Eats, shoots (video) and leaves TEENAGE DREAM: George the wombat being held by Katy Perry on the set of Sunrise in July, 2017. Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park
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Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

Picture: Tim Faulkner & The Australian Reptile Park.

TweetFacebookWORLD-FAMOUS wombat “George” from the Australian Reptile Park at Somersby is set to be released back into the wild.

The prolific marsupial came to fame earlier this year after videos of his activities went viral online.

He was brought into the park’s care in late 2016 after being found by a passing motorist in the pouch of his deceased mother, who had been hit by a car.

From then, George was taken under the care of general manager Tim Faulkner who became his new “fill-in family” and provided the resources the tiny wombat needed.

Read more:A new video has been released for George’s first birthday

“We are going to miss George so much but he is now ready for release,” Mr Faulkner said.

“George has always been so adorable in the eyes of staff at The Australian Reptile Park, so it was fantastic that the rest of the world also saw him as we do.

“We are sending him to Cedar Creek Wombat Sanctuary to run free and make lots of wombat friends.”

Named “Australia’s Most Adorable Animal” in September after he won an online poll run by Experience OZ, George’s profile received a huge lift midway through the year when he was nervously held by popular American singer Katy Perry on the set of Sydney breakfast program Sunrise.

The summer holidays will be the last chance to see the cuddly creature in the Reptile Park’s wombat enclosure before he is released in mid-January.

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The cost of living is forever creeping up, and pay rises, if you’re lucky enough to get one at all, are typically underwhelming. So how can you get some extra dollars coming in the door? Perhaps a side hustle is your solution.
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What we are talking about here is something that you do outside of your normal method of earning a living, and which produces additional income.

Research undertaken by Manpower Group highlighted how the side hustle concept linked to the idea of the ‘gig economy’, finding that two out of five Australian Millennials preferred to work a number of part-time jobs, rather a single, Monday to Friday, 9-5 job. A study in the US found that 28 per cent of those aged between 18 and 26 were working on an income-generating side project – or side hustle. Of those, almost all worked in the side hustle at least once a month, and one in four said they earned more than $US500 ($646) a month.

One aspect of the side hustle concept that I really like is that it enables you to give things a try, to experiment. To test ideas and see if real people are willing to part with their hard-earned cash for your idea.

A popular entrepreneurial process is the Lean Start-Up methodology. A key concept in this process is how many cycles you can go through of putting an idea out in the world, obtaining real customer feedback, tweaking your offer based on that feedback, and going back out to market again. The more times you can run through that cycle, the greater the likelihood you will find a sustainable business that you can grow. Working through those iterations as a side hustle can be fantastic, because you’re not relying on the new venture to put food on the table or a roof over your head. You can experiment and discover, and if those experiments don’t play out as you’d hope, you can live to fight another day.

So how might you get started on your side hustle journey?

There are two mostly likely paths you could go down to find a side hustle that works for you. One is to think about your hobbies and passions. Is there scope to turn a dollar doing something in that space?

The other avenue is to consider what skills you have, and whether you can monetise those skills outside of your regular job.

So on the hobbies front, let’s say you love playing the guitar. Could you pick up some work in a cover band on the weekend? Or provide guitar lessons? Maybe you could create an online course on learning the guitar, or tuning a guitar, or whatever. Perhaps you could import guitars and sell them on eBay or Amazon.

Earning money in a space that you love and are passionate about might be fantastically liberating. Chances are you have a community already around you who share your interest that could be an incredibly useful sounding board for your plans, and perhaps even customers one day.

Then what about turning your skills into some extra cash? This is perhaps where the internet has provided the most liberation. If you have design skills, for instance, you could pick up work at 99 designs, AirTasker, Freelancer and no doubt plenty more. Of course, in the case of AirTasker and Freelancer, there are opportunities for those with plenty of other skills too – from cleaning to web site design, there will be an avenue for you turn those skills you’ve acquired into extra money in your pocket.

