The single-level Surrey Hills residence sold $350,000 above reserve.
A woman stuck in Wuhan has paid a $350,000 premium for a Surrey Hills townhouse while on FaceTime with her son as he bid at the auction.
The buyer, who is an Australian citizen, picked up 23 Bentley St for $1.65 million after competition from five other groups, mostly made up of downsizers and young professionals.
Fletchers Canterbury director Tim Heavyside said the purchaser had missed out on other properties and planned to downsize into the three-bedroom townhouse.
Six groups contested the auction.
“She’s not a resident of China, she’s an Australian citizen,” Mr Heavyside said. “She’s stuck in Wuhan (the coronavirus epicentre), but she still bought it from Wuhan by FaceTiming with her son.
“The fact that it was so close to her son made it an easy decision to buy that particular property.”
Mr Heavyside said Australia’s reputation for first-class health care and economic stability was helping the local real estate market grow, predicting it would return to 2017 peak levels by midway through this year.
“Australia is actually quite a safe haven for any type of nationality, particularly for people that are worried about coronavirus and things like that,” Mr Heavyside said.
“Being safe is very high on people’s list.”
The buyer was happy to pay $1.65 million to live closer to her son.
The home’s kitchen.
Workers transfer medical waste at Leishenshan Hospital, the newly-built makeshift hospital for novel coronavirus patients, in Wuhan on February 18, 2020. Photo: STR/AFP
Mr Heavyside said the Surrey Hills sale was a “representation of how strong the market is.”
“There’s a lot of buyers out there that are trading out of fear or greed,” he said.
The Federal Government’s coronavirus travel ban was last week extended to at least February 22. It does not prevent Australian citizens and permanent residents returning to Australia from mainland China.
TikTok is under scrutiny in Australia for its ties to China, with some of the country’s top cyber and national security minds warning the app could potentially be used by Beijing authorities to influence and monitor millions of Australian users.
There are concerns that Chinese-owned app TikTok could be used to monitor users
TikTok has 500 million users worldwide, mostly children and teens
MP Andrew Hastie says TikTok’s potential ties to the Chinese Government pose a security risk
The wildly popular app, which boasts half a billion users, is the first Chinese-owned social media platform to seriously crack the western world.
Fergus Ryan, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), warned parents of young users not to be fooled by TikTok’s similarities to US-owned platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
“The amount of data that all these apps collect on their users is very concerning,” he told 7.30.
“But the key difference between Facebook and Instagram and TikTok is that there really isn’t much of a firewall between Chinese tech companies and the Chinese state.”
Like most social media apps, TikTok collects a huge amount of personal information about its users by demanding access to their phone’s camera, microphone, contact list and location using GPS tracking.
Federal MP and chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, Andrew Hastie, fears that TikTok could be sharing that private information with authorities in Beijing.
“China’s National Intelligence Law of 2017 means the Chinese Government can compel businesses to share information with them,” he told 7.30.
“So, I doubt if our information is secure when it’s owned by Chinese companies.”
He believes TikTok poses a potential national security threat to Australia, even though at this stage the app is mostly used by teenagers.
As an expert in Chinese social media, *Fergus Ryan has embarked on a year-long study of TikTok and another Chinese-owned app called WeChat, looking into both platforms as potential tools for censorship and surveillance by Beijing authorities.
He is concerned TikTok is restricting, and even deleting, material Beijing doesn’t like.
“We’ve actually had the content moderation guidelines used in TikTok leaked to the media and what those content moderation guidelines show is that TikTok’s approach to content moderation is more like what you and I would think is censorship,” he said.
Among topics deemed sensitive are the “three Ts”: Tiananmen, Tibet and Taiwan.
“Censorship and propaganda don’t have to be done in a very obvious way,” Mr Ryan said.
“For example, you don’t have to have a video completely deleted for censorship to take place. Instead, they could use something called ‘shadow-banning’.
“That means when content is sent out by a user, and they think that their followers have seen it, but in fact, it’s not being shown to anyone at all.”
There is also anecdotal evidence emerging online of users who have had their videos censored.
In a statement to 7.30, a TikTok spokesperson said it “does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China”.
“Earlier this year, we added greater clarity to our Community Guidelines, giving users far more detail around how we define harmful or unsafe content that is not permitted on the platform,” the statement said.
TikTok also claimed user data is stored in Singapore and the US, not China. But Mr Ryan said he believed Australian data still ends up in Beijing because that’s where the app’s engineers are based. *
“The app needs to be updated. The app needs to evolve and get better,” he said.
“And the people who do that are the engineers.
“It could very well be the case that data is being stored in the United States. But it’s highly likely that same data is being accessed by Beijing-based engineers in order to improve the app.”
When contacted for comment, the Chinese Embassy said: “As we understand, TikTok operates outside China, it should abide by the local laws.”
