Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Thursday, October 12, 2017

CHOICES: Having a discussion about dying will help minimise the taboos we have around death and ensure our wishes are honoured, says one contributor.
CHOICES: Having a discussion about dying will help minimise the taboos we have around death and ensure our wishes are honoured, says one contributor.

“IN contemporary Western culture death and dying are generally regarded as something to fight against, deny, hide from public view and above all fear. But what if we were to look at them differently? Thinking about and experiencing mortality … can make our lives richer, deeper and more valuable to us.”

And so began the introduction to the workshops at the Festival of Death and Dying in Sydney last weekend. Everything from “being with your dead and dying” to “the art of holding” and “dying in the 21st century: Why has it got so hard and can we make it easier?”.

The insights these intelligent and compassionate individuals brought forward gave me some serious food for thought.

We are often reminded of the gratitude we should show in life when our individual circumstances prove to be so much better than others. Why not so in death then? Should not wishing for and achieving a ‘good’ death also instill some gratitude in us? Dying in a safe, comfortable environment with our loved ones around and us and with adequate pain relief would to me be a ‘good’ death. Being stabbed to death alone in the Belanglo State Forrest by Ivan Milat would not.

Having this discussion with those we love prior to their passing will not only minimise the taboos we have around death and dying but also ensure their wishes are honoured and fulfilled. Something I think we should all embrace.

Megan Askar, Telarah

Get NBN up to speed

HOW can we take the announcement of the new ‘NBN Local’ service (‘Local team set up for NBN help’, Newcastle Herald, 10/10) seriously when no local resident or business is able to contact them about their NBN issues? I’m very concerned this may be little more than a public relations exercise designed to paper over the catastrophe that Malcolm Turnbull has created with his second-rate network.

Sadly, no amount of smoke and mirrors will be able to address the real problem – that the Turnbull government has spent billions of dollars of precious public money on an inferior technology that is holding our region and our economy back.

NBN Local is a clear admission that the NBN rollout in regional Australia has been an unmitigated disaster.

From day one, the copper-based NBN rollout in Newcastle has been plagued by crawling speeds, persistent dropouts, failed connections and installation dramas, and I see no sign of this abating. 

Until the Turnbull government directs NBN to halt its inferior copper network in favour of more fibre, it will never meet community expectations. 

Sharon Claydon, Federal Member for Newcastle

Bathurst is different

WHAT an insult to Hunter Valley residents that has come from Bathurst's mayor in his attempt to compare the Bathurst race track and its benefits with Newcastle's situation (‘Bathurst offers race advice’, Herald, 6/10). 

It is well known Mt Panorama is outside Bathurst, a purpose-built track.

What is also well known is Bathurst is Australia's oldest inland city and the historic capital of the Central West. It has had the foresight to protect its heritage and its wonderful Machattie (Central) Park, enhance its historical CBD and as a result attract tourists year round.

Sydney, Australia's oldest city did the same at The Rocks, and Hobart, the second oldest, also enhanced the Salamanca Place precinct. All the above places attract sustainable year-round tourism.

Newcastle, Australia’s third oldest and extremely significant city, made a start in the form of plaques and walks around the CBD and throughout the significant State Heritage listed Coal River Precinct on the foreshore. Only to then rip its soul and heart to shreds for a three-day event. 

While some may disagree with me, Newcastle's oldest street Watt Street, in my opinion, now looks cheaper and nastier than ever. Yes the footpaths needed an overhaul but to put cheap black tar there instead of pavers or the like, then boast about it, is another insult. It looks like a rushed experimental subdivision gone wrong.

Mayor Hanger says we must "suck it up”. He is lucky his historical city never got "sucked in" to the mess Newcastle now faces. I would doubt very much he would be able to convince his constituents that Bathurst's  Machattie Park should be ripped up, and that the Bathurst 1000 should run through the CBD permanently detracting from the historical nature of the of the Central West's capital.

Christian Patteson, Hawks Nest 

Parking to become a pain

WE have lived in Adamstown for the last 19 years. We live in a very narrow street that is a dead end. During this time, everyone in the street has parked with two wheels on the footpath for convenience and to make it easier for cars to manoeuvre. We know this is illegal but it makes it easier for cars, garbage trucks etc. Traffic in the street is minimal being mainly residents and visitors.

Someone who visited the street has complained to the council that we park illegally. A parking ranger came out and spoke with a couple of residents telling them he was there to give everyone a warning that we are no longer to park on the footpath and that he would come around and book anyone who parks on the footpath in the future.

We have not hurt anyone, if anything we have made it easier for other traffic that comes into the street. Commonsense is to do what we have been doing for as long as my neighbour, who has been in the street for 35 years, has done. Unfortunately because of one person commonsense is out the window and our quiet little street may never be the same again. Thank you.

Bruce Cook, Adamstown

Effective but wrong

TALK about getting Aboriginal people coming and going. As a non-indigenous Australian, I'm once again ashamed of how well colonisation continues to disempower our first people. You take over someone's country by force, occupy it and crush continued resistance, herd survivors onto missions and reserves, take their children and forbid them from speaking their languages and practicing their culture. Then, when they finally manage to win acknowledgement of their long occupation through Native Title, you decide to make them prove continuing cultural practices, which you have made impossible. An effective policy? Definitely. Moral and ethical? I don't think so.

Anne Horadam, Maitland