Perhaps your skills point to selling a particular product that you know a lot about. Market-places such as Amazon and Ebay can open up enormous opportunities. Fulfilment by Amazon is an opportunity of enormous magnitude. I know of someone who designed a bag to hold medical items for children, such as EpiPens, for instance. These bags could then be put in their school bag, or wherever they needed to go, and the parent could be confident everything that was needed was there, and there were instructions for carers, if required.

She gets these manufactured in China and ships them to the Amazon warehouse in the UK. She can then market the product throughout Europe on Amazon – more than 300 million potential customers – and anytime someone orders, Amazon takes care of the process from that point forward – picking the item, packaging it and getting it delivered. And she can manage the entire thing from her study at home in Melbourne. What an incredible age we live in!

A final point to note. It might be wise to consider whether what you are planning to do could conflict with your current employment. It may be a good idea to simply ask your employer, “do you see any problems with what I’m planning to do?” Who knows, they may even be able to flick some opportunities your way.

Paul Benson is a financial planner and creator of the podcast Financial Autonomy. [email protected]

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Christmas Day at one family home in western Sydney this year was a flick of the wrist away from going horribly wrong, after a child found a sharp, rusty blade resembling “something from a prison”inside a bon-bon.
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The McNeilage family was sitting down to lunch at Northmead on Monday afternoon when 11-year-old Bobby alerted the adults to what he had discovered after ripping his bon-bon in half with his older brother.

Bobby McNeilage, 11, discovered the blade inside a bonbon purchased from Woolworths. Photo: Supplied

“I pulled it out and I tipped it upside down to get it out onto the table,” Bobby told Fairfax Media.”I noticed that it was a knife thing, so then I showed everybody else.”

The “knife thing” was a large, sharp, rusty blade, wrapped in tape at one end.Did it scare him? “Kinda.”

Bobby’s mother, Melissa McNeilage, said at first the family thought it was a prank. But when theyrealised the blade had come from inside the bon-bon, they were stunned.

The large rusty blade found inside the Christmas bon bon purchased from Woolworths. Photo: Amy McNeilage

“I was just shocked to think there was that in there, it’s a dangerous weapon,” she said.But the mother-of-fouradded that her biggest concern was what could have happened if the bon-bon had been pulled by a younger child, or if the blade had flown out and hit someone.

“How many times when you pull the toy open does something come flying out? If it flew out it could have been heaps worse,” she said.

“If it got into the wrong hands of a little kid, something drastic could have happened.It looked like something from a prison.”

Ms McNeilage,from Blacktown, said her sister, who was hosting Christmas this year, had purchased the “Woodland 6-pack” of bon-bons from Woolworths in Winston Hills. The product was manufactured in China.

“I don’t think [my sister] will be buying Woolworths bon-bons again after that. She felt bad that she’d put these bon-bons in front of my kids.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said the company and its suppliers “have a responsibility to provide high-quality products and services to our customers and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are investigating this incident as per our product safety incident protocol.”

Fairfax Media understands the individual who purchased the bon-bon has made a complaint to Woolworths and has not yetreceived a refund.

Erin Turner, director of campaigns and communications at CHOICE, said “ifyou cracked open a bon-bon and got an unwelcome surprise you have the right to a remedy, like a refund or replacement”.

But she also said it was”not good enough” that the law only requires companies to act aftersomething goes wrong.

“There isno general legal requirement for companies to make sure all products are safe before they hit the shelves,” she said.

“We’re calling on the federal government to pass a new law – a general safety provision – to stop dodgy items before they make it to Australian homes.”

“Such a provision would mean a big company like Woolworths would have to do basic checks to make sure that what they are selling won’t harm their customers.

“These laws are already in place in the United Kingdom and Canada – it makes sense for Australian consumers to have the same level of protections.”

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To say fishing has been busy over the Christmas break would be the understatement of the year, according to Brent“Hammer” Hancock from Tackle World Port Stephens.
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FISH OF THE WEEK: Todd Graham wins the Jarvis Walker tacklebox and Tsunami lure pack for this 119cm, 15kg jew caught off Stockton Beach this week.

