$4k cashbacks: SA investors winners of new home loan war



Property investors are set to be the winners of a new home loan battleground, as buyer activity in South Australia surges.

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Crows star Wayne Milera opens up about racial bias after bank loan incident


Bobby Hill art for ISM
Bobby Hill art for ISM

As NewsCorp celebrates Indigenous Sport Month, our reporters headed out to speak to some of the game’s biggest Indigenous stars to talk about their careers and their lives outside of the game.

Speaking about everything from racism to their sporting heroes, the players opened up about everything that makes them tick.

For non-Victorian club profiles can be found below, while the Victorian clubs can be found here.

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Wayne Milera has revealed he faced racial bias while trying to get a home loan.
Wayne Milera has revealed he faced racial bias while trying to get a home loan.

WAYNE MILERA — NARANGGA, WOTJOBALUK, GUNDITJMARA

What Indigenous Nation/s are you connected with?

On my dad’s side, I’m a Narangga man, which is on the Yorke Peninsula, and on my mum’s side her two nations are Wotjobaluk and Gunditjmara, in western Victoria.

What does your heritage/culture mean to you?

It’s really hard to put into words, but it’s good to have something that you can always come back to and something you can represent through your family. I sometimes sit back and think about how it was back in the day and how the old mob used to live, and live off the land. It’s good to have something you can always come back to. As an example, I remember going to Tasmania for the first time and sitting in the team bus and looking out at how green and hilly it was. And I was just thinking about when there were no roads here, no nothing and how my ancestors wold get around and they’d walk through dense bush. I always think about that, when I’m driving … sometimes you wish you could go back and just see how it was.

My favourite custom from my heritage is …

On my dad’s side down on the Yorke Peninsula, every year we have a fishing competition. Back in the day, they used to spear fish, so they carried this on, where on the Australia Day weekend, instead of celebrating Australia Day, they go and do this festival, called the Gynburra Festival, near Port Victoria. Every time you go, you end up sitting down and chatting to your Uncles and your Elders and you always hear stories about the fish they used to catch back in the day and how big they were. It’s always good to go there and reconnect with your country and get in the water and have some fun with your family.

Wayne Milera after a match for Central Districts in 2015. Picture: Dylan Coker
Wayne Milera after a match for Central Districts in 2015. Picture: Dylan Coker

Something not many people know about me is …

One thing some people might not know is that growing up, I lived in two places beside from Adelaide, I’ve lived in Ballarat, which is where my mum was born, and then we spent maybe six months living in Darwin.

My earliest memory is …

I’d have to take it back to when we lived in Ballarat, when I was maybe about three or four, and I don’t have a specific memory, but I recall getting around and visiting family there.

One piece of advice I would give my teenage self …

Continue to work hard and strive for what you want to achieve in life. If you work hard, it will pay off at some stage. You may have some setbacks along the way, but if you work hard enough, you’ll achieve it.

The best advice I was ever given …

To be yourself and enjoy what you do.

Milera on draft day in 2015 with dad Wayne, Mum Kveta Smith and Grandma Lillian Milera. Picture: Sarah Reed
Milera on draft day in 2015 with dad Wayne, Mum Kveta Smith and Grandma Lillian Milera. Picture: Sarah Reed

If I wasn’t in sport I would be …

I’d probably be doing some study at uni and I would have been trying to study something along the lines of PE teaching, or working with young Indigenous kids.

A common misconception made about me is …

Not sure on this one. I think I’m a bit of an open book, so I don’t know if there are many misconceptions about me. Maybe, it’s that I’m just a footballer.

When I cop abuse I …

I generally ignore it. On the footy field, I haven’t copped too much targeted abuse.

When people see me I hope they think …

That I’m a loving, respectful young man, who loves his family.

Family means …

Everything. I became a father in April, to my son, Carter and it’s been an incredible experience.

Milera with teammates Tariek Newchurch, Ben Davis and Shane McAdam in this year’s Indigenous guernsey. Picture: Sarah Reed
Milera with teammates Tariek Newchurch, Ben Davis and Shane McAdam in this year’s Indigenous guernsey. Picture: Sarah Reed

A word or phrase I use too much …

I reckon it’s probably er or um.

My weird sporting superstition is …

There’s one that I don’t do any more, but before I got drafted, when I’d do to my footy games, I used to stop at a servo and buy myself a yellow Gatorade and a packet of red frogs and I used to drink half of my Gatorade – I don’t know why I used to do this – and then eat maybe half a packet of the lollies. I don’t do that anymore because they’ve got lollies at the club. That was a weird one. But what I do now, is that my dad taught me to put my footy socks on by starting with them being inside-out, so you start from your foot and roll them up. So that’s how I put my footy socks on and I put my right one on, before my left foot.

My sporting hero is …

I’ve got two: Andrew McLeod and Adam Goodes. I loved the way they played and particularly with Adam Goodes, how he stood up for Aboriginal people and that impact he’s had on me, as a young, Indigenous athlete coming up, he started a movement and copped a lot of abuse for it.

Which sporting moment carried the most significance for you?

