Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Thursday, January 4, 2018

LINED UP: Passengers wait for a bus at the Newcastle Interchange during the Supercars race in November.
LINED UP: Passengers wait for a bus at the Newcastle Interchange during the Supercars race in November.

I WONDER how many people realise they may lose their bus service in the name of progress (‘Keolis releases new bus timetable’, Newcastle Herald, 3/1). I have read that there are going to be many additional services provided but that appears to be at the expense of others, with services cancelled or routes altered - some that have operated for 30 years. My husband and I are seniors and we have used the 106/107 bus, but we now find that our bus service is going to be changed and will not be coming into Casuarina Circuit at all.

There has been no notification to residents. We live in Warabrook and did not know anything about this - until we saw the red signs on the bus stops saying that this will no longer run in the circuit, except for school buses. I do not think this is fair to elderly people like ourselves, and people with mobility problems who cannot walk the extra distance to the new bus stops. 

This will affect about four bus stops in the circuit - one near the Baptist care, the aged units and many other people without any consideration at all.

Frances Cook, Warabrook

Power and failure

RICHARD Mallaby (Letters, 1/1) wrongly stated that I suggested coal as the only way of producing reliable electricity. Nuclear and gas-fired stations are also reliable but coal is cheaper than either of those. 

Blackouts caused by falling power-lines have occurred in South Australia where a high reliance on wind farms, which turn-off in high winds, led to a state-wide power failure. 

A similar severe storm 50 years ago in SA resulted in no state-wide blackout. 

There is no evidence of increasing frequency and severity of such storms. 

Demand exceeding supply is more likely with wind and solar, as either become unavailable through the day. Ageing coal-fired power stations are still more reliable than wind and solar. 

As we found out with Hazelwood in its last days. The Australian Energy Market Operator even states that solar/wind are 5 per cent reliable and thermal is 95 per cent reliable. 

What evidence do you have that wind and solar are cheaper than coal power? 

Remember to add in the huge cost of renewable subsidies when you do that for wind and solar. You say that there are 22,000 sites available for pumped hydro but there may be 200,000 sites available for thermal power, all close to urban areas – unlike hydro sites that need to be in isolated or regional mountainous areas. 

Pumped hydro or batteries generate no power and only store power generated from somewhere else, if available. 

If you are worried about ageing coal-fired power stations, build some new ones. 

Sixty-two other countries are doing just that. Why can't Australia do the same?

Peter Devey, Merewether

King coal is a mainstay

A MENTION of 22,000 sites available in Australia where hydro pump power can be generated as an alternative to coal, l believe is possible but never probable or practical (Letters, 1/1).

Considering the present Snowy River Hydro scheme is said to cost in excess of $4 billion, just 100 of the same would send Australia bankrupt.

Renewables will always have a place, but king coal will be the mainstay for a very long time, like it or not. 

It's a fact of the survival of life and everything that supports and provides the lifestyle we enjoy and won't do without.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

Newcastle has UN form

AS the year ends it's pleasing that Newcastle was declared a United Nations city. However, it has happened before. 

Twenty years ago, as part of the Shortland Bicentenary commemoration, an international conference was held in Newcastle called Pathways to Sustainability, based on the Agenda 21 program.

Council planner Dr Mike Mouritz was responsible for the initial idea and it was warmly supported by all councillors, except (I think) one.

It was a great success and backed-up by an Actions for Sustainability program in Civic Park, led by Greens councillor Liz Rene and future councillor Ian McKenzie. 

Internationally renowned Canadian environmental scientist Dr David Suzuki said Newcastle was the world's greenest, most environmentally-aware council.

The result of the conference, called the Newcastle Declaration, was tabled at the United Nations General Assembly.

Keith Parsons, Newcastle

Call to back alcohol law

I ENCOURAGE Newcastle City Council’s new chief executive officer to adopt a more independent view of the future of our own local life-saving package of sensible alcohol reforms. 

Mr Bath’s views (‘Who will be making headlines in the Hunter in 2018?’, Weekender, 23/12) reflected in part, those of Mr De With for the AHA (‘Community comes of age in decade of great change,’ Herald, 9/12) who sought a watering down of our successful conditions and “parity” because our town had “matured” evidenced by recently hosting a Supercar race and the loss of a rail line.

Imagine weakening uniform speed restrictions in school zones and RBT because it had worked so well over the past decade in reducing road deaths and injuries.

With respect, the real opportunity for Mr Bath in his new substantive role as council’s CEO is to support our local police and other emergency workers’ calls (‘City is moving forward, so let’s not take a step back’, Herald, 16/12) for the retention of the integrity of the package of our Newcastle conditions. 

Mr Bath can become our champion for further improved and sustained public and police safety that has been the major catalyst for business prosperity, jobs, diversity, popularity and renaissance of our night-time economy.

Tony Brown, Newcastle

Buck stops with Turnbull

PROBLEMS with the NBN continue as the network rolls out further.

Telstra, Optus and other providers continue to cop the brunt of the flack from disgruntled customers.

People should remember that the mastermind of this debacle is Malcolm Turnbull, he was the one who cut funding to the original model.

The buck stops with him.

Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana