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17 Dec

Letters to the editor September 28 2018

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DEMOCRACY: A strong opposition is vital to our democracy, argues one reader who says that without robust debate, the council could be seen as an autocracy.I WRITE in respect of the lord mayor warning councillors not to bring the council into disrepute when some sought the June interim finance report to be openly and transparently shared with councillors, ratepayers and the community (‘Mayor warns councillors’, Newcastle Herald,26/9).
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It is important to note that we are fortunate to live in a country which exercises and holds democracy dear.One definition of democracy isthe belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves, is the very foundation of our free society.

Elected councillors, with our governance responsibilities under the NSW Local Government Act, have a duty to represent the interests and views of our constituents, and behave in a responsible, transparent and open manner.

At times this means questioning and seeking answers on issues which are in the public interest.Democracy underpins debate in a way where all views should be freely expressed and considered.

A strong opposition is vital to a healthy democracy. Without debate and alternative views, a city council could be perceived as an autocracy. What would the next step be in that case – “alternative facts”?

Kath Elliott,Elermore ValeDRIVING AT THE DETAILSWE NOW know about the secret deal to bring Supercars to Newcastle (‘Supercars services deed kept secret from councillors’, Herald, 9/6), but not because Newcastle City Council shared this information with ratepayers. They in fact fought to keep it secret.

Now we hear the lord mayor and chief executive are refusing to release financial reports. Why? This is our money.

John Church raises valid concerns about the cost to the city of Supercars (‘Council at war on finances’, Herald, 22/9). The set up and pull down costs of the Adelaide Grand Prixthis year was $28 million. It seems reasonable to me that the cost of setting up Supercars could be similar. The secret deal committed council to paying these costs.

At the very least, I think Newcastle City Council should be forthright about how much this event is costing the city.

While they are at it, what about the real attendance figures? We still hear the inflated figure of 192,000 when information released by Destination NSW indicates it was more like 60,000.Maybe this race is not as good for the city as we are being told.

Dominique Ryan,Newcastle EastINTEREST IN THE SURPLUSSCOTT Morrison is running around media outlets as fast as he can go, talking just as fast about how the budget will be in surplus by the financial 1919 -1920. Apparently all will be sweetness and light at that time.

Goody gumdrops. He says not a word about what will happen to interest rates by then. On behalf of all n savers and lenders, I have to point out that it’s our money which is cheaply handed over to borrowers, and that we, the owners of the money, get next to nothing in return.

For Scott Morrison’s information, the people who actually provide the lifeblood of ‘s market economy would be very glad to have interest rates back up as high as they were when John Howard was Treasurer. Yes, over 20 per cent, please.

We have to pay today’s high cost of living somehow. We would also like to know exactly when a Liberal government is going to become interested in us and in our votes.

G.T.W Agnew,Coopers PlainsPRAY IT GOES BOTH WAYSTHE Prime Minister has raised the possibility of “preventative legislation” to protect religious freedom, stating “why should you be denied a directorship or a partnership in a law firm or accountancy firm just because you happen to have expressed on Facebook or somewhere a particular religious belief?”

I agree it’s wrong to fire people for personal opinions, beliefs or choices that have nothing to do with their ability to perform their job. So why is Mr Morrison so adamant that religious schools must retain their ability to legally discriminate against staff and students who don’t adhere to strict religious codes in their private lives?

Christian schools are funded by taxpayer dollars. If they are so keen on rejecting gays, atheists and other ‘sinners’, they can start with rejecting our tax dollars.

Janelle Carter,RevesbyPUT MORE MONEY ON ICEI WRITE on behalf of the Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) to highlight to readers that it is critical more funds are released to help ’s rehabilitation centres dealing with the considerable issues surrounding the use of ice and other drugs including alcohol.

Significant quantities of the drug ice are coming into n communities. Without doubt, ice is readily available in most parts of , and particularly in rural and remote regions. It is a major issue.

We support the government’s clear focus on ice. We also want to highlight that it is critical more resources for residential rehabilitation services are released so that rehabs can get on and do what they do best:treat people in dire straits.

We are highlighting that rehabilitation centres have sadly never been under more pressure. They are desperately under-resourced. We urgently need to see more beds to deal with many drug problems, including ice.One of the great complexities is that some people have the view that a person’s dependence on ice can be handled through counselling sessions alone.

This certainly has not been our experience. Ice use is associated with complex behaviours, and often a range of mental health issues.

People who have a dependency on ice usually present to residential rehabilitation services with a whole range of issues that have to be tackled in depth.

The simple reality is that people with severe dependence and highly complex needs are best served in residential rehabilitation.I urge readers to ask their MP what are they doing to help increase the number of beds for rehabilitation centres – and increase funds to assist their important work.

Dr. Lynne Magor-Blatch,Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association executive officerPOPULOUSCITIES CARRY RISKSYES Gwen Tong(Letters, 25/9) we do need parks like those in New York, but even that city,famed for its walkability,has turned into an obstacle course that is killing its inhabitants. There were 101 pedestrians killed in 2017 along with 23 cyclists, 33 motorcyclists and 57 in cars,the lowest yearly toll since 1910. It is the future for all cities if population growth is allowed to continue and a lesson that should be heeded before it overwhelms us.

Don Owers,DudleySHARE YOUR OPINIONEmail [email protected]苏州楼凤.au or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.

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