23 February 2017

New smoke alarm laws; Is your family safe?

From the 1st January 2017, new smoke alarm laws for domestic dwellings came into effect in Queensland that requires smoke alarms older than 10 years, or that are faulty, must be replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm that complies with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.

Dwellings that are hardwired must be replaced also with photoelectric smoke alarms under the same conditions if they are 10 years old or faulty.

Image: Thanks to rta.qld.gov.au

Existing ionisation smoke alarms are recommended for replacement as soon as possible. Although this is not mandatory until 2022 or it becomes faulty or exceeds the 10 year age condition. It is recommended by Fire and Emergency Services to replace Ionisation smoke alarms anyway.

Image: Thanks to rta.qld.gov.au

From 1st January 2022, ionisation smoke alarms must be replaced if the dwelling is being sold, leased or an existing lease is renewed and replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm less than 10 years old and interconnected with every other smoke alarm in the dwelling. The alarms must be hardwired or powered by a non-removable 10-year battery.

Each storey or level of the dwelling, bedroom and each connecting hallway, or between bedrooms if there is no hallway must have an interconnected smoke alarm installed. Even if there is no bedroom on an extra storey or level, at least one smoke alarm must be installed in the most likely path of travel to exit the dwelling.

In addition to the Fire and Emergency Services requirements, rental property owner/managers are obligated to comply with the following requirements

Image: Thanks to rta.qld.gov.au

From January 2027, all private dwellings (yes your private home), townhouses, units and houses and investment properties must install interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms. If a hardwired smoke alarm cannot be installed, a non-removable 10-year battery smoke alarm interconnected must be installed to comply with Australian Standard (AS) 3786-2014.

If you are buying smoke alarms, there are some alarms that do not comply with Australian standards and there are alarms that standards certified recommended by Queensland Emergency Services and Standards Australia. The alarms to buy have these symbols or labels attached to the smoke alarm product.

Image: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

The alarms to avoid have these symbols or labels attached to the products or nothing at all indicating the Australian Standards labels. Do not buy these because they are not compliant with Queensland law.

Image: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

The placement of smoke alarms is also recommended along with having a fire escape plan in place to not only be alerted by the alarms but to respond to the emergency and exiting the property safely with your life and your loved ones.

Image: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

Details of the placement and all other fire safety specifications can be found on the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website. Here you can also find important information regarding smoke alarm safety; selling and leasing, new buildings or renovations and more detail about photoelectric smoke alarms.

Property owners and managers can find further information at the Residental Tenancy Authority website.

22 February 2017

Guide to selling a luxury home

What it takes to sell a luxury home

Sellers want to get things right considering the value of the luxury home. Often worth millions of dollars, these homes are substantial investments. Putting forward a positive vision of the property is the all important aim because there are fewer luxury homes out there.

You have to appeal to the right buyer, know what it takes to create value for money and be able to negotiate masterfully when selling the highest priced homes available. Ensuring you set the right price and a competent real estate professional are a couple of aspects to be mindful of when selling luxury real estate.

Don't stop, and you will learn the fastest way to sell your home for the highest possible price. Selling any home is stressful, this 'guide to selling a luxury home' will maximise both without having to resort a frontal lobotomy for it.

Create a psychological profile of the buyer

Starting off a list of the best luxury home selling tips with creating a psychological profile of the buyer may seem strange but it's not at all. Drawing in a high-end buyer, first and foremost you want to know who you are selling to.

Casting the widest net when selling a luxury home is not going to work very well because we are appealing to a specific audience. Obviously, the buyer needs to be comfortable producing the money. Buyers with low margins are the last people we want to target.

So what are we actually selling? Are you selling into a neighbourhood, close to a city, great schools or the best restaurants, cafes and boutique shops within a short walk? There could be many more examples, but these are just a few.

What separates your home from other luxury homes in the area is the way you market to your strengths. You and your real estate professional must have a firm grasp on what these strengths are. TREN has an excellent guide on "How to think like a luxury real estate professional". Knowing the motivation of the luxury home buyer is critical.

Price it correctly

From day one, it is most important a luxury home is priced correctly. It is challenging to get it right. It takes years to master correct pricing. To sell at the best price and in a timely manner means examining the market, assessing comparable homes, gauging the strengths and weaknesses of the home and knowing what to look for in a luxury home.