TikTok is expected to be scrutinised by a new federal parliamentary inquiry later this year.
Proposed by Labor and backed by the Government, it will examine the risk posed to Australia’s democracy by foreign interference through social media.
But TikTok and parent company Bytedance appear unperturbed, with plans to open a Sydney office in the near future.
“They’re serious about the Australian market, and they really want to increase their business here,” Mr Ryan said.
In recent weeks, the company has been advertising for a number of roles within the Sydney office.
One position posted online is for a role titled “Head of Public Policy”, with responsibilities that include building and establishing relationships with “local and national policymakers, government authorities and advisors”, as well as monitoring “political and social events in Australia”.
Mr Ryan said it is not surprising the company is looking to hire what is essentially a lobbyist or government relations officer. *
“TikTok has been facing a huge amount of regulatory pushback all around the world, from India to the United States,” he said.
“It knows it needs to be able to knock on the right doors here in Canberra, to ensure that it has a viable business tomorrow.”
Mental Health Housing and Homelessness Interrelated … AHURI
RESEARCH DINAH LEWIS BOUCHER THU 20 FEB 20
Australia’s housing, homelessness and mental health systems are crisis-driven and not well integrated, meaning many struggle to access required support when needed, reveals new research.
The national study, Trajectories: the interplay between mental health and housing pathways, is one of the first to examine the relationship between the housing and mental health pathways of people with lived experience of mental ill-health.
Undertaken by Mind Australia in collaboration with AHURI the quantitative analysis highlights the impact mental health issues have on a person’s financial situation, and ultimately, directly impacting their housing stability.
“People who experienced severe psychological distress had an 89 per cent increased likelihood of financial hardship in the following year and a 96 per cent increased likelihood of financial hardship within two years,” the report said.
“People whose mental health deteriorated to the point where they experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression and who did not see a health specialist were 65 per cent more likely to face financial hardship, such as going hungry, having to sell possessions or not be able to pay housing costs.”
Highlighting potential points of “practical intervention” and areas for “system improvement”, the research identifies five housing trajectories people commonly experience as a result.
Five common housing and mental health trajectories: AHURI
• Excluded from help required, this trajectory is characterised by a lack of access to housing or mental health care.
• People stuck without adequate support, is a trajectory where they are trapped in inappropriate housing, institutions or services due to a lack of options.
• The cycling trajectory is marked by a downward spiral in which people enter into and drop out of supports repeatedly, which progressively erodes their resources.
• People on the stabilising trajectory have access to secure, appropriate, safe and affordable housing, ongoing mental health support and the social and financial resources necessary to focus on recovery
• People on the well supported trajectory have the type of housing and level of care that is right for them and can achieve their ambitions beyond housing and mental health.
Housing as foundation for mental health recovery
“For people with ill mental health, appropriate housing is housing which allows for control of space,” report co-author Dr Sarah Pollock from Mind Australia said.
“It’s in a safe neighbourhoodclose to family and friends; and has good access to public transport, services, and opportunities for work, volunteering or study.
“Our research finds that having access to safe, secure, affordable and appropriate housing is the foundation to recovering from mental ill health,” Pollock said.
The research found that housing outcomes for people experiencing mental health issues showed that mediating factors, such as social support, having good general health, and accessing mental health and other health services, can reduce the likelihood of housing instability.
“Stable social support reduced the likelihood of deteriorating mental health to the point where a person experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression by 33 per cent, reducing the length of time a person was unwell by 6 per cent,” the report said.
FROM A CAAN CONTRIBUTOR … Here’s how he sums it up!
‘THREE MILLION HOMELESS IN AUSTRALIA … 800,000 children.
People living rough, can’t afford rent, Newstart below poverty line.
Add to that the huge over supply of apartments (not just my ramblings).
Righteous government crowing about affordable housing – who’s it for?
We are probably the least equitable westernised country on the planet.
Under the LNP we have gone backwards. But it’s OK to keep your franking credits, it’s ok to systematically underpay your workers …
Do CEOs find themselves underpaid?
Spew venom at Unions but allow politicians to use taxpayers money to supplement election campaigns … Come on people get real!’
Report shows three million people in poverty in Australia and why we must act to support each other
The 2020 Poverty in Australia Overview, released today by the Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW Sydney, shows more than one in eight adults and one in six children live below the poverty line in Australia.
Australian Council of Social Service CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie said: “It’s not right that in Australia, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, more than three million people, including three quarters of a million children, are living in poverty.
“We want to support each other. It’s who we are as a nation. But our economy is leaving people behind, with persistently high poverty rates despite decades of uninterrupted economic growth.
“People living in poverty include young people working to get their foot in the door of the competitive job market, single parents juggling caring responsibilities, and older people confronting age discrimination.
