WHY CHINA’S RICHEST FLOCK TO AUSTRALIA – EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT ALWAYS WELCOME

Ultra-wealthy Chinese are leaving a trail of dollars across Australia but it is only benefiting the property sector, Universities, and luxury goods including fashion, motor vehicles and yachts.

IT has been extensively reported by credible International Anti-money Laundering organisations that Australia is awash with money laundering in its real estate!

Organisations including Transparency International, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the OECD … that illegal funds were being parked in Australian real estate with foreign buyers keen to park it outside of China … such a frenzy meant that house prices escalated at both the low end and the top end with these buyers keen to outbid Australians.

With Chinese buyers outbidding locals this is way beyond perception that they have distorted the domestic housing market.  Since 2011 in NSW the median house price has soared to some 13 times the median household income!

Real estate tours with the lure of gaining a Residency Visa!

In 2016-2017 Chinese investors poured A$32 billion into Australian property.

2017-2018 Chinese buyers invested more than A$15 Billion in real estate

How likely is it that Chinese who have acquired Citizenship or permanent residency would not have purchased property?  Because it is with investment in property that they can gain a Residency Visa

Nor do these figures include property purchased through an onshore PROXY agent!

Barry Li, the author of “The New Chinese:  How They are Shaping Australia” should be amended to “Reshaping Australia” with very generous Visas tailored to benefit them!  A student can apply for a Family Visa for family members , with opportunities to buy property.

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT POLICIES have benefited the Big End of Town and Chinese buyers to the detriment of the majority of Australians, Our Society, and in order to make way for them our Families have been locked out of home ownership, our suburbs and villages are being rezoned to accommodate them as we lose Our Heritage, Communities and Environment.

Our schools, hospitals, buses, trains are all full-up!

TOURISM is a boon to the economy but the sell-off of our Real Estate means Our Biggest Export has become Our Title Deeds!   Our Sovereignty … it must stop!

HOW would the Chinese feel if we were able to reciprocate?  If we were able to fly in and buy up their real estate, farms, mines, ports, IT and Business Parks, commercial buildings?

 

WHY CHINA’S RICHEST FLOCK TO AUSTRALIA – EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT ALWAYS WELCOME

Ultra-wealthy Chinese are leaving a trail of dollars across Australia, boosting sectors from property and education to luxury goods – but not everyone is happy about it

BY JOHN POWER

 

The pair haven’t been seeing eye to eye since December, when then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull linked Canberra’s anti-foreign interference laws to what he claimed were Chinese attempts “to influence the political process” in his country – a claim that prompted an angry Beijing to summon the Australian ambassador and marked a low point from which relations are yet to recover.

Just last month, Beijing’s ministry of commerce accused Canberra of interfering with “normal business activities” after it barred Chinese tech giant Huawei from involvement in Australia’s 5G network due to unspecified national security concerns.

Soon afterwards, the Beijing-linked Global Times sounded the alarm about the rise of China “hawks” in the cabinet of Turnbull’s successor as prime minister, Scott Morrison, pointing to the move of minister Marise Payne – a frequent Beijing critic – from the defence to foreign affairs portfolio.

But if the relationship between Canberra and Beijing has seen better days, China’s ultra rich appear to be as enamoured with Australia as ever.

Australia’s 5G ban on China’s Huawei, ZTE: will others make same call?

Australia was the world’s No 1 migration destination for millionaires last year, according to the 2018 Global Wealth Migration Review from AfrAsia Bank. More than 10,000 high-worth individuals migrated to Australia last year, mostly from China, India and the UK. And about 90 per cent of the visas Australia issued to high-worth investors – those who invest more than A$5 million (US$3.6 million) locally – were for Chinese nationals.

“They see beyond what is in the media,” Vera Ou-Young, the head of the Chinese Services Group at consulting giant Deloitte, told This Week in Asia.

When Stonington Mansion sold for A$52.5 million in Melbourne’s leafy southeast this year, it took the title for most expensive home to ever change hands in the city.

[CHINESE INVESTORS] SEE BEYOND WHAT IS IN THE MEDIA
Vera Ou-Young, Deloitte

 

The previous record had been set just months earlier when the 5,000 square metre estate at 18 St Georges Road in Toorak, Melbourne’s most exclusive suburb, fetched A$40 million.

Apart from their eye-watering price tags, the two sales shared another thing in common: both of the buyers were Chinese.

Record-breaking sales of Australian properties to Chinese investors are common, such as the A$53 million purchase of Sydney harbourfront mansion “Altona” in 2013. Photo: AFP

 

It is a common story across Australia’s top-tier neighbourhoods. From Toorak and Canterbury in Melbourne to Darling Point and Point Piper in Sydney, wealthy Chinese rank among the country’s most prolific buyers of high-end real estate.

*For China’s growing class of ultra rich, Australia has become the go-to destination for investment, leisure and, in many cases, establishing a second home.

“If you were to go, for example, to Monomeath Avenue today … I would say there would be 20 or 30 cars full of Chinese visitors that drive up and down pointing at and looking at all the houses,” said David Morrell, director of buyer’s advocate firm Morrell and Koren, referring to one of the most exclusive residential roads in Canterbury. “Because that’s where they want to live.”

Monika Tu, who runs the Sydney-based Black Diamondz Group, a high-end real estate and concierge company, deals with a couple of dozen Chinese clients each week, accounting for up to 80 per cent of her business.

Australian foreign minister Marise Payne: a China dove, hawk or parrot?

What is high-end? I would say at the moment about A$5 million to about A$50 million,” she said, adding that she’d recently received inquires about a potential sale in the region of A$60 million. “That’s the type of properties they are looking for.”

Among Chinese looking to invest and do business, Australia is widely seen as safe, stable and secure.

AUSTRALIA OFFERS GREAT SECURITY FOR HIGH-WORTH MIGRANTS AND IS A SAFE PLACE TO INVEST WEALTH

The country ranked 8th in the 2018 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index, and 14th in the World Bank’s rankings for ease of doing business.

“Australia offers great security for high-worth migrants and is a safe place to invest wealth,” said John Li, a partner for the Oceania China Business Group at Ernst & Young.

“Its common law tradition, stable financial system and robust institutions are very attractive.”

Chinese buyers invested more than A$15 billion in Australian real estate last year, more than twice as much as any other foreign nationality. Photo: AFP

 

Australian real estate, which has exploded in value in recent decades, is seen as an especially attractive investment. Chinese buyers invested more than A$15 billion in real estate there last year, more than twice as much as any other foreign nationality.

In 2016-2017, before a major clampdown by Beijing authorities on capital outflows, Chinese investors poured A$32 billion into Australian property.

*Neither figure includes the many Chinese who have acquired Australian citizenship or permanent residency before buying into the market.

“Australian property is certainly an attractive investment,” Li said. “The Chinese have made major investments in development sites, agriculture and in businesses more generally.”

In many parts of Sydney and Melbourne, average house prices have more than doubled in the past decade. With a median house price of A$1.1 million, Sydney now ranks as the most expensive property market in the world after Hong Kong, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

Nevertheless, many wealthy Chinese consider Australian real estate to be better value than the comparably cramped properties available in cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

“In terms of price, I think it’s still really good value in Australia, for what we have,” said Tu from Black Diamondz, who herself migrated from Shenzhen in 1988. “In terms of size, the views, environment, I think it’s still very reasonable.”

Indeed, business isn’t the only draw for China’s high-fliers. Australia’s reputation for carefree living and pristine natural environments is a major lure for those seeking a better quality of life. “Really it comes back to location,” said Deloitte’s Ou-Young. “A lot of the decision comes down to *lifestyle choices. It’s about the environment, the quality of the air.”

For those with children and a global mindset, the prospect of high-quality education in an English-speaking country is another major draw, Ou-Young said. “The first generation would like to see their children be successful in Australia.”

Rich Chinese nationals also like to send their children to Australian universities, where they can benefit from high-quality education in an English-speaking country. Photo: AFP

 

According to Australian government statistics, more than 170,000 Chinese students were enrolled in Australian educational institutions, making them by far the biggest contributors to the country’s A$28 billion international education sector.

“A lot of the rich people, before they come here, they might have already sent their children to Australian universities, and if their *kids are in Australian universities, there’s a better reason for them to come to Australia,” said *Barry Li, the author of The New Chinese: How They Are Shaping Australia.

While the United States and Canada also draw wealthy Chinese who are attracted to the Western lifestyle, Australia has the advantage of being relatively close to China and in a similar time zone.

“It’s easy for them to connect to their family and friends in China, and also the jet lag is not as bad as when you fly to Canada, which plays a key role in their decision making,” said Li, the author.

