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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27493" align="alignnone" width="215"] Image courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.[/caption]

 

Comment - Charles Pauka

Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles was chuffed to welcome a Deloitte Access Economics report identifying the social, economic and iconic asset value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion.

“This highly anticipated report confirms the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said. “But it could be even higher as the research did not seek to place a financial value on the tremendous biodiversity and the natural wonder value on a global scale.

“It also confirms the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment in improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is justified, with two-thirds of people surveyed willing to pay for its continued existence and protection.”

Which is where the problem lies: the Palaszczuk Government is also dead-keen on the Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine going ahead, which is widely predicted to further wreck the reef.

[caption id="attachment_27494" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is this the handshake that will kill the reef?[/caption]

 

Steven Miles continued: “The Great Barrier Reef is incredibly precious to all Australians, and the international community - and this report confirms that.

 “We have committed $175 million over five years, plus a boost of an additional $100 million for improved reef water quality outcomes.

“This means we are investing more than $63 million in 2017-2018, which is almost double the annual funding provided by previous governments.”

The Minister said the research showed the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in terms of the value added to the economy and over 64,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015-2016.

64,000 vs. 1,400

So how many jobs would Adani’s supposedly $16.5bn mine contribute? The most optimistic estimates so far have topped out at 10,000 jobs, but more likely in the 1,400-range.

“The government promised to focus on job creation and this report demonstrates the Great Barrier Reef is critical to supporting jobs in Australia.

“The report also rightly identifies an opportunity and need for action on a universal level to protect the reef.

“As the report clearly recognises, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not only an Australian or international priority – it is a human one.”

I just wonder if Mr Miles has spoken to his Premier about that? Because the two – a healthy coral reef and a mega-coalmine – may not be able to co-exist.

“The Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs are in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal. Incredibly, almost half of all shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef died in the last two years due to a massive underwater heatwave,” said Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesperson Imogen Zethoven. 

“Yet the Australian [and Queensland] governments appear hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine, talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great Barrier Reef.

“The [two governments are] not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk: [they are] endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world. These places are the crown jewels of our global ocean. They belong to the world community.

“In the face of so much loss of coral over the last three years, it defies belief that [they are] ignoring this global tragedy," Ms Zethoven said.

[caption id="attachment_27495" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sediment-laden water flowed from Adani's Abbot Point facility into the Caley Valley wetland recently.[/caption]
                    [post_title] => Coal or coral? The Queensland Government seems undecided
                    [post_excerpt] => The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani's Carmichael coalmine fit into it?
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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] => 
Melbourne Crown Casino 

 

 

The Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) released a report today (Tuesday) slamming the state’s alcohol and gambling regulator for being too weak, divided and disorganised to address problem drinking and gambling and for being too soft on Melbourne's Crown Casino.

Auditor-General Andrew Greaves gave the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) an emphatic thumbs down across a number of key issues in his report and said a big shake up of the organisation and its work was needed.

What emerges is a picture of an agency which has dropped the ball on problem alcohol and gambling in Victoria; one which has put quotas, convenience and box ticking ahead of genuinely trying to head off high risk situations.

He criticised the agency for failing to clamp down on rogue venues that supplied alcohol to minors and drunk people and venues that allowed both groups to gamble.

The report said the Commission’s management approach and culture meant it employed “superficial inspection activities” and focused on meeting quotas rather than pursuing harm minimisation.  

There are signs too that criminal elements have been given too much freedom inside Melbourne Casino, the only Victorian venue that provides gambling and alcohol round-the-clock and the holder of 13 liquor licenses.

Mr Greaves said the Commission’s compliance division had “not applied a level of focus on the casino that reflects its status and risk as the largest gaming venue in the state” and its approach had been patchy, at best.

He said the Commission had “not paid sufficient attention’ to problem areas like barring people who had been excluded by police or keeping an eye on money laundering and problem gambling.

Melbourne's Crown Casino was the subject of court judgements on Chinese money laundering at the end of last year, activities which involved regular large buy-ins and cash-outs of chips.

