Archive for ecoproperty

Quality in living – Achacha a farm worker story

The first thing we consider in our work is quality in living. One of the major impacts of the Covid19 pandemic has been unemployment and worsening under employment.  Separately there is concern about how crops will be harvested given the reduced numbers of international backpackers and other temporary workers who usually do much of this work. Put all this together as we move towards major harvest seasons and we are likely to see some serious labour challenges. 

The workers and their wages
International students and backpackers usually make up around 11% of our working population. However it seems they are being exploited by some Australian employers. A study of the pre-pandemic work experiences of around 4000 students and backpackers has found significant underpayment with fruit-pickers the lowest paid of all. One in three received around half the minimum wage. Worst of all was one in seven workers on fruit farms who earned around $5 an hour – around a quarter of the legal minimum wage for a casual worker.

So it would seem at least some farms are underpaying their workers. Additionally this sector has a strong reliance on temporary workers – students and backpackers whose numbers are now significantly reduced. In the mix also are credible reports of unemployed Australians struggling to land farm jobs despite being keen to work.

This year, when so many Aussies are looking for work it is going to be interesting to understand more of what has been really going on in our agricultural labour market.

Fabulous Farmers
In contrast there are some bright spots where farms and farmers pay award wages by the hour rather than the hated piece rates. They also employ locals and have a reputation for looking after their workers. This should mean they will have less problems in finding harvest labour in their upcoming picking season.

Part of our philosophy and working with our clients in passing on their properties is quality in living.  One fundamental is that people should be paid a fair wage for fair work.  

One example of farmers doing the right thing and being respected for doing so are Bruce and Helen Hill. As owners of a unique Achacha farm near Townsville their farm is known as a ‘very good farm to work’ according to the manager of the local backpackers hostel. Payments are ‘by the hour and at award rates’ rather than piece rates, as well as having a  ‘body friendly’ harvest. The picking can be done standing up with no back breaking crouch and no climbing ladders. There is also an added bonus of doing the picking inside the tree shaded from the summer heat. Bruce and Helen are also known for ‘looking after their workers’. A fair wage for fair work.

Bruce and Helen are hoping, along with many other farmers, that they manage to find farm labour this season. The Achacha harvest of around 300 tonnes starts in January and runs through to March, after the local mango harvest finishes. The farm usually employs around half locals and the remainder backpackers.

The farm is also popular with grey nomads who usually stay on for 1-2 months and enjoy breaking their journey on a working organic farm, only 30 minutes away from Townsville.

The farm is organic and biodynamic certified producing not only Achacha but also mangoes and very popular Achacha honey. Their farm tours are also growing in popularity with visitors enjoying the experience of a working sustainable farm. This is a farm that embodies quality in living !

Straw Bale Living in Victoria

Green Change to Beautiful Strawbale Executive Style Family Home on a few Acres

Straw bale homes really are the ultimate alternative for people wanting to consider the eco-footprint of their home on our fragile earth—yet still live in comfort and beauty all year round.

Described as having an “organic feel”, this straw bale home is unusually presented with a stunning executive finish that snubs any hippy hang-ups that alternative building materials may convey.

The minute you step into this straw bale home, you feel enclosed by the softness of the walls, yet the home is spacious with impressively high ceilings and breathtaking views.

It’s a home that is big on enjoying the good things in life with family and friends—like entertaining and hanging around inside and out. The lovely wide veranda is the absolute location for many merry gatherings, with a refreshing dipping pool.

Amongst the numerous benefits of living in a straw bale home is the non-toxic interior environment. The nature of how it is built and what it is built from (straw) means that the walls absorb moisture and are considerably healthier than a conventional interior of painted plasterboard wall.

The internal temperature is comfortably stable inside a passive solar straw bale home, often in the low 20s during winter, and in the heat of summer it remains beautifully cooler—up to 10 degrees cooler than the outside.

The benefits (apart from no electricity bills) of running completely off-grid,  means this straw bale home has great features including lighting and the appliances that all contemporary executive modern homes boast—yet without ongoing additional costs to the family budget or the environment.

What you will love the most about living in this straw bale home—even though it is modern and has the best of the best executive living aspects—are the unique features that are the undeniable nature of straw bale, such as the curved finish between the double-glazed windows and wall; unmistakably hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind.

Make the green change to Glenlyon Victoria and the gentle, lovely life in such an unusual and special WOW home.

Foreign Buyers of Australian Property

It’s highly unlikely lending and regulation is going to halt demand and impact.

It is time to discuss types of ownership eg. more leasehold; taxation eg. more contribution to national infrastructure, health, environment.

Let’s be innovative and imaginative – we have what most people and corporations want – security, wealth, well being. All comparative of course but we remain one of the luckiest countries.

So how best to share it – let’s debate widely and deeply and constantly.

Which Country Will Prosper ?

Interesting prospect: China halts construction of 85 coal fired power plants and continues to commit to renewables and address climate change. Trump? Backs out of climate change? Supports coal? Guess which country will prosper with all the innovation and new business around renewables and addressing climate change? Come on Australia- we have a great role to play in Ecopreneurship.

Urban Windmills Art & Power

Urban windmills art and power – bring our imaginations for solutions throughout our community in fully utilising natural systems #windpower #urbandesign #ecorealestate #australianrealestate #ecoproperty #sydney #alternativeenergy

Earthship Style Construction

Drove past what looks like earthship style construction – recycled tyres in brick layout with earth rammed in #earthship #ecorealestate #ecofriendly #greenliving #environmentaldesign #ecoproperty #australianrealestate

Must Be Stopped – Baird Wrong Again

NSW Land Registry sell off must be stopped – this sort of privatisation is not public interest – and it makes $50m pa. Campaign againstBaird to stop yet another bad idea

Move to regional Australia

Nice cows looking at nice rocks – high density living Sydney and Melbourne towards 6m people each – or make the move to rural and regional Australia.

Our ebrochure

#farming #regionalatbest #ecorealestate #ecoproperty #highdensity #ruralaustralia

SELLING property in 2016

One of the most concerning problems in the real estate market at the moment is the domination in some locations of large marketing or corporate franchises, or simply a dominant local agency.  Not a problem in themselves, but when it comes to evidence of low sale prices in the interest of quick cash flow for the agency, we do have a real issue.  EcoRealEstate’s work utilsing the ecoproperty® methodology and its EcoPremium already drives values for our clients.  However, when we also see where vendors have lost not small amounts, significant amounts of money from $20,000 to as much as $100,000 we are very concerned.  If you are ready to sell or would just like to chat about your property options you can start here or make an appointment.  If you would like to talk about your local market we would also most welcome the opportunity to hear about your experiences, or those of your friends or colleagues so contact us here anytime.

Click here to get our Ebrochure

How great is it to name our tiny lion?

How great is it to name our tiny lion after the brilliant work done by Sir David Attenborough- thank you Australian Geographic for great pic so we can get a sense from our fossil #david Attenborough #fossils #australian wildlife #science #ecoproperty #savingourplanet

Gratia Surry Hills Sydney

Having coffee in the best place. Gratia Surry Hills Sydney. For profit celebrating multi cultural isn. Profits go to global and social issues. Currently training refugees and migrants on site #loveit #multicultural #australianmade #cafesociety #gratiacafe #ecofriendly #communitychange #social change Australia #ecoproperty