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Australians need to save more for the economy to avoid a more rapid run-up in inflation, triggered by nation’s rising terms of trade, the Reserve Bank said today.

“In putting together the Reserve Bank’s forecasts it has been assumed that more of this boost to income is saved than was the case in the earlier boom in the terms of trade,” RBA assistant governor Phillip Lowe.

“This reflects two factors. The first is the different position of the federal budget and the second is the more cautious approach to spending currently being displayed by the household sector.”

The federal budget, handed down this week, contained no major increases in public spending and is expected the return to a surplus by 2012-13.

In that time, the RBA forecasts Chinese steel production will continue to drive demand for Australian iron ore and coal strong, boosting the nation’s terms of trade.

Terms of trade are the prices of a nation’s exports relative to its imports.

“If this lift in saving does not occur, then demand in the economy could well be stronger than forecast, and this would put additional pressure on capacity,” he said.

A lack of spare capacity in the economy has pushed the year-to-March inflation figure to 2.9 per cent from 2.5 per cent in the year to December, which surprised the RBA, Mr Lowe said.

“Disinflationary forces in the economy are not quite as strong as previously expected, largely because the economy has performed better than previously expected,” Mr Lowe said, in the speech delivered to Colonial First State Investment Forum in Sydney.

The RBA expects inflation to fall only to 2.75 per cent later this year, less than originally anticipated after the release of the March data.

Retail sales have remained lacklustre since the middle of last year, after the end of the government’s cash stimulus grants to households during the financial crisis. Six interest rate rises since October have also cut into demand at retailers, with a number of businesses including Fantastic Furniture, Clive Peeters and Woolworth’s flagging weaker sales ahead.

The RBA lifted interest rates to 4.5 per cent his month, creating more headwinds for shoppers. The latest rate rise added another $46 to the average monthly repayment cost on a $300,000, 25-year mortgage.

Investors currently foresee no chance of an interest rate rise in June, but predict the official cash rate will be at 5 per cent within a year, according to Credit Suisse data.

The central bank predicts 3.25 per cent economic growth this year accelerating to 3.75-4 per cent growth in the next couple of years, amid rising prices for commodities exports.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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A Perth man has been living in a eucalyptus tree in his front yard for the past three days in an effort to stop the giant tree being cut down by the local council.

Thornlie resident Richard Pennicuik said he felt like he had no choice but to protest against a decision by the City of Gosnells to remove more than 20 native trees from his street over the next week. He said he would not be leaving until the tree was saved.

City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said council would be removing the tree and hoped to come to an “amicable” resolution with Mr Pennicuik.

But he said the city would not try to remove him from his tree.

The tree removal program follows a city survey last year which identified 22 potentially dangerous trees in Hume Road, mainly because of falling branches.

The natives will be replaced by 35 jacarandas. Further along Mr Pennicuik’s street, workers have been busy removing the remaining tall eucalypts.

Mr Pennicuik had been living uncomfortably in the tree since early Monday morning and had struggled to sleep throughout his protest. Neighbours and friends have been supporting him, bringing food, water and other items.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

“I feel as I’ve been backed into this situation. All I want is this tree,” Mr Pennicuik said.

“I don’t mind if other people want their trees cut down,” Mr Pennicuik said. “But I won’t back down.”

Mr Cowie said the city would try to reason with Mr Pennicuik over the next few days but would not force him from the tree or endanger his safety.

“Inappropriate trees were planted 40 years ago, trees which are beautiful in the Australian bush which are beautiful in parkland but aren’t suited for an urban environment and the city can’t live with the risk,” he said.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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AIRASIA recently launched its Big Sale promotion by offering three million seats for both domestic and international destinations.

The booking period for both sectors during the Big Sale campaign is only until Sunday.

Bookings are for the travel period from Jan 11 to July 31 next year. The flights are available from its eight hubs – Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Penang, Kota Kinabalu, Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali and Bandung.

Guests can fly from Kuala Lumpur to domestic destinations such as Penang, Johor Baru from as low as RM9. Popular international destinations such as Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bangkok, Phuket are offered from as low as RM49.

Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Bali and Bandung are offered from RM69 and the highly in demand “Kangaroo Routes” in Australia such as Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth are offered from RM149.

The airline is also extending the promotion to its recently launched routes such as Colombo, Taipei, and London from RM89, RM99 and RM479 respectively.

“This ‘Big Sale’ promises to be the sale of the year for AirAsia,” said AirAsia Group regional head of commercial Kathleen Tan.

“I dare say that it is even better than the free seats offered in the past as guests now save on administration fees and fuel surcharges as we have abolished both charges,” she said, adding that guests can now enjoy greater savings of up to 70% from the Big Sale.

“For example, with the past free seat offer, guests paid RM53.50 for Penang now they only pay RM9, Kuching was RM78.50, now RM29.  For international sectors, guests paid RM142.50 for Bali, now RM69. Singapore used to be RM122.50, now it’s RM29, Gold Coast was RM354, now RM149,” said Tan.

Promotional seats are limited and available exclusively online via www.airasia.com and mobile.airasia.com.

Source  :  www.thesundaily.com

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twitterTWITTER is the new tool being used to fight against high supermarket prices across Australia.

Following the failure of the Federal Government’s Grocery Choice website – set up to help shoppers find the lowest grocery prices in supermarkets around the country – a group of IT experts are using Twitter and Google Groups to develop Price Check, a website they hope will save shoppers money.

Using crowd-sourcing technology, shoppers will eventually be able to log onto the web or via a mobile phone application to find the best-priced supermarket items in their area.

The website will allow shoppers to enter their entire shopping list on the website to find the best prices.                                                                                                     

Users will also be asked to update price items.

