IKEA ground breaking at Sydney Business Park, 13 March 2014 – TEN News

Published on Mar 16, 2014

On Thursday 13 March 2014, NSW Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Barry O’Farrell officiated the start of construction of the first major retailer, IKEA, at the 256 hectare Sydney Business Park, located in Marsden Park in Sydney’s north west.

Built on a massive 76,060 square metre site, IKEA is the first retailer to start construction on the site and also is the largest retailer to open at Sydney Business Park.

The IKEA store is due to open in June 2015 and will create more than 320 jobs for the local communities of Western Sydney.

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Watch Lady Gaga Join Adam Lambert Onstage in Homage to the Queen

Are you a Queen fan? Watch this surprise performance of Lady Gaga during the Queen + Adam Lambert show on 27th August 2014 at the Allphones Arena…

“All we hear is…”

Read the news here or click on the link below to go to the full site.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/idol-worship/watch-lady-gaga-join-adam-728642

Adam Lambert MSG 2014 P

Lady Gaga joined Adam Lambert and Queen, the band that inspired her stage name, for a rocking rendition of the classic hit, “Another One Bites The Dust,” onstage in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday.

She joined the group decked out in a giant afro wig. Following her surprise appearance, the singer tweeted, “I just played with Queen I’m the happiest girl alive,” then Instagrammed several pictures of herself along with guitarist Brian May and Lambert.

Gaga also revealed on social media that May and Lambert had been to her artRAVE ball. “I’m so PROUD of Adam Lambert singing with them,” she wrote. “Made me cry during Dope when I saw them all sitting there. … I thought about Freddie.”

Owing the ultimate homage to “Tonight I felt alive in a way I have not before,” she continued. “I returned to the Radio GaGa mothership to pay homage to my leaders. It was emotional and wild.”

Watch a video of the performance below:

30 Jokes Only Intellectuals Will Understand


intellectual_jokes

By on March 17, 2014

You can check out the article here or click on the link below to go to the main site:

http://factinator.com/30-intellectuals-jokes/

1. It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.

Pun is wordplay with two meanings, one literal the other humorous. kleptomaniacs is someone who ‘take things’ (steal).

2. What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?

What do you get when you cross an XXXX with a YYYY” is a common opening to a joke, leading the listener to prepare for the expected joke template and punchline. A rhetorical question is a question asked or stated to make a point, and not an actual inquiry with an expectation of an answer. The joke is that that sentence is a rhetorical question. So the answer is you don’t really get a joke, you just get a meaningless rhetorical question. Which is sort of funny, which actually does make it a joke. [Thanks verywary & rocketvat]

3. Three logicians walk into a bar. The bartender asks “Do all of you want a drink?” The first logician says “I don’t know.” The second logician says “I don’t know.” The third logician says “Yes!”

Explanation: If any one of the three logicians does NOT want a beer, the answer to the bartender’s question is “No.” The first logician wants a beer, but doesn’t know whether his two friends do. So he says “I don’t know.” The second logician now knows that the first logician wants a beer, because if he didn’t he would have said no. And though he does want a beer, the he still doesn’t know whether the third logician wants a beer. So he says “I don’t know.” The third logician now knows that the first two logicians want beer, because otherwise one of them would have said no. So, as he also wants a beer, he now knows that all three logician wants a beer. So he can say “Yes.” [Thanks methamatician]

4. Einstein, Newton and Pascal are playing hide and go seek. It’s Einstein’s turn to count so he covers his eyes and starts counting to ten. Pascal runs off and hides. Newton draws a one meter by one meter square on the ground in front of Einstein then stands in the middle of it.

Einstein reaches ten and uncovers his eyes. He sees Newton immediately and exclaims “Newton! I found you! You’re it!”

Newton smiles and says “You didn’t find me, you found Pascal!”

Pascal is Newton over a square meter.

5. How can you tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber? Ask them to pronounce unionized.

The difference b/w un-ionized and union-ized.

6. Why do engineers confuse Halloween and Christmas? Because Oct 31 = Dec 25

We use the Decimal base (shorthand DEC) for our number system. Octal is another base system (shorthand OCT) if you convert Decimal 25, it is equivalent to OCT 31.

7. An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The bar tender: “What’ll it be, boys?” The first mathematician: “I’ll have one half of a beer.” The second mathematician: “I’ll have one quarter of a beer.” The third mathematician: “I’ll have one eight of a beer.” The forth mathematician: “I’ll have one sixteenth of a …” The bar tender interrupts: “Oh, fuck the lot of ya!” …and he pours a single full beer.

