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Real estate hotspotsan average 34.4 per cent every year since 2000, compared to a national suburban average of 9.9 per cent for houses, and 8.1 per cent for units.

WA metropolitan home-owners appear to be the biggest winners in the country, with Perth accounting for 11 of the suburbs in the top 20 growth areas.

The other areas in the top 20 are Jindalee, Bertram, Hammond Park, Wattle Grove, Aubin Grove, Butler, Carramar, Darch, Sinagra, and Beeliar.

Only units in Oaksdown in Greater Hobart enjoyed slightly higher capital gain at 34.6 per cent, but house prices were highest in Perth’s semi-rural Herne Hill in the Swan Valley.

Local Elders Real Estate agent Ian Henry said prices started to skyrocket in 2005, after years of sluggish growth.

He said the area had wineries, breweries, top restaurants and café culture, while at the same time offering the benefits of a country lifestyle, such as tight-knit community and big blocks of land.

The city was only 20km away, and major shopping centres such a Morley Galleria.

“It seems like Perth only really discovered the Swan Valley a few years ago,” Mr Henry said.

He said growth had been sluggish this year, as in most areas, but was expected to pick up again next year.

The RP Data report said the top growth suburbs around the nation were mostly situated on the outskirts of cities.

“This is largely due to the fact that in most instances pricing has come from a very low base ten years ago,” said the report.

“Undoubtedly new development has helped boost prices in many of these areas.”

The report said that it was unlikely that these areas would enjoy the same level of capital growth over the next decade.

Top Ten Growth areas:

1. Oakdowns, Greater Hobart, unit – $275,000(median price) (34.6 per cent increase in 10 years)

2. Herne Hill, Perth, house – $595,000 (34.4 per cent)

3. Jindalee, Perth, house – $600,000 (33.3 per cent)

4. Bertram, Perth, house – $383,000 (33.3 per cent)

5. Blairmount, Sydney, house – $327,000 (33.3 per cent)

6. Hammond Park, Perth, house – $485,000 (33.1 per cent)

7. Beecroft, Sydney, unit – $520,000 (32.7 per cent)

8. Gunn, Darwin, house – $464,000 (32.7 per cent)

9. Wattle Grove, Perth, house – $450,000 (32.6 per cent)

10 Gardenvale, Melbourne, unit – $328,000 (32.4 per cent)

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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WA will be able to handpick permanent migrants to service the booming resources sector and other areas of critical need under a massive overhaul of the skilled migration program to be unveiled today.

Under the changes, Immigration Minister Chris Evans will revoke and refund 20,000 applications from would-be skilled migrants and instead give top priority to those who are sponsored by employers and States for high-level jobs.

The overhaul is geared towards making Australia’s skilled migration super-responsive to urgent shortfalls in qualified mining and health sector workers, while also tightening permanent visa criteria for overseas students studying courses in low skill occupations.

Senator Evans will immediately abolish the Migration Occupations in Demand List, which gazettes 106 areas of preferred workers, replacing it by April with a more targeted Skilled Occupations List drawn up by the independent Federal authority Skills Australia in consultation with the States and business.

It means doctors, nurses, engineers and high-value professions and trades will have priority over low-skilled workers such as hairdressers and chefs.

In WA, as yesterday’s Olivier Jobs Index showed, the most sought after workers are in engineering, trades and services, and building.

In a marked departure from the existing skilled migration scheme, States will be asked to draw up their own migration plans to allow fast-tracking of applications for migrants sponsored by States or companies for specific jobs.

The bar will be raised for unsponsored skilled migration applicants, with criteria such as proficiency in the English language, work experience and overseas qualifications to be made tougher.

The overall annual skilled migration intake will remain unchanged at 108,100 people.

The changes are likely to have a significant impact on the burgeoning multi-billion-dollar overseas student market where hundreds of thousands of foreign students have come to Australia to undergo trades training, enticed by the prospect of permanent residency.

