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14 January
Comments Off on Revealed: Australia’s most and least satisfied university students

Revealed: Australia’s most and least satisfied university students

Students at Australia’s top universities are among the least satisfied with their educational experience, according to government data that also paints the most detailed picture yet of how employers rate the skills of recent graduates.
Nanjing Night Net

The data, to be released by the federal Department of Education on Wednesday, shows that six of the elite Group of Eight (Go8) universities performed below the national average when students were asked to rate the quality of their experience.

The University of NSW, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia, University of Adelaide, Australian National University and the University of Melbourne all scored below the national average of 80 per cent student satisfaction.

Private institutions the University of Notre Dame and Bond University had the most satisfied students, with more than 90 per cent rating their experience positively.

Edith Cowan University in Perth received the top satisfaction rating of the nation’s public universities, with 86 per cent approval. The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) scored the lowest, with 72 per cent.

The drop in student satisfaction at UTS reflects a shift last year from semester to trimester teaching periods and from traditional lectures to interactive tutorials.

Senior deputy vice-chancellor Andrew Parfitt said it had been a challenging year for the university’s students and staff.

“UTS is disappointed in the results, but is currently in the middle of a significant transformation to its teaching and learning approach, with a focus on a new model of student learning and outcomes,” he said.

“The university has invested significantly in facilities and learning and teaching support and, with the ongoing commitment of our staff, we are confident future student satisfaction will reflect the positive outcomes we are aiming to achieve.”

Go8 chair Peter Hoj said: “This is a good set of results – in university terms it’s a distinction. We are happy to see that student satisfaction is high at all Australian universities.”

Professor Hoj said the data was an important tool for students but should only be a part of their decision-making.

The Turnbull government will use the May budget to announce a new package of university reforms, aimed at saving the budget money.

Plans to introduce deregulated fees for flagship courses have been dropped but increases in student fees and a tightening of the HECS loan program remain on the cards.

The information, based on responses from more than 178,000 students, will be uploaded on Wednesday to the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) website, which allows prospective students to compare detailed data on the nation’s universities.???

Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham said the results would allow students to enter the higher education system with “clear eyes” about the courses in which they were enrolling.

“The Turnbull government is determined to drive increased accountability in our higher education system and is committed to delivering greater transparency around how higher education institutions perform and engage and support their students,” Senator Birmingham said.

“The more information that students can have at their fingertips, the better decisions they can make when considering the courses and careers they choose to embark on.”

The website will include the first national survey examining how satisfied supervisors are with recent graduates who have joined their workplace.

The survey, based on responses from more than 3000 employers, shows 84 per cent of supervisors are satisfied with their recent graduates.

Engineering graduates received the highest satisfaction ratings from their supervisors at 89 per cent, while creative arts graduates scored the lowest, at 78 per cent.

The employer satisfaction report finds “employers seem to prefer graduates with vocationally oriented degrees over those with generalist degrees”, especially immediately after graduation.

Fifty-eight per cent of graduates rated their qualification important or very important to their current job, compared with 66 per cent of supervisors.

Supervisors of creative arts, agriculture, management and commerce graduates were the least likely to think the qualification was important for their current employment.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

14 January
Comments Off on Labor electorates line up for Canberra public servants

Labor electorates line up for Canberra public servants

Communities in regional Labor-held seats are among those lining up to attract public servants relocated from Canberra.
Nanjing Night Net

Most of the 199 submissions to a Labor-controlled Senate inquiry endorse decentralisation.

What began as a political exercise to scrutinise the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority move to Armidale has opened the door for towns and cities across the country to seek an injection of federal stimulus.

Wishful submissions were made from local governments in key Labor seats including Ballarat, Bendigo, Corio, Cunningham, Eden Monaro, Lingiari and Paterson.

Maitland City Council, adjoining the Hunter electorate of Labor agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon, says decentralisation will help address skill shortages in regional Australia and ease cost-of-living pressure in capital cities.

Mr Fitzgibbon said Labor supports creating government jobs in regions where it can be done without adversely impacting on an agency’s ability to do its work.

