Letters to the editor Thursday February 1 2018

TALL ORDER: Residents protesting the Telstra tower at Caves Beach in December last year. Ruth Longworth argues its height and network coverage are problematic.

TALL ORDER: Residents protesting the Telstra tower at Caves Beach in December last year. Ruth Longworth argues its height and network coverage are problematic.

THE residents of this scenic beachside coastal town that attracts many visitors to its ancient caves will be shocked when Telstra erects its 37-metre high communications tower, which was approved by Lake Macquarie Council just before Christmas (“Rage against the machine”, Herald 19/12).

I believe Telstra has blindsided both council and residents alike to have their approval whisked through prior to the holiday break. They claim that their mobile base station tower, equivalent to a 12-storey high-rise, will have little or minimal visual impact on the community. 

The council approved the Telstra proposal by allowing a 400% height increase over current planning requirements with a nil setback from the adjoining property boundary. Many locals could not understand the absurdity of the location, particularly when this site will not give the required coverage needed in the area and is certainly not at the optimum elevation. It appears that billion-dollar corporates have the power to bulldoze decisions through council, without any regard for residents. All in the name of the almighty dollar! 

Coincidentally, Telstra had several other towers approved by local councils in the month of December, resulting in much community disapproval in each case. 

Ruth Longworth, Caves Beach

IT’S A MATTER OF DESIRE

OUR cricket heroes are looking for answers after a humiliating loss in the one-day series. Cricket is no different than in any other sport, where the best players do not necessarily win. It seems it is the players that want to win the most who often surprise themselves with a win. 

Australia had already proved they were the best in the Ashes series. While they had nothing more to prove, the English players had every thing to prove. Their need was simply that much greater. 

Their annihilation of Australia, who were still in la-la land, was of no surprise. To me it was almost expected, as we often see it in competitive rivalry between the two nations. 

I would suggest resting all Test players for the one-day series to give the up-and-coming younger players the chance they need to show how good they are . Football coaches rest their best, so why is cricket so different?

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek 

AN INTEREST IN CONFLICT

I HAVE mixed feelings about Prime Minister Turnbull’s announcement about building and exporting more Defence material. More manufacturing in Australia is good, and I don’t think many would argue with that.

The confusing thing is, when did this government first decide manufacturing was a good thing for the jobs and therefore the economy? 

The United States has kept their economy alive with the manufacture of weapons and motor vehicles for many years. It has been widely believed that the US needs a war somewhere in the world to be going on at all times to keep their economy alive, and the supply of arms to both sides of a conflict has been ongoing. I thought it was worth billions of dollars, but from figures thrown around today that number is in the trillions.

Does this mean that if Australia becomes one of the world leaders in defence weapons that we will be an active supporter of conflict to help our economy?

Fred McInerney, Karuah

NOT EVERY DOLLAR IS LOST

I WRITE in relation to the front page story (“$4.4b punted”, Herald 29/1). The actual amount of money lost in poker machines, as reported in the body of the article, is $376 million – which is $4.024 billion less than the headline suggests.

The headline figure is the amount turned over in machines – including the amounts won and then re-invested before players withdraw their winnings. I believe suggesting that “more than $1.7 billion was put through” poker machines in the Newcastle local government area is misleading. The actual expenditure figure is $144 million – a fraction of the figure reported in the article.

NSW has one of the lowest rates of problem gambling in the world. In fact, the problem gambling prevalence rate in the Hunter is 0.5 per cent of the adult population – lower than the state average of 0.8 per cent. Registered clubs are not-for-profit and exist for community benefit. There are 120 clubs in Newcastle and the Hunter, with over 652,000 memberships and 3700 employees. These clubs pay $46 million in taxes annually and provide a $99 million social contribution, which includes funding for schools, hospitals and a variety of worthy causes.

Anthony Ball, Clubs NSW chief executive

MANUFACTURING BACKFIRE

THANK goodness someone has the nous to solve our insecurity pervading the country. I was very interested to hear the government is going to invest in the defence industry, with the purpose of selling the stuff to the highest bidder. However after reading in another newspaper the sad record we have in producing such items as choppers and submarines, I was thinking this would be the ideal way to safeguard our country, as the weapons we sell to our future enemy will surely malfunction, wreaking vast damage to their campaign to harm us.

Alternatively, we should keep the wire rope across the highway from Darwin, which will be pulled tight when the invaders come marching, and they all fall over stabbing themselves with the bayonets held high. Either solution gives me hope we are in safe hands. Could we have a list of Christopher Pyne’s achievements before you say something negative about my proposal?

Erwin Zehentner, Singleton Heights

MISSED DIRECTIONS

A NEWCASTLE friend has invited me to lunch at Customs House. As I like to travel by public transport, her suggestion is this:

From Sydney get the intercity train to the inappropriately placed Newcastle interchange. Good luck finding a taxi, as there is no signage and therefore no customers so the taxis don’t stop there. You could catch the light rail, but it won’t arrive until just after the next Newcastle 500 and just before the March 2019 election. Are her facts correct?

Narelle Callanan, Bondi Beach

A BACKWARDS STEP

THE point of Newcastle CBD’s late night liquor laws are that by limiting the sale of liquor late at night alcohol-fuelled violence is reduced then. Irrespective of the advice of the police and health representatives, the council seems to be proposing to ‘reward’ smaller venues by allowing them to sell more alcohol. Go figure.

Susie Johnson, Adamstown

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