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Socceroos heading to Sharjah to meet China



China’s inability to play World Cup qualifiers at home means it will ‘host’ the Socceroos in Sharjah later this month.

The Socceroos will return to the Middle East following their Sydney clash against Saudi Arabia, with confirmation their World Cup qualifier against China will be played in the United Arab Emirates.

The Australians will play on home soil for the first time since October 2019 when they host the Saudis – who top Group B in the third round of AFC World Cup qualifying – at CommBank Stadium on Thursday week.

However, while Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted to allow the Socceroos to again play at home, it’s a different case in China.

As a result, the Chinese national team must continue to play its home matches on foreign soil.

China will “host” the Socceroos in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, November 17 (AEDT) at the 18,000-capacity Sharjah Stadium.

The Socceroos will have no qualms about playing the match in the UAE after winning a host of games in the Middle East in the past two years.

However, the timing of the match against China isn’t good for A-League champions Melbourne City, who start their title defence on Friday, November 19 at AAMI Park against Brisbane Roar.

City’s star attackers, Mat Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout, are all expected to be named in Graham Arnold’s latest Socceroos squad, set to be announced on Friday.

Any City players chosen in the squad face a tight turnaround in their bid to play in the opening match of the A-League season.

City faced a similar situation in last season’s finals series, but managed to defy the absence of Maclaren, Curtis Good and Connor Metcalfe – who were on Socceroos duty in Kuwait – to win the title.

Socceroos coach Arnold arrived back in Australia on Monday after a stint of almost six months overseas.

Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant and Melbourne Victory attacker Chris Ikonomidis – the only two A-League players in the Socceroos squad for last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Oman and Japan – are both out of quarantine and training with their clubs.

The Socceroos, whose 11-game winning streak was ended by Japan, are in second place in Group B, three points behind Saudi Arabia, who have a perfect record of 12 points from four matches.

China has just three points from four matches, with only Vietnam behind them on the Group B ladder.

The top two teams from Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Originally published as The Socceroos’ road to next year’s World Cup will take them to Sharjah to meet China




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West End Brisbane: Man charged over stabbing, allegedly headbutted cop



A man has been charged after allegedly headbutting a cop following an inner-city ‘argument’ with an acquaintance.

A Brisbane man has been charged with the attempted stabbing murder of an acquaintance – and assaulting police – following an argument at an inner-city home on Monday evening.

Police said two men, aged 28 and 35, who were both known to each other, were arguing at a West End home at 5pm when the younger man allegedly stabbed the other in the chest and leg.

The 35-year-old was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while the 28-year-old was arrested and taken to Dutton Park Police Station.

Police said once at the station, the 28-year-old man allegedly became uncooperative and headbutted a police officer who sustained minor injuries.

He has been charged with attempted murder and serious assault of a police officer causing bodily harm.

He was refused police bail and is expected to face Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Originally published as Man charged with attempted murder and assaulting a police officer following ‘argument’ in Brisbane




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Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers



Australian housing prices keep creeping higher, pushing more would-be first home buyers off the property ladder and fuelling rate hike talk.

Australian residential property prices keep creeping higher, but experts believe the peak of the current cycle is not far off, with the Reserve Bank tipped to increase interest rates sooner than flagged.

CoreLogic data released on Monday showed national dwelling values inched up 1.5 per cent in October, down from a peak monthly growth rate of 2.8 per cent in March.

That’s a touch higher than predicted by CommSec (about 1.3 per cent) and AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver (1.4 per cent).

The rise brings the national price growth rate over the past 12 months to a whopping 21.6 per cent.

But CoreLogic reiterated what it had been saying for months – the red-hot property market is slowly losing momentum.

That may be cold comfort for already priced out, would-be first home buyers.

“Housing prices continue to outpace wages by a ratio of about 12:1,” CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said.

“This is one of the reasons why first home buyers are becoming a progressively smaller component of housing demand.”

Other reasons are the end of stimulus measures such as HomeBuilder, more supply on the market – with new listings surging by 47 per cent since hitting a low in September – and, from Monday, the tightening of mortgage assessments in a bid to slow new lending at high debt-to-income ratios.

Inflation data last week was higher than expected, with the most significant price rise being for new homes bought by owner-occupiers.

Economists say pressure is accordingly building on the RBA to up the cash rate from its historic low of 0.1 per cent.

The central bank holds its monthly meeting on Tuesday and every word in the statement that follows will be combed for even the slightest shift in its thinking.

“We now expect the first rate hike in a year’s time,” Mr Oliver said in his latest market update.

“The RBA won’t rush into a rate hike because it wants to see that ‘inflation is sustainably within the target range’.”

The RBA has repeatedly said a hike was unlikely before 2024.

“However, with the economy recovering, we believe that the conditions for the start of rate hikes will now be in place by late 2022, so we expect the first hike to be in November 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.25 per cent, followed by a 0.25 per cent hike in December 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.5 per cent by the end of next year,” Mr Oliver said.

