White Bay another target for greedy wrecking crew

White Bay another target for greedy wrecking crew

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

I remember how this works: first the NSW government identifies an under-used potential asset, vis White Bay power station (''Black day for White Bay if Perrottet gets his way'', November 19). It says how committed it is to heritage, then says it has to knock just a little bit down to improve access or something. Then it says it's going to repurpose it into something worthy — an art gallery or lyric theatre — with lots of park around it, they have a design competition and someone from overseas sketches something cool. Suddenly they find asbestos, and they have to knock the whole thing down and make it into a hotel. But, hey, jobs okay, and small businesses will do the cleaning or make coffee, then wham — a casino! Finally it becomes apartments for rich people, hoi polloi can't get to the water and developer mates trouser a whole bunch of money, phoenix their company and half the block falls down, and taxpayers have to pay to fix it up. The circle of life and overdevelopment in NSW. Allan Kreuiter, Roseville

Why are heritage-listed buildings treated with such contempt by our unimaginative ministers? Without such listings, our cities would be monotonous conformity. The power station may look ugly to Treasurer Dominic Perrottet but it could become a lively destination. Eveleigh Carriageworks and Cockatoo Island are great examples of creative conversions. It's time our politicians gave more consideration to what constitutes a great city. It's not more roads, ever taller buildings and certainly not a phallic casino which gobbles up precious harbourside space. Ingrid Haydon, Long Jetty

Another gross error of judgment by the government. We have already seen the threats on the Powerhouse, Sirius and Willow Grove. The power station is a suitable for adaptive reuse, such as the Tate Modern in London. It appears to be another opportunity for developers and a cash cow for the Treasurer. Jan Wilson, Glebe

The decommissioned power station once fed the largest metropolitan tramway network in the southern hemisphere. As with London’s Battersea power station, White Bay’s turbine halls and stacks visually enhance the inner west skyline like a “cathedral of industry” and, from a technological angle, it’s the only intact utility of its type left in the state. That Arthur Stace, Sydney’s “Mr Eternity”, was born in its shadow adds to the site’s significance in terms of socio-cultural history. Given the superficial gang of philistines that we have in government, demolition was always going to be their hidden agenda. John Williams, Balmain


Why do I get a feeling that the state government is being steered by sharp spivs and urgers? Now the leading characters in this continuing farce are gambolling over the power station. They smugly diminish the social worth and our city’s history by calling it a “rave cave”. This trio dismiss proposals from leading architects to restore this magnificent early 20th century industrial building and create the perfect gateway precinct to White Bay. Despite being included on the NSW Heritage Register in 2006, nothing appears to be safe from this government of tunnels and tax. Limited by imagination, short on vision. Despite their recent travails, there is an increasing arrogance to this wrecking crew. Rob Asser, Balmain

PM will struggle to win David and Goliath battle

The naivety and intransigence of the federal government in managing our relationship with China is greatly concerning ("Beijing ramps up relations rhetoric", November 19). What seems to have escaped the PM is that China, our major trading partner and source of much of our prosperity, believes it is due respect and acknowledgement of its status as a pre-eminent world power.

It is beyond belief that Scott Morrison thinks the government can act antagonistically towards China without consequences. We will not be able to extricate ourselves from the hole we have dug without a change in attitude and the application of skilled diplomacy so far non-existent. The evident alternative is to eat some humble pie, back-track on the belligerence and recognise the obvious power imbalance. Ross Butler, Rodd Point

The list of "grievances" compiled by the Chinese embassy seems a bit rich. China places heavy restrictions on foreign investment in its telecommunication network; it blocks media outlets, and harasses foreign reporters working there; it doesn't allow Australians or other foreigners to own land; it bans many Chinese Australians from entry to their former homeland; and its official propaganda frequently attacks the western democratic system.

The reality is China is a super power and Australia is not. It is in a position to wield a giant stick at Australia because it can. Our leaders need to get smart about how to deal with our biggest trading partner. Han Yang, North Turramurra

The Prime Minister's reassurance that China should not be threatened by the landmark defence treaty signed between Australia and Japan flies in the face of a worsening geo-strategic reality that points to China's containment by nations allied to the US.

This decision comes in the wake of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's tour to drum up international support for the Trump administration's increasingly belligerent posture towards China. Despite Australia adopting this exact same position, US president-elect Joe Biden has already declared his intention to restore relations with China, which is ultimately the only means to lower the threat level between these two nuclear-armed superpowers. Vincent Zankin, Rivett (ACT)

No, it's not Australia that is making China the enemy, it's the Chinese Communist Party that has decided that Australia is being an enemy through not kowtowing to Chinese ambitions.

Beijing possibly thinks that if Australia can act this way, other countries may follow suit. China has definite plans for the future and that involves ensuring, among other things, reliable future food sources. If it is thwarted from its ambitions here, that part of the plan can't be met and anger is the result. Stewart Copper, Maroubra

SAS disgrace was a preventable disaster

Whatever the truth of the matters revealed in the Brereton Report, it seems to me that one further truth is self-evident ("Australian special forces soldiers committed up to 39 murders: ADF report", smh.com.au, November 19). Namely that Australia had no proper, arguable reason for involvement in the Afghan conflict, one so far outside our borders and whose genesis had no bearing on our national security. Had this further truth been taken into account at the time, we would not now be dealing with the consequences of this sorry document. Ian Jackson, Freshwater

Taxing for us all

Well may the Treasurer Dominic Perrottet propose to replace stamp duty with a land tax but putting lipstick on a pig still leaves you with a pig ("Like all big tax ideas, reforming this levy will not be painless", November 19). Stewart Smith, Tea Gardens

Stamp duty is based on property value not land value. A million-dollar apartment incurs the same stamp duty as does a million-dollar house. Shifting from a property based duty to a land based annual tax would result in home owners massively subsidising apartment owners. Property value should be the basis of any new system, not land value. Michael Britt, MacMasters Beach

A safe bet

Good Lord! Money-laundering in a casino? What next – Qantas will be found to be involved in aviation ("Crown's Barangaroo opening blocked over laundering concerns", November 19)? Alastair McKean, Greenwich

Tunnel vision

Thousands will cheer at the news that the proposal for the destructive Northern Beaches Link with its tunnel may be dropped ("Transport agency in shambles", November 19). Many have fought a long campaign for it to be halted if for no other reason than its dangerous effect on so many schools from its unfiltered stacks.

