AS everyone seems to have forgotten, Newcastle started with the maritime.
Until a few months ago, remnants of those origins had a home in the heritage-listed building in Honeysuckle, where the Newcastle Maritime Museum displayed the many artefacts it has accumulated over the years, some permanent, others loaned by now very concerned residents fearing its sudden potential demise.
The many courageous men who rowed the lifeboats, saving lives of people about to make Newcastle their homes, wouldn't want their memories displayed in a tiny corner of the Newcastle Museum, as is the new proposal (‘Plan to revive city’s maritime museum’, Newcastle Herald 30/11).
Beautifying parks isn't heritage - heritage is back on the hills, now being sacrificed and overshadowed by high rise which has nothing what so ever to do with Newcastle's once very proud heritage. I think the very least the authorities should do is to renovate and restore the Maritime Museum’s former permanent home, or find them another ASAP.
Robyn Single, Mount Hutton
TIME FOR MORAL LEADERSHIP
NOW is the time for the Labor party to stand up and lead with values because there is no longer any opposition. We all know that the Liberal party has likely lost its votes, so there is no longer any reason for Labor to trot out that tired old excuse of “let’s get in government first and then we'll fix things".
With the once-unimaginable prospect of the Liberal party having thoroughly delegitimised itself, the Labor party has the opportunity to make amends for years of betrayal. On so many fronts, from climate change to asylum seekers to workers right to indigenous rights, it has betrayed us and wasted time that is fast running out.
It's time to uphold values, and bury political expediency. On Monday the crossbench was due to present a bill to transfer grievously ill asylum seekers off the hell of Manus and Nauru. That is a good place to start.
Niko Leka, Mayfield
DON’T CONTAIN TO CAPITALS
SYDNEY can't handle growth because of lack of infrastructure. There is an abundance of underutilised infrastructure in the regions outside of Sydney. There are no jobs in the regions to attract Sydney residents. The single biggest impediment to job-creating regional investment is lack of rail access to a container port.
More than 90 per cent of world trade in goods is conducted using containers. No container port access means no investment in the manufacturing of goods. This impediment is overcome by building a rail freight bypass of Sydney from Newcastle to Port Kembla, via Badgerys Creek.
Paid for by railing containers instead of trucking them on clogged Sydney roads, this bypass gives direct rail access to all of NSW to a container port at Newcastle, backed-up by a container port at Port Kembla.
The impediment to developing a container terminal at Newcastle is a fee charged by the NSW government on containers shipments that is designed to limit or prevent the development of a container terminal. Removing the fee will make the single biggest contribution to handling Sydney's growth by enabling large-scale, rapid decentralisation.
Greg Cameron, Wamboin
SLOW GOING ON STOCKTON
THE title of Lana Del Rey’s song Summertime Sadness unfortunately sums up the season ahead at Stockton beach.
It was recently announced by Hunter Surf Lifesaving CEO Rhonda Scruton that planned carnivals scheduled for Stockton beach were to be re-located due to the dangerous condition of the beach in front of the Stockton Clubhouse as well as a lack of beach in other areas (‘Stockton too risky for branch surf carnivals’, Herald, 19/11).
This surely must send alarm bell to both the council and the state government, however their combined silence has been deafening to say the least. As you walk past the three sets of stairs leading down onto the beach, you will see that they have been boarded up as they have been deemed too dangerous to use. That being the case, why are they only supplying Band Aid solutions to problems that they themselves have acknowledged?
If the same situation was occurring at Newcastle beach it would have been quickly fixed a decade ago. The first part of a five-section plan is apparently going to be ready in December, 2018, some nine months after a March community meeting. If you follow that timeline, it will take another three years for the rest of the four plans to be processed. Can you imagine the state of Stockton beach by that time? That is even before it is presented to the procrastinating state bureaucrats.
If funds can be spent on a questionable skate park at Newcastle beach when their are plenty of other similar facilities across the area, then why can't that money be used to fix Stockton once and for all by building a 80-metre rock groyne just to the north of the day-care centre that would catch shifting sand and thus replenish the beach?
I recently visited Coolangatta and one such groyne has been built between Coolangatta and Kirra beaches. It has been so successful that a lifesaver at the beach told me that I could take as much sand back to Stockton as I needed.
It is time to demand action and stop the political to and fro. Sitting quietly will only let the politicians move at their own slow pace, what we need is for residents to stamp their feet and get the message out there until it can't be ignored. As Peter Finch exclaimed in the 1976 movie Network, I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more.
Phillip Mallows, Stockton
LOCK UP CASH FOR WORKERS
NICK Bielby’s story (‘Pay fight’, Herald, 29/11) bothers me intensely.
In a time as this when we are sadly moving away from retirement pensions and other government support for workers, it disturbs me that a worker can work in good faith for a company and then, due to circumstances beyond the workers control, find his wages are not to be paid on time, his leave entitlements may not be paid at all, or his compulsory superannuation contributions may not have all been paid.
The salaried people usually get their full entitlements as they desert the sinking ship some months out from the final scuttling by the administrator, who often gets paid well in front of the humble worker. I believe this fails any fairness test in any reasonable person’s mind.
Accounting practices should make provisions for leave entitlements as actually deposited funds that can only be drawn down to pay entitlements as they fall due. We can and must do far better!
Milton Caine, Birmingham Gardens
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