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Archive for March, 2010

Perth will sprawl further than New York City, be clogged with cars and people will live in each other’s pockets as the city groans under the weight of an extra two million residents over the next 40 years. 

An analysis of how Perth is growing and will grow as more people call the city home also warns that more desalination plants, thousands of kilometres of roads and hundreds of schools will have to be built to cope with the surge in residents. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is forecasting Perth’s population to hit 3.8 million from its current 1.7 million by 2050.

For the first time the bureau has looked at what that will mean to Perth residents – and the picture is dominated by sprawling suburbs and long journeys to work.

Already the city covers 5423sq km but statistician Phil Smythe found that if the population reached 3.8 million, and even if housing density increased, Perth would sprawl over 12,000sq km.

New York City, home to 17.8 million people, covers 8700sq km.

Perth would stretch from the coastal hamlet of Lancelin in the north to the Lakes turn-off in the Perth Hills and south to a point midway between Mandurah and Bunbury.

The population density of Perth would increase to 710 people for every square kilometre, up from 319.

Mr Smythe said the number of vehicles would swell from 900,000 to almost two million.

Thousands of kilometres of roads would have to be built to cope with the extra traffic, and the use of public transport would have to increase dramatically.

Mr Smythe said fewer than 10 per cent of Perth residents used public transport now but that would have to increase to avoid serious congestion.

More desalination plants would be necessary to cope with the increased demand for water, and power generation would have to more than double to supply the energy demands.

There would be challenges for the city’s education system, with the number of schools likely to more than double to 2300 with 600,000 students.

“This may mean stiff competition for school names,” he said. “Already there are 73 schools named after saints, including 12 after St Joseph and nine after St Mary.”

Professor of sustainability at Curtin University, Peter Newman, said the attitudes of Perth residents would change, as they were already in the US, with more people moving back towards the city centre rather than out to the suburban fringes.

He said there were huge costs associated with suburban growth, from transport to health, and it meant more people were now looking to higher density or inner-city life.

“You’ll see places like Mandurah, Kwinana, Rockingham, Karrinyup and Morley fill up, especially as younger people start giving up their cars,” he said.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday that people who demanded a cap on Australia’s population were too narrowly focused in their complaints.

“It is all too easy to speak of the costs of an increased population, and forget the benefits,” he said. “This is a mistake too often made.” “You’ll see places like Mandurah, Kwinana, Rockingham, Karrinyup and Morley fill up, especially as younger people start giving up their cars,” he said.

Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday that people who demanded a cap on Australia’s population were too narrowly focused in their complaints.

“It is all too easy to speak of the costs of an increased population, and forget the benefits,” he said. “This is a mistake too often made.”Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard says WA needs more migrants amid claims hundreds of thousands of extra workers are necessary over the next decade to thwart a labour crisis.

Speaking at a Perth business breakfast hosted by _The West Australian _and Murdoch University, Ms Gillard said both interstate and international migration was needed to help fill future job vacancies.

It comes as employer groups warn labour shortages are set to hit within months.

Ms Gillard said WA also needed to better utilise its youth market, which was suffering a 10 per cent unemployment rate.

She blamed the labour problem partly on the booming resources sector which was drawing workers, infrastructure and services away from rest of the economy.

“That’s why we need to properly analyse and assess all claims about the West’s needs in the decade or so ahead, including claims about the need to attract hundreds of thousands of new workers,” she said.

“There’s no doubt more interstate and overseas migrants will be needed, but we need to look also at how we can achieve better results with the assets that are already available and underused.

“With a youth unemployment rate of almost 10 per cent, there is more work to be done to create the pathways that will give these kids a future.”

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry said labour shortages would hit in the second half of this year, with WA needing an extra 400,000 workers in the decade from 2007. Based on current population trends, there would be 150,000 shortfall.

CCI supports strong migration to alleviate the skills shortage, which threatened to curb WA’s economic growth during the last boom.

The WA Group Training Scheme, which last year sacked some apprentices because of reduced work, said there had been a quick economic turnaround and expectations of boom-level demand this year.

Ms Gillard said an expanded training initiative announced yesterday, creating 11,000 advanced level training places nationally, would help address some of the skills shortage.

Ms Gillard, who heads to the Pilbara today to inspect the $43 billion Gorgon project, warned unions not to engage in unlawful industrial action, singling out the construction union’s Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald. “We have got no tolerance for people who seek to break the rules and I am well aware there is a concern in this State over the propensity of some individuals to believe they are beyond the law,” she said.

Mr Reynolds said he was not surprised at being singled out by Ms Gillard over unlawful industrial action, claiming the pair had an adverse relationship. He said migration should be a back-up with the focus on training. 

Ms Gillard said an expanded training initiative announced yesterday, creating 11,000 advanced level training places nationally, would help address some of the skills shortage.

Ms Gillard, who heads to the Pilbara today to inspect the $43 billion Gorgon project, warned unions not to engage in unlawful industrial action, singling out the construction union’s Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald. “We have got no tolerance for people who seek to break the rules and I am well aware there is a concern in this State over the propensity of some individuals to believe they are beyond the law,” she said.

