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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today announced the establishment of the Council for Immigration Services and Status Resolution.

The council will provide independent advice on the implementation of measures associated with the government’s immigration policy initiatives including New Directions in Detention and the national rollout of the Community Status Resolution Service.

‘The Government’s focus is on resolving the immigration status of people quickly and fairly while ensuring they are treated humanely and with dignity and respect,’ Senator Evans said.

‘The council will provide independent advice on policies, services and programs to achieve timely, fair and effective resolution of immigration status for people seeking asylum or other migration outcomes in Australia.

‘The terms of reference and membership of the council reflects the range of expertise required to implement the Government’s New Directions in Detention policy.’

The council, which succeeds the Immigration Detention Advisory Group, will meet for the first time on October 21 to identify priority issues to be addressed over the next two years. The IDAG provided valuable advice on the adequacy of detention services, accommodation and facilities at immigration detention centres around Australia.

The new council will also advise on the suitability of facilities and service delivery arrangements but its major focus will be on assisting the department with strategies to resolve a person’s immigration status in a community setting rather than in a detention centre provided they pose no risk to the community.

The council will be chaired by Paris Aristotle AM, director of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and a former member of Immigration Detention Advisory Group with more than 25 years’ experience in the field.

Other members will include:

  • Air Marshal Ray Funnell AC (Retd) – former Chief of Air Force and a former member of IDAG, Air Marshal Funnell will serve as the deputy chair for the group
  • Ms Kerrin Benson – chief executive officer of the Multicultural Development Association
  • Mr Noel Clement – general manager of domestic operations for the Australian Red Cross
  • Ms Caz Coleman – project director of the Hotham Mission asylum seeker project
  • Ms Libby Lloyd AM – chair of the former National Council to Reduce Violence Against Women and was recently appointed to chair the Violence Against Women Advisory Group
  • Dr Maryanne Loughry – associate director of Jesuit Refugee Service–Australia. Dr Loughry is a psychologist, a research scholar at Boston College and the University of Oxford and a member of the Governing Council of the International Catholic Migration Commission
  • Associate Professor Harry Minas – director of the Centre for International Mental Health, University of Melbourne and the Victorian Transcultural Psychiatry Unit, he is a former member of IDAG and chair of the Detention Health Advisory Group (DeHAG)
  • Associate Professor Nicholas Procter – Associate Professor, school of nursing and midwifery, University of South Australia
  • Dr Jamal Rifi – Dr Rifi is the 2009 NSW Local Hero of the Year and Recipient of 2007 Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Award. He is a former Commissioner for the Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW, a general practitioner and an active community volunteer
  • Professor Samina Yasmeen – director of the Centre for Muslim States and Societies at the University of Western Australia and a current member of the Australian Multicultural Advisory Council (AMAC).
  • ‘I believe the new group will provide valuable perspectives and their community links will help to strengthen the provision of community services to immigration clients in support of timely case resolution,’ the minister said.

    The minister acknowledged the work of members of the previous Immigration Detention Advisory Group.

    ‘I’d like to acknowledge and thank the valuable and long–standing contribution of members of the Immigration Detention Advisory Group since its establishment in 2001,’ Senator Evans said.

    ‘Their independent expert advice provided to the previous and current government has been greatly appreciated.’

    Information about the Council for Immigration Services and Staus Resolution (CISSR) – Terms of Reference is available on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s website.
    See: Council for Immigration Services and Staus Resolution (CISSR) – Terms of Reference

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    Migration agents operating in Australia are required by law to be registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA).

    Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (Office of the MARA)

    Prior to 1 July 2009, the MIA acted as the MARA under a Deed of Agreement between the MIA and the department. The 2007-08 Review of Statutory Self-Regulation of the Migration Advice Profession, which was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the regulatory scheme, recommended that the government consider establishing a regulatory body separate from the MIA.

    In response to the review recommendation, the Minister announced the establishment of the Office of the MARA as a discrete office attached to the department and headed by a specifically designated senior officer solely responsible for Office of the MARA activities. The new body is located in Sydney and assumed functions from the MIA from 1 July 2009.

    The Office of the MARA is supported by a representative advisory board, which includes a nominee from the MIA, a nominee from the Law Council of Australia, a consumer advocate and a community representative.

    The Office of the MARA undertakes a range of functions including:

    • processing registration and re-registration applications
    • administering the profession’s entrance exam and continuing professional development program
    • monitoring the conduct of registered migration agents
    • investigating complaints about registered migration agents
    • taking appropriate disciplinary action against registered migration agents who breach the migration agents Code of Conduct or otherwise behave in an unprofessional or unethical way.

    See: Office of the MARA website

    Source  :  http://www.immi.gov.au/gateways/agents/regulation-of-advice-profession.htm

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    What is superannuation?

