Archive Month: June 2019
Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

First home buyers are increasingly choosing to buy an investment property ahead of a place to live in, agents say.

Some are being tempted by the increasing affordability of the Sydney property market. The relatively low prices in outer suburban areas and increasing rents mean an attractive yield.

Such investors are choosing to live in rental properties closer to the city, giving them the flexibility to move more regularly or work overseas.

Others would rather stay at home and get a financial leg-up from mum and dad so they can afford the house or apartment they want later on.

Douglas Driscoll, the chief executive of Starr Partners Real Estate, which has more than 20 offices across the west and north-west Sydney, said the number of these investors was increasing to the point where it could no longer be ignored.

Several months ago, his company started targeting them on social media, offering advice from his younger agents who had done the same thing.

“We’ve created a Facebook campaign targeting young people who’ve got relatively deep pockets, done very well but don’t know how to [invest],” Mr Driscoll said.

“We wouldn’t be facilitating anything like that if we didn’t believe there wasn’t a genuine market for it.

“It consistutes probably less than 1 per cent of our total transactions but it is a trend that is starting to emerge, albeit in its early days.”

He said more affordable suburbs were proving the most popular for these first-timers, such as St Marys, Parramatta and Blacktown. Close to the city, first-time investors are also looking at Waterloo and Alexandria.

Angus Raine, the chief executive of Raine and Horne, said buying an investment property made sense for many first home buyers because they could usually rent five or six suburbs closer to the city than they could afford to buy in.

“You can buy an investment property anywhere and you can get the tax concessions that go along with that; the yields are good and the rents are increasing because of the supply and demand issue,” he said. “Then you can choose to rent closer in to your place of work, which is one of the main considerations.”

A mortgage adviser with Smartline mortgage brokers, Miriam Castilla, said first home buyers could usually borrow more for an investment property than for a property in which to live.

And presuming their income increases, and they could afford another deposit, they could still buy their own property later and apply for the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (on new property).

“If they do not live in the new [investment] property for a period of six or more months, they will still qualify for the first home owner grant down the track when they are ready to buy the home they do want to live in,” she said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

Illustration: Rocco FazzariONE of the things to remember as we consider what to do about the chronic under-representation of women in senior management in this country is that there are real forces massed against women in the workforce. It will take structural changes as well as cultural ones to overcome them.

Women’s careers are harder to construct, and more difficult to manage, in a nutshell. Women and only women can bear a child, for example. They take time off work if they do, and are more likely to assume early childcare responsibilities. That means they are more likely to interrupt their careers – and because families are waiting longer to have kids, the interruptions occur at a more telling time in their career path.

The median age for all mothers for births in Australia in 1971 was 25.4 years. By 1990 it had risen to 28.3 years, by 2000 it was 29.8 years, and in 2006 it hit 30.8 years. It was 30.7 years in 2011, with the average age of first-time mothers sitting at 28.9 years.

There’s some complicated cause and effect loops at work and some very interesting ideas about breaking down barriers now being deployed, but first let’s recap the results of the census of women in leadership that was released by the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace agency on Tuesday.

Greater focus on the low representation of women on major company boards in the past couple of years has seen the percentage of female directors of ASX 200-listed companies rise from 8.4 per cent in 2010 to 15.1 per cent, but the percentage of women in senior executive positions is significantly lower. On one measure, it has fallen from 12 per cent in 2006 to 10.1 per cent this year. On another, it has crawled up from just 8 per cent in 2010 to 9.7 per cent.

The low and possibly stagnating participation of women in company leadership is unfair on a fundamental level and it’s also dumb. A valuable human resource is being inefficiently accessed and the slight progress being made in boardrooms is in danger of being undermined: director numbers can’t keep increasing in a sustainable way if the number of women in executive positions is not also expanding.

Things might improve a bit in coming years in the biggest companies, because in 2010 the Australian Securities Exchange’s principles of corporate governance were amended to launch a ”comply or explain” diversity regime. Listed companies were asked to establish a diversity policy, disclose it, measure the number of women in leadership positions and set ”measurable objectives” for increasing diversity. If they did not, they were to explain why.