In mathematics, the infinite series 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + · · · converges to a sum of 1.

8. Two kittens on a sloped roof. Which one slides off first?

The one with the lowest mew.

Mew here means friction. coefficient of friction -> μ -> mu -> mew

9. A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and says, “Five beers, please”.

5 in Roman = V

polar_bear

10. The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.

“Why did you buy 12 loaves of bread!?”, his wife screamed. “Because they had eggs!”

11. A programmer’s wife sends him to the store and says “get some bread, and while you’re there pick up some eggs” The programmer never returns.

The ‘while’ statement in programming languages never ‘returns’ unless something breaks it.

12. A logician’s wife is having a baby. The doctor immediately hands the newborn to the dad.
His wife asks impatiently: “So, is it a boy or a girl” ?
The logician replies: “yes”.

Any questions that use “and” or “or” are logical questions, that is, can either be “true” or “false”. Is it a boy or a girl? Yes (it’s one of them).

13. Entropy isn’t what it used to be

In any real thermodynamic process or a system the total entropy of the at the end versus the beginning is always bigger i.e. it always increases.

14. Helium walks into a bar and orders a beer, the bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve noble gases here.” He doesn’t react.

In chemistry, Helium belongs to the noble gases that doesn’t react to any substance.

15. Schrödinger’s cat walks into a bar. And doesn’t.

It refers to the famous Schrödinger’s experiment where he put the cat with a radioactive substance in a box. The experiment postulates that the cat can either be living or dead but we don’t know until we open the box.

16. Two men walk into a bar, the first orders H2O, the second says “I’ll have H2O too!” The second man dies.

First guy says H2O (meaning water). Second guy says H20 (too) as in H202 (meaning hydrogen peroxide). Hydrogen peroxide ishighly reactive and will kill you.

17. A neutron walks into a bar. He orders a beer and asks the bartender how much he owes. The bartender replies, “For you? No charge.”

Atoms are composed of positively charged protons, negatively charged electrons and neutrons with no charge on them.

18. There are 10 types of people in the world: Those who know binary and those who don’t.

In Binary the value 2 is represented by 10 (a one and a zero).

19. A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician are sitting outside of a bar when two men walk into the house across the road… Ten minutes later, three men walk out.

The physicist looks confused and says “There must an error in the measurements.”
The biologist retorts “No, they must have reproduced!”
To which the mathematician says “If one person goes inside, the house will be empty.”

From an outside perspective, there are 0 people inside. Add 2 people to the house, now the house has 2 people. Subtract 3 people (pretend a person materialized out of no where and is missing a person). Now the house has -1 people. So adding 1 person would make the house contain 0 persons, or as we understand it: be empty. [Thanks ibcooley]

20. A Photon checks into a hotel and the bellhop asks him if he has any luggage. The Photon replies “No I’m traveling light”

Photon is a light particle

21. Two atoms are walking down the street. The first one stops and says “I think I just lost an electron!” The second one replies “Are you sure?”

“I’m positive!”

An atom with one less electron is a positively charged atom.

22. A farmer has a problem with foxes eating his hens. So he asks his physicist friend to help find a solution. The physicist spends a day thinking, then replies “Well, I’ve found a solution, but it will only work for spherical chickens in a vacuum”.

Basically, the joke is that scientists can ‘theoretically solve anything’, but the practical application of their work is often hindered greatly by physical effects (such as resistance, gravity, etc.). Hence, spherical chickens (a sphere having equal distribution of forces applied on its surface) and in a vacuum (where there is no resistance). [scepticalprophet]

Physicists always find a solution for ideal condition like “If we have an object moving with x speed and blah blah, ASSUMING there is no other forces and blah, blah”. Well assumptions are like “the object is a perfect sphere” or “there is no frictions, as if we were in vacuum”. Things like that. [Thanks Copioli]

23. Q: What do you get when you put root beer in a square glass? A: Beer

In mathematics, ‘root’ and ‘square’ cancel out each other.

24. A man is on his first visit to Boston, and he wants to try some of that delicious New England seafood that he’d long heard about. So he gets into a cab, and asks the driver, “Can you take me to where I can get scrod?” The driver replies, “I’ve heard that question a thousand time, but never in the pluperfect subjunctive.”

In English, the Pluperfect Subjunctive tense of ‘screwed’ is ‘scord’. And scrod is a type of fish. The driver has heard people asking him to take some place where they can get screwed.