I have two games that stick out in my mind: before I was drafted, I played at Central Districts, and we made a semi-final and we played against the Port Magpies. It was a pretty close game and I think we ended up winning by four points, and it was one of the best wins I’d been a part of and I was playing with some blokes who I’d grown up with and playing in a SANFL final with them was pretty cool. Then, the win in the Showdown in 2018 when Josh Jenkins kicked a goal to put us in front with two minutes left on the clock. It was definitely a goal. That win was definitely one of my favourites in the AFL games I’ve played. They’re such good memories.

Milera takes on Steven Motlop and Robbie Gray in the 2018 Showdown. Picture: Sarah Reed
Milera takes on Steven Motlop and Robbie Gray in the 2018 Showdown. Picture: Sarah Reed

What’s it’s like being an Indigenous athlete today?

It’s no different to any other athlete, I imagine, that I find it pretty humbling to just know that I’m a role model, not only for young Indigenous people, but for anyone. I remember watching AFL footy and I looked up to a lot of the players, so it’s humbling knowing that people look up to you and I have younger cousins and my little nephews who idolise and I just hope it gives them encouragement and a drive that they can do that as well.

Have you encountered racism or unconscious bias against you?

Not really on the footy field. But there have been a couple of instances off it. It was only two years ago, and I went into a bank trying to discuss how to get a home loan and I needed to print out a statement and the lady in the bank, I asked her for it and she said to me: “Do you need this for your benefits, or something?” But I was organising a home loan to buy my first house. I remember going back into the car and my partner, Nina, was there and it was a weird feeling, because I was hurt and angry and I couldn’t believe she’d just said that. Even before that, she took quite a while to serve me, and then in the middle of serving me, someone else jumped in and she served them.

Milera greets the fans after a Showdown win. Picture: Sarah Reed
Milera greets the fans after a Showdown win. Picture: Sarah Reed

How do we improve support networks for Indigenous athletes coming through the ranks of professional sport?

We’ve got Jeremy Johncock as our Aboriginal liaison officer at the club and he does an awesome job. When I first came to the club, and I probably still am a bit, you’re very shy, you connect with Aboriginal people a lot better, and if there’s something bothering you and stuff, it’s easy to go and chat to Jeremy, which also takes a bit off the senior players as well. Having someone in the organisation to fight for you, or who has a voice for you, is so helpful. I think every sporting organisation should have one.

Reflections of your career highlights so far …

Draft night and AFL debut are probably my two so far. On draft night, I was in Adelaide and had a heap of my family with me and obviously it was something you dream of growing up, that was a pretty cool moment to have all my family with me on draft night (in 2015).

With my debut (in 2016), it’s the same: you always dream to play AFL footy and then to finally get your first game and it’s real. I played in Melbourne (against North Melbourne) and I had a lot of family drive over and it was cool because some of mum’s family from Victoria came as well.

The SANFL’s Indigenous footballers in 1993. (Front) Vivian O'Brien, Eddie Hocking, Michael O’Loughlin, Troy Bond, David Cockatoo-Collins. (Middle) Joe Wyatt, Justin Lampard, Ian Taylor, Dudley Ah Chee, Shane Tongerie, Wayne Milera. (Back) Shane Bond, Neville Abdullah-Highfold, Barry Buckskin, Che Cockatoo-Collins, Eugene Warrior. Picture: Ray Titus
The SANFL’s Indigenous footballers in 1993. (Front) Vivian O’Brien, Eddie Hocking, Michael O’Loughlin, Troy Bond, David Cockatoo-Collins. (Middle) Joe Wyatt, Justin Lampard, Ian Taylor, Dudley Ah Chee, Shane Tongerie, Wayne Milera. (Back) Shane Bond, Neville Abdullah-Highfold, Barry Buckskin, Che Cockatoo-Collins, Eugene Warrior. Picture: Ray Titus

Who put you on your pathway …

My dad, Wayne Snr. I just remember going to his local footy games and every Saturday I remember sitting in the car and heading to wherever he was playing and carpooling with his mates and watching him play. He played reserves for Central Districts, but he never went on to play league or anything. I guess growing up, my first hope was to play AFL, but he drove me to play SANFL footy and then go on and play AFL.

Who is your inspiration …

My family in general is my inspiration to play footy and make them proud.

What is the key priority to improve player and leadership opportunities for the next generation of Indigenous athletes …

For me and a fair few people I went to school with, I found it hard talking up. I know for some people that just comes naturally, but maybe there needs to be more education around the fact that there are more than one way to be a leader, there are many different ways to be a leader.

Lions superstar Charlie Cameron.
Lions superstar Charlie Cameron.

CHARLIE CAMERON — LARDIL-WAANYL

What Indigenous Nation/s are you connected with?

I’m from Mount Isa and Mornington Island. Mornington Island is the Lardil people and Mount Isa is the Waanyi people.

What does your heritage/culture mean to you?

It obviously means a lot and you obviously want to stay connected to your culture and your people. For me, it keeps me grounded and it’s always good to know where you’re from and who your people are. It means a lot to me playing in the AFL because you sort of become a role model for your people and younger kids in your community. My community, especially, has a lot of Indigenous kids and for them to see me here, I want to be a role model for them.

