InvestSMART
The Intelligent Investor Growth Fund is listing on the ASX. Initial Offer now open

LETTERS

Destruction of a marvellous vision

Destruction of a marvellous vision

THE article "Open spaces to shrink as Melbourne grows" (The Age, 8/8) spells out the destruction of Marvellous Melbourne, once listed among the world's most liveable cities.

Due to the vision of our city forefathers, notably our first governor, Charles La Trobe, Melbourne was ringed by parks and gardens that are now shrinking at an alarming rate as they are excised and alienated for commercial and sporting events.

Albert Park? Gone for a car race. Melbourne Park? Gone for tennis and soccer stadiums. Royal Park? Gone for a netball/hockey stadium, a residential development used as a games village for two weeks and now a hotel on the Royal Children's Hospital site.

The list is endless. Under the Liberal government of Sir Rupert Hamer, we were the garden state and proud of it. Now Melbourne is the capital of the bogan state endless urban sprawl of houses without backyards and lacking the public spaces/parks essential for the health and wellbeing of the next generation of Victorians.

Julianne Bell, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria, Parkville

Underhand tactics

ALONG with other concerned residents, I recently attended two days of hearings at VCAT to voice my opposition to a poorly designed development proposed for our street.

The developer's QC eloquently argued the merits of his client's proposal, which ignores the existing scale of our street and the built fabric of the neighbourhood, manipulates traffic flow figures and thumbs its nose at local council guidelines that recommend moderate growth.

While I am in favour of urban consolidation where appropriate and when the design respects neighbourhood amenity, I am opposed to development underpinned by the exploitation and misinterpretation of regulations designed to protect communities.

Advertising a development during a peak holiday period and burying it in the back pages of the local paper may be legal but is underhanded.

If Melbourne is to continue being considered one of the world's most liveable cities, then local councils must establish firm design development overlays for areas outside designated activity centres and the advertising of proposed developments must be carried out in a fairer manner than we have just seen.

Phillip Schemnitz, St Kilda

Get a move on

CAN we move on from the "children overboard" headlines that feed the shock jocks? "Boat people" are only a small percentage of our total targeted refugee intake and, besides, almost all of us are or derive from refu-gees, immigrants or inmates.

Let's focus on something that will affect all our descendants. Both sides of politics have "committed" to 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020, yet who is tracking progress on this?

Including the Snowy hydro scheme and our efforts over the past 50 years, we hover around the 6 per cent mark. We have nine years to plan, approve, finance and build the other 14 per cent. Are we kidding ourselves?

Kingsley Slipper, Hawthorn

Obama pays price

STANDARD & Poors has significantly weakened the financial standing of the United States and its chances of quickly pulling out of economic difficulties. But can the agency be trusted as a competent financial adviser? And should a commercial company have the power to undermine governments?

As shown by Gerard Noonan (Comment, 8/8), ratings agencies were a major influence in encouraging the greedy gambling in unsafe investments that caused the recession.

The downgrading of American debt has come as a surprise to, and been considered unnecessary by, many economists. This raises the suspicion that the aim has been political to damage the re-election chances of President Barack Obama.

Robert Corcoran, Edithvale

. . . for exuberance

BARACK Obama deserves some sympathy (Comment, 8/8). He has been lumbered with two wars, trillions in debt accumulated over decades and right-wing politicians who bristle at the "socialist" concept of healthcare for the poorest. He has been criticised for his lack of business sense yet many of his problems are due to his predecessor, notably from a big-business family. George Bush jnr's legacy may ensure Obama ends up like George Bush snr a one-term president.

Caught between growing unemployment, growing debt, wars, big business and extremists like the gun lobby, Obama's greatest error was perhaps his exuberant "yes, we can" when the reality was "no, we can't".

Philip Eagles, Mill Park

Super is effective

A FRIEND says he doesn't top up his super with voluntary contributions because he's afraid of sharemarket volatility. This misinformed view is reinforced by a headline on the front page (The Saturday Age, 6/8) that "Super lost entire gains of the past year" a claim that leads investors to believe their superannuation balance necessarily follows the ups and downs of the sharemarket.

Superannuation is a savings and investment vehicle, not an investment class, and can and does include a mix of assets, including cash, property and fixed-interest investments, as well as shares. Prudent investors with a low tolerance for risk understand the importance of choosing a balanced or conservative option in their super fund.

If during the past year a member had opted not to invest his super in shares but chose high-interest savings accounts and term deposits, his balance might still show gains of 6 per cent over the past year. Super can be a tax-effective and positive savings mechanism even in a falling sharemarket.

Robert Lang, Toorak

Aim for Antarctic heritage listing

THE call by the Lowy Institute report ("Military urged to defend Antarctic territory", The Age, 8/8) goes against everything that has been achieved in Antarctica over the past 50 years and, if acted on, would be a very backward step.

Achievements include the banning through international cooperation of all military, nuclear and mineral activity on the world's fifth largest continent, indefinitely. On the 50th anniversary of the coming into force of the Antarctic Treaty, we should be working instead for World Heritage recognition for Antarctica, a thoroughly deserved status that could provide much-needed inspiration for moves to eliminate our reliance on military force and fossil fuels, everywhere.

Geoff Mosley, Hurstbridge

Stand by promise

WHY should it take "freedom of information" to wrest consumer satisfaction survey results for rail commuters from the Department of Transport ("Western passengers most unhappy", The Age, 8/8)?

We desperately need the independent public transport authority promised by the government. A properly functioning expert authority would operate in public, with all information freely available and open decision-making.

The survey results are an average over three years, during which overcrowding on western suburban lines became much worse. Include the recently reduced service level on the Altona loop line and satisfaction is no doubt even worse now.

John McPherson, Collingwood

Neglect to continue

TALK about train timetabling is missing the real point. There is a glaringly more fundamental problem with our metro train services and all public transport. It is neglect by both sides of politics.

With such rapid growth in Melbourne's population, the consequences of continuing neglect will be dire for all public transport and road users.

The gigantic funding imbalance favouring polluting, inefficient, oil-guzzling roads over public transport has to stop. Roads just cannot cope and have failed worldwide. Even Los Angeles is belatedly re-aligning towards public transport.

But there is little hope ahead. Despite all his pre-election talk, Premier Ted Baillieu is set to continue the neglect.

George Finlay, Balaclava

Planning ahead

IT'S great to see video games being identified as a central, positive aspect of today's society (The Zone, 8/8). My recent interest in the gaming scene has opened up a whole new cyber-world, allowing room for creativity and atypical thought processes and experiences that can be shared with friends who play along.

This is opposite to the usual viewpoint, that video games are isolating. Television in fact could be considered more damaging because all that the box asks of us is to sit and watch.

Video games call for us to think, plan, co-operate and make decisions that could alter the course of a particular game. Game on.

Stephanie Omizzolo, Carlton North


Join the Conversation...

There are comments posted so far.

If you'd like to join this conversation, please login or sign up here

Related Articles