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20 April 2013

BEWARE! Another Labor Government money grab


Do you have an inactive bank account? If so you will risk having it confiscated by the Labor Government. 31 May is your deadline!

You are urged to transact on your account before 31 May 2013.

Increased government powers to seize money from inactive banks accounts will soon come into effect, after legislation was rushed through parliament last year.

From May 31, the federal government will have the power to transfer to its own coffers, all money from accounts that have not been used for the past three years.

Any bank account that holds more than $1 and has not had any deposits or withdrawals during this timeframe will be transferred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

It should also be noted that interest payments are not considered to be deposits. Similarly, bank fees and charges are not considered withdrawals for the purpose of defining if an account is inactive.

Based on current data, the government will net around $109 million this year alone. Every year from now on, accounts that are deemed to be inactive will be released to ASIC.

Why did the legislation change?

It may not have been widely know before, but the government has always had the power to seize the money from inactive bank accounts.

The legislative change has redefined the time frames for what is deemed to be an inactive account. Prior to the new laws set last year, a bank account had to be inactive for seven years before the funds were transferred to ASIC.

Who will be affected?

Any bank accounts you have lost track of may be affected – for example, old accounts relating to specific jobs you have moved on from that have been sitting dormant with only a few dollars in them.

Many people lose track of their accounts when they move address or, move overseas.
Other inactive accounts from share trading, trusts or long-term savings accounts may also be caught in the sweep. Bank accounts set up for personal savings, children’s education or inheritance may also make the new hit list, if they have not had regular deposits or withdrawals in recent years.

If you do have an account of this nature, the best thing to do is to make a small deposit or withdrawal now, so that the account is no longer deemed to be inactive come May 31.

How do I know if I have an inactive bank account?

Check all of your current bank accounts and ensure they have had recent transactions. If you think you have a missing bank account from a previous job or share trading that you no longer operate, look back through your financial records. At some stage you will have received paper copies of statements and other information.

The MoneySmart service from ASIC has a tool that can help you find your unclaimed money. You can search via your name or via a transaction number, if you have it.

Failing that, if you remember which bank, credit union, building society or other deposit-taking organisation you held an account with, contact them directly.

What can I do if my money is taken by mistake?

If, for some reason, your money is taken under this new law, you can apply to ASIC to have it returned.

However, it is likely that the process to reclaim funds will be a lengthy one. The best thing to do is to avoid being part of this process in the first place.

What to do now?

* Check all of your current accounts, with every institution and ensure that a recent deposit or withdrawal has occurred.

* If you suspect you have a lost account, contact the institution and reclaim it, then ensure it is active by making a deposit or withdrawal.

* If you cannot remember where a lost account may reside, use the ASIC tool to determine if it can be located.

* Search any previous financial print statements to ensure that you have located every account that has been held in your name.

See the article in the AFR here: Budget grab for inactive bank accounts.

15 April 2013

Nicole Weiss sent this email in memory of Peter Trattner:

Was roughly forty years ago (now that sounds real bad) that my mum packed up her kids and headed off on a big adventure to the exotic jungles of PNG to be with her husband.

We arrived to the unbelievable humid unfamiliar tropical heat at Aropa airport. School teacher, mum, all dressed up to the nine’s (probably thought that she was going to get a bit), Yuk! Two lily white pikinini inappropriately dressed to impress their dad and were welcomed by the kind, gentle and beautiful Joanne, big child, handsome Peter and their tribe, Dad of course and off we all travelled in the beaten up landcrusier to our new home!

They obviously had it already planned and pulled into a village, the usual afternoon deluge was pouring down, unloaded our suitcases and took us to a village hut and welcomed us to our new home! Goodness knows what my mum thought! Kurt and I were immediately welcomed by the village children, took off our shoes and socks and got straight into the delightful business of playing and getting sweaty and muddy with the other kids. They all laughed and laughed, was a fantastic joke that they had played on my mum and was probably when I feel in love so completely for the very first time. In love with Joanne and Peter, their family, their island and its people.

We then headed to our real house at section six Arawa. Joanne and Peter lived in the next street and Dad and Peter as we were to soon find out, were inseparable. I can remember at one stage whilst having dinner one evening, innocently asking dad if he was indeed gay? Mum very nearly choked! My reasoning was that Dad and Peter spent so much time together!

