Uber has said Australia will become the first international market for its flying taxi service Uber Air.
The firm has selected Melbourne as the third pilot city for its air taxi programme, joining Dallas and Los Angeles.
Test flights are due to start from 2020, with the aim of launching commercial operations from 2023.
Several companies are developing flying taxis as a future mode of transportation.
Uber said increased air mobility would help ease traffic congestion in cities.
“As major cities grow, the heavy reliance on private car ownership will not be sustainable,” said Eric Allison, global head of the firm’s aviation division Uber Elevate.
“Uber Air holds enormous potential to help reduce road congestion.”
He said the 19 kilometre journey from Melbourne’s central business district to the airport would take some 10 minutes with Uber Air, down from up to an hour by car.
Uber is working with Nasa and the US Army on its flying taxis and has two aircraft manufacturers – Embraer and Pipistrel Aircraft – also on board. Last year, the company said it would open a laboratory in Paris to develop flying taxis.
It comes at a testing time for Uber following a disappointing stock market debut last month.
Uber’s first earnings report showed the US firm posted a $1bn (£790m) loss, as it faced strong competition in its ride-hailing business, and incurred extra costs related to its Uber Eats delivery service.
Back to the future
Uber is not the only company experimenting with flying taxis, reminiscent of the mode of transport in the American cartoon “The Jetsons”.
Tech firms are competing to develop the first viable passenger-carrying sky taxis, while Airbus and a range of start-ups have also been testing self-flying taxis.
Dubai conducted its first test of a drone taxi service in 2017.
Separately, a firm funded by Google founder Larry Page has unveiled an electric, self-flying air taxi that can travel at up to 180 km/h (110mph).
Seniors will get free trips on Brisbane buses, CityCats and ferries — if they are happy to travel outside rush hour.
The Brisbane City Council budget, due to be handed down on Wednesday, will include a $3.1 million payment to the state government to allow the council to provide free off-peak travel for eligible senior Go Card holders.
Brisbane lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said free off-peak travel for seniors would make better use of available capacity and create more opportunities for older residents to travel the city and connect with family and friends.
“It’s also about giving something back to the generations who have worked hard and contributed so much to help build our city and our community,” he said.
“Social isolation and loneliness amongst older residents is consistently a major concern raised by community researchers.
“The evidence clearly shows that older residents are more likely to live on their own.
“Making it possible for seniors to get out and about more, at no cost, has the potential to bring many positive benefits to our community.”
The free travel will apply from October 1 on Brisbane buses, CityCats and ferries between 8.30am and 3.30pm, and 6pm to 6am, Monday to Friday. Buses will be free for seniors on weekends.
The initiative will also apply to the Brisbane Metro bi-articulated buses when services begin in 2023.
Cr Schrinner called on the Queensland government to match the announcement for rail passengers in the state budget, which will be handed down on Tuesday.
He said the council did not have the ability to reduce public transport fares, as they were set by the state government agency TransLink, but could introduce measures aimed at boosting patronage.
“Free off-peak travel for seniors on council’s public transport will go a long way to encouraging greater use of public transport, and I encourage the state government to adopt the same approach for rail commuters,” he said.
The council budget also includes funding for the Council Cabs program, a shared taxi service to take residents who are over 60 years, mobility-impaired or pension concession cardholders to their local shops for a set fare.
It will be Cr Schrinner’s first budget as lord mayor.
Labor pledged free off-peak public transport for seniors in 2011.
While the Department of Immigration doesn’t track the work of international students, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has provided insights into their impact on the Australian job market for international students.
The impact of international students on the Australian job market has been revealed, following new research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
As many as 40,000 students from overseas rely on the hospitality sector for income, based on calculations from Australian National University migration researcher Henry Sherrell using the new ABS research released last week.
The research links employment data from the Census to addresses and biographic details of temporary visa holders to provide the first ever large scale insight into the working lives of visitors to Australia.
