PROPERTY SALES TUMBLE LEADING TO PREDICTION OF ‘100,000 JOB LOSSES’

IT was inevitable that there would be a fall … people across Sydney observed how quickly developments were thrown up … and questioned the quality of construction …

Despite a media largely on side … the stories began to appear of the black money awash in Australian Real Estate as the Proxies outbid Australian First Home Buyers at auctions …

Then we learnt of the student, family, 10 year and investment Visas luring foreign buyers with the offer of permanent residency

BUT then China’s capital controls struck and the Ponzi market died!

HOWEVER the NSW Premier appears unperturbed … shrugging off the defective build crisis … and that home buyers are gunnin’ for the guvmnt …

IS she confident there will be a revised industry of RECTIFICATION?

And tradies can perhaps cut back their ‘Neuro Surgeon fees’ and do maintenance and renos for us, the ‘not so flush’ …?

Property sales tumble leading to prediction of ‘100,000 job losses’

Shane Wright
By Shane Wright

July 30, 2019

View all comments

The economy and jobs market is facing a testing few months with fresh evidence the residential construction sector is still struggling, with warnings 100,000 construction workers could lose their jobs.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday reported a 1.2 per cent drop in building approvals across the country last month, led by a 5.4 per cent fall in NSW.

Building approvals continued falling through June with warnings more construction jobs are likely to be lost.
Building approvals continued falling through June with warnings more construction jobs are likely to be lost.CREDIT:ERIN JONASSON

While there was a small lift in approvals for houses, up by 0.4 per cent in June to be down by 14.8 per cent over the past 12 months, approvals of units and apartments slumped 6.5 per cent in the month.

Approvals in the apartment sector have now fallen by 39.3 per cent over the past year with last month the worst June performance since 2013. Some of the biggest drops have been among unit blocks four storeys or taller, with approvals of these in NSW down 50 per cent over the past two years.

Analysts had been tipping a lift in approvals which are now tracking at a level that suggests a small but growing chance of a national shortfall in housing construction based on current population growth.

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Separate figures from the Housing Industry Association highlight the troubled property market.

In the just-completed financial year there were a net 56,357 house sales across the country. It was the lowest annual number in records that go back to the 1991 recession.

In NSW, house sales fell to 10,220, a 15 per cent drop from 2017-18 and a fresh record low. Victoria fared better with 22,337 house sales in 2018-19 although this was down 11.5 per cent on the previous year.

Figures due on Thursday from CoreLogic are expected to show a slight lift in house values in July, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

UBS senior economist George Tharenou said while the recent cuts in interest rates and loosening of credit standards would likely help lift house prices, residential construction was set to continue contracting.

UBS senior economist George Tharenou says up to 100,000 jobs could be lost from the construction sector as approvals continue to drop.
UBS senior economist George Tharenou says up to 100,000 jobs could be lost from the construction sector as approvals continue to drop.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL

He said investment across the sector was expected to fall by 10 per cent and that in turn would lead to serious job losses for construction-related businesses.

“Our tracking of construction job ads is consistent with 100,000 job losses ahead,” he said.

“Given this, we expect the RBA will cut rates by a further 50 basis points to 0.5 per cent with 25 basis point cuts in both October and February 2020.”

BIS Oxford Economist economist Maree Kilroy said interest rate and income tax cuts may not be enough to stop a further drop-off in residential construction.

“Despite recent stimulus measures, the downwards trend in houses is set to continue over the remainder of 2019 given the weakness in land sales and the lag to the approval stage,” she said.

*”Risk to the downside for the apartment market remains with apartment pre-sales remaining weak and build quality concerns escalating.”

Ben Jarman, senior analyst with JPMorgan, said the annual falls in approvals looked “ugly”. Since the peak in 2017 they have fallen by 56 per cent.

He said it appeared real residential investment had fallen by almost 2 per cent over the past quarter which would detract 0.1 percentage points from the June quarter GDP result, which will be released in early September.

“The trajectory of the approvals data into third quarter suggest a similar drag for that quarter, though with dwelling prices doing a little better lately there could still be some moderation in the pace of decline for approvals in coming months.”

Shane Wright

Shane is a senior economics correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/property-sales-tumble-leading-to-prediction-of-100-000-jobs-losses-20190730-p52c4v.html?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR1jkf2lZYXAVcBJ5lk0tgE-JyZk8_q5ixcpG8ZbwI_fbaPomc_I4lLku8E#Echobox=1564473022

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LIMOUSINES, AND WOMBATS AS TARGETS: INSIDE CROWN PARTNER’s SHOOTING RANGE FOR CHINESE HIGH-ROLLERS

Key Points …

Zhou a Chinese businessman with strong ties to the CCP, a Crown casino partner with alleged crime links

-invites guests to hunt and kill wombats at his lodge

-the subject of an Interpol notice

YET he owns luxury houses in Melbourne; and the high-end shooting range on a 809-hectare (2000 acre) property

-now wants to develop a large hotel and a function complex on the property that will include a bar, restaurant and a gym

Limousines, and wombats as targets: Inside Crown partner’s shooting range for Chinese high-rollers

Chinese tourists have been invited to shoot wombats and other Australian animals.

Samantha Dick

Samantha Dick Reporter

COMMENT

High-rolling tourists are being invited to hunt and kill wombats at a luxury hunting lodge run by a Chinese businessman who is a Crown casino partner with alleged crime links.

Appearing in English as ‘Dude Ranch’ on Google Maps, from the front  the property has a driveway that, apart from security signs, doesn’t look too out of place near the picturesque Victorian town of Murrindindi.

But utes and tractors aren’t the most common vehicles passing through the CCTV-monitored gates. Instead, stretch limousines with blacked-out windows are often spotted coming and going.

The appearance of luxury cars on the dirt road has attracted the attention of nearby residents in the past year. Gun fire ringing out from the property had them curious.

Then a dead animal in a nearby paddock raised their suspicions.

Now, an investigation by Channel Nine mediahas revealed the owner of the mysterious hunting lodge to be Tom Zhou, a wealthy Chinese businessman, international fugitive and associate of Crown casinos.

Locals are scared.

Zhou has strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party and, according to the newspaper reports, is wanted in China for financial crime that has netted him tens of millions of dollars.

He is the subject of an Interpol notice and is supposed to be arrested immediately if he crosses a country’s border.

Instead, he owns luxury houses in Melbourne and the high-end shooting range on a 809-hectare (2000 acre) property backing on to Murrindindi Scenic Reserve, in the state’s north-east.

“They’re not just rich; they’re rich high-rollers coming in luxury cars,” one neighbour told The New Daily.

Tourists have tagged themselves at the Murrindindi property on Google

“These tourists are coming in as gun-toting John Waynes.”