He said that’s not the case with APVMA.

???”The Turnbull Government has cut many more jobs in the regions than one government authority would replace,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“But the whole exercise has been a cruel hoax on regional councils. Barnaby Joyce’s own policy restricts the locations to just four regional cities.”

Alice Springs in the Labor seat of Lingiari proudly touted its credentials to the committee as “an ideal regional centre”.

“Alice Springs is perfectly positioned and equipped to house decentralised Commonwealth Government departments, particularly the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Indigenous Affairs,” the town’s submission says.

Ballarat council “strongly advocates for government services relocation as an important opportunity to stimulate growth in regional economies”.

“An injection of skilled, knowledge-sector government jobs into a region can accelerate economic growth and have a profoundly positive impact on the wider local economy,” the city says.

Bendigo council agrees.

“We argue that the success of locally based Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is an example to both public and private sectors that being headquartered regionally should be no impediment to providing competitive, quality, cost-effective service on a national or state level,” the submission says.

The City of Greater Geelong points out it has successfully hosted staff from the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink’s national call centre, NDIS and Australian Bureau of Statistics as part of its shift from car manufacturing.

“The relocation or establishment of government-based entities to Geelong has been instrumental in assisting the economy to transition its workforce to new sectors,” the city says.

Wollongong Council also supports relocating federal agencies.

“Decentralising the public service out of Canberra and into regional cities will allow regional cities the opportunity to share in the many benefits that come from having the Commonwealth Government as a major employer,” the city says.

Even Canberra’s neighbours want a slice of the pie.

The Canberra Region Joint Organisation says towns such as Goulburn, Yass and Cooma should be top of the list.

The ACT Government and Regional Development Australia ACT were lonely flag bearers for Canberra.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said 88 per cent of submissions supported decentralisation.

“The sharing of public sector jobs will deliver long-term dividends to regional towns,” Mr Joyce said.

“Every dollar spent in country small businesses helps to create more jobs, higher wages and better confidence in regional Australia.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

14 January
Comments Off on Top Australian share funds named

Top Australian share funds named

It was not all that long ago that some fund managers had star status with investors.
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But the gloss has come off as investors receive smaller returns than the market with high fees to boot.

It’s also because there are now low-cost alternatives called exchange traded funds (ETFs) that are available to small investors and DIY super fund trustees.

Better to pay a small fee and get the same return as the Australian sharemarket than pay high fees to an active manager who promises to beat the market but underperforms.

But analysis by investment researcher Morningstar identifies a handful of fund managers who do deliver on their promises – with long-track records of outperforming the Australian share market. Eyes on the ball

These are the managers who have managed to keep their eyes on the ball throughout the various cycles of the Australian sharemarket.

Tim Murphy, director of manager research at Morningstar, says the winning managers invest with a variety of investment styles.

“There is no one way to skin a cat,” he says. “But what they have in common is stability of quality investment processes.”

They don’t chop and change the way they invest to try and chase some trend in the market, which more often than not comes unstuck.

“For example, some that don’t have quality filters in their investment process invested heavily into smaller mining stocks,” he says.

That can lead to some good performances for a while, but can quickly turn the other way, he says.

Of course, a good track record, even if over 10 years, is no guarantee of continuing success, but Morningstar has also screened the managers in a way that gives the researcher a reasonably high level of confidence the good performances will continue.

The best performers tend to be the ones who can stand fast with the market running against them and maintain the same investment philosophy and process year after year. Ethical fund

The best-performing of the 10 funds is Perpetual Wholesale Ethical SRI fund, which has produced an average annual return over the 10 years to February 28, this year, of 8.58 after fees.

That’s more than twice the 4.17 per cent return of the Australian sharemarket over the same period.

As an ethical fund, it screens out companies deriving more than 5 per cent of their revenue from, among other things, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, uranium and coal-seam gas.

One outcome of the ethical screening is that the fund has a bias to smaller Australian-listed companies, which has helped its performance over the long term.

Second place-getter, Perpetual’s Wholesale Share Plus Long Short Fund, produced a return of 8.02 per cent. The fund takes “short” positions along with the usual “long” positions.

