CBA chased victims for money

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The implication of Commonwealth Bank staff in a $100 million fraud was allegedly ignored by the banking giant, which instead decided to chase the victims for the return of the funds.

Bill Jordanou and Robert Zaia of Victorian accounting firm, Zaia Arthur & Associates and three associates were charged last month with numerous counts of fraud and financial deception. All the accused ran an alleged decade-long scam, falsifing loan documents and is believed to amount to over $100 million. The money from the fraudulent loan applications was used to fund the lavish lifestyles of those involved and to keep up repayments on the original fraudulent loans.

The Victorian fraud squad commenced an investigation in 2011, after the CBA discovered that loans issued were supported by false documentation. However, it is believed that the actual fraud pre-dates 2007, when CBA customers Debbie Mann and Jim Barker were facing foreclosure on their property over a loan organised by Bill Jordanou and Robert Zaia. The couple advised CBA that the income documents had been doctored with the knowledge of a senior CBA loan manager and they also questioned unauthorised withdrawals totalling $26,000 from Ms Mann’s account. The CBA settled the matter out of court with the couple.

It has also been revealed that the bank tried to foreclose on the home of a 91-year-old woman, who was also caught up in the fraudulent scheme, but the bank’s action was abandoned when the woman’s family agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Several other victims have faced different, inappropriate responses from the CBA. These actions and the alleged involvement of a CBA staff member in the fraud have left victims angry.

CBA refused to comment to Fairfax Media, with a spokeswoman for the bank saying, “In regard to your questions relating to events in 2007, you would appreciate that there are currently fraud allegations regarding Zaia Arthur & Associates before the court and as such it is not appropriate for us to comment,” she said.

Read more at TheAge.com.au

Opinion: FOFA – fear of financial advice

Is it any wonder that Australians are reluctant to seek financial advice, be it for home loans or long term planning, when consumer safeguards are being weakened?

The Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms where introduced in 2012 by the then Labor Government to make it easier and safer for everyday Australians to seek and receive independent, qualified advice to help them plan for their future financial needs. Yet we have seen the Coalition Government make it one of its first goals to roll back the reforms and remove any security for those seeking advice.

In a response which seems to have been undertaken to placate angry stakeholders, Senator Mathias Cormann – the Finance Minister and Acting Assistant Treasurer, put the rollback of the reforms on hold to consult the relevant parties. However, the resulting recommended legislation appears to be intended to appease those organisations and companies which are set to benefit financially from the watered-down reforms – and it’s not your average Joe on the street.

On Friday, Senator Cormann announced that the Government will push ahead with the roll back of the reforms, effectively removing much of the security for those actually seeking the financial advice, those who can least afford to cover failed investments. And why? Because the reforms would be too expensive and entail too much for the financial giants, such as AMP and the big four banks, who provide 80 per cent of such advice, to implement.

So now when Joe and Mary go to their bank to withdraw some money to pay bills, they will be bombarded with offers of loans, credit cards and even superannuation products by the kid behind the counter who is barely out of school and who has very little training or experience in such products. And with banks, their staff and agents being frequently investigated for fraudulent behaviour, as highlighted in the current Victorian fraud squad investigation into fraudulent loans allegedly signed off by the CBA, how can anyone trust that the information and advice given is correct?

Under the Labor Government’s reforms, financial planners would be required to act in the best interests of their clients. Now it seems they only have to act in the best interests of their employers and their own hip pockets. Having legislation in place to remove the uncertainty that a planner may not be acting in the consumers best interests would have been priceless for the many Australians who desperately need to take control of their financial future. But apparently this would be too high a price to bear for the big four banks, AMP and the Government.

Does the roll back of FoFA legislation mean you are less likely to seek financial advice? Will it encourage you to deal with truly independent advisors? Or does it make little difference to the trust you have in planners?

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

124 Comments

Total Comments: 124
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    Why would the LNP roll back the reforms? The stink from that mob is becoming unbearable.

