What $650,000 (and just over) buys you in Sydney now

Obviously $650,000 is more than half a million; but as the threshold for first home-owners stamp duty exemption, in Sydney housing market-speak, this is entry-level coin.
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Nevertheless with some savvy hunting you can still enjoy the world-envied Sydney lifestyle. As long as that car spot or second bedroom or backyard or sea breeze or 20-minute commute isn’t a deal breaker for you, you’re sitting pretty in one of Sydney’s dream locations for about $650,000. 1. Who’s who in Barangaroo???

187 Kent Street, Sydney NSW

What: StudioWhere:187 Kent Street, Sydney NSW Price guide: $630,000-$660,000

Live like a jetsetter next to the city’s flashiest precinct, Barangaroo, in this furnished 42-square-metre studio with a marble bathroom and large balcony overlooking the CBD. A stone’s throw from the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks and Opera House in one direction and Darling Harbour in the other; you’re a short walk from Barangaroo’s world class restaurants and foreshore parks. This is your chance to keep your finger on the pulse in a big way, and the letting potential is off the charts. 2. Natural habitat in Hazelbrook

109 Mount View Avenue, Hazelbrook

???What: Three-bedroom houseWhere: 109 Mount View Avenue, Hazelbrook NSW Price guide: $599,950

Fancy a Blue Mountains off-grid lifestyle? This 677-square-metre Hazelbrook property is completely self-sufficient, with stunning terraced gardens that back onto bushland for your morning hike to the waterfall. Intend on setting up a chook run, vegie garden, solar panels, composting and rainwater tanks? It’s all done for you. The house itself boasts polished floorboards, gas, air con and three huge bedrooms plus a study or fourth bedroom. Hmmm, tempted to curl up on that back deck with a glass of red right now? 3. Robinson cruisey in Scotland Island

118 Thompson Street, Scotland Island

What: Land and a shedWhere: 118 Thompson Street, Scotland IslandPrice guide: $600,000

This 1300-square-metre block on the north side of Scotland Island is peaceful a slice of paradise – who’d believe you’re still in Sydney? Bathed in light and bordered by parks and native reserve, the plot has road access to the island community, and its own jetty onto shimmering Pittwater. Accessed via the northern beaches ferry, water taxi or private boat; the property features a couple of readymade sheds to use as you build your architecturally designed dream house (DA approval in the works). Power, water and septic are already in place. Time for a seachange? 4. On point in Potts Point

49/1 Mcdonald, Potts Point NSW

What: One-bedroom unitWhere:49/1 Mcdonald, Potts Point NSW Price guide: $650,000-$680,000

Its price range puts this apartment right at the limit (and potentially over) the first-home buyers threshold, but its location made it a must to include. A tranquil hideaway in the beating heart of Sydney’s inner east, Potts Point, adjacent to Kings Cross, has quickly been gentrified as the spotlight shifts from clubs to its sensational restaurants and classy wine bars.

A block back from Woolloomooloo in strata title building Habitat, the unit has pool access, a leafy outlook and new kitchen, in case you ever decide to cook. Stroll up Macleay Street and grab a bite, see a show, sit by El Alamein Fountain, catch a train or have coffee on Victoria Street, and if you want to dance the night away you still can. 5. Retro gem in Brighton-Le-Sands

12/20 Crawford Road, Brighton-Le-Sands NSW

What: Two-bedroom unit Where:12/20 Crawford Road, Brighton-Le-Sands Price guide: $650,000-$680,000

This charming top floor unit has the lot – space and light, two balconies, two generous bedrooms, two bathrooms (one en suite) and a carpark.

Everything that cosmopolitan south-eastern village of Brighton-le-Sands can offer is within walking distance. Cruise two blocks down bustling Bay Street, with its Greek Australian cafe precinct, to the Grand Parade stretching along two kilometres of sandy beach on glassy Botany Bay. Great schools are in walking distance, and the airport and CBD are just 20 minutes away. Again, the price range puts it at the limit of the first-home buyers threshold, but with two bedrooms, two balconies and located less than a 30-minute car trip to the CBD it provides excellent value.

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Ahmed Fahour resigns from last Aussie Post role in time for Christmas

Ahmed Fahour severed his final ties with Australia Post just in time for Christmas with his resignation from the board of Dubai-based logistics provider, Aramex.
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Australia Post spent more than $200 million acquiring a 10 per cent stake in Aramex last year, which earned Fahour a board seat.

And he clearly stated his desire to keep the seat after leaving his well-paid post in July.It was decided he would keep the role until some time in 2018 while Holgate found her feet.That changed November 28 when Holgate replaced Fahour.

