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                    [post_date] => 2017-06-23 13:30:41
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                    [post_content] => 
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announcing the 2017 NSW Budget. Pic:YouTube. 

 

 

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has sprinkled some of his budgetary largesse on local councils and stumped up billions for infrastructure including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, bike paths and sports facilities and set up a new fund to kickstart a regional economic renaissance in the state.

Mr Perrottet’s first budget was fuelled by a $4.5 billion surplus with coffers swollen from the NSW property boom and a major asset sell-off and local government will be more than pleased to rake in some of the spoils gained from stamp duty and the polls and wires sell off.

For the Budget NSW overview click here.

A new $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund has been established, focusing on lifting regional economic growth.

There are six funds, including strands for infrastructure; sports facilities; improving voice and data connectivity; upgrades to parks, community centres and playgrounds and building and upgrading arts and cultural venues.

Another strand also deals specifically with investing in infrastructure for mining communities.

Councils, industry, regional organisations and community groups can apply to the funds, which tie in with the NSW government’s 30-year Regional Development Framework.

Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said the announcement was a positive one for the regions.

"LGNSW looks forward to more information from the Deputy Premier's office on how this funding will be allocated and the opportunities for our sector, but overall this looks like very good news for regional communities.

"This goes to show that the government does listen when the community speaks, and particularly so when they make their voice heard at the ballot box.”

Central Coast Council Administrator, Ian Reynolds, said as he was particularly pleased with the promise to allocate 30 percent of infrastructure spending to the regions.

“The $6 billion injection is significant and recognises that regions like the coast are attracting more people who are looking for a better lifestyle away from the big cities and require improved infrastructure to meet their growing needs,” Mr Reynolds.

“Roads are a key priority for council because our community wants better roads and it is pleasing to see such a significant injection by the state government into roads here on the coast.”

The regions also won another victory, with the government allocating $100 million for palliative care services and staff training, with much of this expected to flow to rural areas where there have been complaints about the dearth of services available.

In addition, the government will spend $258 million on supporting and regulating local government through the Office of Local Government, including $2.1 million to optimise the Companion Animals Register and Pet Registry to improve user experience and enhance functionality.

But it is not simply a one-way street with all give and no take.

Local councils will feel the heat from Mr Perrottet’s push to accelerate house building in the state, including 30,000 new homes in priority precincts in Sydney.

The NSW government will spend almost $70 million to speed up major development approvals and help councils rezone land quicker, including $19 million to establish a specialist team to rezone and to help councils accelerate rezonings.

Also in the budget is $11.8 million for online, cloud-based housing development applications, especially to help regional councils and small metropolitan councils with low capability.

