Adam Boyton, chief economist of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), has penned a spurious article claiming that mass immigration will prevent the Australian economy from experiencing the economic declines experienced in places like Japan and Europe:
One difference between the US on the one hand and the eurozone and Japan on the other is population growth. The US has a growing population. In Europe it’s barely growing, and in Japan the population peaked some years ago and is now falling…
The US and Canada (and New Zealand and Australia for that matter) haven’t fallen into a zero-interest-rate trap. Yes, interest rates in some of these economies might have been zero, but they have “escaped”.
…Australia’s skilled migration program brings a range of economic benefits. It adds to gross domestic product growth per person and hence helps increase living standards. It aids in the adoption of new technology and makes Australia more productive…
Of course, the BCA supports mass immigration and a ‘Big Australia’ because it means bigger markets, more customers to sell to, and lower wage costs.
But the outcome for ordinary residents has been an unmitigated disaster. Not only has liveability, amenity and housing affordability been crushed, but Australia’s per capita GDP growth has underperformed other developed nations, including Japan and Europe, this decade:
Australian households have also experienced a seven year recession in real per capita household disposable income (HDI), which has fallen by 0.5% over the past seven years:
And Australia’s real per capita HDI growth was the lowest among OECD nations over the five years to 2019:
So how exactly is the Australian economy outperforming?
Household incomes are going backwards, and per capita GDP is in recession. It is only Australia’s extreme population growth that is keeping Australia from a ‘technical recession’.
And this is coming at the expense of productivity, amenity, housing affordability, and wage growth.
Per Capita outcomes are the primary measurements that Governments, economists and the media should be talking about.
But of course they wont, because it is much easier to import migrants and report headline GDP growth than actually earning it the hard way
“‘How is the Assistant Minister for Customs allowing the Pinnacle Club … to use his taxpayer-funded office, his taxpayer-funded phone number and his ministerial PO box, possibly consistent with the prime minister’s ministerial standards?’
Mr Marles asked during Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday.
He also asked about an upcoming $750-a-head event the Pinnacle Club is holding at an exclusive Melbourne cigar and whiskey club that features Mr Wood, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and embattled Liberal MP Gladys Liu as drawcards.”
Assistant Minister accused of operating fundraiser out of Melbourne electorate office
Assistant Minister for Customs Jason Wood during Question Time on Wednesday. Source: AAP
Documents suggest a fundraising vehicle that made nearly $128,000 for the Liberal Party is being run from an MP’s office.UPDATEDUPDATED 23 HOURS AGOBY NICK BAKERSHARE
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Labor has accused Assistant Minister Jason Wood of running a Liberal Party fundraising vehicle out of his electorate office.
Deputy opposition leader Richard Marles questioned why the Pinnacle Club, an associated entity of the Victorian Liberal Party, has the exact same contact details as Mr Wood’s Melbourne office.
Labor says Jason Wood has breached ministerial standards.AAP
“How is the Assistant Minister for Customs allowing the Pinnacle Club … to use his taxpayer-funded office, his taxpayer-funded phone number and his ministerial PO box, possibly consistent with the prime minister’s ministerial standards?” Mr Marles asked during Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday.
He also asked about an upcoming $750-a-head event the Pinnacle Club is holding at an exclusive Melbourne cigar and whiskey club that features Mr Wood, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and embattled Liberal MP Gladys Liu as drawcards.
An invitation to the $750 event.Supplied
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) documents provided by the opposition show that both the Pinnacle Club and Mr Wood share the same post office box address in Melbourne’s Berwick and the same phone number.
The organisation also has a Parliament House email address of the type used by political staffers.
According to the AEC documents, the Pinnacle Club raised $127,994 in political donations in 2017-2018.READ MORE
The ministerial standards require “appropriate use of the resources available to their office for public purposes”.
It also says “ministers and their staff are provided with resources and facilities at public expense for the effective conduct of public business”.
Labor material claims “running an associated entity of a political party from an electorate/ministerial office is a clear breach of ministerial standards”.
‘A desperate stunt’
Mr Wood has denied any wrongdoing.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Mr Wood said he “manages his offices and expenses within the guidelines”.
“Resources provided for contacting a member or their staff, such as email addresses, PO boxes etc. can be listed as contact details where parliamentarians or their staff are reporting to regulators such as the Australian Electoral Commission,” it said.READ MORE
“It is not unusual for employees to provide their work contact details so that they can be reached during business hours for activities outside of their usual hours of work.”
“This is a desperate stunt from Labor today who have done exactly the same thing in the way they list addresses for reporting as in the case of Alicia Payne, Terri Butler and even Graham Perrett when he was holding a fundraiser for Anthony Albanese.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Question Time on Wednesday.AAP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was satisfied there was no potential breach of the ministerial standards.
“Prior to coming to Question Time today and indeed to now, I have no information in front of me that would suggest that any of the matters that they have alleged is falling foul of the standards”.
