June, 2019

‘New kid on the block’ now one of city’s most liveable

FULL LIST: 555 suburb ranked by liveabilityWhat is liveability? The 16 indicators that make (or break) a neighbourhoodRegional breakdown: City and East, Upper North Shore, Inner West, Northern BeachesBuying a home in Sydney’s least liveable suburbs a ‘no-brainer’Comment: The key to winning the west is employment

The most liveable suburb in Sydney’s city and east has been under lock and key until recently, when the government began selling off its public housing.

Residents are now shunning the likes of Paddington in favour of large terraces in Millers Point – with access to employment hubs, harbour views and access to transport and retail as good as it gets in Sydney, the Domain Liveable Sydney 2016 study authored by Tract Consultants and Deloitte Access Economics shows.

Home buyers have flocked to the inner-city hub in the past two years as properties became available during the sell-off of public houses by the NSW government, Albion Avenue buyer’s agent Shelley Horton said.

“In many respects Millers Point is to Sydney what, say, Tribeca is to Manhattan or Kensington is to London,” Ms Horton said.

“It truly represents the absolute best of fringe inner city living in Sydney … there is no other suburb that offers the mix of modern apartment living and historic houses so close to the harbour but only footsteps from the Sydney CBD.”

Professional couples, inner-city upgraders, empty nesters and retirees are looking in the area where the median house price is now $2,470,500.

“It’s the new kid on the inner-city block in many respects. Before the recent government public housing sell-off Millers Point as a suburb you could buy into consisted of a few apartment buildings on the northern fringe of the CBD,” Ms Horton said.

And with an entry-level price “approaching $1 million” for a one-bedroom apartment without views, those looking to buy in the area need to be prepared to pay a hefty sum.

“In some of the blue ribbon apartment buildings such as Observatory Tower on Kent Street you will pay in the low $2 millions for a two-bedroom apartment with a harbour view and high $2 millions for a three-bedroom apartment,” she said.

For the area’s most coveted properties, its heritage terraces, buyers are paying $1.5 million-plus for two-bedrooms, with three- to four-bedroom homes selling for about $3 million.

And that’s before a required heritage-friendly renovation that could cost upwards of $500,000, Di Jones sales agent Elodie Fabre said.

“???Most of the people who have recently purchased are short-term investors who intend to move into the property down the track when the renovations are done,” Ms Fabre said.

This includes people who are retiring in the next five or six years who are renting the homes to executives in the meantime.

“It’s a village in the middle of the city and it’s the only place you get that feel … it’s very special,” she said.

Local resident Mary Sutton lives in the Millers Point/Dawes Point area and loves that everything is right on their doorstep.

“The accessibility to the city, the variety of delicious food from all over the world, galleries to visit and the wonderful parks, everything we do is nearby so we barely use our car,” Ms Sutton said.

Part of her enjoyment of the suburb comes from the heritage overlay, providing an opportunity for astute home buyers to “conserve a historical” precinct.

“In most of the great cities of the world such areas are nurtured and it’s right Sydney takes its place with these leaders,” she said.

Having sold the majority of the government’s heritage properties in the past 24 months, McGrath Estate Agents’ Richard Shalhoub said terraces and sizeable estates in the CBD hadn’t been readily available before the latest sell-off.

This included the “crown jewel” of Millers Point, the $7.7 million Darling House on Trinity Avenue.

“Millers Point is certainly becoming one of Sydney’s most sought after locations due to the unique nature of the homes and its surrounding lifestyle and leisure facilities,” Mr Shalhoub said.

“Additional lifestyle elements offered from precincts such as Barangaroo, the Walsh Bay arts precinct and the historic Rocks area add to the appeal of living in this harbour-front suburb.”

35,000-strong petition opposing greyhound ban presented to opposition leader Luke Foley

Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance Supporters at Parliament House on Tuesday following a rally in Hyde Park.An estimated 1500 greyhound racing supporters gathered at Hyde Park inSydneyon Tuesday and presented Opposition Leader Luke Foley with 35,000-plus signatures on a petition opposing Premier Mike Baird’s decision to ban greyhound racing in NSW from July 1 next year.

Representatives from Bulli, Dapto and Nowra – and others from as far afield as Gunnedah, Forbes, Casino, Canberra and Wagga –were addressed by greyhound owners, trainers and breeders in addition to business owners, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Robert Borsak, Christian Democrat leader Fred Nile and Mr Foley.

A number of officials and participants flew in from Victoria and Queensland.

Coalition MPs have thrashed out the decision to close the greyhound industry during party room meetings.

“My family have never owned, trained or bred a greyhound but our business will close due to Mike Baird’s ban,” Luddenham Pet Foods co-proprietor Rebecca Pace said.