    Superannuation is a way of saving for your retirement. Both you and your employer can make contributions that accumulate over time andsuper this money is then invested in shares, government bonds, property, or other appropriate investments.                                 

    On retirement, or after disability or death you then receive the money (less charges and taxes) as regular periodic payments (ie, a pension), a lump sum payment, or a combination of both.

    Employers must contribute to an employee’s superannuation fund. This is called the Superannuation Guarantee, which came into operation on July 1, 1992.

    The amount of the contribution is 9 per cent of an employee’s wages (excluding overtime, leave loading and fringe benefits).

    Some employees are left out. The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act says that employers do not have to pay the Superannuation Guarantee in certain circumstances.

    Some of the exceptions are:
    • employees earning less than $450 per month;
    • employees under the age of 18 who work 30 hours per week or less;
    • employees over 70 years of age;
    • anyone paid to do domestic or private work for 30 hours per week or less.

    Can the employer pay more?

    An employer can make payments above the compulsory superannuation guarantee as:
    • a reward for a worker’s performance;
    • a type of co-payment, where the employer’s contribution increases in line with the employees voluntary contribution; or
    • a ‘salary-sacrifice’ – this is where the employer makes a contribution that would otherwise be paid as salary.

    Note, there are limits to the amount of salary sacrifice that can be made in a financial year.

    If you want your employer to pay more, you should get advice from a financial advisor, but keep in mind that employers are limited in the amount that can be claimed as a deduction for superannuation contributions made for a particular employee.

    Check with your superannuation fund or the Australian Tax Office to find out what these limits are – they change each year.  www.ato.gov.au

    Should I contribute too?

    If you have money left over after your weekly expenses, and you want to save for the future, you may want to consider making superannuation contributions as compared to other forms of investment.

    Note, there are aged base limits that affect whether or not you can contribute to superannuation – for details, see the Australian Taxation Office web site.

    Some of the advantages are:
    • generally, you pay less tax on interest from superannuation savings than bank interest;
    • with a ‘salary sacrifice’ the superannuation contribution is taken straight out of your wages, so you are not tempted to use it for purposes other than savings.

    There are limits to the amount that you can “salary sacrifice”;
    • the interest on superannuation savings is ‘compounded’, that is, interest earned by the superannuation fund is added to the total investment, so the interest earns more interest.

    The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority estimates that a sum of money ‘compounded’ at 7 per cent a year will double in value in ten years; and
    • you may be able to access the benefits of the low income super rebate and low income spouse rebate.
    • you may be able to access financial incentives offered by the Government such as the co-contribution scheme. Under this scheme Government will contribute up to $1500 (depending on your income) when you contribute to your fund.

    Check the Australian Taxation Office web site for details.

    Ultimately, the pros and cons of contributing to superannuation is something you should get advice about.

    What are the tax advantages?

    The maximum tax rate for your employer’s contribution is 15 per cent.

    The income you earn through the fund’s investments is also taxed at a maximum 15 per cent rate.

    Salary sacrifice contributions will be taxed at 15 per cent.

    Once you reach 60 you can withdraw your superannuation as a lump sum or income stream tax free.

    There are also tax advantages if you contribute to your spouse/de facto’s super fund. The set off depends on their income. Check the Tax Office for details.

    What laws apply?

    The main laws that apply to superannuation are the:
    • Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act and Regulations (regulates most private superannuation funds);
    • Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act and Regulations (tells employers the minimum contribution they must pay);
    • Income Tax Assessment Act,.

    The jargon

    Accumulation funds – money is invested and the final benefit depends on the total contributions, plus earnings of the fund.

    Annuity – like a pension. You receive regular periodic payments for either fixed amount of time or until you die.

    Benefit – the money paid to you out of the superannuation fund or held on your behalf within the fund.

    Contribution – the money paid into the superannuation fund by either you or your employer.

    Defined benefit funds – the final benefit is paid on the basis of a specific formula, so the employer carries the risk if the growth of the fund does not cover the benefit.

    Lump sum – money received in a single payment.

    Preserved – money that you cannot withdraw from your fund until retirement or certain other events, eg reaching a certain age and leaving employment either temporarily or permanently. This includes money paid by your employer, interest earned on that money or contributions paid by a self-employed person which have been claimed as a tax deduction and any undeducted contributions you make after 1 July, 1999.

    Rollover – transferring money from one fund to another.

    Unrestricted or non- preserved amount – money that can be paid to you at any time form your superannuation fund

    Rights to information

    You are entitled to certain information from your superannuation fund. This includes:
    • a member statement which shows the amount of your benefit at the start and end of the relevant period, the amount that is preserved and contact details (generally provided annually);
    • a fund report which shows the fund’s financial position (generally provided annually);
    • notification of changes that affect you, e.g. a change to the superannuation fund’s rules; and
    • a statement that shows your benefit, including death benefits when you leave.

