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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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THE Rudd Government has dumped one of its key election promises, the Grocery Choice price monitoring website, after supermarkets failed to provide enough information to make the site reliable.

After a meeting today with major supermarkets, Competition Minister Craig Emerson announced that the measure – an election promise that was aimed at keeping grocery prices low – would not proceed, The Australian reported.

“Upon close examination of the data requirements for reliable price information, I have formed the view that it is not feasible to generate that information in a timely manner, “ Dr Emerson said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    website cost of living in oz

The scheme had been due to be up and running next week.

The dumping of Grocery Choice comes after the Government last year abandoned FuelWatch after it was defeated in the Senate.

Mr Rudd campaigned heavily prior to the election on easing the cost-of-living pressures on working families and increasing competition in the petrol and grocery sectors.

Both FuelWatch and Grocery Choice were criticised for not putting downward pressure on prices.

Earlier this month it emerged that the consumer advocate Choice would be forced to go it alone on the website as the major supermarket chains continued to drag their feet over supplying price data.

Choice took over the running of the website from the Rudd Government, which launched it after campaigning on easing cost-of-living pressures before the election.

The $13 million site, which originally launched last August, was heavily criticised for displaying information that was too general and outdated to be useful.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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AN MP wants Queenslanders to be buried in cardboard coffins in natural bush cemeteries where the decomposing bodies can promote vegetation growth.

coffinThe “green in death” approach has been advocated by Labor’s Barbara Stone who told Parliament about a body’s “natural nutrients.”

 

She suggested that more local authorities follow the lead of the Gold Coast City Council which is planning the state’s first natural bushland cemetery.

 

“The site will be an old quarry to be filled with suitable soil so that bodies can decompose and provide valuable nutrients that encourage the rejuvenation of native flora,” she said. 

Body disposal should have as little impact on the environment as possible after taking into account the deceased’s personal, cultural or traditional practices, Ms Stone said. If someone wanted to be buried in a cardboard box “under a shady tree” this should be permitted.

Ms Stone, who represents Springwood, said responsible Queenslanders should go to their grave in eco-friendly coffins made from fibre waste.

“Testing has shown that they release half the emissions of a standard coffin,” she said.

Of the 24,500 coffins used in Queensland last year, less than 100 were made from this alternative material.

This represented a waste of timber and valuable metals and exposed the environment to toxic embalming chemicals.

New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have bushland cemeteries where only native stone can be used as burial markers.

But Ms Stone said that if there was no stone the “savvy techno can have a GPS device placed in their hands so their families can return to honour the bushland settings and their loved ones”.

Queensland bans burials on private land although there are some exceptions – former premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen is at rest in the grounds of his home Bethany, near Kingaroy.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Relocating from the UK and now living in Perth I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be here with two young children, the great outdoorperth-children life with the room to roam the parks and gardens of  WA, most with no entry fee. 

Living the outdoor life in Perth City we are lucky enough to have the recreational facilities on our doorstep. 

Kings Park is definately for me the daddy of all parks with the fantastic location and views which managed to bring a tear to my eye the first time I ever went.

There are other free entry parks to enjoy such as Whiteman Park where families can enjoy a day out with cycle paths, walking trails, bbq’s, paddling pool and childrens play areas.  There is a wildlife park there which does charge for entry, you can walk through the Kangaroos and see the Koalas.

Wanneroo has a great park called Rotary Park which has just been refurbished to a very high standard with a fantastic play area for the children, great park for birthday celebrations with bbq’s available.

Also in Wanneroo are the Botanical Gardens with older style gardens, leafy hideaways, waterlily filled ponds and waterfalls.  This has a charge of $4 entry for adults which includes a tea or coffee, free entry for the children.  Mini golf is there which is an extra cost.  It is also great place to listen to free live music on a Friday and Saturday nights.

With all the parks, gardens and beaches in  Perth WA  if you pack a picnic or make use of the barbecue facilities, you can have a great day out without a great deal of cost.

Now I’m off to pick the kids up from school,  grab a pizza from Eable Boys for $10,  go to our local park eat our pizza and the kids can play on a winters day !! 

How Lucky am I.

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WA property tycoon Nigel Satterley has vowed to defend legal action against the Satterley Property Group by a group of Secret Harbour families who claim thenigel Satterley company mislead them over the location of the Mandurah road and rail. 

The group of nine families lodged their writs in the Federal Court this morning claiming they were the victims of a breach of the Federal Trade Practices Act and a breach of contract.

