FFA set for showdown talks with active fans and A-League chairmen

Under fire: Football Federation chief executive David Gallop and chairman Steven Lowy. Photo: James BrickwoodWednesday is D-Day for Football Federation as the governing body comes face-to-face with their biggest adversaries: A-League chairmen and active fans.
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In what rates among the most important 24 hours in A-League’s recent history, the FFA will be steeling itself for a brutal grilling from two of the sport’s key stakeholders.

Both the men in suits and fans from the stands will come armed with a suite of complaints and it promises be an enormous test of will for new FFA chairman Steven Lowy and the chief executive David Gallop.

The meeting between the FFA and the A-League chairmen is a scheduled part of their ongoing dialogue but the roundtable with the active fan leaders is an unlikely, extraordinary development.

It is the first time active fans have collectively met with the FFA on such a large scale, with representatives from all 10 A-League clubs. The presence of the fans is being funded by an unspecified “third party”.

While the FFA is confident it can placate active fans and avoid the continuation of a boycott that marred last weekend’s round of matches, various fan groups have promised to stand their ground should their requests not be met.

What originally began as a response to the naming of 198 banned fans in a Sunday Telegraph article a fortnight ago has evolved into a league-wide movement, led by those who are lobbying for the better treatment of active supporters.

In a shared statement on their official Facebook pages this week, the Western Sydney’s Red and Black Bloc and Sydney FC’s The Cove, outlined how they have repeatedly let the FFA know about their concerns for many years but had failed to see a response.

“The FFA has been aware of these issues for a number of years and we have only reached this point with the support of every fan who has supported the cause,” it read. “We will continue to stand up for our rights and the rights of every single person who attends a FFA-sanctioned event. The outcome of Wednesday’s meeting, and subsequent actions will be dependent solely on FFA’s willingness to address those issues fully.”

The statement confirmed that the various fan groups were united on the issue of how active fans should be treated.

“We have been communicating with leaders of the other active supporter groups in order to go into this meeting with clear objectives and expectations of what is required from the FFA in order to end our protests,” it read. “These objectives are consistent across all fan groups as is our commitment to co-operating with everyone involved in order to find a solution.”

While some believe that the movement has been about freeing banned fans who have committed illegal acts, the groups confirmed this was not the case.

“One thing is certain. Change will only come about through unity of the fans. This is not about avoiding punishment for those who do wrong. We don’t want or expect special treatment, simply fairness,” the statement said.

In a statement on Melbourne Victory’s North Terrace page, they confirmed that three of their representatives would be present.

“We urge people not to raise their expectations,” it read. “This is a first step in a long journey.”

Raising the GST to 15 per cent is far harder than it seems

All but one of the options listed for boosting the GST are fraught with danger for Treasurer Scott Morrison. Photo: Andrew MearesEverything is on the table’Once in a lifetime opportunity’ for tax reform
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The agenda paper prepared for Thursday’s treasurers’ meeting ought to come with a big red stamp that reads “danger”.

All but one of the options listed for boosting the GST are fraught. Each requires “compensation”.

If the GST was lifted to 15 per cent, households earning up to $100,000 would need to be completely compensated. Households earning up to $155,000 would need to get back “at least half of the extra GST revenue”.

It would end up costing “at least half of the extra GST revenue”.

The real danger is that “at least half” would be only the beginning. If the treasurers so much as mention compensation in public, they run the risk of being heard to make commitments.

“Making commitments now risks overcompensation for households and adding significantly to the cost of household assistance,” the paper warns.

Lifting the GST to 15 per cent would raise $32.5 billion, the Treasury says. But $16 billion to $17 billion of it would be given back in compensation, which would be messy.

Some ns would get increased cash benefits: pensions, family payments and the like. Others would get tax offsets. The retirees who neither pay tax nor get get benefits would get a seniors concession allowance. Others who missed out would get a “transitional payment”.

And this time it would be harder to convince people the compensation would last. When the Howard government introduced the GST in 2000 it pushed up family allowances to compensate. Fifteen years on, the Turnbull government is planning to wind back those increases because it faces budgetary problems.

The only option for boosting GST revenue that wouldn’t need compensation is extending it to financial services. It wouldn’t raise much either, but the people it would hit most would be too well off to need compensation.

Victoria’s option of lifting the Medicare levy from 2 to 4 per cent of income is simple by comparison. It would raise $15 to $16 billion, about the same as would the GST rise after compensation, but because the low-income earners are already excluded from the levy, it could be done without paying anyone anything.

It’s looking like a long meeting.

Peter Martin is economics editor of The Age.

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Everything is on the table: leaked COAG agenda reveals GST changes being considered

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison. Photo: Andrew MearesRaising GST to 15 per cent harder than it seems’Once in a lifetime opportunity’ for tax reform
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Massive increases to the GST that would raise up to $45 billion annually will be on the table when Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers meet on Friday, according to a leaked document obtained by Fairfax Media.