“But I can tell you one thing wasn’t happening … No one walked into his office with a big plastic bag full of $100,000 and counted it out on the table like happens on Sussex Street on a regular basis, it would seem.”
–Politicians are part of the information pollution problem; we have politicians writing and sharing misleading content
.it is not in their interests to have free and open discussion in many parts of the World
.where there is not a First Amendment it is very easy to clamp down on speech; it is a real problem; not the social media
.what we can do is restrict the hate speech, the
misinformation that are part of the success of people like Trump and the new
Posted Thu 12 Sep 2019
Updated Fri 13 Sep 2019
Expires: Friday 9 August 4757 5:25pm
The battle of the social networks
“I think we need to worry about
fake news. People dismiss it is as being frivolous. It’s not. I think it’s the
biggest crisis that we face as humankind because it’s dividing us. And as we’re
divided we’re going get to a point where democracy is no longer
functioning.” Claire Wardle, Founder of First Draft
Social media has transformed the way
we communicate and how we express our thoughts and emotions. Whether it’s
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or any number of digital platforms, there are more
ways than ever for people to make their views known.
“If I see a piece of content
that I have an emotional response to it takes less than a second from for me to
share.” Claire Wardle, Founder of First Draft
The emergence of this online
“public square” was initially hailed as a political game changer,
allowing anyone with a mobile phone to hold the powerful to account.
“They have given (a) voice to
those silenced people. And I’m not only talking about non democratic regimes
where people through social media can spread information but I’m also talking
about in democratic systems.” Silvia Majo, Reuters Institute for the Study
As the number of users has soared
into the billions, it has also become a battleground for fiercely contested
“What social media does is give
more weight and more value to the people who shout loudest.” John Carlin,
Now the concern is that social media
sites have morphed into the perfect platform for orchestrated disinformation
“Information warfare is a weapon
and a very dangerous weapon.” Adam B. Ellick Director of Opinion Video,
New York Times
In the sea of content uploaded every
second, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between what is
real and what is false.
“It’s easier than even before to
create false content and it’s going to be circulating at speed in these trusted
networks.” Claire Wardle, Founder of First Draft
As governments around the world
grapple with calls to regulate what is published on social media, and with tech
companies fiercely resisting attempts to curtail their business model, this
timely program explores these key issues.
“Companies have a strong
responsibility in terms of making sure that their platforms aren’t being used
to disseminate hate or propaganda.” Adrian Shahbaz, Director for Democracy
at Freedom House
This documentary from Spanish
director David Fontseca explores the difficult dilemmas around who decides what
is or isn’t the “truth”.
“The risk of governments
regulating social media is that they will regulate something that we don’t
fully understand.” Prof Sandra G Bailon, Annenberg School for
Fake News, directed by David
Fontseca, goes to air on Monday 16th September at 8.30pm. It is replayed on
Tuesday 17th September at 1.00pm and Wednesday 18th at 11.20pm. It can also be
seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
‘Under the code, certain types of medium density housing would be classified as “complying development,” making it much easier for landowners and developers to gain development approval.‘
‘Complying development’ means that the neighbours have no say about what goes up nextdoor … isn’t this about fast-tracking development?
Meanwhile developers can ‘landbank’ many lots in a street as they come up for sale outbidding those seeking to buy a family home
‘The code will apply only in areas where medium density housing is allowed‘ … unfortunately wherever a Council has previously allowed duplex development … developers can apply this Code!
-even for estates with lots less than 600M2, 500M2 such developments can be built forward of the setback
-will the Code continue to allow such dwellings to be higher than 2-storey homes?
-the code allows 10 terraces, a manor house – a block of 3 or 4 flats, and townhouses, and duplex on a 580M2 lot
VIEW CAAN Photos for the impact that the low-rise Medium-Density Housing Code will have on established low-rise zone communities!
CAAN Photo: Months of construction mess, excavation and relaying pipes
CAAN Photo: The street footpath and road excavated for new pipes. Neighbours lost easy access to their properties; tradie trucks parked out their street and neighbouring streets, noise pollution, dust!
Much of the ‘exceptional local character’ has already been eroded by NSW Inc …
CAAN Photo: Townhouse development in Lane Cove Electorate where there was one detached cottage now 6 or more townhouses with loss of garden and trees replaced with concrete and paving. A loss of privacy for the neighbours. More than 12 months of redevelopment from demolition to contruction and completion.
How can this Code benefit Australian first home buyers locked out when it is about maintaining the ‘economic benefits’ of the developer lobby to continue to market ‘new homes’ to foreign buyers 100% through the Foreign Investment Review Board ruling and the May 2017 Budget Regulation for developments of 49 dwellings or less?
Medium density housing code roll-out delayed after independent review
The NSW government will further delay implementing a code that makes it easier for landowners and developers to build terraces and other medium-density homes.
The medium density housing code came into effect in 2018. But the rollout of the policy – aimed at fast-tracking the approval process for “missing middle” housing such as terraces and manor houses – has been limited after nearly 50 councils obtained a deferral of the code until July this year.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes commissioned an independent review into the code after the one-year moratorium was lifted in July. Mr Stokes said at the time he hoped the code would be applied in more parts of Sydney by the end of the year.
