Letters to the editor February 15 2017

SUNRISE: Over North Wollongong beach by Paddy Ranasinghe. Send your image to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or tag us via @illawarramerc.
SUNRISE: Over North Wollongong beach by Paddy Ranasinghe. Send your image to letters@illawarramercury.com.au or tag us via @illawarramerc.

AN UNCOMMON PROBLEM

May I say from the outset that Malcolm Turnbull had a great day in parliament when he bested Bill Shorten during Question Time.

However, where Turnbull falls short is his inability to commingle with the common man.

Former PM John Howard perfected this art with brilliant results.

In the process, Howard was able to take his “battlers” along for a political ride that lasted almost 13 years.

As demonstrated, however connecting with the common man appears to be beyond Turnbull's elitist station.

D J Preece, Balgownie

NEGATIVE GEARING

The other day listening to ABC Wollongong radio the subject was “negative gearing”.

A caller contacted the studio and said he had a friend with fifteen houses negative geared.

He added that his friend “depending on occupancy” made between $250,000 and $350,000 per annum and paid no tax.

A negatively geared property investment is one where you borrow such a high proportion of the cost of the property that your interest payments and other expenses exceed the rent you earn.

You then deduct this operating loss against taxable income from other sources.

Thinking hypothetically, if the callers friend had a $100,000 income, that plus, the negative geared income would give him/her a taxable income of between $350,000 and $450,000 each year.

In March 2015 an inventory was taken of our federal politicians negative geared properties.

Here is the outcome: The Coalition 331 properties, followed by Labor with 162, then the Greens 16, then Palmer United 14, Independents 13 and others 5.

On January 1, 2017 the base salary of a parliamentary backbencher rose to $199,040 a year, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's climbed to $517,504.

Throw in a few free trips, here and there, for pollies to purchase additional properties and it is obvious that negative gearing is here to stay.

John Macleod, Berry

CATASTROPHIC BUSHFIRES

NSW, Sunday, February 12, 2017:  2500 NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters battling 82 fires, with 32 not contained, five emergency warnings, seven watch and act warnings are current across the state.

And our federal government is laughing and making jokes about coal when scientists around the world have been telling us for decades that global warming from greenhouse gasses will increase the risks of catastrophic bushfires.

It must be nice to live in a special little world all of your own without contact to the real world, when will we see Turnbull, Joyce and Morrison visiting destroyed homes and farms?

Will they bring their lump of coal and laugh at the locals?

Is it time they faced the facts that we need to take climate change seriously ?

Doug Steley, Ct Heyfield

MERGER SUPPORT

On my recent fleeting visit to Wollongong I read Rod Oxley’s letter and wish to register my support. There are too many levels of government, all funded by the decent taxpaying Australian. The Premier needs to demonstrate real leadership on the issue of council mergers.

Into the future community needs can only be met through the application of logic and logic tells us we need to cut costs and implement sound and experienced leadership within the executive in order to provide quality services and avoid serious errors of judgment.

Failure to carry through on the proposed mergers will be a very costly mistake.

Dr Janne Clara Lindrum, Moonee Beach