Short positions, when correctly called, are a way to make money on shares whose prices fall.

Perpetual is a “value” manager. It buys the shares of good-quality companies when their share prices dip.

Anna Shelley, acting group executive for Perpetual Investments, says the results come from time, patience and discipline.

“We have had a strong, multi-faceted leadership team over a very long time,” she says.

“It sounds simple, but we are looking for quality management of a business and look into not ony the business itself but the industry in which it operates,” Shelley says. Low debt

Perpetual favours companies that have recurrent earnings and conservative debt levels.

Murphy says some other managers among the top-performing funds are “growth” managers.

These include Platypus and Hyperion, whose Australian Growth Companies Funds listed among the top-10 performers is open only to investments of more than $100,000.

Growth-style managers are prepared to pay more for shares in quality companies they believe will experience strong earnings growth.

On the whole, growth managers tend to do better in strongly rising markets and strong economic conditions, when companies are increasing their profits.

Another top-performing manager, Fidelity International, manages money with a “blend” of value and growth styles.

Its flagship Australian Equities Fund produced an average annual return of just over 6.5 per cent over the 10 years compared with the market return of 4.17 per cent.

Portfolio manager Paul Taylor has been leading the fund since its inception in 2003.

In its latest report on the fund, Morningstar says the investment strategy has outperformed the index through all the cycles of the market.

It puts the fund’s success down to Taylor’s distinctive investment style and the “impressive” investment team.

“We have a high level of conviction that Fidelity Australian Equities fund will continue to reward investors into the future,” Morningstar says in a report on the fund.

Fidelity is a global fund manager and that helps analyse listed Australian companies in a global context, Taylor says.

“We meet the management teams and meet their competitors and suppliers,” he says.

“For example, if you want to understand Woolworths and Coles [owned by Wesfarmers] you have to understand their competitors, like German company Aldi and US company Costco,” Taylor says.

“Having that global network of analysts overing those companies is highly advantageous,” he says. Stock picker

The outperformance comes from individual stock selection rather than from sector or following investment themes.

“It’s not from being overweight or underweight to the banks or to resources – it comes from picking the right banks and the right resources companies,” he says.

Taylor nominates the best calls as oil and gas exploration and development company Oil Search, which the fund bought about 10 years ago when it was out of favour at about 65c.

Today Oil Search shares trade at about $7.

Online jobs website Seek has been another good performer for the fund. Taylor bought Seek shares in at its initial public offering (IPO) at about $2 in 2005. Its shares are now trading at about $15.

As for stocks that Taylor thinks will do well, he points to WiseTech Global, whose shares the fund bought about a year ago.

WiseTech is a global developer of cloud-based software solutions for the international and domestic logistics industries.

“It was an IPO and we invested pre-IPO which is unusual for us,” Taylor says.

“We got to know the company for about a year before the IPO.

“We got to know the management and their business and we build conviction over time.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

14 January
Comments Off on How to earn extra income without losing the age pension

How to earn extra income without losing the age pension

We are 65 and 62. In a recent article it was claimed that at age 65 it is possible for a couple on the full age pension to receive $67,252 a year tax free. This sum was comprised of $34,252 a year pension plus $13,000 (combined) from part-time work and $20,000 drawn from their super. Is this possible? Isn’t it true that the other income will cancel out the age pension?
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The figures add up because the couple could each earn $125 a week from casual work, which is not assessed by Centrelink, and withdrawals from their superannuation are not taxable nor are they treated as income for Centrelink purposes. Therefore, their taxable income would be $23,626 each but no tax would be payable thanks to the Senior Australian and Pensioner Tax Offset.

However, the figures are somewhat contrived. Their total assets including superannuation, bank accounts, furniture motor vehicles etc could not exceed $375,000, and they would have to be in a position where both were willing and able to perform casual work. The $20,000 from their super is simply a drawdown of their capital so any number you choose may be used. The example in the paper is really saying that a couple on the full pension could earn $125 a week each from casual work, and make withdrawals as they wish from their super.

