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Gallery: The Lego Tour of Australia

A couple touring the world are documenting the sights in an unusual way – with Lego avatars. The Lego couple have visited 10 countries, focusing on Australia’a natural beauty and stunning coastline during their time down under. Very cool!

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How Did This Month’s Budget Changes Impact You?

There’s nothing politicians like more than balancing the books to make themselves look better. But what most average Aussies are interested in most at budget time isn’t the affect on the leading party’s popularity; but the more immediate impact on their pockets.

So, without further ado, here’s a summary of how last week’s number-crunching from Joe Hockey and Co could hit you where it hurts – or if you’re lucky, give you a big sloppy kiss to make everything seem just that little bit better.

Are you a pensioner? Then this was not the year for you. Not only will you need to pay a $7 co-payment to see your GP and find it harder to get your Seniors Health Card, but you’ve also been hit with various cuts to Commonwealth benefits. If you’re not a pensioner, stop sniggering; the age at which you’ll qualify for a pension and be able to put your feet up has been raised to 70.

Families have also been hit hard, with the cut-off for Family Tax Benefit B being reduced from $100,000 from $150,000, changes to the qualifying age of children, plus a hold on family tax benefit announced until 2017 at the latest.

If you earn a low income, you need every dollar you can get. Unfortunately, there’s more bad news as not only will you have to pay up to see your GP, but you’ll also be charged for visits to hospital emergency rooms that aren’t deemed to be that much of an emergency.

Rather not work at all? You may change that decision after last week’s budget from the Abbott Government’s chief bean counter that’s raised the age of eligibility for Newstart from 22 to 25, plus will make people under 30 who become unemployed wait six months to be eligible for it.

Okay then, why not go to college and improve yourself? The 2014 budget can teach you a lesson in economy here, too. Not only will you be looking at higher university costs and uncapped fees, but also a hike in interest rates on FEE-HELP loans.

If all this is enough to give you a serious case of “austerityitis”, then there may just be light at the end of the tunnel. Medical research is set to get a massive boost with the establishment of a $20 billion future fund so there could well be a cure for your debilitating ailment before it gets too uncomfortable.

Or if this belt-tightening in Parliament House is enough to make you want to throw in the towel and do something drastic – like run away and join the army, for example – then you could be on to a winner.

The Government announced one of the few groups to come out of the budget better off would be our armed forces, with a proposed $1.5 billion cash injection for our army, navy and air forces being brought forward from 2017-18. 

Author Bio

Rachel Maher is an experienced financial content writer from Western Australia, she writes on behalf of Fairgo Finance

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Video: Aussioddities – History

Made by The Cinema Branch 1938. Narrated by Charles Lawrence.
A medley of oddities peculiar to Australia. The giant earthworm, the processional caterpillar, the bower bird, leeches, the ibis and kangaroos in action.

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Video: The Australian Seaman At War. War Experience

Made by The Commonwealth Film Unit 1969. Australian seamen were active in many of the most difficult theatres of the Second World War. Duties included minesweeping, mine laying and escorting convoys on the dangerous Atlantic run, sometimes even to Russia. In the Pacific they supported the American invasion of the islands and participated in the grinding effort of defending bases in New Guinea and northern Australia. Includes footage shot between 1939 – 1945.

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Video: A Beautiful Drone’s Eye View of Sydney Australia

Check out this amazing video of Sydney Australia, taken from the air via a drone. Very cool!

Aussie Alert: Win a Trip for Two to Australia from Kay Jewelers

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The folks over at Kay Jewelers are offering up the chance to win a dream trip to Australia.

Here are the prize details (there are TWO grand prizes):

Grand Prizes (2): Two (2) Grand Prizes will be awarded from among all eligible Entries received.  Each Grand Prize is an 8-day/7-night trip for (2) to Australia. Trip includes coach class air transportation between major airport nearest winner’s residence to Sydney, Australia and from Perth, Australia back to major airport nearest winner’s residence; all domestic flights in Australia; hotel accommodations based on availability and double occupancy in each city; round/trip ground transfers between all hotels and airports; a guided tour of the Argyle Diamond Mine; breakfast daily; and $1,500 spending money, awarded as a check for winner only. The approximate retail value (“ARV”) of each Grand Prize is $20,000. Weekly Prizes (75 total):Twenty-five prizes will be awarded each week, as follows: ten (10) from among all Registration entries received each week; ten (10) from among all Facebook® entries received each week; and five (5) from among all Twitter® entries received each week.  Week 1 Prizes (25): A Shades of Wonder 1/6 Carat Total Weight Natural Brown and White Diamond Pendant in Sterling Silver and 10K Rose Gold (ARV $299 each).  Week 2 Prizes (25): A Shades of Wonder Silver 1/4 Carat Total Weight Natural Champagne and Brown Diamond Pendant (ARV $399 each).  Week 3 Prizes (25): A Shades of Wonder 1/4 Carat Total Weight Natural Brown, White and Champagne Diamonds set in a Sterling Silver and 10K Rose Gold Pendant (ARV $399 each). All prizes are Sponsor-specified. Availability of chain lengths vary by style.

