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Perth properties are being sold quicker than any other state capital, new figures show.

Research from property analysts RP Data and Rismark International shows it took 24 days to sell a house in November and two days fewer for units.

The time taken to sell a unit was the quickest in Australia, while only in Canberra (23 days) were houses sold quicker.

The average price for houses and units in the metropolitan area at the end of November was $460,000.

While that was a drop of 1.09 per cent on October, making Perth the only city where prices fell, it was still an increase of 6.47 per cent on the start of the year and a 5.87 per cent rise on the same time in 2008.

The average house price was $485,000, down 1.11 per cent on October, but up 5.94 per cent since the start of 2009, while units dropped 1 per cent on October, but rose 8.55 per cent in 2009, to average $385,000.

The news was not all good for homeowners. Landlords found rental yields dropping, to 3.94 per cent for houses and 4.41 per cent for units, both down 0.04 of a percentage point on October.

Rismark managing director Christopher Joye said the key drivers in the market in the latter half of 2009 were upgraders and investors, and this was expected to continue this year.

Once mortgage rates “normalised” to between 7 per cent and 8 per cent, price growth would drop back. As many borrowers did not reduce mortgage payments when rates fell, they should be well placed to absorb rises.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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THIS North Beach property could confirm whether Perth’s struggling real estate market has turned the corner.  home in nb

Real estate experts say that during the height of WA’s property boom the 1346sqm ocean-front house on West Coast Drive would have fetched more than $5 million.

It is for auction on Saturday and the selling price will be a strong indication of whether property prices, especially for top-end homes, have started to recover.

Nexus sales consultant Peter Berridge, who specialises in the North Beach area, said the property would have been highly sought after during the 2006-07 housing boom.

“It’s a nice elevated lot, with a nice frontage. It’s got everything going for it,” Mr Berridge said.

“I don’t think it would be an over-exaggeration to think it might have sold for in excess of $5 million (back then). We were going through an era where it didn’t seem to matter what you paid for it, you were always going to make a packet until the proverbial hit the fan.”

Mr Berridge said he believed values had dropped about 40 per cent since the property peak.

“The last sale was 341 West Coast Drive in Trigg that sold for $2.2 million and it was a very choice piece of land _ something like that could have possibly pulled $4 million in 2007 and I can mention lesser blocks that sold for more than $4 million,” he said.

According to Landgate, North Beach has enjoyed solid property value growth in the past decade.
It recorded a 19.4 per cent average annual growth rate in the 10 years to December 2008. It also recorded strong growth last year and was among the Perth metropolitan area’s Top 10 performing suburbs, with a 17.7 per cent jump in median house prices.

But during this period it recorded a low volume of sales activity, with just 19 homes sold.
This could have skewered the statistics.

“There’s no doubt that the market for premium coastal property has come back since the height of 2007,” Real Estate Institute of WA president Rob Druitt said.

“Indications are that the first signs of recovery are starting to come through now, so there’s certainly a unique opportunity for buyers who are (looking) in that market,” he said.

Mr Druitt said it has been a bottom-up recovery, so if the top end was reasonably priced and sold, it could give a good indication that Perth’s entire property market had seen the worst.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Allegations of cheating by students in immigration exams has seen the launch of a corruption investigation.

Australia’s largest international student service, IDP Australia, is investigating possible corruption among its staff after students in Sydney were caught cheating on exams it conducts for the Department of Immigration, The Sun-Herald newspaper reports.

Copies of the May International English Language Testings System (IELTS) exam were sold for between $12,000 and $18,000, one source claims.

“These have been leaking out for months,” the source told newspaper.

“It’s like a chain of command. It came from the official service who gives it out and takes his cut.

IDP would not confirm how many people had been caught cheating.

“Cheating in IELTS tests is not commonplace,” an IDP Australia spokeswoman said.

“‘However given the high stakes involved, attempts to cheat or engage in other fraudulent activity such as identity fraud do occur.

“Recently in Australia a number of test takers have been detected in their attempt to cheat in the IELTS test. Whether or not it was an internal problem, we don’t know.”

IDP is investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Department has defended its outsourcing of English tests, which have been handled by IDP since 1994.

Source  :  www.ninemsn.com.au

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Get your visa, get registered and get in line for once-in-a-generation fares.                                                                            surf

To be in with a chance to become a £10 Pom you need to follow these simple steps and you’ll soon be on your way.

