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Credit: Illustration: Megan Herbert
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Games could have been as good as World Cup
Victoria’s economy benefited by an estimated $2.3 billion from hosting six games in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, according to Airwallex global accountants. Even more importantly, the Matildas brought the nation together, reset appreciation of female sports and inspired a generation of young soccer players. We did it at a canter.
We could have held the Commonwealth Games with equal success had the state government decided to do it with the existing, extensive, world-class facilities in Melbourne. Instead it chose an always unlikely plan to hold the Games in regional centres that did not have the necessary facilities. Now we have spent $380 million for not holding the Games. What a shame we have missed the opportunity to inspire a generation of young athletes and enjoy some more world-class competition.
Tom Williams, Albert Park
How much of the compensation will go to athletes?
The Victorian government will pay compensation of $380 million, split between three bodies: the Commonwealth Games Federation, Commonwealth Games Federation Partnerships and Commonwealth Games Australia. Since it is Victorian taxpayers’ money, perhaps these bodies can tell us what proportion of their payout represents “expenses incurred” and what proportion represents “windfall gain”. They might also tell us how any “windfall gain” will be used to further the interests of athletes rather than (say) the interests of well-travelled Games bureaucrats.
Paul Kennelly, Caulfield North
Where that money should have been spent
After days when headlines have highlighted teacher shortages, waiting times in hospital emergency departments, ambulance delays, trade skills shortages, poor road maintenance and COVID-19 costs, Daniel Andrews dismisses the Commonwealth Games’ cancellation cost as only $380 million, as if it were $380.
He then skewers Victorian voters and taxpayers by callously shrugging off with: “Who knows who wins and who loses in those sorts of matters?” We can only be consoled by remembering that this additional loss is only about a third of the cost of cancelling the East West Link after we were assured the contract was not worth the paper it was written on.
Ron Townsend, Wheelers Hill
Has Andrews included all the extra wasted costs?
Daniel Andrews says the compensation for the cancelled Commonwealth Games is only $380 million and “not a dollar more”. He seems to have forgotten (conveniently) to add in the cost of the negotiating team (remember, they flew to England) and all the costs involved in setting up the organisational structure, rented premises, the time spent by public servants, and the money and time spent by municipal authorities with their preparations. However, he is right in that we cannot afford them.
Vince Vozzo, Blairgowrie
Premier, we know who are the real losers: taxpayers
The $380 million loss of Victorian taxpayers’ money due to the government’s decision-making will mean money needed for more essential needs will not be available. Daniel Andrews asks: “Who knows who wins and who loses in these sorts of matters?” I think we know the answer to that question.
Christine Baker, Rosanna
In Victoria’s big picture of debt, this is nothing
Sadly, Victoria’s debt levels are so bad that the enormous sum of $380 million is but a drop in the ocean. If only we had not thrown our hat in the ring for the Games, one that no other country wanted to host, we could have directed this money to something the state actually needs – less reckless spending.
David Metcalfe, Newtown
A need to borrow more?
It is incorrect to say that the cost of cancelling the Commonwealth Games is only $380 million. The Premier failed to state that the payout will likely come from borrowing another $380 million in order to pay that fee. If so, what are the borrowing costs/interest rate and terms of a $380 million loan?
Peter Wisniewski, Airport West
Lives thrown into chaos
Re “Energy firms reject fight on climate target” (The Age, 20/8). Labor’s monstrous transmission debacle, VNI West, is a grave miscalculation. Business Council Australia’s Jennifer Westacott’s demand that in the transition to renewables “we must focus on removing barriers” is a further example of language that attempts to veil the human impact.
We are not “barriers”, we are people who have suddenly had our daily lives, our farms, our mental health, our community, and our future thrown into chaos. To imply that we can be “removed” like an inanimate object is arrogant and heartless. These towers are archaic, expensive, and environmentally damaging, and they cannot be allowed to proceed.
Susan Gould, Mysia
Farmers, face reality
Traditionally farmers are represented by LNP members of parliament. LNP climate cynicism has left my country 10years behind in our fight against climate change. Who are most affected by a hot climate? Farmers. Own goal.
