. </p> <p dir="ltr">Posting about the discovery on a Facebook page called Old Shops Australia, a man posted about his wife’s unusual find. </p> <p dir="ltr">“My wife works in a supermarket and they were moving the shelving around and this was stuck between two shelves. Still wrapped up with chocolate inside,” the man said. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 'Sydney 2000 Games Story Block' had the three characters, Syd the platypus, Millie the echidna and Olly the Kookaburra on the front. </p> <p dir="ltr">It also had one of six collectable Olympic Games story book inside the wrapper, with the chocolate expiring on July 30th 2001. </p> <p dir="ltr">Images of the almost-forgotten treat have been circulating online triggering old memories in thousands of Aussies. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person noted the wrapper was made out of paper and foil rather than the plastic used today. </p> <p dir="ltr">Others pointed out the generous size of the chocolate block which is 250g compared to the 180g bars available now. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oh wow!! This brings back memories!! A near 24 year old block of chocolate!! Would anyone be up for tasting it?! Wonder how much it's worth?! How long since the supermarket had a good clean and update?! So many questions!” one woman asked. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Partly want this to go to a museum, partly just wanna see it unwrapped,” a second wrote.    </p> <p dir="ltr">“Oof, right in the nostalgia,” a third said and another chimed in, “Mouldy as hell. I wonder what the story book looks like.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Food & Wine

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Qantas found guilty of firing health worker during pandemic

<p>Qantas has been found guilty of firing a health and safety officer during the early days of the pandemic, a NSW district court judge has found.</p> <p>The airline dismissed Theo Seremetidis in early 2020 after he expressed concerns about safety protocol for flights arriving from China in the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic. </p> <p>According to SafeWork NSW, Qantas breached part 6 of the Work Health and Safety Act and discriminated against Mr Seremetidis when he was stood down. </p> <p>On Thursday, the court heard elements of the matter brought by SafeWork NSW were established beyond reasonable doubt and Qantas Ground Services is “guilty of the offence charged”.</p> <p>They specifically related to standing down Mr Seremetidis “to his detriment” and the main reason for his dismissal was a prohibited reason, because he had exercised a power as a health and safety representative by directing workers to cease unsafe work.</p> <p>The prosecution was brought about after Mr Seremetidis launched a complaint about his former workplace with the Transport Workers Union (TWU), who took the complaint to SafeWork NSW. </p> <p>Judge David Russell said he accepted SafeWork NSW’s submissions that Qantas Ground Services “actively sidelined” Mr Seremetidis and ignored his concerns. </p> <div>“Firstly … by cutting him off from other staff who were seeking his help,” he said.</p> <p>“And secondly, by standing him down and requiring him to leave the airport forthwith.</p> <p>“I formed the view that he attempted to carry out his duties as a health and safety representative conscientiously and carefully,” he said. </p> <p>TWU President and NSW/Qld Secretary Richard Olsen welcomed the verdict on SafeWork NSW’s primary charge. </p> <p>“This is a fantastic result. Theo is a workplace hero and today he has been vindicated. When the TWU urged SafeWork NSW to prosecute this case, Theo courageously took on one of Australia’s biggest corporate bullies and won,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: TWU</em></p> </div>

Legal

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“Unfathomable”: Former childcare worker facing 1,623 child abuse charges

<p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Warning: This article contains mentions of child sexual abuse that readers may find distressing.</strong></em></p> <p dir="ltr">A man from the Gold Coast is facing charges of child sexual abuse, after spending most of his life as a childcare worker. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 45-year-old has been charged with 1623 child abuse offences, including 136 charges of raping pre-pubescent girls. </p> <p dir="ltr">The alleged offences relate to 87 children in Australia and four overseas, and includes 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australian Federal Police allege that the man carried out the offences while working at 10 different childcare centres in Brisbane between 2007-13 and 2018-22.</p> <p dir="ltr">The man is further alleged to have carried out offences at a single Sydney centre between 2014-2017, as well as overseas between 2013-14.</p> <p dir="ltr">Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said the man recorded the assaults on his phone and on a separate camera. </p> <p dir="ltr">During a press conference on Tuesday, she described the “chilling news” as “unfathomable”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We are highly confident that all 87 Australian children who were recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been identified,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The parents of all the Australian children recorded in the alleged child abuse material have been informed of the investigation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Some of the individuals identified in the alleged child abuse material are now aged over 18 years and have been informed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Assistant Commissioner Gough said officers were still working with law enforcement overseas, in a country they have yet to name, to determine the identity of four more children. </p> <p dir="ltr">The man has been in custody since August 2022 when AFP charged him with two counts of making child exploitation material.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since his initial arrest, police discovered a plethora of the self-produced child abuse material, totaling almost 4,000 images and videos. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The genesis of Operation Tenterfield is linked to police locating alleged child abuse images and videos on the dark web in 2014,” Assistant Commissioner Gough said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The AFP and other agencies examined the images, but they contain a few distinguishable clues for investigators to follow.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The investigation then led police to one of the childcare centres in Brisbane, and the subsequent warrant to raid the man’s home. </p> <p dir="ltr">“That warrant relates to 180 charges of child sexual abuse, and 23 victims are a part of those charges,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Those charges carry life imprisonment. Once this man faces the AFP charges here in Queensland, we will be seeking his extradition.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is one of the most horrific child abuse cases that I‘ve seen in nearly 40 years of policing.” </p> <p dir="ltr">“We are absolutely committed to prosecuting anyone who comes after our most vulnerable.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Australian Federal Police</em></p>

Legal

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Too big, too heavy and too slow to change: road transport is way off track for net zero