Players lost more than $1.8 billion at the casino in 2015–16.
Other criticisms of the VCGLR included:
  • Licensing applications not thoroughly assessed before being approved. In some cases licenses were granted where applicants had hidden the truth about their past criminal convictions and associates
  • Allocating resources to compliance activities inflexibly and based on factors other than risk
  • Inadequate guidance and training for inspectors
  • Unreliable data about liquor and gambling inspections
  The A-G said the agency had an unstable management team and lacked leadership after delays filing the CEO role. He pointed to a negative, divided work culture where sloppy systems and procedures let abuses slip through the cracks. Mitigating factors But the Auditor-General acknowledged the multiple challenges the Commission faced, after suffering a 30 per cent reduction in staff and in its budget (in real terms) between 2012 and 2016. It also lost expertise after 46 experienced staff were made redundant in the first two years. VCGLR was formed in 2012 out of a merger between Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR) and Responsible Alcohol Victoria (RAV), a business unit of the former Department of Justice. The A-G’s report found that the merger had ignited anger over pay and working conditions because inspectors brought in from two difference agencies were not paid the same. There were also 12 employee or industrial relations disputes which were a hangover from RAV, including serious bullying. Morale was low too, with a survey revealing the Commission had the second lowest staff satisfaction levels in the Victorian public sector. The Auditor General noted that the agency had to cope with venues being given responsibility for pokies at their own venues, which used to be controlled by a duopoly outside the Melbourne Casino and a dodgy IT system until integration in 2015. Mr Greaves also commented that the VCGLR had made progress over the last two years to reorganise the licensing division and had begun to take a more risk-based approach to licensing and provided better training for staff. But he concluded that ‘the scale of required reform is significant meaning that much work remains for VCGLR to become a fully effective regulator”. “Ongoing challenges in merging the people, systems and cultures from VCGLR's two predecessor regulatory bodies, along with the lack of a sufficiently risk-based approach, have precluded VCGLR from fully realising the benefits expected when creating a single regulator,” Mr Greaves said. “These significant shortcomings continue to reduce assurance that VCGLR's efforts are adequate to protect the Victorian community from the harms associated with the misuse and abuse of liquor and gambling.” Recommendations The chair recommended a number of measures to address these issues:
  • Building VCGLR's leadership capacity
  • Having a specialist team to monitor the Melbourne Crown Casino
  • Addressing serious systemic gaps in the compliance division
  • Seeking additional budget to establish a presence in regional Victoria
  • Reviewing and updating people and culture policies and practices
  • Working better with other regulatory and enforcement bodies such as Victoria Police.
[post_title] => Vic booze and gambling watchdog too soft on Melbourne's Crown Casino [post_excerpt] => Attorney-General speaks out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => vic-booze-gambling-govt-agency-weak-soft-melbourne-casino [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-17 14:36:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-17 03:36:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26196 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26157 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-02-06 11:06:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-06 00:06:08 [post_content] => Artist's impression of the State Library's new groundfloor galleries. Pic: Hassell.      By Linda Cheng   The State Library of New South Wales (SLNSW) will be redeveloped with new gallery spaces and a children’s learning centre, following a $15-million private donation from benefactors. The proposed works are the first stage of a masterplan to renew the library’s Mitchell and Macquarie buildings, developed in collaboration with Hassell in 2016. The redevelopment includes a series of new gallery spaces, which will be located at the eastern side of the heritage-listed Mitchell building on Macquarie Street in Sydney’s CBD. It will extend the existing gallery spaces to the entire first floor of the Mitchell building, and will repurpose areas that were previously used for storage, offices and temporary displays. “What we’re effectively doing is returning the eastern wing of the building to the public,” said Matthew Todd, a principal of Hassell. “Pretty much all of the building will be publicly accessible for the first time” when the refurbishment works are completed. Read more here.   This story first appeared in ArchitectureAu and appears here with kind permission.  [post_title] => State Library of NSW to undergo $15m revamp [post_excerpt] => New galleries, children's learning centre. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26157 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-07 10:55:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-06 23:55:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26157 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25490 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-07 15:24:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-07 04:24:45 [post_content] => dibp-stop-work     Workers in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) have voted down the government’s latest pay offer by an emphatic 82 per cent as the Fair Work Commission (FWC) prepares to step in and force an outcome between the warring parties. The ‘no’ vote was up slightly from the previous vote in March, where it reached 81 per cent, and the participation rate was also higher, with 84 per cent of eligible staff voting. It is the third time in three years that DIBP workers have rejected the Turnbull Government’s enterprise bargaining proposals covering pay, rights and conditions, and clears the way for the Full Bench of the FWC to go to compulsory arbitration, which many believe is likely to play out in the Union’s favour. This follows a series of DIBP strikes at airports, ports and terminal and the suspension of protected industrial action (PIA) by the Commission. The Commission terminated PIA on October 6 at the Union’s request, triggering supervised negotiations and now, arbitration. Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) National Secretary Nadine Flood called the vote a “dose of reality” for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Public Service Minister Michaelia Cash. “This is an emphatic rejection of the fundamentally unfair and unreasonable deal being pushed by Immigration and Border Force’s bosses and the Turnbull Government,” Ms Flood said. “Nearly 10,000 people voted ‘no’ because they know a bad deal when they see one. This offer would have hurt them, their families and their colleagues.” There will be a public committee hearing this Friday, which Ms Flood said would shine a light on the “human impact” of the government’s bargaining policy, which has left around 100,000 public servants without a pay rise for three years and little chance of back pay. She added: “The ball is now in the government's court. They can change their policy and have DIBP take something sensible into arbitration in Fair Work to fix this or they can keep punishing workers by fighting the legal process. “The rights, conditions and pay of DIBP workers will now be decided on through an independent process, so the government would be well advised to rethink their harsh industrial relations agenda.” In the meantime, Immigration Secretary Mike Pezzullo and Border Force Commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg wrote to the Department’s 13,500 staff this week once again warning them that arbitration could be lengthy and underlining that they would get no say in the Commission’s verdict. Mr Pezzullo warned staff in October that the process could drag on for 18 months. Professor Ron McCallum, Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney, told Government News last month that the Commission would be “pretty determined” to expedite the verdict and it would probably be known by June 2017. He said that arbitration would probably achieve a better result for DIBP workers. “The Union will do much better [under arbitration] than they were likely to do in bargaining and I think the government is on the back foot. “The federal government’s two per cent [pay offer] and the amalgamating of people to create Border Force means there are all sorts of people coming from different wage areas and they all need to be realigned.” [post_title] => Immigration workers lash government pay offer for third time [post_excerpt] => Fair Work Commission decides. 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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 ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25359 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-10-24 16:42:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-24 05:42:27 [post_content] => NEW YORK - MARCH 25, 2015: yellow taxi cab and rush hour congestion at Times Square in Manhattan downtown before sunset - Intersection of 7th Avenue with 43rd Street - Warm filtered editing   Australia’s peak tourism body wants the federal government to follow New York’s lead and ban short-term rental listings. New York state law already prohibits rentals of less than 30 days when the owner is not present but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo went one step further last Friday when he signed legislation banning short-term lets from being advertised, effectively clamping down on Airbnb listings. Anyone violating the short-term accommodation law in the Big Apple can be slugged with a fine of up to US$7500. Despite Airbnb saying that the changes will not have much of an effect on guests or hosts, and the company claiming most listings in New York City are legal, Airbnb has decided to sue, arguing that the law is unconstitutional and violates freedom of speech. Airbnb is also facing court battles in cities such as San Francisco, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. Dublin and London are also considering a crackdown. Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) says it wants Australia to follow suit and ban short-term lettings and fine those sites which advertise them. But the organisation may be facing an uphill struggle trying to slow down the sharing economy juggernaut in Australia as services such as Uber and Airbnb become legal in a growing number of states. TAA’s statement comes after a NSW Legislative Assembly report (released last week) which recommended short-term rentals be allowed in NSW and that state and local government adopt a light touch in their regulation. The report said local councils should consider short-term rental accommodation as exempt or complying development, making it easier for people to rent out all or part of their homes without having to apply for change of use or having to comply with the Building Code of Australia. There were also calls for a state-wide definition of what constitutes permissible short-term letting and setting guidelines on how councils should approach it. Although the recommendations have many supporters there was resistance from other quarters, notably strata owners and residents in buildings or areas where short-term occupants were noisy and obnoxious, as well as hotel and bed and breakfast owners. But TAA CEO Carol Giuseppi said Australia was out of step with the rest of the world by going “soft” on unregulated commercial short-term rentals, citing NSW as the latest example. "It is ironic that at a time when city administrators across America and Europe are imposing major restrictions on unregulated commercial short-term accommodation operators that a NSW parliamentary committee should be advocating a softening of regulations," Ms Giuseppi said. “As in New York, we want a very specific ceiling on the number of days an apartment or house can be let out on the short-term market and we want online distribution channels to be held responsible for ensuring these limits are not exceeded and that they advertise only properties that are compliant – meeting safety, insurance, body corporate, strata, council and state regulations. "This is the same situation that has occurred in American and European cities and they have taken action to control the situation.” Ms Giuseppi said that the “overwhelming majority of listings” for short term accommodation in Sydney were for entire houses, with no sharing involved. “We are not against genuine ‘sharing’, but we believe there needs to be sensible and proportional regulations imposed on non-resident commercial property owners – especially multiple-property investors – who rent out full properties for short term stays." She said that the sector was increasingly controlled by commercial operators with multiple properties available year round. The TAA has argued that short-term accommodation sharing websites like Airbnb increase tax avoidance and penalise traditional short-term accommodation providers, such as motels and bread and breakfast, because they have to adhere to more regulations.   [post_title] => Ban Airbnb like they do in New York, says tourism peak body [post_excerpt] => NY bans short-stay listings. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => ban-airbnb-like-new-york-says-tourism-peak-body [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-25 11:07:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-25 00:07:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25359 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25329 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-10-21 11:14:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-21 00:14:34 [post_content] => Chiang Mai, Thailand - September 4, 2016: Apple iPhone 6s plus with Airbnb application on the screen. Airbnb is a website for people to list, find, and rent lodging.   