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Mar 16, 2012
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Affordable housing key to a sustainable city

Good planning plus affordable housing equals a liveable city (The Age, Comment 16/3) offers a serious challenge to the Government to address housing affordability – and it comes well overdue.

Housing is the biggest cost of living issue in Australia, with one in ten households under housing stress. As Whitzman and Giles-Corti correctly note, it’s the search for affordable housing that’s pushed families to the edges of the city. While they say this issue goes beyond the supply of housing, it’s a central problem that cannot be ignored.

The Baillieu Government must heed this warning when developing its new metropolitan strategy and make sure Melbourne has a plan to deliver more affordable housing.

The Federal Government can help by creating a Growth Fund with an annual allocation of $2.5 billion a year to provide 100,000 affordable homes over five years, across the country, and the state government should match their fair share.

Housing affordability is not an easy fix, but it is not impossible. The time to address this worsening crisis is in the upcoming State and Federal Budgets and not a moment later.

By Australians for Affordable Housing Campaign Manager, Sarah Toohey

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit
www.housingstressed.org.au

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Mar 16, 2012
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Candidates offer no relief as Queensland mining boom forces rents to rise

Renters in regional Queensland are experiencing massive increases in rents due to the mining boom and Australians for Affordable Housing is calling on candidates in the election to act to ensure that regional communities do not become too expensive to live in.

New analysis from Australians for Affordable Housing using bond data show that Western Downs, Gladstone, Rockhampton and Mackay council areas are all seeing massive increases- of up to 46 per cent- in rents for both houses and flats in the 12 months from 2010 to 2011.

The biggest increases were for 2 bedroom flats in Gladstone (up 46 per cent) followed by 3 bedroom houses in Gladstone (up 44 per cent). Two bedroom flats in Western Downs rose by 33 per cent and in Mackay by 15 per cent and Rockhampton by 14 per cent. A full list is attached.

“Growth in mining is helping to support employment but rising rents have an impact on entire communities regardless of whether they are benefiting from the boom,” said Sarah Toohey campaign manager for Australians for Affordable Housing

“With over 9,000 renters in these towns in housing stress, rising rents only push struggling families further out, away from jobs. This leaves mining towns without essential service staff.

“Queensland needs communities that have affordable housing for everyone, yet none of the major parties have released election policies to fix the rental market. Australians for Affordable Housing is calling on both major parties to commit to increasing the supply of affordable rental housing.

“These are policies Queensland desperately needs if regional communities are to be places of opportunity and not simply where those with high paying mining jobs can afford to live,”

Queensland regions with fastest rent increases

Darling Downs

2 bedroom flat 3 Bedroom house
Rent ($) New Bonds Change Dec 2010 to Dec 2011 Rent ($) New Bonds Change Dec 2010 to Dec 2011
Western Downs Regional Council $ 250 52 32% $300 149 13%
Toowoomba Regional Council $ 210 337 5% $ 275 596 6%

 

Central Queensland

2 bedroom flats 3 bedroom houses
Locality Rent ($) New Bonds Lodged Change Dec 2010 to Dec 2011 Rent ($) New Bonds Lodged Change Dec 2010 to Dec 2011
Gladstone Regional Council area $350 136 46% $460 235 44%
Rockhampton Regional Council Area $250 262 14% $325 423 8%

 
Northern Queensland

2 bedroom flats 3 bedroom houses
Locality Rent ($) New Bonds Lodged Change Dec 2010 to Dec 2011 Rent ($) New Bonds Lodged Change Dec 2010 to Dec 2011
Mackay Regional Council Area $ 450 355 15% $ 330 239 12%


 

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations working to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989 Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

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Mar 16, 2012
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Rent rises pricing families out, as 34,000 struggle with rents. Affordable rentals must be key in this election campaign: AAH

Families in over 60 per cent of Brisbane suburbs have seen rents in their area increase above inflation in the last year. With over 34,000 renters in Brisbane in housing stress Australians for Affordable Housing is calling on candidates in the Queensland election to invest in affordable housing to make sure that Brisbane families do not get priced out of their local community.

New analysis from Australians for Affordable Housing using bond data show that renters in the inner north and northwest faced the steepest increases, with rent hikes of 8 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.  A full list is attached.

