Big issues require big commitments, and even bigger dollars – Mental Health Australia welcomes the 2021 Federal Budget


Mental Health Australia has tonight welcomed the 2021 Federal Budget, at a time when the mental health of our nation has never seen such need, nor experienced such a willingness to address the issues and challenges at hand.

“Over the last decade or more, our mental health ecosystem has advocated tirelessly for systemic reform, for change and ultimately for the right to be heard,” said Mental Health Australia CEO Dr Leanne Beagley.

“At the heart of such advocacy has been those with lived experience of mental ill health, and their families and carers. These courageous, persistent and persuasive voices have become critical to ensuring all governments not only listen, but act to improve our mental health system.

“Tonight, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s Budget speech identified a record $2.3 billion will be invested in Australia’s mental health over the next four years.

“There is no doubt this is real action.

“The numbers are big, and the commitments are certainly welcomed, but we also know that to tackle and deliver true national mental health reform will mean big commitments on many fronts, not just in health, and not just at a federal level.

“There are also of course gaps, and there are of course more questions to ask and we will do so over the next days and weeks.

“At Mental Health Australia, where our focus is always on national systemic reform across the entire lifespan and across the care continuum from prevention to acute clinical treatment, we see these Budget announcements as the start of what must become a national wave of true mental health reform.

“After decades of under-investment across the entire ecosystem, new mental health funding can sometimes be like rain after a long drought — it is welcomed but gets absorbed into the dry earth so quickly that it seems to disappear. It’s only when there is consistent rain that a drought truly breaks.”

 

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Hopeful buyers need to save thousands of dollars to keep their 20 per cent deposit


Potential home buyers who have been searching for a property since last year would need to have saved up to $1586 extra a week in deposit money to keep up with the pace of price rises, new analysis shows.

Ultra-low interest rates and an undersupplied market have fuelled fierce competition among buyers this year, sending prices soaring and with it the amount needed for a 20 per cent deposit to avoid lender’s mortgage insurance.

In Sydney, the median house price increased by more than $100,000 in the quarter ending March to $1,309,195, the latest Domain House Price Report shows.

Anyone in Sydney who had saved a 20 per cent deposit on the median house price in December but did not manage to buy a home needs to have saved an extra $20,614 since then to keep their deposit at 20 per cent of the current median house price.

That would mean adding a staggering $1586 each week to their deposit savings.

In Melbourne, the median house price increased 4.8 per cent to $974,397.

This means buyers had to save a further $8989 in three months to maintain their deposit savings at 20 per cent of the median price – that’s $691 a week.

Prices have reached record highs in six capital cities, leaving many hopeful home owners and upsizers, who once had healthy deposits, resorting to desperate tactics just to keep up: leaning into the Bank of Mum and Dad, lowering expectations, incurring lender’s mortgage insurance. Some have given up altogether on the search for property.

HOUSES

Capital CityMedian house price, Mar-21QoQ increase20% deposit (based on median)Quarterly deposit change
Sydney$1,309,1958.50%$261,839$20,613.6
Melbourne$974,3974.80%$194,879.40$8,988.8
Brisbane$632,9991.70%$126,599.80$2,068.4
Adelaide$599,7063.70%$119,941.20$4,251.4
Canberra$927,5779.70%$185,515.40$16,354.6
Perth$578,6122.40%$115,722.40$2,751.6
Hobart$601,5677.60%$120,313.40$8,472.8
Darwin$554,2959.10%$110,859$9,238.2
National$899,5095.70%$179,901.80$9,706.0

The savings required to keep up with the pace of the property market was more than the average person could afford, according to Commonwealth Bank, head of Australian economics Gareth Aird.

“The reality is nobody has saved that additional money over the quarter,” Mr Aird said. “The reality is that you’re getting a less desirable dwelling than what you would have three months ago.”

Others would take on the cost of lender’s mortgage insurance to get into a property market that’s “red hot” because of the fear of missing out, Mr Aird said, which drove prices higher and became a self-perpetuating cycle.

It was “extremely difficult” for many people in Sydney who were hoping to buy, whether they were first-home buyers or upsizers, according to Scott Partridge, broker and principal at Mortgage Choice Hills District.

