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About Loopylu

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  • Birthday October 12

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  1. It's over 10 years since we applied for our Medicare cards but I don't remember being asked for an NHS number. I remember we had to sign a statutory declaration for some bizarre reason. Aussie bureaucracy loves stat decs….
  2. It appears that you have to take out private health cover as a condition of your visa. However, if this were not the case, it may still be cheaper to pay the MLS than pay for hospital cover health insurance, particularly if you have a family. In my view, private health cover in Australia is a huge rort compared to what you get in the UK where my employer paid for my private health. In the UK there was a small annual excess on my BUPA cover. In Australia, The health insurance rarely covers full procedures and people can be several thousand dollars out of pocket. We were $1000 out of pocket for an ingrowing toe nail where our son required surgery under general anaesthetic. Out of pocket for ENT procedures for young children can cost several thousand and when you get onto cancer, don't ask!!! We have ditched hospital cover (and kept extras - ie dental, optical) and now use the public system. My husband has had two knee replacements on Medicare and we can't fault the results compared to friends who had private surgery and complications.... He is also very well cared for in the public system for his chronic kidney disease. Personally, I wish Australia would adopt an NHS system where more is covered but the negative nellies in the British media who are always dissing the NHS convince Aussies that the NHS is not as good. My Aussie MIL waited 5 years for a hip replacement and only got it because she managed to fall and break her hip.... I have never heard of anyone waiting that long in the UK. There is not much in the way of dentistry here for the poor or low income earners. If you are lucky enough to live in a major city, then if you are poor you can go to a dental training hospital and let the students treat you or otherwise you pay through the roof. There are no capped payments like in the NHS for dentistry and even the health insurance only covers so much. The cost of braces for children will set you back around $8000 per child. Even if you are on NewStart (ie Universal Credit) or an aged pensioner, you still have to pay a small amount for prescriptions and other routine screening procedures. Often poor people here choose between food and medication. For the wider population, if your prescription is on the PBS then you can pay up to a cap of $36 per prescription. depending on how much the medication costs. My advice is tofactor health care costs (particularly dentistry if your kids have bad teeth) into your budget....
  3. Loopylu

    Married in UK and changing name in Australia

    From recollection, it was free to change a UK passport when I got married (albeit nearly 25 years ago). You have nearly 8 months until you go on holiday so you should be able to get the visa and passport updated in that time....
  4. Loopylu

    Brisbane public high school - The Gap vs Mansfield

    I would say that The Gap is ahead of the suburbs around Mansfield in terms of demographics and this probably explains why The Gap got better OP scores. I believe that Naplan results may be adjusted to take into account factors such as demographics. I know Australians who have sent kids to both schools and they have been happy with the results from those schools and their kids have thrived (which to my mind is more important than academic results). My advice would be to rent somewhere fairly close to the CBD so that it is easy to commute to wherever you end up working (north or south). You can then have a look at the schools and suburbs and work out which you prefer. As all Qld public schools follow a national curriculum, when you decide where to live, you can then move your girls to the local catchment school. In Qld, if you live in catchment they have to find a place for your child, unlike the UK where they can turn you away if the school is full. We started out in Clayfield but after 9 months moved to just north of Brisbane (20km to the CBD). We just ferried the kids to their Clayfield school until the end of the academic year and then moved them to the school in our suburb at the start of the next academic year. If your girls are gifted academically or in sport or the arts, you could look to see if they can get into Brisbane State High which is a predominantly selective state school that enrols students from outside of its small West End catchment if they pass the relevant exams etc. This public school tends to be the highest performing academically in Brisbane. We thought about getting our two eldest (twins) to sit the BSH exam but decided not to in case one got in and the other didn't. We didn't send our kids to the nearest state high school but to one a bit further away which we selected because of its dlversity (racial and social class) and wide subject range which we considered more important to assist our children to develop life skills than choosing a school that hot-houses to get high academic results. Our twins are both now at QUT studying the subjects they are passionate about. Hope this helps.
  5. Loopylu

