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  • Relaxed living in quiet, historic suburb

    2018 - 08.01

    Relaxed living in quiet, historic suburb HISTORIC: There are some beautiful period residences in Bolwarra, with many seeing record sales for the suburb in recent years.
    Nanjing Night Net

    PICTURESQUE: Bolwarra is steeped in history and has a semi-rural setting within 10 minutes of Maitland CBD. The population is just under 1000 residents.

    CLASSIC: Immaculate gardens and fine Federation architecture are common in Bolwarra, which became known as the “gentleman’s suburb” in its early days.

    TweetFacebookSUBURB SNAPSHOTSituated just 10minutes from the heart of Maitland, Bolwarra enjoys a semi-rural setting while being predominantlya residential area.

    The suburb’sEuropeanhistorybegan in 1822 as an agricultural estate, known as BolwarraEstate, when timber merchant John Brown settled in the area.

    Bolwarraeventually became known as a gentlemen’s suburb with the building of many fine estates and villas between 1885 and 1926.Bolwarra Public School, established in the 1850s,is one of the oldest schools in NSW.

    LIFESTYLEA walk through the quiet streets of this picturesque suburb reveals plenty of Federationarchitecture from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    Beautiful sweeping views over Maitland and the surrounding river flats can be admired at Bolwarra’s scenic lookout.

    It is not far from the city of Maitland but offers a relaxing, family friendly, country lifestyle.

    There are just under 1000 residents of Bolwarra with an average age of 44.

    FROM THE EXPERTSIt is considered one ofthe most respected and sought-after real estate holdings in the area with Kensington Road benchmarking many record sales of fine heritage residences.

    Surrounded by fertile farmland but just three kilometres from Maitland CBD, this suburb provides an ideal mix of a relaxed rural environment yet just minutes from facilities.

    The corner store is iconic with the best hamburgers in the area and quirky paraphernalia on display. Moments down the road, Maddies B&B is also an idyllic function venue.

    There is a wide range of real estate opportunities in the area with homes available in most budgets.

    – Presented by Rhonda Nyquist, Principal, PRDnationwide Hunter Valley

    Australian dollar surges to two-year high

    2018 - 08.01

    The Australian dollar soared to a two-year high against the US dollar on Friday as ripples from an interest rate meeting in Europe on Thursday spread right through the global currency markets.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Aussie traded strongly against the US dollar from the start on Friday and at lunchtime was at 80.92 US cents, a level it hasn’t traded at since mid-May 2015.

    The surge in the Australian dollar followed a meeting of policy makers at the European Central Bank, where ECB president Mario Draghi suggested that its bond buying program will only be gradually tapered.

    The euro hit a nine-day high above $US1.20 as Mr Draghi spoke, with investors piling into euro zone bonds on the prospect of continued ECB buying.

    “It seems the lack of detail and indecision over tapering dominated, while moves in German bunds helped drive down US Treasury yields to their lowest since November,” noted NAB currency strategist Tapas Strickland.

    As US yields declined the US dollar dropped, with traders not fully convinced at a speedy pace of Federal Reserve rate hikes and amid worries that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will weigh on economic growth.

    The Aussie dollar is launching into the highest close for 2017 off the back of US dollar weakness, noted Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader in Sydney.

    “It is clear to note that the mindset of Aussie dollar traders has changed and the market is well and truly supporting the Aussie dollar on each pullback,” he said.

    “That’s much because of recent local economic strength. It’s also because metals prices have been strong, global growth likewise, and the Aussie-US bond spread has been moving in the Aussie dollar’s favour.”

    The differential between Australian and US bonds has been notably helping the Australian dollar this week and the currency has made a few attempts to set fresh highs.

    As to how high the Australian currency could go, analysts at Commonwealth Bank recently.suggested that a continued slide in the greenback could see the Aussie dollar push as high as US85?? by the end of next year.

    Weakness in the US dollar explains much of this expected strength in the local currency, CBA chief currency strategist Richard Grace said in a note to clients, as trends that were apparent in late 2016, but which were knocked off course by the shock election of Donald Trump as US President, reassert themselves.

    The factors to weigh on the US dollar are the same, Mr Grace said. Specifically, while the US Fed is poised to lift rates again by the end of the year, the monetary tightening in other jurisdictions, such as Europe, will have a “greater appreciating impact on their exchange rates” this year and the next.

    Investors have lately also become a bit more comfortable with China’s economic outlook and that has helped to push commodity prices higher in recent months, providing another layer of support for the Australian dollar.

    Still, some question marks remain over the strength of the Australian economy and the expected path of interest rates in Australia, with Wednesday’s GDP numbers a touch weaker than forecast.

    “There was nothing in the GDP numbers to advance the case for a rate hike … we’re a long way from operating at full capacity and so a long way from raising interest rates,” AMP head of investment strategy Shane Oliver said after that data.

    He sees the Aussie at 70 US cents on a one-year view “largely because the Federal Reserve will tighten policy while the RBA will stay on hold.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Nurse charged over fatal breast procedure at beauty clinic

    2018 - 08.01

    A second beauty clinic worker charged over a breast procedure that allegedly killed the clinic’s owner was on a student visa and paid $17 an hour to do simple beauty treatments only, a court has heard.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Yueqiong Fu, 29, was charged with manslaughter on Thursday, a week after Jean Huang went into cardiac arrest while having fillers injected into her breasts at the Medi Beauty Clinic in the Central Park development in Chippendale.

    Ms Fu has no formal medical qualifications in Australia but allegedly worked as a nurse during the fatal procedure on Ms Huang, 35, the manager and co-owner of the newly opened clinic.

    Another woman, Chinese tourist Jie Shao, 33, was allegedly asked by Ms Huang to perform the procedure. She has also been charged with manslaughter.

    Ms Shao was introduced to the salon owner through a mutual friend and has argued that she has medical qualifications in China.

