Crisis deepens for airlines in January: IATA





FILE PHOTO: A plane prepares to land at the Nantes Atlantique airport in Bouguenais near Nantes, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

March 2, 2021

PARIS (Reuters) – Global airline body IATA said that the crisis deepened for airlines in January, as international traffic plunged 86% in the month compared to pre-crisis levels, and domestic air traffic was down 47%.

New variants of the coronavirus forced governments to tighten travel restrictions across the world, hurting the outlook for airlines, the group warned.

“That is what drove the weakness and the low points in January,” said IATA chief economist Brian Pearce. “Airlines are facing a really tough start to the year.”

(Reporting by Laurence Frost, writing by Sarah Young; editing by Alistair Smout)




Thanks for reading this news update regarding the latest USA News items published as “Crisis deepens for airlines in January: IATA”. This story was presented by My Local Pages Australia as part of our news aggregator services.

#Crisis #deepens #airlines #January #IATA



Source link

Greensill crisis spreads as Bank of England and German regulator take action | Banking


The crisis at the troubled lender Greensill Capital has spread after the Bank of England took action against one of the firm’s major business partners, and German regulators banned its local subsidiary from doing business and reportedly filed a criminal complaint against management.

It is the latest blow to the supply chain finance firm, which counts David Cameron as an adviser. Greensill, which allows businesses to borrow money to pay their suppliers, is expected to file for administration in the UK within days.

The uncertainty over the lender’s future poses a threat to a complex web of investors, business borrowers and nearly 50,000 jobs at firms that rely heavily on its loans, including across the UK steel industry.

On Wednesday, the German financial watchdog BaFin confirmed it had ordered Greensill Bank – which holds approximately €4.5bn (£3.9bn) in assets – to freeze any payments as there was an imminent risk that the bank would become over-indebted.

The moved followed a forensic audit in which BaFin raised concerns around bookkeeping, in particular on transactions linked to GFG Alliance Group, the steel empire headed by Sanjeev Gupta and employs thousands of people in the UK.

In a statement, the regulator said: “BaFin found that Greensill Bank AG was unable to provide evidence of the existence of receivables in its balance sheet that it had purchased from the GFG Alliance Group. For this reason, BaFin has already taken extensive measures to secure the bank’s liquidity and to limit risks for Greensill Bank AG and has appointed a special representative for the bank.”

Unions have raised concerns about the potential risk to thousands of British steel and engineering jobs linked to Gupta’s British steel operations as the Greensill crisis grows.

The bank played a key role in financing Gupta’s sprawling business empire. Its prize asset is Liberty Steel, which employs about 5,000 in the UK, including at manufacturing plants in Rotherham, South Yorkshire and Newport.

Further questions were raised about GFG Alliance Group’s finances on Wednesday when the Bank of England ordered its subsidiary, GFG Alliance, to inject about £75m into Wyelands Bank, a lender in which Gupta is a shareholder. Wyelands will use the money to return cash to retail savings customers as part of a plan it is agreeing with regulators. The bank had more than 15,000 savers in Britain and £726m in deposits, according to its 2019 annual report.

Gupta said Wyelands had suffered “disruption caused by both Brexit and Covid-19”.

BaFin has filed a criminal complaint against Greensill Bank’s management over suspected balance sheet manipulation, according to the Financial Times. The regulator, which declined to comment, began direct oversight of operations at the bank on Tuesday.

Greensill said Greensill Bank took advice from its lawyers on how to account for assets on its books, but that it changed the classification of some assets after BaFin raised objections in late 2020 and early 2021.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Greensill Bank has at all times been transparent with its regulators and auditors about its approach to classifying assets and the methodologies for determining such classifications,” it said.

While the firm is registered in Bundaberg, the Australian hometown of its founder, Lex Greensill, the majority of its business is based in London, where it employs roughly 1,000 staff.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email

Greensill was thrown into crisis earlier this week after it failed to secure a court injunction in Australia that would prevent insurers from pulling coverage for loans extended to its business borrowers.

Its lawyers said the lapsed contracts would leave the firm unable to offer new loans to businesses, which may otherwise default and be forced to file for insolvency, putting 50,000 jobs around the world at risk.

