Sunday, October 13, 2019

‘You are nothing’: Reality of life on $40 a day

I guess there really are some people who have problems budgeting for that amount so maybe I should let them in on the secret.  I have been on the dole twice in my life and always added to my savings during those times.

There are 3 big items you need money for: Rent, utilities and food. The easiest one to save on is undoubtedly food.  We all eat to much and too extravagantly.  But there are some foods that you can make good and healthy but very cheap meals with. 

The 10 absolute bargains in groceries are milk, eggs, baked beans,  porridge-oats, day-old bread, plum-jam, sugar, pasta, rice and noodles.  A big jar of Vegemite goes a long way too. And if you have an old-fashioned taste in coffee, (which  I do) a bottle of Bushell's coffee and chicory essence goes a long way too.

You could in fact live on milk alone.  I have done so. And if you can't enjoy a breakfast of sugared porridge followed by scrambled eggs you are hard to please. 

Sticking to those items plus any other low cost bargains that come your way, you can eat well and will definitely save enough to pay your way across the board. You might even be able to pay for the occasional beer.

The Morrison government has defended the Newstart allowance amid criticism it’s too low. But those forced to live on it tell a different story.Source:AAP

People on the dole are made to feel like they’re nothing, senators examining Newstart payments have heard.

Mark, who was only identified by his first name, told the committee on Friday the welfare system operated “to deter or to destroy but certainly not help”.

Mark said his background as an award-winning journalist was not recognised when he went on Newstart five years ago.

“Once you get caught up in the system … you’re reminded very, very quickly how much your own background and professional history mean nothing,” he said.

Mark said he was pushed onto welfare after a traumatic break-up.

“I counted the days waiting (for payment) and that’s what you do on Newstart,” Mark said. There has been widespread pressure for a raise to the $40-a-day dole, which has barely budged in real terms for a quarter of a century.

The Australian Council of Social Service told the committee a boost to the payment would see a boost to the economy.

Chief executive Cassandra Goldie said she knew the politicians on the committee had come to parliament to do good things, and raising welfare payments would be one of the effective ways to fix national poverty rates.

“This is the best good thing you could do,” Dr Goldie said.

Foodbank Australia said people in cashless welfare card trial sites were having difficulty accessing food in an “affordable and routine way”.

Professional services giant KPMG has called for Newstart to rise from $277.85 per week for a single person to $370 per week, which would move it up to half the national minimum wage. “It’s a balance between making sure that you’ve got a level which satisfies material wellbeing and psychological wellbeing, and ensuring that you don’t have a disincentive to work,” KPMG’s Grant Wardell-Johnson told the committee.

He said an inadequate welfare safety net enhanced people’s fear about innovation, technology and their jobs.

KPMG has favoured increasing Newstart since 2016.

Mr Wardell-Johnson said he had been shocked to learn that about half the people on Newstart are aged over 45. A friend of his was made redundant at the age of 55 after a long career in industry training.

“She went to more than 100 interviews before she got a job,” he told senators.

“That’s quite different from the image of the lazy 30-year-old or so, which I think is very much a misunderstanding of people on Newstart.”

The Morrison government has rejected calls to raise Newstart, with a multi- agency submission to the hearing saying the government’s focus was on strengthening the budget.


Provocative chief executive Matt Barrie says Australia’s education system is a “basket case” and is the main contributor to the country’s “completely cactus” economy

There is much truth in the comments below but how do we turn the system around?  Getting into the professions will always be aspired to so courses leading to that will always be sought out.  And the other high-paid sector -- IT -- requires high levels of mental ability that only a small minority can rise to. In computer programming you have to be able to think like a machine.

That leaves the trades -- which can also be highly paid.  So the provision of trade courses plus heavy information campaigns about their earning potential would seem to be the only practical way forward

The tech entrepreneur and multi-millionaire blames the deterioration of Australian manufacturing output on what he calls an ancient education system where overachieving students are pushed into medicine and law while participation in electrical engineering and computer science dwindles.

“That’s why there’s no productivity because we’re producing people to serve cups of coffee and serve avocado on toast to each other,” Mr Barrie said.

Gross domestic product grew by just 0.5 per cent in the June quarter, dragging year-on-year growth to 1.4 per cent as Australians struggle with stagnant wage growth and a crippling debt-to-income ratio.

Mr Barrie, boss of ASX-listed freelancing marketplace, says the fastest way to turn this around is to encourage youngsters to be leaders in more practical, high-skilled industries.

“If you get enough people into the right jobs, then four years later they go into the workforce, they get high-paying jobs, they start companies, they create income tax, and benefits flow from that,” he told at a Yahoo Finance conference recently.

“Plus they also increase the skills level because when they start these companies, they train all the employees they hire.”

The entrepreneur said year 10 students needed access to pathways to jobs with a greater ability to stimulate the economy.

“We’ve created this insane leaderboard in the HSC, which is basically medicine and law; they’re the best subjects.

“Everything else doesn’t really matter and every parent, every teacher and then every kid thinks, ‘I’ve got to do medicine or law’.

“We don’t need any more lawyers in the world. There are plenty of other jobs that are far more important to the economy right now.

“We’ve got to fix the secondary school system, which is an 18th century relic training people for jobs that don’t exist.”

Mr Barrie told a more productive population would bump-up wage growth.

“If you’re going to have high wages you need to be high value producing in the value chain. You can’t be serving people a couple of cups of coffee and expect high wages.

“You’ve got to be doing advanced manufacturing like robotics or sophisticated products and services with a high margin.

“And that’s what we’ve let fall apart. We need to have very sophisticated trade schools in the country so people can learn advanced skills, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering in order to produce these products and services and infrastructure.

