HORNSBY

Photo: Google 187 Peats Ferry Road Hornsby

GOOGLE Photo: 187 Peats Ferry Road Hornsby

Statement from Sutherland Shire Environment Centre – Woronora petition parliamentary debate, 4 June, 2020

FROM: Sutherland Shire Environment Centre

(Copied with the Permission of SSEC) 

SSEC:

Regarding last week’s parliamentary debate to protect our water at Woronora, to all the people who took the time to gather petition signatures, to send us the completed petitions, to speak to other people about the issue, call and email the politicians – we thank you again. It’s understandable we might all be feeling cynical about our democratic parliamentary process.

We have drafted a longer statement with outstanding questions we would like our politicians to answer… the first page is on our post here. The longer version can be accessed at 

https://ssec.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/SSEC-Statement-09.06.20-Woronora-petition-debate.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0cvyonaGUv5j1SUKx8QhWGqKCt-_YRQGnXJZ6bpvLyn8ZKnt1fOlw7XWQ

Statement – Woronora petition parliamentary debate, 4 June, 2020

Sutherland Shire Environment Centre is an independent, not-for-profit, community organisation. We have consistently stated that water security is a matter that goes beyond politics – no matter what anyone’s political leanings, or position on coal. Woronora Reservoir, our water supply, is a critical public asset that is simply too important to jeopardise.

The petition to protect our water supply was started in good faith with the hope that the democratic process would allow community voices to be heard. We do not believe the recent parliamentary debate applied proper scrutiny to this matter, and we do not accept the government’s assurances that the damage occurring in the Woronora Reservoir catchment is insignificant.

To all the people who took the time to gather petition signatures, to send us the completed petitions, to speak to other people about the issue, call and email the politicians – we thank you, and are so very sorry that you have been ignored.

It would be understandable if you are now feeling cynical about our democratic parliamentary process.

The positive aspect of our efforts – on your part and ours – is that so many more people now realise what is taking place at Woronora Reservoir. The alternative to voicing our concerns is to say nothing, and allow the mining to proceed with no opposition whatsoever.

The debate did not achieve the outcome we were hoping, but community opposition to the mine is clear, and this opposition crosses all sides of the political spectrum, despite the failure of both major parties to take any effective political action.

The question we now have to consider is what action can be taken that will be effective. We’d like to be able to offer an immediate solution, but we are dealing with a multinational mining company that has political access and influence – more than we anticipated. As we’ve learnt over the last few months this company has decades of experience combating community opposition.

We understand the Nature Conservation Council are considering legal action. At the moment that seems the best avenue, and we will keep you posted as this progresses.

We are also considering organising a larger rally once social distancing restrictions are lifted. In terms of the content of the debate, for people who watched this in full, you would have seen that Lee Evans was the only local Sutherland Shire State MP who spoke – and he spoke in support of the mining company, Peabody, not local residents.

At the end of his three minute speech, Mr Evans stated that it would not answer all of our questions. He is correct. Our two other local State MPs, Mark Speakman MP and Eleni Petinos MP did not appear to be in the Chamber when the debate was taking place. They ignored the requests of thousands of local residents who asked them to speak up to protect our water.

For Mr Evans, Mr Speakman and Ms Petinos, yes, there are more questions we would like answered.

We have listed these below. 2 Woronora petition parliamentary debate – Questions for our local State MPs

Why was a Nationals MP from the upper Hunter Nationals with two Peabody mines in his electorate chosen to speak instead of our local representatives? The Nationals MP, Michael Johnsen, did not contact Sutherland Shire Environment Centre prior to the debate to discuss any of our concerns.

• We would like to know why the politicians who spoke made no mention of issues raised by over 20 independent scientists, who have called for greater scrutiny about the mining taking place in our Special Area catchments? These scientists have questioned the ‘science’ that has been applied to justify the mining taking place, and have called for mining in our water catchments to be suspended “until the cumulative impacts and consequences of mining to date can be reliably assessed and quantified.” They have noted the government’s “dependence on assessment reports prepared by consultants selected and funded by mining companies”, and have stated that “such reports cannot be regarded as independent”.

• We would like to know why our locals State MPs and the Department of Planning have been sending letters to constituents advising the mining is being ‘independently’ monitored by the ‘Woronora Reservoir Impact Strategy Panel’ without disclosing that this Panel is ‘engaged’ by Peabody?

