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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_26950" align="alignnone" width="350"] Is the party over for Airbnb in NSW before it even began? NSW government says slow down. [/caption]

 

 

After three public hearings, 212 submissions and a parliamentary report the NSW government has announced it is not yet ready to make a decision about how to regulate short-term holiday letting through online booking services like Airbnb and Stayz.

Instead, the NSW government will conduct a ‘broad consultation’ with the public and the short-term accommodation industry, including bed and breakfasts and hotels, before publishing an options paper next month.

The options paper, which the Departments of Planning and Environment and Fair Trading will also contribute to, will explore land use and planning issues and strata management concerns, including the impact on the lives and safety of existing residents.

This morning’s announcement (Thursday) was in response to an October 2016 report by the NSW Parliamentary Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment on the best way to regulate the explosion of short-term accommodation letting and the continued rise of Airbnb in the state.

The report recommended the government make it easier for homeowners to rent out a whole or part of their house and for it to adopt a light regulatory touch.

This approach included relaxing state planning laws so that local councils could class short-term letting as exempt development, providing it did not have excessive impact on other residents.

But the government offered only ‘qualified support’ to the committee’s recommendations, stating they needed further consideration and more public consultation.

It has been slow going. After submissions closed in November 2015 there were three public hearings between March and May 2016 followed by the final report on October 19, 2016 and the government’s response six months later.

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said it was too complicated and divisive an issue to rush.

“It’s no surprise that NSW and Sydney are highly sought after destinations for international and domestic visitors, however, we must find a balance between providing options for accommodation and residents being able to go about their daily lives. This will support the best environment for residents and visitors so that it is a great destination,” Mr Roberts said. 

“The inquiry recommendations make sense, but the regulation of short-term letting needs broader engagement with the industry and the community to establish a model that enables it to continue to flourish and innovate whilst ensuring the amenity and safety of users and the wider community are protected.  

“It's sensible to take time on a complex issue like this, which is why we are releasing an options paper next month.”

The government supported the report’s recommendations around communicating with councils and residents any changes and that councils take the lead on informing landowners about their rights and duties.

Also supported was giving owners’ corporations more powers to respond to any negative consequences of short-term lets in their buildings, through amending strata regulations.

NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said the government would concentrate on finding common ground to address the concerns of everyone involved.

“We need to find what will work best for the people of NSW, which is why we’re issuing an options paper for discussion with relevant stakeholders,” Mr Kean said. 

“We don’t want a holiday accommodation market that’s so over-regulated it puts people off coming here but the rights of residents who live near these properties must be considered too.   

“While short-term holiday letting, if properly managed and respected by all parties, can be a boost to the local economy, the need to protect people’s rights to the quiet enjoyment of their own homes is equally important.”    

Meanwhile, Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh called the government's response a 'strong, positive step towards ensuring fair and progressive rules and regulation for residents and visitors to NSW'.

“We appreciate that these things take time and that it’s important to get the balance right," Mr McDonagh said. "We’re confident that Premier Berejiklian and the NSW government will join the state governments in Tasmania and South Australia, in embracing home sharing, and introduce fair regulations that allow more people in NSW to share their extra space.”

 

Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter.        
                    [post_title] => NSW government delays Airbnb decision
                    [post_excerpt] => Options paper by next month.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_26943" align="alignnone" width="522"] Will the NSW government wind back recommendations allowing Airbnb?[/caption]

 

 

NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean is gearing up to present the state government’s response to the hot button issue of short-term holiday letting on online platforms like Airbnb and Stayz.

Mr Kean’s announcement, with some details expected by 5pm today (Wednesday), will form the government’s response to a NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning report into short-term holiday letting,  released in October 2016.

The report recommended the NSW government adopt a light regulatory touch to short-term rentals and said restrictions should be eased so that home owners could rent out a room – or their entire house – without being fined by local councils for failing to lodge a development application for change of use.

The report, which examined how the sector should be legally regulated, split home owners and renters, cheered retailers and restaurateurs and horrified hoteliers, owner corporations and strata residents.

Local councils will also be closely scrutinising the NSW government’s position and hoping for clarity and guidance on how they should regulate the sharing economy through the planning policies they apply in their own backyards.

This came up in last year’s committee report, which recommended a concrete definition of short-term rental accommodation (STRA) to help local government, for example specifying the number of bedrooms that could be occupied or the number of days a property was rented in one year.

The committee also recommended giving NSW councils more detail around planning regulations and how to apply these to STRA.

Another suggestion was that the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) on exempt and complying development be amended to permit STRA and make the process quicker and easier.

Local councils has responded quite differently to Airbnb depending on their location.

Some NSW coastal councils, such as Gosford, Pittwater, Shoalhaven and Kiama have welcomed Airbnb but others like Byron Shire Council have battled with an onslaught of partygoers, while rising house prices lock locals out of the market.

