July 1st Changes
July 1st will bring upon the new financial year. There will be changes to fees, charges, taxes, rules, regulations and laws. Here’s a list of what will change, and how it will effect you.
Power Prices To Drop
EnergyAustralia has yet to release their reviewed price cuts.
Plastic Bag Ban
Single-use plastic bags will be officially banned in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, aligning with South Australia, Northern Territory, the ACT, and Tasmania.
New South Wales has not budged, and will not ban plastic bans, although most retailers have made the plastic bag ban effective nationwide.
No Passport Glasses
Due to glasses affecting facial matching, glasses (for vision impairment) are now banned. Valid medical reasons, such as recent eye surgery or severe light sensitivity are exempt, however the glasses may not obscure the eyes, and there must be no glass reflection. For more information, head HERE.
Online Shopping Tax
US Amazon will stop shipments to Australian addresses, in response to the new online GST law (effective July 1st). eBay, Alibaba and Etsy responded last year by saying they too may need to geo-block Australia under this new law.
A government incentive for Australians aged 65 or older will be put in place July 1st, that allows them to contribute up to $300,000 from the sale of their family home into their super. Eligibility includes: the downsizer must have owned the home for 10 years, and it must be the main place of residence.
Better Credit Score
Comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) will become mandatory, meaning banks will be forced to share detailed positive and negative financial history with other lenders. Credit applications, defaults, overdue payments, bankruptcy and court judgements are what most lenders share, but now they will be forced to share positive information, such as repayments made on time.
Modest Tax Relief
As part of the government’s seven-year tax plan announced in last month’s federal budget, taxpayers will be receiving modest relief in the form of either an annual lump sum tax offset or increased tax brackets from July 1.
People earning up to $37,000 a year will get a maximum offset of $200, while people earning between $37,000 and $90,000 will get a maximum offset of $530. A person currently earning $90,000 a year will also pay $135 less tax.
That’s because the 32.5 per cent tax bracket is being increased from $87,000 to $90,000 to ward off bracket creep — the process by which inflation pushes taxpayers into ever higher tax brackets.
Family Payments Changes
Parents receiving the Family Tax Benefit Part A could see their payments reduced by up to $28.28 per fortnight, per child, if their children aren’t immunised. Human Services says it will contact parents if their child doesn’t meet immunisation requirements, and will let them know what they need to do before their payments are affected.
Parking Fines Slashed
Motorists in NSW are set to benefit from a major penalty overhaul by the state government, with the 10 most common parking fines to be slashed by 25 per cent.
The 10 fines to be cut by 25 per cent will be ‘park for longer than permitted’, ‘park without ticket displayed’, ‘park after ticket expired’, ‘stand vehicle in area longer than allowed’, ‘stop in restricted parking area’, ‘park after meter expired’, ‘not stand vehicle in marked parking space’, ‘remain in ticket-operated loading zone after ticket expired’, ‘park without current loading zone ticket’ and ‘park without paying meter fee’.
Minimum Wage Increase
About 2.3 million of Australia’s lowest paid workers will get a 3.5 per cent pay increase from July 1, with the national minimum wage to increase by $24.30 per week following the Fair Work Commission’s 2017-18 Annual Wage Review.
Country Of Origin
A two-year transition phase to improved country-of-origin food labelling ends on June 30, with all food packaged and imported from July 1 required to comply with the Country of Origin Food Labelling Information Standard 2016.
Single Touch Payroll
Employers with 20 or more employees will be required to report payments such as salaries, wages, pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding and superannuation directly from their payroll or accounting software from July 1.
The Single Touch Payroll system will give the Australian Taxation Office near-real time visibility of an employee’s wage and super payments, meaning employers who attempt to rip off their workers will have nowhere to hide.
Opal Fares Increase
The average commuter in NSW can expect to pay about 39 cents a week extra, with Opal fares set to increase by 2.2 per cent from July 2.
The state government said it had decided to tie the increase to the consumer price index rather than the 4.2 per cent increase recommended by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal to keep downward pressure on cost of living.
Melbourne’s Soaring Skinny Skyscrapers Surge
Article by Alison Cheung
‘Skinny’ skyscrapers in Melbourne are increasing in their viability, in terms of engineering, market perception and finance. The slender buildings are commonly in the ‘high-rise capitals’ of New York and Hong Kong, but Melbourne is following suit.
