The number of wealthy Chinese people has overtaken the number of rich Americans for the first time, according to a report by Credit Suisse.
The bank’s annual wealth survey found there were 100 million Chinese people among the world’s top 10% of richest people, compared with 99 million in the US.
The report says the “rapid transformation of China from an emerging nation in transition to a fully fledged market economy” helped create a record number of rich people.
“Despite the trade tension between the United States and China over the past 12 months, both countries have fared strongly in wealth creation, contributing $3.8tn and $1.9tn respectively,” said Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, the global head of economics and research at the Swiss bank.
Personal savings of $109,430 (£83,630) are required to be part of the top 10% of the world’s richest people. While China has overtaken America at this level, the US is still ahead when it comes to the super-rich, accounting for 40% of the world’s millionaires.
The number of dollar millionaires in the US increased by 675,000 last year to 18.6 million. This means about one in 14 adults in America is a millionaire.
In China, there are 4.4 million millionaires, an increase of 158,000 on 2018, according to the report, and 10% of the global total. There are an estimated 1.1 billion adults in China.
The Brexit-led decline in the value of the pound caused the number of UK millionaires to drop by 27,000 to 2.46 million. The UK held on to fourth place in the global league table behind the US, China and Japan with 3 million millionaires – 5% of the global total.
Commenting on the UK, the authors of the report said: “The outlook is now uncertain, with future prospects depending very much on what happens in terms of Brexit.
“Our estimates indicate a rise of 2.2% in wealth per adult from the end of 2018 to mid-2019. However, both the stock market and exchange rate showed increased volatility over the summer, reflecting the heightening of Brexit worries.”
Across the world, a further 1.1 million people joined the millionaire club taking the total to 46.8 million. Collectively, they own $158.3tn in net assets, 44% of the global total.
The report estimates 55,920 adults are worth at least $100m and 4,830 have net assets above $500m. Net assets are defined as realisable savings minus debts and does not include the value of property.
Credit Suisse forecast global wealth – which increased by 2.6% over the past year – would rise by 27% over the next five years to $459tn by 2024. The number of millionaires is expected to grow over this period to almost 63 million.
Anthony Shorrocks, an economist and author of the report, said: “With almost two decades of data at our disposal, we can see two distinct phases of wealth growth. The century began with a ‘golden age’ of robust and inclusive wealth creation. But wealth growth collapsed during the financial crisis and growth never recovered to the level experienced earlier.Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk
“There was a seismic change at the time of the financial crisis, when China and other emerging market economies took over as the engine of wealth creation. Meanwhile, the United States has maintained an astonishing 11-year spell of increasing wealth per adult.”
The report says millennials – those born between the early 1980s and the late 90s – are the least well-off age group.
The report says: “Not only were they hit at a vulnerable age by the global financial crisis, its associated recession and the poor job prospects that followed, but they have also been disadvantaged in many countries by high house prices, low interest rates and low incomes, making it difficult for them to buy property or accumulate wealth.
“Studies in several countries have indicated that the millennials can expect to be worse off than their parents.”
The federal government plans to give foreign investors a tax cut to invest in Australia’s burgeoning infrastructure sector in a move some economists said was unnecessary and wasteful.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg released a draft of the plan on Thursday, detailing cuts to foreign investors’ tax rates from 30 per cent to 15 per cent on authorised infrastructure investments.
To be eligible, economic infrastructure projects would have to be yet to be built, be owned by the states, the Commonwealth or their agencies, and be worth at least $500 million.
The tax cut to foreign investors could run for up to 15 years.
So what problem are we fixing?
*Peter Brain, principal of the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, slammed the plan, saying “it’s driven by powerful interests”.
“It’s not as if we’re in desperate need of foreign investment and the current account [payment balance with the rest of the world] is OK,” he told The New Daily.
*Thetax concession would be a drag on the government coffers and the economy.
“We would be just giving away tax and revenues overseas when we don’t need to,” Dr Brain said.
*“Surely we would be better off mobilising domestic savings [through superannuation funds].”.
Stephen Anthony, chief economist with Industry Super Australia, described the plan as “disgraceful and illogical”.
“The government should say to all investors, both local and foreign, ‘we want you to do more capex [capital expenditure],” he said.
Instead, Dr Anthony said, a priority list of projects should be developed and offered to Australian investors.