    On Friday, Ms Fu’s lawyer Neville Parsons told Burwood Local Court that Ms Huang had asked his client to work as a nurse during the procedure.

    He said Ms Fu had recently graduated with a nursing degree from UTS and worked at the clinic since it opened in May but only in standard beauty treatments rather than cosmetic surgery.

    She had assisted in inserting canulas in some procedures and “had skills as a nurse”, he said.

    “She being a nurse, she was trained to do what doctors tell her,” Mr Parsons said.

    “The deceased told her that the co-accused was a qualified doctor in China, she wanted her to simply just assist the doctor … She believed she was following directions of a qualified doctor. That may well result in an acquittal.”

    He said Ms Fu came to Australia three years ago and had also studied nursing in China.

    However, prosecutor Sergeant Liam McKibbin said Ms Fu engaged in “highly dangerous medical procedures in an unqualified capacity” and, in the days after Ms Huang’s death, she allegedly lied to police about what happened.

    It was only after police confronted her with CCTV footage from the salon that she “fessed up”.

    She has been charged with hindering a police investigation and administering a poison.

    Police allege Ms Huang died after she was injected with varying amounts of anaesthetic in the form of tramadol, lidocaine and the restricted substance hyaluronic acid.

    Mr Parsons has asked the magistrate to grant Ms Fu bail with conditions that would effectively be home detention.

    He proposed that she would live in Burwood with her husband and father-in-law.

    But Magistrate Susan Horan denied bail, concluding that Ms Fu had a strong incentive to flee the country.

    Ms Huang had previously lived in Melbourne, studying at the University of Melbourne, before opening the clinic in May. She had also studied at the University of New South Wales.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    HPG calls for architects for $600m-plus One Sydney Park

    2019 - 06.13

    HPG Australia’s $600 million-plus One Sydney Park development in Sydney’s inner west Alexandria has moved a step closer to the starting line with a call to architect and landscape designers to compete in a design competition.
    Nanjing Night Net

    With its Stage 1 Masterplan now DA approved, One Sydney Park is set within Sydney Park and comprises a 44-hectare park and wetlands.

    The property at 205-225 Euston Road, which houses a 7000-square-metre empty warehouse, was purchased from Goodman Group in 2015.

    Under the scheme, HPG will develop 1300 sq m of mixed-use retail and it will comprise about 400 apartments across eight six-storey buildings as well as 8800 sq m of public space. There will also be $1.5 million allocated to public art.

    Architecture teams confirmed as taking part are Architectus in collaboration with Turf Design Studio for landscape design; Make Architects from London in collaboration with ASPECT Studios for landscape design; Woods Bagot in collaboration with McGregor Coxall for landscape design and MHNDUnion + Silvester Fuller in collaboration with Sue Barnsley Design for landscape design.

    HPG’s managing director Dr Adrian Liu said a winner will be announced early next month and it is expected the first-stage sales will be launched soon with construction set to start in early 2018. Rouse Hill

    IPartners’ first investment opportunity,a 48-lot residential development on two hectares in Sydney’s Rouse Hill, has closed within two weeks with a $3.3 million equity raising in a special purpose trust to acquire a 49 per cent equity stake in the development.

    The pre-tax, projected rate of return, based on the project’s feasibility study by the experienced developer, and 51 per cent project stakeholder, Clearstate, is expected to be 45 per cent over the next two years.

    IPartner’s managing directors??? Rob Nankivell and Travis Miller expect their investment platform, featuring 13 other shareholders including David Baxby and Craig Hutchison, will raise up to $75 million in the short term from sophisticated and wholesale investors seeking strong rates of return through investing in property developments and other asset classes.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Rocket fuel: Sydney solids the country’s golden manure

    2019 - 06.13

    Stuart Kelly (right) and agronomist with Australian Native Landscapes Roger Crisp (left) check the soil in Stuarts paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty Agronomist with Australian Native Landscapes Roger Crisp checks the soil in the Kelly’s paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty
    Nanjing Night Net

    Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Stuart Kelly in his paddock where biosolids are being spread on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    A frontend loader moves biosolids towards a spreader in a paddock where its being spread on the property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Stuart Kelly (right) and agronomist with Australian Native Landscapes Roger Crisp (left) check the soil in Stuarts paddock where biosolids have been used on the family property Ferndale, in Caloola, NSW. 6th September, 2017. Photo: Kate Geraghty

    Sheep farmer Stuart Kelly is grateful to the people of Sydney for their “continual output of fertiliser”.

    He calls it “rocket fuel”. Others may be cruder.

    Braving freezing winds to survey a paddock filled with lambs grazing on young green oats, Mr Kelly said it could now support four times as many sheep than before it was fertilised a few months ago with biosolids. Biosolids are treated and sanitised human waste with 20 per cent of the water removed.

    “Without doubt, these sheep are 20 per cent larger, better grown, mature quicker and have more wool than if they hadn’t had access to this paddock,” said Mr Kelly. His family, including father Cliff and brother Andrew, run 10,000 sheep on the property Ferndale at Ferndale, about 30 minutes drive from Bathurst.

    The roots of the oats were also deeper, the grain bigger and the quality better, he said.

    Biosolids are rich in phosphorous and nitrogen. They add carbon to the soil and break down more slowly than synthetic fertilisers, conditioning the soil and making it more drought resistant.

    More than 20 years ago, most sludge – what remains after sand, grit and water is removed from the waste flushed down Sydney’s toilets and sinks – was shipped to sea.

    Now nearly every scrap is being turned into 180,000 tonnes of organic fertiliser a year by Sydney Water. These biosolids are being reused as compost and to rehabilitate mines, but about 70 per cent is being used as organic fertiliser on farms in NSW’s west.

    You would think Sydneysiders would be full of it, but demand for the biosolids??? exceeds supply, said agronomist Roger Crisp from Australian Native Landscapes, one of three contractors selling biosolids??? produced by Sydney Water.

