‘My client is mega big’: ICAC plays secret recording of Lib MP

‘My client is mega big’: ICAC plays secret recording of Lib MP  

 

More about “Country Garden”  …

COUNTRY GARDEN’s Yang Huiyan is one of China’s richest people with a net worth of $7 billion … perhaps this explains why the community rights of Constituents of the NSW Ryde and Lane Cove Electorates were overridden …

Is this to be repeated in Canterbury, Parramatta, Camellia … Wagga Wagga?

VIEW CAAN Photo Album for the negative impact on the district established community.

Her wealth and influence appear to have been at a huge cost to the North Ryde community with the:

-loss of land for further development of the Macquarie Park Business and IT Parks

-no bus interchange or parking for local residents at the North Ryde Station

-increased congestion; Epping Road, Delhi Road, and Pittwater Road

-loss of amenity for the village of North Ryde and surrounds

http://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/agencies-people/girl-power-meet-the-richest-women-in-mainland-real-estate/

COUNTRY GARDEN is also making inroads into Melbourne

https://www.mingtiandi.com/real-estate/outbound-investment/country-garden-picks-up-suburban-melbourne-site-for-304m/

 ‘My client is mega big’: ICAC plays secret recording of Lib MP

Mr Maguire has been drawn into the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s inquiry into the former Canterbury Council through his links to former councillor Michael Hawatt.

VIEW Source link for audio.
'I've caused embarrassment': NSW MP before ICAC

REPLAY

‘I’ve caused embarrassment’: NSW MP before ICAC

Veteran NSW government MP Daryl Maguire admitted he sought a dividend from the sale of a multimillion dollar Sydney property from Chinese developers.

Mr Maguire called Mr Hawatt on May 9, 2016, soon after both had returned from trips to China. The call was recorded by ICAC investigators.

“Joe and I have a couple of deals before a big developer,” Mr Maguire told Mr Hawatt. “A couple of ones we want to kick on.”

Mr Maguire, the parliamentary secretary for the Centenary of Anzac, counter-terrorism, corrections and veterans, asked for anything that was DA, or development application, approved.

“What I want … I just don’t want to f— around,” he told Mr Hawatt. “Have you got plans? Have you got the whole thing already done?

“My client is mega big, OK.

“If he’s interested my client is mega big and has got mega money and wants two or three DA approved projects right now. Today.”

The conversation then turned to the commission that Mr Hawatt, who is under investigation for dishonestly exercising his functions as a councillor, might receive.

“If he’s going to give you 1.5 per cent that’s not enough,” Mr Maguire told Mr Hawatt.

“1.5 per cent isn’t enough divided by two if you know what I’m talking about.”

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has aired a phone conversation between Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire and former Canterbury councillor Michael Hawatt.

He went on the say that 3 per cent commission was better.

After the recording was played, Mr Maguire was asked if he could explain what he was talking about in saying that 1.5 per cent divided by two was not good enough.

Mr Maguire said it appeared an interested person would have to share in a dividend.

“Who was the interested person?” Mr Maguire was asked by counsel assisting the commission, David Buchanan, SC.

Sydney developer Charbel Demian on Thursday.
Sydney developer Charbel Demian on Thursday.Photo: Janie Barrett

“Well I suspect it was me,” Mr Maguire said.

Mr Maguire had earlier told the commission he had known Mr Hawatt since about 2008, when Mr Hawatt ran as the Liberal candidate for Lakemba.

Mr Maguire said he had approached Mr Hawatt about potential property opportunities for friends of his in the Chinese community. In particular, he was seeking opportunities for the Australian branch of the Chinese firm Country Garden. But he said he did not have an interest himself in making money.

Daryl Maguire, left, with Charbel Demian, (second from left with back to camera), an unknown male referred to as Ron (white shirt) and Michael Hawatt (right, back to camera) at a Sydney café.
Daryl Maguire, left, with Charbel Demian, (second from left with back to camera), an unknown male referred to as Ron (white shirt) and Michael Hawatt (right, back to camera) at a Sydney café.Photo: ICAC

“The approach wasn’t for me to do business, it was for others,” Mr Maguire told Mr Buchanan. Mr Maguire said that at the “back of his mind” was the idea that, if Country Garden could establish itself in Australia, it might look to develop in Wagga Wagga.

The ICAC heard on Thursday that Sydney developer Charbel Demian went on to meet Mr Maguire on multiple occasions. On one occasion, ICAC investigators photographed them with Mr Hawatt.

Liberal MP for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire outside ICAC.
Liberal MP for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire outside ICAC.Photo: Janie Barrett

On Thursday, Mr Demian told the ICAC he had met Mr Maguire through Mr Hawatt’s introduction. Mr Demian provided Mr Maguire a list of his potential development sites, including properties at Parramatta, Canterbury and Camellia.

Mr Maguire’s evidence before Commissioner Patricia McDonald, SC, has not concluded.