It shows more than one in three foreign students reported having jobs in the 2011 Census. Approximately 15 per cent of these were hospitality workers, 11 per cent were cleaners and laundry workers, 10 per cent were sales assistants and eight per cent were food preparation assistants.
The Department of Immigration does not track the work of international students. These students can work up to 20 hours per week during semester and unlimited hours during semester breaks.
“If you plonk those people (around universities) in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, that will have some effect on those labour markets,” Mr Sherrell said.
While it’s likely that some foreign students are “substituting” for young Australians in these jobs, Mr Sherrell said it was a complicated field of study and it’s too soon to call for reform.
“The hard thing about this stuff, is if you take backpackers and international students, they’re often working for non-wage incentives like residency, while Australians are much more driven, especially at a young age, by wage considerations,” he said.
“If you’re going to work at Coles, you’re likely not going to work at Coles for the rest of your life, so you’re not after enjoyment or career opportunities.”
The Productivity Commission reported last year that a “lack of fundamental data on employment patterns” of students was making it difficult to assess whether working rights should be limited, but it was likely that students were making an impact.
“Given the number of students and graduates involved and their geographic and demographic concentration, these effects are likely to significant,” it stated.
“This is particularly likely for student work rights since this group tends to undertake low and semiskilled work —where they are likely to be in competition with Australian youth and first job entrants.”
Immigration law lecturer at the University of Adelaide, Dr Joanna Howe, said a focus on the work arrangements for foreign students was necessary to better understand their impact on the labour market and to ensure Australia’s reputation in the international student market is not tarnished.
“Traditionally our approach has been to see international students as purely here as a study purpose,” she said.
“But increasingly, through the 7-Eleven scandal, through the horticulture 4 Corners expose, through some of the Fairfax media investigations, we’re realising that international students have a strong need to work and a strong desire to work.
“We’re realising that their work impact is quite significant.”
Australia’s export education industry is worth around $20 billion a year.
Manling Zhu, from China, studies law and commerce at the Australian National University in Canberra and works part-time as a tutor. She said she would reconsider her decision to study in Australia if there were more restrictions on work for students.
“I come to Australia to study in an English-speaking environment,” she said.
“Working is part of an important aspect of my life here, and by working in Australia I can actually mingle in society and get better practice with my English.”
Fellow ANU student Anson Wong, from Hong Kong, said being able to work in Australia was very attractive for students coming from overseas.
“I would reconsider my choice, because (work restriction) is quite an inference,” he said.
“There may be some negative inference to how international students here feel about the whole working system.”
But for other ANU students, like Yan Gu, from China, they would still be drawn to Australia to study even if working rights were restricted.
“I come to Australia because I want to get a better education,” he said.
“My family’s supporting me financially and I would like to go back to China afterwards. I wouldn’t come here to find a job.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has indicated he will be condensing the list of eligible occupations on the 457 temporary foreign worker visa to prioritise jobs for Australians, but neither he or Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has flagged any plans to reform students’ work regulations.
Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said the government supports international students having the choice to work, including to gain professional and cultural experience and to improve their English language skills.
“The student visa work settings are part of our global competitiveness, especially to attract high quality students with appropriate post study work arrangements,” he said.
The Productivity Commission urged the government in September to issue a public inquiry into the effects of work rights for international students.
The government established the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce in October to focus on worker exploitation, but its scope does not extend to the effect of students on the labour market.
The point system for an Australian visa will change from November this year. The new point system offers extra points to singles. Many singles are looking forward to this change.
S. Vijay Kumar is ready to file his application for Australian Permanent Residency visa.
A film editor by profession, Kumar has got his educational qualification assessed by VETASSESS, Australia’s leading vocational education and training (VET) skills assessment provider. But he is going to wait till November.
“Everything is set, but I am waiting for November. I will get extra 10 points for being single, and that will increase my score,” says Kumar.
