League is tackling the problem of concussion head on


Last week the National Rugby League took action as ferocious as the problem it was aiming to deal with.

In response to an apparent increase in head high tackles the NRL overnight changed its rules only days before its 10th round of matches so that players can be sent to the “sin-bin” for 10 minutes for high tackles and for the rest of the game for a serious or a second offence.

The same goes for repeated infringements in the ruck.

Past players, especially those who have morphed into commentators, were outraged as 14 players were binned and three sent off during last weekend’s “Magic Round”. Cub reporters joined in, desperate to get an interview with a current coach or former great who was prepared to claim it was ruining the game.

“It’s not our game”, “It’s not the game we played”, “The fans will be turned off in droves” were typical of the perhaps-expected immediate refrains.

There were plenty available to oblige, but not one of the longest-serving, most experienced and respected in the game.

Super-coach Wayne Bennett stunned those asking with his blunt, forceful reaction – “I’ve been on this for a long time about the head stuff. I’m totally supportive of that.”

Not that he was totally happy with the way the game is now otherwise being refereed – questioning whether the game is now being officiated by those on the field or those in rugby league’s “Bunker” who, with the advantage of hindsight and replayed footage, are able to over-rule more and more.

The Bunker has been in operation much longer than the AFL’s “Arc”, gradually encroaching more and more into decision-making. It even means the game can be stopped quite some time after an incident because those in the Bunker have picked up something they believe the on-field referee missed.

Right now the Arc is only used during the game for score reviews. But beyond that it has now already become a tool for reviewing umpire performance – much undertaken in real time. Bizarrely this means that former umpires with less high level experience are evaluating the decision-making of those currently umpiring AFL games.

Inevitably there will be pressure – even though the NRL experience has been far from universally positive – to use the Arc to intervene in more areas of the game. For example Eddie McGuire has observed that the Arc can be used to harmonise and regulate a more consistent application of the rules as gambling inevitably takes a greater interest in the game.

In both regards the AFL can probably learn much from the NRL’s willingness under the leadership of its fearless chairman, Peter V’landys to delve into the unknown.

After doing much to re-invigorate horse racing in New South Wales, V’landys seems determined to make rugby league a safer and better place with no concern about a radical decision regarding a change in the game in the here and now. It’s a sharp contrast to the wait-and-see approach of those in command at AFL House.

It is not immediately clear what has motivated the NRL to so dramatically change its on-field disciplinary rules – especially to increase the potential for sin-binning and send-offs. The AFL by contrast has neither option at the highest levels – even for existing obvious serious violations of the rules.

Perhaps the NRL has received persuasive reports on head knocks, concussion and CTE or even the news of the instigation of legal action. Whatever it is, to act so emphatically mid-season smacks of something compelling.

It has a task ahead of it to convince those who believe it might change the game into something else that the strategy is correct.

What every supporter of the game – rugby league or AFL – must comprehend is that the administrators of both codes are now well aware of the short- and long-terms risks to players from contact to the head.

Failure to take steps now may well bankrupt even the most financial of competitions – and in the not-too-distant future.

And yes that may mean a game looks different from days gone by, but in reality it already does – for a plethora of reasons.

But what spectator-friendly sports probably don’t need is product constantly interrupted by on- or off-field reviews. Technology needs to be adapted to support on-field officials – not replace them.

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This story League is tackling the problem of concussion head on
first appeared on Cootamundra Herald.



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A problem shared is a problem halved


Why partnerships are the single fastest way to grow your business in 2021.

Straight up, I can say anyone who wasn’t even a little freaked out by 2020’s rollercoaster is a rarity. And if you’re a business owner, it was likely especially tough. You would have dealt with hurdles, pressure, uncertainty. In the US alone, 92 per cent of small businesses “reinvented” themselves to survive the pandemic.

This year – as the ABS says the Australian economy is set for a rapid recovery amid the vaccine rollout – everyone’s looking to cut costs. And there’s one real secret to doing that. 2021 should be less about reinvention, more about collaboration.

It’s what I call the Spice Girls Syndrome. When they were together, the girl band did great business. As solo acts, they crashed and burned.

Decades of experience have shown me the same principle – doubling up on skills and markets – applies to business. Marketing partnerships are the fastest, most cost-effective pathway to success.

To be clear, partnerships don’t mean permanently hitching your wagon creatively and legally to another business. They see two or more businesses joining forces to create something great, then having the flexibility to step back once the project is done.