More to come

SOURCE … view also for audio:   https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/my-client-is-mega-big-icac-plays-secret-recording-of-lib-mp-20180713-p4zrcl.html

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‘Just got a call from MP friend’: inquiry hears of Wagga MP’s Sydney property interest

How many more NSW MPs are involved?

NSW Planning Minister Roberts met with 53 developer groups between January and September 2017 … and not a single resident …

Why? Cough … cough …

Read more:

https://www.thefifthestate.com.au/business/government/greens-want-donation-reform-after-a-look-at-ministers-diary/97140

 

Daryl Maguire.

 

‘Just got a call from MP friend’: inquiry hears of Wagga MP’s Sydney property interest

The state Liberal MP for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire, held multiple meetings with a Sydney property developer while facilitating the interests of potential Chinese investors, the developer told a corruption hearing on Thursday.

Contact between the developer, Charbel Demian, who is also known as Charlie, and Mr Maguire was organised by former Canterbury Liberal councillor Michael Hawatt, who is being investigated for dishonestly or partially exercising his public functions.

Daryl Maguire.
Daryl Maguire.Photo: Janie Barrett

“Just got a call from an MP friend of mine who is well connected in China,” Mr Hawatt texted Mr Demian in May 2016, according to evidence presented to the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Thursday.

The text continued: “He has a mega rich company who are seriously looking to buy 30 DA sites…. I told him about your sites including Canterbury Road. I said 160 plus per site. He is keen to talk about this and any other site you want to sell. They are keen, ready and cashed up.”

Mr Demian, who told ICAC the MP referred to was Mr Maguire, went on to have multiple meetings and contacts with Mr Hawatt and Mr Maguire.

A photograph of one of the meetings at a CBD café was tendered at the ICAC on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Mr Hawatt, Mr Maguire, Mr Demian, as well as an unnamed representative of Country Garden, a Chinese-owned development company.

Charbel Demian.
Charbel Demian.Photo: Janie Barrett

Mr Demian said that he had been led to believe that “there are a number of entities in China that have business conferences with the state government agencies or MPs and obviously they get introduced to other Australian businesses for business transactions”.

Mr Demian provided a list of potential development sites to Mr Hawatt, who in turn passed them on to Mr Maguire. The list included thousands of potential dwellings in places such as Canterbury Road, but also at Parramatta, Camellia and Waitara.

The focus of the inquiry is on whether Mr Hawatt, as well as former Labor councillor Pierre Azzi, former general manager Jim Montague, and former director of planning Spiro Stavis, dishonestly exercised their functions at the former Canterbury Council.

Companies controlled by Mr Demian benefitted from planning decisions undertaken by Mr Stavis. The inquiry has heard evidence this week of the close relationship between Mr Demian, and the former councillors and council staff.

However Mr Demian would not expand on why Mr Hawatt spent time and energy on attempting to introduce him to potential buyers of his sites – either through contact with Mr Maguire, or others.

Michael Hawatt.
Michael Hawatt.Photo: Brendan Esposito

The developer said he never had an agency or other agreement with Mr Hawatt. He also rejected the suggestion of counsel assisting the commission, David Buchanan SC, that his relationship with Mr Hawatt was so close that Mr Hawatt had an interest in Mr Demian making money.

“I say that is false and fabricated,” Mr Demian said.

Mr Demian rejected the suggestion of Arthur Moses SC, for the amalgamated City of Canterbury Bankstown, that he was stringing Mr Hawatt along because he had outstanding development applications before the council.

The developer said he did not ever have discussions about paying commissions to either Mr Maguire or Mr Hawatt. “Absolutely not,” he said.

Mr Maguire is due to give evidence before ICAC Commissioner Patricia McDonald SC on Friday.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/just-got-a-call-from-mp-friend-inquiry-hears-of-wagga-mp-s-sydney-property-interest-20180712-p4zr5x.html

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2018 Rich List: Top 10 Property Players

2018 Rich List: Top 10 Property Players

WHAT are the real numbers … how much has floated offshore?

 


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The 2018 Financial Review Rich List has been released, featuring 200 of Australia’s wealthiest people.

It is an unprecedented era of wealth in Australia, with 16 billionaires added to this year’s Rich List.

And property is king: with twice as many billionaires making their fortunes through real estate than any other industry. Property developers dominated the list, making up more than a quarter of the richest 200.

Manufacturing and recycling magnate Anthony Pratt continues to hold on to the top spot, with an estimated wealth of $12.9 billion.

Despite lamenting a drop in foreign property buyers earlier this year, developer Harry Triguboff has retained second place on the list, with an estimated wealth of $12.77 billion.

Gina Rinehart is again in third position, with an estimated wealth of $12.68 billion.

Australia is among countries with the highest growth in income inequality in the world over the past 30 years, and with wages stagnating, profits for the mega-wealthy are at historically high levels – it is certainly a good time to be a billionaire in Australia.

Take a look at the ten highest ranking property moguls from this year’s list.


