Are we 'fast tracking' our country into a point of no return with no concern for our environment or the people living in it?
It is with a mounting anxiety, disgust and extreme concern that I read the article in the Herald on Saturday 25/7 regarding the fast tracking of mining projects in the Hunter region. Fast tracking by ticking all the boxes without proper evaluation. Who is actually calling the shots here? Only a few weeks ago John Barilaro, pictured, stood shoulder to shoulder with Stephen Galilee, the CEO of the Minerals Council to announce the areas that have now been designated as suitable for coal mining. One of the areas in question is the village of Wollombi, a thriving rural community and an extremely popular tourist destination for the people of the Hunter and Sydney. The village is busy with high quality shops, galleries and cafes and has a heritage that is preserved by the locals. At the on-site press release our Deputy Premier even gave the microphone to Mr Galilee to further talk up the project. This is a "lobby group" which donates large amounts of money to political parties and thus has a foot in the door of decision makers.
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Coal, and the multinational companies that dominate this sector, are now more important to this government than the people who voted them in. Wollombi has been thrown under the bus just like Broke and Bulga. The people are speaking loud and clear in their opposition but no one in government is listening. Coal mining is not going to dig this country out of the COVID-19 dilemma. In the meantime the jobs of the people of Wollombi, and indeed the natural environment and biodiversity it seems, are of no consequence. Tourism is as large an industry in Australia as coal mining. I know of no tourists who come to Australia to view the mines but they certainly come to see our natural environment, our birds and animals.
And, of course, no one seems to want to acknowledge the implications of coal on climate change. It seems that governments of all persuasions can dismiss that by saying that if Australia doesn't send its coal to the world then someone else will. Why are we not leading the world by example? Why are we not already transitioning away from coal and creating job opportunities in renewables and other technologies?
Our governments are still putting their collective heads in the sand but our young adults and children are not. Nor are those of my generation or the people whose lives have now been thrown into disarray. Barilaro et al, take note.
Margarete Ritchie, Brandy Hill
Victim's heartbreaking story
How can you not be moved when hearing a man say: "You wouldn't want to spend one minute in my head - it's a jumbled up mess"? How can you stop tears from welling when a man says his family didn't believe him when he told them he was being abused? (Survivor confronts demon, Herald, 25/7)
How can you feel anything but anger at a system made up of many churchmen who sexually abused, covered it up like William Wade (Brother Christopher) and did nothing to stop it recurring?
As a young woman travelling to the city each day for work I passed groups of lads in blue blazers waiting to cross at traffic lights in the Hamilton area. I knew that they were heading to Marist Brothers which was then known as being one of the top schools for boys.
Little did I and others know what was going on inside that supposedly prestigious school. We had no idea there were men waiting their chances with young students, predators like Darcy O'Sullivan (Brother Dominic) and Francis Cable (Brother Romuald). Now that we know, does the fury and rage of society match the criminal acts by clergy against huge numbers of Catholic children? If not, we must seriously ask ourselves why?
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
A 'white fella' interpretation
"The sign is just a historical statement" says Paul Duggan of the controversial plaque that reads "Captain James Cook... to commemorate... his discovery of the east coast of Australia".
It's not a historical statement Mr Duggan; it's a white fella interpretation of history. Cr Mackenzie is correct in his assertion that the statement has aspects that are "verifiably false".
Firstly, how could a country be 'discovered' when people were already living there? It's nonsense to believe such unless you believed the original inhabitants weren't human, or less human, because they weren't white.
We know such thinking existed in the 1700s but perpetuating it for over 200 years is living a lie. That's why Mackenzie rightly calls it out as "erasure of Aboriginal people from Australia's history".
The message in the plaque is offensive to Indigenous people and one which a mature, modern nation should not accept. The second problem with the plaque is that while it was common to call the commander of a ship 'Captain', Cook was a Lieutenant while in command of the Endeavour.
If the plaque is "just a historical statement", it's best to make it accurate.
John Arnold, Anna Bay
Is local government redundant?
In days of old citizens would join together and select their most appropriate person. This person and his or her followers were to govern their affairs. These groups were called 'councils' and they would consult and strive to represent the views of their electors and to other groups as needed.
Not long ago the Newcastle Herald notified us that our Maritime Museum must be removed from its iconic location because the building was beyond repair. Since then nearly $5 million has been spent from the public purse and one would expect the museum could now return to service in its original location.
But no! Unelected developers have taken ownership of the iconic building while the Maritime Museum remains in limbo and the new 'owners' have generously leased the unrepairable building to a consortium for 50 years. Just to make it look good they will now plan to notify Newcastle Council of their deal.
Is this a case of the tail wagging the dog? At what point were the citizens of Newcastle consulted? Has local government become redundant?
George Paris, Rathmines
Masks not a loss of freedom
To all the people who believe that being forced to wear a mask involves their loss of freedom I would say that sometimes you can't protect those who won't protect themselves or those around them. Adam Hills was reported to have said it brilliantly when he said "imagine being one of the pricks in WW2 London that refused to turn your lights out at night, in order to stop planes bombing your house because you didn't want to be told what to do by the government".
Nurses and doctors are working around the clock often putting their lives at risk so the least we can do is self isolate and take other measures to keep us safe. You are not losing your freedom by doing what keeps us all safe but the alternative might be that you or those you love may lose their lives.
Denise Lindus Trummel, Mayfield
LIKE many others who've had the privilege of working with our Indigenous people I'm very pleased to see the word "Coon" will disappear from the cheese market. What then for other names in our landscape such as Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Coonawarra?
Dr. Brian Roach, Whitebridge
COUNCILLOR Mackenzie, not everybody has Indigenous heritage so for the people who don't, Captain Cook means something. So stop thinking that everybody is offended by Captain Cook as I'm not. It's good for Indigenous people to have heritage and culture about their people, the same as it is for every culture. Indigenous people get special days etc and they are not forgotten. It's good for people to want to know what their culture is all about, but we cannot change what happened over 200 years ago. So let's all move on together as one and stop all this rubbish.
Colin Geatches, Mayfield
THE 2 o'clock start obviously didn't suit the Knights. They must have missed their afternoon nap in the first half.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
CANTERBURY Bulldogs are the worst team in the NRL competition (lowest point score) and they have beaten the Knights on their home ground. Logic would say that the Knights will not win another game this season. If only they can beat the Brisbane Broncos I will sleep well.
John Hollingsworth, Hamilton
BARRY Swan, I totally agree with your sentiments regarding Julia Gillard. Given time and a proper chance, this woman could have achieved much more as PM. She has amazing dignity very rarely seen in that profession, especially by her male chauvinistic counterparts.
David Harris, Belmont North
I THINK it has to be congratulations to Professor Jenny Hocking and her team, for her discipline, dedication and tenacity bringing to light Sir John Kerr's dismissal papers on Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and the Labor Party in 1975. All I can say is raise a glass and bring on the republic.
Maureen O'Sullivan Davidson, Swansea
WHILST watching the farewell of the last 747 I was reminded when the first 707 came on line. We lived in Banksia right under the flight path. My husband was a shift worker which wasn't good. Earplugs helped. Over the years with subsequent models the noise grew quieter and Qantas gained the reputation of safety. I remember Dustin Hoffman remarking in Rain Man that he'd only fly Qantas. I'm sure we'll see many changes over the years and trust we'll welcome the skies above us.
Daphne Hughes, Kahibah
FROM where is the government borrowing all the money it is spending?