LETTERS 29.3.14

Bigger means cheaper
PAUL COLLINS of Coolbinia is critical of the proposed amalgamation of councils (Voice Mail, March 8, 2014).
Mr Collins refers to “community of interest” locations (eg, Inglewood’s community of interest location being centred on Beaufort Street towards Mt Lawley, not Morley).
With all due respect to Mr Collins, the concept of an area of local interest went out with button-up boots, or more specifically the motor car. If you look at the beautiful old houses in Mt Lawley/Inglewood, many had either no garage, or the garage was an afterthought. People didn’t, as they now do, travel far from home to undertake their daily business.
In the old days there was a strong sense of local community as people shopped locally and dealt with local trades and service people. There were no supermarkets and the corner shop reigned supreme.
For better or for worse, we have moved on. It is called “progress”.
To promote the view that somehow ratepayers will be disadvantaged through an amalgamation of councils and that for some unexplained reason it will create inefficiencies in service delivery is fatuous; using that logic we would be better off with more councils than we already have. There will always be those who resist change, and for those 184 concerned Stirling residents who attended the community rally in Inglewood and the 200 in Dianella, I acknowledge their concerns because change is confronting. However, the benefits of an amalgamation are obvious; one doesn’t need a degree in economics to understand that getting rid of duplication of services and to have smaller local government would ultimately result in lower council rates.
Kelvin White
The Ed says: We’ll hold you to that Kelvin…when you get that lower rates bill, you let us know. But forgive us if we don’t hold our breath.

Strike against unions
LAST November I had published a book, Australia’s Secret War: How Unionists Sabotaged our Troops in World War II (Quadrant Books, Sydney).
It deals, as the name indicates, with instances of strikes and sabotage in strategic industries, including wharves, dockyards, coalfields and munitions plants. I received a great deal of information from ex-servicemen and others, and interest has been such that the publishers inform me it is going into a fourth printing after only three months.
This has encouraged me to try to compile a second volume, probably taking in the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as World War II, and I therefore ask any ex-service personnel, unionists and others with information in this area, whether from first-hand experience, unit histories etc, to contact me, giving their name, branch of service, rank and serial number with an account of the relevant incident. All material printed will be acknowledged.
Dr Hal Colebatch
Portland St, Nedlands

Can you hear the people sing?
READING the Voice over recent weeks one gets the clear impression governments are not listening to the people. But are  the people not being vocal enough?
If you only have a twice-daily bus there are naturally fewer passengers (Voice, March 8). But that is no excuse for no shade. Maybe a couple of trees would help. Replace those being removed by greedy councils for more rates.
As for the supposed staff plan walkout (Voice, March 15) I suggest the sackings continue—take the councillors too. What has CEO John Giorgi done? Years ago they played these games in local government. It’s called ‘musical chairs’, more moves the higher the salary. Do we really want to merge with Lisa Scaffidi as mayor? Maybe our mayor has his eye on the position (I won’t call it job). So the staff plan to stop work—what’s different?
Why are Libs allowed stalls at other festivals (Voice, March 15). And how many actually voted in the south ward by-election and when will we get compulsory voting?
Robert Hart
Anderson St, Mt Hawthrorn

Big is better
STIRLING council and its acolytes like Paul Collins are wrong, deliberately ignoring the main point of the proposed local government reform.
They need to be reminded the purpose of the reform is to enable all Perth citizens to have the benefit of living in a large council. This means everyone in Perth will benefit from economies of scale that produce the financial capacity to deliver more services and keep rate rises lower.
Stirling will remain a large council even if some parts of it are moved to other council areas and its ratepayers will continue to enjoy benefit of living in a large council. The reforms do not result in a subsidy from Stirling to other councils, as claimed by Paul Collins.
The council and its supporters are plainly wrong to adamantly argue for no change at the expense of the wider public benefit the reforms will deliver.
Chris Stafford
Rookwood St, Mt Lawley

Limitations on display
PEOPLE who choose to wear t-shirts with rude words emblazoned thereon prompt in me an engulfing sadness.
Long ago, while an office slave, I endured regular good-natured ridicule for refusing to swear.
Eventually, I came up with an effective response: “My vocabulary is limited enough without drawing uninvited attention to it.”
The Voice’s red-letter warning to parents over the article “Rude to a tee” (Voice, March 22, 2014) might have also included to the aged.
As soon as possible I disengage myself from any company that even casually uses the f-word. It will continue to offend; and otherwise—here comes irony—serves only to expose the limitations and vulnerability of those who resort to such.
Ron Willis
First Ave, Mount Lawley

A great feat
THANK YOU Vincent council for a fun day last Sunday celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Leederville.
Lovely weather, lots of people and lots of good fun. The Irish dancers were beautiful but, given footwork is a major part of the dancing, the placement of the big speakers along the front of the stage—hiding the girls’ feet—needs more thought for next year.
Donelle Phillips
Barlee St, Mt Lawley

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