Monday, October 05, 2020

Qld government and builders to collaborate to create "affordable" accommodation

What a joke! This has played out often elsewhere so we know what will happen. One scenario is that smarter people will quickly grab the cheap apartments with no guarantee that the occupants will be in any sense poor

The other is that some income limits will be imposed -- meaning that there will be great competition for the places, which the savvy will win, probably excluding the real poor. This is the most likely outcome.

The third option is that standard welfare housing limits will be imposed, which will tend to create the near slum condions that arise in high rises that accommodate welfare tenants -- a quite miserable result. Welfare accomodation needs to be created in small blocks

More than 400 jobs will be created in two build-to-rent apartment projects in popular inner Brisbane locations that the State Government says will deliver affordable housing to hundreds of people who miss out on social housing.

It comes almost two years after the Government announced the scheme, which Treasurer Cameron Dick claimed was slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And it follows a question on notice released in June, which revealed the Government was yet to spend any of the $70 million allocated to the project and had not delivered any rental properties.

But Mr Dick, with local member MP Grace Grace, today announced that Frasers Property Australia and Mirvac would construct the projects in Fortitude Valley and Newstead.

The build-to-rent program aims to deliver affordable housing for tenants who don’t necessarily qualify for access to social housing.

Mr Dick said the pilot program would support 440 full-time jobs over two years.

“The build-to-rent properties in Fortitude Valley and Newstead will offer around 750 apartments in total, with up to 240 of the dwellings to be provided at a discounted rent,” he said.

Asked why it had taken so long, Mr Dick referred to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I became the Treasurer in the second week of May and in the first week of October, about five months later, I’ve now delivered this project,” he said.

Under the agreement, Frasers Property will develop 354 apartments in a 25-storey tower at 210 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, near the train station.

Upon practical completion, Frasers Property will own and operate the development with the State Government subsidising the rental of 144, or 40 per cent, of the apartments by 25 per cent. The remaining 210 apartments in the building will be offered at market rental.

Frasers Property Australia’s chief executive Anthony Boyd said the build-to-rent project will encourage further partnerships between government and the private sector and stimulate institutional investment in the new asset class,

“The outcome will be a greater diversity and supply of affordable rental housing and that’s a positive thing for the community and the economy,” he said.

Construction will commence in mid-2021 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024.

There will be 99 apartments in the proposed scheme, which will be offered to eligible tenants also at a 25 per cent discount to market rent.

Mirvac’s managing director Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz said the company had a deep commitment to establishing the build-to-rent sector in Australia.

“Our (build-to-rent) platform and operating model, LIV, has been designed to elevate the customer experience and offer our residents greater security, flexibility and housing choice,” she said.


University of Queensland barred from holding hearing over medical student rape allegations

A small blow against a university kangaroo court -- but via some very complex and questionable jurisdictional reasoning -- with the costs award not reflecting the verdict

University of Queensland cannot hold a disciplinary hearing into allegations that a medical student sexually assaulted a fellow student two years ago, after losing an appeal.

The university disciplinary board’s appeal against a judge’s decision barring the hearing was dismissed, because the accused male medical student graduated at the end of last year.

The Court of Appeal found the former student, only identified as Y, who has never been charged with a criminal offence, is no longer subject to the university’s disciplinary process.

However, it found the male student’s Supreme Court bid to block the disciplinary hearing should have been dismissed last year, under the facts and circumstances that then existed.

It was alleged the female student was digitally raped by the male student while both were staying in student accommodation, while doing a clinical placement in a regional town in 2018.

After being told the allegations involved a number of acts of “unsolicited physical intimacy’’, the male student applied to the Supreme Court for an order to prevent the disciplinary hearing.

The student’s lawyers claimed the proposed inquiry was unlawful, because it was into an allegation of a criminal offence of rape and the board did not have jurisdiction.

The university disagreed, claiming it was a hearing to determine whether student integrity and sexual misconduct policies had been contravened.

Last year, Supreme Court Justice Ann Lyons said the particulars of the alleged sexual assault could be categorised as including at least three counts of rape and a number of counts of sexual assault.

Justice Lyons said the university only had jurisdiction in relation to criminal acts of a sexual nature where the alleged offence was proved.

However, in the Court of Appeal, Justice Philip McMurdo disagreed with that interpretation of the university’s sexual misconduct policy.

