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Podcast: Anti-anti-vaxxers and 20,000 listens

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Forgive us for patting ourselves on the back this week but, having surpassed 20,000 downloads and listens to the podcast, I reckon we’ve earned a little self-indulgence.  

Suffice it to say that the audience for our weekly ramblings is growing steadily, and that has to be good.

This week we turn our attention to the extended moratorium on rental evictions and the compensation for landlords who reduce the rents of tenants who are doing it tough. You can read all about that HERE.

Then we discuss France’s vaccine passport and how people are taking that up with gusto (or should that be elan?).  Sue thinks the idea of vaccine passports is complicated – Jimmy vehemently disagrees. You can also read some other arguments, both pro and con, HERE.


LISTEN HERE


We talk about how and why rental vacancies are going up in Melbourne but have plateaued in Sydney.

We dig into Building Commissioner David Chandler’s latest attempts to expose the shonks and swindlers in the building trade, this time by focussing his laser vision on the worst of the worst certifiers and sending them a collective “My office, now!”

Jimmy talks about the odd letter from Kerry Chant’s office that took a week to confirm it was real. By the way, it came out after this podcast was in the can but we now know why it was issued, as NSW Health gets ready blitz apartment blocks.

We ask why 90 per cent of strata professionals and committee members would not recommend buying off the plan to friends, family or colleagues.

Sue takes us to Green Square where the population density is greater than in New Delhi but the facilities there make it a very nice place to live.

And we discuss why cats are OK for apartment blocks but not so great at ground level. That’s all, and more, in this week’s Flat Chat Wrap.

If you enjoyed listening to this podcast (or reading the transcript), please share it with your friends using the social media buttons at the foot of the page.

TRANSCRIPT IN FULL

Jimmy  00:00

We achieved quite a milestone this weekend, as regards this podcast.

Sue  00:05

Yeah?

Jimmy  00:05

Overnight, we had our 20,000th download.

Sue  00:11

Wow! 20,000?

Jimmy  00:12

Yeah, so that’s spread over 138 podcasts, but still, it’s okay.

Sue  00:18

Oh, that’s amazing. Congratulations, Jimmy.

Jimmy  00:23

We have probably more than 50% more listeners, than we had this time last year.

Sue  00:28

Oh, fantastic!

Jimmy  00:30

I read something that said, if you get more than 135 listeners in your first two weeks, you are in the top 50% of podcasts in the world and we’re way ahead of that.

Sue  00:47

That’s great. Well, thank you, everybody listening, for supporting us. Thanks for listening in.

Jimmy  00:52

It could be one person, listening to it 20,000 times. I doubt that that’s the case;  I’d be a bit worried if it was.

Sue  00:58

They’d be in hospital by now, I’d imagine.

Jimmy  00:59

Getting back to this week’s podcast, we’re going to talk about David Chandler’s battle to build confidence in apartment building. Things like certifiers; he’s putting certifiers under the microscope and the irony of trying to build confidence by pointing out problems. Before that, we’re going to talk about the continuing payments for rent reductions available to landlords. The evictions moratorium has also been extended. And, we’re just going to talk about high-density living. I’m Jimmy Thomson, I write the Flat Chat column for the Australian Financial Review.

Sue  01:27

And I’m Sue Williams and I write about property for Domain.

Jimmy  01:42

And this is the Flat Chat Wrap.

[MUSIC]

Jimmy

So, the government has extended the moratorium on evictions and the compensation for rent reductions.

Sue  02:08

That’s in New South Wales, not in Victoria; I don’t think they have a moratorium there.

Jimmy  02:14

Well, New South Wales is obviously at the moment, in a lot more trouble with COVID than anywhere else in Australia.

Sue  02:21

That’s right and, it’s been going on for longer.

Jimmy  02:22

Yeah. So, the payment is to landlords who have reduced their rents by an equivalent amount. You would think most landlords would jump in on that, wouldn’t you?