Beyond the real-estate market, businesses dealing in luxury goods and services have felt the impact of this influx of cash-flush consumers.

“Chinese consumers gravitate to everything from luxury handbags to luxury jewellery,” said Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association. “We also see a demand for Australian-produced health products, food and baby products which many Australian retailers are supplying to China.”

Luxury retailers have wasted no time seizing on the opportunity by introducing services specifically tailored to Chinese customers.

Australian retailers are selling products through various different online channels like Alibaba (which owns the South China Morning Post) and using Chinese payment methods to attract and retain international consumers,” Zimmerman said. “In fact, many brands have moved to having Chinese speakers in their luxury stores.”

Chinese consumers gravitate towards international brands such as Louis Vuitton, many of which employ Chinese speakers in their luxury stores. Photo: Handout

 

Kim Do, senior industry analyst at IBISWorld Australia, told This Week in Asia Chinese consumers tended to gravitate towards iconic international brands such as Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent.

“You see a lot of companies realising this and targeting the international consumer, and many international brands have also realised this and have started to open up a whole bunch of new stores in Australia. I mean, five years ago, we didn’t even have half of the luxury brands that we do now,” she said.

“In total, Chinese tourists spent around A$10.9 billion in the Australian market in the last year. It just really shows how important they are for the Australian economy.”

Chinese money has also made its mark in more colourful segments of the market. In recent years, yacht brokers such as Melbourne’s Premier Yachting have begun catering to Chinese customers in large numbers.

“We’ve seen it coming for years,” said Jim Sismanes, the company’s chief executive. “They’re aspirational.”

Beginning as a trickle about five years ago, Chinese buyers now make up a significant proportion of Premier Yachting’s customer base. Many have little or no experience with sailing, according to Sismanes, but are nevertheless drawn to the image of Australia’s outdoorsy lifestyle.

CHINESE TOURISTS SPENT AROUND A$10.9 BILLION IN THE AUSTRALIAN MARKET LAST YEAR
Kim Do, IBISWorld Australia

 

“They don’t necessarily really ‘get’ outdoors as much as Australians do, but they want to learn,” he said. “They want to understand, they want to appreciate it more.”

As with exclusive handbags and garments, it’s the prestigious brands that attract the most interest.

“They are very conscious of branding. Anything Italian is very sought after,” Sismanes said. “They want to touch and feel them, check out the layout, check out how it feels to them before they make any commitment.”

There is a perception Chinese investors have priced locals out of the market in Sydney, where the median house price has soared to nearly 13 times the median household income. Photo: AFP

 

Although the boats that *Premiere Yachting sells typically range in price from A$100,000 to A$10 million, the company has received inquiries from Chinese buyers interested in even more extravagant vessels.

“We didn’t make a sale, but I know there was a Queensland client we dealt with who was looking for a A$40 million-plus super yacht,” Sismanes said. “We’ve dealt with some incredibly wealthy people. Wealthier than any Australians we’ve dealt with.”

Despite the *economic benefit for local businesses, the influx of wealthy Chinese to live, work and play in Australia has also generated a fair degree of suspicion and even outright hostility.

Among the biggest grievances is the perception *Chinese investors have priced locals out of the property market in big cities like Sydney, where the median house price has soared to nearly 13 times the median household income, according to the Demographia survey.

Morrell, the buyer’s advocate in Melbourne, said “Chinese whales” distort prices in exclusive neighbourhoods by paying over the odds for investment properties they would never live in.

“We had this situation years ago where it was out of control, where you had 19-year-old girls buying A$5 million properties at auction, and you go, ‘Something’s really wrong here’,” he said. “They just didn’t care because they wanted the money out [of China].”

If sometimes of questionable veracity, tales abound of Chinese buyers dropping cash as if money were no object. Exacerbating tensions are suspicions that *some investors are able to circumvent rules for foreign buyers, such as by getting family members to buy on their behalf, as well as questions about funding sources.

“One of the things we’ve learned in Australia over the years is that you don’t gain millions or hundreds of millions of dollars really quickly honestly,” Morrell said. “You know what I mean? A lot of this is ill-gotten gains finding its way to our shores.”

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull highlighted concerns about Chinese political meddling in a speech this year, cooling relations between the countries. Photo: EPA

 

In 2015-2016, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre investigated more than A$3 billion in suspicious transactions involving Chinese investors, A$1 billion of which was related to property.

While a cause of resentment, the true impact of Chinese investment on house prices is disputed, with some economic analyses showing little effect either way.

(CAAN:  It is the size of the influx never seen before!)

Sydney-based property agent Tu, meanwhile, rubbishes the suggestion that wealthy buyers would ever pay above the odds for a property.

“One hundred per cent of my buyers are very sophisticated business people and they are very savvy on property so they know exactly what they are looking for, and how much is a reasonable price,” she said.

Wealthy Chinese with political connections in Australia have also faced scrutiny amid a debate about foreign interference in Australia’s politics and institutions.

*Chinese nationals and entities donated more than A$12.6 million to Australian political parties between 2000 and 2016, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of all foreign donations, according to a Melbourne Law School analysis reported by The New Daily.

*Billionaire property developers Huang Xiangmo and Chau Chak Wing are among the prominent Chinese-Australian businessmen to have had the ear of Australia’s two leading parties, Liberal and Labor, having donated millions to each.

In June, Turnbull’s Liberal government drew a line in the sand with the passage of new foreign interference laws, including a complete ban on political donations from overseas.

The introduction of the laws, after Turnbull highlighted concerns about Chinese meddling in a speech to parliament, sent relations between Beijing and Canberra to a nadir from which they are still recovering.

Despite the tensions, however, most observers see the Chinese love affair with Australia continuing for the foreseeable future.

There has been an upswing in Chinese inquiries for Australian property this year amid suggestions Beijing may relax capital controls. Photo: The Washington Post

 

“Australia places high importance on its relationship with China,” said Li, the partner at Ernest & Young. “It has a large Australian-Chinese population which has strengthened cultural ties over many years. There will continue to be strong demand from wealthy Chinese to settle in Australia.”

Even in the property market, which saw a drop-off in Chinese investment last year as Beijing tightened capital outflow rules, there are expectations in some quarters that a resurgence is on the horizon.

Chinese real estate website Juwai.com recently reported *an upswing in inquiries for Australian property since earlier this year amid suggestions Beijing may relax restrictions on outward investment. “Definitely it’s going to continue,” said Tu of Black Diamondz, referring to Chinese interest in top-end Australian real estate.

Interest in the country as a whole seems an even surer bet. Li, the author, said Chinese would continue to choose Australia as long as it kept its door open.

 

“It all depends on government policy,” he said. “I mean, if we go back to the policy in the 1970s – let’s not welcome any Chinese in Australia – then you’ll stop them, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. If you open the door, then of course you’ll get people coming in from all directions.”

SOURCE:  https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2163540/why-chinas-richest-flock-australia-even-if-theyre-not-always

CAAN FACEBOOK:

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

WEBSITE:

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WILTON … 80 Km COMMUTE from CBD to become Sydney’s south-western fringe by 2050 with 15,000 homes to be built

 

SATURDAY 29 SEPTEMBER Planning Minister Anthony Roberts announced a greenfield development site in WILTON that will deliver up to 15,000 homes and 15,000 jobs in the next 30 years in what’s being labelled Sydney’s new south-west 80 Kms from Sydney CBD!

 

KEY POINTS:

 

-under the deal developers will pay up to $770 million to deliver state infrastructure

.including roads, land for a bus depot, local schools, a medical facility, open space and environmental conservation measures

-the levy will cost developers about $59,274 per dwelling; triple what they pay north-west of Sydney

 

-4000-square-hectare site; part of more than 20 growth areas earmarked for Sydney

PLANNING MINISTER ROBERTS talks up conservation with more than 160 hectares … that’s 395.36861 acres of Cumberland Plain Woodland already protected in the South East Wilton Precinct to allow for Koala movements …

Mr Roberts, that’s piffling – it’s three fifths of nothing compared to the former 4000 square hectare habitat they had!