“The job market is changing, with jobs less secure, and fewer entry level jobs than there used to be. Our housing costs are among the highest in the world and are locking people in poverty. For households of working age with the lowest incomes, average housing costs rose by 42% from 2005 to 2017.
“Australia’s income support system was designed to help people when they are going through tough times. But key income support payments – Newstart and Youth Allowance – have not increased in real terms in 26 years and they are both well below the poverty line.
“The low rate of Newstart, a lack of jobs and unaffordable housing are locking people in poverty. “Not only has poverty remained consistently high in our wealthy country, the depth of poverty is getting worse, with households in poverty on average living 42 per cent below the poverty line, up from 35% in 2007.
“It’s clear we must act to lift people out of poverty. The Government can reduce poverty by boosting growth in jobs, increasing Newstart and Rent Assistance, and investing in social housing to ensure everyone has a safe place to call home,” Dr Goldie said.
The report’s lead researcher, UNSW Sydney Associate Professor Dr Bruce Bradbury said: “The poverty rate in Australia is worse than in most other wealthy countries, including New Zealand, Germany and Ireland.
“Our report finds that 13.6 per cent of people in Australia are living in poverty and that poverty rates have remained at about this level for the past decade, despite economic growth. “Child poverty has consistently been higher than overall poverty, ranging from 18 per cent to 16 per cent over the past decade and now sits at 17.7 per cent – more than one in six children.”
Professor Carla Treloar, Director of the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, said: “We cannot accept these high, persistent levels of overall poverty and child poverty. “We can see in recent decades the impacts of changes to income support settings on poverty levels. It’s clear we must take action on income support, housing and employment to lift people out of poverty,” said Professor Treloar.
• 3.24 million people in Australia (13.6% of the population) live below the poverty line. • 774,000 children under the age of 15 (17.7% of all children in Australia) live below the poverty line. • More than one in eight adults and one in six children live below the poverty line in Australia. • The poverty rate in Australia is worse than in most other wealthy countries. It is worse than in New Zealand, Germany and Ireland, according to the latest figures from the OECD. • In Australia, the poverty line is $457 per week for a single adult. The poverty line is measured as 50% of median income. • The average ‘poverty gap’ (the difference between the incomes of people in poverty in various types of families and the poverty line) is $282 per week. • The single rate of Youth Allowance (plus Rent Assistance and Energy Supplement) is $168 per week below the poverty line. • Our survey of young people on Youth Allowance found 9 in 10 skip meals and 1 in 3 have withdrawn from their studies because of a lack of funds. • The single rate of Newstart (plus Rent Assistance and Energy Supplement) is $117 per week below the poverty line. • Our survey of people on Newstart found more than 8 in 10 regularly skip meals and more than half have less than $15 a day left after housing costs. • The single rate of the Age Pension (plus Pension and Energy Supplements) is closer to the poverty line, but still $10 per week below. • Among the lowest 20% of working-age households by income, average housing costs grew by 42% from 2005 to 2017 (compared with an average rise in housing costs of 15% for the middle 20%). • Newstart, Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance have not increased in real terms in 25 years. • ACOSS is calling for a $95 per week increase to Newstart and Youth Allowance; a $20 per week increase to Rent Assistance (as a first step) and for these payments to be regularly indexed to wages, as is the case for the Age Pension.
Media contacts for ACOSS, UNSW and partner interviews:
ACOSS, Monique Vandeleur 0419 626 155 UNSW Corporate Communications, Belinda Henwood, 0412 270 034 The Brotherhood of St Laurence, Bridie Riordan, 0491 159 256 Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, Clare Kermond, 0407 907632 cohealth, Sara Norbury, 0447 125 166 Anglicare Australia, Maiy Azize, 0434 200 794
IS this an admission that tertiary education in Australia is not about learning but about revenue streams?
WHO got it wrong? … No, they didn’t …
WHO got it right? It is a huge issue, but it is clear the Universities don’t have a plan B!
WHY didn’t they have a Plan B when they are supposed to be the best and brightest amongst us?
WHY did they put all their eggs in one basket?
WHY were they so disconnected from accounting for risk in their business model?
IF they were so sold on selling…
WHY didn’t they look to other markets, and diversify their sources of revenues?
COULD it be the Middle Kingdom made it clear they wouldn’t compete for places? That they had a ‘right’ as the major player, and would respond in an adverse way if the desired outcome wasn’t achieved in their favour?
WHAT is not liked in one part of the exchange between our economies can easily be addressed by … in a totalitarian setting … not in our world, it’s not controlled that way …
AND we ought not forget the influence peddling … it matters because it works!
Welcome to your pain Australian Universities … are you going to learn from this experience, or is it a case of business as usual when this current emergency ends, and await the next crisis unchanged?
Coronavirus travel ban hits Australian universities, schools as Chinese students stranded overseas
Australian universities are bracing for a significant financial hit if the coronavirus travel ban continues, with more than 80 per cent of Chinese students enrolled at some institutions still stuck overseas as lectures are set to resume.
