Monthly Archives: March 2021

Median Household Income in January 2021

Political Calculations' initial estimate of median household income in January 2021 is $66,039, an decrease of $241 (or 0.4%) below the initial estimate of $66,280 for December 2020. This is the first month-over-month decline for median household income in the U.S. since the coronavirus recession bottomed in August 2020.

The latest update to the chart tracking Median Household Income in the 21st Century shows the nominal (red) and inflation-adjusted (blue) trends for median household income in the United States from January 2000 through January 2021. The inflation-adjusted figures are presented in terms of constant January 2021 U.S. dollars.

Median Household Income in the 21st Century: Nominal and Real Modeled Estimates, January 2000 to January 2021

The cause of the decline after months of recovery can be found in the renewed lockdown measures imposed by several state and local governments in late November or early December 2020, such as in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, to identify the lockdown states with the largest populations. The data for December 2020 had indicated the rebound in median household income was slowing. The data for January 2021 confirms their negative impact.

Analyst's Notes

The BEA issued minor downward revisions of the received aggregate wage and salary dispersement data we utilize in generating our estimates of median household income for the period covering July 2020 through December 2020.

As promised earlier this year, we're rolling out a new near-real time economic indicator based on average individual earned income (income earned only from wages and salaries). Here's a sneak preview of what it looks like!

Average Individual Earned Income in the 21st Century: Nominal and Real Modeled Estimates, January 2000 to January 2021

At first glance, average individual earned income per capita looks to be both more sensitive to changes in trends and more volatile than median household income. It's also easier and more direct to calculate. We'll discuss it at greater length after we've taken it for an extended test drive behind the scenes.

Other Analyst's Notes

Sentier Research suspended reporting its monthly Current Population Survey-based estimates of median household income, concluding their series with data for December 2019 before ceasing to operate in early 2020, as its principals have retired. In their absence, we are providing the estimates from our alternate methodology for estimating median household income on a monthly basis. Our data sources are presented in the following section.


Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: January 2000 through December 2019. [Excel Spreadsheet with Nominal Median Household Incomes for January 2000 through January 2013 courtesy of Doug Short]. [PDF Document]. Accessed 6 February 2020. [Note: We've converted all data to be in terms of current (nominal) U.S. dollars.]

U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers - (CPI-U), U.S. City Average, All Items, 1982-84=100. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 10 February 2021. Accessed: 13 January 2021.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Population. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 26 February 2021. Accessed: 26 February 2021.

U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Table 2.6. Personal Income and Its Disposition, Monthly, Personal Income and Outlays, Not Seasonally Adjusted, Monthly, Middle of Month. Compensation of Employees, Received: Wage and Salary Disbursements. [Online Database (via Federal Reserve Economic Data)]. Last Updated: 26 February 2021. Accessed: 26 February 2021.

Australian Politics 2021-03-02 07:36:00


Rape accuser: “She was someone who suffered from severe mental health illness”

The woman had bipolar disorder and had attended a psychiatric hospital in Melbourne in the months before her death aged 49

There is every likelihood she was a fantasist. That is common during manic episodes.

Fantasists can do enormous damage. Cardinal Pell spent months in jail on the basis of testimony that was clear fantasy before he was exonerated. And the case in Britain of Carl Beech and his amazing lies is notorious.

Clearly, the accused politician has no case to answer and the police have concluded exactly that

In 1988, she was a brilliant teenage girl, clever and capable, with the world apparently at her feet.

But the woman who made allegations of rape against a cabinet minister is now dead, having taken her own life in the early days of the pandemic in 2020. She would have turned 50 last week.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday the accused minister “absolutely rejects” the allegations.

“She was extraordinary,” said Jo Dyer, a literary festival director, who had known the deceased woman since they were 15 years old.

“She was someone who was brilliant, acute. She was sensitive and had emotional and intellectual intelligence, and curiosity.

“People had high expectations of her and with that comes pressure. She was mindful of that.”

