Letters to the editor Friday February 9 2018

BEYOND BUSES: Ruth McFayden, of Merewether, argues she has many gripes with the bus changes but few with those on the job hearing her complaints.
BEYOND BUSES: Ruth McFayden, of Merewether, argues she has many gripes with the bus changes but few with those on the job hearing her complaints.

IN light of the total debacle which is the bus service in Newcastle at the moment, I took myself into the city, by bus, to search for the pop-up office I had heard Keolis Downer had set up in the mall.

I had written down all my complaints (I didn't want to forget any of them), and with all guns blazing and every hackle at rigid attention I approached the gentleman, sitting alone, as the face of those who have angered so many Novocastrians. I was prepared for him to be defensive, uncommunicative, even rude. What I met was politeness, help and reason. I was the one who was rude, when I said I expected him to bin my list of complaints. His answer was to ask for my personal details so he could pass the list further up the chain of command.

I'm still furious about what has happened to my life as a bus traveller, and how much it's costing me to use Uber cars because buses don't go where I want to, but I must congratulate Keolis Downer for putting such a suitable person into what must be stinker of a job. Credit where credit is due.

Ruth McFayden, Merewether

SOLUTION, NOT SYMPATHY

IT must be really gratifying for the residents of Williamtown’s red zone to learn that the banking industry extends its sympathy to them, whilst at the same time learning that they, the banking industry, is working with the federal government, the Australian Property Institute and the Insurance Council of Australia (‘Jury out on toxins: banks’, Newcastle Herald, 8/2), toward a solution. What a team. With such an outstanding group of luminaries as above “discussing” their problem, I don’t think those Williamtown red zone residents affected will see a solution of any kind in the short or long term.

Yes, these ordinary, honest, hard working people need more than the banking industry’s sympathy, they need a solution today, not in some mythical time frame and at the government’s leisure.

David Barrow, Merewether

SIFT THROUGH SAND FIGHT

IT’S about time that something permanent was done to fix the disgraceful state of affairs that has arisen on Stockton beach. The surf club is unable to put its boats in the water as there is a sheer four-metre drop to the sand where the ramp used to be. Wooden poles to which mesh has been attached to hold the shore are sticking out of the sand, and all that has been done is two-star picket fence poles have been attached to the end poles to hold them up.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald says the council needs to make application to the EPA, but I understand this has already occurred and was knocked back. Please stop playing political games. Newcastle City Council has largely been silent on the matter. Imagine if this was occurring at Merewether beach! It would have been properly fixed years ago. Nobody wants to do anything as it is a matter that has no financial benefit. Instead last November council workers moved sand from one part of an eroded beach to another part of an eroded beach, a total waste as two weeks later a large swell removed the lot.

This matter must not be kept in the background and we must continue to make our representatives accountable. If we stay silent, then they will do the same. The time for talk and band-aid solutions by Newcastle council and the state government is over. Stockton beach needs major help now, not at the eleventh hour when the situation has become beyond help.

Phillip Mallows, Stockton

BOOK IN STRETCHES

REFERRING to recent discussions on the usefulness of phone books: While I understand that many go straight to the recycling, I would like to suggest another use for the humble phone book.

I am a physiotherapist and for many years have encouraged those who suffer from cramps in their calf muscles to stretch every evening, as this is shown to reduce the incidence of painful night cramps. The Yellow Pages is a perfect aide for stretching the calf – it is adjustable in height and its pages can be fanned open so as to make an approach angle of a gentle slope for the foot to rest on. With the rear foot up hill on the phone book – heel contacting the floor at all times, knee straight and the front leg forward in a lunge position, perhaps leaning the hands on a wall – the long calf muscles can be nicely stretched out at the end of a hard day. To stretch the deeper calf muscles just gently bend the back knee to feel the stretch lower in the calf and Achilles tendon. Hold stretches for about four normal breaths and repeat three to four times each leg. 

Best use for a phone book ever.

Alan Johns, Largs

BILL, ANTHONY, IT’S TIME

ONCE again Anthony Albanese demonstrates how strangely idiotic the Labor Party's parliamentary members were to overrule the 6000 rank and file majority in the leadership election after former prime minister Kevin Rudd departed.

In his opinion piece (‘National rail plan would boost growth’, Herald, 6/2) Albanese displays vision, not just platitudes. I have long opined that Australian politicians have lost the vision for our future, instead just living in the 24-hour news cycle. We have a visionary and the ALP just continues to reject public opinion. I have said it before, and I will keep on saying, that had Anthony Albanese led the ALP at the last election Bill Shorten would now be the Minister for Employment. There are at least three ALP frontbenchers better suited to be Prime Minister of Australia than Bill Shorten. He keeps talking but no one is listening. It’s time for the ALP parliamentary members to act or they risk losing the next election.

Mike Sargent, Raymond Terrace

THE SYSTEM IS THE PROBLEM

SOME answers for Peter Devey (Letters, 7/2).  Although you won’t hear this from the Coalition, long term records show 98.8 per cent of power interruptions result from events affecting distribution or transmission systems. This was once again the case in the recent Victorian blackouts. This summer there have been a number of major generation unit failures but, assisted by the intervention of South Australia’s big battery. 

None have resulted in blackouts. The astronomical electricity costs you mention result from the design of National Electricity Market. This surely needs re-examining, although the 5.3-gigawatt capacity of wind and solar plants approved, financed or under construction is likely to help avoid extreme costs next summer.

Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi

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