My favourite custom from my heritage is …

My culture and my people always have dancing and cultural dancing. I love it. It keeps me connected to who you are and educates you about your culture.

Something not many people know about me is …

I grew up on a small island, called Mornington Island. That’s where all of my family are right now. There’s not much there and probably only about 1000 people, mainly Indigenous people. I grew up there for much of my life.

My earliest memory is …

Probably going fishing and camping with my family. It was something I loved to do as a kid and it’s something I always want to do when I go back. I haven’t been back for a while so I want to go up and go camping, fishing and hunting.

One piece of advice I would give my teenage self …

Just have fun and enjoy yourself. There’s going to be challenges but just have fun.

Charlie Cameron snaps a goal for the Lions. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty
Charlie Cameron snaps a goal for the Lions. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty

The best advice I was ever given …

Respect my elders.

If I wasn’t in sport I would be …

I was an apprentice mechanic before I was drafted so I’d still be a mechanic I think. I ended up doing two years of my apprenticeship before getting into footy.

A common misconception made about me is …

Not sure really. Maybe carry on too much?

When I cop abuse I …

I just laugh and move on. It doesn’t really faze me, unless it’s racial. If it’s just people having a go at you on Instagram or something, I just say I’m enjoying my life and can’t complain.

When people see me I hope they think …

I want to try and give back by just smiling and waving to people. So hopefully they think I’m happy and enjoying my life.

Family means …

It means a lot. They’ve helped me to get to where I am at the moment. It’s a big thing for me.

A word or phrase I use too much …

“Obviously”

My weird sporting superstition is …

I don’t really have any superstition. That stuff doesn’t really bother me.

My sporting hero is …

(Rugby league legend) Greg Inglis. A few other NRL players like Cameron Munster and Latrell Mitchell, I look up to as well.

Which sporting moment carried the most significance for you?

Playing in an AFL Grand Final (for Adelaide). I haven’t had that opportunity in the last five years so hopefully I can get there again.

What’s it’s like being an Indigenous athlete today?

It means a lot actually. Young Indigenous kids sometimes don’t have the belief that they can get to where I am today. Seeing Indigenous role models, you want to be like them. I’m trying to set a good example and that’s what it means to me to be an Indigenous athlete today.

Have you encountered racism or unconscious bias against you in your career? Share an example if you are comfortable.

I don’t think so, no.

Greg Inglis and Latrell Mitchell. Picture: Brett Costello
Greg Inglis and Latrell Mitchell. Picture: Brett Costello
Maroons star Cameron Munster. Picture: Scott Davis/NRL Photos
Maroons star Cameron Munster. Picture: Scott Davis/NRL Photos

How do we improve support networks for Indigenous athletes coming through the ranks of professional sport?

Probably exposing them to real life teachings and that kind of stuff. It’s a lot to do with education as well.

Reflections of your career highlights …

Playing in a Grand Final was definitely up there. It was probably the highlight of my life so far. The recent success here at the Lions is also pretty exciting.

Who put you on your pathway …

My parents definitely. There’s been a few other people as well when I was living in Newman, WA which is 12 hours from Perth. I was working in the mines there. I got the opportunity to play in the WAFL and there’s a few people over there that helped me out.

Who is your inspiration …

My mum and dad. My nanna as well. They’ve really taught me those family values.

What is the key priority to improve player and leadership opportunities for the next generation of Indigenous athletes …

Just by having good role models and education for them. Just leading them on the right path, not necessarily to success but just a good pathway to a positive and good life. Obviously, where I’m from you can go down the path I was fortunate to go down and have people that helped me on that path but it can go the other way as well.

Bobby Hill.
Bobby Hill.

BOBBY HILL — WHADJUK-BALLARDONG NOONGAR

What Indigenous Nation/s are you connected with?

I’m a Whadjuk-Ballardong Noongar from Northam, which is 90km east of Perth, so I’m a WA boy.

What does your heritage/culture mean to you?

It means a lot, especially being an Aboriginal Indigenous man.

My favourite custom from my heritage is …

Family, and how close we are. We always go out hunting and there’s a fair bit that goes on when we’re out there. Us boys go out all day and bring the food back to have my aunties, my mum and nan finish off the day by cooking it. We hunt kangaroo and emus sometimes, but mainly kangaroo.

Something not a lot of people don’t know about me is …

I’ve got the nickname ‘Bobby’, but my real name is Ian. I got called Bob the Builder from my grandfather, who passed away last year, from when I was young watching Bob the Builder too many times. Only if I’m in trouble from mum (is when I’m called Ian).

Bobby Hill celebrates his first win with the Giants. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Bobby Hill celebrates his first win with the Giants. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

My earliest memory is …

Going to watch dad play (country) footy when I was younger, with my uncles and cousins around playing or on the sidelines watching.

One piece of advice I would give my teenage self is …

Listen in school (laughing). I always thought sport was the best thing, but if I went back – luckily I graduated – I’d hand my assignments in on time.