25. Who does Polyphemus hate more than Odysseus?

Nobody!

In “The Odyssey,” the classic sequel to Homer’s “Iliad,” Odysseus goes through a lot of stuff trying to get home…
One of these things is crashing on an island and being captured by a cyclops, who was going to eat him and his crew.
The cyclops’ name is Polyphemus.

Odysseus gets the cyclops drunk, and Polyphemus asks Odysseus what his name is. Odyssesu says his name is, “Nobody.”

Odysseus blinds the cyclops while he’s sleeping, and then convinces him that the prisoners are escaping through the cracks between the cave entrance and the huge boulder he uses as a door (the cyclops is very dumb).

So Polyphemus opens his cave and shouts out to the other cyclops, “Help! Nobody is attacking me!” or some variation on that. Naturally, the other cyclops think he’s still drunk or insane or whatever and do nothing. Odysseus and his men escape. [Thanks el Águila]

26. A mathematician finishes a large meal and says: √(-1/64)

Explanation: √(-1/64) = √(-1)/(8) = i / 8 = (i over 8)

27. Did you hear about the man who got cooled to absolute zero?

He’s 0K now.

0k = zero Kelvin is equivalent to −273.15°C also known as absolute zero. He’s not OK, he’s 0k

28. There’s a band called 1023MB. They haven’t had any gigs yet.

One gigabyte or one gig in computer storage is 1024 megabytes or 1024MB.

29. A Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says “make me one with everything”.

The joke is a play on words, as the oft-quoted Buddhist “motto” is to “be at one” or “be at peace” with everything natural in the world.

30. The vendor makes the hot dog and hands it to the Buddhist monk, who pays with a $20 bill. The vendor puts the bill in the cash box and closes it. “Excuse me, but where’s my change?” asks the Buddhist monk. The vendor replied, “Change must come from within.”

When the Buddhist asked for his change, the vendor also used play of words by quoting a famous Buddhist statement “Change must come from within.”

North-west growth announcement: the details

Aug. 1, 2014, 1:17 p.m.

You may read the article here or click on the link below to go to the full site.

http://www.hillsnews.com.au/story/2458026/north-west-growth-announcement-the-details/?cs=1454

Capture Capture2 Capture3 Capture4 Capture5 Capture6

Minister for Planning Pru Goward has announced the NSW Government will partner with The Hills Shire Council and the community to create three new vibrant centres for homes and jobs along the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link, as part of a major urban renewal program.

The NSW Government will undertake detailed planning, investigations and consultation for three precincts around the new Bella Vista, Kellyville and Showground railway stations, now The Hills Shire Council has nominated them as Urban Activation Precincts.

Here is the information provided by the state government for each of the three activation areas:

Bella Vista station urban activation precinct

Why was the area around Bella Vista station selected as an urban activation precinct?

• The $8.3 billion North West Rail Link is Australia’s largest infrastructure project. It will make Sydney’s north-west easier to get to and from, and the areas around the new stations more attractive for people to live and work.

• Over the next 25 years, at least 36,000 homes and 47,000 jobs will be created in Sydney’s north-west to cater for an extra 100,000 people expected to be living there. As the area around the new Bella Vista Station will be more accessible, it has been identified as an area that can assist in accommodating some of this growth.

• In 2013, the North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy was prepared in close collaboration with The Hills Shire and Blacktown City Councils to guide development around each new station over the next 25 years. The Strategy identifies the future vision, character and potential growth for lands surrounding each of the eight new stations.

• In October 2013, The Hills Shire Council voted unanimously to nominate the area around the Bella Vista Station as an Urban Activation Precinct as a means to implement the Corridor Strategy and investigate the potential land uses within the precinct in more detail.

What is an urban activation precinct?

• Urban Activation Precincts feature a new coordinated approach to development and infrastructure delivery to provide more homes and jobs in places with access to infrastructure, transport, services and employment.

• Communities benefit through greater housing choice, upgraded infrastructure, increased amenities and services, as well as new and improved public spaces. Council will be able to access up to $5 million in local infrastructure funding for Bella Vista Station Urban Activation Precinct and fast-track infrastructure delivery to support new development.

Where is the Bella Vista station precinct?

• The precinct includes the area within a roughly 800 metre radius of Bella Vista Station. The boundary reflects a 10-minute walking trip to the station, and has taken into account surrounding roads, natural elements and the existing character of the area.

