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Jobs being taken by robots? Where’s your evidence

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Jobs being taken by robots? Where’s your evidence, 成都夜生活, by .

Business men and women converge after a conference in Perth, business, employment, jobs, high skilled workers, investors, work place, career, executive, generic , walking Hold for files. AFR Picture by Erin Jonasson, 080403. SPECIALX 00082413.There’s just one problem to remember before we work ourselves into a complete tizz over the War on Wages, convincing ourselves globalisation and digital disruption mean we’ll never get a steady job or a decent pay rise again.
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It’s this: so far we’ve heard a lot of suspiciously confident predictions about the way robots and digitisation are about to destroy millions of jobs, a lot of anecdotes about law-breaking employers, a lot of scary stories about “the gig economy” and “portfolio jobs”, a lot of adults assuring impressionable school children they’ll have 10, or is it 17, different jobs in their working lives, a lot of propagandising by the unions about the rise of “precarious employment” and a lot of speculation about how all this somehow explains why wages growth is the slowest it’s been since the early 1990s.

Know what we haven’t got a lot of? Hard evidence that any of all that has actually started happening to any significant extent.

This is not to say some version of all that won’t happen at some time in the future. I can’t say it won’t since I don’t know that the future holds, unlike all the self-proclaimed experts with their precise predictions.

(Next time you hear someone telling you exactly how many jobs robots will have destroyed by 2020, or how many jobs or occupations you’ll have in the next 40 years, ask yourself this question: How – would – they – know?)

But if there’s no evidence this frightening future has got going yet, there’s no way it can explain why wage growth has been so weak for the past three or four years.

For once, let’s take a close look at what we actually know has been happening.

It is true that, as we saw in this column two weeks ago, the structure of occupations in the workforce is changing. Research by Dr Alexandra Heath, of the Reserve Bank, shows the share of routine jobs has fallen by 14 percentage points, while the share of non-routine jobs has risen by 14 points.

Similarly, the share of manual jobs has fallen by 5 percentage points, while the share of cognitive jobs has risen to the same extent.

But this is a long-term trend. These figures are for the change over the 30 years to 2016, and there’s no sign of the trend accelerating over recent years.

A lot of detailed – and reassuring – research on the official statistics has been done by one of our leading labour-market economists, Professor Jeff Borland, of the University of Melbourne, and reported on his website, Labour Market Snapshots.

For one thing, Borland’s been searching for evidence that our jobs are being taken by robots – and failing to find it. He breaks the issue into two parts.

First, has computerisation reduced the total amount of work needing to be done by humans, as many people assume?

No. The total amount of work available per head of population has bounced around with the ups and downs of the business cycle but, overall, has shown no downward trend. The latest figures show, if anything, a bit more hours of work per person than there were in the mid-1960s.

Second, consistent with Heath’s research, Borland finds evidence that the progressive introduction of computers, which began in the early 1990s, is probably changing the types of jobs being done by workers.

But he, too, finds that the pace of change in the composition of employment “is no quicker today than in the period before computers”.

“So while computers may be having some impact on the n workplace, most claims about their impact are vastly overstated,” Borland concludes.

Next, Borland shines his statistical spotlight on all the claims about work becoming more insecure or “precarious”.

You don’t have a proper, full-time permanent job. You get a bit of work here and a bit there. If you do have a job, it never lasts long.

The n Bureau of Statistics has long published figures for job “tenure” – how long people have been with their current employer.

If all the talk of growing instability was a genuine trend – as opposed to the experience of a relatively small number of individuals – you ought to be able to see it in the job tenure figures.

But you can’t. The reverse, in fact. Borland finds that, from the early 1980s to the present, the proportion of workers who’ve been in their job for 10 years or more has been steadily increasing. This is greatest for women, for whom it’s gone from 12 per cent to 25 per cent.

At the same time, the proportion of all workers in their job for less than a year has been decreasing.

Next, how insecure do workers feel? When the bureau asks employees whether they expect to be with their present employer for the next 12 months, the proportion of men who don’t has been steady at about 9 per cent between May 2001 and May this year.

Over the same period, the proportion for women has fallen steadily from 11 per cent to 9.5 per cent.

From all the talk, you’d expect the proportion of employees working for labour hire companies and temporary agencies to be rising strongly.

It ain’t. Actually, between 2001 and 2015 it’s fallen from a tiny 3.1 per cent to a tinier 2.2 per cent.

And though it’s true the proportion of jobs that are part-time is continuing to rise, over the 10 years to 2016 it rose at the slowest rate for any decade since the mid-1960s.

Of course, none of this is to deny that wages growth in has been surprisingly weak for several years, as it has been in other developed economies.

But in our guessing game about what might be causing that weakness, let’s not get too fanciful.

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Trump trade dead, but corporate earnings fragile

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Trump trade dead, but corporate earnings fragile, 成都夜生活, by .

A possible trade war between the world’s largest economies, the United States and China, reared its head again this week, and instead of shirking at the crippling impact on American businesses, US stock markets streaked to record highs.
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Reports the White House planned to impose tariffs on Chinese imports and revoke some Chinese companies’ licenses to sell products in the US theoretically should have had financial markets reacting in horror.

The prospect of curbing the free flow of commerce between the world’s largest economies would have widespread implications for American-listed enterprises, limiting growth and adding layers of regulation around existing partnerships.

The response? Stocks on Wall Street rocketed to record highs; the Dow Jones smashed through 22,000 points for the first time in its history and President Donald Trump was quick to claim the victory.

