Letter: Gympie Council's financial suicide
Letters to the Editor
COUNCILS are a business but there are some stark differences in the basics of prudent financial management between councils and private sector businesses.
It is easy to look at the balance sheet and note that the decline in cash reserves is balanced by an increase in assets. For a private sector business that would be fine, but for a council it is not.
The majority of assets held by a private sector business are income producing. The majority of assets held by council are not. That is just the way it is. That is why council is a different class of business, requiring different financial management strategies.
The aquatic centre is a wonderful community facility but it will probably cost more than a million dollars per year and not return one cent of revenue.
The train folly will be even worse. They are classed as assets on the balance sheet but they are actually a liability in real terms.
It is important to consider the establishment costs but those costs are just the start. It is even more important to consider the "whole of life cost".
These non revenue producing projects will continue to be a huge drain on our community for generations.
There are many other community facilities on the list of "assets" which are similar.
We have to accept the fact that council does have an obligation to provide community facilities, which will not return any revenue. And we want them to do that to enhance the lifestyle for our community. However, we want to see a level of financial management that is sustainable.
When we run out of money council has only two options. Increase rates and charges or borrow. The first option is unpalatable, with many residents already struggling to pay their rates. Borrowing can be a sound option for a private sector business but not so in the case of council.
Private sector borrowings are almost always to purchase income producing assets. Council borrowings are not.
A private sector business is able to write off interest costs as a tax deduction. Council can not. Interest costs just add to the rates bill.
Because so few council assets are income producing, we should live within our means and only spend ratepayers funds on facilities we can afford.
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DISAPPOINTING OMISSION ON EVE OF ANZAC DAY
WE RECEIVED Llew O'Brien's commemorative newsletter the other day. It is about remembering and respecting so it was disappointing the not once was New Zealand soldiers mentioned or their sacrifice.
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DEALING WITH AUTISM
AUTISM spectrum disorders were first described in the early 1800s, but the term "autism" was not used until the early 1900s.
It has a range of functioning among many dimensions related to social communicative and social interactive functioning, with restricted and repetitive repertoire of behaviour, interests, or activities.
Girls often present differently from boys and the percentage of children diagnosed with ASD under the age of seven have been boys.
There is a concern that girls are being missed, thus denying them treatment that can make their lives easier.
Families and friends can make a big difference in the progression to community acceptance and good professional advice is necessary. Parents and carers should seek professional help as early as possible so that treatment can make changes. Early intervention is critical and will produce long-lasting positive effects. Many ASD patients go on to make a good life for themselves and they can be extremely clever in certain areas.
Support groups, and respite care can make a difference.
It is hoped children suffering from the disorders are encourage to learn what they can do well and not have too many negatives (what they can't do) put forward as the only goals.
Julia Lawrence O.A.M,
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We don't need another review into the NBN
AFTER five damning NBN reports in 12 months, the Turnbull Government has taken the unprecedented action of - wait for it - swiftly ordering another review.
This week, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman revealed consumer complaints about the NBN have gone through the roof.
The TIO revealed a massive 204 per cent increase in NBN complaints and a 39 per cent increase in complaints across Queensland.
Predictably the Government, NBN Co and the phone companies are saying the blame lies with someone else. Doesn't that sound familiar?
All the reports from the ACCC, ACMA, Parliament's Joint Select Committee and the TIO point to the same problems:
The initial installation goes wrong on too many occasions (one in three according to the ACMA)
The old copper network, and much of the HFC network, is not up to scratch - a fact, even NBN Co admits
Customers are bounced between service providers and the NBN with no one taking responsibility.
I'm sorry Mr Turnbull, but it's not another review we need; it's swift action.
It's time to ditch the unreliable copper, legislate for strong consumer rights and put a tough cop on the beat to help consumers who are sick of being caught in your game of NBN ping-pong.
Stephen Jones MP,
Shadow Minister for Regional Communications