• Several speakers claimed there were negligible water losses from the Reservoir. We note the Department of Planning has rejected requests by WaterNSW for a more detailed water balance study that might determine the accuracy of this claim.

We would like clarification as to why the Department of Planning has rejected the request for a more detailed water balance study by WaterNSW, and has instead taken the advice of consultants who receive grants, and continuing employment, consultancies from the mining industry?

We would like to know why the Water Minister and Shadow Water Minister did not mention the Water Act and its requirement “to protect and enhance the quality and quantity of water in declared catchment areas”?

We do not believe there is any ‘enhancement’ taking place at Woronora, and we do not accept the government’s assurances that the damage occurring in the Woronora Reservoir catchment is negligible.

We note WaterNSW’s Submission to the recent Independent Expert Panel looking into mining in the catchment which states – “An issue which particularly concerns WaterNSW is that it is anticipated that any additional increases in iron, manganese and possibly aluminum and other species dissolved from undermined catchments will impact on raw water quality delivered to Sydney Water and other customers…metals transported to reservoirs in particulate and/or dissolved forms are more likely to be precipitated and build up in the lake sediments over time.”

We would like to know why the Water Minister and Shadow Water Minister drew on the Independent Expert Panel report to claim there is no damage – and did not mention that this report also states that water returning to the surface from mine workings can ‘leach metals’, and this ‘needs increased attention in mining proposals, especially in the Special Areas where cumulative impacts could have serious negative consequences for reservoir water quality’. 3

We would like to know why none of the speakers in the debate mentioned the 25 local community groups and environmental conservation organisations that have called for the mining to be stopped?

• We would like to know why the speakers in the debate referred to the history of the Metropolitan mine without once mentioning that it was bought by the Peabody in 2007? Why did only one of the speakers mention Peabody by name, once, obscuring references to the company from the parliamentary Hansard record?

Why was Peabody’s environmental record not mentioned?

Why did the speakers talk of the contribution this mining makes to the economy but not mention that over the last 5 years Peabody made $16.5 billion dollars while paying no tax?

• Why did none of the speakers mention that Peabody dismissed 150 workers from the mine the week prior to the debate, and that the mine is now employing around 200 workers, or less?

We note some of the speakers made reference to 3,500 jobs being jeopardised, claiming that Bluescope is dependent on Peabody’s Metropolitan mine to continue its operations – this is incorrect.

BlueScope Steelworks sources coal from several South Coast mines. Much of the coal from these mines is exported via the Port Kembla Coal Terminal. The same terminal could be used to import coal from the Bowen Basin in QLD.

It does not have to come from beneath the Special Areas of Greater Sydney Water Catchment.

 • We ask why the debate was re-scheduled at a time the public gallery in parliament was closed and public gatherings were still not permitted due to social distancing restrictions?

Was this intended to prevent the possibility of community protests?

Why was the debate rescheduled immediately prior to a long weekend when people were allowed to leave Sydney for the first time in months? Mr Evans, Mr Speakman, and Ms Petinos – this is an open letter, and we would like a response to these questions and the issues we have raised here. Our water supply should not look like this.

View for photo:

https://ssec.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/SSEC-Statement-09.06.20-Woronora-petition-debate.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0cvyonaGUv5j1SUKx8QhWGqKCt-_YRQGnXJZ6bpvLyn8ZKnt1fOlw7XWQ

LINKS for Reports from ASPI and Others concerning CHINA … The United Front and More

Alex Joske@ASPI_ICPC

The party speaks for you

Foreign interference and the Chinese Communist Party’s united front system

https://www.aspi.org.au/report/party-speaks-you

‘China will be Surprised how long it took us to Act on Foreign Investment Laws’

A report from Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), and a former deputy secretary for strategy with the Defence Department.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/china-will-be-surprised-how-long-it-took-us-to-act-on-foreign-investment-laws/news-story/a949d3d3dea5d0d2c2bc083f2e967834

THE PONDS Primary School and High School are Crowded Out with Demountable Classrooms!

North-Western Sydney like South-Western Sydney is growing too rapidly …

We were shocked back in July 2018 when we visited ‘The Ponds’ to see how many demountable classrooms were set up then at both the high school and the Riverbank Primary school alongside one another.

NSW Opposition Leader, Jodi McKay is calling for the government to fast track development of more schools … however a simpler solution surely would be for the Morrison Government to cut migration!

Parents at this high school are alleging it will have twice the number of students it was built to cater for!

There is no space!

With 3500 students and almost 70 demountable classrooms in June 2020 when the high school was built for 1100 – 1200 students.

