Fast Forward News #1

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Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

We’re lucky to have supporters like David Pecotic flicking news summaries like this our way. I thought it about time we shared them, infact we should start our own e-news bulletin!

A series of news snippets you can sample or click through.

Big Smoke beats the rest | The Australian
[Cities are where innovation, adaptation and early adoption happen. Cities and local precincts are often the locus of creativity and new ideas, and we need to pay greater attention to the innovative properties of place.

However, the question of why this is the case is left unanswered: and without that, innovation and its rewards will not be socialised but end up largely as unearned income – and it is this which unnecessarily concentrates cities in upon themselves. After all, the continuing advances in IT effectively mean that cities can no longer be defined solely by their geographical boundaries … ]

‘Cap and trade’ creator swings to tax
[ONE of the creators of a ‘cap and trade’ system to cut pollution now doubts the practicality and effectiveness of his own program.]

A quiet revolution: City governments tackle global warming
[One reason why LVT and other “bottom-up” forms of funding would be an effective strategy against the MACC (malignant anthropogenic climate change) – and why constitutional recognition is long overdue: “It appears that while Australia’s federal and state leaders are stuck discussing the introduction of the emissions trading scheme some of our local governments have been trying to do something about the impact of human activity on global warming. What remains unclear, however, particularly in federal systems like Australia, is how climate change policies developed by our city governments will be worthwhile, or even negated by the actions or inactions of the other levels of government.”]

Falling house prices in India
[“House prices in big Indian cities continued to fall during the first quarter of 2009, having begun to slide in 2008. Households are deferring purchases in anticipation of further price falls. Property developers are trying to entice buyers through price cuts and other incentives – usually to no avail.” Ominous, no?]

Dexus Property Group’s shares dive after $1.46bn loss
[INVESTORS punished one of the country’s largest landlords, Dexus Property Group, yesterday after it reported a full-year net loss of $1.46 billion and signalled further vacancies and rental declines.]

Myer site cost hike: Melbourne
[THE cost of developing the former Myer department store site in the heart of Melbourne has increased from $1.2 to $1.4 billion, three years before the completion of the project.]

CAMRA – Cultural Asset Mapping in Regional Australia
[An innovative project that we could plug into in the future (still in development)]

Spirit matters | The High Court passed up the opportunity to clarify important issues in its judgement on the NT Intervention, by Tessa Meyrick in High Court Watch

[Reggie Wurridjal and Joy Garlbin, traditional owners of the Maningrida land in Arnhem Land, joined with the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation to claim that the five-year lease created over their land as part of the emergency intervention constituted an “acquisition” under section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution. Compulsory acquisitions of property made by the Commonwealth are constitutionally required to be on “just terms.” According to the plaintiffs, this requirement was not satisfied by the compensation schemes laid out in the challenged legislation and the five-year lease was therefore invalid.

In response to this claim, the Commonwealth lodged a demurrer – a special pleading asking the Court to pre-emptively dismiss the case on the grounds that the facts alleged by the plaintiffs do not show any legal cause of action. In a 6-1 majority, the High Court accepted the demurrer – denying the plaintiffs a right to present their challenge in a trial – and ordered the plaintiffs to pay the Commonwealth’s court costs.

Answering the plaintiffs’ claim head-on, the Commonwealth submitted that either no acquisition of property had taken place or that what had been acquired was not “property” or “prope rty capable of being acquired” within the meaning in s51(xxxi). And, even if there had been a relevant acquisition of property, the compensation schemes in the Acts amount to “just terms” in any case.]
Are we exporting our energy future?
[A key association representing Western Australia’s energy users is calling on governments and regulators to stop cartel trading in the gas industry and to ensure affordable gas for long-term domestic consumption. A pivotal and impending problem which should be of great interest for anyone who advocates resource rental. Especially in the light of the -]

Gorgon deal on carbon
[THE Federal and West Australian governments will share any liability arising from the storage of carbon as part of the $50 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas project. The usual when it comes to privatisation, or what effectively amounts to it …]

Why are Australians fuelling their own property boom?
[Typical ‘neutral’ journalistic round-up on the post-RBA comments about rising house prices]

The Housing Crisis We Don’t Have To Have
[Another overview but this time a critical one (in the best best tradition of actual journalism) The problem for Stevens is that the rest of Australian housing policy and urban planning is largely disconnected and uncoordinated. Local councils rightly insist on developer charges to increase amenity in their suburbs, adding to the cost of housing. State governments are reliant on property taxes for much of their budget, but have also failed to build amenities and public transport out to the rim of our cities. Meanwhile, since Gough Whitlam, Australian governments of both persuasions have shown little policy interest in urban development, including building more public housing. There’s nothing the Reserve Bank can do to realise the vision splendid of affordable housing other than to smash us all with higher rates if house prices start to take off again. Ends on a more upbeat fashion by taking demographics into account – one way or another, housing affordability will come, even if it means that retirees take a hit in 20 years time … Australia’s housing under-supply may not be as large as it currently seems — and certainly not great enough to justify our current, historically sky-high, valuations.]

How To Kick Bad Policy Habits
[Another piece by the same author. Looks at the business of usual: why we aren’t taxing the bads, instead of the goods … ]

Australia could achieve better water outcomes, more cheaply, through infrastructure than through water buy-back programs
(From Business Spectator – KGB INTERROGATION: Crane Group managing director Greg Sedgwick
And we all know how that could best be financed …)

Dreams don’t come in installments
[The dream of homeownership as propaganda – Freud, a life-long renter, devoted his home to his work, while we often devote our work to owning a home …]

Qld Rail Wi-Fi plan goes ahead:
[Digital economy, infrastructure and innovative transport policy – and it can all be paid for through uplift in land value …]

Ideology and the National Broadband Network | CommsDay
[The broadband debate is, at bottom, a debate over an ideology: whether or not we believe in equity of access to an infrastructure that’s become intertwined with our society. True enough – but the neo-classical bipartisan consensus underlying it means that more effective tools to fund it (i.e., LVT, resource rental, as well as old-fashioned utility provision, and muni- and co-operatively-owned networks) are not even on the radar]

Cheap Thrills | The American Prospect
[The fulcrum/nexus between cheap consumer goods and expensive housing (sic) – labour: cites statistics that in 2003 Americans spent 32 percent less on clothes and 18 percent less on food than their parents did in the early 1970s but 76 percent more on mortgages and 74 percent more on health insurance (sound familiar?). We might be cheap, but we’re no longer thrifty]

Wow, finishing with a biggie there, cheers David.

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