VIEW:  LEFT HANGING … HOW THEY’RE KILLING THE KOALAS OF WILTON

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2018/09/30/left-hanginghow-theyre-killing-the-koalas-of-wilton/

 

 

Wilton town centre

Wilton to become Sydney’s south-western fringe by 2050 with 15,000 homes to be built

 

SOURCE:  https://www.domain.com.au/news/wilton-becomes-sydney-south-west-fringe-768023/?utm_campaign=strap-masthead&utm_source=smh&utm_medium=link&utm_content=pos1&ref=pos1

MORRISON SET GREAT BARRIER REEF GRANT TERMS

YET another tale of Outsourcing the provision of Government services and $$ … is it about ideology … no matter the consequences?
The terms of Malcolm Turnbull’s $444 million Barrier Reef grant were set by Scott Morrison, who as treasurer insisted the money not go to a Commonwealth agency.
KEY POINTS:
-to avoid jeopardising the government getting the budget back into surplus 2019-20
the funds had to be allocated in the current year before June 30 2018

 

for the budget to designate the reef funds had been spent; not to carry over or reallocate any in future years – the money needed to be given to an organisation that wasn’t a Commonwealth agency
ruling out the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; the statutory agency tasked with managing the reef
-the entire $444 million sum was transferred to the foundation on June 28, two days before the end of the financial year
the government has redacted information from documents that might shed more light on exactly who decided the foundation should be the recipient
-in April simultaneously the foundation hosted the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, at a roundtable on coral degradation on Lady Elliot Island on the Barrier Reef

-the roundtable chairman was Dr Russell Reichelt, who is chairman and chief executive of the government-owned Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and also serves on the GBRF’s board

-the event provided the backdrop for property company LendLease to announce it was partnering with the GBRF and the federal and state governments on a reef habitat protection project

-the federal government and LendLease were contributing $5 million each, with the foundation and the state government making up the remaining $4 million

-the $5 million was the first formal partnership the federal government had entered into with the foundation

-a $5 million grant had not yet been resolved but the $444 million had been transferred to the same organisation, and so quickly

-‘this is a trial case to see if not-for-profits can be used to deliver big government programs’; comment attributed to “RR”; believed to be Russell Reichelt of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

-speculation that the lump-sum grant may have been to head off any international accusations that the government had not kept its promise to spend at least $716 million on reef protection and restoration by 2020

 

 

EXCLUSIVE:  MORRISON SET REEF GRANT TERMS
The terms of Malcolm Turnbull’s $444 million Barrier Reef grant were set by Scott Morrison, who as treasurer insisted the money not go to a Commonwealth agency.
By Karen Middleton.

 

Exclusive: Morrison set reef grant terms

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney.

CREDIT: AAP IMAGE / JOEL CARRETT

 

The federal government’s decision to grant $444 million in Great Barrier Reef protection funding as a lump sum to a private foundation came after then treasurer Scott Morrison insisted it was the only way to avoid the grant delaying a return to surplus and undermining the government’s economic credentials.

The Saturday Paper has confirmed much of the sequence of events that led to almost half-a-billion dollars being delivered to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, now the subject of a Senate inquiry.

The paper has also confirmed that former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull – who endorsed Morrison’s approach and made the offer to the foundation personally – has agreed to answer questions from a Senate committee investigating the grant.

Government sources say that in the lead-up to this year’s May budget, Josh Frydenberg – then environment and energy minister, now treasurer – wanted the government to allocate substantial funding to protect the reef from further damage.

Morrison, who was treasurer at the time, responded that because of a solid budget position in 2017–18, funding was available – but only on the condition that it was all allocated and spent before the financial year ended on June 30, 2018.

 

The Saturday Paper understands Morrison argued that allocating reef funding in stages across the budget’s forward estimates was unacceptable because it would commit the government to fixed amounts in future years when other variables in the economy might limit the available cash. That could leave too little in the coffers and jeopardise the government’s chances of getting the budget back into surplus as promised in 2019–20.

Spending all the funds in the current year would avoid that.

*But in order for the budget to designate the reef funds as having been spent – and not to have to carry over or reallocate any in future years – the money needed to be given to an organisation that wasn’t a Commonwealth agency.

This ruled out the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the statutory agency tasked with managing the reef.*

The government was not inclined to give it to the Queensland Labor government, so a private organisation was chosen. What is still not entirely clear is exactly who suggested the foundation.

Frydenberg revealed in parliament last month that he took two submissions to cabinet’s expenditure review committee in March seeking funding for water quality, tackling the crown-of-thorns starfish, reef science, Indigenous engagement and the government-owned Marine Park Authority’s on-water management program.

He said they also contained a proposal to establish a partnership with a non-government organisation, “which was the Great Barrier Reef Foundation”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office did not respond to The Saturday Paper’s request for comment.

The prime minister told journalists on Thursday that the grant given to the GBRF was “the biggest investment in reef research and science that any government has made for a very, very long time”.

“We support a healthy reef,” he said.

The foundation’s chairman, John Schubert, has told the Senate inquiry that Turnbull’s appointment secretary contacted him “two days before”, to arrange a meeting for April 9 in Sydney.

There, Turnbull and Frydenberg revealed their intentions. Foundation managing director Anna Marsden said later that it was like winning the lottery.

The grant was announced on April 29 and included in the budget on May 8. After guidelines and an agreement were drawn up, the entire $444 million sum was transferred to the foundation on June 28, two days before the end of the financial year.

Labor and the Greens criticise what they call a lack of proper process, establishing the Senate inquiry to investigate.

The Saturday Paper has confirmed that Malcolm Turnbull has now agreed to answer the inquiry’s questions.

The committee wrote to Turnbull, currently on an extended holiday in New York, seeking to question him about the grant.

Inquiry chairman and Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson has told The Saturday Paper that Turnbull has asked to be sent questions and indicated he would respond.

Turnbull suggested this might avoid the need for him to return to Australia to give evidence in person.

The parliamentary inquiry has the power to compel the former prime minister to appear, now that he is a private citizen.

“He contacted me and indicated it might be preferable to send him questions, given he’s overseas,” Whish-Wilson said. “I put that to the committee.”

Whish-Wilson declined to say how the committee had responded or whether any deadline had been set for Turnbull.

 

The inquiry has been investigating how and why the massive one-off grant was made to a private foundation without advance consultation or any tender process and delivered in a lump sum.

During Senate hearings last week, Labor senator Kristina Keneally asked Treasury officials if the way the money is paid would affect the bottom line.

“If the measure had a different spending profile, it would have had a different impact,” replied Treasury assistant secretary Hamish McDonald.

Referring to years beyond 2017–18, he said: “If the government decision had been to spend money in those years and nothing else changed, that would make the budget worse in those years.”

Privately, government sources insist the Great Barrier Reef Foundation was not chosen because of any personal ties between ministers and members of the foundation’s board or its “chairman’s panel”, which includes executives of large corporations who sponsor the foundation’s activities through a $20,000-a-head annual fee – although The Saturday Paper is aware such connections exist.

Rather, the sources suggest both the Coalition government and its Labor predecessor had partnered with the organisation and that it had a good reputation for leveraging and managing funds, albeit in much smaller amounts.

They say the Department of Environment and Energy endorsed the foundation as a good recipient.

But the government has redacted information from documents that might shed more light on exactly who decided the foundation should be the recipient.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation was clearly on the government’s radar before it was offered the grant.

*In the same 24 hours that Turnbull contacted it to arrange the short-notice meeting, the foundation hosted the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, at a roundtable on coral degradation on Lady Elliot Island on the Barrier Reef.

The prince was in Australia to open the Commonwealth Games, and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet helped set his official itinerary. On Friday, April 6, Prince Charles visited Lady Elliot Island to attend the roundtable and spoke later of his concern about the need to prevent further reef damage.

*The roundtable chairman was Dr Russell Reichelt, who is chairman and chief executive of the government-owned Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and also serves on the GBRF’s board.

*The event provided the backdrop for property company LendLease to announce it was partnering with the GBRF and the federal and state governments on a reef habitat protection project.

The federal government and LendLease were contributing $5 million each, with the foundation and the state government making up the remaining $4 million.

LendLease’s managing director, Steve McCann, attended the roundtable with the prince, along with other corporate executives involved in the reef foundation.

It is understood the $5 million was the first formal partnership the federal government had entered into with the foundation. Officials revealed to the Senate inquiry last week that the $5 million grant still has not been finalised.

Keneally, who the government has accused of leading a “witch hunt” about the grant, suggested it was ironic that a $5 million grant had not yet been resolved but the more recently proposed $444 million had been transferred to the same organisation so quickly.

The Environment and Energy Department told the Senate inquiry it conducted due diligence on the foundation before the offer but declined to give details.

The department’s legal due diligence report – of which the index and cover pages were provided – was dated June 8.

It included due diligence on the foundation’s board members.

Two days earlier, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced it had charged one of the foundation’s directors, investment banker Stephen Roberts, with criminal cartel behaviour over a $2.5 billion share deal in 2015. Roberts resigned from the foundation’s board.

Emails released to the Senate indicated those events caused concern within at least one government agency – the Australian Institute of Marine Science, whose former chief executive officer John Gunn is on the foundation board and current chief executive Dr Paul Hardisty serves on its international scientific advisory committee.

