How Western Sydney is tackling the mysterious 'heat island' effect behind rising temperatures

WHAT if the actual design of your city is causing the thermometer to spike?

-higher density perhaps? With trees chopped for more housing

The biggest cause of the ‘heat island effect’ hard surfaces of buildings, roads, footpaths, roofs

-some residents call for trees to be removed

But people are getting there — it’s about generational change.

Councils are spacing out streets; using reflective colours, planting trees, using heat sensors; installing water features

THE science is unequivocal heat is a problem.

-we live in an urbanising world; more people live in cities, the cities are getting bigger and cities are getting hotter

-the urban heat island effect has been called inadvertent climate change


HEATWAVES … add Thermal Mass from Overdevelopment … Heat Island Effect and Mortality … e.g. Penrith …

Climate Statistics for Australian Locations … Sydney Observatory

Photo: Heat Island from Parramatta Council

How Western Sydney is tackling the mysterious ‘heat island’ effect behind rising temperatures

The Signal By Yasmin Parry

Updated 1 Mar 2018

Orange clouds over the Sydney skyline

PHOTO: Climate change is one thing, but what if it’s your city’s design that is causing temperatures to rise? (ABC News: Mary Lloyd)

RELATED STORY: Heatwaves are Australia’s deadliest natural hazard and many are unprepared

RELATED STORY: Sea levels could rise an extra 60cm if emission reductions are delayed until 2035: study

On a hot summer’s day in Sydney, you only need to drive half an hour west before the mercury starts to noticeably jump.

Penrith was the hottest place on the planet at 47.3 degrees on January 7 this year. In Sydney, the temperature reached a comparatively meagre 44 degrees.

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It’s a pretty standard story — the further you are from the ocean, the higher the temperature.

Rising global temperatures are one thing, but what if the actual design of your city is causing the thermometer to spike?

And while anyone close to the ocean can easily flock to the beaches on those hot sweaty days, people living out west have to find other ways to stay cool — which can often be expensive.

Western Sydney councils are banding together to tackle the growing heat problem, but it’s not as straightforward as you’d think.

How do you make a city cooler?

The Western Sydney Organisation of Councils (WSROC) represents eight councils trying to tackle climate change and the urban heat problem.

Be prepared for the heat
Heatwaves kill far more people than other natural disasters. ABC Emergency has a checklist of things you can do to be ready.

*It’s particularly pertinent because the State Government’s policy is to move another million residents to Western Sydney in the next 20 years.

*They want to build a new airport and the world’s largest incinerator — all of which that means more roads and more roofs.

Stephen Bali, mayor of Blacktown and president of WSROC, worries it will only get worse.

“There is a change in the climate between eastern seaboard versus Western Sydney,” he said.

“There’s also pollution effects, because we don’t get those winds that often clear the air.

“And we live in a basin so pollution is higher and hence the actual impact on people is higher.

Cardiovascular disease, higher respiratory illnesses, every cancer rate that you can look at is higher in Western Sydney than on the eastern seaboard.

A tree lined street in Parramatta

PHOTO: Western Sydney councils, including in Parramatta, are banding together to tackle the growing heat problem. (ABC News: Laura Brierley Newton)

One simple idea is to just plant a lot of trees. Trees make an area cooler. But there’s a problem.

“Generally if you go to someone and say you want a medium to tall tree, people will say no,” Mr Bali said.

“Because they’re scared about — and quite rightly — the impact on the footpath and the road and amenities.”

Even that plan would take time, with a tree taking about 20 years to have any significant effect on an area.

“We have the issue right here and right now that we have to deal with,” Mr Bali said.

He said people generally did not want trees either in their front yards or around their house.

A young child in blue boardshorts cooling off under the water of a fountain in Parramatta.

PHOTO: What if a city’s very design is causing the thermometer to spike on sweltering summer days? (ABC News: Kathleen Calderwood)

“You look at the number of complaints that councils get [which] are people actually asking for trees to be cut down,” he said.

So even trees are not as simple a solution as you would think.

Thinking about the future

But people are getting there — it’s about generational change.

Councils are spacing out streets, they’re using reflective colours, planting trees, using heat sensors, holding design competitions, installing water features — these are just some of the things the west are doing to fix the city.

Western Sydney programs to combat urban heat:

  • Cool Parramatta
  • Turn Down the Heat
  • Blacktown’s Cool Streets program
  • Penrith’s Cooling the City Strategy

“You don’t have to have to have an argument about global climate change or anything,” Mr Bali said.

*“Manmade climate change in the Sydney basin will have an effect, there is no question about that. *

“So essentially how do we accommodate our health systems to recognise that there are these issues and apart from just building hospitals, which is an end product … we want to avert the illness.”

What is the urban heat island effect?

The urban heat island effect is caused when a metropolitan area is significantly warmer than surrounding areas due to human activity.

The biggest cause of it is hard surfaces, like roads, footpaths, roofs, as well as buildings.

They absorb the sun’s heat to send it rippling throughout the surrounding areas.

Aerial view of Parramatta showing the heat signatures of different suburbs.

PHOTO: A metropolitan area significantly warmer than surrounding areas due to human activity is known as a “heat island”. (Supplied: Parramatta Council)

Jonathan Fox, a researcher at the UNSW in the faculty of built environment, looks at how to design buildings of the future.

He said the science is unequivocal heat is a problem.

“We live in an urbanising world so more people live in cities, the cities are getting bigger and cities are getting hotter,” he said.

“And then we have a consequence of urbanisation, which is commonly referred to as the urban heat island effect.”

If you’re in a city today and you’re feeling hot, look around and you’ll start to notice all the things that make the heat worse, which add to the urban heat island effect.

These are things like dark concrete, no trees for shade, houses with dark roofs, endless paved roads as far as the eye can see.

“[The urban heat island effect] has been called inadvertent climate change, and there’s no doubt that the way cities have been constructed in the past, without knowledge of the climate effects of design, have exacerbated the overheating problem in cities,” Mr Fox said.

Simple solutions, like lighter roofs

A man stands in a park

PHOTO: The manager of Parramatta Council’s city strategy team, Geoff King. (ABC News: Laura Brierley Newton)

One city concerned about the rising heat is Parramatta.