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/robin-smit-594126">Robin Smit</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p>The need to cut the emissions driving climate change is urgent, but it’s proving hard to decarbonise road transport in Australia. Its share of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions <a href="https://ageis.climatechange.gov.au/">doubled</a> from 8% in 1990 to 16% in 2020. New vehicles sold in Australia have <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-thought-australian-cars-were-using-less-fuel-new-research-shows-we-were-wrong-122378">barely improved</a> average emissions performance for the last decade or so.</p> <p>The federal government <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/publications/australias-emissions-projections-2022">publishes</a> emission forecasts to 2035 – 15 years short of 2050, the net-zero target date. Our <a href="https://www.transport-e-research.com/_files/ugd/d0bd25_7a6920bdd9e8448385863a7c23ec9ecf.pdf">newly published study</a> forecasts road transport emissions through to 2050. The estimated reduction by 2050, 35–45% of pre-COVID levels in 2019, falls well short of what’s needed.</p> <p>Our findings highlight three obstacles to achieving net zero. These are: Australia’s delay in switching to electric vehicles; growing sales of large, heavy vehicles such as SUVs and utes; and uncertainties about hydrogen as a fuel, especially for freight transport. These findings point to policy actions that could get road transport much closer to net zero.</p> <h2>How was this worked out?</h2> <p>Emissions and energy use vary from vehicle to vehicle, so reliable forecasting requires a detailed breakdown of the on-road fleet. Our study <a href="https://www.transport-e-research.com/software">used</a> the Australian Fleet Model and the net zero vehicle emission model (n0vem).</p> <p>The study focused on so-called <a href="https://www.cummins.com/news/2022/05/26/well-wheel-emissions-simplified">well-to-wheel emissions</a> from fuel production, distribution and use while driving. These activities account for about 75–85% of vehicle emissions. (<a href="https://theconversation.com/how-climate-friendly-is-an-electric-car-it-all-comes-down-to-where-you-live-179003">Life-cycle assessment</a> estimates “cradle-to-grave” emissions, including vehicle manufacture and disposal.)</p> <p>Working with European Union colleagues, our emissions simulation drew on an updated <a href="https://www.transport-e-research.com/_files/ugd/d0bd25_7a6920bdd9e8448385863a7c23ec9ecf.pdf">EU scenario</a> (EU-27) showing the changes in the EU vehicle fleet needed to meet the latest (proposed) CO₂ targets. Our study assumed Australia will be ten years behind the EU across all vehicle classes.</p> <p>We further modified the scenario to properly reflect Australian conditions. For instance, the EU has a much higher proportion of plug-in hybrid vehicles than Australia, where buyers are now bypassing them for wholly electric vehicles.</p> <h2>Energy use is shifting, but too slowly</h2> <p>Using this modified scenario, the simulation produces a forecast fall in total wheel-to-wheel emissions from Australian transport from 104 billion tonnes (Mt) in 2018 to 55-65Mt in 2050. Within the range of this 35–45% reduction, the outcome depends largely on the balance of renewable and fossil-fuel energy used to produce hydrogen.</p> <p>The modelling nonetheless predicts a large shift in energy use in road transport in 2050, as 2019 was basically 100% fossil fuels.</p> <p>The on-road energy efficiency of battery electric vehicles is roughly twice that of fuel cell electric (hydrogen) vehicles and roughly three times that of fossil-fuelled vehicles of similar type.</p> <p>The modelling results make this clear. In 2050, battery electric vehicles account for about 70% of total travel, but 25% of on-road energy use and only about 10% of total emissions.</p> <p>In contrast, fossil-fuelled vehicles account for about 25% of total travel in 2050, 60% of energy use and 75-85% of emissions. That’s even allowing for expected efficiency improvements.</p> <p>This means the shift to a mostly electric fleet by 2050 plus the use of hydrogen is predicted to fall short of what’s needed to get to net zero. It will require aggressive new policies to increase the uptake of electric vehicles across all classes.</p> <h2>Lighter vehicles make a big difference</h2> <p>But that is not the whole story. One neglected issue is the growing proportion of <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-may-be-underestimating-just-how-bad-carbon-belching-suvs-are-for-the-climate-and-for-our-health-190743">big, heavy passenger vehicles</a> (SUVs, utes). This trend is very noticeable in Australia. The laws of physics mean heavier vehicles need much more energy and fuel per kilometre of driving, and so produce more emissions.</p> <p>Currently, a large diesel SUV typically emits a kilogram of CO₂ for every 3 kilometres of driving, compared to 15km for a light electric vehicle and 200 kilometres for an e-bike. An average electric vehicle currently emits 1kg of CO₂ every 7km.</p> <p>This distance is expected to be around 60km in 2050, when renewables power the electricity grid. A lightweight electric car will more than double the distance to 125km per kilogram of CO₂. Reducing vehicle weights and optimising energy efficiency in transport will be essential to meet emission targets.</p> <p>The study modelled the impacts of <a href="https://www.automotiveworld.com/special-reports/vehicle-lightweighting-2/">lightweighting</a> passenger vehicles while keeping buses and commercial vehicles the same. If Australians had driven only small cars in 2019 for personal use, total road transport emissions would have been about 15% lower.</p> <p>The reduction in emissions from simply shifting to smaller cars is <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/climate-change/publications/national-greenhouse-accounts-2019/national-inventory-report-2019">similar to</a> emissions from domestic aviation and domestic shipping combined. Importantly, lightweighting cuts emissions for all kinds of vehicles.</p> <h2>The uncertainties about hydrogen</h2> <p>Fuel cell electric vehicles using hydrogen account for only a few percent of all travel, but most will likely be large trucks. As a result, in our scenarios, they use a little over 10% of total on-road energy and produce 5-20% of total emissions, depending on the energy source used for hydrogen production and distribution.</p> <p>The modified EU scenario includes a significant uptake of hydrogen vehicles by 2050. That’s by no means guaranteed.</p> <p>The uptake in Australia has been negligible to date. That’s due to costs (vehicle and fuel), the need for new hydrogen fuel infrastructure, less mature technology (compared to battery electric vehicles) and limited vehicle availability. <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-must-rapidly-decarbonise-transport-but-hydrogens-not-the-answer-166830">Unresolved aspects</a> of hydrogen in transport include lower energy efficiency, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/for-australia-to-lead-the-way-on-green-hydrogen-first-we-must-find-enough-water-196144">need for clean water</a>, uncertainty about leakage, fuel-cell durability and value for consumers.</p> <h2>How do we get back on track?</h2> <p>Our study suggests Australia is on track to miss the net-zero target for 2050 mainly because of the large proportions of fossil-fuelled vehicles and large and heavy passenger vehicles.</p> <p>These two aspects could become targets for new policies such as public information campaigns, tax incentives for small, light vehicles, bans on selling fossil fuel vehicles and programs to scrap them. Other options to cut emissions include measures to reduce travel demand, optimise freight logistics and shift travel to public transport, to name a few.</p> <p>The study confirms the scale of the challenge of decarbonising road transport. Australia will need “all hands on deck” – government, industry and consumers – to achieve net zero in 2050.<!-- 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/208655/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/robin-smit-594126">Robin Smit</a>, Adjunct Associate Professor, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-technology-sydney-936">University of Technology Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/too-big-too-heavy-and-too-slow-to-change-road-transport-is-way-off-track-for-net-zero-208655">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Government will require bosses to pay workers their super on payday