The regime applied to December-balance companies last year and affects all companies this year, and looks to be working. Of 211 December-balance companies in 2011, 61 per cent established diversity policies, and 59 per cent of those that did created measurable targets.

From next April new federal law will also force companies with more than 100 employees to report how many women they employ and how much they earn compared to their male colleagues.

The real task begins now, however, as the dimensions of the shortfall are finally outlined. Companies have to redesign themselves to remove the roadblocks placed in the way of career advancement for women.

BoardLinks, a network overseen by Finance Minister Penny Wong and the Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, gives rising women executives initial boardroom experience on government boards, and is one such hands-on initiative.

A fairly anodyne release on Tuesday about the need for companies to set targets for advancing women and to report regularly on progress from the Male Champions of Change also underplayed very interesting work under way within that floridly named but undoubtedly influential group, and the organisations its members lead.

The Male Champions are a 22-member group created under the umbrella of the Australian Human Rights Commission that includes some of the highest-rated male corporate talent in Australia. Members include Qantas’ Alan Joyce, CBA boss Ian Narev, ASX’s Elmer Funke-Kupper, Treasury secretary Martin Parkinson, Woolworths CEO Grant O’Brien, ANZ CEO Mike Smith, IBM Australia CEO Andrew Stevens, Telstra CEO David Thodey, and PM&C secretary Ian Watt.

The group wants to lead by example and it is focusing on nuts and bolts solutions – not just firm targets and regular reports, which are a given, but structural changes that remove barriers.

The idea is always to reform existing corporate processes, not add a new, costly management layer that saps productivity. Diversity targets are being added to remuneration calculations, for example, and more flexible work conditions are being created.

In one company led by a champion of change, less than 10 per cent of the top 80 executive positions have flexible working arrangements, but in-house work reveals that 80 per cent of them are capable of being structured that way, with all or some arrangements including part-time work, job-sharing, work from home regimes and flexible start and finish times.

The company is now testing the demand, by replacing a rule that executives must make the case for flexible conditions with one that states that they are entitled to them unless the company makes the case for the status quo. I expect it will be knocked over in the rush.

In this company there are also de facto quotas. Divisional managers have hard targets for female numbers and all shortlists for jobs must include a woman.

The champions group is also networking employee surveys that all the big companies undertake these days, to see what questions about diversity are being asked, and which ones are resonating. The result may be a template that works for all companies and creates common data. It’s many small steps like these that will create the next wave of reform.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

QANTAS chief executive Alan Joyce has condemned a group of renegade investors as ”Airline Partners Australia Mark II” as he tried to block their destablisation strategy.

His criticism of the group’s plans to sell off parts of the airline followed Qantas severing its financial support to Tourism Australia because of what it deemed the conflicted position of its chairman, Geoff Dixon.

Mr Dixon is a part of the loose group of investors pushing for change.

Tourism Australia held an emergency board meeting on Wednesday after the federal Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson, referred the matter to its directors to resolve.

By the time of going to press, the board had yet to say what it would do. To try to end what Qantas sees as a slow-burn strategy by the renegade investors, Mr Joyce mounted a spirited defence of his five-year blueprint for Qantas, and criticised key aspects of the rebel investors’ plans to sell the budget offshoot Jetstar and the Frequent Flyer loyalty scheme.

While declining to detail the breakdown in his relationship with Mr Dixon, he insisted that his top priority was the airline and his strategy aimed at turning around its underperforming international division.

”I don’t want to be distracted from it,” he said. ”Personal relationships and anything else around it are secondary to doing the right thing by Qantas.”

Mr Joyce said he had not met Mr Dixon, the former Qantas boss, for a ”catch up” for eight months. Before their relationship soured late last year, the pair met as often as every fortnight in swish Sydney eateries. The group of investors, including Mr Dixon, the former Qantas executive Peter Gregg, Sydney money man Mark Carnegie and adman John Singleton has been seeking support from large shareholders and unions for a change in strategic direction at the airline.