The manager of Parramatta’s city strategy team, Geoff King, said when it gets hot in the Western suburbs of Sydney, it’s “scorching”.

“The data tells us that nobody goes out in the street, so people stay in their buildings,” he said.

“Once it gets over 35 degrees you get a major drop in pedestrian traffic. So I’d describe it as they scuttle from air conditioning to air conditioning.”

And when it heats up people stop going outside, they stop exercising and they stop buying things, which is bad for the economy.

Major infrastructure can deteriorate, and worst of all, people can get sick and die.

More people have died from heat waves in the past 100 years than every other natural disaster combined.

So Parramatta Council has a few different projects underway aimed at dealing with heat.

Tree with temp tracker

PHOTO: Parramatta Council has installed 20 temperature sensors among different tree species in the area. (ABC News: Laura Brierley Newton)

One of them is pretty simple. Lodged in the branches of different tree species are 20 temperature sensors — tiny little pieces of plastic stuck to tree limbs hidden from view.

It’s called Smart City project and is being run in cooperation with Parramatta parks and reserves workers.

“So it’s a really low tech, really flexible and easy way for us to monitor the temperature in the park under each of the tree species,” Mr King said.

“It basically logs temperature regularly for three months until the battery runs out and then it just becomes a USB stick.”

The council also have two water parks in operation — basically playgrounds covered in giant sprinklers.

Along with simple projects such as those, Parramatta Council regularly run design competitions for architects, asking them to rethink the design of buildings — like including awnings, reorienting the building’s outlook, and changing the materials

A kid scooters through a water park

PHOTO: Parramatta Council has two water parks in operation for residents to cool down on hot days. (ABC News: Laura Brierley Newton)

One of the questions Mr King raises is the trend of having dark roofs on houses and buildings.

“It’s an interesting question — why do we like dark roofs?” he said.

“I think it’s aesthetics related to what we know, and I’m going to hazard a guess here, I think the original colonial buildings that had Welsh slate on them came out as ballast in the ships.

“They were the top class, they were the top houses, and so they had black roofs.

“And I think over time we’ve associated black roofs with a quality finish and a high-class building, but in an Australian climate.

“So we’ve done a lot of research into roofs being a really simple way, the colour of roofs being a really simple way of reducing the energy load on your building.”

Mr King said the corrugated iron roofs found on more and more western Sydney homes work well, with the light silver colouring capable of reflecting the sun, instead of soaking it up.




PARRAMATTA COUNCIL: A metropolitan area significantly warmer than surrounding areas: a Heat Island

PHOTO: A metropolitan area significantly warmer than surrounding areas due to human activity is known as a “heat island”. (Supplied: Parramatta Council)


All one has to do is take a thermal imager to areas like Epping. You can just see a massive thermal change by how much vegetation they have removed.

  • The actual buildings absorb heat and need vegetation where they have removed it
  •  Trees will take decades, they need scrub bushes all over the buildings. And using recycled water to water them.  And ban black roofs on the dodgy rezoned Mcmansions




Climate statistics for Australian locations


The .8 median changes in temperature over the past 20 years proves why high density city planning is affecting the measurements at Sydney Observatory, and why it needs to be stopped being used as a data source.

Or at least the sensors connected to ethernet and fibre spread around the city; but they will still be affected by thermal mass.

At least it proves poor planning and compounding thermal mass is a big problem.

It is picking up changes from all the concrete, and motorways around it!

26.2 to 27 in January over 20 years. It’s exponentially caused by unsustainable slum cities.

  • That is a rise of 0.8 degree over 20 years in the Sydney CBD in January. Because of concrete thermal mass and over development. Heat coming off from cars on the motorway might add to it also.
  •  Barrangaroo just at the back of it instead of being turned into a public green space; has been rubbished for absolute corruption. An abomination now turned over to Macau Casino mafia.


Bureau Home
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Climate statistics for Australian locations

Monthly climate statistics

Period 1991-2020

About Climate statistics  | Data file of statistics for this site (csv)  | Site selection menu

Summary statistics SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL)

A summary of the major climate statistics recorded at this site is provided below. There is also an extended table with more statistics available. More detailed data for individual sites is available.

Location in Australia.

 View larger map

topographic map key
Elevation – metresGeographic location of site

Site information

  • Site number:  066062
  • Latitude:  33.86 °S   Longitude:  151.21 °E
  • Elevation:  39 m
  • Commenced:  1858  Status: Open  
  • Latest available data:  19 Jan 2020

Additional information

Nearest alternative sites

  1. 066009   CENTENNIAL PARK ROUND HOUSE (4.8km)
  2. 066196   WEDDING CAKE WEST (5.9km)
  3. 066131   RIVERVIEW OBSERVATORY (6.0km)

viewView:   Main statistics   All availableviewPeriod:    Use all years of data 1991-2020 1981-2010 1971-2000 1961-1990 1951-1980 1941-1970 1931-1960 1921-1950 1911-1940 1901-1930 1891-1920 1881-1910 1871-1900 1861-1890 table sizeText size:  Normal  Large  

Mean maximum temperature (°C)27.026.825.723.620.918.217.919.321.623.224.225.722.8291991
Mean minimum temperature (°C)20.019.918.515.312.310.08.99.712.314.616.618.414.7291991
Mean rainfall (mm)91.8120.8116.1117.1100.2144.776.875.463.467.790.673.01136.7291991
Decile 5 (median) rainfall (mm)66.2107.697.482.657.4116.658.
Mean number of days of rain ≥ 1 mm8.48.910.
Other daily elements 
Mean daily sunshine (hours)             11991
Mean number of clear days7.
Mean number of cloudy days12.513.211.69.810.810.
9 am conditions 
Mean 9am temperature (°C)22.422.120.718.014.511.910.912.716.218.719.421.217.4201991
Mean 9am relative humidity (%)71767472757472646061676970201991
Mean 9am wind speed (km/h)             11991
9am wind speed vs direction plotN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A   
3 pm conditions 
Mean 3pm temperature (°C)25.225.324.222.019.517.216.718.019.821.122.223.921.3201991
Mean 3pm relative humidity (%)60625958585652474953575856201991
Mean 3pm wind speed (km/h)             11991
3pm wind speed vs direction plotN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A   

red = highest value   blue = lowest valueProduct IDCJCM0028 Prepared at Sun 19 Jan 2020 21:22:00 PM EST

Related information


Recent observations for this site

  • Daily Weather Observations from this site are included in the Daily Weather Observations Sydney

Climate outlooks

Additional climate information

Page created: Sun 19 Jan 2020 21:22:00 PM EST

© Copyright Commonwealth of Australia , Bureau of Meteorology (ABN 92 637 533 532) | Disclaim




CALL for SYDNEY Residents to act over Review of SYDNEY Harbour Federation Trust

THIS … IF anything should RING the Alarm Bells! Be very concerned in view of the Federal Coalition Agenda of Privatisation, and the NSW Government track record!