“Given the significant concerns raised by council officers about the potential impact of the code on local character, and to allow time for local strategic planning work to be completed, we recommend that application of the code be further deferred until July 1, 2020,” the report said.
The report recommended that some areas identified as being of “special local character” could be excluded from the code.
In its response to the review, the planning department said that the deferral of the code would be extended until next July for 45 councils.
Those council areas included Ryde, Canterbury-Bankstown, Hornsby, Inner West, Lane Cove, Mosman and Northern Beaches.
The code was “working well” in 82 council areas in NSW, the department said.
“The extension will allow councils to progress their strategic planning initiatives and demonstrate how they intend to meet their local housing needs,” the department said in its response.
“The department will also use the time to work closely with councils to identify and map areas of exceptional local character.”
The department said that the review “identified strong support for an increase in housing supply and diversity that the code seeks to provide.
“It also found that enhancing local character is important to the success of the code.”
The report’s authors said that they understood that “the property industry, family and mid-sized developers are keen to see the code switched on without further delay.
“Ongoing deferrals can undermine certainty of investment and confidence in the planning system.
“The approach we are proposing will achieve improved understanding and acceptance of the code’s intent and greater uptake of its provisions.”
The authors also suggested the policy should be renamed the “two-storey housing diversity code” because research showed people often thought of “medium density” housing as three to five-storey apartment blocks.
Mr Stokes told an Urban Development Institute of Australia conference in Sydney on Wednesday that he was reviewing the report’s 18 recommendations.
However, he is understood to be broadly supportive of its findings.
Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW chief executive Steve Mann said he would review the report in a bid to ensure that construction of “missing middle” homes could be achieved.
The report recommended that the implementation of the code be monitored for the first 21 months and then reviewed.
Megan Gorrey is the Urban Affairs reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald.
AND this is what the Low-rise Medium Density Housing Code will mean more of … for Sydneysiders … there may well be several demolitions and redevelopments happening simultaneously in your street!
CAAN Photo: large lot cleared for townhouse redevelopment in northern districts
CAAN Photo: 12 months or more of construction pollution of dust and noise; loss of privacy and many ‘new neighbours’; area rezoned from R2 of large lots and detached homes for higher density of “Townhouses”!
CAAN Photo: A villa site initial preparation with asbestos removal; how many more have illegal removal?
THE Chinese Community had big expectations … will Lui be tendering a very public resignation shortly?
According to new footage from Andrew Bolt … it will upset the CCP no end with startling recordings from Chinese propaganda TV offering full CCP endorsement of Gladys Liu during her election campaigns …
AND the law is on the move as well with Luigate referred to the Federal Court … and the Treasurer has been dragged into the muck as well!
Gladys Liu disaster turns “daggy dad” into “Liar from the Shire”
Liugate rolls on today without the slightest interruption. Indeed, there are signs that it is getting worse. The protection racket around PM Morrison run by The Australian is fraying. First, from Strewth:
Another day, another Gladys Liu fundraiser across Strewth’s desk. The latest is “an exclusive cocktail event”presented by the Pinnacle Club (a fundraising arm of the Liberal Party) and hosted by Liberal member for La Trobe Jason Wood — the Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs…
At 8.30pm, Liu is billed to host a live auction of “exclusive prizes and experiences”, although the email notes “items are strictly only available on the night”.
Curiously, the Pinnacle Club lists Wood’s office address, telephone number and email on its financial disclosure returns to the Australian Electoral Commission. Which could make him in breach of ministerial standards.
Liu’s and Wood’s offices didn’t answer our questions but the online booking form was taken down on Wednesday afternoon.
Jury’s out on whether it will go ahead.
If not, it will be the third upcoming public appearance the member for Chisholm has cancelled in the past week, including a Sydney Institute speech called “How the Coalition won Chisholm” and an $80-a-head fundraiser in her taxpayer-funded electorate office.
Then Niki Savva sank the boot deep into Shanghai Scott’s groin:
Serious questions of substance remain in relation to Liu’s connections and donations, and troubling questions relating to truthfulness have begun to permeate the carefully constructed Scott Morrison daggy dad persona.
*Perceptions of politicians can tip from calculating or cunning to deceitful overnight and Morrison needs to watch out.
…Liu remains in witness protection.
If she cannot be trusted to make a statement to parliament or hold a press conference and submit to questions, then the Liberal Party better start refunding part of her salary to the taxpayers.
They can draw on the more than $1m Liu has claimed to have raised for the party. Or they might begin to think about a replacement candidate.
There are MPs who can spend decades in parliament, rarely make a speech, hardly if ever front the media and nobody notices or cares. Liu will not be one.
…One of the most often cited examples of security concerns used against Liu is Malcolm Turnbull’s withdrawal from an event Liu had helped organise…As a precaution the list was handed to the prime minister’s national security adviser, Justin Bassi, for checking. The advice that came back was he should not to go, so Turnbull didn’t.
