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The Government is worried you’re not getting enough sleep

A parliamentary inquiry into whether Australians are getting enough sleep, and the economic and social costs for the nation, has been initiated by the The Federal Government.

“Sleep problems are a growing and large problem in Australia, and in fact, the research that we've seen indicates that something like four out of 10 Australians are not getting adequate sleep on a regular basis,” Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said.

He is the chairman of the national parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, which will be undertaking the inquiry and is expected to report back to Parliament in the next few months.

The inquiry has already received more than 100 submissions and will be holding hearings across the country.

“We know that sleep is just so vital to our bodily functions, be it our mental health, be it our alertness, memory or our performance ability, so it is a growing problem that we need to shine a light on,” Mr Zimmerman said.

He said the accepted wisdom is..

A parliamentary inquiry into whether Australians are getting enough sleep, and the economic and social costs for the nation, has been initiated by the The Federal Government.

"Sleep problems are a growing and large problem in Australia, and in fact, the research that we've seen indicates that something like four out of 10 Australians are not getting adequate sleep on a regular basis," Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said.

He is the chairman of the national parliamentary Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport, which will be undertaking the inquiry and is expected to report back to Parliament in the next few months.

The inquiry has already received more than 100 submissions and will be holding hearings across the country.

"We know that sleep is just so vital to our bodily functions, be it our mental health, be it our alertness, memory or our performance ability, so it is a growing problem that we need to shine a light on," Mr Zimmerman said.

He said the accepted wisdom is that everyone needs seven or eight hours of sleep per night, and young people can need more than that as their brains are developing.

"So, it's whether we're actually getting that adequate amount of sleep, both because of sleep disorders, but also because of lifestyle decisions that we're making," he said.

A serious issue for workers

Mr Zimmerman said that, like most politicians, he was familiar with enduring bad sleep.

Are you getting the recommended amount of sleep?

Age Recommended
0-3 months 14 to 17 hours
4-11 months 12 to 15 hours
1-2 years 11 to 14 hours
3-5 years 10 to 13 hours
6-13 years 9 to 11 hours
14-17 years 8 to 10 hours
18-25 years 7 to 9 hours
26-64 years 7 to 9 hours
≥ 65 years 7 to 8 hours

Figures from the Sleep Health Foundation.

"But it is a serious issue for many people in the workforce, particularly shift workers, who obviously have interrupted sleep patterns," he said.

"And we want to look at, effectively, what support and advice and education there is for those that are in the workforce that are having disrupted sleep because of the work that they're expected to undertake."

Some studies have shown shift work can have negative health impacts and even shorten life expectancy.

Mr Zimmerman said the inquiry would look at those occupations deemed most vulnerable.

"Something like 16 per cent of Australians are shift workers and many of those are in professions, for example, occupational drivers, where they are making decisions which can have life-or-death impacts," he said.

"So it's very important that people in those professions are aware of what they need to do to get adequate sleep so that they're performing well."

The Government has focused previously on diet and fitness as precursors to health problems, Mr Zimmerman said.

"The third element, which I think really has been missing, is whether we're getting adequate sleep, because we do know, particularly amongst adolescents and children, that … sleep is just so vital to memory function, to performance, and to mental wellbeing."

He said there was strong evidence lack of sleep led to symptoms of depression, and that was a serious concern.

FOMO

The inquiry will also be looking specifically at the impact of new technology on sleep patterns.

Mr Zimmerman blames FOMO (fear of missing out) for young people taking their smart phones and tablets to bed with them and interrupting their sleep to respond to social media.

A child's shadow can be seen under a bed sheet, lit by a tablet's backlight.

"What we know is that can have a very deleterious impact on people's sleep patterns," he said.

"Even using a tablet or a TV in your bedroom, with the brightness that involves, can actually trick the body into thinking that it's not night time if it's used for too long," he said.

He hopes the results of the inquiry will assist in advising parents to ensure young children are not going to sleep with a device near their bed.

"There's definitely a strong case for better education and better understanding about what the impact of new devices such as those can have," he said.

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Bitcoin overtakes iTunes vouchers as most common payment demanded by tax scammers

Australians have reported more than 28,000 'scam' attempts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), since July 1, and paid almost $1 million to scammers, the ATO says.

The agency said payments through Bitcoin ATMs had overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment reported to the ATO.

A Bitcoin ATM is a method of transferring cash into and out of the cryptocurrency.

“November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay,” Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said in a statement.

She said scammers were becoming more sophisticated and exploiting vulnerable people, often using aggressive tactics to swindle people out of their money or personal information. They were known to impersonate tax agents too.

“Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn't know you owed,” Ms Anderson said.

“Your identifying information like tax file numbers, bank account numbers or your date of birth are the keys t..

Australians have reported more than 28,000 'scam' attempts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), since July 1, and paid almost $1 million to scammers, the ATO says.

The agency said payments through Bitcoin ATMs had overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment reported to the ATO.

A Bitcoin ATM is a method of transferring cash into and out of the cryptocurrency.

"November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay," Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said in a statement.

She said scammers were becoming more sophisticated and exploiting vulnerable people, often using aggressive tactics to swindle people out of their money or personal information. They were known to impersonate tax agents too.

"Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn't know you owed," Ms Anderson said.

"Your identifying information like tax file numbers, bank account numbers or your date of birth are the keys to your identity, and can be used by scammers to break into your life if they are compromised," she added.

External Link: ATO scam audio

The ATO would never ask a taxpayer to make a payment into an ATM or via gift or pre-paid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards, or direct credit to be paid to a personal bank account, Ms Anderson said.

But since July 1, the ATO had seen almost 6,000 taxpayers give away their personal or financial information to scammers through things like phishing scams.