-NSW sell-off of $BILLIONS of public assets including Public Housing

OUR magnificent Sydney Harbour Historic Sites … are they up for a Sell-Out … or the very least … commercialization? Cough … cough …

Manly’s North Head and Mosman’s Georges Heights

Middle Head, Chowder Bay, Cockatoo Island, Sub Base Platypus, Woolwich Dock and Parklands, the former Marine Biological Station at Watson’s Bay and the Macquarie Lightstation in Vaucluse

AUSTRALIA NEEDS TO TALK … and not be Silenced!

WHAT CAAN wants you to do … COPY AND PASTE THIS into an Email for your Contacts … EVERYONE needs to know … in Sydney, New South Wales … across Australia ... we all need to be talking about this!

The recipients can then forward the email onto their contacts …

FOLLOWING this why not ask the people in your street, club, community to write to The Editor of all the papers … of your Objections!

DEMANDING that our Governments … act in the interests of Australian Heritage and ensure the protection of our Historic Sites from sell-off or commercialization!

BE AWARE that pretty much to date oodles of submissions have been written to be ignored … by all means write submissions but do let others know by sharing and following through as outlined above!

EXTRACT: Wikipedia: Sussan Ley

‘ … In January 2017, an examination of Ley’s expenditure claims and travel entitlements revealed she had purchased an apartment on the Gold Coast, close to the business premises of her partner, for $795,000 whilst on official business in Queensland. Ley defended the purchase, saying her work in the Gold Coast was legitimate, that all travel had been within the rules for entitlements, and that the purchase of the apartment “was not planned nor anticipated”[20] (a claim which was widely derided).[21] On 8 January, Ley released a statement acknowledging that the purchase had changed the context of her travel, and undertaking to repay the government for the cost of the trip in question as well as three others.[22] The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Ley had made 27 taxpayer-funded trips to the Gold Coast in recent years.[23]

On 9 January 2017, Ley announced that she would stand aside from her ministerial portfolios until an investigation into her travel expenses was completed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She announced that she would not be making her diaries public.[24] On 13 January 2017, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Ley had resigned from the ministry.[25] Greg Hunt was appointed as Ley’s replacement as the Minister for Health and Sport, and Ken Wyatt was appointed Assistant Minister for Health and Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care,[26] both with effect from 24 January 2017.[27]

In May 2018 Ley introduced a private member’s bill to ban the live export of sheep.[28][29]

During the second Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill of 2018, Ley signed the petition requesting to hold a party meeting to determine the leadership of the Liberal party.[30]

On 26 August 2018, Ley was appointed Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories[31] in the Morrison Government.

On 26 May 2019, Ley was announced as Minister for the Environment,[32] to replace Melissa Price.’

MP Zali Steggall with Middle Harbour behind. Picture: Julian Andrews.
MP Zali Steggall with Middle Harbour behind. Picture: Julian Andrews.

Zali Steggall calls for residents to act over review of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

Zali Steggall calls for residents to act over review of Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

The future of some of Sydney Harbour’s historic sites including North Head and Georges Heights could be at risk of development, says MP Zali Steggall.

Julie Cross, Manly Daily

January 19, 2020

Subscriber only|January 19, 2020 12:00am

North Head and Manly from the air during a Sydney Seaplanes scenic flight. Picture: Troy Snook.
North Head and Manly from the air during a Sydney Seaplanes scenic flight. Picture: Troy Snook.

Warringah MP Zali Steggall is calling for the public to have their say on the future of Manly’s North Head and Mosman’s Georges Heights if they don’t want another “Barangaroo on their doorstep”.

She said the State Government has set up‘an independent review of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust’ which currently manages the two iconic spots.

It also ‘manages’ other historic foreshore locations including Middle Head, Chowder Bay, Cockatoo Island, Sub Base Platypus, Woolwich Dock and Parklands, the former Marine Biological Station at Watson’s Bay and the Macquarie Lightstation in Vaucluse.

MP Zali Steggall with Middle Harbour behind. Picture: Julian Andrews.
MP Zali Steggall with Middle Harbour behind. Picture: Julian Andrews.

The review announced by the Minister for Environment Sussan Ley, will consider the trust’s “legislative, financial and governance arrangements” and identify pathways to maximise public access to its sites on Sydney Harbour.

Joseph Carrozzi, the chairman of the Harbour Trust, said it is an opportunity for the agency to “take stock of our achievements and ensure arrangements for our places are fit for the future”.

Ms Steggall said if the state government decides to take back responsibility for the land many fear some of the spots could be commercialised.

“These precious parcels of land are iconic,” Ms Steggall said.

“Being on the harbour they speak to all Australians, especially to us as local residents who are very concerned about what might happen.

“If we don’t want a Barangaroo development on our doorstep people should be interested in this issue.”

Buildings on the 10 Terminal site which are in need of renovation. Picture: Monique Harmer.
Buildings on the 10 Terminal site which are in need of renovation. Picture: Monique Harmer.

She said the land should be preserved and the trust should be properly funded, citing the poor state of some of the army buildings at North Head and the naval heritage buildings of 10 Terminal in Mosman.

“These places should remain available to the community not become commercialised, that’s the biggest concern,” Ms Steggall said.