It came one week after Aramex announced that Bashar Obeid would replace Hussein Hachem, as its chief executive. This came one month after Obeid announced his plans to exercise his early retirement option and leave Aramex. There is no suggestion this had anything to do with Holgate deciding she would replace Fahour on the board sooner rather than later.

His resignation from Aramex also removes Fahour’s final source of income derived from Australia Post.

While he was a Post employee, the Aramex board fees were paid to the government-owned enterprise.

But Fahour pocketed the board fees himself after stepping down from Australia Post in July. Aramex’s annual report does not detail the fees received by each director.

Whatever the sum, it would act as a nice top up of the $10.8 million Fahour took home last year from Australia Post – which consisted of $8.7 million worth of bonus payments, and a $2 million salary. It ranked Fahour among the highest paid chief executives in the country.

With Holgate now on the Aramex board, the director’s fees are being paid to Australia Post once more.

And Holgate will have to make do with her salary of $1.375 million a year, with the potential to earn 100 per cent of that as a bonus, meaning her total remuneration will be no more than $2.75 million.

Holgate also sacrificed $2.63 million in forfeited share rights when she resigned this year from vitamin maker, Blackmores.

Blackmores’ annual report said 12,127 share rights for the 2016 financial year and another 15,051 granted last year “were forfeited due to Christine Holgate’s resignation prior to completion of this service period”.

Fahour has a new full time role as executive chairman at Pro Pac, the packaging group which is half-owned by his billionaire buddy Raphael Geminder, the brother-in-law of another Australian packaging billionaire, Anthony Pratt.

Colin Kruger

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Muscat hopes for Milligan return in Melbourne derby

Melbourne Victory boss Kevin Muscat is hoping to welcome back one of the most experienced of all his campaigners, Mark Milligan, this weekend as Victory look to chalk up two wins in a row for the first time this campaign when they take on cross-town rivals Melbourne City in the second Melbourne derby of the season.
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Muscat resisted the clamour to bring in a host of youthful faces into the starting line up last Sunday and got his reward when Rhys Williams and Kosta Barbarouses scored to set up the club’s third away win of the campaign, a 2-1 win against Brisbane Roar.

That they did so without injured star Milligan was to their credit, and the sometime Socceroos skipper, on the injury list since limping off after the disappointing 2-1 home loss to Adelaide United on December 8, might be available to take some part in Saturday night’s AAMI blockbuster.

“‘Millsy’ is going really well. When he did it a couple of weeks ago it was only a very very mild incident,” the Victory boss told Melbourne radio station SEN on Wednesday morning.

“He has trained very well and ticked every box at this stage but with muscular injuries you have to make sure you tick all those boxes, and as soon as you don’t tick one off the risk becomes too great. But at this point he is very good condition.”

Milligan scored a tremendous goal to equalise against Adelaide before he had to leave the pitch and the fact that he is still trying to recover for the big pre-Christmas derby is emblematic of the seaosn he has endured.

The midfielder missed several games as he was away with the national team on World Cup qualifying duty against Syria and Honduras, and then missed the match against Wellington through suspension following his dismissal against Newcastle.

The Victory coach has argued that this season has presented difficulties that few others have because of the international commitments of his senior men, and he is hoping that with Milligan, James Troisi and Barbarouses now no longer involved in World Cup qualifiers, Victory can reset themselves for the final 16 games of the 27-match season.

“It’s been a unique season for us for a number of reasons. We have had to deal with a few things for the first time, but isn’t that part of the challenge. It certainly has been challenging, but its one I am taking on head on,” he said.

“We are only 11 games in and we still have a big story to tell in the remaining weeks of the season.”

Like most involved in the professional game, Muscat has deep reservations about the VAR trial currently taking place in the A-League.

The video referees are causing mounting controversy every week with their decisions, and the furore hit a high in the last round with Central Coast having two men sent off in their loss to Western Sydney Wanderers, while Victory themselves had a goal to Besart Berisha disallowed through a decision by the video-assisted judges.

Muscat believes that the referees in the stand are at a huge disadvantage, one that markedly effects the outcome of games, because they are simply not in tune with the mood, feel, flow and rhythm of what is going on on the pitch.

“I am all for improving and taking on technology … (but) the people that are using it are experiencing some difficulties.

“It takes a long time and removes a bit of the emotion. The referee upstairs is making a discretionary call from upstairs where he has no feeling for the game.

“The feeling for the game is lost. That’s the part we are going to have to get better at.”

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Telstra payphone and landline calls will be free over Christmas

Telstra will be picking up the tab for some of its services over Christmas, with customers being given free calls from landlines and payphones from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day.
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Local, national and standard mobile phone calls from home phones and 16,000 payphones nationally will be free from 24 to 26 December.