“I think I am heavily in favour of an open system and I believe there should be access to the public,’’ idea developer Rob Mason told news.com.au.

“(Users) will be able to enter their postcode … and source products on the site linked to the data base and compare prices and find which supermarket is best-priced.”

Mr Mason said the more the public demand access to cheaper prices, the more likely supermarket giants such as Coles and Woolworths will comply.

He said the response from Twitter users has been “fantastic”.

“If we get people involved and active, we can get all the prices in all the supermarkets,” he said.

“The feedback has been really good; we have gathered as much followers as the big supermarkets.”

Mr Mason said the major supermarkets have a responsibility to be open about their prices.

He admitted if successful, the Price Check idea would be unpopular with the supermarket chains.

“There is absolutely no commercial gain for them to be had by being open and transparent,” he said.

“At the moment it is more of a social thing, supporting an open system rather than saving heaps of money … but there is a potential.”

Follow @price_check for notification of the website launch.

Source www.news.com.au

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  • Last-minute tips to save on tax
  • What to claim, how to file
  • Plenty of help on ATO website

HAPPY New Year! Well, almost. With only 24 hours left until the end of financial year, what should you be doing today to ensure that you don’t end up with a big tax hangover tomorrow?

“Don’t forget to pay your expenses,” says Tracey Nicholson, the Assistant Commissioner of Taxation.

“Ensuring that expenses are paid and claimed in the correct tax year can save a lot of headaches in having tax returns amended down the track.”

Ms Nicholson suggests that some top-priority things for taxpayers to do prior to lodging their return include:

• Go surfing! The ATO website, that is.

“There is a wealth of information on the ATO website, both general as well as information that’s specific to various professions,” says Ms Nicholson. “It’s a great place to start your research on what you may be able to claim as a deduction.”

• Spring clean the house to find your receipts.

“At the end of the day you need to keep your receipts to substantiate your claims,” says Ms Nicholson.

• Lodge online.

If you are DIYing your tax, Ms Nicholson recommends the online e-tax process as a great way to complete your return.

“It’s free, and has a great step-by-step process that will help remind you of anything that you have forgotten,” she says.

It can be worth getting professional advice as well though. Bill Keays, founding director of WA-based Hales Keays Chartered Accountants says that in his experience there are a number of tax-related benefits that people sometimes overlook.

“Motor vehicle expenses are often overlooked,” he says.

“You can claim up to 5000 kilometres of work-related use based on a reasonable estimate of business kilometers, without needing to keep a log book. But some people think that if they haven’t kept a log book, they can’t claim.”

Another forgotten area, according to Mr Keays, is depreciation on a rental property.

“Sometimes clients are not aware of how much depreciation they can claim,” he says.

“For taxpayers who have a relatively modern rental property, engage a quantity surveyor to prepare a depreciation report. They will typically save you many times more than their fee due to the deductions they identify.”

But lest you get carried away with all the potential deductions out there, remember that you do need the paperwork to back it up.

“We conduct plenty of audits,”says Ms Nicholson.

“We’re going to have a special focus on truck drivers, sales and marketing managers, sales reps and electricians this year – but any taxpayer has the chance of being audited.”

And while it may be too late for this financial year, consider getting some professional advice for next year’s tax return because sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.

“There’s usually always some way in which we can save clients extra money, either by identifying deductions or simply getting their tax structures right to start with,” says Mr Keays.

“The Small Business CGT concessions are a great example.

“One of my clients was expecting to pay capital gains tax of approximately $240,000 when he disposed of his business and he ended up paying nothing by applying these concessions.”

Your tax time checklist                                                                                                                                                                                           

To help you get the best tax return possible, here’s a few things to tick off your “to do” list today:

1. Are you eligible for the Superannuation Co-contribution? If so, it’s up to $1,500 of free money.

2. If you use your car for work, don’t forget to estimate your motor vehicle expenses.

3. A 20% tax offset is available for out of pocket medical expenses over $1500.

4. Donations of over $2 made to a deductible gift recipient are tax deductible.

5. The cost of having your tax return prepared is also an allowable deduction.

6. Income Protection insurance premiums can also be a tax deduction.

7. Small business owners who are selling business assets can take advantage of extremely generous “small business CGT concessions.”

8. You can claim up to $300 of work related expenses without the need to have written receipts. However once your claim exceeds $300 you must have receipts for the full amount.

9. Don’t forget all those miscellaneous work expenses such as union fees, seminars, trade journals, software and home office expenses. Even an appointment diary can be deductible.

10. Check the deductions fact sheet for your specific occupation to ensure that you are claiming everything that you are entitled to.

Source  :   www.news.com.au

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With more people, not only in Australia but around the world becoming aware of our negative impact on the environment change is coming fast.

  • There are increasing responsibilities for governments and businesses on a global stage                                        Pemberton-Curved-Roof-Cedar2
  • Governments are changing legislations
  • Businesses are making changes
  • People may soon be responsible for their individual carbon footprint
  • Green build homes are no longer a dream of hippies

If you are building a new home, now is the time to make a difference and to be sure your new home is built to emit a low carbon footprint.
Making this choice now not only lessens the impact you have on the environment, it also saves your hip pocket.

Green built homes are solar passive in their design. They reduce heating and cooling costs, use less resources and save you money.
Alternative Living’s solar passive home designs encourage:

  • the sun’s natural light to comfortably heat and cool your home
  • cross ventilation though design layout and positioning
  • a naturally occurring comfortable living space through the use of a thermal mass in the slab of our home designs; reducing extremes in temperature
  • Use compact fluorescent lighting through our entire range of eco-friendly homes, using a staggering 1/5th of the electricity of normal lighting.
  • www.alternativeliving.com.au

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