WE are very pleased to see the community and government getting behind our farmers to ease the damage of the current drought in NSW and QLD (‘Drought funds welcomed’, Newcastle Herald, 7/8) but let us not forget the country towns’ commercial centres are also hurting.
Do yourself and these townsfolk a favour and head out west for a short break. So as to not use their valuable reserves, if you have a caravan, load yourself up with three or four days’ water if possible. It is always a joy to visit these areas, even in drought. Stay in a caravan park or motel, go to the pictures, check out the shops, buy petrol and supplies, get a haircut, have a meal at the pub or restaurant and visit their local attractions. This would be a win-win situation.
Robert and Evelyn Gibson, Charlestown
NOT WILD ABOUT ROADKILL
SO, everyone knows about the severe drought we’re experiencing in our region. Our wildlife carers are being inundated with sick, starving and injured wildlife due to the drought and they are really struggling to cope. No one really mentions the loss of our poor wildlife. In many places now there is no food or water for them and they are coming closer into suburbia and the roads seeking what little green vegetation they can find.
The wildlife roadkill alone is in the thousands (‘Thirsty fauna drive our spiking roadkill’, Herald, 6/8) and how many more are dead or dying out there right now? Most mainstream media are neglecting to mention our wildlife in the many stories on the drought. I would like people to be aware of the devastating effect on our wildlife too.
Jayne Cvetanoski, Mayfield East
TRUE TERROR LIVES AT HOME
DOMESTIC violence is the real terrorism here in Australia. While politicians bay about the risks and evils of terrorism and spends billions of dollars fighting it and American wars, it is 40 years since the Hilton bombing. Since then about 12 people have been killed in Australia by terrorist acts. In the same time about 2000 women have been killed by domestic violence, an average of one woman a week.
Imagine a politician a week being killed by domestic violence. It would not happen, with these protected species surrounded by a ring of security 24/7 thanks to the Australian taxpayer. Direct action may be the only way to protect Australian women.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
DRY TALKS WERE OVERDUE
WITH the diversions of sport, the cave in Thailand, the plastic bag debacle and many more drawing attention, I believe the plight of our farmers was overlooked by the media until Pauline Hanson alerted us to the drought affecting two-thirds of Queensland. Dick Smith did the same for NSW, 98 per cent of which is affected by drought. The tragedy of the farmer killing his whole family in WA also made the media news at last (‘Death of Margaret River family sends ‘shockwaves’ throughout the nation’, WA Today, 11/5) instead of local traffic accidents, gang shootings and domestic violence deaths. However, as always, the wonderful Australian people are rallying to the call since they were made aware of the true situation in our own country by the weather as well as in Europe, Canada and America. Women’s Weekly also covered a death of a farmer affected by the gas exploration of the Darling Downs agricultural land. We should be kept informed of what is happening to our own country before our politicians embark on their overseas tours. Charity begins at home.
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
June Porter, Warners Bay
AN UNHEALTHY INSIGHT
I FORESEE the data fed into My Health Record resulting in a system where health insurance premiums are tailored to individuals rather than the long-standing insurance principle of the same premium for all, with premiums being based on the more general population risk data. The Australian Digital Health Agency is supporting the development of infrastructure that will enable the uploading of personal DNA genomes from a private company onto My Health Record, providing information about an individual’s increased risk factors for specific diseases. NIB’s Mark Fitzgibbon said “We desperately need this data” (Sydney Morning Herald, 21/7). NIB does not provide medical treatment; it provides insurance. I believe health insurers can want personal data only to personalise insurance premiums. There needs to be a complete re-think of My Health Record, its use and its accessibility.
Barry Boettcher, New Lambton
BIG SPEND FOR LITTLE GAIN
HAVING sold off state property such as the electricity poles and wires and the Lands Titles Office, it seems the NSW government is now embarking on an infrastructure spending spree. A sizeable slice of the money is funding the replacement (not refurbishment) of Allianz Stadium, which is only 30 years old. The stadium rebuild comes at a price tag of $905 million. The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust commissioned its own audit to justify the demolition of Allianz (‘The case for a new stadium at Moore Park’, SMH ,12/12). What many would like to know is how many deaths or serious accidents have occurred at Allianz, say in the last decade? These figures should be readily available. Even more importantly, how about an estimate of the proportion of these accidents that could be avoided by a new stadium. Unless there is projected to be a marked reduction in accidents, it is hard to see why the rebuild should proceed when the Hunter, for one, is crying out for additional education, health and TAFE spending.
Raoul Walsh, The Junction
Humming in hope
JOAN Lambert, many hear you loud and clear, including those in government, would you believe, (Letters, 7/8)? However, when it comes to NSW transport "policy", flying pigs, white elephants and light rail come to mind.
South-eastern Sydney needs trains, taking in Bondi Beach. Instead, an inadequate light rail, well passed its use-by date, is going in, and, of course, ignoring Bondi Beach. For the Premier just loves, (and love can be blind) light rail, especially when it’s the biggest white elephant, masquerading as Mickey Mouse. Like the one Newcastle is getting. On sound transport policy, there is more hope of flying pigs, between "Australia's only global city", Sydney, quote-unquote the Premier, and the nation's most Australian place, Newcastle. Ah! Newcastle! A place of striking compactness and efficiency, which once had a station to match. Just knock it off Sydney's train network. The last word should go to an Iranian and a South American when asked how Aussie trains compared with theirs. Firstly, hearty laughter, and then, "There's no comparison! Ours are so much better". The only sense I can divine is, get with the program. Hum "revitalisation" all day, until it becomes a self-evident truth.