‘Critical’ breaches of Vietnam live export trade see more than 1,500 Australian cattle left unaccounted for 

Can we call these countries reputable trading partners?

Is our live cattle export industry still saying its monitoring systems are rigorous?

How many other instances have occurred that we haven’t been told about?

Are these breaches of our systems connected with the vast cattle stations in Australia currently owned by foreign entities?

Apart from the usual patter, what is the government going to do to stop this significant failure in our so-called credible systems?

 

‘Critical’ breaches of Vietnam live export trade see more than 1,500 Australian cattle left unaccounted for

NT Country Hour

25 JUNE 2019

 

More than 1,500 head of cattle and 99 buffalo from Australia have disappeared from approved feedlots or abattoirs in Vietnam over the past 13 months, according to a Federal Department of Agriculture report.

Key points:

  • One incident shows CCTV cameras were tampered with before 644 head of cattle went missing from a feedlot
  • In another incident a live exporter could not account for 1,000 animals it had shipped to Vietnam
  • After the live export ban in 2011, the industry signed up to a system designed to ensure positive welfare outcomes for livestock

 

After the 2011 live export ban, the industry signed up to the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) — designed to ensure positive animal welfare outcomes for Australian livestock sent overseas.

Last week the Department outlined two critical, one major and one minor, non-compliance breaches in its latest ESCAS performance report.

One critical non-compliance report details how first-time exporter to Vietnam, Purcell Bros, was unable to account for the whereabouts of 644 cattle and 99 buffalo it had shipped to the country.

In November 2018 cattle and buffalo were moved from the company’s approved feedlot to unknown locations after feedlot staff had tampered with the CCTV cameras at the facility.

The feedlot owner denied any of the cattle were missing when Purcell tried to verify their whereabouts, but the owner was unable to provide any evidence.

According to the ESCAS report, “the feedlot owner seemed to have complete disregard for ESCAS requirements despite verbal advice to the contrary”.

 

The department determined Purcell’s response was insufficient and the incident would be taken into account when considering any applications from the importer or feedlot.

In a separate incident, exporter Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) could not account for “nearly 1,000 animals” it shipped to Vietnam, which the company did not report to the department within the time period required under ESCAS rules.

Eventually, the company was able to track down where the animals went, determining that of the 872 cattle, 471 were traced to approved abattoirs and 401 died or were euthanased in feedlots.

According to the department, LSS had taken corrective action to manage the situation and had implemented systems to address any future issues.

LSS managing director Ahmad Ghosheh said in a statement, “LSS is committed to ESCAS compliance and has invested significantly in all markets it exports to”.

“We know there is always more to be done and we will continue to invest in our supply chains so they uphold Australia’s position as leaders in animal welfare.”

Exporters commission independent review of trade

In response to the non-compliance reports, the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC) commissioned an independent company to conduct a ‘market assessment’ to report on the supply chain in Vietnam.

ALEC CEO Mark Harvey-Sutton said Australian cattle did not commonly leak from the supply chain in Vietnam.

“I am very confident to say these instances are anomalies in the system, leakages are not widespread, which is fortunate,” Mr Harvey-Sutton said.

“However, leakage is not what we expect; we expect our exporters to uphold the highest levels of traceability, because traceability is important in securing animal welfare, which is our highest priority.

‘Suspend supply chains’: RSPCA

The RSPCA said the department’s reports demanded a serious response from both government and industry.

“Even to the point, where they suspend supply chains, pending a full comprehensive and independent review of ESCAS arrangements in Vietnam,” RSPCA spokesman Jed Goodfellow said.

He said the critical non-compliance findings came in a “long line” of incidents involving Australian cattle exported to Vietnam.

“We’ve seen in these reports multiple incidents of abattoir and feedlot workers tampering with CCTV systems, and also open hostility towards exporter staff when they try to maintain supply chains,” Mr Goodfellow said.

“We’ve [also] seen in the past the forceful removal of animals from supply chains, even in the presence of exporter staff, so this really does give a sense that there is a cultural opposition to the ESCAS in Vietnam — certainly in some supply chains in Vietnam — that we need to look at more systemically across the entire market.”

 

The RSPCA opposes the live export of animals for slaughter, and since 2015 has called for an independent review of ESCAS in the Vietnamese market.

“Even though it is only a third of the size of the Indonesian market, it has three times the number of non-compliances over the last several years … that’s a factor the Australian Government needs to take seriously,” Mr Goodfellow said.

 

“We’ve seen in the past in 2013 sledge hammering of Australian cattle in Vietnam, in 2015 and 2016, very prominent incidents that were displayed on national television in Australia that caused significant public concern.

“So we really do need to see the Australian Government and industry taking a very serious response to this issue … even to the point, where they suspend supply chains, pending a full comprehensive and independent review of ESCAS arrangements in Vietnam.”

Allegations of a ‘grey trade’ of cattle between Vietnam and neighbouring countries such as China have long followed the Vietnamese trade.

However, Mr Harvey-Sutton said if ESCAS rules were working effectively, the trade was compliant.

“There is consistent concern that there is an attraction for animals to leave the supply chain, but if our systems are working properly that is not an issue,” he said.

ALEC hoped to receive a report on the Vietnamese trade from its independent auditor by August.

“We will eagerly await what the outcomes of that report, and any recommendations coming from that report we are committed to actioning,” Mr Harvey-Sutton said.

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-06-25/more-than-1500-australian-cattle-unaccounted-for-in-vietnam/11241590

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MASCOT TOWERS ‘MOVING IN DOWNWARD MOTION’: LATEST ENGINEER UPDATE SAYS

 

That sinking feeling

 

HOW frightening!