    Source  :  www.news.com.au

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    In a welcome move, the Australian Government has said it will legislate to extend the validity period of subclass 410 Retirement visas to 10 years, and remove the working restriction on these visas.

    Subclass 410 Retirement visas ceased to be available to new applicants at the end of June 2005, but there are nevertheless some 8,700 410 visaholders in Australia at the moment.

    The 410 visa is a long term temporary residency visa, with an initial validity period of 4 years. Initially renewals of this visa were required every 2 years, and there was a no work condition attaching.

    Work rights were relaxed in 2003, and relaxations to the health requirements upon renewal of 410 visas were announced later that year.

    In 2005 the rollover period for 410 visas was extended from 2 years to 4 years.

    Successive Immigration Ministers appear to be sympathetic to the position in which Retirement visaholders find themselves. Many 410 visaholders are now long standing members of Australian communities, and granting permanent residency is a natural next step – the present Minister appears willing to listen to representatives of the 410 cohort, and in extending the renewal period to 10 years is (we would submit) providing quasi-permanent residency to affected individuals.

    Full access to Medicare appears to be the main issue with this visa category, together with an ongoing requirement to maintain private health insurance.Indeed, with temporary visaholders being able to structure their personal tax affairs such that overseas source income (including UK source pensions) are not subject to tax in Australia, some would contend that 410 visaholders are in a good place visa and tax wise.If you are a subclass 410 visaholder and would like to discuss your personal tax and financial position please contact us at our Perth or Geelong office. Go Matilda Accounting and Tax is one of the few firms of advisors that have consultants with knowledge across the UK and Australian jurisdictions, and are therefore ideally placed to assist with the preparation and lodgment of UK and Australian Tax Returns, and to provide strategic advice on personal tax planning.

    We also recommend that Retirement visaholders visit the internet discussion group that lobbies for the interests of individuals holding subclass 410 visas – British Expat Retirees In Australia, or BERIA: see the weblink below.

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BERIA/  Source : www.gomatilda.com 

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    Gordon Ramsay, winner of Best Food Program and TV PersonalityListen to the real man behind the television personality as Gordon talks about weathering the tough times and how the belief in yourself can pull you through. With personal anecdotes of his success and his failures, Gordon will dish up his advice and where he sees the future for Gordon Ramsay. 

    Be ready with your questions from 8.30am to get some of your own personal advice from the award winning Chef who currently has 25 restaurants in his empire, not counting the soon to open Maze in Melbourne.

    www.pcec.com.au

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    19 – 20 June 2009

    The Perth Convention Exhibition Centre                                                           careers_big_window_img2

    The National Careers & Employment Expo brings careers, employment and training opportunities to the general public by connecting organisations with thousands of career minded individuals. The Expo provides a non-threatening environment which enables employers, education and training providers to communicate directly with potential candidates. Operating in regional & metropolitan areas throughout Australia, the Expo also focuses on the broader aspects of ‘living, learning and working’ in Australia.

    Through the continued support of State and Federal Government, leading organisations and major media groups, the National Careers & Employment Expo has become the largest careers & employment event in Australia. 

    With free career advice, real jobs on offer and an abundance of information available, this event is not to be missed, and best of all admission is FREE

    For more  information please visit our website www.pcec.com.au  or 

     CALL  1300 66 71 21.

     

     

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    Two WA businesses have joined forces to resurrect the 80s trend of home trading to give today’s buyers a new approach in the tough economic climate.
      
    Tradehomes.com.au launched last week, in conjunction with OrangeTee Real Estate, to offer a forum where sellers can advertise their properties and negotiate an equal trade for other property, cash or any item with an asset value.
      
    Common trade items include houses, land, vehicles, boats, gold, gems, stocks, bonds and jewellery, providing the traded assets total the value of the property’s price.
      
    Trade Homes Australia director Kara Tripp said the service was nothing new but was giving a new breed of buyers and sellers a fresh option in a difficult market.
      
    “At the end of the day, trading has always been going on behind the scenes, with people exchanging properties for properties etc; we are just creating a forum for people to do it,” Ms Tripp said.
      
    “It is getting harder for some buyers to get finance so it is just thinking outside the box. If they have other assets, such as a boat, it is essentially turning that into property.” 
       

    OrangeTee Real Estate was theexchanging properties for properties, providing support for traders at the negotiation and settlement stages.
      
    “A lot of people get quite daunted when it comes to negotiating deals, so we thought it would be helpful to have experienced real estate agents on board, for people who like the idea but are not comfortable doing it themselves,” Ms Tripp said.
      
    So far, one deal has involved the trade of an apartment for assets that included gemstones and gold.
      
    REIWA president Rob Druitt said the practice was fine as long as it was well managed and researched, with all parties seeking the appropriate valuation and advice before entering into discussions.

     

    LOUISE BAXTER  www.thewest.com.au

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