    Public schools

    As with the UK, there are excellent public schools, average public schools and some very bad public schools. I suggest that you look at NAPLAN (similar to SATS) results etc for the public schools you are considering to see if you are happy with the results. As you have noticed, there are a lot more private schools here and it is relatively cheap to send your kids to a private school, if that is your thing. Catholic schools and other religious schools are the cheapest and may only cost about $5000 per child per year. This is the case because private schools are generously subsidised by the Government in Australia. In my experience, the academic results from the low-mid cost private schools aren't that great. A lot of tradies send their kids to cheaper private schools here in the mistaken belief that their kids will become mini-Einsteins and climb the social ladder overnight. There is a lot of snobbery around what school you send your child to and, in this regard, I think the class system is worse than the UK. Alot of these cheaper private schools also have a limited range of subjects on offer. We have friends who have moved their kids from private schools to public schools because they did not think they were getting value for money or a good, varied education for their children. As with the UK, there are some elite private schools where the tuition fees are eye-watering but the facilities and academic results are excellent and, attending these schools, tends to open up an old boys/girls network. In some professions (eg law), which high school you went to may determine whether you get a training contract. However, some of the best (usually selective) public high schools give the expensive private schools a run for their money. Where we live, the selective Brisbane State High School and some specialist academies have top academic results. I'm a lawyer who has worked in top-tier law firms in Brisbane for 7 years and now work in-house. My husband and I decided to send our kids to a fairly local public high school based on the range of subjects offered and our impressions from attending the open day. Our two eldest (twins) got good OPs and are now studying at QUT. We still have one child there and she is thriving. We liked the school because it had fairly good academic results and was very diverse in terms of ethnicity and the social background of students. I think it is important to expose your children to people from all backgrounds and not quarantine them with others from a similar privileged background because they are better prepared for the real world. Good luck with settling in to SA.
  6. Loopylu

    Opening Australian bank account from UK

    If you do set up an account with one of the big 4 banks while in the UK, make sure you have a UK back-up account and credit cards in case you have any issues when you get here. We signed up with Westpac over 11 years ago and when we arrived in Brisbane duly went to see the branch to do the "simple" ID proof etc to get our bank cards issued. We had a numpty deal with us and they forgot to send off the paperwork after our appointment and so we had no access to all of our money transferred to the Westpac account because the cards did not turn up as they were supposed to.... Fortunately we still had a Nationwide account with funds and a credit card with no international transaction fees to tide us over until Westpac did their job properly. Marisa is right that the big 4 banks are pretty useless at customer service and not to be trusted. After 3 years here we moved from Westpac to St George when we got a mortgage with St George and like Marisa we have recently also signed up with ING for the great low interest credit card and no international transaction fees.
  7. Loopylu

    Requalifying as a solicitor from the UK

    I recommend that you get your assessment from VLAB before deciding whether to relocate as you may find that, depending on where/what you studied and if you have a law degree or went down the GDL route, the number of subjects you have to study may be much more than four. I have heard that for GDL qualified people assessment boards demand a lot more subjects to be completed. A number of universities and other entities (eg College of Law) will offer the courses and you can study on line with most of them. Some people do this while still working in the UK so that they are ready for admission when they get to Australia. I requalified 10 years ago but had the benefit of having being sponsored over by a law firm who paid for my requalification and admission and guided me through selecting course providers because I practised in an area of law (energy) where there was a skills shortage. Is this something you could explore if you work in a sought after area of law? It took me exactly a year after arriving in Australia to be admitted. I only had to do three subjects (even though I did not have a law degree - I did the CPE and LSF) but it was a lot less stringent in those days and different states had different standards. I went down the NSW route to get admitted even though I was working in QLD. All the best.
  8. Once you get a permanent visa, you have 12 months to get private health insurance to avoid the loading that is applied for every year that you are over 31 years of age. This was what applied when I got my PR a few years ago. Before that I was on a 457 and then a bridging visa when my 457 expired and I was waiting for my partner visa application to be processed. When my husband returned to Australia from the UK in 2008 after 15 years out of the country, he was 45 but again was subject to the 12 month rule to arrange private health insurance to avoid loading as he was not resident in Australia when the relevant laws came in.
  9. Loopylu

    Insurance Recomendations

    I would check out a comparison website where you can put in your specific requirements for cover. If you are not a PR then you will be limited to specific policies designed for temporary visa holders and don't qualify for the tax rebates for holding health insurance that PR and citizens get. I recommend getting extras cover as well as hospital cover if you wear glasses or like to get your teeth checked regularly.
  10. Loopylu

    Been here a while.