Credit Suisse later blocked investors from withdrawing money from $10bn (£7.2bn) of funds linked to Greensill. The Swiss asset manager GAM Holdings revealed it was also closing its $842m Greensill supply chain finance fund owing to “market developments and resulting media coverage”.

Greensill is now holding out hope for a so-called pre-pack deal with the private equity group Apollo Global Management, which is expected to cherrypick the best assets out of administration.

However, Apollo is not expected to pick up a tranche of loans extended to Gupta, whose GFG Alliance empire has relied heavily on Greensill loans.

Thanks for stopping by and checking this news release about local and Australian business named “Greensill crisis spreads as Bank of England and German regulator take action | Banking”. This news article was presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our news aggregator services.

#Greensill #crisis #spreads #Bank #England #German #regulator #action #Banking



Source link

Victorian mental health royal commission final report finds system operates in crisis mode


Victoria’s mental health system operates in crisis mode, has “catastrophically failed to live up to expectations” and must be rebuilt, a damning report from the state’s mental health royal commission has found.

There need to be major changes to stop hospital emergency departments being entry points to assistance and a boost to community-based services which are currently underfunded, the report says.

Among the final report’s 65 recommendations, outlined in a mammoth five-volume report, are the phasing out of seclusion and restraints treatments over the next decade, and making compulsory treatments an option of last resort.

Premier Daniel Andrews has vowed to implement all the recommendations, but is yet to work out an estimate of how much that might cost and has ruled out a special levy in the upcoming budget.

The royal commission’s chair, Penny Armytage, said more than 12,500 submissions from individuals and organisations were received over the two years.

The report said the system was “over-reliant” on medication, and the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s bushfires had highlighted the system’s failures.

Demand has now overtaken the capacity of the system, prompting the royal commission to recommend up to 60 community-based adult mental health services be established across the state, with another 22 high-level treatment services delivered in partnership with local hospitals.

The report says there should also be 13 services specific to young people who can access those services up until their 26th birthday.

All of these services should have 24-hour care and phone service available.

The commission has also recommended triple-0 calls regarding mental health crises be directed to ambulance officers instead of police, in an effort to provide a care response.

The state would be divided into eight regions, with each to have at least one top-level emergency department equipped to deal with mental health crisis and addiction treatment.

Access to services in rural and regional areas needs to be improved in order to stop people having to travel vast distances to get help.

To address the gap in services in the rural and regional areas, the commission calls for incentives to attract and retain workers in the bush.

Every year around one in five Victorians experience mental health issues.

About 3 per cent of the population — roughly 200,000 people — have a “severe” mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

The report has also recommended that 2,000 of the homes being built as part of Victoria’s $5.3 billion public housing project be constructed as supported housing for Victorians living with mental illness.

The final report can be viewed in full on the royal commission’s website.

The major reform is likely to cost billions of dollars.

The report has recommended Victoria work closely with the Commonwealth and other states to properly implement change.

Mr Andrews said his government was committed to providing better care.

“These recommendations will serve as our blueprint for delivering the biggest social reform in a generation: building our mental health — from the ground up.”

In a press conference later, he said the essence of the report was that health services had to provide care much earlier and much closer to home.

“Local early, not hospital late,” he said.

“It’s all about keeping people well.”

Asked whether the government had an estimate on how much implementing the recommendations would cost, the Premier said he did not, but would provide more details about funding in the budget.

“It will take some time but this is not a cost, it’s a profound investment in a system that will be there when you need it,” he said.

Thanks for seeing this news release regarding “News in the City of Melbourne called “Victorian mental health royal commission final report finds system operates in crisis mode”. This story was brought to you by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local and national events & current news services.

#Victorian #mental #health #royal #commission #final #report #finds #system #operates #crisis #mode



Source link

Queensland rental crisis deepens as family pets are surrendered to avoid homelessness


Pet owners are surrendering their animals to improve their chances of securing a lease in Queensland’s increasingly tight rental market.

