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How baby boomers are benefiting from Australia's "worst financial mistake"

<p>A financial expert has explained how baby boomers have remained largely unscathed by the ongoing housing crisis in Australia. </p> <p>ABC finance guru Alan Kohler described the crisis as Australia's "worst financial mistake", as Adelaide has now become the country's second least affordable city. </p> <p>The South Australian capital, which has long been known as one of the more affordable places in the country to live, has skyrocketed in price, as the median price for houses and units in Adelaide was $721,376 in January, which is 7.9 times higher than the state's average full-time salary of $91,026.</p> <p>"There are a couple of things that might surprise you: Adelaide became the second, least affordable Australian city last year," Mr Kohler explained.</p> <p>"Adelaide has just taken over from Hobart in second place."</p> <p>"What's going on: put simply, incomes in Adelaide, Hobart and Brisbane are not keeping up with house prices, which are being pushed up by fast-rising population and by first-home buyers."</p> <p>Mr Kohler, a baby boomer, noted that when he and his wife bought their first home in Melbourne for $40,000 in 1980, he was earning $11,500 as a journalist, meaning his home cost just 3.5 times his income before a mortgage deposit.</p> <p>"When my wife and I bought our first house in 1980, the average house price was 3.5 times average income," he said. "Now, it's 7.5 times and rising."</p> <p>"That didn't have to happen: it's Australia's worst, economic mistake."</p> <p>Mr Kohler said parents were increasingly propping up the mortgage deposits of first-home buyers, as first-home buyer subsidies from the federal government only pushed up property prices.</p> <p>"Despite rising prices and crushing interest rates, first-home buyers were the fastest-growing type of borrower," he said.</p> <p>"The Bank of Mum and Dad coughing up early inheritances and politicians showering them with grants and concessions, desperate to appear to be doing something about affordability while actually making it worse."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock / ABC</em></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="font-size: 16px; margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px; letter-spacing: -0.16px; font-family: graphik, Arial, sans-serif;"> </p>

Money & Banking

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Restaurant's kind act for struggling Aussies

<p>As Aussies continue to adapt to the rising cost-of-living, one restaurant owner took it upon herself to give back to the "struggling" community. </p> <p>Aleeya Hamidan the owner of Manoosh & Co in Eagle Vale, southwest of Sydney, realised that a lot of people in the community are struggling to afford food.</p> <p>"Prices are going up in rent, and there are a lot of large families that live here as well. They don't have much spare money to go out and eat with their kids after school,"  she told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>.</p> <p>So, she decided to implement a system where customers in need can get a free meal that has been paid for by other customers. </p> <p>The text: "Please take one if [you're] in need!! Already paid for from our beautiful customers" is written on a whiteboard, with six receipts containing various orders valued at around $10-$12 attached to it. </p> <p>Hamidan was the first to put up an order on the board a few weeks ago to encourage other customers to do the same, and the system has grown in popularity since. </p> <p>"One man came in a few weeks ago and took one of the free meals, but the following week when he did have money, he purchased one for someone else," she said. </p> <p>"We just didn't want it to be intimidating for people who can't afford our products.</p> <p>"It was just something we started doing for a little but have now continued to do. We've had such amazing feedback on it."</p> <p>The restaurant owner's kind deed was praised after local woman Amanda Mauga posted a picture of the board on social media. </p> <p>"If you are having a hard time and need a meal or coffee, go down to Manoosh Eagle Vale," she shared in a community Facebook page. </p> <p>"People buy food for people who need it. So if you're in need head down there, I have left you a coffee. Enjoy."</p> <p>Mauga said that she "felt inspired to help" after seeing the thoughtful gesture, and wanted to help those who were homeless and struggling in their community "in some small way". </p> <p>The post racked up thousands of likes and comments from people impressed by the "great initiative". </p> <p>"What a great idea! We need more like this. So many people are struggling, bravo," one wrote. </p> <p>"Well done folks... nice there are caring people around," another commented</p> <p>"What an amazing shop for even doing this," a third commented.</p> <p><em>Images: Manoosh & Co</em></p> <p> </p>

Domestic Travel

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Real estate agency slammed for "greedy" rental increase

<p>Real estate agency Nelson Alexander has come under fire after increasing the weekly rent to one of their vacant properties on the day of the viewing. </p> <p>The property, located in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, had a scheduled viewing on Thursday and many hopeful tenants were keen to check it out. </p> <p>Unfortunately, their interest came at a cost, as the agency sent out a text just hours beforehand saying that they were increasing  the weekly rent from $600 to $650 due to "overwhelming" demand.</p> <p>Journalist Jacqueline Felgate shared the text on social media, and many branded the agency's move as  "greedy" and "disgraceful" and even accused them of perpetuating the rental crisis. </p> <p>The exact location of the property and the number of bedrooms it has <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">is unknown, and after receiving all the backlash, the ad has since been pulled. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The real estate agency also apologised and said that </span>they "do not solicit or encourage any form of rental bidding".</p> <p>"Whilst the current issue at hand is not a breach of legislation, it fell short of our commitment to fair and transparent practices," the statement read.</p> <p>"We are deeply aware of the moral and social responsibility we have to our community during these challenging times."</p> <p>They also added that they are currently reviewing their processes to "ensure this doesn't ever happen again". </p> <p>It is unclear whether the property has been put back on the market and for what price. </p> <p><em style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;">Images: Instagram</em></p>

Money & Banking

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

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

Money & Banking

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Coles shopper admits to stealing to feed her family amid cost of living crisis

<p>A woman has made a desperate plea to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after overhearing a teary Coles shopper admit to shoplifting to feed her family. </p> <p>The woman was shopping in her local Coles supermarket when she overheard another shopper confess the desperate act to her friend, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact struggling Aussies. </p> <p>Australia’s cost of living crisis is continuing to see millions struggle with soaring interest rates and rent prices, high energy bills and rising supermarket costs, with many being forced to take drastic measures to survive. </p> <p>Sharing on Facebook, the woman said she was feeling “let down” and “hoodwinked” by the Albanese government after listening to the Coles customer’s heartbreaking story.</p> <p>“Anthony Albanese, I am so deeply saddened to hear someone shopping at Coles admit to her friend in tears that sometimes she now steals food because she simply can’t put food on the table any other way,” she wrote.</p> <p>“Of course there is food relief et al (but those services are also at breaking point). It’s disheartening to witness firsthand the desperation that leads someone to resort to theft just to put food on the table."</p> <p>“While I have you, I am feeling let down and somewhat hoodwinked by you. Your sentiment around truly understanding hardship because of your upbringing seems to have been just talk."</p> <p>“What I heard today made me realise that not enough is being done that was promised to make a positive impact on the lives of those struggling with adversity.”</p> <p>Many commented on the post saying not enough was being done to help battling Aussies, and urging the government to do more. </p> <p>“The line at ReachOut (food pantry) was around the corner and down the street this afternoon,” one said.</p> <p>Another added, “Food costs are beyond ridiculous right now. I fear that the horse has bolted and once it’s out ... it’s not coming back for pats.</p> <p>“And sorry to say but Albo is just another politician. Hope he sees this and listens but I’m not holding my breath. Sad state of affairs.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Kochie's brutal message to Baby Boomers