“A strong partner sends more traffic to your site, and more eyes on the page means stronger metrics.”

Today, I urge every business to do the same. I’m so passionate about the power of partnerships that I now have a business dedicated to teaching small-business owners how to identify and negotiate their own marketing partnerships.

I’ve used partnerships to slash costs in my business, position it globally, pay for an editor for my first bestseller, catch the media’s eye and even dress me for speaking engagements around the world.

Eight benefits of partnerships

1. Save money

When I started my first business, I needed to build an online community. Paid ads weren’t working. So I found a business with a similar client base that wasn’t a direct competitor.

We teamed up to run a competition – I negotiated two Thermomixes as prizes – and, bingo, my community grew by 7000 in 10 days.

That was a huge revelation. Advertising costs were zero and rewards were concrete and immediate. I took that same principle of strength in numbers, and grew my community to 150,000 without ever spending more than $300 a month on advertising.

2. Position your business

Using marketing partnerships to leverage someone else’s reputation is smart. Back in 2011 when I announced I was launching a group buying site, everyone told me about their bad experiences buying online. Buying off the internet was still new, and I had to gain my audience’s trust fast.

So, I formed a partnership with playgroups around the country. They were seen as trustworthy. They had been around for decades supporting new parents. I negotiated a partnership with the WA Playgroup Association where five per cent of every purchase on my site was donated to a playgroup of purchaser’s choice. This helped playgroups fundraise and showed my community I was reputable. Tick and tick.

3. Get in front of ideal clients

Too often clients say, “I’m too small to approach that big brand”. Some brands love partnering with small business, because of the lack of bureaucracy and the agile ‘[email protected]!t-done’ attitude. Xero and Sendle collaborated with me when I was a newly-formed start-up because I was the conduit to reach a particular audience. Be bold when it comes to your list of potential partners.

4. Boost profits

In 2017, a report found mid-sized Australian companies who use partners more than five times a year stand to make $430,000 in sales uplifts. Consistent partnerships are a way for marketers and brands to land benefits you can’t buy.

5. Build social media communities and your email list

Partnerships mean a classic two-for-the-price-of-one deal – you piggyback onto someone’s else’s community for free. It’s why ‘influencer’ businesswomen like Nadia Bartel and Rebecca Judd frequently collaborate – their individual followers start following the other, and sales of their clothing lines and other products rocket. (Six years after giving up her media ad sales job to start a blog, Bartel now has 569K followers, and ex occupational therapist Judd 828K.)

In 2019, Campaign Monitor reported email is 40 times more effective at landing new customers than Facebook or Twitter. A strong email list and grow your own – customers or visitors who want to receive digital information about your business – is a golden ticket. Email has a high conversion rate and its real estate you own, not just rent. Partnerships give you the chance to access someone else’s established list – it’s a no brainer that could reshape how your business looks almost overnight.

6. Increase site traffic and get more leads

In 2020, global lockdowns made it harder to buy anything in person. That led to a huge uptick in online activity, with IBISWorld projecting online business will increase by 11.1 per cent in 2021. A strong partner sends more traffic to your site, and more eyes on the page means stronger metrics.

7. Become an expert

The media loves finding reputable ‘talking heads’ to comment on issues and products. As well as writing regularly for publications, I act as a content source for journalists. This keeps up my profile to grow awareness and remain top of mind among my ideal client base.

Last year I was asked by a key publication to comment on the Thank You brand’s latest partnership play to get a meeting with Unilever and P&G. That happened because I’ve set myself up as a regular content source and editors know they can reach out and get a fast reply. This has seen me featured in full page spreads in mainstream media in Australia.

8. Fund a project

I never set out to be an author and was terrified about putting my first book into the world a couple of years ago. So, I felt it was important to have an amazing editor and after much searching and convincing, I secured someone who has just left a leading publishing house and was curious about the-self publishing world.

She came at a cost, and as a new start-up I had to be creative about how to fund her. I put on my thinking cap about who else was trying to communicate to my market. I knew women were entering business at three times the rate of men, so I thought they’d have to be a focus for Xero, the cloud based accounting software bookkeeping company.

I sent off a pitch and over the next three weeks negotiated the sponsorship of my book, which covered the costs of my amazing editor. My book ended up on Booktopia’s Business Bestseller list four months after launch.