• The precinct is bounded by Memorial Avenue in the north, Old Windsor Road, Glenwood Park Drive and Meurants Lane to the west, Prestige Avenue to the south and Westwood Way, Edgewater Drive and Fairway drive to the east.

• The Northwest Private Hospital, part of the Norwest Business Park, Bella Vista Farm, Valentine Sports Park and Elizabeth MacArthur Creek are within the precinct.

What is proposed in the Bella Vista station precinct?

• The North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy included a Structure Plan for the Bella Vista Station precinct that identified the potential for approximately 4,400 additional homes and 10,500 new jobs within the precinct by 2036.

• Development in the precinct will bring more jobs and better services to the area as well as more housing choice.

• The precinct will have shops, cafes and restaurants. There will be new office buildings and the existing Bella Vista Business Park will be expanded.

• The Bella Vista Farm will be protected as a heritage area.

• New buildings will be well designed to integrate with the surrounding area and the precinct will have high quality streetscapes and parks to provide vibrant spaces for community interaction.

• Opportunities for new community facilities will be identified in consultation with the community and the Hills Shire Council. These could include new walkways, cycleways, playgrounds, a multi-purpose community centre and public art.

• New development will provide jobs close to home for local residents, space to enable social interaction and enhance lifestyle opportunities for the whole community.

• A 3D visualisation video will also be prepared to show what the future character of the precinct may look like.

What will happen next?

• Over the next 9-12 months, we will work closely with local residents, UrbanGrowth NSW, Transport for NSW and other government agencies and local businesses to undertake detailed planning for the precinct to ensure growth is properly planned.

• Specialist consultants will be engaged to carry out detailed studies into:

− urban design

− traffic and transport including transport infrastructure requirements

− the local environment

− open space

− community facilities

− economic feasibility

• A precinct proposal will then be prepared to confirm the vision for the precinct and will include detailed land use maps showing changes to zoning, new public spaces, pedestrian and cycle links, building heights, built form and an infrastructure schedule.

• The proposal will then be placed on public exhibition and the community will be invited to attend information sessions and provide feedback.

• Community feedback will be carefully considered to refine the proposal where needed, before the Minister for Planning makes a decision on the precinct rezoning.

What consultation with the community has been undertaken?

• The community was consulted on the North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy, and a structure plan for Bella Vista Station, during a public exhibition in March-April 2013.

• The department also recently conducted a telephone survey to gain an early understanding of the types of activities and facilities the community would like to see within the precinct, and how the community would like to be consulted throughout the process. This survey told us that:

o educational opportunities, access to services and jobs, and good public transport are important issues to consider for the future of the local area, and

o car parking, parks, public open space, cafes, restaurants, shops, community facilities and cycling links are some of the amenities that residents would like to see around the station.

Will there be more opportunities for the community to get involved?

• We would like to hear your views about the future of the area.

• The local community is now being invited to further help shape the precinct by completing an online survey at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/bella-vista-station

• Local communities will also have direct decision-making powers on the local infrastructure projects that will be delivered.

• This will include asking the community how council should spend up to $5 million available under the Urban Activation Precinct program for additional local infrastructure to benefit the precinct.

• Other opportunities to get involved will be advertised in the local newspaper, a regular precinct specific newsletter and on the department’s web page. They will include a future public exhibition of the proposed plans for the precinct, community information sessions and providing feedback online.

Where can I find more information?

• To stay informed about the precinct and the opportunities to have a say, register for the mailing list by emailing urbanactivation@planning.nsw.gov.au with “Bella Vista” in the subject line.

• For further information, contact the Department of Planning & Environment’s Information Centre on 1300 305 695.

Kellyville station urban action precinct

Why was the area around Kellyville station selected selected as an urban activation precinct?

• The $8.3 billion North West Rail Linkis Australia’s largest infrastructure project. It will make Sydney’s north-west easier to get to and from, and the areas around the new stations more attractive for people to live and work.

• Over the next 25 years, at least 36,000 homes and 47,000 jobs will be created in Sydney’s north-west to cater for an extra 100,000 people expected to be living there. As the area around the new Kellyville Station will be more accessible, it has been identified as an area that can assist in accommodating some of this growth.

• In 2013, the was prepared in close collaboration with The Hills North West Rail Link Corridor StrategyShire and Blacktown City Councils to guide development around each new station over the next 25 years. The Strategy identifies the future vision, character and potential growth for lands surrounding each of the eight new stations.