<p>David Koch has shared his brutal thoughts on the housing crisis and rising interest rates, claiming millennials have been dealt the "short end of the stick", while boomers have been spared. </p> <p>The former <em>Sunrise</em> host, who is now the Economic Director at Compare the Market, said young borrowers are copping the brunt of rising interest rates and soaring inflations. </p> <p>“If you bought your home in early 2022 under the pretence that interest rates would stay low for longer, you’ve now been lumped with the short end of the stick,” Mr Koch said.</p> <p>He went on to say young people had difficulty generating any decent savings due to record rental prices and cost-of-living, and those that can scrape together a deposit on a home now face onerous interest charges.</p> <p>Recent data from Compare the Market found homeowners who bought their homes at the peak of the market in early 2022 were far worse off compared to those who bought three years earlier. </p> <p>Those who also bought property before the Covid lockdown have also benefited from a rise in their equity, as property prices have significantly increased over the past four years.</p> <p>Kochie said the repayment hike as a result of rising interest rates was a "tough pill" for young Aussies who had no time to accrue a strong savings buffer.  </p> <p>Given these factors, Kochie said many Aussie baby boomers have been spared the pain of rising interest rates.</p> <p>"Meanwhile, a lot of mature Australians have missed this pain altogether after selling their properties at the peak and having reaped the benefits over more equity for years," he said.</p> <p>"A lot of mature Australians have been shielded from the rate rises, and it's already widely believed that their spending drove inflation."</p> <p>A recent report from CommBank iQ found that baby boomers spending on luxuries appears to be further fuelling Australia's inflation crisis as millennials are forced to cut back on essentials.</p> <p>This goes a long way to explaining why the current cycle of interest rate rises are not dampening inflation as expected, as the new big spenders are older people who own properties outright and are therefore unaffected by rate rises.</p> <p>Boomers are are going on holidays and dining out more often, while millennials, battling higher rents and mortgage repayments, rare being forced to reduce their spending to cope with the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.</p> <p>Koch said, "It's time policy-makers should be asking: how could the pressure be more evenly spread?"</p> <p>Aussie baby boomers have long claimed that they had to make the same sacrifices when they were buying their first homes, given the home loan rate in 1989 to 1990 was at 17 per cent, compared to today's six per cent variable rates.</p> <p>However, Kochie debunked this claim, saying current house prices are far higher when measured against average salaries, and that level was only accelerating, far outpacing wages growth.</p> <p>"Back in the 80s, the average cost of an Aussie house was $70,000, now it's $700,000 - ten times more expensive," he said. </p> <p>The financial guru explained how in the 1980s the average salary was $19,000, compared with $94,000 in 2023.</p> <p>"So in the 80s, the price of a house was four times the average person's income," he said.</p> <p>"In 2023, it's eight times the average Aussie salary."</p> <p>Kochie urged mortgage holders hit with higher repayments to call their banks and explore whether refinancing to a lower-rate loan is possible. </p> <p>"We urge people in mortgage pain to reduce the interest on their repayments as much as possible by shopping around for a better deal," Koch said. </p> <p>"When every dollar counts, 2024 should be the year of the new lender."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Compare the Market </em></p>

Money & Banking

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The cost-of-living crisis is hitting hard. Here are 3 ways to soften the blow

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ama-samarasinghe-1386754">Ama Samarasinghe</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>As our wallets feel the strain from the cost-of-living crisis, many of us are looking for ways to soften the blow.</p> <p>While everyone’s circumstances are different, and ideally you should seek help from an accredited financial adviser, there are some tried and true ways to work out where all your money is going and why.</p> <p>Here are three practical tips to reduce the impact of the cost-of-living increases, and stretch every hard-earned dollar.</p> <h2>1. Hunt for a better loan rate</h2> <p>For many households, the biggest hit comes from the mortgage, so start there.</p> <p>Even a modest 0.5% reduction can translate into substantial savings. Call your bank today and just ask for rate reduction. If the answer is no, consider shopping around for a different lender.</p> <p>Your loyalty to your current lender might be costing you more than you realise. Banks often reserve their most attractive rates for new customers, leaving long-time customers paying higher-than-necessary interest.</p> <p>Even if your bank does agree to a rate reduction, explore the market anyway. There is a range of free rate-comparison websites, or you can directly check individual bank websites.</p> <p>If you find a lender offering a better rate, you might consider calling the competing bank to ask about switching your mortgage to them.</p> <p>Or, you might seek assistance from a mortgage broker, who can guide you through the process of securing a better deal (just remember they often take <a href="https://www.canstar.com.au/home-loans/mortgage-brokers-fees/">commissions</a> from lenders).</p> <p>Tread carefully and factor in any exit fees or charges from your current lender. Refinancing isn’t without risk, so a thorough cost-benefit analysis is important before making the switch.</p> <p>Also consider the value of features such as <a href="https://moneysmart.gov.au/glossary/offset-account">offset accounts</a>. An offset account, linked to your home loan, allows you to deposit money such as your salary and savings. This money is then “<a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2015/aug/box-e-offset-account-balances-and-housing-credit.html">offset</a>” against your home loan balance.</p> <p>That means you only pay interest on the outstanding amount (the loan minus whatever salary and savings you put in the offset). This can accelerate loan repayment and reduce interest costs.</p> <p>Keep in mind that offset accounts are typically only available with variable interest rates. Offset accounts work best if you have considerable savings to put into the offset account that outweigh the additional fees and charges attached to offset accounts.</p> <h2>2. Trim your expenses and uncover hidden savings</h2> <p>It’s time to become a budget detective, identifying and cutting down on non-essential costs that might be quietly draining your wallet.</p> <p>Take a close look at those recurring memberships and subscriptions. How often do you actually use that gym membership or streaming service?</p> <p>Many banking apps have handy spending tracking features to help you set realistic budget goals for each spending category.</p> <p>According to the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/selected-living-cost-indexes-australia/latest-release">Australian Bureau of Statistics</a>, insurance and financial services are among the top risers in living cost indexes (which measure the price change of goods and services and its effect on living expenses). So search comparison websites for better insurance premiums.</p> <p>Australia’s insurance market is competitive, and you can often get discounts by bundling your insurances together (for example, having your home and contents insurance with the same company that also provides your car insurance). However, don’t shy away from exploring different insurers for potentially better value.</p> <p>Don’t overlook energy costs, either. Use comparison websites like <a href="https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/">Energy Made Easy</a> (or, if you’re in Victoria, the <a href="https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/">Victorian Energy Compare</a> site) to find more cost-effective energy plans. Stay updated on rebates and concessions via the federal government’s <a href="https://energy.gov.au">Energy.gov.au</a> site, to ensure you’re maximising your entitlements.</p> <p>Use less energy, if you can. Small adjustments can make a significant dent in your bills. And for fuel costs, find websites and applications that allow you to lock in the lowest prices in your area.</p> <p>If you’re renting, ask yourself whether moving to a cheaper suburb or a cheaper home is an option.</p> <p>Many people use cashback sites like Cashrewards and ShopBack to accrue cashback incentives.</p> <h2>3. Maximise returns and tackle high-interest debts</h2> <p>While rising interest rates might make your mortgage climb, it also means high interest on your savings.</p> <p>Consider exploring high-yield savings accounts; with current interest rates, you could potentially earn around 5.5% with a bank savings account. Many people set up recurring transfers to help them stick to savings goals, increase deposits and maximise interest earnings.</p> <p>For those wrestling with high-interest debts such as credit cards or personal loans, prioritise settling outstanding balances to minimise interest payments. It can be hard to escape the long-term repercussions (such as a <a href="https://theconversation.com/payday-lending-trap-requires-a-credit-supply-rethink-39311">poor credit score</a>) of defaulting on <a href="https://www.sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2022/09/21/researchers-uncover--pecking-order-of-defaults--as-belts-tighten.html">high-interest loans</a>.</p> <p>And approach buy-now, pay-later services with extreme caution. They may seem tempting but the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acfi.13100">debts can quickly add up</a>.</p> <p>And if you need more help, contact the government’s free National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.<!-- 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/218118/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ama-samarasinghe-1386754"><em>Ama Samarasinghe</em></a><em>, Lecturer, Financial Planning and Tax, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-cost-of-living-crisis-is-hitting-hard-here-are-3-ways-to-soften-the-blow-218118">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Women forced to do shocking act for $100 rent reduction