“You’re significantly chasing your tail on something like that. I am seeing more people lean on the Bank of Mum and Dad,” he said. “There are people who are just deciding they’re out of it at the moment or, in fact, have had to condition their expectations in terms of the property they’re purchasing.”

Canberra’s median house prices recorded the second-highest jump in the March quarter, rising 9.7 per cent to $927,577.

This would mean Canberrans, who were in the market at the start of the year, would now need an extra $16,355 – that equates to saving $1258 a week.

It was catching out first-home buyers in ACT’s capital, according to Mark Reber, a broker at Mortgage Choice Canberra.

“I’m finding a lot of first-home buyers are having to pay lender’s mortgage insurance,” Mr Reber said, adding that some were not able to keep up the pace of savings, while upsizers were in a better position as they had built equity in the home since the latest upswing.

UNITS

Capital CityMedian unit price, Mar-21QoQ increase20% deposit (based on median)Quarterly deposit change
Sydney$751,0382.20%$150,207.60$3,267.60
Melbourne$568,7932.20%$113,758.60$2,413.60
Brisbane$398,612-0.50%$79,722.40-$388.80
Adelaide$344,0621.10%$68,812.40$756.20
Canberra$473,304-5.00%$94,660.80-$4,933.80
Perth$371,4453.90%$74,289.00$2,821.20
Hobart$430,716-0.80%$86,143.20-$667.60
Darwin$293,731-1.80%$58,746.20-$1,049.00
National$584,3401.80%$116,868.00$2,017.40

House price growth had outstripped wages since 2013, according to Alison Pennington, a senior economist at The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work, making it tough to save up for a home.

It was even tougher for young people, with the youth labour market declining since the GFC, Ms Pennington said.

“Youth unemployment is now almost 12 per cent – more than double the average,” Ms Pennington said. “Without access to sufficient paid work, how are young people supposed to save for ever-rising housing deposits?”

She said the egalitarian Australian dream of owning your own house was a pipe dream for lower-income and young individuals.

“Australia is undergoing a historic shift in its housing system,” she said, adding that young people are often buying homes thanks to the Bank of Mum and Dad.

“It strikes at the heart of egalitarian traditions linking employment to owner-occupation. Employment earnings are increasingly insufficient for gaining access to owner-occupied housing.”

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Australian state launches scheme to boost aboriginal tourism


SYDNEY, April 4 (Xinhua) — The Australia state of Western Australian (WA) launched a scheme on Tuesday to promote aboriginal cultural tourism there.

The Tjina: Western Australian Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan, includes a fund valued at 20 million Australian dollars (about 15.48 million U.S. dollars) to support Aboriginal people wanting to work in that sector and to bolster the untapped tourism potential of the scenically spectacular areas of the state such as the Dampier Peninsular in the Kimberly region.

The plan was developed by Tourism Western Australia and other government agencies with the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC) and the Aboriginal tourism industry.

“There is incredible demand for Aboriginal experiences – the Tjina Plan will make sure people will get to have that experience they are looking for while they are travelling around WA,” said WA Tourism Minister David Templeman in launching the plan.

Research from Tourism WA shows more than 80 percent of visitors to WA want an Aboriginal experience, however, only about 17 percent have been able to do so up to now.

WAITOC earlier this year has helped secure a federal government commitment for a 40-million-Australian dollar (30.9-million-U.S. dollar) grant package as part of the Indigenous Tourism Fund.

WAITOC CEO Robert Taylor said the financial support presented a “welcome opportunity at a time of unprecedented uncertainty in the tourism sector”.

“Aboriginal tourism opportunities in Western Australia have grown significantly over the past six years and it’s critical we find ways to keep them buoyant and expanding throughout the effects of this pandemic period,” Taylor said.

About 3 percent of Australia’s population has aboriginal heritage, who have been living on the continent for over 50,000 years. Australia’s aboriginal culture is defined by its connection to family, community and country.

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Comedian shocked as Qantas ticket with extra legroom costs almost a billion dollars


An Aussie comedian who tried to buy extra legroom on his flight said the ticket had come with an eye-watering, almost billion-dollar price tag.

Dave O’Neil shared a screenshot of his booking for return flights from Melbourne to Perth, which he’d been trying to purchase extra legroom for. The quoted price was for $987,999,999.00.

