Becoming connected

By Chief Advocate Ian Henschke

If you’re reading this on line, you’re one of the ‘connected’. But I’m sure you know someone who isn’t.

The e-Safety Commissioner recently released a report that revealed “around 2.7 million Australians over 50 have little or no engagement in the online world”.

That’s a remarkable figure given there are 8.5 million Australians over 50. To put it another way, almost one in three are on the wrong side of the digital divide and they’re paying a high price for that disconnectedness.

Pension update

Indexation of certain limits and thresholds for pensions and allowances took effect at the beginning of last month. Basil La Brooy, from National Seniors’ independent Financial Information Desk (FID), explains the changes.

Payment rates

While thresholds have increased, payment rates remain unchanged. Changes to the rates occur on 20 March and 20 September each year. Both assets and income tests determine the initial and continued rate of payment and whichever results in the lower payment applies.

No hidden fees with National Seniors Insurance

National Seniors Australia’s Insurance General Manager Chris Grice has assured customers who pay premiums by the month they are not charged extra fees.

Newspapers last weekend reported that many insurance companies were charging customers who paid by the month a ‘risk’ loading of between 4.5 and 20 per cent.

According to the Sunday Mail special investigation, the companies charging the premium, which were labelled “discriminatory” by Choice, included Suncorp, AAMI, GIO, Youi, IAG, and NRMA.

Don’t store valuables in your car

National Seniors Insurance’ underwriter Allianz Australia has urged vehicle owners to better protect their cars and valuables against theft.

The warning came after new data revealed many Australians continued to leave the safety of their prized possessions to chance.

Allianz’s national survey revealed 69 per cent of Australians continued to ‘hide’ valuables in their car, either in the boot, under a seat or a blanket, while a further 29 per cent regularly left their car unlocked.

Rose opens book on world of reading

Rose FitterRose Fitter is looking forward to reading her birthday cards for the first time later this year.

After more than 70 years, the Mount Morgan pensioner is finally learning how to read and write with help from her carers and staff at Carinity Summit Cottages.

Growing up in numerous foster homes, Rose missed out on a formal education and never once attended school.


New eye screening program benefits 1.2m diabetics

A new eye-screening program will help reduce the number of people experiencing vision loss and blindness because of diabetes.

The program will involve an interface between the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) database and Oculo, a cloud-based platform connecting eye care providers, to create a new digitally-enabled screening and early detection system.

Next generation cotton you won’t have to iron

Cotton shirts that you don’t need to iron may sound like a fanciful dream, but could be a reality thanks to a new project being undertaken by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

A team of CSIRO scientists has started working on a cotton with many of the properties of synthetics, such as being stretchy, non-creasing and even waterproof, while retaining its natural fibre feel.

But before you throw away your iron, the team is first working on better understanding what determines the length, strength, and thickness of cotton fibres.


Brock's Big Banger expected to set auction record

Motor racing legend Peter Brock’s iconic Big Banger Commodore is expected to break Australian records by topping the $2 million mark when it goes to auction on 6 October.

The famous racing driver used the 1984 VK Group C Commodore to win the James Hardie 1000 in Bathurst, Sandown 500 and Surfers Paradise 300, and is one of 30 other Brock cars to be auctioned on the annual Bathurst Race weekend.


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