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Perth’s median house price is tipped to hit $500,000 mark in the March quarter amid burgeoning confidence, according to the Real Estate Institute WA. 

It follows a 22 per cent jump in the number of properties for sale in the metropolitan area since December, with a current supply of 12,700 properties. 

The figure includes a welcome boost to the notoriously tight market for vacant blocks, with more than 2000 blocks of land for sale at the end of March. 

It is not the first time recently Perth homes have been linked to a half a million dollar median price, with Australian Property Monitors claiming two months ago that homes in the metropolitan area had already reached this level. 

But it is the first time that the more conservative REIWA has made the prediction.

REIWA President Alan Bourke said the increase in listing showed buyers and sellers believed the worst of the global financial crisis was now behind them. 

Soyrce  :  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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A FOUR-DAY heatwave is forecast to hit the Perth metropolitan area in the coming days, with authorities warning of a high bushfire danger.

Today the mercury is set to rise to 38C, followed by 41C on Sunday and Monday, then dropping back to 38C on Tuesday.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Andrew Mostyn said the searing conditions could prompt extreme danger on Sunday and Monday.

“It doesn’t appear as though it will be catastrophic for the fires but with the hot dry weather, it will probably be extreme,” Mr Mostyn said.

“On Sunday and Monday northeasterly winds will drag hot air from the inland Pilbara region down towards Perth.                                                                                                

“However, along the coast, there will be an afternoon sea breeze but it won’t penetrate enough inland to really affect the Perth temperature in the afternoon.”

Local swimming pools and metropolitan beaches are expected to be packed on Sunday as people seek relief from the heat.

The hottest January day ever recorded in Perth was 45.8C on January 31, 1991.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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An anonymous donor will cover the cost of replacing car tyres slashed in a vandal attack at Western Australia’s major children’s hospital.

Nurses returning to their vehicles from 12-hour night shifts were distraught to find tyres had been slashed on their cars some time on Monday night.

Up to 23 cars parked in Princess Margaret Hospital’s secure staff carpark were targeted in the attack.

PMH executive director Philip Aylward has released a statement today saying all affected staff will be reimbursed by a generous donor.

Police are still investigating the crime.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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THE days of scraping car rego stickers off windows are over in Western Australia, which tomorrow becomes the first state to abolish them.

Cutting-edge technology being used by West Australian police has made the stickers redundant, saving millions of dollars.

Police superintendent Lance Martin said hand-held computers were now providing officers with instant advice on registration expiries — as well as an extraordinary amount of other data — simply by tapping in a request.

A car’s owner, previous owners, registration status, even the engine number, were all available within seconds to officers on the beat.

“We can also do detailed searches on people, we can access the criminal records of every person in Australia, we can bring up their mugshots,” he said.

“I can even have an officer carrying one of these hand-held devices in the middle of Broome (1660km from Perth) and pull up an electronic mapping system to track where that officer is in real time, accurate to about five metres. It’s amazing.”

Western Australia is the only state with the hand-held TADIS-lite computers, which have revolutionised life for officers on foot patrol, horseback, pushbikes and motorbikes.

They were rolled out over the past few months.

Superintendent Martin said the expanded access to computers was “the tipping point” for getting rid of car stickers and motorbike tags. Previously, if police spotted an expired registration tag, they had to radio through to base and then wait for someone to run the registration on the land-based computer system.

“It was a very time-consuming approach,” he said.

“Today they just type in a registration number (from their hand-held computer) and within seconds they’ll have all of the information associated with that vehicle.”

The innovation had made the visible stickers irrelevant.

The West Australian technology is fast becoming the envy of forces across the nation, many of whom have sent delegations to Perth to examine it.

It began with larger TADIS computers fitted to police cars, reportedly the most advanced in Australia, and progressed this year to the unique hand-held version.

“Other states are particularly interested in the hand-held units,” Superintendent Martin said.

“This is far bigger than the registration stickers.

“Just in the metropolitan area now with our mobile data devises, we can do over six million enquiries a year. It’s massive.”

The West Australian Department of Transport, which administers vehicle registrations, confirmed it also had been approached by other states about the decision to phase out registration tags.

To ensure drivers were comfortable with the change, they can now phone a hotline or check online to clarify the status of their registration.