“Hey @Qantas all I wanted was extra leg room on my flight to Perth, very happy to pay for it but this seems a bit expensive,” he wrote.

The excessive price gathered a huge amount of attention on social media with the tweet attracting more than 2000 likes and hundreds of replies.

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“They always lower the price by a few bucks so you don’t feel like you’re spending a full billion,” Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall wrote.

“Just use Afterpay to spread the cost out,” another joked.

“On behalf of all Qantas shareholders, thank you Dave for the dividends,” another said.

Qantas also replied to Mr O’Neil telling him the cost did look unusual, and to get in touch.

Qantas told news.com.au it hasn’t been able to replicate the charge, but is still investigating.

“While we know that customers really value extra leg room, the price displayed was definitely a bit of a stretch,” a spokesperson told news.com.au in a statement.

“We can confirm the passenger was charged the correct amount of $70 per sector for the extra legroom and we’re investigating what caused the incorrect amount to be displayed.”

It comes as Australian airports were once again filled with emotional travellers as the trans Tasman bubble officially launched on Monday.

It means for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Kiwis and Aussies are allowed to freely travel across the ditch without quarantining.

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Tasmanian tax agent James Burrows accused of stealing in excess of a million dollars from clients



A 35-year-old tax agent has been charged with more than 40 fraud offences, after allegedly stealing in excess of a million dollars from his clients.

Tasmania Police arrested and charged James Burrows after an 18-month long joint investigation with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) that was sparked by complaints on social media.

The Launceston man was charged with 25 counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception and 16 counts of stealing by misappropriation.

Detective Inspector Kim Steven said while the investigation was still underway, they believe there could be up to 50 victims.

“A number of people made a number of accusations and allegations through social media that eventually made their way to us and started the investigation,” he said.

“We’ve certainty interviewed and spoken to a large number of people including employees.”

Police said Mr Burrows misappropriated individual tax returns and falsified business activity statements for his financial benefit from September 2017 until March 2020.

The alleged offending breached both state and Commonwealth legislation.

Inspector Steven said both businesses and individuals had fallen victim to the alleged fraudulent activity.

“This doesn’t happen every day. People should have faith in the tax system.”

The Tax Practitioners Board terminated Mr Burrows’ registration as a tax agent in 2019, following its own investigation.

In a statement, ATO Assistant Commissioner Ian Read said they are providing support to clients of Mr Burrows.

“The majority of tax agents are trusted advisors who support the integrity of the tax system and their clients,” Mr Read said.

“However, when we identify tax agents who appear to be breaching the trust placed in them and defrauding their clients and the system, we take it seriously.

Mr Burrows has been bailed to appear in the Launceston Magistrates Court on the 26th of May.

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Tourism dollars welcome but don’t leave Arts and Entertainment Industry out: Greens – 16 News


The Greens are calling on the Morrison Government to provide targeted support to the arts and entertainment industry, together with the Covid Tourism Package expected to be announced this week before JobKeeper is cut off.

Greens Spokesperson for the Arts, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:

“A support package for the tourism industry is welcome, but it is well overdue and should be accompanied by a continuation of JobKeeper for as long as it is necessary during the pandemic.

“The Morrison Government must also announce a targeted support package for the arts and entertainment industry which works hand in hand with the tourism industry.

“Our arts and entertainment industry was the first to be shutdown by Covid restrictions and one of the last to get any assistance from the government. Then once it did, that assistance was measly and the funding programs have been well over-prescribed.

“The Morrison Government had no problem allowing the HomeBuilder scheme to blow out to $2billion to support an industry that only suffered a quarter of the job losses that arts and entertainment did.

“It’s another cruel blow for an industry that has delivered so much during the pandemic, and is still struggling to get back on its feet with domestic and international border restrictions and social distancing rules impacting its ability to operate at full capacity.

“It makes good economic sense to support an industry that contributes $112billion a year to our economy and it’s time the Morrison Government properly acknowledged that fact.”

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One-punch attack victim Angus Chance on the legal mishap with Football NSW that’s cost his family hundreds of thousands of dollars


An up-and-coming soccer player who was the victim of a one-punch attack after sticking up for teammates who were racially abused is now locked in a legal battle with Football New South Wales.

