Letters to the editor Saturday February 3 2018

FANCY FOOTWORK: Tom Ireland, of Charlestown, argues that fees for junior football have swollen but there is little explanation from the game's administrators as to why.
FANCY FOOTWORK: Tom Ireland, of Charlestown, argues that fees for junior football have swollen but there is little explanation from the game's administrators as to why.

NORTHERN NSW Football has increased its payments to itself by about 25 per cent for under-12 to under-18 players to play soccer this season compared to last season. This includes an increase in fees and a new levy called NNSW Facility Fund. 

Chief executive David Eland is quoted in the Herald (“NNSWF defends minor fee rise”, Herald 1/2) calling this outstanding value for only a slight increase. I think not. Payments to NNSWF have been substantially increased across all levels. With approximately 65,000 members, NNSWF will receive well over $500 000 in extra payments this season from their members to play soccer compared to last year. Soccer governing bodies are already receiving at least double the amount of money compared to league, rugby and AFL.

Executive salary packages at governing bodies need to be made transparent before any fees increase for members. Myself and many others believe that the soccer community in the Hunter are being treated like mushrooms and effectively being told to turn up, pay up and shut up.

Players, parents and an army of volunteers have been screaming from the rooftops for many years for Mr Eland to conduct a well-advertised, open and transparent forum to speak about all things soccer, but it seems Mr Eland refuses to conduct this forum. Other codes conduct these forums, why not soccer? NNSWF was even charging children as young as nine to trial for development squads last season. I feel this is discrimination by the soccer governing bodies by not giving everyone equal opportunities and this is also having an adverse effect on our children physically, mentally and socially. 

I respectfully suggest that governing bodies worry less about shooting the messenger and more about leadership and building bridges through honesty, transparency and a shared vision.

Tom Ireland, Charlestown

PIECE OF WAR IS NO PEACE

TWO million Australians are living in poverty but our federal government wants to help our military equipment manufacturers to sell their wares.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Turnbull announced taxpayers will be funding arms manufacturers to the tune of $3.8 billion in a bid to become one of the world's top 10 military equipment exporters. What a goal. One could argue that this callous decision shows exactly why Australia will never sign the UN Treaty to ban nuclear proliferation, will always be at the beck and call of the United States as far as participating in their wars without question, and why we will not only have US Marines stationed in Darwin, but also Japanese troops in the not-too-distant future.

Not so long ago the Abbott government told us when they were no longer going to subsidise car manufacturing in Australia, that "the age of entitlement is over". A couple of years later we saw the demise of the car manufacturing industry in Australia. But it seems "the age of entitlement” is not over for the Australian military equipment manufacturers. Will this decision to loan money to our military equipment manufacturers really create sustainable jobs? How many of the two million people living in poverty will this decision help? Or will most of it benefit the international manufacturers and their shareholders? Only 7% of our workforce is employed in manufacturing, but can one feel proud that to increase manufacturing jobs in Australia we will be making military hardware? There are so many "peaceful" products we could and should be manufacturing instead.

Lynda Forbes, Rankin Park

GIVEN THE RUN-AROUND

NARELLE Callanan (Letters 1/2), I'm afraid your friend that invited you for lunch may have played a practical joke on you. Knowing your love of travelling on public transport, why would they suggest a taxi, and then tell you the taxis don't stop there? 

A true friend would have told you to simply walk about 30 meters to the bus stop and board the free 110 shuttle that leaves every five minutes. It will deliver you right out the front of Customs House. Maybe your friend conveniently left out this information hoping you would write a letter to the editor so that they could have a good laugh.

Denis Mcgrorey, Cessnock

BIG LESSONS ON EDUCATION

I TAKE issue with the authors of the Insight column (“It’s time to stop fixating on Finland’s ed system”, Opinion, 31/1). I may not be a policy analyst or a research fellow, but I was a classroom teacher in both primary and secondary schools until I retired.

In Finland, teachers have a higher standard of training than they do in Australia. Many of them would be proficient in English, which makes a nonsense of the claim that Finnish is the simpler language to learn. The authors have misrepresented play time by saying that recess and lunch breaks take up a quarter of the day’s activities. 

They overlook structured play, where students learn without having to sit at their desks. I went to a British public school with sport two afternoons a week in winter and three in summer. On the other days we went for a two-kilometre run after school, Sundays excepted. It kept us fit and didn’t interfere with our studies.

As for testing, I am a firm believer in continuous assessment by the classroom teacher. Errors are corrected as they happen on an individual basis. NAPLAN cannot do this.

Jerry Garland, Warabrook

TOO LITTLE TOO LATE

THANK you for your information Jodie Shafie (Short Takes, 31/1), but I don’t understand the relevance to my letter about Newcastle CBD and the Wickham interchange, the siting of which has never been the subject of any publicly known professional transport assessment.

I recall over 20 years ago as a Newcastle councillor being told that the Glendale Interchange was the lower Hunter’s number one public transport priority.

That it has only been completed to stage 1, section 1 by 2017 is a disgrace. If some or all of the port sale money had been used to complete that project and/or fix the Adamstown crossing and alternative freight route problems, instead of wasting public money on a gimmick CBD street tram, many more Novocastrians would have benefited.

Keith Parsons, Newcastle

LETTER OF THE WEEK

THE pen goes to Andrew Higley, of Newcastle West, for his letter about cigarette butt litter around the city.  

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