The policy said the university did not have jurisdiction over criminal acts, but could take action in respect of breaches of its rules, policies and procedures.

Justice Lyons said the policy removed the university’s jurisdiction to determine whether acts occurred, if commission of those acts constituted a criminal sexual offence.

But Justice McMurdo said the policy did not remove the university’s jurisdiction to decide whether there had been any breaches.

Justice McMurdo said Justice Lyons should not have concluded that the disciplinary proceeding was beyond the university’s power.

As a result of that finding, the Court of Appeal unanimously set aside a previous costs order against the university.


'No evidence' Melbourne's draconian curfew keeps coronavirus cases down - admits the senior bureaucrat who extended the policy

Melbourne's night-time curfew was extended despite there being no evidence the measure would slow the rate of COVID-19 infection on its own, according to the senior health official who renewed the draconian rule.

The city's five million residents were on August 2 banned from leaving their homes between the hours of 8pm to 5am except for work, medical or care-giving reasons.

Health officials extended the curfew on September 14 but with shortened hours from 9pm to 5am.

The curfew - which was only removed on Monday evening amid a rapid decline in daily case totals - was one of a range of sweeping coronavirus restrictions brought in as part of Victoria's state of emergency powers.

Department of Health and Human Services senior medical adviser Michelle Giles admitted at a Supreme Court hearing on Thursday there was no physical evidence the policy alone reduced transmission.

Bourke Street is pictured deserted after a citywide curfew was introduced in Melbourne on August 2. The bureaucrat who signed off on the measure has admitted there was no evidence it would slow the rate of COVID-19 infection on its own +4
Bourke Street is pictured deserted after a citywide curfew was introduced in Melbourne on August 2. The bureaucrat who signed off on the measure has admitted there was no evidence it would slow the rate of COVID-19 infection on its own

'What I say is the curfew is part of a package of directions that aim at reducing movement and interactions between people and there is evidence that reduces transmissions,' she said.

But Associate Professor Giles - who had final say on the extension while standing in as Victoria's Deputy Public Health Commander - told the court there was no proof the policy by itself would be effective.

Professor Giles also said she disagreed with the premier's assertion when the curfew was announced it would help Victoria Police enforce the lockdown.

'I actually considered the curfew in relation to public health,' she said, according to The Australian.

'I don't agree with those comments, particularly the law enforcement one.'

The Supreme Court case has been brought by Mornington Peninsula cafe owner Michelle Loielo - who is suing the government claiming COVID-19 restrictions have caused a 99 per cent drop in her revenue.

'Every time I see the premier, Daniel Andrews, on the television and every time I hear the premier speak, I feel a sense of dread and anxiety,' she said.

Last month, Mr Andrews said he decided to bring in the unprecedented 8pm curfew even though it was not recommended by scientists.

'That's a decision that I've made,' he said on 10 September, adding governments are 'free to go beyond' advice given to them by doctors.

The previous day Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said he did not recommend the curfew.

Ms Loielo, a Liberal Party supporter, claims the curfew violates her rights to freedom.

She says her business in Capel Sound used to bring in up to $20,000 a week in earnings.


Trump is fighting the culture wars

The US president has exposed the racket of racism

By James Allan, a Canadian who has made aliyah to Australia

Earlier this month the president of Princeton one Christopher Eisgruber, a former constitutional law professor of exquisite progressive lefty sensibilities, published a declaration saying that racism was embedded in the structures of the university he led – Princeton being perhaps, student-for-student, the greatest of the Ivy League American universities and one-time home of Albert Einstein.

Eisgruber’s declaration included the claim that ‘anti-black racism has a visible bearing upon Princeton’s campus make-up’. This is just the sort of thing you expect from the virtue-signalling ‘wokerati’ who infest the upper echelons of virtually all Anglosphere universities (most definitely including here in Australia too). And in Britain, Canada and here that sort of bumper sticker moralising declaration would be allowed to pass uncontested. Certainly no Coalition government would do anything about it. Nor would Boris in Britain.

