The NSW Government is promising to crackdown on parents who lie about where they live to get their children into a better school.
Documents obtained by 7News shows just how devious and persistent some people have been and the strain its putting on other students and staff.
When a school performs well it appears parents from far and wide are trying any means to enrol their children, with the latest revelations have come as a shock to many.
“I’m not shocked. Disappointed,” Chris Presland, NSW Secondary Principal’s Association, said.
It’s now common practice for parents to lie to get their children into better schools.
“What you and Seven has exposed is simply outrageous,” Education Minister Rob Stokes said.
It’s now common for NSW schools with good results to investigate hundreds of applications from parents living outside their catchment area.
Using Freedom of Information, 7News learned Strathfield Girls High School, Castle Hill High, Cherrybrook Technology High School, Killara High, Cheltenham Girls and Epping Boys High School are routinely targeted by parents.
“It creates overcrowding in these schools that people are trying to get into and yes, there’s room in other schools,” Mr Presland said.
An affidavit from a school enrolment officer revealed that after tracking down one family, officials were led to an address where seven families fraudulently claimed to live.
Some parents do it legally by taking a short term lease, enrolling their children before abandoning the lease.
“People obviously scamming in and bypassing those people who are purchasing legitimately and it’s just not fair across the board,” Real estate agent Angelo Lambropoulos said.
Cracking down on fraud has seen Cherrybrook slash it’s student numbers from 2,250 to 1,960.
“When people are prepared to go lengths to fraudulently produce documents and sorts of efforts you’ve exposed on Seven, that’s much harder for us to catch,” Mr Stokes said.
On top of that, officials now expect an additional 164,000 students in NSW schools by 2031.
RESIDENTS in Oakville and Maraylya have staged a walk out during a community meeting with Hawkesbury Council this week, following an uproar of concern over the Outer Sydney Orbital.
The meeting, which was held at Maraylya Community Hall on Thursday night, saw council representatives ‘sidestep’ resident concerns over claims of an upcoming 30 per cent rate increase, as well as outrage over a lack of support against the Outer Sydney Orbital, according to representatives of the Oakville Progress Association.
Association members said residents of Maraylya and Oakville are calling for the realignment of council boundaries, moving the suburbs under the Hills Shire Council local government area due to a lack of representation by Hawkesbury Council.
“Residents expressed their anger that council are forcing them to pay some of the highest
rates in the Hawkesbury, despite having voted overwhelmingly against the outrageous rates
increases during community consultation in 2017,” Progress Association representative Rebecca Baldwin told the Times.
“Many residents are retired and living on the pension and don’t know how they will afford to pay up to $10,000 a year in rates.”
Rates across the region will rise by 9.5 per cent each year for three years as of July 1, following a successful bid from Hawkesbury Council for the approval of a special rate variation by the independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal.
Progress Association representatives said although plans for the orbital link have been halted, they were concerned their rural towns were still at risk.
“Oakville and Maraylya residents are already living with the fear and uncertainty of the Outer
Sydney Orbital corridor, slated to cut their suburbs in half,” Ms Baldwin said.
“Hawkebsury Council failed to offer an explanation as to why they failed to advocate for residents regarding the M9 corridor, even though they had information about it since 2015.”
NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey speaks on Outer Sydney Orbital
Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett said the council received a great deal of communication from local residents on this issue.
“It will obviously take some time for their concerns to be fully allayed after such a roller coaster ride about the Outer Sydney Orbital and Bells Line of Road — we await further information from the State Government about the 200 residents who will reportedly still be affected,” Cr Lyons-Buckett said.
“Hawkesbury City Council will fully review the latest proposal from the NSW Government when it is made available for community consultation.
In response to the State Government backflip, announced yesterday, Cr Lyons-Buckett said: “The power of communication and community engagement can never be underestimated”.
“It is evident from (the) announcement that council’s submission, and the many submissions from the community, has swayed the State Government to take into account community concerns,” she said.
In the third part of our three-part coverage of the NSW budget, we take a look at the upcoming initiatives in Western Sydney that could raise the value of property investors’ portfolios.
