Posted by: jkirkby8712 | November 5, 2011

Friday, 4th November 2011 – a Friday of mixed tasks and thoughts!!

I heard Susie drive out about midnight last night – assumed she was driving down to the service station for a coke [her addiction\] or something  – think I was awake for a brief while afterwards, but didn’t here a return, though on awakening early this morning again, I noticed the house was in darkness so assumed, again, she had returned at some stage. This morning, I noted on Facebook that son James had missed the last train to Sunbury, and was calling for suggestions as to what his alternative was [other than a long and expensive taxi journey]  – the suggestion was to catch a metropolitan train to Watergardens [the end of the metro lines, about 20 minutes from Sunbury], and Susie noted his remarks on Face Book and offered to go and pick him up.  So that was her reason ‘this time’ for disappearing in the middle of the night.  I felt rather good, after reading that, about the brother/sister co-operation!  I have a feeling that will occasionally be my option on some of these upcoming weeknights when I have a concert in the city to attend which finishes too late to allow me to catch the last train to Sunbury [10.15pm Sunday to Thursday], though I think on those occasions I will probably drive the car to Watergardens, and train from there and back, rather than depend on one of my ‘kids’ to come and get me!!

Anyway, enough of my little family ‘trivia’ to start off today’s contribution!!

I received in the mail, my annual CPA [Certified Public Accountant] annual membership renewal yesterday. At a cost that keeps going up each year  – this time $630 for 2012 –  I’ve decided that in view of retirement, I really don’t need [or particularly want] that membership any longer.  It has helped that the cost over the past five years was met as part of my salary, but from now on, I feel it is just too much money to pay out on something that I will seldom if ever have any further need of. And while I guess that over the past thirty years, the qualification has assisted in obtaining most of the jobs I’ve had, not really sure that most of the material I studied for all those years, and which the bulk of the organisation represents, was a great deal of value in the roles I undertook which were in total roles in the government, municipal and/or not for profit environments, as distinct from a strict commercial and business accounting area. I was never really that interested in the business side of accounting, and as indicated by my career, have concentrated on the community service areas of work provided by the above environments, and generally, most of those areas had a different accounting direction where the prime motive was not one of achieving profits for shareholders and other owners. So yesterday, with all that in mind, I attempted [unsuccessfully] to get onto the CPA by phone & internet to formally submit my resignation.  While that ‘message’ will get through eventually, I had no luck with that first attempt – even the web site was totally ‘user unfriendly’ when it came to finding means of ‘leaving them’!!  Perhaps that might take the best part of the next six months, while they chase me for my 2012 subscription!

Speaking of trains earlier, I notice that the metropolitan network and major regional centres are soon to be all; fully covered by the presence of Police Protective Service Officers [PSOs], part of the present State Government’s commitment to make our rail network safer for the travelling public. A vigorous recruiting campaign is currently underway to build up the numbers of PSOs, aimed at providing the means of tackling crime, violence and antisocial behaviour on the rail network. While the first two aspects are serious enough in their own right, it is probably the third area which is the most common, and causes the most concern and anguish for many passengers, particularly on late night trains to outer suburban and regional areas. At present, Sunbury is not on the metropolitan system, but that will soon change, with the extension of the metro electric trains rail link to this town.  In many ways that will be an advantage, particularly in overcoming the problem faced by my son, as referred to above –  we will at least trains travelling from the city at a much later time of night.  However, apart from the potential creation of major traffic flows concerns here in Sunbury when that happens [and that is a whole separate issue on it’s own], one of the concerns here in Sunbury, when the extension was first announced was that because we would now be on the ‘end of the line’ as far as the metro trains were concerned, that would attract more antisocial and potentially criminal elements to this area – something which has proved a concern in the past to other suburbs on the ‘end’ of the train journey. Hopefully, the PSO system will extend to Sunbury and subsequently cause some easing of that kind of concern.

On a similar issue, I notice a report that our State Government has  allocated a $200,000 Grant to install Closed Circuit Television [CCTV] in Sunbury’s shopping district, and this will hopefully ease the concerns of some residents about community safety in the town, especially after dark. While I don’t consider that there are a large number of such instances, certainly the perception is there from when they do occur, and with Sunbury’s central shopping area used by many locals day and night, the CCTV should hopefully a little extra of community comfort and feeling of safety when using and accessing those areas, even such a simple thing as walking from the train station late at night to one’s car, which at the time it was parked, may have been in a full carpark, but by late night, is generally isolated in an empty parking area!  A good move!

