In an under the radar suburb split in two, is one side better?

DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. Newport Junction housing estate along Melbourne Road DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. Houses corner of Paine and Crawford St Newport DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner.
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DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner. Newport Lake recreation and habitat reserve, former bluestone quarry DOM Newport Online. Picture Michael Rayner.

The Yarra River, Port Phillip Bay and parks. Lakes. A fishing spot. Cool cafes, everywhere. A village vibe, with more than one village to choose from. Bike paths linking into more bike paths. Two train stations. An arts centre. History. Tree-lined streets. Could an auctioneer ask for anything more for their spiel? Well, maybe a tram line. But that’s just being fussy.

The first conversation I remember having about Newport mentioned nothing of the above. It was the early 2000s, and friends had bought in there. They’d tell people where they’d bought and more often than not get a “where?” in response. “Do you know Williamstown?” they’d reply, and get nods. “Near there.”

It was a smart buy back then, and even if they’d bought in five years ago, instead of 15, they’d be ahead of the crowd, and, certainly, ahead financially. Like most of Melbourne, house prices in Newport have skyrocketed. The median house price is up 90 per cent in the past five years. However, considering the list of highlights above, and not even adding that it’s just 7km from the CBD (I know, right!), its $1 million median price seems entirely reasonable, if not cheap.

Some say there are two sides to Newport – a right or wrong side of the tracks. I ask a local barista what side of the train line is better. “This side, of course!” he says, enthusiastically. “Over on that side, well, they think it’s the Paris end, but we’ve got the bay. They think they’ve got the good side, but actually, it’s us.” Would he live on the other side? “Oh no, this is the cool side.”

You’ve got to love a suburb with a train line divide. From an outsider’s perspective, the two sides do look and feel different. The bigger blocks are further away from the bay. There’s a long, long strip of early 2000s townhouses on Mason Street. It’s got the ‘burb’s new library, which is joined to a bustling Mechanics Hall. It’s got a Vinnies op shop that blasts Smooth FM. It’s got the Substation, a century-old building that is now a not-for-profit arts centre.

But the bay side is probably cooler. Literally. Being close to the bay will do that for you. And it’s a pretty section too of coast, too. Not Brighton pretty, but watching container ships shimmy in front of the West Gate Bridge, a hair’s breadth away, well, it takes your breath away.

Warmies Boat Ramp is a popular spot for anglers, and it’s an outlet for the Newport Power Station (making the water warm). Over the Yarra River’s entrance, giraffe-like structures unload and load shipping containers. Wherever you go in Newport, the power station chimney stays in your view. Related: Can cool Melburnians enjoy Geelong?Related: Albert Park v Middle Park: Is one better?Related: This used to be our smelliest suburb

We often ramble on about the Royal Botanic Gardens, but if you like parks, spend the million dollars you were going to spend on a two-bedroom flat in Toorak on an entire house in Newport instead. There’s Newport Lakes Reserve, Newport Riverside Park, Greenwich Reserve and more.

With all that park, it’s a wonder they’ve been able to fit any houses in the suburb. Those that are there cover the whole spectrum of houses of the 150 years, from expansive brown brick ’70s family homes, to townhouses, to dainty, shaded, grand Victorians and seaside view-huggers on The Strand. It’s definitely a suburb with plenty of choice. You just have to work out which side of the tracks you want to live on. Five things you didn’t know about NewportNewport Power Station was once a coal-fired plant, but is now a gas-fired peaking power plant. In the 1950s it was the largest power station in the southern hemisphere.Newport has two train stations within its boundary: Newport and North Williamstown.ARHS Newport Railway Museum www.arhsvic成都桑拿.au has a large collection of Victorian railways steam locomotives. It’s open most Saturdays from noon to 5pm.The actual boundary takes up half of the Yarra River.Shell’s Newport Terminal has been operating for 101 years and operates as a fuel storage and distribution centre, receiving fuel from its Geelong refinery via pipelines.

Hospitals must report food reactions following boy’s death

Caitlin Louey, 16 years old, and has suffered from anaphylaxis to pecan nuts (while undergoing allergy testing at MCRI as a part of SchoolNuts – an MCRI study). 14 July 2015. The Age NEWS. Photo: Eddie Jim.A devastating food labelling error that led to the death of a 10-year-old Melbourne boy has prompted the Victorian government to make it mandatory for hospitals to report cases of anaphylaxis.
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Keen soccer player Ronak Warty died a few days before Christmas in 2013 after consuming a coconut drink bought from an Asian supermarket in Burwood East. It was later discovered the beverage contained undeclared dairy milk.

