Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Newly elected Perth mayor and Channel Seven star Basil Zempilas doubles down on his radical plan to 'forcibly remove' homeless people from the CBD

Newly-elected Perth mayor Basil Zempilas has spoken out about his radical plan for a 'safer, cleaner, friendlier city' ahead of his swearing-in on Monday.

The high-profile Weekend Sunrise sports presenter and former Channel Seven host was voted in as Lord Mayor of the city on Saturday night.

The father-of-three sparked outrage early in his campaign when he said he'd 'forcibly remove' homeless people from the CBD, calling them a 'blight' on the city.

Despite backtracking during the campaign, Mr Zempilas on Sunday doubled-down, saying dealing with the homeless was a 'huge issue' for ratepayers and visitors to Perth, and vowing to bring up the topic with the State Government.

'My view is, the situation at the moment, it's not fair on the individuals themselves and it's not fair on the City of Perth and we need to find better interim solutions for those people who are homeless,' Mr Zempilas told The West Australian.

He also revealed he will work with Queensland based organisation Beddown, who turn carparks into temporary shelters for the homeless.

'They take empty or unused spaces ... They roll out bedding ... and instead of people sleeping on the streets, they sleep in a safer environment where they can get a good night's sleep and get some extra support,' he said.

On what he wants to achieve in his three years as Perth's leader, Mr Zempilas said he wanted to fix the issues which were keeping people away from the city.

'I just want people to feel like it's a more welcoming environment. And right now, there are a number of reasons why people don't necessarily come into the city to either work, to shop, or to live.'

Other priorities mentioned on Sunday where Premier Mark McGowan's hard border policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, in which Western Australia remains closed to eastern states.

He said he wants to see the borders open as soon as possible, adding that a wider number of compassionate cases could be looked at first.

A tactic of softening of the hard border stance on a number of smaller cases and seeing how that goes is the position he said he would like McGowan to take.

Industry experts have previously said Perth CBD businesses and hotels have collectively lost hundreds of millions in revenue courtesy of the border closure.

He also said factionalism in the local government, an issue which contributed to the previous council being dissolved in 2018, would be addressed.

Mr Zempilas said he expected each newly voted in councillor to abide by their own decision-making and ideas rather than voting for political reasons.

He is expected to continue to juggle his media roles along with his duties as Mayor.

He presents the sports segment on Seven News Perth, writes as a columnist for the 'West Australian' and leads Channel Seven's AFL and Olympics commentary.

He also co-hosts the 6PR Breakfast Show with Steve Mills, but will step down from his role at the end of this year.

On Saturday, he narrowly beat former ABC journalist Di Bain by securing 29.4 per cent of the vote.

Mr Zempilas was behind for most of the count but enjoyed a last-minute surge in support, edging ahead of Ms Bain who finished with 24.94 per cent of the vote.

It marks the first time in two years that voters have elected members of the council after it was suspended in March 2018.

A government inquiry was launched at the time and found 'greed, incompetence and mismanagement' was practiced by a number of councillors.

Mr Zempilas called the latest election a brand new beginning for the City of Perth.

'This is a great opportunity for everyone, and it's a great opportunity for the City of Perth to have the fresh start that it has so desperately been looking for,' he said.

'Everything we do from this point on is for the ratepayers and for the residents of the City of Perth. That's who we are here for and that's who we are here to serve.

Covid rewrites Australia’s future, with huge drop in population signalling challenges ahead

Population growth of 600,000 fewer people in 2022 a sign of major changes for all aspects of life, Deloitte reports

The pandemic has created Australia’s “sliding doors” moment, with the nation now facing a smaller and older population shift, forever altering the future that may have been.

The decision to shut Australia’s borders, made out of necessity to prevent Covid-19 spreading, has pulled the country into a new reality where lower rates of population growth will affect everything from the number of schools that states build to the rate of infrastructure investment, economic consultancy Deloitte Access Economics has found.

“The arc of our nation’s history is bending before our very eyes – a smaller and older Australia awaits us,” Deloitte’s latest quarterly business outlook has reported.

“That isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s definitely big. It will reshape the nation’s future in a bunch of ways.”

The international border closure has meant Australia’s population growth statistics, which are used to plan future infrastructure, communities and spending, have been thrown completely off course, with Deloitte forecasting the nation’s population will grow by at least 600,000 fewer people than had previously been estimated for 2022.

Australia has relied on population growth – mostly through migration – to shore up economic growth for the past three decades. Deloitte is not alone in its predictions – the Treasury, based on an assumption the international border would reopen by late 2021, predicted Australia would have 1 million fewer people than anticipated in two years time.