“We process 20,000 kilograms of fresh pet meat weekly and 80 per cent of our clientele are greyhound trainers.

“We deliver to all parts ofSydneyand have weekly drop-off at the Dapto track.

“We employ 12 full-time staff and they have kids in school and mortgages to pay but Mike Baird cares not that they will lose their jobs.”

On Monday, Mrs Pace had a phone conference with her local Liberal MP Tanya Davies – the State Member for Mulgoa – and was shocked at Mrs Davies’ lack of foresight into the consequences this State faces if the ban proceeds.

Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance Supporters at Parliament House on Tuesday following a rally in Hyde Park.

“There will be a bio-security issue, loss of income to treasury, GST and let’s not forget all the little people who will lose part time jobs and the impact on regional NSW yet Mrs Davies had no clue to the disaffect,” Mrs Pace added.

“Without the five no-human consummation abattoirs in NSW, the reporting of notifiable diseases in livestock will fail.

“That leaves us susceptible to disease outbreaks as deceased livestock are likely to be left to rot paddock.”

The proposed legislation is expected to be introduced into Parliament next week but the battle for greyhound racing’s survival has just begun.

The Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance has commenced a Supreme Court challenge and High Court action is expected to follow.

Baird under fire from MPs over industry shutdown Premier Mike Baird has responded to strong criticism from NSW Liberal and National MPs. Photo: Peter Rae

Liberal and Nationals MPshave thrashed outthedecision to shut down the NSW greyhound racing industry during marathon party room meetings,with one telling Premier Mike Baird: “You’ve got this wrong”.

Another MP against the closureasked Mr Baird whether the governmentwould also ban rugby league due to the scandals it has endured or cricket due to match fixing, according to a source in the Liberal party room.

The meetings on Monday were the first time MPs have gathered after the announcement by MrBaird and deputy Premier Troy Grant last month that the greyhound industry would be closed from July 1 next year.

Legislation enacting the ban is due to be introduced to parliament next week.

Sourcessaid MPs spoke passionately both in favour ofand against the ban.

One source said Liberal MP for Riverstone,Kevin Conolly​ told Mr Baird: “You’ve got this wrong” while outlining the plight of industry participants in his electorate.

Upper house MP and former government whip, Peter Phelps, compared the issue of live baiting in the greyhound industry withscandals inrugby league and match fixing in cricket, wondering if the government would also ban those sports.

“He got quite emotional,” the source said, adding that Mr Baird responded with equal passion to defend the ban.

Mr Baird reportedlytold the meeting he had no intention of closingthe industry before he read the damning report of the Special Commission of Inquiry in NSW Greyhound Racing by former High Court judge Michael McHugh.

Mr McHugh’s reportwhich found as many as 68,000greyhoundswere slaughtered as “wastage” in the past 12 years “because they were considered too slow to pay their way or were unsuitable for racing”.

It recommended the NSW Parliament decide whether the industry has lost its social licence and should be no longer able to operate.

But some Nationals, including CootamundraMP Katrina Hodgkinson, Barwon MP Kevin Humphries and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis have publicly argued against the ban, warning it will devastate local communities.

The industry argues it has reformed since the issue came to light in an expose of live baiting by ABC’sFour Cornersprogram and deserves the chance to prove itself.

Last week it launched legal action in the NSW Supreme Court seeking to have Mr McHugh’s reportdeclared invalid.

The summons seeks a declaration that Mr McHugh’s report be declared invalid because it was unreasonable, lacked procedural fairness and went beyond the terms of reference.

Opposition leader Luke Foley has promised a Labor government would overturn the ban.


System ‘did not adequately protect’ teen who set himself alight: coroner

Kyle Sear.

A 16-year-old boy who set himself on fire was not given the support he needed by child protection authorities, a coroner’s inquest has found.

In her recentfindings, Coroner Jacqui Hawkins saida number of “missed opportunities”for interventionby child protection authorities potentiallyfailedKyle Sears, whodoused himself with petrol and set fire to his body in 2013.

However,she said she was unable to determine if authorities had adequately responded to and investigatedKyle’s circumstances, whether his death would have been prevented.

“…the child protection system did not adequately protect Kyle in his time of need and vulnerability,” her findings read.

Coroner Jacqui Hawkins

It was determined during the inquest Kyle’sdeath was not intentional.

Kyle, a teenager who experienced a traumatic childhood of neglect and abuse, died from burns to 90 per cent of his body after setting himself on fire in front of aBallarat man he had met over the internet.

Wayne Schefferle, 49, put the flames out with a hose and placed Kyle in a bath until ambulances arrived, it was in the bath Kyle asked “what have I done?”.

But despite a history of self harm, it was determined bythe inquest Kyle would not have understood the risks of what he was doing at the time.

