Browsing articles in "Disaster"
Tuesday 15th April 2014 - 1:29 pm
Comments Off on Young Australians taking more interest in super

Young Australians taking more interest in super

by Alan Thornhill

Young people are taking a more active interest in superannuation, according to a new survey.

The latest quarterly MLC Wealth Sentiment Survey, shows that this is most evident in the 30-49 year old group.

The results showed that both men and women in this age group rated their concern about having adequate funds for retirement at 73 per cent.

The survey also showed that people over 50 and 18-29 year olds had an equal level of concern, at 64 per cent.

The survey of over 2,000 people also revealed that Queenslanders were most concerned about the adequacy of their super adequacy.

People from Western Australia and Tasmania were the least concerned.

Those who have children are more concerned about having enough for retirement compared to those who don’t have children.

The more children the family has, the more concerns there were.

In a special report: MLC Retirement Survey also released today, just one in 10 respondents had a well considered plan in the event of major financial setbacks such as unemployment or ill health.

However it showed, too, that 72 per cent of Australians fail to consider setbacks in their retirement plans.

That was up 3 per cent from the previous quarter.

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Monday 14th April 2014 - 1:19 pm
Comments Off on Relief for Ita’s victims announced

Relief for Ita’s victims announced

by Alan Thornhill

The Federal and Queensland governments are offering assistance to the victims of Cyclone Ita

The Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the Federal Government Disaster Recovery Allowance has been made available to employees in Hope Vale who have suffered a loss of income as a result of the cyclone.

“The Hope Vale Banana Farm is the main employer in the community and the devastation of the farm will impact on many in the Hope Vale community,” Mr Keenan said.

He made the announcement while visiting the State Disaster Coordination Centre in Brisbane today for a briefing on Cyclone Ita.

The Disaster Recovery Allowance provides payments up to 13 weeks equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance for eligible Australian residents.

Further information on Australian Government assistance is available online at

Meanwhile the Queensland Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Jack Dempsey joined Mr Keenan in a joint announcement of other relief measures.

They said the Federal assistance would be “over and above the support already being provided under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, which is jointly funded with the Queensland State Government.”

“We will continue to assess the need for further assistance as impacts from this event become clearer”, Mr Keenan said.

They said the easiest way to lodge a claim for the DRA is by calling the Australian Government Information Line on 180 22 66 from 8am to 5pm local time, Monday to Friday.

Completed claim forms can also be lodged in person at a Commonwealth Department of Human Services service centre.

Monday 7th April 2014 - 4:37 pm
Comments Off on A walk in Honiara with Father Ambrose

A walk in Honiara with Father Ambrose

by Alan Thornhill


Click on this picture to see the damage

6th April, Honiara: Heavy rain and floods have left over 16 dead and tens of thousands homeless.

The Solomon Islands government declared a state of emergency last week after the Matanikau River burst its banks,sweeping away, people, houses and bringing down bridges.

The flood waters have receded, but the country is yet to come to terms with the full extent of the damage.

While rain lashed the country,major damage is seen in the China Town area of Honiara and in the North Eastern part of Guadalcanal.

“A very sad and depressing atmosphere loomed all around us – as we Fr.Srimal Priyanga and myself – walked on the bank of the Matanikau River
around China Town area.

The Matanikau metal and wooded bridge is completely destroyed.

The concrete bridge, the lifeline that links Henderson with Honiara has been severely damaged.

A single line of only light vehicles is permitted on the bridge at any time.

With people displaced, infrastructure down and limited food supply – the weeks and months ahead will be difficult.

The Solomon Islands seems to be moving from one disaster to the next -be they natural or man made.

Hardly have they risen when something else brings them down.

Thus, while there is progress, it is slow and one has to have the patience to encourage it to happen.

With a little over 40 per cent literacy, education is the key to a brighter future that cannot be compromised.

At this time of struggle, Don Bosco Technical Institute, Henderson has postponed its opening for Term 2, to Tuesday, 8th April, 2014.

Travel will be difficult for the students.

The Salesians are looking at possibilities to ensure that students who have to travel great distances have the possibility of staying at the

The Institute is a day school.

It does not have proper boarding, dining or sanitisation facilities.

We ask you to lift us in prayer that we make the right decisions for the good of the students and the future of the country, Solomon Islands.

Father Ambrose said he is hoping that the schools will start again soon – as otherwise the students will have nothing to do and crime will be on
the rise.

Several schools have now displaced victims living in them.

He said, too, that Australia and New Zealand have now contributed $300,000 each, for emergency relief measures.

“Do continue to pray for us,” Father Ambrose asked.

Monday 31st March 2014 - 12:24 pm
Comments Off on Climate change:the threats we face

Climate change:the threats we face

by Alan Thornhill

Australia faces the grim prospect of sharp cuts in its agricultural production – and loss of the Great Barrier Reef – according to a new report.

The report by the International Panel on Climate Change, also spoke of “marked decreases in agricultural production in the Murray-Darling Basin and south western and south eastern Australia.

It said, too, that Australia now faces: “significant future risks of increased loss of life, damage to property, and economic loss due to bushfires in southern Australia.”

It says that Australia’s hopes of “reducing the risk in Australia of water shortages, bushfire weather, extreme heatwaves, and decreased agricultural production” depend heavily “on how rapidly we are able to reduce carbon emissions locally and globally, and on the how effectively we are able to implement adaptation measures.”

The Climate Council, a now privately funded successor to Climate Commission, which the Federal government abolished, welcomed the report, which was released today.

The Council’s, Professor Lesley Hughes, who was also one of the report’s lead authors, said its finding highlight the “vulnerability” of Australian agriculture and its coastal infrastructure to climate change.