The best advice I was ever given was …

Probably just from my dad: “Always listen to your mother.”

If I wasn’t in sport I would be …

I maybe would have done a certificate in metal work or art.

A common misconception made about me is …

Nothing comes to mind.

Hill signs autographs for supporters following a training session. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Hill signs autographs for supporters following a training session. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

When I cop abuse I …

It just depends what abuse it is. If it’s a spray from the coach, you take it on board, but if it’s from someone else, I would speak my word. I had one (guy) after a game, and he keeps messaging, but I find it pretty funny – how much time they have to just keep going at you. It’s nothing too abusive, just stuff I can laugh about. Other than that, I just block them and laugh at them.

When people see me, I hope they think …

I’m a role model for non-Indigenous and Indigenous young kids and someone to look up to and idolise and who’s a good guy.

What does family mean to you?

Family means a lot to me, especially being from a family with a lot of cousins and everyone’s so close. At a young age, we did a lot with all my uncles and aunties, on both sides – mum and dad. I’ve got a heap of relatives in the AFL. Josh Hill, who played for Western Bulldogs and West Coast, Brad and Stephen (Hill) – one’s at the Saints, one at Freo – I had Gerald Ugle here at Giants and Sydney Stack at Richmond. Also, my uncle Leon Davis, who played at Collingwood.

Hill flies for the screamer over Andrew McPherson. Picture: James Elsby/AFL Photos
Hill flies for the screamer over Andrew McPherson. Picture: James Elsby/AFL Photos

A word or phrase I use too much …

Probably ‘and’. (No full stops) I just get straight to it.

My weird sporting superstition is …

I always have to have my left side done before my right, so my left sock and foot, then my right sock and boot in every game. Since I was in Wesley College, I always wore the same red Speedos. They have to be red. I think I run fast in red, and if I don’t have them I probably won’t play.

My sporting hero is …

That’s a hard one, because there’s a lot. If it has to be a well-known sportsman then Adam Goodes, but if it’s someone I really looked up to, my dad. Sporting-wise, Adam Goodes and Cyril Rioli. I wear the No.37 here at the Giants because of Goodesy. They had great careers, and me being a young Indigenous kid myself, I always watched them on the TV and saw them dominate.

Which sporting moment carried the most significance for you?

Probably my first game. To get drafted was an achievement but to play my first game in my first year and to have my family there to support me, and all the boys here and everyone at the Giants, is something I’ll never forget and cherish for the rest of my life.

What’s it like being an Indigenous athlete today?

It’s a lot to take in. You have a lot of young Indigenous kids who look up to you, and also non-Indigenous as well, so to be an Indigenous player in 2020 is a big achievement and something I love.

Hill shows off the Giants Indigenous jumper for the AFL Sir Doug Nicholls round. Picture: Phil Hillyard/AFL Photos
Hill shows off the Giants Indigenous jumper for the AFL Sir Doug Nicholls round. Picture: Phil Hillyard/AFL Photos

Have you encountered racism or unconscious bias against you in your career?

I haven’t but I know Eddie Betts and all the older boys (in the AFL) who went through it. It doesn’t only hurt them but it hurts the rest of us Indigenous boys, just knowing what they’re going through and thinking what they think of us. I haven’t had that experience but I don’t wish it upon anyone to go through that, so hopefully I don’t go through it either.

How do we improve support networks for Indigenous athletes coming through the ranks of professional sport?

I think teaching more about our culture. It doesn’t hurt to sit down and listen and know where we’re coming from and learning what we’re teaching you.

What are your reflections on your career highlights?

B.H: Probably the one where I should have got mark of the year (in 2020). The one where I got robbed for mark of the year. (wide grin) That’s the big one.

Who put you on your pathway?

Mum and dad. Dad worked his backside off to pay for a lot of fees and a pair of boots every week. I (also) had other family there to drive me down to trainings in Perth.

Who is your inspiration?

Just family. I wouldn’t be the man I am today and wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for them.

What is the key priority to improve player and leadership opportunities for the next generation of Indigenous athletes?

Just pathways, like we’re doing now with the academies bringing more Indigenous kids in. Back home in WA, we’ve got the Kickstart Academy, Nicky Winmar carnivals. So just going around the right pathways and doing more stuff around Indigenous footy for young Indigenous kids.

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Liz Walsh has been a journalist for almost 20 years, joining The Advertiser in 2005 following reporting stints in Port Lincoln and Canberra. After covering music, movies and entertainment as the Sunday Mail’s f…

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New jobs to come from NAIF loan to James Cook University


Joint media release with Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry, Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson, and Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald

James Cook University (JCU) can push ahead with major works on its new Technology Innovation Complex that will create new jobs in the region, after the loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) reached financial close.

This means JCU can now draw on the $96 million NAIF loan to fund construction of the four-storey complex at the Bebegu Yumba campus in Townsville, which will be the centrepiece of a new innovation hub.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the new complex will become a central place for engineering and IT students to collaborate with researchers and industry.