2021 there will be 1850 students, and by 2024 2000 students!

No room for basketball courts and tennis courts

This electorate of Riverstone has the highest number of demountable classrooms in NSW.

Eight schools have either been upgraded or built in Sydney’s North-west in the last 18 months but this has not been adequate!

HOW come? It is not only related to the high growth for Western Sydney through immigration and visa manipulation, but to accommodate this growth NSW Planning introduced the Greenfields Housing Code for higher density of lots as tiny as 200M2 X 6M wide … and that is apart from high-rise and the Medium-Density Housing Code …

READ MORE!

‘Sydney Schools that Need Demountables to Meet Demand’

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-10/sydney-schools-that-need-demountables-to-meet-demand/12336786

CAAN visited The Ponds in July 2018, and this is what we saw then …

Always playing catchup because of overdevelopment …

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CAAN Photo 31 July 2018 a row of demountable classroms in front of ‘The Ponds’ Primary School
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CAAN Photo: ‘The Ponds’ High School 31 July 2018
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CAAN Photo: ‘The Ponds’ High School 31 July 2018

THIS is what these schools look like now …

A child walking down a path between demountables.
ABC: The Ponds High School has 30 demountables to cope with student numbers.(Supplied)

The demountables at the Ponds, as seen from above.
The demountables at the Ponds, as seen from above.(ABC News: Ross Byrne)

IVANHOE ESTATE DEMOLISHED … to Make Way for new O/S Residents …

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CAAN Photo: That’s how Ivanhoe Estate was before the wrecking ball came in to finish it off!

IN early April 2020 the NDT for the Daily Telegraph did a sympathetic story for the remaining tenants of Ivanhoe Public Housing Estate …

IVANHOE ESTATE was an architect designed Public Housing Estate of apartment blocks and townhouses set in amongst Australian bushland.

Demolition was to begin that week of 6 April even though some residents were still waiting for a replacement home!

The main road that cuts through the estate formed a community for these people over a mere 25 years before they learnt of their fate. It was a happy community conveniently located to the University, the Macquarie Park Shopping Centre, the Business and IT Park, with bus connections across Sydney! And modern housing!

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature
CAAN Photo: June long weekend the Ivanhoe Estate apartment blocks gone! Parkview 2 is rising in the background. That too had a nasty story behind it with tenants given little notice to get out! Who for? Cough … cough … Were some tenants left homeless? Why the haste when this development took years to eventuate?

The Liberal Coalition seems bent on demolishing any development aged more than 20 years … no matter that it was built to last as with the Bicentennial Projects of the stadiums and soon the Powerhouse Museum!

Ivanhoe demolished for two thirds private redevelopment … to dovetail with the Federal Government policy enabling developers to market housing projects 100% overseas particularly in China.

CHINA is now discouraging its people from returning to Australia … however the private redevelopment here would have already been purchased … will they onsell?

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CAAN Photo: The top end of the Estate facing onto Herring Road

Perhaps it has now dawned upon Australians that they are being moved along … to get out of the way … whether it be for Public Housing demolitions … or suburban communities rezoned for higher density for new ‘Permanent Residents’ to launder their ‘hot money’ …

IT would seem that since the NSW Liberal Coalition has largely – if not entirely – demolished our Public Housing that on this occasion the Social Housing Sector have managed to get a sizeable share of the 3000 dwellings … with 950 Social Housing! And 128 affordable rental homes allocated … said to all blend with the private development …

… admittedly this is a big stride for this government that normally only provides 5% affordable and/or social housing … because now it really has to do something about homelessness …

Some residents were still on site in 45 homes because they had not been provided with a suitable alternative.  The estate had only celebrated its 25th birthday when the tenants learnt of the Government’s plans …

Now after 28 years living in a home, and in a happy community it would be very distressing to be flung off in another direction, and to lose your community!

HEARTLESS!

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CAAN Photo: Praps it has been so heartless that some former tenants felt the need to express their feelings … ‘RIP FIENDS’ …

Read more!  Ivanhoe public housing estate at Macquarie Park set to be demolished

https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/northern-district-times/ivanhoe-public-housing-estate-at-macquarie-park-set-to-be-demolished/news-story/7838da778bbfe96feb529fca13237901?fbclid=IwAR0ebCf4Ybwsc_GGYGhERjFYzoAllzpBajfvFj3uIHasnDxxnpU6ax9jWSg

CHINA no doubt has been very comfortable with Australia’s Foreign Investment Laws

CAAN takes a look at a report by Peter Jennings on Foreign Investment Laws

DESPITE the huge sell-out of Australia since 1975 through the foreign acquisition laws … it is only now that the Treasurer has taken further steps for reform …

WAS Australia forsaken by the property sector? When not content with building for the Nation it was granted a ruling to sell 100% of ‘new homes’ overseas particularly in China … it did not stop there … because through buying our real estate these foreign buyers could also gain permanent residency!

