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    Supercars and the precious East End

    2018 - 11.13

    COMMENTI AM sticking with my belief that not everyone at Newcastle’s East End believes they are special because they live at the East End, although the evidence is against me. It may be, I’m hoping, that those East End residents who accept that they are no more precious than anyone living at, say, Broadmeadow are simply too frightened to say so.
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    And their fear is understandable. Imagine an East End denizen saying aloud that the V8 Supercars event is a wonderful boost for the city, for the region, for the greater good! They’d be frozen out, and moving to Broadmeadow wouldn’t be far enough for their superior neighbours.

    Once out in the sticks the East End refugee could say without fear of repercussion that he or she was delighted to put up with the disruption caused by the frequent rugby league matches at McDonald Jones Stadium at Broadmeadow because it is for the greater good, because it is an event that means so much to so many people.

    The ruckus of the horseracing at Broadmeadow will be to this decent fellow merely a reminder that so many people enjoy going to the races, that the horseracing industry provides a livelihood for a great many people. And like the footy, it’s ruckus that occurs many times a year, not just for three days that will be the V8 Supercars when it’s an annual event.

    Then there’s the monster trucks at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre at Broadmeadow, the region’s show at Newcastle Showground at Broadmeadow, and for many years until recently the Westpac rescue helicopter taking off and landing at all hours at its Broadmeadow base … all for the greater good.

    Ne’er a peep of protest from the wonderful people of Broadmeadow.

    But at the East End we’ve had mothers expressing their deep concern that V8 cars racing around the city circuit will turn their children into revheads, or give them a headache, or something. We’ve had hordes of doctors trotted out to warn of the impact of an influx of Westies on the delicate sensitivities and mental health of the highly evolved East Enders. No open letter yet from the region’s naturopaths, iridologists and spiritualists even though it would be worth about as much.

    Yes, preparation for the V8 Supercars weekend in late November has been disruptive, but hopefully it is a one-off disruption for an event that will become a Newcastle attraction for many years. Yes, some people and businesses have been more disrupted than others, and I hope that the businesses especially will be compensated more generously than the waiving of a small council fee.

    And other aspects of the preparations have been difficult to see as other than unfortunate but change is seldom smooth.

    The fact is that the V8 Supercars weekend will be a huge promotion for Newcastle and the Hunter, probably the biggest promotion of our region ever. Just as Surfest has helped post-BHP Newcastle find its new mojo, so will the Supercars.

    And where better for such an event than our coastline, than around the harbour and beaches, than in a part of the city that belongs to all Novocastrians, not to just those who confuse being privileged with being precious.


    HOW do supermarkets and other major stores get away with littering our streets and parks and drains with shopping trolleys? These major retailers do nothing, or nothing effective, to prevent these trolleys being removed from their property to become, inevitably, an eyesore and a danger.

    The retailers say they will send a contractor to collect a wayward trolley but the evidence suggests that they seldom do. Many dumped trolleys have clearly been dumped for a long time, and that is very evident when they’re covered in algae in our stormwater drains and creeks.

    It is in drains and creeks that trolleys are particularly dangerous, because in heavy rain they are caught in culverts and block the flow.

    I have read that in Western Australia the wheels of a shopping trolley lock when the trolley is taken beyond a certain distance from the store, and if that keeps the trolley on the retailer’s property it has to be a fine thing. Aldi uses a $2 coin or a token to encourage the return of its trolleys and that seems to work, although I accept that this is not convenient for shoppers in big centres where the parked car is not near the supermarket.

    There is an easier solution.

    Councils could require shopping centres and retailers to prevent the removal of trolleys from the centre, and such devices as grates to catch wheels and electronic locking could be the trick.

    But isn’t the unauthorised removal of a shopping trolley theft? Signs on the trolleys and at the centre exits could point this out, and just as security personnel press charges against people who steal groceries, so they could and should press charges against people who steal trolleys.

    We too could call the police when we see someone pushing their $50 worth of groceries along the footpath in a $200 trolley, which we’ll all pay for one way or another.

    And the thief’s protest that they were going to return the trolley will have as much value as the thief’s protest that they were going to return the groceries.

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    NSW councils elections a litmus test for the Berejiklian government

    2018 - 11.13

    Over a third of the 128 NSW councils will hold elections on Saturday, in what will likely be interpreted as a litmus test for the Berejiklian government following the controversial council mergers. Residents across NSW will elect new councillors on Saturday, when 46 of the 128 NSW councils hold elections.
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    The elections are being held in council areas affected by the state government’s policy of forced mergers, bringing to a close more than a year of uncertainty for many communities.