Ms Jean Hay, former Mayor of Manly and Deputy Chairman of the Harbour Trust, said the board welcomed the independent review and believed there was no “ulterior motive” behind it.

She said the organisation which was mainly self-funded hoped that the findings would support the trust’s work and lead to more funds.

Ms Hay also said she did not believe that the state government intended to commercialise the land.

Ms Steggall said volunteers have been doing letterbox drops to alert residents of the review.

And she encouraged people to send in submissions.

She also encouraged should also attend the review panel’s public forum on February 18 from 6pm to 8pm at Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, 36 College St, Sydney.

To book a place go to

Photo: Middle Head Sydney. Visit Sydney Australia.




Jordan Springs East: Lendlease will assist homeowners


RELATED ARTICLE: NSW Government offers to help investigate sinking homes in Jordan Springs East

Jordan Springs East: Lendlease will assist homeowners

Lendlease has come clean on the full scale of a sinking homes crisis affecting scores of residents at a housing development in Sydney’s west.

Joel Erickson, EXCLUSIVE, Penrith PressSubscriber only|January 18, 2020 7:00am

Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn't reappear.
Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn’t reappear.

The number of homes affected by ground settlement issues including sinking and cracking in a new housing estate has jumped to almost 40.

Developer Lendlease has revealed 38 houses near Armoury Rd have been affected by ground settlement issues in a parcel of land at Jordan Springs East. So far, three homes have been demolished or building halted while in the process of being completed.

Residents have reported at least one of the homes having a visible lean before it was knocked down.

The ground settlement – vertical movement of the ground – also caused a sinkhole in Armoury Rd which had to be blocked off for months to repair.

James Diamond and his young family moved into a house on Armoury Rd in December.

“We’ve got little cracks in our home already, which we wouldn’t have expected this quickly,” Mr Diamond said.

Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn't reappear.
Cracks in the walls of a house near Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East. Lendlease says the house is repairable, and the cracks shouldn’t reappear.

“I still remember when someone mentioned the road sinking, so I came out and had a look.

“I noticed the single-storey house they demolished last month was on an angle – you could visibly see it listing.

“There was a bad sinkhole in the road as well. It felt like driving off a cliff – you almost lost your stomach.”

Navy Rd resident Sandeep Kumar has had issues with his driveway. Picture: Richard Dobson
Navy Rd resident Sandeep Kumar has had issues with his driveway. Picture: Richard Dobson
Dirt underneath Sandeep Kumar’s driveway has fallen a foot.
Dirt underneath Sandeep Kumar’s driveway has fallen a foot.

Navy Rd resident Sandeep Kumar, who lives nearby on Navy Rd, said the land in his frontyard had sunk more than a foot since he first moved into his home about 12 months ago.

He said Lendlease had checked for cracks inside his house, which they did not find, but didn’t address the sinking land under his driveway.

“I had to use two tonnes of soil just to fill the sinkage, and it’s not just me,” he said.

“The two houses up from me have similar problems.”

Lendlease’s senior development manager, Kevin Montier, said the company first became aware of ground settlement issues in April, 2018.

“There are 38 homes that have some evidence of issue,” he said. “It was evident that there were properties immediately adjacent to ground settlement at Armoury Rd.

“There were six properties there that we knew to be affected, including the one that was demolished recently and one that was immediately opposite it that was under construction.

“The builder chose to demolish that property while it was under construction, and there was another property adjacent that was also stopped by the builders.”

Lendlease has revealed 38 houses have been impacted by ground settlement in Jordan Springs East, including three that were demolished on Armoury Rd. Picture: AAP Image/Angelo Velardo.
Lendlease has revealed 38 houses have been impacted by ground settlement in Jordan Springs East, including three that were demolished on Armoury Rd. Picture: AAP Image/Angelo Velardo.

Mr Montier said the issues were exacerbated when a temporary detention basin rose due to a blockage at the end of 2018.

“Following the heavy rain events at the end of 2018 and early 2019, it brought to our attention there was some further movement due to the fact the basin was allowed to elevate in level,” he said.

“That’s been fixed, and we’re sure it’s not an ongoing issue and won’t repeat, but essentially that meant we took a proactive approach into looking at whether there were more properties affected.”

The empty lot on Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East, where a house was demolished late last month. Armoury Rd is now open to traffic.
The empty lot on Armoury Rd, Jordan Springs East, where a house was demolished late last month. Armoury Rd is now open to traffic.

Works to fix Armoury Rd are now complete, and the road was reopened on January 17.

Mr Montier said Lendlease would offer a 15-year commitment to any homeowners affected by ground settlement including covering the cost of all repairs.

“It’s understandable that people are concerned,” he said.

“The key for us is the customer-first approach. We’re very mindful of how sensitive and personal this is, so we want to make sure we’re there standing by the customer.

“We need to be ensuring we’re covering all their costs as affected by ground settlement, and also making sure their safety is foremost.

“We want to make sure people are comfortable and that Jordan Springs East remains a great place to live.”




Chinese embassy hits out at visa delays …

IT appears the Chinese students have called on their Embassy to push their demands … view this earlier report:

Chinese students accuse Australia of ‘politically motivated’ visa delays

WHAT you need to know

PhD Student Visa in Australia – Your Gate pass to Permanent Residency in Australia

The ANU hack came down to a single email — here’s what we know

VIEW the links within the article!


Based on the evidence to date this intimidation from the Chinese embassy warrants rejection!

AND isn’t this criticism from the embassy a ‘bit rich’ in view of China’s torture of Yang Hengjun?

MEANWHILE … Australian society is at risk from the current deadly outbreak of a coronavirus related to Sars that could lead to a pandemic in view of the thousands of Vibrants flying here weekly!

A major concern is that the Scomo government proposes to outsource Visa processing!


‘Great concern’: Chinese embassy hits out at visa delays

Nick Bonyhady
By Nick Bonyhady

January 19, 2020

View all comments

The Chinese embassy has raised its “great concern” with the Australian government that hundreds of Chinese PhD students hoping to start their studies here have endured long visa delays.

“The reasons for the delays have not been clearly explained,” an embassy spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age via email. “We have raised this issue with relevant Australian agencies. We will continue to do that and hope it could be properly addressed.”

