THE state government is spending millions on infrastructure to ease the burgeoning traffic in Sydney due to the ever increasing population growth. Of course, this comes at a cost to the motorist with increased tollways while the government's coffers empty and the ever-dwindling assets disappear into the hands of overseas interests.
Yet if one looks to major overseas cities such as Berlin and Amsterdam, one finds that the problem of inner city traffic does not exist. London, however, is in a completely different situation.
The three cities are all old, yet there is a marked degree in traffic control.
Berlin and Amsterdam both allow cyclists freedom of movement with no helmets, no draconian laws, unlike NSW where it seems cyclists are a target every time you begin your ride. London has introduced 8500 bicycles into its area and is encouraging residents and tourists to leave their cars at home and take to the streets in an effort to free the city of congestion, unlike NSW where it seems it is a criminal act to ride a bike.
How draconian are the NSW laws in relation to the rest of the country? If you get fined in NSW for not wearing a helmet the cost is $330, yet in Victoria, the next harshest fine, it costs $185. The fine in the Northern Territory is $25 and South Australia's fine is $93, so why the difference?
I believe it is blatantly obvious there is someone in the state government who has an intense dislike of cyclists. You can get caught speeding through a school zone, yet the fine in comparison is at times lower than a cyclist riding without a helmet. Which is the more dangerous to the overall public?
Cyclists kill no-one, do no damage to roads and create few traffic jams, so why are we being victimised? Who is the driving force intent on filling the state's coffers with laws aimed solely at cyclists? We have a right to know.
Alan Metcalf, Stockton
NOT TWO GOOD TO PASS UP
PENALTY kicks not taken in front of the opponents' goal post favour the defending team, especially in the first half when players are not fatigued.
Taking two hurried taps against the Bulldogs ('A hard day's Knights', Newcastle Herald, 13/7) was a loss of an easy four points and I think suggests some of the Knights think they are still playing under 14s. Without the strike potential of Ponga, I believe these tap kicks were never going to lead to a try. In the second half, with the scores close, tired players panicked and produced lots of errors. Valiant players misjudged tackles and kicks with added penalties and injury.
Next match, please encourage all the fans to chant "take the two, take the two" so that Knights players get a rest and get back on their winning course.
Paul van Rugge, Hamilton South
PUTTING IT INTO WORDS
IN reply to David Stallard (Short Takes, 17/7), I rate Ken Wyatt's beautiful speech to last week's Press Club as the best.
Neville Bonner, the first Indigenous person in the Australian Parliament, was Ken's friend, and when Ken was shown around the Museum of the Australian Democrats in Old Parliament House, the curator showed him Neville's pillow and diary.
Neville had written, "Whilst in Canberra I was never invited to a function or to dinner, never invited for a coffee and a chat".
He went home every night to his pillow, his only friend. I cried when Ken said those words as they brought back bad memories of my first years as a white immigrant in Australia, many years ago, and unfortunately, I don't think anything has changed since then.
June Porter, Warners Bay
TERMINAL DECISION A BLOW
I REFER to the article about small businesses clubbing together to fight further closures in reference to lost business in Darby Street ('Independence day', Newcastle Herald, 15/7). Good luck to the new enterprise, almost an echo of a Chamber of Commerce. One of the greatest disservices to Newcastle, the Hunter and the mid-north coast of late is the Sydney state government's decision not to proceed with the overseas terminal ('Terminated, Herald, 24/4). Imagine the spin-offs from such development. Why, it would almost have been another employment creator like BHP.
Tom Port, Hallidays Point
LEAD US FROM DARK DAYS
THROUGHOUT the world, racism is rife. It has now become the fourth topic to avoid in company along with sex, politics and religion. We constantly hear racist remarks from US president Donald Trump. Also, there is the rapid growth of far right white supremacist groups. In China, the Uyghur are persecuted while here in Australia there are bad attitudes to Muslims, asylum seekers on Manus Island and Aboriginal people.
There are no words that can adequately describe the horror of our past treatment of Aboriginal people. They were poisoned and shot. Women and girls were poorly-paid servants in white people's houses, and white men, while despising their race and colour, sexually used, abused and raped them. Segregation and assimilation were practised. In short, Aboriginal people had no rights.
So, how fair is it to punish people because of race and skin colour? After all, no-one has the choice. The religious teaching of white represents purity and black sin could partly be to blame, but this is to do with the interior rather than the exterior of a person. And weren't we brought up to believe that white is clean and black is dirty?
The hard-won rights of the world's dark-skinned people are in jeopardy. This is why we need good leaders who will unite rather than divide, those who will do all they can to promote fairness and justice for all. Our past is dark and now we have the chance to get serious by consulting the Indigenous voice regarding constitutional change in a country that boasts a fair go for all.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
PRAISE IS NOT UNANIMOUS
THANK you, Dave Fothergill (Letters 17/7) for your letter regarding Cameron Smith. I thought my husband and I were the only people who felt the same way you do about him. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts about his behaviour when Alex McKinnon was hurt. Disgraceful.
Don't get me started about the salary cap scandal at Melbourne and the holier-than-thou stance taken by the team, with him as their captain, refusing to make any admission or take any blame. On NRL 360 the other night, host Ben Ikin commented that he had heard 'rumours' that there were people who don't like Smith, who presumably have no desire to fawn over him, and he was clearly bemused and confused such people could possibly exist. I'm not.