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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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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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The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is strengthening checks on student visa applications to stamp out fraud and ensure students have the financial capacity to live and study in Australia.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans said today that applications for student visas grew by 20 per cent to 362 193 in 2008-09, with almost 28 000 student visas refused, an increase of 68 per cent on the number of refusals in 2007-08.

‘While overall student visa compliance rates remain high, there are elements of concern within this large caseload,’ the minister said.

The targeted measures will address the potential for document fraud and other issues around financial capacity, identification and bona fides in some parts of the student caseload. The measures implemented with immediate effect include:

  • upgrading the interview program to build a strong evidence base around fraud;
  • removing or restricting eVisa access for some agents where there is evidence of fraud or inactivity, and
  • restricting access to eVisa for some segments of the caseload if analysis demonstrates restricted access would allow for better control of fraud.

The measures will target parts of the student visa caseload in India, Mauritius, Nepal, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

‘These measures are consistent with those used by other countries that receive large numbers of student visa applications, such as the United States,’ Senator Evans said.

‘Australia’s student visa program supports the entry of genuine international students. For those students, the department provides a convenient, efficient service.

‘The message is clear: genuine international students remain welcome in Australia, but we will not tolerate fraud in the student visa program.’

The measures are part of the Government’s ongoing response to any changes in risk in visa programs and will build on work already conducted across the student visa program to combat fraud as it emerges. Similar arrangements are already in place for students from other countries, such as Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

‘Student visa requirements are aligned to the immigration risk presented by an applicant. The greater the risk identified, the more evidence required to be granted a student visa. Risk is determined by an objective analysis of visa compliance,’ Senator Evans said.

The next formal review of student visa risk framework is scheduled for 2010. The data obtained from the enhanced checking of student visa applications will help inform future reviews.

Source  :  http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2009/ce09075.htm

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Bruce McFarlane, Director of Small Business Development Corporation, state of Western Australia, says: “The state of Western Australia is keen to encourage businesswestern-australia-kangaroo-beach migration from UK.

“W.A. is investing many billions of dollars in major infrastructure projects in coming years to boost business and the general economy and you could play a major part in our future success.

“We have a wide range of free services available to help start and grow your business including business licences, market reports and analysis, how to register for tax, business grants and much more.

“W.A. is a low tax state for business, with land and property prices relatively cheap compared to other states and a range of tax breaks are available from the government.

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With the increasing interest in Britons looking to migrate to Australia, the   perth
health of the economy down under is an important topic.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will deliver his 2nd Federal Budget on the 12th
May and he is expected to spend big in order to stimulate the Australian
econ0my that has slowed but not been devastated from the current Economic
Crisis.

In his first budget last year, PM Rudd promised to follow the previous
Howard Government’s prudent economic practise of positive budgets and had
forecast a A$21bn Surplus. Then along came the economic turmoil of 2008 and
PM Rudd went on a massive spending spree to keep the economy afloat and try
and avoid the first Australian recession in over 14 years.

So far this has seemed to work with only a 0.1% retraction in the Australian
economy in the December 2008 quarter, and we can expect to see some major
spending and incentive programs announced in this years’ budget aimed at
further invigorating the Australian economy and maintaining it as one of the
worlds safe havens.

This could be good news for Australian property investors and intended
migrants, that continue to enjoy favourable access to finance and prices
that have stayed firmer than many other countries, including the United
Kingdom, but have come off to offer true value in the current market.

SMATS Group Chairman, Steve Douglas, will be conducting his Annual
Australian Budget Review Seminar in London on the 9th & 10th June and it is
an opportunity for UK based Australians and English citizens with an
interest in Australia, to hear a full analysis of the Federal Budget and
discuss how it may impact on their personal situation.

This seminar is part of a world tour for Mr Douglas who presents this
seminar in Asia, Middle East and the Asia, Middle Eas tand USA as well. “This annual event has
proven popular as we endeavour to explain the complex issues announced in
the budget in simple English that anyone can understand and then discuss how
it may influence property and financial markets so people can use the
knowledge to their advantage.”

SMATS Group is the largest firm in the world assisting Australian Landlords
and Intended Migrants with their Australian Taxation & Finance requirements.

www.australiamagazine.co.uk

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