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michelle-grattan-20316">Michelle Grattan</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p>A government change requiring superannuation to be paid on payday could mean a young employee will be several thousand dollars better off by retirement.</p> <p>The reform – which will not come in until July 1 2026 – will benefit the retirement incomes of millions of Australians, according to Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones.</p> <p>They give the example of a 25-year-old median income earner presently receiving their super quarterly and their wages each fortnight, who could be about $6000 (or 1.5%) better off when they retire.</p> <p>The ministers argue there will be benefits to bosses, as well as to the workers, in the change. “More frequent super payments will make employers’ payroll management smoother with fewer liabilities building up on their books.”</p> <p>They say payday super will mean employees can keep track of the payments more easily and it will be more difficult for disreputable employers to exploit them.</p> <p>“While most employers do the right thing, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) estimates $3.4 billion worth of super went unpaid in 2019-20.”</p> <p>The ATO will get extra resourcing to help it detect unpaid super payments earlier. Treasury and the ATO will consult stakeholders on the changes later this year.</p> <p>The ministers say the July 1 2026 start will give employers, superannuation funds, payroll providers and other parts of the superannuation system enough time to get ready for the change.<!-- 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/204759/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/michelle-grattan-20316">Michelle Grattan</a>, Professorial Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</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/government-will-require-bosses-to-pay-workers-their-super-on-payday-204759">original article</a>.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Workers eligible for $10,000 salary bump in federal budget revealed

<p>Treasure Jim Chalmers has revealed the frontline workers who will receive a hefty pay rise in the federal budget to help with the cost of living pressures and improve equal pay for women.</p> <p>Some frontline workers will see a pay rise of $10,000 a year under the historic changes.</p> <p>It is part of the biggest pay rise to date for aged care workers that will distribute pay rises to 250,000 people working on the frontline to care for older Australians.</p> <p>Those eligible include nurses who could receive an extra $200 a week, enrolled nurses, assistants in nursing, personal care workers, head chefs and cooks, recreational activities officers (lifestyle workers) and home care workers.</p> <p>Under the changes, the following will secure a significant pay rise for working in aged care.</p> <ul> <li>A registered nurse on a level 2.3 aware wage will receive an additional $196.08 a week (more than $10,000 a year)</li> <li>An enrolled nurse on a level 2 award age will receive an additional $145.54 a week (more than $7500 a year)</li> <li>An assistant in nursing on a level 3 award wage will receive an additional $136.68 a week (more than $7100 a year)</li> <li>A personal care worker on a level 4 (aged care award) or a home care worker on a level 3.1 (SCHADS award) will receive an additional $141.10 a week (more than $7300 a year)</li> <li>A recreational activity officer on a level 3 (aged care award) will receive an additional $139.54 a week (more than $7200 a year)</li> <li>A head chef/cook on a level 4 (aged care award) will receive an additional $141.12 a week (more than $7300 a year)</li> <li> A staff member with a Certificate III qualification will see a change from $940 per week to $1,082</li> </ul> <p>Treasurer Jim Chalmers said it was hoped the investment would help the industry retain staff and lure new employees to the sector.</p> <p>“Every worker deserves a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and that’s what this will deliver for thousands in aged care across the country,’’ he said.</p> <p>“For too long, those working in aged care have been asked to work harder for longer without enough reward but with this Budget, that changes.</p> <p>“This investment recognises the incredible contribution that aged care workers make to our economy and community and will help to create a bigger incentive for young Australians looking for a rewarding career to pick aged care in the future.”</p> <p>Anika Wells, Minister for Aged Care, said the increase in pay reflected that aged care was physically and emotionally demanding work.</p> <p>The 15 per cent pay rise means that a staff member with a Certificate III qualification moves from earning only $940 per week to $1,082.</p> <p>“This record $11.3 billion investment is a historic and deserved pay rise for a workforce undervalued for far too long,’’ she said.</p> <p>“Fair wages play a major role in attracting and retaining workers to provide around the clock care for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people.</p> <p>Health and Aged Care Minister Mark Butler said the pay rise would make history.</p> <p>The wage increase is designed to help women and families struggling with the cost of living crisis and ensure that quality aged care workers are less inclined to consider leaving the sector over pay concerns.</p> <p>“Our commitment is long overdue recognition of the skilled work our aged care workers deliver day in, day out,’’ he said.</p> <p>Other workers in the budget are expected to include older Australians who are seeking employment and they will receive pay rises if they are over 60 but not yet eligible for the aged pension.</p> <p>The Albanese Government are also expected to boost payments for single parents after former Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced changes to force parents - particularly women - to return to work earlier.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