“They could get the superannuation funds round a table and ask ‘Who wants to invest in this,’” Dr Anthony said.
“If no one wants to, then it could be opened up to foreign investors like international pension funds.”
*Dr Anthony added that Australian super funds are not currently getting fair access to infrastructure projects.
*“We get a better hearing from Donald Trump and the US state governors than from the Australian government,” he said.
*This represents a massive lost opportunity because Australian superannuation funds are valued at $2.9 trillion – twice the national GDP.
They are also among the highest performing globally.
To create a level playing field in the investment space, Dr Anthony said the current company tax system should be replaced by taxing non-financial cash flows.
That would allow companies to claim large losses for capital works on a project to encourage construction, but would bar interest payments being used as a tax deduction.
*This strategy would also prevent multinationals using debt to shift profits to low-tax countries, Dr Anthony said.
Labor shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the opposition supported the Treasurer’s infrastructure proposal but said it had already been floated with legislation passed earlier this year.
“Josh Frydenberg is recycling an old policy to try and distract from the fact that the economy is floundering on his watch and that he doesn’t have a plan to turn it around,” Dr Chalmers said.
“Pretending that an old policy is new again or a new way to deal with an economy which is slowing is not a plan, it’s a con.”
Independent economist Saul Eslake said if the proposal was implemented there would be no reason to extend it to Australian superannuation funds.
“The super funds already pay lower tax than other investors [15 per cent versus a company tax rate of 30 per cent] so the case is not strong,” he said.
Bringing in big foreign investors to back infrastructure projects could be problematic, Mr Eslake said.
“There is increased surveillance by FIRB [Foreign Investment Review Board] especially on state-owned investors in areas like ports, telcos and electricity generation and distribution.”
Some significant investment by Chinese state-owned enterprises has already been barred in telecommunications and electricity and there have been concerns about the sale of the port of Darwin to a Chinese group.
One third of the most expensive homes in Australia have been scooped up by wealthy Chinese investors.
Thirty per cent of multi-million dollar mansions and penthouses around the country are owned by buyers from mainland China and Hong Kong, including coveted areas in Sydney and Melbourne, reported The Australian.
One luxury home in Sydney Harbour’s Fairwater estate went to a foreign investor for $100m and a mansion in Melbourne’s ritzy Toorak was snapped up for $26.25m.
But the nation’s most expensive home eclipsed previous figures after a mystery Chinese-born entrepreneur paid $140m last month for a Barangaroo South penthouse that hasn’t been built yet.
An artists’s impression of Barangaroo South property that hasn’t been built yet
An artist’s impression of one of the many rooms in a Barangaroo South property that was sold for $140m
Once completed in 2023, the buyer will use the top two-storey penthouse as their home and the sub-penthouse as a separate living quarter.
Spanning 1,600 square metres, nine-bedroom home features a master bedroom that is the same size as a small city apartment.
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The tower’s agents said many of the apartments have sold for around $40m to Chinese-born nationals.
The sale comes after billionaire developer Phillip Dong Fang Lee bought a Point Piper mansion for $39.9 in Sydney’s affluent eastern suburbs.
China shows off their strength during 70-year parad
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Sydney Harbour’s Fairwater estate went to a foreign investor for $100m
James Packer’s former Vaucluse abode sold in 2015 to Chinese-born Chau Chak Wing for $70m.
While the federal government placed new taxes on foreign investors, migration agent John Hu said Hong Kong nationals have expressed 50 per cent more interest in Australian properties since civil unrest began in June.
‘For enquiries, we are reaching about 1,000 a month and they are asking for different countries and of course Australia is on the top of the list.’
About 1.2 million Chinese tourists visit Australia every year.
An analysis of The List – Australia’s Richest 250, published by The Australian, reveals 23 members of the country’s richest people live in Toorak. It is more that any other individual suburb, including the likes of Point Piper and Vaucluse in Sydney or Mosman Park in Perth.
What Toorak lacks in flash and pizzazz, it makes up for with high property prices, large grounds for mansion owners with room for swimming pools, tennis courts and immaculate gardens.
It may not have a natural geographic advantage, but Toorak is seen as the place to live when one has truly “made it” in Melbourne.