Authorities have the property on their radar, and police are investigating whether crimes have been committed there.

“Victoria Police is aware of reports of illegal hunting at a Murrindindi property,” spokeswoman Leonie Johnson said.

On the company’s website, translated from Mandarin, Zhou’s shooting range boasts an authentic Australian tourist experience for Chinese trophy hunters.

“When we come to Australia, we should experience life that we can’t experience in China,” it reads.

“The first thing that should be felt in Australia is to be a wilderness hunter in the mountains of Australia.”

The Fairfax/Nine investigation identified Victorian police officer Greg Leather (left) with a client in a photo featured on the shooting range’s website.

Visitors without any shooting experience need not worry – the website assures tourists that “even if you don’t have any shooting experience, it doesn’t matter”.

“With professional guidance, you will be a great shooter!” it reads.

“Hares, foxes, wombats, wild ducks, red deer, sambars (deer) … a variety of wild animals to spend a happy holiday with you.”

A screenshot of the shooting range website depicting a wombat.

A Melbourne man, who owns a property in the Shire, told The New Daily he was shocked the business was encouraging tourists to come here and shoot wombats.

“Wombats are a native animal,” he said.

“They travel at a max speed of what you and I can walk at … how can you put a picture of a wombat on the website?”

Common wombats are a protected species in Victoria, except in 193 districts including Murrindindi where the animals have been declared unprotected wildlife.

Tensions are boiling over in the tight-knit community, with neighbours reporting they feel “scared” of unlicensed and inexperienced shooters firing powerful weapons close to their properties.

Horse and cattle breeders are particularly worried, with some saying they fear their animals are being “spooked” by the regular sound of high-calibre gun fire and are struggling to breed.

Despite the concerns from locals, it appears the owners of the hunting grounds are not planning to shut down any time soon; instead, they want to expand.

A planning application submitted to Murrindindi Shire Council shows Zhou wants to build a large hotel and a function complex on the property that will include a bar, restaurant and a gym.

A map included in the proposed planning application.

Residents have indicated they will lodge an objection.

SOURCE: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/vic/2019/07/29/crown-zhou-wombat-hunting/?fbclid=IwAR2C2trK2ie1HCyS-k5jROZX4y3lCE66EVCOs_YFeth7TEztR0xhu0T5jY8

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HOME AFFAIRS ADMITS DEAL WITH CROWN CASINOS TO FAST-TRACK VISAS!

Home Affairs admits deal with Crown Casinos to fast-track visas

crown casino visa deal

Crown Casino has been the subject of a Channel Nine investigation. Photo: AAP

Jade Macmillan

The federal government has confirmed it had an agreement with Crown Casinos to fast-track short stay visa applications for Chinese visitors.

The revelation of the deal between Crown and the Department of Home Affairs has fuelled mounting pressure for a parliamentary inquiry into the company’s dealings.

Crown has been the subject of a Channel Nine investigation that made a series of allegations about attempts to attract Chinese gamblers to its Australian casinos.

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed it has “stakeholder arrangements” with several large international organisations for the quick processing of short-stay visas, but insisted there was no special treatment given to applicants.

“The arrangement with Crown Casinos was put in place in 2003. The arrangement was last affirmed by the Minister in June 2011 and ceased in 2016,” a spokesperson for the department said.

“There is no reduced vetting in certain locations or for certain applicants. Our offices in China are well aware of the risks that may be present in their caseloads and they scrutinise and manage applications accordingly.

“There is no discretion to waive legislative checks or requirements and the department has no evidence that this has occurred.”

Former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg told Channel Nine that two federal ministers and a backbencher lobbied his agency to make it easier for Chinese gamblers to enter Australia on private jets.

Mr Quaedvlieg was sacked last year after an investigation found he helped his girlfriend try to secure a job within his department at Sydney Airport.

crown casino visa deal
Andrew Wilkie is leading the calls for an inquiry into the allegations. Photo: AAP

Calls for parliamentary inquiry into Crown

Independent MP and gambling critic Andrew Wilkie this week called for a parliamentary inquiry into the allegations raised by Channel Nine, a push supported by crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie and the Greens.

Deputy Opposition leader Richard Marles said Labor would not rule out supporting an inquiry, but demanded an explanation from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Labor was in power in 2011 when the visa arrangement with Crown was last affirmed.

“There are a number of serious allegations in what’s been broadcast over the last couple of days and whether there’s an inquiry or not, what we need to hear from is the Minister for Home Affairs and he needs to be explaining exactly what’s happened here,” Mr Marles said.

Mr Dutton is in London at a meeting of the Five Eyes intelligence partners.

On Monday, Attorney-General Christian Porter said he had not seen Channel Nine’s story but expected to be briefed on the matter “shortly”.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament it was a “serious topic” that dealt with “the integrity not only of our gaming industry, but of issues that go to law enforcement and border protection in this country”.

“Everyone is required to abide by Australian law, and that includes casino operators, public officials, and all visitors to our country,” he said.

Crown issued a statement on Monday saying it took its legal and regulatory responsibilities “very seriously”.

“Crown has a comprehensive anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing program which is subject to regulatory supervision by AUSTRAC,” it said.

“As referred to above, Crown takes its regulatory obligations very seriously and works closely with all of its regulatory agencies, including law enforcement, both state and federal.

“Crown has a robust process for vetting junket operators with whom it deals and undertakes regular ongoing reviews of these operators in the light of new or additional information that comes to its attention.”

-ABC

SOURCE: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/07/30/crown-casino-visa-deal/?fbclid=IwAR1xs5wrcnyxpnJHQhCBmbOO6E1r3Z-Mo9yD6Timf5CNsi0F2bUPzm4sIdI

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URBAN TASKFORCE … a Lobby Group representing Deve-lopers DEMANDS MORE HIGH-RISE!

SMH Photo: MEADOWBANK, RYDE LGA … it never stops! What could have been a beautiful riverside location with good public transport … has become shambolic … Meadowbank, a classic example of those with excessive footprints … and far too many of them!

For years, the development industry has been allowed to run rampant across Sydney. It now must be muzzled by the government.

Why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for defective builds? NSW Government needs to move now to recoup the costs from this industry!

Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

CAAN Photo: Godzillas in the Suburbs; ‘Ryde Garden’, RYDE LGA; 30 storeys has a massive impact on the North Ryde village and beyond … View: https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2019/07/28/godzillas-in-the-suburbs/

CAAN shares with you a visual tour of a couple of streets in Meadowbank to illustrate the dumpy apartment blocks with excessive footprints!

