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Sprinklers will be permanently switched off during winter from next year after the State Government today to retain this year’s trial sprinkler ban.

Yesterday’s decision follows a two-month trial ban during July and August, which Water Minister Graham Jacobs said saved about 2.2 billion litres of water, equivalent to filling 880 Olympic-sized pools and enough to supply towns the size of Manjimup or Collie for a year.

The permanent ban will apply from June 1 to August 31.

 The trial ban – for most scheme users south of Kalbarri – was introduced after water usage earlier this winter was running at 800 million litres a day, 300 million litres above average.

Dr Jacobs said today that the ban saved 50 million litres a day, while an independent survey last month indicated 93 per cent of residents supported the move.

“This is an outstanding community achievement because while there has been reasonably consistent rain, we are still well below the long-term annual rainfall average,” Dr Jacobs said

Dams were now at 45.5 per cent of capacity, their second-highest level this decade. They are holding 19 per cent more water than the same time last year.

Water Corporation figures show rainfall in all but one of the catchments for dams supplying Perth are below their historical averages for the year-to-date.

Dr Jacobs said the exact area of the permanent ban, and any adverse impact for industry and local government users would still have to be worked out.

This would occur “soon”, and some areas that took part in the trial ban – which ran from Kalbarri to Esperance and east to Kalgoorlie-Boulder – could have a case to be excluded.

These users were asked to voluntarily stop using bores during the two-month ban period, while garden bore users were allowed to turn them on for maintenance reasons.

“A lot of people say garden bores are not pulling on the scheme, but we all realise our underground water resources are all related,” Dr Jacobs said last month.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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THE Rudd Government has dumped one of its key election promises, the Grocery Choice price monitoring website, after supermarkets failed to provide enough information to make the site reliable.

After a meeting today with major supermarkets, Competition Minister Craig Emerson announced that the measure – an election promise that was aimed at keeping grocery prices low – would not proceed, The Australian reported.

“Upon close examination of the data requirements for reliable price information, I have formed the view that it is not feasible to generate that information in a timely manner, “ Dr Emerson said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    website cost of living in oz

The scheme had been due to be up and running next week.

The dumping of Grocery Choice comes after the Government last year abandoned FuelWatch after it was defeated in the Senate.

Mr Rudd campaigned heavily prior to the election on easing the cost-of-living pressures on working families and increasing competition in the petrol and grocery sectors.

Both FuelWatch and Grocery Choice were criticised for not putting downward pressure on prices.

Earlier this month it emerged that the consumer advocate Choice would be forced to go it alone on the website as the major supermarket chains continued to drag their feet over supplying price data.

Choice took over the running of the website from the Rudd Government, which launched it after campaigning on easing cost-of-living pressures before the election.

The $13 million site, which originally launched last August, was heavily criticised for displaying information that was too general and outdated to be useful.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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The end of financial year can be a stressful time for small business owners, and that time is now upon us once again.  For those of you who are behind and not ‘in shape’ for the end of end of financial year financial year… don’t panic, right now there is still a very small window of time for you to get prepared for the end of financial year, but that time is ticking by.

How can you get in shape?

Before 30 June make it a priority to ensure all your bookkeeping and reconciliation is up-to-date, follow up payment of overdue invoices, pay outstanding bills and pay all super contributions (this should not only be for your employees, but for yourselves too). 

With all your reconciliation up-to-date, such as your receivables, payables, bank accounts and inventory, once 30 June is here you will only have one month to reconcile and you can then move on to completing your BAS.  Getting on top of this will ease some of the stress you may feel when preparing your end of financial year documentation.

For small business owners with employees, remember that you will also need to reconcile your payroll and send out payment summaries to your employees (before 14 July 2009).

Following the completion of all your reconciliation and BAS, it’s time to run your end of financial year reports.  Having all your records and reports prepared prior to visiting your accountant will really save you time and money. 

If you’re having difficulties with these tasks, speak to your accountant or bookkeeper, or alternatively a range of online resources, and even accounting software providers, have information on completing these activities.

If you’re having difficulties with these tasks, Don’t forget to backup all your data.  You will also need to keep copies of your accounting records for at least five years (an ATO requirement).