The Council of n Governments document, marked “for official use only” and titled “Reform of the Federation”, reveals modelling prepared by the federal treasury at the request of the states in July, and will help frame the crunch tax meeting, which will be led by NSW Premier Mike Baird, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mr Turnbull.

Eight options for tax reform – including six GST options and two Medicare Levy proposals – are canvassed in the paper, which sets out four previously unpublished tax options that have been costed by the federal Treasury, and four more that will be costed as the federal and state governments pursue tax reform.

Soon after becoming Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull said everything – including a consumption tax rise – was on the table as his government pursued tax reform.

The document confirms that a rise in the goods and services tax remains a live option and raises the prospect of a federal election in 2016 fought over the issue if the federal government adopts a plan to hike the GST and can strike a deal with the states, whose support will be needed for any increase.

The leak also comes as former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello warned “hot heads” in his party not to raise the GST to 15 per cent, and as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten promised to oppose a GST rise.

The first four options include lifting the GST to 15 per cent, raising $32.5 billion; lifting the GST to 12.5 per cent and expanding the base to include all food and non-alcoholic drinks, raising $25 billion; and raising the Medicare Levy from 2 per cent to 4 per cent in one hit, which would raise $15 billion. The fourth, and most radical option would be to raise the GST to 15 per cent, expanding it to include food and non-alcoholic drinks, water and sewerage. This would raise $45 billion annually.

The second set of four other options being considered are expanding the GST base to include health services; including education services; introducing a GST-equivalent financial sector tax; and raising the Medicare Levy to 4 per cent over eight years.

In 2014, it was estimated that extending the GST to health, education services and introducing a financial sector tax would each raise about $4 billion annually if implemented.

The Turnbull government has already indicated, however, that health and education are likely to be exempt from any GST changes, whereas fresh food and financial services are considered fair game.

The paper also hints at the difficult public debate that will accompany any rise to the consumption tax, warning “public commitments about which households will be fully compensated should be avoided” because “making commitments now risks over-compensation for households”.

Offsetting GST price rises for households earning less than $100,000, and half of the price rises for households earning less than $155,000, would use “at least” half the extra GST revenue, it states.

The $15 billion that would be raised by increasing the Medicare Levy, without assistance for households, is about the same amount left over if the GST is increased to 15 per cent and households are compensated.

That means, in effect, some people would be worse off under a Medicare Levy rise than a straight increase in the GST.

The increases in pensions, family payments, concessions for seniors and a rise in the low income tax offset were used to compensate households after the introduction of the carbon tax in 2010-11 and served as a “useful example of the form that compensation could take for a change in the GST”.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and his state counterparts will meet on Thursday in Sydney, the day before the leaders meeting, with reforms to state taxes to dominate discussions.

Last week, Mr Morrison played down the significance of the Treasury modelling, which has not been released, arguing it had been “done based on the request from the states”.

Mr Morrison said on Monday the “idea that we should be raising taxes to pay for higher levels of expenditure” by the states did not appeal to him, or the Prime Minister.

Mr Shorten said on Tuesday: “I don’t believe that the case has been made that , in order to make sure that we are a successful, fair country needs to have a GST where you put everything up to 15 per cent”.

Mr Costello wrote for News Corp that “if the Coalition goes ahead with that proposal [a rise to 15 per cent], you can put down the glasses and stop worrying about other policies … it will swamp everything”.

Mr Shorten said he didn’t always agree with Mr Costello “but he is stating the obvious, isn’t he? Putting up a GST to 15 per cent, it’s lazy”.

NSW and South have led the case, among the states, in pushing for a GST rise.

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David Potts on money: the taxation of voluntary redundancy, and a fond farewell

The last time I was made redundant was a less pleasant affair than this one.
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was in deep doo-doo, made no less painful by the fact that I’d been forecasting it only to leap straight into it. That and I had no say in the decision.

Even though I’m always being mistaken for 63, I’m actually 64. The thing is, my 65th birthday is only a few months away and what with my employer offering me more to go away than stay, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Some would take it as a backhanded insult but really it was generously timed because if you take voluntary redundancy before you’re 65 the Tax Office feels sorry for you and taxes the payout more lightly.

My editor suggested I explain the ins and outs of the taxation of voluntary redundancies, which I thought might look a big self-indulgent, but then, as you know, that’s never stopped me. I’ll just say the first $9514 plus $4758 for each year of service is tax-free and the rest, up to $185,000 is taxed at 17 per cent. After 65 the lot is taxed – 17 per cent for the first $185,000 then 47 per cent.

Where was I?

Oh yes, my last hurrah. In this business you’re judged by your last story or column so the pressure’s on. That’s why I’m going to cheat and, in the spirit of John Farnham who never stops retiring, nor should he, return in a few days for Sunday’s final fling.

