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Source  :  www.frixo.com

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The Australian Government is hosting an employment expo in London during September to help employers find skilled workers from the UK, a Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said today.

“Are you skilled in engineering, medical services, or trades? If so, Australia needs you,” the spokesman said.

“There is still a critical need for skilled workers across a range of Australian industries. The Skills Australia Needs Expo in London will target the industries most in need of skilled workers, such as the mining, health and construction industries.”

“The expo will play host to representatives from major Australian employers and governments from all Australian states and territories. Participants will be able to find out more about possible career pathways down under.”

Since the expo program started in 2005, some 23 expos have been staged in Australia and overseas, with eight in the United Kingdom.

The last UK expo was in 2009 and featured 38 exhibitors including Australian employers, government organisations and relocation service providers. More than 1800 people from the UK who had skills in high demand in Australia also attended.

“The last expo was a big success for both industry representatives and people attending: 90 per cent of participants said they would recommend future expos to friends, while 80 per cent thought they might have met a suitable sponsor for migration to Australia as a result of the expo,” a DIAC spokesman said.

The Skills Australia Needs expo will be staged in London on September 11 and 12.

For more information or to register interest in attending, please go to www.immi.gov.au/skillexpos/overseas.htm

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New Housing Minister Bill Marmion has shocked the property market by saying he wants to flood WA with housing lots to cut home prices.

In a speech to Parliament that has set alarm bells ringing throughout the real estate industry, Mr Marmion said the Barnett Government’s aim was to “bring house prices down”.

“The Department of Land is looking at this issue very closely,” he said.

“It owns land and it is looking at its land stocks and will release as much land as possible.

“That will reduce the pressure on housing supplies. Our aim is to bring the median house price down and to have it lower than the median house price in other States.”

Mr Marmion, who took over the job last month after Troy Buswell was sacked, said the only thing the Government could do to achieve its aim was “release more land and houses”. He refused to elaborate on his comments yesterday.

March quarter figures from RP Data put the median house price in Perth at $480,000, equal to Darwin, but behind Sydney ($500,000) and nation-leading Canberra ($510,800).

Hobart had the cheapest prices in Australia at $323,750.

The State Government established an Office of Land and Housing Supply in Thursday’s Budget and is reviewing available government land which Premier Colin Barnett said would “achieve a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to housing affordability issues”.

Shadow housing minister Mark McGowan warned the policy could result in houses being worth less than what people paid for them.

“If people go into negative equity with their house, that’s the worst possible outcome,” he said.

Real Estate Institute of WA chief executive Anne Arnold said Australians stored their wealth in the family home and it would be “politically unwise for any government to go down that path”.

But the plan won support from developer Nigel Satterley, who said land needed to become more affordable.

But he said the policy would not cut the price of existing houses.

“We’re on the cusp of a block shortage and whatever the Government can do should be encouraged,” Mr Satterley said.

Analysts at RP Data found in April that houses in Perth’s cheapest suburbs cost at least $60,000 more than those in the most affordable areas in the other major Australian cities.

Hillman was named the cheapest suburb in Perth, with a median house price of $280,000 – higher than the cheapest suburb in Adelaide ($200,000), Brisbane ($205,000), Melbourne ($218,000) and Sydney ($219,000).

Perth had less than 10 per cent of its 259 suburbs with a median house price under $350,000, compared with more than 20 per cent in all other big cities.

Blocks of land in Perth were the most expensive in Australia, according to a recent analysis by RP Data and the Housing Industry Association, with a single square metre of “prime earth” now costing an average of $521.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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Mining magnate Clive Palmer says his iron ore company has put a West Australian project on hold because of the federal government’s resources super profits tax.

Mr Palmer continued his attack on the government today, saying he is prepared to put everything he has got into fighting the new tax.

He said the board of directors of his company Mineralogy decided to put the brakes on one of his planned Balmoral South iron ore projects in the Pilbara region on Tuesday due to growing uncertainty over the tax.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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Australians need to save more for the economy to avoid a more rapid run-up in inflation, triggered by nation’s rising terms of trade, the Reserve Bank said today.

“In putting together the Reserve Bank’s forecasts it has been assumed that more of this boost to income is saved than was the case in the earlier boom in the terms of trade,” RBA assistant governor Phillip Lowe.

