Thursday, April 14, 2016

New perils in moving house

Why Turnbull wants to abolish The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

Hello Mr or Mrs Australian citizen. Are you planning to move house? Be very careful, very careful indeed. According to official advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman, when you go to hire your removalist, through no fault of your own, you could be investigated, prosecuted and fined by the Australian government.

In compliance with the terms of an “enforceable order”, issued by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which came into effect on April 4, a “hirer” is defined as “the party to a road transport contract, other than the contractor driver”. The FWO has confirmed the order “could cover an individual hiring a contractor driver to transport personal household furniture”.

Journeys covered by the order are journeys longer than 500km or more than 200km and across state borders.

A driver covered by the order is a self-employed “contractor driver”, who, if they were not self-employed, would be an employee covered by the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010. Job classifications listed in this award include furniture removers, assistant loader, courier and driver.

Therefore, if you want to move from, for example, Sydney to Melbourne, or Yamba to Brisbane, providing you hire a removalist who is a contractor driver, and depending on the size of the vehicle your furniture goes in, you must pay a price according to the bewildering schedule of “safe rates” listed in Schedule B of the RSRT order.

Failure to pay the correct rates is a breach of the law, and hirers are liable for their part in breaches.

So how are you supposed to know, when you arrange the move, whether your removalist is a contractor driver covered by the order, or an employee driver not covered by the order? How are you supposed to know the size of truck and get the price right? How are you supposed to avoid breaking the law?

There is no way you can know, of course. It is not humanly possible to know. You could very easily break the law without knowing. All you can do is ask the removalist, rely on their word, and hope they are both truthful and in full understanding of whether they are covered by the order.

If someone thinks breaches of the order are occurring, they can anonymously dob your removalist in for investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Businesses dob their competitors in like this all the time, especially when they think their competitor is taking market share and must be undercutting their prices.

If this happens, you will be caught up in a nightmare. Fair Work Ombudsman inspectors can enter premises without warrant or permission. They could turn up at your work, ask to interview you, inspect documents (such as your removalist invoice) and take copies.

The inspectors have the legal power to require you to give your name and home address and provide evidence, for example by tendering of your driver’s licence.

Failure to comply with this can result in your prosecution and fines of up to $5400.

Inspectors could then send to your home a “notice to produce records or documents” and if you don’t comply with the notice, you could be prosecuted and fined up to $10,800.

If you are prosecuted and found to have breached the RSRT order, by not paying the required rates that hirers of contractor drivers are required to pay, the maximum penalty, again, for you, is $10,800.

Your ignorance of the rules will be no excuse, especially now that you have read about this staggering situation in this newspaper.

Welcome to hell, Australia. This is what happens when you elect Labor governments.

They give the unions too much, and everyone suffers the consequences.


Turnbull government decides against banning tourists from climbing Uluru

Why should primitive superstitions be given government support?

"Either we can't spell, or they can't read," traditional owner Vince Forrester says of the thousands of tourists who scale Uluru each year, against the wishes of local Aboriginal people.

"There are all these [signs in] different languages asking 'please don't climb'. I feel disappointed that they really haven't got it yet."

The Turnbull government last week announced the privately run Big Uluru Trek would begin in August - a 100-kilometre five-day desert hike from Amata to Uluru that would provide a new tourist drawcard and boost investment. It raised the prospect that the controversial rock climb might finally be banned.

The climb traces the route taken by the ancestral Mala men on their arrival at Uluru, and traditional owners consider that tourists who take the walk are disrespecting this spiritual significance.

A 2010 plan to manage the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park stated authorities would "work towards closure of the climb" for safety, cultural and environmental reasons.

However, a spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Tuesday said there were "no plans to change current arrangements".

In 2009 when in opposition, Hunt reportedly said closing the rock to walkers "was on Labor's agenda", adding it would "end one of the great tourism experiences in Australia".  "Big Brother is coming to Uluru to slam the gate closed on an Australian tourism icon, the climb," he said.  His spokesman this week would not say if Hunt still held that view.

The plan of management states the climb should permanently close when any of three conditions are met: fewer than 20 per cent of Uluru visitors make the ascent, enough new "visitor experiences" are established to replace it, or the climb is not the principle reason people choose to come to Uluru.

Climb numbers have fallen steadily over the past few decades. Between 2011 and 2015 the proportion of Uluru visitors scaling the rock "fluctuated" around 20 per cent, according to federal agency Parks Australia - equating to about 55,000 people last year. It did not provide year-on-year figures.