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

Meadowbank Godzillas! Row upon Row …

Urban Taskforce demands more high-rise slums

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Property

July 30, 2019 | 14 comments

Amid the proliferation of faulty and flammable high-rise apartments across Sydney, it is hard to fathom that the slum lords at the Urban Taskforce want even more:

Image may contain: outdoor

CAAN Photo: Townhomes atop the apartments? Meadowbank has become a huge residential/warehouse precinct with excessive footprints!

Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

CAAN Photo: View up Nancarrow Street Meadowbank; one of the latest areas to be redeveloped

Suburbs across Sydney are scarred with “big, fat, dumb” apartment buildings that provide poor living spaces for residents, according to two of the city’s leading architects.

Philip Thalis, who is also a City of Sydney councillor, accused developers of pursuing profits by cramming apartments into buildings with excessive footprints.

“What worries me is these overblown buildings, these Godzillas in the suburbs, are a really bad model,” he said.

Chris Johnson, the chief executive of the Urban Taskforce, a group representing the development industry, said councils and restrictive planning rules were to blame for “dumpy buildings”

Mr Johnson said limiting the number of apartments on each floor would drive up property prices: “We need to consider affordability in the number of apartments per floor”…

“Councils need to be more flexible with height to encourage slimmer towers,” he said…

However, Professor Knapp said tall building can “breed” anonymity: “Once people live too far from the ground, they become detached from the pedestrian realm and the sense of community and connection one has with their neighbourhood.”

For years developer lobbyists like the Urban Taskforce have argued to cut red tape in order to build bigger, higher and faster. Deregulation, they claim, will help solve Sydney’s chronic housing affordability woes.

But the proof is in the pudding, with rubbish apartment blocks spreading like weeds across Sydney, many requiring rectification, and owners and taxpayers left to pick up the tab.

The definition of insanity is to double down and repeat the same mistakes over and over again while expecting a different result.

For years, the development industry has been allowed to run rampant across Sydney. It now must be muzzled by the government.

SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/07/urban-taskforce-demands-high-rise-slums/

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COMMUTING TIMES SOAR WITH HOUSE PRICES AND POPULATION BOOM BLAMED FOR GRIDLOCK

HOW can this be denied? But is there any mention of those who brought this about? As the coffers of the Big End of Town overflow, as they rise up the AFR Rich List

… this is the price that we pay for their Ponzi

… it can take us 30, 50 minutes to drive a few suburbs away!

Then where to park?

Public transport is inadequate … much of it now being privatised like that in the U.K. … to become prohibitively expensive too as with the motorways ? …

Where will the $$ come from to build more ‘public transport’ now that the Ponzi is cracking up or falling down? And the NSW Grubmnt is being sued …

Through Visa Manipulation … that which Scomo does not mention … an extra 2.2 MILLION Visa Holders are in the Nation … many seeking ‘permanent residency’ through education or buying our real estate … and compounding the need for more ‘public transport’

… like a dog chasing its own tail!

Commuting times soar, with house prices and population boom blamed for gridlock

ABC News Breakfast By Patrick Wood

30 JULY 2019

Construction worker Paul on his morning commute to work.

PHOTO: Paul’s train trip to work takes 50 minutes each way. (ABC News: Patrick Wood)

RELATED STORY: The design trick that could cut 12 minutes off your train commute

RELATED STORY: How the commute changes us — and sometimes it’s for the better

RELATED STORY: Their commutes may be long, slow and stressful, but some Australians still love driving to work

Commuting times have risen across Australia and are leading people to consider quitting their jobs, according to new data.

Key points

  • Average commuting times are up in almost every capital city and state
  • Workers in some jobs have almost double the proportion of lengthy commutes
  • An expert has called for greater funding for public transport

Workers now spend on average 4.5 hours a week getting to and from work a rise of 23 per cent since 2002 — but this can jump even higher depending on where someone lives and even what job they have.

The data has been compiled in the latest annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, which has been running for almost two decades.

Sydneysiders have always fared the worst, closely followed by Melbourne, but both are now being chased down by Brisbane, which has blown out by almost 50 per cent in recent years.

Commuters in the ACT have experienced the biggest surge in commute times, while those in Tasmania are the only ones to have actually seen a decrease.

Mean daily commuting times – there and back (minutes)200220052008201120142017Change (%)
Sydney 60.665.469.56571.271.117.4
Rest of NSW 41.940.948.946.147.751.422.6
Melbourne 58.660.366.564.16865.411.5
Rest of Victoria 36.338.451.148.246.345.826.1
Brisbane 4655.255.962.961.766.744.8
Rest of Queensland 37.842.7444447.84929.7
Adelaide 44.853.751.652.154.656.325.6
Rest of South Australia 29.234.830.434.336.241.743.1
Perth 49.949.957.15658.859.318.7
Rest of Western Australia 26.244.236.339.14043.365.1
Tasmania 42.647.341.442.543.641.8-1.9
Northern Territory 29.339.931.23435.134.718.5
Australian Capital Territory 31.335.741.150.855.351.564.5

Everything from population booms, to rising house prices and a lack of investment in public transport is being blamed for the trend.

Todd Denham from RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research said infrastructure was not keeping up with population growth, particularly in the outskirts of major cities.

And he said this had been associated with a range of personal issues.

A side car mirror reflects Sydney traffic in peak hour. There are trucks, vans, and cars lined up.

PHOTO: Bumper-to-bumper traffic is the norm for many people. (ABC News: Taryn Southcombe)

“People have poorer health because they spend more time commuting,” he said.

“You are also away from your family for longer periods of time.

“And research connects time spent commuting to higher rates of divorce [and] lower rates of participation in community volunteering.”

*Mr Denham advocated greater funding for public transport, adding the major projects he saw going ahead were still focused on cars.

“If there was a shift in the way that our politicians were thinking about these issues with congestion, there would be even more investment in rail and public transport rather than roads,” he said.

Exploring Australia’s worst car commutes

Exploring Australia's worst car commutes

We’ve studied thousands of Australians’ car commutes — they are long, slow and stressful, but in some cases, maybe better than you’d think.

Brisbane local Graham Bingham knows the pain of the peak-hour rush and has seen the effect of urban sprawl.

“The traffic has increased in my area of Brisbane because there have been hundreds of new homes built in this area but the roads cannot cope,” he said.

“Over the last 12 months a kilometre-long unofficial third lane has been forming every morning by drivers wanting to get onto the motorway at Belmont in Brisbane.”

While some workers might look to public transport as the solution, construction worker Paul warned it was not a stress-free switch.

Commuters aboard a packed train bound for Brisbane's CBD from Deagon station

PHOTO: Does your morning train trip look like this? (ABC News: Patrick Williams)

His train journey from Melbourne’s north into the city takes 50 minutes each way, and he said the afternoon crush could be a nightmare.