“There’s only one Tookak,” says Sarah Case, a real estate agent for RT Edgar who specialises selling mansions to and for the uber wealthy in Melbourne.
“There’s usually not a lot of stock on the market, and once you move there you tend to stay there. It is different in Sydney, where you’ll have quite a few suburbs that would be the equivalent of a Toorak.”
The revelations of Toorak’s esteemed position for Australia’s moneyed class is contained in The Weekend Australian’s The List — Best Mansions magazine, out on Saturday, which explores the suburbs where the rich live, assesses the top real estate agents of 2019 and takes a look inside four spectacular mansions from the coast to the country.
Toorak boasts residents including billionaire Lindsay Fox, who moved to Toorak in the late 1970s and has owned a mansion on one of the best streets in the suburb, Irving Road, ever since. Other big names include retail magnate John Gandel, young property developer Tim Gurner and Jayco caravans owner Gerry Ryan.
The List’s Top 50 Mansions includes several big Toorak sales in recent years, such as the $38.8 million purchase of a Chastleton Ave mansion by Ruslan Kogan, the founder of online retail business Kogan.com, last year.
That price set a record with Kogan taking ownership of a mansion spanning 2600sq m on three blocks.
The 50 most expensive mansions in Australia are priced over $26 million, and a property which Ms Case is selling in Toorak could soon join those ranks.
A mega mansion at 2-3 Myvore Court is on the market with an indicative selling price of $27 million to $29 million and is set on 2138 sqm of land in an exclusive cul-de-sac.
The house has a lift servicing four levels and garaging for six cars, Jack Merlo-designed landscape gardens and a tranquil infinity pool with water wall courtyard.
Ms Case says Toorak buyers like prestigious addresses in St Georges Road, Lansell Road, Albany Road and Irving, though big properties can be hard to find.
An analysis of the Richest 250 members in Toorak show that the average estimated value of the 23 residents’ houses is $23 million, but they have been owned on average for at least 15 years.
Don’t miss The List — Best Mansions. Where the rich live, the dream houses that never come up for sale, the real estate agent A-league. Out Saturday in The Weekend Australian.
EDITOR, THE LISTJohn Stensholt joined The Australian in July 2018. He writes about Australia’s most successful and wealthy entrepreneurs, and the business of sport. Previously he worked at The Australian Financial Review and … Read more
Public assets will have to be sold to fund phase 2.0 of rebuilding Sydney
There’s a clever political calculation in the government’s asset recycling program, but there are also risks of lost opportunities — and attacks from Labor if things go wrong, writes Anna Caldwell.
Anna Caldwell, The Daily Telegraph
Subscriber only|November 14, 2019
DAILYTELEGRAPH.COM.AU2:08NSW govt defends claims election promises have been broken
The NSW government is defending claims election promises have been broken, arguing bus services are being franchised and not privatized.
The opposition has attacked the Premier …
When Mike Baird fronted the NSW people five years ago and told them he wanted to sell off their electricity poles and wires, cynics thought he’d never convince them.
But Baird was the master salesman.
His pitch was to hang up the For Sale sign around NSW — a plan that would eventually net the state $34 billion for the sales of electricity poles and wires and other assets.
Laborembarked on a fierce (scare) campaign about selling the electricity network to international actors, but Baird prevailed.
The spoils went far and wide, injecting NSW with enough money to ride high on economic good times as major projects like the Sydney Metro City and Southwest, Parramatta Light Rail, WestConnex and the Western Sydney Stadium were funded.
Jobs, investment and construction were plentiful.
Treasury estimates now that the current $93 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects is driving 110,000 jobs a year over the next for year.
CAAN: No proof reading! Should it be ‘four years’?
AC: But wait. What happens when the cash runs out? What happens when the music stops playing?
Because that’s exactly what we’re on the cusp of — and it’s going to happen against an already soft economy.
The fear of Sydney stalling is already being quietly voiced in engineering firms and urban planning offices.
A slew of big projects going forward remain unfunded.
The onus now is on the Berejiklian government to activate phase 2.0 of the great building Sydney dream.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is unequivocally committed to continuing the state’s infrastructure story.
Speaking in his Parliament House office this week, Perrottet told me the (he?) had no intention to take his foot off the pedal when it came to building future infrastructure projects.
