Real Estate · Uncategorized


It’s that time of the year again.

Tax time is looming but many Australian property investors may be underprepared, according to leading landlord insurance specialist Terri Scheer Insurance.

“Landlords often come under scrutiny from the ATO when lodging tax returns, so it is important they complete their claims accurately,” said Carolyn Parrella, Executive Manager of Terri Scheer Insurance.

“Landlords should consult their accountants to confirm what can and cannot be claimed as a tax deductible expense. This ensures all claims are legitimate and the tax return amount is maximised.

“Seeking advice from a tax specialist can help make this time of the year much easier for landlords.”

Ms Parrella, also a property investor, has offered the following top tips for tax time:

– Negative gearing
“The net loss generated by negative gearing can be offset against other income, to reduce the tax payable,” Ms Parrella said.

“Landlords may be unaware that interest can only be claimed when the property is availablefor rent. For example, if a property is lived in for half a year and leased as a holiday rental for the other half, you cannot claim the interest for the full 12 months.”

“Property investors can usually claim their landlord insurance premium as a tax deduction butthis is often overlooked,” Ms Parrella said.

“Ahead of tax time, it’s also worthwhile checking your insurance policy to ensure you have theappropriate coverage. Some landlord insurance policies provide cover for professional feesincurred as a result of an ATO tax audit relating to investment properties. A standard homeand contents insurance policy won’t cover landlords for the specific risks associated withproperty investing.

“Landlords can potentially miss out on thousands of dollars of tax benefits by under claiming,”Ms Parrella said.

“Apartment or unit owners may be able to claim body corporate fees on strata or community title properties. Landlords who rent a fully-furnished property, such as a holiday home, may be eligible to claim some of their rental income as a tax deduction.
“Maintenance costs, such as changing light globes or fixing a hot water service if it breaks, may also be tax deductible. Running costs such as council rates, land taxes, water and sewerage charges might also be legitimate and claimable expenses.
“Landlords should check with their accountant to determine what they can and cannot claim.”

– Offsetting costs
“You may be able to claim travel to your investment property as a tax deduction, however you shouldn’t exploit this by incorporating it as part of a holiday or another trip,” Ms Parrella said.

“Similarly, if you’re a self-managed landlord, you may be able to claim some of the costs of your home office. You won’t be able to claim all the costs, such as purchasing the computer and the monthly internet bills, however a fair and reasonable part of this may be deductible.

“An experienced and qualified accountant can provide further advice.”

– Property manager
“Not only are property managers an invaluable asset to landlords, their cost can be a deductible expense for landlords,” Ms Parrella said.

“Appointing a property manager might create a potential tax benefit while assisting with organisation and saving time for landlords.

“A good property manager will take care of the administrative responsibilities involved in an investment property. They should also be able to help reduce the burden at tax time by compiling and completing the relevant paperwork for ATO reporting.”

For further information, visit or call 1800 804 016.

Sport · Uncategorized

Touch Football Mum

Harringtons Harriers-01.jpg

Those of you who know me personally,  you know that I am an avid fan of touch football. Each weekend you will find me out on the fields, screaming, jumping and barracking for the various teams I am involved in.

When my son – we will call him J was young, I was willing him to be older so that I could sign him up to a team sport. I wanted to see him get out and run on the fields, as much for his good as for mine. I desperately wanted to make new friends, meet new people and stop feeling as isolated as I did being a Mum of a small child and a business owner.

I remember when my son was about 5 and they had a mini Soccer team on Saturday mornings. There I was on the sidelines all dressed up (in my office gear with high heels on, sinking into the grass) cheering him on. Then I watched in amazement as he became grumpy because “the other boys were taking the ball off him”. The other parents on the side lines laughed and I have to admit I had to stifle a few giggles as I cuddled him and told him it would be OK.

When the Coach changed his position and made him Goalie, I thought OK here we go! Instead he stormed off the field because the boys kicked the ball in the goal! My little Goalie was lying down on the sidelines (leaving us vulnerable) and he was bawling. Telling me how unfair it was. Oh the joys of parenting and early Winter morning starts!