“We don’t do that. It’s basically you’re a doctor or you’re a lawyer, otherwise you’re a failure and that’s pretty much it.”

Shadow minister for innovation, technology and the future of work, Clare O’Neil, agreed improving the education sector was the best way to correcting Australia’s anaemic economy.

She told the same finance conference that federal funding wasn’t translating to better results.

“We haven’t had a really good conversation in Canberra about why, even though we’re spending more money on schools all the time. Our performance is pretty static or in some instances declining,” Ms O’Neil said.

“Wherever I go around Australia there’s a big disconnect between that pointy end of the education system and the needs of business.

“And it just amazes me that after knowing that’s been a problem, for probably 40 years, we haven’t found a solution.”

Mr Barrie said Australian skills had fallen behind because of the inaction of politicians and uninspired workers within the sector.

“It’s a complete basket case because education is the remit of state governments and you’ve got a lot of teachers who are frightened of technology because their job is threatened,” the entrepreneur said.

“It’s the teachers that are holding things back, and because it’s all controlled by the state governments you have all this duplication, bureaucracy, glacial movement of the system and all these entrenched people in positions that you just need to reinvent it.”

He said this had created fiscal issues for a country too reliant on commodity exports and a bloated housing market.

“The Australian economy is completely cactus,” Mr Barrie told

“We’ve let manufacturing completely fall apart and we’re just deluding ourselves thinking we’re a wealthy country just because we’ve got inflated house prices and because we’ve got an immigration program to prop up tax receipts and prop up the housing market.

“It’s going to end in tears — households are already at capacity in terms of their ability to pay rent and buy houses.”


The SIX-figure jobs in Australia that no local wants where more than two-thirds of positions are unfilled

Jobs with six-figure salaries are struggling to attract enough applicants - with more than two-thirds of positions in some sectors remaining unfilled.

From vets to optometrists, auto electricians and dentists on $180,000 a year, employers are failing to find the right candidate despite offering generous remuneration packages.

The situation is so dire the Department of Employment and Skills has compiled a list of occupations with serious shortages.

These highly-paid jobs also come with salaries that are more than double Australia's median wage of $55,400, data from jobs site Seek shows.


Just 29 per cent of veterinary positions are filled, a government survey found.

For every vet job, there were just two applicants for each vacancy, despite common salaries of $103,000.

'Employers continue to experience difficulty filling advertised veterinarian roles, with shortages now apparent for the third consecutive year,' the Department of Employment said.

'This is despite completions in veterinary courses being at record highs and employment outcomes for recent graduates remaining strong.'

Vets can command high salaries, with an advertised position on Seek for a principal veterinary officer specialising in pigs offering a $161,000 salary.

Despite the generous pay, almost a quarter or 23 per cent of employers had no one apply for their advertised positions.


Only a third of advertised positions for optometrists are filled even though this occupation helping customers with prescription glasses offers commonly advertised salaries of $110,000.

Employers only had three applicants on average for every advertised position, the department said.

The situation is so bad locum optometrists have to fill in.

A third of employers had no applicants for their vacancies and while one in five of them received suitable applicants but were still unable to fill their positions.

'Reasons that suitable applicants did not fill vacancies included being unable to agree on remuneration or working hours, and applicants being unwilling to relocate,' the department said.

Less than a quarter or 24 per cent of positions are filled for automotive electricians. In Queensland, only 15 per cent of jobs are being filled    +4
Less than a quarter or 24 per cent of positions are filled for automotive electricians. In Queensland, only 15 per cent of jobs are being filled

Automotive electricians

Less than a quarter or 24 per cent of positions are filled for automotive electricians. In Queensland, only 15 per cent of jobs are being filled.

This occupation has commonly advertised salaries of $110,000, data from jobs site Seek found.

Despite that, the shortage has continued to worsen for a job that only requires a trade qualification.

Each advertised position also attracts just three applicants, or just one candidate who was suitable.


Less than half, or 47 per cent, of dentistry positions are unfilled despite this profession commanding salaries of $180,000.

For every position, eight people applied with only three of them suitable for the job.

'Employers across Australia, with the exception of New South Wales, experienced difficulty recruiting dentists with more than half of those surveyed unable to fill their advertised vacancies,' the department said.

'A number of vacancies remained unfilled when the employer and suitable applicants did not reach an agreement on the conditions of employment.'

Employers in regional areas found it particularly hard to draw applicants away from the big cities.


Now vegans have banned MOUSE TRAPS: Store is ordered to stop selling rodent-killing devices because they are 'inhumane'

A discount store has been ordered to stop selling glue mouse traps because they are 'inhumane'.

Cheap as Chips stores in the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia have taken the product off their shelves.

The ban comes after a customer contacted animal rights organisation PETA, which urged the business to stop selling the item.

PETA spokeswoman Emily Rice told Daily Mail Australia businesses often stock the items not because they're cruel but 'because they don't know any better'.

The company confirmed to PETA that they had officially stopped selling the traps. 

'A concerned shopper initially reached out to us after seeing the glue traps in an Adelaide store, proving that if you see something and say something, you can save lives!' Ms Rice said.

'We commend Cheap as Chips for its compassionate and swift action to help animals.'

PETA said the glue traps can cause birds and small mammals to 'endure immense and prolonged suffering as they struggle to escape'.

As a result, animals can suffer from exhaustion, injury, shock, dehydration, or blood loss. The organisation has also warned the animals could suffocate and resort to chewing through their own legs to break free. 

Cheap as Chips is among other retailers, including Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10, Big W and Target, which have stopped selling glue traps.   


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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