The Government believes such courses are skewing the migration program, leaving new permanent residents with poor English and little prospect of finding work in their nominated field of expertise.

Foreign students in Australia studying in areas dumped from the new skilled occupation hit list will be given 18 months after completion of their studies to find sponsorship from an employer or sent home.

The Government believes the new regime will help the clampdown on unscrupulous migration agents, many of whom are Indian-based, who con students into believing completion of an Australian course gives automatic entitlement to permanent residence. 

The bar will be raised for unsponsored skilled migration applicants, with criteria such as proficiency in the English language, work experience and overseas qualifications to be made tougher.

The overall annual skilled migration intake will remain unchanged at 108,100 people.

The changes are likely to have a significant impact on the burgeoning multi-billion-dollar overseas student market where hundreds of thousands of foreign students have come to Australia to undergo trades training, enticed by the prospect of permanent residency.

The Government believes such courses are skewing the migration program, leaving new permanent residents with poor English and little prospect of finding work in their nominated field of expertise.

Foreign students in Australia studying in areas dumped from the new skilled occupation hit list will be given 18 months after completion of their studies to find sponsorship from an employer or sent home.

The Government believes the new regime will help the clampdown on unscrupulous migration agents, many of whom are Indian-based, who con students into believing completion of an Australian course gives automatic entitlement to permanent residence.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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The City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks is the State’s biggest annual celebration.                                                                                            

The spotlight is on Perth as we celebrate our beautiful country with the biggest and best Australia Day event in the country.

With warm weather expected and activities running from 7am to 8.30pm, here are some tips for enjoying the day:

o Plan your journey: Transperth will be providing additional train and bus services for Skyworks and Skyworks coordinators encourage everyone to plan their journey to the City in advance by visiting www.transperth.wa.gov.au  

Also, due to unusually low tides, Transperth will be unable to operate the ferry services from the first trip in the morning till 12.30, therefore these Australia Day ferry services will be replaced by buses.

o Stay hydrated: While free drinking water tanks and food stands will be conveniently located throughout the Perth foreshore, please remember to keep up your water intake. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, nausea and other symptoms that might spoil your day.

o Bring a radio: Obviously, a radio will allow you to enjoy the simulcast fireworks display at the end of the day, but additionally, you’ll be able to get updates throughout the day on parking, road closures and other important news from City of Perth Skyworks partner MIX 94.5.

 A torch: Why let the pyrotechnicians have all the fun? Be part of the traditional torch ‘call and response’ from each of the main viewing areas and see why Perth is known as the City of Lights!

o Plan your day: Australia Day in the City is far greater than the 30 minute pyrotechnic display at 8pm. Catch the train in early and enjoy the range of free entertainment on offer. The Too Solid Indigenous Music Festival, the Youth Zone on Langley Park, the Criterium, the Family Zone on the Esplanade, the AIR BP Air Show and the Water Show are just some of the many highlights of the day. Visit the Australia Day program of the www.perth.wa.gov.au/skyworks  website for more information.

o Community spirit: The City of Perth Australia Day Skyworks is a major community event, with all of the presenters working closely with some unsung heroes – Fire and Emergency Services, Police, and the St John Ambulance first aid volunteers. Let’s make this a celebration to be proud of and get into the spirit of the day!

What not to bring:

o Alcohol: The City of Perth Skyworks is an alcohol-free event. The City of Perth fully supports the efforts of the Police and the Public Transport Authority to stop anti-social behaviour at the celebration by confiscating alcohol at the event.

o Bad behaviour: Although the vast majority of Skyworks patrons enjoy the celebrations without incident, the organisers believe that everyone should be able to enjoy the Australia Day celebrations in the way they are intended – as a community, and as proud Australians. All of the authorities involved with Skyworks support a “no tolerance” approach to anti-social behaviour during this major Australia Day celebration.

o Glass: Broken glass has been identified as a significant cause of injuries at previous Skyworks. Please do not bring glass bottles or containers – it is very hard to clean up all the pieces if they break, especially in grassy areas or in low-light conditions, and families with children will be sharing the public spaces with you.