Townsville-based AIMS manager Frank Tirendi alerted acting chief operating officer John Chappell to the issue on June 8.

“I think it’s not unreasonable to request a ‘please explain’ from the GBRF,” wrote Tirendi.

Chappell wrote: “At the very least, this is terrible timing.”

At their council meeting several days earlier, minutes of which were also released to the Senate, AIMS executives had described “positive” outcomes for their institute from the funding announcement because $100 million of it was to be devoted explicitly to reef science and research.

Other documents indicate the foundation is being asked to triple this amount by leveraging private donations.

A record of an AIMS executive discussion about the grant the day after it was announced appears to confirm why it went to a private organisation.

“This is about the revenue windfall,” the note reads, apparently referring to the upcoming budget. “The money can only be expensed in government if the money has left the government.”

Minutes to another AIMS council meeting in early June record its chair, Penny Wensley, as having commented “that there is a high level of apprehension and concern amongst organisations working on reef issues about the new funding arrangements, including concerns over potential duplication of investment and effort”.

The summary of the council’s general discussion notes the government had “an appetite … to do things differently”.

The executive director of strategy and development, David Mead, told the meeting there was “a disconnect between government’s understanding of what will be delivered from the $100 million and what can actually be achieved in the short term”.

Hardisty suggested the “government does not yet fully understand the time or investment required for large-scale restoration interventions”.

The summary of a separate AIMS executive meeting held on June 12 appears to suggest the idea of a private grant may have been around for a while.

“The concept of the partnership has been discussed for a long time, similar to national monument arrangement in the US – * this is a trial case to see if not-for-profits can be used to deliver big government programs,” the summary says, attributing the comments to “RR”, believed to be Russell Reichelt of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The summary also says the government’s keywords about the grant were “governance, leverage and innovation”.

The summary reports the foundation believes “the best way out of the recent criticism (media, senate estimates) about their capacity is to demonstrate their leveraging capability”.

The government says the foundation was chosen for its capacity to leverage the lump sum to attract further private funds.

Environment groups have speculated the lump-sum grant may have been designed to head off any international accusations that the government had not kept its promise to spend at least $716 million on reef protection and restoration by 2020. Failure to keep that promise could jeopardise the reef’s World Heritage listing.

Australian Conservation Foundation chief Geoff Cousins has called it a bit of accounting “trickery”.

Officials from the Department of the Environment and Energy sidestepped questions from senators Keneally and Whish-Wilson during inquiry hearings last week.

Departmental secretary Finn Pratt and others declined to detail deliberations on the grant, saying the budget process was confidential.

“It’s a lot more than just a budget process,” Whish-Wilson observed of the grant’s unusual trajectory.

Pratt said: “I agree.”

Whish-Wilson continued. “It’s a totally new way of doing business on a scale that we’ve never seen before.”

The departmental secretary did not dispute it.

“I agree,” Pratt said.

The inquiry has sought to extend its reporting deadline to December.

The questions, it seems, will continue.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Sep 29, 2018 as “Exclusive: Morrison set reef grant terms”. Subscribe here.

 

Karen Middleton 
is The Saturday Paper’s chief political correspondent.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2018/09/29/exclusive-morrison-set-reef-grant-terms/15381432006927

ABC BOARD Members appointed by Minister for Communications, Fifield despite being rejected by merit-based panel

Documents reveal almost all the directors of the ABC’s eight-member board appointed by communications minister

CAAN has highlighted where 6 of the 8 Board members careers span the industries of Real Estate and Mining which appears contrary to the interests of Australians, and this would seem to explain why there has not been a full coverage by the ABC TV on:

-the 100% sell off of “new homes” to foreign buyers (FIRB Ruling)

-real estate tours to buy property and gain a Residency Visa (Visa manipulation)

-no Anti-Money Laundering Legislation for the Real Estate Sector (shelved again in 2018; over a decade)

-Onshore Proxy agents and so on but skirting around these issues!

Huge tracts of agricultural lands in both urban fringelands, regional villages and farmlands are being destroyed by csg mining, longwall mining, opencut and underground mining with damage to the water table, our rivers polluted!

ABC BOARD TO 27 SEPTEMBER 2018

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/2166/

ABC board members appointed by Fifield despite being rejected by merit-based panel

Exclusive: Documents reveal almost all the directors of the ABC’s eight-member board appointed by communications minister

ABC sign in Ultimo
 The Coalition’s much touted merits-based nominations process for ABC board appointments has been ignored or circumvented in recent years. Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

 

Almost all the directors of the ABC’s eight-member board were appointed directly by the minister for communications, Mitch Fifield, and some were appointed after being rejected by the merit-based nominations panel, documents obtained by the Guardian show.

In a week that has seen the national broadcaster sack its managing director, Michelle Guthrie, and lose its chairman, Justin Milne, in the fallout, scrutiny is now shifting to the ABC board and the calibre of its directors.

Milne stepped down on Thursday following a series of damaging leaks that suggested he had pressured Guthrie to “get rid of” senior ABC reporter Emma Alberici, who was the subject of the Coalition government’s ire.

The leaks, which sparked a departmental inquiry, raised concerns about the independence and integrity of the ABC.

The issue of the Alberici reports was discussed at board level but it is unclear whether other directors were aware until this week that Milne had pushed for her removal.

“The ABC chair is gone and the remainder of the board have questions to answer now too,” said the Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young on Thursday following Milne’s resignation.

Mitch Fifield
Pinterest
 Documents obtained by Guardian show communications minister Mitch Fifield directly appointed almost all of the ABC board. Photograph: David Crosling/EPA

 

Documents obtained by Guardian Australia show that of the five most recent appointments, all were direct recommendations by Fifield.

Of the appointments since 2015, two did not go through the nomination panel at all; two were considered but not recommended by the panel and were still appointed by the minister; and one was deemed by the panel to be “very suitable” but withdrew before the final recommendations, only to be then urged directly by the minister to accept a place.

The appointments process is revealed in statements of reasons which must be tabled in parliament by the minister and questions he has answered in Senate estimates in 2017.

The most controversial has been the appointment of Vanessa Guthrie, the chairwoman of the Minerals Council of Australia, whose appointment was widely criticised as being political.

The selection criteria for the nominations panel say candidates must have substantial experience in at least one of the following: experience in the media industry or digital technologies; business or financial management; or corporate governance experience, including managing a large or complex operation in the private or public sector.

Vanessa Guthrie had been a mining executive and is on the board of Santos, and is chair of the coal industry’s lobby group, but she had no broadcasting experience and her executive roles appeared to have been limited to smaller mining companies.

In Senate estimates, Fifield revealed she had applied through the panel process but was not on their list of recommendations. In his statement of reasons, tabled in parliament, he described her as a “strong, qualified candidate”, and that she would add to the gender and geographic diversity of the board as she was from Western Australia.

At the same estimates hearing he revealed that Georgie Somerset, a farmer from Queensland, was “one of the minister’s recommendations”.

Somerset has been on the board of the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Queensland and some other not-for-profit roles, but has no broadcasting, digital, or in-depth management experience of a large organisation.

Donny Walford, a businesswoman from South Australia, appointed in 2015, does not appear to have gone through the nominations process at all.

In the statement of reasons, Fifield makes no reference to the panel except to say that she was assessed against their criteria, and considered to have “a substantial level of experience and knowledge in business and financial management and corporate governance resulting from significant number of board and senior executive positions”.

Joseph Gersh, who was appointed in May this year, was shortlisted and interviewed but was not included in the final report by the nominations panel.

A lawyer, who runs a property investment bank in Melbourne, he was described by the Australian Financial Review’s Joe Aston as “a close confidante of former treasurer, Peter Costello”. As treasurer, Costello appointed Gersh to the Reserve Bank’s payment systems board.

Kirstin Ferguson appears to be the only recent appointment assessed as “very suitable” by the panel, but she withdrew her nomination and was later appointed directly by the minister.

A professional director, who serves on two ASX listed companies in the development sector, Ferguson is also an adjunct professor of business and has written on women in business. But she too lacks experience in broadcasting or media.

The only directors with experience in the media are the staff-elected director, Jane Connors, who was a broadcaster at Radio National and later a manager at the ABC, and Peter Lewis, who was a chief financial officer at the Seven Network.

Lewis also conducted an efficiency review of the ABC by the Abbott government in 2014 and afterwards was appointed to the board.

Milne is a close business associate and friend of the former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and he had some relevant experience in telecommunications and digital businesses.