Sue  02:35

Yeah, absolutely, because they want to keep their tenants. They don’t want to get rid of tenants, because it’s quite hard to get good tenants. They don’t want to see people suffering as well. They want to have some stability, too. You think a lot of them would apply for that and they would give their tenants some rental relief. I think in Sydney, they seem to have been really prepared to give them rent relief. You know, a lot of rents have now gone down by about 25%; landlords offering that to their tenants who were in trouble. I was talking to somebody the other day about renters and they were saying this is quite a good time to be a renter, really (if you’ve got a job and you’ve got an income), because you can actually look at where you want to live. If you want to live in the CBD, rents are often about 25% less than they were this time last year, because we don’t have overseas students going in there. We don’t have new migrants, we don’t have the traditional people who really love living in the city.

Jimmy  03:34

Airbnb.

Sue  03:35

Well, that’s right too. So, you can actually pick up a nice apartment in the city, often with a really good view, for much less than you would normally.

Jimmy  03:44

Right. Is there a concern that once we get back to normal, it could flip back again? But yeah, when will we get back to normal?

Sue  03:51

That’s right. When are the overseas students going to come back again? We’re kind of looking (you’d have to say), at about January at the earliest, I would think.

Jimmy  04:01

Well, they’re talking about maybe allowing international travel for us, by the end of the year; the very end of the year.

Sue  04:11

But, you’d think that there’s more of an impetus for them to allow overseas students to come in, because the universities are really suffering. I think their budgets are down  quite an astronomical percentage. They bring in a lot of money to Australia, so if we’re looking at trying to build up the economy and making sure we bounce back whenever this lockdown finishes, that’s quite important.

Jimmy  04:33

Especially since Britain is allowing people to travel in from other countries. There’s some countries that you have to be quarantined, once you get there, but they are allowing people to come in and not be quarantined, if they come from certain countries. So, we’re getting to the vaccine passport situation, very quickly.

Sue  04:55

Absolutely. I’ve been talking to some Australians over in France and you’ll remember that France is one of the first places in the world to introduce a vaccine passport. The Australians there say it’s working extremely well. It’s kind of quite smooth. I mean, there have been five weeks now, of protests in France, by anti vaxxers, but most people are generally in favor of the passport vaccines, because they know by presenting the ‘passe sanitaire,’ when they go into a restaurant or bar, everybody else there is fully vaccinated, so they kind of feel safer. That really adds to the overall feeling of security. So they’re saying it works well. You’re often seeing queues now, outside restaurants and concerts and sporting events, but nobody seems to mind, because they feel ‘well, look, we’re grateful to be able to go into those and we’re grateful that everybody else there is going to be double vaxxed, as well.’

Jimmy  05:52

Look, if people don’t want to get a vaccine, that’s fine… It’s not fine, but they can make that choice. Don’t insist on being able to go into the same restaurants and bars as people who have chosen to get the vaccine. Stay away; if you don’t want to be part of society, piss off!

Sue  06:12

Well, it is really difficult. Where do you draw the line?

Jimmy  06:15

Right there. If you don’t want to play by the rules, go and find a different game, on a different pitch.

Sue  06:23

Well, I was talking to one of the Australians in France and she was saying one of her friends went to a supermarket in another part of France and that supermarket was insisting that everybody who entered had their passe sanitaire as well. She made the point that well, even anti-vaxxers need to buy food, so it can be a bit difficult.

Jimmy  06:46

I’ll tell you what would be difficult; an anti-vaxxer going to somebody who is vaccinated, like, a kid standing outside a bottle shop and saying “oh, look, I don’t want to get vaccinated, so could you go and buy me some bread and milk, please?” That would be an interesting discussion.

Sue  07:02

I mean, it’s such a complex issue, isn’t it, really?

Jimmy  07:05

I don’t think so; I really don’t think so. I think it is stupid people, listening to other stupid people telling lies, like Craig Kelly and his stupid, lying, deceptive, dangerous emails.

Sue  07:18

Did you get his text?

Jimmy  07:19

No, I feel kind of left out.

Sue  07:21

I got one.

Jimmy  07:22

I think I’ve got a very active spam filter; an idiot filter.

Sue  07:27

Well, I blocked him, so in future, I won’t be getting any more.

