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Liz Steve R

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Everything posted by Liz Steve R

  1. Hi Andy, Because you will be a perm resident, your RN pension will form part of your income and you will pay tax on it here along with you're wages, at around 38 %. As far as the RAN pension goes, they will pay you a sum equivalent of 28% of you're annual wage into a pension fund here, which believe me is the best pension in Australia! Put it this way if you joined the RAN from scratch you would get 18%, so they recognise you're time done in the RN for you're 28%. So if you earn $100000 a year in the RAN, they will pay $28000 into a pension for you per year. It soon mounts up! Regards Steve
  2. Congratulations to everyone that have got their TOS's & dates for coming to Australia :smile: Gav and Nic - hope you had a good journey over - are you here yet? Looking forward to finally meeting you all, give us a ring anytime :biggrin: Liz & Steve x
  3. Hi Dougie, Its not for my benefit, the RAN want me to RPL my qualifications, then tell me I need work experience evidence! I think its different for us MTs in Submarines as the job is completely different (Nuke boat - Diesel). I am not sure what LATs do now as it seems to change every six months! The thing is, you think your done jumping through hoops when you get here, then you find out the RAN have a few more hoops up there sleeve waiting for you! Thanks Steve
  4. Hi There, I am currently having issues here with the RAN (being here 6 months as an POMT) regarding Tech Quals. When you get here you need to re-submit evidence of every qualification you have got from the RN and send it to HMAS Cerberus, so it gets recognised on PMKeys, a process called RPL (recognised prior learning). I have done this but they have started to ask for more work experience evidence (task books maybe?)! So if you find out anything let me know and I will do likewise because I think this may become an issue for many of us! Steve
  5. Liz Steve R

    Real Estate agents suck.....

    I have to agree, here in Perth we have heard some expat's shocking experiences regarding rentals. The rental inspections here are a joke as my friend found out, they were told off for leaving bread crumbs on the kitchen work top mid inspection!!! It is one of the negative aspects of life here in Australia I,m afraid along with boguns, hoons, excessive roadside litter(WA), expensive houses and crappy politicians!!
  6. Hi there Bobby and Claire, We have been in Waikiki, WA for 6 months and are enjoying life so far, as are the kids. Regarding your pension - it's a minefield - we took financial advice for all our finances before we came over. We used a company called Montfort that have helped us quite a bit, it did cost us 600GBP but we feel they pointed things out that we weren't aware of. Must stress I am not advertising Montfort, merely saying we have been pleased with them - I am very sceptical about giving anyone money for advice but it seems to have paid off for us so far regarding tax & pensions. We send our two older children to private school, we chose private as we felt they had a stricter and a more morally based structure. Again personal choice, we saw a few schools (private & government) and sent the kids to the one we all originally thought we'd like. We let the kids have a say in where they liked too. Also some of the schools only had places for one or the other of our children not both, this one had space for both of them. Although it's not as expensive as private school would have been back in the UK (we don't get any help from the RAN towards the fees) they do like to charge you for EVERYTHING, we had a surprise demand from the school, just before Christmas, that we purchase an iPad2 for the eldest (wasn't happy the school suddenly decided to make the parents buy them instead of them providing them as in previous year groups). Other than that we are very pleased with it. Our children settled in so quickly and have made loads of new friends, the school atmosphere seems friendly as well. We decided to send our youngest to the local government primary school for Kindy and she's loving it. We wanted to be part of the community and get to know families whom live near us. Seems to going well so far and the curriculum seems quite challenging for a little Kindy girl. Congrats on your TOS and good luck with all the things you have to do before you get here. If you want to ask anything else, feel free. Liz & Steve
  7. Liz Steve R

    Shifting GBP to AUD - when/how to do it?

    We used Moneycorp and they were very good! Do not bring all of it though, we brought 6000 pounds out just before xmas and got $9300 (1.55 x rate). If we did it now we would have had $600 less (1.45), thats after 2 months. Thats more than any savings account could give you so choose your time carefully to transfer, after the Olympics may be a good bet!
  8. Liz Steve R


    Has anyone else noticed the huge amount of empty beer bottles and plastic drinks containers abandoned along the side of the roads? I live in Rockingham and every major road seems to be blighted. We went to Shark Bay and I was appalled that even at a World Heritage Site people still seem to throw their rubbish out of their windows, which may keep your car clean and tidy but spoils the otherwise beautiful landscape! What are peoples thoughts?
  9. Liz Steve R