ABC Report … Fabiano Dos Santos, who only bought into the building three months ago, said he feared the worst. ‘It’s very, very concerning, and they [are] asking the owners and tenants to start to remove everything from the units there, so we didn’t expect that at all. The first interpretation is that the building is sinking.’

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-25/mascot-towers-report-building-may-be-sinking-morning-briefing/11241500

IT would appear the Minister for Better Regulation ought update himself with this report from Geoff Hanmer, UNSW that depending on the report either 72% or 97% of strata apartments suffer from serious defects when they are finished!

‘Buck-Passing on Apartment Buiding Safety Leaves Residents at Risk’

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Mascot Towers ‘moving in downward motion’, latest engineer update says

 

 

Sydney’s Mascot Towers appears to be “moving in a downward motion”, according to the building’s coordinating engineer in the latest report to residents locked out of the cracking building for 11 days and counting.

The 10-year-old building was evacuated on Friday, June 14 after engineers became concerned about continued cracking in the primary support structure and facade masonry.

That sinking feeling

Play video

1:04

That sinking feeling

Mascot towers resident told building moving in a downward motion.

Since then, residents of its 132 units have been forced to sleep elsewhere, with costs quickly adding up as authorities scramble to determine who is at fault.

*Mascot Towers’ coordinating engineer has now identified a new issue along the northern and eastern boundaries of the complex.

 

“It appears that the building is moving in a downward motion,” an update sent to residents and owners on Monday night said.

 

The update didn’t elaborate on “downward motion”.

Residents were told to evacuate the building after cracks were discovered in the downstairs car park.
Residents were told to evacuate the building after cracks were discovered in the downstairs car park. CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL

Two senior geotechnical engineers have been engaged and are visiting the site this week with help from Engineers Australia, the update said.

It comes as the NSW Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, announced a “one off” emergency financial assistance package for residents of the stricken block on Sunday.

The minister also defended the city’s high rise housing, saying: “I don’t believe there is any great cause for alarm for other apartment buildings across Sydney”.

Residents packing up items from their units in the Mascot Towers building on Sunday.
Residents packing up items from their units in the Mascot Towers building on Sunday.CREDIT:STEVEN SIEWERT

 

With residents warned they may be locked out of their homes for up to a month, the state government’s assistance package is offering residents of one-bedroom units up to $220 per night, two-bedroom units up to $300 per night, and three-bedroom units up to $400 per night.

But on Monday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian dodged questions over whether residents will eventually have to repay the money.

“We’re actually working through those issues. The engineers haven’t yet finished their assessments,” she told reporters in Sydney on Monday.

“Whilst there’s huge question marks as to who is accountable, I want to assure everybody the government will keep those who made those mistakes and haven’t done their job properly accountable.”

The government on the weekend also promised the biggest ever shake-up of the state’s construction industry, including an annual audit of 30 per cent of certifiers.

Ms Berejiklian agreed the government’s decision to step in was “controversial” but said these were “exceptional circumstances”.

“We hope the residents will be back in their units as soon as possible but we don’t know how long that’s going to take and I don’t want anyone feeling extra stress about where they’re spending the night whilst this uncertainty is there,” she said.

At an extraordinary general meeting last week, owners voted to pay for a $1.1 million “special levy” by August to fund urgent repairs to the building.

AAP

SCOMO FLAGS ECONOMIC PLAN IN PLEDGE TO CUT MORE RED TAPE

 

Prime minister Scott Morrison speaks at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia in Perth on Monday.

Looks like WorkChoices 2, or is it 3?

And … ‘ … we all agree you need to take action on climate change and we’re taking responsible and effective action.’ 

*Australia’s emissions have risen every year for the past four years.

 

 

Scott Morrison flags Trump-style economic plan in pledge to cut more red tape

 

PM promises to slash regulations ‘that impose the largest costs on key sectors of the economy’

Prime minister Scott Morrison speaks at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia in Perth on Monday.
 Prime minister Scott Morrison speaks at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia in Perth on Monday. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

 

After six years of the Coalition promising to cut red tape, Scott Morrison has used his first major speech since winning the election to promise to continue cutting red tape.

In a speech to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia, which acknowledged the “challenges and headwinds” facing the economy, Morrison said the government’s previous red tape-cutting initiatives had created savings of $5.8bn.

But now he wants to go further, shifting the onus to business and industry to identify the delays, using Donald Trump’s economic plan as the inspiration.

“This will be a renewed focus on regulatory reform but from a different angle,” Morrison said.

 

“Rather than setting targets for departments or government agencies, we’ll be asking the wider question from the perspective of a business looking, say, to open a mine, commercialise a new biomedical innovation, or even start a home-based family business.

“By focusing on regulation from the viewpoint of business, we will identify the regulations and bureaucratic processes that impose the largest costs on key sectors of the economy and the biggest hurdles to letting those investments flow,” he said.

“While reducing taxes has had a major impact in the United States, it was actually the Trump administration’s commitment to cutting red tape and transforming the regulatory mindset of the bureaucracy that delivered their first wave of improvement in their economy.”

Morrison said agencies such as the WA Environment Protection Authority had created uncertainty over emissions targets for the resources sector and were a barrier to investment.

That comes after reports WA is considering going alone with its own carbon price, in the face of the federal government’s insistence it will meet its Paris targets, despite the government’s own data showing emissions continuing to increase.

 

Asked about states going forward with individual plans, Morrison reiterated the Coalition’s insistence on “responsible targets”.

“Well, all I know is that when any target is set that is not responsible and there are not clear policies and mechanisms that achieves it, all it tends to do is crush business and investment confidence and cost jobs,” he said.

“So I think we should all be working together to create jobs, not cost them.

