The chickens have come home to roost boys …

Pictures and videos from multiple sources show residential apartment complexes and a steel factory with cracking brick walls, torn iron walls and persistent leaking … and this is only in Mascot …

Dodgy builds permeate … pervade across this town …

The ‘whistle blower real estate agent’ has said where it’s at … at the level of developers and realtors   

NOTE … the residents having been denied emergency funds by their insurer have only been granted ‘interest free loans to pay for accommodation over the next three months’ …



Buildings around Mascot Towers cracking, leaking and degrading

Buildings surrounding Mascot Towers are leaking and cracking, despite the government’s assertions there is “no cause for alarm”.

JUNE 27, 2019


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A change in the risk assessment of the car park has allowed evacuated residents to re-enter temporarily.

Buildings surrounding Mascot Towers are leaking and cracking.

Pictures and videos from multiple sources show residential apartment complexes and a steel factory with cracking brick walls, torn iron walls and persistent leaking.

Photos taken by a property consultant and whistleblower show leaking and cracks in the beams and walls in basements of two residential apartment buildings close to Mascot Towers, in Mascot in Sydney’s inner south.

One of the buildings, less than 100m from Mascot Towers, has been showing signs of deterioration for five or six years, according to Edwin Almeida from Ribbon Property. He says in the time he has been monitoring the building, which he refers to as a “million-dollar ghetto”, no effective remedial works have been undertaken to stop the leaking.

A nearby steel factory, which has been operating for more than 30 years, has reported cracking of brick walls and corrugated iron.

The factory neighbours the troubled Mascot Towers, which was evacuated on June 14 after engineers monitoring the building became alarmed by the rapid deterioration. This was despite the installation of emergency props in the carpark nine days earlier.

The steel factory says it has engaged a lawyer to help them manage the issues. understands the owners of the factory believe the degradation of their building may be attributed to recent construction work, which took place within the last year.

“We’ve had major issues, we’ve got big cracks,” an employee from the factory told

Diagonal cracking has been reported in the walls and basement of a neighbouring factory. Picture: ABC News

Diagonal cracking has been reported in the walls and basement of a neighbouring factory. Picture: ABC NewsSource:Supplied

Cracks can be seen in the brick walls. Picture: ABC News

Cracks can be seen in the brick walls. Picture: ABC NewsSource:Supplied

The factory has stood in the area for more than three decades. Picture: ABC News

The factory has stood in the area for more than three decades. Picture: ABC NewsSource:Supplied



At least two other residential buildings near Mascot Towers complex are plagued with leaking, water penetration and structural problems, according to Mr Almeida. He claims developers and strata mangers have failed to act at one of these sites for years.

*Pictures from multiple residential buildings, supplied by Mr Almeida, show basements with concrete degraded by leaking, walls with water flowing in carparks and mouldy water flowing from cracks in concrete.


*Speaking to, the real estate agent said he had received menacing phone calls in recent days, as he shared photos online of degrading buildings and called out what he believed to be industry-wide problems, stemming from a lack of transparency with consumers.

*He said he believed the industry needed a major overhaul at the level of developers and realtors, who he accuses of selling properties to consumers without disclosing “material fact”.

“If (realtors) know something is wrong with the property, we need to disclose that,” he told

He said owners often found themselves in a difficult position of relying on Strata companies to monitor common areas and structural parts of buildings after they had purchased a property.

“But they don’t,” Mr Almeida said. “Most of them are given the job by the builders themselves. Why would you want to cut off the hand that feeds you?”

Mr Almeida said the state of the industry was “shameful” and needed an overhaul.

Mr Almeida said he knew of this particular building leaking six years ago. Picture: Edwin Almeida, Ribbon Property

Mr Almeida said he knew of this particular building leaking six years ago. Picture: Edwin Almeida, Ribbon PropertySource:Twitter

Mr Almeida is passionate about exposing material fact to buyers.

Mr Almeida is passionate about exposing material fact to buyers.Source:Twitter

Apartment buildings nearby Mascot Towers are also leaking and showing signs of degradation. Picture: Edwin Almeida, Ribbon Property

Apartment buildings nearby Mascot Towers are also leaking and showing signs of degradation. Picture: Edwin Almeida, Ribbon PropertySource:Twitter



The area surrounding the troubled Mascot Towers is densely populated with residential apartment buildings, as well as hotels, cafes and restaurants.

*Just below the towers sits Mascot Train Station, which was opened in the year 2000, and is the last stop before the train from the city arrives at the airport. A WestConnex site sits north east of the building.

*In the days since the evacuation, residents have reported being “exhausted” and “angry”, and called the experience a “nightmare”.

*The residents were denied emergency funds for temporary accommodation by their insurer, and after nine days in financial peril the NSW Government stepped in and announced it would grant the residents of the 132 properties interest free loans to pay for accommodation over the next three months.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson called it the “right thing to do” by the owners and tenants of the towers.

On Monday night an engineering update was sent to residents, telling them, “it appears the building is moving in a downward motion”.

“We would recommend all possessions are removed by Owners and Tenants,” residents were told.

An addendum was issued to media the next day by media liaison for the strata, Patrick McGuire, in response to media reports that the building was “sinking”.

“There has been some differential settlement resulting in the currently observed building movements, at least in part,” he said in a statement.

“But any interpretation of the building sinking at present is considered to be alarmist. The building engineers are continuing their investigation and monitoring.”

The progress by engineers monitoring the building has been slow and remains mostly inconclusive, as they continue to struggle to find a cause for the problems at the towers.

The strata company said it could not provide comment, and that it was working with the NSW Government to provide documentation on issues affecting the building.

Original documents required by engineers have still not been handed to engineers, according to reporting by Ten News.

“We do have documents that are in storage on the Central Coast,” Bayside Mayor Bill Saravinovski told reporters yesterday.

“We are endeavouring to ask for the files. If I have to, I’ll send a staff member to go get a staff member to go and retrieve the files.”

Mr Anderson announced massive reform of the construction industry when he addressed media on Sunday, but rejected the suggestion there were other buildings of concern across NSW.

“I can’t believe that in this state, engineers don’t have to be registered,” Mr Anderson said. “We will be fixing that very quickly, and a raft of reforms will be put in place so that people can get confidence back into the construction industry in this great city.”

He insisted Mascot Towers was a one off citation, but urged any concerned residents from other buildings to contact the building managers.

Do you know more? Continue the conversation @dollyybird |







WHY is this not surprising?

WHY are the Real Estate Gatekeepers … lawyers and accountants … defending the status quo?  Cough … cough …

DESPITE a number of warnings from International Anti-Money Laundering organisations including the FATF, the OECD, the IMF and Transparency International for more than 12 years … Neil Jeans said tens of billions of dollars would have been moved from China to Australia …

YET the Scomo Government exempted the Real Estate Sector in October 2018 from the AML Legislation!

HOWEVER the FATF are returning to Australia in October or November 2019 to assess Australia’s progress … and if seen not to be doing the right thing this could impact our international standing and the financial sector’s ability to transact internationally.




JANUARY 14, 2019 / CAA4NSW

THIS never ceases to amaze us that:

so many people come out with such vigour defending what ought to be seen as the indefensible




President of the Law Council of Australia Arthur Moses, SC, said their profession was already extensively regulated by the states and territories under a comprehensive and robust regulatory system.

“The Law Council is concerned that imposing the full AML/CTF regulatory regime may create conflicts with the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality and the principle of client professional privilege, as well as increasing the cost of legal services to the community,” he said.


‘Australia is failing to combat dirty money entering the property market’

00:21 / 00:50


Money from international drug trafficking and other crimes is flowing into the Australian housing market and potentially distorting prices for everyday Australians looking to buy a house, they say.

While it is difficult to say how much dirty money is distorting the housing market, experts say the flows are “significant” and new laws and regulations are needed to combat the issue.

*Professor of law at Latrobe University in Melbourne, Louis de Koker told SBS News Australian real estate was a particularly attractive destination for foreign and local dirty money.

Proceeds stemming from drug trafficking, from tax offences, the broad range of economic offences that can give rise to additional money in people’s pockets that may be flowing into the real estate sector. Indications are that that is a pretty significant sum,” he said.

In a 2015 report, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) estimated suspicious transactions from Chinese real estate investors in one year alone amounted to around $1 billion.

House auction

A home auction for a four-bedroom house in Blacktown, Sydney, in 2015.
Getty Images



Australia’s existing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws were adopted in 2006, with the passing of the so-called ‘Tranche 1’ legislation. The laws forced the financial services sector to make mandatory reporting of suspicious transactions to AUSTRAC.

For example bankers and stockbrokers who notice suspiciously large transactions of money coming from international tax havens are required to report those to the regulator for investigation.

But ‘Tranche 2’ of the legislation, which would similarly compel real estate agents and lawyers to report suspicious transactions to AUSTRAC, has languished in the federal parliament. Neither successive Labor or Coalition governments have moved to enact the changes into law.

“It is certainly an issue that has been put in the too hard basket for too long. The time has arrived to take this seriously and address it,” Professor de Koker said.


Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson told SBS News the changes were long overdue and that he would be moving a motion in the Senate to enact the laws when it resumed sitting next month.

“This is good policy and it is absolutely essential reform. It’s been noted in the international community that Australia’s laws don’t go far enough. There is an appetite in the Senate right now to get these laws through,” he said.

But after 13 years on the backburner, whether the laws progress forward will be up to the Coalition government and the Labor opposition.


*Prior to the federal election, then-shadow treasurer Chris Bowen promised a Labor government would enact Tranche 2 of the anti-money laundering regulations, but the new shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers is remaining coy.

“The problem of money laundering hasn’t gone away,” Mr Chalmers said in a statement provided to SBS News. “We’ll take the time to review this policy and all of our policies in a careful and considered way.”

In a statement, the Department of Home Affairs said the government had been consulting on the next phase of reform.

*“The government is committed to continually improving our anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and working with industry to ensure that Australia’s financial system is hardened against criminals and terrorists without placing undue burden on industry,” the spokesman said.

*He added that any changes would be subject to parliamentary schedule.

