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About Pond321

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  • Birthday 27/05/1973
  1. Pond321

    MyKi Cards for trams

    It is not bad, but… Sometimes you have to swipe it loads and loads of times before the reader takes the payment I keep on forgetting to swipe it when I get on the tram. It is cheaper though (and not just because I keep forgetting to swipe it). I was buying monthly cards before and in effect paying for days that I was not using
  2. Pond321

    Melbourne Relocation Agents

    I think Kate at Moving-To- Melbourne offers well regarded relocation services: www.moving-to-melbourne.co.uk I used a different company (chosen by my employer) - Toll Transitions, who were also excellent. Toll Transitions
  3. After attending a couple of the excellent drinks nights that Kathryn organises, I felt inspired to try to run an event myself. So, I am looking to get together a group of the Melbourne based Poms In Oz for a Vineyard tour. The tour takes a full day and you get to visit four or five vineyards plus lunch is included. You are driven around in a minibus, which removes any need to worry about driving after sampling a few different vintages. There are a couple of companies that run the tours, links are below: http://www.austwinetourco.com.au/private_yarra_valley_winery_tours.htm Yarra Valley Winery Tours - Daily Social Group Wine Tours Victoria Yarra Valley vineyards wines tastings Melbourne Australia The price is somewhat dependent on how many people go on the tour. For a group of ten, picked up from central Melbourne, the price is around one hundred and thirty five dollars per head. The potential date I am looking at is the Saturday the 27th of November. Let me know via a PM if you are interested so that I can work out a rough idea of numbers. Cheers Jon
  4. Pond321

    Help with choosing a shortlist of suburbs?

    Also, you might find that your potential new employer is able to offer you the Living Away From Home Allowance (LAFHA) tax break. If they can, and you are elifgeable for it on a 175 visa, it will knock 40% off your monthly rental costs.....
  5. Not sure about Tim Tams as I do not know what they are. However, VB and Crown Lager etc would be cheaper in a pub in the UK than they are in a pub over here. Not that I would buy them :-) Also, I do not know whether this is true (urban legend perhaps?) but I have been toild that Vegamite is cheaper ina Sainsburys in the UK than it is over here.
  6. On the subject of Salary multiples. I do not think the average job pays 3 times the amount that the same job would do in the UK. I am in the slightly unusual position of doing the same job for the same company that I worked for in the UK. The company publishes its pay scales, so I know how far along the pay scale I am – and again, I am at the same position here that I was in the UK. My Australian salary is 2.16 times what I earned in the UK. If you factor the additional pension payment you get over here, it goes up to 2.20 times the UK amount. Other benefits are similar. I am a higher rate taxpayer over here and find that I pay about the same amount in tax over here as I did in the UK (when you include NI that is). So, around my way (I live in central Melbourne) a pint is between $8 and $10 per pint. So that equates to £3.63 to £4.54 a pint. This is expensive. I am sure that lots of people will chime in and say that beer is thruppence hapenny at their local boozer but I am just quoting prices for how much beer costs around Port Melbourne area. Anyhow, back to wages. Australia has a much flatter income distribution curve than the UK. There are fewer people earning millions and less people earning a pittance. This, in my view, seems to be a better system than in the UK.
  7. Hmm. Yes. Strangley however, I seem to have seen lots of them just today as i drove down the great ocean road. And even putting aside your views on Landrovers, Toyotas are also significantly more expensive here than in the UK. I know this for a fact, as I was about to buy one, but got put off by the price.
  8. A lot of things are a lot more expensive in Aus. There is very little competition between the companies over here – it is all a bit of a cartel. If you want to be scientific about it, go view the company report for Coles (owned by Wesfarmers) and compare their gross margin with a company like Tescos. It is quite revealing. Things that I have noticed that are eye wateringly expensive over here include: - Decent cars (i.e BMWs, Landrovers etc) - Fresh soup - Tinned Tomatoes - Work shirts - Fishing/Diving equipment - Hot roast chickens in supermarkets - Beer (either in a pub or to take away) - Electrical equipment - Tinned goods - Bed linen - Nice clothes - Nice shoes - Internet Access - Books - Magazines - Ready meals - Chewing gum - Confectionary - Haircuts - Cleaning products - Toiletries Some stuff is cheaper: - Meat - Petrol - Utilities - Fast (junk) food - Taxis - Public Transport Thing is, after a while, you kind of adjust. There is no wrong or right. You just adapt. One thing that I have noticed is that people who say that Aus is cheap generally seem to have limitless time to shop around. I do not. I go to supermarkets to buy stuff because I do not have time to shop around. Supermarkets here fleece you. They have a couple of loss leaders – but overall they make far more money off you than equivalent UK chains. Coles only has to compete with Woolworths. And that is all they care about. They both try to maintain pricing parity with each other and not lower prices overall. Finally, internet shopping over here is naff. The Aussies are literally years behind the curve. And this limits price competition as in the UK a lot of people shop for big ticket items on the internet. Things are slowly changing though. But it will take time. And Aussies do not seem to realize they are being fleeced.
  9. Pond321