Jimmy  07:30

But, there are a lot of people who are getting this and they’re going ‘oh, this guy’s an MP; he must have something going for him.’ There will be people who will take his advice and end up in hospital and it’d be nice to think that their families could then say, ‘hey let’s sue this fat fool.’ Sorry, I shouldn’t use sizes; language! But, no; I don’t think it’s a complicated argument at all. Vaccination helps to suppress the virus and if you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to get seriously ill, if you do get COVID. It doesn’t stop everybody from getting COVID all the time, but if you do get COVID, you’re much less likely to end up in hospital, which takes the pressure off the hospital staff, who are having to deal with idiots who chose not to get vaccinated. They put themselves in danger. They won’t wear masks; they won’t get vaccinated and then they turn up, expecting to be looked after in our hospitals.

Sue  08:28

What percentage of people do you think, are hardened anti-vaxxers, because I think some of the anti-vaxxers have kind of softened their stance over time. Now they’re getting vaccinated, especially when a lot of the people (who were perhaps the most high-profile one’s overseas), have actually caught COVID and died, some of them.

Jimmy  08:47

Yes, which is Darwinism at work.

Sue  08:51

You know, you’ve probably only got 5% of people, who are hardened…

Jimmy  08:54

I don’t think it’s even that. We’ve got friends in Bondi; there’s a very active Facebook group down there and it’s bombarded with all these messages from people, saying ‘don’t wear masks, don’t get vaccinated,’ bla bla, bla, bla, bla. All the time; constant, constant, constant and then, they did a survey. ‘How many of you don’t think we should get vaccinated? How many of you don’t think we should wear masks?’ The number of people who were actually against that was very small. Out of about 100, it was fewer than 5 and you realize this noisy, tiny minority is having way too much effect. I have to make a confession here…We’re talking about the number of downloads of the podcast and I can see every one; week by week and they change, because people come on to the podcast and then they go ‘oh, this is quite fun, I’ll go and listen to it,’ or ‘I missed last week’s,’ or whatever. Our podcom, Hyperbole Towers, is now tracking. I think we’re getting up to 1300 listeners from that, which is good, but you look down the list of things… Whenever we use ‘pets’ in the headline, it goes up; the listeners go up. There was one a few weeks ago, I did a thing about how the New South Wales government hadn’t got around to saying that you should wear masks in common property areas of strata buildings. I put the headline ‘masking unmasked,’ and there was a huge spike in listeners.

Sue  10:31

And you think that was anti-vaxxers?

Jimmy  10:32

I think it was anti-masker’s, going ‘yeah! Somebody’s got the truth about this government conspiracy!’ Sorry, if you’re one of those people, hoping to get support from me on the idea that we shouldn’t wear masks in public… Sorry to disappoint; it’s not going to happen.

Sue  10:51

You were in touch with Kerry Chant’s office this week, weren’t you, as well?

Jimmy  10:55

I was trying to be. I was in touch with them, but they weren’t in touch with me.

Sue  11:00

They got in touch with me in the end, didn’t they?

Jimmy  11:02

Yes. They issued a letter last week; the Friday before last, in fact. It was a letter to strata managers saying ‘you’ve got to update your strata roll.’ A lot of people don’t realize this, but there’s a legal obligation for everybody who is a tenant or a sub-tenant or a resident of an apartment block, to be listed on a strata roll. Even if you’re sharing a flat, you should be listed on the strata roll. They’re saying this is for situations where there’s an outbreak in the building. They want to be able to contact everybody who lives in it, which is fair enough. Then he goes on to say ‘and we want you to close down the gyms,’ and theaters was mentioned, because a lot of apartment blocks have theatres!

Sue  11:37

There’s a couple that I know of, that have movie theaters, or on the roof and stuff.

Jimmy  12:00

They could have phoned them up directly, rather than issuing a statement to all strata managers. What they didn’t mention was swimming pools, for some reason and changing rooms.

Sue  12:10

It was a really odd letter, wasn’t it?

Jimmy  12:12

Yeah. I was looking at this thinking ‘this is a very odd letter’ and then I noticed in the New South Wales health logo, in the top right-hand corner (and I’ll put a link to this on the website)… I noticed that the logo had been cropped very, very slightly. Imagine, the bottom bits of letters were just a little bit shaved off. I suppose because I’ve been working in newspapers and magazines for years, I notice that kind of thing, so I thought ‘oh, this has been botched up. Somebody’s copied the logo and pasted it on another document.’