The freebie does not include mobile phones calling out, and it excludes international calls, 13-numbers and premium and directory services.

It will include free WiFi at selected Telstra Air public hotspots. Data is already free for activated customers from these hotspots.

In 2016, when Telstra ran a free payphone calls campaign over Christmas for the first time, more than 271,000 calls were made over three days, Telstra’s head of fixed products Jana Kotatko said.

Last year, the free calls special ran from 24 to 28 December – but did not include landlines.

“This year, by giving people even more ways to contact their friends and family for free, we expect to see this figure to rise by at least ten times,” she said.

This is expected to be particularly important for those without the technology or the financial means to get in touch with their loved ones, Salvation Army major Brendan Nottle said.

“This initiative from Telstra is helping to provide an invaluable solution to the problem, by offering everyone in the country – regardless of their personal situation – the chance to connect this Christmas,” he said.

The network typically records an increase in calls on these services over the festive season.

The 2016 promotion came after scrutiny for the payphone network, with the Productivity Commission review of the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation recommending scrapping Telstra’s Universal Service Obligation funds.

Telstra receives about $300 million annually to supply the network – including $100 million from the government and an industry levy.

In 2015/16 the industry levy totalled $218 million, including $142 million from Telstra itself.Of this, about $44 million a year is spent maintaining payphones, with an additional $253 million spent on supplying standard telephone services.

The Productivity Commission recommended winding down the payphone obligations as it was “difficult to justify” continuing payphones when compared with the extensive coverage of mobile services across the country.

In November, Telstra unveiled the first overhaul of its payphones since the 1980s in partnership with outdoor advertising company JCDecaux. The redesign includes digital information screens, advertising panels, charging docks and WiFi hotspots.

The first new payphones were rolled out in Perth, with other cities to follow in 2018.

Telstra last upgraded part of its payphone network in 2014, converting some of Telstra’s payphones into WiFi hotspots.

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Don’t use this product to get rid of mould, it won’t work

Mould story?? Supplied pics?? Mould in the home is a big problem. Not only is it gross and unsightly, but it’s also very bad for your health.
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With mould becoming a bigger problem by the day, there are ways to eradicate it and help prevent it from ever returning.

Why mould is bad news

While it may look contained to one area, mould actually grows as millions of tiny loose spores. When interrupted, they break free and float through the air. This makes it easy for them to be inhaled as you go about the home.

The spores contain allergens that can wreak havoc with your health. Children, the elderly or those with underlying health problems are particularly vulnerable.

While many symptoms are quite mild, such as a runny nose, others are much more serious. Mould has been known to cause severe respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Related: Household mould becoming a bigger problemRelated: Meet the moulds hanging out in your homeRelated: How household mould affects your health

Getting rid of mould

Perhaps the only good news when it comes to mould is that it’s quite easy to clean. The best and most effective ways of cleaning mould are the natural ones: Vinegar solution: four parts vinegar to one part waterTea Tree oilRubbing alcohol

The process of cleaning is the same no matter which solution you choose. Use a damp cloth and liberally coat it with the cleaning agent. Scrub at the mould until it’s removed, rinsing regularly.

While the above will do a good job of cleaning mould, it’s just as important for you to know what not to use. The following products are completely ineffective against mould: BleachHydrogen Peroxide

They give the appearance of cleaning mould but in reality they do nothing more than bleach the colour out. The surface may be light and bright, but the mould still exists, albeit invisible, and will grow back before too long.

How to prevent mould

Now for a little bad news. Mould is a resilient little fungi and will grow back in time if you don’t take appropriate measures. To keep mould at bay be diligent with the following:

1. Act quickly

If you see any trace of mould developing then it’s important to act fast and clean it immediately. Keep some vinegar solution in a spray bottle for this very purpose. Doing this will prevent a mould infestation.

2. Keep moisture to a minimum

Moisture is the easiest to control and keeping things dry will have the best impact. Keep a good flow of air in your home by regularly opening doors and windows. Use a fan to blow more air around if necessary. Dry any damp areas ASAP and consider a dehumidifier if you live in an area with high humidity.

3. Let the sunshine in

Mould hates sunlight. Keep your home light and bright with as much sunlight as possible. While this won’t be possible for everyone, doing as much as you can will pay dividends in your fight against mould.

4. Replace fixtures

In serious cases you may need to consider an extraction. For example, if one wall of the home is covered in mould and it keeps growing back, consider having that part of the wall removed and replaced. Not doing so could result in the problem spreading and, in extreme cases, an entire premises being demolished.

Michael Brooke has been cleaning houses and carpets for over 15 years through his company CarpetCleaningSydney南京夜网419论坛. In that time he has helped hundreds of customers with their own mould problems

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