Newcastle Herald letters to the editor September 8 2017

BRAKING THE BANK: One writer argues that parking fines in Merewether during works to expand the hospital are hitting the most vulnerable without accepting the context.

BRAKING THE BANK: One writer argues that parking fines in Merewether during works to expand the hospital are hitting the most vulnerable without accepting the context.

Well done, Newcastle City Council - driving to work this morning, stopped to get piece of paper from under my wiper, a nice $180 fine for parking against traffic flow in Merewether Street in front of Lingard Private Hospital.

It is an off-street loop with no line markings or indication of flow, and only wide enough for single-lane passage.

I work there as a nurse. As the staff, patients and visitors will tell you, parking is a nightmare since the extension of the hospital has begun.

Car parks have been taken away, new two-hour parking areas have popped up, and new yellow line markings have appeared. It means sick, elderly and staff have to park and walk miles to get to the hospital. 

This can be seen as nothing more than targeting vulnerable people. A very distressed relative was fined $250. Apparently they have done another round of fines since.

Is there no decency to allow some leeway for the infrastructure works occurring? Maybe they could actually mark some car park lines on the street, or provide lighting for us walking to our cars in the dark. People are just trying to get to work to care for their patients, visit a doctor, or see a sick relative or friend. Surely you can get your revenue elsewhere?

Name and suburb withheld

STORY OF A CENTURY

I never suspected that any news item could surpass the depths of our minister for tormenting refugees Peter Dutton, but the Sydney Morning Herald had a worse story. 

Sweden will deport a 106-year-old Afghan woman who made a perilous journey to Europe, carried by her son and grandson (“Sweden to deport 106-year-old Afghan woman”, SMH 5/9). Their ministry said "generally speaking, high age does not in itself provide grounds for asylum." Gee, being 106 must be a common ground used.It must be time for a fact-finding trip for Minster Dutton to Sweden to find out how to be tougher on refugees. Where did we go wrong here? She never even came on a boat!

John Noonan, Waratah

CITY HAD A DIFFERENT DREAM

So, Scot MacDonald says Newcastle should dream big about Broadmeadow (“Newcastle invited to dream big for Broamdeadow”, Herald 7/9).

Newcastle knows its sweeping richness, as our most Australian destination, and dreams much bigger than that. Business use of the intercity rail corridor would efficiently serve several markets.

Not least is a prosperous high volume, high turnover tourist Mecca of a beachfront CBD, with The Rocks of the north in easy reach. Newcastle station is perfect for this but now lies dormant.

Newcastle would be a textbook study in smart 21st century efficiency of the built environment. Sydney's 1979 Eastern suburbs railway of tunnels and single stanchions clearly shows the way.

An interchange for the commercial centre to the west should be part of it. Under cover of nationally shameful 65km/hr rail services, the government has weakened the lower Hunter by truncating what should be the strongest connection with Sydney.

In my view this outlines real vision, an easily grasped dream.

Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park

THE MOST TAXING EXEMPTION

So the federal government is chasing multinationals who are evading their tax responsibilities. Why not change the rules regarding religious groups who are exempt from contributing their share of tax?

The Catholic Church, acknowledged as the largest real estate owner in the world, has assets in excess of 100 billion dollars.  A quick glance at the local phone book shows over 160 religious groups in this area. They are all tax exempted!

Now there is a new one...   "The Flying Spaghetti Church", to add to the list.   Where will it all end?   If all the groups were required to pay even a nominal tax, this would benefit the country.

Brett Cutler, Thornton

A GAIN THROUGH A LOSS

On Thursday I left my purse in the toilet at Lake Macquarie Fair shopping centre and did not realise until I got home that I had lost it.  Like all of us I thought I would not get it back.  I returned to the shopping centre and checked with some of the shops and was informed by Tracy at Coles that my purse had been handed into centre management.  

Gaye from Centre Management informed me that Kris the cleaner had handed in my purse after finding it in the toilet.

Thank you, Kris, and may good things always come to you.  I believe in Karma and I have returned lost things to people so I guess good Karma came back to me. 

It is wonderful that there are still honest people in this world. I certainly met several on this adventure today.

Jean Ryan, Windale

BLOW WINDS OF CHANGE 

The absurdity of the federal government knows no bounds. They have been in power for four years; they have known about the imminent closure of Liddell for all this time and done absolutely nothing. Now we have Turnbull running around like a headless chook, first trying to give AGL money to keep Liddell going then trying to find a new buyer for the power station (“Too Liddell too late”, Herald 6/9).

They are quite happy to give millions to AGL to keep an obsolete power station going, billions to Adani to develop a questionably economic coal mine, tens of billions in subsidies to the coal industry and this rabble then accuse Labor of being socialists.

For four years they have had no energy policy other than to tear down every policy that Labor had put in place and when it backfires what do they do? They resort to their fall-back position, blame Labor.

If ever we needed a lesson in the failure of capitalism and privatisation to meet the needs of society then we have it here.

The privatisation of the electricity grid is a monumental failure. The privatisation of the telephone network has been a monumental failure; the destruction of the NBN will cost us billions to rectify. France has begun re-nationalising industries. In Britain, Corbyn wants to do the same. Neo-conservative ideology has failed societies worldwide; it is now time for the people to take back what is ours. It is time to kick out the conservative parliamentarians, and that extends to the right wing politicians in the Labor Party. We need another Gough Whitlam, or we need a mass of truly independent politicians.

Joe Roskell, Charlestown

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