Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Monday, January 15, 2018

SPREE: We often hear that how much we spend is as an important factor in the health of the economy, but overspending can have detrimental effects on individuals.
SPREE: We often hear that how much we spend is as an important factor in the health of the economy, but overspending can have detrimental effects on individuals.

THANK you to Caitlin Fitzsimmons for your piece on the dangers of consumerism (‘Delaying spending can make you happier’, Newcastle Herald, 10/1).

I was very concerned to see how many shops were offering Afterpay before Christmas, and wonder how many people are now regretting some of those purchases.

Economists often talk about 'consumer sentiment' – how much we are spending – as an important factor in the health of the Australian economy, but overspending can have detrimental effects on our financial and mental health. Old fashioned concepts like working to a budget, spending only what you can afford and saving for larger purchases, as well as sewing and mending, enjoying the things you have already bought, op-shopping and growing your own vegetables can be rewardingly creative as well as being better for our environment.

Wendy Webb, Belmont

Listen to the ratepayers

IN his letter (Letters, 19/12/17) the CEO of Newcastle City Council, Mr Bath, spoke of the importance of community consultation. There was a decided lack of same shown in relation to the Nobbys beach change room debacle. If it wasn't for the outrage of the citizens of Newcastle in drawing this issue to the notice of Novocastrians through the pages of this newspaper I am certain there would be no change on the horizon. When a local council will not listen to its ratepayers then it deserves to be held to account and embarrassed into reconsidering its poor decisions. The Herald deserves to be commended for its reporting on this issue.  

Les Brennan, Newcastle East

Time for a can plan

I’M really sad to see that one of our great local community-minded small businesses have had to stop being an over-the-counter container collection point for the Berejiklian government’s Return and Earn scheme (‘Kicking can on recycling’, Herald, 12/1). It highlights the government’s failure to properly implement a proper container deposit scheme, particularly in regional areas like Maitland. Regional businesses who offer to collect containers shouldn’t be left with piles of containers waiting for collectors to come. 

Thank you to our community for being very understanding and supportive of Tenambit Take Away owners Darren and Jess. They’ve done a great job under extremely difficult circumstances! I am running a campaign on my Facebook page to let the government know we want a reverse vending machine in Maitland. I have also launched a petition on Change.org. 

Maitland deserves better than yet another botched Berejiklian government program which places pressure on small business owners and allows people to claim back their refund (which they have already paid for when they bought their beverages!).

Jenny Aitchison, Member for Maitland, shadow minister for small business

Clean up our baths

CONGRATULATIONS to Jeff Dawson for highlighting the filthy condition of Newcastle Ocean Baths (‘Dirty Dip’, Herald, 11/1). 

Please take it as gospel that Jeff Dawson is a good man of not too many words so when Jeff is as outspoken as he has been about the filthy condition of Newcastle Ocean Baths then Newcastle needs to take notice as Mr Dawson did not exaggerate the situation – in fact he probably was a little on the soft side.

Like Jeff Dawson I am a proud Novocastrian who has been visiting the baths for more than 60 years and, apart from one time previously have the baths been as filthy as the present condition. To the council representative who offered the reasons and excuses – please take stock – the situation has been coming for some time and the present condition does expose a complete lack of management.

C’mon council, clean this up for the sake of the proud Novocastrians and we can showcase this icon to the visitors to our great city.  

Ray Knight, Fullerton Cove

Speaking up important

I WAS surprised that Bill Storer judged my comment about the visitor information centre being closed during the holidays as a criticism of the council (Letters, 12/1).

It was not, but was more to point out how half-baked some aspects of the city have become. In the case of the VIC, this has been a long-term problem.

I recall some years ago witnessing an exchange between a tourist and an attendant at the facility. The young German asked how he could acquaint himself with the city’s then vibrant pub-music scene. He was told by the tourism officer that the only thing we do in pubs is drink beer.

Being highly embarrassed, I intervened and suggested that the Cambridge Hotel in Hunter Street West would be a good place to start. He thanked me in his perfect German high school English and left. I bet he didn’t go to the Cambo though, but straight back to Civic Station and then Sydney.

Interestingly, this holiday, the sign on the information centre door said it would reopen on the 3rd of January. Following my comment, it opened on the 2nd. So speaking up about issues can have an effect and I will not cease doing so.

Ray Dinneen, Newcastle

Fill in the holes

IN the continuing debate about Hunter Valley coalmining and its effect on people and the environment we hear about "final voids".

These are the holes left behind after the miners have taken out the coal and walked away. These are big areas, but do we appreciate just how big that really is? 

Ian Kirkwood's article ‘Mine wants more coal’ (Herald, 9/1) tells us about a mine near Singleton that wants to leave a final void of 523 hectares. "Hecta" means 100. There are 100 hectares in one square kilometre.

So the hole is over five square kilometres in surface area. If it was one kilometre wide it would be over five kilometres long with a 12 kilometre fence around it!

That's big, but to put it into perspective, and closer to home, it would include all of the following Newcastle suburbs put together. Just imagine a hole that’s about the size of Hamilton, Hamilton South, Hamilton East, The Junction, Bar Beach, Cooks Hill and The Hill all put together. That's the size of the hole that I understand they are allowed to walk away from.

That's worth fighting for!

Why doesn't our government tell them to fill it in? The United States government passed just such a law in the 1970s.

Tony Gibbs, Arcadia Vale

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