Podcast: On radio with James Valentine and more from Alex Greenwich


Chatting with James Valentine on air the other day, I was suddenly aware of how immune (or is it inured?) one can become to the idiocies of strata living.

James posed the perfectly reasonable question; if you can take a kettle or a car back to the seller if it proves to be faulty, how come you can’t just hand back the keys to an off-the-plan apartment when it turns out not to be up to scratch?

“The walls are cracking.  Here’s the keys and I’ll have my deposit back too, thank-you very much.”

It’s crazy when you think about it; you spend 20 or 30 times as much as you would on a car, buying an apartment, but the consumer protections are less than if you’d bought a dodgy toaster.

Even with the protections that exist, the chances are that you are going to have to hire lawyers at great expense to get things fixed – and that’s if the developer is still around. And there’s no guarantee of success.

The government should be taking a look at the whole scandalous system right now, when property sales are in a downturn and apartment starts are back to almost zero.  Nothing like a bit of consumer confidence to boost business.

You can listen to the whole session, including listeners’ questions, on the podcast below.  And you can log in to James’ own podcasts HERE.

The second part of our podcast this week sees Alex Greenwich MP talking about homelessness – partly informed by his stint on SBS’s Filthy Rich and Homeless documentary series.

Insightful as ever, Alex points out that homelessness is growing in Sydney at twice the rate of the rest of the country and suggests the goverment should be building more affordable housing than spending money to “keep people in the cracks” by funding only crisis accommodation.

And finally, he takes a huge swing at Mark Latham and other extremists who are angling for a seat in the NSW Senate.  When one of politics’ genuine nice guys sticks the boot in, you sit up and pay attention.

That’s all in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap podcast:

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