“And the government sets our overall emissions reduction targets. Ours have been consistent for many years now. What’s more important is we’re meeting them. Our 2020 targets, we will exceed by 369m tonnes of abatement and similarly we’ll meet our 2030 targets.

“So I think, you know, we all agree you need to take action on climate change and we’re taking responsible and effective action.”

*Australia’s emissions have risen every year for the past four years.

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/24/scott-morrison-flags-trump-style-economic-plan-in-pledge-to-cut-more-red-tape

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SCOMO TO TAKE ON UNIONS IN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS REVIEW: WORKCHOICES REVISED

 

Prime minister Scott Morrison speaks at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia in Perth on Monday.

Scott Morrison to take on ‘militant’ unions in industrial relations review

RELATED ARTICLE:

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Scott Morrison announces industrial relations review
  • Scott Morrison announces industrial relations reviewNOW
    Scott Morrison announces industrial relations review
  • Minority government leaves PM in trouble
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is planning a review of the nation’s industrial relations system that will focus on the role of unions in workplaces, as part of a push to rev up the economy.
The Liberal leader announced the plan in Perth today and said Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter would lead the review.
“Under our Government, the days lost to industrial disputes has fallen by 40 percent compared to what it was under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government,” Mr Morrison said in an address to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA.
“There is still a strong agenda of legislative change that we want to make.”
Mr Morrison put the unions on notice to expect tougher laws, referencing the recent scandal with CFMMEU Victorian leader John Setka.
“(Opposition leader) Anthony Albanese, he can jump up and down about John Setka all he likes, but the real question is – will he actually support legislative change to make sure that thugs in militant unions have no place in the union movement?” Mr Morrison said.
This is the prime minister’s first visit to Western Australia since the coalition’s surprise federal election win on May 18 and his first major economic speech since being returned to office.

RELATED ARTICLES

Mr Morrison told the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA the government would prioritise its proposed Ensuring Integrity Bill – which would make it easier to deregister unions – when parliament resumed next week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is taking aim at unions as part of an industrial relations review. (AAP)
He said he would also continue to pressure Labor to back the coalition’s three-stage personal income tax plan in full.
Mr Albanese confirmed today the Labor Party would support the government’s stage one and stage two tax plan, for low and middle income earners.
“This would provide up to $1350 for all those (earning incomes)above $90,000,” Mr Albanese said.
Labor had previously said it would only support the first stage of the tax plan , but not other cuts due in 2022 and 2024.
However, Labor was still opposed to the third stage of the government’s tax package, Mr Albanese said.
Under the government’s tax plan, from 2024/25, 94 per cent of Australians will pay a marginal tax rate of no more than 30 cents in the dollar, compared to only 16 per cent if stages two and three are not delivered.
Opposition frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon says the focus on unions is a distraction.
“The government needs to start showing some initiative, start talking about what it’s going to do about productivity in the economy, rather than spend all of its time putting up these false debates,” he told ABC Radio National.
Mr Morrison will also note the recent call by the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Lowe, for the government to do more to stimulate the economy over the longer term.
The government has already foreshadowed a $100 billion infrastructure investment program that will fund nationally significant transport projects across the states and territories.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019

 

SOURCE:  https://www.9news.com.au/national/industrial-relations-review-scott-morrison-to-take-on-militant-unions-national-news/a35e49af-d185-464a-8028-b7184791c2ba

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David Crowe

David Crowe is chief political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

A STRONG ECONOMY …. IT’s GREAT NEWS FOR INVESTORS …. ISN’T THAT AWFUL?

 

A stock market board shows prices going up

PHOTO: The lower interest rates go, the better the stock market performs. (AAP)

 

 

ANALYSIS

The economy is awful and that’s great news for investors

24 JUNE 2019

 

 

Bad news suddenly has become good again. No matter where you look, there are signs of a global slowdown while wars are brewing at a trade, currency and even military level.

Here at home, the economy is sputtering. Growth is slowing, inflation is on the mat, unemployment is ticking higher.

The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that it’s even jolted the Reserve Bank into action after three years of nothing.

It cut rates three weeks ago and now the betting is on that we could see another cut as early as next week.

Many economists are tipping three cuts this year. And yet, at every turn, investors appear to be overjoyed, clamouring over one another to pile into the stock market.

After taking a thumping late last year, when the global outlook appeared relatively benign, optimistic even, the local market this year has been on a tear, notching up one of the strongest performances in the world with an 18 per cent gain.

And things will only get better as the news gets worse.

Growth slowdown fires up stocks

Last week, our stock market galloped to an 11-year high and finally is within striking distance of cracking the record, from October 2007 just before the global economy tanked.

Compare that with Wall Street. Before the crash a decade ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at around 14,000 points. On Friday, it closed at 26,719 points, more than double its pre-crash peak.

 

 

For most of the past decade, Australia has outpaced America’s economy. The resources boom saw us power through the worst of the global financial crisis as almost every major developed economy plunged into recession.

Why then, the relatively poor stock market performance? Shouldn’t the market reflect what’s happening in the economy?

In days past, stock investors positioned themselves for where they saw the economy six, or even 12 months, ahead.

Not any longer.

These days, traders and investors pretty much care about just one thing; interest rates. The lower they go, the better the market performs. And generally speaking, rates only fall in times of trouble, when the economy needs a boost.

One reason for this apparent mismatch is that there is so much investment cash out there looking for a home, when interest rates fall, it quickly migrates to stocks.

There’s another factor at work too. The global economy now is so overloaded with debt that, were interest rates ever to rise, there would be a massive spate of defaults that once again could threaten the banking system.

 

 

That’s why Wall Street tanked late last year as the US Federal Reserve persisted with its plan to “normalise” interest rates, to push them higher. December was its worst month since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Global debt now stands at more than $US250 trillion ($360 trillion), more than three times its level 20 years ago, much of it backed by property.

