I THINK water restrictions are a joke. Each day I go to my local beach and watch people stand under the showers, hand on the timer to keep the water flowing while they wash themselves, their wet suit and then their surfboard while their children do the same with the taps, all the while sending our precious water down the drain.
If I say anything, I am greeted with abuse and told to keep your opinions to yourself, you old bag, or to tell someone who cares. This great spirit we are supposed to have in Australia doesn't seem to help some people lose their sense of entitlement.
They will be the first to whine when there is no water to drink.
I have contacted the council and Hunter Water to no response while I gather every drop of water from the house in buckets to try and keep my poor garden alive. It seems we are going to have to run dry like many towns before anything is done.
Sarah Taylor, Merewether
ENSURE IT THROUGH INSURERS
MAY I suggest an alternative to the government's miserly compensation payment to the real heroes of our time, the volunteer firies? These men and women forego more than income and time away from loved ones; they put their lives on the line. It doesn't get any bigger than that. Sadly, the risk has become a reality.
I suggest that a fund be set up and contributed to by all property insurance companies, possibly in the form of a levy, and that compensatory wages be paid to the volunteers commensurate with their normal earnings. There should be no capping it at a miserly $6000 as at present. After all, a large number of these people have been out there since September and they still have mortgages and normal bills to pay like any one of us. $6000 wouldn't scratch the surface of what they owe.
I do not consider this to be an impost on the insurance companies, as the cost of the contributions would surely be offset by the value of the properties saved and which would otherwise be paid out if the properties were not saved.
The fund should be maintained and administered by the government as, being the eternal sceptic that I am, I would not trust the insurance companies to do so.
These volunteers are worth their weight in gold, as the saying goes, so let's pay them what they are worth.
Bill Snow, Stockton
PATIENCE WILL NOT SAVE US
AT the outbreak of World War II, the British Empire and some of her allies tried to evacuate from Dunkirk beach during an arduous battle with German forces.
The situation was far too huge an undertaking for the British navy at the time, so private vessels were famously used by the general public in the evacuation.
Fast forward to the present day and it seems we have a similar situation on Mallacoota beach to that at Dunkirk ('Day of terror on Terra Nova Drive', Newcastle Herald 3/1). In place of military forces, we have thousands of exhausted residents, holidaymakers and tourists who have survived horrendous conditions either fighting or fleeing bushfires who are awaiting to be rescued and returned to relative safety.
It appears to me that the government has yet to realise the emergency that exists. It has told the general public to be patient and in the meantime this week dispatched just one naval vessel to evacuate thousands of people from Mallacoota beach.
I hope we don't see any private vessels assisting the navy, but I believe something has to be done as a matter of emergency before the return of horrendous weather conditions, in the area on the weekend.
Ernie Whipper, Arcadia Vale
WE ALONE WON'T CHANGE IT
IT'S apparent that reading my letter to the editor regarding Scott Morrison, drugs and environmentalists has rattled a few feathers. I do not apologise for anything I have written, as every Australian has the right to voice their opinion. I think it's just a shame that these people didn't respond to other suggestions to solutions towards resolving water supply to our rural communities or the main reasons behind climate change, but it is good that it is pleasing to know that our school systems are working on literacy and more people can read.
Don't get me wrong, I do have empathy towards you digging your heels in over your passion and concerns. You are correct; not one person can change what has been caused by many centuries of human mismanagement, but nothing can be said to prevent me from having my say as you have yours by right. Maybe between us all something might be accomplished. Good luck in your endeavours.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
STOP HOUNDING WILDLIFE
CHARLIE the dog's triumphant tussle with a tiger snake in the Hecimovic back yard ('Charlie the dog cops rare bite', Newcastle Herald 3/1) provided good food for musing the way we view our native wildlife.
