Australian Politics 2022-01-13 10:04:00

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Apartments dominate at Ray White’s auction

Home units are the way of the future for most Australians. The cherished dream of a free-standing house in its own yard is now affordable for the well-off only. Apartments are still affordable for most

APARTMENTS dominate the roll-call of properties to go under the hammer at this year’s biggest auction event as investors cash in on growing demand for units.

Andrew Bell, CEO of the Ray White Surfers Paradise Group, which is holding The Event, said there had been a spike in activity in the apartment market over the past 18 months, with data showing that Surfers Paradise had the largest volume of property transactions (2,325) nationally in the 12 months to June 2021.

“We are still seeing Covid-induced lifestyle changes, where buyers are taking advantage of the still-low interest rates and the ability to work remotely and move away from the capital cities.

“Within that shift, the apartment market is stronger than ever, especially with those who are over 50, retired or semi-retired and looking for an easier, more relaxed lifestyle.”

Mr Bell said the growing interest led The Event team to focus heavily on this sector when sourcing properties for the auction.

“The Event is all about diversity, and the diversity in the apartment market is outstanding. There’s studios and one-bedroom apartments, sky homes and penthouses, to huge towers with extensive facilities, and small boutique apartment blocks,” he said.

“With prices rising from $200,000 all the way up to $10 million, there is an apartment to suit every need, want and budget.

“We have units with ocean views, city views, mountain views, ground-floor apartments, top-floor apartments, ultra-modern designs with every mod con, and small, simple and affordable units.”

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Qld’s border to fully reopen as police checkpoints come down

Historic

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the borders will be coming down on 1am Saturday. “That means anyone coming domestically across into Queensland either by road or by air, they do not have to show that they’ve had a border pass,” she said. Ms Palaszczuk also said travellers did not have to show…
QLD Coronavirus News

Queensland will fully reopen to all domestic travellers - regardless of Covid status - from this Saturday with police checkpoints to be removed from the border.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the road borders would be coming down from 1am Saturday January 15 as Queensland nears 90 per cent double vaccinated.

She said this meant anyone coming domestically into Queensland by road or air would not need to show their border pass.

Queensland is set to hit the 90 per cent double dose vaccination rate by the end of next week.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said as Omicron ripped through all of Australia, it was no longer important to declare hotspots.

She said it would be assumed all travellers domestically had Covid-19 and it was now important to ensure the unvaccinated were not exposed to the virus in high risk settings like restaurants.

“This virus could be in any jurisdiction, with anyone travelling whether they are coming from a hotspot or not,” she said. “We don’t want to spend our time looking at whether we should be declaring or changing hotspots.

“It is now less important to worry about hotspot arrivals, changes to border passes and restrictions

“That is why our restrictions on who can access certain venues and events remain, because we are still wanting to make sure that only fully vaccinated people are entering those venues and events that are more likely to see fast transmission happening than where those people have travelled from.

“Now is the time to shift our focus on where people are going rather than where they are coming from.”

International travellers will not be able to arrive in Queensland quarantine-free until the state officially hit 90 per cent double dose mark.

Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard said the border restrictions had ‘served their purpose’ which was to allow all Queenslanders access to a vaccine before the virus swept through the community.

He said now the virus was spreading through the population - as expected - the border restrictions had ‘done their job’.

An ‘elated' police commissioner Katarina Carroll said the removal of the border checkpoints would enable police resources to be reprioritised to focus on the upcoming Covid peak.

‘I am elated, I can’t take the smile off my face, it’s been exhausting,” she said.

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China to reduce buys of Australian natural gas?

Since there is a worldwide shortage of it, the only people who will be hurt by this are the Chinese themselvs. Another footshot after the coal debacle. Presidrent XI is no economist. Boycotts tend in general to be ineffective. They have certainly not worked on Australia

The architect of Australia's $16 billion natural gas market in China warns that moves by Beijing to use energy as an economic weapon are a "double-edged sword" that could hurt the Asian superpower.

Former WA premier Richard Court, who led efforts to open up China as a liquefied natural gas user in the late 1990s, said an apparent snub by Beijing aimed at Australian producers could backfire on the ruling party.

Under long-term deals announced in October, China said it would more than double its LNG imports from the United States after three state-run companies struck agreements with little-known provider Venture Global.