After losing touch with many of her old friends for years, in 2019 the woman began talking to trusted friends about her alleged rape in 1988, when she was 16 years old.

She said she had been sexually assaulted in Sydney by a man who now holds a senior position in government. The woman knew the man when they were teenagers.

“We had a number of conversations because we were all very mindful of the difficulties of seeking justice through the criminal justice system,” Ms Dyer told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. “It was very difficult for her to be seeing him in the press all the time.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the cabinet minister at the centre of 1988 rape allegations “categorically denies” the claims.

The woman had not spoken to any journalists but going to the media was “definitely something on the agenda as a possibility”.

“How that could have worked with defamation laws, who knows,” Ms Dyer said.

The woman had engaged a lawyer and had a meeting with NSW police on February 27, 2020, before her struggles overwhelmed her. Hours before she died, she reportedly rang police to say she did not want to pursue the police process.

“She was someone who suffered from severe mental health illness,” said Ms Dyer.

“Amongst all that there was a determination and a clear resolve, to tell her story, that she had reached after clear-eyed rationalisation.”

An anonymous letter sent last week to Mr Morrison, Senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Penny Wong detailed the allegations against the federal government minister.

The letter is dated February 23 and states the woman had told six people who she had known at the time, and “all of them believed her account and were highly supportive of [the woman] in her attempt to process the impact of the rape”.

She had also told “numerous other people” from a wider circle, the letter says.

The Herald and Age have seen a copy of the 2019 statement made by the woman, which alleges violent sexual assault.

The statement includes photocopies of what the woman said were 1990s diary entries that mention rape by a person with the same first name as the cabinet minister.

It is not a formal police statement.

Labor MP Daniel Mulino was a friend of the woman from when they were both high school debaters.

“I first became aware of the complainant’s allegation that she had been raped some years earlier, by a person who is now a senior member of the federal government, in December 2019,” Mr Mulino said in a statement.

“She indicated to me that she was determined to proceed with a formal complaint and I supported her in that decision.”

Another woman who knew the complainant as a young debater described her as “very, very clever”.

“She was an outstanding debater,” the woman said.

“She was quite a shy person. She was not the gregarious person you would associate with a great debater.”


Another Aboriginal success story turns out to be a white girl

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All Paige Birkett ever wanted was a loving family home, but it took her 16 years to find one.

After she was born in prison, Paige spent most of her childhood shuffled between the care of different family members.

"We never had food and our house was always disgustingly messy," she said. "We never had money for school photos, we didn't get new shoes until they were falling apart.

"We were never really forced to go to school, nobody bothered to wake us up."

If it wasn't for her older brother Cody, Paige says life would have been a lot worse. "Cody went without everything for us. He wouldn't eat, just so we would have something to eat for dinner," she said.

"He would walk to the supermarket, back to the house, then to our primary school. "That's an hour-and-a-half walk, just to bring us a Vegemite sandwich."

When she was 12, Paige entered foster care, but the placements never stuck. "I was never very good at being in foster care houses," she said. "No foster carer wants a teenager. They want the young, cute ones that are easy to handle, easy to control."

At 14, Paige became one of the hundreds of young people per year in Victoria to be placed in youth residential care.

Placement in residential facilities is reserved for children at significant risk of harm in their own homes, with complex support needs, or who are otherwise unable to live in foster or kinship care.

Indigenous young people like Paige are disproportionately represented in the system.

Victoria's youth residential care system has been subject to repeated criticism and inquiries over what youth advocates say are systemic failures to provide already traumatised young people with a safe and stable environment.

Paige says her experience in what she calls "resi" exacerbated the trauma she had already been through and led her further down a dangerous path. She said she was frequently moved between facilities and estimates she had 15 addresses in the last three years, and attended eight high schools.

Paige said the conditions in residential care eventually led her to run away, abuse drugs, skip school, and have frequent run-ins with the police. "I was so lost and so broken," she said. "I ended up becoming heavily addicted to ice, getting arrested almost every day, drinking and smoking every day.

