Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt, pictured here at a sod-turning event for a Brisbane development late last year, has refused to extend the first home buyers grant beyond new construction. Picture: Claudia BaxterQUEENSLAND Treasurer Curtis Pitt has been accused of “killing off the goose” by refusing to consider the use of first home buyers grants on existing homes.The grant, which sits at $20,000 until June 2017, is currently only given by the Queensland government to first home buyers who decide to build a new home in Queensland.The decision was welcomed by the building industry, with Master Builders deputy chief executive Paul Bidwell saying it would help create jobs in construction “specially in regional areas”.But the Real Estate Institute of Queensland warned the Treasurer was creating much bigger problems as new construction was exacerbating oversupply issues in regional markets.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home3 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor9 hours ago“House values are falling, with some markets as much as 30 per cent below levels five years ago. Continuously adding supply of housing to oversupplied markets is irresponsible and will slow down any future recovery,” said REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella . “The Treasurer wants us to believe the only way to economic stability is through residential housing construction, but that’s simply not true.”She said 25 regional mayors had given their full support for broadening the grant to established houses but the State Government “simply isn’t listening”.““The Government should offer first-home buyers the choice between new builds or established homes. Bring buyers to the market where there is ample supply — don’t keep adding to the supply. Real estate has long been this State’s golden goose, but this Government is in danger of killing off the goose.”Housing affordability in the regions was believed to be nearing the same levels as Melbourne. “A recent CoreLogic report into affordability identified that regional Queensland’s housing affordability was nearing similar levels to Melbourne. Wages are flat or are going backwards, the cost of living is higher and it’s harder to save for a deposit. Bankruptcies in regional Queensland are rising, with more than 80 reported last quarter in Mackay alone.”
Wintershall Dea has farmed out its 30% stake in the Shrek licenses (PL838/838B) in the Norwegian Sea to Lime Petroleum.Wintershall Dea said on Tuesday that the licenses, located near the Skarv field in the Norwegian Sea, come from DEA Norge’s legacy portfolio, and the divestment is part of an ongoing asset management process for the merged Wintershall Dea company.“Having started to operate as one company, the farm down in Shrek is part of a global portfolio and budget optimization that helps to reduce our high level of exploration expenditure in 2019,” said Roy Davies, Head of Exploration in Norway.In the event of a commercial discovery in the Shrek well – due to be drilled later this year – the development solution will be a tie-back to the Skarv field where Wintershall Dea is the second largest owner. In this way, the company will still benefit from a discovery in Shrek even after exiting the license.Wintershall Dea added it expects to participate in a further five exploration wells in Norway before the end of 2019.Polish oil company PGNiG is the operator of the license with a 40% share and Aker BP is another partner with a 30% interest.PGNiG plans to start drilling the Shrek well between September 1 and November 30, 2019, following the completion of the drilling of the production wells at Aker BP-operated Skogul and Ærfugl fields. The well will be drilled using the Odfjell Deepsea-owned Nordkapp semi-submersible drilling rig.
Guardian (UK) 3 Feb 2013David Cameron warned by Conservatives that gay marriage proposals will cause ‘significant damage’ at ballot box. Conservative cabinet members, junior ministers and party enforcers are among about 180 MPs poised to oppose or abstain in a vote on gay marriage, it has been claimed. The prime minister, David Cameron, has also been sent a letter, signed by 25 chairmen or former chairmen of Conservative party associations, warning the policy would cause “significant damage” at the ballot box, according to the Sunday Telegraph. MPs will vote on the proposals, which will also allow civil partners to convert their partnership to a marriage and enable married people to change their legal gender without having to end their union, for the first time when the bill has its second reading on Tuesday. Backbenchers have made no secret of their opposition to the move and were angered further when the Tory leadership made clear earlier this week it would not include marriage tax breaks in next month’s budget – something that would have been seen as a concession to disgruntled traditionalists.http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/03/gay-marriage-tory-rebellionGay marriage could cost Conservatives power, poll suggestsTelegraph 1 Feb 2013Divisions over gay marriage could cost the Conservatives enough votes to force them out of power at the next election, a new poll suggests. One in five of voters who supported the party in 2010 would “definitely not” do so again if the Coalition presses ahead with the change, it found. Even though a majority of Conservative voters polled insisted they would stay with the party, the loss of a fifth of its support would be enough to force it out of power. On Friday night some Conservative MPs described the findings as a “wake up call” to David Cameron, just a few days before the Commons votes for the first time on legalsing gay marriage.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9843165/Gay-marriage-could-cost-Conservatives-power-poll-suggests.html