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Welcome to Location Lowdown, your helpful guide to choosing the next place you move to

Often it is difficult to find out practical, useful information that would make deciding on a place to live easier. That’s why we offer you a broad picture on any location within Australia; this includes what many would describe as necessities such as health care, education, employment and also as diverse as relevant statistical data and the laws relating to real estate transactions.

Designed for those seeking a move to Australia from overseas or those moving interstate or even the next suburb, you can get to know a place without leaving your chair. Its as easy as entering the prospective town name, for example Bellingen and the correct state, New South Wales, in the tool bar and click go.

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Two of Perth’s western suburbs are all that stood between a total eastern states domination of Australia’s premium property markets last year.

Figures released by property analysts RP Data show Nedlands and Cottesloe as the only two non-Sydney or Melbourne suburbs to make the top 20 areas for $1 million-plus house sales last year.

The recovery from the global financial crisis showed in the figures.

There were 122 such sales in Nedlands, placing it 10th nationally, while Cottesloe (15th) clocked up 106 settlements.

The number of sales in Nedlands was a record for the suburb, six higher than in 2007 and almost double that of 2008.

But Cottesloe, while recording an almost 50 per cent increase on the previous year, was 15 short of its 2007 record.

Meanwhile, the seemingly never-ending building of apartment buildings in Earth Perth saw it top the state for sales of $1m-plus units.

The suburb shared the honour with South Perth. Both had 33 sales, placing them 17th nationally.

The number of East Perth sales was also a record for the suburb, beating the previous best of 32, in 2007.

That year, there were a record 52 $1m-plus unit sales in South Perth.

The inner-city Sydney suburb of Pyrmont topped the list, with 95 units sold, while just a few kilometres north, Mosman led the country for house sales, with 271 recorded.

RP Data national research director Tim Lawless said premium property markets generally provided stronger capital gains, mainly due to “inherently tight supply”.

However, they could be tricky for investors because rental yields were much lower, leading to cash flow issues.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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WA’s peak parent group has slammed a plan to test pre-primary students next year as a waste of money, saying it’s “ridiculous” to assess children as young as four.

As part of its strategy to improve literacy and numeracy across WA, the Education Department will start to roll out the 30-minute assessments in the first term in public schools. The Sunday Times can reveal some of the sample questions likely to be used in the so-called “on entry assessments”, which are aimed at picking up early problems.

Pre-primary students in public schools will be asked to: Speak about a certain topic, such as friends or favourite games, for two to three minutes. Estimate how many teddy bears are in a cup. Put objects, from smallest to tallest, in order. Count backwards. Match dots with a number on a page.

WA Council of State School Organisations president Rob Fry attacked the $2 million plan, saying he expected parents to be angered by the “ineffective” results.

“I just find this truly remarkable when you’re dealing with children of such a young age,” he said.

“If you get an exceptionally shy child, you’re asking a four-year-old to talk on a subject for two minutes and some of them won’t want to say anything at that age. Does that mean they’ve got a literacy problem? No, they might be shy.

“It’s ineffective and you are going to get such diverse responses between a child coming from an indigenous community to a child living in a Perth suburb with a highly socially active family.”

School Support Programs executive director David Axworthy said the Education Department based its tests on the Victorian model because it was the “best tool to meet the needs of WA children”. It would also enable shared resources between the states.

“It will leave WA well placed for the introduction of the national curriculum when it is produced in 2011,” he said.

WA Primary Principals Association president Steve Breen supported the plan because it would allow teachers to set benchmarks and adapt their programs to suit children’s needs.

Education Minister Liz Constable said children at risk of falling behind would be identified earlier, allowing urgent action to be taken.

Under the plan, students in 50 schools will be tested in term one before all public schools will have access to the assessments in the final term. From 2011, each pre-primary student will be tested at the start of the year.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Ten schools in the northern suburbs were granted over $18 million in new funding as part of the governments stimulus package.

  • Butler Primary School gets $2.95 million                                                   
  • Beldon Primary School gets $1.4 million
  • East Butler Primary School gets $1.8 million
  • Edgewater Primary School gets $2.9 million
  • Quinns Beach Primary School gets $1.55 million
  • Quinns Rocks Primary School gets $2.35 million
  • Girrawheen Senior High School gets $1.75 million
  • Mercy College gets $1.5 million
  • Warwick Senior High School gets $1.97 million
  • Yanchep District High School gets $300,000 

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THE champagne corks will be popping for two lucky winners of Australia’s biggest ever lotto draw.