• In October 2013, the Council voted unanimously to nominate the area around the Kellyville Station as an Urban Activation Precinct, as a means to implement the Corridor Strategy and investigate the potential land uses within the precinct in more detail.

What is an urban activation precinct?

• Urban Activation Precincts feature a new coordinated approach to development and infrastructure delivery to provide more homes and jobs in places with access to infrastructure, transport, services and employment.

• Communities benefit through greater housing choice, upgraded infrastructure, increased amenities and services, as well as new and improved public spaces.

• Council will be able to access up to $5 million in local infrastructure funding for Kellyville Station Urban Activation Precinct and fast-track infrastructure delivery to support new development.

Where is the Kellyville station precinct?

• The precinct includes the area within a roughly 800 metre radius of Kellyville Station. The boundary reflects a 10 minute walking trip to the station and has taken into account surrounding roads, natural elements and the existing character of the area.

• The precinct includes the area around the new Kellyville Station, which is one of eight new stations being built as part of the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link.

• The precinct is bounded by Strangers Creek riparian corridor and Windsor Road to the east, Memorial Avenue to the south, Stanhope Parkway, Rothbury Terrace, Salford Street, Tilbury Avenue, Hayle Terrace, and Perfection Avenue to the west and Sanctuary Drive to the north.

• Kellyville Village Centre, Caddies Creek Sports Complex and the Outlook Nature Reserve are some of the facilities and services within the precinct.

What is proposed in the Kellyville station precinct?

• The North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy included a Structure Plan for the Kellyville Station precinct that identified the potential for approximately 4,400 new homes and 800 more jobs within the precinct by 2036.

• The proposes a variety of uses and building types to create a vibrant, active Kellyville Structure Plancentre around the new station with greater choice for people with different housing needs.

• New development will be concentrated close to the new station to benefit from its direct station access and associated uses.

• The precinct will have high quality streetscapes and parks to provide vibrant spaces for communities.

• Green spaces and riparian corridors within the precinct will be protected as ecological and drainage corridors, as well as providing significant pedestrian and cycle links between Rouse Hill and Bella Vista/Norwest.

• Opportunities for new community facilities will be identified in consultation with the community and Council. These could include new walkways, cycleways, playgrounds, a multi-purpose community centre and public art.

• A 3D visualisation video will also be prepared to show what the future character of the precinct may look like.

Will the entire precinct need to change?

• A significant part of the precinct will also remain unchanged to protect the existing low density character of the wider Kellyville area.

• The planning process will ensure that new buildings are well designed to integrate with the surrounding area. Sophisticated computer modelling will also be undertaken to ensure individual buildings will be designed to maintain appropriate levels of sunlight to homes and open spaces.

What will happen next

• Over the coming 9-12 months, we will work closely with local residents, UrbanGrowth NSW, Transport for NSW and other government agencies and local businesses to undertake detailed planning for the precinct to ensure growth is properly planned.

• Specialist consultants will be engaged to carry out detailed studies into:

− urban design

− traffic and transport including transport infrastructure requirements

− the local environment

− open space

− community facilities

− economic feasibility

• A precinct proposal will then be prepared to confirm the vision for the precinct and will include detailed land use maps showing changes to zoning, new public spaces, pedestrian and cycle links, building heights, built form and an infrastructure schedule.

• The proposal will then be placed on public exhibition and the community will be invited to attend information sessions and provide feedback.

• The department will carefully consider community feedback to refine the proposal where needed, before the Minister for Planning makes a decision on the precinct rezoning.

What consultation with the community has been undertaken?

• The community was consulted on the North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy, and a structure plan for Kellyville Station, during a public exhibition in March-April 2013.

• The department also recently conducted a telephone survey to gain an early understanding of the types of activities and facilities the community would like to see within the precinct, and how the community would like to be consulted throughout the process. This survey told us that:

* educational opportunities, access to services and jobs, and good public transport are important issues to consider for the future of the local area, and

* car parking, parks, public open space, cafes, restaurants, shops, community facilities and cycling links are some of the amenities that residents would like to see around the station.

Will there be more opportunities for the community to get involved?

• We want to hear your views about the future of the area.

• The local community is invited to further help shape the precinct by completing an online survey at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/kellyville-station

• Local communities will also have direct decision-making powers on the local infrastructure projects that will be delivered.

• This will include asking the community how Council should spend up to $5 million available under the Urban Activation Precinct program for additional local infrastructure to benefit the precinct.

• Other opportunities to get involved will be advertised in the local newspaper, a regular precinct specific newsletter and on the department’s web page. They will include a future public exhibition of the proposed plans for the precinct, community information sessions and providing feedback online.

