Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Media wrap - School fees and visits to the doctor costing more



POLITICS AND ECONOMICS

Health and hospitals

$100 bill from GP visit – Getting sick could now cost you almost $100 in out-of-pocket expenses, as doctors and pathology laboratories abandon bulk-billing and Medicare rebates fail to keep pace with fees – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Economic matters

Global recovery stronger: IMF – Australian miners and farmers are set for a good year, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting that the gathering strength of the global economic recovery will support further gains in commodity prices – The Australian

Elections

Aboriginal leader drops out of race – In a setback for the Coalition, influential Aboriginal leader Bess Price has changed her mind and will not contest the 1.3-million-square-kilometre Northern Territory seat of Lingiari at this year's federal election – Melbourne Age

Law and order

From mum to mum: Skye's law, Kristina Keneally wants the law in force – Premier Kristina Keneally has called in the state's top lawmakers to work on Skye's Law - tough new penalties targeting criminals who lead police on high-speed chases – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Only one of 1200 offenders get maximum jail term - Only one person out of more than 1200 offenders sentenced for serious crimes, such as rape and armed robbery, in the past 18 months has been handed a maximum jail term – Brisbane Courier Mail

Immigration

Rudd blamed for Asian 'virus' – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's deals to deter asylum seekers have triggered an Asia-wide virus of ''xenophobia and amnesia'' over refugee rights, a leading human rights group says – Melbourne Age

Industrial relations

Deputy PM Julia Gillard spruiks new IR laws in Adelaide – Employers are being told they will be better off with fewer business costs under the new national workplace relations system. Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard kicked off the first two of 50,000 workplace visits to discuss the new system with small business owners in Adelaide this morning – Adelaide Advertiser

Challenge employers over flexible work hours, new parents advised – The Fair Work Ombudsman's office is advising new parents who have their requests for ''flexible work'' knocked back by employers to take disputes to the Fair Work tribunal if they can – Sydney Morning Herald

Foreign affairs

India told to arrest racism fury – The acting Foreign Minister, Simon Crean, has urged Indian leaders to avoid fuelling hysteria over the killing of a student in Melbourne and has criticised his counterpart in New Delhi, S. M. Krishna, for calling the stabbing a ''heinous crime on humanity' – Sydney Morning Herald

Indians retreat from racism claim – The Indian government and student groups have backed away from claims that the murder of Nitin Garg was racially motivated, as police continued to comb a park in Melbourne's west for evidence that may lead them to the killer – The Australian

Transport

Push to ban trucks from the highway – A powerful coalition of rail unions, transport and motoring groups is urging federal and state governments to ban the movement of dangerous goods by road, following a spate of fatal accidents over Christmas and the new year – Sydney Morning Herald

Myki operators to win bonus payments - News of the expected windfall for Kamco comes as the company bungled its first mail-out of myki cards in another blow to the troubled fare payment system – Melbourne Herald Sun

Development

Developers urge action on urban-fringe levy billVictoria’s property industry has called on the Brumby Government and the Opposition to settle their differences over Labor's proposed fringe development levy, warning that home affordability will suffer if more land is not opened for housing – Melbourne Age

Regulation

Small business riled by council red tape – Councils are the main bugbear for small businesses when it comes to red tape, but the most onerous area of bureaucracy is encountered when hiring staff. A survey by the NSW Business Chamber has found 81.3 per cent of respondents cited the ''moderate to high'' financial compliance cost when hiring employees – Sydney Morning Herald

Defence

Quick-fix chopper plan sunk on Sea Sprite anti-submarine helicopters – A navy plan to quickly replace the doomed Sea Sprite anti-submarine helicopters with proven US-built aircraft has been scuttled by the Government – Sydney Daily Telegraph

Opinions

A political diet of pie in the sky – Jessica Irvine in the Sydney Morning Herald writes that barely a week into January and the mud flinging in federal politics has begun. It must be an election year.

Mr Rudd, your misguided warming policies are killing millions - Christopher Monckton in The Australian spiritedly defends himself against the Prime Minister dismissing him as ‘one of "those who argue that climate change does not represent a global market failure".’