Who are now trying to prevent towers – for power lines for the transmission of renewable energy – being erected on their land? Farmers, without the power lines, will your crops even be able to be grown on the land you are hysterically trying to protect?
Jane James, Hawthorn
Fight our biggest threat
When Nationals leader David Littleproud announces that the federal National Party will not be part of any future Coalition government federally that does not back pausing “the reckless race” to renewables, he is right. The Coalition is destined to remain in the wilderness of opposition for the foreseeable future while it continues to object to our country replacing energy generated by fossil fuels with renewables. I am not sure if he realises that climate change is the biggest future threat to the primary industries that the Nationals claim to represent.
Howard Duncan, Ocean Grove
Focus on planet Earth
I see that we are going to explore the moon for water. If there is water, what then? Has a cost/benefit analysis been conducted? How about this effort and astronomical expenditure be for benefit here on planet Earth.
Geoff Coulsell Burwood East
Females under siege
As a Matildas’ fan, I was disgusted and devastated by the actions of the violent crowd at Federation Square last week. I was among countless young women, girls and families who were forced out due to the actions of an aggressive crowd of mostly young men.
We were accosted with thrown flares and projectiles, and metal barriers were lifted up over our heads at this supposedly family-friendly event. An event organiser, speaking from the stage, urged us to our feet when the reckless masses streamed in over downed barriers into an already over-capacity Fed Square.
I was furious at the display of toxic masculinity and shouted against the flow of youths shoving past me in their eagerness to join the mayhem. What once was a place of celebration of women in sport became a battleground.
Sammi Elder, Rowville
How little he cares
To the Prince of Wales: Queen Letizia and Infanta Sofia are travelling to Australia to support Spain in the Women’s World Cup final. Your pathetic excuse not to come too – the distance from Britain – is a great reason for Australia to become a republic.
Christine Hammett, Richmond
Where money should go
The Prime Minister’s announcement that $200 million will be donated to women’s sport makes me feel devastated. Why can’t that money be donated to better research and support for the thousands of Australians who are battling mental illness and sleeping on the streets? Why is running around and kicking a ball more important than a way of life that so often ends in suicide?
Jo Buchanan, Northcote
A truly barbarous act
Tony Wright, in a few hundred words, beautiful captures a moment in the history of technology when one occupation fades away to be replaced by something which probably seemed to many at the time to be almost from another world – “Saved by copytakers. Stop. Break. Bless them” (The Age, 19/8).
His observations about the late journalist Ron Saw’s outrage over the hanging of Ronald Ryan is hard to read. That a state would expect ordinary citizens to be witness to that appalling act is almost as shocking as the act itself. That said, the moral outrage expressed by those witnesses probably contributed to the ending of capital punishment in Australia.
Brandon Mack, Deepdene
The people’s sanctuary
The Fitzroy Gardens are a much loved public space and offer a peaceful sanctuary from the surrounding noise and bustle. Hopefully the City of Melbourne will soon release details about the renovation to the pavilion which is being taken over by the restaurant operator behind Vue De Monde (The Age, 19/8).
Will plans include extensions to the outdoor area for functions? Will temporary marquees be erected to cater for corporate and festive occasions? Importantly, will music be permitted to intrude upon those who are using other parts of the park? By all means use the space – but do not allow private interests to override the spiritual, reflective and natural values in an increasingly crowded, noisy and commercialised Melbourne.
Paul Sinclair, Thornbury
A true representative
It is all very well for “big names to weigh up Kooyong” (The Age, 19/8) and to explain the cause of the Liberal demise as being “caught up in a teal wave” but the focus should be how hard is an aspirant prepared to work. The current incumbent, Monique Ryan, works very hard, it seems, and not for a party but for the people who live in Kooyong. Any challenger needs to take on that commitment.
Marguerite Heppell, East Hawthorn
The role of a leader
“We have to analyse the world as it is rather than as we would want it to be”, Anthony Albanese told the National ALP Conference. Prime minister, leadership is about the exact opposite – leading the world to where we would want it to be.