*While experts say the time has come to enact Tranche 2 of the legislation there has been some pushback from legal professionals and real estate agents who say they are concerned about red tape and associated risks.


Adrian Kelly, the President of the Real Estate Institute of Australia said they had been working with governments on any changes and that “in essence, we don’t have a problem” with Tranche 2 of the legislation.

“But what we do need to remember is that most estate agencies across Australia are very small businesses … we need to be mindful of the costs and red tape which might come about from whatever changes government decides,” he said.

Senator Whish-Wilson said it was important to “get the balance right” but that concerns around red tape shouldn’t halt the progress of the new reforms.

“It’s the industries themselves that have to come up with their own process to get that balance of risk and reporting right. It does give the regulators extra power to access data, to monitor, to seize documents and prosecute,” he said. “It kind of ups the ante for everyone to do the right thing”.

“There is absolutely no reason Australia should be a laggard in cracking down on money laundering,” he added.

Do you know more about this story? Email







Report from Lisa Visentin:  SMH …  Save Our Sirius Foundation chairman Shaun Carter said the organisation was not yet convinced the building had been saved and would wait to see further plans.

“We think the devil is in the detail,” Mr Carter, an architect said. “There is so much here we don’t know.”

City of Sydney mayor Clover Moore urged the government to invest the proceeds from the Sirius sale into building more social and affordable housing dwellings as part of the redevelopment of the Waterloo public housing estate.

“While I’m pleased that this important brutalist building will be retained rather than demolished, I’m extremely disappointed that a public asset that was purpose built to house people on low incomes has been sold for market housing after its tenants were evicted,” Cr Moore said.

“We are facing a housing and homelessness crisis in the city, with only one per cent of homes in Sydney classified as affordable and the numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets increasing.”


Sydney’s iconic Sirius building sold to developers for $150 million


28 JUNE 2019



Sydney’s iconic Sirius building has been sold to developers for $150 million, the NSW Government has announced.

Key points:

  • The sale comes amid a strong public campaign to save the building from developers
  • The proposed development will include 89 apartments and commercial space
  • The Government says the sale will help building social housing for 630 people

The brutalist landmark in The Rocks had been used for social housing since it opened in 1981.

However, the last resident was moved out last year.

NSW Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said the building had been sold to a company called Sirius Developments Pty Ltd, which was owned by investment firm JDH Capital.

She said the proposed “refurbishment” would revitalise the existing building.

“This is a great outcome that will see $150 million injected directly into building new social housing dwellings,” Mrs Pavey said.

“This is expected to provide housing for around 630 people, helping the most vulnerable members of our community.”


The building’s sale comes amid significant public campaign to save it from developers.

*Despite the advice of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, the State Government decided against heritage listing the building in 2017.

That sparked a challenge in the Land and Environment Court, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

The building was sold following a tender process that saw “significant national and international interest”, the Government said.

It said the proposed refurbishment would deliver 89 apartments10 more than the building’s current 79-apartment configuration — plus retail and commercial spaces.

Mrs Pavey said the sale of 189 dwellings in nearby Millers Point had netted more than $750 million.

This money had gone towards constructing 1,500 residential units, of which 1,300 had already been built.

Developer paid ‘a handsome price’

*Chairperson of the Save Our Sirius Foundation, Shaun Carter, said he was “not getting too excited” by the sale, which he described as “secret squirrel, done behind closed doors”.

Mr Carter questioned why the developer had paid a premium for the building, when others had only been willing to pay around $100 million to $120 million.

“Someone’s paying a handsome price for this site,” he said.

“The cynic in me says, what else are they expecting?”

Mr Carter used the Barangaroo development as an example of development in Sydney exceeding initial plans.

“If we look at this government and their actions with Barangaroo, that started as a project that was less than half the size that it is today,” he said.

“If we use that as a measure, then we could be seeing Sirius demolished and towers on the site.”

He said the Government had refused to engage the Save Our Sirius group, which still hoped the building’s brutalist character would remain and be heritage listed.







PENALTY Rate Cuts on 1 July 2019 … the same day the Scomo Government gets a pay rise!

Australians have been subjected to the lowest wages growth for 60 years since 2013, and insecure work!

Could this be why Australians are spending less?  And why our economy is awful?

AND as this report raises … the ongoing price war is not a win for the customer but a symptom of something more concerning!


Australian bargain hunters are hurting the economy the RBA warns as the price wars wage on


Shoppers rush into David Jones Castlereagh St store in Sydney during the Boxing Day sales. (Don Arnold / Getty Images)
  • Australian retailers furiously competing against one another and international entrants are having to slash their prices in order to survive, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has warned.
  • As their profits take a hit, some retailers are shutting down after cutting their profit margins down to unsustainable levels.
  • It comes as consumers are spending less amid falling house prices in major capital cities and confidence remains low.


Everyone loves a bargain, but when it comes to shopping, Australians might be enjoying too much of a good thing.

That’s according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) which believes that shopping around is driving retailers to despair.

As Australian businesses try to compete with the likes of online titan Amazon for example, they’re being forced to compromise on price, a new report says.