Source  :  www.theaustralian.com.au

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PERTH is to become a vibrant waterfront city, says Premier Colin Barnett, who today unveiled plans for a massive redevelopment featuring an inlet connecting the CBD and the river.

Mr Barnett plans to create a vibrant new area for the city and ‘finally’ connect the waterfront to the CBD.

The centrepiece will be a 2.8ha inlet that will bring the river back to near its original shore line. 

The inlet will be surrounded by landscaped terraces, boardwalks and promenades, and fringed by shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and other activities.

 “The Swan River – our greatest natural asset – is effectively cut ff from the city by Riverside Drive and by an expanse of lawn,” said Mr Barnett at today’s unveiling.

“Other major Australian cities have done far more with much less.  This will assist Perth to mature as a vibrant, sophisticated capital city, providing an attraction for locals and tourists.” By removing a section of Riverside Drive, the development encourages the use of public transport, taking advantage of the nearby Esplanade train station, Busport and commuter ferry services. Some changes to existing roads will be made to create more pedestrian-friendly routes.

Mr Barnett was joined by Planning Minister John Day,Tourism Minister Liz Constable and Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi at the unveiling.

The development will cover nearly 10ha, focused between Barrack and William streets.

“The development is designed for pedestrians and cyclists – not cars,” said Mr Barnett:.

“It will be an attractive destination for families, young people, city workers, national and international tourists and seniors to gather and enjoy.

“The State Government will take the lead on this development, along with Perth City Council, and we will be looking – indeed asking – the private sector to join with us.  I am also confident the Federal Government will be supportive.”

Mr Barnett said there was significant work to be done on road realignment, drainage and dredging but preliminary works would begin as soon as possible, with major construction starting in 2012.

The plans signal a new era of city building, as a logical and seamless extension of the city.  Together with The Link, major works to the Cultural Precinct and other CBD projects, the city’s axis will be redefined through the strengthening of the Barrack and William streets links.

In addition, Howard Street and Sherwood Court will provide direct links between St George’s Terrace and the waterfront, enhancing the capacity for these laneways to become vibrant places with shops, cafes and small bars.

The inlet, designed to reflect the historical characteristics of Perth Port, will have room for public boat mooring facilities.

At the heart of the new inlet will be an island, a landscaped parkland offering a unique experience for visitors. This family-focused destination will provide opportunities for relaxation in sheltered open spaces with 360 degree views of the surrounding city.  It may also include a safe, child-friendly beach and swimming areas.

Land at the foot of William Street has been preserved for a significant public building.  The Government’s preference is that this building be a national centre for indigenous art and culture, providing a major focus for the project.

Event spaces will be dotted throughout the waterfront, including a public square next to the Esplanade train station, the promenade, the island and a new road which can be closed to accommodate events.  Larger events will be held at the Supreme Court Gardens, which will be improved under the plan.

 There is also the potential to include a swimming pool, which could be an attractive recreational asset for city workers.

Full details of the Perth Waterfront concept plan can be found on the PlanningWA website at http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/waterfront 

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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A Perth man has been living in a eucalyptus tree in his front yard for the past three days in an effort to stop the giant tree being cut down by the local council.

Thornlie resident Richard Pennicuik said he felt like he had no choice but to protest against a decision by the City of Gosnells to remove more than 20 native trees from his street over the next week. He said he would not be leaving until the tree was saved.

City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said council would be removing the tree and hoped to come to an “amicable” resolution with Mr Pennicuik.

But he said the city would not try to remove him from his tree.

The tree removal program follows a city survey last year which identified 22 potentially dangerous trees in Hume Road, mainly because of falling branches.

The natives will be replaced by 35 jacarandas. Further along Mr Pennicuik’s street, workers have been busy removing the remaining tall eucalypts.

Mr Pennicuik had been living uncomfortably in the tree since early Monday morning and had struggled to sleep throughout his protest. Neighbours and friends have been supporting him, bringing food, water and other items.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

“I feel as I’ve been backed into this situation. All I want is this tree,” Mr Pennicuik said.

“I don’t mind if other people want their trees cut down,” Mr Pennicuik said. “But I won’t back down.”

Mr Cowie said the city would try to reason with Mr Pennicuik over the next few days but would not force him from the tree or endanger his safety.

“Inappropriate trees were planted 40 years ago, trees which are beautiful in the Australian bush which are beautiful in parkland but aren’t suited for an urban environment and the city can’t live with the risk,” he said.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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