Sava is a Turnbull supporter so there’s some sour grapes here but her revelations are evidence of serious LNP divisions around Liu, not to mention growing doubts about Shanghai Scott’s judgement.
So, how long can Ms Liu be kept in cotton wool? And how long can Shanghai Scott wear the opprobrium? If Chinese community leaders have anything to do with it then not long.
Via Chinese-Australian advocate, Jieh-Yung Lo, at the ABC:
While Gladys Liu and I share very little in common (apart from our Chaozhou ancestry and the fact we both can speak Cantonese and Mandarin), her achievement as the first Chinese-Australian female federal MP was a source of pride — especially for a community that has so little representation and leadership in Australian politics.
The “bamboo ceiling” inhibiting membership of our Parliaments, like other key institutions, is thick and tough. But Ms Liu’s election as the federal member for Chisholm did in fact represent a small breakthrough.
It should have inspired and motivated current and future generations of Chinese-Australians and Asian-Australians to find their voice, step up and pursue a career in politics.
It provided a breath of fresh air and symbolic reassurance that we are indeed a part of this country and our participation in Australian democracy is welcomed.
We are collateral damage
The debate over foreign influence and interference, exposure of political donations from questionable sources and the subsequent eroding of Australia’s bilateral relationship with China, have placed an enormous strain on the reputation of Chinese-Australians.
We feel that as a community we are becoming collateral damage. And that trend has accelerated dramatically with the recent claims and counter-claims about the new federal member for Chisholm.
Since the claims surrounding Ms Liu’s association with Chinese community organisations with alleged links to the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) United Front Work Department were made public, I have witnessed a seriously increased sense of nervousness, unease and division among some within the Chinese-Australian community.
This extremely complicated issue, intertwining geopolitical tensions with domestic politics, has left some members of my community feeling as if they have been caught in the crossfire. Many believe it will get worse.
There is outright anger for being bundled together in generalisations based on race, culture and ethnicity. There is frustration at the rise of a new form of Sinophobia with another Australian of Chinese descent in public life having his or her loyalty, commitment and allegiance to Australia questioned.
There is also some disappointment in Ms Liu’s response to the allegations and a belief it is not adequate and did not meet community expectations.
These diverse perspectives demonstrate why we need to always recognise the diversity within Chinese-Australians and why it is never appropriate to paint and taint us with the same brush.
Liu’s explanation didn’t stack up
Many question whether she has the skills to be an effective parliamentarian and make a contribution on behalf of her constituents and community.
Having initially said she “cannot recall” being a member of either group, Ms Liu later confirmed she held an honorary role with Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association in 2011 but no longer had any association with the organisation.
The concerns around skills and competence are important, especially for a community that strongly believes in merit.
For Ms Liu, we have yet to witness much beyond political fundraising and campaigning abilities.
Her interview with Andrew Bolt highlighted her inability to dissect the issues and challenges facing Australia.
This is of concern because the longer the precise history of her involvement remains unclear, the easier it becomes for Chinese-Australians to be misrepresented.
We need to conquer stereotypes
If we are serious about increasing the participation of Chinese-Australians and Asian-Australians in our democratic institutions, we need to erase the stereotype portraying us as little more than political fundraisers and numbers-builders.
It is a stereotype that has been exacerbated by representatives like Ms Liu and former NSW Labor MP Ernest Wong.
Within Chinese-Australian circles in Victoria, Ms Liu is a well-known fundraiser — able to quickly bring in VIP guests to Liberal Party events where thousands of dollars are raised to assist various Liberal Party campaigns.
But dollars are not the only numbers Ms Liu can bring to the table.
She has also shown the ability to recruit hundreds of volunteers from the Chinese-Australian community to fill polling booths.
These skills enabled her to develop her political capital, leading eventually to her successful preselection for a marginal seat.
Thanks to political operatives like Ms Liu, Chinese-Australians and to a certain extent other Asian-Australian communities, are seen by some politicians and political parties as little more than cash cows — walking ATMs whose only real contribution is to provide donations at lavish dinners.
It’s not racist to ask questions of Liu
Ms Liu’s continued approach in refusing to offer a full and transparent public explanation to the allegations against her threatens to undermine the outcomes I and many others are striving to work towards.
It is hard to argue for greater cultural diversity of representation and leadership in our institutions when those already occupying these positions, such as Ms Liu, fail to show leadership and transparency by not immediately declaring membership of the Chinese community organisations in question and donations made to the Liberal Party of Victoria.
Representation is important but it must not be tokenistic: those breaking through the bamboo ceiling must have the skills and competences that make them standard bearers for others.
I argued during this year’s Federal Election that, regardless of who was going to win the seat of Chisholm between Labor’s Jennifer Yang and Gladys Liu, there would be big expectations from Chinese-Australians.
We expect Ms Liu to speak up on our behalf, represent her constituents, make a contribution to the big policy issues facing Australia and be accountable for her actions and opinions.