As you have probably figured out Soccer was not our thing. We waited a few years and eventually we became involved in our school touch football team then our local touch football team. Now for over 4 years we have been playing in various teams and age groups. It has been lovely to see them progress from “little minions” as I call them where they just  chase the ball all over the field in a “swarm formation” to now, where I can see skill and strategy developing.

We are involved in our lovely local club team where we have a very caring coach right up to the local Representative team where try out were necessary and we thankfully made the cut.

These days we are involved in 3 teams varying from Under 12 – Under 14. This keeps us very busy as well as being the Manager for the Representative Team and the Coach of our own team Harrington Harriers. Our Rep Team means that we have Carnivals to attend each month and we train twice a week – it is a lot of organising to make sure that they get to training and then to the Carnivals which are usually at least an hour away.

Along the way I have met some wonderful people, they are very caring and would bend over backwards for you – that is what I have discovered, there seems to be a loyalty with this club. I remember when I was trying to find Mal Meninga (the Australian Coach and legendary goal kicking centre) a home in Brisbane and my son was over the moon. J told all of his friends at school that Mum had met Mal Meninga, what a proud little boy I had that week.

Apart from the people you meet, I love the fact that kids can roam free on the fields, they learn to be independent and to not hover around their parents. I also love the fact that this gives me a bit of me time where I can chat with other parents and a catch up in the Clubhouse (and a cheeky well-earned Friday night drink) after the games have finished. All of our kids are out kicking balls, running around and exhausting themselves even more whilst we are inside chatting away with each other!

Our Carnivals are a huge amount of fun, we all pack the car, we pick up other team mates and friends and we have a bit of a road trip before we get to the fields. We set up a meeting area usually and then is a case of making sure the kids are wearing sun screen, hats & shirts. We go to their various fields and we scream and cheer them on, making complete fools out of ourselves. We have picnics for lunch on the sidelines when we have a break from playing, we watch the older kids play – wow they can fly! We watch our younger kids absorbed in the game, they all excitedly chatter and mimic the older kids moves on the sidelines. It is wonderful to see the comraderie of the team, it is absolutely terrific!

I wanted to say congratulations to every parent, grand parent, foster parent, uncle, aunty, brother and sister etc. who dedicates their time to ensure that their families are involved in sport – whichever sport it may be. There are so many benefits not only health.

I have seen J grow in confidence, his resilience has improved, his perception of right and wrong is now a bit more grey rather than black and white,  because let’s face it we never agree with the referee 100% of the time do we? J is learning about our community, that kids and parents are different that they have different abilities and behaviours.

I believe that parents need a greater amount of dedication to a child’s team than the child does (and usually the parents do!).





ANZAC Day – what it means to me

ANZACPhoto by Cheryl Goodenough

ANZAC day is a very important day for me. This is for many special reasons, not only because it is the official day of recognition and commemoration for Australia but also because on this special day I remember my family.

I have had many of my descendants fight in wars all over the world, from my Great Grandfather who was an ANZAC and who fought in France, my Grand Father who fought in WWII and my Father who fought in Vietnam.

I never met my Great Grandfather and my Grandfather never spoke of his experiences (he passed away when I was 13). My Dad was a Vietnam Vet and he was very scarred by the experience. My mother divorced him upon his return as he had become an alcoholic and had a very large amount of mental health issues.

As kids we suffered quite a bit because of the Vietnam War. We lost a father and our family was split up, we lived with my Grand parents for many years (the best of my life I have to admit – lollies and love and kindness abounded but that is what Grand Parents are for!).

I remember going to the Dawn Ceremony in Melbourne one year with my Dad, I must have been 6-7. Dad and I were in the city centre very early, it was dark and I was excited. From my point of view it was fun (I was walking in a parade, in the City and people were cheering me – oh, to be so naive again). I was spending time with my Dad (who I did not see so often anymore due to his mental health issues). It was all going terrifically well until we had an incident (due to his mental health) and we had to come home. I was a bit shaken up by it but really all that mattered to me was that I was spending time with my Dad.

As I grew older I realised what a toll the Vietnam War took on him. He was physically very ill and he had a tremendous amount of anxiety. One day he told me of how he coped with his anxiety (a hot water bottle on his stomach helped) and how much it unsettled him, he felt very vulnerable and depressed. Whenever I asked him how he was he always said “not too well”.

