Thursday, March 26, 2009


Australia is known for it's regulations. In some ways I quite like this. I like to know that people are generally quite likely to obey the law because there is a high possibility of getting caught if you do not, and there will be consequences. I must admit to feeling a little terrified when I saw the police out and about. Am rather nervous about being caught doing something wrong (especially when I might not be aware that it's wrong)!

I find it quite an experience to see all the information out about regarding rules. The first package that arrived for us in the post had been opened and had a brochure added to it by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and a notice that stated the parcel had been opened for inspection, but that nothing had been removed. The brochure told us all about what can't be mailed to Australia. The tips that they provide include the following:
* Don't send prohibited food, plant material or animal products
* Don't pack items in egg cartons, wooden boxes or cardboard boxes that have been used to hold food
* Don't pack with straw or dried plant material
* Thoroughly clean all footwear, sporting, fishing and camping equipment to remove soil, seeds or plant material
You are then advised to take into account that items sent for special occasions could be withheld and you should ask your family and friends to think about alternative gifts.
On the dodgy items list are: ornaments made with straw, seeds and conifer sprigs; fresh and dried flowers; hardboiled eggs (oooh, can you imagine!), painted eggshells and straw or hay (for Easter!) and pumpkins and corn husk dolls (Halloween).
Incidentally you could be fined $60,000 for breaching Australia's quarantine laws.

One of the newsletters from Slade's school talks has a notice from the local police about driving issues around the school. The school parking area, including the area where parents can drop off their kids without parking, are public property and as such as regulated by the police. We regularly have police members on duty in that area, making sure that parents don't park for any length of time in the 'stop, drop and go' zone and so on. Of course, with driving one of the worries here is that you lose points in addition to having to pay a fine, if you get caught doing something wrong. You get 12 points over a 3 year period. If you lose all 12, you can get some concessions, for example, if you need to drive children to school or drive for work etc. Nevertheless, it's a bit of a scary thought to end up in that situation. The warnings from the police in the school newsletter reminded us about the double white lines and no right turn signs at one entrance to the school parking area. We were warned that the penalty for crossing double white lines is $135 and 3 points, while the penalty for disobeying parking signs is $30.

An advert in my local newspaper asks: "What are you really throwing away when you litter?" and encourages us to spend our money on something better than litter fines. Effective from 1 January 2009 these are the penalties for littering: $200 for general littering, $300 for littering from a vehicle and $400 for dangerous littering. Of course, I really needed to know what might qualify as dangerous littering, and thanks to google I found that it includes things like sharps (syringe needles generally used by the druggies) and glass. Apparently the kind of litter found on Brisbane's streets includes cigarette butts (described as over 50% of all litter collected), chewing gum, plastic bags, drink containers, food containers and wrappers.

Talking about regulations, I've found that Kai's school has extensive policies. Of course, these things are important, but I have to admit to being astounded when I received a notice inviting parents to review a list of eight policies, which were just the ones to be reviewed that month. So if we have about the same number for even just 8 months of the, that's a whole lot of policies. Recent policies under review included: child protection, cleaning policy, dental policy, excursion policy, infant feeding policy, nutrition policy, orientation policy for staff and social justice policy.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Oh my giddy aunt, and I thought it was just us with the English Health and Safety (lol)....I will be sure to show Si this post as he is really battling with all the rules and regulations here and I think it will do him a lot of good to see that the same applies in Australia as well.

I so know what you mean about being afraid of doing something wrong and not realising it, we feel that way too - very strange getting used to everything all over again.