But because the hospital that treated Ronak did not alert the health department, the dangerous product remained on the shelves for another six weeks before being recalled.

More than 320 people have died in from anaphylaxis since 1997 and while medication and insect bites have typically posed the biggest danger, the number of people reacting to food such as nuts, dairy, eggs and seafood has been on the rise since the early ’90s.

Today almost half of the anaphylaxis presentations at Victorian emergency departments are food-related, a figure that has rapidly increased by around 14 per cent each year.

In response to the trend and recommendations from the coroner, the Andrews government on Wednesday introduced a bill requiring all hospitals to report all suspected cases of anaphylaxis to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“This will mean appropriate action can be taken, such as the recall of products that are not labelled correctly and could put people with allergies at risk,” a spokeswoman for Health Minister Jill Hennessy said.

Authorities were only made aware of the problem with the imported coconut drink in 2014 when contacted by support group Allergy & Anaphylaxis .

The group’s chief executive, Maria Said, said anaphylaxis deaths often went unreported. She said she was aware of two fatalities in the past two months in NSW, including one that occurred after someone dined out.

“Sometimes it gets totally missed – whether it’s a packaged food or a food that gets served in a food service facility after the person has disclosed their allergy. Those cases need to be investigated as well,” Ms Said said.

Ronak’s parents told the coroner that they had been vigilant in monitoring his allergy to nuts and dairy, with his father Satyajit Warty, who has since died, even attending school camps so he could watch what his son ate.

Mr Warty said when he bought the can of Green Time Natural Coconut Drink he had checked the label to ensure it did not contain any of his son’s allergens.

Ronak also checked the can.

In a letter in 2014, Mr Warty said “in effect, my son was killed by a corporate entity by not declaring the product correctly”.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers’ Barrie Woollacott??? has represented a number of families who have lost children to anaphylaxis and said those who were involved in preparing and providing the food were not always vigilant about allergens.

“People with food allergies, they need to feel safe about the food they are eating,” he said.

“It’s important that other people get it right so they can rely on the food labelling.”

The proposed new anaphylaxis reporting laws are set to be in place by November next year.

‘The idiot’: McGurk’s hitman allegedly ribbed by his brother the day after murder

The brother of a man who shot dead controversial businessman Michael McGurk will face trial on accessory to murder charges next year after he failed to convince a judge that the case against him was weak and unfair.
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Bassam Safetli, 49, is accused of helping and harbouring his brother Haissam Safetli, knowing that he had murdered Mr McGurk in September 2009.

According to court documents, the day after the murder he laughed at his brother for burning the money in his pockets along with his clothes when he destroyed the evidence, and ribbed the alleged gunmen for being described as “professionals”.

Mr Safetli applied to have the case thrown out on grounds that the delay in prosecuting him had brought the justice system into disrepute and that there was no prima facie case against him.

He also claimed he could not receive a fair trial because the prosecution had access to information he had given in a statement to the NSW Crime Commission on the understanding it would not be used in criminal proceedings against him.

Haissam Safetli pleaded guilty in August 2013 to murdering Mr McGurk and intimidating his widow, allegedly on behalf of property developer Ron Medich to settle some business disputes.

Mr Medich’s former friend Lucky Gattellari is serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to being an accessory before the fact of murder. He admitted to organising a payment of $300,000 for Haissam Safetli and his alleged partner Christopher Estephan to perform the hit.

Bassam Safetli stands accused of having intimate knowledge of the crime.

According to the Crown brief of evidence tendered to the NSW District Court, he sent a text message to Gattellari a few minutes after Haissam Safetli returned to the house they shared on the night of the murder: “The job is done.”

A short time later he is alleged to have sent a second message to Gattellari’s driver Senad Kaminic saying: “The tyres are done.”

Kaminic was initially confused by the message, because he had actually asked Mr Safetli to do some work on a car.

“Did you do a wheel alignment?” he fired back.

Mr Safetli: “Yeah we did the whole lot. The job is done? You know what I mean?”

Kaminic: “Yeah ok I’ll pass on the message to Lucky.”

Kaminic later told police that when he arrived at Haissam Safetli’s house with a $20,000 payment the following day, he found the brothers chatting about the murder on the verandah with Mr Estephan and a fourth man, Adam Chahine.