Veteran Affairs were a terrific organisation (they still are), they took care of a lot of things for him. VA even offered assistance to me because I was the child of a veteran (they too recognised that the children of veterans needed assistance). VA does amazing things for the returned servicemen and their families and their staff should be commended – it would be a very challenging job.

When my Dad passed away his funeral was a very sombre affair, a bugler and a piper played, our family was there (we had not seen each other in many years) and then we held a wake at the local RSL Club.

Afterwards whlst doing some research, I found the following tribute to him by one of his friends.

“A Goodbye to Paul”

“About a year ago, I went to the funeral of someone I had met briefly with a friend a few times over coffee. At the graveside funeral were just my friend, his wife, a couple of interstate relatives and the ‘compulsory’ Returned & Services League (RSL) officiate. Dead much too soon with no fanfare, no tears, and only the Last Post for his epitaph; something I found indescribably sad.

Paul Christopher Harrington
They laid you in a hole today
Put you to rest.
In reading your obituary I see
That you were only one month younger
Still than me.
A bugler played but Vietnam was
Oh so long ago
A piper piped
But you
Still had it with you we both know.
I hope you didn’t think
Back then,
When I marched with other sisters, mothers, lovers
That I felt any less of you
Or scorned what you yourself had tried to do.
Depression slays as sure as any foe
A bullet evil, insidious and slow.
You feel no more but more I feel for you
Regret for what you had, for what you cannot see.
They laid you in a hole today and
You were only one month younger
Still than me.

Tony White

ANZAC day is a very special day for all of those who have been involved in some way or other in the military. They should be recognised more often and they are heroes to me. I would love to see a day where there is no need for service men and service women though.

– Tracie





Story Dogs – why are they important?


Ruffy my mini labradoodle is in training to become a fully qualified Story Dog and I could not be any more proud.

Story Dogs is based on the successful American literacy program Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.). The R.E.A.D program was launched in 1999 in Utah USA, as the first comprehensive literacy program built around the appealing idea of children and young adolescents reading to dogs.

There are 2 reasons that I decided to become a volunteer for Story Dogs. The fist is that I had noticed since moving from a commercial office space to home that Ruffy had become a bored because she was not going out meeting new people and having as many new experiences as she used to in the office. I noticed that Ruffy was licking herself a lot more and had graduated to licking the furniture as well (beds, mattresses etc). So it was time to find her a new job. Also as a child I had struggled with comprehension and I remember being taken out of the class to have support. This changed my view of reading totally – I love reading and researching and resourcing, the library became a big part of my life as a child (before we had the internet).

Anyway, I researched dog charities and I found Story Dogs, let’s face it I love to learn and read and Ruffy loves children and going to new locations – what a great combination. I thought it would be a great match.

As part of the training it is necessary to visit a school in order to observe a volunteer in action. This was a huge eye opener. I thought that we would be sitting in a quiet place, assisting the kids to read, my experience was far more varied than I though it could ever be.


We firstly met a little girl who was about 6 (let’s call her Grace), she was lovely, well mannered and very polite.  Grace was having trouble with her spelling. The volunteer (let’s call her Carmel) assisted Grace with her words, showed her the pictures and really engaged her. You could see that Grace had a great connection with Carmel and that she absolutely loved the dog (let’s call her Nell). When the session had come to an end, Grace she was allowed to brush Nell, she cuddled her, played some games and tricks and we then took her back to her class room.

Our second child (Matt) was a bit more rambunctious, grumpy and highly intelligent. He cut through the book easily. I could tell that Carmel was definitely there for another reason. I expect that things were not going well at home and that he needed a connection outside of the class room, someone that he could confide in, that he could have a relationship with and some true one on one time. It was quite sad to realise that it was not just reading that we were here to help but that we were going to assist kids with their emotional side as well.

Carmel told me that for some kids that we meet we will be the only consistent adults in their lives. That is so sad, but true. Matt loved to play with the dog and he was terrific with Nell doing tricks and the he was brushing her. Matt had a great heart, he was just struggling emotionally with something.