The bottom line? I believe you are one marketing partnership away from the success you desire. Victoria Beckham, if you’re ever tempted to become a solo singer again, take heed: there’s true power in numbers.

This article first appeared in issue 32 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine



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Does the Palaszczuk government have a problem with details?


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk must have known she was on a winner as soon as it went up on the whiteboard at 1 William Street because her staff booked her on all the breakfast TV shows.

This is her destination of choice when she wants to talk to Australia, albeit briefly.

An idea like that sounds good over a bowl of cereal, but for some in the tourism industry it still lacks the meat and potatoes that would assure them of nourishment through these lean years of knobbled international travel.

Birdsville pub manager Ben Fullagar told the ABC the Work in Paradise program needed to ensure people who receive the $1,500 actually stayed in the job and don’t just pocket the cash and run.

Upon registering for the program, you receive an email back saying “Thank You” and “We’ll be in contact when the program goes live”.

There is very little detail on how exactly the program will be managed, how candidates will be chosen, or timeframes around when it will be finalised.

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You’re counted as ’employed’ if you work one hour a week, but why is that a problem?


Did you know you’re counted as “employed” if you work one hour a week?

When you first hear that, it can sound shocking.

It can make you suspect the government is manipulating the unemployment data to make the labour market appear in better health than it is.

But let me explain why it’s not a problem.

It’s a perfectly logical definition for “employed”.

Then, after I’m done with that, let me show you some ways in which you can be led astray by the government.

It regards the unemployment rate itself.

The ‘one-hour rule’

When the Bureau of Statistics takes its monthly survey of the labour force, it’s trying to find out how many people are employed, who are employed, and what types of jobs they have.

But it has to start somewhere.

So it starts by asking if you worked “one hour or more” in the past week.

Why? Because it needs to know if you have a job before it can ask you questions about that job.

Was it full-time? Part-time? Casual? 

Once the ABS knows you have a job, it will ask you if you’re satisfied with the hours you’re working or if you’d like more hours.

If you’d like more hours, that’s how the ABS knows you’re “underemployed.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

Play Video. Duration: 4 minutes 7 seconds

The unemployment rate explained. It might not be what you think.

Underemployment is a problem in the economy. It’s a sign the economy isn’t working at full potential and workers could be getting paid less than what they need to survive.

However, this next bit is important.

You’re only “underemployed” if you want to be working more hours but can’t get them.

You’re considered “fully employed” if you’re satisfied with the hours you’re working and don’t want any more.

Someone who’s only working one hour a week can be fully employed.

If they’re happy with the arrangement, and don’t want more hours, they’re satisfied with their work situation.

Also, it’s important to know that the definition of employed as working “one hour or more in the past week” is not the ABS’s definition.

It’s the internationally recognised definition set by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations agency, decades ago.

There are 187 member countries in the ILO, and they all use the same definition of “employed.”

It helps countries like Australia to compare their employment data internationally.

What type of person would be ‘fully employed’ while only working one hour a week?

Working one hour a week could actually be the dream, if you think about it.

Imagine being in the position where you owned your own business, the revenue was pouring in and you only had to log onto your computer for one hour a week to check your accounts to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Then you could go back to playing golf or whatever you love doing.

Or think of another situation.

Perhaps your partner’s working a full-time job, so your household has a regular income, and you have a little job on the side that provides a bit of extra money.

You’re happy with the arrangement and don’t want more hours.

Who are these people who are happy working one hour a week?

According to the ABS, roughly 15,700 people in Australia only work one hour a week, on average.

That’s around 0.1 per cent of all employed people.

They are predominantly female, aged 55 and over, and running their own business (or working in the family business).

And guess how many are satisfied with the hours?

Roughly 72 per cent (or 11,300 people).

Nearly three quarters of the people who work one hour a week are fully employed.

Just over a quarter of the people working one hour a week (4,400 people) would like more hours, and are therefore underemployed.

See the chart above.

It shows the amount of underemployment among people who work between one and nine hours a week.

Here’s how to read it: there were 26,700 people working 3 hours a week last year who were “fully employed”, and there were 20,100 people working three hours a week who were “underemployed.”

Notice how underemployment is a bigger problem for people working more than one hour a week.

One genuinely confusing element of unemployment statistics

Now, let’s get to the bit where the government can mislead you.

See the graph below?