Chinese researchers are frustrated and angry that their visas are delayed.
Chinese researchers are frustrated and angry that their visas are delayed.CREDIT:PETER BRAIG

Australian experts have warned about the risk of Chinese researchers’ work here being applied in ways that are contrary to Australia’s interests when the researchers return home to China, and the United States is increasingly competing with China in the academic sphere.

Against that backdrop a group of about 230 Chinese students, who have connected on social media platforms, said they had been waiting months — and in some cases more than a year — longer than normal for a visa.

*Most of them are studying in the science, technology, engineering, maths and medical fields, with many supported by scholarships.

The delays have prevented them taking up jobs, separated couples and cost some students their scholarships, the students said. Using publicly available visa processing data, the students said Chinese postgraduate students were less likely to get their visas than applicants from other countries.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Home Affairs disputed those claims. “The [students’] analysis … uses incorrect methodologies to draw conclusions from Home Affairs data,” the spokeswoman said.

Chinese international students are subject to the same requirements as other students, the spokeswoman said, and applicants are overwhelmingly likely to get their visa. Processing times for Chinese students, which includes undergraduates, are no longer on average than those for other students.

How long students wait depends on a “complexity of assessments in relation to health, character and national security requirements,” the spokeswoman said.

Chi Ming, whose long-term girlfriend’s visa has been delayed since August, forcing her to reapply for a scholarship, said his partner’s life was in limbo while she waited to hear whether she could come to Australia.


COMAC's flagship C919 plane, its rival to Boeing and Airbus.

Monash University partners with Chinese state firm linked to industrial espionage

“During this waiting period, since you have no idea when the result will be released, you cannot be involved in a long term job,” said Chi Ming, who declined to give his real name due to concerns his girlfriend’s application might suffer.

Some of the students said they were afraid they were caught in the middle of a geopolitical conflict.

A geologist who has been waiting for more than a year for his visa said he was afraid an element of his work involving natural uranium reactions in stone had been misinterpreted as having nuclear applications.

But, the geologist said, “it’s just to count how many fission tracks are in the stone to tell you how old is the stone”.

*John Fitzgerald, a China expert at Swinburne University, said Australia was right to carefully scrutinise the research students it allows into the country because the Chinese government selects students to go overseas through its scholarship programs whose research interests align with its priorities.

“It’s not just about defence at all, it’s also about geo-strategic competition on innovation,” Professor Fitzgerald said.

Jia Xu, another student who spoke under a pseudonym and is hoping to study at Monash University, said he appreciated Australia could reject his application for its own reasons. But he is angry the government has provided so little information on the progress of his application, beyond a status in an online account.

“Even though they have the right to reject me, they just let me wait and didn’t tell me any reasons,” Mr Xu said.

Nick Bonyhady

Nick is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army doing winter drills in 2016.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army doing winter drills.CREDIT:AP




Minister McKenzie spits in the face of decency, ethics and every decent Australian

A good comment …

‘Government has become an abstract concept and the general populace rarely makes the link between Government incompetence or malfeasance and themselves, unless they are directly impacted by an event.

Thank you for pointing out the impact of this apalling betrayal of public trust Mr. Pascoe. All of us need to be reminded that the Government is our Government, and that Government employees work for us, the people, not the other way around. We all need to take a more active role, as you have done.’

Minister McKenzie spits in the face of decency, ethics and every decent Australian

Bridget McKenzie's sports grants scandal shows her lack of respect.

Senator Bridget McKenzie showed a complete lack of respect for the public in her handling of sports grants. Photo: The New Daily

Michael PascoeContributing Editor



There is no news in this column. You’ll learn nothing more of the $100 million Bridget McKenzie sports grants scandal than has already graced the headlines.

This is merely an attempt to humanise the loss, to push through the protective skin of cynicism that has formed about the Australian heart when confronted with another example of political malfeasance.

They all do it,” we mutter with passing disgust and turn the page.

Come the next election we acquiesce to giving them the chance to do it again. !!!!!!

And it’s not as if Senator McKenzie’s effective theft of money from deserving community sporting organisations was a matter of life or death, or at least not obviously.

nationals leadership bridget mckenzie
Senator Bridget McKenzie raided the public purse to buy votes. Photo: AAP

It’s not as if she was underfunding rural fire services or failing to acquire an adequate aerial firefighting force or resisting carbon emissions reductions.

But the deputy leader of the National Party, next-in-line to a sometimes-acting Prime Minister, and her hack ministerial advisers did trample people to use your money to keep their snouts and that of their colleagues in the public trough.

There are the obvious people used and abused in the process – the community sports volunteers and Sport Australia staff Senator McKenzie teased and misled with the supposed availability of grants, the people she encouraged to diligently work for a sound cause, the people she lied to and discarded.

Then there are the less obvious souls – the people who were more deserving of government assistance than those who were targeted for their votes in marginal seats.

These people represent the opportunity cost of base political bribery – what greater good could have been achieved with the better use of public money, with the ethical, rather than unethical, use of your money?

It’s been a while since I was involved in community sport, quite a while, but it left me with a conviction about the general nobility of the cause.

Taking your turn with the sausages and the BBQ, helping set up and dismantle, coaching, washing the jerseys, sitting through the annual meeting, it’s all good stuff.

And, when done well, it’s brilliant. In particular when young people are encouraged to play in good spirit, to understand and grow to love teamwork, to broaden their experiences and challenge themselves, it can be a very fine thing indeed.

There are the usual claimed health benefits of sport, of course, but there is more than that at stake. Hand on heart, I think over the years I’ve seen lives positively influenced by community sport, young lives maybe moulded a little for the better by the experience of people taking care of each other.

Community sport is a good thing.
Community sport does a world of good for young Aussies. Photo: Getty

Team sport as we generally know it is not for everyone, for some it is nothing at all or worse, but there are others for whom it has been very important indeed, kids who might not otherwise have been touched by a sense of beneficial community.

Senator McKenzie spat on those people.

She decided they weren’t important, that buying a few votes was more important than honourably discharging her elected duty.