“We are rebuilding Sydney. We are taking our city from good to great. We’re building not just for now but for the future generation,” he said.
He conceded there were several big unfunded projects waiting in the wings and did not shy away from finding money for them.
It won’t be easy. The economy is lagging and when Perrottet hands down the mid-year budget update in coming weeks, it is likely there will be writedowns.
This means future projects will be funded through a combination of borrowing more money at low rates and selling off assets.
Many people will be questioning whether it makes sense, too, to sell off assets such as WestConnex in an attempt to avoid debt at a time when money can be borrowed at historically cheap interest rates.
Spoiler alert — they are likely to borrow as well.
Perrottet is relaxed about debt even as he faces a $38 billion debt bomb over the forward estimates. On the one hand, borrowing rates are almost criminally cheap, and then on top of that he has the security of his future fund which he created two years ago and will hold $29 billion by 2029.
It was Baird who embraced the term “asset recycling” — a pivot away from the politically poisonous term “asset sales” which had seen Queensland Premier Anna Bligh come undone.
Baird’s concept was that assets are never just sold — the money is recycled into new assets, allowing the state to continue to grow in value.
In this sense, it’s running the state like a corporation that’s in the business of constructing infrastructure, selling it, and then using the proceeds to build more of the stuff.
This economically astute concept allows politicians to sell the benefit of the transaction, which is important because Labor will mount a strong attack should private operators be seen to be doing a worse job than government.
*Think the controversy over the land registry, or the threat of industrial action over privatised bus services in the Inner West.
Earlier this year, speaking of Baird’s poles and wires sale, Premier Gladys Berejiklian remarked “would you look out the window and own the electricity pole on the corner, or would you rather us build a new hospital up the road?”
Her political calculation is that the answer is simple.
The government is already doing a scoping study which paves the way for selling its forestry corporation assets.
You’d be wise to expect the remaining stake in Sydney Motorway Corporation will also go under the hammer, which requires no legislation and therefore no messy political fight.
After that, it gets harder.
The Nationals will have a brawl with the government if it tries to sell off the bush-based Essential Energy.
A further sale of Ausgrid requires legislation and the government will face a hostile upper house.
*Selling off water assets would be politically poisonous in the current climate of drought.
Perrottet and Berejiklian have their work cut out for them.
Sydney must keep moving. There is no doubt about that.
The government has built its legacy on driving growth and it knows full well that it can’t afford to stop now.
It’s never easy to convince voters you want to sell off their family heirlooms, but this government has done it before.
Doing nothing is not an option. Sydney must continue to grow and this is even more important as the economic headwinds blow.
Those that put out this stuff seem to be under the pump to get things happening for those in the corner they are supporting
Apart from a front page that is clearly ringing the alarm bell … the explanation inside details how there is a massive shortfall in infrastructure spending that needs to be addressed so we must get on board and sweep aside all obstacles …
Essentially it is about getting high-rise going on Glebe Island … and who do you think would benefit the most from that?
Hm … wonder, does it have his finger prints all over it?
THE INFRASTRUCTURE that SYDNEY and NSW need are roadworks … all the potholes filled … underground power lines … that is the infrastructure that NSW needs … and would create JOBS … lots of them! Boost the economy … but oh, no …
Mind the ($30b) gap: Massive bill to build Sydney
NSW faces a huge infrastructure funding shortfall of about $30 billion needed to drive projects critical to the state’s future. But the government has vowed to push on and is considering all methods of obtaining the cash needed to finalise key projects.
*NSW faces a massive infrastructure funding shortfall of about $30 billion needed to drive projects critical to building the state’s future, as the government contemplates taking on more debt or even selling off further assets to bridge the gap.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told The Daily Telegraph that he would not take his foot off the pedal when it came to Sydney’s infrastructure program.
“We are rebuilding Sydney. We’re taking our city from good to great. We’re building not just for now but for the future generation,” he said.
As Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe repeatedly urges governments to increase infrastructure investment, NSW is staring down the barrel of a massive multibillion-dollar shortfall, which the Treasurer will need to tackle in order to continue the state’s building legacy.
In an interview in his Parliament House office this week, Mr Perrottet conceded there were major projects in the state’s sights which still needed funding.
