I AM a non-Indigenous person who has lived in our valley all my life. I support our first people, the Wonnarua, in their application to save an important site from being destroyed by the extension of the Glendell mine near Ravensworth ('Renewed push to save sacred site', Newcastle Herald 13/7).
The detailed cultural values assessment details extensive frontier violence in the area as shown in colonial records. We know this is not an isolated incident. Not only is acknowledgement of this history vital for the Wonnarua to honour the lives of their ancestors, but also for the whole community. It belongs to all of us.
For so long parts of our history, good and bad, have been denied to us. It's time to tell all the stories, shine a light on the whole truth. Mining and the jobs it brings are still a part of Hunter Valley life but it's not necessary for Glencore, definitely not a local, to be allowed to destroy our common heritage in the course of their business. It's sad that such an application has never yet been approved in NSW. Let's hope this is the first.
Anne Horadam, Metford
Put drinking changes on ice
I READ with much interest Michael Parris' article featuring the views of Dr John Crozier, chair of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons' National Trauma Committee ('Surgeons question liquor trial', Newcastle Herald 11/7).
Dr Cozier detailed many well supported details as to why the lockout rules in bars within the city should remain unchanged, stating that this it is the worst time to be experimenting with relaxations on alcohol sales. Among the factual statistics Hunter New England Health reported that alcohol-related problems rose by 56 per cent in the period 2002 - 2018.
The data contained in this article and the added opposition of police and emergency services supports serious opposition to this proposal. Adding to this the COVID-19 infection rates now being detected in NSW, this proposal should be postponed until such time as things return to normal.
Peter Mullins, Rankin Park
Don't brand our city with logos
POST-COVID, a Newcastle task force of civic and industry leaders has got together to consider how best to address the terrible blow that has been dealt to the tourism industry ('Tourism revival focus', Herald 12/7). Its strategies include developing a marketing campaign to promote Newcastle as an exciting destination.
So what might brand Newcastle look like to our civic leaders? How do Novocastrians want to be seen by potential tourists?
Personally, I have little argument with most of the suggestions flowing from the taskforce. Upgrading the city's assets and helping to promote the city's businesses are items most ratepayers would approve of. Events that are inclusive and non-invasive and represent the authentic aspirations of the local population, such as Surfest, would also I believe get a tick.
I shudder with apprehension though, when the marketing lingo gets a workout, with the taskforce appealing for "additional tourism product development training from Destination NSW".
This is the agency which sold the Supercars to Newcastle, at an exorbitant cost to ratepayers. It is an event which in my opinion rode roughshod over the best Newcastle has to offer, while claiming to promote it. Newcastle's beautiful landscape, historical icons and heritage streets were used as a billboard to promote the brand names of the event's sponsors - global corporations in the main with little connection to Newcastle. I fear relying on Destination NSW's marketing approach may further damage the genuine brand Newcastle.
Christine Everingham, Newcastle East
Train philosophy is off the rails
IT was with great misgivings I noted Thursday's story ('From ship to rail: new trains arrives in port', Herald 9/7.
The story implies that the degree of cooperation between the parties involved with the imported trains as well as Newcastle Port's "ability to provide an efficient solution handling this cargo, helps to ensure the Hunter region's long term prosperity."
It almost makes you feel fuzzy until the cold, hard realisation hits that the trains could have been built here in the Hunter, supporting hundreds of jobs instead of a couple of dozen.
My objection is not with the people involved with getting the trains here. No, it is with the state government who made the decision to import, no doubt heavily influenced by short sighted economists. It is a government which slugs local businesses with a 5.45 per cent payroll tax for the pleasure of employing people, making us all less competitive. Then, of course, the region misses out on the workers' income associated with local manufacture, the tax the federal government would have collected, the missed opportunities for dozens of businesses in the supply chain and the certainty of more reliable on time supply.
I note the state government's excuse for the late arrival of the trains is due to COVID-19. They are actually making excuses for the Chinese manufacturer. There's another 15 sets of eight-car trains to come, but I say wake up Australia and support your own.
Fred Reis, Eleebana
Park plans for Cooks Hill site
I WAS surprised and disappointed to learn ('School secrets', Herald 23/6) of the NSW Education Department's apparently secret proposals to build a school and many other buildings and structures on National Park.
Both proposals even suggest converting sections of National Park to car parking; one proposal suggesting an up to 1000 space multi-level car park.
National Park was transferred to the Newcastle Council on behalf of the people of Newcastle in 1913 by the Australian Agricultural Company. In 1972 Newcastle Council and the Australian Agricultural Company entered into a written agreement providing that National Park would be a public reserve pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Act 1919.
My understanding is that under that act, a public reserve means a public park.
City of Newcastle council has to its credit recently rejuvenated the part of National Park adjoining Smith and Parry Streets into open park land, which is now the only large area of open park land in National Park. The remainder of the reserve has been devoted almost entirely to sporting activities.
Surely in all the circumstances Newcastle council will strongly resist any NSW Education Department attempts to build upon National Park and will without further delay establish the long awaited National Park plan of management to give further effect to the written agreement it entered into with the Australian Agricultural Company.
Ross Lindgren, Hamilton South
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email email@example.com 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.
DENNIS Petrovic (Letters, 13/7) reckons Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has given assurances that the health of every single resident in under lock-down areas is being taken care of. That should put five million nervous Victorians at ease.
David Stuart, Merewether
MANY thanks to Denise Lindus Trummel for her remarks about the book Mayfield Girl. She made me realise how hard my mother Jean Sharp fought to educate and better herself in Newcastle in 1920s and 30s and how hard it was for her. She's right about older people now writing down their words about the past, especially in times like these when a pandemic changes everything. I hope people can take note. I thank her for her words.
Stephen Wallace, Sydney
BRUCE Brander (Short Takes, 14/7): the brevity and self-righteousness of your response reveals exactly why we need the ABC. I once worked with an American who made the comment that he had learned more about the world in months watching the ABC compared to his years of life at home. More recently news reports from the US show people stating that they do not believe COVID-19 exists! Let us hope we don't walk a similar introspective, narrow-minded media path.
Marvyn Smith, Heddon Greta
IF I choose to visit a relative in an aged care facility, I am required to provide a certificate to show that I have had a flu shot. Why can we not have a similar condition imposed on persons wishing to purchase a ticket to travel by air, train and coach? If you want to travel, you should be required to produce a certificate stating that you are free of COVID-19. I understand that there might be a period of 48 hours before a COVID test can produce a result, but most people planning a trip will need to take that timeframe into account. It seems simple to me.
Stan Keifer, Arakoon
I THANK John Davies (Letters, 14/7) for informing the public about the Wyndham Scheme and agree over the need for business, industry, education and even the government to cooperate in creating skilled workers. I take issue with his claim that Gough Whitlam "destroyed" the scheme. He made it redundant by making university free, also providing income support which still exists today. Living in Sydney in the mid 1970s on $28 a week I paid $16 a week sharing with other students. The occasional cheer you heard wasn't from the local football ground, after counting our pennies we finally had enough for a carton of long necks.
Colin Fordham, Lambton
IDIOTS still live in our society. Don't they realise that their stupidity and ignorance regarding safe distancing will cause someone's death? Get real and get responsible if not for your sake, then for the safety of others. If you're a protester maybe you should protest about those who attend protests, endangering other protesters, if that makes sense. And our health regulators should get their act together. Concerned pub patrons in Sydney doing the right thing are waiting hours for tests.