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Australians will have access to universal dental health care under reforms suggested by a federal government health commission.

The commonwealth will take over responsibility for all primary health care outside of hospitals and fund all outpatient services in hospitals.

The National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission has stopped short of calling for a full federal takeover of hospitals, but left open the option of the commonwealth funding 100 per cent of hospital admissions further down the track.

The annual cost of the reforms is estimated to be between $2.8 and $5.7 billion.

In addition, capital investment over five years of up to $7.3 billion is needed.

But the report says the changes could save $4 billion a year by 2032-33.

Of the 123 recommendations, one that could be most welcomed is the suggestion that commonwealth fund a new Denticare Australia.

The commission’s final report, released publicly on Monday, says there are more than 650,000 people currently on public dental waiting lists and the dental health of children is worsening.

‘To address these problems we are recommending a new universal scheme for access to basic dental services – Denticare Australia,’ the report says.

It will cost an estimated $3.6 billion a year. Under the scheme every Australian will have access to basic dental services ‘regardless of people’s ability to pay’.

It will be funded through an increase in the Medicare levy of 0.75 per cent of an individual’s taxable income.

source  :  www.bigpondnews.com

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pet airwaysPEOPLE love their pets, sometimes more than they love other people.

So it is not a surprise that a start-up company, Pet Airways, has had a massive response since offering to transport dogs and cats in a much more caring way.

Precious pets won’t be left to fend for themselves in cages in a freezing cargo hold – an experience that so scared a Jack Russell terrier owned by husband-and-wife team Alysa Binder and Dan Wiesel that they decided to launch Pet Airways.

All of the passengers using the new airline’s cargo plane get to travel in the front of the plane in special carriers installed instead of seats.

They are escorted to the plane by pet-loving attendants who check on their precious cargo every 15 minutes.

The pets are given pre-boarding walks and bathroom breaks and also have access to a “Pet Lounge” where future fliers can wait and sniff the furniture before flights.

The demand for the service has been staggering, with flights rapidly booked out for the first two months.

Operating between regional airports in New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles, Pet Airways charges about $315 per trip, which is comparable with charges on less pet-friendly airlines.

The company is already looking to add more flights and cities soon, and hopes to fly to 25 destinations within three years.

Betsy Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com which ranks the pet-friendliness of various airlines, said she was excited about the expected impact Pet Airways would have on pet travel across major airlines.

”The entire industry will stretch because of Pet Airways,” Betsy told the Associated Press.

Source : www.news.com.au

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A juvenile humpback whale has died after beaching on Cable Beach near Albany.                                                                                                    humpback                               

The 7m whale was found on the beach about noon on Sunday.

Albany Department of Environment and Conservation officer Peter Collins said there was nothing the department could do to help it back out to sea.

“There was limited access to the area where it was beached and the whale was lodged behind the reef,” Mr Collins said.

“It probably weighed around five or six tonnes and, unfortunately, we couldn’t do anything.”

Mr Collins said whale had been badly “scratched up” by the reef but otherwise, at least on the surface, seemed in good condition.

He said that there were no plans to move it as it was believed the current would eventually shift it out into the ocean.

“The public are welcome to go have a look at it but remember, dead whales attract sharks,” Mr Collins said.

“So I would warn anyone against swimming at Cable Beach for a while.”

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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A PLAN to help up to 124,000 retrenched workers has united the states but drawn criticism in Canberra.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed a deal with the states and territories to give intensive help to unemployed people aged over 25.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) conference in Darwin agreed to give the jobless access to government-subsidised vocational training.

Labor says the “compact with retrenched workers” will help up to 124,000 people.

“Workers who have been retrenched as a consequence of this global recession have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” Mr Rudd said.

“Acting to support young Australians who are finding it hard to enter the labour market … represents an important intervention by government.”

Under the agreement, the Federal Government’s new employment agency Job Services Australia matches retrenched workers, aged over 25, with a path to a qualification.

The state and territories would set aside training places.

The training is for people who have been out of work since January 2009 and who are registered with a Job Services Australia provider.

The entitlement is available from now until the end of 2011.

It follows an “earn or learn” COAG agreement reached in April to make youths aged 15 to 19 undertake training and guarantee places for 20-24 year-olds in skills development.

The Rudd Government says it has invested $300 million in programs to help retrenched workers, but it did not provide a cost for the latest one.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said COAG’s new scheme would prepare Australia for economic recovery.

“We know only too well how quickly this country can find itself in a situation of serious skills shortage.”

But Opposition employment participation spokesman Andrew Southcott said training programs for the unemployed had failed when Labor last took that approach in the mid-1990s.

“Training for training’s sake, without a job at the end of it, is cruel to the unemployed,” Mr Southcott said.

“The experience around the world is that a skills-first approach for the unemployed tends to be very expensive and you have poor outcomes.”

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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1 July 2009 Legislation Change                                                                                                                           

From 1 July 2009, the Migration Regulations 1994 (‘the Regulations’) are amended to provide Retirement visa holders with full work rights by removing mandatory condition 8104 from the visa.

Current visa holders will not automatically receive the benefit of this change.

Retirement visas granted before 1 July 2009 will still have limited work rights (up to 20 hours per week).  Access to the no work limitation will take effect when the visa holder next renews his or her Retirement visa.

Source  :   www.immi.gov.au

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DIAC have just announced that the anyone obtaining their Contributory Parent Visa after 1 July and then planning to sponsor an existing partner will be faced with a potential 5 year wait. What this means, as an initial response, is that people going down that route who have not included an existing spouse in the application should be doing so immediately.

This is the text of the announcement:

Amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 in relation to Contributory Parent visas and split applications

1 July 2009 Legislation Change

Client summary

From 1 July 2009, the Migration Regulations 1994 (the ‘Regulations’) are amended to prevent persons who are granted a permanent Contributory Parent category visa (Subclasses 143 and 864) from sponsoring their partner or fiancé for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa for five years from the day of their visa grant, if they:

* were granted their permanent Contributory Parent category visa on or after 1 July 2009; and
* were in a spouse or de facto partner or fiancé relationship on or before the date their permanent Contributory Parent category visa was granted and now wish to sponsor that partner or fiancé.

This limitation may not apply in compelling circumstances which are not financially related.

Additional information:
There have been a number of instances in which couples seeking to migrate under the Contributory Parent category visa provisions have resorted to the split application strategy, whereby:

* only one member of a parent couple applies for and is granted a permanent Contributory Parent category visa; and
* once eligible (usually after two years of being lawfully resident in Australia), this parent subsequently sponsors their spouse (the other parent) under the partner visa category which has a much smaller Visa Application Charge (VAC).

Up until 1 July 2009, this strategy is not prohibited by migration legislation and it is being used in order to reduce the costs associated with migration under Contributory Parent category visa. However, it clearly undermines the Government’s policy intent of ensuring that those parents who migrate under the Contributory Parent visa category make a contribution by means of the VAC to partially offset the significant costs of parent migration to the broader community. Contributory Parent migrants are also subject to the provision of a ten year Assurance of Support (AoS) and payment of a bond.

Furthermore, those who lodge a split application benefit by by-passing the ten year waiting period for parent visa holders to access Government benefits and assistance, whilst spouse visa holders are able to access such benefits within two years of visa grant.

Amendments are being made to information products affected by this legislative change.

Source  :  http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=616147

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