From what I and many in the Chinese-Australian community have seen so far, we could be waiting for a long time.
*At this rate, Liu will be tendering a very public resignation shortly which, according to new footage from Andrew Bolt, will upset the CCP no end.
*He produced startling recordings from Chinese propaganda TV offering full CCP endorsement of Gladys Liu during her election campaigns:
The law is on the move as well as Liu’s dodgy election tactics are exposed, also at The Australian:
TheHigh Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, referred the matter to the Federal Court on Wednesday.
Justice Michelle Gordon outlined four key questions at the heart of the dispute — that the conduct was “illegal”; that it occurred with the knowledge or authorisation of the two candidates; that it was likely to have affected the results in each seat and that it would be just for a declaration of invalidity to be made.
Ms Liu won the seat of Chisholm by just 1100 votes.
Justice Gordon said given the evidence needed, especially to establish the key issue of knowledge or authorisation, it was best to refer the case to the Federal Court for trial.
The judge, sitting in Melbourne, was critical of the lack of response provided by the Treasurer and Ms Liu to date, which she said was “unsatisfactory”.
That drags the Treasurer into the muck as well.
Honestly, I can’t remember a Government more at odds so fast with the principles that got it elected.
*My read on Scott Morrison’s “quiet Australians” is that they hate the constrictions of political correctness, are economic nationalists, fear open borders and celebrate Aussie values.
*Liugate singularly contradicts it all.“Quiet Australians” that thought they were electing the “daggy dad” instead got the “liar from the Shire” courting treason for political gain.
This is not a few breezy statements easily swept aside in the political gales. It’s the visceral betrayal of everything Scott Morrison claims to be.
The a2 Milk Company chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka has dismissed suggestions that Chinese authorities delayed approving a licence for rival Bellamy’s Australia to drive down its share price.
She said Chinese regulators had taken a “logical and sensible” approach to managing the country’s infant formula market.
Ms Hrdlicka, who is leading an investor roadshow to Shanghai this week, said she was not worried a $1.5 billion takeover offer for Bellamy’s by China Mengniu Dairy Company would create a more powerful rival.
a2 Milk’s Jayne Hrdlicka: “We think all of the moves that have been taken by the regulator are logical and considered…” Steven Siewert: AFR
Riiiight. It’s not like the CCP has form here, after all. Or is it? Via the NYT:
After a customer canceled a large order at the last minute, shares in Aixtron, a German high-tech company, sank fast.
Months later, with the stock still reeling, a Chinese investor agreed to buy the company.
If only it were as simple as smart deal-making.
*Financial filings and public statements indicate a web of relationships among the customer, the buyer and the Chinese state.
The links highlight the blurred lines between increasingly acquisitive Chinese companies and Beijing’s long-term industrial policy.
*“The Aixtron case makes it very clear: It is not regular investment that is at work here,” said Sebastian Heilmann, president of the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a think tank based in Berlin. *“Instead, we see governmental-program capital working behind the scenes.”
*…That has led to questions about how to treat bids that cross between private investment and state-orchestrated takeovers.
*It has also fed into broader suspicions about the fate of the takeover targets, and whether national champions will ultimately be absorbed into the supply chain in China.
Visitors watch a demonstration by Kuka, a European maker of industrial robots, at the China International Industry Fair 2015 in Shanghai. The company was taken over by Midea Group of China this year.CreditCreditImaginechina, via Associated Press
*The Bellamy’s takeover suitor is a Chinese state-owned enterprise, via FT:
“[The partnership] offers a strong platform for distribution and success in China, and a foundation for growth in the organic dairy and food industry in Australia,” said Mr Cohen.
*Bellamy’s regulatory difficulties in China — by far its most important growth market — have caused a slump in its share price, which fell from a high of A$22.08 in March 2018 to a low of A$7.20 in January.
*Earnings before interest tax, amortisation and depreciation fell to A$47m in the 12 months to the end of June, from A$71m a year earlier.
China Mengniu, which is headquartered in Inner Mongolia, is Asia’s second-largest dairy company, with a market capitalisation of HK$121bn ($15bn). Facing a domestic slowdown, it recently outlined ambitious international growth plans — including a record Olympics sponsorship deal, alongside Coca-Cola, worth a combined $3bn.
So the Chinese state blocks access then picks up the business for pennies. Nice work if you can get it.
If you can’t then you’d be pretty stupid to not stop others from doing so.
Coal mining under Sydney’s drinking water catchment is drying up sensitive swamps and creeks, and draining groundwater, with more damage likely if a planned expansion allowing mining until 2048 wins approval.
South32’s Dendrobium coking coal mine beneath the Metropolitan Special Area is seeking approval to extend operations within its mining lease.
Documents obtained under freedom of information, however, show WaterNSW has raised concerns “tolerable” water losses may have been exceeded.
