LAUREN Parker (‘Parker eyes Hawaii, shares Don honours’, Herald 3/10), my daughter sees you train out at West Wallsend pool while she does mini squad. Every time she says “that lady is so clever at swimming, mum”.
We then saw you at a cafe one morning before going to school. You smiled at her and it was like she had won Lotto. She couldn't believe it.
We are all behind you and I know at least one six-year-old is inspired by you and your determination. Good luck, Lauren.
Kati Kirkwood, West Wallsend
A VOTE FOR CONFIDENCE
WITH politicians held in perhaps the lowest esteem since federation, maybe it’s time to ask what do we want in our political leadership.
Just because a person has done well and made money in the private sector does not automatically mean they will make a good politician. A good orator who says the things they know the people want to hear, even though it may not be right or go against the ideology they have previously campaigned for, will not be someone whom you could place your trust in. When politicians have not got the courage and belief in themselves or their policies to answer questions with honesty and directness and instead evade and misrepresent the context, you know they have no respect for you as a person. Lastly we want politicians with the intelligence, empathy, foresight and fortitude to make the decisions that will not just have benefits until the next election, but for the country your grandkids will eventually have to live in. When judging how well we are doing, it gives false hope and I believe is a cop-out to compare Australia with other over-populated countries with none of the resources and prospects that we have.
Allan Earl, Thornton
IT’S ALL ABOUT HEADLINES
I BELIEVE many wonderful pieces written often go unread simply because of the heading, which can also drive the simplest story to become a sensation in the humble newspaper.
I myself was once an operator of small businesses, with a small number of staff addressed at every meeting with a written report on the notice board of staff requirements. There was room at the bottom for the signatures of the staff to be provided as evidence they had read and understood the notice. I found hardly anyone ever signed the notice, usually saying they didn't see it or thought it was an old notice. I then placed a heading at the top in bold letters with the word sex, which l must admit gained their attention. After the addition, every one of them signed. Some did so twice.
Eventually their patience became rather thin with objections, especially from the female staff, but going on the pub report they were naturally curious. Even knowing it likely had nothing to do with sex, they continued to read, sign and complain rather than miss out on the possibility that it did.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
SUN SHINES ON RENEWABLES
IT MIGHT have been prudent for the Herald to point out that Nathan Vass ('SA now needs us', Opinion 27/9) is a former coal mining executive who now spins stories to the media about coal-driven resolutions to energy supply (‘'Clean coal' project is a personal endeavour not linked to lobby groups, founder says’, The Guardian 11/1).
Mr Vass has written a piece I believe to be riddled with misrepresentations and the usual coal industry spin. The 2016 South Australian blackout was caused by electricity towers being knocked down by high winds, triggering a cascade of tipping circuits to protect them, which resulted in the state wide blackout. It definitely was not caused by renewables.
Mr Vass also runs a line usually touted by the industry sponsored think tanks about coal fired power station numbers abroad. Those numbers are simply wrong.
He then touts building a new high efficiency low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station, without once mentioning things like how clean they actually are, how economic they are, the actual costs of construction, the time frame, the actual return on investment, nor who would have to fund it (the taxpayers). The simple fact is that the vast majority of energy generation private funding is heading into renewables, not coal, because that is the way forward. More industry money is going in to wind and solar generation than coal because it is now cheaper, quicker, more efficient and better for the planet in light of climate change.
Adam Rope, Merewether
GUIDELINES FOR GROUP HOMES
WHAT is the definition of a group home? At the moment it seems to be whatever councils will pass on a development application.
There doesn't seem to be any regulation or guideline to fall back on covering group homes like there is for, say, boarding houses or aged care group homes.
When people used to live in government institutions there was heavy criticism for overcrowding and poor living conditions. Any overcrowding then is nothing compared to a group home proposal at Mount Hutton. It is proposed this four or five-bedroom home will accommodate 24 to 29 "transitional residents". Government institutions in the past would have never been allowed to get away with this.
How will so many people co-exist in such cramped conditions, in an average sized house, where they will all eat or all sit in a lounge room together? These are vulnerable people. I have found that the council will not communicate as to the status of the proposed residents, only that they would be transitional, so as far as neighbours would know it could be any person. In my opinion support groups should be all over this to ensure these people are treated fairly.
The site is near a school, a sports oval and tennis courts. Only a few hundred metres away, at the end of the street, is a popular park where there is a children’s designated play area.
This is not what the community has come to expect a group home to be about. We want places where people live in dignity, long-term residential care and housing in spacious accommodation.
Before retirement I worked for over 40 years as a registered psychiatric nurse in large government institutions, and many years ago assisted in the early establishment of group homes. I never thought they would be privatised in such a way. Even battery hens have regulations covering space.
I have lodged my own objection against this proposal. It can be read through Lake Macquarie City Council, together with other objections. I hope there are some other people who after reading this may find it in their hearts to do the same.
Dennis West, Mount Hutton
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