Bassam Safetli was alleged to have been jocular.

“Everyone thinks it was a professional hit,” he allegedly said. “Look at these professionals.”

He pointed to people on verandah and laughed. Then he allegedly gestured to his brother.

“The idiot burnt his clothes when he got home and the money in his pockets too.”

Mr Safetli is accused of accompanying Haissam to meet Kaminic to receive cash, and paying Mr Estephan three instalments of $10,000 as payment for the murder.

Later, when Gattellari and Kaminic were embroiled in a dispute over payment for the hit, he is alleged to have said: “Sort this shit out or we’ll all end up in jail.”

But in applying for a permanent stay on the charges, he claimed that most of the particulars in the case against him were available to the prosecution as early as November 2010 and the delay in proceedings represented a miscarriage of justice.

Part of the reason he was being prosecuted was to “shore up the credibility of Crown witnesses against Ron Medich at his trial”, his legal team argued in written submissions to the court.

In previous proceedings Mr Medich’s counsel had pointed out that Mr Safetli had not been charged with any offence.

Judge David Frearson rejected the application. The trial is listed for April 2018.

ACT Brumbies eyeing off axed Western Force talent

The ACT Brumbies will announce multiple signings from the Western Force next week and coach Dan McKellar confirmed there could be more players from the axed club if roster sizes are increased.
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Rugby confirmed in the wake of the Force being cut from Super Rugby a transition period will likely see the 30-man roster and $5 million salary cap increased for next season.

The Brumbies have almost finalised their roster but will recruit more talent if the new rules allow them to contracted additional players.

There are four uncontracted Force players on the Wallabies spring tour at the moment but only one would fill a void at the Brumbies in 2018.

Ben McCalman, Curtis Rona, Matt Philip and Billy Meakes are on international duty and yet to sign with clubs for next season – but with the Brumbies back-row and outside back stocks full – only Meakes would fit the bill.

The Brumbies only have three centres with genuine Super Rugby experience in Christian Lealiifano, Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani and must pursue the rising No. 12 Meakes.

The 26-year-old has been linked with the New South Wales Waratahs and Melbourne Rebels and if the Brumbies miss out there are other options to bolster their midfield.

Former Wallabies flyer Nick Cummins took this year off rugby but the 15-Test utility back has suggested he could return to Super Rugby next season.

Cummins hasn’t played in since 2015 when he left for Japan but the 30-year-old could finish his career on home shores.

Western Force utility and Canberra export Robbie Coleman could return to the Brumbies after leaving in 2016 and with 80 ACT caps to his name would comfortably slot back in.

n teams endured their worst season on record this year but McKellar believes with a more condensed player pool will see them return to winning ways in 2018.

“There are some good players coming out of the Force and n teams are going to have stronger rosters because of that,” McKellar said.

“That’s just how it works going from five teams to four, there is less opportunity now which creates more competition for spots amongst the remaining teams.

“We’ll be looking [at Force players], we’re always looking at players we need and if we need them in the positions available then you always consider it.”

However, McKellar said if the squad sizes are increased the first place he’ll look is the Brumbies’ backyard and promised to continue the club’s rich history of promoting Canberra players.

“We’re always looking but the first place we look is our local players and recent history shows that we do sign guys from the local competition,” McKellar said.

“Andy Muirhead has signed on the back of good season with Royals, Ben Hyne, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Tommy Staniforth and Les Makin have all come through local pathways.

“You should always look locally first then make decisions, but we’ve got to pick guys we feel are best for job in that particular position.”

McKellar watched every game of the Canberra Vikings season and said he was impressed with their run to the National Rugby Championship grand final.

“Vikings players player like Harry Lloyd, I think he’s got a big future as a loosehead prop and we’ll have him doing pre-Christmas training with us just to expose him to that next level up,” McKellar said.

“Len Ikitau is a player that has been in and around our program for 12 months and is someone that will ideally progress to the next level down the track.

“We need to make sure we continually provide a pathway for local players the NRC has been good for their development and helps bridge that gap between club rugby and Super Rugby.”

Howard expects call up as Keneally challenges Bennelong

Former prime minister John Howard at a book launch at Old Parliament House on Tuesday. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong FAIRFAX, CANBERRA, HOWARD pic shows Prime Minister John Howard at a press conference to talk about the IRAQ situation held at Parliament House today March 17 2003. pic by PENNY BRADFIELD / peb SPECIALX HOWARD
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Former prime minister John Howard says he’s expecting a call up as the Coalition campaigns to retain his former Sydney seat of Bennelong, hours after former NSW premier Kristina Keneally was named as Labor’s candidate.