“The Technology Innovation Complex project is expected to create around 300 construction jobs and more than 500 other jobs, with at least 80% of subcontractors and suppliers locally sourced, and it is part of the wider redevelopment of the JCU Townsville campus,” Minister Pitt said.

“With NAIF support, the University is undertaking projects to rejuvenate the campus and to make sure JCU remains a great place for students, for research and for innovation.”

Assistant Minister for Northern Australia Michelle Landry said the NAIF was also supporting a new student accommodation building through a $46 million loan.

“NAIF continues to support crucial projects and jobs across our north, with around 80 per cent of subcontractors and suppliers for the Technology Innovation Complex to be sourced locally,” Assistant Minister Landry said.

“The new facilities will help attract more students from regional Australia, and from overseas, to study engineering in Townsville, providing more opportunities and supporting our northern economy.”

Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson said the NAIF had been a strong supporter of the Townsville region with finance for four key projects so far, worth more than $230 million.

“NAIF investments are supporting around 3,000 jobs in north Queensland and helping to make sure the region can maximise its economic potential,” Mr Thompson said.

“NAIF has approved finance for projects at the Mater Hospital, the Townsville Airport, and the newly opened Cowboys Community and High Performance Centre.”

Townsville-based Senator for Queensland Susan McDonald said the $5 billion NAIF was creating jobs, opportunities and development across the north.

“The Australian Government remains committed to maximising opportunities for investment, for businesses and for people in Northern Australia,” Senator McDonald said.

“I congratulate NAIF and JCU for reaching financial close on the new Technology Innovation Complex, which will become a major attraction for engineering and IT students when it opens in 2023.

“Importantly, this gives people the chance to study these subjects and stay in the North.”

To date, NAIF has supported 25 projects across northern Australia with committed investment worth $2.9 billion. In Queensland, NAIF has approved loans to ten projects worth over $1 billion in investment.

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.

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How NRL’s proposed transfer market loan revolution could benefit clubs and players


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The loan system would potentially help struggling teams out of messy salary cap situations. One example would have been Josh Reynolds at the Tigers in recent years. The joint venture was paying around $800,000 for him to play reserve grade and no other club was willing to carry his contract.

Had he been available to be loaned, it would have benefited Reynolds by enabling him to play first grade at a rival club, who would only pay for the portion of his salary in which they use. Former Bulldogs coach Dean Pay wanted Reynolds to join the club but the board was reluctant to commit given his lengthy and lucrative contract.

A four-week loan would have given the Bulldogs an opportunity to affectively use Reynolds on a trial basis

before deciding whether he would be worth signing on a long-term deal. It would have also given the Tigers the opportunity to put a player they didn’t want to keep in the shop window, with clubs unwilling to take a punt on a player stuck in reserve grade.

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Bulldogs prop Jack Hetherington was loaned from Penrith to the Warriors for eight weeks last year. It saved Penrith around $35,000 on the salary cap, with the Warriors footing the bill for his two-month stint with the club.

Some would argue had Hetherington not been able to play in the NRL, he may not have landed a contract with Canterbury for the following year.

The same can be said for Poasa Faamausili, who the Roosters loaned to the Warriors before the prop managed to pick up a contract with St George Illawarra for 2022. The Dragons could also benefit from given the uncertainty around Jack de Belin, with a loan model allowing them to sign a player on a temporary basis until de Belin’s matter is resolved in court.

A loan system would also work in the case of Brent Naden, who is playing reserve grade because he can’t get a look in ahead of Stephen Crichton, Matt Burton and Paul Momirovski at the Panthers.

Penrith are reluctant to release him from the final year of his deal in case they get injuries and require his services come finals time, but a loan system would allow Naden to return when, or if, the Panthers needed him back.

One of the considerations is making sure clubs don’t manipulate it to bolster their rosters for the finals when teams are out of the running.

Discussions around a deadline have been raised, while there’s also an argument that clubs should only be able to loan players if they have no alternative options within their squads due to suspension or injury.

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I bought my home with a help-to-buy loan. Is it worth paying it back early?


After two years I could redeem the equity loan – about £43,000 – or invest my money elsewhere

Q I bought a property two years ago using the help-to-buy equity loan scheme as a first-time buyer. I want to redeem the equity loan – which is about £43,000 – at the end of this year. Does it make sense to do so or should I invest my money elsewhere?
OA

A If the value of your property has gone up – and you think it will continue to rise in the future – paying off your equity loan makes a lot of sense despite the fact that the loan is interest-free for the first five years. That’s because the sum you repay is not the same as the amount you originally borrowed from the scheme. Rather it is the percentage of the purchase price of your home that the original equity loan represents. If two years ago your equity loan was the maximum 20% of the purchase price you could get (40% in London), the amount you would have to repay now would be 20% of your home’s value now as determined by the valuation report from a qualified surveyor who is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

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To Avoid PPP Loan Fraud Charges, One Man Pretended to Commit Suicide


Last week, David Staveley, 53, of Andover, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and failure to appear in court – as part of a plea deal that involved dropping five other charges, including bank fraud, identity theft, and making false statements to federal officials.