    The big issue with biosolids was the volume available: “If we go around saying how great it is people will be saying why isn’t everyone using it? There’s not enough.”

    Sydney Water’s innovative program was great, said NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin after visiting the Cronulla waste water treatment plant on Thursday as a truck left with another load.

    “There’s nothing better than the idea that the waste of the cities is, in fact, generating prosperity and income for the bush,” he said.

    Crop yields have improved by 20 to 30 per cent, he said, while Sydney Water was also saving money by generating 21 per cent of its own power [from the clean gas generated during its production],” he said.

    The Kellys first used biosolids in 2012 on their worst field. They were looking for a healthier and more cost-effective way to fertilise than synthetic fertilisers.

    “It was expensive upfront, but when you get a payout from it five years later, it was cheap in the long run,” said Stuart Kelly.

    His brother Andrew said some friends are “quite surprised we are spreading biosolids, human waste”.

    “It has been through a biological process,” he said. “The nutrients in the ground are also breaking it down, and then the sheep are eating [pasture fertilised with] it, and breaking it down it even further into protein and wool. It is that far removed, I am quite satisfied eating meat that is grazed on this. We are doing the environment a favour,” he said.

    Before farmers can apply biosolids, they need an environmental assessment. Councils and neighbours are notified. The soil has to be tested, governing where, when and how they will use it.

    It can’t be applied near a hill or near water. Farmers may not graze stock on paddocks treated with biosolids for at least 30 days although usually this doesn’t occur until later when the crop is ready, and 90 days, for lactating animals. They can’t use it for ground-growing crops such as potatoes, spinach or lettuce.

    To remove toxins and bacteria, Sydney Water screens and settles the sludge, which is then baked in digesters at high heat for two periods of 20 days or more.

    Over the years it has become better at removing water, making the product more concentrated and cheaper to transport. At the Cronulla plant every litre of waste coming in contains about 180 milligrams of solids, and after biosolids are removed less than one milligram of solids goes to waste.

    Like most children’s fascination with scatology, everyone in the industry puns and jokes although it is tough to find a new angle.

    Humour was a distraction from the smell emanating from the newly arrived black fertiliser – equivalent to about .05 per cent of Sydney’s output – that had just arrived at Ferndale last week.

    Someone said it looks like the truck spreading the solids has left skidmarks on the otherwise golden paddock.

    Later that day, a plough worked the biosolids into the soil, a process Mr Kelly describes as pushing s— uphill.

    Environmental engineer Jacqueline Thomas from the University of Sydney said Australian biosolids guidelines – such as the level of heavy metals, its use and its application – were stricter and more detailed than overseas. As well, the Australian population was very healthy so the risks were reduced. She said Australia’s use of biosolids was regarded as a model for other countries.

    NSW Health says there’s no evidence of an outbreak of illness caused by biosolids.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Birkenstock’s sustainable shoe boxes

    2019 - 06.13

    The headquarters for German shoe company Birkenstock “ticks all the boxes” in terms of sustainability.
    Nanjing Night Net

    There’s a substantial amount of recycling and green principles are adopted throughout.

    Materials such as timber were sourced from local plantations.

    “We see our practice as both contemporary and sustainable. We couldn’t provide one of these without the other,” says architect Marc Bernstein, director of Melbourne Design Studio (MDS).

    The design won an architecture award in the category of sustainable architecture from the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter).

    From the street, the Birkenstock Headquarters in Queens Parade Clifton Hill appears not dissimilar to other large stores selling shoes, with front-of-house simply decked out with trestle-style tables of shoes.

    However, great design isn’t always obvious at first glance. Let’s start with the front fa??ade.

    The previous shop front, added in the 1950s, has been replaced by two sets of glazing on either side of the front door.

    Rather than the usual single glassed fa??ade, MDS created two wind-locked chambers that can respond to the season.

    Hermetically sealed during the colder months of the year, this glazing system that contains the shop’s front window displays can be opened almost like a veranda.

    One of these double-sided systems even includes a patch of grass, almost suburban with the weeds proudly displayed.

    “Our ideas were partially informed by our approach to sustainability, but they also reflect Birkenstock’s philosophy, with our clients using the words ‘craftsmanship’, ‘quality’, ‘health’ and ‘slow fashion’ from the outset,” says Bernstein.

    As well as exposing the building’s past and revealing the original brick walls, MDS inserted a fascinating glass-topped channel in the timber floors.

    Old bottles discovered during the renovation are beautifully arranged, as are children’s lasts, tape measures, ticks and tacks.

    There’s also a range of shoes from Birkenstock, forming almost a “timeline” of the company’s designs.

    One of the criteria initially given to the architects was to create a domestic feel to the store.

    As well as the patch of lawn as part of the shop front, there’s an open fireplace and a galley-style kitchen where clients are served tea.

    “It was also important to create connections to the various ‘arms’ within the headquarters,” says Bernstein, pointing out the workshop at the rear of the building, beyond the courtyard (an entirely new building), as well as the warehouse and showroom for retail clients.

    “All staff walk through the front door but head off along the different paths,” he adds. As Birkenstock has a philosophy of repairing customers’ shoes, having an accessible and visible workshop in sight was paramount.

    The workshop has a slightly Japanese-feel, with recycled sugar gum timber battens forming a sliding screen on the outside.

    “The screen can be pulled back on warmer days or ‘closed down’ during more inclement weather,” says Bernstein.

    One of the magical design features is the black steel spiral staircase that leads to the main open plan office space on the top level.

    Simply juxtaposed to the raw red brick rear fa??ade and new steel-framed windows, it’s been “pierced” with the word “Birkenstock”.

    “Everything that’s new has been crafted in black steel so there’s a clear delineation between the past and the present,” says Bernstein.

