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TIP: worst of the downturn is over, consumers "plunge into pessimism", Zetland makes three

Our blood may be running blue today, but hearts are dark

As Scott Morrison would say, how good was the State of Origin decider!

Hopefully the series win by the NSW Blues will perk people up today - because if the results of the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment survey are anything to go by, people are miserable at the moment.

Despite tax relief, interest rate cuts and news the Sydney and Melbourne property markets are stabilising, overall consumer sentiment plunged 4.1 per cent in July - bringing the index to the lowest it's been in four years. The main worries are fear for the Australian economy and cash-in-pocket.

Housing-related sentiment is positive, however. The volume of consumers who agreed now is the time to buy a home ticked upwards in July, although investor lending remains weak.

(Speaking of investors, news today that Sydney experienced the biggest percentage falls in rents in more than 15 years in July won't make property investors any happier at the moment.)

NAB also released modelling yesterday fueling fears that the tax relief package won't stimulate the economy in a meaningful way. The government's counter-attack earlier this week against calls for further stimulus measures clearly didn't make a dent in the pro argument; NAB chief economist Alan Oster said yesterday for the $2 trillion Australian economy, not enough money is being spent on stimulus.

Today's AFR View calls it the lost decade of economic reform. It's calling on the government to ramp up meaningful reforms that cut red tape for business, help states transition away from having to rely on stamp duty revenues, and introduce measures that will encourage job creation and wage growth.

Is it a case of disasters coming in threes, or the tip of an iceberg?

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian was working to buy time yesterday when she said her government knows building industry regulation isn't working, as attention on a third apartment evacuation due to building defects ramped up.

Yesterday, the SMH revealed that an apartment complex in Zetland had been vacant for more than eight months after residents were evacuated due to building defects. The Herald has ramped up its coverage today, including video of residents speaking about their experience. Councils are under the spotlight as well as the state government after Sydney City Council admitted it knew of the evacuation before the Opal Towers situation in December 2018.

The NSW government is under pressure to fast-track reforms to building regulation and appoint a building commissioner, over fears the Opal Tower, Mascot Towers and Zetland issues are just the ones we know about.

In other news...

Hills Shire Council has approved a masterplan for 181 homes on Derriwong Rd, Dural in Sydney's north-west. Urbis is developing the site, and has been jumping through hoops with council and the NSW Planning Panel to get the project green-lit.

The Demographic Group's Simon Kuestenmacher has an interesting opinion piece in The Australian arguing that NIMBYs need to back off if we're going to solve housing affordability issues in Australia's major cities. Worth a read.

...and that's me for a spell; I'm taking a couple of days off. See you next week.

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