This sequence of events came about after Staveley and David Butziger, 52, of Warwick, Rhode Island, attempted to defraud the CARES Act’s Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). According to prosecutors, the two men, co-owners of the Remington House restaurant in Warwick fraudulently attempted to obtain around $500,000 in business loans from the SBA.

Staveley and Butziger claimed in their loan applications that they collectively employed dozens of employees between three restaurants – two in Warwick and one in Berlin, Massachusetts. For this, the two claimed $438,500 in federal loans.

Fortunately, no loans were ultimately paid. Federal investigators determined that two of the three restaurants in question had been closed before the start of the pandemic, and the third had no connection to the two men.

Because he made false statements to the SBA – and separately impersonated his brother in a real-estate deal – Staveley was indicted on three counts of bank fraud and a count of aggravated identity theft. Released on bail with a GPS tracker, in June 2020, he cut it and faked his suicide, then fled; one month later, he was captured in Georgia and returned to Rhode Island – and a charge of failure to appear in court was added to his previous woes.

If there is a moral to this story, it seems to be that, while egregious abuse of federal small business loans – often referred to as Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP – has been a sadly common occurrence, it is not consequence-free. Instead, it has often resulted in capture and prosecution.

Although the administrations of President Donald Trump and Joe Biden have differed in many respects, under both leaders, the Justice Department has vigorously gone after fraudulent applications for federal aid – with the result that many fraudsters, including Staveley and Butziger, have been arrested and charged. Others have been apprehended after spending their PPP loans – intended for assistance with paying employees – on luxury cars and houses.

For the Justice Department (and for concerned observers), the real dilemma concerns unscrupulous business owners who are smart enough not to claim to own a fictitious restaurant – or to use the PPP loan to purchase a Lamborghini – but to use most of the funds genuinely and take a smaller cut for themselves. This fraud is much harder to detect, and the comparative lack of prosecutions of lower-profile fraudsters seems to suggest that many of them are quietly succeeding.

Trevor Filseth is a news reporter and writer for the National Interest.

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Where first-home buyers can use the loan deposit scheme amid rapidly rising prices


First-home buyers could find it increasingly difficult to purchase property under an expanded government loan scheme that lets them buy with a 5 per cent deposit, as rapid price gains push more homes beyond the scheme’s price thresholds. 

Thousands more first-home buyers and single parents will be able to get into the property market with a smaller deposit under budget measures aimed at helping more Australians into homeownership.

In addition to 10,000 more First Home Loan Deposit Scheme places scheduled to be released from July 1, there will be 10,000 places for first-home buyers looking to build or buy a new home, the government has announced ahead of Tuesday’s federal budget.

The scheme, launched in January 2020, enables first-home buyers to purchase with a deposit as low as 5 per cent while avoiding lenders’ mortgage insurance, with the federal government acting as guarantor on the loans.

There will also be a further 10,000 places under a new Family Home Guarantee, allowing single parents to purchase a new or existing home with as low as a 2 per cent deposit. The guarantees will be released over four years, and be available to both first-home buyers and previous homeowners.

There is expected to be strong demand for the new guarantees, which come after 30,000 spots were released last year – 10,000 of which could only be used to build or buy a new home.

However, just where and what first-home buyers can purchase under the scheme is changing rapidly, with Australia’s median house price up 10 per cent to $899,509 since early last year, and prices in some pockets of our biggest cities increasing by six-figure sums.

Here’s where median prices have slipped out of reach of the scheme in some of our big cities, and where first-home buyers can look instead.

Sydney 

Sydney’s median house price climbed more than $100,000 to a record $1.3 million over the first quarter of the year, and is now up almost $150,000 year-on-year. Even the city’s median unit price of $751,038 sits above the city’s scheme threshold of $700,000 for existing homes

Suburbs such as Denham Court ($810,000), Casula ($755,000) and Camden ($721,250) in the city’s south-west, and Marsden Park ($795,000) and Blacktown ($720,000) in the west, have all seen their median house prices climb over that $700,000 threshold over the past year.

6/13 Moray Street, Richmond NSW 2753

6/13 Moray Street, Richmond NSW 2753

First-home buyers now need to look to suburbs like Camden South ($699,999) and Richmond ($699,000), both more than a 60-kilometre commute from the city centre.

Meanwhile, for units, suburbs such as Newtown ($765,000) and Ashfield ($700,500) in the inner west, Jannali ($750,000) in the south and Gladesville ($720,000) in the north, have all crossed over the maximum price point.

Strathfield ($700,000) and Ryde ($698,250) are now the closest suburbs to the city where the median is below the cut-off point.

87/1 Clarence Street, Strathfield NSW 2135

87/1 Clarence Street, Strathfield NSW 2135

Melbourne 

In Melbourne, where the median house price is closing in on the $1 million mark, first-home buyers can spend up to $600,000 on an existing home under the scheme.

Median prices have climbed above the threshold in the likes of Burnside Heights ($658,500) in the west and Capel Sound ($620,000) on the Mornington Peninsula, where prices jumped about 10 per cent annually.