Angus Chance, 23, says the powerful soccer organisation has fought him every step of the way along his painful recovery.

In May 2018, Mr Chance was training at Dulwich Hill Football Club, where three visiting Japanese players were also in attendance, trialling for a club.

About an hour into training, a teammate lost patience with them, calling the triallists “Japanese c****s”.

“A few more words were exchanged, and he pushed me … like with two hands, and it caused me to tumble backwards,” Mr Chance told 7.30.

“As I regained my balance, I’m not too sure what happened from there, to my memory.

“But I do know that I probably said something else back at him as a reaction to being pushed. And then that’s where I was hit to the left side of my jaw.”

Angus is still suffering from the injuries inflicted on him from the one-punch attack in 2018.(

Supplied

)

The attack left Mr Chance with severe injuries to his face, which he says he is still recovering from, while the attacker was charged with grievous bodily harm and sentenced to 20 months of home detention.

The perpetrator claimed he was enraged at being called a racist by Mr Chance, as he is of Jamaican heritage.

Significant financial stress for the family

Despite the injuries inflicted on Mr Chance and his defence of the Japanese players, Football NSW has not offered to cover any of Mr Chance’s medical bills — which he says now total almost $90,000, and has caused his family significant financial stress.

The ordeal has cost both parties hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.

It’s believed Football NSW is now open to resolving the matter.

Meanwhile, a senior source within Football Australia (FFA) has also confirmed that its executives were disappointed that the matter had not been resolved, but stressed it has no direct control over the running of the game in respective states.

“Football Australia is deeply concerned about the impact of this matter on Angus and his family and has encouraged all parties to continue the constructive and supportive dialogue,” a spokesperson from the FFA told the ABC.

“I never wanted this to be with lawyers, I never wanted this to be in the courts,” Mr Chance told 7.30.

“I never wanted to be in a situation where, three years later, I’m still in the courts for something I’m trying to desperately put behind me.”

Football NSW now in talks with family

In a statement, a Football NSW spokesperson said it was talking with Mr Chance, and “continues to meet with the Chance family and their representative with the sole intention of supporting the wellbeing of Angus and his family.”

An earlier statement from Football NSW also said the Chance’s never lodged an insurance claim after the incident.

However, this was because Angus’s father, Chris Chance, was told the injuries inflicted on his son were not covered because a criminal act had occurred.

An older man sitting with his arms crossed at a dining table.
Chris Chance thought Football NSW would assist to resolve the matter quickly – but instead they’re now locked in a legal battle.(

ABC News: Jerry Rickard

)

He claims he went to Football NSW in good faith, but it was unwilling to assist.

“My understanding was that everybody would rally around to sort the matter out so we can all move on. But it just has not turned out that way,” Chris Chance said.

‘As a sport, we have let Angus down’

The wider football community is now rallying behind Angus Chance with former Socceroos Francis Awaritefe and Craig Foster offering their support.

A man with white hair speaks at a refugee rally with a blue banner behind him.
Craig Foster has penned an open letter urging Football NSW to help the Chance family.(

ABC News: Timothy Swanston

)

“I think as a sport, we have let Angus down,” Mr Awaritefe said.

“They’ve got to place the rights holder at the centre of how they deal with these matters, and I think that that’s the problem when you revert to this legalistic compliance mentality.

“This leads to the situation we now have, when you’re actually contributing to the pain and the harm that has already been caused.”

Craig Foster, now a human rights advocate, has penned an open letter urging Football NSW to help the Chance family.

“Despite the fact that Angus is an incredibly brave young man who should be rewarded for protecting the inclusive values of the game, he has been ostracised,” Foster wrote.

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Private clinics cost tens of thousands of dollars and people’s dreams


A little under five years ago, my wife and I started going through the IVF process to have a child. Being the product of IVF surrogacy, donor sperm, and a mother, Maggie Kirkman, who is an expert in women’s experiences of infertility, I felt uniquely qualified for the process.

However, nothing really prepares you for the anguish of seeing a blastocyst on a screen, falling in love with it, and then feeling it die while you are pumped full of pregnancy hormones.