I’ll show you how it works.

Labour force framework

It shows a simplified model of the labour force framework. 

It’s what Treasury officials, Reserve Bank officials, ABS statisticians and economists use to find the unemployment rate.

First, the ABS finds out how many people are 15 years of age or older. They comprise the civilian population (or working-age population).

Then, the ABS finds out how many people are in the “labour force.”

You’re in the labour force if you have a job (employed), or if you’re actively looking for work but haven’t found a job yet (unemployed).

In March, there were 13,860,800 people in the labour force (economists think of the labour force as the “supply of labour”).

Over on the right-hand side of the graph is all those people who aren’t economically active.

You can be in this group for heaps of reasons: you could be retired, permanently unable to work, a full-time carer, a stay at home parent, studying full time, travelling, in prison, or in a contemplative religious order.

Or maybe you’ve become so discouraged by the depressing job search that you’ve given up looking for work.

In March, there were 6,990,400 people in this group (economists think of this group as the potential supply of labour because some of the people in it could potentially join the labour force in the future).

How to work out the unemployment rate

Now, when the ABS works out the unemployment rate, it excludes from its calculations all those people on the right-hand side of the graph “not in the labour force.”

Strange, huh?

It means nearly 7 million people who aren’t “economically active” aren’t included in the unemployment rate.

But here’s how to find out the unemployment rate.

Take the number of people who are “unemployed” and divide it by the number of people in the “labour force” (and then multiply it by 100 to turn it into a percentage).

Labour force framework

In March, there were 789,900 people considered officially unemployed.

The size of the labour force was 13,860,800.

Therefore, take 789,900, divide it by 13,860,800 then times it by 100.

That gives you an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent.

You can experiment with different numbers in the different bubbles to see how they affect the unemployment rate.

But here’s the trick to remember.

Just because the unemployment rate goes down doesn’t mean the economy’s improving.

Imagine a situation in which the economy is in such dire straits that millions of people leave the labour force and join the “not in the labour force” group, leaving just 1,000 people in the labour force, 10 officially unemployed people and 990 employed people.

In that scenario, the unemployment rate would be 1 per cent.

But it wouldn’t be a good thing. Your economy would have collapsed.

What happened to the unemployment rate last month?

Last month’s unemployment data was the first month to capture most of the effects of the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy in March.

Here’s what happened.

In April, the size of the “labour force” actually shrank by 64,000 people.

And the size of the economically inactive group “not in the labour force” swelled by 108,100.

That means lots of people shifted across from the left-hand side of the labour force model to the right-hand side of the model, where they are no longer counted in the unemployment rate.

Also in April, the number of employed people fell by 30,600, while the number of officially unemployed people fell by 33,700.

What happened to the unemployment rate?

Well, since the size of the labour force shrank by thousands, and the number of unemployed people also shrank, but by a smaller amount, the unemployment rate actually fell from 5.7 per cent to 5.5 per cent.

Was that a good thing?

It’s more complicated than it appears.

Economists say it was a better outcome than feared. A few months ago, Treasury officials feared the end of the JobKeeper program could see 100,000 to 150,000 people lose their jobs.

So the number of employed people “only” falling by 30,600 last month is a welcome outcome.

However, the fact that the “not in the labour force” group swelled by 108,100 people is a genuine concern.

Why? Because they’ve joined the ranks of people who are now hidden from the unemployment rate.

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Breaking down the plastic problem


In 2010, Dr Ross Headifen sold a company and he and his wife went to volunteer in Tanzania installing water wells. They saw at first hand the devastating effect plastic was having on a society that was not set up to handle mass single-use plastic waste and, at the end of that volunteering term, Ross researched how plastic could be made biodegradable and made to really go away rather than just go into landfill.

He came across a technology in the USA that added a small amount of organic additive to a plastic that in turn allows the microbes in a landfill to digest the plastic, albeit over many years. The couple moved to Florida to develop a landfill-biodegradable product. There they became involved in daily beach clean ups of all the plastic waste that washed in with every tide change. Upon returning to Australia the couple joined a local beach cleaning group that they grew over the next 10 years to cover 40 post codes. Ross joined forces with former work colleague John Mancarella to set up Biogone, the first manufacturer of landfill-biodegradable plastics in Australia. The technology Biogone uses incorporates a small amount of organic additive in the plastic that is a food source for naturally occurring microbes – as the microbes consume the food, the enzymes they secrete break the polymer chains down to shorter lengths so they can be consumed, too. This process differs to existing ones that involve adding a degradable additive plastic, a process that causes a chemical reaction that fragments plastic into tiny pieces but does not render it biodegradable.

