Julia Gillard seeks legal advice after forced adoption apology linked to same sex marriage debate

Written by admin on 05/07/2018 Categories: 南京夜网

David van Gend, the president of the Australian Marriage Forum, is described on-screen as a “family doctor”.Former prime minister Julia Gillard has sought legal advice after an anti-marriage equality group linked her apology for forced adoptions to the same-sex marriage debate.
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The advertisement – which depicts same-sex marriage as harmful to children – begins with footage of Ms Gillard’s 2013 apology to victims of forced adoptions.

It then warns that marriage equality would produce a “motherless generation”.

The ad is understood to have been broadcast in Canberra on March 29 during WIN’s telecast of movie Limitless.

The Australian Marriage Forum’s advertisements have previously grabbed headlines due to a social media backlash when aired during Nine and Seven’s coverage of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in March.

Both broadcasters later dropped the ad, while SBS refused to put it to air.

Ms Gillard and forced adoption victims slammed the forum for hijacking a historical moment to suit its divisive agenda.

But the group’s president defended the ad as an “intelligent contribution to an important national debate”.

A spokesman for Ms Gillard said she had been unaware of the video until The Canberra Times drew it to her attention.

The spokesman said Ms Gillard thought it wrong for her apology to be taken out of context and misused.

“As well as being hurtful to those the subject of the apology, who have already suffered so much, Ms Gillard believes the video is offensive to gay couples, who are parents,” the spokesman said.

“Ms Gillard is seeking legal advice about this matter.”

The videos publication coincided with the start of the Without Consent: Australia’s past adoption practices exhibition at the National Archives, which catalogues the history of, and the damage caused by, past forced adoptions in Australia.

Ms Gillard was in Canberra to open the exhibition last week.

The policy saw about 250,000 newborns forcibly taken from their mothers, and given to strangers purely because of the parents unwed status.

The policy operated on the idea that the newborns would be better off with a white, married Christian couple.

Christine Cole, convenor of the Apology Alliance, which represents people affected by forced adoption, said: “It was for this policy and these dreadful past practices and the damage done to mothers fathers and adopted persons that we received a federal apology.”

“It is deeply traumatising that what was for us a profoundly moving and historical moment, the apology given to us by former prime minister Julia Gillard in 2013, is used out of context and for a particular agenda.”

But AMF president Dr David van Gend – who would only answer questions via email – said the footage had been used “respectfully and in the public interest”.

“We were diligent to make sure the ad accurately conveys the context of Ms Gillard’s quote,” Dr van Gend said.

“Of course we will not remove it or stop broadcast [as] this is an intelligent contribution to an important national debate, which praises the national apology for forced adoption and Ms Gillard’s words unreservedly.”

Dr van Gend said the advertisement focused on how the past injustice had violated the primal bond between a mother and her baby.

“[The ad] says, ‘Don’t do it again! Don’t violate this primal bond between mother and baby by instituting marriage without a woman, which creates families without a mother’.”

“We apply the one consistent principle to two contexts, both clearly depicted.”

He said he expected mothers and children affected by forced adoption would be the first to say don’t do it again.

“We would expect Ms Gillard to see that her noble apology for violating that bond through forced adoption must still apply to not violating that same bond through instating marriage and adoption or surrogacy by two men.”

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BFL: North City’s Luke suspended for four matches

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Ryan LukeDUAL North Ballarat City premiership player Ryan Luke will miss the start of the season for a second-straight year through suspension.
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Luke has been slapped with a four-match ban for front-on contact during City’s practice match with Geelong Football League outfit Leopold at Eureka Stadium late last month.

The sanction follows a two-game suspension for breaching social media guidelines after the 2013 Ballarat Football League grand final triumph, when it is understood he made comments over Facebook towards Sunbury players amid late-night premiership celebrations.

North Ballarat City football manager Stephen Darbin said

it was “doubtful “the club would appeal the AFL Goldfields Independent Tribunal’s decision, and it was disappointing Luke would again miss the start of a new campaign.

“There wasn’t any intent to cause the kid damage and, certainly, if you have a look at his tribunal record, Luke’s got a great tribunal record,” said Darbin, who has contacted Leopold to check on the condition of the injured player.

“He (Luke) is hard as hell, but very fair.”

It is understood vision of the incident was provided for the tribunal to use in its deliberations.

