La Trobe University campuses to become futuristic mini-cities with Optus partnership

La Trobe vice-chancellor Professor John Dewar expects a five-fold increase in demand for cyber security employees in coming years. Photo: La Trobe University Optus business manager John Paitaridis says the firm will even hire graduates directly from the cyber security course at La Trobe University. Photo: Louise Kennerley
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Demand for skilled cyber security experts is expected to increase in coming years. Photo: Brian A Jackson

La Trobe University campuses and its students will be test beds for futuristic parking, safety and traffic technology, as part for an $8 million partnership with Optus.

The telco will also be involved in the new Sports Park and is a key partner is La Trobe’s new cyber security courses.

Both parties are tipping in about $4 million each and are hoping to discover major technological breakthroughs for future commercial use.

For  example, the new high-tech sports park at the Bundoora campus will be kitted out with WiFi, LTE mobile and network infrastructure to help with data collection and analytics for research in sport performance, rehabilitation and fan engagement. La Trobe already has partnerships with Melbourne City soccer club and Carlton Football Club.

There will be a five-fold increase in demand for cyber security employees in coming years, according to La Trobe’s vice-chancellor, John Dewar.

Optus and La Trobe will use the university’s campus in Bundoora to test technology and see if it can be commercialised. The relationship has a governance framework to help resolve any disputes over who owns the intellectual property for successful technology, Professor Dewar added.

“Our campus is like a large town,” Professor Dewar said. “The sort of technology that we will be working on with Optus will allow us to keep track of usage and monitor movements of people around the campus so we can optimise use of facilities.”

A new security app will quickly locate students who need help, he added.

From early 2017 La Trobe will start offering six-month, one-year, and two-year courses in cyber security.

Optus’ business manager, John Paitaridis, said it would work closely with students and graduates, even hiring graduates directly from the course.

“We know that there is a skills shortage world wide and here in Australia,” Mr Paitaridis said.

Earlier this year Optus partnered with Macquarie University – which sits across the road from Optus’ main offices in Sydney – to create the Optus Macquarie University Cyber Security Hub. This centre will start taking students in 2017.

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Country supermarkets in demand

The Hamilton IGA sold for around $3.2 million.An offshore buyer has swooped on Woodend’s 19th Hole shopping centre, paying nearly $18 million despite only 28 months remaining on a lease to anchor tenant Coles.
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The Chinese buyer was prepared to go higher than local syndicates and institutions put off by the Coles lease that expires in February 2019.

But that did not stop them from looking. Colliers International agent Tim McIntosh, who negotiated the deal with Tom Noonan, said there was a lot of interest in the centre, with more than 150 enquires fielded from investors.

“It all depends on how much risk people are willing to take on. There’s not that many opportunities in the market and on that basis they were looking at this asset,” Mr McIntosh said.

“As part of the sales process, we approached other supermarket groups to gauge their interest in back filling the space and we’re talking to a couple of groups.

The 8491 square metre shopping centre returns $1.48 million a year in rent from 18 specialty shops and a host of mini-majors including Mitre 10, Target Country and Ian Marks Liquor.

The deal reflected a yield of just over 8 per cent although it’s closer to 5.11 per cent if the Coles proportion of the income is excluded.

Elsewhere in regional Victoria, local private investors edged out off-shore investors to buy two IGA supermarkets on very sharp yields around 6 per cent.

The IGA in Hamilton, in the Western District, fetched around $3 million and was part of the freehold portfolio controlled by Alan Fisher, who last year sold his portfolio of country supermarkets to Ritchies. It has a new 15-year lease.

The Kyabram IGA is understood to have sold for around $4.2 million. The deals follow the recent sale of the Nagambie IGA, to a Chinese buyer, for $8 million.

The deals were struck by CBRE agents Joseph De Rieu and Justin Dowers who received nine formal offers.

“The IGA in Hoppers Crossing was sold this year at 5.3 per cent and the one at Wantirna South was done at 5.5 per cent so the Hamilton store is only 50 basis points behind them – that’s not a big difference,” Mr De Rieu said.

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DEXUS Property forecasts solid rental growth

CBD office rents are rising as incentive deals are declining. Photo: Michele MossopDEXUS​ Property, the country’s largest office landlord, says demand for office space is on the increase and that has led to a fall in the average rental incentives being offered to tenants.
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Further endorsing the tight market for tenants is an expected increase in demand from small to medium businesses who are keen for a city address and seemingly willing to pay the higher charges.

DEXUS’ executive general manager, office and industrial Kevin George said one example is the new leases in Governor Phillip Tower, where net effective rents have increased by 20.4 per cent.

In the group’s first-quarter update Mr George said DEXUS has “our overall average incentives fall across the portfolio, driven by some properties which are in high demand and as a result have achieved solid growth in rents and reduced incentives at these properties”.

Over the quarter the key leases have been at its 30 The Bond, in Sydney, where Lendlease​ vacated to Barangaroo with the Roche group taking up 4418 square metres of the space available space.