Delivered on Tuesday (19 June), the NSW budget for the 2018–19 financial year has a large assortment of new and continued initiatives that could raise the local economies of a number of suburbs in the Western Sydney region, but there was no mention of any measures that directly targets existing local investors.
In financial year 2018–19, the NSW government plans to spend at least $7.2 billion on infrastructure, which includes:
$100 million to the planning and develop the final business case for the North-South Rail Link;
$3.6 billion to the 10-year Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, which includes:
Widening Bringelly Road between Camden Valley Way and The Northern Road as well as providing better bus facilities, improved safety and more reliable travel times;
Use space to its full potential
We’d all love to have a bright, large laundry with garden access. If you have this in your home, marvellous. But in many cases the laundry is much smaller than you’d like.
Regardless of what space you have, there is a wide variety of solutions to sort and conceal your laundry. And a number of these laundry storage ideas can be incorporated into existing cabinetry without needing to undertake a large-scale renovation.
1. Freestanding laundry baskets
In a large laundry with lots of floor space, freestanding laundry baskets are great. If you have a large family (or live with lots of people), you might need more than one. They’re also a good way of sorting laundry. But you might find they eventually clutter the room, especially if your space is small.
2. Under-bench laundry baskets
Having an open void beneath a benchtop where you can store laundry baskets is a simple yet effective way to use available space. The benchtop and upper cabinetry make it a multi-tasking area, which is essential in a small laundry.
3. Store and sort
This small, yet highly functional, laundry ticks many boxes. The plastic laundry baskets are durable, easy to access, and have good storage capacity. The stacked washer/dryer also free up under-bench space to create more storage.
Tip: For highly organised and frequently used laundries, these simple rattan baskets on shelves are a great way to store and access laundry items. The elevated washing machine and dryer with rattan baskets beneath make this a highly functional space.
4. Wheel it out
Wheeled laundry baskets are a convenient way of loading, unloading and storing laundry in a concealed place, such as beneath a bench or in a nook. These baskets have excellent storage capacity and are good for large laundry rooms and equally large families.
5. Use vertical space
Having a hanging rod and two laundry hampers on wheels is a great way to use vertical space. In this set-up, the laundry baskets are completely accessible and don’t clutter the circulation area, while providing easy access to the washing machine. The upper cabinetry also makes good use of the space, and provides additional storage for those items not required on a regular basis. A compact wall-mounted clothesline is a clever idea for laundry smalls.
6. Laundry basket drawers
Bespoke drawers are a highly flexible solution that can work well if you have space constraints and specific storage requirements. They’re a good option for full-scale laundry renovations, although other options can be more economical. One downside of a solid box drawer is that damp laundry won’t breathe, so moisture and smells will build up over time.
Tip: If you’re considering a wood/melamine-based drawer for a laundry basket, be cautious of storing wet items. Corners might need to be sealed to prevent seeping and swelling of raw materials.
7. Slide-out wire laundry baskets
These come in a wide range of options and materials. If you are storing wet items, choose your materials wisely. Stainless-steel and aluminium are the most robust materials for wet areas. Chromed products also work well, but have limited warranties and might not have the same lifespan. Plastic-coated steel also gives good protection from moisture, but over time breaks and cracks in the coating may lead to rust. Some suppliers offer fabric liners to give you added functionality and stop small items slipping through the wires.
Tip: For any type of pull-out storage system, regardless of price point, check the warranty and fine print. Many of these products can be costly, and warranties can range from a lifetime of cover to only 12 months. Also check the litre capacity because some laundry baskets have angled sides (i.e. not square) so they might look large in photos but will give you much less storage than you expect.
8. Slide-out plastic laundry baskets
There are many versions of the plastic laundry hamper. Plastic hampers are practical, durable and the holes allow for good aeration. Litre capacity is also generally good.
Tip: The quality of the sliding mechanisms can vary, so check the warranty because the replacement cost of this may be high if in a few years things start to break down. Also, if you are opting for an off-the-shelf plastic hamper that a cabinet maker is adapting into a drawer, go for a style that is readily available should you need to replace it.