“Today the stock market hit the highest level that it has ever been and our country is doing very well,” the President announced on Twitter.

Hefty corporate earnings results these last few weeks have buoyed investor sentiment, with earnings growth for the S&P 500 on track to clock a healthy 9.7 per cent year-over-year for the second quarter, according to FactSet.

This follows a 15 per cent surge in the March quarter.

Earnings from the likes of Boeing, McDonald’s, Apple and American banks have done the vast majority of the heavy lifting, their sheer size making them primary drivers of the Dow Jones’ recent highs. Corporate earnings

While the US president has lauded the performance of American companies as a direct result of his capable leadership, most experts point to an improving global economic picture as being more significant.

A combination of low inflation and rising global growth could keep US stocks climbing and this reporting season, technology stocks and financials have largely given investors cause to cheer.

“It’s been a strong earnings season with large corporates delivering good, organic growth,” said Peter Wilmshurst, global equities portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton.

“The names we hold, particularly the technology names, have delivered good results.”

The largest public companies have seen profits accelerate in 2017, with earnings rising at a double-digit pace compared to 12 months ago, according to data by Thompson Reuters.

For some investors, the latest milestone helps allay concerns about the longevity of a bull market that began in March 2009.

This sharemarket cycle has been marked by a string of new breakthroughs: the Dow shattered 20,000 in January following its 15,000-marker in 2013. (It first topped 10,000 in 1999.)

But while the picture of a US economy roaring back to life after one of the most severe financial crises in living memory certainly has boosted the animal spirits of investors, many fund managers are wary of just how expensive US equities are.

“While stocks are not near the valuation bubbles we’ve seen in the past, it’s definitely true the US is probably one of the most expensive markets in the world,” says Wilmshurst. Pricey tech stocks, lagging industrials

Technology stocks – the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft – have driven much of the gains in the S&P 500 this year but the appetite for the innovation and growth potential of these companies might have pushed them into the “seriously overvalued” category.

“We are very cautious on US technology companies from a valuation point of view,” says Jordan Cvetanovski, portfolio manager at of Pengana Capital’s international equities fund, which was holding the maximum amount of technology stocks it could two years ago, but since then has halved that.

“We think these companies have become so expensive that we’re initiating some protection on the Nasdaq and buying some put options.”

Additionally, the uneven spread of company performance is a warning signal to some that the US bull market might be unsustainable.

Looking at the industrial stocks within the Dow Jones Index, which are fetching record prices, theoretically the Dow Transportation Average should also be heading towards record territory.

But instead, the index is lagging those overachieving Dow industrial companies, like Boeing, by almost 10 percentage points.

“The market gain has been built on a narrow group of issues. That typically is not indicative of great health,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

“I would not be shocked if we saw a pullback.” End of the Trump trade

Despite the abstract way that President Trump uses his Twitter account, it is difficult to deny shares have definitely performed better under his administration.

The “Trump trade” has seen investors pour into equities the world over, jubilant at the prospect of lower company taxes and other reform, sending Wall Street and the FTSE to record highs and reigniting speculation the ASX will hit 6000 points this year.

Since the inauguration on January 20, the 30-stock Dow Jones is up 11 per cent and the broader S&P 500 is 8.7 per cent higher.

But the inertia of Congress and the lack any policy detail has seen this particular motivation for positive investor sentiment deteriorate.

“People were betting on his ability to get things done,” said Pengana’s Mr Cvetanovski. “And the next thing people are focusing on is whether the corporate tax cuts will get through.”

During the week, President Trump tweeted: “Corporations have NEVER made as much money as they are making now”, which many interpreted as the launch of the next Republican priority, after the failure to repeal Obamacare.

While it’s unclear exactly what the tax cuts would look like, many are wary of how successful the administration will be.

“It’s hard to have conviction that they’ll achieve what they want to do,” said Franklin Templeton’s Mr Wilmshurst.

“While this Trump administration has a softer regulatory touch which has been good for the likes of financials, there’s no plan for what the corporate tax might look like.”

Regardless of what the administration may or may not do, investors have taken heart at recent economic data signalling a pickup in the underlying economy.

US manufacturing data remains solid, with factories still expanding and the Purchasing Managers Index rose from 52 in June to 53.3 in July. Vehicles sales are rising and while construction spending is in a clear downward trend, the economy is nearing full employment.

While short-term market sentiment has lowered expectations of another Federal Reserve hike, a trifecta of healthy job creation, buoyant wage growth and a larger number of Americans re-entering the workforce is likely to keep the central bank tightening monetary policy. ETFs

But the outperformance of US equities overall has some international fund managers shaking their heads, saying the bullish fervour gripping investors is a misguided result of distorted capital markets.

No longer punch-drunk on President Trump’s pro-growth policies, shares are artificially boosted by swollen passive ETF trades and the headline-grabbing earnings growth is only visible in pockets of the US market.

“There is no scalpel dissecting what companies are good and which are bad,” said Mr Cvetanovski. “There is so much widespread ETF buying that distorts entire sectors.

“This is just another way of making something that’s artificially expensive, even more expensive.”

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Manly waterfront assets to pique investor appetite

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Manly waterfront assets to pique investor appetite, 成都夜生活, by .