Pricing a luxury home compared to ordinary home adds another degree of difficulty. Each luxury home has unique features that some buyers will cherish and there are less of them to compare. Therefore, pricing a luxury home because of these features it then harder to price.

Applying a "widget cutter" approach is what some inexperienced agents do in the "ways of pricing a home by a square metre method". Getting the price wrong is all they will achieve! Luxury homes are much more challenging to price. To get the highest possible price, the price must be spot on.

The luxury home will sit on the market too long and not sell if it is priced too high. It will become stale in the eyes of buyers and they will think something is not right.

When selling luxury homes this is especially true. Buyers and their agents are sure not going to forget about the home that has something wrong with it. It's like a blanket of fear and stigma sitting over the home. The stigma will even linger if you take the home off the market and relaunch in the future at a lower price.

Hiring an expert in selling a luxury home to start with and then set a correct price. Knowing how one neighbourhood is different from another and understanding how location relates to comparable sales information is essential. The value the luxury home is influenced by the neighbourhood. As we always say, location, location, location.

Understanding the "factors that determine home values" is a skilled luxury real estate professional. It's critical to establish the true market price and likely settlement value. Great agents know that comparable sold properties are vital information. Looking at homes sitting on the market a long time and not sold is a waste of time. Selling a home fast and at the highest price starts with accurate analysis and the right decision of the price.

Timing is everything

Luxury homes are often located in neighbourhoods that take advantage of local attractions, geography and topography. A home along Yarrawonga Drive in North Ward will look out over the water to Magnetic Island, offer spectacular views of Castle Hill and probably the city. In a tropical setting of North Queensland, buyers can take all of this in all year round, and get a realistic feel for why the home is so extraordinary.

In the months of summer, the heat and heavy humidity, and the oppressive rain, and constant cloud cover will tend to obscure the many benefits of owning a home. Selling the home in better weather conditions would obviously yield a higher price in the best possible light. Taking advantage of "the best time of year to sell in your location" at a better price is a great tip for a luxury home.

Where I am located here in North Queensland, listing a luxury home in the depths of a sweltering summer heat unless your budget is a factor, would not make any sense. Taking advantage of the optimal weather conditions when more luxury home buyers are active in the market. Selling in spring is without a doubt the best time of the year to sell in North Queensland.

Selling a luxury home in spring gives the buyer complete access to the property to get a thorough understanding of the best selling points. Selling a home in summer can still give you access to the luxury swimming pool, tennis court, beach front gazebo, boat jetty, workshop and the magnificent landscaping. But your buyers won't be able to appreciate these features if the ground is covered in rainwater from the many tropical storms or even cyclones that threaten the region this time of year.

If you are selling a luxury acreage or waterfront home, the time to sell is a very important factor.

Marketing online effectively

Getting the message out about the luxury home for sale requires targeting and finding the right buyer. Just loading the home upon any multi-listing service on the internet is inadequate not only to sell a luxury home but for any home.

A credible real estate professional will suggest a variety of marketing strategies for your home in addition to pricing the home. Although the first option will be to go online, the agents' network with past clients and other real estate professionals involved in high-end real estate, will be the most effective marketing option.

Contact with another real estate professional may yield the best buyers or they could come from the internet. Finding the agent who can reach the buyers who want what you have to offer is your first point of deciding your marketing options.

Taking advantage of the 'best marketing tricks for selling a home' is what the top agents understand. Leaving nothing unturned is the agent's job to get exceptional results when selling a luxury top-end home.

To select the best real estate professional, you should look for one that has a dominant presence online. Use Google or Yahoo to search for a real estate professional that market luxury homes in your area.

For example, you can try searching for "who is the top real estate professional in (insert suburb name)?"  to receive a list of top performing professionals. Agents that appear towards the top of the list should have a great understanding of real estate marketing. Avoid the advertised listings usually located at the very top and bottom of each Google search page.

Knowledgeable real estate professionals in search engine optimisation (SEO) combined with excellent social media and email marketing skills are usually highly visible online. Nearly everyone has their favourite social media network they use, as more people spend an increasing amount of their time on a mobile phone, iPad or Tablet. Taking your online marketing to the next level means having a dedicated 'social media real estate marketing' plan to get the high-end home sold.