Where can I find more information?

• To stay informed about the precinct and opportunities to have a say, register for the mailing list by emailing urbanactivation@planning.nsw.gov.au with “Kellyville” in the subject line.

• For further information, contact the Department of Planning & Environment’s Information Centre on 1300 305 695.

Showground station urban activation precinct

 Showground station, street level. Image courtesy of Transport NSW.

Showground station, street level. Image courtesy of Transport NSW.

Why was the area around Showground station selected as an urban activation precinct?

• The $8.3 billion North West Rail Link is Australia’s largest infrastructure project. It will make Sydney’s north west easier to get to and from, and the areas around the new stations more attractive for people to live and work.

• Over the next 25 years, at least 36,000 homes and 47,000 jobs will be created in Sydney’s north-west to cater for an extra 100,000 people expected to be living there. As the area around the new Showground Station will be more accessible, it has been identified as an area that can assist in accommodating some of this growth.

• In 2013, the North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy was prepared in close collaboration with the Hills Shire Council to guide development around each new station over the next 25 years. The Strategy identifies the future vision, character and potential growth for lands surrounding each of the eight new stations.

• In October 2013, Council voted unanimously to nominate the area around the Showground Station as an Urban Activation Precinct, as a means to implement the Corridor Strategy and investigate the potential land uses within the precinct in more detail.

What is an urban activation precinct?

• Urban Activation Precincts feature a coordinated approach to development and infrastructure delivery to provide more homes and jobs in places with access to infrastructure, transport, services and employment.

• Communities benefit through greater housing choice, upgraded infrastructure, increased amenities and services, as well as new and improved public spaces. Council will be able to access up to $5 million in local infrastructure funding for the Showground Station Urban Activation Precinct and fast track infrastructure delivery to support new development.

Where is the Showground station precinct?

• The precinct includes the area within a roughly 800 metre radius of Showground Station. The boundary reflects a 10-minute walking trip to the station, and has taken into account surrounding roads, natural elements and the existing character of the area.

• The precinct extends to Showground Road and slightly beyond to the north, Windsor Road to the west and Fishburn Crescent to the south east.

• Castle Hill Showground, Castle Hill Industrial Area and Cockayne Reserve are some of the facilities and services within the precinct.

What is proposed for the Showground station precinct?

• The North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy included a Structure Plan for the Showground Station precinct that identified the potential for approximately 3,600 new homes and 7,700 more jobs within the precinct by 2036.

• New development will create a vibrant centre around the station with greater choice for people with different housing needs. There will be more jobs close to home for local residents, including shops, cafes, restaurants and new office buildings, as well as high quality streetscapes and parks to provide vibrant spaces for the community.

• Castle Hill Showground will be upgraded and remain an essential recreational space for community celebration.

• Opportunities for new community facilities will be identified and discussed with the community, such as new walkways, cycleways, playgrounds, a multi-purpose community centre and public art.

• New buildings will be well designed to integrate with the surrounding area and a significant part of the precinct will remain unchanged to protect the existing low density character of the wider Castle Hill area.

• A 3D visualisation video will also be prepared to show what the future character of the precinct may look like.

What will happen next

• Over the next 9-12 months, we will work closely with local residents, UrbanGrowth NSW, Transport for NSW and other government agencies and local businesses to undertake detailed planning for the precinct to ensure growth is properly planned.

• Specialist consultants will be engaged to carry out detailed studies into:

− urban design

− traffic and transport including transport infrastructure requirements

− the local environment

− open space

− community facilities

− economic feasibility

• A precinct proposal will then be prepared to confirm the vision for the precinct and will include detailed land use maps showing changes to zoning, new public spaces, pedestrian and cycle links, building heights, built form and an infrastructure schedule.

• The proposal will then be placed on public exhibition and the community will be invited to attend information sessions and provide feedback.

• Community feedback will be carefully considered to refine the proposal where needed, before the Minister for Planning makes a decision on the precinct rezoning.

What consultation with the community has been undertaken?

• The community was consulted on the North West Rail Link Corridor Strategy, and a structure plan for Showground Station, during a public exhibition in March-April 2013.

• The department also recently undertook a telephone survey to gain an early understanding of the types of activities and facilities the community would like to see within the precinct, and how the community would like to be consulted throughout the process. This survey told us:

o educational opportunities, access to services and jobs, and good public transport are important issues to consider for the future of the local area, and

o car parking, parks, public open space, cafes, restaurants, shops, community facilities and cycling links are some of the amenities that residents would like to see around the station.