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      And no, we haven’t trusted financial advisers or bank advisers since the mid 90s when we were burned by Westpac or whatever they called themselves back then.

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      Why would they roll back reforms indeed. Under the vengeful Labor/Greens/Unions/Independent Government much of the legislation did nothing but serve as a ball and chain to slow down industry. You can not get any advice from a planner these days unless you sign reams of paperwork which costs a lot of money to produce and does not guarantee sound advice. Hasn’t anyone noticed that the people whose job it is to provide advice (Lawyers, Accountants, Financial Planners, Bank Managers) are increasingly losing that roll to the neighbour or BBQ attendee who can provide the advice free of charge and without duty of care???

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      Why Jen? Because big business owns this government.

      Frank: this is the rhetoric of a troll mate and you provide little in the way of discussion or enlightenment. If you want to use the word “vengeful” then look at your leader Tony Abbott and his malicious front bench. This crew intentionally dragged the nation into the gutter, voted against EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION other than pay rises for politicians and then got into government with gross deceit. Whilst I heard the words “she lied” from Abbott on many occasions I need to point out that Abbott holds the world record on lying from what I can see. In decades gone by any government which had lied its way into office would have been shown the door. But sadly big business now owns all of the large media players and its agenda locks out truthful reporting when this goes against the government it elected. So lets get real frank and not troll. People can see the difference.
      And by the way, Independents, love them or loath them, were the only representatives in the parliament who tried to fix issues like gambling addicts whose assets (all of them) were so gladly accepted by gambling businesses, like the deaths of young men being king hit on the streets and being killed and like the the problems which too much alcohol was having on the population as a whole. I did not see Labor, Liberal or Greens do anything here….because they were soliciting election funding from these organisations and then leaving them alone (the pay off). As I have said on many occasions Australians need to vote for a good Independent so that we send the big parties a clear message: shape up or ship out. The Dishonest Liberal Party is at the top of this list by a country mile.

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      Talk about trolling Mick!

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      Don’t forget mick, Tony Abbott is your leader too. Or, if he is not why don’t you tell us who is? You must have a leader?

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      Who needs a leader when We’ve got a Big Eared Robot ??

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      Take me to your leader!

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      KSS: Trolling? As I have repeatedly said Frank I VOTE FOR NEITHER SIDE OF POLITICS. Although I occasionally have a bit of a rant I normally stick to the facts and you would be advised to do the same.
      What never ceases to amaze me is that many people have faith in the goodness of big business and government. The reality is that this faith is misguided and the corruption is what it is. If you and I behaved in similar manners we would be behind bars.
      No, not trolling mate. Just exposing the crooks for what they are!!

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      mick, it’s clear to me. You vote for the Unions. I am like a fridge magnet on facts. When you say you usually stick to the facts. What do you mean by that mick?

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      Simple Frank. I argue the FACTS, not blind emotion or worse than that “beliefs” which are moulded by political advertising (propaganda). This is what I am seeing from you.
      I am not in a union. I do not vote for Unions as they are not a political Party. I do not vote for Labor because, whilst the Party is interested in average Australians, it sometimes goes too far as well as not being decisive. We saw this with the ongoing boat people issue.
      I hope that the above sets you straight.
      Look at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw6nccAnPRw&feature=youtu.be&utm_source=et&utm_medium=email&utm_content=pic&utm_campaign=fofaupdate_140625
      It might give you a bit of direction rather than sounding off.

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    People should be protesting in the streets about this!!!

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      We’re all so apathetic Rosscoe and also creatures of habit. That is why things never change and people keep making the same mistakes.

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      The Liberal government in Tasmania is trying to bring in a law that prohibits protesting and can lock up protesters. So I don’t think there will be protesting in Tas.

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      Governments hate to be opposed. Locking up protesters is the thin edge to totalitarian rule and it is my hope that Australians will not have a bar of it.
      You cannot lock up thousands so the way forward, should this happen, is to flood the streets to put it up them. I don’t think that they’ll try this one on though.