The most recent data from the 2018/2019 financial year on children placed in residential care assisted by VLA, shows 51 per cent required legal help for criminal charges within 12 months of their placement, and 12 per cent required legal help for criminal charges and identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

At age 16, Paige's dream of a family of her own was realised.

The deputy principal at her high school arranged for Paige to start a part-time job as a teaching assistant and travel to work with her in the morning.

"It was planned that I'd go there one day a week and stay at her house to go to work," Paige said.

"One day turned into two days, turned into three days, a month. All she ever cared about was helping me pass school.

"She called me every day. She just never left, no matter what I did to push her away, she just didn't go."

The teacher ultimately signed up to be Paige's foster carer. "She showed me sternness but care at the same time," Paige said.

"They always said, 'We expect of you what we do of our own children'. "They saw in me what is in so many other kids as well, which was the potential I had."

After years without a stable home, haphazard school attendance, regular drug use and frequent run-ins with police, Paige has now graduated from year 12.

Now 18, she is clean and sober, lives independently with her pet dog, bird, and mice, and wants to study to be a Koorie education support officer.


Anti-Adani activist Ben Pennings in Supreme Court in legal battle with mining giant

Dozens of anti-Adani protesters have gathered outside the Brisbane Supreme Court in support of one of the project’s most vocal critics Ben Pennings who is locked in a bitter legal battle with the mining giant.

Adani lodged a landmark civil damages action against outspoken environmental activist Mr Pennings in August last year, claiming he orchestrated a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against the company, costing millions of dollars.

The Galilee Basin miner Adani and its Carmichael Rail Network are seeking damages for breach of confidence, intimidation and conspiracy.

The case came before the court today where Mr Pennings’ lawyers argued against confidentiality orders being imposed that would stop Mr Pennings from personally viewing details of the entire case against him.

But lawyers for Adani argued in court against the full particulars of the case being released to Mr Pennings, saying they were concerned the confidential information including plans for the mining project and related supplier contracts would be leaked.

Barrister Graham Gibson QC, for Adani, submitted Mr Pennings could not “be trusted to maintain confidentiality of any material that he’s exposed to”.

In a statement to media, Mr Pennings’ legal team said the activist would struggle to defend his case if the details were kept confidential from him.

“Adani says Ben has taken its confidential information, but won’t tell him what that information actually is,” Marque Lawyers partner Kiera Peacock said.

“This creates a real tension with Ben’s fundamental right to natural justice, to know the case he has to defend.”

Mr Pennings said the confidentiality order sought would hamper his defence. “It’s impossible to defend myself against a multi-billionaire if Adani withholds details of its case against me,” he said.

“I need to know what exactly Adani says I did wrong, so that I can actually defend this case and end the ongoing pain this is causing my family.”


Restaurant names and menus come under fire

Dining out tonight? Take care, because you could be guilty of white privilege, casual racism, identity unconsciousness, bias and wilful ignorance before you’ve even ordered the spring rolls.

The restaurant industry, battered and bruised by the events of the past 12 months, is the latest target of the politically correct, with one of Queensland’s most successful eateries skewered in the current edition of a national food magazine.

Sum Yung Guys, which is run by four men who happen to be white, is one of the most popular restaurants on the Sunshine Coast, but is also, it now seems, “symptomatic of a society that weaponises languages against the very people who own them”.

“It’s not the Sum Yung Guys name alone that offends,” complains writer Amy C. Lam in Gourmet Traveller.

“It’s the overall aesthetic, the extra details that bloat the package.

“In multiple iterations, the Sum Yung Guys logo is presented in wonton font – fun and vibrant colourways with the same Orientalist messaging. “It homogenises and flattens Asia’s 40-plus countries and cultures into a kitsch two-dimensional tableau. “It’s lazy. It’s mediocre. It’s a neo-colonial act of erasure.”

I’ve never eaten in the restaurant, but I wonder if all the thousands of people who have were aware that they were contributing to a neo-colonial act of erasure.