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11 polite habits cruise workers actually dislike – and what to do instead

<p><strong>Onboard etiquette</strong></p> <p>At hotels and all-inclusive resorts, workers come and go over the course of your stay. That’s not the case on cruises, where cruise ship employees will be sailing with you throughout the entire voyage. Because of that, you get to know your stateroom attendant, preferred bartender and favourite performer in a different way, and you might want to go out of your way to be friendly and polite to them. But while your motivations may be good, the etiquette rules at sea aren’t necessarily the same as the ones on land.</p> <p>Some habits you think are polite don’t go over quite the way you’d expect. They may even affect cruise worker’s pay rate and the opportunity for them to be offered a future contract, according to Alissa M., a performer who’s worked on some of the world’s top cruise lines, including Holland America, Princess and Norwegian. And other seemingly kind gestures may actually be awkward or get in the way of an employee doing his or her job.</p> <p>So, what do you need to know before you embark on a cruise? We got the inside scoop from cruise ship directors, chefs, servers, entertainers, stateroom attendants and other employees to find out the missteps they wish you’d avoid – and what you should do instead. These cruise tips will make sure it’s smooth sailing for everyone, every time.</p> <p><strong>Raving about your special-request dinner</strong></p> <p>It’s wonderful when you have such a delicious meal that you want to compliment the chef and tell everyone at your dinner table about it. However, when the item in question is a special request – especially one that required advance notice for preparation – the chef won’t be able to replicate it right away, which may upset other guests who want it.</p> <p>“The problem is not when they share it but when everyone loves the dish and then wants it now. A special request cannot be mass-produced,” explains one chef on a small luxury cruise line who prefers to remain anonymous. “The other concern is that many people in the kitchen are now making dozens of special requests, and they’re being pulled away from preparing dishes from the regular menu.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: tell your dinner mates that your special-request dish was excellent after they’re finished with their meals. That way, you’ve complimented the chef, but you’ve also given him and other chefs in the galley ample time to recreate the dish for more passengers.</p> <p><strong>Sharing positive feedback about entertainers to the cruise director or guest services</strong></p> <p>Guests may think they’re doing entertainers a favour when they compliment their performances to other employees on the ship, but that message isn’t going to the right people. “A lot of people assume that the cruise director is the ‘boss’ of the entertainers, but rarely are they the ones making hiring decisions,” explains Alissa. “Because my agent and corporate personnel are shoreside, they don’t see what happens onboard.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: complete the surveys at the end of your cruise, and turn them in or submit them online. “The official feedback surveys are the only way positive messages get back to the decision makers who actually decide my bookings, pay rate and more,” Alissa explains. “If a worker really stands out to you on your cruise in any department, please mention them by name in the guest post-cruise survey. Telling the cruise director or guest services will do very little to benefit that employee who went above and beyond.”</p> <p><strong>Helping to bring in the boat after an excursion or expedition</strong></p> <p>It takes a lot of effort to get that Zodiac or tender boat back to where it needs to be after an excursion, and if you can help, why wouldn’t you? Well, because it’s not actually as helpful as you think it is. “Some guests grab the poles to ‘help’ when they are approaching the platform and returning to the ship, but this causes the boat to jerk, or the boat must pull away again from the ship because they have unsteadied it,” explains one expedition team leader on a small ship about this etiquette mistake. “Guests can also injure themselves by pulling too hard and straining a muscle, or they can hurt their hands and fingers.”</p> <p>Another problem? Sometimes people stand up in the boat, which causes a danger to the group, since the driver can’t see properly.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: stay seated in the boat, and hold on tightly to the ropes until the boat is secured by the expedition team and crew on the ship. The team will tell you when it’s safe to get up and how to leave the boat. Leave the navigation to the experts to keep you and everyone else safe.</p> <p><strong>Offering to buy an entertainer a drink during the show</strong></p> <p>If you’re enjoying the performances of a singer, dancer or piano player on your ship, you might want to buy them a drink to say thank you during the show. However, that’s not the best way to express your gratitude. Plus, it might not even be allowed. “I worked for some cruise lines where our contracts explicitly stated we could not have alcohol onstage or drink close to showtime,” explains Alissa. “In some instances, this is a fireable offense.” Plus, it can be awkward. “We don’t want to be rude,” she adds, “but we also cannot break our contract rules.”</p> <p>Beyond that, beverages are expensive for cruise-ship guests – but workers can buy their drinks at cost. “I feel bad accepting a $17 to $20 drink from a guest that would cost me $1.25 in the crew bar,” Alissa explains.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: show your appreciation for a worker by tipping them or purchasing a piece of merchandise. And remember: while you’re on holiday, they’re working, and there are certain lines you shouldn’t cross.</p> <p><strong>Asking personal questions to be friendly</strong></p> <p>It’s easy to get cosy with cruise ship employees. After all, you’re all at sea together for an extended period of time, and it’s their job to make sure you’re happy and comfortable. Since they’re seeing you with your family or hearing about your adventures, it seems rude not to reciprocate and ask them about themselves. While that’s certainly true to a degree, the problem comes when you forget that this is a professional relationship, not a friendship.</p> <p>“Guests ask very personal questions,” says Steve M.*, who’s been a cruise director for more than 15 years. “I am an open book, and I always say, ‘If you are ready for the answer, I will tell you the truth.’ Then you tell the truth and they either take offense or try to change you.” Think: relationships (like, why they aren’t married or chose not to have kids), religion and politics. Just like at the Christmas dinner table, these conversations can get uncomfortable quickly.