Luke, who helped City to back-to-back flags last year, will be forced to sit out the opening clashes with Redan, Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh and Melton South before again being eligible for selection in the round-six encounter with Darley in late May.

City has a bye in round one of the season, which starts on April 18.

Darbin said Luke, a past BFL interleague representative, was the most professional player at the club.

“From a club perspective, we know he is going to come back in good order. It’s disappointing he is going to miss the start of the season.”

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Hundreds of elderly patients occupy NSW hospital beds in queue for aged care

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Occupied: Doctors blame blockages on the wards for a blow-out in emergency department wait times. Photo: Nicolas WalkerHundreds of elderly people are clogging hospital beds in NSW because they are waiting for beds in overstretched nursing homes, putting further strain on the public health system.
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More than 550 people in acute hospital beds who are fit to be discharged are waiting for placement in a nursing home on any given day in NSW, at vast cost to the taxpayer and considerable risk to their health.

According to documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws, nearly half of them had been in hospital longer than 35 days and 22 people had been there for longer than 400 days at the most recent census.

With the population of people aged over 70 set to boom over the next decade, the Aged Care Financing Authority has forecast an extra 76,000 aged care beds will be required.

Doctors blame blockages on the wards for a blow-out in emergency department wait times, with many hospitals failing to meet their targets while ambulances line up outside.

The NSW chief executive of the peak industry body Leading Aged Services Australia Charles Wurf said industry uncertainty had resulted in NSW providers slowing or abandoning their building works, at a time that the ageing population was booming.

“It’s a substantial problem because it takes us four years to put beds on the ground,” Mr Wurf said.

“If we don’t get going again the crisis will certainly come.”

A census conducted for the Department of Health and Ageing in 2012-13 showed that, nationally, 1197 people aged over 65 had continued to occupy hospital beds after their treatment was complete, down from 1252 the previous year.

NSW and the ACT were the only states that recorded an increase in long stay older patients, by 34 per cent and 49 per cent respectively, which was attributed to a change in methodology in NSW and the redevelopment of several aged care homes in the ACT.

The occupancy rate is currently 93 per cent but Mr Wurf said it was only 70 per cent for low care beds, while high care was running at 95 to 98 per cent.

Council of the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said occupancy rates varied enormously between aged care providers, with popular centres running at capacity while others had beds available.

But “bed blocking” was regularly an issue in Australia.

“At any point in time you’re going to have a certain number of people in hospital beds who are being moved to a less acute facility and that doesn’t always happen with a click of the fingers … so there’s always going to be  certain number,” he said.

There needed to be more transitional care programs that gave people a half-way option between hospital and home that would remove the immediate need for an aged care place, he said.

“We’ve had a shove-and-forget policy in this country for a long time.”

It is about six times more expensive to look after a patient in hospital than in aged care, at $1200 per day for the average NSW bed, versus $200 for a high-needs aged care bed.

Nearly 55,000 hospital bed days were occupied by long-stay older patients in NSW at the 2012-13 census.

Leading Aged Services Australia, which is lobbying the NSW Government to restore tax exemptions to for-profit aged care centres, has funded research that found the bed day cost to the NSW hospital system on patients who could be in residential care was $21 million.

NSW Health said in a statement that more than 60 per cent of older people with an extended length of stay were waiting for residential aged care.

“The availability of appropriate nursing home beds is a Commonwealth responsibility but the impact of the lack of availability is felt by the NSW Health system,” the statement said.

Its range of specialist services for aged care patients included the Acute to Age-Related Care Services program operating at most major hospitals, which identified how older patients needed to be supported after discharge and eliminated or reduced the time they needed to wait, it said.

The Department of Social Services said the federal government had a plan to ensure the supply of aged care places matched the growth in the aged population, and would reach 125 aged care places for 1000 people aged 70 or older by 2021-22.

HammondCare chief executive Stephen Judd said the government would save money by funding rehabilitation programs in the community under Medicare, instead of putting them in aged care.

These could be done in a short-term stay environment or in people’s own homes.

“They’re cheap as chips,” Mr Judd said.

“And people have got a strong motivation to improve because they’re in their own homes and they probably want to stay there.”