There are now those who are so desperate to find a reason to be offended that they seek out evidence to support the belief that they are victims in every corner of our society.

I cannot imagine having a life so empty and bereft of achievement and purpose as to be reduced to seeking proof that Australia is a racist nation because of its restaurant names.

The Sunny Coast chefs aren’t the only ones to feel the heat.

Down on the Gold Coast, the Margarita Cartel restaurant at Burleigh Heads, which promises traditional Mexican street food, also attracted the attention of the magazine, which quoted Swinburne University of Technology senior lecturer in media Dr César Albarrán-Torres as saying: “It’s insensitive naming a restaurant like that because of the stereotypes and racism they perpetuate.”

The name is harmful, it seems, because it presents a parochial view of the diversity of Latin American people and culture.

“If we’re to discuss cartels and drug trafficking, we should do it in a way that doesn’t make a spectacle or entertainment out of people’s suffering,” he said.

Really? Can anyone seriously entertain the belief that enjoying a margarita and hoeing into some tacos on the Goldy is somehow disrespectful to Mexicans and legitimising the drug trade?

Down in Mollymook on the NSW south coast, there’s a restaurant called Gwylo which takes its name from “gweilo”, the Cantonese word for foreigner.

The problem here, as any woke person would be quick to point out, is that Chinese people might feel that they were being discriminated against because the name suggested that only foreigners – white people – would be served there.

“If we’re talking about whiteness, power, and privilege, it’s uncertain how this exercise in language-ownership evens out the field of equality and representation by symbolically shutting out Chinese people,” writes Ms Lam.

“There’s still something discomforting about a white owner, in the 21st century, proclaiming his whiteness in neon lights while cooking and profiting from food cultures that are not his own.”

Given my heritage, I should feel offended by the number of faux Irish bars with names like O’Flaherty and Murphy scattered throughout the land, for surely they suggest that the Irish are a bunch of tosspots who spend their days gargling Guinness.

I’ve tried to feel offended but I just can’t manage it, not being possessed of the necessary degree of wokeness.

If people don’t complain about racist restaurant names it is because, writes Ms Lam, the model migrant complex encourages people of colour to stay quiet and invisible and because it’s a more odious crime to question a person’s racially insensitive behaviour, than to be the instigator of the behaviour itself.

Sum Yung Guys have returned fire to the magazine, with one of their number, Matt Sinclair, saying in a statement that “articles like this are the only problematic medium in society right now.

“Does the world really need another fuse lit to incite hate, now or ever?”

He’s right, of course. People now seek to find offence where none exists, the search for victimhood never ending.




Specter of Inflation and Rising Interest Rates Shock S&P 500

There was exactly one big story driving the action for the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) in the final week of February 2021. Incoming data suggested the specter of inflation is not as distant as had been assumed. With its appearance, investors who had hedged their bond investments by buying stocks were shocked into selling to cover their losses as real interest rates for the 10-year U.S. Treasury rose above 1.5%.

For the S&P 500, although stock prices saw considerable volatility during the week, investors appeared to largely maintain their forward-looking focus on 2021-Q2, with the index' level remaining within the redzone forecast range we described in our previous update.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2021Q1 - Standard Model (m=+1.5 from 22 September 2020) - Snapshot on 26 Feb 2021

The new volatility does raise an interesting question for our redzone forecast. What would it mean if the level of the S&P 500 moved outside of the indicated range?

From our perspective, all that means is that circumstances have overridden the assumptions we made when we established it. As shown, it is based on the premise that investors would be focused on 2021-Q2 in setting current day stock prices in the early period covered by the redzone forecast, where they would transition to focusing on the more distant future quarter of 2021-Q4 sometime after March 2021.

But, a shock event like the bond market's 'tantrum without a taper' could compel investors to shift their focus to a different point of time in the future. At present, assuming no change in the expectations for future dividends, the worst case would be if investors shifted their focus to the current quarter of 2021-Q1, where they would be watching for the Federal Reserve's response to the bond market's 'tantrum' within this quarter. If that happened, stock prices could fall on the order of somewhere between 200-300 points. In the alternative futures chart, we would see the level of the S&P 500 drop below the redzone forecast range.

