Letters to the editor June 13 2018

SPEAKING FROM THE ART: Reader David Rose says it's the right time for a Newcastle Art Gallery upgrade as other Australian centres plan for their cultural hubs.
SPEAKING FROM THE ART: Reader David Rose says it's the right time for a Newcastle Art Gallery upgrade as other Australian centres plan for their cultural hubs.

THE boom of building better art spaces is on. Journalist Matthew Westwood recently gave details of likely major art and cultural expansion projects completed or forthcoming for the key galleries in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Brisbane. 

Westwood concluded that “young people … have a hunger for contemporary expression … that’s a very compelling argument for governments … [to boost investment] in art galleries.” Come on Newcastle - the time is well overdue to revitalise our own art gallery.

David Rose, Hamilton   

KEEPING A QUIXOTIC TALLY

GIVEN the recent debate about the net energy production (or lack thereof) from wind turbines (Letters 12/6), let’s review the maths. A two megawatt wind turbine requires around 250 tonnes of steel. Making that burns around 120 tonnes of coal and produces 240 tonnes of carbon dioxide, so we’re not off to the greenest of starts.

That’s before we consider mining the iron, coal and other materials, shipping it all to a steel plant, shipping the steel to a manufacturing facility and then shipping the turbine to its final resting place and assembling it.

Don’t even think about the coal required to produce the concrete that anchors the thing, and God forbid it catches fire as they do with frightening regularity.

I gave up after trying to calculate the carbon dioxide produced on the long journey from China to western NSW. The last bloke who tilted at windmills didn’t fare too well.

Scott Hillard, New Lambton

EARLY START AT HARD WORK

I WRITE regarding Monday’s article (“Six hours a day: Dan’s trip to work”, Herald 11/6). While I admire Dan Lysaght for his dedication and will to succeed and provide for his family, there are many more people and families in the same situation.

My 19-year-old son Jacob makes this same journey five days a week. He works as a floor junior with a barrister’s chambers in Phillip Street. He has been working down there since December, commuting from Thornton to the city centre.

He leaves most mornings at 4.20am for a 7.45am start and doesn’t get home till 8pm. Wednesdays he doesn’t leave until 5.30am for a 9am start, working to 6pm.

If he makes the 6.15pm train at Central he is home by 9pm. If he misses that train he doesn’t get home until 10pm, and then gets back up at 4am for another early start on Thursday morning.

It sounds complicated and hectic, but he does it and with very little complaint.

Mr Lysaght says he travels as Sydney pays better than Newcastle does, and I agree. He travels six hours a day for $150,000 a year. While he has age and experience on his side, my son makes the same journey for just over $36,000 a year. It’s a big difference.

Jacob also has Type 1 diabetes which he required to give himself four injections a day. Somehow he manages to keep his diabetes under control while travelling to and from Sydney every day.

Gai Waterhouse recently made comment about young people not wanting to work. I believe that my son is a an exception, taking a fast food job at 15 before labouring for about 9 months with a fencing contractor. He then landed this job in Sydney. It’s a 12-month position he was taking more for the experience, but he has now developed and interest in law and looking at his options for a future in this area.

This young man left school half way through year 12 because he didn’t really care for school, and now he’s keen to learn.

I admire anyone that travels that distance and amount of time for work. I just think some deserve a little more acknowledgement than others.

Kathleen Steele, Thornton

ACUMEN CAN’T BE A PANACEA

WHY is there always an element arguing small business should suck it up, that thew “knew it was happening" (“Parking ‘reality’ sinks in for traders”, Herald 9/6)? If a small business owner does their sums on present and projected plans and realistically decides to go ahead, then good on them. But don't make the mistake of thinking they can absorb all that comes their way unless they are "good" business people.

Newcastle may be transforming, and it may be for the better, but so many small businesses are being ignored when they say they can't cope.

Workers, think of it in terms of your pay being halved or worse. Decision-makers, think about the lack of money being spent in all these expensive areas leaving no parking or no public transport available and imagine them all being beautiful, empty places. I find it sad that progress is apparently coming at such a cost. 

Glenn Turton, Cardiff Heights

TRAINING DAYS CHANGING

ROBERT Morris (Letters 11/6), your train was not a suburban train, but they are to be converted when the new "intercity" fleet start replacing the V-Sets and the Oscars already in use.

However you are correct about the toilets, with only one toilet per four cars on Oscars. I wonder what government designed them with only one toilet per four cars? I've got on Oscars where the toilet doors were so faulty that they have almost locked passengers in the toilet, including myself. I've had to force the doors open, and that can jam your fingers if you're not careful. But most of the time, while the Oscars weren't designed for interurban travel, they are not really bad and are better in the air conditioning department. The Oscars are actually designed to be more luggage friendly than the interurbans.

Dennis Taylor, Adamstown Heights

EXAMINING TRACK RECORD

I THINK one can but wonder about the demise of honesty in democracy in recent times. Former Transport Minister Gladys Berijiklian assured quite a few people that I'm aware of that heavy rail into Newcastle would not be terminated until after a replacement transport system was fully costed and operational. In 2008 this process was costed by Railcorp at more than $1.1 billion.

After Save Our Rail discovered that the line from Wickham to Newcastle was to be sold for $10 they challenged the legality of this proposal, the government reported that it had cost them a million dollars to prove that cutting two kilometres off a rail line was not 'cutting a rail line' under the Act. 

I believe that one must sympathise with the residents of eastern Newcastle attempting to engender democratic common sense in this atmosphere.

George Paris, Rathmines

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