Sounds totally amazing!

This sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older as of date of entry.

Limit: Multiple entries allowed, see rules for details.

Deadline: You must enter by April 11th, 2014 so get your entries in right away!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO ENTER!!!

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History: Kangaroo in 400-year-old manuscript could change Australian history

A 16th century manuscript featuring an image that looks like a kangaroo could prove that Portuguese explorers discovered Australia before the first recorded European landing in 1606.

A drawing of a kangaroo on a 16th century Portuguese manuscript could potentially change the world’s understanding of Australia‘s history.

The manuscript, which is thought to date from between 1580 and 1620, appears to show a small kangaroo within the letters of its text. If the image actually is a kangaroo, the drawing suggests that Portuguese explorers may have discovered Australia before the first recorded European landing on the continent by Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon in 1606.

The document, which contains text or music for a liturgical procession, was recently acquired by the Les Enluminures Galley in New York, which has valued the item at $15,000 (£9,174). It was previously in the possession of a rare book dealer in Portugal.

Read all about the fascinating discovery here.

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Article: The Sorry State of Qantas Airlines

Qantas, Australia’s flag carrier, is struggling amidst global competition and other problems inherent in the air travel industry.

The BBC has a great article on it:

Australia’s Flying Kangaroo is facing the most tempestuous times in its long history.

Battling record fuel costs and unrelenting competition from subsidised rivals, Qantas has just announced 5,000 job cuts alongside an underlying pre-tax loss of 252m Australian dollars (£135m; US$225m) for the second half of 2013.

The cuts are part of the airline’s ruthless make-or-break plan to revive its wilting fortunes by reducing costs by A$2bn over the next three years.

“Hard decisions will be necessary to overcome the challenges we face and build a stronger business,” chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement.

So can Australia’s national carrier turn things around?

Read the whole article here.

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History: Aircraft At Work – Transport In Australia

Made by The Commonwealth Film Unit 1966. Directed by Donald Crombie. An educational film detailing the general types of aircraft in use in Australia and the types of uses they have in the aviation industry. Including an introductory history of aviation in Australia it is an ideal introduction to aviation for young people, the film stresses the importance of the use of aircraft in commerce and agriculture.

Top Tips for a Magnificent Melbourne Move

Relocations are always time consuming and hard work, whether you’re moving house or your office. With so much to plan and coordinate, it can feel like as soon as you cross one job off the list, another five suddenly appear from out of nowhere! But the hard work that comes with moving house or your office doesn’t have to mean stress and hassle. Here are some handy tips for your move; tips that will ensure your relocation little to no damage not only to your furniture and belongings but also to your sanity!

1)      Use a checklist  

Like you would do with your grocery shopping, a checklist is the most effective way to keep track of everything you’ve done and everything you still need to do. Break up your checklist into several time periods, for example 4-6 weeks from moving day, 2-3 weeks, 1 week, day before and even the moving day itself. Separate the jobs you need to do into these time periods and within those periods, break the jobs up into the ones you can do yourself and the ones you need assistance with. Adopting a methodical approach will ensure that nothing is forgotten. You’ll find many relocation checklists online.

2)      Safeguard your goods from damage

When you’re packing everything up for your Melbourne removalists, be sure to wrap up and pack each item individually. At the bottom of each carton or box you fill up, be sure to place packing paper or blankets, towels or pillows to reduce the likelihood of breakage. Secure both ends of your box with as much packing tape as is necessary. And of course, make sure you clearly label any boxes containing breakable items with FRAGILE. Do it on all sides of the box if need be.

3)      Tips for specific items

  • Before packing up your home computer, BACK UP YOUR FILES. Now is as good a time as any.
  • Cover any paintings, prints or other artworks with bubble wrap.
  • Clean out and dry any household appliances like fridges, freezers, washing machines etc.
  • Remove light globes from any lamps.

While this is by no means a definitive list, these tips will certainly make your life a lot easier. Whether you’re looking for a removalist in Melbourne or simply want more handy hits for your relocation check out http://www.fragileremovals.com.au/melbourne.php

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