If investor expectations for future dividends change on top of that, then level to which the S&P 500 might go in that scenario would be affected to the extent those expectations change. We would see that change through the changing levels of the dividend futures-based model's alternative projections of where the S&P 500's level would be for when investors focus on particular points of time in the future.

The behavior of stock prices is complex, but not difficult to sort out if you have the right framework for understanding why they behave as they do. Regardless, the one thing that will determine how they behave in the immediate future in the random onset of new information. Speaking of which, here is our summary of the previous week's newsflow of market-moving headlines, which provides a good potion of the context needed to understand what new information investors were absorbing during the most volatile week for markets in months.

Monday, 22 February 2021
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Wednesday, 24 February 2021
Thursday, 25 February 2021
Friday, 26 February 2021

Meanwhile, Barry Ritholtz lists the positives and negatives he found in the past week's economics and markets news.

Australian Politics 2021-03-01 09:21:00


Medevac detainees in Brisbane released with others in Darwin and Sydney also expected to walk free

More than 20 medevac detainees have been released from Brisbane immigration detention, with dozens more around the country expected to follow this week, some after spending more than a year in a hotel or a alternative place of detention.

The detainees were brought to Australia for medical treatment under the now repealed medical evacuation laws

A number of men detained at Kangaroo Point Central Hotel and Apartments were in the process of being released after being transferred to Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation (BITA) early on Monday.

The lawyers of one of the men set to be released said the detainees would be given a seven-day humanitarian visa, which would be followed by a six-month bridging visa.

Sixty-nine people are expected to be released this week from Darwin, Brisbane and Sydney, according to a number of lawyers representing the group.

The detainees were brought to Australia for medical treatment under the now-repealed medical evacuation laws.

After the release of dozens of refugees and asylum seekers from hotels in Melbourne in January, advocates said more than 120 asylum seekers and refugees brought to Australia for medical treatment were still in detention.

A spokesperson for the the Department of Home Affairs said in a statement the detainees were given bridging visas so they could temporarily reside in the Australian community while they finalised their medical treatment.

However, the department did not explain why other asylum seekers remain detained, or why it could not send people back to their processing countries.

"Government policy is steadfast — persons under regional processing arrangements will not settle permanently in Australia," a statement said.

"A final departure bridging E visa allows individuals to temporarily reside in the Australian community while they finalise their arrangements to leave Australia.

"These final departure bridging E visa were granted with work rights and access to Medicare."


Forest Lake State School stops names on senior shirts to protect privacy and boost inclusion

Students and parents of a Brisbane primary school have been left disappointed by the axing of a senior class tradition this year. Year 6 students at Forest Lake State School will no longer wear the full list of classmates' names on the back of their senior shirt as had previously been tradition.

The move, however, was made to protect the privacy and identity of some students and to ensure all students were made to feel included.

The explanation of why the change happened was recently shared with families via email after it was met with pushback. “Firstly, every parent or guardian needs to consent to having their child’s name on the shirt.

“Secondly, there are a number of privacy factors which impact on parent willingness to give consent,” the email read. “There are often factors which mean consent cannot be given.

“Thirdly, the discrimination act encourages us to operate in an inclusive environment,”

The email said the school decided to move away from the names on shirts tradition “so that those students, who are most vulnerable in our community, and through no fault of their own cannot have their name on a senior shirt, are not alienated or made to feel invisible, as though they do not belong.

“While this is disappointing for students who have looked forward to this tradition, the senior shirt will indeed be unique, three will not be another senior cohort of 2021 and the design of the shirt is unique itself. “This will be a valuable memento for students as they look back.

“In addition, as a result (of) fundraising in 2020, the P&C is funding the total cost for every student to receive a senior shirt for free.

“I cannot in good conscience offer a shirt to those students whose names will not appear on the back and feel that I have made them included.