At least I’m leaving you with the shop in better shape than I did last time.

Although it had seemed such an obvious conclusion to draw considering interest rates had been jacked up to 18 per cent, oddly enough I was virtually on my lonesome warning about it. Incredibly, the economists and bureaucrats of the day – this was before they were so ingeniously dubbed econocrats – were fretting that growth and so inflation were out of control and the Reserve Bank was losing the plot which, in one respect, was right. The recession that followed was our worst in almost 30 years and, as it’s turned out, our only one.

Anyway I had quit my rarefied job as economics editor of The n to get my hands dirty as an editor of a brand new throwaway newspaper backed by real estate agents. This was in the wealthy eastern suburbs of Sydney in the middle of a property boom about to crash due to the recession I’d just warned about. Somehow we hung on for three years and although I was eventually out on my arse I had learned a lot about running a small business.

If I may say, this experience at the coalface allowed me subsequently to become the best in the business at tipping interest rates. I swear sometimes I know before the Reserve Bank what it’s going to do.

So, in what could well be famous last words, my tip is that rates will stay this low for years and possibly go lower.

I’ve also learned that the markets are more about psychology than economics. They have a mind of their own especially when you think you’ve pinned them down.

I love reading daily sharemarket reports purporting to rationalise the irrational. Apparently it was some obscure statistic that sets the market running one way or another. Hmm, unless everybody who bought or sold shares that day was asked, I don’t think so. Beside, over the years I’ve seen whole recessions that were subsequently airbrushed, I mean revised, away.

Trust me, give it long enough and the sharemarket always rises, though unfortunately that’s not to say every stock.

Like everything else, financial concepts move in and out of fashion. Outsourcing and downsizing are all the rage now, hence my own departure. It’s a fad.

Over the years I’ve rubbed shoulders with some of the richest people and one thing I’ve learned is that the rich really are different to you and me. One exception I’ll allow is Gerry Harvey, who is endearingly normal.

The rich put work first, are natural networkers, know how to use other people and hate paying tax. Come to think of it maybe they aren’t that different after all.

It was Andrew Clark who hired me and made me a better writer for a gig which was to go for 22 years before they found out about me. My first time around at Fairfax I owe to the late Paddy McGuiness, one of our great intellects, who rescued me from Treasury and honed my economic insights as Max Walsh taught me how to find a news angle.

This is an excuse to thank them but also remind you that to get on you must find yourself a mentor.

Somebody once confided he doesn’t understand most of what I write but he loves reading every word of it. I hope I’m the exception but in my experience supposed experts in finance who can’t explain simply what they’re on about tend not to know themselves. I mean it’s not rocket science.

But even if I only raised a chuckle now and then, I feel blessed.

I’ve met readers in the most unlikely places – from the Ghan in the middle of nowhere to a checkout chick at Coles – and loved it.

See you around.

Email: [email protected]上海龙凤论坛m,au Twitter: @moneypotts.

Weaker dollar dampens online shopping boom

Amazon fulfilment centre: The boom in digital shopping appears to slowing to a more moderate pace. Photo: Jeff SpicerShoppers will make some $2.8 billion in online purchases over the six weeks before Christmas, according to industry predictions, much of it on smart phones.
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Yet despite the spectacular rise of online retail in recent years, the boom in digital shopping appears to slowing to a more moderate pace.

This is partly because the weaker dollar has made overseas internet shopping dearer. But traditional “bricks and mortar” retailers are also fighting back against their online rivals by competing more aggressively.

As a consumer, it can be worth using this fierce competition between physical and online stores to your advantage, as many retailers are willing to match digital shops on price.

National Bank’s index of online sales shows ns spent $17.9 billion on online retail in the last year, but growth is slowing. Spending rose by 5.7 per cent in the past year, a far cry from around 2011, when it was booming by more than 20 per cent a year.

The exchange rate is one reason for the slowdown – the currency has slumped 13 per cent in the last year to about 73 US cents, pushing up the cost of overseas purchases, and the extras, such as shipping charges.

In fact, the share of our online spending that goes overseas is steadily declining, as this week’s graph shows. Overseas online retail is edging up by just 1.3 per cent a year, whereas the local online businesses are enjoying overall sales growth of 7.3 per cent.

But even though the glory days of cheap online imports are probably in the past, the rise of online shopping is still benefiting consumers in other ways.

For one, it has meant there is more choice, and convenience. As well, digital commerce has brought customers the added bonus of more competition, because it’s forcing the traditional retailers to compete more fiercely with their digital rivals.

NAB’s chief economist Alan Oster says more traditional retailers are fighting back against the online invasion by matching the lower prices, and that is another reason why online growth has slowed over the last few years.

For consumers, that means it can be worth checking out the prices of online stores, and then seeing if physical shops will beat or match it.

