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Archive for December, 2009

THE days of scraping car rego stickers off windows are over in Western Australia, which tomorrow becomes the first state to abolish them.

Cutting-edge technology being used by West Australian police has made the stickers redundant, saving millions of dollars.

Police superintendent Lance Martin said hand-held computers were now providing officers with instant advice on registration expiries — as well as an extraordinary amount of other data — simply by tapping in a request.

A car’s owner, previous owners, registration status, even the engine number, were all available within seconds to officers on the beat.

“We can also do detailed searches on people, we can access the criminal records of every person in Australia, we can bring up their mugshots,” he said.

“I can even have an officer carrying one of these hand-held devices in the middle of Broome (1660km from Perth) and pull up an electronic mapping system to track where that officer is in real time, accurate to about five metres. It’s amazing.”

Western Australia is the only state with the hand-held TADIS-lite computers, which have revolutionised life for officers on foot patrol, horseback, pushbikes and motorbikes.

They were rolled out over the past few months.

Superintendent Martin said the expanded access to computers was “the tipping point” for getting rid of car stickers and motorbike tags. Previously, if police spotted an expired registration tag, they had to radio through to base and then wait for someone to run the registration on the land-based computer system.

“It was a very time-consuming approach,” he said.

“Today they just type in a registration number (from their hand-held computer) and within seconds they’ll have all of the information associated with that vehicle.”

The innovation had made the visible stickers irrelevant.

The West Australian technology is fast becoming the envy of forces across the nation, many of whom have sent delegations to Perth to examine it.

It began with larger TADIS computers fitted to police cars, reportedly the most advanced in Australia, and progressed this year to the unique hand-held version.

“Other states are particularly interested in the hand-held units,” Superintendent Martin said.

“This is far bigger than the registration stickers.

“Just in the metropolitan area now with our mobile data devises, we can do over six million enquiries a year. It’s massive.”

The West Australian Department of Transport, which administers vehicle registrations, confirmed it also had been approached by other states about the decision to phase out registration tags.

To ensure drivers were comfortable with the change, they can now phone a hotline or check online to clarify the status of their registration.

Source  :  www.theaustralian.com.au

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Extreme temperatures over the next two days are expected to bring Western Australia’s most severe bushfire conditions for the season, authorities say.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts “very hot” conditions for Monday with temperatures of about 40 degrees in Perth city, paired with east to north-east winds.

“Fire danger ratings of extreme to catastrophic are possible over most of the south-west land division as well as the south-west Goldfields on Tuesday,” said a Fire and Emergency Services Authority statement issued today.

“If you live in an area with a catastrophic fire danger rating you should put your survival first and leave early. That is hours before a fire starts.

“Under no circumstances will it be safe to stay and defend your home.”

FESA suggests that residents from at-risk areas spend Monday “at the beach, shopping in the closest major town or with family and friends away from bushland”.

Total fire bans are yet to be issued but may be later today.

Emergency service crews say they are well prepared for the fire threat.

On Tuesday, Perth is expected to reach 36 degrees, with the chance of a shower.

Temperatures are then forecast to plummet, with showers bringing a maximum of 23 degrees on Wednesday, warming to 26 on Thursday and heading back into the high 20s by next weekend.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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Below are links to new Comlaw information on:

1 Which occupations will require a new skills assessment after 1 January 2010, and

2 Which offshore applicants will need to have worked for 12 of the 24 months before the date of the application in the actual nominated occupation.

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLa…020AF17?OpenDocument

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLa…09143+-+LI+-+JRT.doc

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLa…143+-+ES+-+Final.doc

No need for offshore applicants to obtain a new skills assessment as far as I can see.

Cheers,

George Lombard

__________________
Migration Agent Registration Number 9601056
george[at]austimmigration[dot]com[dot]au
www.austimmigration.com.au

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As all of you have been waiting for the news on changes of migration program rules, the DIAC has today announced the forthcoming changes in the program. It focus, especially on the 175, 176, 475 visa application where a successful skill assessment is a MUST for all applicant regardless of their location. It means the same rules apply for both the on-shore and offshore applicants.

To read more about the changes please follow this link.

The department has also changed their refund policy which applies to all refund applications made after 21 December 2009; those who already applied for a refund prior to this but the case has not yet been finalized are also covered by the same policy. However, the detail of the policy is not available yet. I think if anybody wish a refund should contact the department to make sure whether they are eligible for a refund or not. To read more about the changes please follow this link.

I assume that there are more changes to come in the program, especially in the prioritization and MODL or CSL or whatever they may call it.