The owners of surrendered cat Rex applied for 26 homes before they came to the realisation they would have to give him up to the Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge (SCARs) or risk finding themselves homeless.

“Rex is another one of our victims of the rental crisis situation,” SCARs manager Penny Brischke said.

The Sunshine Coast rental vacancy rate sat at 0.4 per cent in January.

Ms Brischke said in the period between October and December last year the shelter took in about 12 animals that needed accommodation due to the rental crisis.

“We’ve taken in nine [pets] already, we’ve got another six on the waiting list, and that’s in five weeks,” Ms Brischke said.

“We’re already at nearly the amount that we took in in three months.

Ms Brischke said the shelter never judged owners when they found themselves in the situation of having to surrender their beloved pets, which was usually their last resort.

“Most of the time, the situations that they’re surrendering [in], it’s not their first or second or third choice,” she said.

“They are literally at their wit’s end.”

In Cairns, where the rental vacancy rate was 1.2 per cent in January, the Young Animal Protection Society (YAPS) has been dealing with a similar state of affairs.

YAPS treasurer Carol Clifton said she had seen people in tears when they had to surrender their animals.

“A lot of people have left the big cities and moved up here,” she said.

“[They are] bringing their animals with them and not realising how difficult it is going to be to get accommodation up here where they’re allowed to have their pets.”

Ms Clifton said families were having to choose accommodation over their dogs and cats.

“We actually had a call just this morning about somebody who had to surrender their cat — they’re moving into a unit, they’ve got to downsize,” she said.

The 2016 census said 36 per cent of Queenslanders were renting privately. Much has changed since then.

There is also little available data on how many renters keep pets as those agreements are made between renters, owners and agents.

A 2019 report by Animal Medicines Australia found that Australia had one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with approximately 61 per cent of households owning an animal.

About 40 per cent of us have at least one dog and 27 per cent have a cat.

And this is before the increased pet adoption rates as a result of last year’s pandemic restrictions.

When it comes to rental laws in Queensland, 2018 legislation says landlords must give permission for tenants to own pets in their home and are free to refuse requests.

In late 2019, the Palaszczuk Government proposed major reforms to make pet ownership easier in rental properties.

The changes required landlords to have reasonable grounds for refusing a tenant’s request for a pet.

The ABC is unaware of any further progress on this bill since the onset of COVID-19.

A spokesperson from the Residential Tenancies Authority says a property owner or manager can decide what type of tenancy agreement is suitable for their property and whether to allow pets.

“A tenant may only keep pets on the premises if they have written permission from the property manager/owner and if it is stated in the standard terms of the tenancy agreement,” the spokesperson said.

Ms Clifton said she believed landlords should loosen restrictions about pet ownership for tenants.

“People are going through a tough time,” she said.

Nadine Hamilton has applied for “40 to 50 rentals” since September and has turned to boarding her cat Archie while she weathers the Sunshine Coast’s rental market.

She is spending more money on Archie’s lodgings than she is on her furniture storage while she jumps between Airbnb accommodation, friends’ homes and hotels as she searches for a home.

“Once I became without a home and knew I would be moving around looking for something,” Ms Hamilton said.

Ms Hamilton said she was not at the point yet where she had to choose to give up her cat.

“It’s a pretty big thing to have to do — a big decision to make,” she said.

“I understand how people get to the point where you think, ‘The pet’s got to go.’

Thank you for stopping by to visit My Local Pages and seeing this news release on “News & What’s On in Brisbane” titled “Queensland rental crisis deepens as family pets are surrendered to avoid homelessness”. This article was shared by MyLocalPages as part of our local and national events & news stories services.

#Queensland #rental #crisis #deepens #family #pets #surrendered #avoid #homelessness



Source link

What’s causing our housing crisis, and can we fix it?


The Northern Rivers is in the midst of a serious housing crisis which is putting vulnerable people at even more risk.

Renters are struggling to find places to live, with vacancy rates at all-time lows.

There are daily call-outs on social media from people looking for homes for themselves, their kids, their mothers and their mates.