People love looking at luxury property whether it be on Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, Linkedin, etc. Every real estate professional especially a luxury agent must be able to 'market to elite clients'.

Video and photography for elite marketing

Most people are going to want to schedule a viewing of the luxury home, whether through contacts of the real estate professional or if the buyer finds the home on online. Quality listings include photos and video tours of the property. A skilled home photographer can make any home look its best just as a landscape photographer can make the sunset appear closer and more iridescent than it looks. Great photographers make the pictures tell a story and attract buyers to the home.

Using a professional photographer on a luxury home is not an option because it is one of the most important aspects of selling a luxury home. With some 'helpful photography tips for real estate', you can respond to anybody knowing it is top of the list on how to sell a luxury home.

Like photography, a video is very important in selling a luxury home. Buyers come long distances to view the home. Conveying what makes your home extraordinary, a video tour can give them an excellent idea of what living in the home would look like. The cost of producing a video tour can cost you extra money, but it is worth the investment. The quality of the way the video looks plays a big role in attracting the right buyer.

If a real estate professional does not offer a video tour service then you should move on to other professionals that do offer the service. There are plenty of video tours of luxury homes in North Queensland. Take a look at this example.

I'm interested to know if you agree this video marketing is an excellent example of the features of a luxury home being captured beautifully? Considering the importance of catching buyers attention at the marketing stage, a video is a way to create a great first impression. Just as important is finding a narrator that can engage and emphases the key features of the luxury home.

Effective offline marketing

Just as important as your online marketing is your print marketing material. Marketing a high-end luxury home comes with the expectation the budget must include additional funds for marketing material. Perception and appeal is everything so high-quality glossy brochures is a must.

Capturing the feeling of what it is like to live in the home on that street, town or city is best achieved with effective story-telling in the marketing material. Selling the neighbourhood is just as much part of the story as selling the home itself.

When marketing the home these aspects should be emphasised. The kitchen is the most important room in the home so don't hesitate to spend extra time on it in the marketing. For example, 'quality appliances' including Sub-Zero fridge, a Wolfe or Viking stove, Thermador oven, a Miele or Bosch dishwasher are features that must be emphasised. Buyers of luxury, elite homes are looking for these appliances in the kitchen.

Avoid open houses

Most sellers assume that open houses are required because they are used so often. There is no data or agreement in the real estate industry about the benefits of selling an ordinary home. When it comes to luxury homes, there is a consensus that open homes are to be avoided. Open homes on a luxury property attract all walks of life into your home.

People that cannot afford the luxury home will show up. Even if they do have the money, they may not be interested as an active buyer anyway. They simply want to compare, kill time to have something to do or to see how you live. These people are 'tire-kickers' as they are commonly described in any selling industry. So the question is asked, 'do open homes sell homes'? In the internet and digital age, open homes have become less important, especially for luxury homes.

Real estate professionals use the open home as a way to meet new clients and promote their own brand and services. In a busy market, they seek to attract unqualified buyers and groom other prospective sellers in the neighbourhood. A luxury home is going to attract a lot of attention. An open home is likely to bring people to your home that don't have any business being there.

But of most concern is the criminal type that is attracted to the values in the home. As it is impossible to supervise everyone that comes through the home, it allows unsavoury people to take things that are not theirs. Worst still, they may set up the home by unlocking doors, windows, disarming security systems with the intention of returning later, when nobody is home, and take anything they choose.

With luxury homes, the motivation of criminals to get a big payday means they are a breeding ground for unwelcome people. Avoid open houses and the risk of losing things is reduced to next to nothing. Be very wary of an agent who pushes for an open home as part of this selling strategy.

Inviting 'qualified conjunction agents' instead of buyers through an open home is a good idea. Encourage your real estate professionals to invite these agents especially the ones who specialise in the luxury home market. A conjunction agent (commonly known as brokers in the USA) open home gives the local agents an opportunity to see all the best luxury features of your home. They can then speak to their buyers with confidence having first-hand knowledge of the home.