It would seem together with the international student market a cabal was formed which has enabled the stealth attack on Australia’s intellectual property … it’s been like a walk in the park …

IT is alleged that Scomo when Treasurer in 2016 closed the loophole for the NT government to lease the Port of Darwin to Chinese-owned Landbridge in 2015 …

Yet despite the federal government having responsibility for national security the lease was issued!

CHINA does not allow foreign investment in its strategic assets …

Obviously with numerous reports on China’s espionage … and NOW Xi Jinping has confirmed the CCP’s control over all businesses including ‘private’ businesses …

-all companies and individuals have to co-operate with China’s intelligence establishment

Based on Australia’s experiences so far with China’s cyber and individual spying on our Parliament, political parties, government departments, universities and businesses … why engage further? 

AS they acquire our Property (residential, agricultural and commercial) and the Silent Invasion of members of the CCP proceeds …

How can we be sure of preventing such espionage?

WHY go there?  The World is a big place …

 OBVIOUSLY with no protection for Australia’s National Estate … our Title Deeds perhaps our Biggest Export … is it any wonder that Beijing displays such contempt?

Chinese investment into our universities and research institutions has been large …

WHY was Australia slow to grasp that with Chinese ‘co-operation’ in our research that our intellectual property would benefit the PLA?

HOW will compliance requirements and penalties possibly be sufficient?

NOT much in this for Australia because there is no retrospectivity with the laws once passed! Australia has to live with the repercussions of the loss of a large share of the electricity grid, gas pipelines, and ports now owned by the Chinese!

Peter Jennings has come up with a solution that the government use its constitutional powers on national security grounds to take back control of the Darwin Port; and remunerate Landbridge. 

Why doesn’t the Federal Government take the Port back?

Further, that the US, the UK, Canada and other democracies are also big investors in Australia … with China eliminated that could well encourage more involvement from others! Not that we all agree with foreign acquisition …

HASN’T taking China’s money been at the price of Australia’s national security and values too high a price to pay? … And it seems to have been totally unnecessary!

READ MORE from Peter Jennings, ‘China will be surprised how long it took us to act on Foreign Investment Laws’

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/commentary/china-will-be-surprised-how-long-it-took-us-to-act-on-foreign-investment-laws/news-story/a949d3d3dea5d0d2c2bc083f2e967834



Xi Jinping has reasserted the Chinese Communist Party’s authority over all Chinese businesses. Picture: Getty Images

WILL the Outcome from the CV Pandemic be a Return to a Sustainable Multi-Cultural Migrant Intake from across the Globe?

WILL the Outcome from the CV Pandemic be a Return to a Sustainable Multi-Cultural Migrant Intake from across the Globe?

Because these ABC journalists, Bang Xiao, Christina Zhou and Iris Zhao wrote this report, ‘How the coronavirus pandemic could shift the multicultural make-up of our society’.

WITH Australia having the highest concentration of international students  … did anyone … including foreign students ponder how long this could continue with a majority of overseas students occupying places in Australian Universities?

DUE to the Pandemic it has come to a head perhaps sooner … whereby the PM has had no alternative but to suggest they ‘go home’!

Was there not a similar unpleasant response across the globe? With a World-wide Recession underway? Resembling that of the Great Depression of the 1930s ….

Were these students unaware that in their large numbers they have replaced Australians by paying full enrolment fees? 

That these students have been ‘cash cows‘ to fund our Universities due to Government withdrawal of funding?

Numerous reports have been issued concerning the impact of a large cohort of International Students with:

-disruption to lectures due to some students having poor English language skills

-cheating; lowering of standards

-less places for Australian students

-high Australian youth unemployment and underemployment with increased competition from student/visa workers

Prior to the pandemic unemployment and underemployment was at 19.7%, and for years, the Labor opposition, unions, economists and others have been urging the government to increase ‘Newstart’ which was below the poverty line. With it being rebadged as ‘JobSeeker’ the payment was increased but it is due to return to below the poverty line rate in September!