“It’s how packed the trains get that’s the worst,” he said.

“Going home, mate if you don’t get in and push some old lady over you don’t get a seat.

“Driving in it would take maybe half an hour, but that’s leaving at 5:00am. Going home it’d take an hour-and-a-half.”

Long commutes create unhappy workers

The latest HILDA report is based on 2017 data and includes all workers aged 15 years and older, including those who work from home and have a commuter time of zero.

*It found a correlation between longer commute times and a desire to switch jobs, with everything from satisfaction around pay, flexibility and working hours all lower for those who travelled for longer.

Of those with a long commute, 19 per cent had looked for a job in the past month — compared with 15 per cent doing short trips, and 17 per cent with a medium one.

How people rated their work on a scale of 0-10ShortMediumLong
Working hours 7.37.27.1
Flexibility to balance work and non-work commitments 7.67.47.4
Total pay 7.27.27.1
Job overall 7.87.67.4

But it is not just clogged roads and more people that are leading to a rise in travel times.

House prices have surged across the country in the past decade, pushing many workers into the suburbs and beyond as they searched for affordable homes.

In some cases, the simple distance needed to get from home to work has increased, and with it the time spent commuting.

How commuting changes us

How commuting changes us

The daily trip to work changes us in ways you wouldn’t expect — and sometimes for the better.

Statistically speaking, a male tradie with two dependent kids is the most likely to have a lengthy commute.

So meet Alex Gray.

The electrician has two young boys and is currently building a family home in the town of Warragul, 100km south-east of Melbourne.

His job often takes him to Melbourne and he estimates he drives about 1,000km every week for work.

“To me it’s worthwhile. Having an affordable lifestyle and where we live is more of a priority than living closer to where I need to be,” he said.

“The thing for me that we weighed up was living on the fringe of suburbia, I prefer to travel half an hour further on to Warragul and have the lifestyle that we can have in Warragul and the affordability of housing and stuff like that.”

Alex Gray in Warragul with his ute.

PHOTO: Alex Gray has prioritised his family over his own travel time. (ABC News: Patrick Wood)

The HILDA survey found technicians and trades workers were the most likely to experience long commutes, well ahead of sales workers at the other end of the scale.

Prevalence of different commute lengths, by occupation, 2017 (%)ShortMediumLong
Managers 49.930.419.7
Professionals 46.533.320.2
Technicians and Trades Workers 45.731.123.2
Community and Personal Service Workers 5926.114.9
Clerical and Administrative Workers 50.83019.2
Sales Workers 67.821.910.3
Machinery Operators and Drivers 59.426.114.5
Labourers 61.322.516.2
Total 52.72918.3

Short = less than one hour a day. Medium = 1-2 hours a day. Long = 2+ hours a day.

Mr Gray said while better public transport might help office workers, it was not the answer for tradies. And the thinking that more people taking trains would ease congestion on the roads did not always stack up.

“In my case it wouldn’t help at all,” he said.

“There’s predominantly two waves of traffic each day, and there will be a time from 5:00am to maybe 7:00am where it will be all trades vehicles. Every one will be a ute.

“And then from 7:00am to 9:00am that will be the office workers.

“So for those trades vehicles I don’t see any other way … you need your vehicles, you need your equipment where you’re going to be.”

Reading this on a train? Check these out:

On the infrastructure side of things, Mr Denham said the answer was not necessarily to make commutes into the city easier, because this could drain the economy of regional towns.

Instead, he argued, we should make the regions more attractive and have better jobs.

“When you look at the amount of money that’s being proposed on spending on fast rail projects there seems to me to be an important question that’s not asked, which is how else could we spend that money to develop stronger, more vibrant regional economies that attract people to live there?”

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-30/commuting-times-soar-with-house-prices-population-boom-blamed/11346258

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BORDER FORCE OFFICIAL WORKED FOR CROWN HIGH-ROLLER AND WANTED CRIMINAL

PETER DUTTON: “The Prime Minister and I are absolutely resolute in making sure that we can never allow people to come here by boat.” As the Crown Casino high-rollers fly in by private jet … through a ‘smooth’ border security process …

  • INVESTIGATION

Border Force official worked for Crown high-roller and wanted criminal

By Nick McKenzieNick Toscano and Grace Tobin

July 29, 2019

View all comments

A serving Australian Border Force official moonlighted to provide security for an international criminal fugitive who has worked with Crown Resorts to bring Chinese high rollers into Australia.

Border Force official Andrew Ure worked at least once for Tom Zhou, a Crown high-roller junket agent who is wanted by Interpol for serious crimes and is involved in Chinese government influence activities in Australia.

Play video1:37Crown Unmasked – Borders

Trio of sentiment boosting themes underwrite record-run

Former head of Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg, claims that he was lobbied by two ministers and another MP to help “smooth out” the border security process for Crown’s big gamblers arriving from China.

Leaked Crown data also reveals how the casino company warned their staff not to abuse the gaming company’s “hotline” to consulates and Australian immigration officials in China because it might reduce the firm’s ability to expedite visas for its Chinese VIP gamblers.

Security officials speaking on the condition of anonymity have also confirmed that discussions are underway between state and federal agencies about the information emerging from Crown’s internal documents.

Mr Ure is the second law enforcement official to be revealed as having worked for Mr Zhou. Mr Ure and a Victorian police officer, Greg Leather, had dealings with him after Crown had earlier arranged for a former detective to protect Mr Zhou and his business.

Tom Zhou and Ming Chai.
Tom Zhou and Ming Chai.CREDIT:

Records reveal Mr Ure travelled from Australia to Vanuatu in 2017 with Mr Zhou, who is also a suspected money launderer and runs several Chinese Communist Party influence organisations in Melbourne.

Also on the Vanuatu flight was Mr Zhou’s business partner and Crown “VVIP” Ming Chai, the cousin of Chinese president Xi Jinping and a figure of intense interest to Australia’s security and policing agencies.

Mr Chai has faced publicly reported corruption allegations and is a business partner of suspected Australian-Chinese criminals.

A security firm run by a former detective introduced Mr Leather to Mr Zhou in 2016, according to sources involved in the arrangement.

RELATED ARTICLE

"Mr Chinatown", Tom Zhou
CROWN UNMASKED

Crown’s unsavoury business links: how Australia’s casino got tied up with criminals

Mr Leather is now working as a detective at a suburban Melbourne police station.  A police spokesman said on Monday that VicPol had been “made aware of allegations that a member took secondary employment without authorisation, whilst suspended and under investigation.

“Professional Standards Command have been notified and will investigate the claim. At this stage it is not appropriate to comment further.”

Former Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg said it was extremely high risk for police and Border Force officers to moonlight for high-roller junket agents because of the well documented risks that many are linked to organised crime.

