Australian Politics 2022-06-21 05:41:00

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Brisbane to charge Airbnb hosts higher council rates to tackle housing availability

A brilliant idea: Solve the shortage of rental acomodation by penalizing those who provide it! Short-term lets are an important source of accomodation but they are bad somehow. Property owners concerned may withdraw from the market entirely if they are penalized for it. Attempts to make people do what they do not want to do will always be met with evasion in some form

Brisbane homeowners who list their properties as short-term accommodation on sites like Airbnb will be slugged with a 50% rates hike amid a chronic shortage of rental properties.

Handing down the city’s $4bn budget on Wednesday, the LNP lord mayor, Adrian Schrinner, said a new “transitory accommodation” category will help tackle housing availability and affordability in Australia’s fastest growing capital city.

Schrinner said the 50% rate increase would mean a property on Brisbane’s minimum rating category would pay $600 extra a year, providing an incentive to landlords to rent their property to longer term tenants.

Brisbane’s rental vacancy rate was 0.7% in May, according to SQM Research.

Related: Short-term rentals, long-term anguish for Australian towns struggling to find homes for locals

“There’s a serious housing affordability issue and we need to be looking at new ways to increase housing supply,” Schrinner said.

“It’s about getting more accommodation for renters to be available in that long-term rental market. Every single property that switches from short-term to long-term rental is a win for the community.”

It comes as Schrinner said residential rates would increase by 4.93% – the city’s highest rates increase in more than a decade – as Brisbane grapples with the aftermath of February’s floods.

From 1 July, property owners who list their homes on Airbnb, Booking.com and Stayz will be asked to self-identify and be charged higher rates. The charges will only apply to entire properties, not single rooms or granny flats, and only to those rented out on short-term leases for more than 60 days a year.

Schrinner said council would use online resources to identify properties listed as short-term accommodation, and also allow people to report their neighbours.

He said there had been almost 300 complaints from the community about short-term rentals in the past three years across Darra, Wavell Heights, Rochedale and Paddington.

“Think about how you would feel as a resident if your nextdoor neighbour kept on changing every second night, [and] every weekend [there were] parties happening in the house,” he said.

“This is what’s being reported to us. And so that’s just one of many ways that we can identify this problem.”

Schrinner said the city needs more housing supply and criticised the Greens for opposing new developments.

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Submarine realism at last

Australia will prioritise the purchase of nuclear-powered submarines able to hit the water the fastest, under an Albanese Government pledge to deliver a “fit for purpose” defence force to meet modern threats.

Reaffirming Labor’s commitment to the AUKUS partnership, Defence Minister Richard Marles has revealed he wants to close the 20-year “capability gap” between when new submarines were first promised by the Coalition, and the expected delivery of a nuclear-powered fleet in the 2040s.

“We really need to be doing everything we can in terms of the timing of the next generation of submarines to close that gap as much as possible,” he said.

Australia is yet to decide between pursuing UK or US designed submarines, with Mr Marles indicating the government’s preferred option would consider the time frame to deliver.

“We’re looking at having that capability delivered as soon as possible,” he said.

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Right masks boost virus protection: study

Healthcare departments across Australia need to more selectively procure respirator masks to encourage stronger compliance among frontline workers, researchers say.

The finding follows the federal government signing off on an extra $760 million to help states and territories in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

Existing commonwealth-state funding arrangements were set to expire in September but were extended on Friday by three months.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the pandemic “clearly isn’t over yet and it would be very brave to suggest that you can make that projection”.

Study author Irene Ng, a consultant anaesthetist at Royal Melbourne Hospital, said healthcare workers often do not comply with recommendations for using respirators, particularly N95 respirators.

“Explanations for non-compliance include the lack of standardisation of donning and doffing techniques, and design features of respirators that reduce comfort and usability,” Dr Ng said.

Some 378 health workers completed a comfort and usability survey, which formed the basis for the study.

The overall fit test pass rates were 65 per cent for semi-rigid cup respirators, 32 per cent for the flat-fold models, 59 per cent for the duckbill respirators and 96 per cent for three-panel flat-fold designs.

The latter was therefore the obvious choice for administrators and state and federal health departments when considering how to maximise respiratory protection.

Australia’s coronavirus-related death toll continues to rise, with more than 100 fatalities announced over the weekend including 48 in Victoria.

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Renewable or reliable? Energy cannot be both

Australia’s new ALP government has gigantic green energy plans to be funded by electricity consumers and taxpayers.

They promise (with a straight face) that Australia’s electricity will be 82 per cent renewable by 2030.

They predict a 43 per cent reduction in emissions and being ‘on track for Net Zero by 2050’.

They threaten to litter the landscape with 400 community batteries, 85 solar banks, and a $20B expansion of the electricity grid.

This gigantic ‘green’ electricity plan will need at least 150 million Chinese solar panels covering outback kingdoms of land, plus thousands of bird-slicing metal-hungry wind turbines, plus never-ending roads and powerlines – not friendly to grass or trees and with no room for native birds, bees, bats or marsupials – not green at all.

The ALP has also revived the hoary plan to run an extension cord to Tasmania.

Naturally, some greedy green Tasmanians want to keep all that wind, solar, and hydro energy for themselves. Others dream of sending Northern Territory sunshine up a long cable from Darwin to Singapore.

With enthusiastic support from the new Parliament full of Climatists, Net Zeros, Teals, and Greens (but very few engineers) we can expect a disorderly rush to plaster a mess of electrical machinery and appliances all over the face of Australia.

They will also promote more demand for electricity for electric cars, many seeking overnight charging (despite having zero solar power and intermittent wind power at night). So we will need giant fire-prone batteries to recharge small fire-prone batteries.

When there is no sun on a single solar panel for 12 hours, no one notices; when all wind turbines sit idle for days under a slow-moving winter high, no one cares; but when one aging under-maintained coal plant falters, we notice; when three coal generators fail, we have a power crisis.

Yet we have green millionaires urging quicker closure of our few remaining 24/7 coal-powered generators.

The ALP/Green/Teal plan will clutter the countryside with solar panels, wind turbines, transmission lines, access roads (some bitumen), giant batteries, and fire-prone National Parks.

Eastern Australia recently had several very windy days, which caused many blackouts as trees and powerlines were blown down. Imagine the outages and repair costs after a cyclone slices thru this continent-wide spider-web of fragile power lines connecting millions of wind/solar generators, fire-prone batteries, and diverse markets. Picture the green energy network after the next big flood or bushfire.

Europeans can pretend to run a modern society with intermittent energy from windmills and sunbeams because they can call on reliable energy from French nuclear, Scandinavian hydro, Polish and German coal, Iceland geothermal, North Sea natural gas, and (sometimes) Russian gas, oil, and coal.

Australia has no extension cord to neighbours with reliable energy – we are on our own.

We can have Renewable Energy, or Reliable Energy, but not both.

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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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