I CANNOT believe that once again some health funds are increasing their costs and also taking away some benefits.
It makes me angry when I hear their pitiful pleas at justifying these costs. When will people wise up and just cancel their membership? If enough people got out then it would put these greedy companies out of business.
I feel that the government is partially responsible because they have allowed these companies to hold us to ransom, threatening higher premiums as we age if we leave and return later. Basically I think people are scared to pull out, but I also think everybody is finally getting sick of it and the day of reckoning is coming for these money hungry sharks.
Karen Starkie, Waratah
IT’S BETTER THAN NOTHING
DARYLL Hadfield (Letters 12/1), I think you are talking a lot but not saying anything.
There is an old saying "anything is better than nothing". No, pill testing won't stop people taking drugs at festivals, but you don't offer an alternative.
Statistics in Europe show beyond all doubt pill testing is an effective way of curbing the level of overdoses/deaths at music festivals.
It should at the very least be trialled in NSW. It's 2019, not 1979 mate.
Matt Ophir, Charlestown
PLENTY OF CHARACTER
CONGRATULATIONS to Peter Lewis, I have missed your daily cartoons since your retirement. When I opened my paper to see your cartoon on 2019, the things that need to be addressed reminded me how you are on the ball about global and national events.
Then on Saturday morning to see the cartoon about the destruction caused this week on Ash Island reinforced my view that you have been the best cartoonist I have seen for many years.
May I suggest that before you sign off for good can you try to influence some younger aspiring cartoonists in the area? Thank you for all you have given to so many.
Diana Taaffe, Belmont North
IT’S ABOUT WHAT WE VALUE
IT is my understanding that ATAR scores often reflect the popularity of a course rather than the academic requirements.
Popular courses, such as physiotherapy and radiography have quite high ATARs, not necessarily because of their academic requirements, but because everyone wants to study these courses. Science degrees and teaching courses are lower because they are less popular.
To lift the ATAR required for teaching degrees (‘University defends entry’, Newcastle Herald 8/1) will require a complete change in attitude by society and especially by politicians. When teaching is seen as the important career that it actually is then it will become popular and the ATAR will then become higher.
Jayne Sharpe, Maryland
OFFER THEM AN OPTION
PEOPLE who assist others to suicide, can be charged with manslaughter because it is against the law.
Those who suicide unassisted can't be charged for obvious reasons, so what's wrong with supplying assistance in the form of information? We could explain how, showing which medications and what dosage would be required, to have a peaceful end of life.
I’m not sure whether publishing such information is legal, but perhaps it could remove fuss from people who don't understand or don't want to know.
Those who attend people on life support with no way of recovery can legally turn off the machines, so what is the difference when a life in pain is not worth living?
Please don't give me religious crap that suicides can't enter heaven. Preaching that God is merciful is clearly a contradiction of the first statement.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
FLOW-ON EFFECTS TOO MUCH
WATER license allowances for Darling River irrigators should be linked to long term weather forecasting
Plans to manage water usage in the Darling River will come to nought in the absence of a political will to implement plans. Without dramatic cuts in water usage, algal blooms and fish kills can only get worse as the planet warms; drying out the southern part of the Australian continent (‘Fish means plan has failed’, Herald 11/1).
In July 2017, an exposé by the ABC revealed that Darling River irrigators’ self-monitoring of water extraction under their licenses wasn’t working. At the same time, politicians were turning a blind eye to the theft of water by irrigators.
Much of the upstream stolen water is wasted in any case, as it evaporates from huge shallow dams. This water could be going downstream to Menindee Lakes as part of an environmental flow.
The trickle of drainage water returned to the Darling by upstream irrigators is usually laden with fertilizers and pesticides. This water promotes eutrophication, which in turn causes algal blooms and fish kills downstream.
I agree with Australian National University honorary professor John Williams’ assessment. Water usage in the Darling should be cut dramatically. In addition, water usage should be linked to long term weather forecasting. If a severe El Niño drought is imminent, then water allowances under irrigators’ licenses should be slashed. Satellite monitoring would be used to enforce this and to catch water thieves.
What would be the costs and benefits of such a policy? Less water and profits for foreign-owned cotton farms upstream, and fewer fish killed amid more water for growing food crops downstream.
That seems reasonable to me.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
DON’T VISIT IT UPON US
AS a consistent visitor to Newcastle, I cannot believe that the Newcastle council plans to carry through with a monstrosity of a skate bowl on the beautiful sand which I frequently visit.
I believe the intended sketch of the concrete development is incorrect, and that it will be much more towards the water. It will have so many ramifications to the beach, the safety of skaters, tide flow, erosion, public use of the beach and more.
Is the council expecting Newcastle's surf life savers to patrol this area? Is Newcastle using taxpayers’ money to maintain the skate bowl? What happens when it gets built up with sand due to the tides?
In my opinion this project is ridiculous and seems like the council have not thought about its uselessness.
All in all, I consider it a silly project that was not well thought out and will destroy your beautiful city.