Newcastle Herald letters to the editor January 29 2018

BUTT OUT: Andrew Higley is calling on Newcastle City Council to take steps to snuff out cigarette butts scattering in some of the city's most popular areas. Picture: Andrew Higley
BUTT OUT: Andrew Higley is calling on Newcastle City Council to take steps to snuff out cigarette butts scattering in some of the city's most popular areas. Picture: Andrew Higley

WHO has the responsibility or authority that may lead to acting against the enormous amount of littering by smokers in and around the city? 

As a recent arrival in Newcastle I really enjoy the vibrancy and beauty it offers, except for this dreadful scourge. This littering is literally everywhere. None of the beautiful recreation areas escape it, not the beaches, parks or adjoining areas. Many of the bulk accumulations are associated with workplace smokers, outside on footpaths, carparks or simply at the exits to fire stairs or similar. This photo is one of many examples. 

I have written to Newcastle City Council last year complaining about general littering in my residential area and pointed out the complete absence of refuse bins in the three blocks adjoining my home. I received a very technical answer that to me was not meaningful. No bins have since appeared so I assume council is satisfied with the status quo. Meanwhile, copious amounts of junk food packaging continue to accumulate.

At Stresleki lookout this week, my partner and I picked up numerous butts, wrappers, plastic and binned it but only one bin was available. Could council place more please and in the zones where most people accumulate, close to the view? 

Should the council have any role in deliberating penalties, I suggest that financial penalties be created that are meaningful. The first offence should cost $1000. Use the proceeds to advertise the serious nature of cigarette littering, educate of public and employ more street sweeps.

Andrew Higley, Newcastle West


I AM heartily sick of seeing "Revitalising Newcastle" stories about how wonderful all the changes being foisted upon our city by the state government are. Their publicity and spin for their created events to make up for the unnecesary disruption for the public and businesses because the light rail is running down Hunter Street is ridiculous. If the light rail was run down the existing rail corridor, we could avoid the pain.

I believe development of the East End and population growth would have driven the changes in the city without any of this waste of taxpayer funds for this organisation. Wasn't the election of Tim Crakenthorp supposed to be our message to government that we didn't want these changes?

Lesley Comerford, New Lambton


WHENEVER I hear about the curfews and lockout laws imposed on Newcastle pubs and clubs I’m reminded of the saying “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Clearly supporters of these laws learnt nothing from the phenomenon of the “six o’clock swill”, where venues would shut at 6pm, and patrons would drink as much as they possibly could, as fast as they possibly could. This led to many alcohol related incidents, so opening hours were increased.

Patrons were then able to pace themselves, thus dramatically reducing the amount of incidents. The only reason the laws had any effect whatsoever was because a trend emerged with less people frequenting venues out of frustration. Violent incidents still occurred as many began to drink more before going out. Problems inevitably came when everyone was forced to leave venues at the same time.

The entire notion that shutting venues two hours earlier will make everyone two hours less drunk seems a foolish one. but perhaps not as the foolish as the notion that having patrons spill out at the exact same time is stopping alcohol-related violence.

Adz Carter, Newcastle


IT was interesting to read Phillip O'Neill's article regarding Sydney's big success at the expense of the regions (Opinion, 22/1). The regions have been regularly ripped off by the Sydney monster since the 1920s. 

This has occurred irrespective of which political party has been in government at Macquarie Street. At the end of the 1920s NSW had the largest debt of any in the Commonwealth, most of which came from the Sydney transport plan including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a road network on the north shore and all of the underground rail system plus the electrification of the remainder of the rail network in Sydney. 

Some work was done to link Sydney with Newcastle by road between 1925 and 1935 but we did not have an uninterrupted road link until 1946. Why don't we return to the new state movement of the 1960s and take control of our own destiny?

Bob Kear, Charlestown


JOHN Van Der Kallen (Opinion 23/1) painted a picture of beach erosion at Stockton being caused by climate change. He should note that erosion at Stockton Beach has been a problem since a storm in 1892.  It has not occurred in just the last five decades.  

Erosion from loss of beach sand became a problem as soon as they built the northern breakwall to Newcastle Harbour in the late 1890s. Sea-level rise has varied between only about 1 and 3 mm per year since global records started about 1880. The rate hasn't changed much over those 137 years, though some people try to draw imaginative curves through the data. The "curve" was created to argue the idea that sea-rise was increasing but, if anything, the levels over the last few years have been declining. Any claim that the beach erosion problems at Stockton are due to climate change is untrue. 

Peter Devey, Merewether


BELINDA Duarte's article (“Why don’t black perspectives matter?, Opinion 24/1) perfectly reflected my opinion on why Australia Day's date should be changed. I have thought this for many years, long before the topic became so controversial. I am not indigenous, but have empathized with indigenous dispossession since discussing the topic with primary-age children while teaching at Belmont North in the 80's. 

My suggestion for a new day of celebration for every Australian lucky enough to share our beautiful country would be the first weekend in June. When the Queen dies and we finally become a republic, we can use this date. We have enough celebrating in summer, with Christmas and New Year. June would be a great time to get together.

Maybe we could bring back neighbourhood bonfires like we had for Empire Day when I was young? That would probably get knocked on the head as much too dangerous for we poor irresponsible fools that we are seen as these days. Just a thought.

Lesley Comerford, New Lambton


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