I WAS recently in New Zealand where I was able to look around a number of towns and cities on the south island. What was interesting was the way the heritage buildings are valued and are maintained to benefit of the places concerned. One place that stood out was Dunedin. Dunedin is a prosperous and vibrant city with many heritage buildings. It is a beautiful city. The railway runs through the city and the shunting yard is part of the railway activity. None of this seems to cause any problems. So why can we not retain our heritage in Newcastle?
If heritage can attract visitors to other cities in Australia and New Zealand, why can a similar strategy not be applied in Newcastle and why was it necessary to close the railway? A recent comment on ABC radio suggested a surprising number of businesses in the city are failing. If this is the case, then maybe the current strategy to revitalise the city should be reviewed. We shouldn't be throwing the baby out with the bath water.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
NOTHING WRONG WITH NEW
IN reply to MALCOM Asquith and Colin Fordham's suggestion that I put up new Australians at my house (Short Takes 11/4), they are always welcome there. If it wasn't for new Australians I would never have met the most amazing, caring and beautiful human being to ever set foot on this planet; my father-in-law.
My father-in-law migrated here to work on the Snowy Mountains scheme, a proud German man who worked his backside off to raise two amazing daughters. My brother-in-law is Croatian and our friends come from all around the world. The accusations of racism I find totally offensive.
New Australians are always welcome at my home for the fact they are new Australians, not criminals who wish to crash our inclusive party. I believe it's typically a leftist patsy who would suggest anything else. Separatism and racist segregation have always been, and continue to be, practised by those who seek the communist ideology of what is yours is also the state's, so therefore it's also mine. Our migrants who have achieved, I am sure, don't want to share with the likes of the lazy.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
IT'S TIME TO VOTE AGAIN
WELL the Prime Minister has finally set the date for the federal election, and people will be called on to make a decision. While you ponder which way to go, think about this: when Gough Whitlam led the ALP to a federal election victory in 1972, his campaign theme was "it's time".
In my opinion it's time again. It's time to tell this government we have had enough of low wages and a high cost of living. We want higher wages and secure employment with all entitlements. I penned a letter to this paper a few weeks ago outlining my version of industrial relations reform. Many who read this probably thought I was crazy, but I would like to remind people that through the 1950s up to the early 1990s, we had all these conditions. Since then, during 20 years of mostly Liberal-National governments, I believe they have stripped many of these away. Well it is time to stand up and be counted and win back our entitlements and higher wages. Stand up and be counted or forever hold your peace.
Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana
'GREENIES' HAS NO BITE
OF course polls can be skewed, Tony Morley (Letters 12/4), such as asking people coal workers if they support coal, as you suggest. No doubt they would. But Brad Hill's original claim, which you endorsed, was that the "majority of people" support coal-fired power. I can point to a wealth of polling as evidence that claim is false. What evidence do you have that it isn't?
Coal may well burn more efficiently at ultra-high temperatures but that doesn't make it "clean". It still emits much higher levels of carbon dioxide than gas-fired power.
As for cost, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), hardly a greenie hotbed, published research last year showing that new renewable energy is now the same cost or cheaper than existing coal-fired power in NSW and Queensland. We don't have to leave it to future generations to figure out. Renewables are already a cost-effective alternative that will only get cheaper. What's missing is not an alternative but the political will to pursue it with coherent policies that encourage the transition and look after those affected by that process.
And so to the greenies, an essentially meaningless term. Is there a set of criteria, or is it anyone who is worried about the future of the planet? Given there cannot be infinite growth in a finite world, and we only have one planet to live on, shouldn't we all be greenies?
There's little doubt that every day we use and benefit from things we don't particularly like and would change. This doesn't disqualify us from criticising them. By your logic, someone would have to live in a cave, eat grass and suck water from a rock before their well-founded concerns about the environment were taken seriously. It's a gross double standard routinely used by some to silence and discredit opinions they just don't want to hear.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
A SPECIALISED PROBLEM
POLITICIANS keep saying how much they are spending on building new hospitals but not how they are fixing the shortage of doctors, especially specialists and surgeons.
Public hospital waiting times for Medicare patients can take 12 months just to see the surgeon, and then they hop back in line for hospital admission. Even private patient consultations are taking longer, with gap payments becoming so large, people are asking for public hospital admission, forcing public patients to wait even longer.
This overburden on operating doctors who work such long hours has to stop, with the need for extra specialist doctors and surgeons a matter of urgency. I don't believe it's a matter of not having the money, but not having the will to promote and make available more training positions for intern scholarships in medicine.
If this means opening positions to brilliant students from overseas, studying on student visas, and offering citizenships after a period of service, so be it. But the way the system is working is like building a ship without engaging a crew. Unless effort is given to train and engage a suitable crew, the ship will flounder whenever it faces a headwind as we are seeing right now.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
The Herald reported on Monday that Newcastle independent councillor John Church worked at real estate firm PRD. Cr Church left PRD recently to set up a marketing and communications company, Churchcomm. The Herald apologises to Cr Church for the error.