<p>Two women in Queensland have claimed that they were forced to use a makeshift  "temporary shower" outdoors, while renovations are being carried out in the property's only bathroom. </p> <p>The pair, who were expecting a porta-loo style shower to use during the four-to-six weeks renovation, were horrified when they found out the makeshift shower was just a blue tarpaulin attached to the side of the house.</p> <p>Electrical cords and plumbing pipes can be spotted hanging down in front of the open cubicle, and has no curtain for privacy or a lock, raising questions for their privacy and safety. </p> <p>To make matters worse, the women revealed on Facebook that they initially tried negotiating for a rental discount of $200 per week during the renovations, but their landlord said "no way" offering only a $50 discount, "then $100 as final offer".</p> <p>Dr Chris Martin, Senior Research Fellow in the University of NSW's City Futures Research Centre, slammed the landlord for "a bunch of possible breaches". </p> <p>"There is a big question about whether the temporary arrangement meets the minimum standards that apply to rented premises in Queensland under the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act," he told <em>Yahoo News</em>. </p> <p>"Those minimum standards include that the bathroom and toilet facilities must provide privacy and that a premise must be weatherproof and structurally sound, and there's a standard about security," he added. </p> <p>He also claimed that "there's a bunch of possible breaches of the minimum standards of this temporary arrangement," as intruders could also potentially get in. </p> <p>The Senior Research Fellow also slammed the $100-a-week reduction in rent, calling it "grossly insufficient".</p> <p>"What a professional landlord who takes a bit of pride in themselves as a reputable housing provider would have done, is hire one of those portable bathrooms that come on a little trailer with a little heater and hook it up, and also do a rent reduction for the hassle of having to trot out to the trailer to shower," he said.</p> <p>"That would be the appropriate response."</p> <p>He encouraged the tenants to speak to Tenants Queensland or a local tenants advice service about what to do, adding that they could say that the current temporary arrangements could be deemed "unlivable or uninhabitable". </p> <p>"I suggest they should also be telling the landlord that this arrangement may place the landlord in a further breach of the agreement and for the liability for an even bigger rent reduction and the prospect of compensation if they don't do this better,"  Dr Martin told the publication. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Is this legal?" Residents outraged over demanding aircon letter

<p>Residents in a Sydney unit complex were left outraged after they were asked to turn off their air conditioners overnight.</p> <p>A letter placed inside the elevator of the 18-floor apartment building states that the utility can only be used “during the following times."</p> <p>“Weekdays 7am to 10pm, weekends and public holidays 8am to 10pm,” the letter said.  </p> <p>“At other times than this, please turn off your air conditioners, especially after 10:00 PM every day.”</p> <p>The letter, which was posted on Facebook, received a lot of backlash from other residents and renters</p> <p>One resident who lived in the 1960s building for a decade said it was the first time she had heard of such a request.</p> <p>“Can anyone please let me know if this is legal? Can they actually force people to not run their own AC units?” the person asked. </p> <p>Many other renters expressed their annoyance, with one joking that they'd have to pry the aircon off their dead hands. </p> <p>“Anyone else feel like we are in a Nanny State?” one wrote. </p> <p>“To be honest with 30°c nights they can pry my aircon from my cold dead heads,” another quipped. </p> <p>One Facebook user also commented that building developers might be to blame. </p> <p>“I think the strata builders got a bit cheap and installed less expensive aircons and therefore they are too loud. Bet if they had decent ones, the tenants wouldn’t have to suffer hot nights because of the noise,” they said. </p> <p>A few others commented that it might not just be a request from strata, but local councils that are enforcing new noise pollution restrictions which affect aircons. </p> <p>City of Sydney, Inner West, and Penrith councils, are a few of the local governments which require the airconditioners to be turned off 10pm to 7am during the week and until 8am on the weekend, the same time requested on the laters. </p> <p>The local governments also recommend that residents and developers purchase high-quality airconditioners that won't cause noise pollution or disturb neighbours. </p> <p>“Even if you’ve been told that it complies with noise requirements, it doesn’t mean it’s going to suit every location all the time,” the Inner West Council website read. </p> <p>The letter comes as Sydney battles its second heatwave in the span of a week. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Getty</em></p>

Legal

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Baby boomers fight back against "self-entitled whingeing generations"

<p>Angry baby boomers have hit back at young Australians for continuing to blame the ageing population for the current housing crisis. </p> <p>A group of disgruntled seniors have shared their thoughts with the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/blaming-baby-boomers-for-your-money-woes-is-unfair-lazy-and-wrong-20231127-p5en21.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Sydney Morning Herald</em></a> about the "self-entitled" young Australians, who are facing never-before-seen financial and social barriers to break into the housing market. </p> <p>The open letters come in the wake of Census data showing empty-nesters are hanging on to their big homes in inner-city suburbs, while young families are struggling to find suitable housing while also battling mortgage stress and renters are getting relentlessly price-gouged. </p> <p>Despite the current system disproportionately affecting younger Australians, boomers have hit back at universal claims that they had it easier back in the day. </p> <p>"We bought and paid for these homes; it's not our job to house the next generations, it's the government's," explained Kathleen Kyle in a letter to the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>. </p> <p>"Nobody questions people who spend their money on lovely cars or antiques, or suggests that they don't need them any more."</p> <p>In another letter, Kathy Willis from Kew near Port Macquarie wrote, "Boomers have worked very hard to get what they have, having brought up their families in these homes."</p> <p>"I suggest the discourse be directed to people such as town planners, local councils and state governments for their lack of vision in the past, and what the present authorities are going to do about it – and of course, the taxpayers' expense."</p> <p>Suzanne Hopping from Redfern, Sydney, wrote that she could no longer stay silent on "boomer bashing" from "self-entitled whingeing generations".</p> <p>"I bought my first home when I was 39 in an undesirable suburb. Buying a home (at 17.5 per cent interest) was as difficult then as it is today."</p> <p>"When I left home I had no expectations of ever being able to afford to buy a place of my own."</p> <p>"Self-entitled whingeing generations, if you don't like what you see, do something positive about it. Each generation has its unique problems, stop the moralising."</p> <p>Wendy Cousins from Balgownie NSW wrote that "boomer bashing" is futile, adding, "Why encourage resentment of boomers because many choose to stay in their homes? This will not free up any housing."</p> <p>"Many have already downsized and those who haven't, have a variety of reasons why they don't. We have enough division in our society without the constant boomer bashing."</p> <p>Despite the views of many disgruntled boomers, University of Melbourne Professor Allan Fels, an economist and mental health advocate, said figures show beyond a doubt that life is much tougher for the younger generation, and basic economics prove it is much harder for them to buy a house.</p> <p>"We baby boomers have had it a lot easier than the new generation of young people," he told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12793605/Boomers-hit-self-entitled-whingeing-young-Aussies-reveal-theyre-not-blame-housing-crisis.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a>.</p> <p>"They face a future of much less home ownership and associated mental health stability. The mere fact they are missing out is a cause of stress."</p> <p>"The trend of rising prices adds to the stress because many used to think that they could buy their own house but they keep missing out because prices are continually rising just beyond their grasp."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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What to wear for a climate crisis