Characteristics of elite home real estate professionals

The agent you select to market your home becomes more important because they are the billboard hired to get the word out there about your luxury home and its extraordinary appeal. What characteristics to look for in a luxury real estate professional include:

  • Highly effective communicator
  • Has an eye for detail
  • Has a comprehensive knowledge of the local market, inside and out and all attractions
  • Pricing homes or conducting accurate appraisals. Look for a great list price to sale price (low discount %) and lower days on market than average
  • Marketing expert in traditional and digital materials
  • Is influential in their profession
  • Excellent problem-solving and negotiation skills
When selling a luxury home, all of these skill sets are important from start to finish whether it is solving a problem that arises, communicating with you and other agents. The agent you choose must have more than marketing skills. That's why selecting the right characteristics in a real estate professional is the most important tip when selling a luxury home.

What it takes to sell

There are high-end features in a luxury home that are not found in any other property such as appliances, lighting, woodwork, cabinets and fixtures such as:

  • Wine cellars
  • Home theatres
  • Indoor swimming pool and sauna
  • Comprehensive secure systems including security cameras
  • Central smart control system for everything
  • Cooling and heating systems
  • Energy monitoring
  • Window coverings
  • Concealed compartments
In order to get the best price for the home, the real estate professional needs to understand every component and feature of the home. 'Location and neighbourhoods' are important factors also when dealing with luxury homes. Your agent must know how to sell all of these things and not every real estate professional is suitable.

Keep these things in mind when choosing your real estate professional because we are aiming for the best possible sale price. Understanding luxury home buyers and selling the home's features and benefits within the fastest time possible is the job of your luxury home agent.

Keep in mind this Guide to Selling a Luxury Home and the nine tips when selling a luxury home and you will be moving on to your next home soon rather than later.

***Do you have a luxury home to sell in North Queensland or other Australian states and want to work with a real estate professional that fits the luxury home profile? Check in with TREN and will be happy to refer you to an outstanding real estate agent in your neighbourhood who works with elite properties.***  

More helpful reading on selling to the elite buyer:

Millionaires in Australia are not rich anymore

Tips for selling luxury homes
Real estate agents for the ultra rich

You can never have enough awareness. Consider reading these articles to help in your journey on learning how to appeal to luxury home buyers and to get your property sold.

About the Author:

Aaron McLeod is the Owner and Principal of Rapid Realty Australia, Owner/editor of TREN (Townsville Real Estate News), CEO of McLeod Investments and Consultancy and Co-owner of Matching Pear Travel.

20 February 2017

High profile politician buys Townsville shopping complex

Image: Mr Dutton and wife Kirilly Dutton 
Australia's federal Immigration Minister, the Hon. Peter Dutton has purchased a multi-purpose retail, medical, consulting and office space complex in the Edison Plaza shopping centre at Wulguru, just off the Flinders Highway south-west of Townsville.

The suburb has been earmarked by TREN as one of the hotspot locations in Townsville with its proximity to the army base, university, Cluden Park horse racing, commercial retail including Bunnings, Woolworths and variety stores, heavy industry transportation facilities, the Stuart correctional centre and the proposed 25,000 resident development of Elliott Springs.

Image: Edison Plaza Wulguru

The Edison Plaza complex is adjacent to the Wulguru State School. The commercial property is reportedly netting approximately $104,000 per annum with a current vacancy of approximately 10 percent. Fully tenanted, the complex has a nominal net yield of approximately $140,000 per annum.

The property was marketed and sold by Elders commercial agent, Glenn Adair with a 752m2 floor area on nearly 1 acre of land. The Edison Plaza complex includes eleven tenancies with 52 onsite car parks and drive-through access.

Image: Google Maps, Wulguru, Townsville

This investment brings the couple's property portfolio to five properties across Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory with the most audacious being the property at the Gold Coast's Palm Beach for $2.3 million.

Mr Dutton is an ex-police officer mainly working in the drug squad for Queensland Police. He was elected to federal parliament in 2001 as the member for Dickson, a suburb north of Brisbane. He famously unseated then Australian Democrats Leader turned Labour Party member and MP, Cheryl Kernot.