“Landfill-biodegradable plastics do not pose any issues for recycling as they do not contaminate recyclate with tiny shards of plastic that result from using just a degradable additive,” Ross explains. “And when plastic biodegrades deep in a landfill, it produces methane – modern landfills can capture this gas and use it to generate green electricity, reducing the need to burn more coal to generate that electricity.”

“The true cost of a plastic item needs to be charged to the user.”

Biogone also provides products with Home Compost AS5810 Australian certification, recognition that those plant-based plastics can biodegrade in ambient temperatures rather than the high temperatures required for commercial compost conditions.

And the pair’s dedication to sustainability and caring for the environment does not end with the manufacturing process. “It is not simply a matter of manufacturing a niche product and selling it,” Ross stresses. “At Biogone we looks at the many facets of our operations and make improvements where we can.” To that end, the factory is powered by solar, the factory and office lights have been replaced with LED lights, and all shipments are boxed in pre-used carboard boxes and wrapped with packing materials that all biodegrade away once disposed of by the receiver. “We put notices on the shipments to let the receivers know their shipment is wrapped in biodegradable products,” Ross says.

Although Biogone offers a large-scale idea to reduce the accumulation of plastic waste, Ross says that it is not the perfect solution. “The best and most sustainable solution is to not use the plastic in the first place,” he says. “Our society has grown accustomed to using a lot of plastic – this needs to be reversed, the cost to the environment is too high.” He believes that if the cost structure of using plastic in Australia were to change to make it more expensive, as in the UK with the introduction of a plastics tax, then industry would seek out alternate material solutions.

“The true cost of a plastic item needs to be charged to the user,” Ross concludes. “The concept of a free plastic bag, plastic straw or plastic coffee cup (with a plastic lid) needs to be changed, and all these items charged for – this would quickly diminish the usage rate of these items.”.

This story first appeared in issue 32 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine



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Is IBD an underrecognized health problem in minority groups?



As many people know, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex condition affecting the intestine, which is the part of the digestive tract that helps digest food and remove water, salt, and waste.

But you might not know this: in recent years in the US, IBD is being diagnosed more often among people who are Black, Hispanic/Latinx, East and Southeast Asian, or from other minority groups than it was in past decades.

Is this a true rise in cases? Is IBD underrecognized in minority populations? While we don’t have all the answers yet, exploring health disparities in IBD and explaining its symptoms may encourage more people to get the health care they need.

What is IBD?

IBD is a chronic inflammatory condition in the intestine that may steadily progress, or repeatedly flare up (relapse) and calm down (remit).

The two main types of IBD are ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD):

  • Ulcerative colitis affects the rectum and colon alone.
  • Crohn’s disease can affect any portion of the intestinal tract from the mouth to the anus, and can lead to complications such as abscesses, strictures, and fistulas.
  • Both conditions frequently involve organs outside of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the joints, skin, and eyes.

What do we know about IBD among minority groups?

Traditionally, IBD has been thought of as a disease that largely affects people who are white. For every 100,000 individuals, IBD occurs in about 10 Hispanic/Latinx individuals, 25 Black individuals, and 70 non-Hispanic white individuals, according to estimates published in 2014. However, more recently we’ve observed an increase in IBD among other racial and ethnic groups in the US and across the world.

Is inflammatory bowel disease underrecognized in minority groups?

Some experts believe that IBD might be underrecognized or underappreciated in minority populations, which might lead to delays in diagnoses. A delayed diagnosis could mean longer periods of untreated inflammation, which also increases risk for complications, such as

  • strictures (areas where the bowel narrows due to scarring)
  • fistulas (a passage between organs or nearby tissues that isn’t normally there)
  • abscesses (an infection that may result in a fistula if not treated)
  • surgery
  • cancer of the bowel.

One study looked at people receiving health care who had two symptoms suggestive of IBD: iron deficiency anemia (a low red blood count) and diarrhea. The researchers found that certain groups were less likely to receive an appropriate workup to find out why they had these particular symptoms. Those who were Black or publicly insured were less likely to receive the appropriate workup, compared with those who were white or privately insured. These findings further support the hypothesis that IBD might be underrecognized in minority populations.

