Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Friday, November 3, 2017

CHARM: Hobart's Battery Point is famous for its historic buildings but an enjoyable visit there has angered one Newcastle resident upset at the 'destruction' of the East End.
CHARM: Hobart's Battery Point is famous for its historic buildings but an enjoyable visit there has angered one Newcastle resident upset at the 'destruction' of the East End.

WE’VE just spent a few days in Hobart, staying in the historic area of Battery Point. Just like East Newcastle this adjoins the central business district but that's where the similarity ends. Battery Point's careful preservation and terrific atmosphere have made it a great place for tourists and locals to visit, creating a thriving tourist industry.

The contrast between this and Newcastle East made me sad and angry. Sad that so much of Newcastle's heritage and atmosphere is disappearing and angry that our council has so blindly and obstinately facilitated this destruction, with no thought whatsoever of how important and valuable this heritage would be. They can produce as much Supercars propaganda as they like, but nothing will paper over the destruction wrought upon Newcastle East. Future generations will shake their heads at this short-sighted vandalism.

Mark Ryan, Newcastle East

Careful with questioning

I NOTE there appears to be many questioning the legality of decisions made by ministers who have now been disqualified because of Section 44 of our Constitution. I would caution against such questioning given that historically it is probable hundreds of ministers who have served in government since 1901 were dual citizens.

We should remember that many rules regarding the retention of citizenship of another country have changed since our federation. It is also notable that to check your citizenship status in this day and age is a simple matter that was not so easy before the age of computers.

Australia's third Prime Minister Watson was born in Chile, and lived in New Zealand prior to arriving in Australia. Given the 'snail mail' in operation at the time it would be perhaps, and only perhaps, interesting to check if Watson met the requirements of Section 44? I don't believe that questioning decisions made by Ministers Nash and Joyce would serve any useful purpose so it is almost certain that someone will.

However, given that the Coalition, with the Speaker's vote, still does have a majority on the House of Representatives, calls for the speaker to follow precedent and not cast his deciding vote should be ignored, particularly following the Slipper fiasco.

Mike Sargent, Raymoind Terrace

Power costs don’t add up

AFTER the 60 cent solar payback scheme finished I decided to sign up to a six cent rebate and in that contract a new meter was to be installed, little did I realise my daily power consumption would jump from $2 a day to $7. I decided to research energy prices and came up with astounding results.

A dwelling with five residents, dishwasher, bore pump, two fridges, a commercial fridge, microwave, two TVs and the usual computers, no solar panels – $642, with discount $530. Resident two: Four residents, two teenage daughters, bore and pool pump, three TVs, electric hot water and the usual computers, electric garage door etc – total bill $700. Again no solar panels. Resident three: Four residents, gas hot water and cook top, electric oven plus the usual commodities. Now let’s carefully look at this poor person’s position. Thirty three solar panels, yes 33, plus a battery, quarterly bill $500. That’s correct 

My facts: virtually same as resident one however I also have eight solar panels, yet my bill is dearer than resident one. It does not add up. I rang and questioned this amount and they could not give me an adequate answer, nor did they give me in my opinion enough information when I was sent the contract details. It is an absolute disgrace what is occurring in this country today. There needs to be a full open inquiry into why we are being mercilessly ripped off. I and numerous others want to know.

 Alan Metcalf,  Stockton

Providing some context

DAVID Stuart’s response to my Letter (28/10) is a bit simplistic and out of context.

My objective is not to have a shot at frontline forces doing the job they are paid to do and often as all our services under staffed, but to point out that although millions of dollars have been pumped into this service, it is the simple basic things that are letting us down.

Such as, the amount of people that are let out on the streets from the parole system that should not be out, failing to take notice of the advice that Man Monis should was a dangerous person by the elders of the Islamic groups, people not up to the job of taking command and the operational vehicle not being able to be used from damage months before hand, just to name a few.

Looking at the whole picture, I don’t believe it was an unjust letter.

Allan Earl, Thornton

Play ball, not player

A BIT harsh Paul Nicod (Letters, 31/10). Over all the years I've read the Herald I've seen a lot of letters from Keith Parsons. Whether I've agreed or not, his comments have always been well reasoned and well presented. Emotional?  Sure, but what's wrong with a bit of emotion when you're passionate about your subject?

You've made the mistake of attacking the messenger and not the message. Re the rail line/corridor, not one argument presented by Mr Parsons or by people from Save Our Rail has been proven to be wrong. Light rail could run on the corridor in harmony with development and without impeding access to the foreshore. How difficult is it to cross the light rail in Sydney?

"Short term pain for long term gain" is a mantra spouted by those who don't have to suffer the pain. The extra $100 million to put the line down Hunter Street would have been better spent on other options that complemented and enlarged our system.

No matter how much spin is put on the project, it is not cost effective. So Mr Nicod, write with passion but remember to play the ball and not the player.

Rick Carter, Blackalls Park

Bring back the trundlers

OH dear, Paul Nicod, heavy rail "trundling into Newcastle" (Letters, 31/10). My family used to trundle into Newcastle, quite often, on those trains, once. Not any more – we've given up on Newcastle; it is too difficult to access. If you were as old as me, you would remember the light rail running down Hunter Street (they were trams then) and why they were taken out – traffic congestion, danger to passengers getting on and off, and the cost. Buses, much more efficient, more flexible, and safer.

I'll give the new trams 25 years, and they'll be gone too. Bring back the trundlers.

Brian Roberts, Bolton Point