Boral Clay and Concrete have just announced a “fuel levy” on their brick deliveries of 35c per square metre. That will add about $70 to $100 to a delivery of bricks. Boral may be imitating the airlines but its so-called “levy” is very unfair as it appears to be a flat charge irrespective of the actual distance travelled.

Some ructions in the Coles PR unit. The media dept in Sydney have launched a full-scale attack on World Youth Day claiming millions in losses… The Sydney flacks are just jumping into the SMH and Tele fight over WYD… Head office is taking a dim view. 

I’ve heard that, inspired by the series Travel Oz now showing on the ABC ,the Australian Hotels Association is going to pitch a similar series to Aunty “reviewing” businesses of their members. The national coverage is worth more and costs far less than a more conventional advertising campaign. Few if any members would be able to afford such advertising and the cost to the ABC for the programs is minimal.

I received a significant duplicated electronic credit to my business bank account on Wednesday night and contacted the payer. Apparently Westpac have stuffed up in a huge way, duplicating all (?) payments made through them — including wages. Westpac are apparently clawing back the duplicated payments through receiving banks by midday, but claim it will take six weeks to refund interest and fees that they will automatically apply to the accounts that have been overdrawn by their error.

Buried on page 61 of Engineers Australia’s latest statistical overview of the engineering profession is the finding that more than half of Australia’s new engineers are migrants. The number of local graduates has barely changed over the past five years.

Kathy Lipari has returned to the Daily Telegraph, having been parachuted into the Manly Daily just long enough to cover the 2007 State and Federal elections. We may never know the News Ltd machinations behind the posting.

Nigel Wilson, The Oz‘s National Energy Writer, was due back from holidays this week. Word is he’s not going back — taken package is the tip. Whatever happened, big shoes to fill after more than 12 years…

Anyone else having trouble with the new Quickbooks? The normally reliable Quickbooks, while having some good minor improvements, has overall gone backwards with its 08/09 release. The explanations on the upgrade from 07/08 to 08/09 were inaccurate e.g. regarding memorised transactions and regarding changes, especially payroll, non-existent. Having processed the first payroll for the year, year-to-date figures on pay slips are not re-setting to zero — basic year 11 accounting not working. Trying to get through to the advantage line gets technical support people who struggle to help. That’s if you can get through, as most times the line is engaged or rings out. The recorded message blames this on end-of-financial year.

Some months ago, we changed childcare centres for our youngest, where she is attending five days a week. After one of the recent long-weekends we examined the statement-invoice and noticed that we pay the full daily rate for that public holiday which led us to the realisation that we have been paying for all public holidays. Querying this, we were told that “the Centre has to make wages”! Now, if my child attends one day a week say, Monday and the majority of long-weekends occur on this day, then the policy is still that I have to pay but have the option to request a free “make-up” day in lieu of. Tough luck for the likes of us who cannot use a make-up day! So shouldn’t the operator have considered this scenario from the outset and the cost of 10 public holidays absorbed into the rest of the days when they are open? Our previous centre also charged us for the public holidays but amortised this throughout the year and gave us a discount for being a five-dayer. But at the end of the day, the customer is being charged for a service that cannot be used on the day it is booked. Then one has to ask whether the Federal Government’s Child Care Benefit is being rorted? Is this the norm for all child care centres across the country or the exception?

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.