    Hopefully Moving to Melbourne

    If you are coming on a 457 or temporary visa then you may be claim LAFHA (living away from home allowance). Your employer has to offer you this scheme (i.e, it is not automatic that you will get it), but if they do, it will knock about 40% off your monthly rental cost via a tax rebate against your salary.
  10. Pond321

    Car finance on a 457

    I used a company called Stratton Finance. They were excellent – it was no harder than getting a loan in the UK. However, as previously stated, the loan cannot last longer than your 457 – I think I took out a term of 42 months (given my 457 lasts for 48). The interest rate was about 8.6%, which seems pretty fair over here. The finance they offered was cheaper than the finance the dealer (Booran Suzuki) were offering – in fact, the finance guy at Suzuki basically said I would be better off going with them than his finance company. I would google them and give them a call.
  11. Pond321

    Australia - expensive??!

    I disagree with those beer prices. A Pint costs between $8.50 and $9.50 in every bar I have been to in Melbourne, and I have been to a few now. At today’s exchange rate that is between £5.11 and £5.71. Beer purchased from an off licenses is even more expensive than the UK in percentage terms.
  12. Pond321

    Australia - expensive??!

    without wishing to jump in to an argument, Ems, if you are not out here already, you need be careful assuming everything is cheaper. Things that are more expensive include food, cars, meals out, drinks in bars, drinks from off-licenses (with the possible exception of low end wines), toiletries, medicines, healthcare, clothes, shoes, bedding and possibly cleaning products. When I use the word expensive I mean a) they cost more than they did in the UK from a pound vs dollar perspective and b) they cost a larger percent of my annual salary than the equivalent product did in the UK. I am in quite a good position to compare apples with apples in this case as I do the same job for the same company over here as I did in the UK. Houses may appear cheaper, but certainly, where I am living in Melbourne, a cheap house equals long commute. Aus towns are VERY spread out, much more so than the UK. In terms of comparables, I rented a town centre flat in Reading in the UK for about 725 pounds per month. Over here, I am paying $3K per month for 2 bed flat. OK, it is a bit bigger and has a balcony, but aside from that there is not much difference – in fact, the Reading flat was in a lot better condition....... Also, interest rates are a lot higher here than they are in the UK so if you buy a place your mortgage will cost you more than the equivalent mortgage would in the UK. That said, I am not trying to put you off. Aus is a great place and you will love it here. Just do not assume it will be cheap J
  13. Yup - I will sign up! Cheers jon
  14. Pond321

    LAFHA and MSL

    LAFHA does not reduce your taxable income. It just reduces the amount of tax that is actually removed from your wages. So you will still earn $45.2K, you will just give less of it back to the government in tax. It is brilliant! :-)
  15. Pond321

    Australia - expensive??!

    I think it might have been. Not sure though - was just tagging along! Defo a bowling club though. Blue carpet if that provides any clues? :-)