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Hearing set for imam alleged to have officiated over wedding of child bride

14/11/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

An imam accused of conducting the illegal marriage of a 12-year-old girl has been granted conditional bail as police decide whether to lay charges against the child bride’s father.
Nanjing Night Net

The arrest of the imam came as the 26-year-old man accused of ”marrying” and having a sexual relationship with the girl prepared to apply for his release from custody on Wednesday.

Child abuse detectives allege the 35-year-old imam performed a marriage ceremony in the Hunter Valley this year. Detectives arrested the imam at Parramatta police station on Monday and charged him with solemnisation of a marriage by an unauthorised person.

Police will allege the imam conducted the Islamic ceremony after he was approached by a Lebanese man who was visiting Australia.

The victim’s father consented to the marriage and allowed the ceremony to take place in his home on January 12. He then allowed his daughter and the accused to move to south-west Sydney.

Police said they believed the imam had been associated with an Islamic centre and mosque in the Hunter region ”on and off” since 2009. It is understood the imam made frequent trips from Australia to Pakistan during this time.

He was released on strict conditional bail and is expected to appear before Parramatta Local Court on April 2.

On Tuesday Premier Barry O’Farrell said he was pleased that the Muslim religious leader had been arrested.

”I’m delighted charges have been laid,” Mr O’Farrell told reporters. ”This charging of this person sends a strong message, whether to religious celebrants or civil celebrants.”

Police arrested the victim’s ”husband” last Thursday and charged him with 25 counts of having sexual intercourse with a child between January 1 and February 4 this year.

The accused had been living in Australia on a student visa and attending the University of Newcastle. It is understood he had no ties with the town he was living in but met the under-age victim through a local mosque.

He was formally refused bail at Burwood Local Court last Friday and will remain behind bars until he makes an application for bail.

Police say they do not believe the girl’s mother had any knowledge of the ”marriage” or that her daughter had moved to Sydney with a 26-year-old man.

It is understood the girl’s father and mother are separated.

Police learnt of the man and under-age girl’s marriage after the accused tried to enrol the girl, who recently turned 13, at school and applied for legal guardianship through Centrelink.

The victim has been taken into the care of the Department of Family and Community Services until a permanent home can be found for her.

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

Toyota closure: Loss of car manufactoring jobs unlikely to make impact on economy

14/11/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

What will the economy look like without the three big car manufacturers and suppliers? Pretty much the same as it does now.
Nanjing Night Net

Twenty years ago manufacturing provided one in every seven Australian jobs, around 13.5 per cent. Today it’s 8 per cent.

Two industries have filled the gap: professional, scientific and technical services, whose share of employment has climbed from 5.5 per cent to 7.7 per cent, and healthcare and social assistance, whose share has climbed from 10 per cent to 12 per cent. Australia has become more of a brain-work economy and more of a service economy.

And the transition isn’t new. The loss of the further 50,000 jobs tied up in car manufacture isn’t going to change things much further. Manufacturing employs 934,000 in total.

Steve Bracks, the former Victorian premier who chaired the Bracks automotive review for the Rudd government, believes some of the component manufacturers will stay. Futuris Automotive sells seats, trims and upholstery worldwide. Air International exports airconditioning systems.

Each month around 350,000 Australians leave their jobs and 350,000 gain them. A loss of an extra 50,000 over a number of years as the car manufacturing industry closes would scarcely make a dent, especially if – as is likely – many of the sacked workers move to other jobs.

But total jobs growth has stalled. The number of Australians in work is slipping at the rate of 600 per month. Tony Abbott’s promise to ”produce 1 million new jobs in five years” is one he won’t keep.

In Parliament on Tuesday, Treasurer Joe Hockey talked tough, saying ”now is the time to fix the budget”. But with jobs growth dead and the collapse of car manufacture making things a little worse, there’s a limit to how much it’s wise to cut back in his first budget in May.

Another previously legislated measure will depress the economy in July. The Medicare levy will climb from 1.5 per cent of most salaries to 2 per cent to fund the national disability insurance scheme.

Budgetary pressures are likely to place on hold another move he could otherwise make to salvage something positive out of the departure of Ford, Holden and Toyota.

He could axe tariffs on imported cars. After all, there will soon be no local industry left to protect. It would bring down the landed price of each car 5 per cent. He could also abolish the so-called luxury car tax, currently at 33 per cent.