Seaside investments are high on the list for developers as they link into the lifestyle of occupants who want the work and play balance without the need for too much travel.
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A shift in work practices has led to more people working within their neighbourhood, which has created a competition for space between commercial and residential developments. With demand rising, both uses are proving profitable in prices and rental growth.

One of the latest sites to be offered, which are also the last two Torrens Titled homes, are at 15-16 Steyne Street, being the former home to the Royal Far West school, which has been providing support and services to local country kids for more than 80 years. They are being sold as vacant possession.

The cash raised, which could be up to $10 million, using sales of similar properties as a gauge, will help fund the construction of the new Centre for Child Health and Learning. The new integrated Royal Far West Health and Learning facility will reach up to 15,000 families with services and support to help rural children reach their full potential.

The new Centre for Child Health and Learning will be built on the site of the existing Elsie Hill Building in Wentworth Street, adjacent to RFW’s guest accommodation Drummond House. No building or reconstruction will be taking place on RFW’s waterfront land under this Stage One development.

Agents advising on the sale, Stuart Cox, Neil Cooke and Tim Grosmann??? of Savills , said the flexible B2 Local Centre zoning means there is development potential for 963.5 square metres of gross floor area, subject to council approval, and a height limit of 10 metres.

Mr Cox, director of residential site sales for Savills, said well located projects in close proximity to shopping locations, public transport nodes, and “especially the beaches, demand the highest prices per square metre”.

He added that there has ben a rise in demand for beachside properties by self-managed super fund direct investments (SMSF); significant inflow of overseas investors and an underlying housing shortage coupled with an anticipated population growth.

According to Neil Cooke, director of residential site sales at Savills, the demand for housing in Manly has seen many international and domestic developers purchasing assets to keep pace with demand and rising unit prices. This has been as high as 17 per cent per annum compounded.

The same is said for commercial sites, with areas such as Brookvale, Warriewood and Frenchs Forest commanding higher returns.

The limited stock, rising demand and expected population growth has resulted in higher capital values and investment yields for commercial property on Sydney’s northern beaches, a report by Ray White Commercial has found.

Nic George, of Ray White Commercial NSW, said low interest rates and limited industrial land availability has helped boost land values and resulted in a new level of investment yield achievable, particularly in the sub $1.5 million price point.

Ray White Commercial head of research, Vanessa Rader, said industrial capital values across the northern beaches over the last 12 months have shown some variance depending on location, age and quality.

Ms Rader said the most affordable regions are Brookvale and Frenchs Forest, with Brookvale yields ranging from $1500 to $3800 per sq m with the upper range more representative of showroom industrial properties.

“Frenchs Forest is home to a large volume of strata industrial premises; these more uniform properties may include some office component and sit within a more restricted value range of $1700 to $2900 per sq m,” Ms Rader said.

“The Warriewood region also includes greater showroom type premises which have resulted in a similarly broad range as Brookvale, with an average of $3377 per sq m.”

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‘It makes you feel not valued’: How wage cuts broke Sahar

12.12.2018, Comments Off on ‘It makes you feel not valued’: How wage cuts broke Sahar, 成都夜生活, by .

Sahar Khalili who has been on a flat wage as a pharmacist for lack of wage growth case study. Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media When Sahar Khalili started work as a casual pharmacist eight years ago, she was paid $35 an hour. Over the years that has fallen to as low as $30 while her rent has more than doubled.
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The 30-year-old tried short bursts of locum work to try to balance the equation, but eight years after graduating her pay had not kept pace with inflation.

“At the end of the day it also makes you feel that you are not valued by the pharmacy owner,” she says.

Frustrated with the stagnating pay and increasing workload involving sales tasks unrelated to her pharmacy training and without any extra compensation, Khalili changed careers and now works in health IT. She still does pharmacy locum work on the side.

It is a tale that will resonate for many workers.

Most ns have not had a pay rise in real terms in years in the face of an assault on wages which has policy makers, unions and business groups worried.

The typical n family takes home less today than it did in 2009, according to the latest Household Income and Labour Dynamics survey released this week.

Just on Friday the Reserve Bank cut its economic growth forecasts by half a percentage point for the rest of this year after confirming wages remain at their lowest share of total income in half a century.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has declared record low wage growth the “biggest challenge” facing the n economy.

Families are also wrestling with rising electricity prices, skyrocketing property prices and high demand for accommodation has also forced up rents.

There are many reasons given for the wage slump, some peculiar to and others part of broader global trends. GFC catching up

Having escaped the worst of the global financial crisis, n workers are now starting to share the pain of slow wages growth felt in the US since the 1990s and in Europe and Japan since the global financial crisis.

The mining boom and Rudd/Gillard government’s multi-billion-dollar stimulus spending may have helped shield the economy from the worst of the GFC.

But since 2012 and 2013, n workers have felt stuck in a holding pattern of slow wages growth. Wages for the whole economy increased by 1.9 per cent in the year to March just in line with inflation.

One unusual dynamic is that reasonably solid employment growth has not pushed up wages leading economists to suspect there is more slack in the labour market than the unemployment rate would suggest.

The rate of underemployment, which represents the number of people who have fewer hours of work than they want, remains high at 8.8 per cent and has not followed its normal trajectory in line with falls in the unemployment rate, which is at 5.9 per cent.

The Reserve Bank says it is not clear how much labour underutilisation – a combination of unemployment and underemployment, now at more than 14 per cent – is impacting on wage growth.

Then there are other trends upending the traditional workforce. Automation and technology has pitted humans against robots. An increase in contract work, off shoring of jobs and globalisation of trade, is undercutting prices and locally supplied goods and then dampening demand for workers.

