CONGRATULATIONS on your heartfelt feature article ‘It’s back to the future’ (Newcastle Herald, 1/12). It summed up our future Knights story extremely well.
As a passionate fan and home game attendee since 1988, may I add the story of the fight Newcastle had, over approximately 10 years, for the Knights to be accepted into the NRL Rugby League competition.
Over my almost 80 years in this fair city we have always had issues for which we have had to fight on a regular basis. The list would be endless, too long to detail here, but we have learnt to cope with these battles.
Some are still ongoing, some have even been started but seem to take forever to be completed and others not even started.
One of the successes that has brightened our lives is the story of the Knights so succinctly written in Robert Dillon’s wonderful book Hard Yards. At least 50 per cent of Novocastrians put aside their problems and the city’s worries for those 100 minutes a week to watch, listen, Google or ask about the Knights game being played.
Now all our prayers have been answered for our team of 2019. Our adrenalin is increasing, passion is flowing, the excitement is high, and tears are on the ready.
Looking forward to the NRL season. Newcastle Knights. bring it on!
Elaine Street, Merewether
SAFE RIDING RINGS A BELL
CONGRATULATIONS to John Mayo of Islington (Letters, 3/12) who wrote an incisive letter on cycling within the CBD.
While I am not a cyclist, I’m an avid walker and your comments were all relevant and logical. However can I just request that all use their bells to alert walkers that they're coming up behind them?
This is not only common courtesy since we often share the same walkway, but in most cities (and Melbourne in particular is fantastic at acknowledging the need) this is considered a safety requirement. Invariably I shout "please use your bell" only to be abused by cyclists who regard me with disdain. We all need to accommodate each other in this 'me too' world.
Trish Burke, Stockton
TIME TO TRADE IT IN
THE latest ABS findings that 15 per cent of workers are union members shows a continuing trend. The historical decline in trade union membership has coincided with the flat-lining of real wages and the growing inequality in Australia over 25 years.
The reason for this is plain: the institutional changes in the labour market and the replacement of industry-wide bargaining with enterprise bargaining, accompanied by increased labour mobility. Within this, labour has lost its ability to bargain for better wages and conditions.
In theory, enterprise bargaining allows businesses to pay what they can afford based on their enterprise and workforce’s productivity. It preserves jobs, increases employment and stops industry-wide strikes, but workers have also lost their power.
The ACTU’s push for industry-wide bargaining is not the answer to this problem. This would be a return to the bad old days of strikes, production disruptions and business failures. It would bring real wage increases for some but job losses for others.
A new labour market institutional framework is called for.
I suggest that governments need to pass industrial laws that establish “enterprise committees” involving workers and management. These committees would work together to ensure productivity targets are met and legally required fair workplace conditions and pay rates are met.
At the same time, enterprise workforces would be guaranteed an industry-wide share of their individual employers’ value added in production. It’s time for sharing, not confrontation and seizing.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
THE POWER HAS SHIFTED
NATHAN Vass’ article (Opinions, 29/11) continues to peddle the myth that renewable energy caused the South Australian blackouts, when the cause has clearly been identified as a grid issue.
While it is true South Australia has a history of higher electricity prices, renewable energy has actually helped moderate price increases.
Over the decade to 2016, as the percentage of renewable energy in their mix grew rapidly, the real growth in South Australia’s electricity expenditure was 49 per cent compared to 66 per cent – 87 per cent for the coal dominated eastern states. A third of SA households have rooftop solar, giving many cheaper electricity bills.
The current SA government’s plan to provide 40,000 of these homes with subsidised storage batteries will provide further savings. There is a chance that the previous Labor government’s program to supply solar panels to Housing Trust properties may still go ahead. Mr Vass proposes a new high-efficiency low-emission (HELE) power station but makes no comment on how that will affect power prices. Renewable wind and solar are now cheaper than existing coal plants, whose establishment cost are already written off. Any new HELE plant will require prices at least 30 per cent higher unless heavily subsidised by taxpayers or major clients like Tomago Aluminium.
Richard Mallaby, Wangi Wangi
GOODBYE, MICHEL AND CO
THIS refers to November 30, the day Michel's Patisserie was closed down in the Jesmond Centre, unceremoniously. This franchise has been operating successfully for years and was the centre of the centre.
Many loyal customers have been going there for years and was a social meeting place for many. This included an outing for the people in care homes who came there in the home's buses.
The staff built up good relationships with their regular, loyal customers, especially Lois who worked there for the past 10 years. Everyone has suffered the loss of a good business. A big thank you to all the staff for your excellent and friendly service over the years. We will miss you.
Susan Kingsley, Jesmond
RUNS ON BOARD FALL SHORT
SCOTT Morrison keeps repeating the line when I see him on TV that his government has the runs on the board. It seems that the Australian people simply do not believe this comment, judging by the latest opinion polls. If his team thinks that they can win the next electoral test, then maybe his team can improve their performance.
He was one who constantly refused to call a royal commission into the banking system, and now they are not wanting to set up an anti-corruption watchdog it seems the public desires.
I personally do hope Mr Morrison and Christian Porter continue to oppose it, adding a nail to the government’s coffin.