Officeworks, for instance, says its policy is to beat the offers of online stores just like other businesses, but it will take into account the cost of delivery. Many other “bricks and mortar” stores have a similar approach.

The weaker dollar may have taken some of the value out of overseas online shopping. But even so, the lasting effect of online retailing is likely to be sharper competition – and that’s a win for consumers.

NSW Government moves to tighten cosmetic surgery industry

Krystle Morgan said she was fearful for other young women who were not aware of the risks associated with cosmetic surgery. Photo: Greg TotmanThe NSW Government has moved to tighten regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry after a number of patients were rushed to hospital following breast enlargement surgery.
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Several patients have been transferred to hospital following procedures at private cosmetic surgery clinics in the last two years and at least three clinics are being investigated by the Health Care Complaints Commission.

The patients include Wollongong woman Krystle Morgan, whose lung was punctured during a breast enlargement at The Cosmetic Institute in Bondi last year and Amy Rickhuss, who went into cardiac arrest at the same company’s Parramatta clinic in January.

Doctors do not need to have specialised in plastic surgery to perform cosmetic surgery in NSW.  Cosmetic surgery practices only need to be licensed by the Private Health Facilities Act if patients are administered sedation that renders a patient unconscious or use certain types of anaesthetic.

A discussion paper that has been posted to the NSW Health website invites the public, stakeholders and industry for their views on whether a new class of regulation should be developed and how it should be defined.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner said her department was considering if further legislation of the cosmetic industry was required.

“Patient safety is paramount,” Mrs Skinner said.

“The discussion paper will assess whether current licensing requirements for facilities are adequate to protect patients.”

The Medical Board of is also reviewing the billion-dollar industry.

The Cosmetic Institute has declined to comment on individual cases, citing patient confidentiality, but has said its record is overwhelmingly one of safety.

Commercial property: Big deals keep on rolling

Melbourne’s Jam Factory on Chapel Street, bought by Newmark for $165 million. Photo: unknownThe commercial property market is poised for another bumper year as increasing business confidence, the falling n dollar and historically low interest rates drive investors.
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Transactions across and all sectors is expected to reach $35 billion in 2015, with local purchasers accounting for half of the investment.

Shopping centres, office towers, development sites and industrial assets have all recorded bumper results during the year.

Colliers International John Marasco said: “It’s been a perfect storm of record low interest rates, the falling dollar and the affordability of Melbourne when you benchmark it against not just Sydney but also Singapore and Shanghai.

“There’s been a real balance of local and offshore groups too.”

Some of the bigger deals have been done just this week. Private equity giant Blackstone is paying  $675 million for half of Southern Cross towers on Bourke and Exhibition streets. Earlier, China Investment Corporation paid $2.45 billion for the Investa Property Trust portfolio on a yield of 4.9 per cent, and Lang Walker is hoping to better that  with the sale of Docklands’ Collins Square project.

In retail, GPT is about to sell the 57,116-square-metre Dandenong Plaza to Armada, and earlier  Challenger sold the Jam Factory to Newmark for $165 million. The Well in Camberwell fetched $72.5million on a 6.06 per cent yield.

JLL head of retail Simon Rooney said competition between domestic and offshore buyers  would continue to be fierce next year.

“The offshore buyers love because it’s very transparent. They’re looking for low-volatile high-quality assets,”  he said. “We’re at a strong point in the cycle. There’s an opportunity for larger owners to sell assets or partial investments to rebalance their portfolios and use the money to refurbish existing assets.”

There’s been plenty of revamps already. QIC increased the size of the Eastland shopping centre in Ringwood by 55 per cent in a $655million expansion that provided space for a host of new retailers, including  Uniqlo.

The Scentre Group’s Knox is having a $450 million 46,000-square-metre revamp that will result in a 188,500-square-metre centre. That  would nudge Chadstone Shopping Centre’s 190,000 square metres if Chadstone was not also  expanding.

A $580 million redevelopment that adds 34,000 square  metres to its floor space will maintains its status as ‘s biggest mall but will add extras such as a hotel and a 10-storey office tower.

The push to  ever-denser retail and residential projects in the suburbs is likely to have an impact on industrial development. Savills national head of research, Tony Crabb, said the growing population would create demand “for more logistics, more storage space and more places for manufacturing”.

Mr Crabb, who is also industrial spokesman for the n Property Institute, said industrial businesses have already been displaced from the inner suburbs and would be pushed out further.

The GIC portfolio, purchased by Ascendas for $1.07 billion during the year, attracted a premium because of the size of its land offering.

“This was a sizeable premium paid for the scale of portfolio – for being able to purchase a rare $1billion-sized land offering.”

