Newcastle Herald letters to the editor January 18 2018

COOKING UP: Entrepreneur Dante Valentinis plans to overcome council hurdles, including food safety regulations, that shut his cart down. Picture: Dave Anderson
COOKING UP: Entrepreneur Dante Valentinis plans to overcome council hurdles, including food safety regulations, that shut his cart down. Picture: Dave Anderson

BRAVO and good on you, Dante Valentinis, for having a go.

Brickbats to council for their lack of encouragement to this young entrepreneur.

The story of Dante opening his very unusual coffee wagon at Bar Beach (‘Squabble over coffee cart’, Newcastle Herald, 16/1) deserves praise but also reminded me of my own dealings with council when I attempted to open a hot potato shop in Darby Street in the early 1980s.

I had seen this idea in Victoria while on a short holiday and thought that it would go well in Newcastle. Hot potatoes were being sold all over Victoria, mostly outdoors. I approached Newcastle council for advice but received little, just a brochure regarding regulations from their Food Surveillance Unit.

A council officer at our request came to look at the building so we could find what modifications were needed to the building before we opened. I recall his remarks were that we would probably fail selling food in Darby Street, and went on to say that we should just modify the building and remove and re-do it if it did not suit the regulations. There was no encouragement or assistance.

The business succeeded in spite of council’s hurdles because of sheer hard work and persistence. We were forbidden to do what they do in Victoria and the rest of the world, to prepare and sell food outdoors.

We were told that eating outdoors was unhealthy. They obviously did not know about barbecues.

It should be noted that the businesses in Victoria were assisted by their local councils, even helping to designing a perspex box to hold ice and contain the cold fillings. Dante has gone a step further and has installed a generator.

Very little changes with our council, but I wish Dante the very best. He has shown a lot of initiative but will need a lot more persistence. We all need food standards, no arguments there, but we may need encouragement and assistance to help small business in Newcastle.

Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield

Praise for top Aussies

EVERY day is Australia Day for me but never more than January 15, 2018. I watched the news recently and, as someone with 34 years in the field of emergency services, I feel I've never been more proud than I was to watch the succession of stories about the dreadful crash on the M1, the locating and the rescue of the young man in the motor vehicle crash and the bushfire at Tomago.

There were our heroes, professional and unpaid, as they worked together.  

They didn't distinguish between the people they saved on the grounds of religion, colour, racial origin, gender or any other element.  

They never distinguish between the idiots and the unfortunate, they just rescue them be it incredibly hot or freezing cold.  

And they don't very often get to make speeches about how good they are and what great work they do, unlike some of our more loathsome public figures.

I dips me lid to you, ladies and gentlemen.

Tim Egan, Scone

When refugees came

I THINK the 26th of January was not an invasion but more a large wave of refugees arriving from a place where there was starvation, capital punishment, imprisonment, unemployment and discrimination on idealogical grounds such as the Tolpuddle Martyrs. 

Similar groups were displaced by the tyranny of ruthless land owners. Georgian England and Ireland were in a time of great suffering of the working class and Australia happened to be their destination. 

Tony Richards, Tighes Hill

Time to buy, not sell

GEOFF Black's letter on privatisation (Letters, 16/1) raises the answer in clear terms as to why Newcastle Buses have implemented such an illogical timetable. 

The sooner we all face the facts regarding the huge disadvantage of privatisation of our services and assets, then the sooner we can put the brakes on and even perform a U turn.

In my opinion, very little benefit to the people has come from privatisation at any stage.

While there have been success stories in community housing and employment services, I believe virtually every other privatisation strategy has become obvious as a cash fix for desperate governments who pander to a big end of town institution with a low sale price, dropping everyday people into the deep end with rising usage prices, reduced services and the scourge of job losses.

I am hoping that with the huge wake up call we have had with the Newcastle bus service privatisation, that many more people awake to the need to stop the sell-offs and commence a program of acquisition and rebuilding of our asset and service base.

John Gilbert, councillor, Lake Macquarie City Council


I REFER to Karen Nottingham’s excellent letter (Letters, 9/1) entitled ‘Secret to better school results is not in the classroom’. I suggest it happens well before the classroom.

May I illustrate this from personal experience? When I married in 1967, there followed two pregnancies, little girls. Very much against my will I stayed home to look after them.

I had a breakdown as I was ambitious for a career. My love for them won the day despite my suffering. What love I gave them was enough to provide a solid sense of confidence in themselves and in their abilities to conquer the world.

Karen is right, so very right, about the problem of reducing poverty. Politicians haven’t got a clue about the problems ordinary people face.

After my breakdown I never did get a proper paying job, but have worked for many years as a volunteer in a church charity where we see many one parent families. The kids involved are invariably behind the eight ball from the word “go”.

They lack self esteem, have poor educational performance, no ambition, no future and a bleak outlook.

My kids were lucky. I have come to see that the breakdown was the best thing that ever happened to me and I do my bit for Australia by being not only a devout Christian and follower of Jesus, but a dedicated, passionate and committed socialist.

I thank Karen for her insightful, timely and accurate letter.

Margaret McLellan, Cardiff


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