Milne had been an executive at internet provider, Ozemail during the 1990s. Turnbull, then an investment banker, was a major investor. In 2000, Turnbull’s $500,000 investment in Ozemail was sold for $57m when the company was taken over, catapulting Turnbull into serious wealth.

Milne went on to work at Telstra and later took board appointments but maintained his relationship with Turnbull. He was appointed to the board of NBN in November 2013 by the Coalition government.

Milne became chair of the ABC in March 2017. At the time he said in an interview his friendship with Turnbull would have “zero impact” on his role as chairman of the public broadcaster.

“He wants robust, well-managed institutions; he doesn’t want to be king of Australia,” Milne told the Sydney Morning Herald at the time. “I don’t think he will be ringing me up and saying ‘Get that person off Q&A’ or anything like that.”

From the US, Turnbull said that he has never asked Milne to demand a journalist to be sacked and has only ever raised factual matters with the board.

But emails show that Milne at least perceived the Coalition would be relieved if the ABC got rid of Alberici.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/sep/27/abc-board-members-appointed-by-fifield-despite-being-rejected-by-merit-based-panel?CMP=soc_568

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MORE ABOUT POLITICAL BOARD APPOINTMENTS …

 

HERE is another story back in 2015 about more ‘BOARD STACKING’

IT involves another Briggs, but from South Australia.

We have no idea if Scot or Jamie are related.

One can always bear in mind that Lucy who heads up the Greater Sydney Commission and previously the lobby group, the Committee for Sydney and a board member of the Grattan Institute …

And our new Prime Minister prior to entering politics wrote the policy for the developer lobby The Property Council of Australia!

AFTER ousting Abbott, Turnbull created the new position of Minister for Cities.

Jamie Briggs took on that portfolio.

MALCOLM TURNBULL’S CABINET:  JAMIE BRIGGS NAMED MINISTER FOR CITIES

Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet: Jamie Briggs named Minister for Cities:  AFR

Malcolm Turnbull has appointed Jamie Briggs to a new portfolio, MInister for Cities.
Malcolm Turnbull has appointed Jamie Briggs to a new portfolio, MInister for Cities. Andrew Meares

 

Prime Minister Turnbull has signalled public transport is back on the federal government’s agenda after calling for the development of “vibrant, liveable cities” and appointing Jamie Briggs as the country’s first Minister for Cities and the Built Environment. 

Minister Briggs, who was previously assistant minister for infrastructure, has been charged with putting together a new government plan for cities in co-operation with States, local governments and urban communities.   (PAYWALL)

 

BUT by December 2015 Briggs had resigned over an incident in Hong Kong bar with a female public servant.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/29/jamie-briggs-resigns-federal-minister-cities

 

 

SUBSEQUENTLY, Jamie Briggs lost his seat of Mayo at the 2016 election to Nick Xenophon Team’s Rebekha Sharkie.

By December 2016 the ex-MP from South Australia was appointed to the Moorebank Intermodal Board.

That is in NSW’s Western Sydney … for a person from South Australia  … during Abbott’s term he had been an assistant Minister for Infrastructure.

Coalition appoints former MP Jamie Briggs to Moorebank Intermodal board

Liberal MP who resigned from Malcolm Turnbull’s ministry to join board of government enterprise

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/dec/16/coalition-appoints-former-mp-jamie-briggs-to-moorebank-intermodal-board

 LIBERALS GIVE JAMIE BRIGGS A BOARD JOB ON FREIGHT PROJECT

Jamie Briggs. Picture: Keryn Stevens
Jamie Briggs. Picture: Keryn Stevens

A year after Jamie Briggs was stood down following a complaint about his behaviour in a Hong Kong bar, he has been appointed to the board of a major government enterprise.

 

In an announcement quietly posted on a departmental website on Friday afternoon — and not circulated to the media — ­Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Mr Briggs would take up a three-year role as a non-executive director on the Moorebank Intermodal Company board, at $56,150 a year.

Senator Cormann cited Mr Briggs’s experience as assistant minister for infrastructure and regional development, saying it was considered “highly relevant” to the Moorebank intermodal freight project.

As a member of the board, Mr Briggs will help oversee the project, which involves developing a freight precinct connecting major roads and rail lines in Sydney’s southwest with port facilities at Botany Bay.

Mr Briggs, 39, stood down as minister for cities and the built environment on December 29 last year after a young female public servant complained about his behaviour during a night out in Hong Kong.

In resigning as cities minister, Mr Briggs admitted he, his chief of staff Stuart Eaton and the young public servant had gone to a crowded Hong Kong bar and “interacted”.

He said he believed the night out was an informal event but his behaviour did not meet the “high standards” required of a minister.

“At no point was it my intention to act inappropriately,” Mr Briggs said. “This was an error of professional judgment.”

He then lost his Adelaide Hills seat of Mayo to Nick Xenophon Team’s Rebekha Sharkie at this year’s federal election.

His appointment follows Attorney-General George Brandis’s appointment last week of two former Liberal MPs, Andrew Nikolic and Russell Matheson, to seven-year roles with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Senator Brandis also appointed two former Labor MPs, Anna Burke and Linda Kirk.

REPORTER
Rachel Baxendale is a federal political reporter in the Canberra press gallery. She began her career in The Australian’s Melbourne bureau in 2012 before moving to Canberra ahead of the 2016 election.
SOURCE:  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/liberals-give-jamie-briggs-a-board-job-on-freight-project/news-story/b3d4ef7f2c641c3437d2a30357488a50

LABOR could refer plans to outsource Visa processing to Senate Estimates

 

IN MAY 2018 Malcolm Turnbull claimed that the Government would, this year, reduce the non-humanitarian permanent migration intake to “somewhere between 170,000 and 180,000”.

THEN the ABC revealed http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-22/bridging-visa-surge-overwhelms-permanent-migration-cuts/9785946

that while modest cuts to the permanent migrant intake have been made, these have been swamped by a “mysteriously” large rise in bridging visas:

CURRENTLY THERE ARE MORE THAN 2.2 MILLION PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA ON TEMPORARY VISAS!

TO BE FOLLOWED BY OUTSOURCING VISA PROCESSING!  WT *

Another story here is about ‘board stacking’ with another ex-MP also with the surname Briggs.

 “Oh what a tangled web we weave ……”

 Labor could refer plans to outsource visa processing to Senate estimates

Opposition says ministers with links to any of the bidding groups should not be part of decision-making process

“The plans to outsource the visa processing system and the revelation of the bidders involved have prompted concerns, partly because this has not gone through a formal tender process.”

Who is set to gain?  With …

“Most visa categories, if they’re not growing at double-digit growth, they’re certainly growing at high single digits

 

Labor could refer plans to outsource visa processing to Senate estimates

Opposition says ministers with links to any of the bidding groups should not be part of decision-making process

Labor’s Shayne Neumann
 Labor’s Shayne Neumann has questioned the national security implications of outsourcing visa processing. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

Labor may use Senate estimates to further question the government’s planned outsourcing of a $1bn visa processing system, amid calls for ministers linked to one of the bidding groups to recuse themselves from the decision-making process.

A member of one of two consortiums reportedly being explored as a potential bidder is Pacific Blue Capital, run by Scott Briggs.

It holds 19% of the Australia Visa Processing consortium, which also includes Qantas Ventures, PwC and Ellerston Capital. The other group in the running comprises Accenture and Australia Post.

Briggs is a friend and former employee of Malcolm Turnbull, president of Scott Morrison’s electorate conference, board member of the Cronulla Sharks – of which Morrison is the number one ticket holder – and a former colleague of the immigration minister, David Coleman.

Briggs is also said to have advised Morrison during the recent leadership spill.

There is no suggestion of political interference in the bids to run the visa processing system. Labor has called for government members with connections to any bidders to ensure they are not part of the process.

“If the prime minister or immigration minister have close personal connections with one of the bidders involved in this government’s attempt to privatise visa processing, they must recuse themselves from the process,” said Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann.

A spokesman for Coleman said the minister “has not been involved in the proposed visa processing platform and will have no involvement in this matter in the future”.

The Australian reported on Wednesday that Morrison was expected to recuse himself from any decisions on the matter, should it go to the cabinet.

Guardian Australia understands the final decision regarding a tender or contract would probably lie with the head of the Department of Home Affairs, Michael Pezzullo, but it is unlikely there would ordinarily be no consultation with government ministers, including the prime minister, treasurer and finance minister.

It is also understood the original plan always maintained that the visa security assessments and information relating to them would remain with the Department of Home Affairs, and not the company running the process.

The plans to outsource the visa processing system and the revelation of the bidders involved have prompted concerns, partly because this has not gone through a formal tender process.

The 2016-17 budget detailed funding for a “testing of the market”, Senate estimates heard this year.