The financial costs of IVF made the whole thing far more stressful.

Going through IVF is the worst thing that has ever happened to me physically and emotionally. The financial costs made the whole thing far more stressful and limited how many attempts we could have. I know of people who have sold their houses and given up everything to pay for cycle after cycle to have the child they always dreamed of. What’s so infuriating, though, is that it absolutely does not have to be this expensive. This is what happens when medical care is run for private profit instead of public good. We laugh at Americans for thinking their healthcare really is that expensive, and then turn around and say: “$15,000 for one cycle of IVF? Sounds about right.”

Back when my parents were assembling the necessary components for my existence, the whole thing was very expensive, as you would expect for ground-breaking, first-of-its-kind treatment. But the charges reflected the actual cost of the medical procedures, and the people in charge were the doctors who were dedicated to getting the best outcomes for their patients without having to be concerned about how controversy could affect corporate profits.

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Billions of dollars in new building projects a good sign for Sydney’s construction industry, analysts say


Major projects worth billions of dollars in and around Sydney were given the green light last year despite fears for the construction industry.

And while some analysts are predicting a sluggish 2021 in the sector, amid uncertain economic conditions, hopes are high for the coming years.

The Master Builders Association is predicting non-residential building works like shops, offices and commercial space to reduce about 18 per cent throughout this financial year.

But chief economist Shane Garrett thinks the long-term viability of the projects “is pretty secure”.

“They will reach their completion stage in a fairly healthy economic environment which is moving in the right direction at a fast pace.

Here are some of the major developments that have been given the green light.

CBD developments

1. 55 Pitt Street, Sydney

A mid-century office building will be demolished for this development at 55 Pitt Street.(Supplied)

This $500 million Mirvac redevelopment includes a new 50-storey commercial office tower above a 45-metre podium on the corner of Pitt Street and Dalley Street in the Sydney CBD, two blocks from Circular Quay.

It includes 70,950 square metres of new commercial floor space in a tower reaching up to 232m.

It would see the demolition of a nine-storey mid-century commercial office building and significant upgrades of the adjacent Ausgrid and Telstra utility buildings to “improve their aesthetics and deliver new retail opportunities”.

A final design is expected to be selected from a competitive design process.

2. 65-77 Market Street, Sydney

A $295.9 million project proposed by Scentre Group and Cbus Property, this development is a 32-storey mixed use residential and commercial tower in the heart of the CBD.

The block, owned by David Jones Properties, is hemmed between Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street, in the shadow of Sydney Tower.

FJMT Studio architects won the competitive design process in November for its blueprint’s “unique” and “understated” style.

The project would see the partial internal demolition of the existing 1938 David Jones heritage-listed department store, to create an atrium for the new development.

It includes plans for 13 one-bedroom units, 56 two-bedroom units, 29 three-bedroom units and five four-bedroom units.

3. 169-183 Liverpool Street, Sydney

City buildings.
There will be two new residential towers housing 237 apartments in Liverpool Street.(Supplied)

The proposed $244.4 million development by Shimao Group Holdings Limited would see the demolition of an existing commercial tower directly south of Hyde Park and the ANZAC War Memorial, to make way for two new residential towers.

The 35 and 37-storey buildings are designed to house a total of up to 237 apartments.

Owned by Sicard Pty Ltd, the development will “conserve the heritage significance of the ANZAC War Memorial and Hyde Park” by providing a space between the two towers, allowing visitors a clear view of the sky.

A final design plan is expected to be selected through a competitive process.

4. 133-141 Liverpool Street, Sydney

This block on the corner of Liverpool Street and Castlereagh Street and opposite to the Downing Centre is owned by the trustee of the Roman Catholic Church.

It’s planning to knock down an existing 113m commercial tower to make way for a 70-level high-rise reaching 234m.

The $161.6 million project would include commercial and communal open spaces and up to 227 residential apartments.

5. 187 Thomas Street, Haymarket

A drawing of a high rise building in Sydney CBD.
A 10-storey commercial office building would be removed for this development.(Supplied)

The site on the corner of Thomas Street and Valentine Street is located about 200m from Central Station.

Greaton Development’s plan would see construction of a new 206m hybrid tower, with about 50,000sqm of floor space, designed to accommodate a mixture of tenants across innovation, education, employment and tourism.

