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Everything posted by LukeM

  1. Just did my Citizenship test last Friday, got 100% :biggrin: We were told that we could apply for an 'urgent' ceremony, as the ceremonies were full before the census date and I can't afford to pay for another semester up-front so want to get HECS. I've got the form but I assume they'll want some kind of documentation to back up the application. Has anybody done this/for this purpose? I know lots of web pages say that it's "not a valid reason" (to apply for an urgent ceremony for the purposes of getting HECS), but the CO at DIAC in Brisbane told us it was fine and we should go ahead and apply for it. Anybody?
  2. LukeM

    Best bank

    NAB. $0.00 per month account keeping fee regardless of how much $ you deposit into the account. You can leave it open without using it and not incur any fees for doing so. You get a Visa debit card and you can control all of the features of the debit card in the app, including setting a PIN and you can even turn the PayWave features on/off if you would rather insert and use your PIN instead (note: if you do that and try to use PayWave it'll just decline). They also have no overdrawn fees. If a direct debit goes out of the account and is dishonoured, there's no charge to you. The transaction just reverses and it appears on your statement - that's it. No questions asked. You can also add your Superannuation account to Internet Banking if you go with MLC for Super. The interest rates on savings accounts are not great, though, so you could get NAB Classic Banking and link it to a ING Savings Maximiser with ING if that really bothers you...
  3. LukeM

    Melbourne voted 2nd most "fun" city in the World

    There's a high chance of being killed in Chicago as a result of gun violence. Perhaps the "fun" is that element of danger? As for Sydney being bottom of the list? No way! Canberra takes the cake if you want a boring Australian city !
  4. LukeM

    Pimpama SHS & Coomera Waters PS

    Have heard a lot of mixed reviews about Pimpama SSC. Some people say the bullying/student body is terrible, but the teachers are great. Others say it's the best school. Unfortunately, the same with all schools. If you're looking for a good school in the region, Coomera Anglican College is K-12.
  5. LukeM

    Get dad's mum to Aus?

    Just wondered how we go about doing this now, and how easy it is to do? We are citizens and wondering whether it's possible to bring my dad's mum over. She's living on her own currently. Finding it increasingly hard to travel. She's just turned 70 and we felt it might be something to look into for her benefit if we were able to sell her house in the UK (we own it anyway) and bring her over here. i think it would be better for us all in the long run. I've not really followed the forums since I got here and became a citizen so I've come crawling back for advice hehe
  6. LukeM

    Get dad's mum to Aus?

    Hmmm was only really an idea, thought I'd look into it for them. We don't really have the kinds of money to deal with it and she certainly doesn't have 30 years left in her... I'd bet 4 or 5 tops, so that 838's out of the question. She does have a pension, yes. She's not dependent on anyone financially (that I'm aware of). Oh and someone asked before if my dad has siblings - no, he doesn't. Both my parents are their parents' one and only child.
  7. LukeM

    Get dad's mum to Aus?