Sue  12:57

It’s a forgery?

Jimmy  12:58

I thought it could be a forgery. Why would anybody do a forgery, with something like that? To stir up issues about privacy; you know, your name and address being made available to New South Wales Health, and all that stuff. So, I wrote to them and said I’d received this (even though it wasn’t sent to me) and it doesn’t look real. Is it real? I sent this to three addresses; New South Wales Health, Fair Trading, and there was an address, an email address, on the letter, so I sent this to all of them. I said ‘please let me know if this is real. I am going to write about this. I’m going to write on the assumption that it is real, but if it isn’t real, we really need to know.’ Nobody replied. It took you to call them up and ask the same question and they weren’t very forthcoming, were they?

Sue  13:49

No, they weren’t but they came back eventually. They kept asking, why did I want to know? I guess everybody’s getting bit paranoid, these days. Then they finally came back and said ‘no, it is genuine. It’s a genuine missive,’ which is kind of odd. Why would Kerry Chant be sending a letter to a few strata managers, but not actually publicizing it generally. It was all a bit ham-fisted, I think.

Jimmy  14:16

Well, there is a theory in the industry, that she or her department, is struggling to get their message out, past the politicians in NSW Health and other sections.

Sue  14:32

Maybe, she was trying to sidestep, but just not making very good job of it.

Jimmy  14:38

Eagle-eye Thomson spots an error in the logo. There’s an article on the website, that refers to that, as is the one about rentals, which explains the basis on which you can get compensation if you reduce your tenant’s rent, or alternatively, if you’re a tenant who wants your rent reduced, you can go to your landlord and say “hey, there’s compensation available.” Let’s reduce the rent and everybody will be happy.

Sue  15:10

Especially in Melbourne; the rental vacancy rate went up hugely  last month. From July to August, it went up an extra percentage point, which is quite a lot. Now in Melbourne, the rental vacancy rate is 3.8%. 3.8% of rental places are empty now, but in Sydney (which has been in a really long period of lockdown), our vacancy rate is only 2.6% and it stayed the same, whereas in Melbourne it has gone up for the last two months. It’s because Melbourne; that was their sixth lockdown, so there’s a lot of extremely vulnerable people there, who are having a really tough time. They may well have left their rental places and gone back to live with their mum and dad or they’ve gone to live with other friends, because they just can’t afford it any longer; they can’t afford the uncertainty. Whereas in Sydney, the economy’s in a bit of a stronger position, really. Also, it’s really hard in Melbourne at the moment, to go and find apartments to live in, because you’re not allowed to do inspections. Whereas in Sydney, you can do inspections of apartments. Only one-on-one; you can’t have 100 people through, but that makes a big difference.

Jimmy  16:28

It’s interesting to get back to; you were talking about inspections and what’s allowed in Melbourne and what isn’t and vice versa… In Melbourne, if there is an apartment in a building occupied, you can’t do renovations in it. In New South Wales, if there’s nobody in the apartment (not the building, but nobody in the apartment), apparently the limit of two workers per apartment, doesn’t apply. It becomes pair, four square meters. We mentioned this last week and I’ve had emails from people saying ‘yeah, I’ve got an apartment in our building that’s got workers swarming all over it.’ It’s just not fair and at the same time today, we’re getting statements from the government; ‘we’re really worried about people’s mental health.’ No, you’re not!

Sue  17:15

Well, not enough to do something about it.

Jimmy  17:17

Well, except for people who live in apartments. You know, ‘serves you right.’ Okay, we’ve sung that song once before. When we come back, we’re going to talk about certifiers, defects and buying off-the-plan. That’s after this.

[MUSIC]

Sue  17:38

I noticed you wrote in the AFR this week, about David Chandler going after certifiers, is that right?

Jimmy  17:44

Yeah, I mean, this is all part of our Building Commissioner’s plan to boost confidence in the apartment building industry. The latest thing is that his team has identified 11 certifiers that they think are the (I don’t know how they phrased it exactly), but basically, they’re the most likely to not behave well.

Sue  18:07

Okay. They’ve been associated with buildings which aren’t very well built.

