Letters to the editor

BATH STREET: The parcel of land on the Toronto foreshore for which Lake Macquarie City Council has proposed a multi-storey mixed-use development. Picture: David Stewart
BATH STREET: The parcel of land on the Toronto foreshore for which Lake Macquarie City Council has proposed a multi-storey mixed-use development. Picture: David Stewart

Bath Street prudent

LAKE Macquarie City Council's plan to build on their Bath Street site in Toronto has caused concern regarding the need for public use of this parcel of land.

It appears council has addressed both public and private use on the same piece of land by providing public access to the water with public and tourism facilities on the ground floor.

The levels above the ground floor for private residents make use of the same piece of land to pay for the initial cost of the building and ongoing maintenance schedules.

If council was to build just one level for public and tourism facilities would there be an outcry?

So what's wrong with a business proposition that saves council money while serving two purposes? It's good to see a council saving ratepayers' money.

- Carl Stephenson, Dora Creek

How hard can it be?

EVERY time I drive home from Fassifern railway station I feel for those waiting for a connecting bus. It is appalling that almost 30 years after the Toronto line closed, there is still not a permanent bus shelter. There is nowhere to sit or to take shelter from the sun or rain. MP Greg Piper expressed his frustration to me when I asked about it. Council and State Rail can't seem to come to an agreement. This is absolutely disgusting and a ridiculous situation. How hard can it be?

- Janette Mottram, Rathmines

Franking assessment

DOUG Cummings ("Quite frank-ly it's unfair", Lakes Mail, May 2)) is unhappy about Labor's policy on franking credits. He is entitled to his view, but he is also wrong. He claims " not all shareholders are going to be entitled to their full, 100 per cent declared dividends". This is untrue. Labor's policy does not touch shareholder dividends.

Doug is right to give Paul Keating credit for putting an end to double taxation. What Paul did was ensure that the recipient of a dividend payment only paid the tax office the difference between their own marginal tax rate and the company tax rate. In other words it's a tax offset.

It was John Howard who, to win an election, decided to extend the tax offset to people who don't pay tax. When Howard first introduced the tax break for people who don't pay tax it was costing the Commonwealth Budget $500 million each year. It now costs $5 billion and it's rising each year. Most of these cash payments go to high-income retirees. A retiree who has been receiving a $10,000 cheque each year hold around $800,000 in shares. Many receive much higher payments.

Think about this, if every BHP shareholder was a non-tax paying retiree, the government would receive no tax revenue from BHP. That's because they'd take BHP's tax payments in one hand and hand the whole amount back to its shareholders. That's the ridiculous truth.

Labor will allow people on a government pension or part-pension to continue to receive the offset. It won't be expensive because they only hold small parcels of shares. Otherwise they wouldn't qualify for the pension.

Labor will spend the savings on other priorities including our health and hospitals systems, aged care and better access to dental care for seniors.

- Joel Fitzgibbon, Member for Hunter

Aussie movie a must-see

AFTER seeing the fantastic Australian film Top End Wedding, I urge you to go and see it. The movie speaks a thousand words with its powerful Australian scenery, acting, and a good love story.

Is it not strange that Australian movies never seem to get the same praise as movies from America? Be Australian, go and see this film, and support the Australian film industry, and ignore the knockers and film critics.

- Richard Ryan, Summerland Point

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