Many other economists are tipping an RBA move in early 2023.

Meanwhile, as housing continues to become less and less affordable, CoreLogic expects demand will skew towards higher density sectors of the market, especially in Sydney, where the gap between the median house and unit value is now close to $500,000.

“With investors becoming a larger component of new housing finance, we may see more demand flowing into medium to high density properties,” Mr Lawless said.

“Investor demand across the unit sector could be bolstered as overseas borders open, which is likely to have a positive impact on rental demand, especially across inner city unit precincts.”

Australia’s apartment markets have generally recorded a lower rate of growth compared to houses, CoreLogic says.

Also on Monday, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed the continuation of a trend seen over recent months – investor mortgage commitments rising as owner-occupier new loan commitments fell.

MEDIAN VALUES AROUND AUSTRALIA:

Sydney: $1.071m (up 25.3 per cent over 12 months)

Canberra: $864,909 (up 25.5 per cent)

Melbourne: $780,303 (up 16.37 per cent)

Hobart: $678,170 (up 28.06 per cent)

Brisbane: $642,097 (up 22.3 per cent)

Adelaide: $543,265 (up 20.07 per cent)

Perth: $526,625 (up 16.37 per cent)

Darwin: $490,236 (up 19.28 per cent)

Originally published as Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers




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Woman charged with attempted murder of cyclist after early-morning incident at Inala, Brisbane



An early morning incident in Brisbane’s south has resulted in a woman being charged with the attempted murder of a cyclist.

A woman has been charged with the attempted murder of a cyclist after an early morning incident in Brisbane’s southern suburbs on Saturday.

Queensland police said the 42-year-old cyclist was riding along Wirraway Parade near the Inala Plaza shopping centre in Inala at 4.30am when a 4WD hit his rear wheel.

The cyclist stopped, and the woman behind the wheel allegedly drove at the man, who jumped a front fence of a house in Lapwing Street for safety.

Police said the alleged driver of the 4WD – a 45-year-old Durack woman – then crashed into four fences before allegedly running over the man’s bike laying on a footpath.

Police said the woman stopped the 4WD further along Lapwing Street and was arrested.

She has been charged with one count each of attempted murder and dangerous driving, and five charges of wilful damage, including four fences and the bicycle.

She is due to appear in the Richland Magistrates Court on Monday.

The Durack cyclist was transported to hospital for leg injuries but released after receiving medical attention.

The man and woman are not known to each other, police said.

Originally published as Woman charged with attempted murder of cyclist during early-morning incident in Brisbane




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Queensland Covid: State records two new local cases as exposure sites jump



Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned “Covid is coming” after two new local cases were recorded.

Queensland has recorded two new local Covid cases, one being an unvaccinated Gold Coast teenager who was a household contact of someone from NSW.

Investigations are now underway into whether the close contact entered Queensland illegally.

The other case was a woman from Melbourne in her 30s who tested positive in home quarantine. She is considered low-risk.

A Gympie truck driver who visited Bundaberg has also tested positive interstate.

Tuesday’s update comes after a string of new exposure sites popped up across the state’s southeast corner.

Queensland Health on Tuesday listed a men’s truck stop toilet at the Caboolture South Travel Centre as a close contact site from 8.50pm to 9.35pm on Saturday.

Fresh Fields FoodWorks Thabeban in Bundaberg was listed as a low-risk site at about 4pm on Saturday, while Graham Lusty Trailers at Crestmead, south of Brisbane, was a causal contact site last Thursday morning.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new cases showed Queensland is not immune to the pandemic.

“We have contained dozens of outbreaks but, as New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT and New Zealand have discovered . it only takes one case to cause a massive outbreak,” she said.

“Our only protection is to get vaccinated … Because of the time it takes between doses, Queenslanders have just five days to get their first dose so that they can be fully vaccinated in time for Christmas when families can once again be reunited with loved ones.

The 17-year-old from the Gold Coast tested positive overnight after presenting to the emergency department with a headache.

The update comes after a BP service station at Archerfield and a trailer business at Rocklea were listed as close contact sites on Sunday.

Another trailer business in Logan was listed as a new casual contact site, while a petrol station in Ipswich was identified as a low-risk contact point.

Tuesday’s Covid update from the floor of state parliament followed news an infected rideshare driver allegedly tried to leave his hospital room over the weekend.

Police were called to Gold Coast University Hospital following reports of a disturbance.

Duran Raman was allegedly found outside his room on Sunday despite being confined to it after testing positive to the virus last week.

Deputy chief health officer Peter Aitken said the 36-year-old hadn’t left the ward.

“There’s no risk to the public, no risk to other patients and no risk to other staff,” he said on Monday.

“The situation is in control.”

Originally published as Queensland records two new local Covid cases as more exposure sites added




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