2nd

Harry Triguboff

$12.77bn

YoY change
⇮ 11.7%

harry triguboff named in australia rich list

Photo: Ross Greenwood
Meriton managing director Harry Triguboff, or “High Rise Harry”, missed out on top spot this year by $130 million. Triguboff was born in China to Russian parents and came to Australia as a teenager.

He found success in business by providing higher-density living options in Sydney, which had traditionally been dominated by free-standing homes.

Meriton had built more than 65,000 residential townhouses and apartments since its creation in 1963, making it Australia’s biggest residential property developer.


4th

Hui Wing Mau

$9.09bn

YoY change
⇮ 52.5%

Hui Wing Mau Australia rich list

Photo: Balogun Adesina
Hui Wing Mau amassed most of his wealth through the Hong-Kong listed Shimao Property.

Last year Mau paid $70 million for 1.4 million hectares and 45,000 head of cattle while also capturing a majority stake in NSW meat processor Bindaree Beef Group for close to $150 million.


5th

Frank Lowy

$8.42bn

YoY change
⇮ 1.9%

Frank Lowy Australia rich list

Photo: Scentre Group
Frank Lowy last year reached a deal for the $33 billion takeover of Westfield by French giant Unibail-Rodamco.

Lowy founded the company in 1958 alongside the late John Saunders in Sydney’s Blacktown.

The company will retain a small stake in the combined group and continues to have a large stake in Scentre Group.


7th

John Gandel

$6.45bn

YoY change
⇮ 7.1%

Gandel Australia rich list

Photo: AFR
John Gandel built his wealth through the sale of a share in clothing group Sussan in the 1980s.

He joined his parents company as a teenager and bought Chadstone shopping centre from Myer Emporium in 1983.

The centre’s valuation hit the $6 billion mark earlier this year.


15th

Stan Perron

$3.99bn

YoY change
⇮ 2.3%

Stan Perron Australia rich list

Photo: BRW Rich 200 List 2015
Stan Perron’s vast property portfolio consists of malls and commercial property across Australia.

Earlier this year the Perth billionaire paid $370 million to buy a further 24.6 percent stake in North Queensland Airports.

Perron has also held the Australian distributorship rights for Toyota in Western Australia since the 1960s.


18th

Lang Walker

$3.47bn

YoY change
⇮ 15.7%

Lang Walker Australia rich list

Photo: Rob Homer
Lang Walker started his career with an earthmoving business.

He now commands more than $2 billion worth of investment properties.

Walker Corp is currently constructing residential and commercial projects in Sydney and Brisbane, and last year opened a resort in Fiji.


25th

Marc Besen

$2.4bn

YoY change
⇮ 7.1%

Marc Besen Australia rich list

Photo: Sydney Morning Herald
Marc Besen, husband of Eva Gandel, are considered Australian retail royalty.

Along with Eva’s brother John Gandel, the couple bought out her parents’ business and built the Sussan Group fashion chain.

The Besen family fortune was boosted last year when they offloaded a quarter stake in one of Australia’s largest malls, the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Melbourne’s west, for $680 million.


26th

Maurice Alter

$2.26bn

YoY change
⇮ 24.9%

Maurice Alter Australia rich list

Photo: AFR
Maurice Alter’s business, Pacific Group, owns a large portion of malls mostly in Melbourne and Adelaide and co-owns the Coles Group headquarters in Melbourne.

QIC Global Real Estate is set to buy a 50 per cent share in Melbourne’s Werribee Plaza and Pacific Epping shopping centres, which will be a sizable boost to Alter’s fortune.


29th

Ye Lipei

$2.12bn

YoY change
⇮ 24.7%

Ye Lipei Australia rich list

Photo: AFR
Ye Lipei amassed most of his wealth through his 25 percent stake in Shanghai-listed property company Shanghai Tianchen.

After receiving Australian citizenship Lipei returned to China.

His most notably projects is the Zhongsheng Commercial Centre, one of Shanghai’s largest shopping malls.


33rd

John Van Lieshout

$1.92bn

YoY change
⇮ 11.6%

John Van Lieshout Australia rich list

Photo: Glenn Hunt
Founder of Super Amart furniture chain, John Van Lieshout famolusly sold the company for $500m in 2006.

He has gone on to forge an impressive property portfolio with freehold ownership of some Super Amart stores as well as a wide range of industrial and commercial properties.

Related reading: 2017 BRW Young Rich List: Top 5 Property Players

SOURCE:  https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/2018-rich-list-top-10-property-players-?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=290518%20WORLD&utm_content=290518%20WORLD+CID_80dbce7f6311d2c528255a4f966941df&utm_source=email&utm_term=Continue%20Reading
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Billionaire property developers dominate 2018 rich list

The Development Industry could equally employ all Australian construction trades and professions in building quality affordable homes for Australians rather than others.

PROPERTY has contributed to the widening gap of ultra wealthy and the populace at large …

The ultra-high net worth in Australia number some 1260 with a combined wealth of US$269 BILLION however the large portion of which has been captured by the 200 Rich Listers!