An estimated 100,000 university students have been held up by the ban
China’s restricted internet is making sending course material challenging
The financial hit to the sector could be high if universities have to refund fees
The universities, as well as some secondary schools, are using special online learning platforms, third-party companies with contracts into China, live streaming of classes and even the tech savvy of their students to upload course material, despite the Chinese digital firewall making this challenging.
Universities Australia estimates almost 100,000 Chinese students enrolled in Australia are currently held up in their home country or a third country as universities hold their orientation weeks and with lectures due to start on most campuses next week.
Facing a major cost burden
At the University of Sydney, international students from China make up 24 per cent, or about 17,000, of the 71,000-strong student population.
No mention of the second tranche of Anti-Money Laundering Laws being shelved more than 13 years ago ... and then the Morrison Government exempting the Real Estate Gatekeepers (real estate agents, lawyers and accountants) from the second tranche in October 2018 …. Soft!
Why not tell it how it is?
What about real estate, the reports are there, why was it overlooked … seriously? At least its had top billing today, 20 February 2020.
One of the Mosman houses owned by the mysterious Bo Zhang. Sam Mooy
Australia a safe haven for illicit funds, but Cayman Islands the world’s worst
Australia continues to host significant quantities of illicit funds from outside the country and is not doing enough to counter money laundering and tax avoidance, according to the 2020 Financial Secrecy Index.
The Tax Justice Network’s index, released every two years, rates countries based on financial transparency
Cayman Islands ranked as the world’s biggest contributor to financial secrecy, followed by the US and Switzerland
Despite its relatively low ranking at number 48, Australia hosts significant quantities of illicit funds from outside the country
The Tax Justice Network’s index, (TJN)released every two years, rates countries based on financial transparency.
The Financial Secrecy Index (FSI) ranks each country based on how intensely the country’s legal and financial system allows wealthy individuals and criminals to hide and launder money extracted from around the world.
*The Cayman Islands ranked as the world’s biggest contributor to financial secrecy, as a result of the once-notorious tax haven increasing the volume of financial services it provides to non-residents.
The report also noted major risks emanating from Cayman’s hedge fund industry, which uses companies, trusts and limited partnerships that are “cloaked in secrecy”.
In second place was the United States, overtaking Switzerland (now ranked third).
Australia is ranked at 48th position in this year’s index, four places down from its 2018 position.
Despite its relatively low ranking, the report said, “Australia undoubtedly hosts significant quantities of illicit funds from outside the country”.
Australian banks under scrutiny for money laundering
Australia’s big banks have come under scrutiny for failing to detect money laundering and other crimes.
More than 23 million transactions are alleged to have breached anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws, and the bank is facing the prospect of fines that may total more than $1 billion.
Post the Panama Papers, in 2017 Treasury undertook consultation on setting up a beneficial ownership register that would out the people behind secret shell companies.
“There has been no public movement on the register, with the Government continuing to say it is under consideration,” the report said, urging swift action.
*TJN also called on the Federal Government to extend anti-money laundering provisions to real estate agents, dealers, lawyers, accountants and others.
*The government drafted laws in 2007 that would have done so, but those laws were never implemented.
Top 10 worst offenders
British Virgin Islands
United Arab Emirates
Australia was ranked 48th on the 2020 Financial Secrecy Index. (Source: Tax Justice Network).
Calls for Government to do more to fight tax avoidance
*To better counter tax avoidance, the report called on the Federal Government to make public country-by-country reports provided to tax authorities.
These reports, which detail taxes a company pays in each jurisdiction it operates, have been kept secret since they were introduced some years ago as part of the OECD and G20’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project that aims to stamp out tax evasion.
“None of the information is made publicly available, which is a major shortcoming given that civil society plays an important part in scrutinising corporate tax behaviour,” the report said.
*The report did note Australian authorities had some success in fighting tax avoidance, through various taskforces and stronger laws such as the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) and Diverted Profits Tax (DPT).
The ATO has previously said MAAL has resulted in companies booking an additional $7 billion in sales in Australia every year, thus resulting in a higher tax take.
While companies such as Facebook and Google have already restructured their operations due to MAAL, and pay more tax here, the law only applies to sale contracts managed by sales teams in Australia.
*The ATO does not require tech giants to disclose the revenue they book overseas from local clients, meaning authorities have not been able to stop the legal practice of collectively billions of dollars in advertising revenuebeing channelled via low-tax countries like Singapore.
Clark Gascoigne, the interim executive director of the US-based Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition, said financial secrecy remains a major problem.
“Financial secrecy enables crimes like human trafficking, tax evasion, and corruption both at home and abroad,” Mr Gascoigne said.
TJN’s report said the United Kingdom (ranked 12th on the index) increased its secrecy score more than any other country by extending its network of satellite jurisdictions to which the country outsources some of its secrecy activity.