Launching a new book of unpublished documents from the early years of the Howard government held at UNSW Canberra, ‘s second-longest serving prime minister told an audience at Old Parliament House on Tuesday night that careful historical analysis of politics was critical to better understanding of federal Parliament.

“It is important, particularly after some of the tumult and the shouting has died from the immediate involvement in politics,” he said.

“I suspect that in the next couple of weeks it will be difficult for me not to get reengaged in a by-election somewhere and perhaps in a state election in Queensland.”

Labor is hoping its high-profile candidate can claim Mr Howard’s old seat for the party for the first time since 2007, when former ABC presenter Maxine McKew defeated the then prime minister as Kevin Rudd came to power.

Ms Keneally faced criticism from the Turnbull government over corruption findings against her former NSW state colleagues on the day she launched a campaign for the seat.

Liberal MP John Alexander held Bennelong with a margin of more than nine per cent until he was forced to resign this week over his dual citizenship.

Edited by UNSW Canberra’s academic and Harold Holt biographer Tom Frame, The Ascent to Power, 1996 includes documents related to Mr Howard’s early career, the policies of his first Coalition government and relations with the federal public service and Senate crossbenchers.

The book is the first of four planned volumes drawing on Mr Howard’s own papers held by UNSW Canberra.

It covers his 1996 victory over Labor leader Paul Keating, budget management and gun law reform in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre.

Mr Howard paid tribute to former ministers who attended the event, including John Anderson, Kevin Andrews, Philip Ruddock, David Kemp, Brendan Nelson.

Former Senate president Margaret Reid, former governor-general Michael Jeffery and National Archives of director-general David Fricker also attended the event.

The launch was part of a two-day retrospective event on the Howard government held by UNSW Canberra’s Public Leadership Research Group.

Mr Howard told the event he considered the House of Representatives chamber at Old Parliament House to be the true home of ‘s political debate, even revealing he wished it could have been transferred after the new Parliament was opened.

“There’s a common responsibility on the part of people on different sides of politics to nurture what we have achieved in the past, to honour praise-worthy deads, to highlight failure and to be objective in understanding what we have built in this country,” he said.

The National Archives will release the first cabinet papers from the Howard government from 2019, as part of the 20-year rule on government decisions.

Some documents won’t be released until 2027.

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Newcastle Knights hooker Danny Levi earns start for Kiwis quarter-final

Newcastle Knights hooker Danny Levi has earned a starting spot in New Zealand’s side for theirWorld Cup quarter-final against Fiji on Saturdayat Westpac Stadium.
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Danny Levi

Levi earned a promotion in place of Thomas Leuluai, who missed out on the 21 altogether.

The 21-year-old Levi has played his three Tests from the bench since his debut in the Kiwis’ opening World Cup match.

“In the last three games, from what we have seen, he thoroughly deserves that starting spot,”coach David Kidwell said on Tuesday.

Te Maire Martin has been recalled in the No.6 jersey to partner Shaun Johnson in the halves.

That sees Kodi Nikorima, who was five-eighth in the loss against Tonga, set to play a utility role against Fiji.

Adam Blair will skipper the side from lock, while Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine and Nelson Asofa-Solomona will get their chance to play in front of their home city fans.

Kidwell said it was important to play “tough and smart football”, with the latter lacking against Tonga.

Meanwhile, Fijian winger Marcelo Montoya admits Tonga have done his team no favours with their 28-22 upset of New Zealand in last weekend’s World Cup boilover in Hamilton.

The loss meant the Kiwis finished second in Pool B, and became the first tier-one nation in rugby league history to lose to a tier-two opponent.Montoya has no doubt the stung Kiwis will come out firing on Saturday.

“Now the New Zealand team know where they’ve got to patch up, they’re going to come out at 100 miles an hour, and we’ll have to come out the same,” he said.

“We’ve got to be very well prepared, and we’ve got to weather that storm.”

The Bulldogs youngster says confidence is running high in a Fijian team which recorded three runaway wins in pool play to finish top of Group D.

The Bati have amassed 32 tries after beating Italy 38-10, Wales 72-6 and the United States 58-12, seven tries ahead of New Zealand’s second-placed 25.

