DOESN'T Newcastle deserve the same treatment as Sydney's CBD? In a recent letter, author Tony Brown (Letters , 12/11) misses the point.
The issue is about Newcastle and the type of city we want to live in, a city which should be treated the same as every other city in Australia; a city which should be talked up, not talked down; a place where you can have a cocktail after 10pm, or where well-run venues with no record of violence aren't penalised by outdated draconian measures.
Forward-thinking leaders can see past the days of prohibition and self-serving grandstanding. Mr Brown asks who we should trust when it comes to interventions with a clear implication that it is not the tourism leaders, policy-makers, and local businesses who actually want to see Newcastle thrive at night and move forward into the 21st century. Apparently this is due to their commercial interest in the outcome.
Local pubs are not interested in bringing back the bad old days, and state-wide laws brought in since 2008 will ensure that. We are interested only in working with police, council and the community to provide a vibrant and diverse night-time economy which employs thousands of people. Local pubs together provide millions of dollars in community support each year, celebrate music and the arts, and provide jobs. We donate money for farmers, offer accommodation for displaced families, support children's charities, sporting teams and health research.
There is no pubs versus the world dynamic. When it comes to local pubs, there is no us and them. There is only us, the community. As communities and industries evolve, you should never be afraid of a review. After all, as Mr Brown pointed out, "the well-known violence consequences" are now behind us in Newcastle.
Rolly de With, Australian Hotels Association Newcastle Hunter president
A TIME OF NATIONAL CRISIS
WE spent some time this week nervously watching fires tear back and forth across Crowdy Bay National Park while trapped behind closed roads with no electricity, no access to supplies, and hosing down our house in preparation.
The selfless efforts of our firies, mostly volunteers, cannot be overstated. The support of neighbours, emergency workers and ABC Radio were vital.
How sad that John Barilaro and Michael McCormack chose this tough time to air their rantings. How hypocritical to speak out "for" people who are suffering right now largely due to government inaction. How narrow-minded to deride talk of climate change while ignoring all the advice and evidence. How pathetic to stoop to name-calling ("bloody disgrace", "raving inner-city lunatics") to support their own inane bleating. How convenient to not discuss their refusal to meet with the experts who sought to advise them about the impending risks.
Those commentators blaming "greenies" for inadequate fire preparation should listen to Greg Mullins (former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner, Climate Council member). Fuel reduction depends on moisture levels and risk, and any lobby group thinking they can influence this is kidding themselves. Mullins endorses talking about climate change: "If not now, then when?" (Editorial, 12/11)
The National Party once supported rural people, but in my opinion have largely abandoned their base, perhaps due to the lure of coal and gas money. There seems to be a crying need to elect more capable representatives. As Greg Mullins so succinctly said, "...smile politely and walk away, because they don't know what they're talking about."
Lindsay Brown, Anna Bay
OUR LEADERS FALL BEHIND
NO wonder that the Australian public is in general appalled at the behaviour of some of our politicians; they do nothing, but just talk seems to be the norm.
Alleged statements of recent by that (in my opinion) total buffoon Barnaby Joyce and cohorts are beyond comprehension to normal Aussies.
I am reminded that this elected fool (Joyce) was once our deputy prime minister, also involved with the dreadful water problems in the total Murray Darling debacle amongst other political matters.
How long must Australians put up with useless pollies of all persuasions and levels of governments, who are only interested in their own benefits and power?
I am now an octogenarian and never have witnessed in my lifetime such total greed and power driven sections of society. Where have we gone wrong?
Apologies for my pessimistic letter, but I feel my sentiments would be shared with a lot of our community.
John Chaplin, Merewether
BATHS EAST END'S SUPERSTAR
GREAT letter, Mel Horadam (Letters, 6/11). The failure of the council to take any action on the deterioration of the shade structure and garden adjacent to the heritage-listed Newcastle Ocean Baths is in my opinion yet another example of the lack of council action of the maintenance of facilities in the East End. Rust is now seeping onto the beach.
I believe there has been very little expenditure on the baths since the facade was restored a number of years ago. The council has been asked to remedy the situation, and to my knowledge nothing has happened.
The ocean baths should remain an alcohol-free zone especially for the use of families, and all necessary works should be performed to upgrade and maintain them. The recently presented concept plans for the baths are as inappropriate for the East End as was the proposal to hold a polo match in the area. Polo is a traditional country sport and better left to those in the hard-pressed country areas to promote. Maybe the provision of free gym equipment that could be used by all and promote a healthy lifestyle would be a better use of vacant baths space.
The natural beauty of the East End is the best drawcard for visitors and locals alike. At present, however, if visitors or locals can get to Nobbys and the Cowrie Hole, despite the turmoil caused by the Supercars set up, they won't be able to park as these spaces are filled by permanent parkers from 7.30 am.
Ratepayers want their hard-earned rates used on the maintenance of their infrastructure facilities, not frittered away on poorly-considered events that support private companies who will happily take our money and run.
Helen Wood, Dungog
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE pen goes to Denise Lindus Trummel for the letter on bushfires and the Newcastle earthquake.
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.
MAY I take the opportunity to congratulate members of NSW Fire and Rescue for their great efforts in the latest fire disaster ('Community support for RFS overwhelming', Newcastle Herald 15/11)? Especially, I noticed this week, saving homes in the North Rothbury area. All too often NSW Fire and Rescue work behind the scenes without any accolades. Well done all crews.
Ray Cross, 382 Morpeth (retired)
I'LL keep this short and precise: I believe juveniles caught or associated with lighting fires, looting or impersonating fire personnel ('Fire fury', Herald 15/11) should be named and shamed in their local town and schools and put to work rebuilding, replanting and caring for animals. Adults should also be named and shamed and prosecuted to the full letter of the law. No more dilly-dallying with heartless and inconsiderate idiots; let them apologise at a town meeting.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
I REFER to Joan Lambert's question (Short Takes, 14/11) regarding political donations. Are the royalties from fossil fuels funding the massive amounts for drought relief and other natural disasters? Are we locked into a vicious cycle?
RJ Woodward, Beresfield
I JUST love the way you Greens supporters twist the facts to suit your agenda. You've been doing it for years. In the last decade of hung parliaments and minority governments, how many loony policies have you horse-traded and blackmailed into legislation with your casting votes? You keep making the claims that you don't have control over any government in Australia. Really? Tell the truth for a change and maybe your support base will grow.
Eddie Niszczot, Thornton
PERHAPS Anne Stuart (Short Takes, 13/11) could enlighten us on how the greenies allegedly managed to ban hazard reduction burning. They have never had more than a few members of parliament and have never controlled any council with a majority that I can remember.
Jan Trevillian, Fennel Bay
IF you are unsure whether our politicians are up to the job and exercising what they say is their first priority, which is "putting Australian's safety first and foremost", ask yourself this question: "would I be safer and feel more secure, with spending $17 billion on joint strike fighters to fight Americas wars, or would better value be in spending a fraction of that on fire bombers to save Australian lives, land and property?
Allan Earl, Beresfield
I WATCHED the senate yesterday for a while. They were trying to blame someone for something. After an hour they had not done anything for Australia, just fighting with each other. Why are they there and why do we pay them?
Barry Spaulding, Cardiff
WHILE listening to a news bulletin the other morning I was annoyed when I heard the announcer say "Newcastle, north of Sydney". Perhaps she had just arrived with the First Fleet.