*It is often referred to as the “UK spider’s web” — a network of overseas territories and crown dependencies where the UK has full powers to impose or veto lawmaking, and where powers to appoint key government officials rest with the British Crown.
“The UK’s spider’s web included some of the highest-ranking jurisdictions on the Financial Secrecy Index, including Cayman (ranked 1st), the British Virgin Islands, which ranked 9th and Guernsey, which ranked 11th,” the report said.
*A director and founder of the Tax Justice Network, John Christensen, said UK’s surge up the index raised “serious concerns about the UK’s post-Brexit strategy to turn the City of London into a ‘Singapore-on-Thames'”.
TJN‘s report did have some good news. It said financial secrecy around the world is decreasing as a result of some recent transparency reforms.
On average, countries on the index reduced their contribution to global financial secrecy by 7 per cent.
Liz Nelson, a director at the Tax Justice Network, said despite some positive reforms by countries, progress on country-by-country reporting remains slow.
This, she said, had left unchecked the “rampant tax abuse that disproportionally undercuts the people who start out with [fewer] opportunities in life to begin with”.
“The OECD currently has a once-in-a-century opportunity to reform an international tax system that has allowed financial secrecy to flourish,” Ms Nelson added.
TJN’s analysis is ‘misleading’
A number of groups have disputed the TJN’s analysis.
*According to the TJN itself, a higher rank on the index “does not necessarily mean a jurisdiction is more secretive”, but rather that the jurisdiction plays a bigger role globally in enabling secretive banking, anonymous shell company ownership, anonymous real estate ownership or other forms of financial secrecy“.
It said a highly secretive jurisdiction that provides little to no financial services to non-residents, such as Samoa (ranked 86th), will rank belowa moderately secretive jurisdiction that is a major world player, such as Japan (ranked 7th).
But Cayman Finance, the association representing financial services firms in that country, said the report contained “misleading and inaccurate information”.
“The Cayman Islands would not be highly ranked on any secrecy index that is objective, transparent, and based on standards established by global standard setting bodies,” Cayman Finance said in a statement.
“The Cayman Islands, particularly its financial services industry, has been recognised for decades as a strong international partner in combatting corruption, money laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion.”
The United Kingdom’s Treasury also disputed the findings, telling The Guardian that it did not recognise the basis of TJN’s assessment and that “we have been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of the greater drive for transparency”.
The real estate sector has continually been identified as a weak spot in Australia’s anti-money laundering regime, with financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC estimating $1 billion in suspicious transactions from China in 2016.
Australia is set to receive another black mark for its lax anti-money laundering laws, putting renewed pressure on the federal government to force real estate agents to report suspicious sales.
The Financial Action Taskforce, which sits under the G7 major world economies, is due to release its latest report before Christmas and those who have seen an early draft say it will make for uncomfortable reading in Canberra.
“We’re going to get another kicking,” said one person familiar with the process.
The renewed focus on the real estate sector and its lack of reporting requirements comes after The Australian Financial Review revealed that a 32-year-old Chinese-born man, Bo Zhang, had six houses in Sydney’s Mosman worth $37 million, but lived in none of them.
In addition, the mysterious Mr Zhang has purchased $1.2 billion worth of hotel, apartment and retail developments in Sydney and on the Gold Coast.Advertisement
The real estate sector has continually been identified as a weak spot in Australia’s anti-money laundering regime, with financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC estimating $1 billion in suspicious transactions came into the Australian property market from China in the 2016 financial year.
At issue is Australia’s delay in enacting so-called “Tranche II” of the anti-money laundering laws, which would compel real estate agents, lawyers and accountants to report suspicious transactions.
All have fiercely resisted the move, and for the last 13 years both sides of politics have failed to implement tougher measures.
It is understood the government is due to receive a submission from the Department of Home Affairs by Christmas, which would outline options to toughen Australia’s anti-money laundering regime.
A government spokesman said: “The Morrison government is committed to continually improving Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and working with industry to ensure that Australia’s financial system is hardened against criminals and terrorists without placing undue burden on industry.”
The inaction has brought together an unlikely coalition of the Australian Bankers Association and the Greens, which are both pushing for the introduction of Tranche II.
“The exemption for lawyers, accountants and real estate agents is a gaping hole in Australia’s anti-money laundering laws,” said Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson.
“We’ve had 13 years of inaction, from both Liberal and Labor governments, on the fabled Tranche II.”
Senator Whish-Wilson said during this period of inaction billions of dollars had washed through the Australian property market.
“In particular, investors are using real estate as a safe haven and to clean up money coming out of China,” he said.
The Australian Bankers Associations also supports toughening anti-money laundering rules and pointed the Financial Review to a submission it made last year.