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rachael-wallis-568028">Rachael Wallis</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p>When people move to the country from the city, they need to change their wardrobes, my <a href="https://rgs-ibg.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/area.12540">research on tree-changers</a> in Australia found. The new context of their lives means the clothes they wore for the city no longer work for their new lives. This is also true in the climate crisis.</p> <p>Our context has changed. When we decide what clothes to buy, we now need to bring into play a wider range of values than the appearance of a garment, its newness and novelty and whether we like it or not. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/assessment-report/ar6/">states</a>, if we are to have any hope of avoiding a world that is too hot and unpredictable to live in, we need to do everything we possibly can, right now, to cut greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.</p> <p>The fashion industry contributes <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2022.973102/full">up to 10% of global emissions</a> – more than international aviation and shipping combined. It also contributes to biodiversity loss, pollution, landfill issues, unsafe work practices and more.</p> <p>Australia’s carbon footprint from the consumption and use of fashion is the <a href="https://hotorcool.org/unfit-unfair-unfashionable/">world’s biggest</a>, a dubious distinction in a materialistic world.</p> <p>So this is an area where the choices we make can have big impacts. While individual action will not solve all of the above problems, it will help as we move towards the structural and systemic change needed to live sustainably.</p> <p>If we are concerned about these issues, responding thoughtfully means we will live our lives according to our values. And that’s an <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326475/">important factor</a> in living well, flourishing and being happy.</p> <p><iframe id="datawrapper-chart-teOOs" style="border: none;" title="Carbon footprints from fashion consumption in G20 nations" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/teOOs/2/" width="100%" height="589" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" aria-label="Stacked Bars" data-external="1"></iframe></p> <h2>Lessons from wartime</h2> <p>It’s not the first time people have adapted their clothing in response to the demands of a crisis.</p> <p>During the second world war, <a href="https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-clothes-rationing-affected-fashion-in-the-second-world-war">clothing styles changed</a> in the United Kingdom and Australia. To conserve precious resources, shorter skirts, minimal detailing and a focus on utility became the norm.</p> <p>People adapted their personal aesthetics and appearance because the situation was grave and they wanted to “do their bit” to help with the war effort. This was a collective necessity in dire times.</p> <p>This wartime response reflected the priorities and values of society as a whole as well as most people in that society. In other words, buying less (rationing meant this was not just a choice), mending and making do with what was already there was part of a value system that contributed to the Allied victory.</p> <p>In novels and other writing from the era, it is clear that at times it was not easy and it could be frustrating. There was, however, a public consensus that it was necessary. This shared commitment to the war effort became a value that made personal sacrifices worthwhile and satisfying.</p> <h2>So what can we do today?</h2> <p>In our current context, the <a href="https://hotorcool.org/unfit-unfair-unfashionable/">most helpful thing we can do</a> is to buy fewer new clothes and wear them for longer.</p> <p>Australians buy a lot of clothes, about <a href="https://www.cleanup.org.au/fastfashion">56 items per year</a> on average. That makes Australians the <a href="https://hotorcool.org/unfit-unfair-unfashionable/">second highest textiles consumers in the world</a> after <a href="https://www.cleanup.org.au/fastfashion">the USA</a> , and is <a href="https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-international-stateless/2017/09/76e05528-fashion-at-the-crossroads.pdf">60% more than we bought even 15 years ago</a>. The <a href="https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/textiles-in-europes-circular-economy">price of clothes has dropped significantly</a> over the past couple of decades, and the <a href="https://hotorcool.org/unfit-unfair-unfashionable/">number of clothes</a> people have in their closets has grown.</p> <p>If we begin to shift away from our slavish devotion to newness and novelty – following the dictates of fashion – to a mindset of value-led sufficiency, we can appreciate more fully the feel of lived-in, mended or altered clothes. There is a feeling of comfort in pulling on an old garment that is soft with age and repeated washing. There is <a href="https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/Loved_Clothes_Last/StfnDwAAQBAJ?hl=en&amp;gbpv=1&amp;dq=joy+of+creative+mending&amp;pg=PT7&amp;printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&amp;q=joy%20of%20creative%20mending&amp;f=false">joy in extending a garment’s life</a> through creative mending, especially when that aligns with our values.</p> <p>The Berlin-based <a href="https://hotorcool.org/unfit-unfair-unfashionable/">Hot or Cool Institute</a> suggests a wardrobe of 74 garments (including shoes but excluding undergarments) is typically sufficient for people who live in a two-season climate (in the tropics) and 85 pieces for those who live in a four-season climate, as most Australians do. If we buy ten to 12 new items a year, we can replace our entire wardrobe in about seven years.</p> <p>Buying second-hand instead of new is even better because it doesn’t add to current production emissions. If we buy second-hand, it still doesn’t mean we should buy more than we need.</p> <h2>Choosing clothes to fit our values</h2> <p>To live authentic lives that are fulfilling and satisfying in deep and meaningful ways, we need to be true to our selves. In the case of clothing, we should evaluate our choices in relation to the values we hold. And if we do care about living sustainably, that means changing those choices we feel are no longer suited to the climate crisis.</p> <p>Clothes need to reflect a person’s situation as well as their identity to <a href="https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q4x53/the-phenomenological-and-discursive-practice-of-place-in-lifestyle-migration-a-case-study-of-stanthorpe-queensland">“work” well</a>. This may mean that what we wear changes as we make different buying decisions, just as people did in the second world war and as tree-changers do. We may start to look different, but that change signifies our values in action.</p> <p>Best of all, clothing choices that align with keeping global warming to less than 1.5 degrees will have a long-term impact as significant as winning the war.<!-- 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/214478/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/rachael-wallis-568028">Rachael Wallis</a>, Research Assistant, Youth Community Futures, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-southern-queensland-1069">University of Southern Queensland</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-to-wear-for-a-climate-crisis-214478">original article</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Even in a housing crisis, Australians can’t get enough of renovation stories on TV. Why?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ella-jeffery-1459839">Ella Jeffery</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>The Block has begun its 19th season this month, <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/the-block/2023-season-block-confirmed-location-details-scott-cam-season-19-explainer/b4d5fa4e-690f-4755-90da-caba77925836">billed as</a> “a Block that’s entirely relatable to people right around Australia”. This year, contestants renovate five “authentic ’50s dream homes” in “the perfectly named Charming Street, in Melbourne’s Hampton East”.</p> <p>But if the median price for a four-bedroom house in Hampton East is <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/suburb-profile/hampton-east-vic-3188">around A$1.6 million</a> and the nation’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/aug/03/more-than-1600-australians-pushed-into-homelessness-each-month-as-housing-crisis-deepens-report-finds">housing crisis</a> shows no signs of easing, who is The Block relatable to? And why do audiences keep coming back to renovation stories?</p> <p>Home ownership is becoming <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook46p/HomeOwnership">less accessible</a> and more people than ever are renting, but stories about renovation on TV, in film and in literature continue to have a powerful effect on us. Why?</p> <p>One reason they can be so captivating is that they invoke the idea of the dream home.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KadU7z8GHoE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Season 19 of The Block promises to ‘transform these little time capsules into two-storey mansions’.</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Home makeovers are ultimately about us too</h2> <p>Ask anyone you know about their dream home – something I did regularly when I was <a href="https://eprints.qut.edu.au/122955/">writing my PhD</a> on renovation stories – and you’ll get an incredible array of different styles, sizes, locations. Maybe it overlooks the ocean, maybe it has the newest appliances, maybe it has a pool, maybe it’s just a house without a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/29/this-isnt-safe-nsw-renters-fight-twin-battles-against-mould-and-landlords">mould problem</a>.</p> <p>The idea of the dream home is deeply rooted in our shared imagination. The philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote in <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13269.The_Poetics_of_Space">The Poetics of Space</a> (1958) that our houses – both the ones we live in and the ones we dream of – “move in both directions: they are in us as much as we are in them”. Bachelard suggests that in even “the humblest dwelling” our memories, desires and dreams are gathered, and this is why houses are so central to who we are.</p> <p>If houses can be expressions of self, our dream houses say a lot about our desires. While it might no longer look like a <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/is-the-aussie-dream-of-a-quarter-acre-block-dead-1221913/">house on a quarter-acre block</a>, the dream still exists. Renovation stories are so compelling because in them, as <a href="https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/ordinary-television/book205099#contents">researchers</a> have noted, home improvement often represents self-improvement – a dream life, not just a dream house.</p> <p>This is especially important in programs like <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388595/">Extreme Makeover: Home Edition</a> (2003–20) and <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0243688/">Backyard Blitz</a> (2000–), which often focus on people presented as hard-done-by whose lives are changed by renovations that solve their day-to-day problems.</p> <h2>Better house, better life</h2> <p>Reality TV isn’t the only place we find this type of story about transformation and self-improvement. In Frances Mayes’ bestselling memoir Under the Tuscan Sun (1996), Mayes travels to Italy and buys an abandoned villa, Bramasole, which she renovates. In the process, she gains a new outlook on life.</p> <p>There’s a similar story in Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence (1989). Mayle, a UK advertising executive, buys a 200-year-old farmhouse in France and renovates it.</p> <p>Both books were exceptionally successful, inspiring an entire genre of renovation memoirs about wealthy middle-class people able to travel abroad, buy charmingly rundown properties in beautiful locations, and renovate them while enjoying the local lifestyle. In them, renovation is a clear symbol of self-transformation, if only for people rich enough to afford it: renovating houses leads to a greater appreciation of life’s pleasures and a new way of seeing the world.</p> <p>This idea of the renovated life can be especially compelling in a world that increasingly feels <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-doomsday-clock-is-now-at-90-seconds-to-midnight-the-closest-we-have-ever-been-to-global-catastrophe-198457">frightening and overwhelming</a>. Researchers like <a href="https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/catalog/4273551">Fiona Allon</a> argue that renovation stories allow us to turn away from the alarming outside world – with its violence, looming recessions, pandemics, climate crises – and focus on the smaller, more controllable world of the home.</p> <p>Maggie Smith’s viral poem <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/89897/good-bones">Good Bones</a> (2016) plays with this idea. The poem is about a mother trying to convince her children (and herself) that despite being a scary place, the world can be improved. To do this, she uses the analogy of a real estate agent selling a fixer-upper. The poem ends with lines that present renovation as an opportunity for change: "This place could be beautiful, Right? You could make this place beautiful."</p> <p>This optimism is what makes renovation excellent fodder for love stories. In the Nancy Meyers rom-com It’s Complicated (2009), Meryl Streep plays a divorcee looking for a fresh start, who renovates her home and falls in love with her architect, Adam. In The Notebook (2004), Ryan Gosling’s Noah transforms an old plantation estate into his lover Allie’s dream home, a gesture that reveals his enduring love.</p> <p>Renovation stories are always about change (although in <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5109784/">some</a> the change doesn’t last). Even if, as may be the case for the increasing number of people who are renting, having a house of our own is itself a fantasy.</p> <h2>Renovate? In this economy?</h2> <p>Many renovation stories can be seen as escapist media that trade on the image of the dream home to sell ideas about wealth, taste and style to audiences unable to afford such things. The Block may involve contestants from a range of backgrounds, but few people can afford the multimillion-dollar houses they build.</p> <p>The Block’s viewership has had ups and downs in its two-decade history, but the show (and many others) continues because, despite being about <a href="https://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/2023/03/29/the-block-controversy-grand-designs/">profiting from the housing market</a>, it sells the idea of transformation and change, not just in our houses but in our lives.</p> <p>Renovation stories invite audiences to indulge in a fantasy where we become our best selves living in dream homes that protect us from a volatile and threatening world. The dream home might remain a dream, but in renovation stories we escape reality and envision life in a Tuscan villa, or having a butler’s pantry or plunge pool, or simply owning a house of our own.<!-- 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/211334/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/ella-jeffery-1459839">Ella Jeffery</a>, Lecturer in Creative Writing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram - The Block</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/even-in-a-housing-crisis-australians-cant-get-enough-of-renovation-stories-on-tv-why-211334">original article</a>.</em></p>