The holiday masses are in full swing along Hunter waters and Brent says they’ve been enjoying the best of weather and catches.

“We’ve been run off our feet, but there’s been really good reports,” said Hammer, who reportedly fell asleep on the in-laws couch on Christmas Day.

(Experts are still trying to determine if that was because he’d been working to hard, or had eaten too much turkey.)

“In the bay we’ve seenplenty of bonito and tailor turn up,especially on the incoming tide, anywhere from the Anchorage to the breakwall at Nelson Bay marina.

“Plenty of surface activity, with fish really responding to small metal lures.

“Bread and butter species like whiting and bream are about in abundance on the sandflats and along the beaches.

“We can’t keep enough tube worms in stock.

“Been a few blue swimmers about too, which has been good.”

Branching outOne of Hammer’s hitmen at Tackle World Port Stephens, Paul“Ringo” Lennon, has ventured out into the fishing charter business.

His operation is calledFish Port Stephens Estuary Charter Services and has been booked solid over the Christmas New Year period as anglers cash in on Paul’s local knowledge to track down among other species, some big kingies.

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Meanwhile, Brad, from Pacific Charters, has been putting customers onto some great snapper, jew and trag around the local reefs like The V, and 21.

Big jewSpeaking of jew, a young Turk Hammer used to live next door to speared a 37kg mulloway last week on Broughton Island.

“It was a monster,” Hammer said. “He’s 19 years old now. Apparently he was diving for lobster and had the gun there when this fish turned up–got lucky I guess.”

Wide hopesOut wide there have a been a few striped and black marlin spotted and reports of a couple of big dolphin fish.

“Water has been a bit hit and miss but the good news is there is no current belting down the coast,” Hammer said.

“I’d almost call this a normal season.

“The last couple of years we’ve had that current raging south and impacting on game fishing, but this year, with no current, it’s reasonable to expect that as soon as the water temps get up, the bait will stack andit will be on.”

Beach bountyLocal beaches are firing for whiting, jew and bream.

Places like Birubi have been producing great sessions on live tube worms.

“Fish early and fish late for best holiday results,” Hammer advised.

Happy New YearThe fishing forecast for the New Year weekend is looking reasonably promising with a few showers predicted buthardly any wind.

“Mostly 10 knots all weekend,” Hammer noted.

“Saturday is shaping up well with a slight southerly change Sunday and then New Years Day looks great.”

Dad strikes backIt’s been a bumper year for the Graham family.

Nine-year-old Zander featured on this page in November, having shown up his dad Todd by catching two jew in one cast off Stocko. It led to a lament from dad along the lines of “took me 20 years to get my first jew and he gets two at once at age 9, the little bugger. LOL.”

As the Fish of the Week photo shows, the empire struck back this week, or rather big daddy Todd did, landing a 15kg bigger daddy mulloway off the beach.

“I caught this one on Tuesday night up Stockton beach. 15kg even and 119cm long (so close to 120cm though it’s not funny!),” he reported.

Holiday joyFive year old Harper Dryden landed a shovel nose shark at Nelson Bay that was nearly bigger than Dryden while fishing with grandad Paul Rowett. Young Dryden was pretty chuffed.

Lexi Bower of Bolton Point caught her first fish on the brand new fishing rod she got for Christmas –a beautiful 44cm flathead.

Papers pleaseJust a reminder that when fishing, RecreationalFishing Licences are a must and can be purchased online at梧桐夜网onegov.nsw.gov419论坛; ​over the phone on 1300 369 365;via Touch Corp agents who sell fishing fee receipts via EFTPOS, or at over 600 agent shop fronts including tackle shops and most Kmart stores.

To receive a plastic card (1 and 3 year fishing fees receipts only), you need to purchase or renew your fishing receipt via one of the electronic payment channels identified above. A list of all our current agents can be found on our website:https://goo.gl/HvBNyw.

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