Other key budget points 
  • $4.2 billion over four years for education infrastructure, including building new schools and upgrading others
  • A cash injection of $7.7 billion over four years for new hospitals and hospital upgrades
  • Public transport, road building and rail gets $73 billion, including WestConnex, Sydney Metro City rail line and the Pacific Highway upgrade
  • Spending $20.1 million to complete the Service NSW network of service centres by transitioning 24 motor registries in regional and rural communities to Service NSW service centres.
  • Art Gallery of NSW expansion worth $244 million
  • A $1.2 billion package for first home buyers, including stamp duty relief and heavier foreign investor charges
  • $63.2 million to improve child protection, including additional caseworkers, case managers, and case support workers
[post_title] => NSW Budget: the impact on local councils [post_excerpt] => Win for the regions. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-budget-impact-local-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 13:36:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:36:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27454 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27361 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-13 11:10:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-13 01:10:21 [post_content] =>   Affordable housing, infrastructure spending, mental health, new schools, family violence and drug courts and 6,000 more public servants are expected to be some of the cornerstones of Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s budget today (Tuesday). It is a budget with real heart, with a focus on people doing it tough, whether it is people battling drug addiction or poor mental health, children in unsafe situations or those who cannot afford a secure place to live and one likely to help Ms Palaszcuk's bid for re-election in around six month's time. One of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s biggest ticket items in today’s budget, which will be announced around 2.30pm, will be $1.8 billion for social and affordable housing under the state’s new 10-year Queensland Housing Strategy. The money will be used to build 4,522 new social homes and 1,034 affordable homes and introduce targets for social and affordable housing of between 5 to 25 per cent for new homes built on state land. It also includes $20 million for new Youth Foyers in Townsville and the Gold Coast and expanding the Logan foyer. The service, run by Wesley Mission, provides supported accommodation and social and emotional support for marginalised young people aged 16 to 25. The government has also committed to creating housing and homelessness hubs; $30 million to reform the housing system and $75 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander home ownership. It is expected there will be 450 full-time construction jobs created a year. Ms Palaszczuk called the $1.8 billion investment ‘a launch pad for opportunity and aspiration’. “Secure housing enables young people to finish their education. It provides the stability that keeps families together. And it gives people the secure base they need to get and keep a job,” she said. Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said state-wide expressions of interest for initial projects would be online from today. “Our ten-year construction program provides industry with a stable and predictable program of work so they can have certainty,” Mr Pitt said. “This is about best practice procurement, working to match projects to appropriate partners, creating opportunities for small, medium and large businesses. Whether you are a small home builder or one of the state’s largest developers there is something in this construction package for you.” Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni said the strategy would leverage investment from the private sector create ‘genuine affordable housing’ in the state on underused government land. “This strategy is a big win for local builders and tradies in the residential sector across the state,” Mr de Brenni said. “This strategy is about partnering with the private sector and community housing providers to create genuine affordable housing, something that hasn’t been done at scale in this country in decades.” Housing affordability has been a key component of state and federal budgets of late. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a suite of housing measures earlier this month but the reforms were focused more on helping out first home buyers with stamp duty concessions and grants, increasing duties and taxes for foreign property investors and speeding up development applications. Housing was also top-of-mind for Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison in his May Budget when he announced a bond aggregator scheme, which hopes to attract large-scale private investment into affordable housing by helping not-for-profit community housing providers borrow more cheaply. Mr Morrison also introduced a super deposit scheme to enable first home buyers amass a deposit more quickly and but he pointedly refused to touch either negative gearing or capital gains tax discounts. Other Queensland Budget measures include: • Another $2 billion towards Brisbane's $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, a 10.2km inner-city rail link between Dutton Park and Bowen Hill, taking the state’s contribution to half • $75 million for the Townsville Port expansion • Upgrading the Sciencentre at the Queensland Museum on the South Bank ($9.4 million) • $16 billion for health, including expanding mental health services and replacing the Barrett Centre, Queensland’s only residential centre for youth with severe mental health problems • $13 billion for education to build new high schools in Fortitude Valley and South Brisbane and buy land for four more regional high schools • New domestic and family violence courts at Townsville and Beenleigh and making Southport court permanent ($69.5 million) • Reinstating the Drug Court in Brisbane to help rehabilitate offenders and overcome substance dependence ($22.7 million over four years) • A $200 million child safety package including 292 child safety staff, money to recruit an extra 1000 foster carers and $7.4 million to support families where a person has become addicted to ice • $155 million for counter-terror policing with 30 more police officers in Brisbane and 20 in the regions and $46.7 million for a counter-terrorism facility at Wacol • $1.1 billion for electricity projects and subsidies [post_title] => A Queensland budget with heart: Palaszczuk prepares for re-election [post_excerpt] => Cash for health, housing, kids and courts. 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Pastures new in Camden, south-west Sydney. Pic: Facebook.
By Josh Harris
This story first appeared in ArchitectureAU and appears here by kind permission.
The New South Wales government has unveiled a plan to increase housing supply by making it easier to build in new development areas. The proposed new Greenfield Housing Code would see homes in new release areas approved in 20 days compared to the 71 days it currently takes on average. Minister for Housing and Planning Anthony Roberts said the government was committed to speeding up the delivery of new homes in greenfield areas to meet the needs of the state’s growing population and improve housing affordability. “This type of streamlined approval not only speeds up the delivery of new housing, but makes it easier and cheaper for people to build homes to suit their lifestyles and incomes,” he said. NSW opposition leader Luke Foley said the government was not doing enough to tackle housing affordability. “This Government has had six years to act on housing affordability but has done nothing,” he said. “Labor will take to the next state election a comprehensive plan to level the playing field in favour of home buyers and help those on modest incomes get a roof over their heads.” Following the release of the proposed Greenfield Housing Code, the opposition unveiled its plan to mandate a target for the provision of affordable housing. Read more here