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    I treat all banks and financial institutions like black snakes. Having had a “top bank” demand repayment of all loan monies within 48 hrs, despite no arrears, nor any other financial problems, has left me with the understanding that these people just live to destroy peoples lives and asset bases.
    The reason for the demand for repayment?
    “We have done some computer projections that tell us in 12 mths time, you may owe us money we won’t be able to recover”.
    What a joke, I had never not repaid any money in my 30 yrs in business.

    That bank no longer even gets the time of day from me and my family, and it never will for many more decades.

    The simple fact remains that these major banks have already made substantial provision for losses from fraud, and writing off fraudulent loans makes no difference whatsoever to their bottom line.

    I was staggered to read a report from AGC Finance in the early 1970’s, when the MD reported in the annual report, that an employee had absconded with over 1 million dollars (when a million was a lot of money).
    They couldn’t find the employee, nor could they recover any of the money. So AGC just wrote it off.

    The MD stated in his report, “the million dollar theft makes no difference to our bottom line, anyway – we have already provided for it in the bad debts account, and we are reporting a healthy increased profit for the year!”

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      You are on the money Aaron although it appears that you may have signed away your rights. And yes I understand that this is what they sometimes demand before you get the money. Loyalty is something banks rarely possess and the system to protect borrowers is as weak as water. You are fair game although the Banking Ombudsman does get them to account sometimes

      You are also correct about fraud being built in. In New Zealand the national bank has a second tier of safety to get into your own account. This is via a plastic card the size of a credit card with a grid on it. You are asked to enter 3 characters (eg., A3) and if not correct you cannot access your account. Absolutely brilliant. I suggested to my bank that they follow this lead but Westpac is happier to wear the fraud rather than safeguard accounts. Likewise with the others I imagine…and we all pay…..and some folk like you suffer whilst others are scammed and it becomes their problem. The system stinks. But remember that Abbott was put into power by big business and the big banks are at the core of those who stumped up money, and now want ‘protection’….against you and I. Give me strength!!

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      mick I once owed a bank nearly $100k and they forgave the debt. I call that loyalty.

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      PS..I forgot to Mention I am The Treasurer of that Bank !!

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      Wakey, Wakey people, there are horses for courses.
      I think it was on 7.30 ABC tonight, where a guy said he needed $200,000, and the bank said he could get $600,000.
      He took it and now says he can’t pay it back, and the bank is going to clean him out. For my money (Pun Intended), he dug the hole, and you know the rest.

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      Yes I saw that report Young Simmo. I think the figure was $650k. Why is it that when we make a blunder we look for someone else to blame. When the bank Johnny told this guy that according to lending policy he could have up to $650K he did not complain. He took the money and invested in non income producing property. Unfortunately he is a victim of the GFC. But he is also in control of his own destiny. Why is it the banks problem because his wealth creation strategy went south??

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      Frank: I don’t know the circumstances of your situation but very few banks ‘forgive’ a debt unless they risk being exposed for wrong doing.

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      exposed for wrong doing? Under what circumstances?

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      Banks hide behind their bottomless pockets. So what are you and I going to do? Take them to court?

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    Comment from Brian Parkes of the Australian Voice Party.

    I fully agree with the writer of this article. To get straight to the point – the Government has put Banks’ profits above consumer protection. That means very large numbers of Aussies have had their homes and businesses unfairly taken from them by banks.

    BUT WHEN WILL THE PUBLIC JOIN FORCES TO STOP THIS!! What will it take for people to say “We want Government action to control the banks?”

    Many have said “who will listen and do anything about it?” Well, now there is an organisation that has been set up by everyday Australians right across our country, which has the clout to get the Government to take note. It is called the Australian Voice Party.

    Australian Voice is not run by big business, trade unions or any other faction. It is a grass roots party which has been set up to field candidates to represent the people in future elections. In other words, we will use “People Power” to change Government policies.