Mr George confirmed the group’s forecast that office vacancy in Sydney’s premium-grade assets would fall to about 4.2 per cent in the 2018 financial year.

In Melbourne there has also been a solid rise in leasing activity from a variety of smaller space users, which has resulted in a significant amount of leasing activity with over 158,000 square metres of space being leased and occupancy improving from 90.4 per cent at June 30, 2016 to 92.3 per cent in only three months.

The industrial sector is also riding high with activity for the next quarter expected to continue in the small to medium-enterprise category.

“This activity is aligned to the food-processing and material-handling automation sectors seeking central west solutions in Sydney. Various negotiations are also under way within south-east Melbourne involving tenants from the education and wholesale retail sectors for both metro office and warehousing space,” he said.

DEXUS chief executive Darren Steinberg reiterated the market guidance for the 12 months to June 30, 2017, of underlying funds from operations (FFO) per security growth of 3-3.5 per cent and distribution per security growth of 2.5-3.5 per cent.

Mr Steinberg also said as part of the evolution of offices, DEXUS has partnered with Guardian Early Learning Group (Guardian) to offer DEXUS customers priority on waitlists over a proportion of available childcare places.

The offering is expected to provide greater convenience and flexibility for working families of DEXUS customers.

Guardian has more than 90 centres across the country, including a number within the DEXUS portfolio, with plans to expand that offering as opportunities arise.

“The partnership comes as demand grows for childcare placements in high-quality early learning programs particularly in inner-city areas. This partnership provides DEXUS customers with easier access to childcare as families transition back to work and seek high-quality learning environments for their children, close to their home or workplace,” he said.

DEXUS holds its annual meeting in Sydney on Wednesday.

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Investor snaps up Vermont apartment complex for $5.9m

The combination of five ground level shops, four upstairs apartments and rooftop commercial premises in a near-new two-storey building at 580-584 Canterbury Road in Vermont prompted an investor to pay $5.9 million for the complex. Photo: LEE SANDERS 18 Oliver Lane in Melbourne. Photo: supplied
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Investors took a serve of Italian pizza when they paid $1.625 million for a slice of real esate at 38 Jackson Court. Photo: supplied

SALES

Vermont

The combination of five ground-level shops, four upstairs apartments and rooftop commercial premises in a near-new two-storey building at 580-584 Canterbury Road prompted an investor to pay $5.9 million for the complex. CVA’s Ian Angelico and Jarrod Moran said the shops were anchored by Subway and Australia Post. The 5 per cent yield was “only slightly lower than the expected sales result if the 10 individual tenancies were sold separately,” they said.

Box Hill

Fitzroys has sold a strategic landholding at 107 Severn Street for $3.9 million under the hammer. Michael Ryan, Martin Huang and James Gregson said the double-storey rooming facility with seven bedrooms, three bathrooms and caretakers’ residence netted the vendors a 100 per cent lift in value since they bought the site in 2014 for $1.95 million.

Berwick

Multiple buyers helped bid up a building with blue-chip tenant Bendigo Bank at 43-45 High Street when it sold at auction for $3.225 million. Gross Waddell’s Jonathon McCormack and Andrew Waddell said the secure cash flow from tenants Bendigo Bank and Handprint Design represented a yield of 3.9 per cent.

Hawthorn

A blue-chip development site has sold under the hammer for $2.839 million, a land rate of $5655 per sq m and passing yield of 2.1 per cent. Six groups placed bids on 21 Queens Avenue, a modest, single-level warehouse leased until April 2018. CBRE’s Ed Wright, Sandro Paluso and Chao Zhang handled the sale.

Doncaster East

Investors took a serve of Italian pizza when they paid $1.625 million for a slice of real estate at 38 Jackson Court. The shop leased to a popular Italian restaurant Pompeos for more than 40 years was sold at auction by Ray White Commercial’s Brett Diston on a 2.9 per cent yield. Pompeo’s is on three-year lease paying net rent of $48,000 per annum. In another deal, Ryan Amler sold a hairdressing salon at 4/37-39 Station Road in Cheltenham for $382,000.

Bentleigh

A shop leased to Brighton Flooring at 819 Nepean Highway has sold for $790,000. The 137 sq m showroom sold with a five-year lease plus five-year option in place, returning annual rent of $34,000 net, said Crabtrees Real Estate’s Matthew Marenko and Chris McKenzie.

Oakleigh South

John Nockles and Seamus Bolst from CVA have sold two properties, unit nine and  unit 18 at 19-23 Clarinda Road, to local investors. Unit nine changed hands for $635,000. It was returning $38,000 pa net equating to a yield of 5.98 per cent. Unit 18 went for $661,500, on a 4.93 per cent yield.

Cheltenham

A standalone warehouse at 20 Bricker Street was sold to a private investor by Ray White Commercial Oakleigh’s Ryan Amler for $720,000 on a yield of 6.3 per cent. Mr Amler said the warehouse was leased by long term tenant Revamp Refinishing for $45,600 per annum who had recently exercised a three-year option.