A new report into the regulation of short-term holiday rentals through online platforms like Airbnb says local councils need greater certainty about how to regulate the rapidly growing sharing economy. The report Short-Term Holiday Letting, by the Legislative Assembly Committee on Environment and Planning was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday this week after an 18-month inquiry. It recommends easing restrictions on short-term renting so that home owners can 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. Some of its recommendations talk about giving NSW councils a framework of how to deal with short-term rental accommodation (STRA), using regulations within the existing planning system but adding more detail. This would include coming up with a definition of STRA within the Principal Local Environment Plan, for example, by defining use as STRA according to the number of days per year a property is rented out or the number of bedrooms occupied. It also suggests amending the State Environmental Planning Policy(SEPP) on exempt and complying development to permit STRA and make the process quicker and easier. Classing STRA as a residential use would also mean that the Building Code of Australia was not triggered, provided there are no special circumstances, making it cheaper and less arduous for people to rent out their homes. The Committee also recommended that the State government establish a compliance system, while retaining a light regulatory touch. “While we find that STRA is a low impact activity, the instances we heard of high impact STRA were real and serious,” said the report. “When STRA is managed badly, or when rogue operators take advantage of their neighbours, it is vital for councils to have tools available which they can use within limited budgets and staffing to respond quickly to complaints and achieve effective outcomes.” The report says that the Environmental Protection Act legislation already gave “clear and practical investigate powers” to councils to target non-compliance, for example around search and entry and getting information from landlords. However, it suggests streamlining complying development certificates for the initial assessment, to set requirements such as smoke alarms and minimum waste disposal standards, and for councils to use as a compliance tool. Another recommendation was that the Holiday and Short-Term Rental Code of Conduct be used more widely to set standards of behaviour, provide advice to owners and help councils regulate STRA. “Using the Code as a compliance tool will free councils from much frontline compliance work, leaving them to focus on the most problematic properties,” the report said.   The Committee recommends that the NSW Government:
  • changes planning laws to regulate short-term rental accommodation
  • allows home sharing, and letting a principal place of residence, as exempt development
  • allows empty houses to be let as exempt and complying development
  • investigates impacts on traditional accommodation operators
  • strengthens the Holiday and Short-Term Rental Code of Conduct
  • develops a compliance system
  • issues guidance and provides education for councils and the community
  • communicates with owners about their rights and obligations
  • amends strata laws and later reviews the effectiveness of changes
  • collects information on the industry
Winners: Home owners who want to rent out a room or their house; accommodation sharing websites, like Airbnb; councils (hopefully) if they are given a proper framework to deal with STRA, without a large regulatory burden Losers: Owner’s corporations and strata residents that don’t want Airbnb in their buildings; hotel and bed and breakfast operators   The impact of short-term rental accommodation on local councils The sharing economy has long been a difficult area for councils in the absence of any firm guidance from the state government about how to regulate it. Now Uber is legal in  NSW it was only a matter of time before the government was compelled to tackle accommodation sharing websites. Only 12 NSW councils currently have rules about regulating short-term accommodation and these vary greatly. Some councils stipulate limits before STRA triggers development consent: it could be renting a property up to 45 days or having a threshold for the number of bedrooms that can be rented out. Others set no limits. Local councils may also impose conditions like posting evacuation plans and setting criteria for noise, traffic and rubbish disposal, others may not. The Committee said local councils should be given latitude to decide how often a property can be rented out as a short-term holiday let before it needs development approval. “Accepting that STRA is generally a low impact activity, we believe there is scope for specified development and compliance standards to be included in SEPP 2008 and for councils to have some local flexibility.” Local Government NSW Chief Executive Donna Rygate said local council views about platforms such as Airbnb were “a broad church” dependent on many factors. “Factors that influence are whether the location is a popular tourist destination, whether residents are generally supportive of tourism or not, whether people want to bring tourism in or whether they have ample amount and want to manage it," she said. Some coastal councils such as Gosford, Pittwater, Shoalhaven and Kiama Councils – all holiday rental hotspots – have already given short-term rentals the go ahead, although they can step in and use existing legislation to deal with concerns or complaints about safety, amenity or noise and demand development consent. A few local councils, particularly those in Northern NSW in popular holiday resorts like Bryon Bay, have had a more difficult time with STRA. These councils have complained that accommodation share services have made housing unaffordable for locals, as well as presenting a range of other nasties, such as fire safety, rubbish build up, parking issues and noise complaints from residents when the occupants get out of control. Most councils are struggling to achieve an even-handed approach to STRA, balancing the rights of homeowners to rent out their places and the rights of other homeowners not to be annoyed by it, along with concerns for the safety of short-term renters. For example, in the City of Sydney it is illegal to rent out all or part of your home on platforms such as Airbnb but the council’s investigations and compliance team is much more concerned by the illegal renting sector, where people are crammed into properties which are often subdivided. The council’s submission to the inquiry said the interests of home owners wanting to lease their properties should be balanced by neighbourhood safety and amenity, indicating it would be willing to address its ban in future. Whatever the views of individual councils, Airbnb and others of its ilk are not going to go away. They are only going to gather pace. Ms Rygate said that the advent of platforms such as Airbnb had “put a rocket” under STRA industry making it “much more challenging” for councils to manage. She said it was the lack of an agreed definition of what constituted STRA that presented one of the biggest headaches for councils trying to figure out where various scenarios fell in their LEPs. “The activities that fall under the heading of short-term rental accommodation … can be intermittent and vary in terms of their intensity and so they are hard to define, particularly under LEPs,” she told the Committee in March this year. “Potential impacts also vary significantly from minor, almost invisible, minimal impacts to the classic party house scenario. “The activities fall under or between a lot of definitions in the standard instrument LEP template [dwelling or dwelling house, serviced apartment, bed and breakfast or tourist and visitor accommodation] and that is obviously critical in determining whether the activity is permissible in the zoning or whether it needs consent.” A definition of STA was essential so that local government did not tie itself up in red tape or investigate and regulate unnecessary complaints. [post_title] => Airbnb: What NSW councils need to know [post_excerpt] => More certainty for local government? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => airbnb-local-councils-need-know [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-21 11:16:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-21 00:16:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25329 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25262 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-10-12 12:17:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-12 01:17:00 [post_content] => abf3_opt     The Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) intervention between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the major public sector union on a new pay agreement is likely to benefit the union, says a labour law academic. The Commission ruled last week that the two parties, the DIBP and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), had 21 days to come up with a solution or its Full Bench would wade into the fray and decide the outcome of the prolonged, tense dispute over pay, working rights and conditions. The ruling came after the government applied for a temporary suspension of protected industrial action (PIA) at airports, ports and cargo terminals. Instead, the Commission terminated PIA on October 6, triggering supervised negotiations and possible arbitration. If an agreement cannot be reached by October 26, talks can continue for a further 21 days but both parties would have to apply for this extension to make it happen. An agreement within the timeframe appears unlikely. The two parties do not even agree on the content of enterprise bargaining agreement that is on the table. While the Department insists the latest pay offer is between 6.4 per cent and 10.7 per cent for “the majority of staff” the Union has argued that some workers will receive a 4.7 per cent pay rise and end up with less than 1 per cent per year (if this figure is taken from 2014, the start of the dispute). Professor Ron McCallum, Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Law of the University of Sydney, said that the threat of arbitration was a victory for the union and something the federal government would probably be unhappy about. “The Union will do much better [under arbitration] than they were likely to do in bargaining and I think the government is on the back foot,” Professor McCallum said. “The federal government’s two per cent [pay offer] and the amalgamating of people to create Border Force means there are all sorts of people coming from different wage areas and they all need to be realigned.” He said the government had not handled the bargaining process very well adding, “They don’t want to be caught up in an arbitration but they obviously weren’t flexible in their bargaining.” In July 2015, the border control functions of the DIBP and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs) were merged into one agency: Australian Border Force, which comes within the DIBP. It appears that the Union will be the more confident party if arbitration goes ahead. The government pushed to suspend protected industrial action until November 21 and go to a third ballot, while the union wanted to stop strike action and go to arbitration. But Sydney Law School’s Associate Professor Shae McCrystal said that both sides would be taking a gamble if the decision went to arbitration and this would influence their negotiating position. “The arbitration is hanging over the heads of the parties,” Dr McCrystal said. “Whether or not you’re going to see movement comes down to whether or not the parties [think they] will get what they want at arbitration. “It’s a gamble that the Commission will see the claims the same way that each particular party does in the light of the factors that they have to look at.” She said both sides would be posturing during “live negotiation” but they could well be making concessions behind the scenes. The Commission will consider various factors before it reaches its final verdict including: the public interest, the impact on productivity, the stance each side has taken and the conduct of bargaining representatives. As each arbitration is determined on its own merits, the outcomes of earlier arbitrations are not directly relevant to the dispute. They don’t provide an indication of how the decision will play out. Despite Immigration Secretary Mike Pezzullo’s warnings to staff that the process could drag on for 18 months Professor McCallum believed the Commission will want to expedite the verdict. “I think the Commission will be pretty determined to get rid of these things. They have been in the past. Once it goes to arbitration it will put in a timetable for the parties to give evidence. I would have thought that this will be by the 30th of June next year," he said. Whatever the verdict, the Commission’s decision will be a strong signal to the union and the government about what to expect should other Commonwealth departments go to arbitration, including on the contentious issue of back pay. There are still around 100,000 federal public sector workers without an agreement after three years, including staff at the behemoth Department of Human Services, the Taxation Office, Defence, the Bureau of Meteorology, Agriculture and Water Resources and Prime Minister and Cabinet. Dr McCrystal said she did not think the union would need to push for arbitration if the DIBP result was favourable to them. Likewise, the government could attempt to force arbitration if they were happy with the verdict, for example, by locking out staff, as Qantas did in 2011. DIBP workers went on strike for 24 hours in August having rejected pay offers in March 2016 and September 2015 by significant margins. [post_title] => Fair Work arbitration on public sector pay likely to benefit union, says academic [post_excerpt] => Clock ticking on immigration negotiations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fair-work-arbitration-public-sector-pay-likely-benefit-union-says-academic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-14 11:27:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-14 00:27:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25262 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25190 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-10-07 09:50:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-10-06 22:50:17 [post_content] => Mediate and legal mediation business concept as a businessman or person separating two boxing glove opposing competitors as an arbitration success symbol for finding common interests to lawfully solve a conflict.   The Fair Work Commission (FWC) will decide the outcome of the dispute over pay and conditions between Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) staff and the federal government but the department has warned it could take up to 18 months. The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) won its battle yesterday (Thursday) to terminate strike action at airports, cargo ports, cruise ship terminals and trigger compulsory arbitration to enable the independent umpire to step in and end the bitter, tumultuous three-year dispute with a binding decision on pay and conditions. The two sides have 21 days to agree on as much as possible under the supervision of the FWC before the Commission's Full Bench intervenes and gives its verdict. But the victory may not meant that a verdict is imminent. Fairfax Media reported that Immigration Department secretary Mike Pezzullo wrote to staff and said past cases had taken between six to 18 months to decide. Government News understands that there is also some precedent for the Commission to grant backpay to staff, an outcome that the government will not be keen to see eventuate, given how long the dispute has staggered on. Backpay is likely to begin from the date the arbitration was granted but a period any longer than that is up in the air. The decision is a blow to the government, which had argued that workers should instead take a