1. Get yourself a Working Holiday Visa
The £10 Pom fares are intended for people who are serious about having one hell of an adventure on a working holiday in Australia, so you will need to have a Working Holiday Visa to be eligible. You can apply for a visa at any of STA Travel’s 44 branches, or click here to buy it online.
Eligibility: You must be a UK passport holder aged between 18 and 30 years old inclusive.

A working holiday visa allows you to live and work in Australia for a period of 12 months. You can work for one employer for a maximum of 6 months, so it gives you time to travel around Australia topping up your funds as you go.

There are all sorts of jobs available so you will definitely find something to suit you. Click here to see what kind of roles are on offer right now.

To make it even easier for you to get your working holiday visa sorted in time we’ll also be sending our Mobile Visa Van around the country throughout July. Click here for schedule and pics!

2. Register online
It’s not essential to register online, but we suggest that you do. It means that you’ll be eligible for one of the 5 extra ‘golden tickets’ to be drawn once the first 145 £10 fares are sold out.
Click here to register now.

You’ll also get some exclusive gifts when you book with us on the 5th August whilst stocks last. Be first in the queue to get your hands on the newly released Rough Guide worth £16.99! 
Click here for more info on the exclusive gifts.
 
3. Get to one of our selected promotional branches by 8am on Wednesday 5th August.
There will be eight special STA Travel branches around the country selling the £10 fares on the day. They will be the only branches where you can get them and once they’re gone, they’re gone. So line up, camp out, rent a flat next-door … do whatever it takes to make sure you get there before they are sold out.

The branches are:

Belfast, 92/94 Botanic Avenue BT7 1JR
Birmingham High St, 222-224 Corporation Street B4 6QB
Bristol, 43 Queens Road BS8 1QQ
Glasgow, 122 George Street G1 1RF
Leeds, 88 Vicar Lane LS1 7JH
London Victoria, 52 Grosvenor Gardens SW1W 0AG
Manchester, Albert Square 86 Cross Street M2 4LA
Southampton, 6-8 Civic Centre Road SO14 7FL

Source  :  www.statravel.co.uk

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THE receiver of ABC Learning Centres has sold the childcare group’s UK arm for an undisclosed sum.

ABC’s UK business, called Busy Bees Group, was purchased by Singapore-based company Knowledge Universe Education, Chris Honey of McGrathNicol said today.  abc

Mr Honey said Busy Bees Group, which is the UK’s largest children’s nursery group, will continue to be operated by its existing senior management.

“As receivers, we are very happy with the value realised for this business, and are pleased to have sold it to an internationally respected childcare provider,” he said.

He said Busy Bees Group was in a similar situation to ABC’s business in New Zealand, as it was not itself in receivership and had continued to trade profitably.

Mr Honey said the sale of the ABC in New Zealand was progressing well and that strong interest from a number of bidders had led to an extension of the sale timetable.

Mr Honey said no decision had been made yet on a timetable for the sale of the Australian business.

“The ABC Learning centres in Australia continue to trade well, with the focus remaining firmly on providing high quality childcare, driven by the local ABC centre staff at a community level,” Mr Honey said.

ABC, Australia’s largest childcare centre operator, went into administration and receivership in November 2008, owing more than $1 billion.

Source www.news.com.au

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The residential construction industry has been assisted by growth in the first time home-buyer activity along with the low interest rate.mvc-construction-workers-blog

Home builders are offering some competitive priced housing, and in the last few months things have started to pick up as we see with the display homes traffic which has increased by around 1000 more visitors a week compared to the same period last year.

With the growing concerns of the recession, some homebuyers are investing in the single storey home which is allowing them to lower their debt, rather than building the two storey home.

The Commercial developments throughout Perth have slowed down, but the ones with less financial risk attached to them are still going ahead.

What is happening is there is a  big demand for the first home buyer homes, therfore a lot of  houses being sold are at this price range therefore bringing down the median house price. 

There are also alternative financing options in WA such as the WA Governments Keystart Home Loans which has helped a lot of new home owners get on the property ladder.

Activity in the residential construction is providing  jobs at time when needed.

The first homebuyer’s stimulus is moving through two stages this year  :

From now until October 1, 2009  $21,000 on a house and land package, or a new house built that  has not been lived in.

$14,000 for an established home.

From October 1 until December 31, 2009 the boost will be lowered to  :

$14,000 for a house and land package, or a new built house that has not been lived in.

$10,500 for an established home.

From January 1, 2010 is to be confirmed.