Nothing displays a politician’s treason – putting personal interests before the nation’s best interests – than a willingness to raid the public purse for partisan gain.

Then there are those volunteers who carefully read the grants’ guidelines, who jumped through the hoops and spent the hours, the many hours working up a deserving application. There would have been meetings – meetings! – to agree on what was needed and what might be sought.

The volunteers are generally true believers in their community and sport, in the fellowship and help it provides, in that quaint old idea of “society”.

Senator McKenzie and her hacks toyed with those good people, played with their hopes and betrayed them.

The game was rigged. The ref was corrupt. They never had a chance.

The volunteers preparing those deserving submissions were amateurs playing against seasoned cynical political pros. They weren’t even playing the same game – the volunteers playing community, the political hacks playing pure political self-interest.

And what about the good people at Sport Australia who tried to run an honest contest? If you want your soul destroyed, try being honest in an overwhelmingly corrupt system.

Do your work, put in the hours, maybe find some little community gems that you’d like to think you could help shine, take some pride as a bureaucrat in a good outcome from a professional process  – only to have loathsome political advisors in the minister’s office rip up your work and bury those gems.

The first recommendation of the ex-Telstra chief David Thodey’s public service review to be dismissed out of hand by the government was that political advisers should have a code of conduct. You can guess why.

The erosion of the Australian Public Service by successive governments’ white-anting has reached its peak with the political hacks in ministers’ offices riding roughshod over departments and bodies such as Sport Australia. No care and less responsibility.

There may have been an occasion when the Auditor General has been blunter about the structural corruption of a minister’s office, but I can’t at this moment recall it. Says the ANOA report:

The award of funding reflected the approach documented by the Minister’s Office of focusing on ‘marginal’ electorates held by the Coalition as well as those electorates held by other parties or independent members that were to be ‘targeted’ by the Coalition at the 2019 Election.

There is some irony in the initial impetus for the audit coming from Georgina Downer’s stunt at a bowling club in the family ancestral seat she failed to win.

It was tacky and obviously dodgy at the time for the Liberal candidate – not even an incumbent MP – to be proffering $127,373 of our money in a Liberal-branded mega-cheque, barrel girl style. 

As it turned out, the good folk of Mayo were not so easily bought.

I don’t know if the Yankalilla Bowling Club was one of the more deserving applicants for a grant, scoring close to 100 on the Sport Australia system, or one of the rubbish efforts.

It might or might not have been the application that scored just 39 point but was plucked from the Sport Australia bin by Senator McKenzie for purely political purposes.

But her office stealing millions from the most deserving community sports clubs to buy votes has ended up staining the whole process.

The decency deficit

Did your club win a grant in Bridget’s rigged game? Did you deserve it – or are you the recipient of stolen goods? Does the Yankalilla Bowling Club and others like it in marginal seats feel a little bit soiled by association now or doesn’t it care how it came by the taxpayers’ dosh?

And finally, there’s Sport Australia.

Where was the protest? Where was the mass resignation? What does it say about the integrity of the board that it stood by mute while its staff’s honest work was trashed and the Sport Australia name was traduced as a fig leaf for political corruption?

Maybe Sport Australia’s chiefs, like Bridget McKenzie, her staff and her fellow ministers and their staff, are only in it for themselves and are not interested in promoting and protecting best practice with public funds.

We need a real Federal ICAC yesterday. There’s no way this government will allow one.

Bridget McKenzie's sports grants scandal shows her lack of respect.




Houses are cracking in the dry, hot weather, but when should you start to worry?

SSH … climate change is causing more buildings to crack … ssh …

Another thing we can be thankful for … SARC …

Good advice from professionals …

Houses are cracking in the dry, hot weather, but when should you start to worry?

Rachel Pupazzoni


It starts innocently enough — a hairline crack on, say, the lounge room wall. But, before too long, that annoying little line creeps further down the wall and widens.

“In extraordinary dry times like now, those cracks will widen,” warned Professor Nasser Khalili, the head of geotechnical engineering at the University of New South Wales.

In the vast majority of cases, cracks in houses are caused when the soil underneath the house starts to dry and contract, causing the footing of the house to shift unevenly, which leads the walls to move and crack.

Clay soils are much more susceptible, or ‘reactive’, to changing moisture content than sandy soils because, like a sponge, they soak up or repel water.

“We’ve got this rare occasion now where we’re going without rain, significant rainfall, for months or, in some places,12 months and that means we have long periods where soil, which would otherwise not lose its moisture, is now losing its moisture,” explained Stephen Fityus, a professor of geotechnical engineering at the University of Newcastle.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has confirmed that last year was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record, with varying parts of Australia having been in drought since 2017.

That heat and dryness is not confined to the atmosphere around us — soil moisture content in December was also “very much below average” in parts of every state and territory except the ACT, according to BOM data.

via Gfycat

“Soils continue to be extremely dry along the east coast of New South Wales and the fraction of the state experiencing very much below average soil moisture in December has increased to 48 per cent, compared to 25 per cent in November,” the bureau said in its December drought report.

As the soil beneath us dries up, plants and trees are trying to stay alive, desperately sucking up whatever moisture they can get from the ground, which is drying the soil even more.

“This is an extreme event, and there’s no surprise there’s a correlation to soils around the country being drier than they’ve ever been before and the drought,” said Professor Fityus.

Many Sydney homeowners have noticed new or worse cracks appearing just in the last month or so.

Cracks spread across the walls and ceiling of this house in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville while the owner was away for two weeks at Christmas. Photo: Sandra Eckersley

Sandra Eckersley told ABC News that she was disturbed to find the upstairs of her 1891 house in Marrickville had cracked extensively while she was away for a fortnight on a Christmas holiday.

“I’ve had cracks here before, but this is the worst ever. This is extreme.”

Ms Eckersley said the movement has been so extreme that she can only keep her back door closed by locking it.

This house in Sydney’s inner-west was built in 1891, and its current owner has never seen it cracking this badly before. Photo: Sandra Eckersley

Meanwhile, further north in Epping, cracks at Sandra Williams’ 1922 home appeared just a few weeks ago.

“The first major crack I noticed was in the brickwork out the front of the house,” she told ABC News.