Source  : http://www.pomsinoz.com/forum/migration-issues/74743-01-january-2010-changes-migration-program-announced.html

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Businesses can claim an additional tax deduction when they buy certain assets, and when they spend money to improve existing assets, for a limited time. It’s called the Small Business and General Business Tax Break – ‘business tax break’ for short.

The Australian Government announced the tax break as an ‘investment allowance’ in December 2008 aimed at helping businesses meet the challenges of the economic downturn.

The government later extended this tax break in the May Budget to allow small businesses to claim a 50% tax deduction on eligible assets bought by 31 December 2009.

Source  :   www.ato.gov.au

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Legislation has either been passed earlier this week or is about to be passed (I’m not sure which) that will have a substantial impact on some of the people who hope to apply to migrate to Australia but who have not yet lodged an application for a GSM visa. GSM = General Skilled Migration = no employer sponsorship. GSM visas can be unsponsored, State sponsored or family sponsored but they are not employer sponsored.

The relevant document is here:

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/ComLaw/Legi…0A091201EV.pdf

A well-known migration agent gave me his initial reaction to the document above in an e-mail yesterday evening. I quote verbatim:

Quote:
I was just reading changes coming in on 01 January 2010 require 175/176 applicants (in to-be- gazetted trade occupations) will require 12 months experience in that nominated trade occupation and not “in any skilled occupation.”So those tradies who’s recent experience does not exactly match their nominated occupation, had better try and lodge prior to 01 January 2010.

It could affect recognised tradespersons who are working as supervisors unless they can convince DIAC they are working hands-on in the nominated trade for at least 20 hours per week

It will affect the tradesman who has become a production manager or any other related or unrelated occupation

Bigger things happening on-shore with 885/886 applicants requiring to get suitable skills assessment before applying for the visa AND, for gazetted tradies, a requirement to get a skills assessment dated 01 January 2010 or later.

I wondered where my informant obtained his information till I happened to look at ComLaw for a completely unrelated purpose just now. As far as I can see, there is nothing on the DIAC website about these latest changes from 1st Jan 2010 as yet? I can’t find anything specific, anyway.

I think we will see more about all this soon – probably next week sometime, I suspect.

Cheers

Gill

Source  :  http://www.pomsinoz.com/forum/migration-issues/74537-significant-changes-gsm-program-1st-jan-2010-a.html

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THE market odds have moved firmly against an interest rate rise by the Reserve Bank in February.

The sharp change in direction, which began on Tuesday after the central bank revealed its December 1 meeting minutes, accelerated yesterday following a speech by RBA deputy governor Ric Battellino.

Mr Battellino signalled that rates could stay on hold when the RBA next meets in February, saying the “overall stance” of monetary policy was “back in the normal range”.

His comments, at the Australian Finance & Banking Conference in Sydney, surprised the markets, triggering a slump in the Australian dollar to below US90.

Last night the dollar was hovering around US89.70.

Financial market betting on a 25-basis point rate hike in February retreated from a 67 per cent chance to 45 per cent.

Mr Battellino said that although the cash rate still seemed “unusually low” at 3.75 per cent, monetary policy was back “in the normal range” because the current level of deposit, housing and business lending rates made the cash rate equivalent to a “before the crisis” level of 4.75 per cent.

“Taking these considerations into account, it would be reasonable to conclude that the overall stance of monetary policy is now back in the normal range, though in the expansionary segment of that range,” he said.

The deputy governor’s remarks were made half an hour after the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed economic growth in the September quarter was weaker than expected.

The national accounts showed GDP edged up just 0.2 per cent in the three months to September, half the pace of growth expected by the market, for an annual rate of 0.5 per cent.

The main drag on growth was a slump in exports which coincided with a jump in imports.

However, demand from households, businesses buying more equipment and government investment was solid.

ANZ acting chief economist Warren Hogan said the GDP figures indicated there was little urgency to get official interest rates back to a neutral setting, adding that Mr Battellino’s comments had “dealt a solid blow” to the prospect of substantial gains in the cash rate over coming months.

“Put another way, the emergency setting for interest rates has now been removed and policy will be adjusted as and when required by economic conditions,” he said.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly told reporters after the bank’s annual meeting in Melbourne yesterday that the RBA was likely to raise rates “very carefully” in 2010.

However, she said the official cash rate was not quite yet at a “normal” level.

Mrs Kelly said she remained cautious about the economic outlook while the bank’s chairman Ted Evans said a “V-shaped” recovery for Australia was unlikely.

“It will be a long recovery and that’s what our plans are based on,” he said. 

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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