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Wednesday, May 20, 2015 – PAGE 21
concern, new data has revealed.
According to Mortgage Choice’s 2015 Money
Survey, two in every three South Australians said
they were worried about their gas, electricity and
water bills this year.
Local Mortgage Choice Adelaide Hills franchise
owner Rob Shearwood said the fact that SA
residents were becoming increasingly concerned
about their utility bills was hardly surprising given
that 75.5% of respondents in this State admitted
their electricity costs had increased in the last 12
“Utility bills have long been recognised as the
and given that almost 80% are seeing an increase
in their utility bills year on year, this mindset is very
understandable,” Mr Shearwood said.
“While utility bills are inescapable for most people,
there are some easy ways to reduce these ongoing
expenses and ultimately make things a little easier
on their hip pocket.”
Mortgage Choice has put together the following tips
to help people reduce their utility bills:
Use water wisely: Being diligent with your water
consumption could save you hundreds of dollars
each year. According to Savewater.com.au,
replacing your current shower head with a three-
star water saver shower head could save you more
than $150 a year in water costs.
reduce your level of water consumption, saving you
and your hip pocket.
Turn appliances off: Many Australians will go to
bed each night and leave their television, DVD
player and even computer on stand-by power
The reality is not turning these appliances off at the
wall can cost you big.
Data from the SA Government shows people who
turn their appliances off at the wall each night
are able to save more than $60 a year in standby
With that in mind, it might be a good idea to
give your home an electronic sweep over each
night before bed and turn off any unnecessary
Switch and save: If you are already taking the
necessary steps to reduce your water consumption
and turn your appliances off at the wall but would
still like to save more money on your utility bills
each quarter, it may be worth researching various
energy providers to see whether or not you are able
to secure a better deal by switching.
Websites such as Helpmechoose.com.au can
help you to review and research your options and
identify whether or not there is a better provider in
If you would like learn more about your home loan
There’s been a lot of commentary around the
recent drop in oil prices, and what it might take
for them to recover.
Integral to this discussion is the Organisation of
Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Saudi
world’s oil respectively.
In this article, we examine the factors that have led
to the drop in prices and what this all means for
At a meeting in November last year in Vienna, the
OPEC voted to maintain oil production at current
levels. As a result, we’ve seen the price of oil
plummet by more than 50%, from a high of over
US$100 a barrel last year. The hardest hit have
been oil-exporting countries such as Russia, Iran,
Nigeria, Venezuela, Norway, Canada and Mexico.
The sharp drop in prices has been caused by a
Continued growth in US shale production and an
increase in non-US OPEC oil exports have led to
This is being exacerbated by a slowing demand
which is a product of slowing growth in the
Also, some nations, such as Japan, have
substituted oil for natural gas and alternative fuel
sources. A stronger US dollar hasn’t helped either.
This weighs on most commodity prices as they are
priced in US dollars.
Some believe that the US and Saudi Arabia have
colluded to lower oil prices as a way of punishing
Iran and affecting the economies of Russia and
Other conspiracy theories revolve around the fact
that if oil prices decrease far enough and remain
low for long enough, Saudi Arabia may steal
market share from US shale producers and thus
gain far more long-term revenue.
This may also serve to weaken its major rivals in
the Middle East (both in an economic and military
Many of the conspiracies have similar structures
— suggesting that there are deeply powerful but
unseen players working behind the scenes to
shape world events. These are certainly much
more colorful than a story about supply and
demand which may be more technically accurate.
What does this mean for investors?
Share markets have reacted negatively to the fall in
oil prices in recent weeks.
This is because the negative impact on energy
producers is what is most visible and this is being
Interestingly, over a longer period of time, lower oil
prices will likely have a positive impact on global
over the subsequent 12 months.
in response to lower oil prices should be seen as a
drive share markets higher by year-end.
For more information, please contact Kym Thyer or
Troy Mickan at KTA Financial Services on 8536 2022.
Kym Thyer and Troy Mickan of KTA Pty Ltd ABN 19
008 141 080 are authorised representatives & credit
representatives of Charter Financial Planning Ltd, AFSL.
This article contains information that is general in nature.
situation or needs of any particular person. You need to
any decisions based on this information.
Switch off and SAVE!
Here’s the good oil
By Genevieve Cooper
Australia Post has announced
a $51.4m rise in payments
over four years to licensed post
offices (LPOs) and community
postal agents (CPAs), including
those in the Hills.
The increase in remuneration
has come about as a result of
recommendations handed down
from a recent Senate inquiry into
postal network performance.
The announcement includes a
new small post office support plan
which increases the minimum
annual payment to almost 1000
post offices in regional, rural and
Australia Post has also increased
the street carded parcel rate from
60c to $1.60 for more than 1800
SA Liberal Senator Anne
Ruston, who chaired the inquiry,
said the payments signalled an
improved relationship between
the government business entity
and its national network of LPOs
“Our inquiry found many issues
were contributing to difficulties in
the relationship between Australia
Post and the network,” she said.
“Chief among these was the
rapidly changing nature of how
the network was being used by
consumers, including a substantial
reduction in letter volumes.
“Our report made a number of
recommendations to improve this
relationship, and I’m pleased to
note that efforts on all sides have
improved to the benefit of the
Leanne The, the owner of the
Crafers Post Office, welcomed the
extra payment and the support
plan but said she remained
cautious about how the changes
would be rolled out by Australia
“We’ll wait and see,” she said.
“There are so many changes with
them (Australia Post), I don’t know
how they are going to do this.”
Small post offices in the Hills
have been under pressure for
The agency at the Summertown
General Store closed early last year
and the Upper Sturt postal service
shifted agents and locations in
2013 when the owners of the Upper
Sturt General Store declined to
renew their lease because it wasn’t
Our inquiry found
to difficulties in
Post and the
– Senator Anne Ruston
Post agencies better
off following review
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