But there is no suggestion Mr Ure or Mr Leather were involved in any wrongdoing or knew about the allegations against their employer.

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Billionaire James Packer has sold a substantial holding in Crown Resorts.
CASINOS

Regulators’ ‘nothing to see here’ approach to Crown scandal defies belief

The apparent cosiness between Crown casino and visa and consulate officials in China raises serious questions for the Federal government, including immigration minister Peter Dutton, although it is unclear whether it was under Labor or the coalition that these dealings were first given the green light.

State-based casino regulators also under fire for apparently failing to combat Crown’s partnership with alleged criminal entities.

A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said all visa applications were assessed against the law. “Our offices in China are well aware of the risks … and they scrutinise and manage applications accordingly,” the spokesperson said, and the Department had “no evidence” of conditions being waived for Crown.

But the emails reveal Crown used Mr Zhou, who is also a Chinese Communist Party influence operative, to vouch for a number of high rollers as they sought visas to travel to Australia to gamble.

Crown’s internal emails also reveal staff lobbied Australian officials to expedite the provision of hundreds of visas for a second junket operator, SunCity, which is accused of organised crime links.

Crown Resorts' former president of international marketing Michael Chen.
Crown Resorts’ former president of international marketing Michael Chen.

“I will be asking the consulate to give these [applications] special and prompt attention,” Crown’s president of international marketing,  Michael Chen wrote in a September 2014 email about helping SunCity obtain visas.

Crown appeared to be conscious of the security risks posed by some of its high-rollers. In one exchange from late 2015, a senior Crown manager raised concerns about a group of 13 Chinese nationals that Crown wanted to bring to Australia. Five had already been blocked by the Australian consulate because they provided false paperwork on their visa applications.

“My concern is the 8 more people with valid visa travelling to Australia and over stay?? How do we know if they are genuine punters, and will not over stay??” Crown senior manager Alfread Gomez wrote in an email to a colleague.

RELATED ARTICLE

Former Crown Resorts employee Jenny Jiang
CROWN UNMASKED

Gangsters, gamblers and Crown casino: How it all went wrong

He also queried if his colleague had ever personally met the visa applicants.

Emails relating to the same case revealed a senior Australian migration official, Brett Elliott, warning Crown that its “applicants provided fraudulent documents” and that the company “may wish to review your processes for vetting clients prior to providing support”.

In another case, Crown intervened on behalf of a Chinese high-roller, Chen Rongsheng, who had a criminal conviction for insider trading.

Crown’s Mr Chen told Australian visa officials in Guangzhou that their client was “one of [our] key target patrons” who would be part of a group of punters prepared to gamble millions of dollars at Crown.

RELATED ARTICLE

Crown
CROWN UNMASKED

Xi Jinping’s cousin a high roller as Crown comes under pressure over crime, influence

“I’m happy to submit this with [Crown’s] full support on the basis his application [was] initially rejected,” Mr Chen wrote.

Other emails described how Chen Rongsheng had been “found guilty of insider trading on [sic] 2007, sentenced to 2 years and suspended for 2 years, the case already close on 2009”. However, he had “not provided some sensitive information … when he last applied for an Australian visa.”

Crown staff appeared in their exchanges to be especially anxious to get Mr Rongsheng a visa because of his vast wealth. He “had arranged the dinner on board his private yacht Aurora … one of the well known Super Yachts,” the email said.

“I estimate the yacht to be worth around USD10-15m.”

In Crown emails written in July 2013, it appears some Crown staff shopped around between different consulate offices on the basis that some had weaker vetting procedures.

One email said applicants likely to be blocked by a certain Australian visa office in China because they did not “have good reputation or [have a] visa refusal record” should apply to a different consulate.

In one email, Mr Chen said there was a risk consulate staff ‘will view us as abusing the hotline’ and it should only be used if ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ are at stake.

Emails from September 2014 reveal how a Crown senior manager pushed an Australian consulate office to overturn a decision to deny a visa to a high-roller. The consulate ruled the man was likely to breach the conditions of the visa he had applied for.

“I understand from my colleague in Guangzhou that your office have some concern with above applicant on the type of visa he is applying?? Please let me know how we can assist further on this application in order for him to get a valid travel visa to Australia,” the email stated.

RELATED ARTICLE

The scandals at Crown Casino provided plenty of material for questions in Parliament, but only two eventuated on Monday.
CROWN UNMASKED

Parliament’s lack of scrutiny of Crown suggests lobbying pays dividends

“My colleague in Shenyang … met [the visa applicant] recently to collect his documentation and did some background check … Please advice [sic] urgently?”

Australia’s consular offices overseas are partly staffed by foreign nationals to save money, and senior security sources said cases of weak or fast-tracked vetting involving Crown applicants in China was replicated in other countries.

In late 2014, Mr Chen,  Crown’s then-president of international marketing, wrote to colleagues advising them about when Crown should “activate the emergency line” to Australian immigation officers. It was to be used “only for critical cases (i.e. big customers),” and not abused, wrote Mr Chen, who left Crown in late 2016.

“The purpose of the ‘special line’ is not for last minute girlfriend additions [on trips to Australia] … we should try to avoid using our emergency channel unless it is critical [because] it diminishes our ability to use it in the future,” his email states.

RELATED ARTICLE

Private jet
CROWN UNMASKED

Home Affairs had an agreement to fast-track visa applications for Crown

In another email from November 2014, Mr Chen advised colleagues there was a risk consulate staff “will view us as abusing the hotline” and said it should only be used “where we may have hundreds of millions of dollars of turnover at stake”.

“In those situations, the consulate is very understanding and will do everything they can to help us. But, we should not be using our terrific relationship to speed up normal processing of normal applications.”

Mr Quaedvlieg said Crown’s facilitation of Chinese VIP gamblers into Australia, including on private jets, raised major security concerns.

“My immediate reaction was there was an enhanced risk … Who was coming on these flights? They were being coordinated, organised, through junket operators which are widely known, not just in the public sphere, but certainly within the law enforcement context, as being a triad-affiliated,” Mr Quaedvlieg said.

In a statement through his lawyer, James Packer said he “adamantly” insisted that he had “no … knowledge” of the company’s conduct in China that had led to the prosecution of 18 of the company’s employees in 2016 for illegally selling gambling products in China. He played a “passive role” at Crown, according to the lawyer’s letter.

Mr Quaedvlieg, who was sacked from Australian Border Force last year for helping his girlfriend obtain a job at the agency, revealed on 60 Minutes on Sunday that he and other senior agency figures were lobbied by federal MPs to make it easier for Crown high-rollers to pass Customs.

“I spoke to a sitting member of parliament in addition to two ministers,” he said. “It’s very clear that there was a powerful constituency behind the entreaty.”