Having painted themselves into a corner by issuing so much debt and printing so much cash, central banks, including our own Reserve Bank, are now so frightened about the potentially catastrophic impact of a downturn in either stock or property markets, that they are prepared to do almost anything to avoid it.

Market values must be maintained.

It’s a great strategy for anyone who owns a home or has a share portfolio. For those who don’t, it’s a recipe for disaster — or at the very least a widening of inequality and the wealth gap.

Why the RBA will cut again… and again

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe won’t have a bar of it. There’s nothing wrong with the economy, really. The RBA isn’t cutting rates because things are deteriorating. Not at all.

It’s cutting rates because the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment has slipped. Ah, of course.

 

 

Where we once imagined the NAIRU at 5 per cent unemployment — the point considered “full employment” because anything under that saw labour shortages, wage breakouts and rampant inflation — it’s now closer to 4.5 per cent, maybe even lower.

That’s an oblique way of saying we’re in uncharted waters and the only way to navigate through is to throw caution to the wind.

The real reason for the RBA rate cuts is the dramatic fall in housing prices and the prospect that unemployment may spike, particularly if the escalating trade dispute between the US and China further crimps Chinese economic growth.

Should more people end up out of work, as the graph below from investment bank UBS indicates, there would be a rise in mortgage delinquencies and an acceleration of the housing price slump.

 

 

If there are two more cuts in coming months, that will take the official cash rate to 0.75 per cent. And at that point, we officially will have joined the race to the bottom.

Of course, quite a few countries already have reached the bottom and gone even further.

America spent years at zero per cent. Germany and other parts of Europe have seen interest rates at well below zero. Japan, however, is the world leader in negative rates, as this chart below shows.

 

 

All up, there’s around $US10 trillion worth of debt priced at an interest rate below zero.

 

Why would anyone lend money, deposit cash or buy a bond that guaranteed you’d lose money? Primarily because they think rates could go even lower. And many banks are forced to hold government-issued bonds, even ones that lose money, for liquidity reasons.

Once considered radical policy, it’s now becoming the norm and involves various strategies such as quantitative easing (printing money), ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) and NIRP (negative interest rate policy).

Our monetary mandarins, having explicitly raised the possibility of exploring such actions late last year, this week ruled them out, instead wisely urging governments to start spending big on infrastructure.

Rate cut goes nowhere — what now?

The disappointment must be palpable. When the RBA cut rates three weeks ago, its primary goal was to sink the Aussie dollar, to make our exports more competitive and to give a leg up to local industry.

It worked… for a while. But by the end of last week, the local currency had climbed back above US69c.

That’s the problem with rate cuts and currency manipulation — it only works when you go it alone or you’re in the minority. When everyone is doing it, it has no effect at all.

Shortly after our rate cut, US President Donald Trump’s demands for one at home grew louder as he openly discussed sacking Fed chair Jerome Powell if he doesn’t get his way.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi also has abandoned any plans to push rates higher, eliciting an attack from Mr Trump who, bizarrely for a leader engaged in the same strategy, accused him of trying to manipulate the Euro.

Mr Trump is threatening retaliation, possibly through trade sanctions. None of this bodes well for the global economy.

Perhaps it’s time to get into the stock market. It’s a great strategy, until it isn’t.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-24/ian-verrender-analysis-awful-economy-great-news-for-investors/11239398

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SYDNEY HOUSING SQUEEZE PROMPTS PUSH FOR MORE MEDIUM-DENSITY DEVELOPMENT

 

A man and woman sit on a rug in a living room and play with a toddler.

ABC Photo

WE were wondering how long before they renewed their push to counter any resistance to high-rise developments …

Are they using well-established agencies to produce, and amplify their message?

Are they helping themselves to every avenue to present a different picture to the reality?

DO you suppose the ‘medium-density’ is connected by virtue … that the ‘same players’ are there too?

ISN’t it time you shared these articles with your local MPs?

Related Article: ‘About buck-passing on dodgy regulation’: it applies to all housing development!

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Sydney housing squeeze prompts push for more medium-density development

24 JUNE 2019

 

Laura and Latham Keen were faced with the same choice as many young couples in Sydney — move out or move up.

 

Key points:

  • The NSW Government is encouraging medium-density development by making it easier to subdivide blocks *
  • The Planning Minister sees more terrace-style housing as a way to address Sydney’s housing squeeze
  • Some residents oppose the move, fearing the effects of “overdevelopment”

 

CAAN:  * Is NSW Planning appealing to greed?  Cough … cough …  What is not being revealed … that the NSW Government has rezoned our suburbs for higher density of the Medium-Density Housing Code along with exempt and complying development!

The Morrison Govt policies allow developers to sell 100% of housing projects overseas (FIRB Ruling May 2017 Budget Reg; developments less than 50 dwellings). Maintaining opportunity for money laundering with the Real Estate Gatekeepers exempt from anti-money laundering rules; October 2018.

 

ABC:  They could not afford a freestanding home close to their jobs in the CBD, and did not want to live in a high-rise with their 15-month-old son.

The answer for their growing family was a three-bedroom townhouse in Lane Cove, on Sydney’s lower north shore, 12 kilometres from the CBD.

“We spent six, seven months looking and we looked at just four townhouses in that time,” Mr Keen said.

“There just wasn’t many available.

“This ticked all the boxes and we jumped on it when we found it.”

Medium-density homes like the Keens’ have been dubbed Sydney’s “missing middle” by NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes, who believes more terrace-style housing is the solution to the city’s real estate squeeze.

While values have fallen by 14.5 per cent since their 2017 peakthe median price of a home in Australia’s biggest metropolis remains almost $900,000.