In his maiden speech to parliament, Mr Dutton said; "As a police officer, I have seen the best and the worst that society has to offer. I have seen the wonderful, kind nature of people willing to offer any assistance to those in their worst hour, and I have seen the sickening behaviour displayed by people who, frankly, barely justify their existence in our sometimes over-tolerant society."

Described by a former flatmate that "not everyone loves him, that's for sure". He is also described as being smart, charming, funny, astute, duplicious and articulate.

The Edison Plaza property was a sale by private treaty for $1.1 million and was on the market for nearly a year and a half. Mr Dutton and his wife Kirilly paid $760,000.

The couple has two sons, Tom and Harry, and daughter, Rebecca. The couple reside in their family home at Camp Mountain, north of Brisbane and are not expected to relocate to Townsville, North Queensland.

Property development millionnaire resigns from Townsville Enterprise Board

 Image: Lawrence Lancini, ex-Board Director, Townsville Enterprise

Townsville's business and commercial arm of the City Council has announced Mr Lawrence Lancini, reportedly in the top 100 richest Queenslanders and current Chairman of the North Queensland Cowboys, NRL Club has resigned from Townsville Enterprise after 11 years serving on its Board.

Mr Lancini was appointment as the President of the Property Council of Australia in 2016, which is the main reason for his decision to leave the Board official reports have claimed.

Managing Director of the Lancini Group of Companies, the company's staff profiles describes Mr Lancini by saying; "Laurence Lancini commenced his construction business over 30 years ago. He started as a house builder based in Townsville and progressed over the years to grow his construction business to a statewide operation covering all aspects of property development."

The current Chairman of Townsville Enterprise, Mr Gill said; "Lawrence Lancini is a visionary who knows how to get things done. He has played an instrumental role in helping secure commitments for some of North Queensland's most game changing projects and initiatives. He will remain an important stakeholder and friend of our organisation."

Mr Lancini offered high praise for Townsville Enterprise colleagues and the leadership of the City. "Our region and city has seen enormous growth in various sectors of the economy with many of these initiates lead by Townsville Enterprise.", he stated.

The city of Townsville's performance and its business and government leaders have come under enormous pressure over the past few years. The economy has struggled with high unemployment and high vacancy rates, significant falls in median dwelling prices, and a sluggish commercial sector.

Losing such an influential businessman and leader in the governance of the City's business and commercial agenda is a significant loss to any civil administration apparatus.

Mr Lancini has transitioned with grace expressing full confidence and support of the Board of Townsville Enterprise and the City. "I have confidence in the current management structure and I know the organisation will do well into the future.", Mr Lancini said.

Given the emphasis on stability by the Townsville Enterprise Board in their press release, the statements come with an undertone of sensitivity aimed at reassuring the City and its stakeholders that Mr Lancini's resignation is business as usual.

However, Mr Lancini has played an instrumental role in the strategic direction of Townsville's brand, infrastructure and facility developments sponsored by governments and the private sector over multiple decades.

The North Queensland Stadium, a controversial focus for economic stimulation for the City, was a significant achievement for the directors of Townsville Enterprise who engaged with all levels of government to gain political and financial support for the development.

The stadium development indirectly serves the real estate investment interests of investors in the City and the broader community. The Lancini Group and its partners are key stakeholders in various property developments in the city precinct, benefiting substantially from the commercial contracts that have flowed.

The majority of these developments have now completed, including the City Lane, City Arcade and City Point which includes various retail, food outlets, Woolworths and state government office for the Department of Emergency Services.

Also included in the list of Lancini developments is the 9 stories commercial tower at 420 on Flinders. Delivered as part of the state government subsidised CBD Revitalisation Project. 100 percent of the upper floors of the 7000sqm building is occupied by the majority state-owned, Ergon Energy.

198 Ogden Street which includes a McDonalds, planned service station and 300m2 of retail space, is also a Lancini Group development project.

Over the past 4 years, multiple development plans have been commissioned by the Council at arm's length with Townsville Enterprise. Questions raised about the balance of power on Walker Street, under Mayor Jenny Hill, has manifested perceptions of unsubstantiated conflicts of interest with elected representatives on government funded programs and board members' indirectly benefiting from the commercial enterprise.

The effectiveness and functions of Townsville Enterprise have also come under heavy criticism as the City has struggled to respond with economic stimulation measures after the Global Financial Crisis.