The Reserve Bank has recognised that low wage growth may also reflect the erosion of workers’ bargaining power to achieve higher wages.

“With a greater premium on security, it’s plausible that workers are less inclined to take a risk by seeking larger wage increases,” Governor Philip Lowe says.

RBA governor Philip Lowe has encouraged workers to ask for a raise. Photo: Louie DouvisMore productive

Those comments have stirred up some economists including Jim Stanford, director of the Institute’s Centre for Future Work who says Lowe correctly described wage stagnation but ignored the power imbalances between employees and workers who do not have the leverage to push for a pay rise.

That n workers are 60 per cent more productive than they were 30 years ago, suggests some capacity in the labour market for higher wages, but workers have less power to claim a fairer deal.

“For both the quantity and quality of work we need an active hand for government policy to be supporting job creation and workers,” Dr Stanford says.

Labor’s employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor told the Sydney Institute on Wednesday night he was in no doubt that the “dwindling bargaining power of workers and their representatives have played a central role in contributing to flat wage growth.

The shift in bargaining power away from workers to employers, and the undermining of their ability to be represented by their unions, he says have had a profound and damaging effect.

While the former Labor government succeeded in killing WorkChoices, he admits in hindsight, the ALP should have recognised that the labour market was changing “at a speed and in ways that would mean that simply restoring industrial relations laws would not be sufficient”.

Opposition spokesman for employment, Brendan O’Connor, said the figures did not show the full story of the labour market. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

“To be fair to the previous Labor Government, governments around the world are now confronting same or similar dilemma of how to address changes in the labour market,” he said.

But Professor John Buchanan, from the University of Sydney business school, says policies of both conservative and Labor governments over the past 30 years have resulted in depressed wages.

“None of this stuff is an accident,” says Buchanan. “We have had a 30-year attack on labour standards. Workers wages have only ever kept up with productivity when they have strong collective voices.” Uncertainty a factor

From the employer side, profits have been hard won and former Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout notes non-mining industries have been under competitive pressure to restrain costs especially wages. And while wages were flat, they were not going backwards in real terms .

“A lot of companies are making a reasonable profit but there is a lot of uncertainty,” says Ridout.

An increase in productivity, she says, means there is room to boost wages. This sets a challenge for the union movement and wage earners.

n Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox links low wages growth to structural change in the global economy and extra labour supply resulting from the urbanisation and industrialisation of China.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox says wage increase must be matched by productivity gains. Photo: Andrew Meares

The low growth, he says, is partly “a catch up” on competitiveness with other developed countries. A fall in income from exports has also impacted on domestic incomes.

“We are starting to see some signs of wages growth and there has been a 3.3 per cent rise in minimum wages,” he says.

AIG’s latest construction survey shows expectations of further growth next year. But for employers facing continuing tight margins and pressures from rising energy costs and a higher dollar, “there cannot be wages growth without productivity offsets”.

“That’s not negotiable,” he says.

Jeff Parker, managing director of Tyre Pitstop south of Sydney, is at the frontline of that battle. He has been cutting costs and investing in new plant to make his business more efficient and competitive.

Jeff Parker, manager of Tyre Pitstop. Photo: John Veage

“There is a competitive challenge in our industry to make profits to cover wages because of Chinese imports of cheaper tyres into the market,” he says. “It is pushing the cost of locally supplied tyres down and manufacturers have to heavily compete and our margins drop.”

Even so, Mr Parker has ensured that salary increases for his staff have kept up with inflation. Tax cuts debate

Economist Saul Eslake says it’s true that employers can more easily replace workers with computers, robots or workers in other countries. But he doesn’t think restricting off-shoring or restoring union rights are the answer.

“I don’t think it would be in the national interest or interests of individual workers for us to go back to the kind of industrial mayhem that had in the 60s and 70s,” he says.

Eslake does not believe cuts to company tax will improve wages. Instead Improving standards of education is a longer term measure Eslake believes would help people compete.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash disagrees and believes the best way to improve wage growth is to improve productivity and investment, through lower taxes and a balanced workplace relations system that encourages job creation.

“The best thing that can be done to improve wage growth is to strengthen the economy to encourage investment, boost confidence and improve productivity,” she says.

“In contrast, the latest Labor Party policy is not to encourage productivity but to simply give unions more power to enter and disrupt workplaces. This will not make a single workplace more productive, in fact it will do the exact opposite, which will only damage both job growth and wages growth.”

But not everyone has struggled to increase their income. The share of disposable income after tax accruing to the top 20 per cent of earners has increased by about 2.5 per centage points in while the share for everyone else has gone down over 10 years between 2003-04 and 2013-14. Consumer impact

Having strongly argued for wage restraint during the years of the mining boom, business groups are now grappling with the impact on consumer spending of stagnant wage growth.

ACCI director of economic and industry policy Adam Carr recognises that sustainable wage increases are needed to drive consumer spending.

He says is feeling the lagged effect of global economic conditions and is confident that as productivity increases, so will wages.

“We don’t view this as the new normal,” he said.

Russell Zimmerman from the Retail Traders Association argues that simply increasing wages is not the answer – it would fuel inflation, which would force retailers to increase their prices. He puts the blame on chaos in Canberra.

“There is money out there for consumers to spend. People are not spending because there is too much uncertainty and lack of confidence in the government,” he says.