The spotlight is also on Sydney’s apartment developments after two buildings in the past seven months had to be evacuated when they began cracking.

Grey and white box-shaped terrace houses line a street.
ABC Photo:  Townhouse development in a low-rise low density cottage suburb; medium-density obviously changes the character of low-rise detached cottage suburbs
View:  For more about the process of changing detached housing suburbs to medium-density

 

“Apartment-style living is a great choice for some but it’s not necessarily for everyone,” Mr Stokes said.

“Detached homes in the ever-expanding suburbs are out of reach for many families.

“The beauty of terrace-style housing is that it’s low-rise, it’s human scale, it doesn’t overshadow everyone else.”

Image may contain: tree, plant, sky and outdoor

CAAN Photo:  In reality Townhouse and terrace housing projects can impact the local community with demolition, asbestos removal, clearing of vegetation, construction over 12 months or more;  these dwelling have a big impact on their neighbours!  Note extensive use of concrete paving.

 

Rules relaxed to fast-track building

*Sydney’s population is expected to swell to more than 8 million over the next 40 years.

CAAN:  * The population swell is drawn from both permanent migration and temp. migration through Visa Manipulation with the lure of buying our real estate to gain Permanent Residency;  it is not about natural population growth!

 

ABC:  In a bid to begin catering for those extra residents, the Berejiklian Government last year introduced laws that make it easier to carve up existing blocks and build terraces, duplexes or manor houses.

 

CAAN:  ‘Manor Houses’ are blocks of flats of 3 or 4 units; to be built nextdoor to you?

 

The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code means that style of dwelling can be built without lodging a development application (DA).

 

CAAN:  That is what ‘Exempt and Complying Development’ means!  Search CAAN Website to find out more.

 

ABC:  “I want us to have * a choice * and a spread of different housing,” Mr Stokes said.

“If we fail to meet the housing needs of our existing and future populations we will live in a city that is increasingly divided between the haves and the have-nots.”

 

CAAN:  It would appear the NSW Planning Law changes remove the * choice for detached housing for the incumbents and future generations of Australians in order to facilitate the migration population growth to benefit the developer lobby!

 

ABC:  The new rules mean a compliant development could be approved in about three weeks, compared to more than 70 days under a traditional DA process.

Developers would also not be required to notify neighbours.

But there is fierce opposition to the code.

 

 

CAAN:  Developments like these we would suggest explain why there is fierce opposition to the code …

Image may contain: sky, cloud, house, tree and outdoor

CAAN Photo:  fugly townhouse development in what was a well planned bushland estate.

Image may contain: house and outdoor

CAAN Photo:  Cannot be any fuglier; dwarfs substantial 2-storey neighbours; forward of the setback; built close to the rear fence; robbed neighbours of privacy, amenity; they had to plant bamboo.  This also discouraged buyers!

 

ABC:   About 50 councils across NSW applied for an exemption when it was first introduced, but those exemptions will be lifted on July 1.

Chris Johnson from Urban Taskforce, a not-for-profit group that represents prominent property developers and equity financiers in Australia, does not believe the code will provide enough new homes to house Sydney’s future residents.

“We need people living in more urban locations,” he said.

“Around railway stations, using public transport, walking to work, walking to shops — it’s a change of culture, a change of living.”

 

CAAN:  An obvious push to maintain the growth of high-rise residential; profit margins

Fears overdevelopment could kill character

The president of the not-for-profit residents group Save Our Suburbs, Tony Recsei, is dedicated to fighting what he describes as “forced rezoning” and “overdevelopment” in Sydney.

 

Mr Recsei fears medium-density housing will destroy character in leafy areas.

“It’s going to completely change the whole character of the suburb,” he said.

“It’s going to have detrimental effects in terms of traffic density, parking and the characteristics of the houses themselves.

“It shouldn’t be a dictatorship … the community should decide.”

While terrace housing is an iconic feature of many suburbs in Sydney’s east and inner west, many of those homes date back to the 1800s.

Laura and Latham Keen are hoping the harbour city rediscovers its love of medium-density living.

“I grew up in this area and I would like to stay in this area,” Ms Keen said of Sydney’s lower north shore.

“It’s got the schools that I know, the places I know and the people I know.

“But with the price of housing now, I can’t afford a * freestanding home.”

 

CAAN:  *As explained in numerous reports shared on CAAN the loss of housing affordability for a whole Cohort of Australians came about by changes to government policies allowing the competition for our domestic housing from foreign buyers

 

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-24/sydney-housing-push-for-more-medium-density-property-development/11238970

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LUDLOW TUART FOREST AT HEART OF CAMPAIGN REBUILDING ONCE-GREAT WA ECOSYSTEM

 

A lovely hopeful story, this could be a success and turn the tide of greed, destruction and exploitation …

 

 

Ludlow tuart forest at heart of campaign rebuilding once-great WA ecosystem

 

 

 

SUNDAY 23 JUNE 2019

 

 

Evelyn Taylor stands in silence as she strains her neck, attempting to see the very tips of a 600-year-old tuart tree.

Key points:

  • A group of volunteers aim to plant more than 100,000 seedlings over the next five years
  • Tuarts are unique to WA and only grow along a small strip of coastline
  • The forest once spanned more than 110,000 hectares but now only 3 per cent remains

 

The tree’s branches stretch out for metres and are a mighty sight among its much younger siblings.

For decades, timber workers strode through this forest searching for smaller and easier tuarts to cut down and harvest.

But Mrs Taylor is here for a much different purpose — she is determined to save this tree, and the forest it calls home.

“I would think if this forest is lost, then I have failed as a human being, really … it’s as serious as that.”

 

 

The tuart is unique to Western Australia and only grows along a small strip of the state’s coastline.

