Monthly Archives: May 2019

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Plea: tax wine by alcohol content

Taxing wine by its alcohol content would increase annual revenue by $1.3 billion, reduce alcohol consumption by 1.3 per cent and save $820 million in health care costs, according to modelling published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
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Both the National Preventative Health Taskforce and the Henry tax review recommended the wine equalisation tax – under which wine is taxed by value – be replaced by a system of taxing wine according to its alcohol content, in the same way that beer and spirits are taxed.

Under the current arrangements, which the Henry review called ”incoherent,” excise per standard drink of fortified wine is as low as 10¢, while for spirits or premixed drinks it is more than eight times as much.

Researchers modelled the impact of four changes to alcohol taxation, and concluded that taxing wine on volume was the most politically feasible, despite other scenarios raising more revenue and producing greater reductions in alcohol-related harm. A spokesman for Treasurer Joe Hockey said the Coalition had ”no current plans to change alcohol taxation”.

”The government will conduct a white paper process for real tax reform that will lay down a new tax agenda which will be put to the Australian people for their approval at the subsequent election,” the spokesman said.

Leading up to its 2011 tax forum, the then Labor government committed not to change alcohol tax in the immediate future, citing a wine glut and industry restructuring.

But Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said an overhaul of alcohol taxation was overdue, because under the current system some wine was cheaper than bottled water.

”We’ve got a system that’s a dog’s breakfast – it’s bad for the industry and it’s bad for people’s health,” he said.

Senator Di Natale said the current system under which wine is taxed on value encouraged the production of high volume, low quality products, which had harmed Australia’s international reputation.

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive Paul Evans said the federation did not support any tax increase, because it would harm the industry and would not be effective in reducing alcohol abuse. He said a tax increase would penalise the vast majority of responsible drinkers, but there was evidence risky drinkers were not sensitive to price rises.

But some wineries, including Treasury Wine Estates (which owns Penfolds and Wolf Blass), and Pernod Ricard (which owns Jacob’s Creek) have previously called for wine to be taxed on alcohol content.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Time wasting on the job all part of a day’s work

Counter productive: The average employee wastes 50 minutes a day on work that will either be binned or not used. Photo: iStockEver feel like your job is a waste of time? You might be right – at least about a portion of your day, new research into how Australians work has found.
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The average employee wastes 50 minutes a day on work that will either be binned or not used, a twice-yearly survey of thousands of Australian workers by consultants EY has found.

EY (formerly Ernst & Young) also found that planned, top-down organisational change by companies was having a smaller impact on workplace practices than individual efforts of employees.

The survey is the fifth the consulting group has produced since 2011 tracking the productivity of the Australian workforce.

The company’s Neil Plumridge said the most recent study – based on a survey of 2100 employees spanning seven industries and from the private and public sectors – showed the personal productivity of workers continuing to increase.

But productivity improvements among the public service were proving more difficult to come by, he said, largely because of the ”ongoing churn” of senior managers within departments.

The surveys also asked each six months about how workers spent their working day, and defined as ”wasted time” any activity that led to work being binned, not used, being repeated, or that is also being done by someone else in the organisation at the same time. It found this ”time wastage’ had not improved since 2011, with the average worker continuing to waste 11 per cent of their day, or 50 minutes.

The report found that workers who felt less secure were also likely to be less productive. ”If you push that job security and fear factor too far, it can be counter productive,” Mr Plumridge said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Screening smokers could double rate of survival

Lung cancer: Early detection could save 1500 lives a year in Australia.Screening heavy smokers annually for lung cancer could save 1500 lives a year in Australia, but it could also lead to scores of false positive results and unnecessary biopsies, doctors say.
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Associate Professor Paul Mitchell, a senior oncologist at the Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre, said annual low-dose CT scans of long-term smokers aged over 55 would undoubtedly lead to earlier detection of lung cancer, improving treatment options and survival rates.

He said given that a US study of 53,000 current and former heavy smokers aged 55-74 found 20 per cent fewer lung cancer deaths among those screened with low-dose CT, an Australian screening program for people who had smoked a pack a day for 30 years could double the number of patients who live beyond five years with the disease.

”If we applied that same criteria to the Australian population … we might push the current five-year survival rate from 14 per cent to 29 per cent,” he said. ”It could have a dramatic impact. A lot more women die of lung cancer than from breast cancer. It’s the biggest cancer killer in women and men.”

There are no organised lung cancer screening programs in Australia or other countries.

The US Preventive Services Task Force recently issued a draft statement recommending annual low-dose CT screening for healthy people aged 55-79 who have smoked a pack a day for 30-plus years and who have smoked within the past 15 years.