“I’m squarely focused on keeping the infrastructure program going while maintaining the state’s Triple A credit rating,”
Mr Perrottet said, noting that this was an honour that only five sub-sovereign states outside the US could claim.
*The funding gap Mr Perrottet faces includes a massive $14 billion shortfall for the Sydney Metro West — the much-trumpeted project that will connect Parramatta to the CBD in under 20 minutes.
*The government has committed $6 billion to the massive project but will need to find the rest.
Then there is the Greater West Metro — the railway line that will link Greater Western Sydney to the new Western Sydney airport — which is estimated to cost between $15-$20 billion and is funded on a 50-50 arrangement with Canberra.
The state has already found $2 billion for that but has a long way to go.
The Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link has an estimated price tag of $14 billion, with just $556 million allocated.
The second phase of the Parramatta light rail is so far uncosted.
In total, the shortfall is closer to $40 billion but The Daily Telegraph has been told part of that will come from capital expenditure in the NSW Budget.
The options for funding the rest are continuing the state’s asset-recycling program, borrowing more money or raising taxes — which Mr Perrottet ruled out, having already cut $5 billion in taxes in his past four Budgets.
Mr Perrottet indicated that extending the state’s debt levels was a viable option, noting that debt was historically cheap.
He noted that he also has the security of his generation fund — the future fund which will grow to $28 billion by 2029 and protects against future debt problems.
The government already has a massive fully funded $93 billion infrastructure program underway, but engineering firms and developers are concerned the city is on the cusp of stalling.
Gabriel Metcalf, Committee for Sydney chief executive, said: “There have been few significant new tenders in the market since the end of 2018.
“We know the pipeline is ready — so the most likely reason for the delay and uncertainty is that government is struggling to come up with the funding. It is becoming clear that the next set of projects are stalled.
“No one can deny how expensive these infrastructure projects are. But they are absolutely essential for the long-term viability of Sydney. In truth, the projects under construction are largely a form of catch-up, after a decade of not adding infrastructure while population continued to grow.”
Independent economist Clifford Bennett said infrastructure is the life blood of the economy, creating jobs and improving quality of life.
“State and federal governments should be looking to double their current infrastructure plans, because we need to be No.1 in our region in terms of ease and speed of travel and transport in all its forms, from railways to internet speeds,” Mr Bennett said.
“While interest rates are at historically low levels, this is the time to act boldly and think bigger than we ever have before in regard to infrastructure transformation,” he said.
The government has already put the state’s softwood plantation business out for a scoping study, which could yield about $1 billion if sold.
The most likely asset sales option after this would be the remaining stake in Sydney Motorway Corporation, after the first half was sold for $9 billion.
*Selling more electricity assets would require legislation — difficult with a hostile upper house.
*Selling water assets in a drought is also highly unlikely.
*Mr Perrottet rejected the description that asset recycling was “selling off the state”.
BAY BID KEY TO HALT CONCRETE BUNGLE
Prime harbourfront land at Glebe Island will be used to deliver and store concrete and building materials in what experts have called a tragic missed opportunity for Sydney.
*“Glebe Island is a stunning location in Sydney Harbour and it must be fully developed with mixed uses including residential,” the Urban Taskforce’s Chris Johnson said. “To only use the island for building materials and concrete batching plants would miss an amazing opportunity.”
The Port Authority of NSW wants to make the whole island a shipping facility and has already given its own proposal for concrete batching at the western end the green light in the face of furious opposition from locals, councils and developers who believe the new Metro West link would unlock the area’s potential.
Committee for Sydney chief executive Gabriel Metcalf said: “The renewal of the Bays Precinct is one of the most important regeneration projects in Sydney today. Building a Metro station and linking the area to the CBD and Parramatta via rail will create a fantastic opportunity for new jobs and new places for people to live.”
One artist’s impression for Glebe Island’s alternative future reveals a glitzy eight-tower mixed commercial and residential precinct.
CAAN: Where’s their taste? Imagination? More to be Shanghai’d ….
Its backers also found an unlikely ally in Lord Mayor Clover Moore who said: “Space in the middle of one of the most densely-populated areas in the country could be put to better use than a concrete batching facility.”
BUILDING A GOLDEN AGE FOR OUR CITY
Comment by Tony Shepherd
Sydney is on the burst.