TV

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Coles praised for helping small town through cost of living crisis

<p dir="ltr">Coles has been praised for the innovative way they are helping a small Aussie town to combat the ongoing cost of living crisis. </p> <p dir="ltr">The supermarket giant has started contributing to a community pantry in the coastal town of Ulladulla, 200km south of Sydney, which gives struggling locals basic grocery staples.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Little Free Food Pantry in Ulladulla was set up by local woman Coralie Smith and her mother Melissa, who were on a mission to reduce food waste, while also give back to their community as the cost of living continues to take hold. </p> <p dir="ltr">The motto "take what you need, give what you can" is plastered along the top of the pantry, set up outside the local scout hall, designed for people to help themselves to food to feed their families.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most of the food in the community cupboard has been donated by the local Coles supermarket, which provides a range of baked items, meats and fresh produce daily.</p> <p dir="ltr">Woolworths has also contributed items to the pantry every week, while also being topped up by generous locals. </p> <p dir="ltr">One local woman named Michelle has been using the service for almost three months. </p> <p dir="ltr">Before the pantry was established, Michelle was only able to afford to eat just one meal a day. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I'm working three jobs because of the high interest rates and the cost of living," she told <em>Yahoo News Australia</em>. "When I collected my first hamper all I could do is cry".</p> <p dir="ltr">The first time she was offered food she felt extremely "overwhelmed" but "now I'm definitely eating more, and am able to keep up with my mortgage and bills".</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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You don’t have to be an economist to know Australia is in a cost of living crisis. What are the signs and what needs to change

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/john-hawkins-746285">John Hawkins</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is part of The Conversation’s series examining Australia’s cost of living crisis.</em></p> <hr /> <p>Every day the higher price of seemingly everything is mentioned in the news or in conversations with friends and acquaintances.</p> <p>The impact is clear as we are required to pay more for most things from our weekly shop and power bills, to filling the car and swimming lessons.</p> <p>So what is the cost of living and how is it measured?</p> <p>The “cost of living” refers to the prices people need to pay to meet their needs in their everyday lives.</p> <p>The most commonly cited measure is the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/d3310114.nsf/home/Consumer+Price+Index+FAQs">Consumer Price Index</a> compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.</p> <p>This represents the price of a fixed basket of goods and services. The items in the basket reflect the spending of metropolitan households. Each item is given a weight corresponding to its share in the spending of these households. The CPI does not include the price of land or financial assets such as shares.</p> <p>The rate of change of prices is known as <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/education/resources/explainers/inflation-and-its-measurement.html">inflation</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="WV21a" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/WV21a/1/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Inflation rose sharply in the 1970s, especially after the oil price shocks. It took a long while to get it down. The Reserve Bank adopted an <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/education/resources/explainers/australias-inflation-target.html">inflation target of 2-3%</a> in the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10370196.2019.1615401">early 1990s</a> to keep inflation low over the medium term. After a long period of low inflation, it rose sharply again during 2022.</p> <p>It is now declining.</p> <p>A similar pattern is seen in comparable economies such as the United States and New Zealand. The supply bottlenecks caused by COVID have eased and economic activity is slowing in response to the increases in interest rates in most economies.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="XtUKa" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/XtUKa/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>Not all prices rise at the same rate</h2> <p>Some prices rise fairly smoothly in line with the overall CPI. Others, such as petrol and fresh food, are much more volatile.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="XKmuL" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/XKmuL/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>Since 1972 the price of the CPI basket has increased almost 12-fold. But some prices have increased much more.</p> <p>Cigarettes cost almost 60 times as much (reflecting increased taxes). Labour-intensive hairdressing costs 20 times as much. Prices of other goods have gone up much less, especially after Australia cut tariffs and started importing more from low-cost producers. Over the past decade the prices of clothing and computers have fallen.</p> <p>People often believe inflation is higher than the CPI reports. Big price rises are more noticeable. You seldom see headlines about prices that have <em>not</em> changed. And when was the last time you heard a discussion about how clothing has been getting cheaper?</p> <p>House prices are now more than 50 times as high as in 1972, a much larger increase than the CPI. Some of this, however, represents quality changes rather than pure price changes. The average Australian house has roughly doubled in size and may now be the <a href="https://theconversation.com/size-does-matter-australias-addiction-to-big-houses-is-blowing-the-energy-budget-70271">largest in the world</a>.</p> <h2>My inflation is not the same as yours</h2> <p>The CPI reflects the prices faced by an <em>average</em> household. About half of households will have experienced a higher increase in the prices they pay, and half will have seen a lower increase.</p> <p>Different households consume different goods and services. Retirees tend to spend more on health care and less on childminding. A higher proportion of the spending of lower income households goes on necessities rather than luxuries.</p> <p>For the “average” household, almost 4% of spending is on tobacco. But of course non-smokers spend nothing while heavy smokers spend much more. So that large rise in cigarette prices affects some people significantly and others not at all.</p> <p>The ABS publishes some separate <em><a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/selected-living-cost-indexes-australia/jun-2023">living cost indices</a></em>. The data get much less attention, partly because they are released after the CPI. These differ from the CPI in that they <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/6467.0Feature+Article1Mar+2017">include interest charges</a>. They are also prepared relating to different classes of people.</p> <p>Over the year to June 2023, the living costs of employees rose by 9.6% but those of self-funded retirees by 6.3% and age pensioners by 6.7%. The main reason for the difference was that interest rates increased and employees are more likely to have a mortgage than are retirees.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="1OagU" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/1OagU/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>These compare to the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/consumer-price-index-australia/latest-release">6% increase in the CPI</a> over the same period.</p> <h2>Cost of living problem</h2> <p>The cost of living becomes an increasing problem when incomes, notably wages, fail to keep up with it. Over long periods of time, wages tend to grow faster than prices. The economy becomes more productive over time and the gains flow to both workers and companies.</p> <p>But over shorter periods, this may not be the case. Last week’s <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/wage-price-index-australia/jun-2023">data</a> show wages grew by only 3.6% over the year to the June quarter. This is well below the current inflation rate of 6%. But it is around the growth in prices <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2023/aug/pdf/05-economic-outlook.pdf">forecast</a> by the Reserve Bank for the coming year.</p> <p>As well as an income for workers, wages are a major cost for businesses. So if wages grow too fast, and particularly were they to accelerate, there is a risk of a wage-price spiral.</p> <p>The 3.6% annual wage increase for the June quarter is slightly less than the 3.7% recorded in the March quarter. The quarterly growth rate has been steady at 0.8% for the past three quarters. If labour productivity grows close to its medium-term average, this size of wage increase should not be a concern.</p> <p>If business starts to expect raw material and input prices, and prices charged by their competitors, to keep growing strongly, they will be likely to keep increasing their own prices a lot. This risks a <a href="https://www.axios.com/2023/05/18/once-a-fringe-theory-greedflation-gets-its-due">price-price spiral</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="dfh40" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/dfh40/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The Reserve Bank is trying to steer the economy along what it calls a narrow path.</p> <p>It hopes it has raised interest rates enough to slow the economy and return inflation to its 2-3% target within a reasonable time frame. But it hopes it has not raised them too far, which would push the economy into a recession and lead to a large rise in unemployment.</p> <p>The bank’s goal is to have the cost of living rising by around 2-3% per year and incomes a bit more than this, so living standards steadily improve for all Australians over time.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/210373/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/john-hawkins-746285">John Hawkins</a>, Senior Lecturer, Canberra School of Politics, Economics and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-canberra-865">University of Canberra</a></em></p> <p><em>Image 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/you-dont-have-to-be-an-economist-to-know-australia-is-in-a-cost-of-living-crisis-what-are-the-signs-and-what-needs-to-change-210373">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"Disgustingly sick": Family's horrifying find in rental home