[post_title] => We’re not in the 1950s anymore’: NSW greenfield housing plan ‘not sustainable,’ Institute says [post_excerpt] => Cautions expanding urban sprawl. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => not-1950s-anymore-nsw-greenfield-housing-plan-not-sustainable-institute-says [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-09 10:01:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-09 00:01:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27335 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27302 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-06 05:00:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-05 19:00:58 [post_content] => Who is going to rush to the rescue of renters?   I am a single parent with two school-aged children earning a decent income but around 60 per cent of my pay every month goes on rent; childcare takes a good chunk of the rest. I pay $650 per week for a small two-bedroom flat in an apartment complex in Petersham in Sydney’s Inner West. Ten years’ ago the same apartment was leased for $390 per week. In that time the flat’s value has more than doubled and it is now estimated to be worth around $885,000.   This puts me squarely in the category of Sydney renters paying ‘extremely unaffordable rents’, according to the Rental Affordability Index (RAI), produced by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics, and well above the definition of households in housing stress, defined as being a household paying more than 30 per cent of income in rent. May figures from the RAI showed that pensioners and working parents have been priced out of the rental market in all metropolitan areas across Australia and that rental affordability dropped over the last quarter in all metropolitan areas, except Perth. For me, it is an unsustainable situation and part of the reason I’m moving back to the UK and to my family this month after 12 years in Australia. But there are thousands of other Sydney and regional NSW renters who are also paying a fair whack of their wages in rent and it appears that there is little help in sight for them. Census 2011 figures show that just over one-quarter of NSW households rent privately and a further 5 per cent rent in social housing. In NSW, 76 per cent of lower-income renter households, that’s those in the bottom 40 per cent of income distribution, were considered to be in rental stress in 2013- 14. National Shelter's and Choice's report Unsettled: Life in Australia's private rental market says that 49 per cent of  renters in metro areas personally pay more than $301 a week rent versus roughly a quarter in regional areas and 42 per cent of renters overall. This rises to 55 per cent for renters in Sydney and Melbourne.  The house price boom has not only hurt first home buyers it has also hurt renters. As more and more middle income earners are priced out of home ownership they swell the ranks of renters and they can often afford to pay higher rents, effectively pushing lower income households further out of the rental market as landlords charge what they can get away with. While the most vulnerable groups are pensioners, single parents, people with disabilities, students and anyone on benefits, single people and couples on low wages or where one partner doesn’t work are also in the firing line. That's a lot of people (and a lot of voters). But the situation is unlikely to be eased by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s housing affordability reforms announced last week, which focused mainly on expanding stamp duty concessions for first home buyers and slugging foreign property investors with higher duties and taxes. Tenants NSW says the NSW government needs to remember renters  Tenants NSW Senior Policy Officer Ned Cutcher is underwhelmed by the NSW measures. "It’s not an increasing affordable housing package, that’s an access to debt package," Mr Cutcher says. “It is disappointing. Clearly there are a lot more people for whom home ownership is more of a dream than an aspiration and they’re doing it tough."  “We would have liked to have seen something more direct tackling the issue of rental affordability [although] the government has left it open to have a look at housing affordability targets.” The government needs to look at what’s driving rising rents and pay more attention to renters, he adds.   Indeed, the new reforms could aggravate the situation for renters as the government steers first home buyers towards new apartments and shifts investors away from them. Instead, he suggests there needs to be a raft of reforms and at least some of these should address negative gearing and capital gains tax discount, perhaps limiting negative gearing to new properties (as the Opposition has suggested) and reducing capital gains tax discounts, hoping to encourage long-term investment. “The combination of negative gearing and capital gains discount encourages investment churn: buying and selling properties because they’re interested in gains rather than yields,” Mr Cutcher says. Changes to negative gearing and capital gains discount would be significant because they could ‘change the way investors consider how and why they’re borrowing large amounts of money and investing in property’. But he cautions: “People [investors] aren’t going to give this up lightly but it isn’t sustainable.” Changing these price signals would enable landlords to continue to make money out of leasing property but could shift their attitudes to viewing rentals less as bricks and mortar that goes up in value and more like somebody’s long-term home. “It’s all about keeping things going the way they [have]been going - helping a few people out on the margins - but if you’re not actually looking at the systems in place, we’re going to be here in another three or four years’ time having the same conversation about stamp duty concessions and first home buyers’ grants. It’s not a very imaginative solution.” He also backs affordable housing targets for new developments to help increase supply and introducing a broad-based land tax to encourage investors to make the most effective use of their land, reducing vacant blocks and ensuring density and development where land is more valuable, for example in employment hubs. He is an advocate for new social housing being built and the government offering more Commonwealth Rental Assistance for those on benefits, especially where it has not kept pace with the private rental market. At a federal level, Mr Cutcher says Treasurer Scott Morrison’s idea of a bond aggregator model has legs. This is where investors - companies or super funds for example - buy government bonds and the government loans the money cheaply to community housing associations to create relatively affordable rental housing. He says renters would also benefit from having stronger legal rights in NSW because at the moment landlords can put up rents and terminate tenancies fairly easily. Ultimately, he believes that the growing army of renters will force the government’s hand, at state and federal level and prove the catalyst to more decisive action. “We need to be hearing from people raising families who have been renting for ten or 15 years but who don’t know where they’re going to be living next year. Increasing the visibility of people who rent, that’s going to drive these decisions." Economist and Mosman Mayor Peter Abelson says low income households under rental stress and first home buyers struggling to scrape together a deposit are the two critical housing problems in NSW. “People at the lower end are really suffering from high rents. There are real problems.” Long waiting lists for social housing, for example there are 40,000 households on the list in Sydney, and the widening gap between Commonwealth Rent Assistance and rental levels make the situation worse. He suggests developers pay an affordable housing levy of 1.5 per cent of house sale value on new units. This is preferable to rent controls, Abelson says, which can be an administrative headache (for example, if tenants’ incomes change or they sublet) and reduce capital values with minimal impact on the affordable housing available. The centrally-controlled fund could then subsidise rents for low income households.   [post_title] => OPINION: Renters left behind in NSW housing reforms [post_excerpt] => Tenant body urges action. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => opinion-renters-left-behind-in-nsw-housing-reforms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-06 09:36:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-05 23:36:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27302 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27284 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-02 11:24:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:24:51 [post_content] =>   NSW councils tentative on housing affordability package Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s ‘promising ideas’ in the state’s new housing affordability package but said the reforms were ‘somewhat light on detail’. The reforms include stamp duty concessions for first home buyers, changes to the first home buyer’s grant, higher taxes on foreign investors and accelerating council-led rezonings and development application approvals. "LGNSW congratulates the government on its efforts to do what it can to support housing affordability, and there's nothing we'd like more to do than to come out and praise their efforts,” LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said. "Unfortunately until there is more detailed information available it really seems to be a case of the devil will lie in the detail." Mr Rhoades said the sector welcomed many components of the package, including the ‘very positive’ move to lift the cap on development contributions to ensure new homes had the necessary infrastructure to support them, like footpaths, roads and parks. He also cautiously welcomed the announcement of funding of up to $2.5 million for ‘growth priority councils’ to help councils update their Local Environment Plans quicker. "It's great news that these ten to 15 councils will be supported to plan for future growth, but we are a little concerned at the suggestion that councils should accelerate the rezoning of land," Mr Rhoades said.  "Rezoning needs good strategic planning at a local level, and it's important that we don't give this up in the pursuit of speed at all costs.” He said it was unclear whether the government’s new guidelines around protecting the local character of communities would have much force. However, Mr Rhoades said councils were pleased the government had not moved straight to mandatory independent planning panels for deciding larger development applications. "These panels work very effectively for some councils, but other councils don't see the need for them - it really needs to be a matter of local choice.”   Digital marketplace for smart cities Local councils can now use the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Digital Marketplace platform to collaborate on smart city projects, including smart lighting, rubbish collection and infrastructure modelling. The new functionality, which is expected to become permanent, was introduced to help councils find suppliers for the innovative products and services they need to deliver smart city ideas. “There is a great appetite for innovation within local councils, who are at the forefront of smart city initiatives,” Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said. “Already 25 per cent of registered buyers on the Digital Marketplace are local government and there are more than 400 sellers who can provide the digital expertise they need to transform their communities.” There are already some exciting projects up on the Digital Marketplace, such as Sunshine Coast’s underground waste collection project and Ipswich Council’s 5D data modelling, which brings together streams of data to build a five-dimensional view of the city’s infrastructure. The Marketplace is supporting the federal government’s Smart Cities Plan and complements the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. Applications for the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program close on 30 June 2017.  Eight Sydney councils will offer residents free energy advice Eight Sydney councils will offer free energy advice to residents through the Our Energy Future partnership, going live on World Environment Day, Monday 5 June. Eight councils are working with Our Energy Future: Inner West, Bayside, City of Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown City, Georges River, City of Parramatta, Randwick City, and City of Sydney. Our Energy Future (formerly Our Solar Future) will involve an energy advice website, phone line and free, no-obligation quotes on solar and assessment services. Users can find information such as trusted solar and storage battery retailers and installers and tips on improving the energy efficiency of their homes and workplaces. For a discounted rate, Our Energy Future experts can also conduct comprehensive energy assessments to offer more tailored advice.   Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) President Councillor Sally Betts said she was excited about the launch. “We’re delighted that Our Energy Future and SSROC have been able to come together with eight councils to deliver financial savings to our local residents,” she said. Our Energy Future is coordinated by Positive Charge, a not-for-profit social enterprise. “Our organisation has its foundations in working with local government to reduce emissions and increase the use of renewable and energy efficiency technologies,” said Manager Positive Charge Kate Nicolazzo. “We are thrilled to be partnering with SSROC to bring this award-winning service to Sydney-region residents,” she said. SSROC General Manager Namoi Dougall said, “Our Energy Future is a key element of SSROC’s Renewable Energy Master Plan, and will be run by Positive Charge for a 15-month pilot.” [post_title] => Around the councils: Digital Marketplace open for smart cities; Response to NSW housing reforms [post_excerpt] => And eight Sydney council's energy efficiency push. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => around-councils-digital-marketplace-open-smart-cities-response-nsw-housing-reforms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-02 11:32:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:32:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27284 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27279 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-01 16:17:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-01 06:17:52 [post_content] => NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will introduce new housing affordability measures from July 1 that will wallop foreign property investors with higher duties and taxes and give first home buyers a lift by expanding stamp duty concessions. Ms Berejiklian announced the changes today [Thursday] to double the stamp duty paid by foreign investors from 4 per cent to 8 per cent and increase the annual land tax surcharge on foreign buyers from 0.75 to 2 per cent. The forecast proceeds of $2 billion over the next four years are expected to be funnelled into more generous stamp duty concessions for first home buyers. The government will exempt first-home buyers from paying stamp duty on existing properties costing up to $650,000, not just new properties, and offer stamp duty discounts up to $800,000. It is good news for those saving for their first pad, with the government claiming this initiative alon could save first homebuyers up to $24,720. It is a significant jump. Current stamp duty exemptions for first home buyers apply only to new homes up to $550,000 and vacant land valued up to $350,000. At the moment, stamp duty concessions for first home buyers kick in for new properties valued between $550,000 and $650,000 and for vacant land valued between $350,000 and $450,000. Other measures in the housing affordability package include:
  • Removing stamp duty concessions for investors purchasing off the plan
  • Infrastructure funding of $3 billion from the state government, councils and developers to accelerate new housing
  • Abolishing the 9 per cent stamp duty charged on lenders’ mortgage insurance, which banks often demand when they lend to first homebuyers with smaller deposits
  • Fast-tracking approvals for well-designed terraces, townhouses, manor homes and dual occupancy by including them under complying exempt development
  • Greater use of independent panels for Sydney councils and in some regional areas to speed up development applications and ensure the integrity of the planning process