    For residents living in the 20 new super councils – seven in Sydney and 13 in regional NSW – Saturday’s elections are the first chance to restore democratically elected representatives to local office since the mergers were implemented in May 2016.

    Almost one-third of Sydney’s five million strong population now lives in one of the seven new Sydney councils – Parramatta, Canterbury-Bankstown, Georges River, Bayside, Inner West, Northern Beaches and Cumberland.

    In total, 22 Sydney councils will be holding elections. In addition to the new councils, 15 existing Sydney councils will also be holding elections, after they were spared from amalgamation when the government officially abandoned the policy in July.

    The elections come one year after the typical local government four-year election cycle, which saw 81 councils hold elections in 2016, including the City of Sydney.

    As a result, councillors will be elected to three-year terms instead of four years, so as to synchronise the election cycles in 2020.

    Polling booths will be open from 8am until 6pm on Saturday, with many public schools serving as voting places. The penalty for failing to vote at a Local Government election is $55.

    For the past 16 months, the newly merged councils have been under the control of a government-appointed administrator. This suspension of direct democracy became a flashpoint throughout the administration period, as well as a rallying cry for a vocal grassroots anti-merger campaign.

    Nowhere was the public backlash more hostile than at the new Inner West council, where the first meeting was shut down by hundreds of angry protesters and the administrator was spat on.

    The rancour has since largely dissipated, and the election is expected to be a showdown between Labor and Greens, who dominated the former Marrickville and Leichhardt councils.

    In Canterbury-Bankstown, now the largest council in the state with more than 350,000 residents, both major parties have hit refresh, dropping from their tickets all of their former Canterbury councillors.

    The fresh-faced tickets are a deliberate approach by the parties to distance themselves from the activities of the former Canterbury council, which was raided by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in June 2016 in connection with allegations of corrupt planning decisions.

    Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed last week the government had “drawn a line under the issue” and “there will be no more forced council amalgamations”, but the shadow of the merger policy has loomed over some campaigns.

    The election results will be interpreted as a litmus test of the Berejiklian government’s standing with local communities, particularly in Liberal heartland areas such as Sydney’s northern and eastern suburbs where councils led the legal war against the mergers.

    In council areas which survived the mergers, such as Woollahra council in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, the triumph has formed part of the re-election campaign.

    Woollahra’s mayor Toni Zeltzer, who led the council’s fight against a merger with Waverley and Randwick council all the way to the High Court, said every member of Woollahra’s Liberal team had “signed a promise to reject mergers, either forced or voluntary, now and into the future.”

    In Ryde, the merger reverberations were felt in a different way. Three of the four serving Liberal councillors – mayor Bill Pickering, deputy mayor Jane Stott, and Cr Roy Maggio – were dumped from the party’s ticket. All are now running as independents

    Cr Pickering claimed he was dumped because of his anti-merger advocacy, and in a parting shot to his former party colleagues has warned the “spectre of council amalgamation will re-emerge” if the new Liberal candidates are elected.

    Among the most high profile mayoral candidates is former long-serving federal minister Philip Ruddock, who was parachuted onto the Liberal ticket after the incumbent mayor Steve Russell was dumped by the party.

    Cr Russell was also a victim of the bungled merger policy. As one of the government’s most loyal supporters of council mergers, he was deemed too toxic for re-election after the proposed merger of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai was abandoned, leaving Hornsby with a smaller territory and ratepayer base.

    In total, 1938 councillors and 61 mayoral candidates will be contesting the council elections run by the NSW Electoral Commission on Saturday.

    Visit VoteNSW.info to check whether your council is holding an election

    Sydney councils holding elections on Saturday 9 September:Bayside CouncilBurwood CouncilCity of Canada Bay CouncilCanterbury-Bankstown CouncilCumberland CouncilGeorges River CouncilHornsby CouncilHunter’s Hill CouncilInner West CouncilKu-ring-gai CouncilLane Cove CouncilMosman CouncilNorth Sydney CouncilNorthern Beaches CouncilCity of Parramatta CouncilRandwick CouncilCity of Ryde CouncilStrathfield CouncilThe Hills Shire CouncilWaverley CouncilWilloughby CouncilWoollahra Council

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

    Domain and REA benefit from slower markets: analysts

    2018 - 11.13

    A slowing real estate market with clearance rates as low as 45 per cent is good news for online property sites because vendors will have to list their houses and apartments for longer, according to analysts at Citi Research.
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    Sites like Domain and Realestate南京夜网419论坛 will also benefit if investors pull out of the market, because vendors will have fewer potential buyers.

