Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, October 23, 2017

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Work to ready Newcastle for the Supercars event is well advanced near the city's much-loved Foreshore Park. Picture: Marina Neil
UNDER CONSTRUCTION: Work to ready Newcastle for the Supercars event is well advanced near the city's much-loved Foreshore Park. Picture: Marina Neil

OUR Newcastle Foreshore Park has now been transformed into a prison yard. This is for approximately 50 days for the benefit of an out of area, private company “Supercars” to hold a three-day event.

It also appears to me to be a Queensland company erecting the fences. Where is the money we were all promised would improve Newcastle? This park was once a venue for birthday parties, weddings, picnics, markets and school excursions. There were always people walking, gyming and making their way to our magnificent beaches.

None of this is now possible and visitors to our city just stare at us mouths agape. Please make an effort to view this catastrophe and contact your local councillors, Destination NSW and the Premier so that this devastation doesn’t occur again in the future.

Kay Charge, Newcastle East

City’s great, stop whinging

WOULD Newcastle naysayers please get off their bikes and shut up about the revitalisation of our city? I am a sixth-generation Novocastrian, and my early memories growing up in Bolton Street in the 1950s next to the Newcastle Morning Herald offices were grimy ones, with smoke from the local power station at Nobbys, BHP, all the other industries and workshops around Mayfield, Tighes Hill, Wickham and Carrington.

It's completely different now; almost every week there's a new construction crane, and congratulations to Newcastle council for keeping things moving forward, including the 500 Supercars Series. 

Get with it, our city is looking great.

Mike Eggleston, Merewether

Roads aren’t private

I WAS appalled to receive a letter from Supercars explaining the road restrictions that will be in place in Stockton over the race weekend. Isn't it council's responsibility to determine public land and road use restrictions? Why isn't council providing residents and ratepayers with an information session about these changes? Why is Supercars the point of contact for this information? Shame on you Newcastle City Council. Passing off your duties to a private company intent on making a profit out of public space is unacceptable behaviour by local government. Is Supercars raking in the money for this newly-declared user-pays parking? Who are they to tell us what is and isn't permitted on public roads well away from the race zone?

Patricia Johnson, Stockton

Churches not businesses

I’M no fan of churches, but Pat Garnet doesn’t seem to understand how the tax system works (Letters, 19/10). Churches have no shareholders, so nobody is enriched by the “profits” that they make. They do not distribute profits to individuals or companies. Nobody benefits from the capital gain in church assets. Nobody can buy or sell shares in church operations. People employed by churches (as with all charities) pay tax on their income.

Like it or not, religious organisations shoulder a significant amount of the social welfare burden – be it through homeless shelters, soup kitchens, schools, pre-schools or other social assistance. The benefit to the taxpayer if very likely a net gain. There is no sensible way to tax churches as if they were businesses – because they are not. 

People so concerned about tax avoidance would do well to worry about the 50 per cent of households that receive more in welfare than they will ever pay in tax.

Scott Hillard, New Lambton

Voiceless meeting

WITH considerable cynicism, I decided to attend Newcastle council's Public Voice Session about the future of the rail corridor. Cynicism because the whole rail corridor process has been one of the more opaque schemes I've encountered: characterised by conflicts of interest, half-truths, lies, obfuscations and make-it-up-as-you-go plans. 

Although I was annoyed when I arrived early to be told the chamber was full and all I could do was watch the meeting on video in an overflow room, there was also a sense of relief that I could escape a likely futile meeting and watch the webcast at home. On my way home, I reflected how cosy the Public Voice approach is for bureaucrats. No need to bother their heads about the thousands of Novocastrians who took to the streets two years ago to protest the rail corridor's potential demise. Or waste time on the commitment by the then premier, Mike Baird, that the result in the Newcastle seat at the last state election would represent a referendum on the fate of the corridor. Just have a nice Public Voice meeting and then sail ahead and do what Landcom (UrbanGrowth) and their developer mates want.

Raoul Walsh, The Junction

China facing struggles too

I AGREE wholeheartedly with Alan Metcalf (Letters, 18/10) that basic change is needed in Australian politics. However, I think the Chinese leadership is adequately occupied by struggles at home.

Anyone who grew up during the ‘cold war’ has experienced relentless mendacious propaganda about communism. The worst of our politicians still spew this garbage as they attempt to destroy the working class by offshoring jobs. Where, in this country, will we find stalwart citizens who are ready to eject the business agents from the corridors of power and champion the working class, especially those who are unemployed by the machinations of capitalist greed?

In the past Australia has had a strong Communist Party. It has been diminished by harassment, lies, and interference from the cliques of self-interested money addicts. One can hope it will grow to provide the leadership we need to overcome the disasters caused by divisive politicians. Then again, the current batch of manipulators will probably outsource our governance to the Chinese Communist Party anyway.

Peter Ronne, Woodberry

Fix past wrongs, now

I WRITE in strong support of Anne Horadam (Letters, 12/10.)  I invite all electors to call on their members of Parliament to press the government in order to effect legislative changes necessary for implementing the Uluru Statement made by the national gathering of indigenous Australians earlier in the year. This called for greater representation of indigenous Australians in Parliament and changes to the Constitution to recognise, respect, accept and further indigenous languages, art, culture, identity and spirituality. Urgent action is necessary to redress past wrongs in the name of justice and the human rights of indigenous Australians.

George Garnsey, Morpeth