First-home buyers have also been priced out of Clyde North ($637,500), but may have better luck in neighbouring Clyde ($596,000), or in Sunbury ($590,000) or Delahey ($590,000) in the west – which, at 20 kilometres north-west of the city centre, is the closest suburb to the CBD priced below the threshold.

2 Cooper Court, Delahey VIC 3037

2 Cooper Court, Delahey VIC 3037

Las Anastasiadis, of Barry Plant Taylors Lakes, said first-home buyers looking in Delahey, where prices are up 7.3 per cent annually, could expect to find an older-style three-bedroom, two-bathroom house under the cap, but strong competition was prompting some to look further afield to the likes of Fraser Rise – a further 6 kilometres west.

First-home buyers after an apartment could still buy in the likes of St Kilda East ($586,650) and Abbottsford ($590,000), though suburbs like Collingwood ($655,000) and South Melbourne ($615,000) have gone over the cap.

Brisbane

Brisbane buyers can spend up to $475,000 on an existing home, putting plenty of suburbs in reach for unit buyers, with median prices in the inner suburbs of Toowong ($465,000), Auchenflower ($450,000), Fortitude Valley ($433,000) and Woolloongabba ($420,500) all below the price threshold.

House hunters are more limited for choice, with Brisbane’s median house price climbing 6.2 per cent over the year to $632,999, but they can still turn to the likes of Taigum ($465,250) in the city’s north, Acacia Ridge ($425,500) in the south and Strathpine ($467,250) in the Moreton Bay Region.

The nearby suburb of Petrie ($475,000) also scrapes in at the price cut off, while Clontarf ($490,000), also in the Moreton Bay Region, and Caloundra ($489,000) on the Sunshine Coast are among the suburbs where median house prices have gone over the maximum.

40 Hemsworth Street, Acacia Ridge QLD 4110

40 Hemsworth Street, Acacia Ridge QLD 4110

Adrian Daynes of Daynes Property said he had seen strong interest from first-home buyers in Acacia Ridge, with one three-bedroom, one-bathroom house recently sold for $485,000.

“I must have had about 50 offers on that,” he said. “I’m getting an abundance of calls from first-home owners, but they’re getting shut out [of the market] by investors who are prepared to pay more.”

Hobart 

With a price cap of $400,000, first-home buyers need to look to the likes of Brighton ($385,100) and Bridgewater ($301,000), both more than 20 kilometres north of Hobart, or to the outer north-west suburb of Risdon Vale ($339,765).

Other suburbs like Glenorchy ($415,000), Claremont ($432,500) and Berriedale ($450,000) have exceeded the price cap after seeing growth of more than 10 per cent year-on-year, with Hobart’s median up 15.9 per cent annually to a record $601,567.

1 Mareka Street, Berriedale TAS 7011

1 Mareka Street, Berriedale TAS 7011

David Johnston of Ray White Glenorchy said first-home buyers had typically flocked to northern suburbs, such as Brighton and Claremont, but had been pushed out by rising prices. He added few were looking to purchase with the scheme.

“The price threshold is too low; most people get cut out and the way the market has been in Hobart now you can’t get anything under $450,000 [in a lot of suburbs] and even at that it’s going to need a lot of work,” he said.

Canberra

Not a single suburb in the ACT has a median house price below the $500,000 cap for existing homes, with Canberra’s house prices up almost 20 per cent year-on-year to a median of $927,577.

For apartments, up 2.8 per cent to a median of $473,304, first-home buyers could just scrape into Watson ($499,900) and the city centre ($498,000), but may have a better chance of finding a unit in the likes of Gungahlin ($342,000) or Belconnen ($415,000), about a 20-minute drive from the city centre.

708/120 Eastern Valley Way, Belconnen ACT 2617

708/120 Eastern Valley Way, Belconnen ACT 2617

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Man Bought Lamborghini with PPP Loan Funds



Federal prosecutors are accusing a California man of fraudulently obtaining $5 million in coronavirus relief Payment Protection Program (PPP) loans and spending the money on luxury cars.

Mustafa Qadiri, 38, of Irvine, was arrested Friday and charged with four counts of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud, six counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft, the Justice Department announced in a release.

Qadiri is accused of using the money to buy a 2018 Lamborghini Aventador S, 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia, and a Bentley Continental GT.

The Justice Department alleged that Qadiri claimed to have operated four fake companies and allegedly submitted fraudulent paperwork for PPP loan applications to three banks on behalf of those shell companies.

“The false information allegedly included the number of employees to whom the companies paid wages, altered bank account records with inflated balances, and fictitious quarterly federal tax return forms. Qadiri allegedly also used someone else’s name, Social Security number, and signature to fraudulently apply for one of the loans,” the Justice Department statement read.

Federal agents seized the cars Qadiri allegedly purchased and $2 million out of his bank account.

NBC News reported Qadiri pleaded not guilty when he appeared in federal court.



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Loan sharks target new victims via WhatsApp and Facebook


Criminals have been using social media – from dating sites to local community groups – to find, threaten and control people in debt

Local WhatsApp groups have been one of the silver linings of the pandemic, creating community ties and support networks. Yet loan sharks are increasingly using these groups to extort money from their victims, according to England’s Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), an organisation that prosecutes illegal lenders and supports victims.