    The office at the top of the building comes with its own terrace, offering impressive views of Melbourne’s skyline.

    The staff kitchen, leading the terrace has been as thoughtfully considered, with recycled bamboo used for the kitchen joinery and plywood.

    The kitchen’s splashback, a scene taken from the village in Germany where Birkenstock began its global journey, adds a quirky touch.

    Birkenstock Headquarters doesn’t scream for attention from the street. However, even if you don’t come to get your Birkenstocks mended in the workshop, take the time to traverse the courtyard!

    It’s certainly worth each of the handmade stiches!

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Sydney buyers look south

    2019 - 06.13

    A wave of Sydney investors in the Melbourne apartment market is tipped to strengthen in the next few months.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Lower prices and higher immigration levels are the lures for Sydney buyers put off by the harbour city’s more expensive entry points.

    Conversely Melbourne investors are increasingly discouraged by new stamp duty regulations which remove discounts for non-home buyers.

    The shift comes as Urbis’ apartment report showed a 40 per cent decrease in apartment sales across Australia in the June 2017 quarter.

    The weighted average cost of an apartment in Sydney rose significantly to $1.15 million – up 13 per cent or $151,000 – whereas prices for inner Melbourne fell by $51,000 to $655,686 thanks to a surge in sales of one-bedroom flats.

    Urbis national director of property economics and research Clinton Ostwald said the price of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment rose by $200,000.

    “Obviously the Sydney market is extremely competitive, and that translates to the apartment market,” Mr Ostwald said.

    Gurner managing director Tim Gurner said buyers from Sydney “are definitely coming and I think they are coming in great numbers”.

    They make up between 25 and 30 per cent of the investor pool he’s dealing with, Mr Gurner said.

    “I don’t think it’s as much as it could be, given Melbourne is so affordable,” he said.

    “Melbourne investors are slowing down because of the stamp duty changes but it’s not putting off Sydney buyers because they are already used to higher prices.”

    Evolve Development managing director Ashley Williams said: “We’ve been seeing it for the past 12 to 18 months.

    “The Sydney market has really taken off and prices have jumped quite significantly. People are looking for more affordable product and they like what Melbourne has to offer.

    “We’re seeing enquiry for Melbourne projects especially from investors who like the price point in Melbourne,” he said.

    “And also in the house and land market. You can get into a Melbourne project for under $500,000 where the same property in Sydney will set you back $700,00-$800,000,” he said.

    Investors are attracted to Victoria’s buoyant economy and population growth. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Victoria accounted for 33 per cent of new jobs compared with 20 per cent in Sydney; interstate migration is strong and Victoria’s residential vacancy rate is just 1.7 per cent.

    “We’re seeing an investment migration. There’s an opportunity to buy apartments and houses in Melbourne for significantly less than what one would expect to pay in Sydney,” he said.

    Evolve is now pitching its new Botanic project in Coventry Street, South Melbourne to Sydney investors. One-bedroom apartment prices start at around $425,000 and two-bedders at $655,000.

    Colliers residential sales agent Tim Storey said there are two key drivers behind the shift to Melbourne.

    “Sydneysiders look to Melbourne because of two things. Firstly, the position. Sydney buyers would be paying at least 2.5 times minimum for a comparative product,” Mr Storey said.

    “Secondly, we are finding the typical return for a one bedroom in Sydney is very similar in price per week rent but 2.5 times the price paid. Yields are drastically lower in Sydney,” he said.

    Growland chief executive Ronald Chan said regulatory changes have also put off foreign buyers and his group is starting to focus on the owner-occupier market.

    “Interest from foreign buyers is slowing due to regulatory changes, so the market has adapted to meet the preferences of the local owner-occupier market which is quickly gaining in strength,” Mr Chan said.

    Growland has brought forward the launch of its second building at the $600 million, six-tower Victoria Square project in Footscray in Melbourne’s western suburbs.

    About 90 per cent of the first tower has sold in four months.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    The battle over same-sex marriage in Australia hits the streets

    2019 - 06.13

    Late on Wednesday night, while the High Court mulled over the marriage postal survey, Canberra hacks imbibed at their usual haunt in Manuka. Buoyed by liquor, the verdict was already in: not a single Labor staffer believed the challenge would succeed, and almost every Liberal (they were all moderates) hoped it would.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The plan B that no one really wanted has now come to fruition. And its outcome is impossible to predict, in large part because this survey is voluntary, and will present campaigners with a question unprecedented in Australian political history: how do you get out the vote?

    At 91 per cent, turnout at last year’s federal election was the lowest since compulsory voting was introduced in 1925. That reflects a worldwide trend, according to the Australian Election Commission, and it’s particularly pronounced among voters under 40.

    For decades, researchers at the Australian National University have asked Australians about this matter. In 2016, 80 per cent said they would still vote if it were voluntary – down from 88 per cent in 2007 – and only about three quarters of those would “definitely” vote, while a quarter would “probably”.

    That’s in a federal election. No one can say how many people will bother to participate in an optional, mail-in survey on an issue that enjoys broad but not deep support. But there is at least one precedent. In 1997, Australians were asked to elect representatives to a “constitutional convention” on a possible future republic. The participation rate was 46.9 per cent – and only a third of 18- to 25-year-olds voted. The turnout peaked at about 60 per cent for those 55 and over.

    “The standard thing around the world with voluntary voting is young people are least likely to vote,” says ABC election analyst Antony Green, who blogged about the figures last month.

    That’s a dark background for the “yes” campaign, which is counting on the massive support for same-sex marriage among the young. This is no longer a campaign for hearts and minds – after years of agonising debate inside Parliament and out, most Australians have made up their minds.

    As such, the “yes” side has switched gears into a full-blown, US-style “get out the vote” effort. But political hard-heads are openly worried about turnout and apathy. Senior Liberal operative Andrew Bragg, director of the “Libs and Nats for Yes” campaign, says voters need to plan their vote, down to the nitty gritty of what post box they will use.