    Australian Voice exists to make the voices of everyday Australians heard. But it will only work if everyone joins together and gives their support. So, spread the word, go to our website and CONTACT AUSTRALIAN VOICE. We are not allowed to list our website address here, but you can find it by googling the two words of our name in lower case as one word, followed by .org

  5. 0
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    Of course the coalition were going to roll back these reforms. They don’t care about your mum and dad investors, people nearing retirement and wanting to make sure their needs in later life will be catered for. Rather, Abbott and his cronies would rather scratch the backs of their mates in the big end of town. For the coalition to have responded to lobbying by the big four it seems there must have been a real concern by them that they wouldn’t be able to dupe investors any more.

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      And remember that the first bit of malicious legislation Abbott tinkered with was the proposed superannuation improvements left by the previous government. Changes for average Australians were dropped whilst those for the rich were retained. Tells a story. The same story as being told above.

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      And remember that the first bit of malicious legislation Abbott tinkered with was the proposed superannuation improvements left by the previous government. Changes for average Australians were dropped whilst those for the rich were retained. Tells a story. The same story as being told above.

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      Can you repeat that please mick? What proposed Super improvements?

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      The previous government left reforms for superannuation before it lost office. On gaining power Abbott withdrew the reforms for average Australians but let those for the rich go through.

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      mick, you have not mentioned a single reform? Reform, meaning something which would benefit the wider population.

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      I found the following which explains the ‘changes’ in a nutshell”

      “Shortly after being elected the Abbott government jettisoned the former Labor Government’s planned changes to superannuation, which would have seen tax concessions reduced on super funds earning over $100,000 per year. It also cancelled the Low Income Super Contribution (LISC) – a policy that refunds the 15% tax on super contributions for workers earning less than $37,000 a year.”

      Basically, the wealthy who avoid their top marginal tax rate (48%) by putting heaps of their unneeded money into superannuation and pay only 15%….much less that workers on $37 000 pa. Abbott scuttled this tax. And then he had the hide to at the same time scuttle any chance poor Australians had of ever funding their own retirements.

      First rule of politics Frank: never ask a question to which you do not know the answer.

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      Sorry mick, they weren’t reforms. They were just fiddles to appease the unions. What they failed to understand was the $37,000 was too low a threshold so it was only of value to part time workers. the additional tax on fund earnings in excess of $100k was unfair after the changes they had made earlier in their disastrous time in office. You see, they found an irregularity when they looked into how they might be able to get their hands on more of the lucrative Super stash. Many Super Funds had invested using Instalment Warrants. Because by the very nature of the Warrant it meant that the benefit of the investment was available to the Fund but the payment on the Warrant came at a later date. So all the hard work during the OSSA period was about to come back and bite some people on the ….. So what did they do? They varied the interpretation of “Instalment Warrant” to include real property. Consequently many Fund managers went and bought real property. Just when this is getting bedded down and the ALP look like getting kicked out on their ears they introduce this additional tax. Again like the carbon tax costing more than it would raise. So that’s why I don’t regard those fiddles as real reform.

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    When I retired I sought advice from a number of financial advisors, including one from the big bank, who came up with the most expensive option for advice, and with the worst Statement of Advice. I finally found one who was independant and charged a fee for service, not commission, and not tied to a bank or insurance company owned by to a bank.
    I think that rolling back the safeguards for the investor stinks. Shame on the Liberal Party.

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    No one looks after your money better than you do. I made it and am not into pie in the sky schemes from blokes that are still wet behind the ears. All hair oil and no socks. Its too hard to save without giving it to some pathetic whiz bang to lose.

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      I’ve heard of plenty of folk who managed to lose their own hard earned money too. The best advice is, like election promises, listen but all but ignore promises. Rather weigh up the probabilities and always consider that advice, paid for or not, is more than likely for the benefit of the person giving it.
      There was a recent story on the ABC involving the Commonwealth Bank where it was shown that its wealth arm were making high risk calls for people who had specifically asked for this not to happen…and then went about shredding documents when the investigation began. Not one single day in jail for anybody and to my understanding the victims got nothing.
      I don’t usually agree with you uninformed politics Dogs Body but I have to agree with you on this one.