<p>A family of six have been forced to move out of their rental home after discovering it had disturbing levels of meth residue. </p> <p>The family became “disgustingly sick” after moving into the home located in Sandstone Point Queensland and were told to pay for toxicity testing and decontamination by their real estate agency. </p> <p>What the tests revealed shocked them, with dangerous levels of methamphetamine residue found in the lounge room, bedrooms, bathrooms and, worst of all, the space used as a toy room for their children. </p> <p>“(It was) basically everywhere,” Queensland mum Emily Thornton told <em>7News</em>. </p> <p>She added that it was "disgusting" to know that her four kids played in that toxic environment. </p> <p>According to the Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines, a safe level of meth residue is below 0.5 micrograms per 100 sq cm. </p> <p>Their house had 1.3 micrograms per 100 sq cm - which is reportedly enough to put people's lives at risk. </p> <p>The house was allegedly once used as a meth lab, and the family only got it tested for toxicity when a neighbour, who was suspicious of the previous tenants, flagged the possibility.</p> <p>Now, the family has been left homeless. </p> <p>“We’re not allowed in there,” Thornton said. </p> <p>“Basically, we’re starting from scratch — we’ve got nothing, absolutely nothing at all.”</p> <p>Thornton also added that her family first started feeling sick shortly after they moved in. </p> <p>“We moved in, (and) we lived here for a little while, (and then) everyone started getting sick,” she said. </p> <p>“We were told by the neighbours that they suspected something going on here, so we decided to contact a company to get them to come out and do some testing, and the testing came back positive for meth.”</p> <p>“They’ve told us just to get out, we’ve just taken what we’ve got and walked out the door.”</p> <p>On top of being homeless, the family had to pay $500 for the toxicity and decontamination testing as both the agent and landlord refused to help them pay to get the home tested. </p> <p>“They weren’t interested, and it was up to us to do it if we wanted to do it," Thorton said.</p> <p><em>7News</em> reported that the real estate agency will ensure that the property is decontaminated, but the family will still have to pay the cost of an emergency accommodation. </p> <p>“We just don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t have the money to pay for it,” Thornton said.</p> <p>Australian Meth Alerts spokesperson David Pie said that Meth residue is a common problem that often gets ignored as the contamination is odourless and invisible to the human eye. </p> <p>“It is a well-known fact within the real estate industry with property managers that this is a real issue," he said. </p> <p>“It’s out of control … and it’s just getting ignored,” he added, </p> <p>“In the worst instances, it can cause death, in particular among young kids. But it creates anger and sleeping problems — it just goes on and on and on.”</p> <p>He also said that it was "wrong" for Thornton's family to pay out-of-pocket for the tests.  </p> <p><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

Caring

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The rental housing crisis is hurting our most vulnerable and demands a range of solutions (but capping rents isn’t one of them)

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</a></em></p> <p>Roughly <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/housing/housing-occupancy-and-costs/2019-20">one in three Australians</a> rent their homes. It’s Australia’s fastest-growing tenure, but renting is increasingly unaffordable. From 2020 to 2022, our <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">research</a> found a large increase in the proportion of renters who said their housing was unaffordable.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=217&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/542737/original/file-20230815-25187-p7vxqo.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=273&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="horizontal bar chart showing changes in Australian renters' assessments of affordability form 2020 to 2022" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Change in Australian renters’ assessments of affordability from 2020 to 2022.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Baker, Daniel, Beer, et al, forthcoming, The Australian Housing Conditions Dataset, doi:10.26193/SLCU9J, ADA Dataverse</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Australians are concerned about the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/jul/05/rents-rise-again-across-australia-with-sydney-seeing-fastest-rise-in-20-years">pace</a> of <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/how-much-has-rent-increased-around-australia/8ljlnf0zm">rent rises</a>. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/national-cabinet-meeting">says</a> increasing housing supply and affordability is the “key priority” for tomorrow’s national cabinet meeting.</p> <p>The crisis has impacts well beyond affordability. The rental sector is where the worst housing accommodates the poorest Australians with the worst health.</p> <h2>The unhealthy state of rental housing</h2> <p>Forthcoming data from the <a href="https://dataverse.ada.edu.au/dataverse/ahcdi">Australian Housing Conditions Dataset</a> highlight some of these parallel challenges:</p> <ul> <li> <p>it’s often insecure – the average lease is less than 12 months, and less than a third of formal rental agreements extend beyond 12 months</p> </li> <li> <p>rental housing quality is often very poor – 45% of renters rate the condition of their dwelling as “average, poor, or very poor”</p> </li> <li> <p>poor housing conditions put the health of renters at risk – 43% report problems with damp or mould, and 35% have difficulty keeping their homes warm in winter or cool in summer</p> </li> <li> <p>compounding these health risks, people with poorer health are over-represented in the rental sector. Renters are almost twice as likely as mortgage holders to have poorer general health.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Measures that potentially restrict the supply of lower-cost rental housing – such as rent caps – will <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4253168">worsen these impacts</a>. More households will be left searching in a shrinking pool of affordable housing.</p> <h2>It’s all about supply</h2> <p>Fixing the rental crisis needs more than a single focus on private rental housing. The movement between households over time between renting and buying homes means the best solutions are those that boost the supply of affordable housing generally. No one policy can provide all the answers.</p> <p>Governments should be looking at multiple actions, including:</p> <ul> <li> <p>requiring local councils to adopt affordable housing strategies as well as mandating <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/analysis/brief/understanding-inclusionary-zoning">inclusionary zoning</a>, which requires developments to include a proportion of affordable homes</p> </li> <li> <p>improving land supply through better forecasting at the national, state and local levels</p> </li> <li> <p>giving housing and planning ministers the power to deliver affordable housing targets by providing support for demonstration projects, subsidised land to social housing providers and access to surplus land</p> </li> <li> <p>boosting the recruitment and retention of skilled construction workers from both domestic and international sources.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>The biggest landlord subsidy isn’t helping</h2> <p>More than <a href="https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/taxation-statistics-2020-21/resource/ebbd32e3-4556-41e1-a8b9-33387457d518">1 million Australians</a> claim a net rent loss (negative gearing) each year. Even though negative gearing is focused on rental investment losses, it is not strictly a housing policy as it applies to many types of investment.</p> <p>The impact of negative gearing on the housing system is untargeted and largely uncontrolled. As a result, it’s driving outcomes that are sometimes at odds with the need to supply well-located affordable housing.</p> <p>The most impactful action the Australian government could take to deliver more affordable rental housing nationwide would involve refining negative-gearing arrangements to boost the supply of low-income rentals. These measures may involve</p> <ul> <li>limiting negative gearing to dwellings less than ten years old</li> <li>introducing a low-income tax credit scheme similar to the one in the United States.</li> </ul> <p>We can learn much from the US, where the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (<a href="https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/lihtc.html">LIHTC</a>) scheme subsidises the acquisition, construction and renovation of affordable rental housing for tenants on low to moderate incomes. Since the mid-1990s, the program has supported the construction or renovation of about 110,000 affordable rental units each year. That adds up to over <a href="https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/what-low-income-housing-tax-credit-and-how-does-it-work">2 million units</a> at an estimated annual cost of US$9billion (A$13.8billion).</p> <p>This scheme is much less expensive per unit of affordable housing delivered than Australia’s system of negative gearing.</p> <p>Closer to home, the previous National Rental Affordability Scheme showed the value of targeted financial incentives in encouraging affordable housing. This scheme, available to private and disproved investors, generated positive outcomes for tenants. The benefits included better health for low-income tenants who were able to moved into quality new housing.</p> <p>A <a href="https://cityfutures.ada.unsw.edu.au/documents/81/Next_moves_report.pdf">raft</a> of <a href="https://apo.org.au/node/260431">evaluations</a> have <a href="https://www.ahuri.edu.au/research/final-reports/267">demonstrated</a> the achievements of this scheme.</p> <h2>Crisis calls for lasting solutions</h2> <p>Short-term measures such as rent caps or eviction bans will not provide a solution in the near future or even the medium or long term. Instead, these are likely to worsen both the housing costs and health of low-income tenants.</p> <p>Reform focused on ongoing needs is called for. Solutions that can be implemented quickly include the tighter targeting of negative gearing and the introduction of a low-income housing tax credit.</p> <p>Talking about change, as the national cabinet is doing, will begin that process of transformation, but it must be backed up by a range of measures to boost the supply of affordable housing. This, in turn, will improve the housing market overall as affordable options become more widely available.<!-- 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/211275/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/andrew-beer-111469">Andrew Beer</a>, Executive Dean, UniSA Business, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emma-baker-172081">Emma Baker</a>, Professor of Housing Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-adelaide-1119">University of Adelaide</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/the-rental-housing-crisis-is-hurting-our-most-vulnerable-and-demands-a-range-of-solutions-but-capping-rents-isnt-one-of-them-211275">original article</a>.</em></p>