9. Tilt-door laundry hampers
These are great for concealing dirty laundry in a shallow cabinet. Many of these systems have a relatively small litre capacity so they are useful for small laundries – otherwise opt for several to give you as much storage as you require.
10. Under-sink storage
Most people overlook this space because it’s tricky to work with all the plumbing obstructions. These cabinets can, however, offer lots of space to conceal slide-out laundry baskets and other storage. This can also be a great solution for tiny laundries where freestanding laundry baskets block narrow access areas.
11. Tiny cabinets
This clever piece of cabinetry uses space that would generally be considered unusable. The fold-out ironing board and shelves are an impressive use of a tiny space, as well as being perfectly integrated into the cabinetry.
Long days and warm nights may be gone for now, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay indoors when friends come over. Here are some great examples of how you can set up an outdoor entertaining area to make it comfy and cosy for a winter afternoon or evening, just add thick blankets, cocooning structures and, of course, fire…
THE number of break-ins has dropped dramatically across The Hills in non-residential dwellings such as schools and businesses.
Police say increased patrols and vigilance from community members has helped crack down on break-ins across the region.
A crime report released this month highlighted that reports to police had plummeted across The Hills Shire Council region for break and enters in non-dwellings — with a 47 per cent decrease during the past two years.
Non-dwellings refer mainly to businesses, schools and commercial premises but do not include vehicles.
Break and enters in homes have also declined during the same period.
The Hills Police Area Command Superintendent Rob Critchlow said he put the decline down to regular patrols in targeted areas and good records on past offenders.
“We are also receiving great information from the community about suspicious people who we go after and that also reduces opportunities for crime,” he said.
“Without community support through homeowners locking up their houses and calling us with information we would not have been so successful.”
Between April 2016 and March 2017, there were 121 break and enters in non-dwellings in The Hills. That number plummeted to just 64 during the year ending March 2018.
“Locally, it is very reassuring to see downward trends in major crime categories,” Baulkham Hills state Liberal MP David Elliott said.
The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research publish a report each quarter on crime trends.
BREAK AND ENTER CRIME STATISTICS FOR THE HILLS SHIRE COUNCIL REGION:
AMBITIOUS plans for a new clubhouse and an upgrade to sporting fields at Cherrybrook’s Greenway Park have been approved by the Federal Government.
The Advocate can reveal the plans include a $1.6 million clubhouse and $1 million upgrade to the main oval at Greenway, following a campaign by Cherrybrook and Pennant Hills sporting associations and Berowra federal Liberal MP Julian Leeser.
“This level of funding for a community sporting campaign such as this one is groundbreaking,” Mr Leeser told the Advocate.
“Clubs at Greenway Oval have produced some great Australian sporting stars including (Olympic hurdler) Michelle Jenneke and (Swans AFL star) Kieren Jack, but they have never had the facilities to match.
“These facilities really are the worst in the state when you look at how many people are using them on a daily basis.”
Several sporting associations including the Pennant Hills Demons, Greenway Giants and Cherrybrook Athletics raised concerns about a lack of clubhouse facilities, including women’s change rooms and the condition of sports fields.
The associations’ plea led to Mr Leeser raising his concerns with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison.
Thousands of residents and members of sporting clubs signed a petition to upgrade facilities at the oval, including Greenway Sports House Committee chairman Phil Hare.
“The community has been calling for Greenway Park to be upgraded for over a decade,” he said.
“This is a phenomenal result that will make an enormous difference to the seven clubs and their players that call Greenway home”.
The Penno Stags Rugby League, Westbrook Junior AFL, West Pennant Hills and Cherrybrook Cricket and Cherrybrook United Netball clubs also use Greenway daily.
ENTIRE communities in sleepy bushland suburbs of the Hills and Hornsby are locked in limbo, after the State Government announced draft corridor plans for the M9 Outer Sydney Orbital.
If plans for the eight-lane motorway from Menangle to Box Hill are approved, hundreds of homes in Sydney’s north west — including Marsden Park, Riverstone, Vineyard, Box Hill and Maraylya — would be acquired and knocked down.