But it would cost him serious money he doesn’t have. If he did abolish tariffs he would have to replace them with something else. As far as revenue-raisers go, tariffs on imported cars are pretty efficient, right up there with the goods and services tax. He wouldn’t want to replace them with something worse.

The impending departure of the big three car manufacturers has given him another opportunity though. Last year Labor’s Chris Bowen announced a plan to raise $1.8 billion by properly taxing cars provided to workers as part of salary packages. Abbott and Hockey opposed it, arguing concessional treatment was needed to ensure cars continued to be made in Australia. It isn’t now.

Twitter: @1petermartin

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

Virgin’s Richard Branson puts boot into Alan Joyce over Qantas’ domestic market strategy

14/11/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

Virgin Australia founder Richard Branson claims Qantas boss Alan Joyce is in ”deep shit” for sticking to his strategy of maintaining a 65 per cent share of the domestic air travel market.
Nanjing Night Net

Renewing his attacks on Virgin’s main rival, Sir Richard has told journalists in Dubai that it would be unfair for the federal government to provide financial assistance to Qantas.

”It would be incredulous if the government can hand over money to him [Mr Joyce] and they don’t hand over money to Virgin Australia,” he told Arabian Business magazine. ”Every company in Australia will come begging to the government if the government allowed that to happen.”

Australia’s two largest airlines have been embroiled in a public spat since November when Qantas demanded the federal government step in to stop Virgin’s big-three airline shareholders – Etihad, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines – from tightening their grip on the carrier.

Sir Richard has also told journalists in Dubai that he did not have plans to sell his remaining 10 per cent stake in Virgin Australia. It differs to his position last year when he would not commit to keeping his holdings in the airline, emphasising that the branding agreement he has with Virgin was far more crucial to him.

Qantas will renew its lobbying in Canberra this week when Mr Joyce meets senior politicians.

The airline has been seeking financial assistance in the form of a standby debt facility from the government, a move so far met with reservations from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Sir Richard said Qantas had lost hundreds of millions of dollars by sticking to its strategy of holding its share of the domestic market at 65 per cent, and ”now [Mr Joyce is] appealing to the government to give him money and holding his hat out like a begging bowl to the government”.

”Alan Joyce is in deep shit because he drew a line in the sand,” he said.

Qantas hit back at the English businessman’s comments, saying Virgin often rolled him out to the media to ”distract from their bad news”. ”Suggesting that Qantas should change its strategy so that Virgin can simply take our customers to reduce their financial losses is ridiculous,” a spokesman said on Tuesday.

”As we’ve said many times, Qantas is not asking the government for money. This is in contrast to Virgin, which has been cap in hand to the three foreign-government owned airlines to fund their loss-making strategy. What we’re asking the government for is a level playing field in the domestic aviation market.”

Sir Richard’s British airline Virgin Atlantic said last week that it will stop flying between Sydney and Hong Kong in May, blaming increasing costs and a weaker Australian dollar. He put the airline’s losses on the route at about $10 million a year.

”I love going to Australia and the idea of having to go on Qantas or British Airways is going to be very, very painful. But hopefully we’ll be back one day,” he said.

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

Melbourne suburban shopping strips rising from gloom

14/11/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

A shift to inner-city living and rising consumer confidence is boosting Melbourne’s besieged suburban shopping streets.
Nanjing Night Net

Traders in prime shopping streets such as Bridge Road, Chapel Street and Toorak Road have suffered through one of the worst downturns in a decade, but new vacancy figures suggest the gloom is lifting.

Midway through 2013, the combined vacancy rate across Melbourne’s major suburban shopping strips reached its highest level in a decade as tight-fisted consumers abandoned bricks and mortar stores for online offerings.

That resulted in almost one in six shops in the one-time discount fashion heartland of Bridge Road standing empty.

Fresh figures from CBRE show that in the six months to January this year, the vacancy rate for 10 of Melbourne’s most prominent streets fell by 1.15 per cent. Even Bridge Road’s vacancy rate has fallen – from 15.18 per cent in June to 11.61 per cent in January.

The change was partly attributable to Melbourne’s burgeoning apartment market, CBRE’s Cam Taranto said. ”The increased residential population has resulted in better quality tenants in the strips,” he said.

The strip shopping thaw can be seen in Australians’ spending habits. According to CommSec’s research, real spending rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter after a 0.8 per cent rise in the September quarter – the best back-to-back gains in 18 months.