>>> Pregnant woman’s desperate battle to find a home

Rents in the Richmond Valley have increased by 14.3 per cent over the past year to $400 a week, Lismore rents increased by 7.5 per cent to $430, and Byron increased 7.1 per cent to $750, according to the Domain Rent Report for the December quarter.

>>> Real reason why rentals are so hard to get on the Northern Rivers

For distressed tenants, it’s a bleak picture.

Property inspections regularly see up to 50 potential tenants battling it out in the hope of securing a home.

Even people with steady, full-time jobs are facing the very real prospect of homelessness a worrying trend which is on the rise, according to Social Futures chief executive Tony Davies.

 

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies would like to see governments make significant investments in social and affordable housing. Photo: Marc Stapelberg

 

Real estate agents say there is a huge demand for, and an acute shortage of, rentals throughout the region, and many are working with buyers to keep properties in the rental cycle.

It comes as house prices are surging, making it almost impossible for first home buyers to get into an already competitive market.

It seems the only good news is for investors, who are making healthy profits.

Many of the homes that sell are being snapped up by owner-occupiers, which takes important rental housing stock out of the equation and leaves even more people facing the prospect of homelessness.

Median house prices have skyrocketed in the past 12 months.

>>> How outrageous house prices are killing our towns

>>> Lismore homes selling within days

In Byron Bay, the median house price is now $2.2 million, but prices are up in all towns on the Northern Rivers, according to realestate.com.au:

Lismore: $376,000 (up from $340,000)

Ballina: $660,000 (up from $620,000)

Casino: $315,000 (up from $296,000)

Kyogle: $321,500 (up from $282,000).

 

Demand is surging for property at Byron Bay.

Demand is surging for property at Byron Bay.

 

 

Can we fix the housing crisis?

Mr Davies says the solution is for governments to make significant investments in social and affordable housing.

A “meaningful” increase in Jobseeker payments is also needed.

“Increasingly, governments are paying attention, but it’s happening too slowly,” he said.

“The government should set targets, for example, 25 (affordable) homes in every electorate, every year.

“What we really need to see is a long-term investment to build up housing stock.

“This is a very significant issue and we have a moral responsibility here.

“We need to constantly advocate to the bureaucrats and to the governments … investment in social housing frees up the whole market.

“This is about investing in the very fabric of our society.”

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson agrees that “intelligent” solutions are needed from government leaders before it’s too late.

 

What projects are happening right now?

There are a number of projects slated for parts of the Northern Rivers that will help to build up affordable housing stock.

One is the construction of a four-storey, $6.5 million block of 30 units in McKenzie St, Lismore.

 

North Coast Community Housing have put in a DA with Lismore City Council for units in McKenzie St, Lismore.

North Coast Community Housing have put in a DA with Lismore City Council for units in McKenzie St, Lismore.

 

North Coast Community Housing lodged the development application with Lismore City Council earlier this year.

If approved, it will provide a much-needed mix of private and affordable rentals and a component of social housing.

In Casino, work is starting on two homes as part of the $26 million pilot project, the Medium Density Housing Program.

The aim is to provide “well-designed and sustainable homes”.

Another project in Casino, where there is a 10-year wait for public housing, is a $2 million project for a block of vacant land in Centre St.

Momentum Collective, a community organisation which specialises in creating safe and suitable housing, has lodged a development application for the site.

If approved, they would build eight units to be used for affordable housing.



Thank you for dropping in to My Local Pages and checking this news article involving current NSW news called “What’s causing our housing crisis, and can we fix it?”. This news update was presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

#Whats #causing #housing #crisis #fix



Source link

Music industry faces mental health ‘crisis’ as COVID-19 takes toll on vulnerable workers


Last year, Victorian production manager Jenny Moon attended the funerals of half a dozen people from the music industry who took their own lives or died because of mental health-related issues.

Ms Moon, who has worked in the business for three decades, said she had never seen mental illness cause such devastation.

“I think I’ve only been to three funerals in all those years until COVID,” she said.

“From March to December there were probably six or seven funerals.”

Despite the tentative return of live music, caps on patrons, snap lockdowns and border shutdowns mean workers are still struggling to make ends meet.

