LETTERS 15.10.16

Miners are contributors
VINCENT council’s recent decision to amend its investment policy fails to recognise the economic importance of the resources sector and the need for a range of commodities in clean energy technologies.
The move to preference against those banks supporting resources projects will impact on ratepayers, who will ultimately foot the bill for any reduction in returns.
What Vincent council might not realise is the impact the sector has on its ratepayers.
CME recently surveyed some of its member companies on the economic contribution they make to the state and national economies. The study of 33 companies found during 2014/15 these operations contributed $28.8 billion to the state economy — more than 11 per cent  of gross state product — and more than $21 billion to the rest of the country.
In the Perth electorate during 2014/15, 1000 people were directly employed by those 33 companies, with more than 1000 business in the electorate directly supported.
The direct contribution into Perth, from the 33 resources sector operations, was $5.68 billion, accounting for wages and salaries, community contributions, purchase of goods and services and payments to government.
Vincent council should remember project finance and foreign direct investment are essential for developing projects in the resources sector. These project, in turn, are key drivers of both the state and national economies.
Many of the state’s commodities are also essential components in the clean energy technologies necessary for abating greenhouse gas emissions.
While the effect of the investment policy change is limited to only the banks hosting its term deposits, minutes from the Vincent council meeting suggest the city’s revenue could be $40,000 to $80, 000 lower as a result from the change.
It is the ratepayers who will lose out in the end.
Reg Howard-Smith
Chief Executive
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA

Owners rights
MANY would sympathise with Vanessa Lombardo’s affection for the old Cadbury Schweppes building and other interesting architectural sites.
However, underpinning her plea for the preservation of such buildings is a critical flaw in her reasoning.
She says; “No, we do not keep buildings of significance in this city”. The problem is her misleading use of  “we”. The language isn’t logical or accurate.
“We” don’t own those buildings and therefore “we” don’t have the right to decide their fate.
Despite the fact “we” have no proprietary rights to the structures we may admire, Vanessa would like a collective “we” to dictate policy to the actual owner.
Of course, if that collective “we” pooled its money, “we” could offer to buy the Cadbury Schweppes building, then spend further monies restoring it.
Criticising “all the Mr Developers” (women also are developers) for wanting maximum profits on their investment completely ignores the realities of the commercial world.
Without the profit motive, there would be no development.
Can Vanessa find enough investors happy to fund a project which at best, only returns their capital, leaving no profit, with the ever-present risk of a substantial loss? They would be better off putting their money into a low-interest savings account.
To those who would agree with Vanessa, how about chipping in to build the kind of aesthetically pleasing buildings she favours — but would her group agree on style? Maybe they’ll encounter another group which thinks their building design represents a future eyesore and petitions council for a disallowance of a building permit.
Whose rights should prevail and on what grounds?
Vincent Sammut
Franklin Street, Leederville

Save the wetlands
AS a visitor from Melbourne, I have been enjoying my stay in beautiful Perth with it’s glorious trees, gardens, parks and especially the way it has spots of vegetation everywhere. How it makes Perth stand out!
Perth is an oasis in the desert and has something for everyone and every taste. And the wildflowers are heart-stopping.
So it was a huge shock to read in the Voice and to be told by a Bayswater local (and see for myself) what has happened to the Carter wetlands. The loss of the iconic paperbark trees and the habitat for wildlife and birds is unforgivable.
How can this type of destruction happen today when most people know how important our trees and wetlands are to the health of the city and country?
Wake up everyone! Fight for your environment for the sake of your children and generations to come.
Nola Harrison
Melbourne

Short-sighted
WHAT a great letter from Vanessa Lombardo of Mt Hawthorn (“Heritage tragedy,” Voice Letters, October 8, 2016).
Vanessa made a heartfelt complaint about developers pulling down our buildings for the lure of greater investment returns on their outlay. The example of the old Cadbury Schweppes factory being demolished in Osborne Park is an obvious example of how we in WA don’t see the woods for the trees.
This means that we cannot see the potential in a building that gave us so much in history but just looks a bit scruffy today. So let’s tear it down! No thoughts for any alternatives!
This whole attitude is just so short-sighted it beggars belief. Developers hold too much lobbying sway in councils and local ideas of preservation just don’t get a look in.
The old tobacco factory in Roe Street, Northbridge is another example. Permission granted to tear it down … what is there now? Nothing except some lawn … and probably won’t have anything there in the foreseeable future.
This very paper reported on that decision and it needs following up.
Our heritage is tied up in all of these things … wetlands, buildings of significance, significant trees and ultimately places where blood, sweat and tears were shed. These are important to our future generations, who will be one day seeking more than a digital footprint.
I’m hoping the next generation of developers are aligned with this belief because the mere chase for dollars and investment returns is starting to look greedy at the expense of more important considerations in the community.
Colin Scott
Deague Ct, North Perth

954-bodi-j-20x7

2 responses to “LETTERS 15.10.16

  1. Reg Howard-Smith is making an untrue claim when he suggests that the City of Vincent will lose money with its new divestment from fossil fuels policy. The figure he quotes would only have applied if full divestment had been undertaken. This was not the motion that was passed. The passed motion preferences the fossil fuel free bank if the rate and risk are roughly equal. So when investing, if two banks have roughly the same interest rate and similar risk then the fossil fuel free option is chosen.

    The climate has changed: floods, heatwaves and droughts are all increasing. The ocean is rising, warming and acidifying, which has contributed to the bleaching of 93% of the Great Barrier Reef this year. Bushfire season has increased by 19% since 1979. People are suffering. The science tells us that we already have enough carbon in currently producing fossil fuel sources to blow the 2 degree target set in Paris. We have to transition fast if we are to protect the planet for our children and grandchildren. I commend the City of Vincent for taking a stance for future generations.

  2. As the Mayor of East Fremantle recently stated as his council endorsed a fossil fuel divestment policy, “at some point you have to nail your colours to the mast head”. Well done to them and now to the Town of Vincent for standing up with their own divestment policy. The power and impact of this divestment momentum is evident with the self serving response from the CEO of The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA. His concern for the possible, but factually inaccurate impact of $2 per Town of Vincent ratepayer this policy may produce, one would hope is also reflected in scale to the scientifically proven climate change that is and will continue to occur if we do not move away from fossil fuels.

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