“It’s a testing of the market to see what kinds of capabilities are in the marketplace to assist – not to take over, but to assist – the department with the digital processing of an increasingly significant visa load,” Pezzullo had said at the time.

“Most visa categories, if they’re not growing at double-digit growth, they’re certainly growing at high single digits.”

The department is overdue in answering questions on notice from August Senate estimates hearings, including whether the final contract will go to tender or limited tender, what the planned deadline for the process is, and what impact it will have on public sector jobs.

A 2016 report by the National Audit Office, which assessed the department’s management of garrison support and welfare services in offshore detention centres, found concerns relating to potential or perceived conflicts of interest.

It recommended “that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection take practical steps to ensure adherence to the requirements of the resource management framework when undertaking procurements, including … the need to recognise and manage actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest; and the maintenance of clear and complete records of all tender bids, key actions, decisions, conflict of interest and SES disclosure declarations”.

Neumann has also questioned the national security implications of outsourcing visa processing.

“The Liberals can’t use this as cover to cut costs and slash jobs,” he said. “The Liberals must fully explain any impacts on privacy and security these changes may have before making such a significant change.”

The Community and Public Sector Union has previously warned that a privatised visa system could cost up to 3,000 jobs and jeopardise the security of people’s information.

The office of the minister for home affairs has been contacted for comment.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/22/labor-could-refer-plans-to-outsource-visa-processing-to-senate-estimates

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SYDNEY FOOTBALL STADIUM TO BE DEMOLISHED PRIOR TO THE ELECTION …

IT would appear that this committee was stacked with three LNP members and the Shooters’ & Fishers who usually vote with the LNP having gained some advantage … (Trevor Khan, the Nationals; Scot MacDonald, Liberal; Taylor Martin, Liberal) with S & F’s Robert Brown MLC having voted with the government.

Robert Brown then voted against the recommendation that demolition of the Sydney Stadium not proceed until after the March 2019 NSW State Election. Again a vote of 4 (LNP/S & F) to 2 ALP & 1 Green.

FURTHER,  the NSW LNP Government having demolished the Sydney Entertainment Centre and the Parramatta War Memorial Pool the way was now paved for the government to prioritise replacement infrastructure for donor developers perhaps?

QUERY that the Allianz Stadium had significant safety and security concerns to warrant demolition and not renovation.  B.S.

THE RUSH is on to pull whatever they can apart!  To make way “for jobs for the boys”!

Recontextualizing Sydney to suit the new order of money, politics, power and influence based on crude force of will of crash, or crash through no matter the cost to the Community.

As they remove standards, blur boundaries, diminish codes and traditions … they are a POX on the future of our Society.

View:

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2018/09/22/sydney-football-stadium-architect-says-the-last-game-is-too-heartbreaking-to-attend/

ANZ Stadium revamp should be postponed, parliamentary committee finds

The state government should not proceed with its $810 million redevelopment of ANZ Stadium at Olympic Park until the construction of the new Allianz Stadium in Moore Park is finished in 2022, a NSW parliamentary committee has concluded.

The five-month-long inquiry also found that the Berejiklian government’s multibillion-dollar stadium strategy did not meet the government’s own infrastructure spending criteria, and recommended that an independent audit of the business case be conducted.

Final days: Allianz Stadium before it undergoes a $730 million rebuild.
Final days: Allianz Stadium before it undergoes a $730 million rebuild.Photo: Louie Douvis

The findings were contained in a report published on Thursday by the Public Works Committee, which scrutinised the government’s justifications for its $2 billion-plus stadium spree on a new stadium at Parramatta to open early next year, a replacement stadium at Moore Park, and a redevelopment of ANZ Stadium at Olympic Park.

The controversy around the policy was further heightened this year after it was found that the $730 million rebuild of Allianz Stadium and the $810 million refurbishment of ANZ stadium failed to satisfy the government’s own cost-benefit targets.

For this reason, the committee recommended the government’s approach to cost benefit analysis and its use and effectiveness in major government infrastructure decisions be scrutinised by a separate public inquiry.

 

However, it concluded that because “lessons may be learnt during the rollout” of the new 40,000 to 45,000-seat stadium at Moore Park, the refurbishment of ANZ Stadium should be postponed until the new stadium is built.

“Postponing these works will also allow provide opportunity for the government to undertake comprehensive community consultation on the project,” committee chairman Robert Brown MLC, from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party said.

The report made a total of 10 recommendations, including that the government prioritise plans for a new indoor facility, after hearing evidence that the demolition of the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 2015 had left Sydney without a major indoor sports facility.

It also found that the demolition of Parramatta’s War Memorial Pool to make way for the Western Sydney Stadium “had severely disadvantaged the people of Parramatta”, and called for the government to prioritise and fully fund the construction of a new facility.

In addition to Mr Brown, the committee comprised Liberal MLCs Scott MacDonald and Taylor Martin, National MLC Trevor Khan, Labor MLCs John Graham and Linda Voltz, and Greens MLC Justin Field.

In a dissenting statement to the final report, Mr Field criticised the stadium policy for prioritising the “major male-dominated sporting codes” at the expense of other indoor sports, such as netball, and grassroots facilities.

Labor also dissented with a key finding, arguing that the demolition of Allianz Stadium be postponed until after the outcome of the 2019 state election.

Demolition is due to start after the New Year’s Test series between Australia and India at the adjacent SCG.

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/anz-stadium-revamp-should-be-postponed-parliamentary-committee-finds-20180927-p506ey.html

ABC acting chair Dr Kirstin Ferguson backs board amid questions over editorial independence

A political appointment having been recommended by Morrison to the Governor General.

It appears Dr Ferguson makes her living sitting on Boards having sat on the ABC Board since 2015, having 10 years experience on the ASX100 and ASX200 boards.  Her current board appointments also include SCA Property Group Ltd, non-executive Director  of CIMIC Ltd, and a former CEO of a global consulting company operating in mining and resources services sector!

Many are in agreement with Paul Barry that the board needs an overhaul and the directors and chair must be transparent, merit-based and bipartisan. 

Of the 8 Board members (including Justin Milne prior to his resignation) 6 have careers in real estate and/or mining which perhaps would indicate where the ABC reporting restrictions have come from!

VIEW for details of the Board members:

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/2166/

ABC acting chair Dr Kirstin Ferguson backs board amid questions over editorial independence

FRIDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2018

 

Acting chair Kirstin Ferguson has used her first interview to back the ABC board, amid a growing chorus of discontent from staff over editorial independence.

Key points:

  • Dr Ferguson has stepped in after chairman Justin Milne resigned amid accusations he interfered with the ABC’s editorial independence
  • She refused to give specific details of board deliberations in a dramatic week at the national broadcaster
  • The broadcaster’s managing director Michelle Guthrie was sacked on Monday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison today recommended Dr Ferguson for the role.

She said she had never seen evidence of political interference in her three years on the ABC’s board.

“The board has put the ABC’s best interests at the forefront at every stage,” she said.

Senior ABC staff have been questioning the corporation’s board after managing director Michelle Guthrie was sacked on Monday, and chairman Justin Milne resigned on Thursday.

Mr Milne — a close friend of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull — resigned after a litany of reports accused him of interfering in the broadcaster’s editorial independence.

Dr Ferguson said she would “not have the same problem” he did due to his close ties with former prime minister.

“I don’t have a relationship with Government. I am focused only on the ABC and independence,” she said.

 

“For a minister to expect that I’m going to do something differently or make any comment about editorial processes, they’re not going to get very far.”

Despite calls by some for the whole board to stand down, Dr Ferguson argued that was not what the ABC needed.

“If anyone does want to put the best interests of the ABC forward, that is not the right answer right now,” she said.

“The matter of who the Government might select to be board members is a question for them.”

*Dr Ferguson has sat on the ABC board since 2015, and is an experienced director with 10 years’ experience on the ASX100 and ASX200 boards as well as private company and government boards.

She was the creator of the social media campaign #CelebratingWomen, which saw her nominated for the Walkley Foundation’s Our Watch Award for best use of social media.

Mr Morrison this morning announced he had recommended her to the Governor-General for the chair position.

Opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese said he hoped “due diligence has been done” over the appointment of Dr Ferguson.

“Because we know that there is a real cloud over all the ABC board members,” he said.

Mr Albanese said Labor would initiate a Senate inquiry into the board and expected the board members to be called before it.

Staff turn up heat on board

Fairfax Media published leaked emails which claimed to show Mr Milne ordered two of the ABC’s most senior journalists be sacked in reaction to Turnbull’s outrage about their work.

Ms Guthrie’s sacking — which she said left her “devastated” and considering her legal options — came as a surprise on Monday.