    Citi’s David Kaynes predicts shares in Realestate南京夜网419论坛’s owner REA’ will rise to $94 each and Fairfax Media (which owns Domain) will rise to up to $1.31 if auction clearance levels fall to 60 per cent. He has a ‘buy’ rating on both stocks.

    REA closed at $67.45 on Friday and Fairfax shares closed at 95 cents.

    Fairfax plans to spin off Domain as a separately listed entity later this year, and is publisher of BusinessDay. REA Group is majority owned by NewsCorp.

    “Contrary to popular belief, Australia’s rapidly rising house prices have been a significant headwind for the two portals that advertise properties for sale, as property has simply been selling too fast,” Mr Kaynes wrote in a note to clients.

    “We now expect auction clearance rates to return to 60 per cent by 2018-19. As clearance rates fall, this ratio should rise, leading to higher property listing volumes even if property turnover rates remain unchanged.”

    “We do not believe that the property market conditions seen in the past few years are a ‘new normal’. High clearance rates [over 70 per cent] indicate that demand significantly exceeds supply and would lead to continued property price growth. In our view, the property market must return to balance eventually.”

    The best clearance rate for online sites is between 45 per cent and 60 per cent, he added. It takes at least 50 days to sell a property in a cool market compared to about 40 days in a hot market. As more properties fail to sell at auction, vendors will have to either re-advertise or withdraw the property, according to Mr Kaynes.

    “We calculate a return to average conditions would lift our REA valuation to $94 and FXJ to $1.31, all else being equal. A significant pullback in investor activity is the most likely catalyst to trigger a return to long-term turnover rates,” he said.

    Listing volumes peaked in mid-2011 but have been declining ever since. And despite more properties being built, housing turnover has declined since mid-2015. Mr Kaynes attributes this to investors buying and holding onto properties.

    “When an owner-occupier buys a house, they sell their existing place, which creates a natural level of turnover. The increased investor activity has reduced this turnover,” he noted.

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

    Ravensfield will be home to 350 families

    2018 - 11.13

    LOTS OF LOTS: Pictured at the new Ravensfield estate at Farley from left, Lisa Simmonds-Webb, Steve Briant, Tim Peters and Jackson Kuczaj. Picture: Jonathan Carroll.A new community is being created in Maitland with the release of 100 residential lots in the rural hamlet of Farley over the weekend.
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    Ravensfield, will soon become Maitland’s newest suburb following the theunveilingof the new estate, which has the potential to create homes for 350 families as land is released over a number of stages.

    Peters Real Estate Maitland will market Ravensfield located on Wollombi Road nearthe old Ravensfield Quarry site.

    Ravensfield is located in the Farley Urban release area.

    It is near what was oncea flourishing quarry owned by the Browne Family.

    Stone from the quarry was used to build historic Aberglassyn House in the 1840s.

    The quarry was owned and used by Thomas Browne to supply his monumental works and many of Maitland’s landmark buildings were built from sandstone taken from the site.

    To mark the opening of the estate some of the sandstone has been relocated to the roadside to create a statemententry point.

    Ravensfield takes in some breathtaking views over Wentworth Wetlands and across the treetops to Kurri Kurri, Heddon Greta, Gillieston Heights, Rathluba and East Maitland.

    Fairfax Mediareportedin November 2015 howMaitland has again reaffirmed its position as the fastest growing inland city in NSW, with news of the first ­development application being lodged for 1500 new home sites at Farley.

    Anapplication for the first 300 lots was expected to be discussed at the December 2015council meeting.

    At that time the site, owned by 40 landholders, covers 160 hectares, bisected by Wollombi Road.

    A development control plan approved by Maitlandcouncil makes ­provision for a small neighbourhood shopping centre on the northern side of Wollombi Road.

    Together with Lochinvar and Anambah, Farleywill complete the major greenfield release areas in the western sector of the Maitland local government area.

    Farley was identified as a potential residential development area in 2006 and council hassince been working towards preparing the area for a major increase in new homes.

    In a November 2015 report, Maitland City Council’s development and environmental planning manager David Simm, said road infrastructure would be upgraded through direct development work and also progressively as funds come into the Farley Section 94 Contributions Plan.

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