The ongoing uncertainty is taking a heavy toll and Ms Moon is concerned about the situation spiralling when JobKeeper comes to an end.

“I think it’s a crisis situation,” she said.

Musician Jem Moloney was also worried about the number of suicides in the music industry.

As well as performing, Mr Moloney works part-time for Hope Assistance Local Tradies [HALT], a national, grassroots suicide prevention charity.

“Unfortunately, the work I am doing is crossing over into the music industry a lot because we’ve lost a lot of friends,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne’s Conversation Hour.

There was overall no increase in suicides last year in Victoria.

Industry-specific data, however, is not collected.

A report from the Coroners Court suggests the number of suicides has been “relatively steady” over the past five years.

In 2020, 698 people took their own lives in the state.

Even before COVID-19 there were worryingly high levels of mental illness in the entertainment industry.

A 2016 study by Entertainment Assist and Victoria University found that Australian entertainment workers had considerably higher rates of anxiety and depression than the general population.

Suicide attempts in the industry were more than double.

A 2019 federal government inquiry found “many Australian artists are overwhelmed by the financial and mental stress of building a career in the music industry”, and that the stress was taking a toll on their health.

While there are no official statistics, Executive General Manager of the Australian Live Music Business Council (ALMBC) Craig Spann said he “certainly noticed” an increase in suicide last year.

“That instant shutdown had a huge impact,” he said.

“We recently conducted a member survey and 93 per cent of respondents said they or their employees had experienced adverse mental health impacts as a result of the pandemic.”

With events being cancelled at great expense and the end of the JobKeeper payment looming, Mr Spann said this year could be harder than the last.

“Coming into 2021 everyone was very optimistic,” he said.

“It’s been a bit of a reality check.”

Mr Spann wants to see “consistent, ongoing core funding” for Support Act, a charity that provides financial assistance and mental health support to music industry workers.

Ms Moon said the most effective mental health support might be getting people back on the job.

Thank you for dropping in and checking out this post involving “News in the City of Melbourne named “Music industry faces mental health ‘crisis’ as COVID-19 takes toll on vulnerable workers”. This news release was shared by My Local Pages as part of our local events, news and stories aggregator services.

#Music #industry #faces #mental #health #crisis #COVID19 #takes #toll #vulnerable #workers



Source link

Super Rugby: Waratahs injury crisis ahead of Brumbies game as captain Jake Gordon to miss up to eight weeks


The Waratahs’ gravest fears have been realised: an injury crisis at the start of the year.

Having said goodbye to their six most experienced players last year — Wallabies captain Michael Hooper (sabbatical, Japan), Waratahs captain Rob Simmons (England), Kurtley Beale (France), Damien Fitzpatrick (retired), Ned Hanigan (Japan) and Tom Robertson (Force) — the Waratahs’ depth was always going to be stretched.

But they will now be without their new captain Jake Gordon, who will miss up to eight weeks after coming off midway through his side’s record 41-7 defeat to the Reds to open the new season last Friday night in Brisbane.

The Waratahs confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Gordon had syndesmosis to his left foot.

It’s a crushing blow for the Wallabies halfback, whose tryscoring ability and experience was imperative for the Waratahs to stay afloat in their second rebuilding year under Rob Penney.

Thank you for spending your time with us on My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed checking out this post about Australian Sports news and updates titled “Super Rugby: Waratahs injury crisis ahead of Brumbies game as captain Jake Gordon to miss up to eight weeks”. This news article is presented by My Local Pages Australia as part of our local and national news services.

#Super #Rugby #Waratahs #injury #crisis #ahead #Brumbies #game #captain #Jake #Gordon #weeks



Source link

Experts say this is what Australia needs to do to solve the housing crisis


What can we do with Australia’s property market, with soaring prices and rental shortages in many regional areas of Australia, from WA’s Pilbara to Hobart in Tasmania?

While more than 60 per cent of Australians own their own home, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows home-ownership rates for people aged under 40 are declining, part of a trend of intergenerational inequality and a growing gap between the haves and have nots.

Building more houses is often given as the answer to easing housing stress in areas of high demand but it’s not that simple, argue the four housing policy and economic experts the ABC spoke to.