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: say hello and definitely be cordial, but limit your conversations to casual small talk. And before posing any personal questions, ask yourself this: How would you feel if the tables were turned—especially if you were being asked these questions at work?</p> <p><em>*Steve M. is a pseudonym.</em></p> <p><strong>Going to your stateroom as soon as you board the ship</strong></p> <p>While you might think it’s polite to get out of the way of other passengers during the boarding process by heading straight to your cabin, you’ll actually be in the way of employees if your stateroom isn’t ready. Sometimes, especially on smaller vessels, guests are permitted to board the ship before the rooms have been completely turned over and refreshed from the prior passengers.</p> <p>“If you arrive at your room too early, it slows down the process,” says Steve. “Plus, the crew then must be polite and become engaged with guests, which is not helpful.” And let’s not forget about your luggage, which takes a while to actually get to your room and won’t be there when you are!</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: if you board early, wait until the ship’s personnel announce when the staterooms are ready. (Or board later for less of an issue – and to skip the boarding rush.) While you wait, have lunch at the buffet restaurant, check out the cruise ship’s hidden features or chill out by the pool. Just remember to pack your bathing suit in your carry-on so you have access to it right away!</p> <p><strong>Stacking plates for your sever</strong></p> <p>It seems like stacking the plates would make it easier for your server to pick up dirty dishes, but this can actually cause all sorts of problems. “It really messes up removing the plates, especially if the standard in the restaurant is not to stack plates but take them away one or two at a time,” explains one restaurant employee with a small cruise line. “And it actually makes it more difficult to clear and wash the plates for the dishwashers.”</p> <p>The latter is especially true when the passengers haven’t eaten everything on their plates. This causes an uneven stack, which makes it difficult for the server to carry the stack back to the dishwasher … who also has to deal with a huge mess, since the bottoms of the plates are now covered in goop from the plates above them.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: let the servers do their jobs. They have been trained in the ship’s preferred plate-removal method, and they’ll get those items to the back in the most efficient, least messy way possible.</p> <p><strong>Tipping your server on the restaurant check</strong></p> <p>If you’re dining at a specialty restaurant and you’ve had excellent service, you’ll want to leave a tip. But here’s what you probably don’t realise: “Passengers may think they are generously tipping a crew member by writing in a tip on the receipt, but it sadly doesn’t go to that crew member,” says one server with a large cruise line. “My understanding is that it goes into the ship’s account, and that’s how the ship pays for the ‘gratuities paid for’ incentives you see when you book your trip. It’s kind of distributed between all the crew … and maybe not even that.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: “It is way better to tip a crew member directly with cash,” she says. “That way, you are sure that member got the tip you think they deserved – and that you really wanted them to have. [But] the crew are not allowed to tell passengers that.”</p> <p><strong>Complimenting an entertainer's looks or appearance </strong></p> <p>Sure, compliments can be lovely, but they can also be super awkward when they’re from someone you barely know. “A big thing that bothers me is when passengers comment on my looks or my body, thinking it’s polite and a compliment,” explains Madeline D., a production singer on some of the larger cruise ships. “One time I had a guest, who was a repeat cruiser, tell me I looked like I lost weight.”</p> <p>There are many things wrong with a statement like that, starting with the fact that it’s an assumption and an inherent judgement, not to mention a backhanded compliment. It also implies that the guest is staring at her body and looking at it in an inappropriate way. Depending on the situation, it could also border on flirting, which crosses a line too.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: save comments about appearances for friends and family – and honestly, maybe not even that. If you want to say something nice to a performer on the ship, tell them you enjoyed their performance that evening.</p> <p><strong>Telling the piano player how much you're enjoying the song</strong></p> <p>Cruise directors are also singers and entertainers, so they’re interacting with passengers in those roles as well while on board. According to Steve, some passengers love a performance so much that they want to tell the performer right away – even in the middle of said performance. “Guests will come to talk to you in the middle of a song to tell you how much they are enjoying your music, but then it’s sometimes difficult to remember where you were, and you can lose the song,” he says. “While it’s nice that people appreciate your talent, there are other ways of showing it.”</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: wait until the performance is over so you don’t accidentally trip up the performer. You’ll enjoy the song more this way, anyway – and so will your fellow cruisers!</p> <p><strong>Not letting the crew know when there's a problem</strong></p> <p>You may not want to bother employees or say anything negative while on your cruise, but this is a mistake. The crew is there to make sure you have an incredible experience, and they really want to help you make the most of it. Plus, your unhappiness will eventually seep out. “Guests will say they love everything while on board, and then in their survey, they’ll nitpick about very small things, and by the end of the review, they are unhappy,” says Steve.</p> <p><em>Do this instead</em>: if you’re not happy about something, let guest services know as soon as possible. And if you’re not happy with your meal, let the maître d’ know so they can bring you something more satisfactory. Remember: the ship’s staff and crew can’t fix something that they don’t know is wrong; let them know what’s going on, give them a chance to make it right and turn this into the best cruise you’ve ever taken. As mentioned earlier, the guest surveys are taken seriously – and used to determine staffing and pay rates – so it truly doesn’t help anyone when you’re complaining after the fact.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/11-polite-habits-cruise-workers-actually-dislike-and-what-to-do-instead?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Cruising