Meanwhile, many metropolitan Sydney councils, such as City of Sydney and Randwick have demanded planning permission for short-term accommodation as complaints from residents grow. 

Although the inquiry recommended greenlighting Airbnb and sweeping away penalties, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), the peak body for the hotel industry, is tentatively predicting that the Minister will be more circumspect.

A TAA spokesman said that while the NSW government was unlikely to follow the lead of cities like New York, Berlin or San Francisco and ban Airbnb lets that were not owner-occupied, it was hopeful that some safeguards would be in place to protect residents from city apartment blocks being turned into 'quasi hotels'.

“It has been hard to ignore the millions of dollars that Airbnb has poured into ads and MP’s ‘advocacy’ over the past few months but we are confident the NSW government will be able to differentiate between genuine 'sharing' and the commercial exploitation of the new online platforms,” he said.

There is a possibility that the government will establish a committee  to examine the more contentious aspects of short-term rentals. 

TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi said in her response to the original inquiry that TAA did not oppose genuine sharing, where the owner was present during the stay, but that figures from Inside Airbnb had shown this was not the majority of cases.

Inside Airbnb reported that 61 per cent of Sydney listings were for whole houses or apartments and that 39 per cent of these were available for 365 days a year, a sign they were effectively functioning as commercial businesses. Almost one-third were listings for multiple properties.

“Our biggest concern is that city apartments will be turned into quasi-hotels, which has already taken place though in a number of cases residents have gone to court to force commercial operators out,” said the spokesman.

“The concern is the NSW government could make it harder for residents to keep Airbnb out, thereby wrecking their community and going against all the rules that were originally in place to keep the apartments for residents only.”

Instead, the TAA wants to outlaw those short-term lets that are obviously commercial and for councils to be given stringent powers to enforce the rules. It is also hoping that the state government will limit the number of days accommodation can be let out in a year.

The TAA believes that operators like Airbnb should be accountable for properties being compliant, in order to protect the safety of renters and other residents from nuisance. 
                    [post_title] => NSW government’s response to Airbnb report imminent
                    [post_excerpt] => Tourism accommodation body predicts a climb down.
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                    [post_content] => 

 

 
The 35-year lease to run the NSW's profitable  land titles registry has been sold to a consortium led by First State Super and Hastings Fund Management for $2.6 billion, in a move heralded by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as a ‘massive infrastructure boost’ and by almost everyone else as a bad idea.

The only profitable part of the state’s Land and Property Information (LPI), the land titles registry, which currently makes about $130 million in net profit annually, was bought by Australian Registry Investments (ARI), a consortium made up of 80 per cent Australian institutional investors.

Investors include First State Super, investment funds from Hastings Funds Management and a 20 per cent stake held by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group’s pension fund, also managed by Hastings.

The winners beat off competition from three other consortiums: Borealis and Computershare; the Carlyle Group and Macquarie’s MIRA and Link Group.

The NSW government called it a 'phenomenal result' for NSW.

“Once again today's result has significantly exceeded expectations,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“It means even more funding for the schools, hospitals, public transport and roads that people depend on every day.”

The government will drop $1 billion of the sale proceeds on upgrading Parramatta and ANZ Stadiums and refurbishing Allianz Stadium, while the remaining $1.6 billion will be invested into other infrastructure projects under its Restart NSW fund, which often funds roads and public transport projects.

The Premier has promised that at least 30 per cent of the total proceeds will be spent in regional NSW.

But while the government has argued that selling the lease to operate the land titles registry to the private sector would spur ICT investment and speed up the system, scores of real estate agents, surveyors, lawyers, unions and community groups have slammed the sell-off and called it a disaster.

They have argued that it will imperil the quality and reliability of the service, make it more expensive for ordinary people and push skilled staff out the door.  Opposition to the sell-off spilled over into a public rally in Sydney’s CBD in March.

Land titles  defines the legal ownership and boundaries of land parcels and is integral to buying and selling property, as well as taking out and paying off mortgages, leasing and inheriting property.

Despite the majority of people being blissfully unaware of the system until they need it, land titles underpins billions of dollars spent in the NSW economy and a $1.2 trillion real estate market. 

The Public Service Association (PSA) called it a 'a recipe for disaster for millions of property owners across NSW'.

“It is hands down, the most appalling fire sale decision yet by a Government with a strong track record in that area”, said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.

“The government trumpets its efforts on ‘life-changing projects’ but what could be more life changing for millions of people across NSW than to lose the security on their own property?

“Just as the PSA feared all along, ultimately the personal property records of the people in NSW will be held offshore given a portion of the successful consortium is based in London.”

But NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet defended the lease arrangement and said it had ‘rigorous legislative and contractual safeguards’ in place to ensure the continued security of property rights and data.

He said any increases in price were capped at CPI for the entire length of the lease and the government would continue to guarantee title, with the Torrens Assurance Fund compensating landowners who lost out due to fraud or error on the register, as happens now.