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Gunning Bum Nuts free-range eggs capture Sydney market

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Free-range egg farmers Theresa and Craig Robinson, with two of their children, Alya, seven months, and William, three years old. Photo: Jamila ToderasCelebrating new life with Easter eggs is all the more joyous after a painful journey, like toddler William Robinson’s, which began with a perforated eardrum when he was one.
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His mother, Theresa Robinson, grew tired of commuting from Mount Dixon, the family’s fat lamb and wool farm near Gunning, into Canberra for her public service job, and getting William to and from the doctor and hospital to have his adenoids removed and grommets inserted.

“I would be up during the night, having to drive to Canberra with hardly any sleep the next morning, and ran off the road one day,” Mrs Robinson, a mother of four children, said. “I had a micro sleep, I didn’t injure myself, it was a wake up call that I had to do something else.”

Hatching a plan to work from home and grow food in the backyard, she bought 50 hy-line chooks and fashioned nesting boxes out of broken milk crates. One morning, lo and behold, she came across her first egg. “I raced inside, I was so excited, and showed my husband, Craig,” she said.

Two months later she delivered surplus eggs to a Gunning service station, then more to the village’s cafe. By December 2013, they had ordered another 100 chickens, were selling to a shop in Weston,  and had refined their marketing, starting with an illustration of an egg-laying chook with smoke curling out from its backside.

From the Yass area, Mr Robinson’s family have always called eggs bum nuts. So the couple kicked that theme around before coming up with a chook firing an egg out her rear end under the logo: Gunning Bum Nuts. They were on fire.

“We got another 350 chickens, after that another 1000, then another 1000, and another 1000 and another 1500. We have about 5000 at the moment,” Mrs Robinson said.

“The name, logo and slogan, ‘bloody good eggs from free range happy chooks’ were the drawcard,” she said. “People thought ‘oh, we have to check this out’. Then they have cracked open an egg, noticed how it holds together when you are poaching it. All of our eggs leave this property no later than three days after they are laid.”

Majura Valley free-range egg farmers Nick Weber and Anne McGrath mentored the Robinsons. “They are lovely. You start talking chickens and Nick, you can’t shut him up. He has been a wealth of knowledge,” Mrs Robinson said.

Mr Robinson converted an old caravan into a roosting shed, and has since built mobile sheds, which are rotated around paddocks, giving each chook 10 square metres of space.

On their 377-hectare farm, four people have part-time jobs packing the eggs. Four maremma dogs ward off foxes and two pairs of wedge-tailed eagles. They are all about to get busier, because Gunning Bum Nuts has spread to Sydney. They have a new distributor and will scale up to 10,000 chickens. They expect to be selling 1000 dozen eggs in Sydney. A franchise is beginning too, in Bundaberg, Queensland, under a Bundy Bum Nuts label.

The soothing chatter of thousands of grazing chooks could be smashed soon. A developer wants to use a neighbouring property for a motocross track and spectator facilities for motocross, enduro, minikhana and trail bike riding on Wednesdays, weekends and public holidays.

Upper Lachlan Mayor John Shaw says activities are increasing in the shire, which straddles the Hume Highway, because of high land prices in Sydney, causing people to look inland. Two development applications have been lodged for separate motocross facilities in separate areas of the shire. The Robinsons and neighbours fear noise, dust and biosecurity breaches will compromise their tranquil, productive surroundings.

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Book review: First Fleet Surgeon is a vivid account of a struggling colony

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FIRST FLEET SURGEON: The Voyage of Arthur Bowes Smyth By David Hill.  NLA Publishing.  $44.99.
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First Fleet Surgeon is a beautifully annotated and illustrated edition of a treasure of the National Library, the journal of surgeon Arthur Bowes Smyth on his voyage to Australia in 1787-1788, and his return to Britain the following year. One vivid story gives the flavour of the book.

The first execution in the newly-founded penal colony of New South Wales was in February 1788, and Smyth saw it. Lovell, Hall and Barrett, were sentenced to death for stealing food. The diarist accused the Governor, Arthur Phillip, of running a settlement of “anarchy and confusion”.

The events Smyth recorded in his diary seem to bear this out. Just as the sentence on the three men was about to be carried out Major Ross and Judge Advocate Collins arrived with a 24-hour stay of execution for Lovell and Hall. Next day they were reprieved. Barrett was not so lucky.

At this point the reluctant hangman, himself a convict, refused to proceed with the execution and had to be threatened at gunpoint to force him to obey orders. So Barrett became the first person executed in the new colony and today a plaque marks the site.