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Those copping the brunt of Australia's rental crisis

<p>The rental crisis has put essential workers in a chokehold, with aged care, childcare, hospitality, postal and freight workers being hit the hardest.</p> <p>The essential workers are being priced out of the rental market across Australia with the average employee having to fork out around two thirds of their income on housing.</p> <p>As of March 2020, employees on award wages have lost an average of six hours from their weekly income to rent increases, according to a report by Anglicare Australia’s Everybody’s Home campaign.</p> <p>This weekly average equates to 37 days' worth of wages every year, but childcare, hospitality and meat packaging workers are reportedly losing at least 40 days' worth.</p> <p>The report found nurses, cleaners, aged care and postal workers were among those who are struggling the most with rental costs.</p> <p>Findings also saw rising rental prices meant essential workers in single households were more inclined to endure financial stress, while those in coupled homes were likely financially dependent on their partner’s income.</p> <p>Based on the average cost of rentals in capital cities of Australia, the report saw full-time workers on the lowest award wage would be left with around $20 a day after covering rent.</p> <p>It was reported that meat packers and hospitality staff in capital cities are forced to spend more than 80 per cent of their wages on rent alone.</p> <p>Queensland has become one of the least affordable states for renters with even the highest paid essential workers forced to spend at least half of their earnings to cover rent.</p> <p>NSW and Victoria found there were no affordable regions for essential workers earning award wages.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Anglicare, Maiy Azize, said workers in essential industries were the backbone of Aussie communities, but have been continuously pushed into significant rental stress.</p> <p>"Virtually no region in Australia is affordable for our aged care workers, early childhood carers, cleaners, nurses and many other essential workers we rely on," she said.</p> <p>"Our tax system is rigged against renters, driving up the cost of rent for millions of Australians and on top of that (there is) a huge shortfall of social homes for people who can't afford rent."</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

Real Estate

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Massive change coming to public holidays

<p>In a new court ruling, bosses must now ask their employees if they want to work public holidays before rostering them on.</p> <p>The ruling will override whatever is written into staff’s current contracts.</p> <p>The changes come after The Federal Court of Australia discovered a leg of mining giant BHP had violated the Fair Work Act by making Christmas Day and Boxing Day mandatory workdays.</p> <p>85 employees for BHP labour provider OS MCAP at Daunia Mine in Queensland were forced to work during those dates without public holiday rates.</p> <p>The judges ruled that the Fair Work Act only allows bosses to request employees work on public holidays.</p> <p>“The intended mischief the (Fair Work Act) provision confronts is the inherent power imbalance that exists between employers and employees,” the court ruled.</p> <p>“By virtue of this imbalance, employees will often feel compelled, and not understand, that they have the capacity to refuse a request that is unreasonable or where their own refusal is reasonable.</p> <p>“The requirement that there be a ‘request’ rather than a unilateral command prompts the capacity for discussion, negotiation and a refusal.”</p> <p>Under the new ruling, an employee is able to “refuse the request (and take the day off) if the employee has reasonable grounds for doing so”, the judgement added.</p> <p>The shock decision will also impact other companies that rely on shift workers.</p> <p>Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, mining and Energy Union president Tony Mahler said the industry’s approach to working public holidays needed to change.</p> <p>“The right for workers to spend time with friends and family at important times of the year was traditionally respected by mining companies,” he said.</p> <p>“It is common practice for employers in the mining industry to require employees to work on public holidays when they fall during their roster hours.</p> <p>“This practice has been found to contravene the NES and employers will need to adapt and provide workers with a genuine choice that allows them the right to refuse.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></p>

News

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How on-demand buses can transform travel and daily life for people with disabilities

