REGARDING Williamtown Airport development (‘High hopes’, Newcastle Herald, 9/2): The idea of getting $147 million from the NSW government for the airport development is a good one.
The Williamtown airstrip has already been extended for the F35s. So half the work to allow larger international jets to land has already been done.
If Newcastle Airport became a third international airport behind Kingsford-Smith and Badgerys Creek, it would ease Sydney’s traffic and air congestion. International passengers from Sydney’s north and from the Central Coast would definitely use it. Also, it would be a fillip for Newcastle as a tourist destination for incoming international tourists. To complete the project, I suggest that the heavy rail line needs to be extended from Hamilton, across the Hunter and up to the Williamtown Airport. Also, the light rail should be extended from the interchange to Hamilton in order to bring international tourists into Newcastle’s CBD.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Remember the customers
NOW the findings of the banking royal commission have been handed down it makes the summations of actuary Anthony Asher and now Ross Gittins even more poignant. I think many banking chief executives and their counterparts have become so disengaged from customers and their staff that they appear to be totally incapable of introspection or of understanding their place in the service sector. The role of the directors in the scandalous behaviours of these institutions cannot be overlooked. I have one big question: “when is it incumbent upon the directors (and their chairmen) to ask questions, do their own research, listen to customers and not simply attend meetings to rubber-stamp what a CEO puts in front of them, or have they simply become like the nodding heads behind our politicians?”
We have seen the same behaviours of CEOs and the boards in sporting administration, and even at our local clubs. One only has to read some of the generic documents that Clubs NSW advocate to understand how the imbalance between the customer/member and administration can easily be fostered. They give the right of CEOs to interview people before they even nominate for board positions, operate with a veil of secrecy under the guise that everything discussed at board level is confidential, censure dissent from board members and even attempt to censor members' private conversations. Recent studies have found that the business model advocated does not fit the hospitality industry where they are employed or voted in to protect and build upon member assets, not dismantle them. I think we have produced a whole 'genus' of CEOs who have become so authoritarian in their management style, they are incapable of understanding how they are perceived.
It seems as though they still believe they have behaved with integrity! The words of one CEO and a chairman, at the beginning of the royal commission, still ring in my ears. When asked why these practices weren't uncovered in earlier reviews, the answer was “they didn't ask the right questions”. Let's all begin to ask questions and we may see more businesses return to a customer and member focus.
Sue Perkins, Adamstown Heights
Act on childish stunt
I AM disgusted, but not surprised to read that our lord mayor does not regard name-calling in the workplace as an issue worthy of her attention (‘Swear blind’, Herald, 5/2). Most people teach their children that such behaviour is not the go, that any derogatory remark about another person is not only rude, but hurtful, yet Ms Nelmes is prepared to accept the childish, and cowardly stunt that occurred at the council get-together last weekend. What hope for our kids?
Ruth McFayden, Merewether
Leave it to the people
IT is distressing to see yet another example of the Australian government jumping to attention to follow the United States in a foreign policy decision involving serious interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country; this time Venezuela.
Ever since Venezuela under Hugh Chavez pursued socialist policies including the nationalisation of their extensive oil industry resulting in the departure of transnational giant Exxon-Mobil from Venezuela, the US has imposed crippling economic sanctions on the country. More recently, 2017, President Madura who took over from Chavez when he died, announced Venezuela would trade their oil in Chinese Yuan rather than US dollars. The US was furious. Trump responded by imposing even harsher sanctions on Venezuela. The US sanctions are causing severe hardship for the people of Venezuela. The US is using this tactic deliberately to promote internal division with the aim of forcing a “regime” change.
Following a recent phone call from the US Vice President Vince Pence to a relatively unknown Venezuelan figure, Juan Guaido, the latter proclaimed himself as the acting president of Venezuela in opposition to the incumbent, President Maduro. I understand the US proceeded to garner support by putting pressure on their flunky allies, such as UK, Germany, France and predictably, Australia, to recognise this figure as the legitimate president. Of course, Australia jumped to attention, “saluted” and did so. Such action represents serious interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country. Venezuela should be freed from US economic sanctions and associated interference in its internal affairs and the people allowed to determine their own future.
Bevan Ramsden, Lambton
Floods, fires and big dry
DOROTHEA Mackellar, great lady, had it right – a land of drought and flooding rain. Throw in a few bushfires and we have it all, farmers in one of the worst droughts in memory, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania copping wild bushfires, then Queensland copping record floods. The sound of the money being donated from those countries who we have sent money to in their time of need is deafeningly quiet, but so what? Our government will throw in a couple of million dollars and if you do the paperwork right you may get some help.
So all the affected people should be able to claim on their insurance, right? If they had been able to afford it of course, then they have to have the hassles of their insurance company saying “it was not a flood but water back up”. Those without insurance? Bad luck. But we here in the Hunter will be OK, we will feel the pain felt by our countrymen/women with their plight, we will throw in on any collections that go on and think how lucky we are, until our insurance comes up for renewal next, expect a big rise. These insurance companies are not going to pay out without getting it back with interest!