Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

WINNERS: South Newcastle players celebrate with fans after their grand final win against Macquarie at Hunter Stadium on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

WINNERS: South Newcastle players celebrate with fans after their grand final win against Macquarie at Hunter Stadium on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

I HAD the privilidge of watching Souths win the first grade final on Sunday at Hunter Stadium. But it was so much more than a game for certain people from the club.

Myself and my two boys (aged 9 and 7) had the pleasure to attend the shirt presentation at the club on Friday night. To hear what it meant for individuals entrenched in the club was beyond inspiring.

A wonderful human being by the name of Peter Sleap, who has struggled with cancer, mentioned in an inspirational speech how much winning the grand final meant to him. This amazing human being has, since his diagnosis, gone on to raise thousands of of dollars for cancer research. To see what this meant to Peter, and all the numerous people behind the scenes, is nothing short of inspirational. 

To the so-called supporters who decided to abuse the 6 and 7 year olds who played in between games you should be ashamed of yourselves. Sport is exactly that, but on Sunday seeing the overwhelming joy on people that have bled for the jersey was an inspiration not only to me, but the boys that inspire to fulfill their dream.

Peter Sleap, I thank you for what you have done for my kids. Total respect.

Dave Fothergill, Merewether 

Housing ‘unaffordable’

MARK O'Dwyer hit the nail on the head (Letters, 17/9). Job security and underemployment in an increasingly casualised workforce is having a major impact on  people's lives and opportunities going forward.

Housing affordability is at a critical level. Of the 15 options advertised in a Dungog real estate agent’s offering from September 12, the median cost is $325 per week.

This is just not an option for anyone on a government payment, and barely possible for most single-income families.

Unfortunately the statistics of average income don't represent a lot of people's realities. Life is increasingly tough.

Diane Marquet, Brookfield

Respond with kindness

DURING Dementia Awareness Month, which runs through September, Alzheimer’s Australia is calling for greater awareness and understanding of dementia so people living with the condition feel less isolated.

There are more than 353,000 Australians with dementia and an estimated 1.2 million people involved in the care of someone with dementia. In the Cessnock, Charlestown, Gosford, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Myall Lakes, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Swansea, Terrigal, The Entrance, Upper Hunter, Wallsend and Wyong electorates there are an estimated 19,600 people living with dementia. That figure is projected to increase to about 43,600 by 2050.

A survey by Alzheimer’s Australia has found that people with dementia are almost twice as likely to have high rates of loneliness, and people with dementia and carers are significantly more lonely than the general population. We hear repeatedly that when someone is diagnosed with dementia, friendships and some family relationships suddenly disappear because people simply don’t know how to interact with them. 

Treating people with the same respect, kindness, inclusiveness and thoughtfulness you always have is what makes a difference. They are still the same person they were before the diagnosis. They just may need a bit more time, understanding and support.

John Watkins AM, CEO, Alzheimer's Australia NSW

Swamped by fascists

AFTER having the rhetoric of Pauline Hanson inflicted on us by the media, I wonder, are we in danger of being swamped by fascists? It isn't just the violent yobbos lurking behind the studied normality of some Hanson cohorts, but the inhumanity the ALP and Coalition show towards the desperate victims of the world's misfortunes. 

No one is being forced to eat or dress in a certain way, yet everyone's taxes are being wasted on expensive concentration camps and unnecessary military expansion. Good on the Greens for walking out on her speech. Everyone has the right to turn their backs on mean spirited and ignorant arguments.

Peter Ronne, Woodberry

Containing our growth

I REFER to Ian Kirkwood's column on population growth in the Hunter (‘Sydney grabbing lion's share of population growth’, Herald, 17/9). People need jobs. Jobs in manufacturing are concentrated in Sydney because that's where the state's container terminal is located.

Jobs that should be in Newcastle and northern NSW are in Sydney because there is no container terminal at Newcastle. To prevent a container terminal being built at the Port of Newcastle, the state government taxes container ships. They are taxed because a container terminal would justify building a rail freight bypass of Sydney – between Newcastle in the north and Glenfield in the south. This bypass line of Sydney will connect the southern rail line into Victoria with the northern rail line into Queensland.

Paying for this line would be accomplished by railing containers. It is more efficient to rail containers between Newcastle and western Sydney than to truck them between Port Botany and western Sydney. A rail freight bypass line would encourage Sydney manufacturers to relocate to regional areas because they had better access to a container terminal.

The state government refuses to evaluate this opportunity because it pays compensation to the Port Botany operator for losing container shipping business to the Port of Newcastle, and pays for this compensation by charging a tax on the Port of Newcastle.

Greg Cameron, Florey ACT

War on numbers

REGARDING Peter Barrack (Letters, 17/9): I think by making the claim that the US has been involved in 200 wars since that country's independence and China "limited" Peter short changes us on facts.  

Firstly, the 200 figure is wildly exaggerated, with China's 'limited' also an exaggeration but of the opposite type. China has in fact been involved in well over 1000 wars in the past 2000 years. Possibly the most famous military book in recorded history, The Art of War was written by Sun Tzu.

However, if we want to equate the US to China since 1776, by my estimation China has been involved in at least 78 wars.

Since independence my research indicates the US has been involved in 105 wars, not 200. As is the case with China, the vast majority of wars fought by the US were 'civil wars'; mainly against Indians.

Mike Sargent, Raymond Terrace

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