STANDING UP FOR AUSTRALIA
Thank you for your coverage of the workers lockout at the Wollongong coal loader (Illawarra Mercury, Saturday, January 17).
Those who have witnessed the decline in our basic industries over the years give full support to the workers in their struggle to maintain their jobs here in Wollongong and also at North Oakey Creek in Queensland – both operations owned by an overseas finance multinational.
That raises critical economic points important to all Australian taxpayers.
At the forefront is the talked-about $65 billion tax giveaway to big overseas companies and the expectation they will hand some cash back to workers in the form of a wage increase.
If these financial giants are challenging the economic outcomes of their current agreements - as they are - it is pretty much inconceivable that they would be benign enough to pass on money from a tax cut to their workers.
This is not an argument against fostering business.
It is an argument for targeted support for industries that build Australia and can make it economically independent in the myriad of trade agreements thrown at our doorstep.
And the two most critical industries in building modern Australia have, since 1788, been shipping/shipbuilding and, since the turn of last century, steel production.
Shipbuilding needs steel and steel production needs coal.
Elected representatives from all major political parties once recognised this fact.
Targeted government economic support for these industries in say, Newcastle and Port Kembla would assist in fostering other light industries both here and all around the Australian coastline.
Even representatives from rural districts once recognised this fact as well.
Random giant tax cuts as being proposed are like the biblical parable of sowing seeds in the wind and much falling on barren ground such as an overseas finance giant; this, as opposed to the less expensive model of supporting stable products at home combined with nurture of modern, sustainable industries into the future.
Every day these workers at the coal loader or Oakey North are fighting a finance giant from overseas and standing up for their principles they are by any measure, standing up for Australia.
They deserve our support.
Wal Pritchard, Secretary, Retired Maritime Workers, Port Kembla.
TWO AVAILABLE OPTIONS
Yet again, big business has locked out the trade union members at the Port Kembla coal loader.
But I am very reliably informed that there are a number of senior operatives on the other side of the locked gates, who are also very concerned about the future of this problem plagued facility.
It is run on a repair only as required basis due to a severe shortage of capital available to maintain it.
The Port Kembla Terminal can only handle one coal train at a time.
One breakdown sees an end to the entire loading capability, and trains having a long wait to be unloaded.
But the Newcastle terminals can handle nne very long coal trains with multiple loading facilities.
Big business has only two alternatives open to them – expand the terminal, or shut the whole lot down.
Dave Cox, Corrimal
WEB WORDS EXTRA
CONTAINER REFUND SCHEME
I decided to give it a go, took 82 cans and bottles to the machine. Two were rejected, I got a voucher for $8 to cash at Woolies if I preferred. $8 for five minutes work.
How can that be hard. Let’s get practical here. I am helping the environment and myself. It's all win win to me.