Our final child (let’s call him Toby) was not to be found in his classroom, we asked around and finally we found him in the Reflections Room. This was a room where kids were placed when they needed to reflect on their behaviour and have a bit of time away from the classroom in order to learn to make better decisions.


Toby was about 7 and he was obviously a bit upset. Toby would not make any eye contact and was not willing to co-operate. He was obviously angry about something. However how can you stay angry when Nell places her paws on your knees and licks you? This is exactly what Nell did and Matt’s demeanour changed immediately. Even though his head was still pointed downwards, I could see a tiny sneaky smile – I do not think that we were supposed to see it.

Unfortunately we were not allowed to remove Toby from the Reflection Room however he now knew that at the start of the new school term he would be able to spend some time with Carmel and Nell. It seemed that the promise of spending time with them positively shifted his mood.

What an eye opening day!

If you would like to donate to Story Dogs or if you and your dog would like to be involved then please give me a call – 0405 540 646.

– Tracie

”Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire” – William Butler Yeats

Story Dogs is the spark to light the fire!

Golden’s Story


Easter Long Weekend – here we come

So our camping kit was packed and my 11 year old son (let’s call him my QT) was excited that he and his friend would be camping over the weekend.

I, on the other hand was already exhausted from going to see My Fair Lady the previous night, then packing and preparing as well as working (all of those working Mums out there know exactly I am talking about).

We had a fabulous time (4 great days) with terrific family friends up on the Sunny Coast. The caravan park we stayed in was dedicated to families. It was a little kids’ dream – pools, water slides, pony rides, petting zoo, great scooter paths, movies every night – everything that 11 year old kids love.

I am pleased to say that we are now safely home, exhausted and a little bit browner however we are safe.

Here is where I get to the point of my story, today one of my football Mum friends sent me a link on Facebook which shows the kind of damage that being distracted on the road can cause. It has really shocked me.

road closed accident

A lorry driver in the UK was changing the music on his iPhone (whilst he was going 50mph (80.47kmph)). He drove straight into stationary traffic that was waiting to exit off the motorway. An entire family were killed in an instant. The footage was horrific and I cannot get it out of my head.

Here is the link if you want to find out more about this particular accident – actually I do not even think that you can call it an accident, this was just carnage!

I really wanted to remind everyone that as the Easter long weekend approaches to be aware of the precious cargo that you have on board and that the other families who are travelling next to you have on board.

We all know that you cannot control what others do on the road however we can control what we do.

The victim’s mother said that “it only takes a second of distraction to kill someone, destroying your life, your family’s lives, and those of your victim and their family”, this is absolutely true. If everyone takes a break, does not use their phone and drives diligently then I am sure that this year all of our families will return safely home.

Drive safely and remember double demerits!






Cyclone Debbie

It is hard to think that Cyclone Debbie has landed in far North Queensland and here we are 1000 kms south and the waters are perfect.

I am sure many of you have family and friends who are currently in the eye of the Cyclone or who will be in a matter of hours. It is truly worrying.

I was awake a lot last night checking my social media and watching the videos that people in FNQ had uploaded of the sheer ferocity of the wind. My eyes are a bit blurry this morning however it is reminding me so much of the anxiety that I felt watching the floods come into Brisbane in 2011. I cannot imagine how the families and the tourists are coping with this at the.

Whoever thought of buying kids ear muffs in order to ease the noise and their anxiety is a mastermind. My boy would have been driven to a panicked mess if he had to listen to that noise (which I have been told is like an air plane sitting next to your house).

I heard on the TV this morning that horse owners had written their mobile phone numbers on the sides of their horses in order to ensure that they could get them back as quickly as possible. #genius


Living as a virtual cashless society must have caught a few people out (especially the tourists). I expect that the locals would have drained the banks of their cash reserves. Let’s face it if the areas does not have any electricity then the EFTPOS & ATM machines are not going to work. Cash will be king up there for a few days.

Anyway what started out as a little blog about the local water and how perfect it looked this morning has turned into a post about anxiety, cyclone hacks and challenges that the FNQ residents will have in front of them once this passes.

Good luck everyone in FNQ we are thinking of you and we share your pain.