I understand Charlie was merely channelling some instinctual motivations and, I must admit, I've begrudgingly ended a snake's life when cornered in an outhouse adjacent to bushland back in my teens. I recall this incident with regret rather than triumph, as I believe we should Charlie's encounter. I am glad that unlike Charlie I avoided the fangs in that instance, but given the animal in question is a protected species, would we share the same cheerful enthusiasm for the death of a native protected animal if one of Charlie's larger brethren had killed a possum, wallaby, platypus, frog or bilby? Humans and our exotic pets encroach on native habitats more and more. Regardless of species, venomous or not, we should be mindful of our impact. I wish Charlie all the best in his recovery; after all, it's a dog eat frog (or whatever) world.
Martin Dinneen, The Junction
SPEND IT WHERE WE NEED
IT'S a fundamental responsibility of the federal government to ensure security for the Australian people and implement the necessary measures and resources to this end. In my opinion the close alliance with the United States has blinded this government to the real threats to our national security. They have allocated a fortune to equipping our ADF to fight beside the US in a manufactured war scenario with China, who poses no military threat to this country. The real threat to our national security is human-induced climate change and the terrible effects that manifested in the worst bushfire season ever.
A government exercising its duty of care for our security would be expending funds in the billions on equipment and support for our heroic firies and in recognising the climate emergency and formulate and implement policies to address this real threat to our national security.
Bevan Ramsden, Lambton
I'M not surprised there were people from the burnt-out village of Cobargo not wanting to shake your hand, ScoMo (''You're not welcome': south coast bushfire victims heckle PM during visit to Cobargo', Newcastle Herald 3/1). You left Australia for a holiday with your family as our nation faced a national bushfire emergency. You career politicians with your good salaries, lurks, perks and lifelong super pensions, don't you expect to make some sacrifices in your short three-year term? If you were employed in the private sector on a comparable weekly salary you would certainly be expected to sacrifice family entitlement if there was a crisis in the business. Where has the role of a 'public servant gone? You and your colleagues must have taken an oath to serve the public at some stage. Shame on you all.
Annabel Jaffray, Maryville
IN a crisis, governments and Prime Ministers are expected to be proactive leaders and give confidence to the public that they have control of a situation. This government is definitely only a reactive one, unless it has got anything to do with stopping the boats and people are not going to be assured by patronizing speeches from Prime Ministers who assure us they are on top of everything, but as the Lindt siege inquest found out they misrepresented the position and were anything but on top of matters.
Allan Earl, Beresfield
SCOTT Morrison's New Year's Eve celebration with cricketers on Sydney Harbour should have been cancelled. Lost lives and devastated communities should have been respected. For once, Mr Morrison in his Canberra bubble lead the way rather than host a cheery get-together and downplay the shock and suffering of our nation.
John Butler, Windella Downs
THE memorial plaque to William Dobell is located at the average height of a dog's hind quarters at the edge of the footpath. Well, I am not surprised the local four-footed residents take advantage. It is a shame the plaque is routinely desecrated to the extent it's almost illegible. Don't have it there if it looks like an abandoned urinal. Please, have some respect for Bill and the plaque.
John McMonnies, Cooks Hill
I CAN'T believe the fireworks in Newcastle only went for eight minutes ('Crowds 'well behaved'', Herald 2/1). They should do it for longer next year and have a countdown like Sydney does. This is unbelievable and they should have a countdown.
Ethan Dominish, Newcastle
ERNIE Whipper (Letters, 2/1), how about if you join the RFS and fight the fires? They will train you. The members of the ADF are likewise not trained firefighters in the current day and age. It would be wrong to put them on a fire front when they have not been trained. Highly trained RFS members have died, and they are taught to read the fires. The ADF have been involved in fighting, Admin and logistics from early on. It's just that they do their job quietly.
Rod Wicks, Garden Suburb
SHOULD all Australians be forced to take out private health insurance?
Yes, 4%; No, 96%
LETTER OF THE WEEK
THE pen goes to Frank Ward for his tribute to the late Geoff Dingle.