“This reflects two factors. The first is the different position of the federal budget and the second is the more cautious approach to spending currently being displayed by the household sector.”

The federal budget, handed down this week, contained no major increases in public spending and is expected the return to a surplus by 2012-13.

In that time, the RBA forecasts Chinese steel production will continue to drive demand for Australian iron ore and coal strong, boosting the nation’s terms of trade.

Terms of trade are the prices of a nation’s exports relative to its imports.

“If this lift in saving does not occur, then demand in the economy could well be stronger than forecast, and this would put additional pressure on capacity,” he said.

A lack of spare capacity in the economy has pushed the year-to-March inflation figure to 2.9 per cent from 2.5 per cent in the year to December, which surprised the RBA, Mr Lowe said.

“Disinflationary forces in the economy are not quite as strong as previously expected, largely because the economy has performed better than previously expected,” Mr Lowe said, in the speech delivered to Colonial First State Investment Forum in Sydney.

The RBA expects inflation to fall only to 2.75 per cent later this year, less than originally anticipated after the release of the March data.

Retail sales have remained lacklustre since the middle of last year, after the end of the government’s cash stimulus grants to households during the financial crisis. Six interest rate rises since October have also cut into demand at retailers, with a number of businesses including Fantastic Furniture, Clive Peeters and Woolworth’s flagging weaker sales ahead.

The RBA lifted interest rates to 4.5 per cent his month, creating more headwinds for shoppers. The latest rate rise added another $46 to the average monthly repayment cost on a $300,000, 25-year mortgage.

Investors currently foresee no chance of an interest rate rise in June, but predict the official cash rate will be at 5 per cent within a year, according to Credit Suisse data.

The central bank predicts 3.25 per cent economic growth this year accelerating to 3.75-4 per cent growth in the next couple of years, amid rising prices for commodities exports.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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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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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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Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has signalled interest rates are on their way back up with mortgage rates likely to edge up between half and a full percentage point.

Giving evidence to the House of Representatives economics committee in Canberra, Mr Stevens said the RBA’s focus continued to be on what mortgage rates were offered by commercial banks rather than on the Reserve’s official cash rate.

He said given the commercial banks had lifted rates over and above what the RBA had done, there was still about a half and a full percentage point to go before mortgage rates were back to what the Reserve would consider close to their long term average.

“There’s a little distance to go yet before I think you could characterise the setting of interest rates as normal or average,” he said.

The RBA surprised markets by leaving official rates on hold at its February meeting.

Mr Stevens said on top of the Reserve’s own lift in official rates, the commercial banks actions had effectively delivered three and a half interest rate rises to mortgages cases, and in the case of Westpac customers, four rate hikes.

He said one of the advantages of lifting rates as the RBA did in the last three months of 2009 was that it could hold rates in February and get a clearer picture of how the economy was travelling.

“You get that luxury when you can wait a little a bit further down the line,” he said.

Mr Stevens said Australia had performed much better than even the RBA had expected out of the global recession.

But he warned that meant the economy was now heading into an upswing stronger than otherwise would have been the case.

“With the economy having had only a mild downturn with begin the upswing with less spare capacity than would typically be the case after a recession,” he said.

“There’s less scope for robust demand growth without inflation starting to rise again down the track.

“Monetary policy must be careful not to overstay a very expansionary setting.”

Mr Stevens said the resources sector in particular was looking to grow quickly, with the terms of trade likely to head back to the record highs seen in 2008 this year.

He also highlighted the strength of Australia’s sovereign debt position, hosing down fears the country was carrying too much debt.

“Australia’s position is by any measure very strong indeed,” he said.

The governor also played down fears raised by Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce that Australia could default on its debts.

Mr Stevens said Australia had never defaulted before and there were no signs it would now.

“I very much doubt there ever will be,” he said. 

“Monetary policy must be careful not to overstay a very expansionary setting.”

Mr Stevens said the resources sector in particular was looking to grow quickly, with the terms of trade likely to head back to the record highs seen in 2008 this year.

He also highlighted the strength of Australia’s sovereign debt position, hosing down fears the country was carrying too much debt.

“Australia’s position is by any measure very strong indeed,” he said.

The governor also played down fears raised by Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce that Australia could default on its debts.

Mr Stevens said Australia had never defaulted before and there were no signs it would now.

