Extending Tram Route 57

Numerous proposals have been made for improvements to the Melbourne tram network, the largest such network in the world. Nearly all of these have been for track extensions of existing lines to service new areas and suburbs.

Now the Victorian Greens again propose these extensions in their Tram Connections Backgrounder.

As part of these plans, Route 57 would be extended 5.5km from its current terminus in Maribyrnong along Canning Street and Milleara Road before reaching a new terminus at the Keilor East shopping precinct.

Unfortunately they currently are in no position to deliver…


The New Footscray

SMH, 13/8/2013 by Simon Johanson

A pocket of Footscray will become a satellite city of 5000 people living in more than a dozen high-rise towers after recent amendments to Melbourne’s planning scheme.

But the new scheme may allow towers up to 25 storeys high on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, prompting anger from nearby residents.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has cemented controls for a small sandwich of land between the Maribyrnong River, Hopkins Street and Williamstown railway line that is set to become a forest of 18 tall buildings near Footscray’s town centre.

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Do’s and Dont’s to Get a Good Credit Record

12 March 2014 hardly sounds like a key date in history.  But, for those looking to buy property, it could have been a key date determining whether or not they get a loan.

Whenever someone applies for a mortgage, one of the first things a bank does is run a credit check on them.  As of 12 March, these credit checks & credit reporting have changed – and it could have a huge impact on whether or not a loan application is approved. Under the new regime, every time someone misses their payment by more than five days, their credit file is given a black mark and their credit rating gets worse.

The old system was less comprehensive; simply registering things like the number of credit inquiries someone has made and whether or not they have any defaults. But, in addition to these, under the new system individuals now have an incentive to manage their reputation – loan applicants get green lights for positive factors such as how often they have made repayments on time.

Here are some of the things that banks will know from the new credit checks.

Whether repayments have been made on time over a two-year period

  • If a repayment of over $150 is more than 60 days late, it will be listed as a default
  • The limit on the credit cards for which you have applied
  • The type of card for which you have applied
  • The date you opened a credit account, the type of account, and when it was closed
  • If, because of a default, someone has entered into a new varied arrangement for repayments


Dos and Don’t’s to Get a Good Credit Rating Under the New System


  • Set up automatic debits to pay your credit card and loans on time
  • Close any credit facilities you don’t need
  • Check your credit file http://www.mycreditfile.com.au/


  • Pay a debt more than five days later
  • Shop around for credit cards and store leases when you don’t need them
  • Fail to contact the lender to renegotiate your repayment terms

Macquarie Private Wealth

SMH, Business, August 2, 2014

Adele Ferguson and Ben Butler

Glancing up at the sparkling silver doughnut logo as he walked into the millionaires’ factory for a meeting with his Macquarie Private Wealth adviser in July 2009, Don Waller was hopeful that this meeting would be kinder than the last.

After more than half his life savings had been torched by the global financial crisis in the previous year, he expected the recent 40 per cent rebound in the equity markets to pep up his finances.

It was not to be. Waller’s adviser, who still works at the bank, told him his already devastated financial portfolio had gone up just 4 per cent and he had not been able to take advantage of the $96 billion equity issues corporate Australia was raising at rock-bottom prices.

‘It was gut-wrenching,’ Waller says. ‘It wasn’t until I got home and read the annual review document that I realised the managed funds I had been put into had a heavy exposure to foreign currency movements.’

As he flicked the pages, he was horrified to discover that his family trust had a 76 per cent exposure to foreign currency and his superannuation fund had a 48 per cent exposure, despite explicit instructions that he did not want currency exposure.

Waller and his partner signed up with Macquarie in 2005 after receiving a substantial financial windfall from the sale of a company he had worked at for a number of years. The couple turned to Macquarie because they believed their money would be safe – and do well.

Assessed as balanced/growth investors – not high-growth or speculative – they were advised to pour their $3.2 million into an investment portfolio and gear up with another $2.5 million, which was placed in Macquarie’s costly Geared Equities Investment product.

The net effect of the high-fee MPW investment recommendations was to reduce their nest egg from $3.2 million to an estimated $1.4 million when they finally pulled up stumps and walked away.

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Why Use A Broker?

The key reasons why you should use a Mortgage and Finance broker:


Brokers can give you choice

Good brokers are not tied to any particular lender. They are accredited with a large panel of banks, building societies, mortgage managers and other lenders. They have no interest in recommending one product or one lender over another.

Whatever your circumstances, a good broker will find the deal that’s right for you, not the lender. 

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Hot School Zones Drive Up Prices!

Editorial, The Age, 12/07/2014

Competition for property in sought-after school areas is intense – some buyers say, “zone first, house second”.

These days, securing a seat in a classroom at a low-cost but high-performing government school is as much a real estate drawcard as sparkling en suites, backyard pools and posh postcodes.
Homes in established zones, including those for Balwyn, Camberwell and McKinnon secondary schools, have long been in frenzied demand with mum and dad buyers. But there are emerging school hot zones across Melbourne, according to agents.
Parents who desire a quality education for their kids – but without elitism – are driving up the price of top school-zoned properties, even in suburbs that are not traditionally classed as blue ribbon, according to agents.

Buyers keeping one eye on real estate ads and the other on VCE and NAPLAN results will do everything in their power to secure a house in a leading government school zone, agents say.
With limited housing available within tight neighbourhood boundaries, ferocious bidding and bullishly fronting agents at packed open for inspections is not uncommon.
And agents say with competition pumping up prices by 5 per cent in emerging zones like Alkira Secondary College in Cranbourne North, and by up to 20 per cent in traditionally in-demand pockets like Balwyn High School, that means budgets are sometimes pushed to the limit.
The price difference between a home in a desirable zone and one outside the zone, even just a street away, can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to buyers’ advisors.
Northcote High School and Alkira Secondary College – formerly Casey Central Secondary College – are more recently in-demand government school zones, driven by consistently strong academic results.
As a school’s reputation improves, agents feel the trickledown of demand almost immediately, said Nelson Alexander sales director Arch Staver.
He said houses in sought-after school wedges almost always outperform the median price for the suburb.
“Some people who I have spoken with, they want the academic equivalent of a private school but perhaps without a sense of eliteness,” Mr Staver said. “They want to capture the academic standard of a private school with an earthy and more local environment.”

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