“The ABA recommends progressing the Tranche II reforms as a priority. It is vital that Australia closes the current gaps in the Australian money laundering/terrorism financing regime,” its submission said.
DESPITE the all too numerous factual reports from Macro Business that reveal WHY a Whole Cohort of Australians have been locked out of Home Ownership … due to very pooor government policies … why has Jess failed to grasp the point?
POLICIES INCLUDING …
–real estate gatekeepers exempt (excluded) from Anti-Money Laundering Laws (Morrison Govt: October 2018)
-second tranche of the AML Legislation shelved for more than 12 years prior
-the lure of a ‘Permanent Resident Visa’ following real estate purchase with Medicare thrown in …
.2.3 Million Visa holders in Australia 2019 (with many seeking real estate and permanent residency)
.almost 400,000 migrants 2019 all needing accommodation thus high competition for housing hiking house prices
–public housing estates sold off for private redevelopment
This week, three of Australia’s leading housing academics, Hal Pawson, Vivienne Milligan and Judith Yates, released a book, Housing Policy in Australia: a case for system reform, which pulls together decades of research into what they see as a systematic failure of Australian policy when it comes to that most basic of human rights: shelter.
…So what would a national housing strategy look like?
First, it would be overseen by a dedicated housing minister at cabinet level…Second, we need a dedicated national agency responsible for overseeing housing policy…Reform of tax breaks on housing, most pressingly on investment housing…All renters need greater rights to long-term and stable leases.
In short, Australians deserve a national strategy to ensure access to stable and affordable housing – not just the politicians’ latest trick.
Butwhy would anybody take this seriously?Jess is the fig leaf for the most egregious property spruiking machine in Australia: Domain and affiliates.
What’s the point of the above when Jess spends the other half of her time promoting mass immigration as well? The number one house price pump priming mechansim in the economy.
I’d rather read The Pascometer. At least he was the wolf, not the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The year is 1985. Bob Hawke has stormed into the Lodge with a landslide victory in the 1984 election. On the radio, the British band Dire Straits dominates with its Brothers in Arms album and its hit song Money for Nothing extolling the benefits of being a lead guitarist: That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it:/Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free. The average Australian home price is somewhere between twice and three times the national average salary.
Sure, interest rates are about to hit the roof and recession is on its way, but for now, at least, the pathway to home ownership for young Aussies (a cohort who will one day face the disparaging epithet of “OK Boomer”) is relatively clear.
Fast-forward three decades. What seemed like an innocent enough and catchy radio tune has turned prophetic. Real wages have risen by about a half, but home values have tripled. It’s Australia 2020, and that’s the way you do it: money for nothing and it’s capital gains tax free.
Today, Australian home values are worth about seven times the average salary. In Melbourne, it’s eight times. In Sydney, it’s more than nine times. And that’s before the latest resurgence in home values.
It’s the untold back story to Australia’s recent economic success. Until now.
This week, three of Australia’s leading housing academics, Hal Pawson, Vivienne Milligan and Judith Yates, released a book, Housing Policy in Australia: a case for system reform, which pulls together decades of research into what they see as a systematic failure of Australian policy when it comes to that most basic of human rights: shelter.
“Housing system reform is overdue and increasingly urgent,” they conclude.
While global factors, such as ultra-low interest rates, have pushed up home values globally, the deterioration in affordability has been even more pronounced in Australia, the authors find. Indeed, Australia has seen the worst decline in home affordability, as measured by home values as a multiple of incomes, of any major OECD country since 1985, according to their analysis.
Why? Far from being a symptom of our success, rising home values are a sign of supersized policy failure at the national level, they say.
While housing policies periodically get some time in the political sun – usually around elections – the last time Australia had a serious comprehensive national strategy to house its people was in the post-World War II era, when the federal government led the great push into the suburbs. Since then, reforms have been sporadic and often counterproductive.Play VideoPlay video2:26Housing values increase in every capital city
January saw an rise in home values across every capital city with Sydney and Melbourne leading the charge.
The authors point to the obviously harmful impact of the capital gains concessions on investment property, which has inflated demand for housing while encouraging property to be viewed as a speculative vehicle for wealth accumulation rather than a fundamental need.
Meanwhile, rising home values have pushed more people into private rental accommodation, where tenant rights have not kept pace. Meanwhile, those on low incomes, squeezed out of private rentals, have encountered an overburdened and inadequate public housing system.
We are now at a crunch point, the authors argue, where in addition to the obvious inequality of Australia’s housing system, the manifest failure to ensure a path to home ownership will put increasing stress on the national budget as households that do not own their home require higher support payments in retirement to cover housing costs.
“There is no responsible ‘business as usual’ option,” Hal Pawson told a Committee for Sydney event this week to launch the book. “A national housing strategy is long overdue and can only be led by the Commonwealth. It must be national because … it’s plain that key instruments of housing policy, especially tax and social security settings, are controlled by the Commonwealth and not the states.”