This industry – through the emigration of largely ultra-high net wealth from China and Hong Kong – has meant that Australia has had much of its heritage demolished for development along with the loss of urban fringe farmlands and bushlands.  The escalation of property prices has locked a whole Cohort of Australians out of home ownership.

THE BULK OF THE MONEY IN THE PROPERTY INDUSTRY DOES NOT COME FROM CONSTRUCTION BUT FROM SPECULATIVE ESCALATION IN EXISTING PROPERTY PRICES

 

Billionaire property developers dominate 2018 rich list

Apartment developer Harry Triguboff is Australia’s second richest person with a fortune of $12.77 billion. Photo: AAP

 

Real estate developers dominated the Australian Financial Review’s 2018 rich list, comprising more than a quarter of Australia’s 200 wealthiest individuals.

Property barons dwarfed the number of rich listers from other industries, with 51 of the 200 wealthiest Australians deriving their fortunes from real estate for a combined wealth of $86.2 billion, the AFR reported.

Apartment tycoon Harry Triguboff is Australian property’s richest person, with a fortune of $12.77 billion, according to the list.

Mr Triguboff came in second overall to cardboard packaging manufacturer Visy’s executive chairman Anthony Pratt, crowned Australia’s richest person with a fortune of $12.9 billion, and ahead of mining investor Gina Rinehart, who placed third with a net worth of $12.68 billion.

The 85-year-old Triguboff founded apartment development group Meriton in 1963, with the company becoming Australia’s largest residential builder and developer with more than 75,000 residential apartments and hotel suites across Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Three of the top five richest Australians were property billionaires, with chairman and founder of Hong-Kong based Shimao Property Holdings Hui Wing Mau ranking fourth overall with a fortune of $9.09 billion, a 52.5 per cent increase on last year.

Westfield founder Frank Lowy, who recently sold the international shopping centre empire to commercial real estate giant Unibail-Rodamco for $33 billion, is Australia’s fifth richest person with a fortune of $8.42 billion.

While most of the property magnates made their money through residential real estate, Sydney hotel and restaurant owner Justin Hemmes is a notable exception.

According to the AFR, the rich list debutant has a $951 million fortune thanks to a portfolio of 70 pubs, hotels, restaurants and venues in Sydney.

“Property’s a big part of the economy. You’d expect to have it well represented on the list,” Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison told The New Daily.

“It’s a vehicle for providing for the economic fortunes not just of the rich and famous but also the average person.”

Property: Australia’s biggest industry

The property industry is Australia’s biggest industry, according to the Property Council of Australia, accounting for 13 per cent of the national GDP and contributing $202.9 billion to the economy last financial year.

The industry is also Australia’s biggest employer, the lobby group says, employing 1.4 million people in a variety of jobs ranging from building and construction to real estate and financial services – more than mining and manufacturing combined.

“Property is incredibly important to Australia’s economy, 1.4 million Australians work in the property industry and that’s an enormous economic imprint,” Mr Morrison said.

Ultra-wealthy ride high on property prices

Australia’s ultra-wealthy population increased by nine per cent in 2017, according to global real estate company Knight Frank’s 2018 wealth report, with the increase largely due to growth in property prices.

Ultra-high net worth individuals in Australia – those with net assets of $50 million or more – now number 1260 and have a combined worth of US$269 billion, according to the report.

“This growth can be attributed to significant growth in prime property prices and gains in the Australian equities market over the past year,” Knight Frank Australia’s head of residential Sarah Harding said.

“In addition, Australia is the third most-preferred global destination for the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals to emigrate.”

SOURCE:  https://thenewdaily.com.au/money/property/2018/05/28/property-billionaires-dominate-2018-rich-list/

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Why Australia’s governments, banks and economy don’t want ‘affordable’ housing

 

NOT THE FIRST TIME WE HAVE SEEN THIS CLAIM … AND WHY THERE IS A MEDIA COVER-UP …

CAAN will add to what has not been mentioned here …

NOT only was the housing boom orchestrated by the Reserve Bank but the big boys … the DEVELOPERS seized on the opportunity and pulled off the FIRB STING of 2009 … the 100 per cent sell-off to foreign buyers … creating a huge DEMAND!

The latest BOOM of 2012 coicided in NSW with the LNP Government subliminal message “Sydney is Growing” …

WHEN will we learn? Australia has invested most of its economy in China … all its eggs in one basket ditto our banks with 60 per cent of their total loans allocated to Australian mortgages.

With global interest rates on the rise that could put many households under stress …

The Turnbull Government rather than immediately enforcing the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation for the Real Estate Sector is pussy footing around proposing more than 12 months consultation on an alternative legislation …

The FEDS have largely nurtured Chinese investors with special Visas to gain residency following property purchase.

Meanwhile Australians are disadvantaged by low wages growth and insecure work!

