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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 tenants should brace themselves as rising house prices, improving economic conditions and more newcomers to the state combine to force up rents this year, a leading property researcher says.

The latest rental report by Australian Property Monitors shows asking rents in Perth have increased in the first three months of the year.

The median weekly asking rent for houses in the metropolitan area is now $370, a $10 increase on the previous quarter and the first rise in more than a year, while units increased $8, to $358.

But with rising house prices, increased rents have not led to increased yields. The gross yield for houses is now 4.06 per cent, while units are yielding 4.62 per cent.

That leaves Perth ahead of only Melbourne among all state capitals.

APM economist Matthew Bell said he expected Perth rentals to increase a further $10 a quarter for the rest of the year, with a strong resources sector and population growth the driving factors.

But this was unlikely to be fast enough to maintain yields, which would drop slightly as house prices rose further. The median Perth house price is believed to have passed $500,000.

Really, the outlook for both rents and house prices is pretty strong,” he said.

“Yields will probably soften again, but historically they are at pretty good levels.”

Houses were usually bought by investors for capital growth, with units offering better yields, Mr Bell said.

Meanwhile, the Urban Development Institute of Australia said its own research showed a six-month delay in planning approval could add 7 per cent to the price of an average block in the metropolitan area.

UDIA WA chief executive Debra Goostrey said developers were doing what they could to ensure “affordable” land was being made available during a time of increasing prices.

“We also need the support of a fast and efficient planning approvals process to avoid costs associated with delays,” she said.

Her comments follow those last week by property researcher Terry Ryder, who said claims of housing shortages were a beat-up by property industry lobby groups.

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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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Two in three West Australian adults are expected to take part in a $20 million splurge on lottery tickets in the hope of scooping Australia’s record $90 million Lotto jackpot next week.
  
Lottery fever has gripped WA and it is estimated five times more tickets than usual will be bought in the State for Tuesday’s Oz Lotto draw.
  
The $90 million prize pool is unprecedented in Australian lottery history and is the culmination of nine weeks of rolled-over Oz Lotto prizes.
  
Lotterywest chief executive Jan Stewart said lottery ticket sales in WA were up 6 per cent on last year and were expected to jump even higher for Tuesday’s bumper draw.
  
“Our experience is that irrespective of the economic climate, people seem to continue to spend the few dollars each week they have been accustomed to spending on a Lotto or scratchie ticket and to find a little more when there is something special on like a big Oz Lotto or Powerball jackpot or a Saturday Lotto Superdraw,” Ms Stewart said. 
  
WA is a lottery-loving State, a fact which could be attributed to the ban on poker machines that has reduced gambling choices in the West.
  
Whether WA is luckier or just plays more, the State is full of Lotto winners. Over the past 12 months, seven of the 12 major (Division One) wins in the Oz Lotto game across Australia have gone to WA.
  
West Australian adults spend an average of $5.98 every week on the lottery and the clamour for tickets for Tuesday’s draw has shown they are spending more than ever.
  
Greg Mills, of Yokine Lottery Centre, said the number of people coming in to buy Lotto tickets had soared from an average of 250 a day to 350 in the run-up to Tuesday’s game.
  
“It’s pumping. People all want a share of this $90 million. It’s creating a lot of interest,” Mr Mills said.
  
Sadly, though, the chances of winning are slim — 45 million to one.
  
To improve your chances, it might be worth taking note of which numbers come up most often. The number 5 has been drawn 14 times over the past 50 Oz Lotto draws, while 45, 35 and 28 have come up 13 times each.
  
At the other end of the scale, the number 38 has emerged only three times in the past 50 draws. Numbers 6, 14, 36 and 39 were almost as unlucky, with four appearances each. 
  
You could also buy your ticket in one of WA’s lottery hotspots. Kalgoorlie has had the most Division One wins over the past five years, with $31.7 million won by eight players.
  
Perth CBD is also a lucky place, with more than $26.4 million shared between 11 Division One ticket holders over the same period.
  
Morley has had the highest number of Division One winners with 12 tickets sharing $9.8 million.
  