“I very much doubt there ever will be,” he said.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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WA will be able to handpick permanent migrants to service the booming resources sector and other areas of critical need under a massive overhaul of the skilled migration program to be unveiled today.

Under the changes, Immigration Minister Chris Evans will revoke and refund 20,000 applications from would-be skilled migrants and instead give top priority to those who are sponsored by employers and States for high-level jobs.

The overhaul is geared towards making Australia’s skilled migration super-responsive to urgent shortfalls in qualified mining and health sector workers, while also tightening permanent visa criteria for overseas students studying courses in low skill occupations.

Senator Evans will immediately abolish the Migration Occupations in Demand List, which gazettes 106 areas of preferred workers, replacing it by April with a more targeted Skilled Occupations List drawn up by the independent Federal authority Skills Australia in consultation with the States and business.

It means doctors, nurses, engineers and high-value professions and trades will have priority over low-skilled workers such as hairdressers and chefs.

In WA, as yesterday’s Olivier Jobs Index showed, the most sought after workers are in engineering, trades and services, and building.

In a marked departure from the existing skilled migration scheme, States will be asked to draw up their own migration plans to allow fast-tracking of applications for migrants sponsored by States or companies for specific jobs.

The bar will be raised for unsponsored skilled migration applicants, with criteria such as proficiency in the English language, work experience and overseas qualifications to be made tougher.

The overall annual skilled migration intake will remain unchanged at 108,100 people.

The changes are likely to have a significant impact on the burgeoning multi-billion-dollar overseas student market where hundreds of thousands of foreign students have come to Australia to undergo trades training, enticed by the prospect of permanent residency.

The Government believes such courses are skewing the migration program, leaving new permanent residents with poor English and little prospect of finding work in their nominated field of expertise.

Foreign students in Australia studying in areas dumped from the new skilled occupation hit list will be given 18 months after completion of their studies to find sponsorship from an employer or sent home.

The Government believes the new regime will help the clampdown on unscrupulous migration agents, many of whom are Indian-based, who con students into believing completion of an Australian course gives automatic entitlement to permanent residence. 

The bar will be raised for unsponsored skilled migration applicants, with criteria such as proficiency in the English language, work experience and overseas qualifications to be made tougher.

The overall annual skilled migration intake will remain unchanged at 108,100 people.

The changes are likely to have a significant impact on the burgeoning multi-billion-dollar overseas student market where hundreds of thousands of foreign students have come to Australia to undergo trades training, enticed by the prospect of permanent residency.

The Government believes such courses are skewing the migration program, leaving new permanent residents with poor English and little prospect of finding work in their nominated field of expertise.

Foreign students in Australia studying in areas dumped from the new skilled occupation hit list will be given 18 months after completion of their studies to find sponsorship from an employer or sent home.

The Government believes the new regime will help the clampdown on unscrupulous migration agents, many of whom are Indian-based, who con students into believing completion of an Australian course gives automatic entitlement to permanent residence.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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The government of Western Australia is coming to Down Under Live in London to recruit skilled workers to help tackle the state’s impending skill shortages.

According to a respected economic analyst, Peter Kenyon, professor of economic policy at Perth’s Curtin University, the state is set to revisit the skills shortages that were the downside of the mining boom that ended in late 2008.

‘‘WA is doing well in terms of population growth and labour supply is increasing … we are likely to see a little bit of amelioration in the absolute skills shortage that we saw towards the end of the boom in 2008,’’ Prof Kenyon said. ‘‘I think that will be short-lived.

‘‘I think before very long we will again see the job advertisements increasing for waiters and all sorts of staff in the windows of all the businesses around Perth.

‘‘Not enough time has passed for us to build the skills base to get over that shortage.’’

As part of its commitment to build a strong base of skills in the state, representatives from the state’s Immigration and Health departments will be at the show, recruiting for a range of state sponsored jobs, and interviewing likely candidates. The participation of Western Australia at Down Under Live London, comes on the back of a successful show in Birmingham, where over 1,300 people came to the show in search of a new life in Australia or New Zealand.

Over 3,000 people are expected to attend the London event, and pre registrations are already strong, with jobseekers looking to take advantage of the pre show offer of 2 tickets for £10.

Anyone interested in getting tickets for the event should call               01179 323586         01179 323586 or go to www.downunderlive.co.uk

Source  :  www.australiamagazine.co.uk

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