State of disrepair
In 2012 the O’Farrell government sold the Sydney desalination plant (a Sydney Water Corporation asset) on a 50-year lease to investors Hastings Funds Management and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, for $2.3 billion.
Since the sale the leaseholder pass on costs of about $200 million a year to Sydney Water, for maintenance and to keep the plant on standby in case of drought. In December 2015 a mini-tornado hit the SDP ripping off the roof, destroying electrical equipment, damaging control devises, and the plant itself.
A recent report by IPART confirms that repairs to the plant and the roof of the SDP did not start until October 2016. The aforementioned statement reveals that the SDP has been in a state of disrepair and open to the elements for a period of ten months.
To make matters worse a further report by IPART titled "Sydney Desalination Plant 2017 Price Reset" – a Review of Operating and Maintenance Costs; has all past revenues and all revenues required to operate and maintain the SDP in the future “blacked out”.
The whole episode surrounding the lease of the SDP and the post financial arrangements by the government is in need of a public enquiry.
John Macleod, Berry
All fired up over guns
Supporters of guns would have us believe that the only dangerous guns are ones which have been obtained illegally.
But since legal guns are not immune from being stolen or given to an unlicensed person, and even licenced gun owners can be careless, angry or short-sighted, it is a dangerous idea to encourage gun ownership at Arms Fairs across the country – and especially not at a family event such as HuntFest, where a special effort is made by the promoters to convince the general public and children that owning a gun is desirable, and killing animals is fun.
Only recently there was an incident in the Bega area where a teenager illegally borrowed a gun to shoot wombats. Most readers were appalled by this event, but an irate farmer may have seen some justification in it when he commented that wombat numbers have increased so drastically of late that they should be classified as feral and shot to protect the farmer’s livelihood. Who decides?
Open season on wombats for anyone with a “legal” gun? Surely that’s a drastic decision to make and one that can only be made after close examination of the facts and using the expertise of conservation groups and National Parks and Wildlife rangers to ensure that any killing is carried out by professionals acting in accordance with state and federal wildlife regulations.
The government is on a crusade to strip away legal protections for wildlife in NSW, first by facilitating a fire sale of Crown lands, then by scrapping land clearing laws and repealing the "Threatened Species Conservation Act”. Not a good time for wombats on the Nature Coast.
Susan Cruttenden, Dalmeny
Attacking middle class
A few weeks ago in the early hours in the morning a terrible and bad thing happened in Australia, the Turnbull Government passed the registered organisations Bill, which is designed to hamper nearly every worker.
The bill sets up a whole new commission headed by whoever the Liberals appoint that can impose huge fines on volunteers and their unions , this new registered organisations commission will be expensive and will not create one single job, in fact it will make it much harder for people to stand up to corporations, for their time and effort we give to our bosses everyday, why does this man want to silence voices for fairness on the job and in the community. We can’t let the Turnbull Government notch up another attack on us middle class with this toxic law.
Matty Ryan, Fairy Meadow