    If that is the case then I would stay put unless you have a permanent job already lined up to move to here. My view is that the economy here is not great and, unless you are well paid, the cost of living here is high and there are lots of hidden extras. You have to pay alot of out of pocket here for medical care. There is no free dentistry and private dentistry is very expensive. If you have private health insurance it covers less and less each year.... Schoolbooks and materials are also not free here so you have to pay for those. When we had three in school, the school resources cost us about $1000 a year.
  11. The Australian companies to whom you owe money may choose to sell the debt to an international debt collection agency who can then pursue you in the UK.
  12. Loopylu

    WHV and mental health

    The only thing you need to worry about is your travel insurance. If you have experienced any mental health issues in the past or are currently taking medication to manage a condition (eg anti-depressants) you must declare it and pay any additional premium otherwise if you relapse or suffer any other health issue (ie not just mental health) while travelling, it is likely that the insurer will not cover you if you need to make a claim.
  13. Loopylu

    Extinction rebellion

    I have a bit of insight into Extinction Rebellion as my ex-bro in law, Roger Hallam, is one of the founders and his ex, my sister and her family are also heavily involved. My 48 year old sister was one of the half-naked protesters in the public gallery.... XR has only been going since about September 2018 but has membership all over the UK and around the world. There are branches here in Australia and some XR members were responsible for stopping a coal train going to Port of Brisbane the other day. Not much media coverage and the authoritarian Queensland police have thrown the book at the "offenders". A far cry from how the UK is treating those arrested in London - only a small proportion of the 900 arrested have actually been charged... What is interesting about this organisation is that it is attracting people from all backgrounds - not just long-haired vegan hippies (of which my ex-bro in law is one!!!). There are very respectable older people involved who are regular church goers, much to my niece's surprise and delight. My ex-bro in law has been a serial campaigner. He did time for breaking into Greenham Common when a student in the 80s. He was also jailed fairly recently for climate action activities and went on hunger-strike. I too am not very optimistic about change happening too quickly but the more people who tell politicians that this is a major issue then the more likely they are to listen. Will be interesting to see how many votes the Greens get on 18 May.
  14. Loopylu

    1 month+ Recon in the UK - where to check out?

    I found your comment on class and wealth interesting. From my 11 years of living in Oz, I think there is a much bigger division in Australia between those who have money and can afford private schools (approx 50%) and private health and those who can't. I personally think there are more measures in place in the UK to assist the poorest in society such as free school meals, no charge for textbooks and other school materials, no requirement to buy expensive school uniforms (you can buy cheap ones in the supermarket), the NHS (including free and accessible dentistry for the poorest and subsidised for the rest of the workers, much lower caps on prescription charges or no charges if you are on welfare, no GP gaps etc) and so the list goes on. Personal examples: my Aussie mother in law waited 5 years for a hip replacement in the public system and only got one because she fell over and broke her hip so they had to do something. I've heard of 12 - 24 month waits in the UK bu never 5 years! My daughter waited 3 years for an ENT appointment in the Qld public health system to get adenoids and tonsils removed. Took 5 years all up to get the work done. In the UK my twin sons were seen within 3 months and operated on 3 months later (and at the same time). If you have money in Australia, life is probably easier than in the UK. But if you are working poor or unemployed, you are bottom of the pile and vilified as being a bludger....
  15. Loopylu

    PRs who never bother to take out citizenship

    Wow - this sounds just like my situation except is was my Aussie hubby who was homesick after 15 years in the UK. I have now done nearly 11 years here but desperately hope to return to the UK once the kids are off our hands. My hubby is also fine now with a return as he found Australia and Australians were not as good as his memories. He thinks the country is too Americanised now.... As my husband took UK citizenship while living in the UK and our kids are dual nationals, I thought it best to hold the same citizenships as the rest of the family so we can all come and go at will.