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New national wellbeing survey shows stark generational and income divides amid cost-of-living crisis, as well as the need to support Australian carers

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income divides.

New national wellbeing survey shows stark generational and income divides amid cost-of-living crisis, as well as the need to support Australian carers 

 

Australian Unity

Australian Unity, the nation’s first member-owned wellbeing company, has released its latest Wellbeing Index survey report in partnership with Deakin University.

Conducted in June 2023, the survey measured the subjective wellbeing of over 2,000 Australians aged 18 to 97 against a series of national and personal life areas, including the economy, health, and community connectedness. This year, researchers also examined the areas of mental distress and carer wellbeing (professional and informal).

Key findings:

  • Generational and income divides: Clear age and income divides emerged in personal wellbeing, particularly on standard of living. Notably lower scores were observed for those aged 55 years and under, compared to older adults, and those with household incomes of $100,000 or less, compared to those earning more.
  • Record low economic satisfaction: Satisfaction with the economic situation in Australia fell sharply from 2022, hitting its lowest level in the report’s 22-year history – worse than the Global Financial Crisis.
  • Australian carers need more support: Informal carers felt less satisfied with their access to carer support compared to professional carers. They also recorded lower personal wellbeing and higher mental distress – particularly those providing informal care for more than 20 hours per week.

Data collection occurred amid a challenging backdrop with global unrest, repeated interest rates rises, and more than half of the population reporting feelings of financial stress just months earlier. Against this climate, the survey found Australians’ overall satisfaction with their lives and life in Australia remained at record lows.

On the National Wellbeing Index, scores for most life areas remained at the lower end of the normal range. However, economic satisfaction recorded a sharp drop to its lowest level in 22 years – worse than that recorded during the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.

“Australians are feeling worried about the economy and financially stressed,” said Dr Kate Lycett, Research Fellow from the School of Psychology at Deakin University and lead researcher of the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. “Rising living costs and interest rates are putting immense pressure on many people, particularly those with mortgages and those trying to get into the housing market. Without a lift in economic satisfaction, our national wellbeing will likely remain stagnant.”

income divides.

Clear age and income divides emerged in personal wellbeing, particularly on standard of living, according to the report by Australian unity.

Scores for life areas on the Personal Wellbeing Index remained similar to 2022 levels. However, growing age and income inequities emerged. Those aged 55 years and under, and those with a household income of $100,000 or less, recorded notably lower personal wellbeing than older adults and those with higher household incomes, respectively. These same age and income divides were also seen on satisfaction with standard of living.

“Addressing wellbeing inequities in these respective demographics is essential,” says Esther Kerr, Chief Executive Officer Wealth and Capital Markets at Australian Unity. “The findings likely reflect a ‘pressure cooker’ effect caused by the rising cost of living, higher interest rates, stubborn inflation, and global economic uncertainty. This appears to be affecting the financial wellbeing of people who were previously able to cope or had a savings buffer to carry them through tough times.”

In addition to measuring personal and national wellbeing, the survey also explored the wellbeing of Australians with professional and informal caring responsibilities. A timely exploration given the number of people aged 80 years and over is expected to triple by 2063, forecasting considerable pressure on the future care economy.

“Informal carers who cared for more than 20 hours a week recorded notably lower personal wellbeing and higher levels of mental distress compared to those in professional caring and non-caring roles. Those with a caring load of 40 hours or more seemed to be doing even worse,” says Dr Lycett. “These findings suggest that people with high caring commitments in informal capacities need more support. They are also strong learnings for us as a society when we think about the ageing population and just how big the care economy is going to become.”

On the growing demand for professional caring services to help improve the wellbeing of those caring in an informal capacity, Prue Bowden, Australian Unity’s CEO of Home Health, said workforce supply for professional carers has been a key issue in Australia for many years now.

“The care economy is fundamental to the health of our whole society, not just our ageing population. It’s integral that we ensure workers in the industry are provided with secure, safe jobs with decent wages, conditions and opportunities for career development. In order for the care workforce to grow, we need to professionalise the work and shift the community mindset from being an unskilled job to one of the most rewarding careers,” Bowden adds.

