Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Tuesday, April 18, 2017

CHANGES: Kayakers paddle on the harbour while a family enjoys a walk on Easter Sunday. But one reader is warning days like this are numbered. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
CHANGES: Kayakers paddle on the harbour while a family enjoys a walk on Easter Sunday. But one reader is warning days like this are numbered. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

IT was nice to see so many enjoying the foreshore and city beaches on Easter Sunday, as reported by the Herald (‘Easter Sunday brings joy to all’, Herald, 17/4). The lovely pictures did not show the afternoon traffic jam though.

It started near the Crowne Plaza and Argyle Street. It then did what has become the normal weekend walking pace loop along the foreshore and coast back to Watt Street. The culprit? Again the small closure of Bathers Way, where it is being dug up, allegedly for normal upgrades.

My concern though is not the traffic jam. It is the fact that in two weeks it is likely that lovely family scene on the foreshore for this year will be a thing of the past. How many of those happy families actually realise it?

In preparation for Supercars, many of the roads on the circuit and much of the East End will be inaccessible to suburban picnickers. Yes they can walk in but the traffic jam will shift west, where there is hardly anywhere to park. Those who manage to walk in will be greeted with streets that look like noisy disaster zones. 

We have been warning those from the suburbs of this upcoming inaccessibility for many months, only to be greeted with vilification and accusations of scaremongering, lying and worse. I hope those who have vilified East Enders, yet regularly use the foreshore, are getting prepared for their upcoming inconvenience and I hope the council is prepared for the backlash.

Merv Cooper, Newcastle

Reasons to resist change

POLLIES are not against negative gearing because of their own interests. It has been widely reported that the Labor/Greens move to stop negative gearing would not be retrospective, meaning people who are already negative gearing would not be affected, including the currently participating pollies. 

Their actual reasoning for resisting negative gearing changes are: Reduction in affordable rental supply, possible devaluing of current real estate securities and the serious affect that would have on the finance sector (GFC for example), reduction in building works and impact on that industry’s employment, to name a few. Supply needs to meet demand, like in any overheated market of any commodity. To take the easy and ignorant road of fiddling with negative gearing is fiscally dangerous and also snubbing a great opportunity we have in creating supply and expanding employment in the residential building industry.

John Gilbert, Lake Macquarie councillor

We need reliable power

ROB Murray-Leach's offering (’Coal's broken heart leads to new energy horizons’, Herald, 14/4), inferred that coal-fired electricity generation was coming to an end in Australia, like an old car. Well, old cars are usually replaced with new cars but if not, what will drive our electricity in the future?

Rob is head of policy at the Energy Efficiency Council, an NGO that promotes energy efficiency around the home. He believes there is a bunch of idle generators ready to ramp up. Maybe so, but most of those are gas plants that make power at a higher cost than coal. Since Hazelwood closed, a plant that was still producing (24/7) at 85 per cent capacity at 53 years old, power costs in eastern Australia have ramped up. He believed energy efficiency is "Australia's biggest 'baseload' power station". This is a falsehood. While energy efficiency is good, it doesn't provide power. At 4am on a cold, windless morning, energy efficiency will not keep the fridge going or provide hot water for your shower. Reliable 24/7 generators like Hazelwood do that. Wind farms and solar cells can never do that. 

This month, coal-fired power was providing 75 per cent of our electricity and on Easter Friday, wind and solar was providing 5 per cent. People should think about where we can get reliable power. We can't rely on ideology to give us hot showers.

Peter Devey, Merewether

Struggle for essentials

THE Easter long weekend has wrapped up for another year. While working people no doubt appreciated the break, essential shopping, being mainly limited to weekends, verged on the impossible and unpleasant.

Due to closure of key stores at Waratah Village on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, customers were forced to sandwich their shopping into Saturday. This put extreme pressure on available parking, access to items and checkouts. Customers appeared understanding, despite the chaos and inconvenience arising due to this outdated, restrictive practice.

Others may wonder why, in Australia, a modern, multicultural society, these outdated Christian customs must predominate over personal needs, interests and beliefs, thereby impacting on us all.

I look forward to this being addressed so as to achieve a fairer, more balanced and representative policy which ensures all cultures and groups have equal access to retail facilities and services when needed.

Bob Young, Mayfield East

Highly complex life

KEVIN McDonald raises the concept that children need to be taught critical thinking, (Letters, 13/4). I agree most people, young and old, think about such issues as: Why am I here? Is there any purpose in life?

From a scientific point of view even the simplest form of life is highly complex. If 100 of the world's best scientists were given all the chemicals they needed and were asked to produce life, they would freely admit that they were unable to do so. The impossibility of doing this is recognised in the concept of bio-genesis. A leaf on a tree in photosynthesis performs a feat which no scientist can duplicate. It receives sunlight and water from the roots and produces a whole array of substances necessary to produce stems, flowers, roots etc. 

Sadly, in many textbooks and TV programs, the view is propagated that all the wonderful design in the world took place without a designer, ie God. That which no scientist could do just happened by chance.

The result of this has had disastrous consequences. In 1960, 95 per cent of the population, according to a census, believed in God and God set the rules of how we treat fellow citizens, with respect. Then, children could walk home from school, play in the street or go exploring. Even in the evening teenage girls and women could walk in safety. Almost every child in public schools had the opportunity to attend scripture instead of the so-called ethics program where the concept is given that there are no rules and you simply act as suits you.

Ron Gibbins, Adamstown Heights


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