ANALYSIS

Why Australia’s governments, banks and economy don’t want ‘affordable’ housing

Updated 

 

If you’ve ever spoken to a real estate agent, you would know there are only two scenarios when it comes to Australian property.

When the market is running hot, you need to get in quick. And when it’s cooling, it’s an opportunity to grab a bargain.

Either way, there’s never been a better time to buy.

Right now, Australian property is running hot and cold.

After nearly six years of either spectacular or frightening gains — depending on whether you own a home — capital city real estate is in reverse, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.

But the trend is far from universal. In fact, it’s downright confusing.

High-end property has been hit hard while less expensive real estate continues to advance. And while the two major capitals are in decline, regional values are not only holding up, they’re stacking on gains.

In the three months to the end of April, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide all clocked up declines with Hobart the only capital to continue the kind of boom time gains to which we’ve all become accustomed.

Not only that, units are now outperforming houses, despite the huge surge in supply across our major capitals. Clearly, there is still strong demand for the most affordable housing.

The reasons? Some analysts argue last year’s crackdown by the banking regulator on investor loans, who mainly use interest-only finance to maximise the benefits of negative gearing, finally is having an impact.

But that doesn’t really explain these trends. Tightening investor credit was supposed to take the heat out of the market, particularly at the lower end. Clearly, that’s not happening, at least not yet.

The property nightmare scenario

There are only two things that keep senior Reserve Bank officials awake at night; China and Australian real estate.

RBA boss Philip Lowe has become increasingly vocal about China’s massive debt mountain and the dangers it poses for Australia should it implode.

 

But our housing market is equally as unnerving. Our major banks have a decidedly unhealthy exposure to domestic real estate, with up to 60 per cent of their total loans allocated to Australian mortgages.

After being burnt by big business in the 1987 stock market meltdown, they decided en masse that real estate was a safer option and poured trillions of dollars into home loans, which we consumers happily lapped up.

Having splurged so much on homes, our household debt, at just shy of 200 per cent of annual income, ranks among the world’s highest. Hocked to the eyeballs, it’s no wonder our household consumption is sluggish, retail sales are struggling and inflation is anaemic.

The problem is, if Australian real estate declines in any significant way, it will put a serious handbrake on the economy.

When the value of your major asset is going backwards, you’re less inclined to spend and less likely to be given credit. That, in turn, weakens the domestic economy which eventually leads to higher unemployment, mortgage defaults and, potentially, a banking crisis.

It’s a scenario no-one wants to even contemplate.

Why governments love real estate booms

It’s not just the banks who have a vested interest in keeping the property bubble bouncing along.

Every layer of government has become addicted to the great Australian dream, which in the past 40 years has transformed from owning your own patch of dirt to making a motza from property.

The Federal Government needs rising property prices to maintain a stable economy while state and local governments feed off the enormous fees and taxes it generates.

Since the latest boom began in late 2012, a boom deliberately orchestrated by the Reserve Bank to absorb construction workers leaving the mining industry as the resource investment boom wound down, state and local governments have seen property revenues rise by 65 per cent.

So the next time you hear a politician talk about the need for affordable housing, don’t believe a word of it. None of them offer any serious solutions primarily because they know there are only two options, neither of which are palatable.

Either property prices need to collapse, which would only occur as part of an apocalyptic economic event, or wages need to take off which no major party is likely to endorse. Everything else is just window dressing.

How governments pull the property lever

While some bears have been predicting a crash in Australian housing for decades, the chances have increased significantly in the past 18 months.

Global interest rates are on the rise which eventually will feed through to Australia and could put a significant number of households under stress, leading to higher defaults and lower property prices. Then there’s the clampdown on foreign ownership, particularly Chinese investors, who were skirting the law.

But the biggest concern has been supply. The building boom, particularly in the eastern capitals of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne has been unprecedented, much of it in high rise apartments.

Cranes dot the skies above our eastern capitals like never before. In fact, Sydney — which accounts for half the cranes across the nation — alone has the equivalent of 80 per cent of the cranes across all of North America.

Melbourne has a little less than half that of Sydney. In both cities, cranes for residential construction at last have begun to decline.

Instead there has been a dramatic pick-up in crane use for commercial and infrastructure use, as governments belatedly attempt to provide infrastructure to service the huge growth in population.

Therein lies the key as to why our property prices keep rising.

While our politicians bicker and argue about border control and handfuls of refugees, Australia quietly has run one of the biggest immigration programs of any developed nation.

Our population has been growing at around 1.6 per cent per annum, second only to New Zealand and well above the OECD average of 0.7 per cent.

 

While there’s nothing wrong with immigration, particularly if there is a need for a rapid lift in population, our large and growing intake has been used to give the impression that our economy has been travelling better than it appears.

While we are about to run up 27 years of uninterrupted economic growth on a national basis, as individuals, many of us are worse off. Wages growth is stagnant because, for all the claims of job creation, we’re barely standing still if you take the new arrivals into account.

When it comes to property prices, population growth has been every federal government’s secret weapon.