Parks Australia's own research has shown that 98 per cent of visitors would still visit Uluru if the climb closed. It said on Tuesday that more visitor activities would be announced.

Some 36 people have died climbing Uluru – the latest in 2010 – and more have been injured, causing grief to local Indigenous people who believe they have a duty of care to those visiting their country.

Forrester said traditional owners were "very disappointed" the government would continue to allow tourists to keep clambering over Uluru, which he described as "the soul of the country".

"Uluru is sacred. People are becoming more aware - now we have to get the politicians and the bureaucrats to understand," he said, adding "when there's an accident, it turns my guts."

Big Run Events managing director Greg Donovan, who proposed the Big Uluru Trek, backed the push for the climb to eventually cease. "It's seen to be very intrusive to spirits and stories and special places for people to climb on the rock," he said. "By taking that away, I don't think it would impact very greatly on tourism at all."


You can't win

There is no parenting topic that gets people more worked up than breastfeeding.

This afternoon hundreds of commenters got worked up over the Today Show’s choice to post a photo taken from a Willoughby Cafe on their Facebook Page. The sign reads:

“BREASTFEEDING MUMS — Pop in have a FREE cup of tea if you need a pitt stop … No need to eat. No need to ask. Please Relax J Willows.”

Cue internet mayhem. Comments included everything from simple statements about loving the sign to people calling discrimination against bottle feeders to others calling discrimination against men. And, of course, one lovely gentleman calling breastfeeding women “slappers that just love attention” and the café owner “a person who likes his customers to get their tits out for him.”

As a woman who breastfed my two children, I personally, love the sign. Breastfeeding is hard bloody work. I have never eaten as much or drunk as much (non-alcoholic seeing as though I was feeding after all) than when I was breastfeeding.

The offer of a free cuppa, a comfy chair and zero judgment while feeding is pretty much the dream of every breastfeeding woman. Well, it definitely was the dream of this one.

And I assure the gentleman who commented on the post that no woman breastfeeds for attention nor do they like to “get their tits out”. If anything, much of the feeding process, particularly in public, involves a tonne of strategic positing in order to AVOID getting your tits out on full display.

I have no doubt that both bottle feeding parents, and men in general, are more than welcome in the café as well. The fact that the owner went to the trouble to write the sign pretty much promotes the fact the café is family friendly.

Is this another case of someone trying to do something nice and getting ridiculed in the process?


"Vomit-like" new $5 note

THE Reserve Bank has unveiled the design of Australia’s new $5 banknote, and the reaction has been mixed.

From “it looks like vomit” to “what even is that”, cash carriers of Australia are weighing in with their comments on the colourful new design.

The new note, which will be issued into circulation from September, will keep the same basic colour, size, and people portrayed as the old fiver, but the design is a bit different.
And from the back: Our new fiver. Picture: Reserve Bank Australia

When the series is complete, each New Australian banknote will depict a different species of Australian wattle and a native bird, RBA Governor Glenn Stevens announced today.

“On the $5 banknote, these are the prickly Moses wattle and Eastern Spinebill,” he said in a statement.

Those are the yellow caterpillar looking things and the little bird, drawn in the middle of the note next to the slightly aged and more surly-looking queen.

The design took in research involving focus groups, and a “culmination of a process of extensive consultation with subject-matter experts and the cash-handling industry”, the RBA said.

But despite the research, not everyone is happy with the design. One user has gone so far as to threaten never to use the denomination again.

The new notes will also feature a new “tactile” feature to help the vision-impaired community distinguish between denominations.

And yes, people have managed to make fun of that as well.

The $5 banknote was first issued in Australia in 1967, the year after the currency was changed from the pound to the dollar.

The original design, printed on a paper note, featured botanist Sir Joseph Banks and humanitarian Caroline Chisholm.

The polymer note was first introduced in 1992, followed in 1995 by another design printed in a deeper shade of mauve to help confused users distinguish it from the similarly coloured $10 banknote.

The current design features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which was commissioned by the RBA in 1984. On the reverse side are pictures of old and new Parliament Houses.

A limited edition commemorative fiver was also introduced in 2001 for that year only, features Sir Henry Parkes on one side and Catherine Helen Spence on the other.

Issuance of the new $5 banknote will commence on September 1, although it will take some time for the new banknotes to be widely circulated, the RBA has warned.

The current series of banknotes can continue to be used even after the new banknotes are issued.



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