Shifting costs and revenue streams that are driven by climate change policy, advances in technologies and globalisation, and the subsequent fall in commodity prices impacting the mining industry and most of Queensland's regional economy, have been significant factors.

But the "build it and they will come" back to the CBD strategy hasn't delivered the outcomes that many people, particularly in the retail, office and residential sectors had expected with commercial vacancy rates, accommodation occupancy rates, unemployment and dwelling prices showing unfavourable results over a sustained period.

Yet if you talk to CBD retailers and shop owners, they are optimistic about the future and can sense a small pick up has occurred in city trading revenues.

With the federal government's Developing Northern Australia initiative, lead by a dedicated federal Minister for Northern Australia, Mr Canavan, and the associated governance Boards including the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Northern Australia - residents and some councillors are again questioning the relevance of Townsville Enterprise.

Sources inside Townsville City Council suspect the resignation of Mr Lancini is an indication of further resignations to come on the council and state-sponsored boards and committees. As the federal government implements a more vertically integrated funding system, backed by smart technologies, different skill sets and mindsets from local leaders are necessary.

Given the climate of economic uncertainty, dysfunction and rampant waste of taxpayers funds on bodies that are being superseded, the federal government is seeking urgent momentum on their innovation and infrastructure policies. On the eve of a state in 2018, the whispers of more resignations from inside City hall seem to be as credible as they come. 

And then to top it all off, Townsville City Council announces they are engaging the services of Pure Projects. Led by Mr Williams and tourism Australia identity Mr Morris OAM, to develop yet another master plan for the City, demonstrating a new federal doctrine has arrived in the region causing the Mayor to "throw the baby out with the bathwater".

The list of current studies, plans and schemes are extensive as shown below:

But the seemingly cordial and smooth exit of Mr Lancini, despite the unimpressive record of the Townsville City Council and Townsville Enterprise over the past decade, must be projected to appease the only positive matrix in the City's economic report card, that of business and investment confidence.

"I thank my fellow Directors and Townsville Enterprise staff for the respect and friendship they have all shown me. It is a pleasure and a privilege to work along side such as great team.", Mr Lancini said.

Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O'Callaghan said, "he will continue to play an active role in Townsville Enterprise initiatives focusing on mentoring business initiatives and developing the local business community."

A further announcement about the details of the initiatives on which Mr Lancini is expected to participate has been anticipated by Ms O'Callaghan in her internal statement to the membership of Townsville Enterprise.

Recruitment for a new Board Director has already commenced, the Townsville Enterprise press release announced.

18 February 2017

National retailer embarrassed selling illegal smoke alarms in Townsville

Townsville residents are being warned about buying out of date smoke alarms from local retail and hardware outlets.

A local property owner reported purchasing non-complaint products from a local retailer this month, despite the fact new tougher smoke alarm laws were introduced in Queensland from the 1st January 2017.

Queensland's Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, the Hon. Bill Byrnes, said; "although residents would have up to 10 years to install the new alarms, everyone should take action to update their alarm system as soon as possible."

TREN can confirm that residents have been buying redundant smoke alarms from one of
Australia's largest hardware retailers as late as the first week in February 2017, over a month after the new laws were passed but at least 6 months since businesses had been warned of the impending changes.

One of the homeowners who contacted TREN about this public safety story presented one of the three alarms she purchased, and it clearly displays on the back side of the device, an expiry date of "12 July 2016". (see image below) The proof of purchase was also presented.

The smoke alarm was purchased from the retailer in February 2017 with "Quell Ionisation Smoke Alarm", "Manufactured in China for Chubb and Security Pty Ltd", who is based in New South Wales, clearly displayed on the back of the device.

Non-compliant ionisation smoke alarm
Image: TREN
When TREN alerted the retailer to the bungle a very pleasant and well-informed employee said: "this alarm is out of stock and non-compliant." When the employee was asked, "What about the other alarms that have already been installed?" The employee said: "they must be returned with your receipt and we'll give you a refund".

Many residents that have purchased the old ionisation alarms for their own homes reported that they feel confused, or completely not informed about what to look for when purchasing fire safety devices. This comes as the trend of online shopping is growing at a fast pace where cheap illegal products can be purchased very easily. No wonder consumers are confused and concerned about their safety and legal obligations.