Not since the era of the great John Bradfield have we seen such a burst of energy. WestConnex, Metro, Light Rail, Western Sydney Airport and Aerotropolis, hospitals, schools, museums, galleries, stadiums, theatres and Sydney Harbour Walk.
An unprecedented city investment program.
The whole purpose of this explosion is to make Sydney the best and most exciting place in the world to live, work, play and visit.
In this Oration our focus is on people and liveability.
The new infrastructure must be more than functional. It must be beautiful, open and accessible and renew our pride in our city. It must be inspired by the innovation and attraction of the Sydney Opera House.
The night-time economy is returning to Sydney with the safe reform of the lockout laws. With the massive investment in transport Sydney will be far more accessible and we want to bring to it a vibrancy we have not seen for many years.
CAAN: There’s that V word again … quoted again … and again …
The new and expanded cultural and sporting facilities will put Sydney back in its rightful place as Australia’s premier city. We must build for the future so we can be proud of our legacy to future generations.
The new economy requires the creation of virtual and physical intellectual hubs. Our massive investment program creates the places and connectivity which will make Sydney a far more attractive place to live, work and play.
It is up to our research institutions and business to take advantage of the opportunities created.
To achieve our goals we must also relax the heavy hand of bureaucracy which can be anti-change and tends to preserving the status quo.
We want our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to look back at this era and reflect on it as a golden age.
Tony Shepherd is chairman of the boards of the Greater Western Sydney Giants, the Sydney Cricket Ground & Sports Trust and a former chairman of Transfield and a Business Council of Australia president
“Pro-Beijing groups linked to the Chinese consulate in Sydney were mobilised to support embattled Ryde deputy mayor Simon Zhou, who has been condemned for playing the “race card” after being referred to the NSW corruption watchdog.
Mr Zhou used a council meeting on Tuesday night to call on Chinese-Australians to “fight back and stand up” amid cheers from the public gallery packed with his placard-wielding supporters.
*The Australian Financial Review has discovered these supporters were not a local community group as their signs suggested, but mostly from the Hubei Homeland Association, which has links through its convener to the Chinese consulate in Sydney.
The group was organised via Chinese messaging service WeChat, with those involved told they needed to let “bad people” in the media and on Ryde City Council know that they did not agree with the recent attacks on their “Chinese representative”.
The group was organised by a person using the WeChat handle Wolf Grandma, an apparent reference to the patriotic Chinese movie Wolf Warrior.
On an adjoining WeChat group one person noted this was not a grass roots organisation and warned others that the organiser was “working for and connected” to Chinese authorities.
The person said the organiser’s husband was a former member of the People’s Liberation Army and remained in contact with those at China’s consulates and embassy in Australia.
The group was told to meet at Eastwood railway station at 6.10pm on Tuesday and take the 515 bus together to the council chambers.
Professor Feng Chongyi from UTS said the “race card” was too often played by Chinese people. Steven Siewert
Feng Chongyi, an associate professor of Chinese studies at UTS, said the show of support for Mr Zhou had the Communist Party’s fingerprints all over it.
“Whenever these issues emerge they rally to put on a show,” he said.
“But you can easily see that the Chinese consulate and so-called patriotic leaders are behind it.”
Simon Zhou, left, with disgraced Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.
Sydney deputy mayor went to Communist Party training camp Professor Feng said the Chinese consulate in Sydney had changed tactics in recent years and now preferred to use “homeland associations” or cultural groups for pro-Beijing causes, rather than patriotic organisations, which had become too high profile.
Mr Zhou has been referred to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption after failing to declare a $4 million connection to disgraced property developer Huang Xiangmo.
Ryde mayor Jerome Laxale used his own casting vote to keep his job. Jeremy Piper
This followed Ryde council granting a key planning approval for the redevelopment of Eastwood Plaza, owned by Mr Huang’s Yuhu Group.
Mr Huang put the site on the market after planning permission was granted and stands to make a $135 million profit. Mr Zhou does not stand to benefit from the planning decision.
Some Chinese like to use so-called racism as an excuse to protect what they have done wrong. — Din Lin, Chinese-language columist
Tuesday night’s council meeting was convened to ask Mr Zhou, who sits as an independent, to step aside as deputy mayor while any ICAC investigation takes place.
Labor mayor Jerome Laxale has referred himself to ICAC, but has not disclosed the details.