“Consumers in the retail sector are increasingly price sensitive,” economist Matthew Carter wrote.

“In response, (retailers) have had to adjust their pricing behaviour, typically by increasing the size or depth of discounts on their products as well as the frequency.”

While discounts and constant sales might be welcomed by shoppers, business profits have been whittled away and the long-struggling retail sector continues to feel the pinch.

Such a situation is growing a business body count.

In just the last twelve months, men’s clothing store Roger David went into administrationalong with brands like Marcs, Pumpkin Patch, and Payless Shoes.

That’s not to mention the collateral damage.

As the recent milk wars between the big supermarkets demonstrated, those measly savings at the checkout for an individual can decimate farmers and other suppliers entirely.

In the broader scheme of things however such frugality is not without cause.

A decline in household spending, the largest part of the economy, is the hangover of a three-part cocktail.

“The retail sector is battling weak consumer confidence, falling house prices and competition from online and overseas competitors,” commercial credit analyst illion’s CEO Simon Bligh recently concluded.

Certainly, it has been those in New South Wales and Victoria who have cut back their shopping the most in recent months, at the same time that house prices in Sydney and Melbourne have been in freefall.

Retail trade is valued at $320 billion and is Australia’s second-biggest employer, so that’s dragging the broader economy down.

That’s partly because inflation — how much the economy grows — is measured by the price of consumer goods like furniture, food and clothing.

“This increase in discounting behaviour by retailers has been one of the factors contributing to low inflation outcomes in the Australian economy in recent years,” Carter wrote.

As Australians spend less, the economy slows and other businesses become reluctant to invest, slowing the economy even further.

Slow growth ensures that wages don’t grow, meaning less money in the pockets of shoppers and a growing reluctance to spend at all.

As a consequence, the ongoing price war isn’t so much a win for the customer as a symptom of something more concerning.





Flammable cladding leads to insurance crisis which could see construction industry grind to halt 

If building surveyors cannot get indemnity insurance, construction will stop.

PHOTO: If building surveyors cannot get indemnity insurance, construction activity will stop. (ABC News: Patrick Rocca)

Some progress, if you can call it that, happening, in a sense …

-since the Grenfell disaster insurance agencies do not cover cladding on building surveyor policies

-as of July the last to cover cladding will no longer provide such cover

-forcing businesses to shut down operations

Premier Andrews:  “We don’t rule out making some legislative changes so that we can go out after some of these phoenix companies.” 

IT’s TIME this happened … the crux of the problem!




Flammable cladding leads to insurance crisis which could see construction industry grind to halt




25 JUNE 2019



The cladding crisis has escalated with Victoria’s building industry in danger of grinding to a halt because building surveyors can no longer get professional indemnity insurance.

Key points:

  • Landmark Underwriting will no longer provide insurance coverage of cladding to surveyors from July
  • The industry says if they cannot get insurance as policies come up for renewal, the construction industry will “come to a stop”
  • Premier Daniel Andrews says no-one will be left stranded and there are “steps we can take”


To be a registered surveyor with the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) a person must have professional indemnity insurance, without any exemptions.

The same rule applies in NSW and Queensland.

But insurance companies are no longer providing this option and the industry is warning work on buildings may simply stop.

Other surveyors have reported that the cost of their insurance premiums and excesses have more than quadrupled.

Building surveyors are responsible for signing off on buildings, including building permits and occupancy permits.

While local government building surveyors can also sign off on permits, private building surveyors have been the preferred option for most of the building industry.

The chief executive of the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors, Brett Mace, warned the building industry could start to slow down over the next year.

“We think it’s a huge crisis,” Mr Mace said.

“If building surveyors are unable to be registered then you’re not going to be able to provide approvals and the construction industry will come to a stop.”

The Master Builders Association (MBA) said up to 30 per cent of building surveyors are required to renew their insurance by the end of June.

“If they are unable to obtain insurance or the insurance offered to them is non-compliant due to exclusions being imposed, many building projects could come to a standstill,” the MBA said in a statement.

‘It’s a disaster’

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is aware of the insurance problem, telling a Property Council lunch that the state had stepped in as an insurer of last resort in the past for other sectors.

“I am very much aware of how real this issue becomes next week, I’ve had some conversations with ministerial colleagues this morning about this very matter,” Mr Andrews said.

The problem, he said, was not unique to Victoria.

“The feds should be involved, that would be good, but we won’t let anybody be uninsured. There are some steps we can take,” Mr Andrews said.

“We won’t leave anybody stranded, we won’t leave anybody with crippling restrictions on their practice.”

He told the Property Council the Government wanted no “inhibitors” on the housing and building sector.


*Since the cladding crisis exploded after London’s Grenfell disaster, insurance agencies have introduced exemptions, which do not cover cladding, on their policies for building surveyors.

*The last agency to cover cladding, Landmark Underwriting, will no longer provide such cover as of July, building surveyors have confirmed.

That means building surveyors will no longer be able to find appropriate insurance as policies expire, forcing businesses to shut down operations.

“If they don’t have the compliant insurance, they can’t be registered and therefore they can’t provide building approvals,” Mr Mace said.

“It suddenly won’t stop overnight.