Zimmerman does acknowledge though that many people are doing it tough and living week-to-week to cope with increased electricity prices and huge mortgages as property prices rage out of control.

Mark Morey, the secretary of Unions NSW, says stagnant wage growth is undermining economic growth “because people don’t have money to spend”.

“People who have mortgages are two years ahead on their payments because [they are] worried about job security and not spending money on new TVs,” he says.

In a bid to avoid scaring off consumers with higher prices, manufacturers and suppliers are shrinking the size of their products to increase profitability.

“My beers are getting smaller,” he says.

And he’s not imagining it. Products shrink

n consumer advocacy group CHOICE says companies such as Arnott’s which reduced multipacks of Shapes and Tiny Teddies, are shrinking product sizes without cutting prices.

It says the marketing trick is designed to bolster brand profits and reduce value at the supermarket checkout.

The phenomenon is known as “shrinkflation”.

The whole cocktail means shoppers are more focussed on price which has sparked battles between big producers and ‘s powerful supermarkets.

In a spray against multinational companies, Coles managing director John Durkan says they seem happy to charge ns more for their products than in overseas grocery markets.

The price differences often related to the same product made and sourced in the same place.

“Why should n customers pay more for products like baked beans, coffee and razor blades, chocolate bars, than customers overseas?” he said in a recent speech.

Coles managing director John Durkan accused multinational food companies of overcharging Photo: AAP

Durkan has also raised concerns many n families were feeling cost of living pressures and spending less on fresh produce and meat.

Over the past few years, wages growth has languished on the back of a soft labour market.

“At a time when incomes are not growing much, many households are having to confront large price increases in other areas of their everyday living.”

These pressures – falling wages, rising prices, shrinkflation – are attributed as some of the drivers behind the global populist backlash as the middle and lower classes face the squeeze.

Niki Baras certainly knows how that feels.

Melbourne translator Niki Baras has been on flat wages for many years. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Seventeen years ago, she was earning 15 to 18 cents per word as a translator.

Today she earns virtually the same money and in some cases is offered less.

“We’ve actually gone backwards,” she says.

“I’ve learned to live with it. I have had to take on other related jobs to support myself. I haven’t been able to make a living in my profession.”

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Denting the distraction: Is technology the answer to Hunter’s mobile phone addiction behind the wheel

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Denting the distraction: Is technology the answer to Hunter’s mobile phone addiction behind the wheel, 成都夜生活, by .

ON THE PHONE: “People are not getting the message.” A motorist with both hands off the wheel driving in a 60km/h zone on Newcastle Road at Jesmond. Police said the number of mobile phone offences observed was concerning. EDITORIAL: ‘If I wasn’t on the phone I’d have seen him’
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BOTH hands off the wheel, eyes on the screen, tapping away on the keyboard and full speed ahead.

Police officers say the actions of this driver – captured by theNewcastle Heraldthis week on Newcastle Road at Jesmond –is an example of recklessness on Hunter roads that could lead totragedy.

It comes as figures released by the Office of State Revenue show that Hunter motorists forked out nearly $13,000 a week –or$676,000 per year – in fines relating to mobile phone offences in 2016/17.

Newcastle motorists were the worst offenders, according to the data, with highway patrol officers in thecity handing out more than $209,000 in mobile phone fines.

Phone-wielding drivers in Lake Macquarie were close behind, with highway patrol issuing $206,000 in fines within that jurisdiction.

In the Hunter Valley highway patrol sector police issued more than $93,000 in finesduring2016/17.

Highway Patrol Northern Region traffic tacticianChief Inspector Bruce McGregorsaid it was clear “people are not getting the message” about mobile phone use while driving.

TheHeraldobserved seven motorists using a mobile phone while driving on the Link Road at Jesmond in a 15-minute timeframe.

NOT LOOKING: These motorists were captured by the Newcastle Herald on their phones on the Pacific Highway at Highfields. All cars were in motion.

Further, even outside peak traffic times, our photographer was able to capture six pictures of motorists doing the wrong thing on the Pacific Highway at Highfields in a one-hour window.

One of those motorists was seen on the phone as a police car passedby.

Chief Inspector McGregor said theHerald’s observations were concerning.

He attributed the results to what he says are “busy lifestyles” that lead to poor driver behaviour.

“We are aware that is an element in amongst drivers, that they continue to illegally use their phones whilst driving and our staff are regularly tasked in their duty to address this issue,” Chief Inspector McGregor said.

“I just can’t understand how people take the risk of being distracted while driving.”

Chief Inspector McGregor said motorists should never feel compelled to respond to people via their mobile phones behind the wheel.

“At the end of the day, if you receive a call it goes to voicemail,” he said. “Simple. Why does [a phone] need to consume all of your time, particularly when you’re behind the wheel.”

A motorist can be fined $330 and lose four demerit points for using a mobile phone while driving.

It rises to $439 in a school zone.

According to the data, highway patrol police fined 36 people for using a mobile phone in a school zone in Newcastle last year. Six were fined in Lake Macquarie.

How to stop ‘frightening’ distractionSHOULD technology be used to fight the distraction of technology?

The NRMA thinks so.

The motorists’ lobby is weeks away from releasing a report that it says will dissect the issue in detail and propose a range of initiatives that “may help” prevent people using their mobile phones behind the wheel.

The NRMA’s road safety expert, Dimitra Vlahomitros, said technology had a “huge role” to play in stopping dangerous driving.