Many Australians have lost their jobs, and many more may lose the security of their homes due to the Pandemic … so the Government does need to look after its citizens first!

Due to trade, tourism and the Australian property market largely targeting China, Australia no longer appears to be so ‘multicultural’ … this concentration has intensified since 2013 …

Perhaps it would be good to diversify esp. with the threats coming from China, and those with vested interests?

It would seem that Australian Universities need to demand government funding to ensure security of intelligence and R & D esp. since the cyber attacks on data at the ANU!  And the interference from Confuscious Institutes … an example being the UQ and its suspension of Philosophy Student, Drew Pavlou. 

View this report: ‘ UQ management “tip of the iceberg of a totally corrupted system” ‘

and Search CAAN Website for more about Drew Pavlou and the University of Queensland.

ONCE again it is put that in Australia not rendering financial support to international students that this may discourage future enrolments, and a loss of the alleged fourth largest export sector.

HOWEVER, Macro Business questioned the veracity of a $37.6B contribution to our economy supporting 240,000 jobs following a media release by Education Minister Dan Tehan in November 2019 that education exports had grown by $5B in 2018-19. Further, that the ABS found the sector had grown by 15%.

BUT what is not mentioned are tuition fees and expenses while studying in Australia and their goods and services of $20B that they pay for from working in Australia as they study outweigh enrolment fees of $15B in 2018.

View:

International students work here to pay for their living expenses just as Australian students do!

IT has been the lure of ‘Permanent Residency’ that has enticed the majority of these international students. 

Now the Pandemic has been a cruel blow! But not only for International Students but Australians with many unable to gain a place at University …

Prof. Salvatore Babones’ research (August 2018) reveals that Australia has the highest concentration of international students; with the UK and Canada following

Total overseas student enrolments increased to 918,000 including 435,000 enrolled in Universities.

Overseas students accounted for more than 80% of some of Queensland’s most popular university courses

-foreign students filled some 75% of places in key university courses

-occupy 82.4% of places in IT courses at University of the Sunshine Coast; 2 thirds of places at James Cook and University of Southern Queensland

-at UQ in exchange for selling places to Chinese students it gains $250M a year

-overseas students outnumber Australian students in IT, management and commerce courses

CIS Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz, a former vice-chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney and Murdoch University in Perth, said foreign students flock to courses likely to lead to jobs and permanent residency, such as IT and management.

“Permanent residency is one of the main motivations to study in Australia,’’ he said.

“If suddenly permanent residency was given to people who study poetry, it’s likely they’d all be doing poetry.”

SO next time you hear of an Australian politician extolling the benefits of an alleged $37.6 B International Student Export Industry update them on what is really happening!

Read more:  ‘The uni courses being taken over by foreign students’

Cash-hungry universities are offering more places to fee-paying foreigners than to local students in 64 courses nationally, data obtained exclusively by The Courier-Mail reveals.

View:

https://www.couriermail.com.au/education/tertiary/the-uni-courses-being-taken-over-by-foreign-students/news-story/3910fd3b7d5525aedf0d9a3b94d41605

FOR years … decades … Australians have been subject to callous treatment by politicians and Liberal Coalition Governments with WorkChoices by Stealth;  the casualisation of the workforce; competition from Visa workers for jobs (introduced by Howard Govt)

Come September those Australians in receipt of JobSeeker (previously known as Newstart) will have this payment cut to return to below the Poverty Line!

PRIOR to the Pandemic Unemployment had reached 19.7 %

Read more!

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2020/06/04/economists-now-saying-unemployment-could-be-close-to-20/?fbclid=IwAR1UKsWIVwli9UdJoV8YX-r5gP–wjQDTnwmC0674BIEE-jgBUxZDhMCoNw

HOW long before banks foreclose on homes? 

No doubt there is even more hardship to be experienced across Our Society … unbeknowns no doubt to many … with the Morrison Government only announcing in 2019 of its cut to migration to 160,000 as it overlooked the 2.3 Million Temp. Visa holders in the country …

Yet the 2019 Budget estimates reveal high levels of net overseas migration (NOM) to rise to 263,000 in 2022. 

Will the Morrison Government put Australian workers and jobs first and desist with the high temporary migrant visas of some 2.2 , or 2.3 Million p.a.??

Hence even more competition for jobs, housing, and lowering of living standards … for the incumbents …

ASK why demographers like Liz Allen deliver this message that Australia would be:

“economically and culturally poorer” as a result of near-zero international migration due to border lockdowns.