“It’s about two metres long and about the width of the mortar, it goes around a corner of the house and up the window frame.

“I noticed it a few days before Christmas, the day after that really hot 40-degree day.”

A jagged crack winds its way along the external brickwork of this hundred-year-old house in north-west Sydney, January 2020. Photo: Sandra Williams

Archicentre Australia managing director Peter Giorgiou said building regulations need to adapt to the warming environment.

“We can’t rely on that seasonal benefit anymore. We’ve got to be a lot more proactive in the way we understand how to manage our buildings in a newly defined era,” he said.

“To that end, the standards we’ve set in the past need to change as well.”

What should you do if your house is cracking?

The ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken pottery is stuck back together with gold, celebrates the beauty of the cracks.

That is the attitude some experts say homeowners should take about the cracks in their walls.

“If buildings are in areas that are susceptible to shrink and swell, those cracks are non-structural and shouldn’t affect the structural integrity of the building,” said Professor Khalili.

“The usual approach is not to correct them, not to fill them in and patch them because next year again they will reappear in a worse condition.

“They are living buildings — during summer they open, during winter they close.”

The building or engineers department of your local council may be able to provide information about the type of soil your house is built on, or you can check to see if it has a geotechnical investigation of your property done as part of a development permit submission.

Even in areas with reactive soils prone to expansion and contraction, Professor Fityus said there are ways to mitigate against cracking.

“You can build bigger foundations under the house at the start, but that’s expensive,” he said.

However, in an established house, once you have got cracking, it is very hard to stop it.

“You can try to stop the soil from moving, and you can only do that from stopping it getting wet and dry,” Professor Fityus said.

One option is to cut down all the trees on your property.

“But cutting them down can be problematic, because if the tree is established it already has a moisture regime happening and if you cut it down suddenly you’ve got more moisture in the soil than you did before,” he added.

Another option is to put paving all around the house.

Hallway cracks in a federation house in Sydney’s inner-west, probably caused by dry soil. Photo: ABC News

“So, if you put a one-metre wide concrete slab around your house and you seal it up against the walls, you move the wet to dry boundary away from right under your walls,” explained Professor Fityus.

He said watering lawns is a tricky solution.

“Some people water their lawns to excess and, if you do that, you’re likely to put more water around your house than under it, which will also cause things to move.”

In short, there are no easy fixes and the advice from Professor Fityus is to call in a professional if you are concerned.

“Almost every situation needs to be looked at by someone who knows what’s going on to offer specific advice,” he said.

But all three experts warned of being careful who to get advice from, with some operators biased in favour of using their own product or ‘cure’.

They all agree an independent assessment from a structural engineer or building consultant is a good first step before spending thousands of dollars on any remediation work.



FHB Scheme Good for Property Sector


First home buyers squeezed out of the market as prices soar’

The only way to really help first-home buyers is to reduce the overall demand for housing by scrapping negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts.

But the government has shown little appetite for such changes. And neither, perhaps, have voters.

How extensive is the Australian property investor market?

IS there another major change to the Australian Housing Market … that has possibly had an even greater impact … ? Could that be the enormous competition from overseas parking their ‘Hot Money’ in our property market? Perhaps the Australian Supply could not keep up with this demand?


Coalition’s first-home buyer scheme could worsen inequality

Euan Black


Fresh analysis has claimed the Coalition’s new housing deposit scheme worsens inequality and fails to address wider problems in the housing market.

CoreLogic head of Australian research Eliza Owen has argued in a blog post that the Morrison government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) will give a leg-up to high-income earners and do little to boost home ownership rates.

Reserve Bank and Grattan Institute research shows home ownership rates among Australia’s top 20 per cent of income earners already sits well above the national average.

Yet, under the Coalition’s new scheme, these high-income individuals are eligible for the same level of government assistance as low-income earners.

“The scheme could be granting easier access to home ownership to people who are already more likely to attain it,” Ms Owen told The New Daily.

The Coalition’s scheme started on January 1 and provides government-guaranteed loans to first home buyers with deposits as low as 5 per cent of the purchase price.

It will help successful applicants get into the property ladder much sooner and remove the need to pay lenders’ mortgage insurance, which often runs into tens of thousands of dollars.

But critics have said the scheme’s impact on broader affordability issues will be negligible, because it ignores the causes of high property prices and only offers 10,000 loans a year, which is equal to less than 10 per cent of annual loan commitments to first home buyers.

And Ms Owen said it also risks increasing inequality among hopeful home owners by giving a leg-up to high-income earners.

The scheme is open to individuals who earn a before-tax income of up to $125,000 a year and couples who earn up to $200,000.

Given individuals earning an annual salary of $125,000 are in the top 20 per cent of income earners, Ms Owen said the scheme’s income thresholds were too high.

Home ownership rates are much higher among this income bracket  than lower income brackets – yet the FHLDs offers both groups the same level of assistance.

“The scheme may actually provide more advantage to those earning towards the top of the threshold,” Ms Owen wrote in her blog.

“Because they can save a 5 per cent deposit more quickly, and the scheme is currently limited to 10,000 guarantees a year.”

According to Ms Owen’s calculations, individuals at the top end of the scheme’s income threshold can save a 5 per cent deposit on a median-valued property ($540,974) in 18 months, while median income earners ($78,000) need 27 months, and low-income earners ($48,100) need 39 months.

But Ms Owen said high-income earners would likely take even less time to save a deposit, as the calculations assume that buyers across all income brackets will save 20 per cent of their income, when, in reality, higher-income earners can often save much more.

Asked what else the Coalition could have done to make life easier for aspiring home owners, Ms Owen said “there should be greater emphasis on building more social and affordable housing”.

“And some of the most impactful policies on home prices has been policies that limit investor participation in the market,” Ms Owen added.

That’s not the sole cause … but there’s a strong correlation between higher level of investor participation and added pressure on house prices.”

CAAN: What could possibly be a cause? What is it that commentators … the Researchers, Journalists, University Professors … Economists seem to overlook … what’s so bleedin obvious when one visits the CBD … any major shopping outlet … sits on a bus or in the train … the supermarket …

Is it all the ‘new people’ … the new ‘permanent residents’? … OH!