Jimmy  18:11

They’re the ones where they’ve looked at buildings where there have been problems in the past; looked at the certifiers who were associated with those buildings and then gone to them and said ‘look, can we see what you’re doing in the current project you’re working on?’  They’re really shining the spotlight on them. One of the things I mentioned in my column, was the irony of David Chandler… His real job is to build confidence in the building industry. Unfortunately, to do that, he has to highlight problems, so he can say that they’re being fixed.

Sue  18:50

You can’t make a good omelette without breaking a few eggs, I suppose. Can I use that?

Jimmy  18:54

Well, you have.

Sue  18:58

But yeah, I suppose that’s a real problem. You attract people’s attention to what’s going wrong and then they’re much less likely to be confident in the future, really. Then again, I think a lot of people will think ‘well, maybe I wouldn’t have bought an apartment off-the-plan a few years ago, perhaps, but now I might think about doing it, because I know there’s somebody out there checking up on them.’

Jimmy  19:21

Certainly, that’s the long game. As part of their survey of 500 buildings (that found out that more than a third of them had significant defects), they spoke to industry professionals and members of strata committees. 90% of them said they would not recommend buying off-the-plan to friends, family or professional associates.

Sue  19:45

Wow! That’s a huge number, isn’t it?

Jimmy  19:48

It is, especially when you consider that people who might be thinking of buying off-the-plan for the first time; buying an apartment for the first time…Who are you going to talk to? You’re going to talk to people who live in apartments, or who work in the industry. You’re going to say ‘is this a safe investment?’ If 90% of them are saying ‘no,’ then that shows how much work David Chandler has to do, in terms of building confidence. I mean, I think he’s doing a terrific job. There’s no doubt he’s making a difference, but it is a long game. Karen Stiles of OCN said she wouldn’t buy an apartment that was any less than 10 years old.

Sue  20:26

That was the beginning of self-certification.

Jimmy  20:32

You know, if it’s still standing, after 10 years, you think it’s going to be reasonably safe, apart from Mascot Towers, which was 11 years old when it started hissing. It’s ironic, you have to point out the flaws, to be able to fix them.

Sue  20:48

But that was always a problem with defects. When you’re with a building that does have defects, you kind of wonder, should you go out there and get publicity about it, because that might put pressure on the developers? Or, should you keep quiet, because you don’t want to impact the value of your building? That was always a difficulty for people who were in new buildings that they bought off-the-plan, when they were trying to get everything fixed. Should they stay silent, or should they speak up? I think really, the buildings that spoke up, ended up with the best outcomes, because often the developers came back to the table (because they didn’t want to have any injury to their reputation) and fixed stuff. The buildings that stayed quiet (and then maybe, went the legal route); it was a lot more torturous… It went on a lot longer and the outcome was often very, very uncertain. It’s easy to say those kinds of things with hindsight and hopefully, not too many people will be in that position later on, where they have to make that choice.

Jimmy  21:48

It is a tricky one, because for a lot of people, when they realize for the first time, that their building has defects, the first instinct is to sell up and get out, before they have to pay to fix it. The whole thing about full disclosure comes in, because technically, I think if there’s a problem in your building, when you’re selling your apartment, you should reveal that to the potential purchaser. You can’t just leave it to the next person to deal with, but people do. As I said in my column, all those people who are saying they wouldn’t recommend to people to buy off-the-plan; that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t do it themselves. I mean, we’re a case in point; we’re looking at an investment for the future and we feel that we know enough about the industry, to be able to identify a reliable developer and something that is a good prospect, so that at least we’re not going to lose money on it, which I think is people’s big fear. You’re going to end up having bought into an apartment block, where fixing all the problems is going to cost more than the apartment is worth.

Sue  23:00

Oh, yeah, that’s a nightmare.

Jimmy  23:01

It’s a bit of a gamble; probably more of a gamble than it used to be, because it used to be, that if you bought off-the-plan, you were going to make a profit immediately and now the pricing is quite…

Sue  23:14

You’re paying a premium for apartments off-the-plan; absolutely.

Jimmy  23:17

You think so?

Sue  23:18

Yes.

Jimmy  23:19

 But it used to be you were paying less. 15 years ago, you would be paying a bit less and you’d just watch, or maybe, it was because the market was booming?