Mr Reynolds said he was not surprised at being singled out by Ms Gillard over unlawful industrial action, claiming the pair had an adverse relationship. He said migration should be a back-up with the focus on training.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Thornlie’s tree man Richard Pennicuik has ended his 110 day protest and climbed down from the 20m-high eucalyptus melliodorain on the front verge of his home.

Mr Pennicuik has been living in the tree outside his Hume Road home since early December, including during Monday’s devastating hail storm that swept across Perth and caused more than $200 million damage.

The City of Gosnells wants to remove the tree, claiming it poses a danger.                                                                                                                

Mr Pennicuik claimed he won the moral battle before doing a lap around the tree and heading inside his home to have a shower.

He initially released a four paragraph statement, but re-emerged to speak to reporters, saying he felt great.

“The tree weathered the worst storm to hit Perth ever and it’s in good condition, it has proven itself,” Mr Pennicuik said.

“It is worth it because we have shown the people of Australia they need the constitution, they can’t do without it.

“I think I have (proven my point) I think the tree has.”

City of Gosnells Mayor Olwen Searle today welcomed the Mr Pennicuik’s decision to come down from the tree, but confirmed the council would go ahead with plans to chop it down.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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West Australians expect the biggest pay rises of any workers in the country, believing the global recession is over and the mining boom has arrived.

A report by Westpac has found 14 per cent of West Australians expect a pay rise of at least 8 per cent over the coming year, while another 21 per cent think they’ll get a rise of between 4 per cent and 8 per cent.

It is the highest proportion of workers in any State who think they will be rewarded with a wage rise two or three times the rate of inflation.

And in a sign of the confidence of WA workers, just 0.4 per cent of those surveyed say they will have a pay cut – the lowest proportion of any State. By contrast, more than 6 per cent of South Australians fear they will have their pay cut while just 19 per cent expect a pay rise of at least 4 per cent.

More than 35 per cent of those aged between 18 and 24 expect a pay rise of at least 8 per cent compared to less than 10 per cent of people aged 55-64. While 35 per cent of respondents who earn more than $100,000 a year expect at least an 8 per cent rise, less than half of those earning under $40,000 expect any pay rise.

CommSec chief equities economist Craig James said that despite signs of optimism, Australian consumers were increasingly conservative. While household disposable income had grown almost 8 per cent last year, close to the fastest rate in 19 years, consumer spending had lifted just 2.2 per cent or the slowest in 16 years.

“And then there is the news that 70 per cent of Commonwealth Bank home loan customers are ahead in their loan repayments – making higher repayments than they need to,” he said. “How long this new conservatism continues remains anybody’s guess.”

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Tree man Richard Pennicuik will come down from his tree, but not today.                                                                                                                           

He said this morning it was his “intent to come down” but he now needed to work out “the best course of action” for how to do it.

Mr Pennicuik said he was up until 4am with friends and family discussing what to do.

“What we’re looking to do is we’re looking to get down and we’re going to pursue it in the right direction to get down and that’s going to take us a little while,” he said.

“I’m not going to come down when people tell me.

“I’m going to come down when I want, I’m going to come down on my terms.

“I can’t come down looking like an idiot.”

Mr Pennicuik said yesterday that he needed “time” to think and talk to his friends and family after receiving legal advice that he should come down from a tree he has called home for three months.

Following a brief telephone conversation just after noon with his lawyer John Hammond, who called him from a neighbour’s house, Mr Pennicuik looked down at the gathered media pack yesterday to declare he was staying put.

But this morning he said: “It’s my every intent to come down.”

Whether it happens or not is another thing but that is my intent.”

Mr Hammond advised his client to come down after he received a letter from the City of Gosnells warning Mr Pennicuik could be fined $5000 fine and $500 for every subsequent day he stayed up.

Mr Pennicuik said this morning discussions last night focused on a track “that was completely wrong” but he would not say what that was. He said it was later ruled out.

Early yesterday speculation was growing that Mr Pennicuik would end his now 94-day protest.

But following the conversation with Mr Hammond, Mr Pennicuik said he did not want the council to make an example of him if he came down.

He said he was prepared to go to jail – a possibility if he failed to pay any fines – over his environmental crusade. He said he was also told his house could be seized.

Mr Pennicuik admitted he could not afford the cost of the fines, but insisted: “I can stay up here for the next 20 years.”

He said the council had reneged on a three-month moratorium to take no action.

But the council has said Mr Pennicuik shifted the goal posts when he made new demands for other trees to be spared and a barrier to be erected around the tree outside his house.

The council has maintained the eucalyptus melliodora has a history of being dangerous.

Gosnells mayor Olwen Searle said yesterday she was disappointed Mr Pennicuik had not taken his lawyer’s advice.

She said the council intended to visit him and ask him formally to come down, though she would not say when or give a timeframe for cutting down the tree.