“But as building surveyors can’t get the insurance, you’ll find them going out of business and there’ll be a slowdown in the construction industry.

“If you don’t have anyone left being able to be registered in 12 months then it’ll stop.”

There is an acknowledgment from senior figures that it is a serious problem, with fire engineers also aware of the growing crisis.

“It’s a disaster,” said Jonathan Barnett, national chair of the Society of Fire Safety Engineers Australia said.

“They’re the ones who sign off on a building.

“They certify that it was built properly, they provide building permits, they provide the occupancy permits. If they’re not doing that I think construction stops.”

Cladding issue a ‘ticking time bomb’

Across the sector, action is being demanded from the Victorian Government — it says it is aware of the issue and working to fix it.

*The revelations came as Mr Andrews told ABC Radio Melbourne that taxpayers would contribute to fixing the problems, as well as *new laws to crack down on phoenix companies that set up for the sake of one project.

Victoria will also set up a new dedicated authority — Cladding Safety Victoria — to deal with the crisis.

There are thousands of buildings in Victoria with non-compliant cladding.



Government and industry are grappling on how to rectify dangerous cladding, particularly who pays for remediation works and if anyone is liable.

“Professional indemnity is the canary in the coal mine for this industry,” one senior figure told the ABC.

Building surveyors, who did not wish to be named, said the Government needed to step in or the whole building sector would stop operating.

Opposition planning spokesman Tim Smith said the Andrews Government had not done enough to respond to the problem.

“The building industry will grind to a halt if private building surveyors cannot be covered by professional indemnity insurance,” he said.

“This cladding issue is a ticking time bomb for the whole building industry, not just homeowners who now live in worthless fire traps.”


A website set up under the name Cladding Safety Victoria suggests the State Government will create a new one-stop-shop agency to tackle the crisis.

A cached search of the Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) website, set up five days ago but now displaying an error message, suggests the new body will provide “free services and assistance to apartment owners faced with removing combustible cladding”.

The State Government has not formally announced the creation of the new body, but Mr Andrews told ABC Radio Melbourne he would make “substantial, very detailed announcements very soon”.

The draft website said CSV’s aim was to “to get buildings fixed and made safe, quickly” and it would oversee six phases of the construction process.

Taxpayer funds will ‘have to’ be used

What is not clear on the webpage is who would foot the bill for the free services.

Although he was not commenting on the establishment of CSV directly, Mr Andrews said of addressing the housing crisis: “There will have to be taxpayers’ money, there will have to be government allocations.”

*”There can potentially be some money — some — recovered from those who have done this, have basically committed these errors and have used this dodgy product,” he said.

The state budget earlier this year earmarked $160 million to remove combustible cladding from government buildings.


Earlier this year, owners of apartments at Melbourne’s Lacrosse tower were awarded more than $5.7 million in a class-action lawsuit — but similar action over other buildings has been rendered impossible because the construction companies went bust.

“We’ve had a situation where a whole range of phoenix companies, they exist for the purposes of building that particular building, and then they’re gone at law afterwards,” Mr Andrews said.

“We don’t rule out making some legislative changes so that we can go out after some of these phoenix companies.”

Mr Andrews acknowledged unit owners had been “basically stranded” and unable to sell their properties while investigations were ongoing.

Contact James Oaten







Shannon Hsu in the UKO Paddington room


Here it is … proof …

-have we been given a pile of b.s.?

-is it about plausible deniability?

-is the truth really about how to convince people it’s not about making money when the opposite is the case?



New-generation boarding house not delivering for low income earners, survey finds

26 JUNE 2019



Beautiful terraces line the streets of Paddington in Sydney, and unbeknown to many drivers and pedestrians along Moore Park Road, number 34 and 36 are in fact boarding houses.

Key points:

  • UNSW survey found occupants of boarding houses approved since 2009 were closer in profile to typical renters than to traditional boarding houses lodgers
  • The survey found modern boarding houses were not suitable for those in need of affordable housing
  • Most occupants enjoyed communal living, and were overwhelmingly employed or in tertiary studies


The residents who live there, though, don’t fit the stereotypical profile of a “traditional” boarding house lodger.

Shannon Hsu is 33, owns her own dance production business, sought to live in the building before it had finished construction, and is paying rent the equivalent of a small studio apartment.

“I thought it was a really interesting way of living,” Ms Hsu said.

“You have your own space, but there’s a focus on the communal area.

“I just moved in and we’re about to have a dinner altogether.”

The ‘new’ professional lodger

The stigma around traditional boarding houses stems from the occupants who are generally considered socially marginal, at risk of homelessness, or on welfare.

They generally have low rent — $250 or less according to listings online — communal facilities and are set up in older existing dwellings.

Local residents living close to potential boarding house developments, like those in Greenacre and the Northern Beaches more recently, overwhelmingly rejected DA approvals based on fears of overcrowding, increased vehicle traffic, crime and noise levels.

Labor’s education spokesman and member for Lakemba Jihad Dib, was critical of new boarding house developers and told ABC Sydney last week that he backed residents’ concerns that “boarding houses shouldn’t be in residential streets”.