It is also important now to prepare for the 09/10 financial year, as no doubt you want everything to be ‘AOK with the ATO’.

A number of new Federal Government compliance changes will apply from 1 July 2009 and these will affect small businesses.  Information about the new compliance requirements is available from the ATO, or your accountant will also be able to update you on the changes.

If you use accounting/payroll software, you will need software updates that address the compliance changes.  Ensure you’re scheduled to receive the compliance update from your provider, so that you’re compliant for 09/10.

This time of year is also good to consider what improvements you could make to your work practices to stay in shape and make the 09/10 end of financial year less stressful.  For example, implement work practices that ensure you stay on top of your bookkeeping requirements, keep up-to-date with inventory, cash flow and debtors and follow task lists.

Yes, the economic downturn is having an impact on businesses and the pressure is really building, but this presents you with the opportunity to select your own course.

It’s important that you take a step back and look at the ‘big picture’.  Instead of only responding to daily issues, now is the time to develop and implement a sound business plan for overcoming future challenges.

Don’t be afraid to seek specialist advice.  Talk to your accountant.  They can not only help you with tax and accounting related matters, but they can also help you with your business planning, financial goal setting, cash flow and making sure your business is running at its best.

Remember… It’s important to be prepared!

Source  :  www.livenews.com.au

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500_cabrio1FIAT HAS ANNOUNCED that the convertible version of its ever-so-fashionable 500 will be landing on Australian shores in the middle of next year; roughly a year after the car’s   European sales debut.

Exact specifications and pricing won’t be announced until the car’s local launch, but given the convertible packs the same mechanical hardware as its be-roofed stablemate, odds are high engine choices will be shared with the tin-top Fiat 500.

That means a 55kW 1.3 litre diesel, 51kW 1.2 litre petrol and 74kW 1.4 litre petrol should be offered, while a fuel-saving start-stop system will also feature on the 500C’s spec sheet.

But for many buyers it won’t be the engine line-up or economy rating that will be the 500C’s real drawcard. It’s all about looks, and in that department the diminutive Fiat ragtop doesn’t disappoint.

Source  :  www.themotorreport.com.au

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Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was in Perth yesterday to formally announce the federal  government committing $236 million for the Northbridge Link project.  kevin-rudd

The underground construction is estimated to cost about $470 million, with the sitework set to start later this year.

The  construction will be commencing in approximately a years time.

The transformation of the the city precinct will include commercial, residential and entertainment opportunities, which would transform the city.

Added will be a waterfront development which will be the greatest transformation of the city of Perth.

This will connect the city with Northbridge and will result in a better integration of rail and bus services.  

Mr Rudd said the project would create about 350 job opportunities for the construction and business sectors and attract an additional 600 passengers on the public transport network each day.

Tendering will be concluded  later this year and construction due to commence next year.

This is an important contribution to employment as well.

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Yes, certainly, owing to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), skilled migration numbers will be slashed in Australia’s budget year of 2009/2010. visas

The government says this measure has been taken make sure that Australian workers get preference for jobs in a period that threatens higher unemployment. Paradoxically, recent figures indicate that Aussie unemployment has actually diminished.

Still, most gurus are still predicting up to 8% unemployment during the next twelve months. But this does not mean skilled workers and professionals who see Australia as a desirable place to relocate should give up and submit to the tough conditions in their current countries.

While the government has already trimmed the number of skilled workers to be granted visas into Australia next financial year there are still 115,000 of those visas up for grabs. For the time being, occupations in the tourism, clerical and agricultural industries have been removed from the 457 visa program.

Furthermore, a higher level of ability in English language have been set. This measure has been taken to make sure that the 457 program provides the skilled workers that Australia needs most and who readily can be integrated into workplaces.

www.liveinaustralia.com

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Hardly  a drop of rain has fallen on Perth as the city feels the second hottest start to the year on record.  rain9-753879

Perth has broke the record for the sunniest May on record today since 1876. 

Forecast shows that showers are coming to Perth about 3am tomorrow and continue until late Thursday.

Temperatures are going as low as 18 C forecast for Friday and chilly 17 C on Saturday.

Just 20mm of rain has fallen in Perth since January 1, less than half the first-quarter average of 42mm compared to last April 

The bureau expects below-average rainfall in the South-West to continue until June.

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