South32’s underground coal mine in Sydney’s catchment
Location of Dendrobium’s existing and proposed mining under swamps and creeks
The Herald visited the area with WaterNSW guides this week and found Swamp 1B near one of the mine’s longwalls had all but dried out, with grasses and shrubs dying off and nearby trees encroaching on the formerly wet region.
“We should be walking through ‘squelch’ now,” said Duncan Rayner, a principal engineer at the University of NSW’s Water Research Laboratory.
“When this swamp was not impacted, you would have had water at the surface.”
Swamps in the catchment serve as a giant sponge, absorbing rain during falls and releasing water during dry times. As the endangered ecological communities dry out they allow greater erosion and can increase the fire risk, Mr Rayner said.
Wongawilli Creek tributary 21 revealed deep cracks in the dry stream bed. WaterNSW believes the cracks were worsened by subsidence resulting from coal extraction about 400 metres below.
“These are the most aggressive longwalls in any of the catchments,” said Peter Turner, mining projects science officer with the National Parks Association. “The mining here’s quite diabolical [and] more damaging than other mines.”
Dendrobium’s longwalls reach as long as 2 kilometres, run more than 300 metres wide and as much as 4.5 metres high, he says.
“Not allowing mining that could cause the drainage zone to reach the surface, with seam to surface connected fractures, should be a fundamental catchment protection principle and policy,” Dr Turner said.
“The damage, degradation and water loss would be very much less than is so disturbingly obvious now.”
Rapid water loss can occur when ‘shear planes’ connect to the drainage zone. Shear planes are two layers of rock moving against each other as subsidence occurs. This movement increases the ability of water to move between rock layers. Shear planes can carry water for several hundred metres.
SOURCE: Peter Turner, National Parks Association
Attention on the damage from mining in the catchment has increased along with the drought, as Sydney’s catchments drop below 50 per cent full and residents get used to first-stage water restrictions.
Cordeaux and Avon dams, the two main storages closed to the Dendrobium mine were at 41.5 and 48.3 per cent full as of Wednesday, according to WaterNSW.
A spokesman for South32 said mineable reserves will be depleted by 2024, and that the miner had met all its performance measures. Its proposed extension would have a net economic benefit of $2.8 billion for the state, sustained about 400 jobs and ensure the supply of the metallurgical coal to customers at home and aboard until 2048.
“We take our environmental responsibilities seriously and understand the sensitivities of working within the Metropolitan Special Area, where the mine is located,” he said.
“The supporting [Environmental impact study] is informed by years of expert research into the environmental, social and economic aspects of the project and has been developed through extensive consultation with our stakeholders,” the spokesman said.
Rob Stokes, the Planning and Public Spaces Minister, said: “Sydney’s drinking water is of paramount importance and we need to ensure its pristine condition is maintained.”
“Any application for mining in the catchment is subject to rigorous environmental assessment that includes input from Water NSW, the Dam Safety Committee and the Independent Expert Panel,” Mr Stokes said.
For its part, WaterNSW said it was “preparing a submission on this project, which will be made publicly available in due course”.
However, in documents seen by the Herald, officials were much more definitive. Last October, for instance, Malcolm Hughes, manager of WaterNSW’s catchment protection unit, wrote to the NSW Dams Safety Committee raising concerns about the impacts from Dendrobium’s longwall 16.
“We … recommend that the Application be refused on the basis that the upper bounds of reservoir water loss estimates based on recent evidence suggests that the DSC-designated Tolerable Loss will be exceeded (1.6 million litres per day relative to Tolerable Loss limit of 1 ML/d) by the time that LW16 is mined,” Mr Hughes wrote.
A separate letter dated in February 2018 to David Kitto, a Planning executive, from Fiona Smith of WaterNSW’s Catchment Protection unit, noted that the then Planning Assessment Commission had set conditions on extraction by the Wallarah 2 mine in the Central Coast region that should be applied to Dendrobium.
The conditions included “No connective cracking between the surface, or the base of the alluvium, and the underground workings”, the letter stated.
“We believe that this condition provides an important precedent for protecting drinking water catchments overlying longwalls,” Ms Smith wrote. “WaterNSW therefore suggests that a similar or higher level of protection should be afforded to Greater Sydney’s water supply, and it would therefore be appropriate to require a similar condition in any future approvals of longwall mining in the Sydney drinking water catchment.”
Dr Turner of the NPA said it was “very telling and very troubling that Planning did not take up the recommendation from WaterNSW to, at the very least, provide the Dendrobium area with the catchment protections required by the PAC – now the Independent Planning Commission – for the Wallarah 2 coal project.”
“The tragedy of the Department of Planning’s serial Dendrobium mine approvals is highlighted in the stark contrast between the bone-dry grey sediment of the mortally mining damaged Swamp 1b and the damp and dark brown-black sediment of the soon to be undermined Swamp 14,” he said.
HOW can a high-rise residential tower located in the heart of SYDNEY’s CBD with the consortium having to pay $369 million to the government for the air rights to develop the 39-storey build-to-rent tower …
… and offering signature amenities including a restaurant and bar, lap pool, a fitness centre, workspaces, a laundry, a cinema and a roof-top entertaining area … in the nascent accommodation sector of Build-to-Rent potentially address housing affordability issues in Sydney?