“New rents in Ashgrove, Dorrington and St John’s Wood rose by 12 per cent in the last year and by 9 per cent in Alderley, Enogerra and Grange” said Sarah Toohey Campaign Manager for Australians for Affordable Housing.

“Suburbs like Teneriffe and New Farm saw the asking price for new rentals rise by a whopping 39 per cent, (but with low transaction volumes in these areas these statistics may not give the full picture)” 

“It’s clear that the market is not delivering affordable housing to the majority of renters in Brisbane and yet struggling renters have not heard one word from either party in this election campaign that would help ease their housing stress.

“I don’t know many people who received a 9 per cent pay rise last year but many renters in the inner north west received a pretty hefty rental increase, it’s simply not sustainable,”

“With the election battleground in the suburbs of Brisbane we hope to see parties compete to deliver the best housing policy and not simply let Brisbane residents suffer rising rents.  Now is the time to promise new affordable rentals to boost the supply of housing.

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations working  to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004 

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

Rent increases by Brisbane regions

 

North West – Inner  8.7%
North – Inner 7.5%
North West – Outer 6.9%
City Inner 5.3%
South – Inner 5.3%
South West – Inner 5.0%
South East – Inner 4.8%
North – Outer 4.2%
South – Outer 2.9%
Bayside 2.7%
South West – Outer 1.4%
South East – Outer -3.8%

Brisbane suburbs rent increase league table

  Number of lettings 3 bedroom  house % change in rents
New Farm/Teneriffe 21 39%
Anstead/Bellbowrie/Moggill 14 29%
Brisbane City/Spring Hill 17 17%
Northgate 17 16%
Kuraby 12 14%
Buranda/Dutton Park/Wooloongabba 23 12%
Ashgrove/Dorrington/St Johns Wood 35 12%
Milton/Paddington/Rosalie 54 11%
Ballymore/Ithaca/Kelvin Grove/Red Hill 37 11%
Highgate Hill/South Bris/West End 29 10%
Greenslopes/Stones Corner 32 10%
Eight Miles Plains/Runcorn 43 10%
Archerfield/Coopers Plains 16 9%
Alderley/Enogerra/Gaythorne/Grange/ Newmarket/Wilston 77 9%
Bardon/Jubilee/Rainworth 20 9%
Banyo/Nudgee/Virginia 35 8%
The Gap 27 8%
Aspley/Boondal/Geebung/Zillmere 116 7%
Doboy/Hemant 10 7%
Chelmer/Indooroopilly/Taringa 53 7%
Clifton Hill/Moorooka/Tennyson 53 7%
Lota/Manly 55 7%
Balmoral/Bulimba/Hawthorne 47 6%
Annerley/Fairfield 40 6%
Chermside/Craigslea 43 6%
Brookside/Everton Park/McDowall/Stafford 151 6%
Arana Hills/Keperra 45 6%
Mansfield/Mt Gravatt/Wishart 137 5%
Calamvale/Drewvale/Stretton 16 5%
Gordon Park/Kedron 45 5%
Ekibin/Holland Park/Tarragindi/Wellers Hill 94 5%
Belmont 5 5%
Camp Hill/Carina/Carindale 113 5%
Brookfield/Chapel Hill/Kenmore 47 5%
Cannon Hill/Morningside/Norman Park 96 5%
East Bris/Kangaroo Point 36 5%
Bracken Ridge/Brighton/Deagon/Sandgate 113 4%
Nundah/Toombul/Wavell Heights 66 4%
Forest Lake/Carole Park 105 3%
Salisbury 27 3%
Algester/Parkinson 26 3%
Jindalee/MtOmmaney/Sumner/Westlake 61 3%
Lindum/Lytton/Wynnum 90 3%
Corinda/Graceville/Oxley/Sherwood 85 3%
Bowen Hills/Valley/Herston/Newstead 9 2%
Ascot/Hamilton 19 2%
Tingalpa 15 1%
Fitzgibbon/Taigum 16 1%
Coorparoo 33 1%
Auchenflower/MtCootha/Toowong 46 1%
Clayfield/Hendra 37 0%
Lutwyche/Windsor/Wooloowin 52 0%
Brisbane Market/Rocklea 15 0%
Altandi/Macgregor/Robertson/Sunnybank 83 0%
Acacia Ridge/Larapinta/Willawong 40 0%
Doolandella/Durack/Inala/Richlands 72 0%
Darra/Wacol 27 -2%
Murarrie 7 -3%
Seventeen Mile Rocks/Sinnamon Park 17 -3%
Albion/Breakfast Creek 10 -5%
Bald Hills 13 -7%
Yeronga 20 -7%
Ironside/St Lucia 13 -8%
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Mar 6, 2012
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Housing struggle as students head back to Uni