A new external regulator has been established – the Registrar General – to monitor ARI’s performance and resume control, if necessary.

Mr Perrottet praised ARI and said the company had prepared ‘a technology roadmap’ as part of its bid, helped by Advara, the private company that runs Western Australia’s land titles service.

He said Advara had introduced ‘world-leading titling and registry technology’ to WA and added that the Registrar General would review and approve any major changes to LPI’s IT system in NSW.

“This is an industry on the cusp of huge technological advances, and today we have partnered with some of Australia’s most reputable investors who will make sure the people of NSW get the benefit of those advances,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Combined with the tight regulatory framework we have established, the investment, innovation and experience ARI will bring mean citizens can expect a better experience.”

He said the ARI consortium had received approval from Commonwealth regulators including the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board and the transition to the new operator was likely to be finalised over the coming months. LPI staff have a four-year job guarantee as they transition to the new operator.

More to come.

 
                    [post_title] => NSW land titles lease sold to consortium for $2.6 billion
                    [post_excerpt] => Massive infrastructure boost or recipe for disaster?
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                    [post_date] => 2017-03-21 10:17:01
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                    [post_content] => 
  By Darragh O'Keefe   The lack of a clear national policy could stymie the future growth of the retirement living sector in Australia, a new analysis concludes. The analysis by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Adelaide found the absence of nationally consistent policies and regulations will challenge the future development of the sector. The study’s authors call for the Commonwealth Government to enact policies that actively support the growth of the retirement village sector. “The Australian retirement village sector is not a national industry priority or receiving direct and clear policy support,” they found. The researchers pointed to the barriers facing developers around state-based planning policies and regulations as an example where government could better support the sector.
  Read more here.   This story first appeared in Australian Ageing Agenda.  [post_title] => Government inaction hindering retirement villages: experts [post_excerpt] => State planning policies need a shake-up. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-inaction-hindering-retirement-villages-experts [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-21 10:49:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-20 23:49:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26585 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26328 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-24 11:16:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-24 00:16:06 [post_content] => The land titles registry sell-off could make it more expensive  to put a roof over your head in future.      The NSW government’s plans to privatise the profitable land titles registry have been condemned by lawyers, surveyors and real estate agents at a forum convened by Shadow Minister for Finance, Services and Property Clayton Barr earlier this week (Wednesday). NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is planning to lease the part of the Land and Property Information service (LPI) that deals with defining land boundaries and keeping property records to a private company for 35 years. But experts say it’s a stupid move that will undermine the integrity of the system, push costs up for house buyers and sellers and decimate the LPI’s skilled workforce. The Public Service Association website, The Secret Sell-Off, points out that the land titles registry gives people “an iron clad guarantee from the NSW government that your home belongs to you”. In the US people take out insurance to guard against fraud and mistakes in property title. Don Grant, who was Surveyor General of NSW from 1986 to 2000, said the LPI underpinned the NSW property system and the integrity of the state’s land titles registry, which gave the public confidence. John Cunningham from the Real Estate Institute of NSW said the decision did not make financial sense. The land titles registry at the LPI is estimated to net the government around $70 million a year. “You can understand it in terms of the reality of economic management and business that are not performing but the LPI is one of the best performing businesses in NSW,” Mr Cunningham said. “It’s a very effective and safe system and has worked brilliantly for many years. It’s an innovative government department on the cusp of great things.” He believed the public wanted to know the registry was safe in government hands, not private. A recent survey by the Institution of Surveyors NSW found that 70 per cent of people were unaware of the proposed sell-off. “I’m perplexed. The government talks about open and free data but they want to sell it off, which means it’s going to cost more,” he said. President of the Institution of Surveyors NSW, Michael Green, said there was a lack of transparency from the government about the sell-off: “it’s like a veil has been drawn”. The government appears to have gone to great lengths to downplay the sale and dismiss it as merely administrative to slide the lease through. “They don’t want to tell the public that they’re selling what is a good public service but which will become a private monopoly,” Mr Green said. He said similar moves in Canada, which were currently being resisted by some provinces or territories, had led to a quadrupling in fees for home buyers and sellers. The UK recently abandoned plans to privatise its land registry, citing concerns about rising costs to consumers and allowing a private entity to run a monopoly. Mr Green said the impact would also be huge for the 400 LPI staff. Although full-time workers’ jobs were guaranteed for four years those on contracts could be let go early. Also, full-time staff were likely to look around for other jobs. Privatisation would mean new staff would be less likely to be trained up and the loss of corporate memory from people leaving would also be damaging. “People will disappear slowly but surely in the next four years.” It was also a risk that the service would be returned in worse shape once it was handed back to the NSW government after 35 years, “You’ve got a winner. What are you going to get back?” The other four sections of the LPI are understood not to make a profit. Former Law Society NSW President Margaret Hole said the land titles section was funding the other four-fifths of the department and selling it would harm the registry's impartiality, whether real or perceived. There are fears that privatising the service could lead to a dip in quality of service, especially where a private company would be more concerned with profit and shareholder dividends. “Once it happens, a private body would have no control over the behaviour of a private company,” Ms Hole said. President of the Law Society of NSW, Pauline Wright said the yield of $1.5 billion from offloading the land titles registry seemed large but it was a ‘negligible’ return from an asset that consistently delivered profit. “It’s already among of the world’s best land registries and [there are] few benefits to be gained from privatising it,” Ms Wright said. Ms Wright said the privatisation would not create the capital investment the government was forecasting because there was little incentive for a private company running a monopoly to invest. “It’s a fundamental duty of the government to manage and protect the security of its land titles in the state,” Ms Wright said. “You could say [it’s] the asset that underpins the whole of the NSW economy is under threat.” Mr Barr called for an inquiry to force the NSW government to be open about the tender process and produce the documents that went with it. You can watch the forum here on Facebook.   [post_title] => Experts say NSW land titles registry sell-off a disaster [post_excerpt] => Will home buyers and sellers need insurance against fraud? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => experts-say-nsw-land-titles-registry-sell-off-disaster [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-24 11:16:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-24 00:16:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26328 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26302 [post_author] => 667 [post_date] => 2017-02-21 09:57:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-20 22:57:32 [post_content] =>     By Anthony Wallace New research from the Institution of Surveyors NSW Inc  (ISNSW) has revealed the unpopularity of the NSW Government’s move to privatise the land titles registry. The exclusive poll of 1,000 homeowners aged between 25 to 65 years and above, revealed that over 70 per cent were unaware of the NSW Government’s intentions to sell off the NSW Land and Property Information (LPI). Over 80 per cent of respondents have called upon the NSW Government to scrap its decision to handover the self-funded world-class registry which made $130 million in profit in 2015-16, to the hands of private corporations. A resoundingly minute 6 per cent of respondents back the controversial move.   Read more here. this story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Home owners oblivious to NSW land titles privatisation [post_excerpt] => House price pressure possible. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26302 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-21 09:57:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-20 22:57:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26302 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26241 [post_author] => 667 [post_date] => 2017-02-14 10:53:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-13 23:53:49 [post_content] => The NSW Government is organising tours of LPI’s Queen Square offices for its final bidders. (Photo: J Bar)     In 2016 it was announced by the NSW Government that its land and property agency, LPI, would be split up into separate divisions and the land titles arm of the government body sold onto a private bidder. However, inquiries by concerned bodies and mainstream media have since exposed the risks involved and a resounding lack of industry support. It also emerged that the decision has very little financial viability. NSW’s Land and Property Information (LPI) is widely regarded as a world-class land titles registry, and consistently delivers a profit for the NSW Government. In fact, a recently leaked Treasury document reveals NSW’s land titles registry is annually earning at least $130 million in profit for taxpayers. The sale of the LPI, which is technically a lease for the next 35-years, is expected to be worth about $2 billion. However, based on the leaked figures, LPI could generate $2 billion profit in less than half that time.   Read more here.    This story first appeared in Spatial Source.  [post_title] => Tensions reach breaking point in land titles sell-off [post_excerpt] => Pawning off the crown jewels? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => tensions-reach-breaking-point-land-titles-sell-off [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-14 10:53:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-13 23:53:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26241 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26117 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-01-31 10:49:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-30 23:49:24 [post_content] => Port Augusta City Council has sold its two nursing homes.      Local government agencies throughout Australia are asking if aged care is their core business, writes Cam Ansell. While many community projects for older people originated from municipalities, the reform process is creating a highly competitive and attractive market for the private sector. Given the broad set of responsibilities already managed by local government, many are concerned that these services create a disproportionate burden and draw on ratepayer resources. If the private sector can do it better and more efficiently, why continue? Over the past 12 months, our firm has supported the City of West Torrens in South Australia with their nursing home divestment, and similar processes are now taking place in the Cities of Bayswater and Canning in Western Australia. In October, the Port Augusta City Council in South Australia announced the sale of its two nursing homes by public tender. All of these organisations did some serious soul searching and concluded that the market had changed and so should their role. Under the Living Longer, Living Better reforms introduced in 2012, consumers will be in a position to demand more responsive, cost effective and innovative services. In this environment, organisations that are created to deliver on this objective will be better placed than those which must manage a myriad of services. As a result, we can expect the representation of local government in the aged care sector to decline further in future years. However, the role of local government in planning facilitation is absolutely critical. The Georges River Council in New South Wales recognised the importance of promoting aged care development in their communities. They have preserved a prime piece of real estate in Oatley for the provision of aged care services. The City of Swan in Western Australia has made similar allocations, recognising the need for greater services levels in their municipality. Our consultation with aged care and retirement village operators revealed a high level of frustration in relation to the planning approval process for new and expanded developments. The importance placed on seniors’ accommodation and aged care services varies substantially between local government agencies and planning authorities. Across Australia, seniors’ housing and aged care projects have been stalled or terminated because of misunderstanding and prejudices among community members. While some of this sentiment can be attributed to a natural fear of ageing, others misconceive that the expansion of seniors’ accommodation results in an influx of ageing people in their community. In fact, the opposite is true. The provision of age appropriate accommodation makes larger homes available for young families, while helping the elderly remain in their own community.  By 2020, around eight million Australians will be aged over 70 years. This cohort currently owns around 21 per cent of all residences and almost 90 per cent of these seniors have surplus capacity within their homes. In the absence of appropriate planning and investment in suitable housing and community infrastructure for seniors, this demographic shift will have a major negative impact on housing affordability and the wider economy. The local government participation and facilitation of the planning process will be critical to addressing this emerging issue. Australia’s not-for-profit aged care peak bodies have outlined nine principles that should underpin the new financial model being developed as an alternative to the existing Aged Care Funding Instrument. As Australian Ageing Agenda reported first reported in October, the Department of Health has commissioned the University of Wollongong to identify alternatives to ACFI. The university’s work will include a review of international models, as well as methods used in related sectors such as the health and hospital system. The seven NFP peak bodies said that the recent funding changes and court challenges have “highlighted the urgent need for a more sustainable, efficient and effective model to fund aged care services.” The new funding model should be underpinned by principles that enable equitable access to high quality care, support consumer choice and control, maximise health and wellbeing and support reablement and preventative approaches, the groups said. “Funding should support all consumers based on their assessed needs, and ensure that all consumer groups, including CALD, LGBTI, indigenous Australians, older people living with disability, people suffering mental ill health or those who may be socially or geographically isolated, have access to appropriate support, care and services as they require them. “The model should also be flexible and adaptable across the continuum of care (home care and support through to residential care). It should be efficient, transparent and financially sustainable. It should encourage, not stifle, innovation, investment and growth,” the peaks said. NFP aged care providers deliver about 60 per cent of residential aged care services and 85 per cent of all community aged care services in Australia.   