I turned 65 last December and am now on a part pension. In May 2012 I gave my daughter $90,000 and then in November 2012 a further $30,000.This was all declared when I applied for the pension.

As I understand it, the amounts of $80,000 and $20,000 ($10,000 less in each case) are part of my assets calculation for the pension for a five-year period from the date of the gift.

The five-year period for the 80,000 gift will expire in May this year and am I correct in my understanding that my asset value for the pension will then reduce by the $80,000 and then similarly for the $30,000 in November.

Would this happen automatically by Centrelink or do I have to contact them?

Your understanding of the calculation of gifting is correct. You will not have to contact Centrelink at the end of assessment periods.

When the department is advised of a gift, it is recorded in full from the date gifted. If more than $10,000 has been given that financial year, or $30,000 in a five financial-year period, the excess is calculated and maintained as an asset for five years. At the end of five years, the excess is automatically no longer included in the assessment.

We currently own our own house but are moving interstate and are looking to rent our place of residence instead of selling it. Are there any tax benefits we can consider if we do this and rent elsewhere instead of buying where we move to.

If you buy one house and sell another you could lose up to 10 per cent of the price of the house in buying and selling costs and associated expenses. Therefore, I favour retaining your present house and renting elsewhere unless you believe you will never return to the area where you live now. Once you rent out your home you can claim ongoing costs such as interest, rates and maintenance as a tax deduction and you can be absent from it for up to six years without losing the capital gains tax (CGT) exemption provided you do not claim any other property at your principal residence in that time.

I own $95,000 worth of shares. I wish to transfer these shares into joint names with my wife. I wish to do it as all of our other accounts are joint. Will there be any CGT implications for such a move? If yes, will it mean that my wife will have a capital gain and I equivalent capital loss? What happens if my shares are currently trading at a loss? Will the capital loss transfer to her? Is it true that capital loss from shares can only be compensated against capital gains from shares? Is it a good idea to consolidate our accounts? My salary is $90,000 a year and hers is $20,000 a year.

If you transfer shares held in your own name to joint names the transaction will be treated as a disposal of half the shares at market value, by the Tax Office, so you will be liable for CGT if there is any profit made on that transfer. If the shares are worth less than you paid for them the transfer will trigger a capital loss which can be offset against other capital gains made by you or carried forward for future years. The cost base to your wife will be the market value at date of the transaction.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature and readers should seek their own professional advice before making any financial decisions. Email: [email protected]南京夜网419论坛.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

14 January
Comments Off on Unis will take students who do not meet new HSC standard

Unis will take students who do not meet new HSC standard

Year 12 students who fail to meet the state government’s new literacy and numeracy standard and do not receive their HSC will still be able to get an ATAR and go to university, the body responsible for admissions has confirmed.
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Students can sit HSC exams and receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, which is calculated by the Universities Admissions Centre independently of the government, without qualifying for their HSC. There are no plans to change this once the minimum standard is put in place in 2020, according to a spokeswoman for UAC.

Only nine students of nearly 68,000 HSC candidates received an ATAR without getting their HSC last year, but this number could balloon once the new standard is in place, she said.

“We haven’t had any direct instructions for change so as of now ??? students can receive an ATAR and not be eligible for the HSC,” UAC’s spokeswoman said.

“We already have a few in this category, but there may be many more students.”

The University of Sydney, the University of NSW and the University of Western Sydney have all confirmed they are in discussions with UAC over whether the new standard will affect the ATAR, but a spokeswoman for Sydney University said major changes were unlikely.

“At this stage we don’t expect the [new standards] to have a significant impact on the University of Sydney’s entry process,” she said.

The UAC spokeswoman said the centre is seeking a meeting with the new head of the NSW Education Standards Authority, which replaced the Board of Studies in January.

“It could be that they want to include the minimum standards in the ATAR or make the HSC a requirement for the ATAR,” she said.

“Because we haven’t had any instructions, I’d say that [isn’t] the way they’re leaning.”

NESA said it would not be seeking changes to ATAR eligibility in response to the new minimum standards.

“NESA does not instruct UAC about the calculation of the ATAR,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.