EB: Ms Owen is far from the only property analyst to criticise the scheme.

*Brendan Coates, director of household finances at the Grattan Institute, previously told The New Daily that the scheme was too small to have an impact on affordability, and that an expanded version would only serve to turbocharge prices, by ramping up demand.

Others, meanwhile, have said the scheme offers limited choice, as the price caps are well below the median dwelling price in some major cities.

“It’s not addressing the core problem. It’s trying to help first-home buyers without hurting anyone,” Mr Coates said.

“But for first-home buyers to win, someone has to lose or prices have to fall, in which case first-home buyers are better off and existing home owners are worse off.”Soaring prices are shutting the window of opportunity for first home buyers.

CAAN: What’s happened to Scummo’s Midas Touch … it’s all turnin to sh.t for FHBs … making more for the mates in the Property Council … of course …

Soaring prices are shutting the window of opportunity for first home buyers. FINANCEPROPERTY , Jan 18, 2020



Fancy cars, luxury brands and multimillion-dollar property: Agents ready for New Year ..

TELL US … aside from the Coalition disdain shown for Climate Change … what else could be crucial for everyone?

IS it putting a shrimp on the Bar-B? Prince Andrew … the Duke and Duchess of Sussex?

HAVE you noticed where we live is changing … with new neighbours from Beijing, Hohhot, Qingdao, Shanghai …

AS more cottages are being demolished for duplex … McMansions and granny flats … Beamers and Mercs are parked in the street …

FROM Freefall to Housing Boom in 2019!

WHAT happened? In a nutshell in October 2018 prior to the May Election Scomo and Co exempted the Real Estate Gatekeepers from the Second Tranche of the Anti-Money Laundering Laws …

Then ran the fear and lies campaigns

DID you miss this? This sleight of hand …

The Libs won the May Election …

The Real Estate Sector … Ray White included boosted their ranks with Chinese ‘Specialists’ in 2019

Like Victor Sheu now an Associate Director, a bilingual commercial specialist, a conduit between Western Sydney and the Asian market, introducing HNW investors and developers to local opportunities

THAT seems to explain why residents are finding flyers in their letterboxes

like this! Highlighting a dedicated China Desk, and listings on

AND have you seen FOR SALE signs with Chinese Real Estate Agents?

No photo description available.

Fancy cars, luxury brands and multimillion-dollar property: agents ready for Chinese New Year

Samantha Hutchinson
By Samantha Hutchinson

Sydney’s luxury property agents are bringing forward listings and spending up on fancy cars to impress international clients on the eve of Chinese New Year.

The Chinese New Year is an annual high point in the local sales calendar but has lost steam since mid-2016 as a result of tighter restrictions on foreign ownership.

CAAN: Can you believe it? What happened was CHINA imposed capital controls to stop money leaving China at that time …

How can small percentage fees imposed by Australian State Governments … increasing by a mere 1 or 2% …. have any impact on people of High Net Worth? Seriously?

Sotheby’s director Michael Pallier in a Bellevue Hill home he is showing to Chinese clients.
Sotheby’s director Michael Pallier in a Bellevue Hill home he is showing to Chinese clients.CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY

SH: Juwai, China’s largest property portal, registered an uptick of interest in Australian property in early 2019, with inquiries increasing 40 per cent. Last year, Chinese buyers made 60 per cent more inquiries for Australian property on the platform in the five weeks after the holiday than they did on average during the whole year.

2019 was the year in which Chinese demand finally started to recover, after falling since 2016 to very low levels … we expect 2020 to see further improvement.”

In preparation, Sotheby’s Australia boss Michael Pallier has picked up a new Rolls-Royce Ghost ahead of a busy week of high-end showings, as 10 clients from mainland China arrive.

Michael Pallier talks to a Chinese client next to his Rolls-Royce.
Michael Pallier talks to a Chinese client next to his Rolls-Royce.CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY

Other agents, including Black Diamondz boss Monika Tu, are entertaining with events organised through the likes of BMW and other luxury brands, who are keen to kit buyers out once they purchase their house.

Waterfront property in the eastern suburbs at Point Piper and Bellevue Hill, and larger compounds across the upper north shore at Turramurra, Warrawee and Wahroonga are among the listings.

For Mr Pallier, the Chinese New Year is one of two annual spikes from offshore buyers, including a “golden week” holiday toward the end of the year. He says activity isn’t back to where it was in late 2015 when he drove clients around in a Bentley coupe and expected to turn over more than $100 million in property in a two-week period. This year, he expects to turn over about $30 million.

Monika Tu, of Black Diamondz.
Monika Tu, of Black Diamondz.CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY

“The pool of buyers isn’t as large as it was before, but they’re still there and they are more likely to make repeat transactions,” he said.

Most of Mr Pallier’s clients are chasing good schools. Other agents say protests in Hong Kong are driving significant investor visa holders to take the plunge and buy up in Australia.

Chinese buyers who were affected by Xi Jinping’s effort to tighten capital outflows from China from 2016 onwards are also back in the market, after securing other sources of cash to complete transactions, or visas, such as the significant investor visa, ahead of time.

CAAN: China eased its capital controls in 2019 hence the return to investing in our Real Estate.


I don’t believe that Chinese demand has ever dropped away; it’s simply that it became increasingly difficult for them to organise their funds,” Christie’s International agent Darren Curtis said.

He said the rebound in interest is most noticeable among buyers looking at properties priced from $5 million to $15 million, who were worst impacted when capital controls first took hold.

Agents are united in the belief that demand isn’t quite back to where it was.

“The Chinese [high net worth investors] … are often a bit more cautious than what we’ve seen back in 2014-2016,” Ray White director Victor Sheu.

“Chinese New Year will increase inquiry activity but not actual transactions until a later date.”

No photo description available.

Samantha Hutchinson

Samantha is the The Age’s CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.




one million Aussie homes could soon be owned by foreign … Chinese buyers

-more than a third of the most expensive homes bought by super rich Chinese

-Country Garden

-property investor alliance

-Dahua Chinese developer

-daigou channel