Image: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
Even when the labels on the ionisation smoke alarm in the above image are compared to the QFES website recommendations, it is understandable how residents could justify their confusion. The labelling of the smoke alarms is unclear and ambiguous based on the QFES recommendations on their website.

The yellow triangle hazard system on the homeowners' non-compliant alarm, which is not recommended, does not even appear on the QFES guidelines. Instead, a yellow square label is shown. And, even though the five tick Australia Standards symbol and Activefire Certified certification icon are shown on the QFES guidelines to be safe, the non-compliant ionisation alarm displays them.

Residents that are concerned and may not understand the new smoke alarm laws are advised to contact a smoke alarm installation professional, licensed electrical contractor or consult the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services website for further information. You can also contact the manufacturer with questions. For example, Quell has number to call 1800 654 435.

But with residents finding even the QFES website guidelines confusing, residents are encouraged to call a professional QFES "firefighter" to conduct a "Safehome" visit to receive advice about the best locations to place fire alarms and suggest other fire safety initiatives around the home.

To request a Safehome visit call 13QGOV or visit 


17 February 2017

Townsville at War with "Getup" extremists moving on Townsville

GetUp staff and National Director, Paul Oosting
Image: Thanks to The Mercury
Extremist environmental campaign organiser, Getup, their associates the Australian Conservation Foundation and corporate backers, such as businessman Geoff Cousins, have taken up a war footing against North Queensland businesses and citizens with the placement of advertisements for three field coordinators on the ground in regional Queensland.

The aim of the political lobbyists is to manipulate the minds of "constituents" in the region. Backed by global media and the extreme left movements, while shifting the focus away from their diminishing support for climate change and unvetted asylum seeker policy, they have 100 percent directed their resources onto the higher profile and socially sensitive Great Barrier Reef, a key pillar in their national political agenda.

But really their sights are fixed on the destruction of the Adani coal mining companies, the Carmichael mine, and any organisation or representative in favour of the projects such as the Mayor of Townsville, Jenny Hill, Queensland Premier, Anastacia Palaszczuk, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Pauline Hansen's One Nation Party.

Queensland MPs, Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk, Adani CEO and Mayor Jenny Hill announce Townsville as Adani coal mine headquarters
Image: Thanks to ABC (Port of Townsville)
All of whom have backed the projects and the $1 billion low-interest loan through the Northern Australia development fund.

Responding to the community's call to take urgent action on creating jobs, the bipartisan political approach is seeking to cut serious crime, such as the wasteful deaths of two innocent grandmothers, and improving the lifestyle assets of the community and build new water infrastructure.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported this week that "The power and reach of the Adani Group are legendary in India. But the group's subsidiaries have also faced allegations of involvement in fraud and corruption, environmental destruction and labour exploitation."

SMH reporters Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker and Peter Ker commented that "A recent ABC investigation into the conglomerate focused on ongoing investigations by Indian authorities, widely reported by the Indian media, into alleged money laundering and tax fraud by Adani subsidiaries." The investigative trio then went on to say, however, that "The federal resources minister described the ABC report as "fake news" and said the allegations were untested."

The primary aim and conditions on the $1 billion funding are to be invested in a major rail infrastructure corridor from the mine site to Abbott Point, south of Townsville.

In this new and disturbing announcement by Getup to deploy three field organisers to the region, their aggressive nature and covert tactics of the campaign have become apparent. 

Targeting their own members, lobbyists, funding institutions and courts, now they are directing resources towards "constituents", the people, who are mostly unaware of the extreme left lobby organisation and the coercive pressure campaign being brought upon the 200,000 citizens of the City.

By and large after failing in the political and legal arena, Getup is going to attempt to wake up the electorate with protest, propaganda and further promiscuity, asking the voters of Townsville and every marginal seat in Australia to vote in favour of the Great Barrier Reef over "dirty coal", or cause politicians and the Adani company to back down.

On a national election level, the green vote from the capital city seats of Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart are powerful. Yet the source of program paralysis under the Rudd and Gillard governments.

