LAKE Macquarie City Council is now clearly aware of the overwhelming opposition to its plan to put high-rise development on the foreshore parkland at Bath Street in Toronto. Unfortunately for our community the council has ignored community meetings, petitions, letters, historical evidence of the purpose of this site, and the environmental impact on our lake. We are constantly berated for "opposing change".
To wax historical, and perhaps lyrical, Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg Address in 1863: "That government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this Earth". High minded indeed. Today, even in local government, it seems we have government of the disappointed and disenchanted by the politically ambitious, for the property developers and speculators.
Kate Elderton, Toronto
Homes out of reach
AFTER reading the report by the University of NSW's City Futures Research Centre about the need for more than a million extra affordable houses I can only assume some weird form of madness has infected our politicians' brains.
Why would any sane government continue with a policy of high population growth via one of the world's highest immigration rates when a home is beyond the reach of so many? There are also 120,000 homeless people in Australia, 2.4 million unemployed or underemployed, three million living below the poverty line and the most disadvantaged are Indigenous, refugees and migrants with poor English skills.
Many of those who did buy a home are in a state of mortgage stress or have found that their home is poorly constructed but with little chance of redress. While many of our politicians are now advocating action on climate change they ignore the sizeable impact of population growth on GHG emissions. Even construction of a modest two-bedroom house produces 80 tonnes of GHG and this does not include the extra amount produced by providing infrastructure, power, water, and food.
Don Owers, Dudley
A seismic mistake
SEISMIC testing for gas deposits is due to resume off our coast.
Local residents, fishermen, tourism operators and conservationists have opposed it, but post the state election the NSW government appears to have gone quieter on calling for tougher standards, and federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan seems wedded to the fossil fuel industry.
Fishermen have voiced concerns about the effects on fish nurseries, but the government, it seems, remains unmoved.
Susie Johnson, Adamstown
Climate change choir
VOICES in support of serious climate change action to consider before voting:
"The Business Council of Australia has a longstanding and consistent position supporting action on climate change. We need collective leadership to move past a decade-long impasse that threatens to divide Australia." (BCA 1/4)
"The Australian Banking Association recognises that climate change is a global problem that requires a sustainable global solution. Australia's economy and environment are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change." (ABA 2019)
"APRA's views on the economic risks of climate change are consistent with those of financial regulators internationally. These risks are material, foreseeable and actionable now." (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority 20/3)
"Senior officials from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission yesterday said the effects of climate change no longer presented merely ethical issues for Australian businesses but must be considered a major financial risk." (SMH, 29/5)
"The economy is changing all the time in response to a large number of forces. Monetary policy always has to analyse and assess these forces and their impact on the economy. But few of these forces have the scale, persistence and systemic risk of climate change." (RBA, 12/3)
"The general insurance industry is taking the financial risks of climate change more seriously than any other industry because it's already hitting their bottom lines." (Australian Financial Review, 24/2)
John Arnold, Anna Bay
Nothing to laugh about
HUGE thumbs down to the organisers of last Saturday's Comedy/Wine Festival at the old train station. To all accounts this was a sold out event, and not surprising given the thirst in Newcastle for any cultural event and the lack thereof.
The first clue we had that this may not be well organised was the long queues when we arrived, as though the organisers had not anticipated the (pre-paid) crowds - we left and returned one hour later. Next, the wineries seemed to run out of champagne and white wine, bearing in mind this was only one hour into an advertised six-hour festival.
The acoustics (or lack thereof) were appalling. We, along with many, left early and bitterly disappointed. The organisers should not only apologise, but offer a complete refund in my view. At $80 a ticket, I think Newcastle was robbed and we deserve better.
Trish Burke, Stockton
'Setting record straight'
TWO important points must be corrected in an opinion piece by Hunter Liberal candidates ("Road ahead depends on a strong economy", Newcastle Herald, 11/5).
The first is that Labor policy "will also hurt 20,000 people here who invest in a rental house or flat using negative gearing". Not true. Labor's reform will not affect anyone who is currently negatively gearing a property, and not affect anyone who begins to negatively gear a property before January 1, 2020. And, after that date, negative gearing concessions will still apply to new investors who invest in new housing.
Secondly, that the Liberals are "rolling out a fully funded NDIS". Not true, as the government's own budget papers attest. An "underspend" in the NDIS of $1.6 billion is partly responsible for the surplus they promise. All while so many people with disability struggle to have their plans approved and engage the services they need. Labor promises to get the NDIS back on track with full funding and more staff.
The road ahead does depend on a strong economy, and Labor pledges to deliver that.