The winners from Queensland and South Australia will each add $53 million to their bank accounts from the Oz Lotto $106 million first division prize.

And another 60 people will each get more than $33,000 from the second division pool.

The huge payouts are eclipsed only by the record $58.7 million win by a single Powerball entry in June 2008, by a syndicate of workmates who bought the winning ticket in the Melbourne suburb of Reservoir. 

Ticket-holders only had a 45 million to one chance of winning, but that did not stop Australians buying 10 million entries for the record draw.

Tattersalls spokeswoman Karen Anning said the two winners would be notified before the agents they purchased tickets from were revealed.

A massive 10 million entries were made in the competition nationally.

Victoria posted close to three million entries, while Queensland recorded over 2.2 million entries in the draw, Ms Anning said.

Lotto officials estimated that one in three Australians would enter the draw.

The winning numbers were 12, 3, 38, 21, 23, 29 and 40, with 43 and 22 as the supplementary numbers.

Source   :  www.news.com.au

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HOUSE prices could rise by as much as 22 per cent during the next three years, an economic forecaster says.   house price

”The conditions are ripe for a sustained recovery in residential property prices,” according to BIS Shrapnel’s Residential Property Prospects, 2009 to 2012, report.

”Low interest rates, solid growth in rents and housing shortages are evident in most markets.

”However, the current economic malaise will mean confidence will only recover slowly during 2009/10.”

BIS Shrapnel senior project manager and study author Angie Zigomanis said that, at this stage, all of the action was occurring at the lower-priced end of the market.

This is due to a surge in first-home buyer demand as a result of the federal government’s first home owner boost scheme and low interest rates, he said.

BIS Shrapnel forecasts there will be 180,000 first-home buyers in 2009.

Although first-home buyer demand was expected to ease after the expiry of the government’s boost scheme at the end of 2009, upgraders and investors were expected to take the baton, Mr Zigomanis said.

”We expect rising confidence in the prospects for an economic recovery in 2010, so investors are likely to return in greater numbers, attracted by increased rental returns and low interest rates.”

Among the state capitals, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide will show the strongest price growth over the next three years, at 19 per cent.

More moderate growth is expected in Brisbane, Hobart, and Canberra, while price growth in Perth and Darwin is expected to be weak as the local economies of these cities are impacted by a decline in investment spending in the resources sector.

BIS Shrapnel estimates Sydney’s median house price at June 2009 to be $530,000, and predicts it will rise by mid-2012 to $630,000. Melbourne’s current median house price is estimated at $425,000, rising to $507,000 by June 2012.

In Adelaide, the median price is estimated at $360,000 and predicted to climb to $430,000 over the three years.

Among other cities around Australia, Newcastle and Wollongong are expected to benefit from the migration of residents from Sydney over the coming years.

The median house price in Newcastle is expected to soar 22 per cent over the three years, while Wollongong is forecast to see growth of 20 per cent in the same period.

In Brisbane, the average house is estimated to cost $391,000 now and is expected to cost $455,000 by mid-2012, an increase of 16 per cent.

Hobart’s median house price is estimated to be $335,000 and will rise by 15 per cent to $385,000 over the three year period.

An average house in Canberra is estimated to cost $440,000, increasing to $515,000 by 2012, a rise of 17 per cent.

In Perth, the estimated median house price is $425,000, expected to reach $475,000 in three years, up 12 per cent.

Darwin’s forecast median house price is $470,000, predicted to show an increase of 11 per cent over the three years.

For the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns, BIS Shrapnel forecasts prices will increase by 14 per cent, while Townsville prices are expected to grow 13 per cent over the three years.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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Over 2000 homes across the metropolitan area are without power today as Western Power crews continue to repair powerlines damaged by the recent storms.

In Leederville 131 homes are without power, in Shoalwater 133 homes have been affected, 193 homes in Tuart Hill are without power and 149 Rockingham homes are blacked out.

A spokeswoman said most of the 2173 homes would have power restored this afternoon.  

150 homes where power outages have been affected by damage to a single electricity line, were expected to remain without power tonight.

More than 50 homes in the Perth Hills suburb of Parkerville have now been without electricity for almost two days.

The forecast shows showers will ease this afternoon with possible early showers Sunday morning followed by fine weather conditions.

Rising tides have battered two Perth landmarks – the Cottesloe Pylon and blue Crawley boat house on the Swan River – as wild weather hit the city.

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