IT is indeed very disturbing that police were tasked with monitoring a bus tour to The Drip gorge earlier this month (“Questions for NSW government after police ‘monitor’ tour bus”, Herald 19/2). However I am willing to guarantee that this would not have been a decision by the local police commander, an observation supported by the presence of a highway patrol and a rescue squad vehicle in the photograph. I don’t believe the local commander would have authority to deploy the rescue squad.
In my view this whole thing is a further indication of the steps the NSW government will take to discredit anybody opposed to coal mining and, while the government cannot direct police operational deployment, the relevant minister could “request” that the police take an interest in this harmless group. After all, it is now apparently government policy to lock up anybody who gets in the way of mining.
A few years ago I wrote a piece for the Herald extolling the beauty and grandeur of The Drip gorge. I again urge people to go up there, walk through this wonderful piece of nature, and make up their own minds about its value. Just don’t announce your intention online, or you might inadvertently take more police away from their real work.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
CART IS BEFORE THE HORSE
AS a former hotelier, I find it hard to understand why the government and the police refuse to admit the solution to alcohol-related violence. In my view it’s certainly not the current solution of punishing the vast majority of responsible people that go out and enjoy themselves, regardless of what time a venue closes, without causing trouble. It’s always the few, usually drug-affected, imbeciles that cause the trouble.
I think the old system of barring offenders from all liquor and sporting outlets, including bottle shops, by law is the only way. Sensible penalties like six months for the first offence, a year for the second, five years third and then life, coupled with a progressive rate of fines for repeat offenders, makes the perpetrators pay the penalty for their own actions. The current laws are the same as fining every Holden car owner for some idiot that gets caught speeding in one, or fining the car dealer if you get caught.
Brian Crooks, Scone
SILOS DO MORE THAN STORE
WHILE spending time on the Honeysuckle foreshore I often enjoy the view of our industrial harbour, watching the incredible sight of enormous freight ships coming and going, while also thinking what a terrible eyesore the associated industry facilities are and how much better it would be without them. Recently I came across a project in regional Victoria, the Silo Art Trail. The project celebrates the rich history of the region and its small towns through an outdoor gallery of murals painted on old agricultural silos. This made me think, why couldn’t we have this in Newcastle? Instead of shaming the industry that is a key driver in our economy for its ugliness, why not embrace it with a similar project and make it something the whole city can enjoy by showcasing local artists and attracting broad attention?
What a perfect canvas this could be, in a prominent location and visible to all users of the city. It would be at the doorstep of arriving cruise ships, with the working harbour on one side and the emerging CBD on the other. Better yet, the company that partnered with the artists in Victoria is the same one that owns the silos in Carrington.
Dylan Mitchell, Valentine
REFLECTIONS ON THE CREEK
READING Scott Bevan's special feature (“Flowing back to Throsby Creek”, Weekender 17/2) made me very proud on at least three levels.
The first was to remember the utter mess the creek was in when I spent my early undergraduate years nearby at the eminently forgettable Tighes Hill campus, as against what the creek is now.
Second was how wonderful it is to live in an area such as we do (I mean our beautiful twin cities, beaches and lake). Five years overseas taught me a lot about appreciating the beauty of our home.
And thirdly, I realised again how fortunate I am to belong to a club (The Gerund Club) which has Mr Bevan as its patron. That is both a privilege and an honour.
Donald Matthews, Fennell Bay
HIT BRAKES ON FUEL PRICES
HAVING worked for a large fuel wholesaler and retailer, I know that fuel wholesale prices increase by one or two cents at a time, not the 10, 20 or 30 cents we are seeing now.
The government cannot control what a free enterprise private company charges for a product, but I feel that they could legislate that the maximum increase cannot exceed five cents in a 24-hour period.
This would allow the unsuspecting motorist to see an increase coming and fill up, as well as ruling out the shock increases. As decreases are in one or two cent increments, I believe this would be fair.
But will the state government do this? A $5 increase per tank equals 50 cents more GST and so on. It may be that the great state of Sydney is in need of more roads and sporting stadiums, so they need the extra GST generated?
Scott Sanders, Teralba
THE WRONG HILL TO FIGHT ON
IF people find the Sydney Football Stadium and the Olympic Stadium uncomfortable, it's only for three or four hours maybe every three weeks. If sports fans can't hack that, then they aren't real sports fans.
In days gone by people spent hours shoulder to shoulder on barren hills. The atmosphere was great. If someone proposed the demolition of the SCG Members' Stand because it looks old and outdated, they would be howled down!
It seems our government wants to leave a legacy. Demolishing and rebuilding two perfectly good venues rarely filled to capacity is not the way to do it. If they really do return a billion dollars each per annum, spend the money where it's really needed. Common sense is really lacking on this issue.
Lee Craddock, Warners Bay
WE’RE STILL BANGING ON
EXTREMELY interesting article by Phillip O’Neill (“Hearing not the only thing lost in the urban din”, Herald 19/2). It started me thinking of the excessive noise produced by many diverse machines, especially in the building industry. You would think that with new inventions, modern research and new digital technology, there would be at least some reduction in the huge noise produced by many types of machine.