No doubt a suitable location in the CBD with like development!
FOR Sydneysiders the focus from this state guvmint appears to be to make us all life-long tenants whether in Build-to-Rent, boarding houses, co-living, retirement villages … sell up, move out, downsize … get outa the way for ‘the population growth’ …
… it’s as if the Opal Tower and Mascot Towers cracking and sinking, the 85 per cent defective apartments on completion haven’t happened …
Perhaps Oxford Properties … unlike so many developments before them … will maintain their architects Bates Smart, and develop a project to World Standards?
Build-to-rent to rise above Pitt Street Metro station
Oxford Properties will lead the commercial development above Sydney’s new Pitt Street Metro Station with the city’s first build-to-rent project in the CBD, one of most significant initiatives yet in the nascent accommodation sector.
Oxford, the real estate arm of Canadian pension fund giant OMERS, as well as Grocon and CPB Contractors, form the winning consortium that will take on the project, the NSW government confirmed on Tuesday.
The consortium will pay $369 million to the government for the air rights to develop the 39-storey build-to-rent tower and a second 39-storey commercial tower above the station on the corner of Pitt and Park Streets.
The purpose-built housing, to be designed by architects Bates Smart, will offer 230 apartments for long-term rental with the consortium as an institutional landlord.
The milestone build-to-rent tower will, like many other such projects globally, offer signature amenities including a restaurant and bar, lap pool, a fitness centre, workspaces, a laundry, a cinema and a roof-top entertaining area.
Oxford is already a big player in the sector, also known as multifamily, in the UK and the US. It manages more than 12,000 rental apartments globally and is developing more projects in London, NewYork, Toronto, Boston and Washington DC.
An expanding build-to-rent sector could potentially address housing affordability issues in Sydney and elsewhere, easing the path for renters in a fragmented mum-and-dad landlord system.
The project’s second tower is a premium 47,480sq m office building with a 1320sq m retail plaza to be designed by architects Foster+Partners and Cox Architecture.
The tower will have smart building and sustainability features taking design inspirations from the Bloomberg Building in London and Hearst Tower in New York.
Together, thetwo towers will offer 65,000sq m of new space creating a new activated urban precinct around the station.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Sydney Metro and CPB Contractors to create a landmark new project that will add to the vibrancy of Sydney’s CBD, create new jobs and provide superb new rental options for Sydneysiders,” Oxford Properties Director of Development Australia Ian Lyon said.
“Oxford has shaped skylines across some of the world’s greatest cities and we will bring all of our global expertise in successfully delivering world-class office and multifamily projects to the Pitt Street development.”
This is the first Australian development project with Oxford at the helm.
Su-Lin Tan reports on housing, commercial real estate and property finance. She also covers China and Asian business, trade and politics. Connect with Su-Lin on Twitter. Email Su-Lin at email@example.com
A swimmable Parramatta River and man-made beaches will be some of the ways people in Sydney can experience the water without a trek to the coast – while narrow, long parklands and shared areas on golf courses will help Sydneysiders make the most of our green space as the population swells beyond 5.8 million in the decade to come.
“The good news is we’ve actually got plenty of space in Sydney. We’ve just been pretty lazy about the way in which we’ve allocated it in the past,” says Planning Minister Rob Stokes.
Corridors are key, he says, particularly in the creation of linear parks. New parks will become narrower but more connected to other open spaces.
One such park was recently opened between a stretch of apartment buildings across several blocks in Mascot, while The Goods Line in Ultimo spans nearly one kilometre from Railway Square to Darling Harbour.
Multi-use golf courses on the way
Linear parks may be few and far-between in Sydney in 2019, but golf courses are plentiful. There are 81 in Sydney, and their linear nature could be useful in future projects. There are three within a four-kilometre radius on the north shore: Avondale, Gordon and Killara.
“We don’t need to remove golf courses, we just need to tweak them to provide more benefit to a greater number of people,” Mr Stokes says. He gives the example of having bike paths and running tracks on the edges of golf courses as “having your cake and eating it too”.
“We need to think of ways to include the community, rather than exclude, while at the same time meeting the needs of the golfing community,” Mr Stokes says, adding golf courses are ideal for the government’s plan to plant 5 million trees throughout greater Sydney by 2030.
The need for green space
The government has a target of increasing the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of green public space by 10 per cent by 2023 – currently, nearly half of the people in Sydney’s west live more than 400 metres from an open space. “We need green lungs in the west just as much as in the east,” Mr Stokes says.
But it’s not just green space that Sydney’s booming population will need – it’s blue space, too.
Taking a dip
Sydneysiders are aquatic people – and a series of projects, spearheaded by the cleaning of the Parramatta River, will give residents in the western suburbs more access to water-based activities without long commutes.