Up to 5 million tonnes of the super-chilled fuel are set to flow to China as part of the arrangements.

Australia shipped a record 30.7 million tonnes to China in the 12 months to June 30.

The US agreements prompted Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece the Global Times to frame the sales as a loss to Australia, which is China's biggest supplier of LNG.

Lin Boqiang, the director of the China Centre for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, suggested they had come at Australia's expense.

"It is obvious that Australia suffered great losses as an energy source for China," Mr Lin was quoted as saying.

"It is natural for China to diversify LNG imports, for example, buying more from the US after its relations with Australia froze."

Politics with energy can 'backfire'
Mr Court, who was premier between 1993 and 2001, said Beijing was on fragile ground when targeting Australia's energy exports.

He said China appeared to need Australian gas as much as local producers needed the Chinese market, pointing to the record prices North Asian buyers had paid for the fuel recently as supplies tightened.

The Liberal Party icon said China needed to look no further than Europe for the danger in its tactics after energy prices skyrocketed amid efforts to stymie new gas supplies from Russia.

"If you want to play politics with energy suppliers, it's a double-edged sword," Mr Court said. "If a country is prepared to play short-term politics with energy supplies, it can backfire.

"Australian energy producers have always been prepared to operate in a very competitive marketplace.

"And when it comes to supplying energy into Asia, we are beautifully situated because of our proximity.

"You need to be competitive on many fronts … competitive productions costs, competitive transport costs and — this is the critical thing — you must have a track record of reliable deliveries.

"That's what we've built up with Japan and Korea."

Deal 'commercial, not political'

Mark Hanna, a Perth-based LNG industry veteran and head of Energy Market Strategies, suggested the rhetoric from the US deal may have been based more on propaganda than reality.

Mr Hanna said the US had only recently entered the LNG market as an exporter, and the deal with China may simply reflect Beijing's desire to diversify its supply as countries such as Japan have long done.

He said that, while Australian producers would always prefer to sell more LNG, China had not played a "central" role in developing the local industry, which is second only to iron ore as the country's biggest export earner.

"Buying [US gas] is not political — it is a business and commercial decision made out to be political," Mr Hanna said.

Of the 10 major LNG developments built in Australia since the industry's establishment 35 years ago, Mr Hanna said just two had been underwritten by major Chinese investments.

He also questioned the practicality of the supply deal with the US, noting Venture Global would need to ship its LNG from the east coast of America through the Panama Canal, which was heavily congested and subject to delays.

What's more, he said rising US domestic gas prices and higher shipping costs meant the deal would have a hard time competing with Australian supplies on cost.

"There's a lot of risk buying from Venture Global," he said.

"They're a small, unproven outfit. You have to come through the Panama Canal, which is almost full, [and] the shipping costs are far greater.

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Covid patients occupy one in three ICU beds in NSW as nurse shortages soar

Staff shortages in one of Sydney’s best-resourced hospitals have sent nurse-to-patient ratios plummeting as new data shows the share of Covid patients occupying intensive care beds has shot up from one in five beds to one in three in just one week.

The high dependency unit of the hospital, which treats almost two dozen patients not yet sick enough to need intensive care, has about one fifth of its nurses absent because of Covid, according to a senior nurse who requested anonymity because of a ban on speaking to the media.

New South Wales may soon record as many as 100,000 new Covid cases a day as people taking rapid antigen tests report their positive results. Even though the Omicron variant is less virulent than the Delta strain, the explosion in cases means even if a small proportion get very ill that number threatens to overwhelm the hospital system.

Unlike in previous Covid waves, the hospital’s HDU is now housing Covid-positive patients even though it does not have specialised air treatment to filter out the virus.

“We’ve got a few patients with literally no immune system,” the nurse said. “They can die if they got [Covid] pretty instantly.”

Fresh figures from the Critical Intelligence Unit of the NSW health department show that as of 9 January the share of staffed ICU beds occupied by Covid patients across the whole state stood at 33%, up from 19.9% on 2 January.

The average length of stay of admissions for the week ending 10 January was 4.5 days, up from 3.6 days for the previous week, the data shows. For those in ICU, the average stay was 4.7 days compared with six days a week earlier.

As of 9 January, NSW had 4,941 healthcare workers in isolation, up from 2,457 on 3 January, the data shows.

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Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM -- daily)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)

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