Sue  23:28

I mean, we bought an apartment off-the-plan 20 years ago and it was still quite a novel thing then. Sometimes, developers were putting the prices down, just to attract people, because it was something that was a bit new and strange and uncertain. People didn’t really know what it was about. Now, they’re a lot more educated; there’s a lot more confidence, so developers can keep the prices up. People are generally willing to pay a bit extra, to be the first person to use a kitchen and the first person to use a laundry. I mean, it’s kind of a nice thing to have something absolutely brand new.

Jimmy  24:02

It’s a new car smell.

Sue  24:04

That’s right. So, you’re often paying a bit extra for that. You’re just hoping that the market will go up and eventually, you’ll get real value for money,

Jimmy  24:13

We’re going to take a very short break now and we’re going to come back and talk about high-density living, because you’ve been writing about that. That’s after this.

[MUSIC]

Jimmy

Sue, you’ve been writing about high density living?

Sue  24:30

I wrote a story in this week’s Domain magazine about Green Square. I hadn’t been there for a while and I didn’t know what was going on there and there’s so much going on! It’s quite incredible, really. When it first started, I think a lot of people looked at it and thought ‘oh, this is gonna be terrible. This is the slums of the future,’ because there were so many apartment buildings and some of them didn’t look particularly high-quality. I think it was in the old days of the South Sydney Council, before the City of Sydney came in. The City of Sydney have put in ‘Design Excellence’ competitions for all the apartment buildings and had a really strong plan for the area. I mean, all credit to them. I was having a look at it and the density is extremely high. I think they’re going to have about 70,000 people living there, eventually. That’s often going to be higher than the population of (per square kilometer), than Karachi in Pakistan or New Delhi, in India; all those kind of places, which is quite shocking. But then, you look at the density and you start talking to people there… A lot of people really like living there. The prices have been very, very healthy, which shows that there’s lots of competition for apartments. I also talked to Clover Moore and she was saying that she’s a real urbanist. She’s always lived in cities. She’s lived overseas in cities; lived in London and spent lots of time in Paris and Rome. She said she’s a real urbanist; she doesn’t like suburban living very much. Because with urbanism (although you’ve got a high density population; you’ve got lots of people living in a small area… You’ve got lots of people living in apartments), because there are so many people there, it does mean you can afford to put in a lot more amenity. When you look at Green Square, you’ve got the Aquatic Centre there, the Gunyama Aquatic Centre, which is quite extraordinary.

Jimmy  26:15

Swimming pools and water slides.

Sue  26:17

That’s right; really beautiful and yoga rooms… You’ve got an amazing creative centre. It’s kind of like an art centre and you can go in there and paint and do lots of things. They’ve got what we used to call a men’s shed, but now, it’s obviously a people’s shed. You can go and do stuff and you’ve got that fabulous library, which has been named as one of the best libraries in the world.  You know the one that’s mostly underground, which is a really good use of space. You’ve got loads of parks, lots of green areas.

Jimmy  26:49

And, there’s a railway station there.

Sue  26:51

Yep, you’ve got the Green Square rail line. There’s meant to be a light rail coming in there as well. There’s a light rail corridor prepared with, I think, a series of palm trees, which they can uproot and move somewhere else, when they eventually get the light rail line. So, it’s all kind of ready and they’ve also got the school opening there next year; the primary school. It’s really developing into a very vibrant, lively hub and you look at it and you think “wow!”

Jimmy  27:25

So, is this the future; you know, the high-density? I mean, you mentioned Karachi in Pakistan and New Delhi; will it ever feel as crowded as those cities and if not, why not?