This forest once spanned more than 110,000 hectares, from North Perth to south of Busselton.

But after many years of clearing for farming, urbanisation and logging, only 3,500 hectares remain near Ludlow in the South West.

Over the next five years, Mrs Taylor and a group of volunteers aim to restore 180 hectares of the forest by planting more than 100,000 seedlings.

“To see a forest declining like this is really just very upsetting to me,” she said.

Tall, beautiful trees

Tuarts were first logged in the 1830s, when European settlers stumbled upon the large, open forest.

“They were big, tall trees, beautifully formed and they were precious hardwood on the world scene in those days,” said Des Donnelly, vice-chairman of the Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group.

Due to the timber’s strength and durability, the wood was sent across the world to be used for shipbuilding.

“It had a good name very early on, and the early settlers used those trees to start the economy,” he said.

Old but not forgotten

A settlement at the edge of the forest was built to house forestry workers and at times also included a mill and a forestry school.

Tuart logging ended in 1975, but it wasn’t until 2014 that the entire settlement was abandoned, leaving the site in disrepair.

Mr Donnelly said the historical value of the settlement would draw tourists and keep interest in the forest alive.

“It’s the first real settlement that was built [in WA] and it is the last one standing, so it’s got huge heritage value and we must respect that,” he said.

 

 

The volunteers hope to restore some of the rundown buildings to use for an education centre and museum for tourists.

“There’s thousands of cars that pass here every day, but people drive through this forest at 60 to 80 kilometres per hour and they don’t really understand what they are looking at,” Mr Donnelly said.

Prisoners lend a hand

Trying to restore the buildings while planting thousands of seedlings is a huge task — but they are not without help.

 

 

Work-release teams from the Bunbury Regional Prison have been among other community groups lending a hand.

Shane Dowell, assistant superintendent at the prison, said the inmates had helped create a fence around the seedlings.

“If we don’t put the rabbit-proof fencing in when they go to plant the tuart trees, the rabbits will eat the seedlings,” he said.

“Then it will take a number of years for us to grow seeds and replant again.”

The work benefits the forest and the prisoners.

“They feel worthwhile, build up their self esteem and also their work ethic,” Mr Dowell said.

Next generation of planters

The wet June weather in southern WA has provided the perfect soil temperament to plant tuart seedlings.

Thirteen-year-old Bella Burgemeister, along with many other volunteers, braved the torrential rain to help plant.

She said while her generation did not clear the trees, it was still their responsibility to help regenerate them.

“It is so important that it is a multigenerational movement that helps fix all this, because it is not just one generation that has done this, it is multiple, so we need multiple to fix this.”

 

In 40 years’ time, the seedlings will reach maturity and create a closed-canopy tall tuart forest.

Mr Donnelly said he knew that despite all his efforts, it was unlikely he would be around to see the seedlings reach their potential — but that is not slowing him down.

“It’ll take us 100 years to get this back, but if we don’t start now, we may never do it.”

Contact Kate Stephens

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-23/campaign-to-restore-ludlow-tuart-forest/11235668

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Australia’s still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard

 

Australia’s still building 4 in every 5 new houses to no more than the minimum energy standard

 

Before these standards were introduced the average performance of housing was found to be around 1.5 stars. The current minimum across most of Australia is six stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

This six-star minimum falls short of what is optimal in terms of environmental, economic and social outcomes. It’s also below the minimum set by many other countries.


Read more: Low-energy homes don’t just save money, they improve lives


There have been calls for these minimum standards to be raised. However, many policymakers and building industry stakeholders believe the market will lift performance beyond minimum standards and so there is no need to raise these.

!!!???

What did the data show?

We wanted to understand what was happening in the market to see if consumers or regulation were driving the energy performance of new housing. To do this we explored the NatHERS data set of building approvals for new Class 1 housing (detached and row houses) in Australia from May 2016 (when all data sets were integrated by CSIRO and Sustainability Victoria) to December 2018.

Our analysis focuses on new housing in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, all of which apply the minimum six-star NatHERS requirement.

The other states have local variations to the standard, while New South Wales uses the BASIX index to determine the environmental impact of housing.

The chart below shows the performance for 187,320 house ratings. Almost 82% just met the minimum standard (6.0-6.4 star). Another 16% performed just above the minimum standard (6.5-6.9 star).

Only 1.5% were designed to perform at the economically optimal 7.5 stars and beyond. By this we mean a balance between the extra upfront building costs and the savings and benefits from lifetime building performance.

NatHERS star ratings across total data set for new housing approvals, May 2016–December 2018. Author provided

The average rating is 6.2 stars across the states. This has not changed since 2016.

Average NatHERS star rating for each state, 2016-18. Author provided

 

The data analysis shows that, while most housing is built to the minimum standard, the cooler temperate regions (Tasmania, ACT) have more houses above 7.0 stars compared with the warm temperate states.

NatHERS data spread by state. Author provided

 

The ACT increased average performance each year from 6.5 stars in 2016 to 6.9 stars in 2018. This was not seen in any other state or territory.

The ACT is the only region with mandatory disclosure of the energy rating on sale or lease of property. The market can thus value the relative energy efficiency of buildings.

Providing this otherwise invisible information may have empowered consumers to demand slightly better performance.


Read more: Energy star ratings for homes? Good idea, but it needs some real estate flair


We are paying for accepting a lower standard

The evidence suggests consumers are not acting rationally or making decisions to maximise their financial well-being. Rather, they just accept the minimum performance the building sector delivers.

Higher energy efficiency or even environmental sustainability in housing provides not only significant benefits to the individual but also to society. And these improvements can be delivered for little additional cost.


