Letters: Cricket, Carnell and company tax


Players must end cricket pay dispute

Joe Aston did a great job taking down CPA Australia chief executive Alex Malley but he’s got it badly wrong meting out similar hyperbolic treatment (“Cricket Australia chairman has no right to be peeved” – July 16) to the Cricket Australia chairman David Peever. 

Sure, Cricket Australia should better disclose who pocketed the $5.7 million spent on its senior brass in 2015-16, but so should virtually every other sporting association, not-for-profit and government agency which fails to voluntarily produce ASX-style executive pay transparency. 

Peever’s views make perfect sense and in no way should be compared with the misplaced predictions or denials of failed former leaders at the likes of Vocation, Murray Goulburn and CPA Australia. 

As Peever says, why should 70 per cent of cricket’s revenue be spent at the elite level, with the professional players collectively pocketing almost $100 million a year? 

As a volunteer suburban coach of my daughter’s cricket team in Melbourne over the past two summers, I haven’t seen a lot of trickle down from cricket’s recent Big Bash windfall. 

And as a former local government councillor, I also know that cricket is the most subsidised sport in Australia – men demanding beautiful turf wickets each weekend costs ratepayers a fortune. 

The board is right to regain control of the national management of cricket and, once achieved, they should redirect funds away from millionaire blokes to women, volunteers, suburban clubs, kids and councils. 

In a society battling rising inequality, the male elites directing the Australian Cricketers Association’s voluble campaign should reflect on their greedy position and quickly settle the dispute.

Stephen Mayne

Melbourne, Vic

Carnell should be removed over CEC case

Re: “Commonwealth Bank and small business advocate Kate Carnell go to war” (July 20).

The company involved in the CEC case was large and listed.  It had an experienced and well connected board capable of, and responsible for, making business decisions.  It embarked on substantial investments, with borrowed money, with the aim of making a profit, at what turned out to be a bad time.

This wasn’t a case for the Small Business Ombudsman.  Kate Carnell makes this clear when she explains she had to seek expertise from elsewhere to manage it.  It only makes matters worse that the case was a referral from a parliamentary review, which presumably takes us back to the well connected board.

The conclusion of the Ombudsman was populist.  The idea that the board is absolved of its task of making good decisions because the bank encouraged it in any manner is legal nonsense.  The notion that the bank should be pilloried for acting in accordance with the agreed terms of the loan because Ms Carnell is able to review events with the benefit of hindsight is also nonsense.

Ms Carnell has accepted a case neither she nor the Ombudsman were competent to run.  She has used it as a vehicle to continue the vandalism of our banking system by career politicians.  

She should be removed.

Thomas Miller

Darlinghurst, NSW

‘Faster and cheaper’ NBN claims don’t add up

I enjoyed Jennifer Hewett’s “The gap between NBN promise and reality” (July 19), but it includes a serious error, stating in passing that Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN would be delivered “cheaper and faster” than the previous 93 per cent fibre to the premises (FTTP) model. 

While this is a common claim (and is NBN’s official position), it is not the consensus in the industry. NBN’s comparison assumes a fixed FTTP cost per-premises over the rollout, whereas their own experience prior to 2013 (as reported at Senate Estimates hearings) was that the cost per-premises was reduced over time given design improvements. This has been seen in every other large FTTP rollout, including in New Zealand where Chorus reports the cost per-premises having been reduced by 44 per cent over the rollout so far. 

These comparisons also fail to take into account the fact that operating a copper network is significantly more expensive than operating a fibre network. Fibre to the node (FTTN) by its nature requires more maintenance and consumes more electricity per-subscriber to deliver. Over the medium term this extra operational expenditure will negate any capital cost saving. 

Finally, NBN Co has simply not accounted for upgrades that will be required. FTTN cannot deliver the speed or reliability that we will require in the future, and will need significant upgrades over the next decade. Unlike upgrades to an FTTP network (where just the equipment at the exchange and premises needs to be replaced), upgrades to FTTN require significant capital works to remove copper and replace it with fibre. 

Any claims of “faster and cheaper” do not stack up. 

Stephen Gentle 

Petrie Terrace, Qld

Company tax argument on investment wrong

The Financial Review never misses an opportunity to promote the Coalition’s plans for company tax reductions.

Certainly new investment is essential for productivity improvement and ultimately for economic growth, but the argument that weak investment is down to the company tax rate being too high is nonsense.

Investment is weak because the general level of demand in the economy is weak, and the level of demand is weak because the profits share of the economy, for a variety of reasons, has got more and more out of whack with the wages share in recent decades. 

Good macro-economic policy would have leant against this trend, but the Coalition for purely ideological reasons  has consistently run with policies that have promoted it.

The problem with the entire Right half of Australian politics is a stubborn refusal to accept that the great mass of workers also represent the great mass of consumers, who drive the demand for goods and services. Ultimately, sustained inequality in incomes and wealth comes at a price, and that price is weak investment, low productivity and sub-optimal economic growth.

Rex Bevan

North Fremantle,  WA

Debt will stabilise when population growth has

Laura Tingle’s superb opinion piece “Immigration is so scary Malcolm Turnbull just hid it” (July 21) could have been taken further .

It is a “secret” that on average, every extra person that is added to Australia’s population is a unit of debt. This is supported by one economic statistic, the current account deficit. We are adding 1.2 million units of debt to Australia in the next three years.

Despite the spin from the banking, infrastructure and property developer business models, the financial results for Australia has been catastrophic .

Debt, wholesale public and private asset sales, affordability of the basics of life, the starving of support for the CSIRO and the abolition of free tertiary education are all a direct result of the cumulative impact of ignoring this one “secret” truth.

Stabilise the population growth and the debt will stabilise and capital will be liberated for productive investment in research for exports and retraining.

Ralph Bennett

Queenscliff, NSW

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