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A GIRRAHWEEN man has  won $1 million from Wednesday’s Lotto draw – after he was mistakenly sold a ticket for the midweek draw.

The man, in his 40s, actually wanted a ticket in Monday’s Lotto draw, but was instead sold a ticket in Wednesday’s draw by a teller at Summerfield News & Lotto in Girrawheen.

When the sales assistant attempted to rectify the mistake by cancelling the ticket, the man insisted that the ticket not be cancelled.

“Please don’t cancel the ticket; it might be lucky,” he told the sales assistant.

His decision ended up winning him the entire Wednesday Lotto Division One amount on offer.

The man, who has been playing Lotto for five years, said that $1 million may not be much money for some people, but for his family it is.

“For us, its big money,” he said.

Whilst he was still coming to terms with the win, the man said his first priority would be to pay off his debts, and then he may consider building another house. His plans also included an overseas family holiday later in the year.

This was the third Division One Lotto win within the past week for WA and the 33rd Division One win for the state so far this year.

Tickets on sale for $30 million OZ Lotto jackpot draw

$30 million remains as the largest Division One amount ever won by a WA Lotto player and is up for grabs in Tuesday’s OZ Lotto draw.

Two Western Australians have won a $30 million Lotto prize in the past; the first, a couple from Leeming in 2001; the second, a university student in October 2007.

And, only last week the Western Australians have won a $30 million Lotto prize in the past; the first, a couple from Leeming in 2001; the second, a university student who for 10 months hadn’t bothered to check a ticket her father had given her as a gift. When she finally decided to check it, she became more than $13 million richer.

With OZ Lotto proving to be a ‘winning’ game for WA players, anyone who hasn’t already got a ticket in Tuesday’s $30 million OZ Lotto draw could put it on their weekend shopping list, or get a friend or work colleague to prompt them to buy their ticket before 6pm on Tuesday,” says Lotterywest spokesperson Jodi Eastman.

Lotterywest is unique in Australia in its role of returning its profits directly to the community through a grants program. Last financial year alone, over $205 million was raised for WA hospitals, sports, the arts and not-for-profit organisations

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Cocaine Energy Drink launched in Australia

A CONTROVERSIAL energy drink called ‘Cocaine’ and billed overseas as being more than three times stronger than Red Bull has gone on sale in Australia.

While the drink does not contain any actual cocaine, the US and UK versions have 280mg of caffeine for every 250ml can – a concentration that is illegal in Australia and New Zealand.

Local distributors say Cocaine Energy Drink is being targeted at young people in a marketing ploy that has been roundly condemned overseas. cocaine drink

“Cocaine is synonymous with energy,” John Mancini from Wize Distributors told news.com.au.

“People over 30 or 40 have got a different view (of the word), but to anyone between 16 and 30, they go ‘I’ll try that’.”

But Paul Dillon from Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia said it was abhorrent that people were trading on such a controversial name.

“I find it despicable that people are importing these sorts of products,” Mr Dillon said

“I think what the public have to realise is that these people are all about making a quick buck.

“Something like this that is out there attracting attention is going to be more appealing for a certain group.”

Over the past fortnight, several shipments of the drink – originally advertised as a legal alternative to drug of the same name – have arrived from New Zealand and cans are being sold across Sydney’s western suburbs.

The Australian version of the drink contains just 80mg of caffeine per can to comply with regulations.

A spokeswoman for Food Standards Australia said that as long as the amount of caffeine in Cocaine adhered to regulations and the cans contained correct labelling, the product was legal.

The spokeswoman for Food Standards Australia said that as long as the amount of caffeine in Cocaine adhered to regulations and the cans contained correct labelling, the product was legal..

At the time New York, a city councillor called for a boycott of the drink.

“There are only two reasons that you would seek to use this infamous and insidious name to market your so-called energy drink,” councillor James Sanders said. “Either you are woefully ignorant of the horrors of cocaine addiction, or your god is the dollar bill.”

David Raynes from the UK National Drug Prevention Alliance also criticised the manufacturer soon after the launch.

“It is people exploiting drugs,” Mr Raynes said. “It is a pretty cynical tactic exploiting illegal drugs for their own benefit.

“The fact is that subliminally, it is making the image of drug use cool and that’s what kids what to be, cool.”

The drink was temporarily pulled from shelves in the US after complaints, but has since returned to sale.

www.news.com.au

My Comment :

What ever next !