Will there be more opportunities for the community to get involved?

• We want to hear your views about the future of the area.

• The local community is invited to further help shape the precinct by completing an online survey at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/showground-station

• Local communities will also have direct decision-making powers on the local infrastructure projects that will be delivered.

• This will include asking the community how Council should spend up to $5 million available under the Urban Activation Precinct program for additional local infrastructure to benefit the precinct.

• Other opportunities to get involved will be advertised in the local newspaper, a regular precinct specific newsletter and on the department’s web page. They will include a future public exhibition of the proposed plans for the precinct, community information sessions and providing feedback online.

Where can I find more information?

• To stay informed about the precinct and opportunities to have a say, register for the mailing list by emailing urbanactivation@planning.nsw.gov.au with “Showground” in the subject line.

• For further information, contact the department’s Information Centre on 1300 305 695.

Australian regulators watch as soaring mortgages drive up prices

July 28, 2014

You may read the article here or click on the link below to go the full site.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/australian-regulators-watch-as-soaring-mortgages-drive-up-prices-20140728-zxiln.html#ixzz38pYv61HL

Household debt is at a 25-year high, but regulators say risky loans haven't increased significantly.

Household debt is at a 25-year high, but regulators say risky loans haven’t increased significantly.

Central banks from Scandinavia to the UK to New Zealand are sounding the alarm about soaring mortgage debt and trying to curb risky lending. Here in Australia, where borrowing is surging, regulators are just watching.

Australian household debt is at a 25-year high, according to statistics bureau figures, and a government inquiry this month found housing to be a significant source of risk to the financial system. The average mortgage is at least four times household income in almost 80 per cent of the country, research by Digital Finance Analytics shows.

While the UK, Denmark and New Zealand introduce measures including loan limits, caps on interest-only mortgages and repayment tests, the Reserve Bank and the country’s banking regulator are holding their fire, saying risky loans haven’t increased significantly. The central bank also has said the price gains so far are spurring needed construction, easing housing shortages in some areas.

Household debt is at a 25-year high, but regulators say risky loans haven't increased significantly.
Household debt is at a 25-year high, but regulators say risky loans haven’t increased significantly. Photo: Virginia Star

“If we think there is a need for higher construction, which we do, an environment of declining prices is probably not conducive to that outcome,” RBA Governor Glenn Stevens said in a speech in Hobart earlier this month. “Some pick-up in housing prices as a result of lower interest rates was to be expected.”

 

Overvalued Housing 

Australia has the third-most overvalued housing market on a price-to-income basis, after Belgium and Canada, according to the International Monetary Fund. The average home price in the nation’s eight major cities rose 16 per cent as of June 30 from a May 2012 trough, the RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index showed.

In Sydney, where price growth has been strongest, home values soared 15 per cent over the past 12 months. That compares with a 5.4 per cent increase in New York City in April from a year earlier and a 26 per cent jump in London prices in June quarter from a year ago.

“There’s definitely room for caps on lending,” said Martin North, principal at researcher Digital Finance Analytics. “Global house price indices are all showing Australia is close to the top, and the RBA has been too myopic in adjusting to what’s been going on in the housing market.”

Residential Construction

Our regulators are hesitant to impose nation-wide rules as only some markets have seen strong price growth, said Kieran Davies, chief economist at Barclays in Sydney.

Home values in cities including Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra rose less than 3 per cent over the year to June 30, and house prices in areas outside the major cities gained less than 4 per cent in the 12 months to May, according to RP Data.

The central bank has reduced its benchmark interest rate to a record-low 2.5 per cent to aid a recovery in non-mining industries, including residential construction, as the resources boom slows.

The interest rate cuts and subsequent home price gains have helped building approvals climb 14 per cent in May from a year earlier, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Necessary Evil

“The RBA’s probably got at the back of its mind that we’re only in the early stages of the adjustment in the mining sector,” Davies said. “Mining investment still has a long way to fall, and also the job losses to flow from that. So to some extent, the house price growth is a necessary evil.”

The central bank in its quarterly monetary policy update called declining resources investment a “significant headwind,” for the economy.

As prices climb, the value of new mortgages also rose 16 per cent in May from a year ago, and overall housing credit increased 6 per cent in the quarter ended March 31 from 12 months earlier, statistics bureau data show. The average new home loan grew 6.7 per cent to $433,960 in June from a year ago, according to broker Australian Finance Group, which processes about $4 billion in home loans every month.