What do we currently know about health disparities in IBD?

Preventable differences — called health disparities — in health and well-being are seen among people with inflammatory bowel disease. These disparities may be due to a range of factors affecting certain groups, including inequities in the social determinants of health, unconscious biases of medical providers, barriers to care, and differences in the complex genetic and environmental driving forces of IBD that haven’t been sufficiently studied.

Black patients who have IBD experience higher rates of emergency department use — and, in one study, higher rates of hospitalization, possibly because they are less likely to receive regular care from a gastroenterology specialist. Further, while the hospitalization rate in white patients with IBD has decreased, it remains unchanged for Black patients.

Additional research shows that Black patients with Crohn’s disease are less likely to be in remission, more likely to undergo surgery, and more likely to experience complications after surgery. Socioeconomic status matters, too: lower income is linked with a higher risk of severe disease, IBD-related hospitalizations, ICU stays, and death. Another study reports that approximately 14% of Americans with IBD are food insecure. Further, it links food insecurity with inability to take prescribed medications because of cost and difficulty paying medical bills.

What symptoms may be signs of inflammatory bowel disease?

A variety of symptoms may be signs of inflammatory bowel disease:

  • Blood in your stool, and urgency and increased frequency of bowel movements, may be signs of ulcerative colitis.
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, blood in your stool, and diarrhea may be signs of Crohn’s disease.

If you have any of these symptoms — especially if you notice blood in your stool — talk to your healthcare provider. After a medical history and exam, the next steps may be further evaluation with a colonoscopy to look at the bowel, and/or an upper endoscopy to look at the upper part of the digestive system. Imaging studies may also be necessary. This evaluation will help your health provider diagnose IBD or another health problem causing similar symptoms.

Getting effective treatment makes a difference

Fortunately, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are both treatable conditions. Our goal in treating IBD is stable remission to stop or ease symptoms and ensure a high quality of life. Everyone with IBD can attain this with good care. Treatment may include medicine taken by mouth or given as infusions, dietary changes, surgery, or a combination of these. It’s important to find the right treatment and monitoring plan for each person early in the course of their illness.

I assure my IBD patients that we will work together to find the best and safest treatment options for them. IBD care requires a team approach, which might include a primary care doctor, gastroenterologist, pharmacist, surgeon, dietitian, and other health providers. If you have IBD, you’re the central member and captain of the team; as providers we are just coaches. It is important that you feel heard, understood, and empowered as you navigate life with IBD.

Follow me on Twitter @AdjoaGIMD

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Public housing shortage a ‘much bigger problem than people imagine’ but Brisbane Housing Company has big plans


Ms Mitchell is a pensioner and knew finding something suitable they could afford could prove almost impossible.

“The difficulty on the Gold Coast is it’s virtually impossible to get anything at all, certainly for affordable rent,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Some of the things that are affordable rent, you really wouldn’t commit to — the streets would be a better option.

Ms Mitchell recalled the first time they tried to put their names down on the wait list for public housing.

“There were people in there — women who’d been sleeping in cars with their children,” she said.

“On the Gold Coast, it’s impossible to get anything — they said ‘look, you’re better off going to Brisbane’.

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Online gambling lobby says ‘no problem’ with punting on credit as MP calls for crackdown


The representative for the biggest players in Australian online gambling says punters should be not be stopped from going into debt to bet.

Responsible Wagering Australia chief executive Brent Jackson’s remarks follow a call for a crackdown on the use of credit cards in online gambling from Queensland MP Andrew Wallace.

The LNP Member for Fisher is pushing the country’s banks to create a voluntary code of conduct that would mean punters could only place online bets using their own money.

Mr Wallace said it was a “no-brainer”.

“We know that people pay 22 per cent or thereabouts in interest on their credit card balances — that’s a very dangerous mix,” he said.

“You can’t use a credit card to go into a TAB and gamble on the horses or the dogs, you can’t use a credit card at a casino, and you can’t use a credit card to gamble on the pokies.”

For almost 20 years, gamblers have been unable to use credit cards to access cash advances in casinos and poker machine lounges.

Suncorp and Macquarie have already voluntarily stopped allowing credit cards to be used on wagering apps, but the big four — Westpac, NAB, ANZ and Commonwealth Bank — have not followed suit.