Cannot actually relay that first evening on Bougainville, just that it will be forever etched in my memory and my mum must have honestly considered jumping on the first available flight out of there, after the antics on display that first night.

So pleased we stayed and honoured to have had Peter being a big part of my life, a true kind and gentle fellow, never really grew up, had a child quality about him, full of mischief! Dad and he certainly had some wild adventures.

Nicole Weiss
email nicole[AT]

8 April 2013

Part of BCL's Chairman’s AGM Statement in April 2013


"I will now present my report on the year 2012.

When we last met, I gave several reasons for optimism about the future of this company, and its vision for a return to profitable mining. As we meet today,reporting on the twelve months just passed, I believe our optimism continues to be justified, based on several positive developments that have emerged.

We are building momentum, and so are our development partners.

I will come to the detail later, but in short there is;

• a re‐assessed asset study that add ssignificantly to the size of our resource at Panguna

• an elected and firmly established structure representing our landowners, ready for the task of re‐negotiating the terms of a future mining operation

• a very good relationship with the political leaders and the public servants of the Autonomous Bougainville Government

• a NationalGovernment that is supportive of Bougainville, and more active than ever before in enacting the terms of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, including the provision of significant funding

• and widespread support amongst the Bougainville community that mining is both necessary and desirable in the near future, and that BCL is the preferred operator.

Your company is responding to these positive developments, by maintaining close dialogue with all stakeholders, increasing the flow of information, and investing time and money into preparatory studies that will form the basis of bankable pre‐feasibility and feasibility studies when the time is appropriate.

So the momentum continues to build, on all sides. I will go into more detail of these positive developments, after my report on other items of importance to the company and its shareholders that are recurrent, year on year."

To continue reading the Chairman's address, click here.


Memories are made of this!

I've just come across this simple little cook book from my time in New Guinea. This little gem had been my haus boi's who answered to the name of Getup. "Get Up!"; "Yes, Masta!"

The book had been published by Methodist Mission Press in Rabaul which accounts for the many full-page adverts from businesses I used to know in Rabaul: Rabaul Sports and Music Store; Elvee Trading Coy; Croyden and Viggers; Rabaul Photographic; Rabaul Pharmacies (John Mills); Andersons; Paradise Bakery; AA Hopper and Coy; and many more.

The book's contents are listed under Kai Long Monitaim (Breakfast); Kai Kai Bilong Belo (Luncheon Dishes); Abus Nau Kokoruk (Meat and Poultry); Swit Kai (Sweets); and many others.

Here's a recipe for Kiau na Susu (Scrambled Eggs) which should need no translation:

"3 kiau, 1 kap susu, pepa na sol. Brukim kiau long sosipen, potim sus, na tanim wantain, putim, liklik pepa na sol, tanim wantain moa, kuk im long sosipen, tanim oltaim long pok, long taim i strong, tekewei wara long im, wok im tupela tos na putim kiau antap."

To which I may add, in my best Pidgin English, Bon appetit!

3 April 2013

Bougainville Reunion 19th May 2013 in Brisbane

The reunion this year falls on Sunday the 19th May.

The mid-morning / lunch-time gathering will take place in the Wetlands area of the Entertainment Centre. There is no official start or finish time - just arrive when you can and find a spot by the western lake, under the shady trees.

After all these years we do not all attend, every year. If you are visiting from further afield, please let a few of the locals know, including those we may have lost touch with. BYO food/drinks/table/chairs and aeroguard for the mosquitoes. Barbeques are provided.

We will make a decision on the Wed / Thurs prior to the 19th May depending / trusting the weather forecast and we will send an email if the function is cancelled. The address is Melaleuca Drive on the lake, just behind Brisbane`s Boondall entertainment centre Brisbane Entertainment Centre (Boondall) UBD Reference Maps 110 R15 and 111 A15

The Bougainville Community group has scheduled a fund raising dinner for the Buka General Hospital.

Date: 18 May

Venue: Irish Club in the city

Cost: $100 per head

Details: 3 course meal with traditional dances as well as a live band.

If you are interested please contact Monica Larcombe. mschwart[AT]