Peter Keightley, Mount Martha
The worst-case scenario
Re “Ghost colleges and visa schemes” (The Age, 19/8). The final step will be the phasing out of teachers/lecturers and the transition to “self-directed learning” to fully corporatise tertiary education as a profit-making machine.
Leigh Ackland, Deepdene
Our precious waterways
Our local creeks and waterways are valuable places of enchantment and joy. Sadly, these have suffered for decades as a staggering 2.5 billion items of waste spread downstream every year via rivers into Port Phillip Bay (The Age, 18/8). Fortunately, despite waste build-up, these creeks have devoted friends. Water management projects are happening across Melbourne and many have been under way for decades.
Now a co-ordinated approach has hopes of raising the bar of sustainability and resilience. Maximising environmental, social, cultural and economic outcomes via collaboration, involvement of “Friends of” groups, Melbourne Water and other organisations should prove positive. The more friends and support the creeks have, the healthier our waterways become, benefiting all sentient beings that call them home.
Isabelle Henry, Ascot Vale
Modern day Neros
It was Nero who fiddled while Rome burned. Are we now playing while our Earth burns?
Rodney Edelsten, Brighton
Why education comes first
Treasurer Jim Chalmers says half the budget will be swallowed by spending on health, aged care, the NDIS, defence and interest payments on debt within the next 40 years (Sunday Age, 20/8). Education is not mentioned. If more money were invested in education, it would improve people’s opportunities in life, employment and wellbeing. This would put downward pressure on our health budget. Has Labor got any courage to act?
Judy Kevill, Ringwood
Grand final nightmare
Re “Inexplicable’: McLachlan admits goal umpiring blunder but defends review system” (The Age, 20/8). The AFL needs to review its processes in determining if a goal has been scored by making greater use of technology to ensure that the outcome is fully transparent. To avoid a review is to lay the potential for a grand final outcome that may well be mired in controversy.
Rod Leonarder, Roseville
Keeping cyclists safe
The claim by Bicycle Network chief executive Alison McCormack that a painted-on bike lane along Kerferd Road is not a safe option is at odds with reality. On-road bike lanes provide the most cost-effective solution to cyclist safety, giving them and motorists certainty as to where the other party is located. Provided these lanes are continuous, of a consistent standard, and part of an integrated system, they improve cyclist safety without alienating motorists by reducing traffic lanes.
(And yes, my wife and I have a bit of form in this regard having ridden across the US, Vancouver to the Mexican border, Quebec to Washington DC, a lap of the Adriatic and multiple Alpine Classic Extremes.)
Russell Patterson, Heathmont
AND ANOTHER THING
How can the Andrews government enforce a gag order that stops all parties from discussing the $380 million Games payout? Taxpayers deserve the details.
Liz Fritzlaff, Launching Place
You have to hand it to Dan. He’s turned burning $380million into a good news story.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South
Another sports rort but this time a little more upfront?
John Brodie, Alphington
The Liberal Party thinks it owns Kooyong. It doesn’t.
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn
The Abbott who is urging us to vote No is the same Abbott who said climate change was crap. Hmm.
Nick Jans, Princes Hill
Here’s hoping Australia doesn’t follow the CPAC down the dark, cruel, Trumpism rabbit hole.
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor
If the PM negotiated with US officials over subs as ineptly as he’s handled the Voice, they’d be laughing all the way to their banks.
Des Files, Brunswick
]Fresh legs were needed in the last two matches.
Lindsay Zoch, Mildura
Number four in the world isn’t too shabby, is it?
Helga Kernke, Northcote
Australia’s away top could be wattle green with golden highlights. Or why can’t it be black, red and yellow?
Peter Bales, Caulfield South
The school closures (19/8) are proof the Catholic Church is a business rather than a non-profit organisation.
Viviane King, Milawa
Is Rupert Murdoch’s theme song Somebody to Love by Queen?
Alistair Davies, Thornbury
Cost is argued as the reason for not interring high-voltage power lines. Imagine the aesthetic disaster if water and gas pipe lines weren’t underground.
Rob Hocart, Tyabb
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