THE Australian Hotels’ Association (AHA) application to the NSW government to “vary or revoke” the package of Newcastle’s life-saving alcohol licensing conditions has created a regrettable rift through our town.
On one side we have our police, nurses, doctors, paramedics and internationally acclaimed independent alcohol harm prevention researchers seeking to retain and strengthen the conditions. On the other the AHA, NSW government through Liquor & Gaming NSW and Newcastle council all seek to substantially weaken or dismantle key elements of the Newcastle conditions on the basis the city has allegedly matured, cutting red tape or matching Sydney’s weaker provisions.
Let an informed community be the judge which group has public interest and safety at heart. We cannot further compromise on public and police safety.
Herein lies the rub. Our existing 140 per cent increase in smaller diverse bars and restaurants along with the 70 per cent reduction in weekend night assaults in the CBD (notwithstanding our assault rates still being too high), has proven relative public safety and business prosperity aren’t mutually exclusive. In recognition of our alleged “maturity”, the Premier should immediately release all the submissions made to the alcohol review to dispel the lingering suspicion and doubt of the integrity and transparency of the review.
A second demonstration of maturity is the capacity for Newcastle to make its own decisions based on the best available independent evidence and recommendations from senior police and health officials’ recommendations, not those of faceless senior officials in Sydney.
Tony Brown, Newcastle
TIME TO CLEAR THE WAY
IN December I could travel from Belmont to Honeysuckle in morning peak hour in 40 minutes. Since the holidays it now takes me 50 minutes to do the same trip. Is the greater number of cars due population increase or because the new bus services no longer suit people’s work commitments? Some relief could be provided if in the mornings City Road became two lanes into the city from 7am, reverting to two lanes out after 9.30am, on weekdays.
Pamela Lindus, Belmont North
LEADERSHIP COMES FIRST
IN the Newcastle Herald article (“Viable Stockton solution sought”, Herald 8/2) Newcastle City Council chief executive Jeremy Bath said “We are determined to work together to understand Stockton’s short and long-term management requirements”.
Well, Mr Bath, the immediate short-term requirement is quite obviously the protection of your council asset, the former North Stockton Surf Club building housing the daycare centre, before the next major storm and erosion event. Instead of wasting time with a state government that is reluctant to utilise any proceeds that it gets from the Newcastle Port sale and operation, perhaps a little initiative like immediately sandbagging the area is required to protect your asset and look after the community’s need to keep the daycare operational.
The funding for the long-term solution requires a political solution or determination, and then a direction for the technocrats to get on with fixing the problem.
Denis Nichols, Stockton
WHY ARE THINGS UNCLEAR
SO many whys and no answers. Why would successive governments allow the destruction of our food lands by building on them? Why would the government allow the destruction of a town and its people by the mining industry? Why would governments want to destroy our apprentice training institution? Where are the skills going to be learnt? Why would governments want to destroy our transport system? Why would governments allow the destruction our water table? Why would governments want to destroy our hospital system with a failed private public system? Who are governments pandering to?
One has to ask what is in it for the pollies and what do they get out of it. What do the bureaucrats get out of all of this? Why do the pollies try to circumvent the law and what do they get out of it? Why do successive governments follow the same mantra irrespective of party? Who is pulling the strings and controlling our friendly pollies? Why do they allow people’s lives to be destroyed over big business gains? Isn’t government supposed to rule for the people?
Why do our pollies seem to lose their minds and follow the party mantra once entering parliament? How come the untrained pollies tell us that they know it all, over the people that have studied the subjects all their life? How can I access the pollies like big business does, or is my wallet to small?
So many whys and no answers, and they keep saying trust us.
Doug Andrews, Tarro
GUN FOR PIECE OF PIE
RECENT letters condemning the Australia government for attempting to be an arms manufacturer, believing we will cause undue destruction and loss of life, must be dreaming if they think our contribution will add to what would normally happen.
Arms will always be available, regardless of our little contribution. The benefit in reducing our own importation of weapons should more than cover the cost of set up, and provide an industry that has been an essential part of history past and future. I expect the people Australia would sell to would be requiring weapons for defensive purposes, certainly not active troublemakers or terrorist organisations.
Security will probably be the largest growing industry of the 21st century, and only a fool wouldn't want to be part of it. I say well done, and about time we became self-sufficient in providing our own defensive needs.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
AN EXERCISE IN GOODWILL
I WALK regularly in the early morning hours along the Fernleigh Track from Adamstown to Whitebridge. After seeing outdoor gym stations along the Coastal Walk from Bondi to Bronte in Sydney’s Waverley council area, and more recently at Speers Point Park and Fingal Bay, it prompted me to think what a great opportunity to have one or two small exercise stations at Burwood Road and/or the Whitebridge rest stops.
There are so many people who break their walk at the seats for dips, push-ups and lunges, it would be great if there were designated equipment. Lake Macquarie and Newcastle could sponsor one apiece. The appreciation would come back to the councils tenfold.