For years, we’ve been told our skyrocketing housing costs has been a supply problem. Instead, there has been a deliberate effort to keep piling on the demand, just to maintain the illusion of economic growth and to keep the real estate sales clicking over.

SOURCE:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-28/affordable-housing-why-governments-dont-want-it/9806118

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Our Role in the Death of a river … the Murray Darling …

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Our role in the death of a river

Illustration: Dionne Gain
Illustration: Dionne GainPhoto:

“Darling. (Yes darling.) Nothing darling. Just darling, darling.” Crossing the mighty Darling River always reminds me of this little ditty deployed, back in the day, by punk rocker Ian Dury. This time, though, we’re just outside Louth, a hundred clicks west-south-west of Bourke, and as our ancient Land Cruiser lumbers across the old box-girder bridge it’s another voice that murmurs “as he died to make things holy, let us die to make things cheap”. Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker seeps from the sound-system like coal tar from a wound.

“Stop the truck,” I insist. I need a picture, for the mighty Darling is mighty no longer. It’s a dotted line, traversed by bare khaki dirt in several places. Less a chain of ponds, this poor dishevelled deity, than a chain of puddles.

I’d woken that morning rubbing my feet on the delicious soft roughness of plain cotton sheets, 30 bucks from Kmart. I mean, who knew Kmart could do anything without polyester and fluoro, right? Beside me, the tiny grandson gurgled happily in his new, pelican-pattern all-cotton Wondersuit, just $14 from Bonds.

But in a flash, on the bridge, I see the links. I applaud Kmart’s new venture into a kind of plainness approaching taste. It’s almost Quakerish, almost noble in its simplicity. Bonds is excelling itself in the design department and even Target makes a feature of “Pure Australian cotton”. That’s all great. But the cheapness is illusory. Because this right here is the cost. We’re buying this cotton with our river, our grandchildren’s future.

Which, I also see, is Cohen’s bitter satirical point. As he died to make things holy, let us die to make things cheap. A prophet makes the ultimate sacrifice hoping to bring humans to sacredness – to where they’re no longer driven to sacrifice other creatures but can instead sacrifice self, especially ego, for the wrathful gods. But humans, ever perverse, misuse this freedom, sacrificing entire ecosystems to the small idols of pleasure. Cheap nice things.

RELATED ARTICLE

Perhaps it’s all obvious. The interconnectedness of everything is the environment movement’s core tenet. But still we mostly fail to join the dots. We deplore the river’s destruction without understanding our own part in it. We observe the war between farmers and greens without seeing that we are, every one of us, its footsoldiers. We feel the temptation of universal cheap goods as a right – a social justice issue – not a privilege. For poor worn mother Earth, this is a problem.

It’s almost 12 months since that astonishing ABC Four Corners reportPumped. It alleged that, despite five years of the $13 billion Murray-Darling water-buyback plan that was meant to “fix” the river, “billions of litres of water purchased by Australian taxpayers to save Australia’s inland rivers are instead being harvested by some irrigators to boost cotton-growing operations”.

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A bumper cotton crop during times of drought is no miracle.Photo: Nick Moir

The program alleged widespread water-theft and meter-tampering. Cables unplugged, batteries removed, impellers disabled. Massive earthworks, tens of kilometres long, diverted water illegally. At least one senior civil servant was accused of colluding with irrigators and at least one farmer, said the ABC, “took at least 1 billion litres of water more than was permitted”. In fact, it reported, both legally and illegally, more water was being removed under the plan than before.

 

At first federal water minister Barnaby Joyce tried to ignore the scandal.  Such was the public outrage, however, and the mountain of evidence, that he eventually ordered an interstate compliance review from the Murray Darling Basin Authority.

This review, completed in November, revealed that monitoring is staggeringly under-resourced. (NSW, with the most water licences and highest outtake, also has lowest vigilance, with one compliance officer for every 355 gigalitres of diverted water, compared with one per 56 gigalitres in SA). “Pumping must not occur without a meter,” noted the report. We wish.

 

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The Darling River is suffering.
The Darling River is suffering.Photo: Katharine McBride

It seems so basic. To measure flow and out-take is so fundamental to any kind of enforcement that most of us no doubt presumed metering was in place. We thought the plan – being so extraordinarily expensive – was a genuine exercise in river-rehab. We thought we could trust them with it. So not.

“COTTON’S TRIFECTA,” shouts the banner headline on a recent cover of The Land newspaper; “Yield, quality and price up as growers roll through picking.” Without a trace of irony the story declares: “While many other rural pursuits struggle with the drought, cotton is bathing in a glow, especially with prices tipping close to $600 a bale. The Macquarie Valley has seen a ‘phenomenal’ harvest.

 

Well, terrific. Lovely to have the money, the jobs, the cheap quality cotton. But this success is based on all kinds of theft. There’s the illegal kind alleged by Four Corners and working its way through the courts, the kind that lax or no monitoring encourages. And then there’s the legal kind – the heist that is sanctioned by government, which has allocated so much of a precious resource to such a  crop.