As students head back to university this week, Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) has warned that three in four students receiving rent assistance face studying in poverty because of their housing costs.

The National Union of Students has joined with AAH to call on the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) to help more than 20,000 students currently in housing stress.

“The shortage of affordable rental housing means that it’s harder for students, who often have no rental history, to get a place they can afford. Often those who have found accommodation will be paying exorbitant rent in overcrowded, and frankly pretty shoddy houses,” said AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey. 

“Students who have to relocate to attend university, such as those from regional areas and interstate, should not be deterred from furthering their education because of a lack of affordable housing.

AAH has called on the Federal Government to immediately boost CRA between $16 and $25 per week in their federal budget submission – which will lift 100,000 renters out of housing stress.

“An increase to CRA would benefit university students who heavily rely on rent assistance while completing their studies.

The National President of the National Union of Students, Donherra Walmsley, said that the cost of housing was a serious problem for students across the country.

“Housing stress is having a huge impact on the ability of students to complete their studies, with many students regularly missing class to go to work, just so they can pay the bills.

“Students are being forced to work upwards of twenty hours a week just to be able to pay their rent, with little or no money left over for vital course materials like textbooks.

“It’s time that CRA was increased to reflect the dramatic rises in rental prices all over Australia,” Ms Walmsley said.

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au


Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004. For further comment from NUS: Donherra Walmsley, National President, 0411 606 808.

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

 

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Mar 2, 2012
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Australians for Affordable Housing Welcomes New Federal Cabinet Housing Minister

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today welcomed the appointment of Brendan O’Connor as the Minister for Housing and Homelessness and applauded the move to retain the role of Housing Minister as a cabinet position.

AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to retain the Housing portfolio in cabinet saying that “this is recognition that housing is central to the wellbeing of every single Australian household, and should be a concern for the highest levels of government”.

“Housing is the biggest cost of living issue in Australia and with one in ten households in housing stress it is clear that our current housing system is failing too many people.

“We need a national housing plan, to deliver affordable housing, right across the system, from public and community housing to home ownership. Retaining a single housing minister in cabinet is an excellent first step towards making sure the housing system works for everyone.

“People in Minister O’Connor’s own electorate of Gorton, know too well the problem of housing affordability. Figures released by AAH late in 2011 show that the Local Government areas of Melton, Hume and Brimbank (which are either in or surround the seat of Gorton) are all in the top 5 areas of housing stress in Victoria [i].

“We wish to thank Robert McClelland for the genuine interest he showed as Minister for Housing and Homelessness, and wish him all the best for the future.

“AAH is calling on the Federal Government to start addressing the housing crisis in the upcoming budget by creating over 100,000 new affordable homes and increasing rent assistance to immediately relieve housing stress for up to 100,000 Australians,” Ms Toohey said.

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed


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Feb 22, 2012
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Further investment needed to help 20,000 homeless Victorians

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today welcomed the Australian Medical Association’s Budget submission to the Victorian Government, calling for $2.8 million to provide 50 extra beds for homeless patients, but warned that the Government needs to do much more to address homelessness.

The AMA have recommended the State Government spend $2.8 million over the next four years so that homeless people who are discharged from hospital, have somewhere to sleep and aren’t using a hospital bed which may be needed by others.

AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey said on any given night in Victoria, over 20,000 people are homeless.

“The AMA’s recommendation, if implemented by the State Government, would provide much needed support and assistance to those in crisis.

“However, this will only address one part of the problem. The reality is that the lack of affordable housing in Victoria means that people are continually cycling through the homelessness service system.

“The best way to address homelessness is to provide more secure, long-term affordable housing, and then make sure people have the help they need to stay housed.