WHEN our Unemployment is at 20% (or more), and with largely people from China  targeted for migrant intake where is the cultural diversity?  Australians are now enjoying a reprieve from traffic gridlock, the crush in schools, buses and trains, and would prefer the lockdown to remain!

LIZ Allen perhaps ought contemplate … Liz ought to get around … and see for herself the demographic change across Sydney in Chatswood, Macquarie Park, Epping, Ryde to name a few and contemplate how this may impact Australians when they are now in a minority?  What of job opportunities for Australians within this demographic change?

To find that all shopping malls, shopping strips, restaurants, cafes, the businesses, and shopping centre seating are taken over by new ‘Permanent Residents’, and some even speak to Australians in an authoritarian manner!  As where we live is rezoned for higher density, ‘new homes’ sold by developers to these overseas buyers … and so on!

During this Pandemic despite the ‘Social Distancing’ signage many of these people disregard the guidelines and walk up behind in groups too close to Australians in their midst!

HOW discriminatory is that?  Some Australians may be annoyed by this …

LET alone the facts of very poor even KRUPT Government policy allowing such overseas Visa holders to buy our Real Estate with ‘hot money’ … as many as six ‘new homes’ on a Guardian Visa … etc, etc … 

The Real Estate Gatekeepers having been made exempt from Anti-money Laundering Laws in October 2018 by the Morrison Government.

WHY does Liz Allen say that ‘Australia desperately needed migrants to stay and contribute to maintaining the economy, and, in time, rebuilding after the pandemic passes’ ?  WHEN Australia already has 20% plus Unemployment? 

WHOSE interests does Liz Allen represent?

FOLLOWING the devastation of the Pandemic what country if any, is likely to offer better options?

Liz Allen continued to beat up Australians with her emphasis on ‘White Australia policy sentiments’ which bears no resemblance to the multi-cultural society that we have had until the past seven years

IN regard to the matters we have referred to it would appear that in fact contrary to Ms Allen that Australians have borne the brunt of very poooor government policies.

That since the advent (some would say the onset) of the Liberal Coalition, living standards, quality of life, lowest wages growth for 60 years, and insecure work, unaffordable housing etc, etc … that let’s hope the Australian Government does focus on keeping Australians in work and business now and beyond the CoronaVirus!

Read more from this article: ‘How the coronavirus pandemic could shift the multicultural make-up of our society’.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-11/coronavirus-migrant-workers-international-students-australia/12130784

A brightly coloured dragon puppet on sticks weaves above the heads of a crwod.
Photo: (ABC News: Tegan Osborne)

CROMWELL Property Group … its Ordeal with a very persistent Chinese Property Developer/Raider seeking Acquisition of Strategic Assets

Chinese billionaire and former windsurfer Gordon Tang (left).

Chinese billionaire and former windsurfer Gordon Tang (left).

CROMWELL PROPERTY GROUP …

 IT would appear this is a prime example of why the Treasurer was motivated in late march by fears of Chinese companies taking over Australian businesses and reduced the threshold to zero for all bids

-these emergency changes will expire on 1 January when the new permanent changes will apply

WHEN one reads the report by Sarah Danckert, ‘The Chinese property billionaire eyeing Cromwell, the owner of sensitive Canberra assets‘ it is difficult to fathom how it is that the Takeovers Panel considers there is ‘no smoking gun’ evidence … despite the long list of events listed below:

 –a coup to unseat the chairman of Cromwell Property Group and supplant him with corporate raider Gary Weiss, a representative of Cromwell’s largest shareholder, ARA occurred in Autumn 2020

-everyone except Gordon Tang viewed the extraordinary general meeting; Tang has large holdings in China’s property companies, in Singapore and the United States

his closest connections include members of the Bush political dynasty

-his property portfolio in Australia is now being probed

-the Tangs are seeking control of a $2.1B real estate trust 

-* at risk a building in Canberra that houses the TGA, a 49% share in a building where the Dept of Defence is housed; and Qantas’ global headquarters near Sydney airport 

-the move appears to be ARA together with Tang to make a takeover offer without a full offer; pay other shareholders a premium; described as a ‘takeover by stealth’ 

-the Tangs have a $825M interest in Singapore listed Suntec REIT managed by ARA; SingHaiyi invests in ARA fund III and an ARA trust

-the Tangs gained an 8.8% interest in Cromwell in December 2017; now more than 13%  