Sunshine Coast MP Andrew Wallace says he will try to force the banks to change if they don’t decide to do so voluntarily.(

Supplied: Andrew Wallace

)

‘The right to choose’

But Mr Jackson, whose lobby group represents the likes of Sportsbet, Bet365, Ladbrokes, Neds and others, said there was no reason to stop Australians from going into debt to gamble.

He said online gambling was “safer” than betting in a casino or at a poker machine because it was governed by strict legislation and companies could monitor gambling behaviour in real time.

A grey-haired man in a suit.
Brent Jackson says online gambling companies have the ability to promptly step in when they see worrying behaviour.(

Supplied: Responsible Wagering Australia

)

“They do keep an eye out specifically for unusual behaviour and strange behavioural patterns and activity that is not considered normal and might be risky,” Mr Jackson said.

“We can take a number of interventions aside from banning them completely — we often contact customers directly as this is happening.”

Mr Jackson said it should be left up to punters to decide whether they used credit cards when gambling online.

“We think that consumers should have the right to choose and directly manage their betting preferences,” he said.

“What we’re not seeing is any evidence of a problem out there at all.

A live sports betting site on a mobile phone, April 24, 2020.
Online sports betting companies have recorded strong financial results in Australia during the pandemic.(

ABC News

)

Strong support for restrictions

In late 2019, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) canvassed members and others as to whether banks should disallow the use of credit cards on gambling apps.

Its report found 81 per cent of Australians felt the practice should be restricted or banned.

Only 7 per cent supported no restrictions.

The ABA described gamblers as “vulnerable customers” on its website, but has decided against any kind of blanket policy citing fears it could fall foul of anti-competition laws.

But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it had supported other voluntary codes of conduct with banks.

A spokeswoman said the ACCC could also grant an exemption to the law if there was a significant public benefit.

Late last year an Australian Gambling Research Centre survey of 2,000 people found one in three signed up for new online betting accounts.

The biggest growth market was comprised of people aged 18–34, who the centre found were gambling more and spending more.

Sportsbet’s profit jumped by 108 per cent between April and June last year during COVID-19 shutdowns, increasing from $96 million to $191m.

A middle-aged man in a plaid shirt walking through a park.
Relationships Australia Queensland counsellor David McAnalen now helps others after putting his gambling problems behind him.(

Supplied: Relationships Australia Queensland

)

‘I would always find a way’

David McAnalen said he used to put money down on just about anything he could — “casino games, electronic gaming machines, pokies, scratch-its, lottos, raffles, horses, dogs”.

“I was betting on everything,” he said.

Mr McAnalen said whatever the barrier, he would overcome it to gamble.

“I would always find a way — I always did find a way,” he said.

Mr McAnalen said he was compelled to change after his parents and sisters told him they loved him, but that they could not have him in their lives if he continued to gamble.

Now a Relationships Australia counsellor, Mr McAnalen said he was no longer “triggered” by gambling — but neither was he entirely cured.

“It’s the first drink that does all the damage — it’s the first bet that would do all the damage and everything would come back,” Mr McAnalen said.

“I wake up in the morning and say: ‘There are a lot of things I can do today and one thing I’m choosing not to do today is gambling’.”

A smiling man in thick-rimmed spectacles leaning up against a tiled wall.
Charles Livingstone says there’s no evidence online gambling companies take the measures that could make their operations safer for punters.(

Supplied: Monash University

)

Focus on ‘social responsibility’ of banks

Associate professor Charles Livingstone from Monash University has been studying gambling habits for decades.

He agreed that online gambling had the potential to be safer, but did not think that was necessarily the case at the moment.

“They certainly could step in and stop people gambling,” Dr Livingstone said.

In case studies used in a Financial Counselling Australia study from 2015, members worked with people who had lost large sums of money betting online, including one gambler who amassed a $300,000 debt over a three-year period.

In 2019 an ABC investigation reported accusations that Bet365 was skewing its system to encourage losing gamblers while banning or restricting the winners.

This month, Oxford University research found that gambling increased the risk of death, in addition to being linked with addictive behaviour and financial problems.

The Oxford findings inspired Mr Wallace’s call for change here in Australia.

“They don’t want Mum or Dad to go out and blow the weekly wages at the track, or in this case online,” he said.

“Banks have a social responsibility to step in and say: ‘We’re not going to allow this to happen any further’.