The Australian Unity Wellbeing Index is one of the longest running national studies of subjective wellbeing in the world. Since its inception in 2000, data from over 75,000 Australians has been widely used by researchers, governments and organisations to gain insights into how satisfied citizens are with their lives and the nation.

 

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Gardening

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

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Kids Cubby Houses

The Enchanted World of Kids Cubby Houses

 

Cubby houses, those quaint, imaginative structures nestled in backyards around the globe, are more than just play spaces for kids—they are sanctuaries of creativity, learning, and childhood memories. In this exploration of cubby houses, we delve into their charm, benefits for childhood development, design considerations, and tips for creating the ultimate backyard adventure.

Cubby Houses and Childhood Development

At first glance, a cubby house might appear as a simple wooden structure tucked into a garden corner. Yet, to children, it represents a boundless world of fantasy and freedom. These mini-homes are the stages for imaginative play, where kids can be pirates one day and bold explorers the next. This imaginative play is crucial for cognitive development, raising creativity, problem-solving skills, and independence.

Cubby houses also serve as a child’s first look into ownership, giving them a sense of responsibility and pride in their space. Decorating and caring for their cubby, children learn about organisation and personal responsibility in a fun, engaging way.

The Design Philosophy Behind Cubby Houses

When designing a cubby house, the goal is to balance safety, creativity, and environmental harmony. Modern cubby houses range from simplistic designs to elaborate mini-mansions, equipped with verandas, slides, and even climbing walls. However, the essence of a cubby house is not in its complexity but in its ability to inspire and adapt to a child’s imagination.

Eco-friendly materials and sustainability are becoming increasingly important in cubby house construction. Recycled wood, non-toxic paints, and solar-powered lights are just a few options for parents looking to minimise environmental impact. Moreover, incorporating natural elements like sandpits, water play areas, and gardens can further connect children with nature, enhancing their learning and sensory development.

Incorporating Education into Play

The educational potential of cubby houses is vast. By integrating elements like chalkboards, weather stations, or even simple tools for gardening, children can learn valuable lessons about the world around them. These features encourage exploration and curiosity, key drivers of lifelong learning.

Cubby houses are also excellent tools for social development. They can be hubs for social interaction where kids learn to negotiate, share, and work together. Whether it’s deciding on the day’s play theme or resolving a dispute about who gets to be the captain of the ship, these experiences are invaluable in developing empathy and social skills.

Creating Your Child’s Dream Cubby House

Building a cubby house can be a wonderful project for the whole family.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Safety First: Ensure the structure is stable and materials are safe. Smooth out any sharp edges, and if the house is elevated, secure railings and a sturdy ladder.
  • Let Creativity Lead: Involve your child in the design process. Their imaginative ideas can lead to unique features that make the cubby house truly theirs.
  • Consider the Location: Place the cubby house in a spot that’s easily visible from the house but also immersed in the garden. Proximity to trees, flowers, and shrubs can enhance the sense of adventure.
  • Think Long-Term: Children grow quickly, so consider a design that can evolve with them. Modular cubby houses that allow for expansions or modifications can extend the life of the playhouse.

The Community Aspect of Cubby Houses

Cubby houses have the power to bring communities together. Neighbourhood cubby house competitions or shared community garden cubbies can foster a sense of togetherness and shared pride. These initiatives not only create communal spaces for play but also teach children the value of community and collective care for shared spaces.

The Cubby Houses Await!

Cubby houses represent a world of wonder for kids, offering endless possibilities for play, learning, and growth. They are microcosms of creativity, where the simplest structures can become castles, spaceships, or secret headquarters in the eyes of a child.

Beyond their immediate joy and entertainment value, cubby houses play a crucial role in childhood development, encouraging independence, social skills, and a connection with nature.

As we design and build these special spaces, we’re reminded of the importance of play in a child’s life—not just for fun, but as a fundamental part of learning about the world and themselves.

In the end, the greatest gift we can give our children is the space and freedom to explore, imagine, and dream. And perhaps, in the process of creating these magical garden retreats, we rediscover a bit of our own childhood wonder along the way.

 

For more gardening news, click here.