Competition from international stores lifts secondary rents in Melbourne CBD

Restaurant Pomodoro Sardo is paying $250,000 a year for 250 square metres at 111 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Photo: SuppliedMelbourne CBD landlords are benefiting from a flood of international retailers whose commitment to large stores has pushed up demand and prices for secondary locations.
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Prime retail rents in Melbourne’s CBD jumped by almost 10 per cent over the past 12 months, a rise mirrored by secondary rents which also rose sharply by 9.2 per cent, according to CBRE research.

The impact of international retailers was further heightened by low interest rates (driving consumer demand and turnover) and large-scale redevelopment of older city buildings which has invigorated retail locations, updating or adding new stock.

An impending redevelopment by Leighton Property on a site next to the Wesley Church in Lonsdale Street shows the impact.

The redevelopment has prompted long-established Italian eatery Pomodoro Sardo to relocate.

The Sardinian-themed restaurant took 250 square metres at 111 Lonsdale Street opposite its current location for a near-record $250,000 annual rent with no landlord incentive or works, in a deal negotiated by CBRE’s Zelman Ainsworth and Samantha Hunt.

“This pocket of Lonsdale Street has been activated by residential, retail and tourist growth,” Mr Ainsworth said.

The impact of luxury international retailers on premium spots in Collins Street is well documented, but the latest upmarket retailer to claim a place on the strip is Wittner Shoes.

The footwear retailer will relocate from its long-term home in Collins Place to a 90-square-metre shopfront at 30 Collins Street in a deal negotiated by Colliers International’s Ben Tremellen and Cam Taranto.

Mr Tremellen said there had been more than seven offers for the tightly contested space from a range of retailers.

The shoe retailer snared the shop on a five-year lease for rent about $180,000 a year, a rate of $2000 a square metre.

“We are seeing a significant push from premium fashion retailers in recent months. Retail vacancy levels in prime CBD strip locations are the lowest they have been in the past three years,” he said.

Wittner’s new premises will be directly opposite Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna in a Monash University-owned building.

CIMIC North Sydney site gets new tenant

In one of the milestone leases for the year, Jacobs, a technical, professional and construction services providor, has signed up for space at the $413 million skyscraper at 177 Pacific Highway, North Sydney.
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The deal comes as North Sydney braces for a new phase of rental growth, with the planned construction of the Sydney metro train stations leading to the loss of a significant amount of office space as the NSW government acquires properties for demolition, followed by the construction of the new transport infrastructure.

Under the lease, Jacobs will take 6872 square metres in the tower at 177 Pacific Highway, which is being developed by CIMIC Group through Leighton Properties on behalf of Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust and will be the new head quarters for CIMIC.

The adviser on the deal, CBRE head of office services for NSW Peter Flint, said Jacobs’ significant commitment demonstrates increased activity from tenants wanting to relocate to North Sydney, with this being one of the largest commitments in the area in many years.

He said supply has tightened and  the area’s vacancy rate has also declined significantly, which has led to an ongoing compression in effective rents and investment yields.

According to the Property Council of ‘s Office Market Report, in the six months to July 2015, North Sydney’s vacancy rate fell from 8.9 per cent to 8 per cent.

“Having been under pressure for a while, we are expecting the North Sydney market to have a rebirth, thanks to the Metro rail link, the new residential tower developments and the opening of 177 Pacific Highway,” Mr Flint said.

“Next year there will be an additional 3500 people in the area, which has prompted Investa and Cromwell to open new supermarkets in their buildings, and we expect more amenities over time.”

Other new leases include the top floor of 100 Pacific Highway by the Beam Suntory group, which is said to have paid about $750 per square metre a year in rent.

Market Wrap: Retail outlets still hot with investors

The sale of this three-storey building at 126-128 St Kilda Road reflected a land rate of $5275 a square metre. The home of GO KartSport Racing, the largest indoor track in at 244-248 Chesterville Road in Moorabbin, has sold for $3.7 million.
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SALES

Heathmont

Retail outlets are still in demand as the year draws to an end. A news agency sold for $1.305 million to an overseas investor, a price more than $300,000 above reserve. The shop at 150 Canterbury Road sold on a yield just above 3 per cent – a strong result linked to buyer’s appetite for secure income producing retail assets, said CBRE’s Sandro Peluso, Josh Twelftree and Rorey James.

Hallam

Adelaide based commercial property syndicator, Harmony Property Syndication, has paid $10.75 million on a yield of 7.1 per cent for a substantial industrial property at 1-5 Siddons Way. Savills ‘s Chris Jones and Ben Hegerty said the property sold subject to a long-term lease, expiring in 2026, to national tenant Pakcentre Marketing Services, at a current rental of $765,920 per annum net.

Moorabbin

The home of GO KartSport Racing, the largest indoor gokart track in at 244-248 Chesterville Road, has sold for $3.7 million. The looming retirement of the track’s owner, Garry Dubois, prompted the sale of the one-time aircraft hangar. The large structure was originally built in the US before being shipped to the Northern Territory and then disassembled and trucked to Melbourne. CBRE’s David Aiello​ and Stephen Adgemis​ handled the sale with Atholl Williams from Rutherfords Real Estate.