It has previously been reported that the federal government is considering a range of initiatives to combat the distraction of mobile phones, which Transport Minister Darren Chester said there was “no doubt” had contributed to a rise in road trauma.

One of the initiatives under consideration is usingtechnologies that disable mobile phones when in motion.

Ms Vlahomitros said “driver distraction will continue to grow” as reliance on mobile phones increased in line with further integration into daily life.

“ has one of the highest saturations of smartphone use in the world. With smartphone ownership rising to 84 per cent last year, it’s not surprising that this technology has impacted on the automobile industry,” she said. “While the contribution mobile phones play in road crashes is under-reported, the risks are clear. Being distracted from driving for two seconds or more doubles your risk of crashing.

“It’s frightening how many people continue to engage in this dangerous behaviour, despite the known safety risks.”

Ms Vlahomitros said the NRMA was seeking better data to measure the role of mobile phones in crashes, with concrete data hard to ascertain as a result of “under-reporting”.

She said technology was the “missing link” in reducing driver distractions.

“We see the future of technology playing a huge role in stopping dangerous driving,”Ms Vlahomitros said on Friday.

“We know that education and enforcement works but the missing link is technology in addressing driver distractions. NRMAwelcomes all technology that tackles distractions inside the car.”

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Parramatta takes top place as best office market

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Parramatta takes top place as best office market, 成都夜生活, by .

Parramatta is full.
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The capital of western Sydney now stands at zero office vacancy for its A-grade properties and with demand still strong, tenants are moving into B and C-grade sites just to get a presence in the market.

The Property Council of ‘s latest Office Market Report, released on Thursday, shows that Parramatta continues to be one of Sydney’s strongest emerging commercial office markets with total vacancy remaining steady in the six months to July 2017.

There is still a zero vacancy rate for A-grade office space with high demand driving the vacancy rate down and underlining the need for more premium supply.

Property Council NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald said Parramatta continued to grow and develop and ”we are now seeing the market steady into a long-term trend of growth – vacancy rates in C-grade stock dropped again, albeit to 11.6 per cent, with only slight rises in vacancy rates in B and D-grade stock”.

According to Houssam Yakzan, Savills senior analyst, research and consultancy, Parramatta’s leasing activity is expected to remain development led as limited vacancy strengthens demand for new stock. This will likely be boosted by the development of the Badgerys Creek airport.

There are “reports of Walker Corporation and Parramatta Council exploring the change of use of 8 Parramatta Square – known as Aspire Tower – from residential to commercial. [This] could see the 600-plus unit development replaced with 71,000 square metres of A-grade commercial floor space,” Mr Yakzan said.

“If approved, Parramatta Square will be well positioned to capture much of the remaining government requirement for space.”

He said benefiting from the decentralisation of state government departments over the past 24 months, the NSW government continued to reduce its presence in the Sydney CBD, targeting a 100,000sq m reduction in office space by 2021.

According to Savills, to date the NSW government has pre-committed to more than 87,000sq m of space with more than 5800 department jobs expected to move from the CBD. Pre-committing to 4 Parramatta Square, being developed by Walker Corporation, are the Department of Planning and Environment, the Office of Environment and Heritage, the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. The move is set to occur in the first half of 2019.

Other commitments include the Department of Education at the Dexus??? development at 105 Phillip Street, for 25,500sq m of A-grade office space, which is expected be delivered early next year.

Charter Hall has also developed the new Western Sydney University’s vertical campus at 1 Parramatta Square.

CBRE director of office leasing for western Sydney, Stephen Panagiotopoulos, said Parramatta had seen a reduction in vacancy with major transactions occurring during the past three to six months.

“Most of the vacancy is in B and C-grade stock, with the largest contiguous area being about 1200sq m. This is driving up rents and providing excellent opportunities for lessors with upcoming expiries over the next 12 to 24 months,” he said.

“Demand remains strong, however with the lack of opportunities tenants are looking further afield or staying put.”

Mr Panagiotopoulos said the next development cycle was gaining good momentum with many owners exploring future potential not only in Parramatta but also in Bankstown, Liverpool, Penrith and the inner west, which were all attracting tenant demand.

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Parliament House in need of facelift

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Parliament House in need of facelift, 成都夜生活, by .

Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 19 December 2016. A security fence is proposed blocking access to the roof. Photo: Andrew Meares It is the home of democracy in , a gracious and majestic building built into a hill overlooking what was once, many years ago, a sheep paddock.
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But nearly 30 years after it was opened Parliament House is showing inevitable signs of wear and tear. It is full to bursting with staff, some of whom are forced to work in the basement, the roof leaks and there are questions about the reliability of the building’s emergency power supply.

There is even talk of closing the Great Hall – the most recognisable room in the building after the chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate – next year as the building’s operators can no longer delay costly repair works on the roof.

The leaky roof has been something of a joke inside the building whose occupants are used to seeing towels and buckets placed on the floor on rainy days.

A couple of years ago, during a particularly vigorous thunderstorm, attendants had to use both in the House of Representatives to mop up the drips that fell from the roof during question time.

Speaker Bronwyn Bishop archly noted leaking was a problem familiar to most political parties. “Now you can see why this building is in need of repair,” she added.

When the Queen opened what for many years was known as new Parliament House, it was one of the highlights of ‘s bicentennial celebrations.

The Romaldo Giurgola??? designed building was hailed as an extraordinary example of architecture and design that would “impress, excite, even thrill ordinary visitors and give them an enriching and uplifting experience”.