That not only means changes to infrastructure and growth plans – it also cuts down on the amount of revenue governments across the country had anticipated on receiving, putting increased pressure on already stressed red-line budgets.

“If demographics is destiny, then our destiny just got a lot more challenging,” Deloitte said.

“That loss of migrants will have impacts for many years; it weighs on the pace of recovery, slowing everything from housing construction to the utilities. And, combined with a slumping birthrate, it will change the outlook for school numbers.”

And it’s not just spending. Australia’s existing population includes about five million baby boomers. Younger migrants of working age have traditionally been used to boost the workforce as the older generation retires. Deloitte forecasts the absence of migrants from the labour force will “cut into longer-term growth relatively more than just the overall slowing in growth might suggest”. Deloitte predicts Australia’s net migration arrivals will shrink by 20,000 in the 2020-21 financial year and only increase by 20,000 the next.

And that, the analysts say, is the best-case scenario, based on predictions the rest of the world, not just Australia, will have a handle on the coronavirus sometime in the next year.

“While the risk that countries around the world will shut their borders for an extended period of time seems to have eased somewhat, we can’t ignore the risk that further waves of the pandemic here or overseas will slow that process, and that net migration rates could remain suppressed for more than the two or three years that we currently expect,” Deloitte said.

Combined with a slump in the domestic fertility rate (a downward trend Treasury predicts will continue for the next decade), Australia is looking at a substantially older population than was forecast just a year ago. The substantial drop in migration will further compound Australia’s birthrate – fewer migrants also means fewer mothers giving birth.

“That’s two-thirds of a million missing Australians,” the analysts said.

“The coronavirus will leave behind a huge hangover – we see an Australian economy permanently be more than 3% smaller than our pre-Covid forecasts, mostly as closed borders mean our population will be similarly smaller.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported Australia’s population was 25,649,985 at the end of March, with 61.8% of the annual growth rate (357,000 people) due to net overseas migration.

Australia had previously been forecast to hit 30 million people by 2029.

BoQ to expand branch network bucking trend of larger rivals

BANK of Queensland plans to expand its branch network by almost 20 per cent as the same time as its cross-town rival Suncorp shutters scores of outlets.

BoQ, which on Wednesday announced a better-than-expected annual profit, said it had ambitions to open about 30 branches across the country as it built on its successful owner-manager model.

Brisbane-based BoQ currently has about 165 branches, including 98 in Queensland, making its network considerably bigger than larger competitor Suncorp. Suncorp last month announced it would close 20 branches, leaving it with 93 stores.

BoQ chief executive George Frazis said that while the bank’s digital initiatives were proceeding, physical branches remained vital. Many of BoQ’s branches are owned and operated by its managers.

“Our branch network is a key point of difference for us and that is why we are looking at growing,” said Mr Frazis. “Our owner managers are small business people who are well connected with the community and passionate about what they do.”

BoQ will resume paying dividends after a COVID-19 deferral, shrugging off a sharp decline in annual profit as it prepares for higher loan losses.

The bank declared a full-year dividend of 12c per share, reflecting 6c for each half. Against the backdrop of the pandemic and strict regulatory guidance, the payment reflects a 81.5 per cent cut on 2019 dividends, which totalled 65 cents per share.

Cash net profit tumbled 30 per cent to $225m for the 12 months ended August 31, compared to the prior corresponding year.

About 21,000 of the bank’s customers have claimed loan repayment deferrals during COVID-19 but that number was declining.

Mr Frazis said the Queensland economy was well placed to recover from the pandemic shutdown with positve signs already seen in some sectors such as health care.

“We have a large exposure in the medical profession and a lot our Queensland customers are back to pre COVID levels,” he said.

BoQ’s result beat analysts’ expectations, which were for BoQ’s annual profit to print at $213.5m.

Sausage sizzles back at Bunnings stores around NSW today

Good news. I like Bunnings' sausages myself

Not everything is back to normal yet — but the prospect of a snag in the sun is a step in the right direction, with Bunnings’ iconic sausage sizzles returning.

The hardware chain suspended most barbecues outside stores in March as the coronavirus pandemic hit Australia. Over the past few weeks, the barbecues have been cautiously rolled out across stores in the ACT.

Saturday’s snag comeback means customers at about 40 stores across NSW will be able to enjoy a sausage and support a community group or charity.

Bunnings chief operating officer Deb Poole said stores hosting barbecues this weekend included Padstow, Alexandria and Blacktown in Sydney, as well as Wollongong, Albury and Orange.

Ms Poole has previously said 130 community groups were lined up for the first weekend in NSW, including community fundraisers for the Lions Club, the Rotary and various sports clubs


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

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

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

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

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

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

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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