Queensland is a different proposition with two country politicians, one regional and one ex-liberal candidate controlling the balance of power in the Queensland parliament, meanwhile, Getup's political campaign so far against Adani has failed. 

Image: Getup website advertisement
At least that is what one would think given the federal court rulings upholding the approvals for the mine. But Getup doesnt get it!

They said they are; "developing, refining and implementing a community campaign that engages volunteers and shifts the minds of constituents around the Great Barrier Reef and Galilee Basin coal mines", including "getting members out for regular field tactics; including events, stunts, community stalls and letterboxing." as shown on their campaign's website.

Image: Getup website advertisement

As rampant unemployment and bankruptcies have traumatised the population of the largest population centre in North Queensland with 25,000 people exiting the City due to a jobs recession, the anticipated pain and suffering of its people are expected to continue on the actions of the Getup executive team led by National Director, Paul Oosting.

This time, instead of the unemployment being caused by unintended economic consequences from declining commodity prices and the Global Financial Crisis, the citizens' continued pain could be attributed to the irresponsible and malicious actions of an extreme political lobbyist group seeking to acquire more power and control on global cultures, and centres of western democratic power.

Getup, formed by Jeremy Heimans and David Madden as a politically left movement to ambush and cajole the two-house majority government of Prime Minister John Howard in August 2005. They cut their teeth obstructing political parties, even at the expense of their own integrity, opposing the Gillard government's carbon tax which most ordinary people thought was favourable to their own environmental agenda, reducing carbon emmisions.

Since then they have developed the most powerful environmental political lobby organisation in Australia using military-style tactics to disrupt opposition supply, sabotage their assets and manipulate the media.

They use unfounded and time-discredited science and "fake news" to maintain the bleeding hearts of over 1 million followers and win more cultural and social support to "maximise their power". The point of political leverage is the May 2018 State election and the 11 marginal seats in Queensland.

Despite the favourable arguments put forward for the Adani coal mine and recently proposed coal-fired power station to be built in North Queensland, supporting sustainable industry and employment opportunities, the upcoming 2018 election could hinge on less than 1000 votes to bring the usually left-leaning Labour Party into coalition, should they regain power beside a kindred green movement.

Getup's Miriam Lyons said; "For example, it would take just 532 votes to change the outcome of the seat of Forde in Queensland."

The fully paid position description of Getup's Field Coordinator, astonishingly similar to the structure of a military operative, will be located on the ground in Townsville. The audacious and very calculated outline of the type of individual they aim to attract is described in their job advertisement.

Image: Getup website advertisement

Back in 2015 west of Casino in New south Wales, Getup creative director Simon Duncan-Watt was allegedly captured trespassing by a security camera installed by the mine site operator.

In an unrelated matter, Metgasco said: "security camera equipment at three sites was damaged last weekend." Metgasco alleged an intruder visited a number of well sites, removed batteries and memory cards from the cameras and disabled the equipment." (Scott Harlum, Northern Star).

Getup's operatives admitted, "I undertook these actions as I feared that no government agency was out to protect the public and landowners."

Brendan Pearson, CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia said; "the anti-mine campaign amounts to 'futile grandstanding' that will only delay job and business opportunities for thousands of Australians."

From a real estate perspective, the threat to economic recovery and negative attention directed toward Townsville due to the green agenda, even though rebuffed by the federal government and the Townsville Bulletin's Editor in favour of Adani and a new coal powered station, could cause further uncertainty and damage to the increasing confidence in the business community.

For the majority of Townsville and regional Queensland communities seeking a favourable change in their economic prospects from the god-gifted coal resources and associated mining infrastructure projects in their backyard, which have already received unprecedented environmental scrutiny and approvals, the Getup campaign along with the discredited green and extreme left movement could be facing the final nail in the coffin of an ideology already failing and losing influence.

As late as 2016, Getup in their own submission lobbied to have all political donations over $500 made public and all foreign donations to political parties to be banned, then for the inquiry to learn that Getup had themselves accepted $300,000 in foreign donations.

This most disruptive and insensitive campaign to cripple Townsville's and regional Queensland's hopes for a better future by an undemocratic political non-profit organisation, with a dodgy financial and moral past, has become very personal to lots of locals, their families and thousands of their sympathisers.