<p>People with disabilities arguably stand to gain the most from good public transport, but are continually excluded by transport systems that still aren’t adapted to their needs as the law requires. <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/ee5ee3c2-152d-4b5f-9901-71d483b47f03/aihw-dis-72.pdf.aspx?inline=true">One in six people</a> aged 15 and over with disability have difficulty using some or all forms of public transport. One in seven are not able to use public transport at all. </p> <p>Under the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2018C00125">Disability Discrimination Act 1992</a>, Australia’s public transport systems were expected to be fully compliant with the 2002 <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure-transport-vehicles/transport-accessibility">Transport Standards</a> by December 31 2022. Not only have many of our bus, train and tram systems <a href="https://www.disabilitysupportguide.com.au/talking-disability/public-transport-remains-inaccessible-as-20-year-targets-are-not-met">failed to meet these targets</a>, but the standards themselves are outdated. The standards are <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure-transport-vehicles/transport-accessibility/2022-review-transport-standards">under review</a> and public consultation has begun.</p> <p>For buses, the standards <a href="https://www.mcw.com.au/why-public-transport-operators-must-review-their-vehicles-in-2022/">largely focus on the vehicles themselves</a>: low-floor buses, wheelchair ramps, priority seating, handrails and enough room to manoeuvre. But just because a vehicle is accessible doesn’t necessarily mean a bus journey is accessible. </p> <p>There are difficulties getting to and from the bus, limited frequency of accessible services, <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17450101.2022.2126794">poor driver training, passenger conflict</a>, <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gusalexiou/2021/02/17/for-disabled-people-inclusive-transportation-is-about-much-more-than-lifts-and-ramps/?sh=322fc9c62b08">travel anxiety</a> and a lack of <a href="https://www.inclusivecitymaker.com/transport-accessibility-intellectual-disability/">planning for diversity</a>. In all these ways, bus travel excludes people with disabilities. </p> <div data-id="17"> </div> <p>Infrastructure alone cannot overcomes these issues. <a href="https://translink.com.au/travel-with-us/on-demand">On-demand transport</a>, which enables users to travel between any two points within a service zone whenever they want, offers potential solutions to some of these issues. It’s already <a href="https://sifted.eu/articles/viavan-on-demand-transport/">operating</a> in <a href="https://ringandride.org/">cities</a><a href="https://www.bcgomi.com/">overseas</a> and is being <a href="https://theconversation.com/1-million-rides-and-counting-on-demand-services-bring-public-transport-to-the-suburbs-132355">trialled in Australia</a>.</p> <h2>Accessible vehicles are just the start</h2> <p>Making vehicles accessible is really only the tip of the iceberg. Focusing only on infrastructure misses two key points: </p> <ol> <li> <p>our public transport journeys begin before we board the service and continue after we’ve left it</p> </li> <li> <p>accessibility means providing people with quality transport experiences, not just access to resources.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Let’s imagine a typical suburban bus journey. It is industry accepted that passengers are <a href="https://australasiantransportresearchforum.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2013_rose_mulley_tsai_hensher.pdf">generally willing to walk about 400 metres</a> to a bus stop. That is based, of course, on the assumption that passengers are able-bodied. Long distances, steep hills, neglected pathways, few kerb cuts and poorly designed bus shelters all hinder individuals with disabilities from getting to the bus in the first place. </p> <p>This issue resurfaced in the 2020 report <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/ee5ee3c2-152d-4b5f-9901-71d483b47f03/aihw-dis-72.pdf.aspx?inline=true">People with Disability in Australia</a>, by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. More than one in four respondents with disabilities said getting “to and from stops” was a major obstacle to using public transport. </p> <p>But other barriers to making services inclusive are even more difficult to see. People with disabilities are forced to plan extensively when to travel, how to travel, who to travel with and what resources they need to complete the journey. Even the best-laid plans involve <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gusalexiou/2021/02/17/for-disabled-people-inclusive-transportation-is-about-much-more-than-lifts-and-ramps/?sh=322fc9c62b08">added emotional energy or “travel anxiety”</a>.</p> <h2>What solutions are there?</h2> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/1-million-rides-and-counting-on-demand-services-bring-public-transport-to-the-suburbs-132355">On-demand transport</a> offers potential solutions to some of these issues. Its key feature is flexibility: users can travel between any two points within a service zone, whenever they want. </p> <p>This flexibility can be harnessed to design more inclusive bus services. Without a fixed route or timetable, on-demand services can pick up passengers at their home and drop them directly at their destination. This door-to-door service eliminates the stressful journey to and from a bus stop and their destinations. </p> <p>And with services available on demand, users can plan their travel to complement their daily activities instead of the availability of transport dictating their daily activities. </p> <p>The technology behind on-demand transport also helps reduce the need for customers to consistently restate their mobility needs. Once a customer creates a profile, extra boarding and alighting time is automatically applied to all future bookings. This eliminates the exhaustive process of added planning, and enables drivers to deliver a better experience for all of their passengers.</p> <h2>Examples of on-demand services</h2> <p>Cities around the globe are already using on-demand services to overcome transport disadvantage for people with disabilities. </p> <p>BCGo is one such service in Calhoun County, Michigan. A recent yet-to-be-published survey of BCGo users shows 51% of respondents face mobility challenges that affect their ability to travel. </p> <p>Some 30% have “conditions which make it difficult to walk more than 200 feet” (61m). That means the industry’s assumed walkable distance (400m) is 6.5 times the distance that’s realistically possible for many users of the service.</p> <p>Ring &amp; Ride West Midlands is the UK’s largest on-demand project. It operates across seven zones with over 80 vehicles. </p> <p>The service, recently digitised using <a href="https://www.liftango.com/">Liftango</a>’s technology, is designed to provide low-cost, accessible transport. It can be used for commuting, visiting friends, shopping and leisure activities. </p> <p>Ring &amp; Ride serves as an example of how on-demand service can provide sustainable and equitable transport at scale. It’s completing over 12,000 trips per month.</p> <h2>A call to action for Australian governments</h2> <p>Government policy needs to address not only inadequate bus infrastructure, but those invisible barriers that continue to exclude many people from bus travel. We need a cognitive shift to recognise accessibility is about creating quality experiences from door to destination for everyone. </p> <p>This needs to be paired with a willingness to explore solutions like on-demand transport. Transport authorities worldwide are already embracing these solutions. We cannot continue to rely on the community transport sector to absorb the responsibility of providing transport for people with disabilities, particularly as <a href="https://theconversation.com/eight-simple-changes-to-our-neighbourhoods-can-help-us-age-well-83962">our populations age</a>. </p> <p>Now is the time to have your say. The Transport Standards are <a href="https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure-transport-vehicles/transport-accessibility/2022-review-transport-standards">open for public consultation</a> until June 2023.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-on-demand-buses-can-transform-travel-and-daily-life-for-people-with-disabilities-199988" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Travel Tips

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Unique transportable home to be sold at low-cost