What is a boarding house?

  • A building that is wholly or partly let in lodgings
  • Provides lodgers with a principal place of residence for three months or more
  • May have shared facilities such as a communal living room, bathroom, kitchen or laundry
  • Has rooms, some or all which may have private or self-contained facilities

Source: State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009


But a new survey of recent boarding house developments, conducted by the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales and given exclusively to the ABC, found that occupants of recent boarding houses were much closer in profile to renters than those “traditional boarding house occupants on social housing waitlists”.

The study was commissioned by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils.

The research team sent surveys to 288 boarding house developments in central and southern Sydney, which had been recently approved under the NSW Department of Planning’s Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (ARHSEPP).

The aim of the policy, established in 2009, was to “facilitate the increased supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing in NSW”.

But the researchers notably found that recent boarding houses were “not a particularly affordable housing option” and were being developed as “micro-apartments” rather than dwellings for marginal households.


Respondents were generally young female professionals, under the age of 34, with tertiary qualifications, were employed or studying, and did not own a car.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondents said they were in rental stress, with some 43 per cent paying less than $300 per week in rent, and 40 per cent paying more than $350.

“This isn’t your stereotypical boarding house tenant — the single older male living off a pension or on low income,” the report’s lead author, Laurence Troy, said.

“We know these places are mainly catering to the student market and people who want another option of share housing.

“It’s supposed to be targeted at the marginal renter, but that’s not what’s happening. That’s a bit of a problem.”

Ms Hsu pays $550 per week for a room at the UKO Paddington boarding house and is provided with a bed and linen, storage, kitchen appliances, bathroom and television.

The complex also has a communal kitchen, outdoor area, and bikes to borrow. The tenants generally sign three to six-month leases and occasionally get together for group social activities and dinner.

The rent eats up about 25 per cent of Ms Hsu’s weekly income, but she said that it was comparable to rent she would pay for an unfurnished one-bedroom apartment in the same area.



“It’s good for budgeting because you don’t have to pay for bills,” she said.

“It’s not cheap, but it’s affordable.

“I’m choosing this as opposed to living somewhere else because I like the idea of the added community but being higher end.”

The NSW Department of Planning did not respond to ABC Sydney’s request for comment before deadline.

New boarding houses ‘filling a gap’

There were 1,062 registered boarding houses in NSW as of May 2019, according to the Department of Fair Trading.

Dr Troy said many more existed but “little checking was done” as to whether properties were operating as boarding houses after initial development approvals.

Many of the new boarding houses, like UKO, or one operated by Singaporean company Hmlt, were not on the list, although managers said they had registered as boarding houses.

A spokesman for the Department of Fair Trading said local councils were responsible for approving new boarding house developments, and that owners of the boarding houses were required to register with Fair Trading within 28 days of commencing operations.


Christian Paul, managing director of Hmlt Australia, said companies like his were trying to “reverse the stigma of typical boarding houses”.

The company manages a 16-room boarding house in Newtown that charges $525 per week for a studio with a bathroom.

They have another 110 beds opening up in the next six months across different properties.

Mr Paul said affordable housing and boarding houses needed to be “considered separate” types of real estate.

“There’s a risk of us appearing to be exploiting a loophole,” he said.

“If anything, there are more controls that we have to adhere to.

“Real estate needs to adapt to the needs of the market.

“We have a demographic who are transitional, they are mobile, they don’t want to be tied down to long leases.”

Mr Paul cited one of his residents, who is a recruiter for Microsoft, aged in his late 20s, and who was looking for short-term leases because he travelled frequently.

“We have been borne out of need,” he said.

“Co-living is now a thing.”


Contact Amanda Hoh







THIS report … is from ‘The Urban Developer’, and despite revealing some important issues …

Notes that Premier Berejiklian has said that building certifications and compliance measures would be overhauled; to appoint a building commissioner, and an annual audit of 30% of certifiers …

WHY is this so?  … ??


-depending on the report either 72% or 97% of strata apartments suffer from serious defects when they’re finished


-*1990s agreed plan between States and Federal Govt favouring innovation to make buildings cheaper to build

-this coincided with globablisation of building materials supply industry and the boom in construction of high-rise

IS the NSW Govt scapegoating certifiers and builders when it would appear through the influence of the developer lobby & maybe others that the problem is dodgy government regulation?



Mascot Towers ‘Moving Downward’: Update


Residents and owners of Sydney’s Mascot Towers have been told the 10-year-old building appears to be “moving in a downward motion”.

The update said the problem had reportedly been identified along the northern and eastern boundaries of the Bourke Road complex.

In an update sent to residents and owners of the troubled tower, it advised that all possessions should be removed, it also noted that two senior geotechnical engineers had been engaged, scheduled to visit the site this week.

Although, media reports citing “sinking” have been described by the owners’ corporation as “alarmist” and inaccurate.

“The building engineers are continuing their investigation and monitoring,” a statement said.

The owners corporations said it was calling on Bayside council for engineering and related documents and records, with owners and residents “frustrated no clear direction” could be provided “without an engineering solution”.