    It is not as bad as Britain for litter, its just that (mainly) bottles just seem to be lying alongside the road on grass verges. It almost seems as if it's an accepted practice over here in WA. I could almost accept it if it was just in built up areas but it's just as bad on the Great Northern Highway, the road to Denham (Shark Bay) from the Overlander Roadhouse and even the road to Monkey Mia! So I don't suppose anywhere else North of there is any better? I drove all the way around Australia 13 years ago and it was spotless, now after being here for the last 6 months I have been dismayed by the change! I can only hope it is just a roadside thing. Yes, most places you go are generally clean and tidy, so I suppose it just sticks out more! Don't let it put you off as it is still a lovely place, its just a problem that needs addressing and as you can see from this thread there are people here that are addressing it!
  10. Liz Steve R


    I don't think its the British either, its the arrogant lot that expect other people to do things for them! Maybe the Uk is getting better or you just don't notice it as much. You have less vegetation on the sides of the roads here in WA to hide the rubbish. Has anyone been somewhere in OZ where the litter problem is non existent?
  11. Liz Steve R

    just wondering

    I think you can keep it in an offshore part of an Oz bank but they give a real poor interest rate sterling, so not worth it.
  12. Liz Steve R


    I feel your pain, it saddens me to think that people have no idea what all this plastic is doing to the environment. In the Pacific there is an area the size of the USA made up of plastic floating just underneath the surface which will take a 100 years to decompose. I think the companies that make this packaging should be held partly responsible along with the idiots that chuck it on the floor without a thought!
  13. Liz Steve R


    Keep Australia Beautiful. You can become a litter lout reporter, thats if you can catch anyone lol. Not sure how effective it is though am dying to catch someone in the act, although I think I would lose it and over react! I know how bad it is in the UK for litter, I thought that was a thing of the past now I was living here in WA but unfortunately not.
  14. Liz Steve R


    I joined the KABC, not sure how effective it will be, have not caught anyone in the act yet! Also I think fines do not do anything, it is so hard and time consuming to catch any one in the act. I just wish people had the sense not to do it in the first place. Is nice to know there are other people who feel the same!!
  15. Liz Steve R


    I am not sure who is to blame but I know WA has the worst littering record in Australia, I lived here 13 years ago and the place was spotless. I work on Garden Island which is off limits to the general public and I have picked up empty bottles there as well! Glad to here Melbourne and Cairns are litter free!
  16. Congrats on your TOS :biggrin: We came out 16th August, 2011 so your date is most probably correct. Don't think they seem to stick to the old 'January, June & August' dates anymore (re: the application form when they ask when you'd like to come over). Last year people came in Jan, March, May & August (that I know of). Maybe it's just to do with what branch you are and what courses they'll send you on after you arrive? Anyhow, best wishes for the next bit - your visa/removals. Liz x
  17. Hi everyone, Everything good here in WA. Had a huge storm Thursday night, it lasted 6+ hours and was constant thunder and lightening - AMAZING!! The weather is set to be 39/40C for the rest of this week - phew! Hope all going well for you all. Jen - don't blame you for feeling the time was running out, it's all a mad rush near end but like you say, don't think anyone ever feels completely ready. And then before you know it you live in Australia and you're thinking "how did that happen?" lol We're loving the lifestyle here, have made lots of new friends, kids have really settled well - no complaints or regrets so far. Gav & Nic - doubt there's any worry of a submariner being posted to the East side at the last minute seeing as the submarine base is on Garden Island, WA. Hope your scrubbing of shoes is nearing completion and the packing goes well. See you soon. Liz x
  18. Liz Steve R


    Ha ha I know exactly what you mean! We gave up halfway through our last two week August Cornish camping holiday when we couldn't see across the field through the rain & fog and had to put a coat & wellies on to walk over to the shower block!? Hopefully Aussie camping will be an enjoyable experience instead of some sort of family endurance test! lol Can you imagine the luxury of being so warm you won't have to wear full PJ's, a fleece jacket & socks and fight your husband for the sleeping bag in the middle of the night? :laugh: We bought a new tent and shipped it over before we left the UK, they looked very expensive here in 'Boating & Camping World' when we looked. They didn't seem to have the pod type tents here like the UK, more of the square design with hanging bedrooms. Anyway, all the best! Liz xxx
  19. Liz Steve R