Here are three policy areas they suggest Australia needs to address if we want to solve the housing crisis.

One housing policy expert said Australia had not had a national strategy since World War II, and the federal government needed to act quickly to form one and not leave it up to the states.

Professor Pawson, at the City Futures Research Centre UNSW, went on to say: “We don’t necessarily need to spend more money on housing as a country, we need to spend more smartly”.

“We have to measure the problem and commit to a strategy which addresses what we find.”

We also need to have “brave conversations” according to Swinburne University Professor of Housing Policy, Wendy Stone, who said just building more housing did not help to address inequality.

She pointed to Australians generating their wealth from housing, and said we should explore “setting boundaries” around that investment.

“How can we retain existing housing stock in regional areas for housing and home, rather than so much of it being held as vacant investment or being used as tourism investments?” she said.

“We need some urgency to establishing some parameters to reduce spiralling inequality.”

She argued a limit of how many properties any one person could own could help keep house prices lower and could take the pressure off rental shortages — especially as the federal government’s COVID support measures come to an end.

Professors Stone and Pawson argue that in the short term, the federal government needs to keep COVID emergency interventions such as JobKeeper. and rental eviction moratoria to prevent thousands of people becoming homeless.

“What we can see in our data and our analytics, is that a very large number of households are still heavily dependent on these crisis COVID response mechanisms and it is absolutely premature to withdraw these mechanisms,” Professor Stone said.

A recent survey conducted by Professor Pawson’s team estimated 75,000 tenants across Australia had accrued rent debt and he argued the Australian economy was yet to feel the full impact of COVID shutdowns.

“By the middle of this year, we may see some of that sort of stored up trouble … we know that at least a quarter of renters did lose income,” he said.

Rachel Ong ViforJ, Professor of Economics at Curtin University, said she would like to see rental reform for longer-term change, including increasing the Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and making sure it was better targeted to those who need it.

“Another major issue has to do with tenure security within the private rental sector,” Professor Ong ViforJ said.

“More Australians are renting, including older Australians. However, Australia’s private rental sector is lightly regulated and landlords are allowed ‘without-grounds’ lease termination.

“If the government can implement policy reforms that would make home ownership more affordable, that would also free up some rental properties as some renters became homebuyers.”

Economist Cameron Murray said there was little political will to act to decrease housing prices, particularly among households that use property as investment.

“The political reality is that we want higher and rising house prices, it’s a political winner and doing something to stop that is political suicide,” he said.

“Australian housing is worth about $7 trillion and a policy that effectively reduced the price of housing, even 20 per cent would wipe off $1.5 trillion of value from those 70 per cent of households who own their own home.”

Dr Murray said in the next 20 or so years as the Baby Boomer generation died, more houses would be moved through the market as inheritances were divided and sold, but that would not be leaving everyone with a house.

Increasing stock in social housing should be part of a national housing policy, said Professor Pawson, who pointed out that Australia’s social housing numbers had remained stagnant over the years despite a growing population, meaning its capacity to house those in need had reduced over the years.

Professors Stone and ViforJ agreed that increasing social housing stock was needed to help those most in need of secure housing, but Dr Murray said perhaps Australia should rethink its whole approach to subsidising housing.

Thank you for dropping in to My Local Pages and checking out this news release on “News in the City of Melbourne named “Experts say this is what Australia needs to do to solve the housing crisis”. This post was posted by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local and national events & news stories services.

#Experts #Australia #solve #housing #crisis



Source link

Wimmera housing crisis sees introduction of Wimmera Southern Mallee Housing Strategy


David Pietsch was prepared to relocate to work at the job he loved, but he did not expect to have to do it three times in 18 months.

The Bendigo man became West Wimmera Shire Council’s manager of planning and environment in June 2019 and he quickly realised there was nowhere for him to rent in the area.

It is a problem that has grown larger in recent years, and which a new strategy released this week is looking to solve.

“Then I had to move out of the shire to South Australia, and I lived in a motel for eight weeks while trying to find accommodation.

“I thought finding somewhere to live wouldn’t be an issue, but it wasn’t until 12 weeks after I started that I found an available property.”