Nick McKenzie

Nick McKenzie is an investigative reporter for The Age. He’s won seven Walkley awards and covers politics, business, foreign affairs and defence, human rights issues, the criminal justice system and social affairs.

Nick Toscano

Business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/border-force-official-worked-for-crown-high-roller-and-wanted-criminal-20190726-p52b7w.html?utm_source=newsletters&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SMH+AM+News

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HOME AFFAIRS HAD AN AGREEMENT TO FAST-TRACK VISA APPLICATIONS FOR CROWN

CROWN GATE …

  • EXCLUSIVE

Home Affairs had an agreement to fast-track visa applications for Crown

By Rob Harris and David Crowe

July 29, 2019

View all comments

The Australian government has been fast-tracking visa applications on behalf of wealthy and influential clients of major companies – including Crown Resorts – for nearly 15 years under an agreement that abruptly ended three years ago.

Crown executives and Department of Home Affairs officials now face being hauled before a public inquiry following damaging revelations about the gaming giant’s flagship Melbourne casino and claims federal MPs attempted to influence visa approvals for international high-rollers.

Pressure on the government over Newstart

Play video2:21Crown Unmasked – Consular help

Jenny Jiang says Australian consulate offices in China helped Crown get fast-tracked visas, and rubber-stamped some applications.

Former Crown Resorts employee Jenny Jiang blew the whistle on the powerful organisation on Saturday, alleging Crown’s desire to penetrate the lucrative Chinese market was facilitated by Australian consulate staff in China.

The department confirmed on Monday it had struck deals with “a number of large international organisations”, including Crown, to quickly process short-stay visas through Australian consulates and embassies around the world.

But it maintained there was no special treatment or reduced vetting in any locations for any applicants.

RELATED ARTICLE

The scandals at Crown Casino provided plenty of material for questions in Parliament, but only two eventuated on Monday.
CROWN UNMASKED

Parliament’s lack of scrutiny of Crown suggests lobbying pays dividends

*”Our offices in China are well aware of the risks that may be present in their case loads and they scrutinise and manage applications accordingly,” a department spokesman said.

“These arrangements always make it clear that applicants are subject to the full range of applicable checks.”

The deal with Crown Casinos was put in place by the Howard government in 2003 and last renewed by the Gillard government in June 2011 before it ended in 2016. It is unclear why the long-standing arrangement ceased.

In a statement, a department spokesman said visa applications had to meet all requirements, including relevant national security and character criteria, before they could be granted.

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Andrew Wilkie has called for a Parliamentary inquiry into Crown.
CROWN UNMASKED

Jacqui Lambie joins Andrew Wilkie in calling for parliamentary inquiry into Crown

“There is no discretion to waive legislative checks or requirements and the department has no evidence that this has occurred.”

Key Senate crossbencher Jacqui Lambie joined Tasmanian counterpart Andrew Wilkie on Monday to demand an inquiry after The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age and 60 Minutes revealed a string of allegations about government officials and the casino’s domestic and international operations.

Labor has not ruled out supporting an inquiry but the Morrison government would have to support the push to ensure a joint committee gained support in both houses of Parliament.

A hearing would have the power to call Crown employees and senior government officials to give evidence.

Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said the government “needed to explain” the reports and “address the failures” of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

“The integrity of our visa system as well as money laundering, organised crime and sex trafficking are serious issues that cannot go unexplained by Mr Dutton,” she said.

Pressure on the government over Newstart

Former head of Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg, claims that he was lobbied by two ministers and another MP to help “smooth out” the border security process for Crown’s big gamblers arriving from China.

Pressure on the government over Newstart
2:25

“All roads lead to Peter Dutton’s mismanagement and incompetence – if he does not explain himself, Labor will consider our options to hold the Home Affairs Minister accountable.”

Attorney-General Christian Porter said he had not seen the 60 Minutes report but expected briefings if required from regulators including the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, which monitors money-laundering.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament the allegations raised were “a very serious topic” and dealt with the integrity of the gaming industry and law enforcement issues.

“Everyone is required to abide by the Australian law including casino operators, public officials and all visitors to our country,” he said.

“Our law enforcement agencies are working hard to disrupt and deter criminal groups by collecting evidence and intelligence about financially motivated crime.”

Crown Resorts has longstanding connections with people on both sides of politics and has hired a number of former politicians.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Helen Coonan is on the Crown board and former Labor minister Mark Arbib has worked closely with the company in the past as an adviser to James Packer and his company Consolidated Press Holdings, the largest single shareholder in Crown.

Rob Harris

Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra

David Crowe

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

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/home-affairs-had-an-agreement-to-fast-track-visa-applications-for-crown-20190729-p52bwi.html

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ARE WE GOING TO BECOME HONG KONG? OPINION FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE VICTORIAN PLANNING AUTHORITY

OPINION

Are we are going to become Hong Kong? Absolutely not

By Stuart Moseley

July 22, 2019

View all comments

Increasing population, housing affordability, greater urban density and the impact all of this has on the liveability of our city are top of mind for Victorians these days.

Our city and state are changing rapidly. The biggest tranche of infrastructure projects in the state’s history are visible everywhere. We are going through growing pains and many of us aren’t that happy about it.

Medium and high-density housing are changing the nature of the inner city seemingly expanding the boundaries of the CBD.
Medium and high-density housing are changing the nature of the inner city seemingly expanding the boundaries of the CBD.CREDIT:ANGELA WYLIE

New suburbs seem to be springing up everywhere in what some might think is uncontrolled urban sprawl. Medium and high-density housing are changing the nature of the inner city, seemingly expanding the boundaries of the CBD. Some parts of middle Melbourne are seeing a boom in unit development on the traditional quarter-acre block.

It’s uncomfortable when you suddenly realise you have to fight for a car park in your once-quiet street.

In some of our suburbs the pressure of development has slackened, with a recent decline in house and apartment pricesSigns show things are ticking up again – great for existing home owners and investors, depressing for first-home buyers.

Some owners and investors who paid deposits during the peak of the property market are feeling the pain. Some who bought high-rise apartments have found they have dangerous flammable cladding surrounding them. And to top it off, Melbourne is not the world’s most liveable city any more, we’re second.

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Crown's 323-metre-high proposal for Southbank.
DEVELOPMENT

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*As Melburnians, I think we need to be honest with ourselves. I’m new to this great city and love it but I have noticed that many of us don’t much like change, especially if we have to sacrifice something to achieve it.

I think it’s time as a community to sort out the first world problems from the things that will really matter. Do we have a liveable environment? Can we walk or cycle to most of the places we want to go? Do we live within a 20-minute trip of where we work? Do we have easy access to all the services and amenities we need? Are our homes environmentally sustainable and do we have open space close to where we live? Are we totally reliant on our cars?

