Friday, 30 December 2011

I have been stirring

the pot again. I like to stir the pot occasionally. I especially like to do it when the government does something utterly incomprehensible.
Adelaide Oval, hallowed ground of cricket tragics, is to undergo refurbishment at vast expense to the taxpayer. This is not for the benefit of cricket. It is so that football can be played there... Australian Rules football that is, not soccer.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are to be spent on this. It has caused a public uproar. My sports mad second cousin, who has practically lived on "the Mound" since he was old enough to walk, is opposed and so are a great many other people who have had season tickets most of their lives.
Yes, they would like to see some of the facilities upgraded but they do not believe it should be done at taxpayer expense.
This week the Prime Minister announced a further $30 million dollars of funding for the project - so that an underground carpark can be built for the favoured few who want to bring their cars to matches. The announcement comes at the time when a much needed country hospital is being closed for lack of funding. Other projects are also being put on hold, or cut altogether, because "no funds are available".
I have set foot on Adelaide Oval just once in my life. It was for some long since forgotten school event where attendance was apparently obligatory - or I would not have been permitted to go. There are many other people who have never set foot on the Oval. They never will. It is not just a lack of desire but, for some, a lack of access brought on by distance or finance or both.
I wrote a letter. Other people wrote letters. There is an entire page of letters in the state newspaper today. Not one supports the idea of additional funding for a carpark for the few. There are buses, trams and trains within a short walk of the Oval. Many Oval goers will still need to use public transport. The carpark will not be big enough to hold all their cars and by no means all of them will have the right to use the carpark. It would have made sense to upgrade the public transport facilities.
What made me stir the pot however was something quite different. Next year will be the National Year of Reading. Schools are supposed to participate in that. Libraries are supposed to be heavily involved in that. Bookshops are supposed to support it.
So far there has not been a word about local funding for the year. Our local library is not expecting any extra funds, indeed funds for new books are likely to be cut back still further. The schools are trying to plan without spending additional funds. They do not have funds to spend. Our local bookshop will struggle to support the year without any external resources.
Funds are not being spent on something as vital as our libraries and major non-media information resources. They are not being spent on something used by the vast majority of the population.
If the carpark money had been spent on libraries Oval goers could have read a book while they waited for the bus. It would have been a better use of the money.


widdershins said...

Give the masses a circus to distract them, not books to educate them!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right Widdershins - and Cat's letter was one of her best yet! Ros

dandelion girl said...

I wish I could have read the letter! Good for you Cat, very valid and obvious points! :)

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

I go berserk when I hear about hospitals being closed! Love this blog. Hope that letter helps? Best for 2012, catinitaly

catdownunder said...

Thankou people - yes circuses Widdershins. Time you librarians wrote some letters Ros!
It was a letter of local interest but I once made similar statements on the Guardian website.
Ah "catinitaly" purrs to you too. I read you too (but think I have only commented once)

Anonymous said...

Keep stirring, Cat!

Reading your letters is almost reason to buy the Advertiser again!