But the same Thomas Barrett has another claim to fame. He was a skilled engraver and at Botany Bay Surgeon John White commissioned Barrett to engrave a medal which depicted the ship in which they had both travelled and their route. This survives as one of the colony’s first European works of art.

More than 12 diaries by those on the First Fleet are known, one only rediscovered in 1982. The Journal of Surgeon Arthur Bowes Smyth, a leather-bound volume of 238 pages, is a treasure of the National Library. Historian David Hill has edited this lavishly-illustrated edition.

In his Journal Smyth records the departure of the First Fleet from Portsmouth in 1787 and the long voyage to Australia. His job was to be surgeon to more than 100 convict women on the Lady Penrhyn.

At Botany Bay and Port Jackson, he gives an eyewitness record of the struggle to set up the new colony, the failure of the first crops and encounters with the Aboriginal people. While Smyth is critical of Governor Phillip, most historians think Phillip gave splendid leadership.

After three months in the new colony, Smyth records his departure back to Britain, and to his native village in Essex. In 1790 the surgeon died, but he left behind this diary. It opens a window into our national beginnings.

Robert Willson is a Canberra reviewer. 

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Pubs making a comeback as investment-grade assets

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The push to expand the western suburbs of Sydney has seen areas such as Liverpool come out of the shadows of its neighbours of Penrith and Parramatta, with a raft of new projects approved and under construction in the city centre.
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While it has always a busy hub, the projected population growth, has attracted an array of new businesses to the area. Any construction of a second airport in the western suburbs, would also flow towards Liverpool.

The increased activity has prompted the sale of the Macquarie Hotel by JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group. It comes as pubs are emerging as key investment assets, not only for the revenue, but also for the development opportunities.

The new lock-out laws across the Sydney city and extending to Kings Cross, has triggered a flood of sales, such as the Bourbon Hotel in Potts Point for redevelopment, and other sites well away from the city.

Bar czar, Justin Hemmes is leading the charge with the recent purchase of the Newport Arms on the Northern beaches and the Palace at Coogee, while the Laundy family and Fraser Short has invested in the Watson’s Bay hotel.

Martin Short, who owns the Royal Hotel at Leichhardt, is soon to add a new balcony area to the pub, which he said, was well supported by the local area, but also seeing a rise in patrons as they avoid the city zones.

Selling agent for the Macquarie Hotel, John Musca, the JLL director for hotels and  hospitality, said with the Liverpool population forecast to double to 320,000 in the next 20 years, and city planning codes allowing 100-metre height limits for commercial and residential tower developments, it augurs well for city centre hotels like the Macquarie.

Mr Musca said the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy released in 2013 identified Liverpool as the states ‘third city’ after Sydney and Parramatta with subsequent papers suggesting the area will require an additional 500,000 square metres-plus of commercial and retail space to service the local government area growth.

The privately owned Macquarie Hotel has been in the same hands for nearly 30 years and includes 30 gaming machines, a 24-hour liquor licence and dual street frontage 1062 square metre site with future development potential (STCA).

“This hotel is on its way to being a Top 50 ranked gaming hotel in the state and is perfectly positioned adjacent to a 440 car-bay council car park and metres from rapidly developing Macquarie Mall with new Aldi supermarket, close to the train station and sprawling Westfield Liverpool”, Mr Musca said.

The state’s best gaming hotels have seen a flurry of transaction activity over the past six months with the sale of a number of top-ranked hotels including the Crown Hotel at Revesby for $33m, Grand Hotel Rockdale for $24.5 million and the Vegas Hotel Seven Hills for $25.15 million, all transacted by JLL.

In a further insight into hotel sales activity CBRE agent Dan Dragicevich recently sold the Grand Hotel, Bondi Junction for a rumoured $25 million and only last week Merivale continued their expansion strategy with the acquisition of the Newport Arms Hotel for $46 million.

Mr Musca said there has been a genuine uplift in divestment liquidity at the top end of the Sydney market with this confidence ultimately permeating all investment levels, as evidenced by JLL transacting 30 hotels in 2014 and this year starting the same way.

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Book review: The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness, by Rebecca Solnit.