Home owners in suburbs from Annangrove to Dural, Cherrybrook and even Hornsby have raised concerns after community consultation on the corridor investigation suggested the route could cut through the Dural Nature Reserve and Berowra Valley National Park.
But Castle Hill MP Ray Williams reassured residents this suggestion would not become a reality.
“The NSW Government has not proposed any corridors of the Outer Orbital within the Hills area,” Mr Williams said.
The Outer Sydney Orbital also proposes the motorway should also provide a connection to the Central Coast — yet fails to identify property and land sites expected to be bulldozed.
Hills Shire councillor Robyn Preston labelled the proposed link “a road to nowhere” and called on the government to pinpoint the exact route of the corridor.
“Council will not support any plans for the Outer Sydney Orbital in the Hills Shire until plans are complete,” Cr Preston said.
“Residents are up in arms, they are distressed about the future and are convinced their homes are in the firing line.”
Cr Preston said their were positive aspects of the orbital plans, including its proximity to the Box Hill stage two residential development.
Hills Shire councillor Robyn Preston said the government needed to be clear where the road was going.
Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett said the government needed to abandon its plans. Picture: Hawkesbury Council
Hawkesbury Mayor Mary Lyons-Buckett wrote to the premier last week to raise concerns the council’s position had not been considered.
Last month councillors voted unanimously to call on the government to abandon its current plans.
“The corridor proposal announcements have evoked emotional responses and caused distress and uncertainty within our community,” Cr Lyons-Buckett said.
A Transport for NSW spokesman said the department was “currently reviewing the community feedback.”
RESIDENTS FEAR RURAL LIFESTYLE WILL BE LOST
MARAYLYA resident Matthew Marshall said his hometown would be “cut in two” if the M9 orbital continued with a link to the Central Coast.
“We deliberately made the decision to live in a rural area and it looks like that opportunity will be taken away from us if this corridor goes ahead,” he said.
Mr Marshall and his young family have lived in the rural suburb since 2000 and built their “forever home” just four years ago.
“Right now our future looks very uncertain,” he said. “Our home could be acquired for the orbital, or we could be neighbours to an eight-lane freeway.”
Mr Marshall said property owners were uncertain whether to continue to build homes in the area.
“Transport for NSW are telling us they have not determined the route, which currently ends at Maraylya, to the Central Coast,” he said.
“They did not give us enough time to address concerns and respond.”
ACTION GROUPS RALLY TO PROTECT BUSHLANDA submission to the Outer Sydney Orbital corridor investigation suggested running the eight-lane freeway through Dural and Cherrybrook. (AAP Image / Julian Andrews).
RESIDENT action groups are calling for greater protections to local bushland, as possible corridors for the Outer Sydney Orbital have suggested cutting through rural suburbs across the Hornsby Shire.
Community consultation from the corridor investigation suggested the corridor could link from Box Hill to Hornsby through the Dural nature reserve and Berowra Valley National Park.
But Resident Infrastructure Planning Alliance spokeswoman Jacqui Goddard said local tree canopies and wildlife corridors should be defended.Portraits of local residents standing on the corner of New Line Rd and Hastings Rd in Dural on 12th June 2018, where a proposal has been submitted under community consultation for the Outer Sydney Corridor Pictured (L-R) are: Ray Sloss, Beverley Inshaw, John Inshaw, and Jacqui Goddard. (AAP Image / Julian Andrews).
“The route under discussion cuts right through rural properties at South Dural,” Mrs Goddard said. “Personally I am very happy that we can provide habitat for kangaroos and our many other native birds, animals and insects.
“Following a watercourse would also be highly hazardous to Aboriginal Heritage and cultural landscapes.”
Mrs Goddard questioned the NSW Government’s releasing of information in the lead up to an election and scolded Transport for NSW over a lack of public comment.
“But I can see it being attractive to developers, with areas currently not an option opened up, or recently closed to them such as South Dural,” she said.
“There are no easy answers to the provision of transport infrastructure, but destroying our natural environment certainly isn’t one of them.”