    “Complacency is a major concern,” he says. “A majority for ‘yes’ is no certainty at all, partly because of the manual postal method. Australia is not accustom to ‘get out the vote’ campaigns, and a detailed, tangible voting plan is our best bet.”

    Hence the workmanlike television advertisement launched by the Equality Campaign this week, featuring a motley crew of neighbours striding purposefully towards their local post box. Strategists will ask people to turn voting into a shared activity with friends, family and colleagues. And in the City of Sydney, information kiosks will be set up near post boxes to help get ballots in the bag.

    “If they don’t, we may not win,” says campaign co-chair Alex Greenwich. “This is certainly an uphill battle for us … this is completely uncharted territory. We will have a lot of work to do in terms of raising awareness.”

    Though the campaign will drag on until the November 7 deadline, strategists know most of the action will be early on. They have learnt from the experience of unions, who regularly hold voluntary mail-in ballots, that huge numbers are returned in the first few days. Greenwich expects efforts to crescendo around the weekend of September 23 and 24, by which time most people will have received their forms.

    Same-sex marriage opponents have a somewhat different task. On all polling, they start behind, which they have tried to fashion into underdog status. The slogan “it’s OK to say no” is a callout to the alleged silent majority inclined to oppose same-sex marriage but cowed into submission by the elites and polite society.

    It is a slogan that appeals to any lingering uneasiness – or queasiness, perhaps – about changing the definition of marriage, and about gay relationships in general. And it has a collateral implication: if it’s OK to say “no”, it’s perfectly fine to abstain and not say “yes”. Minimising the turnout is not a stated goal of opponents, but it would not hurt. They won’t say it publicly, but they know they’re better off in a voluntary postal survey than a compulsory plebiscite.

    The “no” campaign is a murkier beast, too. While Australian Christian Lobby director Lyle Shelton appears regularly on TV and radio, campaign HQ would not grant Fairfax Media a phone interview with any spokesperson on Friday. An unnamed operative requested questions be sent by email, which Fairfax Media refused, and then supplied a written response to questions that weren’t asked.

    Several big players on the “no” side are current or former Liberal figures. One man who is back in the fray is Tio Faulker, former president of the ACT Liberal Party and ex-aide to senator Zed Seselja. Just weeks ago, Faulkner told Fairfax Media he had been living overseas for seven months and was “no longer employed in the campaign”. On Friday, his name appeared on a Coalition for Marriage mass mailout.

    Faulker’s official title is National Director, Field Campaign Operations and Logistics. He said his campaign strategy “is not secret”, but also refused a phone interview. He is joined by Sophie York, a Liberal Party member and failed preselection candidate, and occasional spokeswoman Monica Doumit, a lawyer who runs the Catholic Talk lobby group.

    It was Doumit whose words the Coalition for Marriage emailed to Fairfax Media on Friday, with a message strikingly similar to the “yes” campaign. They too said they had been inundated with support this week. They too encouraged all Australians to discuss the issue with family, friends and neighbours. And they too will hold rallies in major cities, like the “yes” rally taking place in Sydney on Sunday.

    For many, including most government MPs, the end of this protracted, unorthodox process can’t come soon enough. And the kicker? Come November 15, the result will be announced by the star of the 2016 census debacle, chief statistician David Kalisch.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    CBD tenants have rediscovered Sydney’s North

    2019 - 05.13

    Having been in the doldrums for many years post the failure of the dot南京夜网 industry, the lower North Shore office sector is coming back to life.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Conversion of older office towers into residential is also ending, paving the way for new commercial developments that are breathing life into the North Sydney central business district.

    It is estimated that more than $500 million worth of office assets have changed hands in North Sydney in the past year as the area comes back onto investors’ radars.

    The new metro rail line is also reinvigorating the suburbs along the highway to Chatswood.

    The Property Council of Australia’s latest office market report shows the aggregate vacancy rate across all North Shore markets has dropped from 8.1 to 7.9 per cent in the six months to July, largely due to positive demand.

    Dexus, Aqualand, Cromwell, Denison and Winton Property are among the many developers that have identified the North Shore as the new office zone outside the Sydney CBD and away from the buzz at Parramatta.

    Michael Lochtenberg, director, leasing and development, office leasing at Colliers International, said over recent years the movement in tenants has been generally south from the northern suburbs and Macquarie Park into North Sydney and Sydney CBD, such as Goodman Fielder, Jacobs and Architectus.

    ???He said this movement was driven by corporates to attract and retain staff with access to amenity. This was greatly facilitated by high vacancy levels and corresponding high incentive levels.

    “This movement south continues but appears to be slowing especially when tenants consider the move south extending over the bridge. It appears that the significant rise in rents and drying up of incentives is making tenants have second thoughts before they cross the Harbour Bridge, such as the Nine Network, which is moving to Winton’s 1 Denison Street, North Sydney,” Mr Lochtenberg said.

    The rise of the new properties has been a drawcard for tenants such as Vodafone’s new head office at 177 Pacific Highway, while Flight Centre is looking to move from 474 George Street to the North.

    The office asset at 116 Miller Street was bought by a private offshore buyer for $134 million and is the largest potential development site in North Sydney at 2304 square metres. It is directly opposite the proposed new Victoria Cross Metro Station.

    The sale was negotiated by Knight Frank’s Tyler Talbot, Dominic Ong, Angus Klem and CI Australia’s Bevan Kenny and Chris Veitch who acted for Property Bank Australia, Security Capital Corporation and RG Property.

    “Traditionally we would have thought Sydney CBD rents have exceeded rents in North Sydney, but this has not always been the case. But since the advent of the GFC, net face rents in North Sydney have been higher than that found in the city. This was also the case for net effective rents, with an exception of a brief period in the throws of the GST in 2008, soon after the delivery of 100 Arthur Street and the refurbishment of 101 Miller Street, following the vacation of Optus,” Mr Lochtenberg, said.