third vote on the enterprise bargaining agreement, despite staff rejecting it twice and there being little movement on pay or conditions. It also argued that strike action be suspended until late November and arbitration denied. CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said that the decision was an indictment on the Turnbull government's bargaining policy, which she said was 'broken.' “For three years CPSU members have taken a strong stand against the Turnbull Government’s attack on pay and conditions and today’s decision is recognition that this dispute has gone on too long," Ms Flood said. “This is good news for Immigration and Border Protection staff because there is finally a light at the end of the bargaining tunnel. It is also good news for travellers who could have seen the government’s intransigence leading to more strikes and disruption in the Christmas holidays. “The fact that union members had to take this sort of action to bring the issue to a head is a searing indictment on the failure of the Turnbull Government to deal sensibly with workers’ rights. “We welcome the fact the Commission has determined it’s time to end this bargaining charade, at least for Immigration and Border Protection workers.” It will be a nailbiting process as both sides keenly await the outcome. The Union said that the Commission's decision had to take into account the government's position but did not have to follow their bargaining policy, which is a 6 per cent pay rise over three years with no back pay and the dilution of some work rights and conditions. "The FWC must take into account a range of factors when deciding which terms to include in a workplace determination, including: the merits of each proposal; the interests of employees and the employer; the public interest; and the conduct of bargaining representatives," the Union told members. The decision could also have significant ramifications for staff in other Commonwealth departments and agencies that are still waiting for an agreement. This includes Human Services and the ATO. In all, about 100,000 workers remain without a new enterprise bargaining agreement. [post_title] => Fair Work to decide public sector pay stand-off [post_excerpt] => Immigration Department warns it could take 18 months. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => fair-work-decide-public-sector-pay-battle [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-07 09:50:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-06 22:50:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25190 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25114 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2016-09-26 22:48:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-26 12:48:35 [post_content] => melbourne-airport   As foreshadowed in Government News earlier this month, Department of Immigration and Border Protection staff at sites including international airports, cruise ship terminals and cargo facilities have commenced two weeks of protected industrial action, with further action planned as required to resolve the three-year-old remuneration disagreement. The CPSU has notified two weeks of rolling stoppages across the country from 26 September to 9 October with strikes in 30 minute blocks available to CPSU members all day, every day. Strikes may occur at any airport, cruise ship terminal or cargo facility at any time during the day or night. The union says this constitutes the most intense and widespread strike action undertaken by CPSU members and applies throughout all DIBP operations. Multiple short strikes are expected to cause disruption and delays to passengers, cargo freight operations and other services. More than 50 exemptions remain in place to ensure national security and the safety of the general public during all industrial action. CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said taking this level of protected industrial action was necessary because it was the only way workers had to force the Government and the Department to offer a real solution to the impasse. “Our overwhelming preference remains to sit down and find a fair and sensible resolution, but the Turnbull Government has shown it is unwilling to do so,” she said. "Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has allowed Minister Michaelia Cash to continue the public sector workplace relations war started by Eric Abetz three years ago for far too long. “The Government is using nasty 'starve them out' tactics refusing to talk and keeping these workers on a three-year pay freeze. “For almost three years, all Immigration and Border Force staff have seen is proposals to cut their existing rights and conditions, and even cut some officers’ current take home pay, Ms Flood said.” More than 80 per cent of DIBP staff voted in March against an agreement that would have seen rights and conditions stripped away in exchange for a pay rise of just one per cent per year. The union says the Tourism and Transport Forum has backed calls for the Turnbull Government to sit down and negotiate a resolution with the CPSU to end the dispute and ensure travellers are not disrupted. Ms Flood said the CPSU was always willing to talk but ready to argue for termination of the bargaining process should the Commonwealth apply to have industrial action suspended in the Fair Work Commission. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said it had contingency arrangements in place to minimise the impact of stoppages on business operations, but urged passengers departing on international flights get to the airport early, and advised that those arriving should expect some delays. [post_title] => Airport strikes have begun, to go on for two weeks [post_excerpt] => The strikes roll on. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => airport-strikes-begun-go-two-weeks [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-26 22:55:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-26 12:55:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25114 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24975 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-09-12 16:17:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-12 06:17:25 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24976" align="alignnone" width="368"]City of Nice on the French Riviera looking along the beach. Processed in AdobeRGB colorspace. City of Nice on the French Riviera.[/caption]   Glamourous film stars, multi-million dollar yachts and a coastline to die for; could this be the future for Botany Bay that an organisation representing some of the industry’s biggest developers is predicting? Last week NSW Local Government Minister Paul Toole announced the merger of Botany Bay and Rockdale Councils to form the new Bayside Council (not to be confused with Victoria’s Bayside City Council) after a lengthy court battle over the merger came to an end. Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson said the decision cleared the way for more residential development around Botany Bay’s waterfront. In fact, he is predicting a bright, perhaps Mediterranean-inspired, future for the area. Johnson said: “Last year the Urban Taskforce proposed mid- rise buildings around the bay that reflected the character of the French Riviera. This reflects the aspirations behind the establishment of Brighton-Le-Sands as a resort town in the 1880s. “The land fronting Botany Bay is ideal for the development of urban living close to the waterfront as well as to the jobs in the Sydney CBD.”   botany-bay-as-french-riviera_opt Saint-Tropez in Botany? Pic: Urban Taskforce image of future bayside development.   