Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CASHING IN: In order to capitalise on cruise ship tourism it has been suggested Newcastle planners take a closer look at Queens Wharf as a possible berth.

CASHING IN: In order to capitalise on cruise ship tourism it has been suggested Newcastle planners take a closer look at Queens Wharf as a possible berth.

THE location of a terminal for tourist ships at the Channel Berth at Carrington troubles me. The visitors we would love to welcome to our historic streets in the city are largely bused to the beauties of Port Stephens and the vineyards. A number are brought by shuttle service to our retail, eating and beach precincts, however Newcastle’s potential as a tourist destination is confined by its physical restraints. How can we bring visitors closer to our professed history? First, the importance of the tourist dollar.

The city of Charleston in South Carolina, USA, has many of the features of Newcastle’s economy. It is a university town with a population of 130,000, with a growing IT sector, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner assembly plant and a nearby military base. Charleston’s metropolitan area comprises nearby counties and 800,000 people. Charleston’s economy is driven by tourism. Its history stretches back to 1690 and great value is placed on saving it. When an earthquake in 1886 damaged many buildings, instead of demolishing structures, earthquake bolts were added, creating in situ stability. These buildings are now important historical architectural attractions.

Cruise ships bring thousands of visitors with dollars and the city is geared to providing the sights, tours, food and souvenirs they demand. To maximise access, the ships dock at a terminal 400 metres away.

Bringing a cruise ship to a berth by Queens Wharf, we are told, is not feasible due to the depth of water and the space needed for passenger movement and ship’s catering. A sizable structure would be needed to allow that. But would that structure need to be fixed? Engineers can solve problems in many creative ways. An option might be to build a floating structure.

The planners face an important historical truth. When the next generation looks back over the history of Newcastle, will they believe you have made the best decision for the city using the Channel Berth, or will they see an opportunity missed?

Ian Bowrey, Hamilton South

Say ‘I’, not ‘we’

I SO tire of sweeping generalisations and also of people who take it upon themselves to 'speak for others' by their use of the nominative case pronoun 'we'.

Tom Edwards (Letters, 19/9) claims "the vast majority of Australians don't want immigrants coming into this country". Does it really need to be pointed out that unless Mr Edwards is of indigenous heritage, he, himself, is of immigrant stock?

He continues by saying "we should all thank God for somebody like Pauline Hanson". Firstly, not all share Ms Hanson's views. I am most definitely one who finds her views abhorrent. Secondly, not all believe in or follow a god or deity.

Mr Edwards, we are all entitled to our opinions. However, you do not speak for all. Rather than use sweeping generalisations ("the vast majority"; "we" etc), be specific. Say what is actually factual. Use "I" or "my friends/my family" for example. In other words, speak for yourself. With respect, I find the thought of being caught up with your opinions most offensive and repugnant.

Maree Raftos, Newcastle

Time to forget slogan

TONY Abbott's lecture to European conservatives advising them to use Australia's policies to 'stop the boats' smacks of his usual bragging. Mr Abbott says his decision to stop the boats has enabled us to increase our refugee intake. Actually, we've been doing that for many years.

As if we need to be reminded of the 'stop the boats' slogan. It was hammered into our brains day and night along with 'no new taxes' and 'no cuts to the ABC'. Taking an Australian policy and trying to apply it to the landlocked nations of Europe is pure folly. Europeans should be warned that the aftermath of 'stop the boats' has been the shameful legacy of offshore detention camps, strained relations with Indonesia and the condemnation of the UN. Australia's reputation has been tarnished forever. Please note Mr Abbott – Australia has moved on and so should you.

John Butler, Windella Downs

Coverage complaint

NOW the Paralympics are over I would like to comment that the highlight coverage by the Seven Network was the most inept I have watched. The commentators were only interested in hearing their own voices. Instead of the dribble that they went on with, they could have shown more events.

There is no comparison with the coverage of the London Paralympics. They didn't even have highlights from the last day, which included the wheelchair rugby gold medal game, which Australia won, and the men's and women's marathons. They didn't give an indication when some events that Aussies were competing in were on so that we could have recorded them. I am thoroughly disappointed with the whole coverage. 

Robert Dixon, Morpeth

Value of teaching inmates

CONGRATULATIONS on a good news story from our embattled prisons (‘Prison art classes turned me around’, Herald, 20/9). It is very encouraging to read that access to art classes gave one inmate a reason for living, and skills for a job on the outside. As a result he will be most unlikely to re-offend and be part of the high recidivism rate in NSW.

In its review of education courses in prisons the Baird government has been critical of the emphasis given to art and music by teachers employed in Corrective Services. They wish to cut all such cultural areas and after terminating the positions for qualified teachers, advertise contracts to private providers, who will be asked to employ “training clerks” who will focus on literacy and numeracy.

Important as these skills are, there must still be a place for teaching that will inspire creativity, and give hope to those who have lost the will to succeed.

Doug Hewitt AM, Hamilton

Partnership no bother

I CAN’T understand all the fuss about the new Maitland Hospital being built by Public Private Partnership, (PPP). The Mater Hospital at Waratah was rebuilt by PPP and if my memory is correct it was a state Labor government that went into the PPP. Newcastle Trades Hall secretary was much outspoken against it being PPP. I and members of my family have used the Mater and we were not asked if we were public or private before our health needs were attended to. The Mater appears to be operating successfully in spite of it being built as a PPP.

Fred Saunders, Warratah West

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