An urgent all-staff meeting was held at the broadcaster’s Ultimo headquarters on Wednesday, and a motion calling for Mr Milne to stand aside and for an independent inquiry to take place was passed unanimously.

Dr Ferguson refused to disclose when allegations of interference by Mr Milne were first brought to the board’s attention.

“I think this is something that will all come out in the departmental inquiry,” she said.

“We are grateful he [Mr Milne] resigned.”

Dr Ferguson disagreed with the suggestion that the Australian public had a right to know why Ms Guthrie was sacked.

“I think it is an unreasonable expectation. It is unfair on the person involved and I just won’t go there,” she said.

In the wake of the departures, 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales questioned the board’s judgment.

Leigh Sales

@leighsales

My Qs for the other members of the ABC Board, all of whom have so far remained publicly silent:
1. Why did they agree that Michelle Guthrie had to go?
2. Why, if they saw the “political interference” email/conversation records last week, did they not act until that became public?

Four Corners reporter Sophie McNeil — a former foreign correspondent — tweeted: “Chairman Milne is now gone but serious questions remain for the entire ABC Board.”

The ABC’s staff-elected director Jane Connors has sat on the board since May.

On Monday, Ms Connors said Ms Guthrie’s sacking was “in the best interests of the ABC”.

However, in an email to one staff member later in the week, Ms Connors described the subsequent headlines about Mr Milne as “distressing”.

*Paul Barry, who presents the ABC’s Media Watch program, said the board needed an overhaul and the directors and chair must be transparent, merit-based and bipartisan.

“It’s time for governments of all colours to stop stacking the board with their political or ideological mates,” he said.

SOURCE:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-28/abc-board-member-kirstin-ferguson-nominated-as-chair/10315648

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And the award for Straya’s worst ever immigration spruik goes to…

Density done well can have huge benefits for communities and support infrastructure, service and amenity improvements.

Photo: Said to be doing density well … awful …

SYDNEY has lost its “liveability”, and Leith Van Onselen pulls apart this Real Estate Investment Manager’s claims that importing a tax-producing age bracket will flood Canberra’s coffers with cash simply because of the extra costs of infrastructure, public services … and that migrants also grow old …

PERHAPS that is the Ponzi Idea … an ever larger immigration intake … thanks to a tricky moff?

For CAAN’s take on this:

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2018/09/27/report-throw-open-the-borders-why-double-immigration-will-save-australias-choking-cities/

 

And the award for Straya’s worst ever immigration spruik goes to…

By Leith van Onselen

 

Anybody with half a brain knows that you don’t treat diabetes by doubling your sugar intake, and you don’t treat alcoholism by doubling alcohol consumption. And yet somehow we are supposed to believe that doubling Australia’s already extreme immigration intake will magically “save our choking cities”. From News.com.au:

AUSTRALIA needs to throw open its borders and at least double the annual immigration intake in order to save our choking cities, a leading planning expert believes.

While we’re at it, developers must focus on significantly denser and more compact urban spaces instead of sprawling further and further out for the sake of backyards.

The only alternative is to watch our major capitals crumble and lose their first world status, Shane Geha, managing director of EG Urban Planning, warns.

“I understand there’s some strong rhetoric about cutting immigration and slowing population growth, but it’s just wrong,” Dr Geha said.

“Our future depends on immigration. Strong population growth and significantly higher density living is the solution to our problems and any contrary suggestion is just nonsense”…

“In my view, our cities aren’t too dense. In fact, they’re not nearly dense enough and we can increase it substantially with some great benefits attached”…

Australia’s population is now projected to reach 36 million by 2046, but Dr Geha said even that isn’t sufficient or happening quickly enough.

The solution is to “import” a significant number of people in that tax-producing age bracket who can flood Canberra’s coffers with cash…

“I think we need to double the migration intake — at least,” Dr Geha said.

“Japan is going through a 30-year recession because they have a rapidly shrinking tax base, an ageing population, people aren’t having children and they have zero immigration. They are in big trouble with no conceivable way out.”

Migrants will help to stimulate the economy — especially if industries experiencing critical skills shortages are prioritised — and provide the long-term tax income to pay for infrastructure…

Cities like Sydney and Melbourne should make targets to double their current populations as soon as practically and sustainably possible, Dr Geha said.

Of all the ‘Big Australia’ spruiks I’ve read, this one is the silliest. But hey, Shane Geha does represent EG – “a leading real estate investment fund manager” – so he is clearly talking his own book.

Still, his flimsy arguments do require a quick dismissal.

First, Infrastructure Australia’s recent report showed that liveability in Sydney and Melbourne will unambiguously decline as their populations surge to 7.4 million and 7.3 million people respectively by 2046:

Under the “Centralised High Density” scenario favoured by Shane Geha (and indeed all other scenarios), liveability in both cities will be crushed with worsening traffic congestion and reduced access to jobs, schools, hospitals and open space.

Obviously, increasing these cities’ populations further will make liveability even worse.

Second, the notion that Australia should simply “import a significant number of people in that tax-producing age bracket who can flood Canberra’s coffers with cash” is ponzi-economics.

* It takes no account of the extra costs created (e.g. infrastructure, public services, liveability and environment) and ignores the fact that these migrants will also grow old, requiring an ever larger immigration intake.

Third, the claim that * “Japan is going through a 30-year recession” with “no conceivable way out” is patently false and also ignores that many other nations with falling populations have actually enjoyed stronger per capita GDP growth than Australia. *

Fourth, the notion that doubling immigration will make it easier to build the required infrastructure is moronic. You don’t solve a problem by doing more of the thing that caused the problem.

According to the Productivity Commission, over the next half century Australia’s infrastructure requirement is estimated to be 5-times the cumulative investment made over the last half century:

ScreenHunter_15679 Oct. 25 14.39

Doubling immigration will obviously make this infrastructure requirement much larger, thus adding to the problem.

Let’s be brutally honest here. The empirical evidence unambiguously shows that Australia’s 15-year experiment with mass immigration has been a cataclysmic failure, as evidenced by worsening quality of life across all key metrics in our major cities, which are projected to continue.

For Shane Geha to then advocate doubling down in order to fix the problems caused by mass immigration is the height of delusion, and highlights just how low the ‘growth lobby’ will stoop in order to line its own pockets.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

PROPERTY INDUSTRY PUSH: ‘Throw open the borders’: Why double immigration will save Australia’s choking cities

WHAT these advocates are really aiming for is not a population of 36 Million for Australia by 2050 but a population of 80 to 100 million by the end of the 21st Century!

The LNP have turned the sods for a second airport to fly ’em in …

How come Austria with a population of only 8 million people has one of the best RAIL systems in the World?  That would appear to refute the argument that we have to have a big population to run an efficient World-class Rail Network …

Even in the 1950s ‘Spartan era’ following WW 2 families were able to build a home and pay the mortgage on one income before high immigration …

‘Throw open the borders’: Why double immigration will save Australia’s choking cities

A SHOCK new claim that Australia needs to double the number of migrants will fuel heated debate about Australia’s population targets.

Shannon Molloy
SEPTEMBER 26, 2018

AUSTRALIA needs to throw open its borders and at least double the annual immigration intake in order to save our choking cities, a leading planning expert believes.

 

While we’re at it, developers must focus on significantly denser and more compact urban spaces instead of sprawling further and further out for the sake of backyards.

The only alternative is to watch our major capitals crumble and lose their first world status, Shane Geha, managing director of EG Urban Planning, warns.

“I understand there’s some strong rhetoric about cutting immigration and slowing population growth, but it’s just wrong,” Dr Geha said.

“Our future depends on immigration. Strong population growth and significantly higher density living is the solution to our problems and any contrary suggestion is just nonsense.”

The leading planning expert’s view is at odds with many — including the Federal Government, which has flagged reviews of both migration and population growth.

A furious debate was reignited when Australia’s population hit 25 million last month; a figure that in the late 1990s experts projected wouldn’t be reached until 2050.

Our cities aren’t big or dense enough and we need to dramatically grow our population in order to survive, planning expert Dr Shane Geha says.

Our cities aren’t big or dense enough and we need to dramatically grow our population in order to survive, planning expert Dr Shane Geha says.Source:istock

 

Public figures from Senator Pauline Hanson to business entrepreneur Dick Smith argue growth is a recipe for disaster, with our cities struggling to support their current resident bases.

“We have pretty small cities by world standards — four or five million is quite small,” Dr Geha said.

 

“Our density is also very low by world standards — we’re 407 per square kilometre. That’s about a quarter of the density of Rome and Paris, and one-sixth the density of London.

 

“In my view, our cities aren’t too dense. In fact, they’re not nearly dense enough and we can increase it substantially with some great benefits attached.”

WE NEED TO IMPORT PEOPLE

Australians aren’t having nearly enough children to replace the ageing population, and that will spell trouble not too far down the road, Dr Geha said.

“The only age group that produces taxation revenue in Australia is the 20 to 60 demographic, which is productive cohort generating plenty of revenue for the country,” he said.

“Our tax revenue base is ageing rapidly and only 48 per cent of our population is in that demographic. Less than half of us pay 100 per cent of the income taxation revenue for the country.”

In the next two decades, that figure is expected to fall to 44 per cent or lower, he said, and pretty soon after that sink to a number that’s unsustainable.

“Either you’ll have to hike income tax rates and the GST to maintain existing services, or you’ll have to reduce standards,” Dr Geha said.

Dr Shane Geha says the proportion of the population generating taxation income is dwindling.

Dr Shane Geha says the proportion of the population generating taxation income is dwindling.Source:Supplied

 

Australia’s population is now projected to reach 36 million by 2046, but Dr Geha said even that isn’t sufficient or happening quickly enough.

The solution is to “import” a significant number of people in that tax-producing age bracket who can flood Canberra’s coffers with cash.

But Australia’s migrant intake fell to its lowest level in a decade in 2017, with just 162,000 new permanent residents accepted.

“I think we need to double the migration intake — at least,” Dr Geha said.

He points to Japan as an example of what can happen when birthrates drop and there aren’t enough foreign arrivals to top it up.

“Japan is going through a 30-year recession because they have a rapidly shrinking tax base, an ageing population, people aren’t having children and they have zero immigration. They are in big trouble with no conceivable way out.”

The more people we have and the denser our cities are, the better placed Australia is to fund the big infrastructure projects required, Dr Shane Geha says.

The more people we have and the denser our cities are, the better placed Australia is to fund the big infrastructure projects required, Dr Shane Geha says.Source:News Corp Australia

 

Migrants will help to stimulate the economy — especially if industries experiencing critical skills shortages are prioritised — and provide the long-term tax income to pay for infrastructure.

As the income tax revenue shrinks, the alternative is for governments to borrow to pay for the things cities need, he said.

“Sure, we can explode our sovereign debt to build infrastructure to everywhere over the next two or three generations, but I don’t think that’s a great idea. We’ll end up like Greece.”

GO DENSE OR GO HOME

Professor Billie Giles-Corti from RMIT and director of the Centre for Urban Research’s Liveable Cities Research Group said density is how cities can improve liveability.

“The major message is about the urgent need to increase the density of our cities and to make them more compact,” Prof Giles-Corti said.

Housing policy in most cities sets a benchmark of around 15 homes per hectare, which she said is far too few and doesn’t provide enough people to support quality infrastructure, services and amenity.

“You look at Fitzroy in Melbourne and it’s around 25 to 30 houses per hectare. That’s not hardship-living — it’s pretty good. People want to live there. There’s a lot of amenity and good public transport.

“When there are lots of people to support it, you get good services, good shops, good public transport and good amenity.”

Professor Billie Giles-Corti says urban sprawl has failed and higher density is the key to liveability.

Professor Billie Giles-Corti says urban sprawl has failed and higher density is the key to liveability.Source:Supplied

 

Urban sprawl on the fringes of cities was once seen as a solution to housing affordability, she said, but in most cases it has failed spectacularly.

“We build affordable housing on the fringe of cities but those people are the ones experiencing housing affordability stress,” Prof Giles-Corti said.

“It’s not surprising really because they have to pay a lot of transport — they might need to run two or three cars because they can’t walk anywhere, there are no cycle facilities and there aren’t frequent and reliable public transport services.

“So while the housing is more affordable comparatively, the actual cost of living isn’t.”

A better approach is to increase density via a mix of housing options, particularly along existing rail corridors in the form of transit-oriented development, she said.

“I’m not necessarily talking high-rise. I’m talking compact.”

Density done well can have huge benefits for communities and support infrastructure, service and amenity improvements.

Density done well can have huge benefits for communities and support infrastructure, service and amenity improvements.Source:News Corp Australia

 

A focus on public transport will mean more people without the increased traffic, she said.

Dr Geha agrees and said compact density around transport nodes would see the need for cars drop and have a range of benefits for communities.

“If you lived within 300m or 400m of a transport mode and you had some serious density there, those neighbourhoods would thrive.”

But it needs to be world-class transport otherwise people won’t use it, he said.

“The car is advanced, private and beautiful, that’s all true. But you only need to go to LA to know what it’s like to live in a city where you must drive.

“There are 11-lane highways in LA that are car parks for four hours of the day. A disbursed city model with no public transport is a disaster. It is an example of what not to do.

“It doesn’t matter if you build 11 lanes or 50 or 100. If everything needs a car, you’ll have traffic jams — not to mention the environmental and productivity problems.”

MAKE OUR CITIES BIGGER

Cities like Sydney and Melbourne should make targets to double their current populations as soon as practically and sustainably possible, Dr Geha said.

Not only would it provide demand for denser development and the things that come with it, but it would stimulate micro-economies and build a case for ambitious infrastructure projects.

“If Sydney had a population of 10 million and Melbourne had a population of eight million, you could start construction straight away on a high-speed rail route,” he said.

“You could travel between the two in under two hours. Just imagine the wonderful impact of that.”

High speed rail is a kind of pie-in-the-sky idea that’s floated every couple of years and probed by committees.

study in 2013 that examined a 1750km high-speed route connecting Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne found it would cost around $114 billion.

At the moment it’s not a viable option, Dr Geha said.

Los Angeles is an example of what happens when a city doesn’t have adequate public transport — daily traffic chaos. Picture: ABC7 Eyewitness News

Los Angeles is an example of what happens when a city doesn’t have adequate public transport — daily traffic chaos. Picture: ABC7 Eyewitness NewsSource:Supplied

 

When it comes to planning our cities, he said the European model of urban spaces is an example of best practice, where people live in dense housing close to transport and services.

“You catch public transport to and from work. You grab your laundry on the way home. You get some groceries down the road. Everything you need is conveniently located. It’s a safe, mixed-use precinct.

“That’s where I’d like to see Sydney and Melbourne head. And they will have to. Affordability tells us that.”

In most of Sydney’s middle ring suburbs, you need at least $1.1 million on average for a home and about $800,000 for a unit.

A generation of young Australians face the prospect of never owning a home as a result. Density won’t just solve the liveability problem — it’ll improve affordability, Dr Geha said.

DENSITY ISN’T THE DEVIL

The debate surrounding population growth has been at fever pitch for a few years and a recent Four Corners episode featured a handful of experts warning of the dire implications.

Sustainable Australia founder William Bourke said if our current growth rate continues, suburban values such as cars and houses with backyards will become extinct.

“If our population growth continues at this rate, you’ll be taxed out of owning your own car,” he said.

“This is not just 36 million by 2050. We’re talking about a population of 80 to 100 million people by the end of the 21st century.”

Compact density supported by public transport will reduce traffic and create more harmonious communities.

Compact density supported by public transport will reduce traffic and create more harmonious communities.Source:News Limited

 

But Dr Geha said the alternatives to density are expensive, inefficient and usually unliveable.

If it’s properly managed and backed by strategic and sound planning evidence, he believes density can be a good thing.

“Density has almost become a dirty word. But I truly think it’s the solution — and the way to save ourselves.

“It just makes sense. For every rail or road kilometre, even electricity and pipes, you get maximum benefit if you have more density.”

Growing pains: are Australia’s cities too overcrowded?

Prof Giles-Corti said density done badly can be hugely damaging on communities and some famous examples of failure probably make people nervous.

“I think there’s concern about density, and I share some of the community’s concern about density. When density is done badly it can cause harm.

“People worry about what density will do to their suburb. But we can do it well and in a way that communities will embrace and benefit from.”

Population growth, immigration, booming cities, higher density and world-class public transport will save our cities, according to planning experts.

Population growth, immigration, booming cities, higher density and world-class public transport will save our cities, according to planning experts.Source:News Limited

 

Progress has been slow and there are some big barriers to overcome.

“I’m optimistic because I love this country and I want to see it be the best it can be,” Dr Geha said.

“We have embraced the notion that endless sprawl is really bad. It’s very inefficient and undesirable. But have we understood that we need density to make our cities work better? I don’t think we have.”

EXPLAINER: Australian population to hit 25 million in August

SOURCE:  https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/australian-economy/throw-open-the-borders-why-double-immigration-will-save-australias-choking-cities/news-story/4ebea6170aa31db651c2335fc80c75b6

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