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Rebecca Solnit. Photo: suppliedTHE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TROUBLE AND SPACIOUSNESSBy Rebecca Solnit. Trinity University Press. $43.
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San Francisco activist and writer Rebecca Solnit is noted for her irreverent piece Men Explain Things to Me. When first published in 2008, it quickly led to the term “mansplain” and the converse “womansplain”. Her latest essay collection, following up The Faraway Nearby, gathers 29 items first published over 2006-2014.

Instinctively, Solnit favours equality and community over hierarchy and individuality. “I come from the left,” she declares, “and my task is clearly telling the other, overlooked histories of hope, popular power, subversion and possibility.” This sentinel task welcomes the non-violent fall of the Berlin Wall, but fears the American military complex. It canvasses politics, society, geography, environment, cities, and disasters. It meanders through America, Mexico, Iceland, the Arctic, Haiti and Japan.

A common Solnit caution is, mistrust the right, when they say they’re on your side. The American “right wooed rural white people (and then screwed them), the left neglected them at best”. Don’t believe the left, Solnit also warns, when they insist “everything is awful”.

Her essays are allusive and digressive, sometimes arch or experimental in style. Journey to the Center is one that lost me, but Rattlesnake in Mailbox brings its point home. This being California, the title comes from real life, from the 1970s and an attempted cult murder. Another group, the SLA, notably used a “communal toothbrush” and kidnapped the heiress Patty Hearst. But did not those 1970s excesses also galvanise San Francisco communities? That spurred along the civic reformers George Moscone and Harvey Milk – who really were murdered. If Solnit’s “earnest” 1970s punk generation failed to spot the right resurging and inequality widening, they weren’t alone. Yet her summary is that the 1970s were “as generative as they were terrible”, bestowing durable advances in health awareness and minority rights.

Also bequeathed to California are “monuments to public [war] expenditure”. These are obsolete defence barracks and bunkers dotting the San Francisco Bay area. In The Visibility Wars, Solnit recalls being taken to Nevada’s remote nuclear test sites. Though her country retains the biggest military, with hundreds of bases spread over dozens of countries, somehow the war footing remains “invisible to most Americans”. Occasionally, that war may become visible, through the surveillance and policing of dissent.

Regarding America’s “futile” war on drugs, Solnit sends Mexico an apology. Americans she types as “miserable optimists” conditioned to take personal blame for their imperfections and failures. So their resulting pain is “exported” to Mexico and returns in the form of drugs. A better Mexico emerges, in a heartfelt account of the Zapatistas of Chiapas state. This 2008 essay sees their rebel movement as feminist from the start, a government that “obeys” rather than tramples the people.

With hindsight, the Zapatistas are not having an easy road. Ditto the Arab Spring, subject of an approving 2011 piece. But this resilient optimist is not to be bowed. She celebrates the huge not-for-cash Iceberg Economy that gives and receives in our families and communities. Similarly, numberless small and non-violent exchanges can lead to societal change. Hence “American society has changed profoundly over the past half-century, for those among us who are not male, or straight, or white, or Christian”. It’s a good point, also applicable to Australia.

At the time of the 2008-09 global financial crisis, Solnit took Iceland as an instructive example of government failing the community, or vice versa. The crash wrought by Iceland’s over-geared banks, she then concluded, had been a while coming. She quoted Icelandic author Andri Magnason on the prior 30-year “clearance sale” of Iceland’s natural assets. Maybe the people politely accepted civic waywardness for too long. “Which is to say that representative democracy fails, wherever its citizens let it fail, even on a charming island with a thousand-year democratic tradition.”

The essay Climate Change is Violence is a blunt instrument. Other environmental pieces are more nuanced. Detroit Arcadia and Revolutionary Plots consider the restorative prospects for urban agriculture. Oil and Water taps neighbourhood impacts of the notorious 2010 BP oil “spill” in the Gulf of Mexico. Winged Mercury dredges the environmental detritus of California’s 19th century gold rush, particularly the toxic mercury legacy. Dry Lands is Solnit’s alternate 2009 history of the perennially precipitous politics of California water extraction. With that state since fallen into a drought for the ages, her history retains relevance.

Ironically, her edgy San Francisco has now become a dormitory for Silicon Valley salarymen. In a 2013 essay, she jibes at their exclusive “Google Buses” for commuting. A later piece mentions how the Valley titans, apparently overcoming their usual disdain for Big Government, were revealed to be data dealing with the National Security Agency.