It would add to the supply of “large floor plate commercial floor space” in the city.

An existing 10-storey commercial office building would be removed to make way for the major development.

A design competition for the project is soon expected to commence.

6. 93-97 Macquarie Street, Sydney

A man stands at the entrance to the 'Health Department' building.
The former Health Department building has state heritage significance.(Supplied: Wikimedia)

This $135.1 million proposal by developer Oakstand would see a redevelopment of an existing heritage listed Health Department building owned by Sir Stamford At Circular Quay.

It is one block from the eastern side of Circular Quay, opposite the Royal Botanic Garden.

While a tower would emerge above and behind the building, heritage elements, including the existing exterior would be retained.

A new 16-storey tower would reach up to 55m, and include new commercial and residential space.

7. 94-104 Epsom Road, Zetland

This $108.3 million development includes three buildings between four and 13 storeys in height and will accommodate 271 residential apartments.

Up to 184 car parking spaces will be provided as well as commercial premises.

While the site is currently owned by City of Sydney Council, it will be purchased by developer Karimbla Properties.

SJB was selected as the winner of the competitive design process.

8. 371-375 Pitt Street, Sydney

Owner and developer Sydney Redevelopments 1 Pty Ltd is spending $80.4 million to construct a 34-storey hotel and commercial development.

The demolition of existing buildings as well as excavation and remediation will make way for 304 hotel rooms and associated facilities as well as one retail tenancy.

9. 477 Pitt Street, Haymarket

477 Pitt Street by John Wardle architects
Heritage sites will be restored as part of this development in Pitt Street, Haymarket.(Supplied)

Owner ISPT Pty Ltd plans to transform an existing commercial asset into an “enlivened contemporary workplace for a technology focused community”, costing $71.6 million.

It would involve revamping an existing 31-storey office tower, lobby and associated retrial spaces.

Works include the removal of the current facade as well as the restoration of existing heritage sites including the Australian Gaslight Co building, Fire Station and Manse building.

10. Central Station

Atlassian new headquarters
At 180m high, Atlassian’s new headquarters will reshape Central’s skyline.(Supplied)

Tech giant Atlassian plans to build a 40-storey skyscraper building next to Central Station at a cost of $1 billion.

The hybrid timber tower will be part of the earmarked and NSW Government backed “Tech Central” which will stretch from Central to Camperdown.

Atlassian’s new Australian headquarters will sit above the YHA Central Railway Square and house around 4,000 staff.

It is hoped construction will start this year, and will finish in 2025.

11. Martin Place

shiny tower above a city street
The CBD will be home to two new office towers above Martin Place station.(Supplied: NSW Government)

The new Martin Place metro precinct will include two new commercial buildings at either entrance to the station.

At the northern entrance of the station, a 39-storey commercial tower will rise above the financial district, while a 28-storey building will be constructed at the other end.

The two new towers will be constructed at the same time the station is built underground.

The metro station is due to open in 2024.

Other Sydney developments

10. 29-33 Oxford Street, Epping

A church with a new building behind it.
The current church building is part of the plan for Oxford Street, Epping.(Supplied)

This $181.5 million development would see a small school and church complex owned by the trustee of the Catholic Church turned into a 29-storey mixed use tower with a care facility, primary school and seniors living centre.

The high-rise plan by developer Stockland includes a 132-bed residential care facility, 205 independent seniors living units, four church presbytery units, ancillary shops, two-to-three storey church hall, two-to-three storey primary school building and a basement with 372 car parks.

All buildings on the site would be demolished, except the current church which would be incorporated for its heritage value.

11. 160 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead

A drawing of a building.
An artist’s impression of 160 Hawkesbury Road at Westmead.(Supplied)

The site, owned by Western Sydney University, sits directly opposite Westmead Hospital and is 400m walking distance to Westmead Train Station.

The blueprint would see a complex of residential buildings from eight to 24 stories in height and containing up to 556 apartments in total constructed.

A total of 654 parking spaces are expected to be made available in the $168.2 million project, being developed by Combine Projects Westmead.