Mulgrave

An owner-occupier in the home decoration sector has paid $580,000 for a strata-titled office and warehouse facility at 29 Glenvale Crescent in Enterprise Park. Savills Australia’s Daniel Kelly said the price of $1812 a sq m was a benchmark for this type of strata property.

LEASES

Clayton South

Propertylink Group has secured a 15-year lease for 71-93 Whiteside Road and 84 Main Road, significantly reducing leasing risk and improving the expiry profile across its investment portfolio. Propertylink signed Premoso, a member of the Walkinshaw Automotive Group, for 28,195 sq m in a deal negotiated by CBRE’s Stephen Adgemis and David Aiello.

Richmond

StreetKitchenCo has leased a 171 sq m cafe in Botanicca Business Park in Swan Street on a 5+5-year basis at $75,000 per annum, equating to $438 per sq m. Knight Frank’s Paul Pellegrino said David Jones’ recent announcement it would take office space there made it an attractive move. Landlord Zig Inge group has put the entire building up for sale.

Melbourne

Global marketing company Signal has secured a new home at 18 Oliver Lane. CBRE’s Scott McGlone negotiated the 440 sq m lease for the Chicago-headquartered firm. Signal will move into a fully fitted out premises with high ceilings and polished timber floors on a three-year lease negotiated with landlord M.H. Kremlin.

Mulgrave

Kitchen appliance manufacturer Schweigen has taken on a new office and warehouse lease at unit eight, 3-4 Anzed Court in a deal brokered by Savills Australia’s Daniel Kelly. The 600 sq m office/warehouse was leased for five years at $100,000 per annum net.

MOVERS

Savills Australia’s national valuation and advisory division has promoted three individuals in Sydney and Melbourne. In Sydney Sandra Peachey takes the role of national director, mortgage valuations. In Melbourne Ross Smillie becomes national director – industrial valuations and Joe Phegan is state director Victoria.

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Australia to get single food labelling brand to seize China growth under Twiggy Forrest plan

Australian exports are set for a shake-up under a radical labelling proposal. Photo: Jessica Shapiro Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is driving the change. Photo: Geoff Jones
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Australia’s beleaguered farmers are poised to unlock vast new export markets as producers, peak bodies and both sides of politics prepare to bury their differences to sell products into China under a “one brand, one logo” approach for the first time.

The new strategy – under wording and a trade symbol designed for maximum Chinese impact – would pitch Australia in a head-to-head race against the gold-standard in export marketing, “100% Pure New Zealand”.

The breakthrough, facilitated by the recent free trade agreement, would have all Australian food products including beef, vegetables, cheese, wine and high-end condiments predominantly branded as Australian ahead of their individual branding, while also certifying them as clean, green and safe.

The proposed high-tech, high-visibility labelling would also be designed to be counterfeit-proof and to allow China’s increasingly safety and quality-conscious consumers – in a country where the middle class is projected to grow by 350 million people over the next four years – to trace the origins of individual products back to a specific animal or producer.

Mining magnate and agriculture sector champion Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has led a campaign to persuade multiple state and industry sectors, who wanted to retain their own established brandings, to back the breakthrough.

His message to them, supported by the government and opposition, is “get on board, or get out of the way”.

Industry sources say the labelling, a virtual revolution in Australia’s primary export practices, needs to be in place within 18 to 24 months or Australia will permanently surrender access to the biggest and most lucrative market the world has seen.

Already, developing countries such as Brazil and Uruguay have stolen the march in getting beef into China in larger quantities than Australia.

In a keynote speech to the National Farmers Federation Annual Congress on Wednesday, Mr Forrest will warn farmers that consumers will develop new habits and the current way of working could see Australia go backwards.

“This is a significant breakthrough,” Mr Forrest’s speech notes say.

“Both parties know, and now acknowledge, that an opt-in unified brand – one that sells safe, clean, green Australia and one that is underpinned by the world’s best traceability technology – is indeed worth the risk.

“We have got to cut through the confusion … states are fighting territories and other states on branding, governments compete with companies on messaging, and there are a multitude of different logos, and that might work in our local supermarkets, but it doesn’t work overseas.

“The clear value proposition of safe Australia, a clean, green Australia was, and is, being completely lost overseas.”

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo will work with Austrade and professional market researchers to design the branding, which would ideally apply to all food and even to high-end wine labelling.

A source involved said the focus had to be on designing a brand and logo based on the Chinese consumer rather than on “what we in Australia think best encapsulates our products”.

Current options identified by Australian consumers – such as the highly identifiable kangaroo symbol – are likely only to confuse Chinese buyers if placed on beef products or milk.

Mr Forrest, a founder of the Australia Sino One Hundred Year Agricultural and Food Safety Partnership, said the move away from the one-child policy alone would add 16 million children to the Chinese market each year.

“The Chinese like to eat what we do because they know they can rely on our pristine environment and stringent quality standards,” he said.

“A little while ago a Chinese soapie put Australia’s Weetbix on the menu. This little box of goodness is available here in Australia [for] $4 to $5, in China it’s $40 to $50.”

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