Stephen Saunders is a Canberra reviewer.

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Woolwich Marina hits the market as demand for Sydney moorings increases

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Put in: Marinas are tightly-held across Sydney, mostly by private owners. Photo: Rick StevensThe Woolwich marina has been placed on the market at a time when demand for berths is on the rise as more people look to invest in pleasure craft.
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Marinas are tightly-held across Sydney, mostly by private owners, with the exception being the d’Albora at the Spit, which is owned by the listed Ardent Leisure group.

In its half-year report to December 31, 2014, Ardent Leisure, said the Marina division recorded total revenues of $11.2 million for the period, in line with the prior year.

The earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation was $5.1 million, reflecting a 2 per cent increase on prior period EBITDA.

An operating margin of 56.5 per cent was achieved against prior period margins of 55.7 per cent and was assisted by an overall improvement in portfolio occupancies to 85 per cent.

While a marina berth starts at about $1 million in the key Sydney Harbour berths, dry docks and regional centres are providing returns of more than 8 per cent per annum.

Agents have said there has been a rise in demand to own such a property as a landlord and rent the berth to boat owners, in a similar way to a commercial or residential asset.

Jeff Moxham and Rod Smart of Ray White are advising on the Woolwich sale, and said there are 270 berths, generating an income of about $417,000 per annum. Mr Moxham said there was a potential fully-leased income of about $671,000 per annum.

The vendors, Greg and Liz Newton, have owned the marina for the past eight years.

“Increasing demand and limited supply of Sydney Harbour marinas has strengthened demand for pontoon berths and waterfront marina use land,” Mr Moxham said.

“This property will almost certainly sell to a marine enthusiast.”

The Woolwich marina currently operates under a new 40-year lease, from April last year, with the NSW Roads and Maritime Services, and has vessel maintenance facilities on site. The deal also includes the adjoining apartment.

Mr Smart said there was also potential for other residential development.

Brock Rodwell of Ray White Marine said overseas and local investors are expected to view the site, particularly those in the yachting business.

The director of metropolitan investments at CBRE, Tim Grosmann, said recently that marina assets are typically pursued by sophisticated investors – rather than small-time investors – especially given the complexities involved in this style of property.

“Marinas are generally located on leasehold rather than freehold land and the leasehold periods are typically around 30 years, so it’s vital to have a good knowledge of the fundamentals,” Mr Grosmann said.

“We typically find that these types of properties are acquired by sophisticated investors who have some form of involvement in the maritime industry.”

The near embargo on the large-scale marina development in Sydney has also led to a scarcity of berths, which agents say has fuelled the price rises in recent years.

Additionally, marinas are facing increasing barriers to expansion and in some instance even repairs and upgrading of facilities.

According to industry figures there are more than 800,000 boats registered in Australia, with a further 100,000-plus not registered, being under repair or renovation.

Mr Rodwell said a recent survey of the marina industry showed that it provided permanent and casual employment for 15,900 employees (excluding contractors) and generated gross revenues, including rents, of $1.65 billion.

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Capital Gain: Box Hill site with permit for Melbourne’s tallest suburban skyscraper for sale

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Developing: Richard Wynne has received fewer planning applications than his predecessor. Photo: Pat Scala Snap: The new $80 million industrial business park at Coburg Hill is sited near a former Kodak building. Photo: Jason South
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New owner: Artist’s impression of the proposed Sovereign Square development in Box Hill.

Developing: Richard Wynne has received fewer planning applications than his predecessor. Photo: Pat Scala

New owner: Artist’s impression of the proposed Sovereign Square development in Box Hill.

Developing: Richard Wynne has received fewer planning applications than his predecessor. Photo: Pat Scala

Snap: The new $80 million industrial business park at Coburg Hill is sited near a former Kodak building. Photo: Jason South

New owner: Artist’s impression of the proposed Sovereign Square development in Box Hill.

Developing: Richard Wynne has received fewer planning applications than his predecessor. Photo: Pat Scala

Snap: The new $80 million industrial business park at Coburg Hill is sited near a former Kodak building. Photo: Jason South

New owner: Artist’s impression of the proposed Sovereign Square development in Box Hill.

An artist’s impression of Sovereign Square, the proposed development in Box Hill that’s now up for sale.