*According to the The Economist Intelligence Unit, which compiles the World’s Most Liveable Cities index, we have the desirable things people around the globe want, in spades – healthcare, education, infrastructure, fantastic culture and environment.

*The question on your lips is probably, are we stuffing it up?

There are a number of realities that as Victorians we don’t have direct power over. National population growth is one of the big ones. Melbourne will overtake Sydney in population at current projections by 2028.

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Defects in a Sydney building.
DEVELOPMENT OUTRAGE

Developers cutting corners for profit would be a crime elsewhere

One of the consequences of this could be an endless suburban sprawl into Melbourne’s hinterland.

Most Melburnians probably don’t know that our city has for some time had a clear Urban Growth Boundary to limit urban expansion. Because there is agreement that sprawl is not a good idea, the Victorian government has an aspiration to accommodate 70 per cent of the new housing growth in Melbourne’s established areas. That means densification.

Does that mean we are going to become Hong Kong? Absolutely not. Different building types will be appropriate for different areas of the city and the state.

Brownfields, old industrial land near the inner city, will continue to be developed with a mix of homes.

We are working towards a proportion of those homes being affordable for low-income families and people, as well as social housing to help ease the painfully visible fact of widespread homelessness.

We also need to acknowledge the changing nature of our demographic mix. In many areas of Melbourne, the most common living arrangement, within a decade, will be “single person”. In recent times we have been confronted to learn that nearly 450,000 Melburnians are living in houses with more bedrooms than they need.

Of course, people should always have a choice, as apartments aren’t for everyone, but with an ageing population there are other important factors we should consider like proximity to family and friends and services.

One of the economic benefits of creating this choice is affordability. State government research for the two years from January 2016 shows that in Hawthorn, for example, 56 per cent of apartment transactions were below $600,000, compared to the median house price of $1.995 million. In Moonee Ponds, 82 per cent of apartments sold were below $650,000, compared to the median of $1.128 million.

RELATED ARTICLE

Flammable cladding fuelled London's Grenfell Tower blaze in 2017, in which 72 people died.
COMBUSTIBLE CLADDING CRISIS

How can we stop the cladding crisis from happening again?

I would not be surprised that after recent well-publicised difficulties with apartment construction in Sydney and flammable cladding nationwide that some are questioning higher density living. 

The Victorian government’s response in announcing a $600 million package to rectify the crisis shows a commitment not only to fairness but to create confidence in the safety of denser living.

In the meantime, we are boosting housing choice in targeted locations in established Melbourne. Many councils have been leading the way on this for some years. For example, the City of Yarra has done great work with the Alphington paper mill development and along the Yarra at Abbotsford.

Another example is the Arden Precinct in North Melbourne. This brownfield site two kilometres from the CBD will be transformed into homes for 15,000 people and 34,000 jobs by 2051 and serviced by one of our new Metro stations. But much more is needed.

Stuart Moseley is chief executive of the Victorian Planning Authority.

SOURCE: https://www.smh.com.au/national/victoria/are-we-are-going-to-become-hong-kong-absolutely-not-20190722-p529i2.html

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BRISBANE LUXURY APARTMENT DEFECTS FORCE OWNER OUT OF HOME: STILL UNLIVEABLE TWO YEARS LATER

Macro Business Graph reveals how in 2017 the Queensland highrise apartment approvals soared … and so too, it seems, corresponding with a fall in building quality!

HOW often have you heard apartment owners complain like Dr Carter that developers should not be allowed voting rights on the body corporate in the first year whereby they can block other home owners gaining rectification of defective work?

IT’s time, isn’t it, that both national and state authorities dealt with the perpetrators through legislation … they have had it all their way, it would seem, for too long now … and this crisis cannot be allowed to continue … otherwise how many more home owners will be suing governments?

From ‘Macro Business’ …

Brisbane luxury apartment defects force owner out of home still unliveable two years later

Exclusive by Josh Bavas

29 JULY 2019

VIDEO: First came the water, then came the mould (ABC News)

RELATED STORY: Called on to fix the Australian dream turned ‘nightmare’, building ministers gather

RELATED STORY: Nick bought his apartment for $1 million but he’s not allowed to move in

RELATED STORY: How to avoid living in a ‘lemon’ — what you need to know before buying an apartment

A Brisbane unit owner is facing bankruptcy after a serious defect in her new $1.7 million luxury apartment caused thousands of dollars worth of damage, forcing her family to move out.

Key points:

  • Owner Louisa Carter says apart from the roof, her apartment is still awaiting a refit after being partially gutted because of the water damage
  • The QBCC ordered construction company Maxcon to fix the leak and later closed the case file after some works were carried out
  • She is now pursuing Maxcon Construction in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for compensation, which could be referred to a higher court

It is one of the latest cases to emerge on a growing list of faulty apartments as national and state authorities grapple with how to manage the issue.

Louisa Carter purchased a new four-bedroom sub-penthouse in The Johnson apartment tower in inner-city Brisbane in 2017.

The former Department of Transport building in Spring Hill was transformed into an art series hotel and residential complex by developer and Melbourne-based Asian Pacific Group, now known as the Deague Group.

But Dr Carter said her roof began leaking just days after she and her family moved into the apartment.

“In the first big storm, suddenly there was water pouring into the main bedroom,” she said.

Her apartment was later overtaken by mould.

Unit owner Louisa Carter stands near a window with city views in her unfinished Spring Hill apartment.

PHOTO: Dr Carter has also raised the matter with Housing Minister Mick de Brenni. (ABC News: Josh Bavas)

Despite lodging a series of complaints, more than two years later the defects are yet to be fully rectified.

She said her apartment was still awaiting a refit after being partially gutted because of the water damage.

“This is a state-heritage listed property — it’s meant to be kept for future generations,” she said.

“We’ve got a colander for a roof pouring [water] down through the concrete.”

‘We’re caught in a stalemate’

Dr Carter said she first raised issues with the developer and her body corporate, and also complained to Queensland’s Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

The QBCC ordered construction company Maxcon to fix the leak and later closed the case file after some works were carried out.

Serious-looking Spring Hill unit owner Louisa Carter stands against the kitchen island bench in her property.

PHOTO: Just days after moving into the new apartment with her family, Dr Carter said her roof began leaking. (ABC News: Josh Bavas)

But the body corporate’s insurance company recently found there were still building defect issues with the property, and while it was willing to pay thousands of dollars to refurbish the unit, it would not authorise work until the issues were resolved.

After complaining to the Office of Fair Trading that her unit was not fit for purpose, Dr Carter was told the matter was classified as a “warranty” issue, suggesting she could take civil action in court.