By the time you’ve calculated the cost of renovating your bathroom into the sanctuary of your dreams, you might find the job is well outside your budget. But there are many ways to update an existing room without breaking the bank. In fact, with a budget as low as $5,000 you can achieve a really impressive new look, especially if you are prepared to DIY on some projects. This low budget won’t allow you to knock down walls, replace ceilings, increase the size of a window or install a sunken bath, but it will buy some great options to modernise and freshen up the look of your bathroom walls, fixtures and lights. Pick and choose individual projects from the many ideas below, or bundle some together to meet your budget.
Wallpaper Wallpaper is a quick fix with wow factor. It can hide blemished walls; and if you use a metallic wallpaper, it can reflect light back into the room. Best of all, you can update it annually, because it’s so practical and aesthetically gorgeous! If you have fallen for a wallpaper that’s a little too expensive for the whole room, however, use it sparingly – perhaps on a feature wall or above a dado rail.
DIY TIP: Remove loose paint and fill any holes or cracks. With new ‘paste the wall application’ products on the market, you don’t need to be a wallpaper hanging specialist to transform your walls.
COST: $90; estimate based on the cost of an average 10-metre roll, paste and a brush.
The easiest way to update or lift a bathroom is by giving it a new coat of paint. But don’t stop at the walls and ceiling – you can paint your tiles and any old tongue-and-groove wood panelling, too, which is much cheaper than replacing them.
DIY TIP: Prepare the tiles by cleaning them with a tile-cleaning product. Once dry, lightly sand. This will remove the glaze off the tiles and help the paint to bond. Wipe the dust, then prime. Then, once dry, cover with two coats of your chosen colour. For durability, I recommend a satin or gloss paint over a matt finish.
COST: $100; estimate based on the cost of sandpaper, a brush, a litre of high-adhesion tile and laminate primer, and a litre of wash-and-wear bathroom paint.
Tiles Tiling will totally revamp the look and feel of your bathroom scheme. To get a seamless look, I recommend one colour and style for your wall tile and splashback. Going large scale in a white tile will make the space brighter and look larger; plus a larger tile is quicker to lay. On a practical level, gloss tiles are easy to clean.
TIP: To ascertain the area you need to cover in a square-metre measurement, multiply your wall width by room height. Use a professional tiler for this.
COST: $715; estimate based on the cost of tiles and a tiler for a 6-square-metre wall.
FLOORS Floorboards Uncover what’s hiding under dated vinyl, tile or laminate flooring. If you are lucky, you will find original floorboards. If so, take advantage of its natural good looks – a sanded floor is a warm feature in any style of bathroom. For a natural look that shows off the grain, sand and stain the floorboards with a clear or tinted varnish.
DIY TIP: Before sanding, hammer each nail flush or below the board’s surface.
COST: $165; estimate based on the cost of a hammer, palm sander, gloves, dust mask, ear muffs, safety glasses, stain and varnish.
For a look that’s right on trend but won’t break the bank, opt for concrete flooring with a new finish. Whether you lift up old tiles or vinyl to expose a concrete slab or have already poured a new one, you don’t need to polish the concrete. You can grind it back and cover it with polyurethane. The only downside to this finishing option is that the surface will need to be resealed every few years.
COST: $45; estimate based on the cost of a litre of polyurethane.
Bath If you have chosen a few things to update in your bathroom but are still under budget, why not treat yourself to a freestanding bath in a style you’ve always dreamed about. With a range of sizes and styles, there are plenty of options to choose from that won’t blow your budget.
COST: $2,380; estimate based on the cost of a bath similar to the one pictured, and includes the bath, freestanding bath set and plumber’s installation fee.
Vanity Introduce re-purposed furniture for a vanity. This is not only a cheap alternative but will make a charming addition to your bathroom, be it a remodelled console, chest of drawers or a vintage shop counter. Use your existing basin and have a carpenter cut out a hole in the vanity to fit it. Get a plumber to do the rest.
COST: $900 to $1,350; estimate based on the cost of the furniture item (look at lower figure if you already have a secondhand vanity piece), carpenter and plumber’s fees.