Sue  27:38

I don’t think so, because it’s actually got a really good plan behind it. They had a master plan and it’s all always been continually refined. The buildings that have been put up now are really high quality; great architecture… All very different characters, so they didn’t want an area where everything looked the same, because that can be really disheartening. People really know the character of each building, so they recognize where they live and they kind of feel very attached to it. Having all that green, open space is really important, too. I mean, it used to be just old marshland. You know, Aboriginal people used to hunt and fish there and then it became a real industrial hub; lots of heavy industry. The land was really contaminated and despoiled and it was always prone to flooding, but now these huge underground systems have been put in place, so it won’t ever flood again, hopefully and it’s been reclaimed and done in a really interesting way. The old drying green that used to be there (where they used to lay out all the sheep’s fleeces to dry, before they’d send them over to Britain); that’s being restored. The drying green is going to become a big green park now. With the things like the school, because there are so many people around there, it’s a dual-use facility. So, there’s lots of facilities in there for the community to come in and use as well. Like evening classes, or something like that? That’s right and they can use the gym and the playground and the offices and things because you think, a school is really valuable real estate and you close it off at four o’clock or something and nobody ever goes in.

Jimmy  29:18

And they tend to be at the heart of communities; they build them in the heart of communities, because community needs a school, so it’s really clever.

Sue  29:26

So yes, it’s a great use of space, really.

Jimmy  29:29

So, right, buy off-the-plan in Green Square. That’s this week’s message.

Sue  29:35

Of course, it’s not going to suit everyone. There’s been a lot of talk and I think Elizabeth Farrelly had a piece, in talking about the ‘missing middle;’ the medium-density housing. Some people will be a lot happier in medium-density housing, but for some of us… I mean, we live in high density and we’ve lived in high-density for many, many years now and we love it. We love being able to wander down to cafes and restaurants and shops. Everything’s walking distance.

Jimmy  29:58

It feels like a village, because you meet the same people, at the same cafe. They might not live in the same building, but they like the same kind of things. You know, even if it’s liking the same brand of coffee, it’s something you have in common.

Sue  30:11

I think it’s a really interesting way to live. One of my closest friends lives in Birdsville, which is one of the most remote little towns in the world, in the middle of the Simpson Desert. She comes here and she really loves it, too, because it’s such a contrast to the way she lives. This really wouldn’t suit everyone. My parents come here and they’re not so keen. There’s too many people, too much noise, in normal times. It’s pretty quiet these days, because of COVID. There’s an awful lot going for it. Championing apartment living in that kind of well-planned space, is a great thing.

Jimmy  30:46

Well, we’ll try and see if we can get an edited version of that feature on the Flat Chat website sometime in the next week or so. Just before we go; cats, I don’t know if you read about it, but this week, there’s been a move to control cats a bit in urban areas.

Sue  31:07

To stop them going outside and savaging the wildlife.

Jimmy  31:10

Apparently, each cat will kill 150 native animals, if it’s allowed to roam free. Now, I think up in the Blue Mountains areas, you’re not allowed to let your cat roam at night and for some strange reason, in the city, nobody seems to bother. It’s not a problem for our cats. They’re on the 15th floor. They’ve got a couple of balconies to go and sun themselves on and when the local wildlife, the little lorikeets, come and sit on our balcony, the cats run away and hide.

Sue  31:43

They’re pathetic!

Jimmy  31:44

Yeah, so we’re not contributing to that, but I think there will come a time in the city, where cats will be picked up, like they used to do with dogs. We don’t have that problem with dogs anymore, wandering around, but I think any cats found wandering around, will be whipped up off the street. Maybe, there’ll be microchipped, so they’ll be able to say ‘well, this is this is your cat. It shouldn’t be outside.’

Sue  32:11

Yeah, absolutely.

Jimmy  32:12

Cats don’t need to go outside. They like to go outside, because they love to hunt, because they’re natural predators. I think that’s the next thing in our urban spaces. Okay, Sue, thank you very much again. It’s an interesting time, that in which we live.

Sue  32:28

 And congratulations on so many downloads, Jimmy!

Jimmy  32:30

Well, you’re a huge contributor to that, Sue. 20,000!

Sue  32:34

That’s fantastic.

Jimmy  32:36

It’s just a nice number, isn’t it? Okay, thank you very much. Thanks for listening. And we’ll talk to you again soon.

[MUSIC]

Jimmy

Thanks for listening to the Flat Chat Wrap podcast. You’ll find links to the stories and other references on our website, flat-chat.com.au And if you haven’t already done so, you can subscribe to this podcast completely free on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your favorite pod catcher. Just search for Flat Chat Wrap with a W, click on subscribe, and you’ll get this podcast every week without even trying. Thanks again. Talk to you again next week.

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