Hamper scamper – Jobless Cambodians are catching rats to feed Vietnamese city dwellers | Asia

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Property booming, but in wrong direction for rural dwellers

House prices in regional areas have risen, making it difficult for local workers to find accommodation.

What this means is that hospitality and cleaning staff, historically lowly paid, have nowhere to live. Businesses find it hard to find good, trained staff; service suffers and people are overworked. The newly arrived metropolitan residents start to wonder why they don’t get served as quickly or efficiently as in the city and grumble about it (sometimes out loud. I’ve seen it.) but, of course, don’t offer to work in these positions themselves as they are lucky enough not to need to. The town loses its appeal and reputation, its tourism shrinks and jobs are lost in those very areas that we are struggling to fill. There are only so many spots that our high school students can fill between actually going to classes or not turning up to day one of a new school year exhausted after working three jobs over summer.

We already have families having to move to Colac and commute over the Otways simply because they can’t find accommodation in town. The Andrews government is having a spending blitz on social housing in the city and large regional towns, but it needs to expand into smaller areas that are the biggest attracters of tree or sea changers. It also needs to offer some kind of tax break to property owners who rent their houses long term in such areas and we need more people to actually buy into this as a type of community service.

It may also be time to consider, as other communities in Britain and the US have, a version of a community land trust, whose raison d’etre is to provide perpetually affordable housing. This can be achieved through a grass-roots movement from concerned residents or through local council, providing they have enough foresight and leadership with regards to long-term vision and planning (not often seen in local government, sadly). It may take the form of some properties only being sold to those with permanent employment in town, at reduced prices through the help of shared equity or perhaps a version of co-op housing to help those who would be unable to secure a mortgage. We need to go back to seeing secure housing foremost as a human right, not a right to huge profit, or we will lose the very fabric of the places that we live and love.

And finally, to those people who have the means to buy houses at such high prices, we are a welcoming place to those who like to get involved and who are able to adjust to a different, slower way of living. But maybe you also need to consider that moving down here will require a change in pace and perhaps a change in career – such as the alliteratively satisfying barrister to barista … if you want a coffee it may actually be the only solution.

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The season is gone, but NRL cellar dwellers still have reasons to play

The NRL finalists were confirmed last weekend, leaving eight teams with two rounds left and little to play for.

So here are a few reasons for the bottom eight to do more than make up the numbers as the season comes to a close.

The spooners

As of Friday morning, there are three teams with a mathematical chance of finishing last — the Broncos, Bulldogs and Cowboys. Their fates are all tied in together, so we can’t separate them.

Unfortunately for the trio, all three play top four sides in the last two weeks of the season.

The Bulldogs are the only team to lose to Brisbane since returning from the coronavirus shutdown.(AAP: Dan Peled)

North Queensland faces first-placed Penrith this evening, the Broncos take on the fourth-placed Eels after that, and the Bulldogs close out the regular season against the Panthers.

Basically, each team is almost guaranteed one more loss before the season is done, although the Cowboys are realistically safe from the spoon.

For North Queensland to finish last, the Broncos would have to win both of their final two games, the Cowboys would have to lose both, and the Dogs would have to beat Penrith handily in round 20. Not much of that is likely to happen.

With Thursday’s win over South Sydney, the Bulldogs climbed above 16th for the first time since round six and have a chance to stay off the bottom once the season is done.

The Broncos are plonked in last place and have shown little inclination of beating a team like Parramatta. But Brisbane finishes its season against fellow strugglers North Queensland.

The match that was billed as the highlight of “a bumper final round” when the season resumed, has become pivotal only in the sense that it will probably decide the wooden spoon.

Taumalolo tries to burst clear of Broncos defence
In the space of five years the Broncos and Cowboys have gone from deciding the premiership to deciding the wooden spoon.(AAP: Michael Chambers)

Brisbane’s -326 points differential is the worst in the league by about 150, making it impossible for them to finish above anyone if they’re tied on competition points.

Assuming both Queensland teams lose this week as expected, the Broncos will have to beat the Cowboys in round 20 to climb off last place and then hope the Panthers, likely minor premiers, beat the Bulldogs.

While getting tagged with the wooden spoon is no-one’s idea of a successful season, it would be a disaster for the Broncos, who have never finished last — a sting in the tail of an abysmal season for the NRL’s biggest team.

St George Illawarra Dragons (13th)

The Dragons have been the embodiment of “meh” in the decade after breaking their premiership drought in 2010.

Most of those years came under Paul McGregor, whose watch ended earlier this year, and they have a new coach coming in.

A new coach means a new game plan and Anthony Griffin may want to make changes to this middling side, meaning almost everyone is playing for their spot.

Everyone in the red and white should be playing their backsides off to guarantee a spot in the team next season.

Gold Coast Titans (12th)

Four Gold Coast Titans NRL players embrace each other after they beat St George Illawarra Dragons.
The Titans haven’t blown anyone away this year, but competence and intent was a step up for the long struggling franchise.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

This year’s Titans team has been the most competent we’ve seen in years, with coach Justin Holbrook giving them an identity in his first year in the NRL.

This is a team on the rise, led by Ash Taylor and previously unheralded names like AJ Brimson, Jamal Fogarty and Moeaki Fotuiaka. They’ll be joined by two monsters in David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui in 2021.

They’re sitting in 12th, one win ahead of the Dragons, heading into the penultimate round of the season, tied with three teams above them on 14 points.

The team has the third-worst for-and-against record in the league, so they have to get wins to move up that list, and finishing ninth has a very different ring to finishing 13th.

Warriors (11th)

A Warriors NRL player runs with the ball; in his right hand as a Canterbury opponent gives chase in the background.
The Warriors have had their moments in the back half of the season, but will be happy to get back to New Zealand.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

Just play the Raiders and Manly, try not to get hurt and get home. That’s all we want for you, Warriors.

Thanks so much for setting up camp in Tamworth and allowing the season to happen, but go spend some time with your families.

Next year will (hopefully) be better.

Manly Sea Eagles (10th)

Manly has been impossible to get a bead on this year.

During one four-week stretch, the Sea Eagles pushed a red-hot Paramatta to the brink, then were almost beaten by the Broncos, then took down the Raiders, then had 40 put on them by Cronulla.

They beat the Roosters and Eels this year, but injuries slowed them down.

NSW Blues player Tom Trbojevic's biceps bulge as he screams into a rainy night sky during State Of Origin Game Two.
If Tom Trbojevic is picked to play the first Origin, it could be his first game in over five months.(AAP: Darren England)

Getting Tom Trbojevic back in the number one jersey will be an enormous boost, but losing star prop Addin Fonua-Blake is a disaster for the forward pack.

Daly Cherry-Evans is still a top half in the league, but this year has felt like a waste of his talents, with the team never really shaping as a top side nor sinking to the depths.

They’re just in a holding pattern until Trbojevic returns for good, and while he is set to return for the last two weeks from an easily reaggravated hamstring injury, it seems like an unnecessary risk with no finals to play for.

Perhaps he just wants some game time before the post-season State Of Origin series.

Wests Tigers (9th)

A man in a Tigers jersey runs with the ball on a rugby league field.
The Tigers’ main job now is convincing Harry Grant to stay at Concord.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

One spot from the finals again? Really?

In some ways it would be better for the Tigers to drop out of the runners-up spot to avoid the ignominy of it happening for the fourth time in five years.

And with the Storm and the Eels still to come, it’s very likely that will happen.


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