A frameless screen looks modern and sleek. You may be able to squeeze one into your layout as a walk-in placed near your existing bath and using the same floor waste, as pictured here. Then install a new shower rail, rose and taps.
COST: $2,170; estimate based on the cost of a shower screen, shower rail, shower rose, shower mixer and plumber’s fee.
A pretty or interesting pendant is a focal point in a bathroom and therefore a quick and winning way to update. Whether a chandelier or an industrial light, wire or grass-woven pendant, this is a simple way to add pizazz.
COST: $450; estimate based on the cost of the pendant and electrician’s fee.
LEDs Lining your mirror with LED strips adds mood-enhancing lighting to your bathroom and is a decorative feature, too. Best of all, lighting on the sides of the mirror means you won’t have shadows on your face when you need to closely examine yourself. LEDs are sustainable, lasting much longer than halogens and are safer, too, because they don’t get as hot. In addition to strips, you can also use LED-recessed downlights.
COST: $570; estimate based on the cost of four strips, four downlights, and electrician’s fee.
Australia’s big four banks have dipped into a “bear market” as investors fret over multiple challenges including falling house prices, a regulatory backlash sparked by the royal commission, and higher funding costs.
With the major banks lagging the broader sharemarket for several years, each of the lenders touched new lows on Wednesday, prompting some experts to suggest now may be an opportune time to buy.
Commonwealth Bank shares are 22 per cent below their peak of late April 2017, Westpac and National Australia Bank shares have lost 23 per cent, and ANZ’s stock has fallen 20 per cent. The major banks’ total returns underperformed the S&P/ASX 200 by 1 per cent in 2015, 5 per cent in 2016 and 10 per cent in 2017, according to UBS strategist David Cassidy.
Fund managers and analysts blame the poor performance of the banks on the combined impact of slowing credit growth caused by a weaker housing market, and unprecedented regulatory scrutiny including the royal commission.
The potential upside for investors, however, is that experts believe bank dividends are safe, and at current prices the banks’ yields could prove attractive for investors in search of income.
David Walker, senior analyst at Clime Asset Management, said a key reason for the slump was the realisation banks were at “the end of 25 years of strong home loan growth”, and the credit slowdown had further to run.
“That’s a real problem, because mortgages have grown to be two-thirds of the loan book, depending on the bank. As that happens, they will compete more intensely for the remaining share.”
Housing credit growth has slowed from 6.5 per cent to 6 per cent in the past year and banks expect it will dip to about 4 or 5 per cent. Mr Walker said the banks were becoming more like utility stocks – paying healthy dividends, but with little in the way of growth prospects.
“They need to be priced for a slower growth era, and the market is seeing that,” Mr Walker said.
White Funds Management managing director Angus Gluskie said that as well as the weaker housing market, investors were nervous about the impact of the royal commission, and risk of profits being hit by rising bad debts.
“One of these items would have only weakened the sector a limited amount. But because we’ve had one issue coming one after the other there’s a bit of a reinforcement effect,” Mr Gluskie said.
A further challenge is that international funding costs have been creeping up in recent months – a trend likely to cost banks hundreds of millions if they are not passed on to customers.
CLSA analyst Brian Johnson said the royal commission would make it much harder for major banks to raise their interest rates independently of the Reserve Bank – which the market expects will not move rates anytime soon.
“I would have thought a bank CEO would be a brave person if they were going to lift mortgage rates,” Mr Johnson said.
I would have thought a bank CEO would be a brave person if they were going to lift mortgage rates.
Even so, Mr Johnson said he thought after recent share price falls the banks offered “relative value” compared with banks overseas.
Hugh Dive, chief investment officer at Atlas Funds Management, also thought the market had become too pessimistic towards banks.
He pointed out the flipside of weak credit growth was that banks had less need to set aside capital to support lending, which should underpin dividends.
“In a situation where credit is not really growing very fast, and they sold a lot of businesses, that’s going to return a lot of capital,” Mr Dive said.
Overseas bank shares are also suffering, with more than half the 30 lenders classified as “systemically important financial institutions” by the Financial Stability Board also down at least 20 per cent from their most recent peaks, according to Bloomberg.