Letters to the editor February 2 2018

SOAK IT IN: Reader Anne Horadam, of Metford, says discussions about Australia's history must be based on facts and evidence.
SOAK IT IN: Reader Anne Horadam, of Metford, says discussions about Australia's history must be based on facts and evidence.

IT’S great to see such vibrant discussion of our country's history and how to celebrate it. It's also essential to base our opinions on facts and evidence. Indigenous people of a country are those who were the first to live there and their descendants. Most of us are native to Australia because we were born here, but not necessarily indigenous. 

There has been speculation about what life would be like for our first people without foreign colonisation. Almost certainly it would have continued to develop as it did for the first 60,000 years or so. Over 200 nations speaking hundreds of languages would engage in firestick farming, aquaculture, grain harvesting and storage, trade, building appropriate dwellings, wearing whatever clothing suited the climate, following religious and cultural practices, caring for and educating their families.

Early European explorers saw and recorded all this civilisation, but their writings were edited to tell a certain story. Now that the truth of our country's entire human history can be told, why not listen and be proud? 

Anne Horadam, Metford

Fish escape in focus

I WOULD like to provide some further facts to your readers following the front page article in the Newcastle Herald (‘The 20k that got away’, Herald, 1/2). The NSW Department of Primary Industries is committed to getting more NSW seafood on consumers’ plates. Currently, 85 per cent of the seafood purchased NSW is imported from interstate and overseas, however trials like this could help turn that alarming statistic around.

The Huon Marine Aquaculture Research Lease in Providence Bay at Port Stephens is a trial to assess the viability and sustainability of yellowtail kingfish aquaculture in sea pens. This trial uses world-first technology and puts NSW on track to increasing our supplies of quality and sustainable seafood.

Investigations into the damage of one of Huon Aquaculture’s five sea pens are ongoing to determine what led to the escape. Fortunately, more than 3000 farmed yellowtail kingfish have been recovered by Huon Aquaculture.

Huon Aquaculture is currently researching the behavioural and feeding responses of the escaped fish. A summary of the findings will be made publicly available once finalised and the recommendations arising from the incident review will be integral in amending current management practices.

I also want to remind your readers that we have Fisheries officers in the area currently enforcing a temporary fishing closure for commercial and recreational fishers, under Section 8 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994. The temporary closure up to and including February 7 will allow Huon Aquaculture to complete sea pen infrastructure and mooring repairs as well as the recapture of yellowtail kingfish following storm damage to the research lease.

Dr Geoff Allan, deputy director general, Fisheries NSW, Department of Primary Industries

NO NEED TO GO BACKWARDS

IT is very disappointing to read that Newcastle City Council is supporting a return to the bad old days of Newcastle’s violent late nights. Who are these responsible venues, and will they stay responsible as all those wanting to fuel up will head to these venues that allow more drinks? Who is responsible for these patrons when the venues close and turn them out on the streets fuelled on shots and cocktails?  The police, the ambos and the public have to bear the brunt of it. 

When people are once again too frightened to go out after dark in Newcastle to restaurants and bars, and these start to suffer financially and close down, maybe then Newcastle City Council can be held responsible for these people losing their businesses. Newcastle is not Kings Cross and I think the Newcastle solution that has made our city a pleasant place to live will soon be destroyed if these changes go ahead.

Denise Pollock, Newcastle 

NO JOY IN TREE CHANGE

I BELIEVE the removal of all trees in Council Street in Cooks Hill is part of a broader project by Newcastle City Council to change the character and purpose of this street. It has become a theme of Newcastle to remove the canopy of inner city suburbs and replace it, eventually, with a vastly inferior streetscape. 

No doubt the council will hide behind the tired old defence that they are protecting local residents. This will surely be trotted out in the next couple of weeks as it was with Laman Street, Swan Street and Carrington.

I watched the trees being cut down this week. It is a very loud, aggressive and confronting experience to watch these grand old pieces of history destroyed. Residents understand the need for some to be removed due to the drainage repairs, but requests to leave a small number have been ignored. Whilst it is sad to see them taken down, I find it particularly galling that Newcastle City Council can destroy one of the last pieces of green canopy in the inner city and intend to replace these trees with poor substitutes. Council representatives have stated that one benefit of removing the trees will be to create more parking spaces in a suburb which has become a parking lot. They want more traffic to flow through Cooks Hill with the removal of the blockage. All this without the consent of local residents.

Phil McKnight, Cooks Hill

CONTRACTS MUST BE BINDING

AFTER going through the full process required, the Newcastle Local Environmental Plan became law. In deliberations in the Land and Environment Court, completion of this process is identified as a contract between the government and the public.

We, in our retirement, purchased our home after ensuring the zoning in our neighbourhood was residential where activities, incompatible with acceptable residential amenity, are prohibited.

Apparently it was a waste of time. Supercars-related months of noise, disruption and degradation of air quality hit our neighbourhood without any semblance of the public process required by legislation to change existing zonings. Newcastle City Council and Parliament, in my view, are complicit in a breach of contract with me, my family and the public in general. A similar dismissive approach to contracts in the corporate world would never be countenanced. This apparent breach of contract could be redressed by relocating this event onto a purpose-built circuit on industrially-zoned land on the northern edge of the city. This may help restore some public faith in government, and the planning instruments upon which the public once believed they could rely.

Dick Marr, Newcastle

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