A Box Hill site with a permit to build what was, until this year, Melbourne’s tallest suburban skyscraper, will soon have a new owner.

The 545 Station Street property was quietly listed for sale earlier this year as a development opportunity. Just weeks earlier the vendor was targeting consumers to flog the 419 units in the proposed 34-level tower.

Sovereign Square, as it was branded, would abut the Box Hill Central shopping centre and train station and also include ground floor retail and a basement car park.

When approved last year, it was metropolitan Melbourne’s tallest proposed apartment tower. That accolade is now held by the Capitol Grand proposal in South Yarra, permitted earlier this year to rise some 50 levels.

Last month, the Deague family’s Asian Pacific Building Corporation received the green light to replace 850 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill, with two apartment buildings rising 36 and 26 levels.  An imposing 20-level office building is under construction at 913 Whitehorse Road, Box Hill.

The 2417-square-metre Station Street site was being marketed with price expectations of about $40 million by Knight Frank’s Marcus Quinn and Paul Henley with CBRE’s Mark Wizel and Ed Wright.

Near the junction

A China-based development consortium is paying a speculated $7.5 million for a modest office building near the St Kilda Junction.

On a sizeable 1053-square-metre parcel at 194-198 St Kilda Road, the asset was offered with a permit for a six-level, 73-unit apartment complex with two ground-floor shops. It is not expected the new owner will amend the permit before marketing the flats soon after settlement.

The office is next door to the low-rise office for years occupied by radio stations MMM and Fox FM, which used a “rooftop” balcony area for intimate live shows with local and international entertainers.

Savills agents Jesse Radisich, Julian Heatherich and Nick Peden marketed 194-198 St Kilda Road for investors who bought the block for $3.4 million at the start of the last economic downturn in mid-2008.

Much closer to the junction, at 3-5 St Kilda Road, local developer Caydon is building a 27-level apartment tower.

Also in St Kilda, a rundown office building at 25-29 Alma Road sold late this week for about $9 million. The corner site, offered with a permit for a 75-unit complex, was marketed by Beller Commercial’s Sam Fogarty and Brendan Goss.

Malvern addition 

LANDIS Property has paid $6 million for a residential development site in ritzy Malvern.

Currently zoned Industrial, the Como Street block, just off Glenferrie Road and near the Malvern train station, covers 934 square metres. Gross Waddell’s Andrew Greenway and Jonathon McCormack managed the off-market sales campaign. The land is currently configured with a low-rise office and car park.

In Melbourne, the Landis property portfolio includes Grace Apartments in Essendon, Cedar Apartments in Caulfield North and Queens Apartments in Carlton.

Commercial opportunity

A developer has swooped on 16 hectares of commercial-zoned land between Geelong and Torquay, in a speculated $6 million deal.

The Airport Road property in Mount Duneed sold prior to an auction scheduled for late last month.

Marketed as a lifestyle opportunity or a land bank, the property is within the Urban Growth Boundary, which would make development straightforward. Near the Princes and Surf Coast highways, the land is near Villawood’s Armstrong Creek housing estate and Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus.

Darcy Jarman’s Tim Jarman and Simon Jarman declined to comment on any part of the Mt Duneed campaign when contacted.

In the area, last month, a property co-owned by a consortium including Essendon Football Club legend Mark Thompson and businessman, Mark Casey, was listed with price expectations of about $30 million. The 16 hectare Armstrong Creek parcel at 458-498 Torquay Road is expected to become a major activity precinct and collection of housing estates.

In north-west Geelong earlier this year, two almost neighbouring sites measuring more than 60 hectares sold in separate deals for about $20 million. These Lovely Banks rural blocks are also expected to make way for thousands of new residents.

Coburg Hill

Plans for an $80 million industrial business park will add a substantial tranche of modern commercial stock around the area recently rebranded Coburg Hill.

The park is now earmarked for a nine-hectare site at 105 Newlands Road, which just sold for a speculated $8 million. The land is opposite an office building once owner-occupied by Kodak, which disposed of it, several years ago.

A second portion of the former Kodak site on the east side of Edgars Creek has recently been replaced as Coburg Hill, a medium density housing estate with some retail components.

Colliers International’s Marco Sandrin and Brent Glassford marketed 105 Newlands Road which is about 10 kilometres north of the CBD. The site includes about 28,000 square metres of warehouse space and substantial hardstand zones. It’s expected to be replaced with a new business park accommodating up to 100 small multi-storey office warehouses.