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that taken together, the changes could save first homebuyers up to $34,360. “I want to ensure that owning a home is not out of reach for people in NSW,” Ms Berejiklian said. “These measures focus on supporting first homebuyers with new and better targeted grants and concessions, turbocharging housing supply to put downward pressure on prices and delivering more infrastructure to support the faster construction of new homes. “This is a complex challenge and there is no single or overnight solution. I am confident these measures will make a difference and allow us to meet the housing challenge for our growing state.” NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the government would use its strong Budget position to ‘give a leg up’ to prospective first homebuyers while simultaneously targeting infrastructure investment to stimulate housing growth in Sydney and parts of regional NSW. “As a government, we have always focused on supporting first homebuyers and this package takes it to the next level,” Mr Perrottet said. “We know how challenging it can be to enter the property market and are pleased to be providing even more financial support for people wanting to make their first purchase.” NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said the government would simplify complying development rules for greenfield areas and establishing specialist teams to help speed up rezoning residential development, where appropriate. “While we have done well to release an unprecedented amount of land over the last six years, we need to do better with our development application process to ensure we are keeping up with demand,” Mr Roberts said. [post_title] => NSW housing affordability reforms clobber foreign investors, help first home buyers [post_excerpt] => Stamp duty concessions expanded. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-housing-affordability-reform-clobbers-foreign-investors-helps-first-home-buyers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-02 11:31:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:31:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27279 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27268 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-31 13:04:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-31 03:04:03 [post_content] => NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has put the brakes on the controversial Fire and Emergency Services Levy (FESL), which could now be scrapped. The FESL was supposed to come in on July 1 to replace the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) but it sparked consternation from several quarters, including from local councils, property owners and unions. The government is now in the awkward position of having to reverse FESL legislation, which went through in March, to stall the scheme while it works out what to do next. The new levy would have meant several changes: first, it would be collected by local councils on the state government’s behalf alongside council rates, rather than by insurance companies; second, all property owners would pay the levy, including those whose property is uninsured. The government has repeatedly said that the ‘vast majority’ of property owners would be better off under the new levy, saving on average $47 per year, and that it would encourage more people to insure their properties. It said the levy was revenue neutral and fairer. But this figure has been disputed by the firefighters’ union, the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union of NSW (FBEU), using figures from the NSW Valuer-General and formulae contained in the FESL Bill. The union argued that property owners in some parts of Sydney, such as North Sydney, Mosman and the northern beaches, could end up paying more than double: up to $471 a year, compared with an annual average of $233 under the previous levy. The FBEU argued too that the proposal shifted the burden from businesses to homeowners with people living in low-risk homes subsidising those in bushfire-prone areas and high risk industries while halving the state’s contribution by around $70 million annually. Government News understands that some businesses had used the government’s online calculator and been shocked at how much extra they would have to pay under the new levy. Yesterday [Tuesday] Ms Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet blamed the government’s deferral on the negative impact it could have on small and medium-sized businesses and made no mention of homeowners. “While the new system produces fairer outcomes in the majority of cases, some people – particularly in the commercial and industrial sectors – are worse off by too much under the current model, and that is not what we intended,” Ms Berejiklian said. Mr Perrottet said the FESL was a complex reform and there would be challenges during the transition phase. “It’s not enough for this reform to work on paper – its real-life implementation has real life consequences for families and businesses, and we need to make sure they are not placed under unfair strain,” Mr Perrottet said. The government would not be drawn on whether the scheme would be scrapped or deferred. Ms Berejiklian said during a media conference yesterday: “If we don’t get a fairer system, we won’t introduce it. But our intent is to defer until we get a fairer system.” The government has said it will work with local government, fire and emergency services, the insurance industry and others to find a better and fairer path forward. Reaction News of the back down took many by surprise yesterday, cheering the firefighters’ union and local councils and aggravating insurance companies. The FBEU took it as proof the tax was ‘hopelessly wrong’ from the start. “They had six years, an inquiry and interstate precedent to get this right, and yet they completely stuffed it,” FBEU Secretary Leighton Drury said. “The FESL is a bad tax, and the wrong way to go. It doesn’t need further review and tinkering, it needs to be scrapped.” Mr Drury said there should be no levy and fire services to be funded from consolidated revenue, the same as police and other core public services. The Local Government NSW (LGNSW), the peak body for the state’s local councils, also welcomed the policy rethink. “Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement that the government will not impose the FESL from July 1 provides an opportunity to pursue a true broad-based levy that replaces both the insurance and existing ratepayer contributions,” LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said. LGNSW said the FESL was based on the value of unimproved land value of property in NSW and recent land valuations would have meant ‘significant increases’ for many property owners. “Councils have already done a lot of work to comply with the government’s FESL legislation, and there will now be a need to undo this work – not to mention the associated costs. While this is regrettable, the chance to get the levy right should be our focus,” he said. Meanwhile the insurance industry reacted angrily to the news and said it would increase policy premiums for property owners. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) said insurance companies were ‘shocked and disappointed’ by the decision to delay the FESL, especially as no deadline had been set for a final decision. “This has significant legal and commercial implications for the industry. It is a logistical and technical challenge that will cause confusion and increase premiums for policyholders,” ICA spokesperson Campbell Fuller said. “The resumption of ESL collection will come with significant additional costs that the industry will be forced to pass on in full to policyholders.” He complained that ‘every other mainland state has abolished emergency services levies on insurance with little fuss’. Mr Fuller said insurers had already spent more than a year and tens of millions of dollars on consultants and IT changes to prepare for the new levy. The Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor, headed by Professor Allan Fels and his deputy David Cousins, had previously been tasked with being the ‘cop on the beat’ to ensure insurance companies removed the levy from policies and passed this on in full to homeowners and businesses.   The government has said it will now oversee ‘a smooth continuation of the existing system and ensure insurance companies collect only the amounts necessary to meet fire and emergency services funding requirements’. Penalties for any insurance company that does not heed this are steep: up to $10 million for corporations and $500,000 for individuals. Both men had similar roles when Victoria did the same thing, following the 2009 Bushfires Royal Commission recommendations. [post_title] => Berejiklian could scrap new Fire and Emergency Services Levy [post_excerpt] => Councils and union happy, insurance companies not. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27268 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-02 11:33:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:33:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27268 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27196 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-05-23 12:33:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:33:54 [post_content] =>
 