    “We now forecast that the net effective rent spread will move from an approximate city discount of $80 per square metre in March 2014, to a premium of $130 per square metre in March 2020, a $210 per square metre turnaround in a period of six years. The underlying net effective rent for the CBD move from the current rate of $580 per square metre to the forecast peak of $740 per square metre in March 2020, a 28 per cent rise in less than three years from today.”

    With talk now subsiding about the creation of a Metro Station in Crows Nest, the focus of local stakeholders seems to have shifted towards the Department of Planning & Environment’s (DP&E) investigation study of the St Leonards/Crows Nest Station precinct.

    The DP&E has just released an interim statement outlining a draft vision, objectives and guiding planning principles for the priority precinct.

    The area has been broken down into 10 “character areas” with increased densities set to be focused in areas closest to the new Crows Nest Metro Station and St Leonards Train Station.

    Tom Appleby, Colliers International’s investment services operator, recently sold a 12-lot commercial strata building in-one-line at 84 Alexander Street. He expects collective sales to be become more prevalent in the area as developers jostle for sites.

    “With amalgamations being encouraged by the DP&E to ensure co-ordinated redevelopment, it’s anticipated that the incentives being offered to both freehold and strata-titled property owners in certain areas will be great enough to ensure the process is worthwhile,” Mr Appleby said.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Retail tenants putting the heat on landlords

    2019 - 05.13

    There is a battle royale looming in the retail sector and while its not directly related to Amazon, it comes about because of online shopping.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The angst is that in amending the Retail Leases Act, which came into effect on July 1, NSW has become the first state to legislate that online revenue be excluded from turnover calculations.

    But, as with a lot of legislation, it is not national, yet the country’s biggest retail landlords all operate in every state. Queensland updated its legislation in 2016, though did not address the e-commerce issue, while there is no mention of online revenue in the Victorian Retail Leases Act 2003.

    In NSW, the amendment to the Retail Leases Act 1994 says that turnover rent excludes online revenue except where the goods are delivered or provided from the shop, or the transaction takes place while the customer is at the shop.A tenant is not required to provide information to the landlord regarding online transactions except where the goods are delivered or provided from the shop, or the transaction takes place while the customer is at the shop.So, the issue is, as more stores sell online, how do the landlords get a cut of the action and stop the online sales revenue leakage?

    Kate Warwick, the senior managing director and head of retail and consumer products and Glen Smith, managing director, real estate advisory, from FTI Consulting said that retail leasing is fraught with conflict. They said the tides were turning in favour of tenants, but they expect landlords won’t take long to react.

    On one hand, landlords desire certainty of income and to maximise the value of their investment. On the other, tenants commonly want to minimise their overheads and ensure their rent reflects the performance of the store.

    Jacqueline Burns, the managing director of Market Expertise, says a compromise of sorts has seen various forms of turnover rent clauses negotiated into a range of retail leases over the years, in particular for supermarkets, department stores, and larger specialty store networks in shopping centres, whereby the tenant would generally pay a fixed base rent, plus a variable ‘turnover’ rent component directly linked to annual revenue performance.

    Traditional turnover rent clauses worked effectively when we all shopped conventionally in-store. There was no disputing a retailer’s turnover and little debate about the definition of the term “turnover”.

    However, in an era where we are increasingly shopping online, are turnover clauses still relevant? Many retail landlords will not yet have had the opportunity to address the impact of online sales, particularly for longer term leases, and how they are impacting store revenue and therefore turnover rent payable.

    With Amazon soon to arrive in Australia, the amount spent online is poised to increase, especially as Australia’s online sales penetration is lower than similar Western economies, and there will be fierce competition for the traditional in-store shopping dollar.

    Ms Warwick and Mr Smith said landlords will now seek to future proof their leases and, for longer leases, and may seek to include provisions that allow for a periodic review of any turnover rent mechanism, to ensure it remains relevant and reflects market conditions through the course of the lease.

    “Landlords will become more focused on arresting revenue leakage and will look for ways to attribute online revenue to physical stores. Traditional or ‘all inclusive’ turnover definitions may become a thing of the past. Landlords and tenants will be more focused on defining terms such as turnover, and on expressly negotiating what is and is not included in turnover,” they said.

    “Landlords will request that tenants disclose accounting information regarding online transactions in support of turnover calculations. ??? Following NSW, other States and Territories may feel compelled to amend their retail leasing legislation in response to the impacts of new technology and changing consumer purchasing behaviour.”

    Ms Warwick said in response to these ongoing changes, landlords will need to consider how they structure their lease agreements. They may ultimately need to reach more sustainable and/or relevant rental structures in an effort to attract and secure new tenants and to ensure existing tenants remain viable at their centres.

    “Other landlords will also likely be actively seeking to capture ‘click and collect’ purchases, and online purchases by households within a certain radius of a store, within turnover figures to structure rent and calculate turnover rent provisions,” Ms Warwick said.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Mega-lot sales gaining in popularity with home owners

    2019 - 05.13

    The change in strata legislation has triggered a rise in collective sales, often dubbed mega-lot deals, with the number recorded now reaching 17.8 per cent share of total disclosed sales in 2016-17.
    Nanjing Night Net

    According to Knight Frank’s research, collective site sales, suitable for low, medium and high-density development, have increased six-fold over the past five years, with foreign buyers purchasing 62 per cent of the sales.

    The research showed that the share of NSW vertical collective site sales suitable for higher density grew to $228.3 million, up 8.1 per cent in 2016-17, when compared against the total volume of disclosed higher density residential sites sold. This followed the reformed legislation coming into operation on November 30, 2016, after representing 2.3 per cent a year earlier.