“[The minimum standard] is designed to help ensure students have the skills for success when they leave school and assure parents, businesses and the community that students with an HSC have functional literacy and numeracy skills.”

However, senior lecturer of English education at the University of Technology Sydney and former English inspector at the Board of Studies Don Carter said existing K-10 syllabuses already taught literacy and numeracy skills.

“The new requirements are really quite superfluous,” he said.

“This is an example of another testing regime coming in over the top of the curriculum and sucking up resources and time to get kids through the test.”

The standard, announced in July last year, will require students to either receive Band 8 or above in the year 9 NAPLAN tests or pass online reading, writing and numeracy tests in order to receive their HSC.

Fairfax Media last year reported that more than half of year 9 students got below Band 8 in the NAPLAN test.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 December
Comments Off on To share or sell: Why inherited property causes family strife

To share or sell: Why inherited property causes family strife

I made a sea-change at 25Why we name our homesThe ins and outs of inheriting property
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In the late 1990s my grandmother purchased a beach house in Blairgowrie, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, for her six children and young grandchildren to share. She christened the house Listowel, a nod to the family’s ancestral home in Ireland, and left the rest to her children to sort out between them.

Thanks to gran’s decision, I’ve grown up with fond memories of school holidays spent rock-hopping and splashing in shallow pools at low tide, stubbornly playing a long out of date edition of Trivial Pursuit with my sisters, and boogie boarding at Sorrento back beach with a litany of cousins.

Now that my grandmother has passed away and my cousins and I are ostensibly grown up, the question of whether to continue to keep the holiday home in the family, and pass it on to future generations to enjoy, or to sell and split the profits, has arisen.

Liz Jensen, director of Kay & Burton Portsea, first moved to the Mornington Peninsula as a 19-year-old, and has worked in real estate in the area for more than 30 years. Jensen frequently assists families looking to buy holiday homes in coastal suburbs such as Sorrento, Portsea, and Blairgowrie.

“A big demographic are buying because they’ve got their own children who are starting families and they want to keep the generations together,” Jensen says. “So they’re buying holiday homes that can house the three generations: their children, grandchildren, and themselves.”

It’s a topic that is close to Jensen’s heart, as she shares a family holiday home with her siblings, nieces, and nephews.

“When my parents passed away a couple of years ago they left the property to the three children on the premise that we would keep it in our ownership until it went to our children,” Jensen says. “The will actually states that they would like their grandchildren to enjoy it all through their childhood, and then whoever wanted to buy it could have the right to buy it.”

For Jensen, the best thing about sharing a family holiday home is having the time to get to know each other away from the pressures of city life, and creating memories that can be cherished forever.

“Families can actually come down here and relax and enjoy each other’s company,” Jensen says. “We’ll go into homes now and there’s a jigsaw being built, or a Scrabble game, an actual board with pieces, unlike the iPads that they might have in town.”

Jensen frequently comes across a less idyllic side to these shared homes. One where siblings are forced to sell their childhood holiday home to resolve infighting.

“I see a lot of people who sell it straight away to get the money because they can’t justify using it, or I see people who sell it straight away because they’re afraid it’s going to cause family fighting and they don’t want that,” she says.

Jeanette Lawrence, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne, has written extensively about the norms and practices surrounding inheritance in Australia, and says the issue of dividing property can be fraught for families.

“There are as many different perspectives as there are people,” she says. “The major thing is that people feel strongly about what should be done – and seem to have little tolerance for family members who disagree with them.”

In their book Inheriting as People Think it Should Be, Lawrence and her late colleague Jacqueline Goodnow delve into instances in which inheritance turned into a minefield for families.

“We found that people felt strongly and very often had stories of bad things people did in family arrangements,” Lawrence says. “And sometimes, but less often, about good family arrangements.”

This is especially relevant in the current climate, where we have a housing market in which land is more valuable than ever. The stakes are raised, and tensions among family members easily exacerbated.

“Family holiday homes are particularly contentious, because often people perhaps don’t lay out [the inheritance rules] quite so strongly,” Lawrence says. “Sometimes, this is a time when the family stops getting on so well.”