“It has been suggested that first names only be used.

“We have many students from divers cultural backgrounds with unique names and students whose spelling of their name would lead to clear identification.

“So this is not a viable solution either.”

While some parents said they understood the reasons for the change — which is understood to have made its way through a number of Brisbane primary schools in recent years — others say their children have been left disappointed.

Mum Jelena Rosenberg said her little girl was left in tears by the news.

“My daughter just moved to this school this year with her siblings and the one thing she was excited about was the Year 6 shirt,” Ms Rosenberg said.

“When I told her there will be no names on it she was upset and cried about it as this was special to her being her last year.

“I’m absolutely shattered about this because her old school is still doing names on shirts.

“I’ll be sending my child to school with a permanent marker so her new friends can write on her shirt.

“I just don’t understand why no names are allowed as domestic violence is always going to be around and people that didn’t want their child’s name on should have just opted out, instead we all suffer because of a few people that didn’t want their child’s name on.

“I was never asked about having or not having names on and a few other mums and dads I’ve spoken to as well never got that option. It seems to have just been a school decision, not parents.

“The P&C are paying for them so they are free for parents but I find that extremely insulting as I feel I should have the option to have my child’s name on the shirt.”

An Education Queensland spokesperson said the decision was aimed at ensuring all children felt equal. “Forest Lake State School encourages an inclusive environment and P&C fundraising efforts will ensure all senior students receive their shirt, designed themselves, for free.

“Arrangements for senior shirts are school-based decisions and every day in state schools, principals respond supportively to the needs of their students.”


Queensland house prices 'through the roof' as interstate migration at 20-year high

The latest monthly data on Queensland home values has confirmed what buyers already know — prices are booming. Figures released by property analysts CoreLogic showed prices grew in almost every region of Queensland in February.

Across Brisbane, prices rose by 1.5 per cent in one month, taking annual growth to 5 per cent. The February increase is the steepest rise since November 2007, when the monthly growth rate was 1.72 per cent. In Brisbane's east, house prices went up by nearly 10 per cent in 12 months.

The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast also posted strong price hikes, rising 2.6 per cent and 2.5 per cent in February, which pushed the 12 month gains up to 10.5 per cent and 11.2 per cent.

Townsville was the only region to record a drop with prices falling 0.6 per cent in February.

But the north Queensland city still posted a 12-month increase of 6.2 per cent.

CoreLogic's Head of Residential Research Australia Eliza Owen said there were several key factors pushing prices up. "The main drivers are record-low mortgage rates and relatively low levels of stock on the market and that's something that's driving an upswing across most areas of Australia," she said.

"But what's really special about south-east Queensland in particular is the fact that internal migration is so strong.

"The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast have been top destinations for internal migration for years now.

"In an environment where there's no international migration, that internal movement is really benefiting markets relative to other parts of the country."

Ms Owen said prices were expected to keep rising in 2021.

"In terms of prices steadying or falling across Queensland, I wouldn't expect to see that until we get a significant uplift in the amount of stock on the market which is unlikely as people aren't really moving as much at the moment," she said.

"Or we see the cash rate increase, and as such mortgage rates would increase, and again that's not something we would expect until the inflation target is between 2 and 3 per cent.

"[We would then] see the unemployment rate being really tight at around 4.5 per cent."

The CoreLogic data also revealed the increase in house prices was widely spread across Australia.

Finance professor from the University of Queensland, Shaun Bond, said a strong up-tick in demand was affecting house prices.

"We've had a lot of people moving back to Australia from overseas, we've had almost half a million people by the latest count, we see record low interest rates," he said.

"Plus, we see a lot of people rethinking their options, people choosing not to be in inner-city apartments, they're choosing to think about lifestyle areas, they're going for coastal areas, sometimes they're looking at regional areas, even within a city like Brisbane they're starting to think about larger suburban properties."

Professor Bond said while price growth was strong, he would not classify it as a bubble. "There's a lot of debate about whether bubbles even exist, but we tend to think of bubbles being driven by speculative excess and I don't believe we're seeing that in this case.