12. 659 Victoria Road, Melrose Park

A drawing of a building.
The Victoria Road Melrose Park development includes four towers up to 11 storeys.(Supplied)

The $166.7 million development by Payce and owner Tyriel Developments includes a square shaped complex of four towers up to 11 storeys high and two towers up to 12 storeys high.

It will contain 412 residential units, a supermarket, retail shops and three basement levels of car parks.

Public space the key to liveability

A woman with blonde hair and a t-shirt.
Associate Professor Ridenour says Sydney needs to enhance public space.(ABC News: Josh Bavas)

Sydney is known to be constrained by its narrow roads and by Sydney Harbour.

Councils should keep improving standards to enhance public space as density increases, Associate Professor of Urban Design at the University of Sydney Deena Ridenour said.

“Our cities were laid out in a former time and we didn’t think about needing to use the spaces in the streets for the uses that we now need,” she said.

“We’re finding the footpaths are too narrow, there’s a lot of space for cars and so we’re needing to rebalance that and say, ‘How do we get more space out of these constrained areas that we have’.

“A lot of Sydney’s older streets are 20 metres wide and that just has to do with how the surveyors started out at the time and the tools that they used.

“New York City has very wide footpaths like five metres where ours can be very narrow, like two-and-a-half metres in some places.”

Providing more views of the harbour would only enhance the feeling of openness, she said.

“Having a street grid that gives you views to the harbour and views to water is a really positive element that makes it feel more spacious as you increase the size of buildings — so the layout of the streets matter but also then the quality of the streets that you’re creating.”

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Millions of dollars worth of Victorian crops destroyed in ‘absolutely terrifying’ freak storm


Millions of dollars worth of horticultural crops have been destroyed at a number of properties in northern Victoria, when a freak hailstorm ripped through towns along the Murray River.

Nangiloc farmer Glen Goldup said his entire fruit and vegetable crop had been damaged or destroyed, as oranges ripped off trees and pumpkins split.

Mr Goldup is now counting the cost of the damage and starting the recovery process.

He said his family watched the storm approach on New Year’s Day.

‘It was terrifying’

“It was absolutely terrifying. My wife and I were driving down the road when it hit, there were branches hitting the car,” Mr Goldup said.

Mr Goldup says his family was terrified as the storm hit.(Supplied / Glen Goldrup)

He said he was trying to salvage a small percentage of his 12 hectares of pumpkins.

“There’s a lot of stuff that probably needs to be pulled off before harvest. Some varieties won’t get picked before September,” he said.

“I want to get it off the tree and just grow the good stuff.”

Many homes had been damaged by hail and flash flooding as storms swept across the state over the Christmas period.

Mr Goldup said he remembered a similar storm back in 2011, but hoped to never see anything like it again.

Million of dollars worth of damage

Just up the road in Colignan, biodynamic farmer Rob Keens said the storm had caused millions of dollars worth of damage to his crops.

“The hail was golf ball size,” Mr Keens said.

“We were probably a month away from starting our almond harvest. A lot of the trees basically look like they’ve been shaken — all of the nuts have fallen to the ground.

A storm brews over bushland
This photo was taken by Jenny Garonne at Banko Road in Iraak. It shows the storm approaching Nangiloc on New Years Day.(Supplied: Jenny Garonne)

“Also the citrus, oranges, mandarins, lemons and avocados — there’s been significant damage to them as well.”

Mr Keens said the full extent of the damage may not be realised until his fruit matured and he could see the blemishes.

“They’ll be of a lesser quality, whatever is left,” he said.

“We do have hail damage crop insurance for the almonds, but we don’t have that for the citrus — our losses will be in the millions.”

Rain in the south west

Ash Nelson, a mixed cropping farmer in Cressy in south-west Victoria, said he received a downpour of 80 millimetres of rain and hail in the space of two hours.

“I’ve been farming for 45 years and have never seen rain come down that heavy or that quick,” Mr Nelson said.

a big white split appears across a small lime
Biodynamic farmer Rob Keens says there is millions of dollars worth of storm damage to his crop.(Supplied / Rob Keens)

“It’s mainly caused damage to the crops and with the hay, and waterlogging the paddocks — making it very hard for farmers to access their paddocks.”

He was worried the wet conditions could affect grain quality and weight.

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