    Collective sales are where more than one vendor comes together to form a group in order to sell their property in one line to a purchaser. In NSW the legislation has changed and if there are 75 per cent of residents in agreeance, then the sale can proceed.

    The “horizontal” deals include the sale of multiple single dwellings grouping together to form an amalgamated residential super-lot and an entire industrial complex with multiple owners of individual strata units across one level. Vertical sales include the sale of an entire residential, office, hotel or serviced apartment complex with two or more levels.

    Mega lots have attracted the attention of residents where the apartment block may need repair or a street is being rezoned and home owners team up and sell to a developer. Deals have reaped significant rewards for vendors.

    There are many legal hurdles to clear and much discussion needed among the residents and not everyone has been on board. But agents say they are getting more requests about how to undertake a collective sale.

    Knight Frank’s latest report, Collective Sales for Residential Development – Market Insight: September 2017, found that the practice has been both horizontally, with multiple homeowners grouping together to form residential super-lots, and vertically, with owners of individual apartments and office suites within a building leveraging recent legislation changes and rezoned growth corridors.

    According to Knight Frank’s head of residential research, Australia Michelle Ciesielski, when splitting buyer nationalities across Australia, in 2012-13 foreign buyers represented only 21 per cent of collective sales. However by 2016-17, these buyers had purchased 62 per cent of these sales.

    “Within these collective sales purchased by foreign buyers in the last year, 53.6 per cent were for horizontal sites and 8.4 per cent for vertical sales,” Ms Ciesielski said.

    “Vertical site sales have been more prevalent in NSW since new legislation for strata properties came into operation. At this stage, despite lengthy consideration, no other state or territory governments have introduced this change.”

    Some of the biggest deals have been at Macquarie Park, where Savills Australia sold a site at 15-21 Cottonwood Crescent, which saw the 55 homeowners became instant millionaires, with a private developer paying a record price understood to be more than $80 million. The site is to be developed into a mixed-use property.

    This has prompted the owners of 12-14 Lachlan Avenue and 13 Cottonwood Crescent to follow suit, with 33 of the 36 units on the site looking to the residential site sales team at Savills Australia, of Neil Cooke, Stuart Cox and Johnathon Broome, to generate a similar deal.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Poetry on the Move

    2019 - 05.13

    Have you ever wanted to learn how to write poetry for children? Or hear Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country re-interpreted by indigenous, migrant and bi-lingual poets? Keen to shake hands with Steven Oliver from ABCTV’s Black Comedy, bail up a poetry editor, or meet poets from Japan? Canberrans will have the chance to do all this and more at the University of Canberra’s Poetry on the Move festival this month.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The festival, now in its third year, starts on September 14 and comprises 26 events spread over eight days involving 75 poets and other contributors. Most sessions are on the University of Canberra campus in Bruce, but the festival also spills into the National Portrait Gallery, and Belconnen and Gorman Arts Centres. Almost all events are free.

    The festival will see this year’s winner announced for the $15,000 UC Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize, one of the most valuable poetry prizes in the world. US poet Billy Collins is the principal judge. Three other prize results will also be revealed at the announcement event, “A Celebration of Poetry” on September 21: the Young Poets Awards (first prize $500), for ACT and NSW Year 11 and 12 students, the Health Poetry Prize (first prize $1500), for poems on the theme of “living life well”, and the inaugural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize (first prize $1500), announced by special guest, ABCTV writer/performer (and viral YouTube poet) Steven Oliver.

    As it has in previous years, the festival features two internationally eminent poets in residence. This year’s guests are Glyn Maxwell and Vahni Capiledo, both from Great Britain. Both will give workshops and readings, with Trinidadian-British Capiledo also chairing “Measures of Expatriation”, a discussion of identity and migration in poetry. Maxwell will present a special “Drinks with Dead Poets” event, reading from his new book based on the diaries, letters and essays of poets from Byron to Dickinson to Whitman.

    The theme for this year is “Boundary Crossings”, with many sessions focusing on poetry in translation. The Embassy of Japan has supported Japanese poets Takako Arai, Hiromi Ito, Harumi Kawaguchi, Kayoko Yamasaki and Keijiro Suga to attend the festival. Their events include a bi-lingual poetry reading and anthology launch followed by an Embassy-hosted reception, and a special performance at the NPG. Ito and Suga will also appear at the centrepiece of the festival, a joint reading at Gorman Arts Centre with the two guest poets on Saturday evening September 16.

    Other international guests will be attending from the US and New Zealand, and via video link from Great Britain. Joining them will be top interstate and local poets, along with performing and visual artists.

    Further festival performance highlights include an unmissable reading by three of Australia’s leading poets – Judith Beveridge, Sarah Holland-Batt and Stephen Edgar – and a special edition of Canberra’s own BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! poetry slam at the Phoenix Pub featuring Melbourne’s Quinn Eades and local Paul Magee. Poetry fans should also consider the panel on poetry editing (featuring editors from journals, anthologies, specialist poetry imprints and literary presses), the 10-poet “Take Five” event curated by Canberra poetry institution Kathy Kituai, and the workshop on writing poetry for children from Braidwood-region poet and performer Harry Laing.

    The boundary-crossing theme of the festival is reflected in a Sunday full of “ekphrasis” on September 17, with poetry crossing into visual art (and back again). The centrepiece is textile artist Dianne Firth’s exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre, in which she has interpreted the reactions of poets to the Canberra landscape from previous years of Poetry on the Move. There will be a morning workshop and lunchtime reading at BCA, with an afternoon reading and panel on “Writing in response to Visual Art” at the NPG.

    The festival also focuses on the crossing of national and cultural boundaries. In addition to the “My Country” and “Measures of Expatriation” events there will be a “Heart of Australia” session on working respectfully with First Nations communities and stories.