Johnson said the new council, which is now headed up by administrator Greg Wright, could now plan for more density around the bay to keep pace with the area’s growing population. The interim General Manager is Meredith Wallace, Rockdale Council’s GM. But the Taskforce is concerned that the Greater Sydney Commission may need to step in and chivvy the new council along on planning matters, otherwise the vision of Saint-Tropez on Botany Bay will never be realised. The Commission is due to release its six district plans later this year and the old council areas fall into two different areas, Rockdale in the Southern District and Botany in the Central District. Local councils must take note of the content of district plans (and the Metropolitan Plan that the GSC will also write) when setting planning controls, such as height, lot size, zoning and floorspace ratios. Johnson said he was behind local government reform in NSW but sounded a note of caution. “We are however concerned that during the restructuring process the focus on the planning system could be diminished and the Department of Planning and the Greater Sydney Commission may need to take a stronger role during the transition phase.” Botany Bay Council took its case to the Land and Environment Court earlier this year, arguing that it had been denied “procedural fairness” during the public inquiry process, which was presided over by delegate Rod Nockles. The council also accused Nockles of ignoring a community poll where 98 per cent of residents voted against merging with Rockdale. Botany Bay Council had submitted an alternative merger proposal to extend its borders and take in Port Botany, Sydney Airport, two-thirds of Randwick and a chunk of the City of Sydney but this never got up. Meanwhile, NSW Local Government Minister Paul Toole, slammed the council for taking its grievances to court three times and said he welcomed the verdict. “This litigation has been costly for the council and its ratepayers, with legal bills potentially running into hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said. Elections for the new Bayside Council will not be held until September 2017, when 15 councillors will be elected.   [post_title] => Could council merger create Sydney’s French Riviera on Botany Bay? [post_excerpt] => Mid-rise development predicted. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-merger-create-bay-sydneys-new-french-riviera-botany-bay [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-14 14:09:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-14 04:09:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24975 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24866 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-09-01 11:00:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-01 01:00:58 [post_content] =>  Ferry fleet_opt An armada of organisations have launched social media campaigns to plug their favourite names for Sydney’s new ferry fleet using the hashtag #yourferry. The NSW government is asking the public to help name its fleet of six new ferries, which will hit the harbour this summer.  There are three categories  in the Name Your Ferry Competition each with twelve possible names: Arts and Culture, Connections to Sydney Harbour and Science, Environment and Innovation. Choices include Brett Whiteley, Victor Chang, Eternity, Ken Done, Pemulwuy and Dame Marie Bashir and convict ferryman settler Billy Blue. The Fred Hollows Foundation is pushing for their founder to make the grade, the Victor Chang Institute is appealing for public support for the pioneering heart surgeon, Hamlin Fistula is keen for its founder Catherine Hamlin to appear on a ferry while the Ken Done Gallery is backing the artist to, perhaps, paint his own name one of the new ferries. Sadly the names Boaty McBoatface or Ferry McFerryface did not make the final cut, neither did other amusing suggestions, including I Am Not a Robot (which appears when voters cast their votes) or Bryan Ferry, Government News’ personal favourite. The UK made global headlines in May when the name Boaty McBoatface became the runaway favourite in a competition to name a polar research ship. Despite the win, the UK government named the ship RRS Sir David Attenborough, the famous British broadcaster and naturalist. A remotely operated sub-sea vehicle was named Boaty in recognition of the strong public support for the comedy name. Perhaps Sydney Ferries can name a lifeboat Bryan Ferry, Marcia Hines or Margaret Pomerantz. The NSW Name Your Ferry competition was launched in July and the response was huge, with 15,000 suggestions submitted. A panel of four has whittled the choices down to 36 and public voting is open until midnight on September 19. NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said he wanted everyone in NSW to get involved in naming the new fleet. “This is a chance for everyone to be a part of our maritime history and vote on the names that will grace the next generation of vessels on our famous harbour,” Mr Constance said. “We’ve had some truly great ideas put forward including names like Jørn Utzon, Catherine Hamlin and Victor Chang,” Mr Constance said. Mr Constance said that ferry names were selected based on their local and cultural significance, as well as their connection to Sydney and the harbour. The panel also considered how the names fit together as a fleet. From today until midnight September 19, people can vote for up to six names in one category. The six most voted for names in one category will become the names for the new ferry fleet. Voters can win one of 50 family passes to take a ride on one of the new ferries. [post_title] => Raft of social media campaigns to name Sydney’s new ferry fleet [post_excerpt] => Ferry McFerry Face, Bryan Ferry? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 24866 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-09-01 15:21:54 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-09-01 05:21:54 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24866 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24685 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-08-11 10:35:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-11 00:35:04 [post_content] => Baxter Inn_opt Baxter Inn, Darling Harbour. Pic: Facebook.   Sydney Mayor Clover Moore is asking NSW Premier Mike Baird to let small bars double in size and stay open later in liquor freeze zones. City of Sydney Council is asking the state government to boost the small bar licence limits from 60 patrons to 120 and relax the restrictions on their trading hours for small bars in the Sydney CBD Entertainment Precinct, which stretches from Kings Cross to Cockle Bay, and The Rocks to Haymarket and Darlinghurst. There are a fair few bars in that area, including Hello Sailor and the Baxter Inn, although the Council says only about 27 of the area’s 128 small bars operate under a small bar licence, the remainder running as general bars or restaurants. The lock-out laws, which enforce 1.30am lock outs and last drinks at 3am, came into effect in early 2014, introduced to curb drug and alcohol-fuelled violence in the city but they are harsher for small bars in the Precinct and restrict them from operating beyond midnight, unless further approval is sought. The council’s plea is contained in its submission to the Liquor and Gaming NSW Review of the Small Bars Legislation and borne from the desire to improve the long-term sustainability of small bars and encourage local live music. City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone said Sydney’s night-time economy contributed more than $19 billion and more than 31,000 jobs. “More than 2,124 licensed premises contribute to creating a vibrant and diverse nightlife, helping Sydney to compete on the global stage as one of the most liveable and inviting cities,” Barone said. “Refining the small bars legislation to increase patron numbers and ensure flexibility in trading hours will help the small bar scene reach its full potential.” Small bar licences fall under the Liquor Act 2007, which sets a capacity limit of 60 patrons. This has forced the hand of many small venues who have instead applied for an on-premises (restaurant) licence or a hotel (general bar) licence. “Venues with a small bar licence can often face the challenge of sustaining live music and performances with these limited patron numbers,” Barone said. “The City’s submission recommends redefining the small bar licence to increase capacity limits to 120, facilitating greater creativity and innovation in our smaller venues.” Sydney’s lock-out laws have become a focal point for next month’s City of Sydney council elections with most mayoral candidates addressing it in their election platforms. Current Mayor Clover Moore has called for exemptions from 1.30am lock-out laws and 3am last drinks for well-behaved small bars; Liberal candidate Christine Forster supports lifting the 1.30am ban and Independent Angela Vithoulkas wants to appoint a night mayor to drive the rejuvenation of the city’s night-time economy. The council’s submission includes the following recommendations in response to the Review of Small Bars Legislation: • Change the liquor licence definition of the Small Bar licence category to increase the capacity limit from 60 to 120 patrons • Remove the restriction on trading hours for small bars in liquor freeze areas to allow standard trading hours to 2am, instead of midnight • The availability of extended trading hours for small bars should be maintained, with each venue’s suitability for extended hours of operation assessed on application • Continue the exemption for small bars from preparing a community impact statement • Consider improved synchronising between the development and liquor licence assessment process, by allowing applicants to prepare a single plan of management to encompass the development consent and liquor licence aspects • Consider providing further information on the types of business activities that a small bar licence holder may engage in, such as the provision of food and live music and performance, to increase awareness and potential uptake • Reduce or remove the trading hours loading fee in the Periodic Licence Fee Scheme for small bar style venues up to 120 patron capacity. The loading fee is currently applied to small bar style venues with an on-premises (restaurant) licence or a hotel (general bar) licence that trade past midnight • Consider research into licenced premises size and type to assess the impact on alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour [post_title] => Council wants larger, later small bars in lock-out zone [post_excerpt] => Lock-out laws focus for Sydney council elections. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 24685 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-08-11 15:50:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-11 05:50:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24685 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27492 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-28 17:04:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:04:46 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27493" align="alignnone" width="215"] Image courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.[/caption]   Comment - Charles Pauka Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles was chuffed to welcome a Deloitte Access Economics report identifying the social, economic and iconic asset value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion. “This highly anticipated report confirms the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said. “But it could be even higher as the research did not seek to place a financial value on the tremendous biodiversity and the natural wonder value on a global scale. “It also confirms the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment in improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is justified, with two-thirds of people surveyed willing to pay for its continued existence and protection.” Which is where the problem lies: the Palaszczuk Government is also dead-keen on the Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine going ahead, which is widely predicted to further wreck the reef. [caption id="attachment_27494" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is this the handshake that will kill the reef?[/caption]   Steven Miles continued: “The Great Barrier Reef is incredibly precious to all Australians, and the international community - and this report confirms that.  “We have committed $175 million over five years, plus a boost of an additional $100 million for improved reef water quality outcomes. “This means we are investing more than $63 million in 2017-2018, which is almost double the annual funding provided by previous governments.” The Minister said the research showed the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in terms of the value added to the economy and over 64,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015-2016. 64,000 vs. 1,400 So how many jobs would Adani’s supposedly $16.5bn mine contribute? The most optimistic estimates so far have topped out at 10,000 jobs, but more likely in the 1,400-range. “The government promised to focus on job creation and this report demonstrates the Great Barrier Reef is critical to supporting jobs in Australia. “The report also rightly identifies an opportunity and need for action on a universal level to protect the reef. “As the report clearly recognises, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not only an Australian or international priority – it is a human one.” I just wonder if Mr Miles has spoken to his Premier about that? Because the two – a healthy coral reef and a mega-coalmine – may not be able to co-exist. “The Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs are in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal. Incredibly, almost half of all shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef died in the last two years due to a massive underwater heatwave,” said Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesperson Imogen Zethoven.  “Yet the Australian [and Queensland] governments appear hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine, talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great Barrier Reef. “The [two governments are] not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk: [they are] endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world. These places are the crown jewels of our global ocean. They belong to the world community. “In the face of so much loss of coral over the last three years, it defies belief that [they are] ignoring this global tragedy," Ms Zethoven said. [caption id="attachment_27495" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sediment-laden water flowed from Adani's Abbot Point facility into the Caley Valley wetland recently.[/caption] [post_title] => Coal or coral? The Queensland Government seems undecided [post_excerpt] => The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani's Carmichael coalmine fit into it? 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