St Kilda

A local investor has swooped on a St Kilda development site, buying the prominent landholding for $2.3 million at auction. The sale of the three-storey building at 126-128 St Kilda Road reflected a land rate of $5275 per square metre, said CBRE’s Ed Wright, Mark Wizel and Joseph Du Rieu.

Richmond

A 1960s warehouse at 28 Gwynne Street, renovated as an architect’s office, changed hands under the hammer for $1.389 million. The single-storey solid brick factory was sold by Ian Price of Dixon Kestles.

Greensborough

Banyule City Council has sold a single-level shop at 61 Main Street, for $1.15 million. The building was previously occupied by the Bendigo Bank, said Knight Frank’s Tim Grant and Ken Smirk. It follows the council selling another shop at 55-59 Main Street $5.1 million on a yield of 5.3 per cent.

Sunshine West

A self-managed super fund snapped up an industrial property at 570-572 Somerville Road for $2.72 million on a 7.7 per cent yield in a deal brokered by Savills ‘s Chris Jones, Ben Hegerty and Brigitte Bennett. The 4444-square-metre site sold subject to a new four-year lease to global tenant Schenck Process at rent of $215,000 a year net.

Noble Park

An investor has paid $4 million on a yield of 9 per cent for a securely leased office and warehouse at 428-430 Princes Highway. Savills ‘s Kosta Filinis and Paul Jones brokered the deal for Prudent Properties. It sold subject to a lease to E-Pak Packaging at a rental of $360,000 per annum.

Edithvale

An investor outmuscled a developer to secure a site owned by charity St Vincent De Paul for $2.1 million. Gross Waddell’s Alex Ham sold 254-258 Nepean Highway in conjunction with Beller Commercial’s Liam Rafferty. Vinnies currently occupies the two-storey retail outlet opposite of Edithvale Beach, which it sold along with a vacant neighbouring block.

Cranbourne

A vacant two-storey building with ground-floor shop and first-floor office at 100-106 High Street in the heart of Cranbourne’s retail and commercial precinct sold under the hammer for $2.04 million in a campaign handled by Fitzroys’ Andrew Hewett and David Bourke.

LEASES

Moorabbin

Pellicano has secured one of south-east Melbourne’s largest commercial deals for the year with Visionstream taking 7600 square metres at its $500 million masterplanned Parkview Estate. The n and New Zealand telecommunications company committed to an entire office building within the 51-hectare estate.

Moonee Ponds

Fitzroys’ Jordan Ceppi has leased 605-625 Mt Alexander Road to organic produce store Greenline Organic for $75,000 per annum. Nearby, at 678 Mt Alexander Road, Mr Ceppi brokered a deal with new operator District North at the ex-Smok’n Joes site. The new Italian restaurant will take the 250-square-metre, double-fronted site for $74,000 a year.

Box Hill

Serco has expanded its operations in Box Hill with the addition of more than 4,000 square metres at the recently refurbished 990 Whitehorse Road on a six-year lease with options in a deal negotiated by Colliers International’s Kevin Tutty. Rental was understood to be in the vicinity of $400 a square metre (gross).

Mulgrave

Fast-growing product development firm Hydrix is preparing to relocate to Mulgrave after leasing a stand-alone office building in Compark Circuit. CBRE’s Elise Betts and Gianni MacDonald negotiated the 2600-square-metre lease for an entire building at 30-32 Compark Circuit on a 10-year lease for net rent of $260 a square metre. Hydrix had outgrown its existing space and wanted something that would appeal to their predominantly younger workforce, Ms Betts said.

Camberwell

Suburban office rentals are showing signs of growth according to Prowse Burns’ Fred Bartlett. Suite 505 at at 685 Burke Road was leased on a one-by-one-year lease at the commencing rental of $23,850.00 a year gross plus GST. Suite 403 in the same building leased for $32,000.00 a year gross plus GST on a two-by-two-year lease. And Suites 305 and 306 were combined as one for $60,000.00 gross plus GST, equating to $480 a square metre gross and showing signs of positive rental growth over past leasings in the building, he said.

Port Melbourne

A light-filled office at at 3/30 Prohasky Street has leased to national technology group Powermove Distribution on a four-plus-three-plus-five-year deal for rental of of $50,000 a year in a deal negotiated by CBRE’s Guy Naselli and Harry Kalaitzis.

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David Gonski appointed to lead the Art Gallery of NSW board

David Gonski has served on the boards of countless companies and arts organisations, and led the Gonski review into how funds schools. Photo: Michel O’SullivanThe NSW government has turned to a man described as a “fixer” and the “chairman of everything” to lead the Art Gallery of NSW’s board of trustees.
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David Gonski will take over as president of the gallery’s trust, replacing Guido Belgiorno-Nettis who is stepping down after his allotted three terms as a trustee.

