IT was with great delight that I read Max McKinney's article on plans to potentially upgrade and protect Munibung Hill ('Council eyes upgrades to Munibung Hill', Newcastle Herald 27/6) . As an international educational consultant, now living in Speers Point, I have always felt this beautiful natural resource is not being valued to its true potential.
Research shows that only through close contact with nature will humans develop the knowledge and therefore the love of and desire to protect nature. Research also shows that contact with nature reduces stress and anxiety, and this has never been as important as it currently is. Creating access for children and adults of all abilities while protecting nature will only be beneficial to all.
I would also like to see specific sites allocated and being used by local schools and early childhood settings as I work with such settings to increase children's contact with nature and as learning spaces. I look forward to further development.
Niki Buchan, Speers Point
Career and conduct both matter
THE hidden life of former High Court judge Dyson Heydon has allegedly been exposed.
How the general public feels about what has been revealed, depends. Some, like former Prime Minister John Howard, have thrown their cards on the table by saying he was "an excellent judge of the High Court of Australia" ('Police assess Heydon harassment claims', Herald 24/6)
Heydon may have been a great judge, but what about the lives of all the women he has allegedly preyed upon? Does one's brilliant career counteract all the alleged behaviour? Do words like honour, self respect, uprightness, decency, dignity and restraint have any real meaning at all these days?
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
Base COVID rules on the risks
I WENT to Charlestown Square the other day; thousands of people, no obvious distance warning or restrictions with people bumping into each other. Then I went off to Bunnings; a rat race of security fencing to enter, but with a smiling welcome and hand sanitiser at the door.
Out to lunch at the local pub, we had to sign in before we sat down and tried to eat a rump steak with a plastic knife and fork. In the evening we were off to the local bowlo and had to sign in and have temperatures taken. As we were having a drink and putting a couple of dollars in the pokies, staff advised that me and my wife had to separate 1.5 metres from each other. I told staff we had lived together for the last 40 years and what ever I may have, she will have as well. I was told if the police came in and saw us the club would get a $5000 fine. Really?
There seems to be no set risk assessment and it seems to vary from none to the stupid extreme. There have been no identified COVID-19 cases in the Hunter region for at least five weeks. The only risk assessment that I believe needs to be done is to check if you've come from Victoria or overseas. If you have, you're out. Easy as. The Liberal government loves to rule by fear and I think we are all running a wee bit scared.
Brian Burgess, Floraville
Knights star can get even better
I'M sure Adam O'Brien will be talking with Kalyn Ponga about the fullback's defensive responsibilities in the game, not only in on field positioning but also in tackling techniques.
On a few occasions Ponga has been sighted elsewhere as an opponent has crossed our try line. In circumstances where supporting cover is not available, it is vital that the fullback should keenly follow the movement of the ball so that he is truly the last line of defence. It's not always possible, but preferable to depending on the chance of an intercept or a mistake by the opposition.
When it is a matter of one-on-one tackling, there is no question of Ponga's courage. He boldly throws his body and considerable weight against the attacker, but if he doesn't wrap his arms and (at other times beautiful) hands around the body, he can be bounced away and the attack continues, with fellow defenders caught out and compromised.
I treasure memories of the gutsiness and skill of Kurt Gidley who, often behind a beaten team, would drop a would-be scorer within inches of the line or, if unsuccessful, would be seen still clinging to the legs of the enemy.
I'm glad we have Ponga for five more years and I look forward to seeing him remembered as one of our best.
John Gralton, South West Rocks
Reports don't deserve razor gangs
THE comments by the unelected ABC razor gang (Letters, 27/6) are letting their imagination run far ahead of the facts. The yarn about the ABC promoting the white chess pawn to move first is racist was dreamed up by a shock jock from another station. In fact, a father called ABC to explain his son's question and ABC checked with chess experts including Dr Bonham, (a psychologist) who reported it was a standard practice to minimise confusion.
