WHY is a helicopter base housed in the middle of a sporting precinct, alongside a storm-water drain and in a flood zone ('Court blocks council from Knights HQ vote', Newcastle Herald 5/12)? The area flooded when the Pasha Bulker storm hit.
Why is the helicopter so far away from where it has to pick up doctors or drop off those that are critically injured?
In true second-rate fashion of this rusted on Labor town, all critically injured patients are dropped off at the John Hunter Hospital, the largest outside of Sydney, in a closed down car-park across the road from the hospital, then wheeled across the road some 100 metres until they hit cover.
Why does the roof of Westmead Hospital have two helicopter bays and a landing pad? Who would have thought?
What a great idea. Doctors and staff can come straight up the lift to attend patients or board the helicopter, everyone working together as a team.
Who knows, with a new master-plan for Broadmeadow sporting precinct and the John Hunter redevelopment being designed, hopefully our state members might push for something that works better.
Aaron Buman, Carrington
LOCK OUT REPEAL TALK
IT was heartening to see in the Herald's online poll results that 77 per cent voted against the repeal of the successful Newcastle lockout laws (Short Takes, 5/12).
The evidence-based, modest reduction in hotel trading hours has not brought the city's pubs and night time venues to their knees. On the contrary, the small bar and boutique pub culture is thriving.
Residents no longer have to confront the previous antisocial, drunken behaviour of grogged-up louts who admitted they were served alcohol while drunk roaming the streets of the city and precincts. Newcastle's reputation suffered.
The ambos, hospital emergency doctors and police all continue to overwhelmingly support these sensible lockout laws ('Healthy dose of reluctance', Herald 30/11). These first responders despair that they should be repealed.
This poll also now indicates that the significant majority of the community also wants these effective conditions to stay in place. I believe the reputation of Newcastle as a vibrant, sophisticated and safe city depends on a wise decision.
Kate Elderton, Toronto
SYSTEM FAILS THE BRAVE
UNFORTUNATELY, a royal commission into veteran suicide needs to happen
It will cost a lot of money that would be better spent on veterans' welfare, but because of government resistance to veterans' claims a royal commission is probably the only way forward. I believe having to relive moments of stress, fear and anxiety during active service while being assessment by multiple doctors, shrinks and Veterans Affairs legal representatives rekindles the past they have put behind them.
In my opinion there appears to be a practice by Veterans Affairs to keep pushing veterans from one shrink to another until they get a favourable report. I believe this rekindling is causing more harm at a time later in life. Of course, the best way to stop veterans' suicide is to stop sending our young people to fight other people's wars.
Name and suburb withheld
Lifeline - 13 11 14
REGULATION IS THE WAY
I NOTE the prohibitionists are back (Letters 5/12), correctly pointing out the "dangers of taking anything of unknown ingredients from an untrustworthy person who only wants to exploit you". Can they not see this is an argument for legalisation, where the ingredients and dosages would be on the packet?
These tragic deaths are happening under prohibition, just like the massive death toll under historical prohibition regimes. Think Al Capone waging Tommy-gun battles through the streets of cities, and now our drive-by shootings and murders by organised criminals. Please look at Portugal, which decriminalised all drugs years ago with only beneficial results. It saved the government a fortune in the process. Using cops with sniffer dogs to jail people is very expensive and clearly pointless.
Michael Gormly, Islington
BALL DROPPED ON FIRES
I LOOK out over Newcastle; it's been covered in smoky haze for days and days. The sun is weak and casts an eerie orange colour around us. I notice when I breathe: where is that clean fresh air we used to enjoy?
We are told parts of our country have succumbed to the highest levels of air pollution from smoke ever recorded ('The big smoke', Herald 6/12) and the source is one of the worst bushfire seasons in history. We are also told that this is linked closely to climate change. The news told us on November 6 that more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries have come together to declare a climate emergency and create a six-step plan to help humanity mitigate the effects of man-made global warming.
Then, we heard on November 15 that a coalition of 23 fire and emergency services leaders from every state and territory gathered in Sydney to call for a climate emergency to be declared.
Our government in Canberra apparently refuses to recognise the urgency of the environmental situation. It refuses to declare a climate emergency and activate the measures necessary to seriously address the situation. I believe our government has failed in its duty of care to the Australian people. We, and all those protesting, now need to call for this government to resign. We need to elect people to parliament with a commitment to address this emergency and to thoroughly and publicly vet them for this commitment before we go to the polls.
Bevan Ramsden, Lambton
DECISIONS ARE CONNECTED
IT seems almost everybody except Clover Moore and Gladys Berejiklian are aware that we are in a crisis weather wise, with almost the whole country on fire. Farmers certainly won't head to Sydney for the fireworks ('Carols fireworks scrapped', Herald 6/12).
It seems they haven't noticed the economy is declining, the country is on fire because of climate change and the people who might attend will be the ones who suffer the most. What would Greta say? As for Gladys' idea of extending alcohol service hours, I believe it demonstrates her lack of awareness regarding some people who indulge in this activity.
One minute the Premier is espousing the wrath of domestic violence and homelessness, and on the other she is encouraging behaviour which is well documented to exacerbate these situations. Politicians are always on the lookout for cheap votes despite the repercussions.
Pat Garnet, Wickham
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE pen goes to Sarah Harden for her letter on climate change.
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.
GREAT to see Carols by Candlelight happening at Speers Point this Christmas. But is anyone going to question Lake Macquarie City Council why the Swansea Carols have been cancelled this year? It's time that the Swansea community know that they are missing out again.
Tony Jones, Swansea
JOHN Matthews (Letters, 2/12) tells us that we have sold China some of our crucial ports. I believe this statement is palpably inaccurate and I would ask John to please advise us as to which ports, other than Darwin, are actually owned by China? I have told you a million times, don't exaggerate.
Mike Sargent, Cootamundra
CONSIDERING the historic significance of the Newcastle Oceans Baths to the community, I made an enquiry of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. To my amazement, they replied that, having searched their heritage register, they "found it is not listed as either a local or state heritage item". I wonder how this situation could have arisen.
Stuart King, Toronto
I ABSOLUTELY agree with Steve Barnett's comments regarding Pamela Anderson's visit to Australia to film ads for Ultra Tune (Short Takes, 5/12). The old adage 'money speaks all languages' says it all.
Daphne Hughes, Kahibah
I FAIL to see what Israel Folau thinks he has been vindicated from and just what it is he is expecting to get from the government in its review of legislation regarding religion. The only thing that has been established by this settlement is that religion can and does get specialised treatment that is undeserved.
Allan Earl, Beresfield
I WONDER what sort of deal Jacqui Lambie will do with the government to destroy the unions. I hope she doesn't say she has the welfare of the workers in mind when she sinks them. Seems she's spending too much time with Pauline.
Mick Miller, Salamander Bay
AUSTRALIA should be removed from the United Nations.
Samuel Rogers, Redhead
CAN the media stop glorifying the cheat? In my opinion he should never play for our country again; he embarrassed and disgraced Australian cricket.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
I JUST noticed how much cooler it is with this haze of carbon dioxide sheltering me from the direct rays of the sun ('The big smoke', Herald 6/12) ... that can't be right.
John Milligan, Fassifern
A special service will be held with the Assistant Bishop of Newcastle dedicating a new bronze sculpture titled 'Madonna and child' at the Anglican Parish of St Mary's at Maitland at 9am on Sunday including a choral performance. Cost is $20 per person, with proceeds to support the scripture teacher at Maitland High School. Call Irene on 4933 2658 for details.