Schefferlehad invited the 16-year-old to live with him in Ballarat after he was kicked out of his South Australian home following arguments with his family over their lack of support of his homosexuality.

The inquest heard conflicting evidence about the relationship between Schefferle and Kyle, despite Schefferledenying they were in a sexual relationship.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)Child Protection received a report which raised concerns over the living situation six months before Kyle died.

Three months after receiving the report the departmentinterviewedKyle, who told them he was not in a sexual relationship with Schefferle and that they were only friends living in a share house.

The inquest heard less than two months before Kyle’s death,Child Protection assessed there were no concerns that would warrant continued intervention and they ceased involvement with the teenager.

A month before Kyle’s deathhis case was closed.

A Child Protections operations manager from the West Division, on behalf of DHHS, told the inquest there was limited assessment made of Kyle.

The Child Protection operations manager told the inquest vital information about Kyle, his childhood experiences of abuse and neglect, his psychologicalhealth, risk of self-harming behaviours and engagement with services in South Australia did not form part of the risk assessment.

She also admitted the nature of Kyle’s relationship with Schefferle was not fully assessed during the investigations.

Coroner Hawkins said the “inadequate” investigations created a number of missed opportunities to support Kyle.

“Once Victoria Police were not able to establish and investigate a criminal offence, DHHS became the key agency who had the ability to protect and support Kyle and remove him from potential harm.”

She said if Kyle had been identified as high-risk it is possible he may have been linked in with a case worker who could have looked out for his needs.

But she conceded each individual and organisation who came into contact with Kyle did not have the full picture at any point in time and DHHS has since responded and implemented new investigationprocesses.

Western Victoria Primary Health Network CEO Jason Trethowan saidone in four young people will experience some form of mental health condition over their lifetime.

He said people experiencing mental health issues have a number of options in the community to help.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed about,” he said.

“The healthy thing to do is talk to friends, family,neighbours,teachers or a general practitioner.

“It’s amazing how good we feel after that initial conversation.”

Mr Trethowan said discussions about mental health have become a normal part of society, with younger generations willing to speak more opening about the issue.

He encouraged anyone who believe they knowsomeone who may be suffering from a mental health condition to keep talking with them and help them seek professional help.

►Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline’s 24-hour telephone counselling service on13 11 14.

Kids Helpline |1800 55 1800Headspace Ballarat | 5304 4777

Interest rate cut tipped to bring more buyers to property market

Sydney and Melbourne’s spring housing markets are tipped to get a pep in their steps following the Reserve Bank’s decision to slash the official interest rate to a historic low of 1.5 per cent.

The 0.25 basis points drop on Tuesday, if fully passed on, should encourage buyers to stretch themselves further and more vendors to put their home on the market, experts say.

More supply pumped into the strengthening markets, fuelled by a shortage of stock, is expected to keep prices growth at more sustainable levels.

An interest rate cut would improve affordability and confidence, Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said.

Sydney and Melbourne have recorded relatively strong July auction activity, with clearance rates at or near their highest levels for the year, he said.

“The market certainly has upward momentum, and that will only be added to by a cut in interest rates,” he said.

“It certainly will set the scene for what will be a revival in terms of listing numbers and a continuation of what is really a sellers’ market in both Sydney and Melbourne.”

LJ Hooker chief executive Grant Harrod said the decision should spur listings ahead of the spring selling season.

A shortage of stock had underpinned price growth in Sydney and Melbourne over the past quarter, he said, and more listings would bring greater sustainability to the market.

“We’re now a month away from the peak selling season and the RBA’s move will motivate buyers even further,” Mr Harrod said.

Melbourne-based Trudy Biggin, of Biggin and Scott, said the rate cut would give people more confidence to stretch themselves just a little bit more to buy a property.

“And that’s what you have to do in this market,” she said. “If you want to get something when the market’s so strong, and there’s so few of them, you’ve got to be in that position where you can go just that bit extra.”

Lower interest rates was a contributing factor to prices growth, but it also meant the economy wasn’t performing very well, she added.

Ms Biggin believed there would continue to be a scarcity of properties coming onto the market because many people – particularly downsizers in the bayside region – were scared to sell because they did not see many homes they could buy.

CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said there would likely be a renewed level of scrutiny on the housing market by the government if the cut was passed on.

“A resurgence of growth could trigger a new round of regulation from APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority) aimed at limiting growth in investment lending and/or tightening loan to valuation ratio requirements for lenders,” he said.

“The latest interest decision is likely to keep a base level of demand across the housing market, however, other factors, such as affordability constraints, higher supply levels, tighter lending conditions and weak rental markets are likely to see growth conditions continue moderating back to more sustainable levels.”

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