It’s not like these cotton farmers miraculously escape drought that cripples others.  Indeed, even when taking water by the rules, they actively deepen the drought for others; for other farmers and for down-river communities like Wilcannia, where fish are dead and dry on the mud, and for other states. At the Murray mouth Coorong wetlands, migratory shore-birds are at their lowest recorded level and a centimetres-thick blanket of algae covers much of the surface. There’s also the river itself. How can forcing water-hungry crops from the driest continent really be a source of pride?

Surely we know by now to work with nature, rather than beating her into submission? Yes, jobs matter. But massive solar plants would use nature’s gifts to feed the future, rather than destroying them.

Perhaps, like New Zealand, we’ll have to give rivers the legal rights of a person. What’s that? You want cheap clothes? Oh darling, cry me river.

Twitter: @emfarrelly

 

SOURCE:

CAAN FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/Community-Action-Alliance-for-NSW-744190798994541/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

WEBSITE:

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SYDNEY METRO BILL FOR HIGH RISE PASSED IN THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

 

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SYDNEY METRO BILL FOR HIGH RISE PASSED IN THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

MEANWHILE Robbo is making much of the 12 month pause for Ryde and Canterbury …

ALL COUNCILS NEED UNITE WITH RYDE TO SAVE WHAT REMAINS OF SYDNEY

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

PROOF Page 8

BILLS TRANSPORT ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT (SYDNEY METRO) BILL 2018

Second Reading Debate

Debate resumed from 15 May 2018.

EXCERPT FROM Dr MEHREEN FARUQI (11:20)

“This is neither a holistic approach to transport planning, nor is this value capture.

This is simply a ticket to massive overdevelopment where there are no measures or protections in place for established communities around these proposed metro stations.

Their absolute disregard for communities and democratic planning is galling.

This Government is ripping up the perfectly functional Sydenham to Bankstown rail line, which is publicly owned and operated, to build a metro and hand it over to private operators.

The line will be closed for months for no good reason and tens of thousands of commuters will be subjected to seven years of pain and inconvenience.

Massive areas of land along the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor have been rezoned and are being snatched away from local communities. This is a bonanza for developers.

This is nothing but a toxic mix of overdevelopment and privatisation.

Why cannibalise our existing lines? Why not expand public transport to areas that have no rail lines?

Rest assured, there are plenty of those to pick from. Unfortunately, the bill before the House leaves no doubt as to the real motives of this Government”

“This bill makes much more sense when we look at this Government’s track record and find that there is nothing the Government has touched in the State that it has not wanted to privatise and sell off.

In the Government’s few years in office, many of the State’s assets have been privatised.

There has been a tragic wholesale privatisation of public transport in Newcastle and the privatisation of inner west buses in Sydney against the clearly and loudly expressed views of the community.

In his second reading speech the Minister spoke of the Government’s Future Transport Strategy. For anyone still in doubt about the Government’s hunger for privatisation, the Future Transport Strategy clearly states that:

NSW will create a service ecosystem where government enables service innovation and is no longer the default service provider.

This is a frightening future where all of our public services have been sold off and the taxpaying public is at the mercy of commercial service providers and market conditions.

The Future Transport Strategy further states:

…the role for government will be to get out of the way and allow the market to deliver services. It is as clear as day that this Government wants to prop up assets using forced land acquisitions and taxpayer funds, only to fatten them up and flog them off to the highest bidder.”

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Waterloo metro station plans to outpace housing redevelopment

The m.ngr.ls – let’s call them for what they are – did not fool around … with the ink barely dry on the legislation!

 

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Public housing apartment blocks at Waterloo in Sydney’s inner south.Pt Pearcehoto: Rober

 

Waterloo metro station plans to outpace housing redevelopment

The construction of large buildings around a new metro railway station at Waterloo in Sydney’s inner south will be fast tracked after planning for them was separated from the massive redevelopment of a nearby public housing estate.

The split means that the so-called metro quarter at Waterloo, above an underground railway station in the city’s $20 billion-plus metro project, will be completed as early as 2022, two years before the first trains are due to begin running on the second stage of the new rail line.

 

But the decision has sparked an outcry from community groups who argue that the acceleration of planning for the metro quarter will not give public housing tenants in the adjoining Waterloo estate enough time to be consulted on the major changes to their suburb.

Community group REDWatch said there was a rush to push the plans for the metro station development “through at any cost, with absolutely no regard for the vulnerable community” living nearby in the Waterloo estate.

“It is the trust in the planning system that gets broken every time they do something like this,” REDWatch spokesman Geoffrey Turnbull said.

“The decision has been made to decouple [planning for the metro quarter] because they want to push forward with the metro. They are trying to get as much money as they can [from over-station development] so they can offset the cost of the metro [to government].”

