Letters to the Editor

Budget restraints no excuse 

I note when reading the NDL on Saturday (Nov 26), that there has been a change in the Management of our Business Chamber and, when this is combined with the Local Govt. elections in September, it must surely have raised the opportunity of our “management bodies” to take seriously the disgraceful presentation of the largest business district in the north.

The need for urgent action has been acknowledged in writing by both the TRC and the Business Chamber in the past.

There is absolutely no excuse for the dereliction of duty portrayed by our Council over at least the past  almost 3 years, since I first drew the public concerns of the problem to their attention (having been pointed out to me by a visiting family from Port Macquarie) and, then submitted to Council over 20 photographs of the main streets of Broken Hill and Coonabarabran, taken in April 2014. All such photos made Tamworth CBD look third rate.

In addition I spoke with the General Managers of both Broken Hill and Inverell Councils also, seeking their advice on how they keep their business districts so presentable.

The responses varied from:  

a. One Council Pressure cleaning pavement at least every 18 months and, secured the full cooperation of business owners to cleanliness of shop frontages

b. Having a crew of 4 staff seven nights a week cleaning the CBD at the other location.

Was passing through Walcha yesterday and took the opportunity to discuss matters with some business people who were breathing a sigh of relief that they were not affiliated with “that Tamworth mob”.

Come on Council, please live up to your responsibilities to residents, both past and present.

Reg Brody

Tamworth

Emergency Services Levy 

From July next year, the NSW Liberal and National Government want every local council to collect a new land tax for them – the ‘Emergency Services Property Levy’ (ESPL). The new state government tax will be included on all council rate notices.

But Premier Baird won’t put the legislation to Parliament until the very last minute to avoid a community campaign against this new tax. Parliament doesn’t even sit again until next February.

The devil will be in the detail, and it is all being kept secret behind closed doors in Macquarie Street.

There could be different tax rates for commercial, residential and rural properties. Some groups are worried that the tax could shift costs from metropolitan or commercial classifications onto residential and rural landowners.

The Government has refused to say if it will compensate councils for the cost of collecting the new tax, or if local ratepayers will also be hit with this extra cost.

The community and local councils have a right to know. After all, residents and small businesses will have to find the money to pay it.

Ryan Park MP (Shadow Treasurer)

Peter Primrose MLC (Shadow Minister for Local Government)

Shots fired 

The richest three Australians now have more wealth than the poorest one million. Most fair dinkum Aussies would be appalled by this glaring inequality.

The Turnbull government is convinced this is outrageously unfair – unfair to wealthy Australians. And so they’re preparing to launch a renewed attack on the welfare system to smoke out all those “bludgers” who are selfishly soaking up precious dollars that should be going to those who really deserve them – people who have plenty but could always use a bit more.

Social Services minister Christian Porter’s mob fired the first shots in the welfare war recently with a leaked “finding” allegedly showing a non-employed single parent with four kids would get more from the government than a similar worker in a full-time job would earn after tax.

While the shock jocks were busy being outraged, experts were quietly explaining that the government had made a small error – it had forgotten to include around $32,000 of family tax benefits in the working family’s income. Oops!  Seems the unemployed single parent would actually be over $25,000 better off if they were working full time. Still, what’s a minor miscalculation when the aim of the exercise was not to get it right but to put the boot into “bludgers” on welfare? Mission accomplished.

And so, for example, Malcolm and Barnaby can hardly be blamed for trying to knock off a piddling energy supplement of around $4.40 a week to pensioners and the unemployed when they have to find the money for a $50 billion tax cut for business and income tax cuts for the top 20% of Australian wage earners.

Nothing changes. During the Howard-Costello years, the Coalition handed over most of the benefits of our once-in-a lifetime resources boom to Australians on high incomes. The Australia Institute reckons that Costello’s tax cuts cost us between $40 billion and $50 billion last year.

So it’s no surprise that the Coalition expects the poor, the disadvantaged, the unemployed and the battlers to stump up again. The Coalition will continue its war on welfare for the poor until the top end of town can get its “fair” share.

When once asked if there was a class war going on in the United States, billionaire Warren Buffett said, “…if there’s a class warfare, the rich class has won.” The war’s not over here yet, but those of us who want to recapture the Australia that promised a fair go for all will need to join the resistance.

Mick Lawler

President Tamworth ALP

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