Newcastle Herald Letters to the Editor: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

POSSIBILITIES: The potential tourism boost a remodelled art gallery could bring to Newcastle seem to be overlooked in the vision for the future, argues one reader.
POSSIBILITIES: The potential tourism boost a remodelled art gallery could bring to Newcastle seem to be overlooked in the vision for the future, argues one reader.

IT is with concern that I read in Saturday’s Newcastle Herald (‘Newcastle Next: the 2027 vision’, 24/2) and Monday’s Herald (‘Shore at the forefront’, 26/2) where no mention is made in the Newcastle Visitor Economy Vision of the crucial importance of cultural tourism.

Mention is made of Brisbane’s Southbank, an area dominated by the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art that significantly boosts tourism even when there are no conferences; of the Broadmeadow sporting precinct, when art galleries in Australia are more highly attended than Australia’s most popular spectator sport (Australian Rules Football) and many are open seven days a week; of the need for a Conference Centre when some of the most successful and enjoyable conference dinners I have attended around the world have been held in art galleries and museums.

Then there is the importance of “nabbing a greater proportion of overnight stays”. In the Hunter region, 20 per cent of gallery visitors are NSW, interstate or international tourists.

Overall 80 per cent of these tourists stay at least two nights, with 20 per cent staying more than eight nights, and more than 50 per cent use paid accommodation.

I’m sure a significant proportion of these tourists fall into the 9 per cent of all gallery visitors with gross annual incomes of over $120,000. And to counter in advance the cries of ‘elitism’, 46 per cent of gallery visitors have gross incomes of less than $40,000.

The Newcastle cultural hub is vital to Newcastle’s Visitor Economy Vision, and its jewel is undoubtedly the Newcastle Art Gallery with its $90 million- plus collection. NAG’s infrastructure just needs to be brought into the 21st century to enhance its ability to service the visitor economy. 

Robert Henderson, The Hill

Paying price of denial

IF any of those living in the Williamtown “red zone” had any thoughts of a fair go from the federal government or Department of Defence up to today, well forget them. Today’s revelation that the Department of Defence is pouring “our” monies into the odious world of spin says it all (‘$15 spin class for Defence’, Herald, 26/2).

Canberra and the department will stop at nothing to overcome their having to accept liability and pay out compensation. A read of this article quite clearly tells us that Canberra is laying the ground rules in that non-acceptance quest.

With friends like those running the country and the Defence Department at the moment – who needs enemies?

David Barrow, Merewether

Look to past for future

AS it seems China is no longer willing to take Australian recycled material, we must find another solution and fast. It is not a question of recycling being unaffordable, but rather, how can we not afford to recycle! 

Apart from the obvious problem of waste disposal to landfill, the question of more concern is, how can we justify wasting the world’s limited resources? 

There is no way we could defend our inaction to future generations. If consumers have to pay an extra 10 or 20 cents per can of drink to subsidise recycling, then so be it. And we should be doing it locally, not burning more oil shipping it overseas or even interstate.

Maybe we need to look back in history for the answer. In the 1960s, all milk, beer and soft drink was sold in bottles which were returned when empty, washed and reused. Most of our food was sold in bulk (not pre-packaged) and put into paper bags; the meat wrapped in “butchers’ paper”.

We carried our shopping in string bags. Can I also suggest we try taking a hard plastic bread box to the supermarket to house and keep fresh, our unwrapped bread?

Robert Gibson, Charlestown

Why the need for ink

TO Graeme Bennett (Short Takes, 23/2): thanks for your reply to my letter in regards to tattoos on the female body. As you seem to be a level headed type of person, I think it's fair to clear a few things up.

Graeme, at no time in my letter did I ever bring into question the character, integrity, honesty or mannerisms of any female with a tattoo.

The letter was never intended to do that. My comment was I didn't like to see the female body with tattoos.

I would like to know why they feel the need to do this. As I wrote in my letter unless you like pain and have a lot money then these tattoos are for life.

The old excuse of I was drunk and didn't know what was happening went out the window 20 years ago.

As for the bad haircut I have one of those already thanks to my wife, but it will only take week to grow out, not a lifetime. Thanks again Graeme for your level headed comment. You and whoever you are defending, have a good day. 

Melville Brauer, Gateshead

Exercise in dirt-digging

I WAS surprised when Labor’s Chris Bowen made the statement that Joyce’s personal life was his private business. At least someone recognises common decency and recognised politics and personal issues are separate.

However, Bill Shorten could not control himself in parliament from putting the boot in forgetting all else. 

Many, both Labor and Liberal politicians, have had affairs, love children and marriage break ups, so do the press now analyse each one to find all the good dirt to splash over the tabloids? 

John Reynolds, Mount Vincent 

Praise for hospital system

EVERY now and then I read negative comments about our public hospital system. I can only offer praise for the way I was recently treated by the staff at John Hunter and Rankin Park Centre, specifically those in emergency, Ward G2 and North Ward.

I was taken to emergency on Boxing Day and despite being very busy I was attended to efficiently and with compassion and placed in ward G2 to start my treatment.

Once treatment was completed I was transferred to Rankin Park for rehabilitation and thanks to the care and perseverance of the physiotherapists I was able to leave after only two weeks and now receive ongoing support at home, helping me return to work.

Thanks to all those who treated me and helped get me back on my feet and to begin the slow process of recovery from what was a scary and nasty syndrome.

Nigel Dale, Hamilton

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