Such lenders are also targeting their victims online – the IMLT’s 2020 victim statistics report shows that one in 10 victims met the loan shark via social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook, or through dating websites. Criminals are also creating their own WhatsApp and Facebook groups that appear to be for local communities but are actually ways to maintain control over their victims, according to Tony Quigley, the head of the IMLT. “It looks like a local community group,” he said. “They will say ‘come and join the group’, ‘see what’s going on’. But it has a more sinister side to it.”

Continue reading…

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Laurentian created a ‘manufactured crisis’ to cut ties with 3 schools for $10M loan, court told


Laurentian University’s attempts to cut ties with three federated schools, as part of efforts to qualify for a $10-million loan to help it continue with restructuring for survival, was met with heated opposition in Ontario Superior Court on Thursday.

Laurentian lawyer D.J. Miller argued the Sudbury university wouldn’t’ be sustainable without the loan, so needs to end contracts with Thorneloe University, the University of Sudbury and Huntington University, including to keep $7.7 million in grants and funding that would normally flow to those partners.

Miller also told Justice Geoffrey Morawetz that Laurentian severing its relationship with the three other universities is a requirement of getting approved for the loan from Firm Capital Mortgage Fund Inc.  

Laurentian “cannot put forward a viable plan if it does not have the ability to stop the flow of money from Laurentian to the federated universities,” she said.

The university needs the court’s approval to move forward with restructuring. The hearing is the latest move in its ongoing attempts to operate while trying to gain financial stability as part of the insolvency process under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Earlier this month, the school started making deep cuts to staff and programs, prompting outcry from students, staff and supporters, and calls for governments to step in. The federated universities, in turn, launched court challenges after Laurentian announced cutting ties with them would be an important part of becoming financially viable again.

Schools say cost to cut ties overblown

Thorneloe and the University of Sudbury, however, say there’s no cost to Laurentian to maintain ties with them, and ending the federated agreements would drive Thorneloe, at least, into its own financial crisis. 

For its part, Huntington has reached an agreement to sell its online gerontology program to Laurentian and cease offering courses.

But during Thursday’s court proceedings, it was revealed that if the other two universities win their court challenges, Huntington would also benefit and retain its federated status.

Andrew Hatnay, lawyer representing Thorneloe, accused Laurentian of just “plain mismanagement,” saying it would only retain $1.8 million from ending its agreement with Thorneloe alone.

Hatnay argued Laurentian is exploiting the restructuring process, saying it simply wants to stop students from taking Thorneloe courses and direct them to Laurentian to lessen competition. 

He said Laurentian’s claim it needs a loan quickly, by the April 30 deadline, is a “manufactured crisis,” and he accused Laurentian of deploying “tactics” to reach its financial goals.

Laurentian lawyer deflects competition idea

Miller said cutting personnel and programs were only part of the initial attempts to show how Laurentian would immediately reduce costs. She said the lending condition that the federated partners be severed was added April 19, after time was spent trying to negotiate a consensual agreement with them. 

She dismissed the argument Laurentian simply wants to reduce competition.

“Evidence is clear, and the testimony of [Laurentian] president Robert Haché has been abundantly clear, that to suggest that Thorneloe and Laurentian are in competition is to suggest that a store that sells computers down the road is in competition with Dell,” she said.

“This is not about eliminating the competition. There are three service providers here moving to one service provider which will provide service to all students.” 

Miller said Laurentian plans to use its own faculty and facilities, so isn’t in need of support from the other schools.

If the federated universities win court challenges to stop the split, it would lead to Laurentian’s demise, she said. 

The University of Sudbury’s case against Laurentian’s separation plan is scheduled to be heard by another judge on Friday. 

Laurentian wants to continue to be protected from creditors so it can apply for the $10 million, which would allow it to still operate while restructuring, and needs court approval for certain conditions to qualify for the loan — most importantly getting the OK to split with the three federated universities.

Miller said getting the $10-million loan would allow it to deal with creditors, and teach spring courses as well as six Indigenous studies courses.

As well, she said, Laurentian would be able to meet the terms it agreed on with Huntington University, including paying $1.2 million into a pension plan and Laurentian would acquire Huntington’s gerontology program. 

Lender has ‘a lot of skin in the game’

Vern Da Re, representing Firm Capital Mortgage Fund in court, confirmed the lender’s condition that Laurentian end its agreements with the federated universities to qualify for loan money on top of the $25 million it already lent to Laurentian. 

“I don’t think my client should be forced to advance $10 million — that would have a chilling effect on further loans,” Da Re said. 

He said his client simply wants to know his loan will be repaid, and emphasized these are all business decisions. 

“We’ve got a lot of skin in the game.” 

Morawetz expressed frustration that he was being asked to make a critical decision within a short amount of time. 

“Could this timing crisis not been averted with actions entirely within the power of the applicant?” the judge asked.

But Morawetz said he and the judge in the University of Sudbury hearing will deliver written decisions sometime before 11 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Classes for Laurentian’s spring term start May 3.

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