COME on, Newcastle council, stop neglecting Stockton. Stockton has played a very important role in this region's development, and at the moment there is a wonderful opportunity to create more economic growth for the region and to look after your community in the process.
But you have to invest in infrastructure to attract new residents and visitors. You have to pump sand onto the southern section of the beach, especially seeing as though there is a heap of sand sitting off Nobbys.
In my opinion there's no excuse not to build an offshore sandbank to assist sand movement and break up big swells. It has just worked on the Gold Coast, even in huge cyclone swells.
Newcastle is one big family and it's about time that part of the family was no longer neglected. It's not a good look at all.
David Burdon, Tweed Heads
AN UNINSPIRING CHOICE
I AM struggling to see the upcoming federal and state elections as a serious example of government at work, or political parties offering plausible solutions for the voting public to make considered judgement upon.
It seems more like panic stations by all major players, to bolster up poor performances by re-gifting past promises and adding quite a few more to the mix.
We all know from past experience that all opposition parties have all the answers only while in opposition, and all governing parties usually fail on most of the promises that delivered them to power because of unforeseen changes or the mess left by political opponents.
It’s amazing how governments can be cash-strapped and tight-fisted during the intervening terms as a matter of economic necessity and fiscal acuity, but when election time rolls around the vaults are thrown open and billions of dollars are available.
I can see Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten in their bathtubs now, trying to dream up whatever new scheme might lever them into power. If it wasn’t so important for Australia’s future, it would be as laughable as some TV melodramas.
None of the major parties have acquitted themselves well at federal or state levels in my opinion. They have been asleep at the wheel on important issues, late to react to nationwide crises and have been driven more by political necessity than the best interests of Australia and core living issues of Australians.
Oppositions are equally liable, with a political priority to impede and discredit the governing party more important than admitting any merit to any decisions. Should we then be surprised if any effective government takes place at all?
Elections are indeed the selection of the lesser of many evils.
Paul Duggan, Garden Suburb
NOT WATER UNDER BRIDGE
IT has now been two months since the government announced that it was increasing its dividend from Hunter Water from its more usual level of $30 million to $130 million ('Extra $100m cash 'gouge'', Newcastle Herald 15/1). I believe this is unfair and discriminates against residents of this area.
Roughly it works out about $200 for each person. The amount taken goes to the state government and will probably be spent in western Sydney.
Our representatives in parliament have been silent on the matter. Labor, under Neville Wran, introduced this approach and Bob Carr's team took it to a higher level. Does this explain the reluctance of Labor MPs to raise the issue? Perhaps if restored to office in the upcoming election, they see it as an easy way to fund some of the promises they will make.
None of our other community leaders have raised the issue, and perhaps the holiday season announcement missed them, or are they so used to our area being used to fund government projects elsewhere that they feel protesting is time wasted?
In my view taxation should be transparent, not hidden as in this manner, and certainly not as unfair as this is.
Jim Kinghorne, Belmont North
QUICK LINKS BRING TOURISM
GEOFF Black (Letters 7/3) points in a clear direction. Sydneysiders' easy trips to adjacent national parks have soared in the past decade. Newcastle's efficient unique blend of sensational natural, historical and the built means a commercial tourist mecca. A high volume, high turnover market would be driven efficiently by 90-minute intercity services, for jobs and growth. Truncation is the wrong direction.
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
NO NEED FOR SQUABBLES
THE proposal for two "ultra super critical" coal-fired power stations at HEZ near Kurri ('Fired up', Herald 7/3) is the sort of nonsensical scheme that comes up when there is no policy at federal or state level to ensure that we meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement.
To meet our current commitment to the Paris Agreement, we need a 26 to 28 per cent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. We need net zero emissions by 2050.
Anything coal-fired, ie emitting carbon dioxide, is not going to allow us to meet these commitments. It’s clear we need to replace CO2-emitting electricity generation with renewable non-CO2-emitting electricity generation.
But will the NSW Planning Department tell this consortium the plan is not consistent with our international agreements and therefore not to proceed, or will they just start the ball rolling on a years-long process which divides the local community between those who want jobs at all costs and those that want to protect the health of residents and the local environment?
This scenario has played out locally in the Gloucester community, tying the community up for years in essentially a negative process fighting off an unwanted development, instead of allowing them to work positively towards a better future for their area.
Ultimately, a judge ruled against the Rocky Hill coal mine ('Historic ruling could rock future projects', Herald 9/2) because it’s not consistent with Australia’s Paris Agreement commitments.
Surely a power station that emits the carbon dioxide here in the Hunter is even less consistent with our commitments under the Paris Agreement?
Let’s cut out the years of squabbling and time wasting and knock this proposal on the head right now.