BUSINESS

Bagging bargains as retail beat goes on - Post-Christmas trading is exceeding the expectations of some of Australia's major retailers, with sales momentum continuing after the adrenalin rush of Boxing Day – Melbourne Herald Sun

Westpac rate rise 'pushes customers to switch banks' – Customers angry at the big interest rate rise imposed by Westpac are leaving the bank, according to Australia's largest mortgage broker – Sydney Morning Herald

Markets predict a happy new year – Evidence is pouring in from all corners that the global recovery is holding fast, sending share prices higher, the dollar closer to its fabled parity, and creating the best conditions for factory owners in years – Sydney Morning Herald

Rip out vines, wine industry told – Peter Lehmann Wines has warned that the Australian wine industry must rip out 35,000 hectares of vineyards to restore the balance between supply and demand – Melbourne Age

ENVIRONMENT

Heatwave shows need for carbon deal: Garrett – The Federal Government has said climate data showing last year was Australia's second-hottest on record means the Senate should pass the emissions trading scheme next month – Sydney Morning Herald

Latest data heats up climate change debate – New data showing last year was the second-hottest on record has reignited political division over climate change policy, with the government seizing on the figures to declare Tony Abbott unfit for office – The Australian

Second-warmest year recorded – Winter warmth and February and November heatwaves bumped up temperatures across Australia last year, giving the country its second-warmest year in a century of record-keeping. The Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate statement, released yesterday, shows the mean temperature for the year, 22.7C, was 0.9C above the base 1961-90 average – The Australian

Let the swollen rivers flow – Flooding  in the eastern states will inject about 300 billion litres of water into the Murray-Darling river system but not one drop is reserved for South Australia. Floodwaters are being dammed and diverted upstream, keeping them in New South Wales and dashing the hopes of drought-stricken Riverland growers trying to keep their fruit trees and grapevines alive – Adelaide Advertiser

Japanese whalers in spy flights – Japanese whalers have sent spy flights from Australian airports to track protest ships targeting their hunt in the Antarctic. A series of flights from Western Australia pinned down Sea Shepherd's vessel, Steve Irwin, but flights out of Tasmania on New Year's Day failed to locate the ship again – Melbourne Age

MEDIA

It's lights, camera, action for SA – Two feature films are set to begin production in Adelaide within the same week, kick-starting 2010 after a year-long slump in South Australian film production – Adelaide Advertiser

Satellite television service to replace analog signal – All Australian homes will have access to 16 free digital TV channels within the next four years under a plan to bring satellite coverage to the regions. The Federal Government yesterday announced a satellite service for viewers in regional blackspot areas as part of the analog signal switch-off at the end of 2013 – Brisbane Courier Mail

Kevin Rudd to subsidise digital TV in the bush – More than 200,000 Australians in regional and remote areas will be given access to the same number of television stations as city dwellers under a $160 million Rudd government plan to establish a satellite television service – The Australian

Conroy hoping to make a killing on analog - federal government has moved to maximise the proceeds from the auction of vacated analog spectrum by aiming the process at the telecommunications industry, but the move will force consumers to retune their digital television sets – The Australian

LIFE

Education

School fees cripple parents – The cost of schooling our children is rocketing as the computer generation gobbles record amounts of money.  Melbourne's education expenses have soared by an average 70 per cent in a decade - twice the inflation rate – Melbourne Herald Sun

Private schools become less affordable – Top private schools have become less affordable over the past decade, despite taxpayer subsidies and claims from John Howard when he introduced the current funding system that fee increases would taper off – The Australian

The drink

Cop on mission to stop drunken violence – A policeman who was allegedly assaulted at a Territory nightclub on New Year's Day says he will dedicate his career to stamping out drunken violence. Constable Kevin Carr was with fallen comrade Sergeant Brett Meredith at the Club 23 nightclub in Katherine when both off-duty officers were allegedly assaulted – Northern Territory News

Real estate

Housing sector hit by rate rises, end of grant – The Reserve Bank's three consecutive rate rises and the winding down of the first-home buyers' grant have knocked the stuffing out of the housing market, with sales of new and established homes weak at the end of the year – The Australian

Bushfire

Victoria Country Fire Authority lashed over out-of-date information on hotline – The Country Fire Authority has come under pressure from the Brumby government to get its warning systems right after residents who called a bushfire hotline during a fire received 11-day-old inaccurate information – The Australian

Bushfire telephone warning alert system farce – The bushfire warning system is under investigation after a series of bungles that have shattered the confidence of fearful Victorians bracing for a major heatwave – Melbourne Herald Sun

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