A student at Macquarie University, Vijay Kumar is one of the many applicants who are looking forward to the 10-point-rule that will come into effect from November 2019.
In April this year, the immigration department announced some changes to the point system. These changes will come in effect from 16 November 2019.
According to the new rule, applicants who do not have a spouse or de facto partner will get 10 points.
“Points are awarded for attributes that are linked with the applicant’s ability to make the greatest economic contribution, as the key purpose of the skilled migration program is to maximize the economic benefits of migration to Australia,” the legislation reads.
The changes are to ensure more skilled people migrate to Australia, says immigration expert Rohit Mohan.
“New system, coming in effect from November, offers ten extra points for applicants who do not have a spouse or partner.
“The idea is to bring more skilled migrants and discourage unskilled partners who come with married skilled migrants.
“Married invitees with kids fill more places with non-skilled migrants and leave lesser places for skilled migrants,” says Mr Mohan.
The amendments to the point system follow the recommendations made by the Productivity Commission.
According to the commission, around 50 per cent of Australia’s permanent skill intake is secondary applicants, many of whom have limited skills.
In its 2016 report, the Productivity Commission recommended that the points system be amended so that secondary applicants with skills and other desirable employment-related characteristics contribute significantly to the points score of the primary applicant.
Many singles are waiting for the new points system to kick in to gain these ten extra points.
Dilip Kumar, an Australian visa-hopeful says these extra points will help him in a big way.
‘My IELTS score is not very high, so I am counting on the extra points,’ says Dilip who is an auto mechanic in Karnataka and preparing his application for an Australian visa.
Mr Mohan says many of his clients are waiting for November.
“People have put their marriage on hold to claim these extra points. Earlier people would get married before applying to claim five extra points on behalf of their partners. Now we can see the opposite trend.”
Applicants who have a skilled spouse or partner will also get ten extra points in the new system.
They will also get five points if their spouse or de facto partner have competent English.
From 1 July 2019, there will be an increase in visa application charges
The Department of Home Affairs has announced that a 5.4 percent Visa Application Charges (VAC) increase in fees will apply to applications made on or after 1 July 2019 on most visa subclasses.
|Visa Type||Current Fee||From 1 July 2019|
|General Skilled Migration||$3,755||$3,958|
|Graduate Temporary Subclass 485||$1,535||$1,618|
|Parent (Contributory) first instalment||$340 to $3,855||$358 to $4,063|
|TSS – STSOL||$1,175||$1,238|
|TSS – MLTSSL||$2,455||$2,587|
|Significant Investor Visa (SIV)||$7,310||$7,705|
The Second Visa Application charge for the Contributory Parent visa (143 visa) will remain the same. The subclass 600 Visitor visa fee will also not be affected by the July increases.
The Australian government will be launching two new skilled regional visa routes this year, opening the door to more South Africans who want to make the move.
These occupations are consistent with skills needed in regional areas, including agricultural, trade and professional occupations, he said.
“Once the new regional visas are introduced later this year, skilled migration visas sponsored by regional employers or state and territory governments will receive priority processing.
“These visas allow you to bring your family with you, where they’ll enjoy the same rights as you.”
Hopwood explained that the Australian government currently defines regional Australia by a postcode listing.
“From November this year, regional Australia will be defined as all of Australia except for the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth,” he said.
“The new definition will form single continuous borders, as defined by postcodes, around these metropolitan areas.
“Regional Australia is home to 8.8 million Aussies and contributes to one-third of the country’s national output.”
How to move to Australia on a skilled migration visa
From November 2019, the Australian government will be introducing the following visas to help address skill shortages in regional areas.
They also aim to encourage a more balanced settlement of Australia’s skilled migrant intake, Hopwood said.
Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)
This is a points-based visa for people who want to live and work in designated regional areas in Australia.
To qualify for this visa, you must have obtained sponsorship from an eligible relative or state or territory government, be under the age of 45 and competent in English.