Read more: Sustainable housing’s expensive, right? Not when you look at the whole equation


The fact that these improvements aren’t being made suggests there are significant barriers to the market operating efficiently. This is despite increasing awareness among consumers and in the housing industry about the rising cost of energy.

Eight years after the introduction of the six-star NatHERS minimum requirement for new housing in Australia, the results show the market is delivering four out of five houses that just meet this requirement.

With only 1.5% designed to 7.5 stars or beyond, regulation rather than the economically optimal energy rating is clearly driving the energy performance of Australian homes.

Increasing the minimum performance standard is the most effective way to improve the energy outcomes.

The next opportunity for increasing the minimum energy requirement will be 2022.

Australian housing standards were already about 2.0 NatHERS stars behind comparable developed countries in 2008. If mandatory energy ratings aren’t increased, Australia will fall further behind international best practice.

If we continue to create a legacy of homes with relatively poor energy performance, making the transition to a low-energy and low-carbon economy is likely to get progressively more challenging and expensive.

Recent research has calculated that a delay in increasing minimum performance requirements from 2019 to 2022 will result in an estimated A$1.1 billion (to 2050) in avoidable household energy bills. That’s an extra 3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.


Read more: Buildings produce 25% of Australia’s emissions. What will it take to make them ‘green’ – and who’ll pay?


Our research confirms the policy proposition that minimum house energy regulations based on the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme are a powerful instrument for delivering better environmental and energy outcomes.

While introducing minimum standards has significantly lifted the bottom end of the market, those standards should be reviewed regularly to ensure optimal economic and environmental outcomes.

 

SOURCE:

https://theconversation.com/australias-still-building-4-in-every-5-new-houses-to-no-more-than-the-minimum-energy-standard-118820

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SECRET PLANS FOR NEW PORT OUTSIDE DARWIN TO ACCOMMODATE VISITING US MARINES 

IN recent past we proposed that due to the 99 year lease of the DARWIN PORT to Chinese Landbridge that it would be best  to build another nearby and compete …

as we are told we must in our market economy … isn’t that the case?

LET’s hope it goes ahead, and we will all benefit and those sc.mb.gs who allowed it to happen are left behind in a world of shame.

 

 

Secret plans for new port outside Darwin to accommodate visiting US Marines

23 JUNE 2019

 

 

Secret planning has begun for a new port facility just outside Darwin which could eventually help US Marines operate more readily in the Indo-Pacific.

Key points:

  • Australia is considering a new commercial port that may be used by US Marines
  • Senior defence and government figures say plans for the new facility may cause angst in Beijing
  • A Chinese company has leased the Darwin Port for 99 years

 

Precise details remain tightly guarded but senior defence and federal government figures concede the proposal may risk angering China even though it’s a commercial port, not a new military base.

Multiple officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, have confirmed to the ABC the multi-use development would be in the Glyde Point area, roughly 40 kilometres north-east of Darwin’s existing port.

In the past, the location has been earmarked by the Northern Territory Government as a possible future industrial port site given its relatively deep waters, but funding arrangements for the yet-to-be announced project remain unclear.

Darwin port, which was controversially leased to a Chinese company in 2015, has existing defence facilities such as a multi-user barge ramp, but the new proposed facility would have the additional advantages of being less busy and less visible.

If approved, the new port could eventually be able to accommodate large amphibious warships such as Australia’s Landing Helicopter Docks, and American vessels such as the USS Wasp, which recently arrived in Sydney.

 

Strategic experts believe a new deep-water port would be ideally suited for the more than 2,000 US Marines and their equipment during regular rotations through the Top End.

“The Americans are clearly not withdrawing from the Indo-Pacific, whether it’s because of their strategic competition with China or more generally,” said Rory Medcalf from the Australian National University.

“It’s clear the Americans intend to stay in the region to reinforce their presence, to reinforce the alliance, and so a facility like this would be quite a logical development I think.”

The ABC approached the Defence Department and the US Embassy in Canberra for comment, but both are yet to respond to detailed questions on timing and costs.

In a statement, the department simply insisted “Defence has no plans for the development of a new naval facility in the Northern Territory”, while the US embassy declined to comment.

The Federal Government referred all questions about future port development to the Territory Government, but a spokesman for NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he was not aware of any proposal.

It’s understood a formal announcement on the new maritime facility could be made as early as next month when the “Talisman Sabre” war games with the US begin in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

One senior Commonwealth source said any public unveiling had been deliberately delayed until well after the recent Indonesian presidential election race, but would still be likely to cause angst in Beijing.

“I’d be surprised if the Chinese don’t already know about it, but they can’t complain because they’re building similar ports in this region,” the senior figure told the ABC.

Another source familiar with early discussions on the proposal claimed the United States had examined various options in the region to berth large amphibious assault ships, including Singapore, but had concluded Northern Australia was the best strategic location.

Recent hints point to American ambitions in Top End

An imminent announcement of a new maritime facility in the Northern Territory would not come as a complete surprise for Darwin locals and close strategic observers of the recent military build up in the Indo-Pacific.

Recently, a $40 million road was constructed to Gunn Point, near Glyde Point, a project which was completed quickly and was said to be for improving access to fishing areas.

 

In 2015, the year Chinese company Landbridge began a 99-year-lease of Darwin Port, the US’s then-chief of navy operations, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, revealed the Pentagon was considering having a permanent naval base in Australia.

Just last month the Pentagon’s latest Indo-Pacific Strategy Report stated that the United States was seeking to “evolve our posture and balance key capabilities across South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania to have a more dynamic and distributed presence and access locations across the region.”

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-23/navy-port-us-darwin-glyde-point-gunn-marines-gunn-military/11222606

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BUCK-PASSING ON APARTMENT BUILDING

SHARE!

Key Points …  and there’s more!

