A NUMBER of comments in recent times have prompted me to consider the number of missed opportunities and poor decisions that have left us with a broken public transport system. It's not just the closure of the railway, the light rail in Hunter Street or the bus timetables.
Newcastle and Lake Macquarie once had a network of colliery lines that had the potential to be valuable public transport corridors. The Wallsend line ran past the university. Considering the amount of traffic on Newcastle Road, the line could have carried a lot of commuters and reduced the congestion the area is renowned for. The Gully line ran past the stadium, Westfield Kotara and terminated just short of Charlestown. Again, this line had the potential to carry a lot of people and reduce congestion.
The Belmont line carried a lot of parcels and had the potential to carry large numbers of commuters. The problem was a timetable that most people couldn't use. The Toronto line was well patronised, but the problem was few passengers had a ticket. The Burwood line ran past Merewether beach and from the Junction another line ran to Hamilton South.
All these railways had the potential to make commuting and getting around much easier. Sadly, in most cases the alignments have been built on and we have to put up with worsening congestion. I won't say the opportunities have gone, but it will be so much harder and more expensive to use these corridors now. When will our corporate and political leaders learn?
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
BLAME THE TROUBLEMAKERS
TONY Brown (Letters 12/11), I am sick of your constant wailing about troublemakers in the Newcastle nightlife scene. Why should the majority of punters be penalised by the actions of a very small minority late at night?
Why blame the venues when a lot of the trouble is caused by delinquents who don't even frequent venues but lay in wait to cause trouble with an unsuspecting punter who may or may not be intoxicated? Why not adapt to the American system where every person is responsible for their actions?
Don't blame the venues; blame the person who cannot control their actions. In all my 61 years I, like the majority of people, enjoy a good time but I know my limits and make a responsible decision when it's time to go home. This is the case with the majority of people.
We don't need to be a nanny state. We just need to be responsible for our actions. A larger police presence would help to eliminate the troublemakers that seem to appear when people are at their most vulnerable.
Tony Morley, Waratah
TIME TO SHAKE OUT A FIX
THIS latest national disaster has brought back memories of the 1989 Newcastle earthquake for many. As owner of two businesses and a home in affected areas my life changed dramatically, so I have some understanding of how the owners of properties are feeling in bushfire-ravaged areas.
I see a similar situation occurring now with politicians as it did in 1989 where they came from all levels of governments, got their faces on the news, sympathised and did very little if anything. I see it all now as they all have a say in the blame game.
It would be great if they just did something to minimise or prevent future bushfires. They could start by reintroducing back burning in the winter months. The Indigenous community recognised this practice hundreds of years ago. We know this today as hazard-reduction burning.
In Newcastle, an earthquake appeal was begun quickly but the conditions were so stringent on access for help it meant many did not qualify. With damage to my home and no access to the businesses I had no income but I did not qualify. Were there millions of dollars left in that fund, and if so, can it go to assist bushfire victims?
Any funds now being collected for bushfire relief should be spent now on those who truly need immediate help. Building practices changed after the earthquake and now it's time to investigate what regulations are needed to minimise bushfire risk.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
DON'T KID US ON CLIMATE
WORLD Children's Day is on November 20, as is the Day of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which Australia has signed. This commits Australia to protect the right of all children to health and safety.
I call on Scott Morrison, as the leader responsible for the futures of six million Australian children, to protect them from climate breakdown.
With more ferocious bushfire seasons, and the worst drought in history, some children and their families are losing their homes and livelihoods. Babies and children struggle through longer and hotter heat waves. Children face an inhospitable world if we continue towards three-degree warming, and their mental health is suffering. We need urgent action to restore their hope. To avoid the most catastrophic impacts, Australia must act on the science and urgently accelerate cuts to our greenhouse emissions, consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. I believe this government's current policies are a betrayal of our children and its responsibility to protect them.
Alisha Onslow, Raymond Terrace
WHAT CHANGED WITH FIRES
IN the mid to late 1900s, our family lived on a dairy farm in the Stroud area. Once a year in mid August or early September, my father would put a box of matches in his pocket, hop on his horse in the late afternoon and ride up onto Hall's Hill.
He would set fire to clumps of dry grass and let them slowly burn overnight, up into the tree-line at the top of the hill. Here it would burn the leaves, branches and bark that had fallen to the ground over the previous year. I don't remember any "catastrophic" fires during that time, nor do I remember any animals being endangered. Why is 2019 so different?
Ian Gorton, Edgeworth
POWERFUL MUST ACCOUNT
BLAMING the greenies and the lack of hazard reduction burning for the ferocity of the bushfires this year is just the latest display of ignorance on the issue. The fire chiefs have said they have done enough.
The Greens aren't making the policy decisions that can protect the environment. They aren't in power. The Liberal and National parties are in government in NSW and nationally. Isn't it time they were asked to account for their management of the environment, including the bush?
It's not a lack of back-burning that has made the fire seasons longer and more destructive. We have the science for this. It's climate change, and we know how to solve it. Blaming the Greens is just a diversion.
Justin Davis, Lambton
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
I WALKED down to Beaumont Street today to find that my local newsagent had suddenly shut. The friendship, local knowledge, wonderful customer service and community spirit of Nathan, Sandy, Geoff and all the staff will be greatly missed. Many an early riser or shift worker dropped in there for a paper, a bottle of milk and a quick chat. Not many businesses these days greet you by name. The closure of Hamilton News and Gifts is a loss to the local community and a signal of Beaumont Street's further decline.
Leona Goodman, Hamilton
IT needs to be pointed out to some people that you can't drink grass. The number of lush lawns being watered at least once a day is amazing. Maybe they want to get in for their share before the real restrictions arrive.
Kevin White, Muswellbrook
WHILE the state of emergency is in place, is this not a great opportunity to cancel parliamentary orders for say a week? Have a joint sitting of both houses to come up with a bipartisan policy on where to from here. No-one is interested in which party or person comes up with a solution, just get it done. Stop playing politics with our future.
L R Woodard, Beresfield
AT a time when many of our nation's rural residents are on the edge of not only financial ruin, but also mental health breakdown, Mac Maguire (Short Takes, 12/11) chooses to take a thinly veiled pot-shot at successful farmers who choose to give their children the best education they can. In my opinion his comment is a typical green-eyed attack on anyone who succeeds.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
I HAVE been reading your paper for the last 38 years and have never seen a more one-eyed cartoon than that published by Pope in regards to the bush fires (Opinion, 12/11). It would appear that he agrees with the accusations that the Liberals caused all the problems by their climate change policies. What a load of hogwash. If that's the best the Greens can do, God help us if they ever get into power.
Allen Small, East Maitland
ENVIRONMENTALISTS and climate protesters, please get off your soap boxes for a minute and ask why. Why do we need coal, oil and uranium? It's because the world needs fuel to generate power to feed, build and survive. The planet is in overload because we are overpopulated. We are the reason for global warming. Protest by all means, but work out why you're protesting and come up with realistic solutions.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
HOW low can partisan politics go? Surely no lower than Barnaby Joyce's disgraceful comments blaming the Greens for the recent bushfires and then declaring that two people who lost their lives were likely Greens voters ('Morrison urges politicians to calm down', Newcastle Herald 13/11). Lower than a snake's belly, in my opinion.
Mac Maguire, Charlestown
I AM sick of Tony Brown (Letters, 12/11) pushing his personal opinion and agenda on everyone. In my opinion not everyone agrees; our CBD is a ghost town, which seems to me just the way he wants it.