Another fantasy, that there are no ABC cuts, was also promoted by another shock jock. It would seem more credible that ABC managing director David Anderson has identified 250 jobs to go and savage cuts to many important programs to meet the proposed "trifling" $40 million cuts. It's thought provoking to reveal that the unelected razor gang spend their valuable time studying The Drum's debate of their apparent hero and medical guru, Donald Trump.
George Paris, Rathmines
Bus boost? Remains to be seen
IT would seem the opening of the new bus interchange at Wickham is another part of the shift of economic activity from the city centre and the East End to the west end. Considering all the current and proposed developments I can't help but wonder just what the agenda really is.
We were told that the closure of the railway and the light rail in Hunter Street would bring people back to the city centre. We were also told that the west end would also be the new CBD. I presume that will be where the economic activity will be. So what is supposed to be happening?
From what I have seen, the revitalisation of the city simply hasn't happened. If anything, the reverse is what has taken place. Surely those responsible for what has taken place would have foreseen what has happened. Whether the new bus interchange will make any difference to businesses in the city centre and the East End remains to be seen. Given what has already happened, I don't know that it will.
The bus interchange will not make access to the city any easier. What concerns me is that the lack of thought and good sense that has gone into the redevelopment will haunt this city for many years to come and future generations will be asking who let them get away with this?
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
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TONY Proust makes a brutal point about sitting duck, skating-on-thin-ice, Australia, (Letters, 27/6). Sydney to Melbourne is in the world's top five busiest air corridors. Australia has no domestic fuel. Spain, for decades, has proved tilt trains. Australia, act now. Use a fine pedigree to design and manufacture our own. Nation building, anyone?
Graeme Tychsen, Rankin Park
A RECENT report mentioned a "stranger laying in wait." He or she wouldn't have been laying in wait, though, unless he/she was a chook. I believe the person was lying in wait. Fowler's Modern English Usage is a good book for anyone to have on the shelf. Unfortunately American English and Americanisms are permeating our language and culture to the extent that Australians in emergency situations frequently phone 911 instead of 000. I believe there are so many that 911 phone calls in Australia that they are automatically transferred to 000. Let's remember that we are Australians.
Anthony Lang, Wangi Wangi
THE English Football Association voted against Australia/New Zealand World Cup bid, reinforcing the fact that we rate well down the totem pole as far as the Poms are concerned. It puts into context the rubbish that the Royalists and Anglophiles put out that an Australian republic is unnecessary. It's time to start asserting your right to an independent, self-governing country.
Alan Cameron, Eleebana
BEING inside 1500mm for 15 minutes is quite an achievement, so I want my money spent on the COVIDsafe app back. I query whether it was fully tested in realistic circumstances with natural human movement. Trouble is the government, doesn't matter which one, doesn't treat the money like it's their own. So are they going to try another type, or just hope that Melbourne doesn't explode before a vaccine comes along? It seems like everyone has been bitten by the quarantine fatigue bug. Let's hope it doesn't take us as long as the US to find a quick response. It seems we are all in different states at the moment.
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
A BIT harsh, Scott Hillard (Letters, 27/6). Being neither a Green nor Trump supporter, I'm at a loss as to how the ABC is responsible for either of these entities' actions. Surely they can determine their own position? Nevertheless, as we still live in a democracy, I respect your salient right to have a point of view. I must say though, in the next bushfire, Chinese Communist Party incursion, COVID-19 catastrophe or something pertaining to America, I'll listen to the ABC.
Ray Milliss, Tingira Heights
I MUST endorse Mike Sargent's opinion of the Hewson's View page. The latest is yet another vitriolic spray on the Morrison government. Hewson must think we have all forgotten his own story: the legendary birthday cake interview with Mike Willesee. Of course he then lost that election which led to the most important tax reform in our history being delayed for another seven years. That legacy hardly gives him the credibility to be a constant critic of the current regime.