    Readings and book launches abound, including several new titles from Canberra’s own Recent Work Press, a vibrant new “micro-publisher” already receiving significant national and international attention. Books by local poets Miranda Lello, Moya Pacey, Maggie Shapley and Monica Carroll are among them.

    Poetry on the Move is hosted by the International Poetry Studies Institute in UC’s Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, in the Faculty of Arts and Design. Accordingly the festival has an academic component too: a day-long symposium on September 20, with Maxwell’s keynote and papers on current poetry research – and of course, post-symposium drinks. After eight days of non-stop poetry, they will be well-earned indeed.

    Poetry on the Move, September 14-21, 2017. Full program at https://梧桐夜网canberra.edu419论坛/research/faculty-research-centres/cccr/ipsi/events/potm2017

    Most events on UC campus (map at http://梧桐夜网canberra.edu419论坛/maps/campus-map).

    Most sessions free but numbers limited for some. Please book for all events at http://poetryonthemove2017.eventbrite南京夜网419论坛

    Melinda Smith is a Canberra poet.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    ‘The crook, the retirement village and my mother’: Residents fight back

    2019 - 05.13

    Jane Cartledge has spent almost a decade trying to claw back hundreds of thousands of dollars from a retirement village operator that she didn’t know had a criminal past and connections to underworld figures.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The battle to get back the $270,000 she is owed from the sale of her mother’s apartment at Berkeley Living in Victoria’s quiet bayside suburb of Patterson Lakes, has cost her time, money and damaged a relationship with her brother.

    It is the latest retirement village operator to face disturbing revelations of misconduct, with Fairfax Media uncovering more than 30 families who have had apartments, worth millions of dollars in total, in the retirement village sold to new owners – when they left or their relatives died – without ever receiving any of the sale proceeds.

    Cartledge says she is dismayed that the village’s operator has been allowed to sell apartments and not pay residents or their families.

    “Cream and bastards rise to the top,” she says.

    It follows a joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners investigation into one of the biggest operators, Aveo, which found a litany of questionable business practices including complex and opaque contracts, fee gouging, safety issues and misleading marketing promises.

    The investigation put the spotlight on weak regulations that fail to protect residents.

    Only this week the Andrews government, in Victoria, faced heavy criticism after releasing its response to a parliamentary inquiry into the sector from various consumer groups and residents as “failing to deliver” and pushing proposed reforms “into the long grass of more reviews” that would mean victims continue to fall through the cracks.

    Fairfax Media can reveal that Berkeley Living, a company trading name registered to Berkeley Property Management, is operating as a respite centre under the directorship of a 25-year-old man with little prior business experience and a criminal record.

    It is also linked to former aged care magnate-turned-bankrupt Stephen Snowden, who has been described as a “serial scammer” after Westpac chased him in 2013 in the Supreme Court of Victoria for $13 million of money he allegedly misappropriated.

    The court found in favour of Westpac and the bank appointed a liquidator to Berkeley Living. In 2014 the bank won a court order to bankrupt him but the bank says it got little back for its efforts.

    Snowden took over management of the village in 2009 when the previous operator ran into financial trouble and his business was wound up.

    Snowden told Fairfax Media this week that the 30-plus families and investors who bought into the business as strata owners were “scumbags” and denied he owed any residents money.

    “As soon as money becomes involved there is no such thing as family especially if mum and dad is not around,” Snowden says.

    Snowden says he is not responsible for the financial hardship the former residents are suffering and is instead the person who is trying to rectify the problem.

    Snowden hit the headlines in 2013 when the Department of Health investigated him in connection with an aged care business he was allegedly linked to, Cambridge Aged Care, on the basis he had a previous conviction for dishonesty.

    Until June 2012, Cambridge was providing welfare services to Berkeley retirement village, including meals and support services.

    One of those aged care homes was linked to a business associate of convicted drug lord Tony Mokbel. Snowden denies being aware of the man’s underworld connections.

    Fairfax Media can reveal that Berkeley Property Management continues to operate the Berkeley Living retirement village but Snowden is not on the board or registered as owning shares.

    Olga Harradine, a former business partner and former girlfriend of Snowden, is the sole shareholder of Berkeley Property Management. A lawyer for Ms Harradine says: “Ms Harradine was not aware she was a shareholder until contacted by The Age and is taking steps to have herself removed as a shareholder.”

    The current director of Berkeley Property Management is listed as Deyar Musa, a 25-year-old man who was convicted of cocaine possession in 2016.

    When asked how Snowden knew Musa, Snowden says he didn’t know before adding: “What the world has to understand is everything has been done at an arm’s length basis.”

    Snowden says residents had agreed to receive only a proportional return. He planned to improve his financial situation by developing land near the village.

    Snowden says he’s keen to return to managing the village.

    But Colin Walker, one of the 30-plus families trying to get back their money, believes Snowden has never been far away. Walker lives close to the village and says has regularly seen him there. At one stage Snowden listed one of the units as his residential address on company documents.

    Walker sold the unit after his father died in 2011. Since then he has been trying to retrieve almost $100,000 that he is owed after exit fees and other fees are deducted.

    “I have gone to Consumer Affairs Victoria, which is a paper tiger. I have written to my local member, the media, Westpac, Moorabin CID for fraud and nothing happened.”

    He says many residents and families were too old and too afraid to speak up for fear of reprisals. He says the only avenue left was legal action, but that would cost at least $250,000, which some of the families couldn’t afford.

    “The whole situation is a complete debacle,” he says.

    Walker criticised a regulatory system that allows retirement villages to change operators without proper regulatory scrutiny.

    “This is an area were many elderly people are unsure of their rights and they invest in these places which can be run or taken over by shifty operators and nobody cares.”

    Cartledge says her family is owed $275,000. She says her mother would be devastated if she knew the money she worked hard for all her life hadn’t gone to her children.

    Like Walker and the many other families, she feels let down by a system that has let retirement village industry fall through the cracks.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.