The cut to international arrivals is a devastating blow to Australian citizens stranded abroad. We have done everything right and are being vilified and blamed for the incompetent quarantine system that has allowed the virus to leak out.
Last March Australians overseas were told to come home unless we had employment, security and felt safe where we were. The hope was that by staying we would avoid overwhelming quarantine and straining the healthcare system, not to mention joining the long line of unemployed. We stayed to keep Australians safe.
A year later, our work contracts are ending. Without them our work permits, visas and health insurance disappear, so we are unemployed with no legal way to work or possibly even remain legally in a foreign country, uninsured during a global pandemic and feeling vulnerable, stressed and abandoned by our country. We stayed to give the government time to prepare and put in place a system that would allow us to return safely while ensuring the safety of our communities. They have wasted their time and ours. We are not asking for anything more than the right to return home in an organised and timely manner. The stress of uncertainty, cancelled flights and the vitriol being spread online is unnecessarily cruel.
Australians abroad are Aussies in need. Our grandparents would be rolling in their graves to see how far this country has fallen.
Hannah Maher, Merewether
Skating site becomes a grind
THANK you, Paul Scott ('The good, the bad and the ugly', Herald 11/1). Regarding the old Newcastle Post Office, (OPO), don't despair, there is more than a promise of activity. Expect to see much more.
I refer to the activity of skateboarders who find the skate park closed at Newcastle South Beach, and use the steps and pavement outside. It provides daily challenges for scores of young people.
I am not against skateboarding as a healthy outdoor sport. My children skateboarded to school, and we often took them to parks so they could practice, but this activity is different from skate park activity.
The activity begins Sunday at 9am, at least 20 young skateboard enthusiasts meet to skate the steps and pavements outside. Groups continue to skateboard outside on the pavement, Hunter Street, Bolton Street and the steps throughout the day. The clatter and noise is loud.
There is no respite from the daily noise. This is despite a sign on the pavement lamppost stating a Local Government Act 1993 - Section 633 A, prohibiting skateboarding in the small area on the pavement outside the former post office as well as letters to City of Newcastle, local MPs and police. Poor old Post Office! Poor old residents!
From "one long time watcher" to another, I wish Mr Scott and readers of the Herald all the best for a healthy, fun, and activity-filled 2021.
Catherine Whelan, Newcastle
Iron out uniform discrepancy
WHILE watching the cricket test between Australia and India, the Australian players looked rather scruffy I thought with their uniforms a yellowish white. It looked like one size fits all outfit that had never been ironed, and was often not tucked in or buttoned up.
In comparison the Indian players were dressed impeccably, with whites that were brilliant white and tailor fitted without a wrinkle. The difference stood out a mile.
Win or lose, the Indian players looked the most professional against what looked like a raggedy opposition. Considering all the washing detergent ads on the telly it doesn't say much for the uniform department. If I was the Australian captain I would be asking why do they look better than us?
I reckon pride in presentation is the first step in professional sport, or any sport. How can anyone be expected to think positive when they look daggy against the opposition? As for the big red number stencilled on their back, it looked more like convict registration than a Test cricket player.
Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek
Tree change isn't overnight
FURTHER to the article by Paul Scott ('Prominent park not just another bus stop', Opinion11/1), look around your neighbourhood. Most neighbourhoods have at least one community park. Often they have more, and every park that I can think of not just in Newcastle but further afield is enhanced by some trees where families and friends can enjoy picnics and the outdoors in some shade except one. That exception happens to be in my neighbourhood: Jefferson Park at Merewether. This park does not have a single tree and as a consequence is not an inviting space, particularly in summer.
Following the devastating bushfires of last summer a concerned group of local residents decided to approach Newcastle council with a carefully considered proposal to get some native shade trees planted in Jefferson Park. Despite knowing that they would face the obstructions and inertia that are a common feature of dealing with a council they thought that this was an issue that was worthwhile pursuing in these days of climate change recognition and with the knowledge of the valuable contribution trees make to our environment, but really it should not be this hard to plant some trees.
Glenis Powell, Merewether
Highlight plight of harvesters
THERE is a national emergency occurring which is not getting enough air time. We need people to assist with fruit and vegetable harvest. So far there have been around $38 million in losses based on reports by only 55 growers. This is a massive loss to producers, but it also represents a stupendous loss of actual food. What an absolute waste of natural resources, labour and delivery of perfectly good food to people in this country and overseas. I have done some fruit picking in my time. It was hard work, but incredibly enriching in terms of the people I met, the lifestyle I led and the satisfaction. The country needs to be doing more to highlight this desperate issue.
Gabrielle Ewers, Wickham
Critics miss mark on Flannery
LIKE many, Andrew Hirst (Letters, 11/1) likes to have a go at Tim Flannery by cherry-picking his "failings". They always overlook Professor Flannery's far greater achievements for which has received numerous awards during his career, both nationally and internationally.
Like the majority of Australians, Flannery is very concerned about the impacts of climate change and has devoted much of his life to combating it and communicating the science. And contrary to Mr Hirst's claims, Flannery is not on Australia's rich list. Flannery once said, "I truly believe that an inordinate love of money is the root of all evil and can make you very selfish. It would be very sad to be the richest person in the graveyard." I believe Mr Hirst is doing a good job keeping the "tall poppy syndrome" alive and well.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
THE billion litres of diesel mentioned in the article Applications to open for fuel storage grants (Herald, 8/1), should not be placed anywhere near the 10,000+ tons of Ammonium Nitrate on Kooragang Island unless you want a bloody great explosion. Angus Taylor is continuing his incredible litany of boneheaded mistakes as the current Federal Minister of Energy!
Bruce Jensen, New Lambton
AMERICA is in a bad place with its people lead by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani his lawyer who have incited the gun carrying morons to make America so weak, not great. Under Trump and his denial of the COVID virus the death toll will surely exceed the USA deaths in World War II of 450,000 and yet his supporters say he brokered peace
John Johnson, Toronto
THE Australian government has been paying people the JobKeeper allowance, but I can't work out why the government hasn't considered paying Australian citizens overseas an allowance to stay put. That way we won't have the mutated COVID virus transported to our shores. Bring them back home once the menace COVID settles and the authorities gain control.
Karen Mitchell, Lakelands
SEVERAL senior members of the Australian government are defending Donald Trump's right to free speech. Where were they when Dutton's storm troopers were intimidating Australian journalists?
Peter Moylan, Glendale
SUSIE Johnson (Short Takes, 12/1) is right; six days in and still no Australian conservative politician has condemned the attempted sedition orchestrated upon the USA by Donald J Trump. That's a national disgrace. Our own PM Scott Morrison is more interested in taking leave than leading!
Mac Maguire, Charlestown
THE opening of a second religious high school in Medowie is an indictment on the NSW Government. Children who choose a secular education are forced to spend hours each day on a bus. Neither fair nor right.
Joan Lambert, Adamstown
I have watched cricket for many years and that was the most courageous innings by India's Vihari that I have seen for some time, way back to Rick McCosker returning to bat with a fractured cheek. Tim Paine should pay more attention to his catching than his sledging. I will not comment on Smith; he is in the news again.
Robert Menhenick, Charlestown
It sounds like vaccination against COVID will commence around March with varying effectiveness. It has already been stipulated that you will not have a choice as to which one you can receive. My question is twofold; will the second injection have to be the exact brand (type) of vaccine, and what is the time span between the first and second jab? Also there is a third vaccine manufacturer, so I just hope that our medical records regarding these vaccine types and jab dates are transparent to your local GP, but I believe that pop up injection clinics will be set up, so how sure will we be that previous injection information will be available and accurate?