CAAN:  Saw a news report last night 25 June that the Bayside Council records were in storage – recall in Newcastle; so were not readily available; 10 years old!


TUD:  “The Owners Corporation want more cooperation and a sense of urgency from council to source the documents and to provide them to engineers working for Mascot Towers Owners Corporation,” a statement released on Tuesday evening said.

A spokesperson for the Owners Corporation told The Urban Developer in a statement the document hold up is delaying the identification of the underlying cause and engineers from developing a solution.


Mascot Towers

▲ The Mascot Towers were evacuated on June 14 after structural cracks were found in the apartment complex.

Systemic problem

Sydney has seen more than 114,000 apartments built across the past five years. As the city’s population is expected to rise to 6 million in the next decade, the 30 per cent of Sydney’s residents living in apartments is also a proportion expected to increase.

*Speaking on the sector, Engineers Australia’s Jonathan Russell said industry insiders have known for an “awfully long time” that there are an “awful lot of defects” and “an awful lot of problems” in the sector.

Referencing the Grenfell tower, Russell said the 2017 London tragedy was the first time it became “popularly realised” that not all buildings are safe.

“And then Opal gave us domestic context that Australia has problems too. It really has problems,” Russell told The Urban Developer.

*Russell said that recent widespread media reports tying the professional body’s involvement to the Mascot Towers have been inaccurate.*

“They [Mascot Towers] contacted us on how to find a good engineer and what we did, whenever we receive such enquiries we direct people to the national engineering register.”


Greenfell Tower

▲ Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Shergold Weir report was commissioned by the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) amid growing concerns over the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems in the building and construction industry in Australia.
*Russell said the voluntary register created by Engineers Australia, home to more than 22,000 engineers, was created because there is no compulsory registration scheme in New South Wales.“Let’s say you employ someone and they’re not competent and should be crossed off the list. The most we can do is undertake an investigation and strike them off our register. But there’s no statutory compulsion for them to stop working.”

“There’s no regulation for people practicing as an engineer in New South Wales, so anyone can be an engineer.”

Queensland is the only state that requires registration of engineers.

Registration of building practitioners

This was the first recommendation in the Shergold-Weir report handed to governments in February 2018, which offered 24 recommendations for the construction and building industry. It was also the first recommendation in the Opal tower reportto ensure the registration of all building practitioners.

This includes builders, site and/ or project managers, building inspectors, engineers to building designers and architects.

While NSW government said it would support most of the reforms earlier this year, many have said state government has been slow to move.

Mascot Towers

▲ Owners were last week told they would have to foot the $1-million repair bill. A GoFundMe page has since been set up for donations.

Residents’ uncertainty: accommodation costs covered?

While it has been reiterated that the root cause at Mascot Towers is yet to be determined, premier Gladys Berejiklian has said that the entire industry, including buildings certifications and compliance measures would be overhauled.

The premier also said government was working “overtime” to appoint a building commissioner, and an annual audit of 30 per cent of certifiers.

More than a week since residents of the 122 units have been evacuated, state government announced an emergency assistance package for temporary accommodation.

The relief fund, described as a “one-off deal” covers costs for up to three months, it says, “while your apartment is unsafe to occupy”.

The assistance package is available to both tenants and owners who live at the Mascot Towers.

Assistance for accommodation includes up to $220 per night for a one-bedroom apartment, $300 per night for a two- bedroom apartment and $400 per night for a three-bedroom apartment.

Mascot Towers

▲ Facing uncertainty: Mascot towers owners have been told they could face a massive repair cost.
Property experts believe older apartments will grow in demand after the Mascot Towers debacle. Photo: Steven Siewert

Older apartments to grow in demand as buyers grow wary of defects in new buildings: experts




Car sales slump as economy hits speed bump and dealers face growing vehicle sharing challenge



Car sales slump as economy hits speed bump and dealers face growing vehicle sharing challenge


25 JUNE 2019

The fronts of thee cars, red, black and white, parked in a row.PHOTO: New and used car dealers are feeling the pressure of tough economic conditions. (ABC News)



Traffic is heavy on Sydney’s Parramatta Road, but for the car dealers along the strip, business has been anything but.

Key points:

  • Australian new car sales have posted their biggest annual fall in more than nine years
  • A report forecasts global car sales to fall by four million vehicles in 2019
  • Car sharing services are growing in Australia and can be an alternative to car ownership

Sales of new cars in Australia have fallen for 14 consecutive months, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

That would normally drive a lift in sales for used car dealer Robert Bakhos but he says this time is different.

“We’ve got a workshop at the back and we sub-contract it out to a detailer. He’s generally very, very busy because he services most of the dealers around the local area, but the last couple of weeks, he’s been very quiet,” Mr Bakhos told the ABC.

His dealership has recently experienced slower finance approvals for buyers — something new car dealers are also struggling with.

Australian credit growth slumped to a six-year low in April, with Reserve Bank figures showing personal loans continued to decline in the month.

Negative wealth effect hits car sales

“You’ve got the election, you’ve had a negative impact on lending as a result of the royal commission and you’ve got what I call the negative wealth effect from people’s houses being valued at lower prices,” David Blackhall, the chief executive of the Australian Automotive Dealers Association, said.