Not so in the US where President Trump seems to understand that ultimately everything is downstream of the culture and that fighting the culture wars is by far the biggest battle that matters. So in response to the president of Princeton the federal Department of Education said, in effect, ‘if that’s true, then Princeton has been receiving tens of millions of dollars of federal funding in violation of the Race Discrimination Act.’ The department also announced it is opening an investigation of Eisgruber and of Princeton. It has sent a formal records request, which means the president and all his top people will have to produce every single email and communication they’ve sent. Ouch! The Princeton president and other head honchos will likewise have to give evidence under oath. And what the Department of Education will be looking for is what, if any, evidence there was that Princeton relied on to claim the university is racist.

It has also demanded a spreadsheet identifying each person who has, on the ground of race, colour or national origin, been excluded or discriminated against as regards any program or activity at Princeton. Oh, and Princeton must also respond to all written questions regarding the basis for claiming that racism is embedded in the university.

To quote the Bard in Hamlet, Eisgruber has been hoist with his own petard. All sentient beings know that there is no racism on any university campus, at least none against the usual minority groups portrayed as victims. (There may well be some against Asian Americans who require much higher marks to get into top US universities than blacks, but that is patently not what Eisgruber meant as these are university-imposed roadblocks.) But there is no way Eisgruber can now come out and say ‘Nothing to see here folks. Just kidding. A little bit of harmless virtue-signalling on my part.’ Nor can he admit there is real, actual racism. This is just wonderful. And from what I’m hearing behind the scenes some of the (extremely) large Princeton donors are fuming mad at Eisgruber and threatening to withhold the big bucks. The only palatable play Eisgruber has is to try to run out the clock in the hope of a Biden win when he, and everyone else, knows that this will be quickly dropped.

But notice what happened here. Trump adopted the street fighting tactics of the Left and fought back. This is basically unheard of amongst right-of-centre politicians around the rest of the Anglosphere.

Seven years of Coalition governments have not fought back on a single front of the culture wars – not on free speech, not on the universities, not on the ABC, not on appointing a few real conservatives to important posts. Nada, nothing, zippo, zero. Sure, with Trump you’re buying a brawler who’s a vulgarian. But you know what? For a long time now I’ve been ready for anyone who’ll fight back. Give me a brawler any day! Lord knows there is not a scintilla of evidence of any fight in the dog in any Coalition party (federal or state) in this country.

Or take appointments to the top court in the US. No other right-of-centre anglosphere leader would have stood by Brett Kavanaugh, the man Trump nominated for the Supreme Court and who the Left then attempted to destroy based on, well, zero evidence. Or take the Supreme Court vacancy that has just come up with the death of Ruth Ginsburg. All the Vichy Never-Trumpers urged the president to wait to make a nomination. Nope, Trump said he’ll make a nomination and he expects the Senate, controlled by the Republicans, to confirm the nominee before the election. This puts incredible pressure on these Republican senators, most of whom need the Republican base much more than they need a few inner- city Christopher Pyne type voters.

It gets better. Trump opted to nominate Amy Coney Barrett, the person most hated by the left wing of the Democrats because she is solidly interpretively conservative, a practising, devout Catholic (with seven kids, five her own and two adopted from Haiti). There were others on the shortlist less inflammatory to the Left. Trump went for the most inflammatory pick. He did this in direct response to what the Democrats shamelessly did to Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. Now we have two High Court of Australia openings coming up here. In the aftermath of the woeful Love judgment, where Coalition Brandis appointees were way to the left of Labor appointees, who is confident that A-G Porter and Mr Morrison will make two solid, not-inner-Melbourne-progressive type picks? Not me, I can tell you.

Last point worth making. You won’t hear this on the ABC or any mainstream US media. Ginsburg, darling of the Left who insulted candidate Trump before the 2016 election, spent 27 years on the Supreme Court. Each US top justice hires about five top law student law clerks each year. So that’s about 150 clerks hired by Ginsburg over the years. How many blacks did this darling of the Left hire during all that time? If you guessed ‘one’ (and zero in her 13 years as a federal appeals court judge before that), you’re a winner.

Now don’t get me wrong. If Ginsburg hired based solely on what she saw as merit I applaud that. I am stridently opposed to affirmative action. The trouble is that in her judicial decision-making Ginsburg consistently voted to uphold affirmative action type requirements that stopped all sorts of others from doing what she did. One out of 150 would be deemed, by her (not me), to constitute solid evidence of systemic racism.

What’s the word I’m searching for in describing that sort of behaviour? Ah yes, ‘hypocrisy’.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here

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