Esperance Express letters to the editor | October 20 edition

Australians are paying too much tax

Australians are amongst the highest taxed people in the World. Even having to pay tax on a tax.

Buy a car with GST in the price then you pay stamp duty and transfer fee on the total price including the GST. ie, WA Govt stamp duty on Federal Govt GST. The Duties Act of 2008, passed in parliament by WA Pollies allows the Dept of Transport to force you to pay or face a penalty.

It is estimated that millions of dollars have been unfairly paid by the public since the Act was passed. This injustice must be removed by current Pollies in State Parliament if we,the voters tell them to act on this unfair issue.

Max Szulc

Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up to Family Practice Surgery in Esperance. Fantastic service and great customer service. Thank you.

Pam Alexander

‘Rotten Luck’ reports project manager

`Damage revealed’, Esperance Express September 29th 2017.

There has never been a ‘call’ for deck timbers to be used structurally and why would they if left in situ? Experienced and reputable marine engineers have stated in reports that the deck could remain once a substructure was introduced to support the deck.

Seven rows of stringers or longitudinal timbers, some 15 inch x 7 inch support the decking timbers over which lies an 80mm concrete top which acts as a direct load dispersant. The Jetty, 4.5m wide and with the rows of stringers means the distance between any supporting members under the deck is just 1.5m maximum. We must remember that the Jetty was designed to take almighty loads and although the substructure is `wanting’, the deck would have a 30 year life, supported.

Available funding into the future would allow progressive restoration of the deck. The immediate concern is to restore the substructure for this to be possible and get it road worthy.

Esperance Shire Council, still and from the outset, deceive the general public stating that the timbers are rotten and you can drive a screwdriver through them. Their message here is that the Jetty is totally rotten. The case is not so as you can observe from the pic that the timber almost `bleeds’ when brutally cut up by chain saw after being recovered. If Mr Hughes could drive a screw driver through that, then I will` lay down my gun’. Let us heed advice from the experts in the field.

Our engaged engineers stipulate when the deck is supported, it would conform to Australian Standards of 500 kilograms per square meter (5%Kpa). 

Keep in mind the installed new bent which would support the stringers, covered by the decking which acts as a soffit (Terry Memory- Bonacci Infrastructure) for the concrete, offers a sturdy running surface.

I may mention that I was refused entry into ESC depot to inspect the timbers recovered from the Jetty, maybe they were not graded at that point in time, worst on top for observation. 

The stringer mutilated on the beach (Pic) missed the last truck load to the depot, perfectly preserved timber and now It’s whereabouts is unknown, disappeared Tuesday 12th September.

ESC have always tried to quash any restorative option put forward and now find themselves having to spin some magic to keep costings down on what is potentially a very expensive design that will not do justice to our bay and will have to be shortened somewhat to fall within a 6 million ball park figure. 

The reality is that also 1.8million will go to demolish and we end up with a 250m structure costing 6-7million yet the ESC goes on about not placing a financial milestone around the necks of the community (Kal Miner 2/10/17).

The flip side is a restored jetty for 6m, tendered, quickly built and functional with the historical qualities to attract tourists again.  

David Eltringham

Another Trip up the Garden Path

The Shire President continues to peddle misinformation that mocks the goodwill offered by the Heritage Council last week to resolve the Tanker Jetty issue once and for all.

The Heritage Council’s priority option for the jetty’s future not only retains its rich cultural fabric but also meets the community’s needs; two of the basic criteria required by the Heritage Minister before he will consider lifting the Conservation Order he placed on the structure.

After the visit last week we had a clear pathway set to move forward, with the Shire to explore all avenues to restore the jetty using the original 1934 detailed design as the guiding principle.

Yet within a week, the Shire President rejects this way forward, makes preposterous media claims about millstones around the community necks, that old furphy about the cost of maintenance, and restoration being financially irresponsible.

We’ve heard it all before as has the Heritage Council, and yet the umpire’s preferred option after taking everything into account is to restore the jetty. 

Despite this, the Shire President tells us the Council will continue to develop its already rejected concept plan.

Clearly the $6 million budget the Shire has for this exercise - for either restoration or replacement - will not impact on ratepayers, and matches the figures provided by two experienced marine restoration contractors - Bonacci Enterprises and Davey Hydraulics - already presented to the Council. 

Both quoted less than $6 million.

The matter of ongoing maintenance of the Tanker Jetty has never been a burden on ratepayers in the past, as funds spent on the structure since 1990 were provided by the State Government and corporate and community donation. 

Unfortunately, the $1 million given to the Council in 2008-09 after the jetty was heritage listed in 2008, was filtered from the Jetty Reserve and spent on other works. 

Of course, the cost of restoration and maintenance would not be a matter of continued contention for the Shire if they had accepted the former Regional Development Minister’s offer in September last year to provide Royalties for Region funding for remediation.

Also, a community forum in 2016 agreed on a small levy on rates of about $20 a year that had the potential to raise more than $80,000 a year for maintenance. 

In any event, a renewed structure would not need any major maintenance for at least 20 years.

The community is reminded that the $6 million the Shire President claims to have for a replacement jetty, which will also require at least a further $2 million for demolition, will get Esperance a maximum jetty length of about 150 metres. 

This figure is based on the council’s report. A longer 310 metre concept design will cost more than $14 million to build.

What we are being misled with is a much longer jetty than the Shire’s $6 million will deliver, and yet the available funds adequately cover the cost of restoration of the existing one, a fact the Heritage Council understands.

We all know that the Council doesn’t play fair (remember the GHD independent review of the Bonacci Report). 

They throw up every dirty trick they know, but the community now will be scrutinising every move as they go about demolishing the Heritage Council’s guide to the way forward.

On October 21 the people of Esperance will let the current Council know their feelings on how they have been misled.

Richard Grant

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