"If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a call, hang up and call us on 1800 008 540," Ms Anderson said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has also reported more scams by people impersonating well-known businesses and the police.

In August, the ACCC said its Scamwatch website had recorded a significant spike in remote-access scams, with more than 8,000 reports recorded in 2018 (to August) and losses totalling $4.4 million.

Australian Taxation Office assistant commissioner Kath Anderson on the phone

The ACCCs Targeting Scams report said more than 200,000 scam reports were submitted to the ACCC, Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other federal and state-based government agencies in 2017.

Australians lost $340 million – a $40 million increase compared to 2016, and more than in any other year since the ACCC began reporting on scam activity, it said.

ATOs tips to spot a scammer:

  • Scammers are often aggressive or abusive
  • They will often threaten you with immediate arrest
  • They request payment via unusual methods such as iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards
  • They request personal security information such as your tax file number or bank details via email or SMS or social media sites
  • They ask for money in order to process a refund or other payment

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Get your childs immunisation history or else face risk of exclusion: health authority

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is encouraging parents and carers to download their childs immunisation history statement before the start of primary and secondary schools in 2019.

A WNSWLHD spokesperson said principals of primary and secondary schools must request an immunisation history statement when children enroll.

“If children do not have an immunisation certificate on file, or whose certificate shows they are incompletely vaccinated, they may be excluded from school in the event of a serious vaccine preventable disease outbreak, for example, measles,” the spokesperson said.

However, parents are not required to show the certificate if their children are transferring straight from a public primary to a public secondary school.

“The immunisation history will transfer with their other records, so parents do not need to show the certificate again,” the spokesperson said.

Parents of other students are encouraged to download their childs statement from the Australian I..

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is encouraging parents and carers to download their childs immunisation history statement before the start of primary and secondary schools in 2019.

A WNSWLHD spokesperson said principals of primary and secondary schools must request an immunisation history statement when children enroll.

“If children do not have an immunisation certificate on file, or whose certificate shows they are incompletely vaccinated, they may be excluded from school in the event of a serious vaccine preventable disease outbreak, for example, measles,” the spokesperson said.

However, parents are not required to show the certificate if their children are transferring straight from a public primary to a public secondary school.

“The immunisation history will transfer with their other records, so parents do not need to show the certificate again,” the spokesperson said.

Parents of other students are encouraged to download their childs statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

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WNSWLHD provides health services in most of the Central West cities, including the Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo local government areas.

NSW Health director of communicable diseases, Vicky Sheppeard, said the new requirements are crucial in stopping the spread of diseases.

“It's important for schools to have an immunisation history statement for each enrolled student to help manage disease outbreaks,” Ms Sheppeard said.

The immunisation history statement includes all vaccines given to the child and reported by the provider to the AIR.

All children registered with Medicare can obtain their immunisation history statements, including those who have had no vaccines, or those who have medical exemptions to certain vaccines.

Parents and carers can obtain their childs immunisation history statement by:

• using their Medicare online account through myGov

• using the Medicare Express Plus App

• calling the AIR General Enquiries Line on 1800 653 809.

NSW Health said it has achieved its highest vaccination rates through the immunisation programs.

It will spend a record $22.75 million on state-wide immunisation programs in 2018-19.

This story Get your childs immunisation history or else face risk of exclusion: health authority first appeared on Western Advocate.

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West Busselton public house left trashed

West Busselton public house left trashed
A public housing home in West Busselton was left trashed after tenants vacated the property several weeks ago leaving the home in disarray.

An old mattress, doors, junk, and rubbish littered the property with items sprawled across the front lawn and backyard, including a destroyed bicycle which had been hung from a tree out the front of the home.

Neighbour Steve Sewell said it was unacceptable the tenants were allowed to live in the home in such an unkept state and it was frustrating the Department of Communities did not conduct more regular inspections.

“It is a typical case of the department not doing their job, it is the only house which has not been looked after in the whole street, as you can see,” he said.

Mr Sewell said several complaints had been made to the department against the tenants including the number of people who lived at the home.

“If they were having regular house inspections, which we pay for, it would not be the way i..

West Busselton public house left trashed

A public housing home in West Busselton was left trashed after tenants vacated the property several weeks ago leaving the home in disarray.

An old mattress, doors, junk, and rubbish littered the property with items sprawled across the front lawn and backyard, including a destroyed bicycle which had been hung from a tree out the front of the home.

Neighbour Steve Sewell said it was unacceptable the tenants were allowed to live in the home in such an unkept state and it was frustrating the Department of Communities did not conduct more regular inspections.

“It is a typical case of the department not doing their job, it is the only house which has not been looked after in the whole street, as you can see,” he said.

Mr Sewell said several complaints had been made to the department against the tenants including the number of people who lived at the home.

“If they were having regular house inspections, which we pay for, it would not be the way it is today.”

In a letter, obtained by the Mail, from the Minister for Housings office about the property it stated that the department expected public housing tenants to maintain properties to a standard consistent with the community.

The letter, dated July 13, stated routine inspections were conducted at the property from 2016 to 2018 and the department found the property to be neat, tidy and undamaged with no cause for concern.

“The department does not consider that the property would require significant maintenance work that is beyond general wear and tear should it become vacant in the future,” the letter stated.

Department of Communities acting assistant director general regional and remove service delivery Brad Jolly said inspections for public housing were conducted annually or more frequently if a problem was identified.

“Where a tenant vacates a property, inspections are conducted shortly after and any cleaning and maintenance works will generally be completed within 28 days,” he said.

“The department does not condone tenants damaging properties. Where damage can be attributed to the actions of tenants, they are billed for repairs and carry that liability even after they vacate a property.”

Mr Jolly said terminating was a last resort and was decided by a Magistrate.

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