This story first appeared in Australian Ageing Agenda.  [post_title] => Councils sell aged care facilities but keep planning role    [post_excerpt] => Private sector moves in. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => councils-sell-aged-care-facilities-keep-planning-role [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-31 10:54:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-30 23:54:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26117 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26087 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-01-27 10:49:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-26 23:49:34 [post_content] =>     By James Petty, University of Melbourne Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has announced a plan to ban sleeping rough in the city. He did so last week amid significant pressure from both Victoria Police and the media. When Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton called on the State Government to extend police powers, Doyle at first seemed to reject the idea. But he later said he would propose a new bylaw to the city council. Ashton and Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi have claimed that the people living on Flinders St, in Melbourne’s CBD, are not really homeless. They say new laws and powers are needed to “clean up the city”. Critics from the homelessness and community sectors argue this would effectively criminalise being homeless.   Read more here. This story first appeared in Melbourne University's Pursuit and was co-published with The Conversation.  [post_title] => Homeless: Why making it a crime won't fix the problem [post_excerpt] => Being punitive is more expensive in the long term. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => melbourne-homeless-ban [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-27 10:49:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-26 23:49:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26087 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25947 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-01-09 16:14:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-09 05:14:28 [post_content] => gladys-berejiklian-and-mike-baird2_opt Berejiklian and Baird: Free marketeers or affordable housing warriors? Pic: Facebook.      The NSW Opposition has accused Premier Mike Baird and Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian of being ‘free marketeers’ who don’t care about affordable housing after proposals to overhaul the state’s planning laws were announced yesterday (Sunday). NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes put a raft of proposals out to public consultation, which he said would help speed up development applications (DAs) and tackle the state’s serious housing shortage. But NSW Labor says the changes represent only minor tinkering with the planning system and ignore the major policy levers that need to be pulled to address housing affordability. The changes put forward for public consultation involve amending the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Changes include: • New powers for the Planning Minister to impose independent planning panels on councils that stall on big DAs • Widening the definition of ‘complying development’ to include greenfield development and terrace housing, not just one or two-storey dwellings • New powers for the Planning Department to intervene if a government agency is dithering over residential approvals • Standardising the format of councils’ development control plans so they’re easier to read and navigate • Giving developers incentives to address objections from communities before lodging DAs • Simplifying building provisions for developers • Making planning agreements between developers and councils more consistent and transparent • Council planning staff or local planning panels to decide more DAs, councillors to concentrate more on strategic planning • Making community participation plans compulsory for planning authorities   Shadow Planning Minister Michael Daley disparaged the proposed planning amendments today as “modest measures” dressed up as help for first home buyers and called them inoffensive but bland. “There’s nothing in these provisions that will ease the housing affordability crisis,” Mr Daley said. “There’s no provision in any of these amendments that will give joy or hope to first home buyers in NSW. What they aim to do is to ease some of the red tape.” He said the amendments would not help developers convert development approvals into completions and the Baird government should concentrate instead on agitating for negative gearing to be wound back federally while introducing rezoning and affordable housing targets at state level to prevent first home buyers from being consistently outgunned by cashed-up investors. “Malcolm Turnbull is wrong when he says that it’s red tape at the council level that’s holding housing affordability up,” Mr Daley said. He also accused Premier Mike Baird and Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian of being “free marketeers” and not genuinely caring about affordable housing. “We’re calling on Mike Baird to get on the phone today and to scream at Malcolm Turnbull and demand some reform to negative gearing,” Mr Daley said. “It’s the big lever at the federal level and at the state level inclusion rezoning [targets] and affordable rental housing targets. They’re the things we’re screaming about.” He said that last year 75,000 DAs were approved but just over 30,000 were built and quoted Mr Stokes as saying that 40,000 new homes needed to be built every year, just to keep up with domestic demand. The NSW government’s planning law shake-up has also drawn fire from the peak body for the state’s local councils, Local Government NSW (LGNSW), which said that widening the definition of complying development could clear the way for medium density development without community input, leaving it in the hands of private certifiers. LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said the state was “crying out for major planning reform” but feared some of the government’s reforms would give developers carte blanche to replace single houses with multiple townhouses. “Local government is concerned about the proposal to expand complying development to riskier, larger-scale development which could completely change the character of a local area,” Mr Rhoades said. “We welcome the government’s plans to address some existing issues with complying development, like requiring developers to pay a compliance levy and strengthening enforcement powers to manage illegal work, but we don’t support expanding this model to larger-scale development.” Mr Rhoades said there would be too much power concentrated in the hands of private certifiers. “We’re concerned because certification doesn’t allow neighbours to have any real say. They find out the hard way: they get two letters before the bulldozers turn up next door,” he said. The NSW government was originally intending to mandate local planning panels, a move vociferously opposed by NSW councils. Although, the government has backed away from this, it wants to retain the power to impose local panels on councils where necessary, something LGNSW is concerned about because it views the criteria for intervention as unclear. Mr Rhoades said councils supported having more community consultation at the front end of strategic planning but cautioned that this should not come at the cost of community input on a practical level, where local developments affected neighbours. “We would like to see an independent process that respects the importance of local plans in giving life to the community and government’s big picture, with less interference on local details that are so important to communities, such as the protection of local amenity and character,” he said. “The Planning Minister has been very good on the consultation front with councils so far, and we welcome his commitment to work with us on the details.” Meanwhile Mr Stokes said the proposed amendments would increase local participation in planning and make it easier to build new homes. He said NSW Treasury had estimated that there was pent up demand for up to 100,000 new homes. The NSW government has forecast that 725,000 new homes will be needed by 2036 to house an extra 1.7 million residents. “The NSW government is determined to do everything it can, including making the planning system more efficient to ensure housing supply gets to homebuyers fast,” Mr Stokes said. The proposals are on public exhibition until March 10. [post_title] => Baird and Berejiklian: ‘Free marketeers who don’t care about affordable housing’? [post_excerpt] => Rebuilding the NSW planning system. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => baird-berejiklian-free-marketeers-dont-care-affordable-housing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-10 11:42:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-10 00:42:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25947 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25745 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-05 15:56:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-05 04:56:33 [post_content] => Dentist very carefully check up and repair tooth of his young female patient   People on the social housing waiting list should get more say in where they end up living and patients needing an operation or dental work should be able to choose where they have it done and who performs it, says a Productivity Commission study backing an overhaul of a clutch of key human services. The Commission is currently conducting a two-part inquiry looking at how to encourage greater competition and boost the involvement of private companies and not-for-profit organisations in the provision of some human services, while increasing choice for the people who use these services. The first part of the inquiry is now complete with the release of the study report yesterday (Sunday), which outlines those services that the Commission believes would benefit most from the reforms while improving the outcomes for people who use them. The service areas it has identified are: social housing; public hospitals; public dental services; end-of-life care; services to remote indigenous communities and family and community services commissioned by government. The Commission is now moving into phase two of what it hopes will be the large-scale renewal of six major human services where it will make recommendations about reform in each of these service areas. Notable highlights of the study include a summary of the state of social housing in Australia and some ideas about how to fix it. The Commission says that about one-fifth of Australia’s social housing stock is in disrepair, many places are under-occupied with spare bedrooms, there are long waiting lists for properties and tenants have little choice about which house they take. Government bodies manage four out of five social housing properties, not-for-profit community housing organisations manage the remainder. Limited data available also means the performance of service providers often goes unchecked. The Commission suggests opening up the management of social housing to the non-government sector. “Four out of five social housing properties are managed by government entities, yet there are a large number of housing providers — both not-for-profit and for-profit — that could perform this service. “Community housing providers outperform public providers on some indicators, including tenant satisfaction and property maintenance.” It said social housing tenants in other countries had more say in the kind of home they were allocated, difficult in Australia since a prospective tenant has two chances to accept a property before they are moved to the back of the queue. Public hospitals is another area where patients should be given more flexibility and choice, says the study. The Commission holds up the example of England, where patients referred to a specialist by their GP have a legal right to choose the hospital or clinic and consultant-led team that treats them. They can also access data, such as mortality rates by hospital or surgeon, to help guide their choice. The study also suggests making service provision more contestable – where private providers compete to drive innovation and more responsive user outcomes - by inviting bids from non‑government providers to operate public dental clinics. [post_title] => Radical reform for six human services [post_excerpt] => Productivity Commission leads the way. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => radical-reform-six-human-services [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-07 12:24:47 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-07 01:24:47 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25745 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25469 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-04 11:51:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-04 00:51:03 [post_content] =>   [caption id="attachment_25470" align="alignnone" width="387"]Eora College, 333 Abercrombie St Chippendale Sydney - 28th October 2016. Sydney TAFE & The City of Sydney celebrate the completion of the pilot phase of the Social Housing Community Leadership Program. Graduates are awarded with a certificate of participation. Graduates from the Social Housing Community Leadership
Program. Pic supplied by City of Sydney. [/caption]     Eighteen social housing tenants have just graduated from a new City of Sydney and TAFE NSW course designed to improve conflict resolution skills and teach community leadership. One of them is Charlotte Dobrovits who has lived in Redfern’s troubled McKell Tower for nine years and been a tenant representative for three years. Ms Dobrovits advocates for the rights of fellow tenants and offers support to her neighbours, including older people and those affected by domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse. She said the two-day course taught her how to build rapport, deal with conflict and establish a connection in what could sometimes be difficult circumstances. “We have a lot of anti-social behaviour, drug and alcohol and mental health issues and domestic violence so we get the whole gamut,” Ms Dobrovits said. “We just needed the skills to be able to handle situations without being aggressive but being assertive and also [know] how to judge when someone has a drug psychosis or mental health issues.” She said the course  helped her set boundaries when dealing with people and was particularly ideal for inexperienced and younger tenant representatives elected after recent Neighbourhood Advisory Board elections. “Understanding and knowing what to say increased my confidence, self-esteem and professionalism – and also the ability to tackle sticky situations with grace and ease.” Ms Dobrovits said she loved her community and would never leave it: “I grew up on Sydney’s North Shore but I would not go back now, not in a million years. There’s so much to do and I love the people. That’s what makes me stay. Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said the program aimed to create more cohesive and harmonious communities across City of Sydney. The council has one of the largest concentrations of social housing properties of any local council in Australia with more than 9,700 properties. “It’s great to see this diverse group of graduates refine their communication skills and gain confidence in resolving conflicts, public speaking and participation in community meetings,” Ms Moore said. “These valuable skills will help them become leaders in their communities and be actively involved in decision making and I congratulate all our graduates for taking part.” The graduates were from Redfern, Camperdown, Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills. The council already does a lot of work with social housing tenants. It is the only local government in Australia to employ a dedicated social housing liaison officer and delivers and supports a range of community projects in partnership with state government and non-government agencies. These include the Redlink integrated service hub in Redfern, local community safety audits and annual events such as the Northcott Pet Day in Surry Hills, Summer on the Green in Waterloo and Redfern Neighbourhood Day. [post_title] => Social housing tenants skilled up to cope with conflict [post_excerpt] => City of Sydney pilot. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => social-housing-tenants-skilled-cope-conflict [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-04 11:51:03 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-04 00:51:03 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25469 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25384 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-10-25 11:43:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-25 00:43:05 [post_content] =>