This Skilled Work Regional visa will allow you to live and work in Australia for up to five years.
You can bring your family with you and leave and enter Australia as often as you like while your visa is valid.
This visa will replace the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489), which is quite popular with skilled workers who wish to move to regional Australia. This change also introduces the new points system for this visa.
Points will be awarded as follows:
- 10 points for having a skilled spouse/defacto partner;
- 15 points if you’re nominated by a state or territory, or sponsored by a family member that resides in regional Australia;
- 10 points if you have certain science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications;
- 10 points if you do not have a spouse/defacto partner;
- 5 points if you have a spouse/defacto partner who meets the English language requirement.
After three years of holding the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa and meeting the requirements, you can apply for a permanent residence visa.
Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)
This visa will replace the current subclass 187 visa. It allows skilled workers, who are nominated by an employer, to live and work in Australia permanently.
To be eligible for this visa you must:
- Be nominated by an Australian employer;
- Work for your nominating employer in regional Australia;
- Have an occupation on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations;
- Meet the English language requirement.
Permanent Residence Skilled Regional visa (subclass 191)
The new permanent residence visa is available to skilled migrants that have lived and worked in Australia for three years on one of the two new provisional regional visas. To qualify for this visa and permanent residence in Australia, you must:
- Have held a valid regional provisional visa for at least three years prior to making your application;
- Earned a minimum income for three years on a valid regional provisional visa;
- Meet the requirements of the regional provisional visa.
“This visa will only be open for applications from 16 November 2022,” said Hopwood.
“This is because applicants will need to have held one of the new regional provisional visas for three years before they can be eligible to apply.”
In 1966, Australia switched from pounds to decimal currency. The country’s central bank issued a new range of banknotes with modern safety features – including watermarks, woven metal thread and raised print. But these technologies couldn’t prevent a $900,000 swindle.
Polymer banknotes are banknotes made from a polymer such as biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP). Such notes incorporate many security features not available in paper banknotes, including the use of metameric inks. Polymer banknotes last significantly longer than paper notes, causing a decrease in environmental impact and a reduced cost of production and replacement.
Modern polymer banknotes were first developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and The University of Melbourne. They were first issued as currency in Australia during 1988 (coinciding with Australia’s bicentennial year). In 1996 Australia switched completely to polymer banknotes. Other countries that have switched completely to polymer banknotes include: Brunei, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania and Vietnam. The latest countries to introduce polymer banknotes into general circulation include: the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Chile, The Gambia, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Maldives, Mauritania, Botswana, São Tomé and Príncipe, North Macedonia, the Russian Federation, Armenia, Solomon Islands, Egypt, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
In 1967 forgeries of the Australian $10 note were found in circulation and the Reserve Bank of Australia was concerned about an increase in counterfeiting with the release of colour photocopiers that year. In 1968 the FGH started collaborations with RTASOC, and funds were made available in 1969 for the experimental production of distinctive papers. The insertion into banknotes of an optically variable device (OVD) created from diffraction gratings in plastic as a security device was proposed in 1972. The first patent arising from the development of polymer banknotes was filed in 1973. In 1974 the technique of lamination was used to combine materials; the all-plastic laminate eventually chosen was a clear, BOPP laminate, in which OVDs could be inserted without needing to punch holes.
They were first issued as currency in Australia during 1988 (coinciding with Australia’s bicentennial year). In 1996 Australia switched completely to polymer banknotes. Other countries that have switched completely to polymer banknotes include: Brunei, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania and Vietnam.
Polymer banknotes usually have three levels of security devices. Primary security devices are easily recognisable by consumers and may include intaglio, metal strips, and the clear areas of the banknote. Secondary security devices are detectable by a machine. Tertiary security devices may only be detectable by the issuing authority when a banknote is returned.
Australia was the top country worldwide for HNWI inflows in 2018, beating out its main rival the US for the 4′-11
year running. Popular places for them to move to in Australia included: Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast,
Sunshine Coast, Perth, and Brisbane.