Real Estate

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Why millions of Aussies are delaying, modifying or scrapping their travel plans

<p>While it might seem like everyone around you is enjoying a luxurious European summer vacation, recent data reveals that the majority of Australians are facing obstacles in pursuing their travel dreams. The rising cost of living and inflated travel prices are compelling millions of Australians to reconsider and adjust their holiday plans, according to the latest consumer sentiment survey conducted by NAB, which involved approximately 2,000 local respondents.</p> <p>According to an alarming <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/why-millions-of-australians-are-cancelling-or-postponing-their-holidays/gbyz8v0yt" target="_blank" rel="noopener">piece by SBS</a>, the survey found that nearly two-thirds of Australians (65 per cent) who had intentions of traveling in the next 12 months have been forced to either cancel or postpone their trips. Among them, 24 per cent decided to scrap their plans entirely, while 42 per cent opted to delay their vacations. The data shows that an overwhelming number of individuals believe that travel and holidays have become considerably more expensive.</p> <p>According to the SBS piece, Tara Hartley, NAB's retail customer executive, offered some reassurance to those experiencing FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on extravagant European holidays. She stated that many Australians are making prudent spending decisions, prioritising their expenses based on what they value most. With the cost of living rising, including grocery bills and fuel prices, Australians are finding it increasingly challenging to budget for their holiday plans. As a result, they are making thoughtful adjustments to their spending habits.</p> <p>Approximately 40 per cent of respondents have scaled back their travel plans, opting to explore domestic destinations instead of traveling abroad to save money. Hartley mentioned examples like people swapping trips to the Mediterranean for Maroochydore or Bali for Burnie, indicating that Australians are finding joy and relaxation within their own country.</p> <p>One significant factor contributing to the hesitance in making travel arrangements is the soaring cost of airfares. Airlines have been slow to resume normal operations after the COVID-19 pandemic caused international flights to come to a halt. The combination of increased demand for flights, inflation, rising fuel prices, and a shortage of staff has led to a surge in airfare costs.</p> <p>Data released by online travel company Kayak in May indicated that return flights from Australia to overseas destinations are now over 50 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels. For instance, the average return economy international flight between July and December currently costs $1,827, compared to $1,213 in 2019. Domestic flights have also experienced a notable increase, with costs up by 10 per cent compared to 2019 figures and 15 per cent higher than last year.</p> <p>Even though capacity is expected to return to the airline industry, outgoing Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce cautioned that airfares might not return to their pre-pandemic affordability. Nevertheless, the adjustments in travel plans have had some positive financial impacts. On average, Australians have saved around $392 each month by changing their travel plans. Over the course of a year, these adjustments have translated to approximately $4,704 in savings.</p> <p>The rising cost of living and inflated travel prices are causing millions of Australians to reconsider their holiday plans. With airfares surging and travel becoming more expensive, many are opting to modify their trips or explore domestic destinations instead. While these changes may bring financial benefits, it remains uncertain when airfares will return to their pre-pandemic levels.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Nat Barr’s emotional plea for young family

<p dir="ltr"><em>Sunrise</em> host Natalie Barr has issued an emotional plea after one family’s heartbreaking situation moved her close to tears. </p> <p dir="ltr">Adelaide-based dad Taylor Hosking shared his moving story on <em>Sunrise</em>, revealing the devastating impact of the rental crisis on his young family, who may be forced to live on the streets after more than 50 unsuccessful rental applications. </p> <p dir="ltr">Hosking - who has four children and a fifth on the way - shared that his family were pushed to look for a new home after their rent was increased from $430 to $600 a week. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We’re like at that point now it’s like, what do we do?” Hosking told Barr. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s either we feed the kids or we pay our rent or we pay the rent and we, you know, we can’t even feed the kids.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He explained that the young family often gets judged “straight off the bat” for having “a bunch of kids”, and despite having good references, they’ve had no luck in finding a new home. </p> <p dir="ltr">Barr noted that it must be a “ very emotional time” for them and asked how he and his wife, Shay, were coping. </p> <p dir="ltr">Hosking opened up about his tragic loss, which almost moved Barr to tears. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s a very special day as well today because  our son Orlando passed away on Father’s Day last year,” he said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“So if he was still here with us, he’d be one today. But we just go day by day and the kids are what keeps us strong and all together, mate.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The family had worn a “Team Orlando” shirt for the segment, which tugged on Barr’s heartstrings. </p> <p dir="ltr">“This is just the face of the cost of living crisis in this country,” she said, holding back tears. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We are here to help, we are going to do everything we can to help you and your family.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She then asked anyone who was willing to help the family to contact the <em>Sunrise</em> team. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We are so sorry you are in this predicament,” she added. </p> <p dir="ltr">Earlier in the segment, Hosking also told Barr that he had until October to find a new home for his family. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t know, just pray and we hope we work with all the agencies and all the government and everything,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Hopefully something happens or someone can help us.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But I’ve been working with them, I’ve been going to my appointments, doing everything I can and to even be told like there’s no magic wand, there’s no house to give you, [and] the best they might be able to do is put us up in a motel or something.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And how do we have four kids, two adults and a newborn baby in a motel? It’s impossible.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Seven</em></p>

Caring

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Tourists flock to the Mediterranean as if the climate crisis isn’t happening. This year’s heat and fire will force change