Giurgola’s guiding principle of putting the people first was seen even in the way visitors would experience the building as they entered it.

“The main approach to the building, crossing the great forecourt, entering through the impressive modernistic portico into the main foyer and up to the public level, provides a feast of visual and spatial delights unlike anything hitherto seen in n design,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the day after the building’s opening.

“One can imagine the delight they will give the general public who, in the provisional Parliament House, had to duck under the main entrance steps to get to the public galleries. In this new building they have been given special consideration and some of the best spaces, with views out to gardens and down into courtyards. No longer are they merely tolerated, but now are actively encouraged to participate in observing the workings of Parliament.”

The great forecourt – with its contemporary depiction of an ancient Western Desert Dreaming – is only one of the areas to benefit from a three-year, $29 million “renewal” program that will deal with some of the building’s most pressing maintenance issues.

Wear and tear on the forecourt’s paving will be repaired, the public carpark will be upgraded so people with disabilities can navigate it more easily and more bicycle racks will be installed.

A further $18.3 million will be spent on the leaky skylights.

All these works must be approved by the moral rights holder of Parliament House, the people whose job it is to maintain the integrity of the building’s design.

As Annabel Crabb, host of the new ABC TV documentary The House, puts it: “If you want to change the font of a sign or a button in a lift, you have to ask for permission. That’s how specialised the building is.”

But few people know how much the 2.6-metre-high fence that is being constructed around the building will cost.

The controversial structure – which was decided on last year following two extraordinary days at Parliament House where protesters forced the suspension of question time and, subsequently, abseiled down the front of the building – will eventually surround the building giving it a different look and feel.

The price tag of the fence will be kept secret because, Senate President Stephen Parry told a committee hearing this year, revealing its cost may help terrorists.

The fence is expected to be covered with foliage to lessen its impact although exactly how a 2.6-metre-tall, hedge-like structure could be said to be less obtrusive is unclear.

For a while there was a rumour that a moat was being considered as part of the building’s security upgrade.

Senator Parry told the committee that was not the case, but one proposal for two ditches near roadways – known as ha-has – had been briefly examined.

“That had some serious technical difficulties and could not be proceeded with,” Senator Parry told the hearing.

“It was not a moat, not around Parliament House, never to be filled with water or crocodiles or anything like that,” he said.

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Amazon impact on retailers will focus on costs

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Amazon impact on retailers will focus on costs, 成都夜生活, by .

Global online giant Amazon’s commitment to a new warehouse in Melbourne’s Dandenong will not only create many new jobs, but will also put the focus on the cost structures and store roll-outs of n retailers.
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As reported last week in these pages, Amazon has signed a 24,000-square-metre lease in the Pellicano’s M2 Industry Park in Dandenong South, Melbourne, which will provide access to the South Gippsland Highway, Monash Highway and Eastlink. The lease of the centre was facilitated by CBRE’s Industrial & Logistics business.

Robert Bruce, Amazon’s director of operations for said: “This is just the start”.

“Over time, we will bring thousands of new jobs to and millions of dollars of investment as well as opening up the opportunity for thousands of n businesses to sell at home and abroad through Amazon Marketplace,” Mr Bruce said.

“This new fulfilment centre will stock hundreds of thousands of products which will be available for delivery to customers across when we launch our retail offering. We will be focusing on offering our n customers low prices on a great selection of products and can’t wait to get started.”

It is expected the Sydney-based site will be at the Goodman/Brickworks Oakdale Industrial Estate at Eastern Creek, which can accommodate about 80,000 square metres, which is the average size of Amazon fulfilment centres overseas.

According to Macquarie Equities analysts, the announcement of the new centre hints at Amazon opening up with Prime Now and Fresh in each capital city from “day one”, as it is attempting to do currently in Singapore. They say that could be “pre Christmas 2017”.

A new report on Amazon and its impact on n retailers by Macquarie Equities says Amazon will need broad product breadth and scale in distribution in order to overcome the key constraint of high logistics costs in the n market.

“The implications of increased competition in are not new. While in Amazon’s case the format is different and areas of competitive advantage differ, the story remains primarily one of increased capacity in the industry and the potential for market share losses for incumbents,” the brokers said.

“Should Amazon enter the n market, we believe a range of categories will face increased competition for market share. Most obvious amongst the retail sector are the department store/discount department store category, electrical/home appliances, sporting goods, apparel and to a lesser extent food.

“Department stores and discount department stores brick and mortar sales to grow at about 0.6 per cent, suggesting store contraction will now be a key priority in order to minimise losses of underperforming stores. We would go so far to suggest one of the majors needs to shut down entirely to improve sustainability of the category.”

But, like many other observers are now saying, the Macquarie Equities team says they continue to believe Amazon will impact the market gradually over coming years but believe the impact is more than adequately factored into current pricing, particularly of the discretionary retailers.

UBS’ Grant McCasker says after considering the Amazon threat in more detail, “we believe the risks are priced in”.

For the past few months, the threat of Amazon’s arrival has seen a sell-off in shopping centre real estate investments trusts.

But UBS has now said they have upgraded Scentre Group, GPT Group and Vicinity Centres to a buy recommendation from a neutral.

This comes two weeks out from when the main REIT’s report their full-year results, when managers will again be grilled on the impact of Amazon.

And while the retailers will be under some pressure, the industrial property owners will looking for improvements as they hope Amazon looks at their warehouses for its expansion plans.