Possible reasons for Australia ‘s popularity among migrating HNWls:
- The safety of the country – low crime rate.
- The appeal of bringing up children and going to school/university in the country.
- English speaking country. Almost all HNWls globally know English as their first or second language.
- First world economy.
- First class healthcare system.
- Growing economy. One of the few high-income economies that have grown strongly over the past decade.
- Space – Australia has only 25 million people and is a large country.
- Climate, nature, and scenery.
- Tax rates – although company tax and income tax rates in Australia are quite high it should be noted
that unlike most other developed countries, Australia has no inheritance taxes – this encourages
wealthy people to stay in the country and build their businesses for future generations.
Reasons why migrating HNWls may be preferring Australia to the US:
- Safety. Australia was recently rated as the safest country worldwide in our annual woman safety
ratings. Australia is also a particularly safe country to raise children. The US has some safety problems
especially in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles.
- Australia has no inheritance taxes. In the US, individuals with a wealth of over US$5.5 million (or US$11
million per married couple) pay inheritance taxes (top rate of 40%).
- Problems in the US healthcare industry. In the US, getting healthcare insurance can be difficult for
incoming HNWls. Notably, several international medical aids cover patients in all developed countries
with the exception of the US (which is a big warning sign). In particular, the Affordable Care Act
enacted in 2010 has not turned out well for wealthy and middle-class patients in the US, with average
premiums rising by over 120% since the act was passed in 2010.
For further analysis and rankings, please find the full report here.
Also please find a summary presentation here.
Electric carmaker Tesla is readying itself for a cramping up of sales in Australia with the imminent opening of the online order page for its more affordable Model 3 electric sedan (expected as early as this week after orders opened in the UK last week).
A number of advertisements seeking staff for the Australian arm of the pioneering electric carmaker have been published through jobseeker website Seek, including for customer service staff, apprentice technician and sales and service advisors.
A new “customer experience specialist” is sought at each of three showrooms in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, with the additional two roles of vehicle technician and sales advisor sought for Sydney and a service advisor, sought for Melbourne.
Instore sales staff must have, according to Tesla’s job ads, “a desire to work with products that are changing the world”, the successful apprentice technician must have “a desire to work on cutting edge electric vehicle technology”, and the position of “inside sales advisor” is more directly involved in the introduction of the Model 3.
The listing of the last job in particular heralds the opening of the online configurator very, very soon (as announced by CEO and founder Elon Musk last week) and the arrival of the Model 3 itself this winter, which was finally confirmed by Musk last month.
The Model 3’s arrival in Australia will mark another significant moment for the local EV market, where a distinct lack of choice for electric cars has been a factor in holding Australia back from a global shift to zero emissions transport that is rapidly taking hold overseas.
The Model 3 has already become the best-selling electric vehicle of all time and the best-seller in its class including both electric and combustion vehicles in October 2018.
It is now being met with very promising sales as it expands into European and Chinese markets and will present another more affordable option for those wanting to shift to EVs.
In Australia, there are currently only a handful of electric models available on the market, and of those only a few that anywhere under the Luxury Car Tax threshold.
The new job search comes as Tesla Motors Australia revealed a fall in EV sales revenue in 2018, down 26 percent for the year to $125 million, although a tenfold jump in battery storage revenue allowed overall revenue to grow 65 percent to $330 million.
It’s not entirely clear if this reflects a fall in the number of Tesla electric cars sold, or due to the drop in the price of the Model S and X as announced earlier this year, but it is known that there was $4.1 million in revenue from services alone, including repairs, maintenance services, and service plans.
Tesla vehicles are considered superior by some to other vehicle brands in that the electric carmaker continues to offer improved features via over-the-air software upgrades.
Most recently, the carmaker has announced two more safety upgrades for its vehicles including “Lane Departure Avoidance” and “Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance.”