Meriton responds to apartment tip

Lisa Thomas, Meriton media and communications executive, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday). I would like to correct some significant misinformation. Your stats are grossly out of line and could have benefited from some fact-checking.

The claim that “60%” of Meriton’s sold apartments are sold to “Chinese and other offshore Asians” is false and misleading. The percentage of our apartments sold to offshore/foreign purchasers is 13-15% — not 60%. This has been consistent for the last few years. The latest NAB quarterly property index puts the Australia-wide figure at 16%. Approximately 87% of our apartments are sold to Australian residents. While some have Chinese heritage or may not have been born here, they are Australian citizens.

You mention that it is offshore buying that is “driving up Sydney house prices”. We see strong demand across all buyer groups; our Oceanvale development in Warriewood is moving quickly with zero foreign buyers. It is also not true that many of our units are “unoccupied”. We manage the properties ourselves so are in the unique position to know they are inhabited. Furthermore, we have a rental vacancy rate of 0.05%. Beyond that, please note that our ceiling heights are 2.7 metres, not 2.4 — this is fairly standard across the board.

Bill Shorten and change in Labor Party ranks

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Will Labor’s reform momentum now grind to a halt?” (yesterday). As an ALP member Bill Shorten has too many skeletons in his closet to be the leader. He disgraced himself for not voting to increase the miserly Newstart allowance of $35 a day, which is one of the lowest dole payments in the developed world, and then said he was struggling to get by on his $930 a day. He also voted for to force sole parents onto Newstart when their child turns eight and ignore the fact that most sole parents were already working part time but now suffer a cut of around $100 a week from their already low combined income. He actually moved the second reading of the bill whilst his cabinet colleague Nicola Roxon, was allowed to retire from Parliament on a pension of $140,000 plus for life, because her child was turning eight and Roxon wanted to spend more time with her. As the employment minister Shorten also knew of the real unemployment figure of 2 million-plus and the utter futility and cruelty of making more people look harder for non-existent jobs.

Les Heimann writes: I don’t agree Shorten will fail. The leopards leading the Liberals haven’t changed their spots. Gosh I hope there will be a double dissolution — out will go Palmer’s mad mob and all the other funny farmers; and a few more bush fires and massive storms will prove that climate change is real.

Women deserve respect in the workforce

Robyn Godbehere writes: Re. “Encouraged women perform better than they’d expect” (yesterday). I don’t think there is a woman in Australia today who wants to be PM. Look at what the media did to Julia Gillard. But having said that, saying that women don’t have the genes to lead is utter rubbish. Who do you really think runs the home? When I was in council, I was not a business person and was ostracized by my own group because of that, yet a very rich, very prominent business leader told me that if you want a budget to balance, then get a housewife to do it.

Time to get factual about fossil fuels

Roger Clifton writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday). The OECD Secretary General said “whatever policy mix we put in place, it has to lead to the complete elimination of … emissions … from fossil fuels.” Hooray!  At last a significant leader is using the word “elimination”.  You can’t bury it, so total replacement of all fossil fuels is implied.  Neither can you “reduce” emissions by saying that you will reduce this and reduce that, when the sum total is much the same as before. Nor can we just “reduce” our emissions to “a sustainable level”, because there is no sustainable level at all while the level of CO2 in the greenhouse is increasing.  If there was such a level, it would belong to developing nations, not ours.  We must eliminate, not reduce. Let’s hear our own leaders say that word, “eliminate”, and ask to see their preparations for the elimination of all fossil fuels by mid century.

Alan Harrington writes: Richard Farmer repeats the nonsense that diesel fuel is more carbon dioxide-intensive than petrol. He bases this on a comparison of carbon emitted “per litre”. What actually matters, if he thinks about it, is emission per unit of energy produced, or per kilometre traveled. Diesel engines, especially twin turbocharged diesel engines, as fitted to all modern trucks, and many cars, are around 50% more fuel efficient than the equivalent petrol engine. As an example, my Citroen C5 HDI wagon, about the same size as a Ford Falcon wagon, (but much more comfortable, and with much better hill climbing ability), produces 155 g/km of carbon.  The equivalent petrol Holden/Falcon produces around 250g/km. Richard’s assertion is typical of those made all the time by people who can’t be bothered to think mathematically. The numbers are all there, but the innumerate ignore them.