Montoya says despite the sudden-death pressure of quarter-final play, he doesn’t expect the Kiwis will see themselves as under threat.

“They know where they’re at and they know what they can produce as a collective,” he said.

“They’re a world class team, and I think for us it’s about focusing on ourselves.

“We’ve just got block out what happened last week to them and focus on getting the win. They’re going to come out as a new team.”

Led by skipper and fullback Kevin Naiqama, Fiji have a wealth of firepower in their back five, and Montoya says there’s plenty of experience throughout the team that’s going to be crucial in shutting down the Kiwis.

“They’ve got a strong forward pack and they’ve got some good outside backs -they’re very agile and find their front, and make a lot of metres for them.

“For us, it’s just about defending well as a group collectively, and minimising their attack.”

Jelena Dokic says Kyrgios’ supportive family can take him to No. 1

Jelena Dokic backs Nick Kyrgios to become world No. 1 on the back of the support of a “great family” in contrast to her own harrowing experiences.
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Dokic revealed the horrendous emotional and physical abuse she endured as an adolescent at the hands of her father, Damir Dokic, as she became one of the best tennis players in the world, in her new book Unbreakable.

The former world No. 4 survived years of abuse and in a book full of startling revelations, which she will discuss at an event in Canberra later this month, Dokic said she was once beaten unconscious.

Dokic fell offside with the n public as a teenager in 2001 when she defected to play for Serbia, a decision the 34-year-old says her father made, but one that remains the biggest regret of her career.

Kyrgios has endured his own rocky relationship with the n public and while Dokic said their stories were “completely different”, she backed the 22-year-old to fulfil his potential with the support of a loving family.

The world No. 21 regularly tours with a member of his family and has spoken about his struggles to cope with life on the road.

“From what I know and see he has a good family… in them he has a great support system,” Dokic said.

“I had a very abusive situation and very tough upbringing and difficult situation with my dad, whereas from what I know of Nick it’s completely the opposite, he has a great family and lots of support.

“Nick needs his family and that’s why he has them on tour to help him, sometimes he struggles on the road away from and he does need people around him that are good for him and his family are definitely the right choice.”

Kyrgios has been without a full-time coach for almost two years and Dokic said the world No. 21 can become the best player in the world with just the support of those closest to him.

“I’ve been a big fan of Nick, I love how he plays and he doesn’t want a full-time coach which is fair enough and he’s played well without one,” Dokic said.

“He has an amazing game and one I definitely could see winning a grand slam and potentially becoming number one.

“There are issues that he sometimes has going on and he’s admitted to that which is good… but I’ve watched a lot of his matches and I really enjoy when he plays well and is winning.

“When he’s in the right space it is beautiful to watch him play and I’m rooting for him and would like to see him do even better and jump into the top 10.”

Dokic and Kyrgios have both endured prickly relationships with the media but Dokic said hers began when she was forced to publicly defend the Serbia move because of the fear of repercussions if she contradicted her father.

“I wouldn’t have had a tough relationship with the media if it wasn’t for my father, he made things very difficult for me and after I left home and distanced myself from him it was hard to get rid of that image,” Dokic said.

Dokic said she would have liked “lots of things” about her past to be different but emphasised defecting from the green and gold for five years was her biggest regret.

“The big one would be switching from playing for to Serbia, that was a decision my dad made with which I didn’t agree with,” Dokic said.

“I felt n and always wanted to play for and even know I came back a few years later and I didn’t really make the decision to leave myself, people still judged me.

“I got a lot of problems because of that… it was a really bad decision and after gave me a second chance but I felt I had to work extra hard with fans, but they did welcome me back.”

Dokic will speak in Canberra at an event promoting her book at the National Library on November 27.

Elderly residents turfed out before Christmas

Police investigate the welbeing of residents at Berkeley Living Retirement Village, after staff have walked off the job, as they are not being paid. Patterson Lakes, Melbourne. September 15th 2017. Photo: Daniel Pockett Police investigate the welbeing of residents at Berkeley Living Retirement Village, after staff have walked off the job, as they are not being paid. Patterson Lakes, Melbourne. September 15th 2017. Photo: Daniel Pockett
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A group of elderly and bedridden residents will lose their homes just before Christmas as the scandal-plagued retirement village Berkeley Living in Patterson Lakes prepares to close.