Sydney, Australia - March 22, 2014: A large group of people walk past two large neon Coca-Cola billboards on Kings Cross at night. First erected in 1974, the billboards have always featured Coca-Cola advertising and have become a prominent local landmark.

Is Kings Cross nightlife done for?     By Andy Young The future of major Sydney night-life area, Kings Cross, looks even more gloomy as reports emerge of a $500m property deal in the area. The reports claim that a consortium of Kings Cross property owners have agreed a deal which will see most of the blocks on the Golden Mile sold for residential development. The deal would see the remaining night-life spots closed down to make way for the development. The consortium is hoping that the area will be rezoned to allow two high-rise blocks, modelled on the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. It is claimed the towers would be home to around 500 apartments with a starting price of around $1m each. Club owner Charlie Saleh, told News Limited that he has spent the last two years securing agreement from other land owners in the Cross to sell to a developer. “In total there’s almost 65 owners and they are happy to sign an option agreement with a developer. I represent all of them,” Saleh said. Saleh added that he started work on the deal in 2014, just after the lockout laws were introduced in Sydney. “It took a long time and a lot of money but we finally got the last landowner on board that we needed,” he he told News Limited. Read more here. This story first appeared in The Shout. [post_title] => Kings Cross future bleak as massive development looms [post_excerpt] => More housing on the Golden Mile. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => kings-cross-future-bleak-massive-development-looms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-18 09:54:52 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-17 22:54:52 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25384 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25380 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2016-10-25 11:33:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-25 00:33:42 [post_content] => panama High rises and hotel buildings in Punta Pacifica, Panama City, Panama. Photo: Gerardo Pesantez/World Bank   By Anthony Wallace