While Australia has its fair share of high-rise buildings, land shortage in the Victorian capital’s CBD has driven developers to target tiny land sites to build skyscrapers like the Phoenix apartment tower, which takes just eight steps to walk from one side to the other.
In contrast with Melbourne, the City of Sydney council has not received any applications for skinny tower developments, or similar, in the last year, a spokesperson confirmed.
Slenderness is based on the site’s width in proportion to the building’s height; a tall tower is not necessarily skinny.
The latest planning permit for this type of development set to be proposed is the Royal Society of Victoria’s proposed Magic Tower at 1 Victoria Street in the CBD. The 60-storey, 330-metre building is on a triangular site about half the size of a tennis court with a width of 18 metres.
Decibel Architecture’s Dylan Brady, who is on the Magic Tower project, said the slender tower concept was attractive because of its ability to make use of a very small site which would have otherwise not been suitable for higher density development.
“It is not inherently more efficient, nor cost-effective, as the engineering around a slender tower is more complex, and generally therefore more expensive, than a regular building,” he said, adding that slender towers are virtually always residential.
“That said, a slender tower is generally more lucrative from the point of view that the towers tend to have smaller floor plates suited to whole-floor apartments… with views from every side, rather than a single aspect or even a corner as is more traditional.”
Mr Brady pointed out that slender towers “can demand very high prices in the market”. In New York City, the 92nd-floor penthouse at 432 Park Avenue – one of the slenderest towers in the world – had an eye-watering AU$51.68 price tag.
“You need location, location, location here though. Views over parks, and low lying land is excellent, and many of the slender towers in New York are basically empty up to 100 metres, as they have no view below that.”
Slender towers are becoming increasingly viable, Mr Brady said, not just in terms of engineering, but also market perception and finance.
“Around the world, the major cities (are) driving infill development, increasing density and value-adding to existing, constrained urban markets,” he said.
“This type of engineering is most traditionally seen in Hong Kong, and most recently and innovatively seen in New York City.”
And slender towers are “as safe as squat buildings”, the architect said.
“Super-slender buildings embody the very latest proven technologies and engineering, and have multiple redundancy in both structure, systems and operations.”
A City of Sydney spokesperson said the development of smaller sites “needs to be managed to ensure the (Sydney CBD’s) economic performance and future… is not compromised”.
As well as the height of towers being limited by the CBD’s proximity to Sydney Airport, the spokesperson said developing on some smaller blocks in the CBD could make it more difficult for larger office developments that require the amalgamation of multiple sites.
“Minimum requirements for developments on a small site include location to neighbouring towers, day and sunlight access to public spaces and parks, outlook for future residents, wind impacts and access for vehicles and emergency services.”
Developer BPM is known for its experience with pencil-tower projects. In early April, the Melbourne-based group listed a 34-level, 130-room hotel project, approved on a 168-square-metre site at 9-11 Exploration Lane, Melbourne, with hopes of about $50 million.
And at the 350-square-metre site at 33-35 King Street, Melbourne, the developer is offloading a 30-storey, 241-room hotel development for $80 million.
Both of these projects had been changed from residential to hotel use in light of slowing off-the-plan apartment sales. Meanwhile, BPM intends to swap the originally approved 75-level apartment tower at 54-56 Clarke Street, Southbank, which has a 12-metre width, for a more modest 24-storey apartment block.
BPM development director Tom Howgate said such skinny apartment towers “are not feasible in this market”.
“We could not deliver these as apartment buildings in the current environment. It’s either we don’t deliver them or we get smarter and change the use, change our approach and deliver a hotel so we can actually deliver a building,” he said.
The reason why slender towers are the most prevalent in Melbourne, Mr Howgate said, was because the existing permits were issued by former Victorian planning minister Matthew Guy, who earned the moniker “Mr Skyscraper” from his pro-development approvals.
“If you take out the planning policy and regulations out of the equation, there’s huge benefits in building skinny towers. It means people (can) live in the buildings and get access to everything that they require out of a building but on a whole lot smaller piece of land.”
And while slender towers are more challenging to build as all the services need to fit on a smaller footprint, they are more lucrative from a developer’s perspective.
“The yield’s more efficient if you can get the height,” Mr Howgate said.
Despite Melbourne’s growing pipeline of pencil towers, Mr Howgate said it won’t reach the extent of New York and Hong Kong.
“There will be plenty more high-rise but I don’t think we’ll be punching with those guys.”