I HAVE just returned from Melbourne where I saw new trams that proudly proclaimed they were “made in Melbourne for Melbourne”, while new trains were “made in Victoria for Victoria”, and I wondered why successive NSW governments of both persuasions have elected send billions to South Korea and China for trains and rolling stock when they should have been built here.
What did we get for the money spent? Rolling stock that needed to have asbestos products removed (‘Bradken trains in asbestos breaches’, Newcastle Herald, 1/1/14), tunnels too narrow for the new trains (Sydney Morning Herald, 6/10/16) and curved station platforms that need to be straightened because the new trains cannot cope (Sydney Morning Herald, 4/12/15).
The money sent overseas is lost to Australia. Trains designed and built in NSW would have created jobs, resulting in wages spent in the local economy and generated taxes. Politicians of the ’40s, ’50s and the ’60s were focused on the improvement of their state and Australia. More recent politicians seem to be more fixated on the next election and their chances of retaining their seats. Maybe I am wrong. Please let me know.
Dennis Kershaw, Caves Beach
SERVICE PAST THE AISLE
IT WAS June 22. I was to leave for my big holiday that afternoon. I went up the street, withdrew my money and bought last-minute things. I’d been home about an hour, when I discovered that my wallet was missing. Panic stricken, I was frantically retracing my steps in my mind, when there was a knock on the door. Standing there was a beautiful young lady from the Hamilton IGA, with my wallet in her hand. The staff had checked their CCTV and seen that the wallet had fallen from my bag as I put my purchases into it. They found my driver’s licence with my address, and so the wallet, with my holiday money, credit cards and basically everything so essential for my travel was brought to my house. I would like to publicly express my huge appreciation for this act of absolute kindness.
Jo Wark, Hamilton
NEW CHAPTER FOR LIBRARIES
MY MUM taught me to read when I was three years old, and it was the most precious gift I could ever have received.
One of our favourite activities was going to the library together and I even used to volunteer at my local library when I was in third grade. I got the sack when they saw my letter to Santa in the library post box.
We need more funding for our local libraries, and NSW Labor has recently committed to a $50 million increase in library funding.
I will continue to advocate for better funding for our libraries and I support Maitland City Council’s campaign to better support our libraries.
Jenny Aitchison, Maitland MP
SCIENCE NOT JUST FOR CITY
THE important article (‘Regions deserve more Science Week love’, Herald, 14/8) draws attention to the need for National Science Week to be observed in the regions just as much as in the big cities. In that context, attention is drawn to the current display at the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens at Heatherbrae, near Raymond Terrace, called DISCOVER! How Plants Work. This display, with its various interactive observations and experiments, draws attention to the science of botany – the scientific study of plants. Because of the interest generated so far we are extending the display for another week beyond this Sunday, so we invite everyone to come to our botanic gardens, see our display, and stay for a ramble around the magnificent array of our theme gardens. See our gardens website and Facebook page for further information.
Kevin McDonald, Balickera
DRY DAYS HERE TO STAY
AUSTRALIA really is a big country, with most of it arid land, not just much of it, as suggested by some. It is the productive acres which are being built on, and no more do our cities' backyards produce spinach and beans, with pumpkins and chokos over outbuildings and neighbouring fences as in days past. Twenty years and more ago, some of us were pointing out you can't put a quart in a pint bottle. The point of no return is fast approaching, if not yet passed, and failure to properly address the storage and distribution of our water supplies as well will eventually rear up and bite us. Should there be a further limit to Australia's immigration intake? The clock is ticking.
Ron Elphick, Buff Point
A TREND WORTH BAGGING
AT LEAST Woolworths, Harris Farm and others have led the way in NSW to stop issuing single use plastic bags. Hopefully the state government is being increasingly shamed every day! In time, most people will work with these changes, bring their own reusable bags and the plastic bag era will be long forgotten. Certainly the War on Waste has livened up the issue! But this is only the start. For example, why do people still insist on using the smaller plastic bags for separately wrapping different types of fruit or vegetables? There is no need for this! These can be put into your small shopping basket or larger trolley (albeit with a bit of planning) and sorted at the register. Also, why can't there be small paper bags available? And why are so many types of fruit and veggies still wrapped in plastic for sale; presumably so that we are tempted to buy more with the lure of lower pricing?
Nico Marcar, Carey Bay
CONCEALMENT KEY TO PAIN
IN RESPONSE to the comment of the ill-advised supporter of ex-archbishop Wilson. Did he not stop to think that if Mr Wilson had immediately reported that he knew of paedophile priests at the time Peter Gogarty and many others would not have had anything to report 40 years ago?
In regards to children reporting abuse, my husband, then aged 13, reported his sexual abuse in an orphanage to another priest only to be beaten and set onerous tasks for his ‘filthy lies’. Fortunately his abuser is now languishing in jail, not home detention.
Name withheld, Lambton
THANKS BUT NO THANKS
ANDREW Whitbread-Brown (Letters, 4/8) suggests our councillors should visit Amsterdam to find out how they can replicate Newcastle to work in the same way their city does. After all the confusion and protests since the light rail project started and now civil action being taken out against the government by shop owners for loss of revenue, imagine what it will be like if they start digging canals through the middle of the city.
Barry Reed, Islington
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE pen goes to Denise Lindus Trummel, of Mayfield, for her letter on indoor pools.