The closure comes after the owners of units in the village, who are financial victims of convicted criminal Stephen Snowden, were hit with threats of fines and building repair costs in excess of $500,000 by the City of Kingston in Melbourne’s south-east after the building was deemed “dangerous”.

A representative for the owners of the units said they didn’t have the money to carry out the repairs and as a result the facility will be closed. On November 30, all utilities will be switched off.

Several of the elderly residents have moved to alternative accommodation in recent weeks but the fate of those remaining remains unclear with the council not responding to multiple calls from The Age. Sources said the council will try and place them in alternative accommodation, with some residents reluctant to leave.

The planned closure comes after The Age revealed in September that state authorities, including Victoria Police, had intervened in the management of the facility after staff had not been paid for months.

Prior to the government intervention residents were being cared for and supplied food by friends living nearby.

The affected residents include people in their 90s, a quadriplegic and another person with Alzheimer’s.

Staff had walked out weeks after The Age revealed that more than 30 families had sold units at Berkeley Living but were never paid the money they were owed. They have been fighting to get the money back.

Colin Walker, a member of one of the 30-plus families trying to get back their money, said he first approached Consumer Affairs Victoria in 2010 to do something about the village but he got nowhere. “If Consumer Affairs had stepped in back in 2010 maybe we might not have got to this point,” he said.

Mr Walker sold the unit after his father died in 2011. Since then he has been trying to retrieve almost $100,000 that he is owed after exit and other fees are deducted.

“The whole situation is a complete debacle,” he said.

Mr Walker criticised a regulatory system that allows retirement villages to change operators without proper regulatory scrutiny.

“This is an area where many elderly people are unsure of their rights and they invest in these places which can be run or taken over by shifty operators and nobody cares,” he said.

The entire saga has shone a light on the oversight of the retirement village sector in Victoria.

Another victim, Mark Markovic, who owns six units, said when the council inspected the property there were no smoke detectors or fire equipment. “It is disgusting that a retirement village can be run this way,” he said.

Mr Markovic said he didn’t know what was going to happen. “We hope something can be salvaged,” he said.

Mr Markovic first complained to Consumer Affairs and the n Securities and Investments Commission in 2009 but didn’t get a response. “They hide behind privacy laws,” he said. “It’s disgusting.”

Mr Snowden, a former bankrupt with convictions for dishonesty, is a former director of the village and remains deeply involved in the operation.

Mr Snowden declined to answer questions from Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

He has previously denied owing any owners of the units money, describing them as “scumbags”.

He also previously denied not paying his staff.

Last month members of the owners corporation received a notice from the council ordering that urgent building repairs take place at the facility.

Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz refused to answer a series of questions about the financial plight of the former residents yesterday.

She also declined to say whether any action had been taken against Mr Snowden or whether Consumer Affairs Victoria had informed ASIC of the misappropriation allegations made by the former residents against Mr Snowden.

Despite the building being deemed as an aged care facility under the building codes by the council, Berkeley Living remains a retirement village that is regulated by Consumer Affairs.

In a written statement, Ms Kairouz said: “In September, we appointed a Resident’s Sponsor and a State Government Coordinator to protect the welfare of residents. We continue to help the remaining residents find alternative places to live.”

Sources have told The Age the City of Kingston made the orders on request from Consumer Affairs Victoria. The City of Kingston did not respond to inquiries.

Brisbane’s time in the sun just beginning: Why affordability will reignite the market

Brisbane CBD, Brisbane River, Brisbane stock imageIt’s a sad fact that there are no suburbs within about 50 kilometres of the Sydney CBD with a median house price of less than $500,000.
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Head north to Queensland, however, and the Sunshine State capital still boasts middle-ring suburbs with house medians under the half a million dollar mark – no wonder interstate migration is booming.

Domain Group data shows there are still 17 suburbs in the Brisbane City Council area with median house prices under $500,000, with some just nine or 10 kilometres from the CBD.

And if you include the surrounding Greater Brisbane council areas of Logan, Moreton Bay and Ipswich, the number of affordable suburbs skyrockets.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland northern suburbs zone chair Jason Bond said Brisbane’s north offered affordable price points for first homebuyers as well as access to number of facilities.

“Boondall has so much going for it, including being home to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, and St Joseph’s Nudgee College – one of Brisbane’s leading private boys’ schools. It is also within close proximity to the n Catholic University campus and Virginia Golf Club, as well as the airport,” he said.