Here's your opportunity, Premier and Transport Minister, to shelve the proposal in the light of the need for more urgent and useful spending to cope with the economic fallout of COVID. Nedra Orme, Neutral Bay

Political leadership

Unafraid to say the truth now or while in politics, John Hewson speaks with refreshing candour about the lack of transparency, accountability, and the growing inherent corruption among the current crop of political actors ("Enough of the short-term politics", November 19).

He is spot on that in a time of environmental, biological, economic, social, and regional crisis we don't need teams of blowhard, loudmouth, politicians spouting half truths; untruths; avoiding issues; doing ill-considered deals at taxpayer expense; operating according to short-term election cycles – all the while ignoring the most marginalised, thus entrenching a poverty class, and so failing to act in the long-term interests of the country whose interests they claim to be prioritising when the only interests being prioritised are their own. Fred Jansohn, Rose Bay

People's princess

I was interested in how The Crown portrayed Princess Diana and started to watch that episode ("Heirs and graces: how a royal soap opera transfixed Sydney", November 19). By 10 minutes in, the vulnerability of this teenager on the brink of a happy-ever-after that turned to ashes, was so poignant and sad that – however it was dealt with further on – it was impossible for me to continue.
Anne Ring, Coogee

Great to see the Herald reminiscing on the glory days of Charles and Diana, and broadsheet. Tim Schroder, Gordon

Wheely good idea

I cycle from the inner west to the CBD for work and was dismayed when the NSW government demolished the busy College Street cycleway in 2015 ("New cycleway planned down the centre of Oxford Street", November 19). Regardless, the City of Sydney's LGA remains biking nirvana, with its well-constructed and safe paths. Thank you Clover Moore – this is the stuff of a more dynamic and liveable Sydney. Alison Orme, Marrickville

Worth a read

Thank goodness one Liberal politician, Katherine Cusack, bothered to read the legislation put up by the NSW Nationals and oppose the additional amendments to the Local Land Services Act sneaked in by Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall – a NSW National ("Deputy Premier Barilaro intervenes to stop new 'koala wars' outbreak", November 19).

NSW Nationals member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh made the patronising comment that those who opposed the amendments allowing land clearing of potential koala habitat simply didn't understand the complex legislation. John Barilaro has called koalas "tree rats". NSW Nationals seem hell bent on pushing koalas to extinction. Carolyn Pettigrew, Turramurra

True blue

Yes, Scott Morrison's wearing of a nationalistic Australian flag mask in Japan was clumsy but it was also diplomatically inappropriate (Letters, November 19). Even when visiting Australia-friendly nations, surely a little cultural sensitivity is called for.

Can you imagine another world leader, apart from Johnson or Trump, who would wear their own nation's flag in such a blatant, in-your-face way when visiting a foreign country? Morrison looked like a total yobbo. At least we can be thankful he didn't drape the flag around his shoulders. Pam Timms, Suffolk Park

If Morrison's Australian-flag face mask isn't against some law, it should be. A nation's flag represents its people and its values, and using it as a rag to breathe through might be considered offensive to many. Not every surface is a billboard, PM. Andrew Scott, Pymble

Can't make this up

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Shayne Chester, a more appropriate title for the Coalition movie would be Nothing To See Here, with a full ensemble of federal and state Liberal and National frontbenchers (Letters, November 19). It would be a classic tale of twisted plot lines involving cover-ups, secret romances, corruption and dirty deeds done dirt cheap. At the rate they are going we could have a sequel for every year up to the next elections. Clare Raffan, Campsie

Stop the count!

I just checked with Donald Trump and yes – NSW won the Origin series ("Got the blues: NSW loses nail-biting Origin decider", November 19). It was a really fantastic win – really fantastic and the game was played by lots of good, tough men. In fact, the toughest men in world history – really, that's true. The Maroons were terminated on the night and the alleged score was just fake news and not the official score. Matt Petersen, Randwick

Wet ink

In answer to "why many letter writers live in beachside areas" (Letters, November 19). A wonderful environment and clean air provides clear thinking and good writing. I despair of the lack of ethics with many politicians. Perhaps parliaments should move to the coast. Bea Hodgson, Gerringong

Must be something in the water, Geoff Lyons. Don Carter, Oyster Bay

Coast dwellers are capable letter writers because they are more littoral. Dave Watts, Avalon

Trump card

Perhaps it should be regarded as a badge of honour to be sacked by Donald Trump ("He vouched for election integrity then was fired", November 19). Lorna Denham, Cardiff Heights

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
‘If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy’: Beijing’s fresh threat to Australia
From Simon: Our economic reliance on China must end. Forty per cent in one country is bad for our sovereignty. China’s values are not our values and we should not shy away from confronting bullies.

  • To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email letters@smh.com.au. Click here for tips on how to submit letters.

Most Viewed in National