 “In the long run it is much cheaper to provide long term housing than have people coming to emergency departments, just so they can have somewhere to sleep or because they’ve been injured or become sick from sleeping rough.

“The fact that doctors have identified this as a major issue – when their primary role is healthcare – is testament to the severity of this issue and the need for further State Government assistance,” Ms Toohey said.

 Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004
Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

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Feb 14, 2012
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Queensland’s Housing Stress: Top 5 housing stressed regions revealed

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today revealed the extent of housing stress across Queensland, and the top five housing stressed council areas.

New modelling commissioned by AAH also shows that more than 55,000 households in Brisbane Council are in housing stress. Those in the rental market are doing it hardest with 28 per cent of households in rental stress.

“The high cost of housing in Queensland is not new, but these figures show where the pain is being felt,” said AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey.

“Households in Gympie, Fraser Coast, Gold Coast and Logan are suffering the most with 19 per cent experiencing housing stress, while Fraser Coast has the highest proportion of people under rental stress (46%).

“Areas such as Fraser Coast, Gympie, Somerset and Bundaberg all have rates of rental stress over 43 per cent, as well as high rates of mortgage stress with over 23 per cent of home buyers in those areas under financial pressure. The highest level of mortgage stress was recorded in Etheridge (31%).

“When low income households spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs they are officially in housing stress. This means they have very little left over to cover other costs like food, transport, bills or money for emergencies.”

Adrian Pisarski, Executive Officer of Queensland Shelter said these figures were a wake up call to governments. “People are obsessed with the housing stress on home owners, but these figures show that housing stress is most severe for renters. We seriously need to think about rental stress in solutions to affordable housing,” said Mr Pisarski.

“Last week, AAH called on the Federal Government to commit to a long term strategy to improve housing affordability, at the launch of our budget statement in Canberra. We need the State and Federal Governments to work together to fund that strategy and deliver the housing system that Queensland needs,” said Ms Toohey.

“Given that housing is the biggest cost of living issue for Queenslanders, we’d hope that all candidates in the upcoming election commit to policies that will improve housing affordability.

“Policies that increase the supply of affordable housing, like building more public and community housing work. Others, like increasing first home buyer grants, just push up house prices and make problems for first home buyers worse.

“Australians for Affordable Housing is urging Queensland residents in housing stress to join the campaign to convince governments to work together to address the housing crisis. More information can be found on our website www.housingstressed.org.au.

“We need action at all levels of government to ensure that we fix our broken housing system, and take the pressure off families struggling with high housing costs and lack of affordable options,” said Ms Toohey.

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0427 563 989 or
Media inquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004

