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January 3, 2007 22:31 - Traffic Infringement Penalties

From 1st January 2007, there will be a change in the Traffic Infringement Penalties Demerit Points.

These offences cover areas such as:
  • Speeding
  • The non use of seat belts or other restraining devices
  • Road Traffic Code 2000 penalties - a section which also includes fines for pedestrians for obstruction another person or vehicle or if they do not cross a railway line at a level crossing.
source

January 8, 2007 20:37 - Sorrento Quay splash out on fireworks for Australia Day

For those living in the Northern Suburbs who like to celebrate Australia Day with a firework display but don't want the trek into Perth to do battle with the large crowds can opt for a smaller display planned for Hillarys Boat Harbour.

The show is being funded by 60 of the businesses at Sorrento Quay who have raised $25,000. Spokesman Nigel Stevens said the decision had been taken after requests from 500 local families and visitors wanting to escape crowds and potential anti-social behaviour at the Lotterywest Skyworks

. "With anti-social behaviour and little kids in massive crowds, it is not a great night out," Mr Steven said.

The display which will start at 9pm and run for 30 mins will be seen from the beach within Hillarys Boat Harbour and from beaches to the north and south.

Restaurants at Hillarys will be open until 11pm, normal summer trading hours, and a fun park would offer rides until the fireworks started.

"We don't want to impact on the city (fireworks) but want to provide an alternative for families who otherwise would not go," he said.

A police spokesman said they would need to assess the Sorrento proposal before determining if it would stretch resources, already heightened for the City of Perth show expected to attract 400,000.

ALISON BATCHELER source

January 14, 2007 11:19 - The property and commodities boom puts Perth inflation on a high over past two years compared to other Australian Cities.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show inflation in Perth was well above other capital cities over Australia.

The property and commodities boom has left Perth residents paying high as prices soar for everyday goods on everything from carpets to a trip to the dentist.

Over the last two years Perth has seen an increase of 9.1 per cent on all goods. This compares to 6.8 per cent in Sydney and 6.6 per cent in Melbourne.

The booming Perth property market explains much of the increase, prices have soared by 32.6 per cent while nationally established properties are up 7.7 per cent.

The knock on effect has also seen:-

  • Rents have climbed 8.4 per cent in Perth
    Nationally the increase is only 5.6 per cent.

  • House repairs and maintenance up 11 per cent in Perth,
    Elsewhere the price of such work has lifted 5.6 per cent.

  • Car repairs increased 10.4 per cent in Perth
    Nationally, it went up 5.4 per cent.

  • Restaurant prices went up 11.7 per cent in Perth
    Increase elsewhere 7.7 per cent.

  • Even buying soft furnishings is more expensive with Perth prices up 8 per cent.
    While in other capital cities, prices increased by less than 5 per cent.

A combination of a growing population, extra money from the commodities boom, and a strong jobs market has seen prices over almost all sectors rise much quicker in Perth.

SHANE WRIGHT
ECONOMICS EDITOR
the west .com.au

January 15, 2007 22:34 - Do you want to see the brightest comet in Australia's skies for more than 40 years?

If you enjoy looking up at the night sky and look West after sunset (around 9pm) tonight Monday January 15th the brightest comet in 40 years will be visible in the Australian sky.

Astronomers say that it will be brighter than Halley's comet and visible over the week.

Discovered last year the 10km wide comet has been named "The McNaught comet" after the Australian National University astronomer who discovered it.

You will need to find somewhere with a good view of the western horizon and wait until the sun sets. The comet tonight should be seen just above where the sun sets.

Dr Francis says the comet will be at its brilliant best tonight.

"It's going to be its brightest tonight but it's also very close to the sun. It's still going to be sunset in quite a bright sky [so] it makes it a bit hard to see," he said.

"A few days from now it'll be in a darker sky but it won't be as bright. Principally, you'll be able to see it any time in the next week or so." Observers are reminded, because of the comet's closeness to the Sun, never to look directly at the Sun with the naked eye or through an optical instrument.

January 15, 2007 23:03 - Australia Backs PM on Citizenship Tests

Australia Backs PM on Citizenship Tests as a Newspoll in The Australian identified that 86 per cent of Australian Adults agreed with a proposal to amend current citizenship guidelines.

They believe that knowledge of the English language should be a requirement of those wishing to become an Australian citizen.

Changes where proposed by John Howard in September 2006. With the introduction of an exam that will consist of 30 multiple choice questions. The questions will be on Australian society and history and must be answered in English.

John Howard said
"There's overwhelming support in the Australian community for an expectation, indeed a requirement, that people who become Australian citizens have a working knowledge of English."

Source: Newspoll / The Australian
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,200 Australian voters, conducted from Dec. 15 to Dec. 17, 2006. Margin of error is 3 per cent

January 18, 2007 23:15 - Big four banks lift fixed rates

On Tuesday the Commonwealth Bank, Australia's biggest bank, increased its one- and three-year fixed rates to 7.35 per cent.

This was followed by National Australia Bank yesterday who lifted their introductory one-year fixed rate to 6.74 per cent. However, the three-year fixed rate remained unchanged at 7.18 per cent .

Westpac and ANZ increased their three-year fixed rates by 16 basis points to 7.35 per cent in December.

Is this a strong indication the big four banks anticipate another interest rate rise?

Cannex financial analyst Harry Senlitonga commented on the banks decision saying that "in general the trend is moving up a bit" for three-year fixed rates. He said this was an indication the banks believed rates were on the way up, the three-year fixed rates had increased between 5 to 10 basis points.

Mr Senlitonga went on to say that demand could be another factor contributing to the higher fixed rates.

"(For) a product which has a strong demand, they will price it higher," he said.

Last year most customers where switching from variable to fixed rates at the Major banks.

A CBA spokesman said "fixed rates are not tied to any Reserve Bank movement, they fluctuate regularly in line with movements in the cash market, and that CBA was "competitive with all of the other banks" and that all of its fixed rate offerings were "competitive".

Since December, the money market three-year fixed rate has increased from 6.54 per cent to 6.68 per cent.

St George Bank, went against the trend this week and dropped its three-year fixed rate from 7.19 per cent to 6.95 per cent.

Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings said it expected growth in the Australian banking sector to moderate in 2007 due to competition and slower growth in housing finance.

Source - Katherine Jimenez
The Australian

January 23, 2007 14:52 - Are you looking for cheap flights from Perth?
Check out Tiger Airways offers on new Flight Combos choices
from Perth to Exciting Asian Destinations

If you are looking to travel to Singapore over Easter in Tiger Airlines, Singapore's only low fair airline then, you will need to book quick.

Demand is proving high as Tiger Airways introduced some new routes, including Flight Combo offers from Perth.

You can NOW book flights from Perth to Singapore and on all in one booking.

So if your looking to see more of Asia without the cost then you can book your onward journey to Thailand or Indonesia on a single reservation with Flight Combo bookings. A travel package that will provide you with the lowest fare and most convenient booking process possible for travel between two flight sectors. by booking Tiger Airways website

Some examples of return fare options including taxes and fees:

Perth - Hat Yai From AUD466.96
Perth - Bangkok From AUD484.86
Perth - Krabi From AUD462.66
Perth - Phuket From AUD484.86
Perth - Chiang Mai From AUD503.88
Perth - Udon Thani From AUD482.71

Passengers should allow sufficient time to clear the necessary immigration and check-in at the Budget Terminal in Singapore so as to make sure they catch the onward flight. Tiger Airways recommends passengers allow at least 2 hours to complete immigration and check-in formalities. source

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