For me, however, the joy of returning to my family beach house as an adult – a house that has remained virtually the same for the past two decades, and is rich with memories of summer childhood adventures and long family lunches – is incalculable.

So despite the lure of a lucrative housing market, perhaps it’s the history and shared memories that are, at the end of the day, the most valuable aspect of a family holiday home.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 December
Comments Off on Pick of the bunch: Suburbs with the most properties for sale

Pick of the bunch: Suburbs with the most properties for sale

South Melbourne eyesore for sale after 40 year vacancyPeriod gem with no overlays soars over reserveTwo-bedroom property listed for more than $7m
Nanjing Night Net

Melbourne auction clearance rates are hovering about 80 per cent each week, with buyers paying hundreds and thousands of dollars over reserve to trump their competition.

Agents attribute the strong results to a shortage of quality stock, though there are generally more listings this year compared to last year.

So where is the most choice for buyers in a hot market?

Domain Group data reveals the suburbs with the most private treaty and auction listings for houses and units over March by distance from the CBD.

For house hunters looking for choice within five kilometres of the city, Richmond, Toorak, South Yarra, Prahran and Port Melbourne each offered at least 38 properties.

New developments in Melbourne, Southbank, Docklands and South Yarra have also created a surge of apartment listings.

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said there was generally a feeling that it was a good time to sell.

A lot more new stock had come on the market in Richmond, where price growth was moderating after years of strong growth, he said.

But Biggin and Scott Richmond director Russell Cambridge believed house prices “continued to kick this year”.

“Last year was dismal for volume, for turnover ??? hence the price increases,” Mr Cambridge said, adding that houses were still selling above expectations.

Two neighbouring houses marketed as a development site at 430-432 Victoria Street, sold for a whopping $1.1 million over reserve last month. A buyer looking to build a new home trumped developers to purchase the 540-square metre site for $3.4 million at auction.

Mr Cambridge said houses drew a minimum of three strong bidders, with single-fronted Victorians particularly in demand. A two-bedroom house at 99 Buckingham Street recently fetched $1,412,000 ??? about $200,000 over reserve.

But there were also opportunities to buy a house for less than $1 million. A timber cottage at 29 Cutter Street passed in at auction without a bid on Saturday, and is now selling privately for $929,000.

There is generally more choice as house hunters travelled further out; with Balwyn North, Kew and Preston offering the most February and March listings, between five and 10 kilometres of the CBD.

Marshall White Boroondara’s Robert Ding said Balwyn North was a large suburb with big peaks and troughs.

Many vendors wanted to sell while the market was strong, and a lot of properties would come on, he said.

“North Balwyn has been known as a family-orientated area, so therefore it’s not as attractive for the younger generation to move out there,” he said. “Hawthorn and Kew are always kicking goals and the turnover is always there because that’s their first port of call and first choice.”

There were many large French provincial homes on the market in Balwyn North, but their designs were not particularly different from one another, so buyers would be more discerning, Mr Ding said. “There’s the demographic of buyers looking to buy land, [and] land is no different to one another apart from location,” he said.

Surrounding suburbs, such as Hawthorn and Kew, had better clearance rates than Balwyn North because there was greater variety in the types of properties and more period and renovated homes, Mr Ding added. Suburbs with the most February house listings (10 to 20km of the CBD)Suburbs with the most March house listings (10 to 20km of the CBD)Tarneit 988 Point Cook 943Wollert 570Werribee 558 Craigieburn 473Tarneit 999Point Cook 930Werribee 659Wollert 587Craigieburn 505Melton South 628 Melton West 595 Wyndham Vale 580 Sunbury 265 Hampton Park 180Wyndham Vale 735Melton South 644Melton West 579Sunbury 268Frankston 176This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 December
Comments Off on Architect-designed home at lower cost? No problem, say these builders

Architect-designed home at lower cost? No problem, say these builders

Lifespaces founders Elliot McLaren, Simon Babb and Grant Downie and renders of their proposed projects by Auhaus Architecture. Photo: LifespacesFive things you shouldn’t say to an architectAustralia’s best houses for 2016The worst renovations in heritage properties
Nanjing Night Net

A Victorian company’s innovative business model is enabling more consumers the opportunity to own a quality-built home designed by a leading architect.