Mr Pietsch eventually settled in Naracoorte, a 25-minute drive from his workplace and over the border in SA.

Then the pandemic hit, and the border closed.

“At first you just needed to get a COVID-19 test every week to be allowed back into SA, but then in August they did a hard border lockdown and I had to pack up the house and move back to Victoria,” he said.

“I was working from home in Bendigo and then, luckily over Christmas, a friend in Kaniva mentioned a rental property was coming up.

Mr Pietsch said the constant moving had affected his work.

“I’m in a planning role, and you can only understand how a town functions by living there,” he said.

“So, it was hard to get to know the community because at the end of every day I was leaving the shire.”

Mr Pietsch said his difficulty accessing local housing was not unique.

“Quite a few people who have started at the council and since left in the time that I’ve been there have had this issue.

The Wimmera Development Association (WDA) has released its Wimmera Southern Mallee Housing Strategy this week, after a year surveying regional real estate agents, developers, employers and councils.

This has confirmed a shortage of residentially zoned and serviced land for sale and almost non-existent rental vacancies, among other issues.

Project manager Mark Fletcher says the WDA will now push councils to be more ambitious in zoning land, explore more incentives for developers and establish a regional housing taskforce.

“Another thing we are looking at is whether we can package up across a few towns, or even a few shires, some development work,” he said.

Mr Fletcher said Mr Pietsch’s experience was just one of many ways the housing market was inhibiting population growth in the region.

“We have heard that people have bought basic housing for a new job knowing full well they could afford something better, but that is all that’s on offer,” he said.

“The issue there is it takes those properties off the market for the people that need that lower-end accommodation.

“These people are often coming from the outer suburbs of Melbourne, where there are more suburbs popping up every year with open-plan houses, and we are inviting them to come to the region to live in a 60 or 70-year-old house.”

Mr Fletcher said the lack of housing had only become a problem in recent years since more people had begun moving to the Wimmera — a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Running concurrently with the housing strategy has been the Live the Grampians Way campaign to attract new residents through the appeal of the lifestyle offered by the Grampians National Park.

The online promotion launched in December to help address skills shortages and low population growth in the council areas surrounding the national park.

More than 140 people have formally registered their interest to move.

He said the number of new users visiting the national park had increased by 47 per cent in January to nearly 7,000.

Mr Fletcher said it was crucial the housing situation changed in the next few years to secure an economically diverse future for the Wimmera.

“There is a nectar farms project in the northern Grampians in the works, and sand mines around Horsham,” he said.

“If some of these projects come off, we’ve got quite a housing issue.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out this news release about “News & What’s On in the Wimmera Region named “Wimmera housing crisis sees introduction of Wimmera Southern Mallee Housing Strategy”. This news update was shared by My Local Pages as part of our current events and news aggregator services.

#Wimmera #housing #crisis #sees #introduction #Wimmera #Southern #Mallee #Housing #Strategy



Source link

Experts say this is what Australia needs to do to solve the housing crisis


What can we do with Australia’s property market, with soaring prices and rental shortages in many regional areas of Australia, from WA’s Pilbara to Hobart in Tasmania?

While more than 60 per cent of Australians own their own home, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows home-ownership rates for people aged under 40 are declining, part of a trend of intergenerational inequality and a growing gap between the haves and have nots.

Building more houses is often given as the answer to easing housing stress in areas of high demand but it’s not that simple, argue the four housing policy and economic experts the ABC spoke to.

Here are three policy areas they suggest Australia needs to address if we want to solve the housing crisis.

A national housing policy

One housing policy expert said Australia had not had a national strategy since World War II, and the federal government needed to act quickly to form one and not leave it up to the states.

Professor Pawson, at the City Futures Research Centre UNSW, went on to say: “We don’t necessarily need to spend more money on housing as a country, we need to spend more smartly”.

“We have to measure the problem and commit to a strategy which addresses what we find.”

We also need to have “brave conversations” according to Swinburne University Professor of Housing Policy, Wendy Stone, who said just building more housing did not help to address inequality.