 

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An artist’s impression of high-rise towers near the new metro railway station at Waterloo.Photo: Supplied

The metro quarter at Waterloo involves an over-station development that will comprise shops, new homes, community services and a plaza in an area bound by Botany Road, Cope, Raglan and Wellington streets. Properties have already been compulsorily acquired and buildings demolished for the precinct.

Plans for the much larger Waterloo estate redevelopment next door will result in 30-storey towers Matavai and Turanga, the four 16-storey blocks known as the Solander, Marton, Banks and Cook buildings, and a number of walk-up flats being demolished.

That redevelopment of about 13 hectares of land owned by the government and mainly used for social housing will occur over 15 to 20 years.

UrbanGrowth, the government-owned development agency, and Transport for NSW said in a joint statement that community consultation on the metro quarter would be undertaken first, followed by consultation on the Waterloo social housing estate.

They said the community would be shown concept plans for an integrated station development at Waterloo and how it “benefits and connects” to the neighbouring Waterloo estate, as part of the next phase of consultation over the next two months.

The Department of Family and Community Services said more than 1570 people took part in  consultation late last year, and a report detailing the feedback was published last week.

A spokesman said the community would be “given an appropriate amount ot time” before the next phase of consultation in early July, which would help form a master plan for the Waterloo redevelopment precinct that “reflects the communities’ needs and hopes”.

Waterloo is one of four sites, including Martin Place and Pitt Street in Sydney’s CBD, and North Sydney and Crows Nest, where large mixed-use developments will occur above metro stations on the new rail line that extends from Chatswood to Bankstown.

The government has proposed allowing for a tower of up to 42 storeys above the Victoria Cross station in North Sydney, which will make it one of the tallest on the north shore.

Matt O’Sullivan is the Transport Reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/waterloo-metro-station-plans-to-outpace-housing-redevelopment-20180526-p4zhnt.html

SYDNEY METRO BILL VOTES … in the Lower House …

 

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SYDNEY METRO BILL VOTES

In the lower House, Wednesday 2nd May – and off to the upper House for its’ first reading the very same day.

Liberals/Nationals voted for this – including the part that would allow the Acquisition of private property for re-development.

Labor and Greens voted NO.

ALSO VIEW: …. MINISTER SEEKING PRIVATISATION OF ALL NSW PUBLIC TRANSPORT

For extracts from Jodie McKay’s speech in response!

https://www.facebook.com/744190798994541/photos/a.761955963884691.1073741833.744190798994541/1745719332175011/?type=3

CAAN FACEBOOK:

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SYDNEY METRO BILL FOR HIGH RISE PASSED IN THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL 

Image may contain: skyscraper, sky and outdoor

 

SYDNEY METRO BILL FOR HIGH RISE PASSED IN THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

MEANWHILE Robbo is making much of the 12 month pause for Ryde and Canterbury …

ALL COUNCILS NEED UNITE WITH RYDE TO SAVE WHAT REMAINS OF SYDNEY

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

PROOF Page 8

Bills TRANSPORT ADMINISTRATION AMENDMENT (SYDNEY METRO) BILL 2018

Second Reading Debate

Debate resumed from 15 May 2018.

EXCERPT FROM Dr MEHREEN FARUQI (11:20)

“This is neither a holistic approach to transport planning, nor is this value capture.

This is simply a ticket to massive overdevelopment where there are no measures or protections in place for established communities around these proposed metro stations.

Their absolute disregard for communities and democratic planning is galling.

This Government is ripping up the perfectly functional Sydenham to Bankstown rail line, which is publicly owned and operated, to build a metro and hand it over to private operators.

The line will be closed for months for no good reason and tens of thousands of commuters will be subjected to seven years of pain and inconvenience.

Massive areas of land along the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor have been rezoned and are being snatched away from local communities. This is a bonanza for developers.

This is nothing but a toxic mix of overdevelopment and privatisation.

Why cannibalise our existing lines? Why not expand public transport to areas that have no rail lines?

Rest assured, there are plenty of those to pick from. Unfortunately, the bill before the House leaves no doubt as to the real motives of this Government”

“This bill makes much more sense when we look at this Government’s track record and find that there is nothing the Government has touched in the State that it has not wanted to privatise and sell off.

In the Government’s few years in office, many of the State’s assets have been privatised.

There has been a tragic wholesale privatisation of public transport in Newcastle and the privatisation of inner west buses in Sydney against the clearly and loudly expressed views of the community.

In his second reading speech the Minister spoke of the Government’s Future Transport Strategy. For anyone still in doubt about the Government’s hunger for privatisation, the Future Transport Strategy clearly states that:

NSW will create a service ecosystem where government enables service innovation and is no longer the default service provider.

This is a frightening future where all of our public services have been sold off and the taxpaying public is at the mercy of commercial service providers and market conditions.

The Future Transport Strategy further states:

…the role for government will be to get out of the way and allow the market to deliver services. It is as clear as day that this Government wants to prop up assets using forced land acquisitions and taxpayer funds, only to fatten them up and flog them off to the highest bidder.”