    Mmmm while I understand your point of view, unfortunately she's not got anyone there. She lives alone and doesn't socialise with anyone - even immediate family including her brother and sister. She would rather be with us - whether that means her being here or us being there. She has a lot of mental and physical health issues and as I said we all know she would rather be here with us. It certainly wouldn't be easier on us but it would be easier on her. $50k is a lot. I don't think we would be able to afford that. I was just curious about options.
  8. Currently living in Qld. Thinking of making the move to Vic after my fiancee and I get married. It will be the two of us and possibly a bun in the oven! Where would be a good place for us to start, based on this criteria? - Reasonably central location. Preferably further from the CBD, as we're not really city people, but close enough to a decent shopping centre and with reasonably good links to the CBD if we need to go there for anything. I'll still be at Uni for example, so it might be beneficial to be able to access the CBD for that reason (though I'm thinking more about doing online study so I can do things a bit more at my own pace!) - Easy access to doctors/hospital/chiropractor/other health services. - Quiet. Must be quiet and "out of the way", family friendly, good for raising kids. Again - refer to above, we're not city people! - Green! - Relatively cheap - we would be renting, looking around the $370 per week mark. That's what we're paying at the moment for a townhouse. We would prefer to have something a bit more private. I don't really like townhouses/apartments. I like separation from neighbours! They've proven to be noisy here!
  9. Hi I need to obtain a full birth certificate. Anybody know how to go about this? I applied for/paid for one, and when I got it, it was only a Certified Copy of an Entry which is not adequate for what I need. I only have an original 'short' birth certificate. So as I said I need one, but a full one, with parents' names etc - but cannot be a certified copy of an entry. Anybody know how to get one? Kinda annoyed that I wasted money on what I believed would be the correct thing. Thanks.
  10. I know now what you mean. Thanks for the replies everyone. I guess I'll just have to see what happens. As far as I know my parents have claimed they've never had a full one other than a certified copy of an entry. I guess I will just have to take it and see what happens. Thanks anyway!
  11. I have a Gumtree ad with all of the details in it. Please PM me if you would like information or the link to the ad. Please comment or message if you require information, please only do so if you know someone who is interested or you are seriously interested yourself. Thanks.
  12. LukeM

    TAFE college fees on a 457 visa

    Depends on study area and level...
  13. LukeM

    TAFE college entry requirements?

    If you're not a Permanent Resident you may have to pay "full" fees, same as University. Depends on study area and the level. A Diploma of IT at TAFE can be $10,800 up to $14,900 just as an example. Certificates and random courses would be a lot cheaper.
  14. LukeM

    University funding on a PR 189

    Said friend attends UQ, and stays in a UQ residential college.
  15. LukeM

    University funding on a PR 189

    You might want to start looking at the news about all the "proposed" changes to University funding in Australia. They haven't been passed by the Senate as yet but if they are, then I'm afraid your "cheaper than the UK" may be abruptly shattered I hope for the sake of all those who rely upon a University education to secure their career and boost employability, myself included, that these ridiculous measures never come to pass.
  16. LukeM

    University funding on a PR 189

    Really? I was of the impression from a friend who lives at the residential colleges that you can't stay over summer or the break between semesters but you can obviously stay for mid-semester break...
  17. Eh? What? Degree easier? No. The timing is different as Quoll said. To be honest it's just more stressful dragging it out over so many years I say stuff 'em in to 2 years full time and deal with it. But they cleverly plot it so they can index fees and interest rates and steal your money for the government. Depends. Queensland I read has the highest dropout rate for University as they go younger from school to Uni. I don't think it's easier at all. Everything is just what you make of it. Obviously a 'brighter' student is going to handle it differently... Public/private makes no difference IMO.
  18. LukeM

    Before coming to Oz I wish I had....

    Got my drivers license (Aus path to getting licensed is painful) Known how hideous the public transport system can be Researched University life more and been more aware of my options and opportunities relating to what I want to do with my life rather than what people thought/think I should do with my life. Known how terrible 3G/4G speeds are :jimlad: Oh well no time for dwelling on the past those are all minor things so I don't really care I wasn't expecting aus life to be like the UK anyway so I guess I just went in with no expectations and I haven't ever been disappointed - I wouldn't go back so yeah.
  19. LukeM

    HOW did Tony Abott get elected??!

