PCA Questions New Australian Population Strategy

A CONTROVERSIAL new population strategy – which sets no population target at all – has concerned peak property bodies.

The Gillard government’s first population strategy, Sustainable Australia, Sustainable Communities, is “political in nature’ according to the Property Council of Australia chief executive Peter Verwer, who added it contained “little more than motherhood statements, previously announced government initiatives and ongoing government programs.”

“This is not a detailed plan for managing population growth and to describe it as a policy or a strategy would be stretching credibility,” Mr Verwer was quoted as saying in The Australian. “We need to grow our population, which needs taxation revenue to fund vital services,” he added.

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ASIC Orders Banks to Relax Rules That Restricted Older People From Borrowing

IN A positive move for middle-aged and older Australians, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission has ordered banks to relax rules that restricted borrowing capacity.

On April 23 ASIC announced it clarified responsible lending guidelines introduced in January – which inadvertently resulted in banks and non-bank lenders being rejected credit applications from middle aged people without a substantial retirement egg.

ASIC now says lenders must ask more questions to determine whether a middle aged applicant will be able to repay a 25-year owner occupier mortgage loan, if they are due, for example, to retire in the next decade.

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Northbridge Link to Connect Perth and Northbridge For the First Time in 100 Years

Northbridge LinkTHE final plan for Perth’s Northbridge Link has been announced for a 13.5 hectare site, around Horseshoe Bend.

The $500 million plan will see Perth’s central train and bus station sunk, and a new town square developed on land above. The development will include public gardens, retail, business and residential areas, and will connect Perth and Northbridge for the first time in 100 years.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said work will begin next year, and take four years to complete.

About $250 million of funding will come from the City of Perth council, Federal and State governments.

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BER Waste Being Uncovered

THE levels of waste being uncovered as part of the Rudd government’s Building the Education Revolution are continuing to come to light with a report in The Australian showing school canteens built by the Catholic school system under the controversial $16.2 billion program, are up to five times cheaper than those delivered by the government.

Geraldton’s St Lawrence Primary School at Bluff Point has developed a 10m x 7.5 m canteen for $4043 per square metre.

By comparison, the governments “unusable” small NSW canteens, measuring 8.47m x 3.1 m, costs $23,000 per square metre.

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Class Action as a Result of Bungled Home Insulation Program

TAXPAYERS will flip the costs defending the Rudd government against an expected 800 class action law suits, as a result of the bungled $2.5 billion home insulation program.

Insulation companies are seeking to recover costs associated with materials, training and other expenses incurred had the program continued until next December, as planned.

The insulators will also seek to be compensated for potential lost profits, until that time.

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Land Rezoned in Sydney’s North West

ENOUGH land for more than 15,000 homes has been rezoned in Sydney’s north-west – but bureaucracy might mean it’s a while before construction begins.

The New South Wales government are pushing to see development in the Riverstone and Alex Avenue precincts, two of 16 areas targeted in the state’s North West Growth Centre Plan.

It’s expected 45,000 additional people will call the area home. Six schools and recreation facilities will also be developed.

The Opposition planning spokesman Brad Hazzard told the AFR the “fragmented ownership of land in the precincts meant that it would be nigh on impossible to get a cohesive development plan and the necessary infrastructure to support housing”.

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Institutions Encouraged to Apply For Third Stage of the National Rental Affordability Scheme

INSTITUTIONAL developers are being encouraged to submit applications, for the third stage of the Federal Government’s National Rental Affordability Scheme.

The scheme gives developers incentives of almost $8,700 per dwelling built, with the properties then rented out at a substantial discount to market rates.

More than successful 10,500 applicants, including groups such as teachers, have already taken advantage of the government hand-out.

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