I would like to see the government take it off the market.

The Distributors  are saying   ” Don’t do the drug – Do the drink ”

I say Don’t do either

What a bloody ridiculous name for a drink.

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A team of Google engineers from Australia has unveiled a prototype replacement for standard email that abandons the reliance on the chronological sorting and stacking of messages which has been the hallmark of one of the internet’s first and still most popular applications.

Christened Google Wave, the new feature was given its first public viewing in San Francisco earlier this morning Australian time at Google’s annual developers’ conference.

“I think you will see a form of interaction that you would not have previously imagined,” Google co-found Sergey Brin told a post-launch press conference.

Wave – which began life as a project codenamed Walkabout – is a combination of email and instant messaging and document-, maps- image- and video-sharing all housed under one roof.

Much like a conference call, it also allows for conversations between more than two people to happen simultaneous.

And because it all happens inside a web browser, there is no special software to download or plug-in – which means it can be used from any computer or internet-enabled mobile phone.

“Our communication space is very fragmented today. We have a million different tools for different things with lots of different kinds of overlaps,” said Lars Rassmussen, a senior software engineer with Google Australia

“The most natural way to try and solve that problem is to take all those different tools and try to make them smaller and fit into a single package and maybe integrate them across the boundaries.”

Wave is being released so that the developers – independent software creators – can help iron out the remaining bugs and cook-up a swag of new uses for the service and the platform upon which it is based ahead of a public release later this year.

But Wave is more than just another of Google’s ubiquitous free web services. It’s also a protocol – meaning that it is going after email’s mantle as the predominant internet communications tool.

And despite the recent growth of web-based email services like Hotmail and Gmail, most of the world’s email runs through Microsoft’s Outlook client.

And to encourage organisations to catch the Wave, Google is offering it up as an open source protocol, meaning that anyone – even a competitor – can box it up and host it on their servers.

Wave is the creation of Danish brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen, who together with Australian Noel Gordon and Stephen Ma – founded and later sold what became known as Google Maps to Google for an undisclosed sum in 2005.

Lars has worked for Google and lived in Australia since the sale and enticed Jens to leave Google’s headquarters near join him in 2007.

The pair and the Wave team – who have been given the full backing of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page – have been working on the project out of Google’s offices in Sydney.

Stephen Hutcheon is attending the San Francisco conference as a guest of Google.

Source: www.watoday.com.au

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pinkP!nk – Australia’s biggest selling international recording artist of 2006-7 – is back, at the top of her game, and raring to perform live for your entertainment.

In 2007 P!nk staged the biggest Australian concert tour ever by a female artist, with more than 307,000 tickets sold for a 35 show itinerary that grew to a run of more than 8 weeks around the country’s arenas.

Winning the 2007 Helpmann Award for ‘Best International Contemporary Concert’, 2007’s I’m Not Dead Tour was a spectacular that drew critical raves and standing ovations!

“Such was the deafening reception for the singer… it was impossible not to be swept up in the excitement of her opening songs… the singer’s strikingly energetic performance left them tickled pink .” Sun Herald

“The pop rebel shimmied, grooved and rocked her way across the arena all night, turning her performance into an elaborate stage show to take her sometimes controversial messages to the masses. And they loved it.” mX

Now P!nk brings her Funhouse Tour 2009 to Australia, presented by Optus for what is certain to be another recordbreaking run of shows.

Aiming to top the raunchy theatrical performances of the I’m Not Dead Tour, Funhouse will not disappoint! Expect a dazzling carnival-styled stage set, feats of aerial daring and surprises that can only be hinted at… and at the core, the confident and charismatic vocal powerhouse that is unmistakably P!nk .

P!nk said, “I’m so excited to get back on the road. The ‘Funhouse’ tour ideas are running rampant in my head. Who knows what they’ll come out as…. And I can’t wait to see.”

“When P!nk lets rip there’s no denying her soul or sass.” Herald Sun

“She’s real, fallible, positive, gutsy, a self-confessed dork and knows her own mind. And she has proved to be a great entertainer too, offering….one of the best shows….seen in a long time.” West Australian Set to add substantially to the accumulated albums sales of 23 million world-wide, P!nk ‘s 5th studio album Funhouse will be released on October 25 by Sony/BMG, and features the 1 smash hit So What.

It follows the massively successful I’m Not Dead album – which spawned seven top 5 smash hits and has to date sold more than 600,000 copies in Australia.

www.wots-on.info

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