Blocks less than half the size on either side of 105 Newlands Road have been developed as industrial parks with more than 30 separate office warehouses. Mr Sandrin said the future development or subdivision potential of the site, coupled with the existing income, saw it contested by several parties. The agents declined to comment about the sale price.

Borrowed light

What a difference a change of government has made to the number of major proposals.

Last month, no applications were lodged with the planning minister Richard Wynne to replace metropolitan Melbourne blocks with projects of greater than 25,000 square metres. This compares to nine applications lodged in March 2014 when the now opposition leader, Matthew Guy, controversially presided over the Planning portfolio.

For the first quarter of 2015, three major metropolitan proposals were lodged to Mr Wynne for review. In the corresponding period, last year, 17 were lodged to Mr Guy, who had already earned the nickname “Mr Skyscraper” in planning circles.

One of the most controversial permits granted in March 2014 was a 62-level, 511-unit complex with zero car parks at 97-105 Franklin Street in the CBD.

The jury is out as to whether the noticeable deceleration in planning applications this year is a good thing, given Melbourne’s burgeoning population. Many developers who obtained ministerial approvals have onsold their assets for a profit.

Mr Wynne this week discouraged developers proposing towers with apartments that would rely on borrowed light (i.e., radiance from another room that has a window).

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Book review: The Ghost Estate, by John Connell

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The Ghost Estate By John Connell Picador, $29.99
Nanjing Night Net

The Irish used to remember the Great Famine of the 1840s as an example of what happens when economics and profit are given priority over people. That disaster was not confined to the poor, those without property or means, but also affected the ruling classes, the old Ascendancy. As the 21st century distanced them from the shame of hunger and starvation, they forgot that lesson.

Instead, the first decade of the new century infected the whole country with a madness born of greed. Nowhere was that more obvious than in the sudden idea that you were no one unless you had a second house. Or a third one. If you could not convince yourself, there were plenty of gurus spruiking a holiday home in Tramore or Lahinch, Bundoran or Kenmare; after all, you had the mandatory two children and each should have their separate inheritance. Besides, it was a gold-plated investment, it would be your comfort in old age, much better than superannuation. (Heaven forbid that today’s Australia learns the spuriousness of that logic, however exalted its proponents or speciously attractive their arguments.)

Those two events in Irish history, the famine of the middle years of the 19th century and the artificial building boom 160 years later, are cleverly combined in this novel. The central character is Ger McQuaid, a young electrical contractor taking on his first big job in a new estate that would include a golf course and a luxury hotel to replace a rundown mansion, once the centre of a large estate with hundreds of tenants. Like the plumbers and bricklayers and roofers, he is paid by the developer who in turn is depending on moneyed backers; all are financed by banks who are falling over themselves to pass out money that they have access to through a  corrupted international financial system.

McQuaid is a long way down that chain, though a step above his workers who roll out the wire, drill the holes and position the switches and sockets. He is also the ultimate loser. At one stage, his girlfriend, a student in Dublin, calls him a “bogger”, a searing insult for someone who sees financial security and social respectability almost in his grasp.

When people realised that banks were not their friends, it was too late; today half-finished, vandalised estates are a feature of the Irish landscape. The author compares this situation with the way the countryside was devastated by the famine of the 1840s, although the reader may find the comparison forced and not entirely convincing.

McQuaid’s private life is a mirror of the economic disaster about to hit his country. Incapable of distinguishing between love and farmyard lust, his fall is predictable. The author manages to make him a thoroughly unlikeable figure, lacking the sophistication of his city counterparts or the intelligence and survival instincts of those who live on the geographical edges of the country.

Perhaps I should explain. There is, in certain parts of Ireland, an unstated opinion about those who live in the centre of the island, of whom a recent Taoiseach (prime minister) might be a good example. The view is that they lack the cuteness of the city dweller and the cleverness of those who live in places like Kerry, Cork or Donegal. There is little in this book that might change that opinion and indeed it could be read as a long-winded and overwritten satire on that very situation.

The cover of the book features endorsements by Kevin Barry and Tony Ryan, two modern Irish writers whose work is much more deserving of release in this country.

Frank O’Shea is a Canberra reviewer.

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