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      So, look for a Bank Manager who votes Independent.

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      Did they use a Cross Cut Shreader ??
      Or just have an ordinary old Hand Job ??

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      Hi Mick, Nice to know we are on the same page for a change.

  8. 0
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    Anyone who thinks they are getting unbiased advice from a designated financial institution (e.g. a bank) are under a misapprehension. They will only sell you their own product and then probably the one with the largest on-going commission for the sales person. It has always been thus and no legislation would change that.

    If you are seeking advice from a non-aligned independent advisor it is up to you to review the advice, read the small print and make up your own mind before instructing the ‘advisor’ what you want to do. They are called advisors for a reason; they ADVISE they cannot act without your say so. If they do then it is fraud and a criminal offense.

    Fraud exists in any system and is frequently aided and abetted by those not taking responsibility for their finances and chasing the get rich quick schemes. There will always be cases where companies fail and investment companies are no different. That’s why they are called investments. They are risky, there are no guarantees and investments go down as well as up. No amount of legislation will protect an investor from that.

    In the case in the article where the home owner claims their income documents were forged by the bank, they presumably still accepted the loan for the property they purchased knowing they could not afford it. So who committed the fraud? The bank employees or the home owner who went along with it despite knowing they could not afford the loan? Until it was found out!

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      Advise yes, act no unless they forge your signature.

      What was once called the peoples bank is now the shareholders bank.

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      Wstaton forgery is a criminal offence. The first statement you receive would be an indication that all was not as you thought. Problem is many people do not read/check their statements.

      They are all shareholders banks! Good if you have a super fund given that the funds all invest in the banks. Not so much if you expect to be treated as an individual and advised accordingly.

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      As I understand it the documents were completed in such a way that the home owners were unaware of the amount and details of the loan. They were well and truly conned and the there was, I believe, a bank employee involved in what was a scam.
      I am afraid the banks have shown no ethical or moral standards in their dealings of this type.
      What always gets me is that if someone holds up a bank and gets away with $10,000 they face a huge sentence when caught. If a financial scam nets $100,000 the perpetrators only face a slap on the wrist yet they, in my book, have committed the greater crime by betraying people’s trust.
      What the legislation that is to be repealed tried to do was protect those who placed their trust in someone to give them honest advice. Obviously Tony et al don’t believe in protecting consumers by removing the requirement that financial planners do give honest advice.
      Not everyone is finance savvy and on retirement many people have a significant amount of money that is way more than anything they have ever had before. To do the right thing they seek advice from an “expert”. It has been shown that without legislation forcing some honesty and ethics upon them then many of these “experts” cannot be trusted.

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      The point is Tom Tank that if someone wants to commit fraud no amount of legislation telling them to be ‘honest’ will stop them. That is the same for the shop assistant pinching the odd $50 from the till, the floor walker at the stock exchange who runs off with multimillions or the financial advisor who syphons funds off the top.

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      What people seem to forget is that others go to advisers because they themselves are not experts much the same as going to the doctor because you do not have the knowledge to advise yourself on a medical problem. {mind you some try and then get into problems because of this)

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      The whole point is that fraud has and is being committed by the big banks because their pockets are all but limitless and so they can defend themselves through several courts until the victims run out of money to fight with and become bankrupt. At that point the corrupt organisation wins. This is a part of the problem and a peoples government should not permit this to go on. But show me one government which does step in….and that’s where Independents take up a fight…which is why both sides of politics do not want them in government.

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      KSS: the incident I was reporting on concerned the wealth creation arm of the Commonwealth Bank. One of the reported cases concerned an older couple who had invested their life savings. They just wanted to live off the returns and they specifically asked for “conservative” investments only because they were very conservative investors and did not want to take on risky products at this stage of their lives. The advisor then put them in high risk products which promptly crashed (because he made more money out of these) and then lied about what the clients had asked for as well as went and destroyed bank files so that he could not be caught out. it was fortunate that the clients had files which proved their claims and the bank was then caught with its pants down. The bank offered to pay them zilch to go away. Which bank? Answer: the most profitable in the land……..and one which should never have been privatised.