-mid 2019 Cromwell excluded ARA with a $375M institutional placement which led to David Blight, the MD of ARA to leave the Cromwell board

-* ARA again pushed for shareholders to vote against a resolution to approve the placement; and to vote corporate raider Gary Weiss onto the board at Cromwell’s annual meeting in November

-although the Tangs grip was growing ARA did not succeed in its bid to have shareholders veto the placement, and have Weiss on the board 

-December 2019 Cromwell sought the Takeovers Panel declare ARA and the Tangs were acting together; controlling 37.4% combined stake yet not disclosing a takeover offer as required under Australian laws

-the panel threw the case out based on a lack of evidence

-March 2020 ARA attempted to install Weiss on the board; reinforcing Cromwell’s concerns about the Tangs and ARA

ARA again lost when Tang family holdings custodians failed to vote all the family’s shares in favour of ARA’s resolution

Weiss in response said that Cromwell continued to oppose his election to the board; why was Cromwell opposing appointment of its largest owner’s representative

-the Tangs reject claims they are working in concert with ARA

-Cromwell’s gearing remains at 40% within its stated 30 to 40% target range; that it was triaging risk across its European assets including in Poland; it has $670M in combined cash and undrawn facilities

-a company spokesman said the attacks on Cromwell were “particularly galling” given the relative performance of ARA’s own vehicles

-that ARA continues to agitate and attempt to destabilise even after Cromwell security holders have rejected their attempts to control Cromwell without paying a premium twice in the last six months

-Cromwell has offered to discuss a way forward; but these offers have not been accepted by ARA

-ARA has rejected further meetings with Cromwell until their nominee, Weiss is appointed to the board of Cromwell

READ MORE!   ‘The Chinese Property Billionaire eyeing Cromwell the Owner of Sensitive Canberra Assets’

https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/the-chinese-property-billionaire-eyeing-cromwell-the-owner-of-sensitive-canberra-assets-20200604-p54zp8.html

Corporate raider Gary Weiss has twice been denied a seat on the Cromwell Property Group board.

Corporate raider Gary Weiss has twice been denied a seat on the Cromwell Property Group board.CREDIT:JESSICA HROMAS

Nickey Hutley from Deloitte Access Economics speaks to Rachel Pupazzoni about the $688M HomeBuilder Package

THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT HAS UNVEILED ITS $688M HOMEBUILDER PACKAGE: NICKI HUTLEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL PUPAZZONI:  THE BUSINESS

THIS week the Government’s Homebuilder Package was unveiled to keep the construction industry hammering along …

-the sector supports more than 1 million jobs; facing a 40% fall in work after current contracts are completed

-owner occupiers can apply for $25,000 towards building or renovating their homes

-but they have to spend $150,000 to get the grant

-new builds are capped $750,000

-renovations can be made if the home is worth less than $1.5 million

-eligible builders will have to already be registered which has a tight 6 month timeframe

CONCERN the scheme does not go far enough:

Nicki Hutley made these points:

the higher end of income earners; people in the top 90% most likely to be able to afford this package; they will have to spend $250,000 or $125,00 of their own money

-those able to do the renovations;  obviously a lot more if you are going to build a house

-if you have a total package of $700,000 max. income of $200,000;  it is unclear if you have enough money or whether the value of the home build in big cities where people have higher incomes will meet the criteria

Rachel:  The government is forecasting it will receive about 27,000 applications

If this package is targeted towards people on higher incomes yet we are in a recession

-Nicki in response said that many will be nervous about their job; where the economy is going; people will put renovations off;  some may view it is nice I will get an early Christmas present from the government of $25,000

but the size and scope of that spend is not a sensible decision for most to make

-it will tweek some people over the fence; but the government is not likely to get the 30,000 number they are thinking

Rachel raised the issue that there is quite a bit of criticism because there is nothing for public or social housing

Nicki in response:

in my opinion the government has totally missed the mark;  think about the chronic issue of housing affordability, and affordable housing, social housing, the need for refuges for domestic and family violence

a one in a century opportunity to use stimulus to do excellent social good; not to take taxpayers money to be put in the hands of middle income or wealthier families but to stimulate the economy to benefit more people and not just the few those least likely to need that support

providing lower cost housing for most people; community housing model needs government support by granting land

-giving additional grants like the Rudd Government;  it did stimulate some spending

we can support that sector to provide more housing for more people who cannot access any sort of housing

the levels of homelessness are rising particularly older women; this is the sector we need to support the most

-in normal circumstances this would add to house prices as we have seen with first home owners grant in the past

-because the market is so soft; difficult to say whether it will get passed through and see a rush of people

-clearly a rush on the sector in the next six months will push up prices unnecessarily

-it would be unusual if we did not see some upward pressure

-it is going to have to be managed very carefully;  builders will have to be licenced;  a good thing

obviously will have some adverse effects

AT CAAN we are seeing and reading of more Economists seeing the poor policies of this Government for what they are … noticeably now since 2017.