Retailers were also benefiting from a bit more inflation – retail prices rose 1.1 per cent in the December quarter – equalling the highest quarterly rise in 4½ years, CommSec said. CBRE’s Zelman Ainsworth said rents in the top 10 prime strips were relatively stable over 2013.

Chapel Street maintained its lead as the most expensive, fetching $1000-$1400 per square metre of retail space.

Mr Ainsworth said national food outlets such as Menchie’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Lord of the Fries, 7-Eleven, Grill’d and Boost Juice were scouting for locations in retail strips. International retailers were also keen to set up in Chapel Street, Burke Road, High Street and Church Street, he said.

Between June last year and January this year, vacancy rates fell in Burke Road (3.03 per cent), Bridge Road (11.61 per cent), Chapel Street (3.63 per cent), Glenferrie Road, Malvern (4.58 per cent), Acland Street (2.04 per cent), Church Street (1.19 per cent) and Clarendon Street (5.7 per cent). Over the same period they rose in Puckle Street (2.75 per cent), Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn (4.31 per cent) and Toorak Road (9.6 per cent).

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

Car manufacturing demise opens up new image for industrial sites

14/11/2018 | 南京夜网 | Permalink

The Toyota plant at Altona is 68 hectares. Photo: Penny StephensThe end of Victoria’s car industry will spark a slow but seismic shift for some industrial property markets and impact on values, agents say.
Nanjing Night Net

Between them Holden and Toyota own about 41 hectares in Port Melbourne, while Toyota owns 68 hectares in Altona.

Ford’s sites in Broadmeadows and Geelong span 133 hectares.

The closures will result in potential vacancies and a weakening in secondary industrial markets around the big three’s manufacturing facilities, where the majority of automotive component suppliers are clustered, CBRE’s Matt Haddon said.

In Port Melbourne those industries are mainly located in Bertie, Bridge, Fennell, Plummer, Turner, Lorimer and Salmon streets.

In Altona they gravitate to Dohertys, Kororoit Creek and Millers roads, as well as Grieve Parade.

Holden’s 38-hectare plant at Fishermans Bend will more than double in value once it is subdivided into smaller portions and better connected to the city by public transport in coming years, Lemon Baxter director Richard Hutton said.

It falls outside the substantial rezoning of nearby areas of Fishermans Bend designed to encourage residential development.

But Toyota’s three-hectare head office and car park beside the West Gate Freeway sits within the newly rezoned area, he said.

Businesses currently leasing factories in Fishermans Bend can expect to be pushed out if they haven’t left before 2016 when the rezoning brings the first of an expected 50,000 new residents.

Large developers have already shown an interest in the GMH site, which spreads across Lorimer Street, Todd Road and Cook Street, and includes dozens of large warehouses, many of which are expected to be refitted as boutique offices.

Mr Hutton expects one developer will buy the entire GMH site then sell it off in smaller portions, perhaps after devising a master plan for a series of new business parks.

A similar fate awaits Ford’s Broadmeadows plant. Its superior location on the Hume Highway and quality buildings was likely to result in it being master planned into an estate for bulky goods, retail stores, industrial parks or a logistics base, Colliers International’s Tony Iuliano said.

Toyota’s Altona plant was in a prime location for a major logistics site, he said.

In Fishermans Bend, sites south of the West Gate Freeway have been rezoned to allow for high-density residential development.

Properties to the north of the freeway – including large estates occupied by GMH, Kraft and Boeing, are expected to stay low-rise and provide workplaces for the new residents.

”But,” Mr Hutton said, ”the days of an industrial shed anywhere in Fishermans Bend are numbered.

”We expect the low-rise pocket of Fishermans Bend will develop like Cremorne, in Richmond, attracting boutique companies particularly from the design and IT-fields, which operate from former warehouse buildings.”

Industrial occupiers, however, have already started to feel the renewal with some landlords not extending leases or increasing rents to reflect the higher holding costs (rates, land tax etc) being charged to them.

”We’ve already moved several tenants out of the area, mainly to Melbourne’s western suburbs,” Mr Hutton said.

In a testament to how fast commercial values have moved in the area, half of a former GMH car park at 600 Lorimer Street, Port Melbourne, which Mirvac sold for $320 per square metre about five years ago, sold late last year for about $800 per square metre.

Mr Haddon said few major institutional property owners were exposed to the car makers.

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