I FIND it quite disturbing that our federal and NSW state governments continue to be at war over various aspects of climate policy. The latest battle is over renewables ('Power struggle', Newcastle Herald 12/2).
Obviously it is much easier to reach any goal when both levels of government work together. The federal government has said that it can't set a climate target without a plan, ironically a plan they appear to be unwilling to develop in the first place.
NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean, pictured, recently criticised our Prime Minister for not committing to net zero emissions by 2050. He referred to John F. Kennedy's famous 1962 speech setting a target to successfully land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. JFK didn't have a plan, only an ambition which was nonetheless achieved in 1969. The main losers in these now frequent arguments are we, the taxpayers. We will suffer the consequences by missing out on new technologies and the jobs in an inevitable transition to a carbon neutral world.
In my opinion it is long past time that the federal government brought about a ceasefire to this war and provided strong leadership during this transition. If they can't or are unwilling to provide this leadership then we need to seriously consider voting for someone or some party that is willing to do so.
Ian Thomas, The Hill
More than surfers may pop up
LORD mayor Nuatali Nelmes has written a piece attempting to justify her decision to accept the World Surf League event at short notice after it was cancelled at Bells Beach owing to COVID-19 ('City riding a wave of positive momentum', Opinion 13/2).
Cr Nelmes claims this event is likely to benefit our economy by $15 million. This is contestable, but more to the point she writes that the event "will bring an influx of homegrown and international competitors, media representatives, event officials and fans to our city throughout April".
Surely that is precisely the reason not to accept the event. If our region has to go into lockdown as a result of just one individual among this "influx" spreading COVID-19 after yet another Sydney hotel quarantine glitch, the cost to our local economy - our business people and our workers - is likely to be in the hundreds of millions if not billions given the increased transmissibility of the newer virus strains and the convergence of visitors from around the globe, no doubt including from virus hot spots.
It has also been reported that Ballina Shire Council in spite of a similar short time-frame to respond was able to quickly convene a meeting of community stakeholders, resulting in rejection of the WSL event there. Not only is our local economy about to be put at risk, in my opinion, but also the health and well-being of our whole community. This event should be withdrawn, especially in view of additional recent COVID-19 in Victoria. The pandemic is not over yet.
Kate Newton, Charlestown
Lockout respect goes two ways
IT seems to me that Robert Tacon (Letters, 13/2) and Terry Jeffery (Short Takes, 13/2) both missed the points I was making in my recent letters. I fully acknowledge and appreciate that Newcastle still has a way to go before night time violence is completely in the past. However, I still stand by all the statements I made about pre-curfew violence, and police presence.
Police have always been fully armed and fully trained to deal with violent assailants, so in my opinion, they should be perfectly capable of dealing with the odd drunk with diminished strength and slower reflexes.
From what I witnessed, they were certainly well equipped to deal with troublemakers when they were doing their regular foot patrols. As I have stated before, during this era I never witnessed any violence on the streets. I never saw any paramedics on the streets either. There simply seemed to be no need for them. Yes the police, ambulance and emergency department workers deserve the respect of the general public. But respect is a two-way street, and I feel that police need to respect the general public by being present to protect them.
Adz Carter, Newcastle
Clarity on routes, toilets needed
ON Sunday we decided to go into Newcastle via public transport and have a nice lunch. We boarded the bus at Islington Park listed as a Newcastle Beach service online. Wrong. We got off at the Newcastle West Terminus and caught a tram to the Queens Wharf stop, adding 15 minutes to our trip. We then had lunch close by and walked to Queens Wharf tram stop.
The tram wasn't due for 15 minutes so we decided to head to a loo. There was a block of public toilets near the Signal Box Restaurant that we found both unisex toilets locked. This was a little before 5pm on Sunday afternoon.
We caught the tram back to the terminus and hurried, following the B signs for the bus that was soon expected and found that buses don't depart from the terminus, we needed to go to the bus stop on Hunter Street. The next bus was in around 10 minutes, no time to go back to the terminus.
We boarded to a woman yelling "See, these people paid, why can't you?" This went on every time someone paid. We alighted at Islington Park, with no loo for us or the many people that use the wonderful facilities. What's happening with the buses, trams and public facilities? This city has a wonderful opportunity to boost its tourism dollar, it won't happen while we let the infrastructure of the city lapse.
Suzanne Coleman, Tighes Hill
Keep character of our eat street
THE proposed redevelopment of Mons on Darby ('Council staff back Darby St project again', Herald 15/2) in my opinion involves the reduction in asset value of the precinct by character that is not adequately offset by the proposed development, even with the quantitative value of increased commercial and residential density.
The Junction suffered when a commercial heritage building on Union Street was demolished for a multi-storey bank building, now empty. We must protect and invest in commercial precinct heritage character as a cornerstone to future prosperity as points of difference and identity, on a balanced qualitative and quantitative basis. Think English village, towns and regional centres of commerce; there lies the path.
Dayne Steggles, Merewether
Hotels make sense, with upgrades
I HAVE to agree with the federal government's basic comments that quarantine should generally be managed in the hotel environment. It makes so much sense that these underused facilities are used to the extent possible. They are generally close to airports and a variety of medical assistance and can accommodate large numbers of people in a flexible manner.
However rather than spending multi millions on dedicated remote facilities, that still won't be a perfect solution, why not select the hotels that best fit the quarantine requirements and spend some money on improving their security, ventilation and filtration? Wouldn't this be a better, win-win option for next time round? I don't see all the wet markets shutting down quite yet.
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
I WISH to complain about two things regarding City of Newcastle: bringing a world surfing competition to Newcastle in a pandemic when we have no current cases and putting Newcastle at risk of getting the highly virulent UK strain, and the fining of caravans parked in front of people's own homes in the midst of a pandemic when caravanning is on the increase. I agree they shouldn't be parked there if they are a hazard, but the council is in my opinion inconsistent in who they target and there is no uniformity to their policing. I believe revenue raising can only be the answer as when police are called they are fine with them being parked there.
Debra Forbes, Wickham
THERE will be many Republicans not sleeping tonight following their lack of conviction to rid their country of a very dangerous, divisive ex president. Very unfortunate. They will regret their weakness.
Colin Rowlatt, Merewether
HOWARD Bridgman asks who put the choirs (and for that matter, congregants silenced in worship) restriction in place (Letters, 15/2). Well, ironically, it came via a good doctor with the surname of Chant, and we are told it is based on credible medical advice.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
WHO needs humorous cartoons anyway when we have the good old ABC to keep us amused? Presenter Michael Rowland saying he was offended by the comment from health minister Greg Hunt (who does a fabulous job, naturally) that he obviously identified with the left, was hilarious. I believe anyone with half a brain knows it's a fact that the taxpayer funded ABC has become a mouthpiece for the left so if it won't stick to its charter to provide unbiased opinion it should be defunded or even axed altogether. It's become a joke.
Greg Hunt, Newcastle West
IS it right what I hear about the Newcastle Harbour, that the Port of Newcastle is unable to plan for its future because the State Government will not give permission for expanding into containers and that they must 'manage' by exporting coal? What about the workers? Are their jobs to become redundant as coal mining becomes less viable because of a State Government dictate? What happened to diversification?
Bob Allen, Hawks Nest
THERE is naivety surrounding Midnight Oil's Makarrata Project Tour (Short Takes, 6/2). The aim is to support the Uluru Statement, the call by Indigenous Australia for recognition and equality. "How can we sleep when our beds are burning?"
Rob Murphy, Charlestown
VENUES NSW taking the money generated by the local community for Newcastle's annual show ('Asbestos showdown', Herald 15/2). It's absolutely disgraceful.