Founded by three builders, Lifespaces Group offers customers the ability to purchase limited release, pre-designed plans by architects to be built by the Lifespaces team.

Co-founder of Lifespaces Group Elliot McLaren says the business started after observing consumer demand for more affordable and hassle-free architecturally-designed homes.

“I’ve always been to privy to what I believed was a gap in the market, and that was clients coming in looking for a higher-end product but not really either wanting to go through the process, or not having the budget to seek higher-end architecture,” McLaren says.

Each design produced by Lifespaces’ architects is limited to 10 uses, thereby guaranteeing customers a relatively exclusive home.

“That’s a very firm, set-in-stone part of the Lifespaces brand,” McLaren says.

“Once the tenth home is built, the plan is retired, never to be seen again.”

The collective construction experience of the founders ensures all materials and fixtures in the homes are carefully sourced and installed by the team.

“Each toilet comes from Spain, each oven comes out from France ??? We have proper limestone not acrylic baths, and the taps are all handmade out of Melbourne. Nothing comes out of China,” McLaren says.

The first five Lifespaces designs have been created by acclaimed Victorian based architectural firm Auhaus Architecture.

“We’ve used the same design principles as we do for all our regular homes, looking at light, connection to outdoor spaces, how the light moves across the house throughout the day, natural ventilation, good natural volume and connection between spaces,” says Kate Fitzpatrick, co-founding director of Auhaus.

The first Lifespaces home – the Courtyard House designed by Auhaus – is priced at $675,000. This is an upfront, unwavering price that includes the cost of architecture and construction.

“That’s a 30 square home [about 278 square metres] which equates to about $22,500 per square for the entire project,” McLaren says.

“We can hit a certain price point that sees us well below what it would normally cost to access this level of architect, and with a product that really is tapping into the raw design ethos of Kate Fitzpatrick and Ben Stibbard of Auhaus.”

According to the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia, currently only five to 10 per cent of Australian homes are architect-designed.

“Lifespaces is about creating a platform for high-end architects to design the way they would like to design as if creating a home for themselves,” McLaren says.

Lifespaces plan to eventually introduce more architects to the business who specialise in a range of residential styles and climates.

The company’s home in Barwon Heads, the Courtyard House, will be completed next month, and will open to the public shortly after.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 December
Comments Off on The suburb where it really does matter what side of the road you’re on

The suburb where it really does matter what side of the road you’re on

ken100611.001.001.melb.s/age property. photograph ken irwin story by chris vedelagoshows residential niddrie SPECIAL 00000000 Photo: Ken IrwinBaristas, Albion needs you (and you’d make a killing)The tiny suburb that’s one of Melbourne’s giantsThe suburb even real estate agents keep secret
Nanjing Night Net

Sometimes the suburb divide is so obvious that it’s laughable. Head down Hoffmans Road, which divides Niddrie from Essendon North, and it’s like Target on one side and Myer on the other. The houses tell the story. Carefully, almost fastidiously presented versus, well, liveable.

It’s the same with the schools that keep this area popular with families: there’s Rosehill Secondary College on the Niddrie side of super-hilly Rosehill Road, and St Bernard’s College on the other. There’s way more love (and money) on one side. “Even the sign is so glossy!” comments my son. You can guess which school he’s talking about, right?

Niddrie just doesn’t have the bloodline that Essendon does. It doesn’t have the number of sporting fields that its neighbour does. It certainly doesn’t have its own AFL team. And when it comes to Melbourne’s most desirable forms of public transport (yes: we’re talking trams and trains, don’t give me that ‘what about the bus?’ line), bar a couple of tram stops for the 59 in the busy Niddrie Shopping Precinct, it’s completely outswamped by its neighbour.

Yet Niddrie has quite a bit going for it. It’s just 13 kilometres from the CBD. And it’s getting on a few lists: affordable rentals not so far from town, being one. Development opportunities, being another. “Almost a million-dollar suburb” could be another.