“If they won’t introduce a voluntary code, I’ll be recommending to my Parliamentary colleagues that we force them to do it.

Thanks for dropping by and checking this news article involving Tasmanian news named “Online gambling lobby says ‘no problem’ with punting on credit as MP calls for crackdown”. This story was presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

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Problem gamblers seek help in large numbers after COVID-19 lockdowns


A lucky dip at a school fair seems like a bit of harmless fun, but for David, it was the start of decades of addiction and shame.

The 53-year-old, from regional Queensland, said he was only 10 years old when he started to display the behaviours of a problem gambler.

“I was told at the fete that the boys’ lucky dip had one good prize and was warned not to spend all my money,” he said.

It was a pattern that repeated itself through David’s life and at one point, led to his family kicking him out of their home.

While gambling addiction can occur at any time, the pandemic has led to a huge spike in demand at Queensland’s Gambling Help service.  

“After the lockdown we saw a big uptake in online and phone counselling and my books are completely full,” said the service’s Susan Rounsevell.

“We expect there will be more problems now that COVID payments have reduced, as people get used to that level of income.”

For David, gambling was a form of escape.

As a young adult, he would drive hundreds of kilometres to indulge in his first love – casino games.

“It wasn’t uncommon for me to get paid on Thursday and then after work I would drive to Broadbeach and gamble,” he said.

He said he did whatever he needed to do in order to continue gambling.

“I thought it was a financial issue, so I held down three jobs and worked 80-plus hours a week.

“But the more money I got, the more I gambled.”

David said one of his lowest points came when his youngest sister found out he’d committed fraud against her, using her credit card to access cash.

“It’s not a spectator sport — family, friends, employers all get to play … the ability to cause great harm is high.”

Ms Rounsevell said when gambling started to affect relationships, work and finances, it became a problem.

“There are free services like ours, which are funded by the state government to help people address the issue in a holistic way,” she said.

“It’s about emotional help, financial help … behaviours are part of who you are and it takes a long time to learn new ways of being.”

Ms Rounsevell is also concerned that young people are normalising gambling.

“A lot of games adolescents play include prize boxes and loot bags and encourage them to take a chance,” she said..

David said being a “problem gambler in action” was incredibly tiring.

“You’re juggling so many balls in the air and telling so many lies.”

Part of the challenge he faced in seeking help was a deep sense of shame.

“It (problem gambling) is a very misunderstood thing,” he said.

“If someone has an alcohol problem, people will have a range of suggestions to help.

“People will pay off a mortgage quicker than I will pay off my gambling debt.”

Despite his life once being dominated by the impacts of problem gambling, David said he didn’t believe tighter regulation was needed.

“I have a deep acceptance of about it because no-one ever forced me to do anything, I made all those decisions.”

David said he had spent a lot of time reflecting on his addiction, and his decision to abstain from gambling for more than two decades.

“I would say to my 20-year-old self, you don’t have to needlessly suffer any more … there are many ways to get help.”

Thank you for spending time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed reading this news article regarding “News & What’s On in Queensland’s Gold Coast Region” named “Problem gamblers seek help in large numbers after COVID-19 lockdowns”. This news release was shared by MyLocalPages as part of our Australian events & what’s on local stories services.

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F1 news 2021: Daniel Ricciardo reveals major flaw, Lando Norris battle, McLaren problem, Portugal GP results


Daniel Ricciardo was happy to bounce back at the Portuguese Grand Prix after a horror run in qualifying but knew there were issues he and McLaren must address.

The Aussie F1 star was knocked out in Q1 as qualifying turned into a disaster, but was able to move up from 16th on the grid to finish ninth in the main event and walk away with some points.

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Post-race Ricciardo spoke in general terms about what was going wrong, having finished behind teammate Lando Norris for the third successive time this season. While the young Brit finished on the podium in Italy and came fourth in Bahrain and Portugal, Ricciardo only managed to cross the line seventh and sixth in the first two races of the year.

Teething problems were to be expected with a new team after leaving Renault at the end of 2020, and Ricciardo spoke on the weekend about the difficulties he was facing in his new car and the need to tweak some things with its set-up.

Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed reading this news update regarding Australian Sports news named “F1 news 2021: Daniel Ricciardo reveals major flaw, Lando Norris battle, McLaren problem, Portugal GP results”. This news release is posted by My Local Pages Australia as part of our news aggregator services.

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