    Because that's life and if people feel they made a mistake voting for the party (lead by Tony Abbott) then they will just vote for someone else in the future and thus the cycle starts all over again. A different party will gain power. That party will make promises. The party will introduce changes. They will break their promises. They will introduce/not introduce changes accordingly. Then everyone will come on this here Interwebs and have a whinge about them. Rinse, and repeat. And to be honest I'm not the biggest fan of Tony Abbott and I'm not into all these cuts and that other stuff he's got going on but when you look at the recent stuff - the Malaysian plane crashes, terrorism etc I've sort of warmed to him a bit. I think he knows he's got to dig himself out of a hole a bit and his other key figures in Parliament are letting him and his party down somewhat (yes, you - Mr. Pyne!) Also, Harpodom, I hope your tongue is placed firmly in your cheek with that signature...
  20. LukeM

    UK qualifications for Aus Uni

    I realise I already posted here once before, just to backup what was said, you've got better chances if you have A2s. You can use AS as well. I think A2 has more weight though.
  21. LukeM

    Driving lesson costs?

    $65 is excessive for 1hr. You're being ripped off at that! Check out My Driving School. http://www.mydrivingschool.com.au I've had a number of instructors with them, all are very very good. My brother also used them and passed his test first time with them. 1hr lessons are $57 currently. If you "block book" the cost per lesson goes down but you do have to pay up-front if you do "block book" I've had a looooong and hectic experience being a learner driver here in Qld and only just got my first car about a month ago so I can tell you pretty much whatever you want to know about driving in Brisbane and the surrounding areas from a learner perspective. If you want to know more or have specific questions you can drop me a PM on here.
  22. LukeM

    UK qualifications for Aus Uni

    I can't remember exactly... I'm in Qld. Here's what I had... - 9 GCSEs - Level 3 "Advanced" Diploma in IT (which was 'equivalent' to 2.5 x A2 subjects... I freaked out so much that they wouldn't accept this). - A2 Media Studies, A2 General Studies - AS Psychology. And I got in fine with no troubles. I don't think they looked at my GCSEs. Yes, you need the original - NOT just the Statement of Results. I tried to give them the Statement of Results and because those are un-finalised, you needed the certificates. Again, I'm talking for QTAC in Queensland. So I guess it'd be the same in Vic. If you're worried about not having them in time to apply, check your deadlines for applications. I was cutting it very fine but I still made the 'early' offer round when I applied 4 years ago. And don't panic. I celebrate my 4th year (to the day) in Aus tomorrow. I arrived around this time after completing my A Levels a month prior, and still got everything sorted out. Worst case scenario you may just have to do some kind of tertiary prep course through either TAFE or a local University. Usually you can do them online and they run for 1-2 semesters depending on if you do them full/part time, online or on campus etc. It'd be worth looking in to all your options, applying, giving them the documentation, but putting that as an option on your application (I'm not so sure what the system is like in Vic - in Qld we have preferences and offers are made based on your preferences... So if you put your degree as your top preference and if they can't offer you a degree, put the tertiary prep program as your next option, for example). Hope that helps - if you need anything clarifying please do feel free to ask, it's getting late, it's winter and I'm fading... Haha. Even though it was 28 in Brisbane/Gold Coast region today!
  23. LukeM

    mountains near brisbane

    If you wanna head down Gold Coast... Tamborine is pretty great. Some nice places to stop on the way up. Also up the Sunshine Coast there's the mountainous villages such as Maleny/Montville, that are worth a look, set in the mountainsides - nice atmosphere (though maybe not the kinda mountain stuff you're talking about!) NSW - Mt Warning is a good one. I'd love to go see The Blue Mountains some day.
  24. That would be quite unlikely I would think. As you know, when you become eligible, you have to apply - then when that's approved you have to book the test and sit the test, then you'd have to organize the Ceremony. In other words - if you are currently not eligible and have not made an application yet it is very unlikely that you would be eligible in time for semester 2's census date. Lots of people are trying to do this every year to become eligible for HECS. If the timing isn't quite right you miss out unfortunately. I had that fear too. I sympathise. May as well just make sure that you have all of your documentation and stuff ready and go for it ASAP and see how you go.
  25. LukeM

    University fees for citizens

    Oh but no loans. Deferring fees with HECS (a "loan") is only available to citizens. If you can secure a loan for your fees in your home country and then pay for your fees using credit card online or a cheque that's fine.