The biggest Division One win of all time was $58.7 million, which was won in Victoria in the Powerball game in June 2008.

Source  :   www.thewest.com.au

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Relief is on the way for stranded holidaymakers on Rottnest Island after a major ferry service decided to brave dubious weather conditions this weekend.

Rottnest Express had cancelled services until Monday, after forecasts of gale-force winds. It left up to 200 people stranded on the island until at least Monday, after the other operator, Oceanic Express, also decided against taking to the sea this weekend.

But Rottnest Express today decided to run skeleton services this weekend, with four trips to the island, and two back, tomorrow and Sunday.

Chief executive Tim Crosland said the company believed it had an obligation to always provide services “if safe”.

Each scheduled journey would be assessed on the prevailing weather conditions, he said.

Oceanic Express is running a service today for pre-booked passengers.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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FOUL-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay has shocked a public audience by vilifying high profile Australian journalist Tracy Grimshaw in an obscene, sexist rant.

The putrid tirade, which included references to Grimshaw’s looks, sexuality and depictions of her as a pig, shocked audiences who went to see the celebrity chef at the Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne.

Ramsay told an audience of several thousand people that Grimshaw was “a lesbian”, the Sunday Herald Sun reports.

When the crowd reacted with gasps, he said: “What? I’m not saying she’s a …”

The phrase that Ramsay used was a highly derogatory term often used to describe lesbians.

Ramsay also showed a picture of a woman – who appeared to be naked – on her hands and knees with the features of a pig and multiple breasts. 

Tracy Grimshaw,” he told the audience. “I had an interview with her yesterday – holy crap.

“She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.”

Ramsay – who later dismissed the comments as a joke – went on with more innuendos about Grimshaw’s sexual preference and activities.

The crude remarks did not impress Channel Nine chief executive David Gyngell, who phoned Ramsay to tell him they were inappropriate and that he had gone too far.

Just a year ago, the celebrity chef had been lauded as the network’s saviour, with his programs Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares rating highly.

Mandy Saunders was at the food expo with her two children and elderly mother.                                          gorden

“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing – it was disgusting,” Ms Saunders said.

“The show is meant for families. That was way out of order.”

Anthony Kavroulas was also in the audience at Ramsay’s performance.

“What can I say? It was totally sexist,” Mr Kavroulas said.

Women’s groups also expressed their disgust, saying it was wrong that Ramsay was making money by comparing women with animals.

Melinda Tankard Reist, from Women’s Forum Australia, said Ramsay’s sponsors should dump him and he should leave Australia.

“Ramsay’s sexist and demeaning actions are offensive to every Australian woman,” Ms Reist said.
“Why should he get paid for depicting a woman as an animal and publicly deriding her looks?

“He shouldn’t be making money through the verbal abuse of women.

“Gordon Ramsay is no longer welcome here. The sponsors of his trip should immediately remove their support and send him packing.”

LG, a major sponsor of the Good Food and Wine Show, said it did not want to comment on the incident.

Ramsay appeared on Nine’s A Current Affair and was interviewed by Tracy Grimshaw on Friday night.

During the interview, he commented on Grimshaw’s facial mole, asking: “Is that a wart? It looks like your little sister’s on your lip.”

Grimshaw appeared to take that remark well.

But A Current Affair executive producer Grant Williams said yesterday the chef had gone too far and should stick to cooking and lay off the comedy.

“We know Gordon Ramsay sets out to shock, but if what we’re being told is true, we’re very surprised,” Williams said.

“Frankly, although it’s plainly a joke, it’s out of order.

“Gordon has proved here that he doesn’t need to be in the kitchen to create a nightmare.

“As a comedian, he makes a pretty good cook. Maybe he’d be better off at The Chaser.”

A spokeswoman for Ramsay said the stunt was just a joke and should have been taken as one.

“He really respects Tracy Grimshaw as a journalist. It was just a joke,” Sarah Armstrong said.

“She interviews him every time he comes to Australia. They have a great relationship.”

Source www.news.com.au

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