QANTAS has sacked 6000 employees; the question that needs to be answered is about these Hunter apprentices who will have to relocate to Melbourne if they wish to keep their jobs ('220 jobs fly away', Newcastle Herald 26/6). If you have ever been an apprentice you would realise that their wage is very minimal, so I believe the cost of relocating to Melbourne should be covered by Qantas and the government.
Politicians have been screaming to get more young Australians into apprenticeships, and here is their chance to support some. Don't let them down or leave them behind, they've done nothing wrong. It's in our safety interests that we support these apprentices.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
Suburbs need more attention
NEWCASTLE City Council approved a 2.6 per cent increase in council rates for the 2020/2021 period.
For various reasons this increase was opposed by the minor parties of council. It was also reported the budget included a record spend of $116 million on capital works including a 1.1-kilometre cycleway from Merewether beach to The Junction at a cost of around $3.2 million and the vision of Llewellyn Street in Merewether at a cost of around $14 million.
Our residential street at Rankin Park was constructed in 1971 when the estate was developed, and since that time the road has obviously suffered the test of time. We have been in constant contact with council since early 2012 to have remediation work carried out, council advised the road needs to be rebuilt and every year we have been told it will be in next year's budget. Every year we have been ignored.
This is not an isolated case, as readers outside the city precinct can attest. I believe we, the major contributors to council coffers, have been totally ignored with respect to road maintenance and pavement issues which in turn become major safety concerns. It's time the council managed all shareholders' requirements and not just the minority in the city precinct. When the next elections roll around, we in the suburbs can make this a reality by remembering that what you vote for today you must endure tomorrow.
Peter Mullins, Rankin Park
Get moving on faster trains
SADLY the chances of seeing high speed rail along our east coast, in the foreseeable future, are low given the twin challenges of distance and low population density, but good planning would see us reserve a suitable corridor.
However what we should see - what we must see - is a vastly improved, faster, intercity train service, not only between our east coast state capitals but also between Sydney and the big regional cities of Newcastle, Wollongong, Dubbo, Orange, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga. This is manifestly obvious, but there is little sign the NSW government recognises it. The Victorians have fast intercity trains, but not NSW.
IN OTHER NEWS:
We know that new intercity rolling stock is coming soon but there is no indication that the train services will be faster as a result.
Our rail alignments have changed little in 150 years limiting the opportunities for faster train services. In Queensland they have solved this problem by introducing tilt trains which can go faster around the curves, allowing faster travel times overall. Why has NSW ignored this technology?
High speed rail is unlikely in the foreseeable future but we need faster intercity trains now.
Tony Proust, Waratah
Justice wallows in the shadows
MANY viewers of the ABC program Q&A on Monday must be wondering if Australia has become a police state. Clearly, an unidentified individual imprisoned by a "secret court" must be seen as a political prisoner.
What other description best applies? Monday's Q&A panel member and former director general of ASIO, Dennis Richardson, not only condoned "secret trials and imprisonment" but also defended the government's treatment of whistleblowers David McBride, Witness K and former ACT attorney general, Bernard Collaery. David McBride, once a major in the Australian Army, faces a life sentence for making public allegations that SAS personnel had executed unarmed Afghani citizens, war crimes allegedly ignored by his superior officers, the federal police and senior politicians.
Bernard Collaery and Witness K also face a "secret trial", their alleged crime making public the Howard government's use of Australia's secret intelligence service to bug the Timor Leste Cabinet Room during the negotiations over oil reserves in the Timor Sea. Yes, serious crimes have indeed been committed in both of the examples given but I believe the wrong people are being punished as a consequence. Real justice requires those who actually committed those crimes be dealt with in open courts.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
Ice sends shivers through system
ALL employers have an obligation to protect its staff, yet the police, paramedics and front line hospital staff continue to be assaulted and this has increased significantly in the past month (''Disgusted', minister demands abuse probe', Herald 26/6). Sadly, I fear it is only going to increase and continue.
No one seems to be talking about why this keeps happening. I believe the elephant in the room is the "ice age" that is sweeping the country. Have you ever seen someone on ice in full rage? They seem incapable of showing respect. It doesn't matter how many police attend an incident or how many security guards you station at a hospital, I think it is always going to have the same violent result. It is not fair that staff have to continually contend with a problem that also takes time, money and resources away from other issues.
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
It is time for state and federal governments to work and fund together to reduce the amount of drugs on the streets. It won't be easy and the financial cost will be high, however allowing front line staff to continue to be punching bags will cost families, the healthcare system and operating rehabs. Mental health woes that stems from long-term drug usage may also skyrocket, potentially costing the taxpayer.
In NSW it seems to me that one of the biggest growth industries and costs for the state government is building jails. An additional 3000 beds have been delivered, we are told, but why the increase?
Sadly there are not many votes in trying to resolve this issue. Most of us don't experience the problem or understand it. We see ice users and their dealers as criminals that should be punished, and that's what the state government and police are doing, but it's nowhere near enough and they need more help. The ice age needs to be dealt with, and fast.
Aaron Buman, Carrington
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name, suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words and Short Takes fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
THE Knights have been given approval for an 8000 crowd for their first home game at McDonald Jones Stadium. The Jets should be given the same approval. There is plenty of space and seats for safe social distancing.
Eddie Boards, Kilaben Bay
PETER Devey (Short Takes, 26/6), money direct to people for livelihoods is always the aim. Coal, gas and oil are a non-spending, inefficient, unnecessary middle man in the energy world. The smart move is a national think tank, to set the post-fossil framework. Maximum all-around bang for the buck. Australia has the talent for this in spades.
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
JOHN William Hill (Short Takes, 24/6), objects to "savage funding cuts to the ABC". For the benefit of Mr Hill and others, the ABC billion dollar annual funding is not being cut, merely frozen. The ABC has been blessed with greater than $1 billion budget from taxpayer largesse for seven years now. No other media organisation in Australia has anywhere near a billion-dollar budget to play with. At a time of pandemic and recession, when many other businesses have been forced to close or suspend operations, the ABC has been merely denied a funding increase. The poor souls, my heart bleeds.
Peter Devey, Merewether
AS usual, the ABC cheer squad cry foul when anyone dares to question their pet dinosaur (Letters, 26/6). We're always told that we need the ABC for "democracy" - which is a fair point. Without The Drum to tell them, how would Greens voters know the woke position to hold on the hot topics of the day, or what to blame Trump for this time? That's hardly worth eight cents a day though. With the digital TV channels now running Midsomer Murders and left-wing news available online for free, I really can't see the need for a publicly-funded ABC. You can take that as a comment.
Scott Hillard, New Lambton
THE term used in this current downsizing of staff at Qantas was sacked, but in my opinion sacking is a term used when people or persons do the incorrect thing as deemed by management. I believe these people were retrenched, not sacked.
Darrell Sullivan, Clarence Town
IN 1976, on BBC radio, Patrick Moore (British astronomer) said that at 9.47am Pluto would pass behind Jupiter and that alignment of planets would result in a strong gravitational pull and people would weigh less and some may float. The BBC received hundreds of calls from people, one who said she hit her head on the ceiling, another that his table had floated. Surely the ABC is having us on when they suggest it is racist that white goes first in chess. It is not even April Fool's Day.
John Hollingsworth, Hamilton
THE Prime Minister says 6000 jobs lost at Qantas is heartbreaking, but does not mention 250 jobs gone from the ABC due to further budget cuts. The national broadcaster was cut to the bone by previous Coalition governments, now the cuts are going into the bone. This is a national disgrace and deserves national condemnation.