By Linda Cheng This story first appeared in ArchitectureAu and appears here by kind permission of the author. In its 2017–18 budget, the federal government released what it called “comprehensive plan to address housing affordability.” While promising “no silver bullet,” the government claimed its plan was “designed to improve outcomes across the housing spectrum.” The plan includes measures such as a $1 billion National Housing and Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), releasing surplus Commonwealth land for housing, a Western Sydney City Deal that will provide opportunities for planning and zoning reform, as well as a range of financial incentives to assist first-home buyers, downsizing for older Australians and to encourage private-sector investment in affordable housing. The Australian Institute of Architects and the Planning Institute of Australian have cautiously welcomed the measures. Ken Maher, outgoing president of the Australian Institute of Architects characterized the government’s housing affordability plan as having “good intentions,” but said there were a number of “missed opportunities” on “critical” issues such as density, climate change and public transport. “There’s a real absence of mention in the budget of climate change,” Maher said. “In the built environment area, there’s quite a lot that can be done to reduce carbon emissions.” He pointed to the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s (ASBEC) Low Carbon, High Performance report released in May 2016, which outlined “the potential for the Australian built environment sector to make a major contribution to” reaching a zero-net emissions goal by 2050. The report called on policy makers to adopt a nation plan that includes minimum standards for buildings and targeted incentives. Read more here
[post_title] => ‘Good intentions’ or ‘cruel hoax’? Budget 2017’s housing affordability plan draws vexed reactions [post_excerpt] => Architects cautious, some critical. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27196 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-23 12:42:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-23 02:42:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27196 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27082 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-09 11:16:39 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-09 01:16:39 [post_content] =>     Labor’s most recent televisual forays have landed Opposition Bill Mr Shorten and renegade senator Sam Mr Dastyari in hot water with some voters. A shiny-suited Mr Shorten fronted a television ad previewed on 9NEWS on Sunday night, shown only in Queensland and appearing to pander to Pauline Hanson’s support base or persuade swinging voters. It featured the Trumpian slogan “Australia First” and attacked 457 visas and overseas workers. But trouble erupted after viewers noticed that of the twelve people in the ad supposed to represent Australian workers and variously decked out as tradies, admin staff and medics, only one was not white: an Asian women. Mr Shorten says in the ad: “A Shorten Labor government will build Australian first, buy Australian first and employ Australians first”, echoing the ads rather sinister undertones of the White Australia policy from the 1950s and 60s. Labor copped it on on social media yesterday with many people levelling accusations of racism, which Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen conceded was “appalling” but underlined it was a “rare misstep” for the Opposition leader on Lateline last night. One Facebook commentator said: “In this increasingly divisive "us & them" world, political campaigns like this peddle peoples' prejudices when they should be challenging them.” Another added:  “Is he trying Trump’s strategy? Attempting to appeal to the overwhelming number of redneck Australian voters that deep down really believe they are 'owed' something for having lighter skin.” However, others waded in to defend the Labor leader on social media. One person said: “Everyone tries their best to be offended these days, they call anyone who disagrees with them 'racist' so the word has lost all credibility now, and when something is genuinely 'racist' everyone ignores it, it doesn't take much to cause a race storm in a teacup these days, you can thank political correctness for that.” Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese called the ad “a shocker” and said “it should never have been produced and it should never have been shown”, intensifying speculation that he was jostling for the party leadership, a ballot he lost against Mr Shorten in 2013. It later emerged that it was highly probable that Mr Shorten’s office had seen and approved the ad before it aired. Mr Shorten himself would not confirm or deny this but called criticisms of the ad “a fair cop”. Meanwhile, Senator Sam Mr Dastyari caused his own social media storm after he hopped on board a Bill Shorten campaign bus to travel to three of Sydney’s outer suburbs and bemoan what $1 million buys in the city’s overheated real estate market. In the short film, which went viral, Mr Dastyari holds up examples of seemingly undesirable homes or locations which nevertheless attract a million buck price tag. He says: “Everyone loves talking about house prices but what does a million dollars in Sydney actually buy you? Not much.” In the northwest suburb of Ryde he stands outside a house and says:  “Immaculately kept, as it’s been told, and on one of the busiest roads in Sydney, to boot. “And you know if it’s got security shutters you’re onto a good thing”. The three-bed home on Lane Cove Road sold at auction for $1.3 million last weekend. The film then cuts to a vacant block in Toongabbie. “People like to talk about how a generation of young people are being picky. We are an hour and 20 away in peak-hour traffic from the CBD of Sydney and all a million bucks will buy you is essentially a block of land across the road from not only a power station but also the train line.” A scene filmed in Northmead is just as bleak, as Mr Dastyari sits atop a pile of furniture left out for kerbside collection to deliver his next tirade. "This is what a million dollars will buy you in Northmead but it's ok because it's described as having a functional kitchen. For a f---ing million dollars you'd like to think the kitchen would work," he says, before piling old furniture into the campaign bus. "If you gotta save a million bucks, you gotta be prepared to be a little bit frugal.” He goes on to calculate that a $1 million mortgage for a modest Sydney home would mean $1050 a week in repayments at today’s interest rates and if these went up by one per cent repayments would increase to $1200. But the video led to some viewers accusing him of snobbery and of ridiculing people’s houses while others criticised him for not offering a solution to the problem. “Seriously, imagine if that was your house and some halfwit stood outside it critiquing what you'd worked your whole life for,” said one. “This is offensive. Running around disrespecting peoples’ homes. And who hasn't salvaged furniture from the street? @samMr Dastyari is a snob” said another. However, others praised him for highlighting the affordable housing problem. “Sam, it's about time someone said the truth, the real estate agents have not only auctioned our homes to get higher prices, but they've auctioned our dignity away, and you're bloody right, a million dollar house should have a fully functioning … EVERYTHING… you said what we've all thought.” Mr Dastyari said that it was never his attention to upset anyone but to shine a spotlight on housing affordability. “If it takes me swearing on Facebook to draw attention to housing affordability, then I welcome it,” he told news.com.au. “It was never my intention to offend anyone,” he said. “It was only my intention to highlight how obscene house prices in Sydney have become.” Mr Bowen made reference to Mr Dastyari’s “edgy communication style” on Lateline last night but did not criticise the video. [post_title] => Labor’s adventures in TV land: Shorten’s 'white Australia', Dastyari’s $1m house hunt [post_excerpt] => Accusations of racism and snobbery. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => labors-adventures-tvland-shortens-white-australia-ad-dastyaris-1m-house-hunt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-09 14:42:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-09 04:42:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27082 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26984 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-28 11:24:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-28 01:24:55 [post_content] =>   Will Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce succeed in herding public servants out of Canberra?   The recent controversy surrounding the relocation of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) away from Canberra to Armidale and the National’s push to force government departments to justify why they should remain in Canberra has helped reignite debate around regional development. So too has intensifying anxiety around house prices in Sydney and Melbourne and the rising despair of first home buyers and renters, which federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has indicated will be a cornerstone of his May Budget. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, whose New England electorate takes in Armidale, and National’s Deputy Leader Fiona Nash have led the charge to eject cadres of Canberra’s public servants into the regions, despite the APVMA relocation failing the government’s own cost-benefit analysis and being fiercely opposed by most of its workers and the National Farmers’ Federation. More than 80 per cent of APVMA staff, many of whom are highly specialised scientists, have refused to up sticks for Armidale. APVMA’s chief Kareena Arthy quit the agricultural chemicals agency one week ago for a job as Deputy Director-General of Enterprise Canberra, rather than move. But Nash and Joyce won’t let go. Ms Nash has said that regional Australians “have just as much right to a government career as Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra residents”. “The fact is most moves of government departments to the regions will save money on rent and rates. It’s also fact the vast majority of employees in government departments don’t need to visit the Minister’s office in Parliament House,” Ms Nash said. “Indeed two thirds of Australian government jobs are already outside Canberra, many of them in Melbourne and Sydney.” Sydney University Emeritus Professor Frank Stilwell, a political economist who has written widely on regional development, says targeting public sector jobs in Canberra is a furphy when Sydney and Melbourne are the most overheated. Prof Stilwell says Canberra’s creation back in the early 1900s as the nation’s independent capital city, was designed to decentralise economic activity away from Sydney and Melbourne. “It was a counter magnet for the overdevelopment of the eastern seaboard. Frankly [moving jobs out of Canberra] just doesn’t make sense to me,” he says. Creating Canberra was “socially legitimate and long-term and did not involve politicians pork barrelling for their own electorate”. The critical mass of public servants in Canberra allows for interactions between agencies, knowledge clusters and greater staff mobility. Australian National University Emeritus Professor of political science John Warhurst agrees that Canberra is the wrong target for decentralisation. “It is actually the best Australian example of decentralisation to the bush that there is. It is a bush capital. The Nationals should be proud of this national achievement rather than try to undermine it,” he wrote, in a piece for Fairfax yesterday (Thursday). “Furthermore, Canberra is still quite a small city, dependent on public service employment.” Prof Stilwell says APVMA’s relocation looks especially ill-advised since it is not backed up by the Ernst and Young cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the government and foisting the move on staff was unlikely to be popular. “It is very disruptive for anybody. Many people have already invested in homes and have kids in schools. Not that Armidale is a backwater. It’s great for education and affordable real estate prices that are much more attractive than our overstressed capital cities. “If this [move] can’t work, maybe there is something wrong with the process. Shifting around the federal public service is just not really addressing the problem.” Prof Stilwell says that what is needed is a coherent strategy backed by all three tiers of government with state government leading the way to address the overcentralisation in Sydney and Melbourne, “that’s where the action needs to be”, he says. While he won’t be drawn on which state government departments or agencies should go bush, he says he would target relatively autonomous, footloose agencies that were not linked into a political cluster where staff needed to interact. There has already been some decentralisation, such as moving the ATO to Gosford. But he says it takes political will to plan decentralise jobs and growth and this kind of co-operation and nation building has not happened since Whitlam’s national regional strategy in the 1970s, which bit the bullet after three years when Malcolm Fraser was elected. “It’s not pie in the sky, it just hasn’t happened for a long, long time in Australia. It needs to have cross-party support or it will get switched on and off when the government changes.” He says this vision has never been reinstated, other than the Building Better Cities program under the Hawke government and led by Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe. A national strategy would need to be underpinned by research to investigate long-term, sustainable policy options alongside a willingness to invest in rural and regional infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, public housing and roads. “State governments have to be the leading agencies but they’re not going to do it unless there’s a national plan because otherwise they are in competition with each other.” The government should also focus on enticing private businesses to the regions, not just the public sector. For example by offering preferential payroll tax rates, developing industrial parks, building public housing and other infrastructure such as fast rail links between state capitals, with stops on the way to develop two or three regional centres in each state. “It’s a complex process. They just need time to get everyone used to the idea, get everyone committed so that eventually it develops its own inevitable momentum. While it’s a [political] football and controversial it’s not going to tick any of the boxes of economic viability,” Prof Stilwell says. Regional development has received further attention with the transplantation of the UK City Deals program to Australia, where capital investment is funnelled into particular regions around cities with targets for infrastructure and growth. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull known to be a fan of the project and early Australian cities deals have already been signed for Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney. Regional development must be addressed because the consequences of not pursuing it are high: unequal distribution of jobs, wealth and growth and loss of social connection in regional areas on the one hand; congestion, inflated house prices and environmental degradation for city dwellers on the other. “It’s a win-win, when it is done well,” Prof Stilwell adds. The Productivity Commission’s initial report Transitioning Regional Economies says that regional development should be pursued in the light of the end of the mining boom, the slow growth of agriculture jobs due to technology and rising productivity and manufacturing sector shrinkage to make regional areas and their people more resilient. [post_title] => Target Sydney and Melbourne public sector jobs, not Canberra [post_excerpt] => APVMA debate rages on. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => target-sydney-melbourne-public-sector-jobs-not-canberra [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-28 11:24:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-28 01:24:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26984 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => 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. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-delays-airbnb-decision [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:16:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:16:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26947 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26941 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-19 13:25:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-19 03:25:40 [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. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26941 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-21 11:16:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-21 01:16:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26941 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26899 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-12 15:11:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-12 05:11:22 [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? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => land-titles-lease-sold-consortium-2-6-billion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 11:05:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:05:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26899 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26585 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-03-21 10:17:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-20 23:17:01 [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 ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27454 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-23 13:30:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:30:41 [post_content] => NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announcing the 2017 NSW Budget. Pic:YouTube.      NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has sprinkled some of his budgetary largesse on local councils and stumped up billions for infrastructure including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, bike paths and sports facilities and set up a new fund to kickstart a regional economic renaissance in the state. Mr Perrottet’s first budget was fuelled by a $4.5 billion surplus with coffers swollen from the NSW property boom and a major asset sell-off and local government will be more than pleased to rake in some of the spoils gained from stamp duty and the polls and wires sell off. For the Budget NSW overview click here. A new $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund has been established, focusing on lifting regional economic growth. There are six funds, including strands for infrastructure; sports facilities; improving voice and data connectivity; upgrades to parks, community centres and playgrounds and building and upgrading arts and cultural venues. Another strand also deals specifically with investing in infrastructure for mining communities. Councils, industry, regional organisations and community groups can apply to the funds, which tie in with the NSW government’s 30-year Regional Development Framework. Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said the announcement was a positive one for the regions. "LGNSW looks forward to more information from the Deputy Premier's office on how this funding will be allocated and the opportunities for our sector, but overall this looks like very good news for regional communities. "This goes to show that the government does listen when the community speaks, and particularly so when they make their voice heard at the ballot box.” Central Coast Council Administrator, Ian Reynolds, said as he was particularly pleased with the promise to allocate 30 percent of infrastructure spending to the regions. “The $6 billion injection is significant and recognises that regions like the coast are attracting more people who are looking for a better lifestyle away from the big cities and require improved infrastructure to meet their growing needs,” Mr Reynolds. “Roads are a key priority for council because our community wants better roads and it is pleasing to see such a significant injection by the state government into roads here on the coast.” The regions also won another victory, with the government allocating $100 million for palliative care services and staff training, with much of this expected to flow to rural areas where there have been complaints about the dearth of services available. In addition, the government will spend $258 million on supporting and regulating local government through the Office of Local Government, including $2.1 million to optimise the Companion Animals Register and Pet Registry to improve user experience and enhance functionality. But it is not simply a one-way street with all give and no take. Local councils will feel the heat from Mr Perrottet’s push to accelerate house building in the state, including 30,000 new homes in priority precincts in Sydney. The NSW government will spend almost $70 million to speed up major development approvals and help councils rezone land quicker, including $19 million to establish a specialist team to rezone and to help councils accelerate rezonings. Also in the budget is $11.8 million for online, cloud-based housing development applications, especially to help regional councils and small metropolitan councils with low capability. Other key budget points
  • $4.2 billion over four years for education infrastructure, including building new schools and upgrading others
  • A cash injection of $7.7 billion over four years for new hospitals and hospital upgrades
  • Public transport, road building and rail gets $73 billion, including WestConnex, Sydney Metro City rail line and the Pacific Highway upgrade
  • Spending $20.1 million to complete the Service NSW network of service centres by transitioning 24 motor registries in regional and rural communities to Service NSW service centres.
  • Art Gallery of NSW expansion worth $244 million
  • A $1.2 billion package for first home buyers, including stamp duty relief and heavier foreign investor charges
  • $63.2 million to improve child protection, including additional caseworkers, case managers, and case support workers
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Housing