 Furniture: Both the City of Perth and the City of South Perth have Special Event Local Laws which limit people from bringing couches, mattresses, fridges or other large objects into event areas. This does not apply to lightweight shade structures or other picnic equipment which can be easily carried by hand. These laws are designed for public safety and prevent illegal ‘dumping’ – please respect the beautiful environment of the areas around Perth Water.

http://perth.wa.gov.au/skyworks/

Source  :  http://www.cityofperth.wa.gov.au/web/Media-Centre/?article=363

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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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THE average new mortgage in Australia has hit an all-time high of $367,000 according to mortgage broker Australian Finance Group.

But Queenslanders have been more conservative than the rest of the country, with the average new mortgage in Queensland sitting at $325,000.

The average home loan in New South Wales is now $433,000; in Western Australia it is $391,000 and $386,000 in the Northern Territory.

Australians have been increasingly taking on bigger mortgages, with the average new home loan 6.4 per cent larger than it was in May 2009.

Queensland bucked this trend, however, with new mortgages taken out in November $10,000 smaller than the previous month and close to the state’s January low of $323,000.

Home loans in both Victoria and New South Wales grew since May – up 12.1 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively.

The news comes after the Reserve Bank of Australia announced on Tuesday that it was lifting the official cash rate for the third successive time.

The latest 0.25 per cent rise, when passed on by lenders, will cost home-owners with a $367,000 mortgage on a standard variable rate an extra $56 a month, while those slugged with a 0.45 per cent rate hike face an increase of $102 per month.

First-home buyers accounted for just 13.7 per cent of all new mortgages in November, down from their peak of 28.1 per cent in March.

Investors have been steadily returning to the property market over the past four months and represent a third of all new mortgages in November.

Of those who took out a new mortgage in November, only 2.1 per cent opted for a fixed-rate, down from 3 per cent the previous month.

Total numbers of new mortgages were lower than previous months.

Mark Hewitt of Australian Financial Group said: “October and November are seasonally strong months in the calendar, but we’ve seen two straight months of decline.

“Larger average mortgages and greater activity by investors are usually signs of a confident market but confidence is still fragile.

“We believe the RBA hiked rates too quickly and too soon.”

Source  :  www.thenews.com.au

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WA born and bred                                                                                                                                                                               

Getting on a plane everyone dreads

With kangaroos and sunsets

Blue skies and sand

Why would anyone want to leave

This mulitcutural land !

Source  :  Andrea Dearden 2009,  Truly the best place to be x

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George Michael will perform two Australian concerts in February, and the first will be in Perth.                                                          

Rumours had been rife that the Too Funky star was headed down under, and today his Australian trip has been confirmed.

Heading to Australia for the first time since 1988, the Wham! star and solo pop vocalist will perform at Member’s Equity Stadium on February 20.  He will then perform in Sydney at Sydney Football Stadium on February 26.

He will perform tracks from the early days, Wham! and his latest material.

Promoter Paul Dainty said it was thrilling to bring Michael back to the country following his Faith tour in the 80s.

“He is a consummate performer and will deliver a stunning show to his fans who have waited 22 years to see him perform in Australia,” Dainty said.

Michael has performed for more than 2 million fans on this 25 Live arena tour so far. More than 350,000 people flocked to his London performances alone.

Michael has sold more than 100 million pop albums, had six American number one singles and won plenty of awards for tunes including Faith, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, One More Try, Freedom, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me and Too Funky.

Tickets will go on sale through TicketMaster on December 8.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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The project, known as Solomon is expected to cost around US$3,34bn.