HAS the ‘penny dropped’ that with high immigration, visa manipulation and money laundering that a whole Cohort of Australians are being replaced by this ‘Silent Invasion’?  Not only in the housing market but the jobs market too! 

HAS the real estate tourism forced out … the Economists extended families, friends, neighbours … to live as much as 60, 80 Km from their workplaces … and some have lost their jobs … even become homeless!

There has been much media for some time targeting Baby Boomers for the increased house prices. Has the media been forced to overlook this Silent Invasion of the Visa Real Estate Tours;  the vast range of Visas encouraging foreign acquisition of Australia’s residential property;  the FIRB ruling allowing developers to sell 100% of ‘new homes’ to foreign buyers?  … and …

-the exemption for the Real Estate Gatekeepers from the second tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Laws by the Morrison Government in October 2018!  This tranche had been shelved for some 12 years prior!

Back in May 2017 Nicki Hutley was on the panel of a Forum run by the Fifth Estate on Housing Affordability where CAAN raised the issue of foreign buyers; that it had been reported that only 11 per cent of new homes were bought by foreign buyers; but that the real percentage was concealed by the role of the onshore Daigou;  and that the FIRB ruling of 2008 implemented in 2009 allowed developers to sell 100% of ‘new homes’ to foreign buyers.  This was Nicki’s response:

Nicki Hutley:  We mapped this a while ago and it has obviously increased significantly in the last couple of years. But it is not the whole story. It’s an element of it. All of these things, I think with housing affordability, one of the things I was looking forward tonight was not getting bogged down in one thing like negative gearing but actually looking at the bigger picture.

All the drivers of demand, all the drivers of supply, and looking at it in a holistic way because there is not one silver bullet. It’s not going to be solved overnight and lots of different pieces of the puzzle need to be moved together. Yes, there has been a significant increase in foreign investment in the past couple of years. Yes there are people getting around guidelines, although those guidelines have been tightened up since the FIRB was under review.

Yes, there will always be people who get around the system but they are a relatively small proportion of the population. And the only thing we can say about that, is that if there’s development going on that is precluding other development going on …

If new development is being funded by Chinese and occupied by Chinese, it is not affecting the net impact on Australia. It’s only if that is stopping additional supply coming onto the market – though given that the construction industry is at capacity then there is good reason to suggest that that is in fact the case.

“It’s not going to be solved overnight and lots of different pieces of the puzzle need to be moved together.” – Nicki Hutley

VIEW THE INTERVIEW WITH NICKI HUTLEY:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the-business/2020-06-04/extended-interview-with-nicki-hutley/12323018?nw=0

Extended interview with Nicki Hutley - The Business - ABC News

Economists now saying UNEMPLOYMENT could be close to 20%

Last night, 4 June 2020 on ‘The Business’:

While unemployment is bad, underemployment is getting worse

Finally the unemployment figure of 5.2% has been canned with Economists saying that the real jobless number could be close to 20%, pointing to an economy slammed into reverse.

HOWEVER … in October 2019 prior to the Pandemic … the forgotten Australians and the hidden data that could double our jobless rate: Unemployment topped 19.7%

KEY POINTS …

709,000 people officially unemployed in Australia is a myth; the true number of unemployed is more like 2.9 million people

-due to the “marginally attached” which comprises around 1.055 million Australians

people who would like to work, are available to workbut aren’t looking; because they think there are no jobs for them

– if you count the marginally attached; the unemployment rate would be a touch under 12 per cent

include the “underemployed” – people working some hours, but who would like to work more – the unemployment rate tops 19.7 per cent

VIEW from ‘The Business’ 4 June 2020:  ‘While Unemployment is Bad Underemployment is Getting Worse’

https://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the-business/2020-06-04/while-unemployment-is-bad,-underemployment-is/12323126?nw=0

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CAAN Photo people lined up around the corner for JobSeeker payments early May 2020 in Chatswood