After a visit to the Bendigo Bank [3NRG matters], I then spent an hour up with the admin team at the radio station this morning chasing up a couple of matters, and then on my way to the local cinema, made the ‘mistake’ of perusing the book section of the Target store, and subsequently walked out having spent $60 I’d had no intention of outlaying that morning!!!  One of them, at the discounted price, I just had to snap up, the latest novel by one of favourite current Australian writers, Di Morrissey – she has to be a favourite, because she replied to me after I wrote to her, commenting on one of her earlier novels!.  This one – titles ‘The Opal Desert’, as per normal, set in Australia, aimed to tell the story of three women, facing uncertain futures, who come to form an unlikely friendship in Australia’s remote opal fields. By the time I retired tonight, I’d got through to page 139, another activity I’d not planned for today!!  The beauty of being retired with the ability [within limits] to choose one’s activities from one day to the next! The other book I purchased, of a much ‘heavier’ nature in all respects was called ‘After Words’, featuring a series of post- Prime Ministerial speeches by someone who was probably my most least favoured Prime Minister of recent decades, namely PJ [Paul] Keating. While I’ve never really had any desire to read a  biography of Keating [though I do have one on my shelves not yet tackled], I thought that this selection might be more easily read and interesting because it formed a series of separate speeches and/or addresses on a range of subjects. No doubt, once I get started on that publication, readers will hear about bits and pieces from it!!  In the meantime, I shall continue with Di Morrissey and complete a couple of other books before I get stuck into Keating.

My disappointment of the day was to call into the local cinema around midday, intending to have a look at the film about Damian Oliver’s Melbourne Cup victory of 11 years, which occurred a few days after his brother was killed in a riding accident – ‘The Cup’ – alas, I left my run to late, the screening of the film [here in Sunbury] finished last Wednesday!!!I shall have to find it in the city somewhere!

Didn’t waste the rest of my day however –  went for a walk, with the magpies once again dominating the environs at this time of day, and spent an or so out in the garden.  I have a big job to do there, particularly in the back yard, which unlike the front garden, has been sorely neglected over the past year or so. I have to admit, that while years ago, I could have managed the task ahead of me without any problems or effort, at present it feels like I have a mountain to climb. However with time now available, we are going to approach this one task at a time, while trying not to stress ‘too much’ about the big picture scenario. My aim is to have things the way I want them by the end of summer!

Susan had worked today, and went out again this evening. So another meal alone, a bit of TV, and some Di Morrissey reading, but I must admit to having some feelings of loneliness tonight. However, we allow that to pass, and move on!! 

Before concluding, earlier in the day, I noticed the report that the Federal Government had announced on Wednesday that it would be abolishing the age limit for superannuation guarantee contributions. The changes will take effect on 1 July 2013. For many years now, employers have been required to contribute 9% of an employees’ gross salary or wages to an agreed superannuation fund. The changes were added to a deal which boosts the super guarantee of all workers from that  9 per cent to 12 per cent. The increase in the super guarantee will take a few years to add significantly to older workers’ nest eggs, so removing the age limit on super contributions is a real win for Australians looking to retire in the next short while.  Of course, we are reminded that It’s possible we shouldn’t be jumping for joy yet – the package of superannuation reforms is tied to the government’s mining tax, and if the mining tax is not passed then the superannuation reforms will not go through. This is because the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (the mining tax) will be used to partly fund the boost in superannuation. We are told that the government has done this for two reasons. The first is to ensure that some of the mining tax is going directly back into the community, and the second is to make it more difficult for the opposition to oppose the mining tax.  Be that as it may, the original plan was to simply increase the superannuation guarantee contribution age limit to 75. But when Bill Shorton announced the “historic” changes on Wednesday, he stated that “Australians should not have to work hard and retire poor”. The Federal Government announced on Wednesday that it would be abolishing the age limit for superannuation guarantee contributions. The changes will take effect on 1 July 2013.  The question I am left with, relates as to whether this is all too late for people such as myself who have just retired or are considering doing so?  I doubt these ‘great’ Labor  benefits will do anything for this writer!……………………………………………..




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