Newcastle Herald letters to the editor Wednesday January 24 2018

CLARITY: Kate Elderton is calling on the state government and the AHA, including Newcastle president Rolly de With, to be clear about their position on lockout laws.

CLARITY: Kate Elderton is calling on the state government and the AHA, including Newcastle president Rolly de With, to be clear about their position on lockout laws.

THE Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has been suggesting that it is not seeking any changes to the last drinks or lockout times. However, the fine print of their Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) request suggests otherwise. This includes that they don’t support a change “unless ILGA found that the disparity in the times (both Newcastle and Sydney) caused confusion amongst patrons – a known source of conflict”.

In addition to this lay-down misere, they also request the ability to apply for “exemptions” to enable venues to trade longer for “live” entertainment: including DJs playing recorded music. These “exemptions” clearly undermine the current effectiveness of Newcastle’s successful, sensible package of conditions. The AHA also requests that our local “measures and conditions” should align with those of Kings Cross and Sydney CBD; effectively resulting in increases in our last drinks and lockout times. It is difficult to grasp the relevance of the Sydney comparison, especially when the AHA vigorously opposed Sydney adopting our conditions prior to 2014.

I sincerely encourage the president of the local AHA branch, Mr Rolly de With, to state unequivocally that the AHA doesn’t support, or encourage, any weakening of the current Newcastle CBD closing, last drinks and lockout times. Simple, straightforward answers from the AHA and NSW government are needed immediately.

Kate Elderton, Newcastle

MORE THAN JUST A DAY OFF

IN reply to Jeff Corbett (“The division is outdated”, Herald 20/1): Jeff is with the majority of non-Indigenous Australians in his view of Australia Day as just another day off.  And that being the case, I wonder at the stridency of his defence of the date for celebrating Australia and all it means to us.  

The 26th January is for many Aboriginal people a day of remembrance of the impact of the invasion and the subsequent colonisation.  And for a growing number of non-indigenous Australians it is a day to reflect on how colonisation continues to this day.  Witness the Northern Territory Intervention, the falsehoods that continue to be perpetuated about the lack of sophistication of Aboriginal life at the time of the invasion and people such as Jeff telling Aboriginal people how they should feel.

We should celebrate Australia and being Australian and the many good things about our country and way of life.  But let us find another date to celebrate. There are many suitable alternatives. For example, the date that we became a federation, the date that Canberra was named the capital of Australia, or the anniversary of the Australia Act which formally ended Britain’s rule of Australia.

As an organisation that employs Aboriginal people and works with Aboriginal families to overcome some of the long-term effects of colonisation, we will continue to actively support a change to the date on which we celebrate all the great things about Australia.

Annette Tubnor, Family Support Newcastle CEO

SOME DRIVING ADVICE

WOULD the driver of a large white ute who on Sunday at about 1.30 pm crossed from the outside lane in Northcott Drive travelling north at the roundabout in front of the car in which I was a passenger please read the road rules governing roundabouts. 

He turned left into the outside lane of Carnley Avenue, narrowly missing the front of the car I was in by a foot. He should have gone around the roundabout to turn left as he was not in the turn left lane from Northcott Drive.

John McLennan, Charlestown

THE ART OF OVERLOOKING

PHILLIP O’Neill (“Sydney’s big success comes at expense of regional NSW”, Opinion 22/1) once again expresses the frustration that regional NSW is experiencing when it comes to state government spending on “quality social and cultural services” being restricted to the boundaries of metropolitan Sydney. Almost a year ago the Premier and her current Arts Minister gave assurances that the remaining $250m of the $600m ‘poles and wires’ cultural infrastructure fund would be prioritised to the regions. These assurances came to nought when the funding was almost entirely swallowed by a Sydney gallery project. To appease regional voters a cultural infrastructure office was set up with $100m to spend in regions over three years. Newcastle was excluded as we were told we were not regional.

It is also clear (“Safe seats the losers in $1b pork barrel cash splurge”, Sydney Morning Herald 20/1) Newcastle is further disadvantaged when it shows clearly that the lion’s share of federal government grants go to marginal electorates.

The Cultural Infrastructure Program Management Office has organised a workshop in Newcastle on January 29. I would encouraged all concerned stakeholders to attend if possible. 

Robert Henderson, The Hill

WE GET A FAIR SHARE

ONCE again we see Professor O'Neill argue the Sydney Basin is treated in a way more favourable than regional NSW.

Of particular note is O'Neill's failure to provide any dollar figure to support his claims. Instead he makes sweeping statements regarding infrastructure projects in Sydney with not a mention of infrastructure spending in regional NSW, of which there is plenty. I would ask that the Professor provide us with a dollar figure for infrastructure spending in Sydney, compared to spending in regional NSW, on a per capita basis.

Perhaps Professor O'Neill could also explain why it is that the NSW Government infrastructure spending in Newcastle is way above our per capita entitlement. 

Mike Sargent, Raymond Terrace

NO MORE MODERATES

MIKE Sargent (Letters 22/1) wrote about Anthony Albanese being a better choice as Labor leader than Bill Shorten. I agree with him, but Labor is not short of possible leaders: Tanya Plibersek, Chris Bowen and Tony Burke are all good candidates.

Malcolm Turnbull has no-one who could replace him, though plenty seek to destabilise his government. Both Turnbull and Shorten represent moderate factions within their parties but the electorate is not looking for moderates anymore.

Anthony Albanese catches the mood of many voters with his clear, no-nonsense approach. He's a good foil to Malcolm's please-everyone style.

John Butler, Windella Downs

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