"Yes, we're seeing a strong up-tick in demand, but I feel like that can be explained by several of the factors we've discussed, plus the strong economic recovery we're seeing in Australia as well — Australia has weathered the COVID crisis very well.

"The underlying economy is actually in a much better place than people thought it would be at this stage."

Professor Bond said the rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine in Australia could affect the housing market.

"One of the things may be that it suddenly gives people more choices, so maybe some of those expats who returned from overseas may decide that they're going to go back to the US, back to the UK to work or resume their careers there — people might start to travel again."

Interstate migration at 20-year high

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) demographer Andrew Howe said over the last year Queensland had a net inflow of about 25,000 people.

"That's the highest Queensland's been for around 20 years," he said.

"Although [it's] still not quite as high as the peak years for interstate migration to Queensland in the early 1990s."

Provisional internal migration figures from the ABS showed Queensland had a net gain of 7,237 people in the September 2020 quarter.

The number of people arriving in Queensland from other states fell in comparison with the previous quarter.

But, crucially, fewer people left Queensland, with departures at their lowest level since December 1994.

In net terms, Queensland gained more than 4,000 people from New South Wales in the September quarter.

Last week, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament more people were moving to Queensland's regional areas rather than to Brisbane.

"This is contributing to the highest investment in new houses in Queensland since 1994," she said.


Bresse to impress: the world's best chicken is now available in Australia

If chefs seem more excited than usual this weekend it may be because finally – after decades of false hope and failed attempts – Bresse chickens are set to be available to Sydney restaurants.

Bresse is a 400-year-old chicken breed many chefs believe is the world's most delicious thanks to its juicy, deeply flavoured, buttery meat.

By law the birds must be raised in the eastern French region of Bresse to earn their protected name (in the same way champagne can only be made in Champagne), meaning the prized poulet will be sold as "Australian Bresse" in NSW.

"The French guard Bresse genetics with their life," says Luke Winder, founder of Tathra Place Free Range farm in Wombeyan Caves, 50 kilometres north of Goulburn. "There are only two companies in the United States with the rights to Bresse genetics, for instance. It takes a lot of money and dedication to transport the eggs outside of France."

With his wife Pia, Winder is breeding Australian Bresse in partnership with NSW business CopperTree Farms, which specialises in supplying retired dairy cow steaks to hatted restaurants.

In addition to online sale through Hudson Meats and Two Providores, the chickens are set to debut at Crown fine-diner Woodcut in a fortnight, plus Firedoor in Surry Hills and Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Bondi.

A whole two-kilogram Bresse is expected to be priced around $200 to share, with variance depending on the restaurant and preparation. Certainly more expensive than Ross and Cobb breed chickens common to the commercial chook market, but still a far cry from the €290 ($490) it costs for Bresse poached in pig's bladder at the three-Michelin-starred Epicure restaurant in Paris.

Winder is tight-lipped on how much CopperTree Farms paid for Bresse genetics rights, but The Sydney Morning Herald estimates it was more than $1 million, based on previous import costs in the US and Australia.

Winder's Bresse, however, are proud and handsome birds with a French tricolore of white plumage, red combs and steel-blue feet. Most of their days are spent scratching for worms and insects on Tathra Place pasture, guarded by loyal Maremma sheepdogs against foxes and other predators.

Whereas French Bresse spend their last eight to 15 days in a small cage being fattened with maize and milk, Winder "finishes" his chickens in a coop where they can still move freely.

"A few Australian farmers have tried to breed Bresse commercially over the years, but no one has been successful," he says. Tathra Place now has 850 Bresse and Winder is growing the flock to sell 1000 chickens per week.

"I was told by other farmers that the males aren't fertile, the laying rate is low and, even if you can get some eggs to hatch, you'll lose 50 per cent [of chicks] in the first week. But I managed to get them healthy and they've gone from laying at around 20 per cent up to 75 per cent."