Mr Zhou responded to the motion with an impassioned speech, breaking into Mandarin at times, to say the attacks against him were racially motivated because he was born in China.
“These attacks are aimed at bringing down a successful Chinese immigrant,” he said to cheers from the gallery. “It’s time we immigrants fight back and stand up against this bullying and harassment.”
*Chinese-language broadcaster and columnist Din Lin said the criticism of Mr Zhou had nothing to do with racism.
“Some Chinese like to use so-called racism as an excuse to protect what they have done wrong. This is nothing about racism,” he said.
His comments were echoed by Professor Feng who said the “race card” was too often played by Chinese leaders when they were under attack.
Mr Laxale was forced to use his casting vote to break a deadlock on council and defeat the motion that sought to have Mr Zhou and himself step aside.
Mr Laxale’s casting vote was also used to water down a motion for council to formally refer the pair to the ICAC.
Rather, it “noted” a referral had already been made and said if the ICAC was to investigate, then council would fully co-operate.”
Ryde deputy mayor Simon Zhou with his supporters on Tuesday night.
Earlier this week, we learned that construction insolvencies are booming, according to ASIC:
Insolvencies in the $150bn residential and non-residential construction industry remain at a high level… insolvencies in the three months to September jumped 78 per cent in Victoria, 41 per cent in Queensland and 7 per cent in NSW.
This was a significant contributor to the 5 per cent increase in year-on-year national defaults to 2309 across all industries, with 22 per cent coming from construction.
Comparative figures for the past 12 months were 8232 insolvencies, of which 20 per cent was in construction.
Today we learn that property developers – both domestic and foreign – are being forced to sell:
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in mortgagee in possession come into the market,” [Capio Property Group chief executive Mark Bainey] said.
“Many high interest rate private loans taken out for sites that were purchased at the height of the boom are now starting to mature and lenders aren’t extending the loan terms… It’s a growing trend with the proliferation of non-bank lenders”…
“I think there will be more distressed assets coming into the market, particularly the vacant land,” [Ray White Commercial Western Sydney selling agent Peter Vines] said…
Mr Bainey said the distressed sales were mostly coming from small- to medium-sized local and Chinese developers.
This comes as developers are showering incentives on buyers amid rising vacancy levels as projects started during the height of the property bubble are completed, and as demand evaporates amid growing concerns of dodgy building standards, flammable cladding, as well as falling overseas buyer demand.
Sydney’s water storage levels are on track to be at their lowest in history by next year as authorities grapple with how to stave off the looming prospect of a Sydney “day zero’’ — the day we run dry.
The current decline in water reserves has been so swift that Greater Sydney’s combined water storage is set to be smaller than what was recorded in the millennial drought by late next year. And it is understood that a planned expansion of the city’s desalination plant will only temporarily hasten the decline in water levels when the plant is forced offline for a month…
Current forecasts say Sydney has enough water to last only until May 2022.
Asked about the crisis, Water Minister Melinda Pavey said “Sydney is not immune to the drought” and added that the decline in water since August 2017 was the biggest drop in storage ever recorded. “NSW is in the worst drought on record, city and country,’’ she said.
“We all need to be doing our bit to conserve as much water as we can”…
Ms Pavey said Sydney faced “the biggest decline in water storage on record”.
The key difference between now and the 2006 water storage low is that Sydney’s population has grown by around one million people (~20%) over that period, which has dramatically increased water demand.
As we know, Sydney is the nation’s prime immigration gateway, importing an extra 77,100 people in 2017-18:
Sydney’s population is also projected by the ABS to balloon by 94,000 people a year for the next 48 years, effectively doubling the city’s population to 9.75 million people. And all of this growth will come from net overseas migration (NOM):
Even as droughts become more common and severe and evapotranspiration rates skyrocket:
Photo: Daily Telegraph: Sydney Desalination plant
A ballooning population alongside water-draining climate change is obviously a dangerous combination that will inevitably lead to chronic water shortages and the need to construct an entire battery of energy-hungry desalination plants up and down the coast.
This situation is made worse by the fact that most new migrants locate in Sydney’s West, which is farthest away from the ocean and makes desalination less viable (and more expensive).
This planning lunacy will mean Sydneysiders will die of thirst long before its population targets are met.