She said she had been left thousands of dollars out of pocket after renting another property.

“We’re in limbo,” she said.

“We’re caught in a stalemate between parties — I feel like collateral damage in a financial equation and it’s just not good enough — it’s my home.”

Dr Carter is now set to pursue Maxcon Construction for compensation via a referral from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) to the Supreme Court.

She is also raising the matter with Queensland Housing Minister Mick de Brenni.

Water damage has been reported in at least one other apartment on the same level.

A room with a city view of unit owner Louisa Carter's unfinished Spring Hill apartment in inner-city Brisbane

PHOTO: Dr Carter says she has been left thousands of dollars out of pocket after renting another property. (ABC News: Josh Bavas)

Last week, state and territory ministers held emergency talks in response to a wave of similar problems across the country, including defective buildings and flammable cladding.

*Dr Carter said developers should not be allowed voting rights on the body corporate in the first year to give new owners greater power.

“That’s just ludicrous — that’s the year you’re finding out what’s wrong with the building,” she said.

“My issue is, as an individual unit owner, I don’t have any control over the common lot — the roof — so I’m caught.”

When approached by ABC News, a lawyer acting for Maxcon Constructions said the company “complied with all of its legal obligations in this matter, including rectifying the water leak” and suggested third parties might have caused or contributed to the problem.

Unit owner Louisa Carter stands in her bedroom in her unfinished Spring Hill apartment.

PHOTO: Dr Carter said developers should not be allowed voting rights on the body corporate in the first year. (ABC News: Josh Bavas)

A lawyer for the Deague Group said it was “not appropriate to comment” because of the proceedings lodged with QCAT, but denied Dr Carter’s claims and said Deague stood by its products and accepted its responsibilities.

Mr de Brenni declined to comment.

A spokesman for the QBCC said a “guttering issue” was rectified by the builder, but any further concerns would need to be lodged by the body corporate.

“The QBCC understands that Dr Carter has further concerns about the roof of this building,” the spokesman said.

“Due to the ownership structure of the building, and because the roof is considered common property, the QBCC would need to receive a complaint from the body corporate in order for the commission to legally carry out an inspection and investigation into the roof of the building.

“At this stage the QBCC has not received a complaint from the body corporate but will continue to provide advice to Dr Carter on the options available to her.”

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-29/queensland-building-defects-unit-owner-faces-bankruptcy/11335478

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RECORD INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ENROLMENTS OVERLOAD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

IN VICTORIA where the schools are bursting at the seams …

The International Education Division, Department of Education and Training‘ released a report …

‘ … “Please do not offer places at your school to education agents or direct applicants for 2019″…

International students pay around $15,000 per year to study at Victorian state schools… While some schools make a small profit off international students, many just break even because these students attract no state or federal funding.

OBVIOUSLY the Housing Ponzi also inevitably leads to an erosion of education standards … ditto Sydney … NSW …

Record international student enrolments overload public schools

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy July 29, 2019 | 15 comments

JULY 29 2019

Over the weekend, The AFR ran two puff pieces on the record international student enrolments at Australian schools, which it presented as unambiguously positive.

The first article focused on the intake at Toorak College in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular:

There were more than 25,000 international students in Australian schools last year, an increase of 11 per cent on 2016.

Mostly arriving from China and India, these students can board informally, stay in hostels or go to an Australian boarding school

The boarding house currently has 62 boarders living in it and 58 are international, two-thirds of whom are from China, says Dea, the rest mainly from south-east Asian countries…

“This part of Mornington Peninsula is not known for its multicultural diversity,” she says. Nevertheless, the international boarders add more to the school than they take out. We have a very harmonious boarding school.”

Data from Macquarie Research this year shows international students, or their families, see student visas as route to jobs and permanent residency in Australia.  Victoria Baldwin

The second article focused on St Paul’s Anglican School in Brisbane’s north:

St Paul’s School in Brisbane’s north is an Anglican school with about 1300 students… Next semester there will be 128 students at St Paul’s International School…

“Australia is multi-cultural but north Brisbane is not that diverse. Foreign language students provide a rich perspective” [headmaster Paul Browning said]…

Data from Macquarie Research showed this year that international students, or their families, see student visas as a route to jobs and permanent residency in Australia.

*Conveniently missing from the stories is that a high proportion of international students are going to public schools and contributing to chronic overcrowding.

EXTRACT FROM ‘THE AGE’

‘As you may be aware, Victorian government schools have a system-wide enrolment cap for international students, set by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, which represents the total number of international students that can be enrolled across all Victorian government schools. This system-wide enrolment cap of 5,750 full-fee paying international students ensures the quality of the program we deliver continues to be world-class, meets educational and welfare legislative requirements under the ESOS Act 2000, maintains available enrolment places for local students, and delivers outcomes for Victorian communities.

Due to the popularity of the program, if we continue to receive applications we will exceed our enrolment cap in Term 3, 2019. Accordingly, we are not in a position to accept all students who would like to study in Victorian government schools in 2019.

All recent standard student applications with a commencement date of 2019 are being asked to defer their study period to Term 1, 2020.International Education Division, Department of Education and Training

As reported by The Age in May:

For the first time, state schools have been warned they are at risk of breaching a cap on international students set by the Victorian schools’ watchdog…

Victorian Education Department said it would exceed the enrolment cap of 5750 students next term if it continued to receive international student applications…

“Please do not offer places at your school to education agents or direct applicants for 2019″…

International students pay around $15,000 per year to study at Victorian state schools… While some schools make a small profit off international students, many just break even because these students attract no state or federal funding.

MB: Victoria’s schools are already bursting at the seems. Adding international students into the mix obviously makes the overcrowding situation much worse.

For example, the Victorian Auditor General in 2017 claimed that the state needed 50 new schools by 2021 to cater for a projected 90,000 new students. The Auditor General also warned that “school maintenance continues to be underfunded and is at levels below industry standards”:

According to Goss, the situation in Melbourne’s inner-city is most urgent due to the “cost and scarcity of land”, because “Melbourne’s five most central local government areas will each see a 30% to 60% increase in student numbers over the next decade”.

It is a slippery slope when Australia’s public schools become reliant on international students to supplement their funding.

As we have already seen with Australia’s tertiary education sector, it inevitably leads to an erosion of education standards as teachers come under increasing pressure to cater to these students at the expense of local students in order to grow enrolments and keep the fees rolling in.

Many state schools are already over enrolled and the possibility of displacing local students with international students should be discouraged.

Unidentified young students walking to school with parent.

PHOTO: The demand for schools in Victoria is “extraordinary” the Education Minister says.ABC NEWS: RHIANA WHITSON


SOURCE: https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/07/record-international-student-enrolments-overload-public-schools/

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