Housing stress – Australians for Affordable Housing local council league table*

 
Housing Stress 
 
Mortgage Stress 
 
Private Rent Stress 
LGA Name % Number % Number % Number
Gympie (R) 19 3707 27 1557 45 1790
Fraser Coast (R) 19 8045 24 2702 46 4542
Gold Coast (C) 19 41077 18 12491 38 25994
Logan (C) 19 18441 18 7312 38 9591
Sunshine Coast (R) 18 24442 21 8443 42 14058
Lockyer Valley (R) 18 2422 23 1104 42 1131
Bundaberg (R) 18 7092 23 2426 44 3961
Somerset (R) 18 1438 23 678 45 633
Ipswich (C) 17 10819 16 3678 35 6177
Cairns (R) 17 11366 16 3634 32 6784
Southern Downs (R) 17 2431 24 921 40 1275
Scenic Rim (R) 17 2593 21 1105 41 1277
Cook (S) 17 252 28 96 30 114
South Burnett (R) 17 2165 25 960 37 937
Moreton Bay (R) 16 23234 16 8432 39 12762
Tablelands (R) 16 3056 24 1124 39 1549
Whitsunday (R) 16 2213 17 711 29 1287
Toowoomba (R) 15 9684 17 3291 35 5508
Rockhampton (R) 15 7093 15 2235 36 4036
Cassowary Coast (R) 15 1829 22 671 33 978
Townsville (C) 14 10043 13 3379 28 5561
Redland (C) 14 7469 14 2804 36 3916
Western Downs (R) 14 1626 21 674 29 739
Charters Towers (R) 14 653 18 247 32 315
Brisbane 13 55495 10 14318 28 34818
Burdekin (S) 13 960 17 303 34 545
Gladstone (R) 13 2998 13 1125 27 1498
North Burnett (R) 13 576 26 232 25 244
Mackay (R) 13 5801 13 2108 28 2966
Goondiwindi (R) 13 544 19 220 26 248
Hinchinbrook (S) 11 528 18 177 34 268
Flinders (S) 11 83 20 28 24 37
Longreach (R) 11 180 16 59 19 96
Murweh (S) 11 204 20 101 18 60
Maranoa (R) 11 579 15 225 20 242
Blackall Tambo (R) 10 88 16 28 27 41
Etheridge (S) 10 38 31 19 13 6
Paroo (S) 10 79 15 21 22 31
Balonne (S) 9 171 14 56 17 72
Banana (S) 9 531 12 191 16 220
Mount Isa (C) 9 693 8 204 14 346
Carpentaria (S) 9 73 11 18 11 22
Barcaldine (R) 8 115 13 41 16 37
Burke (S) 8 19 5 1 9 7
Cloncurry (S) 8 96 10 26 13 52
Winton (S) 8 47 12 11 15 14
Torres (S) 7 75 27 11 6 28
Central Highlands (R) 7 796 9 289 9 339
Barcoo (S) 7 13 0 0 18 7
Croydon (S) 7 8 0 0
Weipa (T) 6 73 12 16 6 55
Quilpie (S) 6 25 3 2 15 12
Boulia (S) 6 10 1 0 28 9
McKinlay (S) 6 26 18 11 11 10
Richmond (S) 6 21 8 7 11 7
Isaac (R) 6 479 12 176 6 206
Bulloo (S) 5 9 17 5 4 1

*This league table provides for comparison of small local areas and is based on modelled census numbers. These figures are not directly comparable with recently published housing stress modelling on ABS Survey of Income and Housing data

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Feb 10, 2012
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News mentions from the AAH budget bid launch

AAH received national coverage of their budget launch, including a live cross from ABC 24. You may have also heard us on radio on 3AW, Radio National and 2ue to name a few.

Below you will find a sample of news clippings, TV stories and radio interviews from the launch. Enjoy.

 

Push to raise subsidies for students in rent crisis

(SMH, The Age, Brisbane Times, Cowra Guardian  7-2-12)

LINK TO STORY

Memo to banks: all we want is a fair go for all

(Herald Sun Opinion 7-2-12)

LINK TO STORY

On hold

(Channel 10, 7-2-12)

LINK TO STORY

Government urged to do more to help pay the rent

(The World Today 7-2-12)

LINK TO STORY

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Feb 9, 2012
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450,000 renters deserve better

Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) today said that the Federal Government’s refusal to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance was short changing households and have today called on the Federal Government to reconsider an increase in the upcoming budget.

“Surely the first priority in the Federal Budget should be people’s household budgets. Housing costs are the single biggest household expense in Australia, and an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance would provide immediate relief to those doing it toughest” said AAH Campaign Manager Sarah Toohey.

“The Government should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time on housing policy. New affordable housing supply is critical, but there are more than 450,000 renters in housing stress right now and they can’t wait for new housing to be built”.

“We know that cost of living is an issue for many households, and housing costs are the single biggest household expense. Rent assistance is an easy way for the Government to make a difference to household’s cost of living right now.

“Rents have risen at twice the rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance in the last five years, leaving low income households out of pocket as they struggle to pay the rent and make ends meet”.

This week in Canberra Australians for Affordable Housing released their budget statement calling on the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance and invest in a long term Affordable Housing Growth Fund.  

 Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

Spokesperson: Sarah Toohey, 0402 677 566/ Media enquiries: Stephanie De Campo, 0432 828 004

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

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Feb 8, 2012
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AAH on Channel 10 News Melbourne

On Hold: Borrowers struggling to cover the mortgage and household bills have had their hopes for relief dashed.

If you have a spare 2 minutes, we encourage you to watch this Channel 10 story on how homeowners are still feeling the pinch following the RBA’s decision to keep interest rates on hold.

It is great to see AAH data and comments from Sarah Toohey included.

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