WITH the demise of an Australian icon, is now the time to seize the moment with the rebirth of the car manufacturing industry in Australia? With our Prime Minister calling for technology to be the driver for emissions reduction, what about electric cars as a primary contributor?
Technological intervention has surely provided production line efficiencies that would reduce manufacturing costs and the government could subsidise a fledgling industry by allowing a tax-free period to assist the new industry to establish itself. Jobs, jobs, jobs. Why would this not be an attractive initiative to a government in need of new ideas?
Come on, Scott Morrison, show us how fair dinkum you are and take up the challenge: our very own locally produced electric car. How wonderfully proud would we be, driving along in our Holden.
Stan Keifer, Arakoon
HOPE IS WASHING AWAY TOO
IT'S hard to word how hopeless Stockton residents have been made to feel over the past few months. To find the strength to continue to attend community meetings, to advocate for something as simple as having access to their own beach, to keep writing to our representatives.
Every time a big tide hits or a storm comes, we watch a little more of our home sink into the water and wonder what it will take for someone to do something. We thought it might happen after the childcare centre was demolished, after asbestos from the old dump starting flowing into the ocean, after the cabins had to be moved, but we have seen nothing. We haven't seen leadership, we haven't seen action.
We have now lost Lexie's; a social hub and an invaluable part of our community, and we are again heartbroken. I would like to ask our leaders what has to happen to make our suburb a priority.
Stella McKessar, Stockton
A GLUT OF CONCERNS
YOUR article about people without coeliac disease reducing their intake of wheat to reduce gluten in the body ('Gluten avoidance queried', Herald 18/2) does not mention that wheat products can contain a much more dangerous substance - glyphosate, an ingredient in RoundUp.
This substance is widely known to be linked to many illnesses.
Alex Harrison, The Entrance North
TRADING PARKING PLACES
WITH regards to the CBD parking issue ('Dust yet to settle on parking debate', Herald 21/2) I imagine half of the available parking spots would be taken up by the workers who are building the city. They have to park somewhere, with not enough space for all at the site where they are working. This could also be a reason Mr Standen states he has to be earlier and earlier to get a park. Tradies usually start at 7am.
Graeme Bennett, Warners Bay
GAUGE INTEREST IN RAIL
AN anniversary seems to have passed largely unnoticed. It's been just on 50 years since the Indian Pacific started running. What was even more significant was this marked the end of the traumas when travelling across Australia or trying to move freight across Australia. People no longer had to change trains and freight no longer had to be transshipped.
That was for passengers of freight going from Sydney to Perth. One would have hoped that when the standard gauge was completed the momentum would have continued and the whole of the Australian rail network would be a common standard gauge soon after. It was many years before the capital cities were connected; Adelaide in 1982, then Melbourne and Adelaide were connected in 1995. Darwin was finally connected in 2004.
In Victoria, some lines have been converted to standard gauge, but successive governments have been very slow with standardisation. In South Australia, they simply closed many of the lines. Queensland has been openly hostile to gauge standardisation. Much of the Western Australian network is still narrow gauge, although some lines have been converted. Such a piecemeal and fragmented national rail network cannot be expected to work as well as it should. We need an efficient national rail network if we are to effectively deal with climate change. As I have said before, our reliance on road transport is one of the reasons why, per head of population, Australia is such a large producer of greenhouse gases. Clearly there needs to be a long-term plan that our political masters will be committed to in order to convert our railways to a common standard gauge. This should have been dealt with before federation.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
WE HAVE THE POWER
FROM what I observed on South Australia's power supply after part of the main grid transmission line to Victoria got blown down during a storm recently, South Australia ran on near 50 per cent renewables plus 50 per cent gas-fired generation 24 hours per day for most on the two weeks separated from the main grid. The impressive thing is it had only four batteries for storage of power, so there was nearly no storage available to use as backup power.
I also note there were solar and wind farms curtailed by AEMO during the grid break down. It is also noted that during some time through the days South Australia only had 50 per cent of its power coming from roof top solar and 50 per cent from gas-fired generation of power.
The AEMO could have easily increased the renewable power content above 50 per cent many times but I believe the AEMO restricted renewables as a cautionary measure. It goes to show a grid can run on half renewables with little power storage 24 hours per day for it has been done.
Agner Sorensen, Teralba
STORM'S FURY IGNORES US
THE massive storm front that hit eastern Australia on Wednesday ('SES kept busy, homes left without power following storm', Herald 20/2) is just another reminder of how insignificant we are as a species.
The side of my upper deck and all my furniture was sucked off and distributed to neighbouring properties in an instant, and the intensity of the hours long storm is the worst, most sobering experience of my life. Two doors down, the wind knocked down brick walls and tore away roofs. Roller doors came off their tracks and windows bent inwards. While we debate climate change and sports rorts, Mother Nature rolls on in her inexorable way.
Garry Robinson, Mannering Park
WEIGH THE VALUE OF VOTE
EVERY day we seem to read or hear about a new scandal involving the Morrison government since the last election. I think the time has come for every person who cast a vote to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves this question, Did I vote for the right Government in that election?
Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana
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WHOEVER took over or created Service NSW offices needs a great big pat on the back. Remembering the days of the RTA offices, the slow and ordinary treatment you got from the staff is in the past. Now all the Service NSW staff seem happy, obliging and the customers seem happy. I have visited four different locations for their assistance. So whoever it was that turned this attitude of service and respect to the public around, they need congratulating. Maybe they should be our NSW Premier.
Steve Robinson, Wangi Wangi
THE former BHP site has now been idle for over 20 years. What is to be done with it? A solar and wind farm perhaps? Plant a forest on it? How about the Southern Hemisphere's largest shopping precinct with factory outlets, a great big sports ground that can cater for international cricket, AFL, soccer and the NRL and ARU. A great big race car track around it for Supercars, superbikes, F1. Transportation including heavy rail and a link to the light. Incorporate a cruise terminal and bus depot. Access to the Bay, the vineyards, the beaches, a faster rail link to Sydney and back? Want to put Newcastle back on the map. Investors with vision apply, don't let it sit idle for another 20.
Neil Hayes, Barnsley
WEDNESDAY morning's Newcastle Herald featured an SOS to save our Stockton ('Cafe strip', Newcastle Herald 19/2). I wonder if it could be Save our Sydney? If that was the case, no doubt funds would be available immediately. The old adage that it's only Newcastle remains fast and tight.
Daphne Hughes, Kahibah
SO far Stockton has lost a beach, a day care centre, half a caravan park and a cafe. The Council's response has been to close the beach, demolish the day care centre, move half the caravan park and close the cafe. I struggle to see that these responses are part of a coherent plan.
Robert McKessar, Stockton
THERE is a restoration job which I may not live to see completed at the junction of Perkins and Church streets, where the historic stairs have been fenced off for what may be approaching two years. How long does it take to evaluate a hopefully sympathetic repair and commence action? I may be cynical, but perhaps if the stairs were in the Supercars zone they would have been repaired long ago. Here's hoping for action.
Robert Hutchison, Kotara
WHAT a constant disappointment the Newcastle Permanent has become, by closing branches that seem to be busy such as Mayfield ('Permanent closes four more offices', Herald 25/1). These branches are often used by our older citizens who feel safer indoors than at teller machines.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
I NOTE with some amusement your mini-headline 'Jets eye top guns' ('Jets target Welsh star and former Socceroo', Herald 20/2). I seriously doubt Tom Cruise could rescue the Jets, or anyone else could rescue the Jets for that matter. Would anyone else like to see a match between the Matildas and the Jets? You'd probably get very good odds on the Matildas. Those young ladies play a magnificent game.