FOR every state budget, it is now routine that the Newcastle Herald reports the allocation of government funds to "study" the Lower Hunter Freight Corridor. This is a rail freight line between Hexham and Fassifern that will remove freight trains from the Newcastle urban area ('Going nowhere fast', Herald 18/11).
This line was initially proposed by BHP in 1997. It was to be funded by railing containers from a new container terminal at the port. Later investigations revealed that a rail freight bypass of Sydney can be built and paid for by railing containers. This line will run between the Port of Newcastle, Hexham, Badgerys Creek and Port Kembla. It is more economical to rail containers for the Sydney market through Newcastle than it is to truck containers through Port Botany. A rail freight bypass of Sydney will provide all of NSW, Sydney included, with rail access to a container port for the first time in the state's history.
There is a reason why the study is rolled over every year. A study will highlight the fact that freight capacity on the Newcastle-Sydney line will reach capacity by 2026. The government identified the need for a dedicated rail freight line between Newcastle and Sydney in 2010, but it seems that nothing is being done.
Greg Cameron, Wamboin
The proof will be in the pudding
INSTEAD of criticising City of Newcastle council, John Fear (Letters, 2/11), you should perhaps be pleased to see public funds being spent in your area.
Many ratepayers would be grateful to have more of their rate contributions spent locally
However, it is pleasing to see council funds being allocated to the inner city thus making our fine city even more attractive to visitors. If the skate bowl becomes an expensive disappointment all ratepayers will have an opportunity to express their angst per the ballot box.
Denigrating our council and its employees, has been a Novocastrian past time for as long as I can remember. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Robert Tacon, Adamstown Heights
Some still waiting for full detail
I COMMEND the tenacity of Donna Page expressed in her articles in Saturday's Herald regarding City of Newcastle council's lack of transparency and open government ('Denial', Herald 21/11).
I believe a further example of council's lack of transparency was the dismissal of Newcastle Now, a business improvement association. The council relied upon an inquiry by the Centium Group and their subsequent report of the association, presumably critical. The association is still denied access to the report, in my opinion preventing natural justice for a group of maligned community volunteers. A previous report commending all business improvement associations for their responsible management has also been withheld.
Edward Duc, Merewether
Thief took more than just baubles
TO the lowlife who took some plastic crates from my daughter's garage a week ago: I am sure you now know just what you stole, but possibly not the effect the theft is having on my family.
The first crate contained Christmas decorations which she had been accumulating over the years, and which included several that belonged to her grandparents, my late parents. These were at least 50 years old, possibly more, and consequently of great sentimental, but not commercial, value.
They were showing their age and it pains us to suspect that their somewhat worn appearance no doubt means that they have been discarded, being seen as of no value. They were to us, and they are, irreplaceable.
The other crate? This one contained our daughter's school memorabilia; yearbooks, reports, school photos; of no use to anyone else, and also probably discarded.
The suspicion that most of what was stolen will no doubt be thrown away is what hurts the most. My daughter isn't going to bother buying new decorations as this has rather put her off Christmas this year.
You must be so proud of yourself.
Jan Caine, Maryland
Sorry hasn't fixed all the problems
HAVING worked as an Official Community Visitor with the New South Wales Ombudsman, I agree wholeheartedly with Catherine Henry's sentiments in her article ("Care trend shows new Stolen Generation', Opinion 21/11).
The role of an Official Community Visitor involves visiting children and young people in out-of-home care, to ensure their physical, emotional, psychological, and cultural needs are being met by their service providers. I encountered many, many Indigenous children and young people, removed from their families, whose self-identity seemed to be a vacuum. Living with non-Indigenous, unrelated carers, these Indigenous children and young people flounder to know who they are or where they fit in and belong in the world. It seems to me, having worked in this role for three years, that service providers pay little heed to the Aboriginal Child and Young People's Placement Principles, as set out in the out-of-home care legislation. It was rare to see the cultural development and safety of these children and young people even contemplated by service providers.
Very occasionally an elder, employed by the service provider, might visit the young Indigenous boys, or the young girls might be included in a craft camp, run by a local Indigenous group.
I am not Indigenous, but I have some minimal knowledge of Indigenous culture and its significance to its people. It is not enough for Indigenous children and young people, removed from all they know and all that is familiar to them, to be offered this scant connection to their rich and complex cultural foundations.
Indigenous children and young people right now are crying out for a sense of cultural belonging and safety, to enable them to grow up with a strong sense of who they are and where they fit in in this world.
In 2008 we all cried as then prime minister Kevin Rudd offered his apology on our behalf to Indigenous people over past wrongs. In my opinion we should now be weeping bitter tears that little has changed for Indigenous children and young people in out-of-home care in our communities.
Cindy Grahame, Newcastle
The whole world's in our hands
LES Hutchinson paints a very sad picture (Letters, 20/11), but he is right. However, it's up to those of us living now to work hard to turn things around.
Anxiety about climate change is growing among our young. Psychologists know that taking action is beneficial for mental health, and supporting protesting students is a simple thing that adults can do. Collectively, we in privileged countries must all do our bit. This includes writing and talking with our representatives at all levels of government.
As Mr Hutchinson suggests, it can also include restoring the earth. One easy way to do this is through personal carbon offset programs which plant trees.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
IN the Newcastle Herald on 8 December 2017 (Newcastle Council moves to Stewart Avenue in $7 million to west end) Mr Bath said "the move would save $14,000 each year per staff member". He went on to say that "modelling from various agencies show savings through the improved sustainability, reduced absenteeism, greater employee retention and increased productivity". Have these ambitious savings been realised, Mr Bath, and can the community see the modelling or is it just another council secret ('Denied', Herald 21/11)?
Katy McHugh, Fern Bay
HUNTER Water states that its recycled water could be fit to drink but due to community views on this it never really is a viable option. My question to Hunter Water is if the product is that good and could be used as a reliable source of drinking water, can it be pumped up to the Tomago sand beds and then filtered through the sands to create a more reliable source of water. Once underground it is not subjected to the same problems as dam storage such as evaporation, and therefore boosts or resources immensely.
Dave Watson, Dungog
I JUST read that Farnham: The Musical is coming to a theatre near you. I wonder how many encores it will have.
Ian Reynolds, Forster
HUNTER Water Corporation completed ecological studies in August 2020 at Limeburners Creek and Upper Chichester dam investigation areas as part of the revised Lower Hunter Water Security Plan. Over 20 threatened species were identified at both sites including platypus and koalas. Keeping dam options on the table puts vulnerable and threatened species on the chopping block and down the road to extinction.
Sally Skuse, Upper Chichester
STAMP duty is a one off cost at the value of the day. A land tax is the gift that keeps on giving, similar to the GST. As prices rise so too the tax. And people wonder why housing is becoming unaffordable. In addition, guess who decides on the value of land?
Marvyn Smith, Heddon Greta
WAKE up Australia, what an intelligent way to finish a letter to the editor. Could those who use this to make a point at least spell it correctly? Wake up, Straya.
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
BEFORE we civilians pass any judgement on the actions of some SAS soldiers, I suggest we walk a mile or two in their shoes.
Darryl Tuckwell, Eleebana
TRAVEL insurance is a reimbursement for a loss. Make sure you have extra money when you travel, just in case. Accidents are not covered unless you have had to pay for something first. Accident cover for work also means you have to be off work for three months to make a claim.