 

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

-other problems include lead in water from imported brass plumbing components, imported non complying electrical cables, failure installation of fire doors, fire walls and fire door frames

-1990s agreed plan betw States and Fed 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 NSW scapegoating certifiers and builders when it would appear through the influence of the developer lobby & others that the problem is dodgy govt regulation?

 


The Mascot Towers building in Sydney’s inner south is cordoned off after residents were evacuated following the discovery of cracks in the building. Bianca De Marchi/AAP

Buck-passing on apartment building safety leaves residents at risk  SHARE!

Geoff HanmerUNSW

Hundreds of residents in a Sydney apartment complex, the 122-unit Mascot Towers, were evacuated last Sunday when cracks began to appear due to a serious structural failure. And it isn’t clear when the residents can return.

This crisis echoes the structural failure at Opal Tower and its evacuation on Christmas Eve last year.

We have seen a series of serious building failures and fires in recent years.

And state and federal governments have had more than year to act on recommendations for better construction regulations, but instead they’re shifting blame.

Although each building failure was different, the end result is the same: misery for the residents and a looming financial disaster for the owners.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said:

We’re getting to the bottom of what happened. The NSW government will hold everybody to account, that’s our role.

*But the government’s role is to regulate sufficiently to prevent building failures in the first place, not to hold people to account after the event.

Building regulations since the Great Fire of London

*Prevention of construction failures has been the bedrock of building regulations ever since the Great Fire of London in 1666.

*In the aftermath, the English government realised there was not much use in raking through the ashes and trying to hold people to account, and that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure.

This led to the parliament passing regulations to prevent the spread of fire between buildings.

Governments all around the developed world took the lesson of the Great Fire to heart. Their common goal has been to proactively ensure buildings are constructed properly and are safe as a result.

This has been a pretty successful effort and most significant building failures since 1666 have contributed to a more comprehensive and effective regulatory regime.

Serious building failures appear to be more frequent

Prior to the Opal Tower emergency, there had been only one significant evacuation of a multi-unit residential building in NSW due to structural failure. That was a result of the 2009 gas explosion at Eastgate Towers in Bondi Junction.

*However, depending on which research you read, either 72% or 97% of strata apartments suffer from serious defects when they’re finished.

*There have also been a series of other problems with recent buildings. These include lead in water caused by imported brass plumbing components, non-complying imported electrical cables and failures in the installation of fire doors, fire walls and fire door frames.

Why has this happened?

*The states progressively introduced the Building Code of Australia (now the National Construction Code) during the 1990s as part of an agreed plan between the states and the federal government to make building regulations less prescriptive.

*The aim was to reduce the cost of construction by favouring “innovation” over conservative “deemed to satisfy” regulations.

*Innovation, in these terms, meant finding ways to make buildings cheaper to build.

*This move coincided with the globalisation of the building materials supply industry and a boom in the construction of tall apartment buildings in Australia.

*Some of the innovation has been innocuous, or even beneficial, such as the introduction of a variety of lightweight interior wall systems, but some have resulted in substantial remediation billscombustible cladding being the prime example. Inspection and responsibility for the plethora of imported components is virtually non-existent.

The downstream cost of failure has landed squarely in the laps of the building owners, many of them owners of tall apartments.

It’s difficult to estimate the total bill for remedial works to tall apartment buildings built over the last 25 years, but it may well exceed the Productivity Commission estimates of savings resulting from the introduction of the National Construction Code.

Blame shifting and ineffective regulations

The federal minister responsible for building regulations, Karen Andrews, says the states are to blame.

*And some states, including NSW, have resorted to tough talk about crackdowns on “dodgy” certifiers and “dodgy” builders.

*In reality, the problem is dodgy government regulation, by both federal and state governments.

*The federal and state governments already have an initial plan for fixing these problems. The Shergold-Weir report was delivered to the Building Ministers’ Forum in February 2018.

As the report said:

After having examined the matters put to us, we have concluded that the nature and extent [of building defects] are significant and concerning. The problems have led to diminishing public confidence that the building and construction industry can deliver compliant, safe buildings which will perform to the expected standards over the long term.

*Since then, state and federal governments have done almost nothing to implement the recommendations of the report, despite the 2018 Christmas Eve failure at Opal and the fire at Neo200 in Melbourne the following February.

The report itself states:

The recommendations have been designed to form a holistic and structured framework to improve the compliance and enforcement systems of the [National Construction Code] across the country. They form a coherent package. They would best be implemented in their entirety.

*In NSW, the published response to Shergold-Weir is a patchwork focusing on holding people to account after a building construction event. This is the reverse of the proactive approach developed following the Great Fire of London.

The NSW government is set to appoint a building commissioner to oversee qualifications and to review building documentation.

*But this will likely not achieve much, unless the government commits to upskilling workers throughout the industry and backs up desktop audits by increasing direct inspections on site.

Neither of these things appears to be part of its plan.

All governments must take an active role in fixing the defective regulatory regime they have created.

If they can’t get on with this process in a timely way, we will need yet another royal commission to sort it out.

 

*The least Premier Berejiklian can do is to treat the Mascot Towers and Opal events in the same way the government treats natural disasters and provide housing assistance to residents who have been displaced through no fault of their own.*

 

Comment on this article

 

Geoff Hanmer had received funding from the Building and Construction Council to research defects in multi-unit housing. He is member of the Australian Institute of Architects and the Managing Director of ARINA, a consultancy engaged in strategic planning and architecture for the Higher Education sector.

UNSW Australia provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

 

 

Photo: Daily Telegraph:  A sign from residents at the entrance of the Mascot Towers.

 

SOURCE:  https://theconversation.com/amp/buck-passing-on-apartment-building-safety-leaves-residents-at-risk-119000

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