“This is the critical decade to tackle the cause of climate change and stabilise the climate to avert the most serious risks. ” Professor Hughes said.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is in Perth, campaigning for abolition of the carbon tax, ahead of next Saturday’s Senate elections in Western Australia.

The key findings of the panel’s report on global climate change include:-

• Climate change is occurring as a result of human activities. This latest report from Working Group II confirms and reinforces the findings of a previous assessment report published in 2004.

• There is increased evidence that climate change is already affecting many natural and human systems and poses significant risks to human health, ecosystems, infrastructure, agricultural production and communities.

And its key findings for Australia include:-

• Marked decreases in agricultural production in the Murray-Darling Basin and south western and south eastern Australia could occur if projections of severe dry conditions are realised
• There are significant future risks of increased loss of life, damage to property, and economic loss due to bushfires in southern Australia.
• Since 1950 hot extremes have become more frequent and intense, while cold extremes have become rarer. Increased hot weather is expected to hit major population centres, with hot days, for example, in Melbourne expected to increase by 20 to 40 per cent by 2030, and by up to 190 per cent by 2070.

Monday 10th March 2014 - 8:53 pm
Comments Off on Airliner’s loss still a “mystery”

Airliner’s loss still a “mystery”

by Alan Thornhill

The fate of a missing Malaysian airlines jet remains a mystery.

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman has now dismissed early reports suggesting that oil slicks – and fragments – sighted by Vietnamese military pilots – might be related to the ill-fated flight.

Malaysian officials, though, have not ruled out hijacking as a possible cause of the plane’s disappearance.

Two RAAF Orion aircraft have now joined forces from eight other nations in the search for the missing plane, which had 239 people on board when it disappeared on Saturday.

Sunday 2nd March 2014 - 4:01 pm
Comments Off on Help for fire victims

Help for fire victims

by Alan Thornhill

Residents of the Victorian district of Morwell South, who have had to suffer smoke and ash exposure, from the Hazelwood mine fire, will be eligible for relocation assistance.

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, made the announcement this afternoon.

He said relocation payments will be available to help local residents in Morwell South to temporarily relocate.

Mr Abbott said the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments had agreed to a joint funding package under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

This followed advice from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Rosemary Lester.

“Temporary relocation payments of up to $1,250 per week are available to eligible households under the joint-funding arrangement,” Mr Abbott said.

Dr Lester had reported that vulnerable people living in Morwell South, including people aged over 65, young children, pregnant women and people with a pre-existing heart or lung condition, should consider relocation, as the fire might continue for some time.

Residents seeking assistance are advised to contact the Department of Human Services (DHS) hotline on 1800 006 468 to make an appointment to speak to a DHS officer at one of the following three locations:

– Department of Human Services Office, 9-11 Hazelwood Road, Morwell

– Commercial Road Primary School, Commercial Road, Morwell

– Senior Citizens Hall, Maryvale Crescent, Morwell.

Wednesday 26th February 2014 - 11:11 am
Comments Off on New drought relief package announced

New drought relief package announced

by Alan Thornhill

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has announced a new $320 million assistance package, to help drought stricken farmers in New South Wales and Queensland

Mr Abbott said the government would bring forward more generous income support arrangements for farmers and their families.

It would also extend concessional loans to eligible drought affected farm businesses, provide funds for water infrastructure and pest eradication and money for counselling support services for farmers.

“Farming is a very significant part of our economy and will play a critical role in our economic future,” Mr Abbott said.

“This is a government determined to stand by the people of Australia in good times and bad,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that as part of the package:
• More generous criteria for accessing income support will be made available to farmers from 3 March 2014 instead of 1 July 2014.
• Drought Concessional Loans totalling $280 million will be allocated to give eligible farm businesses the resources to recover from the effects of drought.
• To assist drought affected farms to access water, $12 million will be added to existing emergency water infrastructure schemes, including supplementing those in NSW and Queensland.
• $10 million in assistance will be available for pest management in drought affected areas.
• $10.7 million will help increase access to social and mental health services in communities affected by this drought.

“Farm businesses and farm families across Australia are suffering financially and emotionally as a result of the prolonged drought,” Mr Abbott said.

“This drought assistance package is to support farm businesses, families and communities that are experiencing hardship and to help them recover when the current drought ends,” he added.

Tuesday 4th February 2014 - 3:17 pm
Comments Off on Petrol tankers “mobile bombs”

Petrol tankers “mobile bombs”

by Alan Thornhill

The union representing the drivers who operate Australia’s petrol tankers says those vehicles have literally become “mobile bombs.”

The Transport Workers Union says that’s because of the pressures place on drivers.

The Union’s National Secretary, Tony Sheldon said new surveys show that 1 in 4 petrol tanker drivers are pressured to break the speed limit, 1 in 3 are pushed to falsify logbooks, and 1 in 2 skip rest breaks and drive while fatigued.

The union has filed notice of a dispute, to tackle these issues.

“Petrol tankers are literally mobile bombs,” Mr Sheldon said.

“They’re at the most dangerous end of Australia’s most dangerous industry.

“Yet industry research shows drivers forced to speed, skip rest breaks and fake their log books just to keep jobs.

“Tanker drivers are simply driving too long and too fast,” Mr Sheldon said.

“We’ve seen the consequences in crashes like Batemans Bay in 2009, and Mona Vale last year.

“Major petrol clients like Coles need to learn that road safety is not red tape,” Mr Sheldon said.

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Weathercoast by Alan Thornhill

A novel on the murder of seven young Anglican Christian Brothers in the Solomon Islands.

Available now on the iTunes store.


Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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