So what would a national housing strategy look like?
First, it would be overseen by a dedicated housing minister at cabinet level. Federally, Michael Sukkar is Australia’s current housing minister, but he’s not in cabinet and he juggles the role with the not insignificant responsibilities of being Assistant Treasurer.
Second, we need a dedicated national agency responsible for overseeing housing policy, such as the US Federal Housing and Urban Development department. To his credit, Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised at the last election to beef up the existing National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation with more research powers to the tune of $5 million a year, adding to its existing twin responsibilities to both oversee Morrison’s election announcement of a first home loan guarantee scheme and his announcement as Treasurer in the 2017 budget of funding to help the community housing sector gain access to cheap credit.
-should it not be a concern a person of his skill and background is Chair of the FIRB at this point in his life?
-is he in a position where the past represents more in his thinking than what is happening right now?
-how well equipped is the FIRB to deal with the complexities of foreign organisations?
Take a moment to reflect on what Australia no longer owns since 2015 when this man was appointed to the FIRB in a move allegedly to strengthen the scrutiny of Chinese bids for key investments of potential security and strategic importance …
Cubby station and numerous other large landholdings, Kidman for example, transport, mines, power, healthcare, commercial towers, renewable energy, water, dairy, airports … so much of our residential property!!
THEN ASK yourself do ….
These born to rule types
These self-appointed brains trusts
These better managers of everything
WELL you get the drift …
THINK … do they believe it’s a better World with their hands on the tiller ?
IT would seem to many of us that the Foreign Investment Review Board should be shut down … what’s in it for Australia and Australians ? As our National Estate … Our Sovereignty is rapidly diminishing?
Photo: FIRB Watchdog says Australia should chill out about Chinese cash!
READ MORE! …
RELATED ARTICLES …
Address by Mr David Irvine AO, FIRB Chair to the Australia-China Business Council
Ex-ASIO chief to beef up Foreign Investment Review Board’s national security credentials
December 6, 2015
Former ASIO director-general David Irvine has been appointed to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), in a move seen to strengthen scrutiny of Chinese bids for key investments of potential security and strategic importance.
FIRB WATCHDOG SAYS AUSTRALIA SHOULD CHILL OUT ABOUT CHINESE CASH!
AS we at CAAN read this article, it failed to challenge some of the statements being attributed to Irvine.
Whilst not wanting to appear ageist, it is a concern a person of his skill and background is chair of the FIRB at this point in his life.
-Is he in a position where the past represents more in his thinking than what is happening right now?
-Has the CIC been set up to ‘assist’ him overcoming some difficulties in understanding what a lot of Australians are concerned about?
-How well equipped is the FIRB to deal with the complexities of foreign organisations?
-Is the devil in the detail? Bloomberg’s Michael Heath says we ‘(Australia) should be more relaxed about Chinese cash’ .
Well, perhaps that is the very reason why we should be concerned:
.how do we know where this cash came from? .how was it gained .is it supposedly privately sourced, or is it derived from State involvement?
(In Australia some individuals and companies have already been identified, and are in the public record, at best, probable China-State connected operatives)
-Greenland, China-backed developer of Lachlan’s Line gated estate North Ryde Precinct
-John Holland, now owned by Chinese state-owned engineering and construction behemoth CCCC International Holding is set to diversify into residential development and hotel investments
-ASX-listed Boyuan Holdings the Chinese developer with a commercial in confidence proposal for the Badgery’s Creek land currently before the Greater Sydney Commission
-Pilot shortage: Chinese-owned airport in Australia looks to increase its flights by 1000%; Kempsey one of three pilot training schools used to train Chinese pilots
.do we have reciprocal access to China (heaven forbid why would you seek a slice of one of the most polluted places on earth) or even to their markets? The answer is clearly , no.
.’snapping up everything from real estate to infrastructure’ there it is, if any Australians were ever in doubt about what’s happening they should no longer wonder about our fait, the race is on to swallow up as much as possible
-Unlike the message we are getting in this article that our relationship needs to be managed and a balance struck between two very different countries and cultures, most Australians are indeed very concerned about being consumed by ‘our biggest trading partner’
A very modest review of Australia’s circumstance would most likely reveal concerns re:
-What about the vertical integration of Chinese business activities in Australia?
-Why aren’t the Chinese ‘companies’ investing in their own country?
-The TITLE DEEDS of our domestic housing being exported at frightening rate and even more alarming the purchasing of rural/mining/construction entities
-The lack of credible proof there is a real separation between State and private actors in the acquisition of assets in Australia
-The real extent of PROXY buying and visa manipulation, something that is probably beyond our current capacity given the preoccupation the Federal government has had with efficiency dividends for the past five (5) years; slashing departmental budgets and their remits
-Despite assurances to the contrary Australia is vulnerable to the subtle and overt coercion that has given rise to loss of SOVEREIGNTY from Australia’s ports to all manner of assets with less than a whisper … it has been effective.