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Stage one of Ginninderry has been approved

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Stage one of Ginninderry has been approved, 成都夜生活, by .

Lower Falls at Ginninderry is located at the confluence of Ginninderra Creek and the Murrumbidgee River.Photo by Sitthixay DitthavongThe application for the first stage of West Belconnen’s Ginninderry development was approved this week and civil works are scheduled to begin in September.
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The development application was lodged in March and outlined plans for the first 356 homes in the suburb of Strathnairn.

The entire development, a joint venture between the ACT government and Riverview Developments, will encompass 1000 hectares of land in the ACT bordering the Murrumbidgee River and 600 hectares across the border in NSW.

Ginninderry project director Steve Harding said there were some “fairly standard” conditions around remediation and planning controls for the first stage of development and comments on the development application were in line with his expectations.

“Comments came from community stakeholder groups that we already engage with,” Mr Harding said.

“Some were in relation to environmental concerns, but it wasn’t anything that was unexpected. By and large a lot of the comments were just comments, as opposed to objections.”

The Ginninderra Falls Association has expressed concerns regarding the setback from the river, while other stakeholders, including the Belconnen Community Council, have been pleased with the developer’s conservation efforts. Related: ACT government approves West Belconnen developmentRelated: Sales begin in GinninderryRelated: Affordability the focus of Ginninderry’s second release

The 1600-hectare site includes a 577-hectare conservation corridor along the river.

National environmental approval is still pending, but Mr Harding said it was expected within the next fortnight.

The project will include three suburbs in the ACT and one across the border if rezoning approval is granted in NSW.

It will deliver up to 11,500 new homes and take about 30 years to complete.

Stage one will include 296 single-residential houses and 60 multi-unit homes.

The first two sales releases comprised 110 blocks of land and 53 townhouse-style “flexi-living” homes. Almost 90 per cent have sold.

Mr Harding said a handful of house and land packages have also sold and more will be available in coming months.

Multi-unit products aimed at builders and investors will round out the first stage of development.

Plans for the second stage are in progress and expected to include 750 to 800 dwellings.

“We’re hoping to release the second stage towards the end of this year or early next year,” Mr Harding said.

Construction of the display village is expected to begin in late 2017 or early 2018 and Strathnairn’s first residents could be moving in by early 2019.

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Industrial hotspots follow infrastructure upgrades

12.12.2018, Comments Off on Industrial hotspots follow infrastructure upgrades, 成都夜生活, by .

The $5 billion-plus of infrastructure across metropolitan Sydney has sparked a buying frenzy of so-called industrial hotspots, according to Knight Frank agents.
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Sydney’s North West is experiencing the biggest uplift in activity, with investors looking to the Marsden Park, Rouse Hill and Box Hill precinct, predicting it will become a key part of the Sydney industrial market in addition to housing expansive population growth.

Knight Frank’s director, industrial, NSW, Matthew Lee, said the increase in investor activity is a direct result of the government’s infrastructure investment.

“We’ve experienced a surge of investment interest in the North West recently due to the upcoming infrastructure upgrades,” Mr Lee said.

“The combination of the M9 and M12 motorways, in addition to upcoming rail infrastructure, is really going to unlock land around the Marsden Park, Rouse Hill and Box Hill precinct. Increased access will position this area as a prime location for logistics and transport with the potential to turn it into one of Sydney’s key industrial centres,” Mr Lee said.

He added that available space in Sydney decreased by 20 per cent over the quarter of to a record low of 314,490 square metres and 40 per cent down in 2017 to date. The gross take-up measured 237,453 sq m in the quarter to July 2017, a 35 per cent increase over the previous quarter and 56 per cent above the long-term average.

The two major infrastructure projects under construction in North West Sydney include Sydney Metro Northwest and the NorthConnex tunnel projects.

Mr Lee said other developments will see Sydney’s dependence on Port Botany for container freight easing, with the expansion of the Moorebank Intermodal (IMT) and the recent announcement of a joint-venture redevelopment of the Enfield Intermodal (EI).

The increased activity has, according to CBRE’s second-quarter industrial and logistics report, seen Sydney’s yields compress to 5.9 per cent for super prime assets.

The report says that the sale of high-quality industrial assets in the second quarter helped drive down yields and reinforced the continued demand for high-value assets.

The two significant portfolio sales in the quarter included the Simonson industrial sale of six outer west assets for $71 million, while 205 Fairfield Road, Yennora – an asset anchored by “The Iconic” – was sold to Propertylink for $46.6 million. CBRE and Colliers managed the sale campaign on behalf of Simonson Properties, which included 488-490 Victoria Street, Wetherill Park.

Land values are also increasing, with NSW seeing on average 9 per cent annual growth over the past 20 years; North Sydney and South Sydney being the strongest performing regions recently.

Elijah Shakir, director, CBRE industrial and logistics, said the average price for 1.6 ha land parcels in Sydney recorded a 40 per cent year-on-year growth. There has also been increased activity on the 3-6 ha range.

“We are continuing to see land values and capital values rise at a rapid rate due to increasing demand from owner-occupiers as well as developers taking on speculative risk without pre-commitment,” Mr Shakir said.

“At Yennora, CBRE has exchanged contracts on over $72 million worth of land disposals in the past 18 months, with the average parcel of land being over 2 ha. These transactions have occurred in the highly successful land subdivision of the former Alcoa site.”

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