But the US study, which is known as the National Lung Screening Trial, found that while screening saved lives, it also led to many false positive results that caused some patients to have unnecessary invasive biopsies and surgical procedures.

Earlier this year, three Australian doctors said more than 95 per cent of the positive scans in the US study were false positives, meaning no cancer was found. In most cases these false positive results led to more scans, however some patients also had invasive procedures to clear them of cancer.

The doctors estimated that the cost of saving one life through screening would be $530,487 compared with the current $250-$1000 per person spent on smoking cessation interventions which add four years of life to each quitter in their early 60s.

But Associate Professor Mitchell said a recent Victorian study indicated that 62 per cent of smokers presenting with lung cancer had already quit a median of 12 years earlier, meaning smoking cessation programs will not save them.

”Smoking reduction is essential, but it is not an alternative to screening,” he said. ”I personally think screening is a high priority because it’s the one thing we can do now that will make a substantial difference.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

What to do with verjuice

Slice or dice: How you chop depends on the desired result. Photo: from Simon Bryant’s Vegies Karen Martini’s roasted pears with verjuice, saffron, rosemary and bay leaves. Photo: Marina Oliphant
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Recently someone gave me a bottle of verjuice and I would appreciate some suggestions on how to use it. J. Sparkes

I love looking at people’s collections, going through their libraries of books and admiring their art. I used to finger through their CD collections, judgmentally assessing their taste in listening pleasure. I also sneak a look in their pantries, making some pathetic excuse about looking for salt.

From this experience I can tell you a lot of people hoard gifts of condiments, never breaking the seal of the bottles and jars as if this would break the bonds of friendship with the giver.

They amass walls of Keating-era sun-dried tomatoes and Howard-era olive oil infused with kaffir lime leaves. Verjuice fits in this mould. People are given it and don’t know what to do with it, so store it for years and then sneak it slyly into the recycling bin.

Use it! It’s great stuff!

I use Attica chef Ben Shewry’s favourite from Box Grove Vineyard (boxgrovevineyard南京夜网 .au). Verjuice is the juice of unripe grapes and is acidic enough not to ferment.

Treat it as a seasoning. Use it to deglaze a pan of meat or onions to increase the sharpness of a dish. We don’t think enough about acid balance. It brings other flavours into relief. Also add a splash to mineral water on ice for a refreshing drink. Don’t hide it.

Use it and invite your friend to share your cooking.Karen Martini’s roasted pears with saffron, rosemary, verjuice and honey.

I am interested to know if it really makes a difference if I chop or slice onions when preparing them for a recipe. I. Winter

As I am so often told, size does matter. Particularly with vegetables.

It is all about surface area and mouth feel. Imagine your mouth full of cooked brown rice and then vermicelli. Brown rice is a little crunchy and vermicelli is slippery.

Chopped onion, even in a medium braise, will still retain a little mouth feel; finely sliced onions become soft and slippery.

When you finely slice onions you break open more of the cells compared with a dice, so slices will give up their sugar-filled juices faster, making them easier to caramelise – perfect for an onion confit or caramelised onions.

Finely sliced raw onions are also desirable in salads when you want a nice sharp hit but not to start a choking fit.

Chopped onions have less surface area so take longer to cook, and can handle longer and hotter cooking, making them the likely starters when making the base for a braise, soup or stew.

As a great chef once said: ”A good dish starts with the decisions made on the chopping board.”

I had always kept eggs in the fridge as they are refrigerated in supermarkets. However, I have started keeping them in the pantry. Which is the best location? C. Jenkins

The Australian Egg Board recommends one keeps one’s eggs in the refrigerator in the cardboard box. Eggs have pervious shells and membranes, which mean they take on the aroma of nearby foods – lovely if you store your eggs next to truffles, but not so appealing if you store them next to fish. Before baking, bring eggs out of the fridge to reach room temperature.

Letters

The recent piece on mock chicken, based on my mother Robyn Eythl Cornish’s recipe, drew many comments. My family were Methodists so the optional addition of bacon to a recipe of onion, tomato, breadcrumbs and cheese didn’t stand up to the many Catholics writing in, who saw bacon as heresy, as for them mock chicken was a Friday night dish instead of fish.

Further to this, Val Duff wrote: ”I was delighted to read about mock chicken. It brought back so many memories. My mum (if she was still with us she would have been 104 this year) used crushed-up Clix biscuits instead of breadcrumbs. I haven’t thought about mock chicken in years. I must make some this weekend.”

Send your queries to [email protected] cornish南京夜网.au

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.