Our openness and sensitivity to any blowback has allowed this to happen, as detailed by Clive Hamilton
Finally, it is an observation that as it is our misfortune to have inadequate regulations in place that protect our NATIONAL INTERESTS over private gain it is seen at the very least to be our fault, and so is an invitation to foreign entities and individuals to exploit such opportunities!
TEXT: AUSTRALIA SHOULD CHILL OUT ABOUT CHINESE CASH, WATCHDOG SAYS
29 March 2018
Economic partnership is challenge, but ‘fact of life’: Irvine Chinese investors eyeing commercial property, infrastructure Bloomberg’s Michael Heath reports on Chinese investors boosting their stakes in Australian property.
Australia needs to be more relaxed about Chinese cash despite the political tensions that come with it, says the head of Australia’s foreign investment watchdog.
Chinese investors are boosting their stakes in Australian property and infrastructure, stoking concerns about the world No. 2 economy’s influence Down Under. But their growing presence simply reflects China’s burgeoning power, and Australia needs such capital for its economic development, said Foreign Investment Review Board chief David Irvine.
“Having a largest economic partner who is not a traditional ally, that’s I think one of the big challenges of Australian foreign policy,” Irvine said in an interview. “It’s a fact of life. We will adapt to it.”
Australia is struggling to strike a balance between security and prosperity. The former is underpinned by the U.S. and the latter by China, two nations currently butting heads over trade, investment and influence in the Asia-Pacific. That’s complicated by China being the fastest-growing foreign investor in Australia: scooping up everything from farmland to Sydney apartment blocks, and generating a political and social backlash in the process.
The U.S. still remains by far the biggest overall overseasinvestor in Australia, with China seventh in 2016 rankings, government data shows.
The Shopping List
Chinese investors are snapping up Australian property and infrastructure
Source: KPMG, University of Sydney
Note: Chinese outbound direct investment in Australia 2016 (excl. residential property)
Irvine, 71, was appointed FIRB chairman last year in the wake of a debacle over Chinese firms’ efforts to buy a power network in New South Wales state. He’d previously headed up Australia’s domestic and foreign spy agencies and served as the nation’s ambassador to China, providing him with a rounded view of Australia’s position in the international arena.
“It’s somewhat understandable, but I think it’s a mistake to look at foreign investment in Australia only through the prism of Chinese investment and of developments in Australia-China relations,” Irvine said. “The facts are that Australia has always welcomed and indeed encouraged foreign investment into our country. We’re a capital-importing country.”
China’s emerging role as a major investor comes as governments, particularly at the state level, are offloading utilities to help finance roads and rail projects. For local authorities, the size of Chinese checkbooks is enticing; for federal officials it raises questions over what infrastructure is essential, what is connected to national security and what’s in the national interest.
In response, Australia has established the Critical Infrastructure Centre to create a register of assets including water, ports and energy. It assesses risks such as espionage and cyber security, and Irvine said FIRB will be looking to the CIC for advice on foreign bids.
China led Australia’s foreign investment approvals in fiscal 2016
Source: Foreign Investment Review Board
Note: Data is for total approvals 2015-16
The CIC was created in the wake of the Ausgrid fiasco, when two Chinese bidders for the electricity network were vetoed at the 11th hour on national security grounds, leaving global investors scratching their heads about whether Australia really wanted their cash. Irvine is seeking to improve the predictability of FIRB decisions.
“Whatever views people may have had of FIRB in the past, the current government is very keen to see people talk to the FIRB early,” he said.
The environment is growing more complex. Australia is planning 5G mobile phone networks — and the technology of China’s Huawei Technologies Co. will likely be competitive with U.S. and European rivals on price and performance. The company was blocked from tending for contracts in Australia’s national broadband network in 2012 on security concerns.
President Donald Trump raised concerns with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over Huawei and security, local media reported in March.
Australia’s parliament passed a bill Thursday protecting critical infrastructure. It strengthens the government’s hand to combat espionage, sabotage and coercion arising from foreign involvement in the nation’s assets.
China isn’t just a keen investor in Australia, it’s the nation’s largest trading partner. It buys around a third of Australian exports and dominates iron ore and education, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 overseas earners. China is also increasingly trying to harness the influence its commercial relationships provide.
As tensions rise over construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea, so have perceptions of China as a potential enemy. In 2017, 46 percent of Australian adults said it’s likely China will become a military threat to Australia in the next 20 years, up 7 percentage points from 2015, according to a Lowy Institute survey.
“How you negotiate the ups and downs of a relationship between two very different countries and two very different cultures, that of course all requires management,” Irvine said. “But I certainly see Australia’s future not excluding a very strong economic partnership with China. I personally approach investment proposals from China with that objective in mind.”