According to Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson, Niddrie’s median price is $950,000, up 15 per cent in the past six months. “The north is very hot at the moment” says Dr Wilson “It’s a boom. There are queues of buyers.” The REIV listed it as one of Melbourne’s 120 million-dollar ‘burbs in the last December quarter.

And who are these buyers? Developers, baby. Most of Niddrie’s homes are being advertised with the focus on their land size. They’re usually in the 600-plus square metre range and are often being sold complete with permits for between three and five townhouses. Properties like these – blank canvases – are asking $1.48 million -$1.6 million. A completed townhouse in Niddrie will set a buyer back at least $500,000.

Despite the suburb’s small size, the shopping’s big in Niddrie. Niddrie Shopping Precinct sits on Keilor Road on its Calder Freeway edge. This strip gets a lot of love. It’s the kind of place where “roving entertainers” take over on special days, like Easter, and Valentine’s Day. It’s got its own website and hashtag: #niddrieprecinct (get in quick and you could be its first tag on Insta!). There’s every kind of business there, and it looks like it’s thriving.

Less lit up is Steele Creek, which forms a natural border of Niddrie (the others are aforementioned Hoffmans and Rosehill Roads, and the Calder Freeway). The shared use path runs from the southern boundary of Melbourne Airport to the Maribyrnong River. It’s a well-linked suburb by road, too, close to the freeways that matter to the commuter: the Tulla, the Western Ring Road and the Calder.

You get the impression that once the concrete trucks have moved on and the dyed black woodchips have been laid, it’ll be more like Myer v David Jones. However, Essendon North and West’s period homes, parks and schools will probably always give it an edge. Five things you didn’t know about Niddrie

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

13 December
Comments Off on Woolies’ suburban supermarket expansion stretches to Rosanna

Woolies’ suburban supermarket expansion stretches to Rosanna

A sleepy corner of middle suburbia, Rosanna in Melbourne’s north-east, is set to get a radical shakeup with a new full-line Woolies supermarket, railway station and elevated train tracks.
Nanjing Night Net

Supermarket giant Woolworths has won the right to build a 2700 square metre store on Banyule Council-owned land after overcoming objections in a legal appeal at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Woolies development company Fabcot has a conditional contract to purchase a site next to Rosanna Station from Banyule Council if it gains planning approval for its supermarket

It lodged plans with the council after the land was rezoned in 2012 from public use.

The site includes an open car park off Douglas Street behind the Rosanna library and a strip of land owned by Melbourne Water.

Council offices currently on the premises will be moved to Greensborough.

The Rosanna shopping strip stretches down a steep hill along a main road before eventually crossing the Hurstbridge rail line.

The Lower Plenty Road and rail intersection have been earmarked by the state government for a level crossing removal, part of a multibillion-dollar, multi-year program to remove dangerous level crossings around the city.

As part of the project a significant portion of rail line will become elevated and the station adjoining the shopping strip will be rebuilt.

The new Woolies supermarket will sit on the opposite side of the railway line to the suburb’s shopping strip next to a theatre.

Tribunal member Margaret Baird dismissed objections from local residents that the new Woolies was too far from the rest of the Rosanna shopping strip and would affect the area’s “village” feel.

Numerous other objections included selling public land to a private company, removal of established trees, congestion from vehicles and deliveries, noise, and the supermarket’s impact on neighbouring buildings.

“Objectors believe that the council’s interest in the land has been a factor in its determination. They say the proper course of action by the council would have been to request an independent body to determine the application or propose a more appropriate form of development,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal also supported the council’s decision to issue a liquor licence with 10pm restrictions on the sale of alcohol.

Woolworths has multiple plans to expand its footprint in key suburbs.

In March it paid up to $50 million to buy public broadcaster the ABC’s former studios in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick.

The prime 6155 square metre block was on six separate titles in a mixed-use zone with frontage to Selwyn and Sinclair Streets, as well as a rear laneway.

Last year it bagged $30 million from selling a North Melbourne site in Canning Street after it gained planning approval for a 4400 square metre supermarket with 304 apartments above in a 16-level tower.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.