    Our leaving party last nite

    Best of Luck with your move Kelly & Jamie :smile: We came out here in August and my 13yrold daughter and I cried like babies leaving departures and getting on the plane - like you, it wasn't that we doubted we were doing the right thing and that it would all be fine, just hit us what we were doing and how many very special friends and family members we were leaving behind! We have been here for 14 weeks and we are all loving it. The kids settled almost from day one of starting school and have masses of lovely new friends. We are taking a little longer to find our social feet but are really enjoying the climate, the beaches, our fab outdoor life. We've bought a puppy and she has been a joy to take to the dog beaches and out and about. We are not regretting our massive life changing move and can only hope when our family come to stay in January that they will be able to see why we are here and feel pleased that we're happy and settled. Hope everything goes smoothly for you and you love your new adventure! Liz xxx
  20. Liz Steve R


    Sorry can't help you! We tried to buy detailed maps before we came to Perth and failed miserably! When we got here we went and bought a Garmin Sat Nav with Australia/New Zealand/Tasmania on it, it's been brilliant, so useful :smile: Not what you're asking for but if you're after a good book to peruse over and plan some Aussie camping trips, we've just bought a fab camping book of Australia, called 'Camping Around Australia' Published by 'Explore Australia Publishing Pty Ltd' by http://www.exploreaustralia.net.au (Actually the website is very interesting for info and maps too) It has good maps, camp site details, interesting features, etc of the whole of Australia & Tasmania. It cost us $39.99 from a book shop, which was a bargain because it's basically a map book for the whole of Oz. There are lots of maps and books available to buy on their website - you might be able to get them ordered in the UK? Hope you find a decent map, I was always on Google Maps and street-view pre-move. Good Luck Liz
  21. I think you will be fine, schools is one of the biggest outlays for us and you haven't any children. Rent is the next big outlay and the further away from Perth you get the cheaper it is, generally. As mentioned before the longer your time spent in the mine and the shorter your time at home, the better the pay! Its all about what you want out of life!! Good luck
  22. Hi Rob and Sue, I took all our docs to a solicitor and paid £2 per item for 'certified true copies'. For speed I copied the docs at home myself and took them copies and the original docs to them and they just checked them, stamped and signed. *Tip: they wouldn't certify Steve's passport copy without him being there but did all of his certs, the kids and my passports, wedding cert, birth certs, etc. Not sure where you are? but I went to Curtus solicitors in Mutley Plain, Plymouth - just rang them and nipped straight in no problem. Best of Luck, hope the visa doesn't take too long. Liz
  23. Hi there :biggrin: So sorry for not checking in on here since we arrived - life has been manic getting settled, etc. WE ARE LOVING IT!!! :jiggy: Journey over here was great. The Millenium Gloucester in London was fab. Tip: just make sure they have booked you interconnecting rooms at your hotels if you have children, as ours wasn't booked for London and I had to contact Portman Travel and get them to chase it up. All got sorted though. Only minor hic-cup was that they sent us a people carrier for the airport transfer for us, 5 large cases and 5 pieces of hand luggage!!! Luckily we were leaving for the airport with plenty of time to spare and they sent out a van/bus instead (it arrived within 10 mins). Heathrow airport business lounge was fab too - everything free. Playarea for the kids with video games, wine bar, champagne bar, view of the runways, computer suite, food, newspapers, magazines . . . great :biggrin: We stopped at Singapore, stayed at the Furama City Centre - hotel was good and very accessable for Clarke/Boat Quay's. We went to the Night Zoo which we all enjoyed. Also visited the Lau Pa Sat hawkers food market near CBD, that was an experience, really cheap and great fun. Steve and the kids ate 60 satay sticks cooked over an open flame grill in the street!! lol We were met at Perth airport by our friends Carolann, Steve & their kids :jiggy:and they took us back to our fully furnished temporary accom. which was a house in Shoalwater and very nice. Steve got the first week we were here off of work. We stayed there for 10 days and then moved into our DHA house. We had reserved it in the UK (friends Carolann and Terri had been and checked it out for us) but not formally accepted it. We viewed it - they give you the code for a key lock, so you can let yourselves in and have a look around on your own. Then we accepted it and got a move in date the week after. We moved in with our cases and a furniture pack from the OAT people was delivered the same day (had to arrange this) which was great, it had: digital TV, TV unit, 2 sofas, lamps, side table, coffee table, dining table and chairs, kitchen equipment/dishes/pans and plates/cutlery, ironing board/iron, washing basket, beds/sheets, bedside tables & lamps, towels, washing machine & drier, pretty much all the basics you need. The day after we moved in our air freight arrived, which was great. We then had to