It will be Mr Gonski’s second stint at the helm of the gallery’s trust following nine years as trust president from 1997 to 2006.

The appointment of Mr Gonski comes at a critical time for the gallery, which is asking the NSW government to fund the majority of the cost of its $450 million Sydney Modern new gallery wing.

However, several major arts institutions – n Museum, Powerhouse Museum – as well as arts centres in western Sydney are also bidding for money from the remainder of the NSW government’s $600 million cultural infrastructure fund.

The building plans have also become embroiled in controversy, with former prime minister Paul Keating criticising the proposed new gallery wing as a “land grab” entertainment complex “masquerading as art”.

Chancellor of the University of NSW, Mr Gonski will boost the gallery’s efforts to find corporate sponsors and philanthropists to back its controversial Sydney Modern building plans, according to the university’s Associate Professor Joanna Mendelssohn.

“He’s very good at encouraging people to give,” she said. “He’s very good at encouraging people to do things.”

The chairman of ANZ Bank and Coca-Cola Amatil, Mr Gonski has served on the boards of countless companies and arts organisations, and led the Gonski review into how funds schools are funded.

He has also been an advisor and board director of Westfield, whose founder Frank Lowy and co-chief executive Stephen Lowy have both previously served as presidents of the AGNSW’s board.

An exhibition space inside the Art Gallery is named the Lowy, Gonski Gallery.

The Herald’s art critic, John McDonald, described Mr Gonski as “a formidable businessman, a great fixer”, but said it was unusual for someone to get a second turn as trust president.

“Does this mean a reassertion of the Lowy dynasty, which has basically controlled the trustees for a long time at the Art Gallery of NSW?” he said.

He said Mr Gonski may have been brought back to the gallery to help guide the Sydney Modern project.

Arts Minister Troy Grant said in a press release that Mr Gonski’s expertise would benefit the trust in its advisory role to the gallery’s management team.

Mr Gonski was unavailable for comment but said in a press release he was thrilled to return to the gallery.

The gallery’s gain is the Sydney Theatre Company’s loss, with Mr Gonski ending his tenure as STC chairman in February.

STC general manager Patrick McIntyre said significantly increased levels of philanthropy had been a hallmark of Mr Gonski’s tenure.

“His wise counsel has been invaluable for the management team and board and he will be much missed,” he said.

Owen Pidgeon: How to grow great raspberries in Canberra for summer

One of the most delightful early summer treats is a dessert with a plateful of raspberries. This is a berry that you can grow in your home garden – sometimes with the help of your friends. And this is one berry that commands a premium at all retail outlets, so aim to grow your own.
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You may have heard the old saying that a raspberry cane, once established, will spread and spread. My experience has been mixed, to say the least. Initially I had little success with canes purchased from nursery suppliers, I think because they had very poor root systems and a hot, dry summer is no good for establishing a new berry patch when the root systems are not mature – even if you remember to regularly water. Once the canes do being producing their thick mat of fibrous roots can become a long term powerhouse of production and they will keep fruiting for many years.

So we owe a special thanks to our niece Lesley Pidgeon who brought across several well established spring fruiting raspberry canes from her garden in Bathurst. Planted in a good location, we are now finally set up for the early summer harvest.

Then other good friends Bruce and Sheree Roe from McKellar dug out some of their surplus Heritage raspberry canes with wonderful sets of fibrous roots. These transplanted raspberries are growing strongly alongside our Autumn Bliss berries. So with everything progressing well now, we can now also enjoy a good supply of home grown raspberries for several months. Good gardening friends are indeed friends worth having.

Raspberries grow well in the cooler temperate regions, so Tasmania and the Canberra-Southern Highlands are very good locations. They will grow well in the same climate where you see cherries and apple orchards. When they are flowering and fruiting, keep them well watered, as the fruit needs plenty of water to fill out.

They are gross feeding plants so it is helpful to add in plenty of compost before planting and top up each spring time. Also keep them well mulched to cool the soil and retain the moisture from evening waterings. Our early summer fruiting canes are close to two metres with lots of little berries now appearing on the tips of the canes.

Most of the commercial varieties have been developed in north America, with the Chilcotin and Chilliwack early summer varieties being bred in the fertile valleys of British Columbia, just east of Vancouver.

Nootka is another high yielding variety for cooler climates. It came from the Vancouver Research Station. It will yield a good crop of medium-sized berries around Christmas time and then give you a supplementary Autumn flush. Williamette is the other dual cropping raspberry bred in Oregon, USA in the mid 1940s,

The Autumn fruiting varieties, such as the well known Heritage and Autumn Bliss raspberries are pushing up their new season canes right now. They will then produce their crop of berries on this season’s wood.