Within the next two years Western Australia’s big new iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG) will decide whether it will open up a new iron ore mining area in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The project known as Solomon was detailed at the Sydney Mining Club and was said to have a development cost of A$3.6 billion (US$3.34 billion).

Fortescue launched its operations through the Cloudbreak mine in the Chichester Range to export to China through a port developed by the company at Anderson Point in Port Hedland. The company has started development on its second mine, Christmas Creek, also in the Chichester Range.

Solomon is well west of Cloudbreak. It was indicated the company’s capacity out of Port Hedland may cater only for ore from the Chichester hub, so a second port and new rail link would be required to a Pilbara port at Anketell Point – particularly if Fortescue ramps up beyond 155 million tonnes per annum of export ore.

The cost of developing Solomon would take in A$850 million (US$790.8 million) for the mine, a similar amount for the railway, and A$700 million (US$651.3 million) for processing plant

The company claimed that while a lot more drilling was required the Solomon hub had potential to be much larger than the Chichester Ranges operations, currently mining at a rate of 38 Mtpa and gearing to increase to 95 Mtpa.

The Solomon mine could begin at 60 Mtpa, expanding to 100 Mtpa.

While Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek are bedded iron formations, not mined elsewhere in the Pilbara at this stage, Solomon has a mix in its iron ore geology and includes what is known as channel iron deposits.

Sydney Mining Club delegates were told that exploration in the Pilbara in the past five years has yielded reserves and resources for Fortescue of 6.3 billion tonnes, including reserves of 1.6 billion tonnes.  The discovery cost was put at A2cents a tonne.

Fortescue dominates the landholdings for iron ore in the Pilbara with 17,400 square kilometres, compared to Rio Tinto with 11,000 sq km and BHP Billiton 6,500 sq km.

Fortescue’s holdings include a large number of coastal and offshore tenements, assumedly for ironsands shed over the eons. The company also holds coastal and offshore tenements in New Zealand for ironsands.

Source  :  www.mineweb.co.za

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A BUSHFIRE is threatening homes near the WA Kimberly coast town of Broome and residents have been told to head for the beach.

The blaze has so far blackened some 15,000 hectares and houses in Coconut Wells, about 18km from Broome, are now at risk, says the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) says.

Residents who abandoned their homes were advised to go to the beach as the blaze has also begun to close in on Morrel Park and Lullfitz.

“It may be hours before it is safe to return home so take water, food and sun protection,” FESA said in a statement.

“People who have decided to stay and defend their home should prepare for the fire.”

Residents have been told to close all doors and windows and turn off evaporative airconditioners.

The FESA says 25 volunteer fire and rescue service and bushfire service firefighters from two brigades are involved in the operation.

They saved six homes yesterday and extra crews are being flown in.

Road closures are in place and motorists have been urged to drive slowly.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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After the original name coined by a Perth man was universally condemned and then dumped, Kraft has announced its new product will now be called Vegemite Cheesybite.

After a vote by 30,000 Australians and New Zealanders at the weekend, Vegemite Cheesybite emerged with 36 per cent support to replace the much-maligned moniker iSnack2.0.

WA web designer Dean Robbins, 27, briefly hit the spotlight when it was revealed his suggestion of iSnack2.0 would brand the new product.

His concept was dumped just four days after it was revealed by Kraft when it became obvious consumers hated it.

Quantum Market Research conducted online polling and a telephone survey to gauge support for a number of names for the cream cheese version of the iconic brand.

Vegemite Cheesybite was the most popular, followed by Vegemite Smooth with 23 per cent of the vote.

“We have been overwhelmed by the response of the Australian public; it has been an insightful debate,” Kraft Foods Australia New Zealand head of corporate affairs, Simon Talbot, said in a statement.

“Australians have now selected a popular name for a successful product.”

The Vegemite Cheesybite-named stock will appear on shelves in the coming months.

In the mean time, Vegemite iSnack2.0 jars are still being distributed and sold around the country.

Source  :  www.thewest.com.au

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