wait another two weeks for our sea freight to arrive. The sea freight was delivered and at the same time the OAT furniture pack stuff was taken. Bit of a mad day but we did it. Everything in the air and sea freight arrived in one piece except for a fragile picture frame that had a bit snapped off but we just glued it back on. We didn't insure any of it for the journey over as we couldn't afford the £1385 quoted by Pickfords, so we winged it (had to send an email to Pickfords and Australia house saying we were happy to send our stuff uninsured) and thankfully all turned out well. Our two eldest started at their new school two weeks after arriving here and they love it and settled in almost instantly. We've sent them to a private school, personal preference (had spoken to lots of people before coming here and viewed the school on arrival and we all liked it). Our youngest is allowed to go to Kindy from next Feb so we have her name down for the school near our house which looks nice, also she has a place at the same school as the older two - will just have to see what comes up and decide. We're living in Waikiki on the Harrington Waters estate, we really like it. Nice quiet street, park and lake round the corner, nice primary school within walking distance, not too far in the car to the shops, beaches are only 5 mins away by car. There are dog beaches around too if you have dogs. And almost every public open space has free dog poo bags and bins. You have to register your dogs with the council too and they get a tag to go on their collar. We have bought a Kelpie X Ridgeback puppy, she's 15 wks now and is gorgeous - two more weeks to go til we can take her out for walks - can't wait. Steve's work seems okay, loads of courses to do and lectures, etc. The base is quiet and I got a spouse pass for me and the kids so we can get on the base and use the facilities too. We've been to the beaches there and they are beautiful and very quiet. There's a pool and BBQ facilities there too. The base had a wonderfull 'walk to work' day the other week, we parked our cars on the base and were bussed back over the causeway to the main gate and then walked 7km back to the Gym area and had a free families day, loads of free rides, bouncy castles, food, candy floss, show bags, entertainers, etc it was really good and we'll definately be there next year. The weird thing about being in Australia is that it doesn't feel weird to us and it certainly doesn't feel like we're on the other side of the world! We haven't had any bad home sick days yet, even when our furniture arrived. It was a minor annoyance that I had to work out where to go to buy the bits & bobs I needed but we've been here 10 weeks now and everything is falling into place. Food is fairly pricey but you have to look out for the things that are on special and buy them when they're cheap. Most people don't do a big shop here (once a month) but tend to buy things for the next few days. The weather has been okay, not as warm as I thought it would be but it's starting to warm up now and should be hot within the next few weeks. There have been three fatal shark attacks here in WA since we arrived - a surfer eaten near Dunsborough, a man swimming eaten off Cottesloe beach, near Perth and a diver (spearfishing) killed off Rottnest last week. Apparently there is a shark hunt on now, think I'll maybe stick to paddling for a while. Anyway I am waffling on now! :chatterbox: I promise I'll try and get on here more often. Great news Gav & Nic that all is going well for you, look forward to seeing you in March :biggrin: If you want us to look at any houses (and take some photos) for you, just shout, no problem. Take care all, Liz and Steve
  24. Don't panic!!! The Labour Agreement is a letter that you get sent to you, you don't have to send off for it. It's a letter from the visa people (DIAC) to the RAN saying that they accept you have got the job with the RAN and will grant you a visa, as long you can fullfill the visa requirement criteria for you and your family. When you get the Labour Agreement that is when you can send off the visa application. Although we frontloaded our family medicals before we received the LA, applied for the Police checks and had filled out most of the visa application paperwork before we got our LA. When we sent the visa application off the DIAC granted the visa 4 days after receiveing it (2 days after payment was taken). So get filling in the papers and hurry up, we want to get this BBQ organised :wink: We are all packed btw, container left on Weds 20 July and we left Plymouth on Friday 22 July. We passed our MQ out muster no probs - yay! What a relief! Now staying in Deeside with Steve's family, then have two weeks with my family in Leics and fly to Singapore/Perth 16 August. All feels very surreal and like it's happening to someone else! lol Will keep you updated on our journey and first thoughts. Good Luck for everyone with all the paperwork and waiting . . . . we are so nearly there now and it's taken us 18 months from the first interest enquiry. See you soon Liz and Steve
  25. YAHOOOOOOO!!!!!!! :biglaugh: :biglaugh: :biglaugh: Brilliant news, congratulations. You must be feeling very relieved to at last have some sort of direction to your future. You'll be there in 36 weeks time :jiggy:we'll have some beers and a BBQ waiting for you. Anything you need before then, just ask :smile: Have a great weekend. Liz and Steve x