A decade-long project to make large parts of the river safe for swimming has begun. There are 12 new swimming sites along the river to go with four existing ones – as far east as the heritage-listed Dawn Fraser Baths at Balmain and as far west as a proposed site at Little Coogee, Parramatta Park.
Major chemical industries from the early 1900s identified the Parramatta River as dumping grounds for waste discharge and some areas – particularly near Homebush – are almost beyond cleaning.
“We have a big legacy of dioxins contaminating that part of the harbour – and that’s not going to go away any time soon,” says Stuart Khan, a professor at UNSW’s school of civil and environmental engineering who has worked on the river project.
Dioxins are highly toxic pollutants which are not easily killed – as opposed to bacteria, which is a short-term problem resulting from stormwater run-off.
“You can make the whole river swimmable by keeping contaminated stormwater out of the river, but there’ll always be a few hotspots of dioxins,” Professor Khan says.
Dioxins stick to sediment, so as more sediment is laid down the dioxins get further buried, diminishing their impact. “It’s possible to dredge a river but you could do as much damage as you would improve anything,” Professor Khan says. “The only real option is to avoid contaminated sites.”
In addition to the river, Homebush will soon be home to the country’s first man-made surf park, Campbelltown City is currently building an artificial billabong, and the government says it is examining a similar project at the Prospect Reservoir.
Expect a rise in synthetic pitches
While there are many projects aimed at getting people more active, adult participation numbers are shifting towards yoga and pilates and away from organised team sports.
Then Sports Minister John Sidoti said the Active Kids program, which offers parents a rebate for their children participating in team sport, had been “fantastic” but there was more work to be done.
“We’ve also got some work to do in large multicultural areas and in terms of Indigenous participation,” he says.
Synthetic pitches have become more popular in the past few years, and lighting has been added. “Come Monday if it rains, [grass fields] aren’t fit for purpose on a Friday,” Mr Sidoti says.
Ryde Council is home to several synthetic pitches, with plans to convert three more by 2022. Converting grass pitches can increase their usage rate throughout a week from 40 hours to 80 or 90.
They may need every extra hour possible – a 10-month audit from Football NSW this year estimated soccer would be 700 pitches short by 2030 and will need to find room for 120,000 participants.
The number of beach-going visitors to Sydney is growing year-on-year, with 6.1 million visitors in the year ending March 2019, a 60 per cent increase from 2011. Overall tourism numbers are expected to increase in the next decade, with visitors for sporting and cultural events also increasing substantially in that time.
Ms Liu has insisted Chinese associations list people as members without their knowledge.
Senator Cormann and Foreign Minister Marise Payne have repeatedly refused to use the term “fit and proper” but instead said they had “full confidence” in her remaining a MP.
“The Member for Chisholm is a strong advocate for her constituents and is a valued member of our team in this Parliament,” he said.
“She has the Government’s full support.”
Senator Cormann spoke for less than two minutes despite having up to 20 minutes to address the issue.
Labor’s Senate leader Penny Wong slammed Senator Cormann for a short speech that she said failed to address the Senate’s demand.
“Yet again we see the arrogance of this Government refusing to be accountable to this Parliament, refusing to respond to public allegations, refusing to put the national interest first,” Senator Wong said in an almost 16 minute response to Senator Cormann.
Coalition senators left the chamber as Senator Wong spoke, prompting outrage from Labor’s Upper House leader.
*“As they leave the chamber, ladies and gentlemen, this shows what this Government thinks of the national interest,” Senator Wong said.
“Walk out. Because you don’t actually want to defend Australia’s national interest.
“What a shameful group of cowards they are. What a shameful group of cowards they are.”
Ministers Anne Ruston and Bridget McKenzie mounted further defences of Ms Liu and accused Labor of a broader smear of Chinese-Australians.
They said Ms Liu was a well respected member within her suburban Melbourne community.
Labor’s Kristina Keneally and Kimberley Kitching told the Senate about repeated allegations leveraged against Ms Liu, including her ability to raise money for the Liberal Party.
Senator Kitching said it was outrageous to suggest that security agencies or Labor was acting with racist intent.
One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts said Senator Cormann had failed to provide enough information about Ms Liu.
He said Australians want answers and Liberal claims the attacks on Ms Liu were racist were “annoying”.
ScoMo has jumped the shark.
He should have done the right thing and sacked Liu straight away. He would probably would have won the by-election on the sustained high moral ground versus Labor.
*Now, not only is the ALP off the hook, his entire Government is sinking into a national security scandal that it cannot win.
The longer ScoMo holds on, the more voters he will alienate.
Does he really think that his “quiet Australians” approve of this?
Worse, his “racism” defense is sucking the ethnic Chinese community into the scandal discomforting everyone.
SocoMo made the same mistake that Labor did with its parental visa bribe at the election, assuming the Chinese community would endorse cheap parlour tricks.
This is fast becoming a disaster for the Government.
Labor Senate leader Penny Wong speaks after Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann made a statement on Liberal member for Chisholm Gladys Liu in the Senate. Source: AAP