An urban environment expert at The Australian National University (ANU) is among leading scientists calling for a greater say on a new international plan for cities of the future, ahead of a major United Nations conference currently being held. Professor Xuemei Bai from ANU is one of the scientific leaders of the Urban Knowledge Action Network to be launched at the UN Habitat III conference in Ecuador. Cities already account for about 75 per cent of global energy use and contribute an equivalent share of greenhouse gas emissions.” Delegates from the world over are currently in Quito to adopt a new global framework that will guide sustainable urban development for the next 20 years – the New Urban Agenda (NUA). “Unfortunately science didn’t play a major role in the drafting of the NUA,” said Professor Bai from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society.   Read more here. This story first appeared in Spatial Source magazine. [post_title] => Urban experts call for smarter approach to cities [post_excerpt] => New urban agenda. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => urban-experts-call-smarter-approach-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-28 11:35:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-28 00:35:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25380 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26947 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-20 04:00:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-19 18:00:25 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_26950" align="alignnone" width="350"] Is the party over for Airbnb in NSW before it even began? NSW government says slow down. [/caption]     After three public hearings, 212 submissions and a parliamentary report the NSW government has announced it is not yet ready to make a decision about how to regulate short-term holiday letting through online booking services like Airbnb and Stayz. Instead, the NSW government will conduct a ‘broad consultation’ with the public and the short-term accommodation industry, including bed and breakfasts and hotels, before publishing an options paper next month. The options paper, which the Departments of Planning and Environment and Fair Trading will also contribute to, will explore land use and planning issues and strata management concerns, including the impact on the lives and safety of existing residents. This morning’s announcement (Thursday) was in response to an October 2016 report by the NSW Parliamentary Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment on the best way to regulate the explosion of short-term accommodation letting and the continued rise of Airbnb in the state. The report recommended the government make it easier for homeowners to rent out a whole or part of their house and for it to adopt a light regulatory touch. This approach included relaxing state planning laws so that local councils could class short-term letting as exempt development, providing it did not have excessive impact on other residents. But the government offered only ‘qualified support’ to the committee’s recommendations, stating they needed further consideration and more public consultation. It has been slow going. After submissions closed in November 2015 there were three public hearings between March and May 2016 followed by the final report on October 19, 2016 and the government’s response six months later. NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said it was too complicated and divisive an issue to rush. “It’s no surprise that NSW and Sydney are highly sought after destinations for international and domestic visitors, however, we must find a balance between providing options for accommodation and residents being able to go about their daily lives. This will support the best environment for residents and visitors so that it is a great destination,” Mr Roberts said.  “The inquiry recommendations make sense, but the regulation of short-term letting needs broader engagement with the industry and the community to establish a model that enables it to continue to flourish and innovate whilst ensuring the amenity and safety of users and the wider community are protected.   “It's sensible to take time on a complex issue like this, which is why we are releasing an options paper next month.” The government supported the report’s recommendations around communicating with councils and residents any changes and that councils take the lead on informing landowners about their rights and duties. Also supported was giving owners’ corporations more powers to respond to any negative consequences of short-term lets in their buildings, through amending strata regulations. NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said the government would concentrate on finding common ground to address the concerns of everyone involved. “We need to find what will work best for the people of NSW, which is why we’re issuing an options paper for discussion with relevant stakeholders,” Mr Kean said.  “We don’t want a holiday accommodation market that’s so over-regulated it puts people off coming here but the rights of residents who live near these properties must be considered too.    “While short-term holiday letting, if properly managed and respected by all parties, can be a boost to the local economy, the need to protect people’s rights to the quiet enjoyment of their own homes is equally important.”     Meanwhile, Airbnb Australia Country Manager Sam McDonagh called the government's response a 'strong, positive step towards ensuring fair and progressive rules and regulation for residents and visitors to NSW'. “We appreciate that these things take time and that it’s important to get the balance right," Mr McDonagh said. "We’re confident that Premier Berejiklian and the NSW government will join the state governments in Tasmania and South Australia, in embracing home sharing, and introduce fair regulations that allow more people in NSW to share their extra space.”   Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter.         [post_title] => NSW government delays Airbnb decision [post_excerpt] => Options paper by next month. 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