Bracken Ridge, which has a median price of $495,000, was less than 20 kilometres from the CBD, as well as recording strong price growth, he said.

Mr Bond said the suburb was also the beneficiary of the state government’s $140 million transport upgrade, which will reduce commuting time by as much as 10 minutes. Related: Five of the best Brisbane parkside homesRelated: Morningside bargain passes inRelated: Banks making it harder to buy off-the-plan: Brisbane

“This area has undergone extensive development over the past 18 months and while locals are looking forward to an end to construction and the myriad of trucks and cranes around the place, the suburb is really undergoing a transformation,” he said.

“Bracken Ridge offers older-style homes on larger blocks. It’s a great opportunity for first homebuyers to get into the market and they can look forward to capital growth over the coming years.”

Sydney-based Right Property Group director and buyers’ agent Steve Waters has been buying in Brisbane for the past three years because of its affordability compared to southern capitals.

He said he’s not surprised by the recent growth in interstate migration because that is what always happens when the property price gap between Sydney and Brisbane becomes uncomfortably wide.

“We have been saying for two years that this moment will come. It’s history repeating itself. It does it every single cycle without fail,” Mr Waters said.

“It happens every cycle when the ‘affordability issue’ kicks into the southern states, especially Sydney.

“People say, ‘Enough is enough. Let’s move to Brisbane. It’s sunnier, there’s a better lifestyle, and we can literally get double the bang for our buck’.”

And Mr Waters said that Brisbane’s time in the property sun was just beginning because affordability always matters – regardless of your income.

“Affordability is always the key. I don’t care whether you earn $10 million, $100,000 or $10,000, at some point you will reach your affordability threshold,” he said.

“Gone are the days when Brisbane was considered an outpost. It’s not. There’s a lot of good things that Brisbane has to offer, such as infrastructure, potential jobs growth and affordability.”

This $180 million Bunnings deal is a big box game changer

Hardware giant Bunnings has sold four newly-built stores to CBRE Global Investors in a $180 million transaction that recalibrates values in the sought-after sector.
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The Wesfarmers-owned hardware chain struck a deal on a low 5 per cent blended-yield to offload stores in Windsor Gardens in Adelaide, the Auckland suburb of New Lynn and the Sydney suburbs of Caringbah and Bonnyrigg.

Two of the properties, Caringbah and Windsor Gardens, are under construction and yet to open, while all four sold with 12-year leases in place to Bunnings.

CBRE Global Investors is understood to be seeding a new n Unit Trust with the properties which will be underpinned by offshore institutional investors.

Bunnings’ general property manager Andrew Marks said the sale was consistent with the group’s long-term strategy of diversifying its investor base and recycling capital on lease terms that provide it operational flexibility.

“We are pleased to have completed another successful sale at a yield that is reflective of the market and on lease terms that take into account our operational objectives,” he said.

The assets are the second Bunnings-leased portfolio to change hands in as many months as institutions lineup to take a bite of the sector attracted by long leases and stable income.

Property fund Charter Hall finalised an $187 million off-market transaction last month which saw it take control of six former Masters stores that had been re-leased to Bunnings on new 12-year terms.

The assets were secured for the platform’s Long WALE Hardware Partnership fund and followed another $21 million purchase in September of a Bunnings Warehouse in Burnie, Tasmania which was used to seed the group’s Direct Diversified Consumer Staples Fund.

JLL’s Stuart McCann, who handled the most recent Bunnings transaction, said their sale to CBRE Global Investors underscored the amount of offshore capital targeting n real estate.

“This year alone, our platform has received over $25 billion of offers, of which more than $15 billion .. has been from offshore,” he said.

CBRE Global Investors director Chris Johnston said the group intended to work with Bunnings on future transactions for similar assets.

“This portfolio provides exposure to a strong credit tenant who is a leading retailer in the home improvement market with quality assets and attractive lease terms,” he said.

The sale suggests yields in the popular asset class have consolidated at around 5 per cent.

A Bunnings in Auckland’s Grey Lynn sold in September on a 4.9 per cent yield for $37.77 million with a 12-year lease.

Earlier this year in Newstead in Queensland another large-format warehouse with the same lease term sold on a yield of 5.15 per cent, fetching $62.9 million.

A Bunnings Warehouse with a new 12-year lease in Osborne Park set the sector’s benchmark in June last year when it sold to a Perth investor for $7.05 million on a 4.65 per cent yield, the sharpest return so far.