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Casino Beef Week

Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

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Embrace Country Life at Casino Beef Week’s MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers

Casino, 8/4/2024 – Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM. This year’s event is set to surpass all expectations, encapsulating the essence of country life in a morning filled with fun, food, and festivity.

Thanks to the generous support of The MJ Smith Group, our 2024 Major Sponsor, the annual Free Community Breakfast will offer attendees a delightful taste of the local life with complimentary sausage or steak sandwiches, chocolate milk, and fresh fruit, generously donated by Woolworths Casino. This partnership exemplifies The MJ Smith Group’s deep commitment to the local community, showcasing a shared passion for uniting and enriching our region.

Brody Lisha, President of Casino Beef Week, expressed his enthusiasm about the event: “We are overjoyed to have The MJ Smith Group as our Major Sponsor this year. Their dedication to the community mirrors our mission to celebrate our country life and bring people together. This event is more than just a breakfast; it’s a showcase of what makes our community so vibrant and unique.”

Casino NSW_Breakfast_with_the_Butchers

Casino Beef Week is excited to announce an extraordinary day of community spirit and celebration at the MJ Smith Group Breakfast with the Butchers Presented by ZZZFM.

The event will feature an impressive display of machinery, allowing attendees to witness the remarkable work of The MJ Smith Group firsthand. “Seeing the machinery up close is a testament to the innovation and hard work that drives our local industries. It’s an honour to highlight this aspect of our community at the event,” said Lisha.

Adding to the excitement, the annual Richmond Dairies Cow Pat Lotto, presented by Bently Community Preschool, returns with a larger prize pool thanks to Richmond Dairies and Macdonalds Pharmacy. “The Cow Pat Lotto is a tradition that everyone looks forward to. It’s a fun, quirky way to engage with the community while supporting a great cause,” Lisha remarked.

Butchers from the region will compete in the Verto Sausage Competition, aiming for the titles of Best Beef Sausage and Best Gourmet Sausage. Lisha commented, “Our local butchers are incredibly talented, and this competition is a fantastic way to showcase their skills and the quality of our local produce.”

The day will also feature live entertainment from Sam Handford and the grand finale of the CiCom Busking Championships on the Jack Links Stage. “The talent we have in our community is astounding, and the Jack Links Stage is the perfect platform to showcase it. It’s going to be an unforgettable day,” Lisha added.

Casino Beef Week invites everyone to join in celebrating our country life, embodying the community spirit that makes our region so special. Don’t miss this outstanding day of free food, fantastic entertainment, and family-friendly fun.

The Breakfast will be lived streamed via ZZZFM and 2LM.

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Entertainment

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

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Earth Frequency Festival 2024

Earth Frequency Festival 2024

 

Earth Frequency Festival is a music, arts, lifestyle and environmental festival based in South-East Queensland, Australia, with a strong focus on arts, education, healing and community spirit.

While drawing from many cultural niches such as transformational festival, tribal gathering, doof and boutique festival, the aim of Earth Frequency Festival is to go beyond these traditional tags and to exist as a multi-faceted gathering focused broadly on creativity, connection, intention and inspiration.

From it’s origins as a small landcare party in 2005, Earth Frequency has now become one of Australia’s foremost transformational gatherings.

At Earth Frequency, you can always expect an amazing mixture of live and electronic music, performance, visionary art, workshops and lectures, a family and kids space, a fantastic food and markets area, and of course a positive community vibe.

Our aim is to create nothing short of a life changing, transformative experience! We aim to provide a meeting place – people from many different backgrounds, ages and walks of life come together with the shared interests of music, nature, technology, culture and peace.

Earth Frequency Festival is held each year at Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events in Peak Crossing. Ivory’s Rock is a beautiful outdoor venue with top notch facilities, comfortable campgrounds, and it is conveniently located under an hour from Brisbane and just 20 minutes from Ipswich.

Nurtured by the setting of the beautiful Australian outdoors, we gather together once a year to celebrate life with music, art and other creative forms, and to educate, connect, heal and inspire.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When: May 3-6
  • Where: Ivory’s Rock Conventions and Events, Peak Crossing.
  • Price: From $280
  • Tickets: www.earthfrequency.com.au

 

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