The increase in new mortgages, while significant, doesn’t appear “imprudent,” Stevens said in his speech in Hobart. With total credit growth only slightly above the increase in incomes, “it’s hard to mount the soap box to complain about that pace,” he said.

Low Rates

Spurring the rise in loans are the lowest mortgage rates in almost five years, after the RBA cut the cash rate by 2.25 percentage points since late 2011. The average rate on variable mortgages, which about 85 per cent of Australians borrowers are on, is 5.95 per cent, the lowest since September 2009.

Fixed rates are also on their way down. The Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac last week cut their five-year fixed rates to 4.99 per cent, a record low for CBA, the least in 20 years for NAB, and a five-year low for Westpac. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. reduced its five-year fixed rate by 30 basis points to 5.49 per cent.

Rising Debt

Stevens this month urged investors in Sydney to be cautious, after loans to buy rental properties in New South Wales surged 30 per cent to a record $5.2 billion in May from a year ago, doubling from February 2013, according to statistics bureau data. He also warned that loans to investors covering more than 80 per cent of a property’s value have been climbing.

Australians owed almost 1.8 times their 2013 pretax disposable incomes, higher than Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, the statistics bureau said in a report last month. Household debt was equivalent to $79,000 per person at the end of 2013, and has risen at almost double the pace of assets over the past 25 years, it said.

Government Inquiry

Since 1997, when Australia held its last major financial system inquiry, household debt has almost doubled as a proportion of income, with more than 90 per cent of that due to housing, the government inquiry found. Mortgages account for two-thirds of banks’ loan books, from 47 per cent in 1997, it said.

“A large enough disruption to the housing market could have significant implications for household balance sheets, financial stability, economic growth, and the speed of recovery in household spending and broader economic activity following a shock,” the inquiry’s report said.

New Zealand’s central bank last year required loans for more than 80 per cent of a property’s value to account for less than 10 per cent of a bank’s new lending. In response, home sales fell 11 per cent between October and March.

Global Measures

The Bank of England last month proposed capping mortgages of 4.5 times a borrower’s income at no more than 15 per cent of a lender’s new home loans, and required banks to reject those who fail a new repayment test. Governor Mark Carney in May called surging home prices the No. 1 risk to the economy, and Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe this month warned low borrowing costs hide the real extent of Britons’ mortgage burden.

Denmark’s central bank is pushing to require interest-only loans to be no more than 60 per cent of a property’s value, from 80 per cent. In Sweden, lenders are in talks to require borrowers to cut mortgage debt to less than 70 per cent of home values, and have capped borrowing at five times household income.

‘More Stretched’

Across Australia, the average mortgage is at least four times pretax annual income in more than 2200 postal codes out of a total 2800, according to Digital Finance Analytics. Loan- to-income ratios are spread between 2.5 times and 8 times, compared with 0 and 6 times in the UK, the data show.

“So the loan-to-income ratio in Australia is more stretched than in the UK,” DFA’s North said.

The RBA, in response to an e-mailed request for comment, referred to speeches and papers by Head of Financial Stability Luci Ellis.

The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, which oversees banks, in May issued draft guidelines urging lenders to conduct mortgage book stress tests, ensure brokers’ compensation doesn’t encourage risky lending and ascertain borrowers can repay loans, especially when rates rise.

“APRA is seeing increasing evidence of lending with higher risk characteristics and it does not want this trend to continue,” the regulator’s former chairman, John Laker, said in a statement then.

Requests to large lenders’ boards for explanations on how they’re monitoring risk have already led to more prudent standards, APRA Chairman Wayne Byres told a parliamentary hearing on July 18. Andrew McCutcheon, a spokesman for APRA, declined to comment further.

Shifting Stance

While regulators haven’t yet introduced firm lending controls, their resistance to such measures has softened. The RBA’s Ellis in October 2012 said she didn’t see a need for “elaborate” rules, and “a culture of cooperation, dialog and mutual respect” is more important than formal arrangements. In contrast, Stevens said after his speech in Hobart that the RBA is “quite happy” for limits on lending and capital requirements on banks to be imposed where they make sense.

The RBA and APRA have acknowledged potential benefits of loan limits “but at this stage they don’t believe that this type of policy action is necessary,” said David Ellis, a Sydney-based analyst at Morningstar Inc. “If the housing market was out of control and if loan growth, particularly investor credit, grew exponentially then it’d be introduced.”