<p>A tiny foldable house is set to sell for less than a quarter of the average Queensland home loan deposit, already attracting 48 bids in an ongoing auction.</p> <p>The 35sqm portable house, popularly known as a donga, was listed for auction “brand new” by a company in Toowoomba.</p> <p>The 19ft by 20ft modified transportable house has seen 48 bids cast, lifting the price to $13,000, with bids rising in $250 increments. Market prices for fully fitted out dongas generally sell for around $20,000, depending on the quality of the fittings required.</p> <p>The owner of the literal ‘pick-up-and-go’ home has no reserve price set for the little container, meaning whenever the highest bid is made, the auction will close. </p> <p>The unique foldable home has an ensuite with a basic shower, toilet, sink and mirror. It also has eight lockable windows, one door and is decked out with timber flooring.</p> <p>There are hot and cold water inlets, two waste outlets, lighting, an exhaust fan vent, gas struts and winches for easy assembly. The container home has an efficiency star rating of 4, with water consumption at 4.5l full flush and 3.1l half flush.</p> <p>“Units are plumbed for the shower but showerhead/mixer needs to be supplied and installed by buyer.”</p> <p>The only issue with this unique little unit is it does not come wired, so the buyer has to arrange for an electrician to supply and install the wiring.</p> <p>The home also has “adjustable feet for easy levelling” and can be folded up and ready to transport.</p> <p><em>Image credit: realestate.com.au</em></p>

Real Estate

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“Why our union abandons us”: Actress Shannen Doherty publicly shames actor’s union

<p>Actress Shannen Doherty has put all cards on the table during her battle with breast cancer.</p> <p>The Beverly Hills 90210 star, 51, is undergoing treatment for stage IV breast cancer and took to Instagram to reveal she is struggling to source health insurance coverage as she’s unable to work.</p> <p>Doherty publicly shaded the actor’s union SAG-AFTRA and its president, The Nanny alum Fran Drescher, saying she has been “abandoned”. </p> <p>"<a href="https://www.instagram.com/officialfrandrescher/?hl=en">@officialfrandrescher</a> I'm curious for people like me who have worked since they were 10 and paid dues to <a href="https://www.instagram.com/sagaftra/?hl=en">@sagaftra</a> how when we aren't able to work for health reasons why our union abandons us," she captioned her post.</p> <p>"I think we can do better for all our members and I think you're the person to do it. Health insurance shouldn't be based on annual income. It's a lifetime contribution.”</p> <p>"And for me and many others, we have paid a lifetime of dues to only be cancelled because we don't meet your current criteria. Not ok:, she added.</p> <p>The actress who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, posted a selfie from hospital while she received IV treatment.”</p> <p>Drescher was elected president of SAG-AFTRA in 2021 and gave an inspired speech about the union during the 2023 Screen Actors Guild awards. </p> <p>The union stands for the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It represents all media performers, including actors, singers, models and journalist, and provides support such as health and pension benefits.</p> <p>Drescher nor SAG-AFTRA have publicly addressed Doherty’s claims on her Instagram post but several of her Hollywood friends showed their support in the comments. </p> <p>"Too many of my friends have gone through this – it makes no sense. <a href="https://www.instagram.com/sagaftra/?hl=en">@sagaftra</a> must do better!!" actress Busy Philipps commented.</p> <p>"The union is so tough on actors even considering working outside of it, but then completely abandons people when they need the union the most," actor Brian Austin Green wrote. </p> <p>"This isn't about bad mouthing for me. It's about raising awareness, helping create a conversation and hopefully reaching an end goal of change.”</p> <p>In 2015, Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her cancer then returned as Stage IV in 2020, three years after going into remission. </p> <p>"It's going to come out in a matter of days or a week that — I'm stage IV. So, my cancer came back. And that's why I'm here,” she told Good Morning America. "I don't think I've processed it. It's a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways."</p> <p>Doherty has taken on a small number of roles in TV since her diagnosis, most notably in 2019 for the BH 90210 reprisal.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Instagram</em></p>

Movies

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"That's what it's all about": Bunnings worker praised for act of kindness

<p>A Bunnings worker has been praised after his wholesome interaction with an elderly customer went viral. </p> <p>The employee, who at the time was on shift at Rothwell Bunnings in Queensland’s Moreton Bay Region, was applauded for his kind act as he helped a woman back to her car. </p> <p>He was spotted slowly guiding an elderly woman across the road while having a “lovely conversation”.</p> <p>The sweet moment was later shared to social media where it has since attracted a huge reaction.</p> <p>“I wanted to share a photo that makes my heart sing,” the woman behind the post to Facebook wrote. </p> <p>“A worker from Bunnings at Rothwell accompanying an older lady to her car. They were having a lovely conversation and he didn’t seem to mind that it took her a bit longer.”</p> <p>She went on to praise the worker on his patience and kindness, and called for his employer to share their recognition of the young man. </p> <p>“Well done to this young man for his kindness and compassion, he should be very proud of the person that he is.</p> <p>“I would also like to say to Bunnings Warehouse Australia that this staff member’s a superstar and should be acknowledged because his humanity and kindness also reflects well on Bunnings.”</p> <p>Dozens of people flocked to the comments to agree with the post, singing their praises for the young worker. </p> <p>“It’s great to see employees going out of their way to help their customers. Bunnings is one company where this is not a rarity. Well done to the employee, it warms the heart to see this happening nowadays,” one comment read. </p> <p>“He is amazing. I hope Bunnings realise how valuable he is,” someone else wrote. </p> <p>“Well done, what a caring young man. I hope you have a lot of happiness in your life. You deserve only the best,” a third wrote. </p> <p>Others agreed gestures of this nature made a significant difference in the community. </p> <p>“And that’s what it’s all about, helping elderly people in the community. It all makes a difference to them and they appreciate it very much,” one remarked.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook</em></p>

Caring

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