In wintertime, you can simply cut back all the canes of the autumn varieties to near ground level. On the other hand, you will need to leave the new season canes standing for the early summer raspberries varieties, as they set fruit on their two-year-old canes. This week in the garden

* Plant out rows of open leaf lettuce, bush beans, beetroot, bok choi and cucumbers.

* Harvest young tips of basil and sow another planter box of both basil and coriander for late summer supplies.

* Complete harvesting all garlic and check on the maturing of onions. If the onion bulbs are fully developed bend the stems over for a few days before harvesting.

* Regularly tie up the tomato stems to their stakes and pinch out laterals.

* Take the moment to complete mulching all garden beds before the Christmas break.

* Check apples for early signs of codling moth and remove any that have been infested, to prevent the second cycle.

Photo: Getty ImagesRaspberry and apple flan

2 punnets fresh raspberries 6 cooking apples 2 tbs sugar

Pastry:

125g unsalted butter 2 tbs castor sugar 1½ cups plain flour ¼ cup self raising flour 1 free range egg ¼ cup custard powder

Crumble topping:

½ cup rolled oats 1¼ cups plain flour ½ cup brown sugar 2 tsps cinnamon 90g butter

Peel, quarter and slice the apples. Place them into a stainless steel saucepan with ½ cup water and cook until tender. Drain and allow to cool.

Pastry: Cut the butter into small segments and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar and beat with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Add in the flours and the custard powder and mix in with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough. Roll out the dough and line a 23 cm flan tin.

Topping: Combine the rolled oats, plain flour, sugar and cinnamon. Rub in the butter until it becomes a crumbly mixture.

Cover the flan dough base with the apple slices. Scatter the fresh raspberries across the apple and sprinkle the sugar over the fruit. Spread the topping over the fruit. Bake in oven set at 180C for approximately 45 minutes until pastry and crumble are golden brown.

Owen Pidgeon runs the Loriendale Organic Orchard near Hall.

Unpredictable second season of Transparent is still a cut above the rest

The cast of Transparent (left to right): Gaby Hoffman, Judith Light, Jay Duplass, Jeffrey Tambor and Amy Landecker. Photo: Monique FarmerThe launch of any television series is a calculated risk, and to some extent the most desired outcome is critical acclaim and a slew of awards. I say to some extent because such a win is often a poisoned chalice. Such success almost certainly catapults a show into a second season and then comes an even bigger, weirder hurdle: how on earth do you top an opening act like that?
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Transparent (Stan, on demand) faces just such a hurdle for its second season, having sailed out of its first into almost universal acclaim and a display case that required extra shelves almost as quickly as the show’s US commissioning broadcaster, Amazon, could build them. The show took the very longest of bows, and scooped up Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and awards from the Director’s Guild and a bunch of other gong-giving bodies.

The opening season’s premise met Mort Pfefferman (Jeffrey Tambor), and came along on her journey as she revealed her actual self, Maura, to her family. It was quite simply beautiful. Seemingly caught in a perfect storm, it was bookended by stunning writing from series creator Jill Soloway, who didn’t so much base it on her own experience (and father) as borrow heavily, and a luminous performance from Tambor, an actor known mostly for his turns in sitcoms who brought an unexpected depth and humanity to this fragile individual.

Meeting Maura Pfefferman was genuinely altering. Not because she is a way of interpreting the transexual journey – although that, and all of the headlines her seemingly distant cousin Caitlyn Jenner created, are never far from the narrative. But because to some extent the question of trans identity is almost beside the point. Transparent uses transexuality as a means of exploring something far more fundamental: identity itself.

If something jars about the second season, it is that the spotlight has shifted slightly, and to some extent we now see the ensemble step more confidently into the frame.

That means more from Maura’s ex-wife Shelly (Judith Light), and angsty kids Sarah (Amy Landecker), Joshua (Jay Duplass) and Ali (Gaby Hoffmann). That feels very natural. This family has been through a fair amount, and the kids themselves have no shortage of their own issues. There is also a new and somewhat startling story thread, told in flashback, which we won’t elaborate on here, to preserve its authenticity.

One’s first instinct is to bristle at the change, and perhaps that’s why some critics have paused momentarily before offering their judgment on the second season. In truth, however, maybe we have to question our own willingness to embrace change, and our own approach to the shifting frame that Soloway has so spectacularly created.

Once you take a deep breath and surrender to the narrative, Transparent’s second season is delightfully bouncy. The writing is sharp, and the additional oxygen for some characters – notably Light’s Shelly – is very welcome.

While the show is undisputably Tambor’s, Light is brilliant. It would be hard to imagine Tambor without her.

The real strength of Transparent, however, lies with its unpredictability. It continually surprises, cleverly side-stepping moments that might otherwise slip on the creative banana peel of melodrama. That’s what keeps it a cut above the rest.