It is a cocktail of conditions that has dampened consumer confidence and household spending, and car sales in particular are linked to the housing market.

CommSec tracks sales of 17 high-end brands, from Audi to Mercedes-Benz, against home prices and as one heads south, so does the other.

It is a link that did not go unnoticed by the Reserve Bank in the lead-up to its first interest rate cut in nearly three years, with governor Philip Lowe noting the wealth effect was highest for spending on motor vehicles and household furnishings.

“It’s something that’s eminently postponable, so if there’s grey clouds on the horizon people can easily make the decision ‘I’ll run that car lease another six months or another year’, ‘I won’t turnover my ute, I’ll deal with the ute I’ve got’, and so on,” Mr Blackhall said.

More than 1.1 million new vehicles were sold in Australia over the 12 months through May, down 7 per cent on the previous period — which CommSec said was the biggest annual decline in more than nine years.

However, it is not just Australian buyers hitting the brakes — global sales are expected to fall by four million this year, according to a report from the Centre For Automotive Research at Germany’s University of Duisburg-Essen.

The recent report described the current auto market downturn as the biggest in 20 years, spurred by US President Donald Trump’s tariffs and sanctions.

Next generation challenge for car market

In addition to economic conditions, there are other shifts occurring in the market that could prove a speed bump for car sales.

Car sharing is a growing industry in Australia and could be a viable alternative to ownership for inner-city drivers.

Software consultant Anne-Marie Priestley started using a car-sharing service when she moved back to Australia from the UK.

Five years on, it has become a permanent alternative to car ownership, in conjunction with public transport and walking to work.

“I think it’s definitely cheaper not to own a car, once you add up the cost of buying it, insuring it, registration and even the little things, like parking in Sydney costs a fortune,” Ms Priestley said.

“If we’ve got a few extra people, we get a bigger car. If we want to help someone to move, we can rent a van just for an hour, it’s really helpful.”

Ms Priestley owned her first car at the age of 17, but for her sons who are now slightly older than that and can learn to drive on shared cars, the future may be car-less.

“It’s not only the cost, and that definitely is a factor for the younger generation, but I think the environmental benefits will be a factor with them,” she said.

Different car-sharing services have different claims about how many cars their platforms take off the road.

The biggest company in the Australian market, GoGet, says one of its cars can replace 10 private vehicles.

It is another potential threat down the road for an industry already under pressure.






WITH respect to the Eastern Curlew … its population has declined 80 per cent in 30 years!  The Morton Bay mudflats are an important feeding ground … they are highly adapted to it and don’t use other places to feed!

This mudflat has been declared an internationally important wetland under the Ramsar Convention.

Developer Lang Walker proposes 3600 apartments as a new residential, commercial and tourism precinct to cover 42 hectares of the Ramsar site!

And to excavate, dewater to put a concrete development with canals and marinas onto Moreton Bay! Lang Walker is a Top AFR Lister; a big political donor; the Walker Corporation donated $200,000 to the Federal Liberal Party …

DESPITE the Ramsar Secretariat opposing this development the Federal Government has explored ways for it to go ahead!!


Related Article:




Extinction Nation



The fight to save Australia’s endangered species.

“It’s about as bad as it can get, without them literally all being dead.” Bird ecologist

Australia boasts a stunning array of unique wildlife. They feature on our coat of arms and they’re placed front and centre in our tourism campaigns. But the reality is, many of our native animals are in danger.

“It’s embarrassing being involved with wildlife, to be an Australian, to have this record of extinction.” Conservation sanctuary owner

Australia has one of the worst extinction rates on the planet and the problem is growing. There are currently more than 500 animal species under threat.

“If we can’t bring ourselves to care…then what about the next thing, and what about the next thing after that? Where’s the end point of that attitude?” Conservation ecologist

On Monday Four Corners investigates how Australia has found itself in the midst of an extinction crisis.

“Our system for protecting threatened species in this country is fundamentally broken.” Conservation activist

There is heated debate over who is responsible and what lengths governments should go to, to save these threatened species.

“It’s not about waving a chequebook at the levels of threatened species. It’s about sensible funding, which we do.” Environment Minister

Four Corners goes into the field with leading scientists and conservation volunteers to document first hand the fight to save these wild creatures. Our camera captures precious pictures of some of these endangered animals.

“It is rare to see them at all but to have posing like that for us was a gift…just wonderful.” Volunteer conservationist

With money in short supply, many rescue efforts are reliant on volunteers and crowd funding,

“If volunteers like us weren’t doing it, it just wouldn’t be done and the animals would be going extinct.” Volunteer conservationist

Ecologists say these species are just as priceless as a work of art and should be protected in the same way.

“You wouldn’t go burn the Mona Lisa because you could. You’d put it somewhere and keep it safe.” Bird ecologist

They warn that species extinction will have consequences for us all.

“We are an interconnected ecosystem. It’s going to actually start having knock on effects to us as well and our society and in a whole range of ways.” Conservation activist

Extinction Nation, reported by Stephanie March, goes to air on Monday 24th June at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 25th June at 1.00pm and Wednesday 26th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at