Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Saturday, July 15, 2017

TOUGH TRIP: One commuter says the slow pace of the Newcastle to Sydney service is made worse by a lack of passengers and staff adding to a perception of danger.
TOUGH TRIP: One commuter says the slow pace of the Newcastle to Sydney service is made worse by a lack of passengers and staff adding to a perception of danger.

I AGREE with Tony Proust (Letters, 13/7) and Lesley Hunt (Letters, 14/7). We dream of bringing back the Newcastle Flyer. 

I wrote a letter to the railways customer relations unit about this on April 16, 2017. I also asked if it would be possible to do something about safety, especially on the night services. 

On separate occasions I have been yelled at and had seats slammed toward me by drunken people. 

The only thing I did wrong was catch the train. You can be on your own in a tin can with no railway employee to be seen. 

There is only the Triple-0 advisory at the end of the carriage. The nice girl from the customer relations unit gave me this number to call if in trouble on the train – 13 14 44. 

It's the police assistance line and I suggest you put it in your phone and hope you don't have to use it. 

I can recommend the early morning XPT to Sydney if you can get up early enough and go through the complicated booking process.

Joe Palmer, Kahibah

Great rail rip-off

HEAR, hear Tony Proust (Letters, 13/7). Fastest services on Australia's leading distance rail corridor average a nationally shameful 65km/h. Well below the standard of any advanced nation. 

Sydney's main failing as a global city, a source of wealth for its adjacent regions, is the over reliance on road travel.

This neglect allowed the wrong decision to cut the corridor from the prime advantage of coastal access, at a beaches CBD, with an ideally located and highly functional station.

Railways are business assets, and the whole corridor teems with business opportunities. Revitalisation policy should be based on this, for the prosperity of the Central Coast and lower Hunter.

Sydney's 1979 eastern suburbs railway shows trains easily travel in heavily built-up areas. We have been dudded.

Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park

Free speech, for all

INTERESTING article from Emma Elsworthy (‘Australia: a land of free speech, for some’, Herald, 14/7).  

Ms Elsworthy is jumping to the defence of Yassmin Abdel-Magied of the way people did not like the statement from Ms Adel-Magied on Anzac Day. Ms Abdel-Magied’s statement was in reference to the term “lest we forget”.

The lady stated controversially “lest we forget Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine”. Of course Ms Abdel-Magied is entitled to free speech, as we all should be.

The statement was made on Anzac Day, not the best time to say it, and it was quickly withdrawn and a “sorry” issued – too late, it had been said.

Now Ms Elsworthy, the people who criticised Ms Abdel-Magied are entitled to their opinion too, without you spruiking about “white Anglo Australians” thinking that they are the only ones entitled to an opinion. I think this was, in itself, a racist comment. Please remember that all Australians are entitled to comment. 

This country was built on people of all colours and creeds working together, it has always worked and we have a country to be proud of. 

Kevin Miller, Windale

A word on progress

KURRI Kurri resident Phillip Hatch’s facile, uninformed, ad hominem, criticism of my recent letter (Short Takes, 14/7) doesn’t really deserve the dignity of a response. Why not critique what I said rather than my right to say it?

I’ve been submitting letters to the editor for over four decades, long before I was a councillor. And his remark that “nothing was getting done” (done where exactly?) during my two terms as a councillor insults the other 23 councillors as well.

One example worth noting was GPT’s Mall proposal in 2007. All councillors bent over backwards to support it. It fell over because it was flawed (described by an experienced local real estate agent at a public meeting as a dead duck idea to emulate Bondi Junction); because they paid far too much for acquisitions; rising costs including mine subsidence and the GFC.

“Progress”, Phillip Hatch? Constructing a tram along Hunter/Scott streets instead of the corridor, about $100 million more expensive and against the government’s own independent expert advice is progress? The current council isn’t “getting things done”: it’s a sideshow, paying obeisance (“working cooperatively with”) Urban Growth/HDC property developer Michael Cassel.

Keith Parsons, Newcastle

Cop this, east end

AFTER  reporting in the Newcastle Herald that the Supercars concerts would be held in Wickham (‘Cold Chisel revving up for Supercars’, Herald, 31/3), it was announced recently that both concerts would be held in the Foreshore Park.

Previous concerts have been held in Camp Shortland and subjected to noise control standards set by Newcastle City Council. Not this time. They are to be held right next to the homes of Newcastle East residents, and we have been told there will be no sound level standards set. 

So after enduring seven months of construction work, and three days of noise levels that would not pass any standards previously set by council, Newcastle East residents are expected to cop this – and without whinging please.

Sadly, it is just another example of what I would call misleading information fed to Newcastle by Supercars. Remember how they said businesses would operate as usual, the public would have no problems accessing our beaches, and that the safety of residents was their primary concern? If you are brave enough to venture into this part of our city these days, you will see exactly how misleading these statements have been, as you join bumper-to-bumper traffic. The anger experienced by drivers is palpable. 

Of course, suffering economic hardship, congestion, noise and anxiety over safety, might be more bearable if we could believe this event really was in the best interests of Newcastle. However, all we have been given are economic impact statements which rely on exaggerated figures which do not consider costs, especially those being shouldered by CBD businesses, many of whom now realise just how much they stand to lose.

Christine Everingham, Newcastle East

Letter of the week

The Herald pens go to Tony Proust for his letter about the Newcastle Flyer and Pat Garnet for her letter about equality.