They have questioned the benefits to Qantas of the proposed alliance with Emirates.

Mr Joyce said Mr Dixon was a member of the ”APA Mark II club”, noting that the group included some key players from the failed $11.1 billion bid for Qantas in 2007 by Airline Partners Australia. Mr Dixon, who had once been a mentor to Mr Joyce, declined to comment on Wednesday.

The Qantas boss said Mr Dixon was ”very much out there briefing against the company”, and he had no choice but to suspend the airline’s longstanding relationship with Tourism Australia.

Late on Tuesday, Mr Joyce wrote to Mr Ferguson to say that Qantas was suspending its dealings with Tourism Australia because he believed Mr Dixon was in a ”position of significant and untenable potential conflict”. He said: ”The consortium is determined to stymie the Qantas-Emirates partnership, which has otherwise been enthusiastically embraced by the tourism industry, our customers and our shareholders.”

Qantas is the largest private funder of Tourism Australia, followed by Emirates. Its three-year funding program for the tourism body totals $44 million, and is up for renewal next July.

The Tourism Minister appoints the chairman and the rest of the tourism body’s board, which includes as a director the former Virgin boss Brett Godfrey. Describing the dispute as a ”commercial matter”, the minister left it in the hands of the board to resolve. In defending his five-year strategy, Mr Joyce described the proposed Emirates alliance as a ”killer” deal, which would be key to turning around Qantas’ international operations.

Qantas had made clear inroads into Asia with Jetstar, and it would be ”premature” to pursue a sale of parts of the budget airline as proposed under the renegade investors’ alternative plan, he said.

Likewise, the frequent flyer division had been integral to Qantas’ fortunes, and those airlines that had sold their loyalty schemes had discovered it had not been in the best interests of their shareholders.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

THE AFL clubs appear on a collision course with their players over holiday drug testing, as several club chiefs confirmed they would take on the players union over target testing of suspected illegal drug users.

It is believed that several clubs will push for the power to bring in AFL-sanctioned drug testers to target-test ”red alert” players on a daily basis during their out-of-season holiday in a bid to identify footballers with illicit drug habits.

While the AFL Players Association refused to comment publicly on potential changes to the current policy, it is believed the players have already entertained the prospect of more stringent holiday testing as concerns of off-season drug abuse have become increasingly rife in the game.

Every AFL club contacted yesterday by Fairfax Media confirmed they would support off-season target testing under special circumstances. Two clubs confessed they had unproven suspicions that a player in their group could have become a regular user of the highly addictive methamphetamine (ice), which paralysed the AFL career and the ongoing welfare of Ben Cousins.

Collingwood boss Gary Pert told the AFL club chiefs last week that he was desperately worried some players were entering the game as healthy young men and departing it with illegal drug habits. Pert said he had consulted West Coast chief Trevor Nisbett over that club’s problems with illegal drug use which culminated in the suspension and later sacking of Ben Cousins.

Pert did not mention any names at the AFL meeting but it is known that Collingwood player Dane Swan has been questioned about alleged drug use and denied it.

St Kilda has unofficially asked the same question of its star defender Sam Fisher, who has been the subject of concern among some Saints players. Fisher, too, has vehemently denied using illicit drugs.

Should the players’ union refuse to allow daily testing during the holiday period, several clubs said they would be prepared to take on the association to expose players hiding drug habits or identify bad influences among teams.

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou did not discount the prospect of changes to the illicit drugs policy – a policy that five years ago saw the AFL become the first sport in the world to introduce out-of-season hair testing. Hair testing is favoured because it can track drug use dating over a six-week period but the results cannot be counted as a positive drug strike.

Acting AFLPA boss Ian Prendergast refused to comment on the illicit drugs policy yesterday, but it is believed the players union has been consulting AFL doctors over the potential for more stringent holiday testing.

Demetriou said: ”What [Pert] was seeking was the input of the other CEOs and asking: ‘Is there any more we could be doing, as a football code?’ So we agreed to get together at the end of January – which actually wasn’t a scheduled CEOs meeting – to try and talk about this in a very mature way, and think about ways we can improve what we’ve currently got.”