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susanne-becken-90437">Susanne Becken</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-loehr-1457342">Johanna Loehr</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Thousands of people on the beach. Children reportedly falling off evacuation boats. Panic. People fleeing with the clothes on their backs. It felt like “the end of the world”, according to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/23/british-tourists-tell-of-nightmare-in-rhodes-fires-greece">one tourist</a>.</p> <p>The fires sweeping through the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu are showing us favourite holiday destinations are no longer safe as climate change intensifies.</p> <p>For decades, tourists have flocked to the Mediterranean for the northern summer. Australians, Scandinavians, Brits, Russians all arrive seeking warmer weather. After COVID, many of us have been keen to travel once again.</p> <p>But this year, the intense heatwaves have claimed <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/world/heatwave-pictures-wildfires-worsen-greece-italy-spain-europe-us-2488556">hundreds of lives</a> in Spain alone. Major tourist drawcards such as the Acropolis in Athens have been closed. Climate scientists are “stunned by the ferocity” of the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jul/25/northern-hemisphere-heatwaves-europe-greece-italy-wildfires-extreme-weather-climate-experts">heat</a>.</p> <p>This year is likely to force a rethink for tourists and for tourism operators. Expect to see more trips taken during shoulder seasons, avoiding the increasingly intense July to August summer. And expect temperate countries to become more popular tourist destinations. Warm-weather tourist destinations will have to radically change.</p> <h2>What will climate change do to mass tourism?</h2> <p>Weather is a major factor in tourism. In Europe and North America, people tend to go from northern countries to southern regions. Chinese tourists, like Australians, often head to Southeast Asian beaches.</p> <p>In Europe, the north-south flow is almost hardwired. When Australians go overseas, they often choose Mediterranean summers. Over the last decade, hotter summers haven’t been a dealbreaker.</p> <p>But this year is likely to drive change. You can already see that in the growing popularity of shoulder seasons (June or September) in the traditional Northern Hemisphere summer destinations.</p> <p>Many of us are shifting how we think about hot weather holidays from something we seek to something we fear. This comes on top of consumer shifts such as those related to sustainability and <a href="https://theconversation.com/flight-shaming-how-to-spread-the-campaign-that-made-swedes-give-up-flying-for-good-133842">flight shame</a>.</p> <p>What about disaster tourism? While thrillseekers <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jul/22/death-valley-tourism-extreme-weather-california">may be flocking</a> to Death Valley to experience temperatures over 50℃, it’s hard to imagine this type of tourism going mainstream.</p> <p>What we’re more likely to see is more people seeking “<a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09669582.2016.1213849?journalCode=rsus20">last-chance</a>” experiences, with tourists flocking to highly vulnerable sites such as the Great Barrier Reef. Of course, this type of tourism isn’t sustainable long-term.</p> <h2>What does this mean for countries reliant on tourism?</h2> <p>The crisis in Rhodes shows us the perils of the just-in-time model of tourism, where you bring in tourists and everything they need –food, water, wine – as they need it.</p> <p>The system is geared to efficiency. But that means there’s little space for contingencies. Rhodes wasn’t able to easily evacuate 19,000 tourists. This approach will have to change to a just-in-case approach, as in other <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/willyshih/2022/01/30/from-just-in-time-to-just-in-case-is-excess-and-obsolete-next/?sh=195cd054daf7">supply chains</a>.</p> <p>For <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0261517712002063">emergency services</a>, tourists pose a particular challenge. Locals have a better understanding than tourists of risks and escape routes. Plus tourists don’t speak the language. That makes them much harder to help compared to locals.</p> <p>Climate change poses immense challenges in other ways, too. Pacific atoll nations like Kiribati or Tuvalu <a href="https://www.pacificpsdi.org/assets/Uploads/PSDI-TourismSnapshot-TUV3.pdf">would love</a> more tourists to visit. The problem there is water. Sourcing enough water for locals is getting harder. And tourists use a lot of water – drinking it, showering in it, swimming in it. Careful planning will be required to ensure local carrying capacities are not exceeded by tourism.</p> <p>So does this spell the end of mass tourism? Not entirely. But it will certainly accelerate the trend in countries like Spain away from mass tourism, or “overtourism”. In super-popular tourist destinations like Spain’s Balearic Islands, there’s been an increasing pushback from locals against <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-in-the-era-of-overtourism-but-there-is-a-more-sustainable-way-forward-108906">overtourism</a> in favour of specialised tourism with smaller numbers spread out over the year.</p> <p>Is this year a wake-up call? Yes. The intensifying climate crisis means many of us are now more focused on what we can do to stave off the worst of it by, say, avoiding flights. The pressure for change is growing too. Delta Airlines is being sued over its announcement to go carbon neutral by <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/may/30/delta-air-lines-lawsuit-carbon-neutrality-aoe">using offsets</a>, for instance.</p> <h2>Mountains not beaches: future tourism may look a lot different</h2> <p>You can already see efforts to adapt to the changes in many countries. In Italy, for instance, domestic mountain tourism is <a href="https://www.euromontana.org/en/neve-diversa-how-mountain-tourism-can-adapt-to-climate-change/">growing</a>, enticing people from hot and humid Milan and Rome up where the air is cooler – even if the snow is disappearing.</p> <p>China, which doesn’t do things by halves, is investing in mountain resorts. The goal here is to offer cooler alternatives like northern China’s <a href="https://english.news.cn/20230714/9ae6f89a6b7b433ebde3ec689b87f6db/c.html">Jilin province</a> to beach holidays for sweltering residents of megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai.</p> <p>Some mountainous countries are unlikely to seize the opportunity because they don’t want to draw more tourists. Norway is considering a <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidnikel/2022/12/03/norway-to-consider-introducing-tourist-tax-from-2024/?sh=710871eb1b27">tourist tax</a>.</p> <p>Forward-thinking countries will be better prepared. But there are limits to preparation and adaptation. Mediterranean summer holidays will be less and less appealing, as the region is a <a href="https://www.unep.org/unepmap/resources/factsheets/climate-change">heating hotspot</a>, warming 20% faster than the world average. Italy and Spain are still <a href="https://joint-research-centre.ec.europa.eu/jrc-news-and-updates/severe-drought-western-mediterranean-faces-low-river-flows-and-crop-yields-earlier-ever-2023-06-13_en">in the grip</a> of a record-breaking drought, threatening food and water supplies. The future of tourism is going to be very different. <!-- 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/210282/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/susanne-becken-90437">Susanne Becken</a>, Professor of Sustainable Tourism, Griffith Institute for Tourism, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/johanna-loehr-1457342">Johanna Loehr</a>, , <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/tourists-flock-to-the-mediterranean-as-if-the-climate-crisis-isnt-happening-this-years-heat-and-fire-will-force-change-210282">original article</a>.</em></p>

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King Charles hit hard by cost of living crisis

<p>As the cost of living crisis continues around the world, it seems even those at the very top are not as immune from the financial uncertainty as expected. </p> <p>King Charles and the royal family are the latest hit by the crisis, with the Crown Estate losing half a billion pounds (approx. $950 million AUD) on its London property portfolio after the value of retail space crashed.</p> <p>King Charles was reportedly forced to dip into the royal reserves by £21 million (approx. $40 million AUD) due to overspending by the Palace, while staff have implemented a number of cost-cutting measures across the various royal estates including turning down the heating.</p> <p>Following a year of "unprecedented" royal activity that saw both the death of Queen Elizabeth and the coronation of King Charles, Buckingham Palace's net expenditure grew by more than £5 million this year, to £107.5 million (approx. $203 million AUD) in just a few short months. </p> <p>The spending was used on events such as the Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, the Queen's funeral, preparation for the King's coronation and the joining of two royal households.</p> <p>During a media briefing on Tuesday, Sir Michael Stevens, keeper of the royal family's Sovereign Grant, emphasised that it had been "an exceptional year" for the royal household.</p> <p>He said the financial strain related to a year of "grief, change and celebration, the like of which our nation has not witnessed for seven decades".</p> <p>The historic events, he said, have "inevitably entailed additional burdens on resources" to ensure that they were "delivered safely and smoothly, and that the change of reign was effected as seamlessly as possible at a time of great national and international interest".</p> <p>The Platinum Jubilee cost £700,000 (approx. $1.3 million AUD), while the Queen's funeral cost £1.6 million (approx. $3.5 million AUD).</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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