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      mick. I remember when Keating sold the first 30%. Everyone I spoke with could not believe how cheap it was. There was a queue bigger than the one at the premiere of Star Wars. Around $6 ? Now around $81. In many respects this bank still appears to have a Public Service Culture. There seems to be a lot of staff looking unoccupied. Many mistakes occur. Poor customer service. I know at the time of the ALP government changes to our banking system, Banks were embracing this Alfinanz concept and that’s when banking in Australia took a turn down Ruthless Avenue. The recently demutualised big life insurance companies looked for banks to partner. In the early 90’s CBA merged with Colonial. Now if you know anything about life insurance companies, you know they have ways of squeezing a few bucks out of us. I personally know a few people who lost everything and had to come out of retirement to go back to work following the Storm debacle. But to their credit the CBA has made available around $600m compensation. I’m not saying this would not have occurred without the help of the ALP’s incompetence but it did nothing to prevent it. mick You have been deceived by people like Wayne Swan who wants us to hate the big bad banks. Take a step back and think about it? The ALP is Dr Frankenstein and our banking system is the monster. It’s ironic that the 2 worlds greatest Treasurers Keating and Swan give Australia 2 of it’s biggest financial problems.

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    I was after expert financial advice 8 years ago, went to 6 financial advisors and could not find one that I could trust. A couple advised me to take out a $250,000 loan and give it to them to invest in the stockmarket, this when I was about to retire in 3 years. I put myself through the Deakin Uni Financial Planners course and look after my money at a cost much less than the fees charged by these experts.
    I know they are not all incompetent parasites but the vast majority are, so be careful and if you can, look after your own.

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    I take interest from my bank…..I pay them NOTHING…for I know this truth, that the rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.
    Also if you have a retirement stream from your Super, always draw a yearly amount that never exceeds the fund earnings, and allows you to get the full pension.

    Be responsible for yourself and do not waste money on advisers, most are con artists, like seminars folks go to because they think they can get rich…the speaker who is most likely a former second hand car salesman is the only one getting rich, by the fee you pay him to tell you a load of crap……hee, hee.

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      Glad to see you are telling the truth PIXAPD.

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      Car salesmen ? whatever became of that wanna be politician Holden dealer Tony Packard?…….. the one up the Windsor road from Baulkham Hills who wanted to do it right for you ! He did it right for his customers by bugging their conversations..

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      I tell the truth..that’s what upsets folks, I am the great offender….. you can search for that on the net and hear me sing my little song….

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      PIXAPD: Never accept your status of slave despite this being what we are all being subjected to, worldwide. I’ll fight this one with every last breath I have which is why I keep carrying on about the only political way to slow down the wholesale attacks of the rich on the poor: vote the bastards out and better than that vote for a raft of Independents to set the cat amongst the pigeons. By no means think that you are doing your country a disservice voting this way as the opposite is true. The trouble is that this goes against the grain despite being the medicine which will fix the ailment.

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      Hear! Hear !!.. I save money !! I come to this site to hear a load of crap from some !!

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      Yes PIXAPD, I’m also sick of paying for crap! Good point!!

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      I set My Brown Cat among the Pigeons and the thought it was a loaf of bread and ate it ??

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      The slaves are those who OWE..they are the servants of the lenders and must slave to repay the debt, with much interest…if they do not they lose even the bed from under them…

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      If you want to know what real slavery is like, simply elect a government which will give us everything we want.

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      HMM?? Better than Free Leg Irons !!

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      PIXAPD: Financial slavery is the new slavery. Pay ’em nothing to keep ’em poor, keep ’em working so that they do not have a chance to think and you keep your slaves.
      You are on the money. The detractors should hop on a plane and go to the US to see how the slavery system really works. This is the system John Howard fought so hard to implement here, better known as Work Choices Some choices!!).

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