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Old 24th February 2013, 05:40 PM
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BBC news feed, Australia, the lucky country?

At the risk of stirring in to life the anti paste element, do you agree with this?

24 February 2013 Last updated at 02:13 GMT

Australia: Where the good life comes at a price

By Madeleine Morris BBC News, Australia



Australia has managed come out of the global financial crisis without a recession. But as a result of its booming economy, the cost of living is extremely high.
It was the limes that finally tipped me over the edge.
In the sleepy Australian seaside village where my parents live, not that far away from several citrus orchards, I was in a supermarket staring at a sign:
Limes: $2.25.
Two Australian dollars, twenty-five cents.
That's £1.50 (US$2.30). Not for a bag. Not for a pair. Each. One lime cost £1.50. Infuriated, I stormed out of the shop, limeless.
"The country has lost it," I fumed to my mum and dad over dinner that night. "How can anyone afford to eat in this country?"
"Darling," my father replied. "Look around. People here are rolling in money. We live in an unbelievably wealthy nation."
And he is right. In the 12 years since I last called Australia home, it has changed. It was always the lucky country, blessed with fertile land, abundant sunshine and plentiful natural resources.

Now, we are more than lucky. We are rich. Bloody rich. So rich that no-one blinks an eye at paying as much for a lime as some of our neighbours in Asia earn in a day.
Ten years ago, not one single Australian city was in the top 50 most expensive cities in the world to live in, now three are in the top 15
And you can feel it, just by looking at the small stuff.
For example, there is no litter on the streets. Nowhere. And I am yet to see a central reservation where the grass is not well-tended and the attractive shrubs not perfectly pruned.
It is the cars. I swear there is none on the road that is older than eight years. They are clean and dent-free and meet strict safety standards.
Behind these doors are the latest gadgets and appliances
It is the obsession with gourmet food shows, the shiny European appliances in the shiny designer kitchens that seem to be a feature in even the most average family home.
It is the seriousness about single-origin coffee made by baristas who get paid £17 an hour before tips to bestow their caffeine-laced munificence on their devoted followers.
I do not mean to sound flippant. Of course, there is poverty too, and the gap between rich and poor is growing.
But the overall feeling I get is that this is a country that can afford to be worried about the small stuff, because the bigger things - food, shelter, water, employment are pretty much taken care of.
As a country, we are richer that we could have ever imagined 20, even 10 years ago”
Australia was one of the few developed nations that came out of the global financial crisis without a recession.
It was down to the prudent economic management of the government at the time, but it was also largely because of the huge mining boom this country has been riding for nearly a decade.
The world, especially China, wants what Australia has in the ground. And it has been willing to pay for it.
And it feels to me, a long-lost daughter, that the country has been irrevocably changed as a result.
My parents' sleepy seaside village used to be inhabited by retirees and fishing families. Now we share the one pub with hundreds of mine workers, who come for their days off to burn money on bottles of spirits and the newly installed slot machines.
Mining has helped fuel growth
Their driveways are stacked with fishing boats, jet-skis and monster trucks - all the boys' toys.
We call them "cashed-up bogans", which roughly translates as "urban rednecks". Plenty of money, not much sense.
It is a term my middle-class tribe uses disparagingly to make us feel better about being educated, but comparatively poor.
I am not the first privately educated, university graduate who wishes she had done a truck-driving course instead.
Sure, I might be bored, but at least I could afford to buy a house.
I asked my taxi-driver the other day if he thinks Australians are rich. He was originally from Turkey.
He looked at me as though I was stupid. "We are living in the lap of luxury here," he said, gesturing to the blue sky and the magnificent city skyline.
So I asked him if he thinks Australians are happy. This time, he sighed.
"When I was at school my teacher asked us who had to work harder, the poor Africans, or the rich Americans," he began.
"A lot of us said the Africans, but my teacher told me no, it was the Americans. They were always working to find ways to pay for their lovely life. Australians are the Americans now."
It made a lot of sense. As a country, we are richer that we could have ever imagined 20, even 10 years ago.
But we are more anxious, too, worried about our non-existent public debt, worried about what we will do when the mining boom is over, which it will be soon.
Worried about how we're going to pay for our next overseas holiday, because that's what we've all come to expect as normal.
And me, I am especially worried about how to make sure the limes on my newly planted lime-tree grow, because I sure won't be buying them in a supermarket any time soon
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Old 24th February 2013, 05:46 PM
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He is absolutely right. Domestically we're always talking relatives and often forget to look at the absolutes which an outsider does.
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Old 24th February 2013, 06:14 PM
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I dont agree. If you go visit a mining town yes everybody is cashed up[i have lived/worked in one], but if you go to the outer suburbs of any city it is a different story, alot of us live week to week and dont drive late model cars or own a house. Living has got very expensive in the last 20 years and the wages havent kept up with inflation. As for the gap widening between the "haves" and "have nots" this government has made it into the "haves" and "will nots", go to centrelink tomorrow at 9am and you will be the only one there[who doesnt work there], go again at 11am and it will be full of "late risers". The reporter fails to see behind the doors of the modern houses that are often filled with financially over committed owners living on credit cards hoping to avoid the mortagee sale. I love this country and its climate and dont want to be anywhere else but i do believe a "mining boom" town is very different to the rest and is not a fear judgement at all.
Richard
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Old 24th February 2013, 06:16 PM
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Madelene is right in that article, but for myself living and working in Luanda, Angola and some other places in Africa for 10 years, as well as spending nearly 6 months in India last year, I am still proud to call Australia home.
We are at times like a dysfunctional family (The Windsors at Buck. Palace for example) but it is still so good the get back after time away.
My beloved wife of nearly 25 years is an immigrant from Asia and when she is over there she does her duty and then only wants to come back home to our place in Coffs. It is where we are most comfortable and happy and where the birds come and visit us, sometimes for a tidbit but often nothing at all except the fresh water in the birdbath.
By comparison to other places it is very expensive here but there are ways to mitigate that as well (we are overwhelmed with limes from our tree so we leave them out the front for people passing by to take for nothing) so we grow some basic greens and a small range of herbs, as well as using the local farmers markets. Even though I am FIFO I try and spend money in the two communities in which I live and work.
We love Australia, warts and all.
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Old 24th February 2013, 06:26 PM
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Yes we are doing very well compared with EU and America but if I have the choice I like more the Australia of the very early 70's
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Old 24th February 2013, 06:29 PM
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Wages are more here than the uk, so cost of living is more.
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Old 24th February 2013, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob10 View Post
........................................It is the cars. I swear there is none on the road that is older than eight years.
Hmmm...................obviously automotive knowledge isn't her strong suit.

Limes.......................who eats bloody limes ? they're probably imported from California or somewhere, something she conveniently forgets to mention.

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Old 24th February 2013, 07:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanoH View Post
Limes.......................who eats bloody limes ? they're probably imported from California or somewhere, something she conveniently forgets to mention.

Deano
I do! They're awesome with Corona beers... Imported from Mexico!
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Old 24th February 2013, 08:01 PM
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I do! They're awesome with Corona beers... Imported from Mexico!
Corona hasn't been imported for a while now. Like a lot of popular 'boutique' beers, it is made locally under licence...

As for the Limes, our poor citrus farmers need us to buy local - I would like to think the ones mentioned were, but all too frequently, our fruit and veg is coming from OS...
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Old 24th February 2013, 08:04 PM
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and the SIL & BIL grow them on the north coast of NSW, I was just talking to her on the phone.

There's been a dearth of supply, and the current crop will only be starting to be ready to harvest now, so it's the old supply and demand.
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