Anyprosecution would be determined in the courts.

“All the council has ever endeavoured to do is to get Richard to come out of the tree and talk to us and we have given him every opportunity,” she said.

Mr Hammond said it was up to Mr Pennicuik whether to heed his advice.

“He is facing prosecution by the City of Gosnells, so Richard needs to make a call on that,” he said.

“If Richard wants to remain in the tree he can but there’s going to be legal consequences in doing that.”

Mr Pennicuik was already forced to remove a tree house in January and had an application to the Heritage Council rejected. 

“All the council has ever endeavoured to do is to get Richard to come out of the tree and talk to us and we have given him every opportunity,” she said.

Mr Hammond said it was up to Mr Pennicuik whether to heed his advice.

“He is facing prosecution by the City of Gosnells, so Richard needs to make a call on that,” he said.

“If Richard wants to remain in the tree he can but there’s going to be legal consequences in doing that.”

Mr Pennicuik was already forced to remove a tree house in January and had an application to the Heritage Council rejected.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Real estate hotspotsan average 34.4 per cent every year since 2000, compared to a national suburban average of 9.9 per cent for houses, and 8.1 per cent for units.

WA metropolitan home-owners appear to be the biggest winners in the country, with Perth accounting for 11 of the suburbs in the top 20 growth areas.

The other areas in the top 20 are Jindalee, Bertram, Hammond Park, Wattle Grove, Aubin Grove, Butler, Carramar, Darch, Sinagra, and Beeliar.

Only units in Oaksdown in Greater Hobart enjoyed slightly higher capital gain at 34.6 per cent, but house prices were highest in Perth’s semi-rural Herne Hill in the Swan Valley.

Local Elders Real Estate agent Ian Henry said prices started to skyrocket in 2005, after years of sluggish growth.

He said the area had wineries, breweries, top restaurants and café culture, while at the same time offering the benefits of a country lifestyle, such as tight-knit community and big blocks of land.

The city was only 20km away, and major shopping centres such a Morley Galleria.

“It seems like Perth only really discovered the Swan Valley a few years ago,” Mr Henry said.

He said growth had been sluggish this year, as in most areas, but was expected to pick up again next year.

The RP Data report said the top growth suburbs around the nation were mostly situated on the outskirts of cities.

“This is largely due to the fact that in most instances pricing has come from a very low base ten years ago,” said the report.

“Undoubtedly new development has helped boost prices in many of these areas.”

The report said that it was unlikely that these areas would enjoy the same level of capital growth over the next decade.

Top Ten Growth areas:

1. Oakdowns, Greater Hobart, unit – $275,000(median price) (34.6 per cent increase in 10 years)

2. Herne Hill, Perth, house – $595,000 (34.4 per cent)

3. Jindalee, Perth, house – $600,000 (33.3 per cent)

4. Bertram, Perth, house – $383,000 (33.3 per cent)

5. Blairmount, Sydney, house – $327,000 (33.3 per cent)

6. Hammond Park, Perth, house – $485,000 (33.1 per cent)

7. Beecroft, Sydney, unit – $520,000 (32.7 per cent)

8. Gunn, Darwin, house – $464,000 (32.7 per cent)

9. Wattle Grove, Perth, house – $450,000 (32.6 per cent)

10 Gardenvale, Melbourne, unit – $328,000 (32.4 per cent)

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today welcomed the final report of the Baird Review on the legislation governing international education.

It is most pleasing to note Mr Baird’s support for the Rudd Government’s changes to the skilled migration program announced on 8 February 2010.

The skilled migration program changes will encourage overseas students to focus on obtaining a quality education from a high quality provider by removing incentives for students to apply for a course simply in the hope of being granted permanent residence.

Under the changes, the wide-ranging migration occupations in demand list was revoked and will be replaced mid-year by a new and more targeted skilled occupations list to be developed by the independent body, Skills Australia.

The new skilled occupations list will be tightly focused on high value skills that will assist in addressing Australia’s future skills needs. It will deliver a mix of skills across the professions and trades in areas such as healthcare, engineering and mining.

International students currently studying in Australia who hold a vocational, higher education or postgraduate student visa will still be able to apply for permanent residence if their occupation is on the new skilled occupations list.

Students currently studying a course in an occupation that is not on the new skilled occupations list will have until the end of 2012 to apply for a temporary skilled graduate visa which will enable them to spend up to 18 months in Australia to acquire work experience and find an Australian employer willing to sponsor them.

It must be remembered that a student visa is just that: a visa to study. It does not give someone an automatic entitlement to permanent residence.

International students should be focused on obtaining a good qualification from a quality education provider in a field in which they want to work. The changes will in no way impact on international students coming to Australia to gain a legitimate qualification and then return home.

Similarly, Australia’s migration program is not and should not be determined by the courses studied by international students.

Australia will continue to welcome international students and provide an opportunity for those who have the necessary qualifications and skills to find an Australian employer willing to sponsor them for a permanent visa.

Source  :  www.immigov.au

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