The last recorded drug testing figures released were from the 2011 season in which six players tested positive to illicit drugs, and although fewer tests took place, the AFL said more players were target tested.

The last time a club independently drug tested its players was Carlton in 2004 when then Blues president Ian Collins ordered Karl Norman and Laurence Angwin to undertake testing when the pair turned up at training under the influence of ecstasy.

Collins defended his move on the grounds of occupational health and safety. The AFL rewrote its illicit drug code soon after.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jun 29 , 2019 / By :

KURT Tippett remains determined to clear his name at Friday’s AFL Commission hearing, but his former club Adelaide will not contest the draft tampering and salary cap accusations levelled at it.

Tippett has received AFL permission to delist himself from the Crows and place himself in the pre-season draft, but the 25-year-old cannot nominate any financial terms until after Friday’s hearing.

Tippett, who is facing a fine, suspension and possible deregistration, has been offered a $3.55 million, four-year deal to join Sydney and is likely to find his way to the Swans, with the hefty price tag set to deter Greater Western Sydney.

Adelaide chairman Rob Chapman last night confirmed that after strong recent discussions with the AFL through each parties’ lawyers, the Crows were ”contrite” and keen to move on as soon as possible after the hearing.

Adelaide gave up its first two choices in last week’s national draft as a ”goodwill gesture” ahead of the hearing, but is still expected to be heavily punished for the agreement it struck with Tippett when recontracting him in 2009.

Chief executive Steven Trigg, football manager Phil Harper and former football manager John Reid are also planning to plead guilty to all charges.

Harper is facing one charge of breaching salary cap rules, while Trigg, Reid and the club are facing two charges of breaching both salary cap and draft rules.

”We’ve had some engaging discussions with the AFL, we’re contrite and I care about upholding the integrity of the competition as much as anyone,” Chapman said.

”What I want now is to get the right overall outcome for our club. I can’t afford to take chances that could harm my club more than it needs to be harmed.

”We’re ready to face up to it on Friday, minimise the risk to the club and get the best outcome possible because we know that the integrity of the competition is paramount.”

Tippett’s removal from the club’s list means Adelaide will be able to reclaim midfielder Nick Joyce at the pre-season draft on December 11.

Joyce was delisted ahead of last week’s national draft, with the club told by the AFL that it was not able to move Tippett off its list pending the commission hearing.

Because Tippett delisted himself, he was not eligible to sign directly with Sydney as a delisted free agent by yesterday’s deadline.

While the Giants have sufficient space in their salary cap to take Tippett, they are reluctant to pay the vast contract that their cross-town rival has agreed to hand Tippett if, as expected, he joins the Swans via the pre-season draft.

The Giants have first pick in that draft for uncontracted and delisted players and in the highly likely event that they pass on Tippett, they have indicated they will re-draft ruckman Dean Brogan, who was dropped off the senior list with the proviso that he would return if/when Tippett is not selected by Greater Western Sydney.

Both Brisbane and Gold Coast have ruled out Tippett after he nominated Sydney as his preferred club, before the scandal of Adelaide’s unauthorised payments was disclosed in this newspaper in the final week of the trade period.

GWS had said it was interested in drafting Tippett earlier this month, but the club’s interest waned after learning his huge asking price, which the Swans have agreed to meet.

Tippett also refused to meet with GWS or the Lions – echoing the tactic used successfully by Luke Ball when he left St Kilda, entered the national draft with a hefty price on his head and still got to Collingwood at pick No. 30.

Sydney has agreed to pay Tippett $3.55 million over four years, with a trigger clause that would earn him a further two years on $975,000 in 2017 and 2018.

He needs to play at least 20 games in each of the first four years to earn the extra two seasons.

While the Giants have the room to accommodate Tippett, even on those figures, they recognise that such a hefty and long-term contract could create potential problems in future years, when their legion of highly talented youngsters are being pursued by other clubs.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.