The families claim they were not told about the realignment of the Mandurah road when they purchased their blocks.

They claim the omission resulted in the busy road being metres from their doorsteps, and that they were misled about the close proximity of the Mandurah railway.

The residents are being represented by high-profile lawyer John Hammond.

Mr Satterley said the allegations against Satterley Property Group would be strongly defended.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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The strategy :  To work out how the changes to the health insurance rebate affect me.

I suppose it means I’ll be paying more for my health insurance. That’s the gist of it though it will depend on whether Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull delivers on his threat to block the legislation. As you may have picked up from the federal budget, the Government needs to find savings to fund higher pension payments.

One proposed measure is means testing the health insurance rebate, which currently allows you to claim a tax rebate of 30 per cent of the cost of your health insurance if you’re aged under 65, 35per cent if you’re 65 to 69 and 40 per cent if you’re 70 or older.

Most people ask their health fund to reduce their premiums to take account of the rebate rather than paying the full premium and claiming the rebate in their tax return. For someone under 65, a monthly insurance premium of $250 could be reduced to $175. That won’t change if you earn up to $75,000 if you’re single and $150,000 for families. But if your income is higher, your rebate will be reduced or cut out altogether.

How will that work? Let’s look at singles first. If you earn $75,001-$90,000, your rebate will be reduced to 20 per cent. If you earn $90,001-$120,000, the new rebate will be 10 per cent.

Once your income exceeds $120,000 you will be ineligible for the rebate.

For families, the combined income limits are $150,001-$180,000 for the 20per cent rebate, $180,001-$240,000 for the 10 per cent rebate and the rebate will disappear altogether once family income exceeds $240,000.

All income thresholds will be indexed to wages and will be adjusted for families with one child in the same way that thresholds are already adjusted for determining whether you have to pay the Medicare levy surcharge if you don’t have private health cover. The threshold is currently lifted by $1500 for each dependent child.

The Government says the definition of your income for the rebate will be the same as for the Medicare levy surcharge. Challenger’s head of technical services, Alex Denham, says this definition is changing from July 1 to include your taxable income, reportable fringe benefits, salary sacrificed to super or any personal deductible super contributions made and net investment losses. So higher-income earners won’t be able to use strategies such as salary sacrifice to get or increase their rebate.

Would I be better off dropping my health insurance and paying the Medicare levy surcharge? The proposed measures also include a rise in this surcharge precisely to stop this sort of behaviour.

The 1 per cent surcharge will rise to 1.25per cent once income exceeds $90,000 for singles or $180,000 for couples and to 1.5 per cent for incomes exceeding $120,000 or $240,000. That extra tax may cancel out any savings from dropping your health cover.

MLC’s head of technical services, Andrew Lawless, says a better option may be to make changes to your policy, such as increasing the excess you pay before claiming on the cover or reducing cover on ancillary benefits. However, to avoid the surcharge you must have hospital cover with an excess of $500 or less for singles or $1000 or less for families or couples per calendar year.

When will the changes come in? Not until July 1 next year, so you have time to check the final details if the measures are passed and weigh up your options.

It’s worth noting that the Medicare levy surcharge income limits will be indexed from their current levels of $70,000 for singles and $140,000 for couples to the new $75,000 and $150,000 levels at this time.

Source : www.watoday.com.au

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house-in-handsA NATIONAL affordable housing organisation has called on the Federal Government to scrap its first-homeowner grant.

The grant, which was raised from $7000 to $14,000 for existing dwellings and from $14,000 to $21,000 for new homes as part of Labour’s $10.4 billion stimulus package last year, is due to expire on June 30.

The National Shelter has called on Treasurer Wayne Swan to axe the scheme when he hands down his second budget tomorrow, saying it inflates housing prices beyond the value of the grant.

“We’d be in favour of getting rid of all of it,” chief executive Adrian Pisarski told ABC Radio today, adding if the scheme was continued, it should be means-tested.

“That actually targets those lower-income families who really struggle to get into the housing market and doesn’t advantage wealthy families who can support their kids into the market at the cost of those lower income families.”

But the Master Builders Association says the enhanced scheme should be kept as it is, minimising the effects of the global financial crisis.

“We put to the government that … the best bang for the taxpayers’ buck would come from keeping the boost for new housing,” chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“It does generate new activity, it does generate jobs, it also has the multiply effect into retail, manufacturing and other sectors.”
http://www.news.com.au

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