She pointed to Australians generating their wealth from housing, and said we should explore “setting boundaries” around that investment.

“How can we retain existing housing stock in regional areas for housing and home, rather than so much of it being held as vacant investment or being used as tourism investments?” she said.

“We need some urgency to establishing some parameters to reduce spiralling inequality.”

She argued a limit of how many properties any one person could own could help keep house prices lower and could take the pressure off rental shortages — especially as the federal government’s COVID support measures come to an end.

What about rental relief?

COVID has seen a shift in rental pressure with vacancy rates increasing in inner city Melbourne and Sydney but drastically dropping in regional areas as people are moving out of the major cities.(ABC News: Loretta Lohberger)

Professors Stone and Pawson argue that in the short term, the federal government needs to keep COVID emergency interventions such as JobKeeper. and rental eviction moratoria to prevent thousands of people becoming homeless.

“What we can see in our data and our analytics, is that a very large number of households are still heavily dependent on these crisis COVID response mechanisms and it is absolutely premature to withdraw these mechanisms,” Professor Stone said.

A recent survey conducted by Professor Pawson’s team estimated 75,000 tenants across Australia had accrued rent debt and he argued the Australian economy was yet to feel the full impact of COVID shutdowns.

“By the middle of this year, we may see some of that sort of stored up trouble … we know that at least a quarter of renters did lose income,” he said.

Rachel Ong ViforJ, Professor of Economics at Curtain University, said she would like to see rental reform for longer-term change, including increasing the Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and making sure it was better targeted to those who need it.

“Another major issue has to do with tenure security within the private rental sector,” Professor Ong ViforJ said.

“More Australians are renting, including older Australians. However, Australia’s private rental sector is lightly regulated and landlords are allowed ‘without-grounds’ lease termination.

“If the government can implement policy reforms that would make home ownership more affordable, that would also free up some rental properties as some renters became homebuyers.”

Subsidise home buying, like Singapore?

Economist Cameron Murray said there was little political will to act to decrease housing prices, particularly among households that use property as investment.

“The political reality is that we want higher and rising house prices, it’s a political winner and doing something to stop that is political suicide,” he said.

“Australian housing is worth about $7 trillion and a policy that effectively reduced the price of housing, even 20 per cent would wipe off $1.5 trillion of value from those 70 per cent of households who own their own home.”

Dr Murray said in the next 20 or so years as the Baby Boomer generation died, more houses would be moved through the market as inheritances were divided and sold, but that would not be leaving everyone with a house.

Increasing stock in social housing should be part of a national housing policy, said Professor Pawson, who pointed out that Australia’s social housing numbers had remained stagnant over the years despite a growing population, meaning its capacity to house those in need had reduced over the years.

Professors Stone and ViforJ agreed that increasing social housing stock was needed to help those most in need of secure housing, but Dr Murray said perhaps Australia should rethink its whole approach to subsidising housing.

He pointed to Singapore where about 80 per cent of the population was able to buy a subsidised home through the government.

“To me, Singapore’s public housing model is probably one of the best interventions,” Dr Murray said.

“It’s essentially a public, subsidised doorway to get into the market.”

Without change, inequality will grow

House prices and rising rents are a major problem if you are a renter who can’t afford to buy a house, but are probably not your concern if you own property.

However, all four experts warn that if we let housing inequality continue to grow unabated, it will affect everyone.

“A continual upward trend in house prices that outstrip wage growth should be a concern for homeowners, especially those carrying a mortgage,” Professor ViforJ said.

“Highly indebted homeowners are more likely to fall behind on mortgage payments if they were, to say, become unemployed or go through a period of financial difficulty.”

Professor Stone said if the federal government did not do more to balance the housing market, Australia would have an “increasing pool of losers and a smaller, wealthier group of property winners”.

“Without intervention we will see an increase in homelessness.

“We know that an unequal society with a high degree of economic polarisation is going to undermine our economy in the longer term.”

Thank you for stopping by and checking this story about National and South Australian News and updates called “Experts say this is what Australia needs to do to solve the housing crisis”. This news article was shared by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

#Experts #Australia #solve #housing #crisis



Source link