Newcastle Herald letters to the editor September 30 2017

HERE TO HELP: Terrigal's Chris Kastelan argues there is no place for attacks on paramedics, whose only role is to offer medical assistance to those in need.
HERE TO HELP: Terrigal's Chris Kastelan argues there is no place for attacks on paramedics, whose only role is to offer medical assistance to those in need.

As an operational paramedic myself of 20 years and President of the Australian Paramedics Association NSW, I was satisfied to hear of the recent conviction and jailing of a man for 14 months charged with attacking and threatening two paramedics at Belmont in April of this year (“Jail for attack on two medics”, Herald, 29/9).

Paramedics often work in very challenging environments and are there to help the community when it needs them the most. To hear of this incident and other more recent attacks and assaults on paramedics, wherever they take place, is a very disturbing trend.

The association believes that all paramedics should be able to perform the role they serve within the community free from the actual or perceived fear of occupational violence within the workplace, whether it be out in the community or at their primary place of work.

APA NSW will always support the police in enforcing to the full extent of the law, any action taken against a perpetrator of violence, whether physical or verbal in the investigation process towards a paramedic fulfilling their duty to serve the community.

Paramedics provide 24 hours a day coverage in rain, hail or shine and are there to assist the community. To think that they are the subject of abuse, physical violence and verbal threats is abhorrent to all.

Paramedics are members of the community and have family, friends and loved ones that they want to be able to go home to at the end of every shift like any other worker. I congratulate the prosecution and hope this serves as a reminder that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

Chris Kastelan, Terrigal

60 years is a lifetime

THE government has endorsed subsidising the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Queensland to the tune of $900 million, a project planned to export 60 million tonnes of coal every year for the next six decades. It is hard to hear in a coal town, but there will not be six good decades left in the coal industry.

The rest of the world is alert to climate change and the clock is ticking on how long they will keep importing Australia’s coal when burning it comes at such cost. Adding new mines to a diminishing export market will also drive down export prices for Hunter coal, accelerating the inevitable decline of the industry in our region and making the necessary transitions more abrupt and difficult. The market is shrinking because most of the world realises that climate change is here, but can be slowed if enough action is taken in reducing the rate we burn fossil fuels. 

Climate change is the greatest public health concern of the century, with increasing temperatures, extreme weather events and infectious disease, like malaria, related to tropical regions expected to take a huge toll on our populations. This is in addition to the direct negative impact that coal pollution is known to have on lung and heart health.

Newcastle needs reality-based leadership from our federal government. The era of fossil fuels is ending and our future depends on this being recognised and planned for. We need to stop Adani, and stop building new coal mines. 

Dr Kathleen Wild, Mayfield

WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR

WITH this postal vote – it’s about standing up for what matters. 

I’m from Weston in the Coalfields. I’ve played football, cricket and rugby in Newcastle for years. I drink too much beer and that occasionally annoys my beautiful girlfriend. So this vote doesn’t affect me directly. Except – I have a strong belief and hope that Australia is still the land of the fair go and where mates look after mates. 

I can marry my girlfriend if we one day want to. Mark, one of my best mates, doesn’t yet have that choice because he’s gay. That’s not the fair go. And I’ll always fight for the fair go. I care about this because my mates are suffering because of this postal survey. 

If my gay mates Zack, Georgia and Fran have to go through a period where people will publicly cast judgement over their relationships – then I’m going to stand by my mates and make sure this horrible period isn’t for nothing, and ensure they won’t have to go through it again. 

That’s why I’m making calls for the YES campaign when I can. It’s why I’m going to contact everyone in my phone and make sure they’ve actually returned their ballot papers (after voting yes, of course). 

It’s why I’ll do what I can now so one day I can be the loudest bloke at Mark’s wedding, probably getting my request for Daryl Braithwaite’s “The Horses” denied by the DJ. 

Join me and stand up for your mates – get your postal vote back today. 

Joshua Lloyd, Annandale

STUCK BETWEEN STATIONS

HOW can the NSW government claim that the Newcastle to Sydney intercity express will be 26 minutes faster when the trip from the Wickham interchange to the old Newcastle station via light rail will take at least that amount of time? The winner still remains the Newcastle Flyer. Surely with modern technology and human intelligence, the NSW parliament can do better than steam engines of the last 200 years. Newcastle and the Hunter Region deserve better.

Elaine Street, Merewether

DEMAND FOR DEMENTIA HELP

A SURVEY released by Alzheimer’s Australia, Dementia and the Impact of Stigma, has found people living with dementia and their carers often experience embarrassing situations, feel socially disconnected and less competent.

The same survey also found one in two members of the public wants to know more. During Dementia Awareness Month this September, Alzheimer’s Australia has been raising awareness and understanding of dementia so people living with the condition can be better supported to feel less isolated and alone.

There are more than 413,000 Australians living with dementia and an estimated 1.2 million people involved in their care. In Hunter and Central Coast’s state electorates there are roughly 23,850 people living with dementia, which is expected to increase to an estimated 30,400 people by 2025 and 53,550 by 2056. The survey can be found online at fightdementia.org.au.

Maree McCabe, Alzheimer’s Australia CEO

LETTER OF THE WEEK

THE pen goes to Steve Pullen, of Fullerton Cove, for his letter on the Sydney Airport air traffic control outage.