IT was distressing to read in Saturday's Newcastle Herald of the demise of the medical centre in West Wallsend, and to learn of the issues the doctors had with the council and heritage regulations, making expansion of the practice impractical and therefore ensuring the loss of the facility to the local residents and businesses ('End of an era for GPs', Herald 20/2).
In my opinion the council and the heritage group responsible should hang their heads in shame. Also, why hasn't any government - federal, state or local - stepped in? Why haven't the relevant bodies (Hunter New England Health, GP associations, NSW and Federal Health ministers) got together to moved heaven and earth to stop this farcical injustice happening? Where are the local MPs - what have they done?
It seems to me that all of the aforementioned have either simply applied the heritage guidelines for the building and not had any consideration for the doctors and their practice, or their employees, or the owners and employees in the local businesses, or the local community and patients.
Yes, heritage is important, but not vital to maintaining life - a doctor is. Sometimes we have to put human life first.
In making determinations, did the council consult local residents? It is likely some would be descendants of the people who built/owned/worked in those heritage buildings.
Quite obviously the age-old custom of the local doctor has no heritage value whatsoever in our community dominated by minority single-issue groups.
Doug Hoepper, Garden Suburb
Band ban part of earlier closing
HERE here, Maureen O'Sullivan Davidson (Letters, 19/2). I find it to be a crying shame that the powers that be in my opinion don't support the arts more in this city. Especially when it comes to live music, given the fact that Newcastle's enviable live music scene used to be spoken about internationally.
Upon turning 18, I started going to local pubs, as well as pubs and clubs in the Newcastle CBD, to watch live music. This changed my life, and I feel sorry for any fellow music lovers who missed out on the way things were before the lockout laws.
Shutting the live music venues earlier inevitably meant less hours for the musicians to play. This has often been combined more and more in recent years with noise restrictions due to complaints from nearby brand new apartment dwellers, meaning many music venues are forced to completely change their business model, and hire a profoundly smaller number of musicians. I feel solo acts and duos have their place, and I don't mind DJs occasionally, but give me a full band any day. However, such draconian conditions often make it impossible for some places to play host to bands. A crying shame indeed.
Adz Carter, Newcastle
Critics have right to keep watching
IN reply to Marvyn Smith (Letters, 20/2), his inference that the ABC is filled with right-wing journalists poses an obvious question: name a single ABC journalist or newsreader who expresses any right-wing views? Answer: none. On the other hand, there are numerous ABC people who express left-wing views. That is their right but being taxpayer funded, the ABC is obliged to broadcast a diversity of views. I believe it does not.
If Sky News is comedy, as Mr Smith suggested with an inference that they deliver poor quality journalism, then why did the ABC employ Sky presenters as he claimed? No-one is suggesting a "single perspective information system" as Mr Smith claimed. The ABC, by charter, is required to represent the broader Australian community not just the woke Left. Marvyn Smith saying "if you don't like the ABC, stop watching it" is akin to saying if you don't like the way Australia is governed, leave the country.
Peter Devey, Merewether
Challenges go beyond borders
THERE are huge problems with COVID-19 and its effect on one's health after being infected with the virus. The virus has changed our world forever.
The world will be vaccinated, but we'll still need to wear masks in some situations, hand sanitise, keep our distance from each other and all the rest.
Influenza season is just around the corner and, like COVID-19, influenza will and does have variants. Therefore we need new vaccines all the time and to make sure we keep doing all the things that have kept us safe here in Newcastle up to now.
Will these measures have to be followed for months, years or maybe even forever?
We now live in a different world. Will we have a cap on world travel, will we have to self-isolate after travel, will life be bearable under these conditions?
Only time will tell, and we can't be in any hurry to get to a good ending and outcome because if we falter we have to do everything over again. Are we up to shutdowns, long shutdowns, ever again? Society as a whole cannot. The future is hard, but we cannot let it turn into a disaster.
Peter Selmeci, Murrays Beach
Rights come with responsibilities
THE anti-vaccination protesters are confusing me. They are protesting for democratic freedom to make their own choice - which is their right. Just as its the right of others to have the jab if they wish. Just be clear, though: if it's your right to refuse it's also the rights of businesses, government departments and any other organisation to deny you the right to enter their premises, property or business if you don't comply with their rules.
Greg Nicholls, Fishing Point
Closing the book was a relief
I CANNOT see what the fuss is about with the Facebook media blackout. I don't know if I am old (just under 40), but I have never trusted that site for news. I have always gone directly to news sources to get my daily news. I lost faith in Facebook (or 'hatebook' as I like to nickname it) years ago. The news feed is full of rubbish shared by people to get a reaction, with fake people commenting on things in order to sway public opinion and socially engineer societies' way of thinking.
Ever since I terminated my Facebook account I have been much happier, had more time on my hands and have been leading a more productive life. Perhaps everyone should delete Facebook and go back to enjoying life the way we did in the good old days before we had such rubbish in our lives. Facebook is dying a slow death much like ICQ, MySpace, Windows Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, flickr and all the other unloved social media platforms that have been consigned to be forgotten. If you don't know what those platforms are, then it just shows how dangerous Facebook is to society as a whole.
Tony Sutherland, Lambton
DON'T tell me Newcastle has been pork barreled out of the COVID-19 jab ('More than 190 towns set to receive initial jabs', Herald 19/2).
Bill Slicer Tighes Hill
REPLYING to Chris Peters (Short Takes, 19/2), Michael Rowland had every right to ask Greg Hunt why he plastered a Liberal party logo on a taxpayer funded COVID vaccine announcement.
Col Page, Adamstown
CAN the City of Newcastle council spokesman still guarantee the World Surf League Championship will generate an estimated 15 million for our city if only 2700 spots will be available for the general public? Will the draw have to give priority to interstate and regional visitors for the city to achieve these benefits? (Herald 18/2, 19/2).
Christine Everingham, Newcastle East
YEARS ago my daughter gave me some advice: "parents should not be on Facebook'' and I heeded such as it became increasingly apparent this newfangled idea was anything but social media. I get news from credible sources, such as The Herald, I write and post real letters and cards to family and friends and importantly I "like'' people by either phoning or catching up for coffee.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook
THANK you to Marie Low for your heartwarming story about the honey man (Herald, 18/2). These lovely people are real treasures, I have known some too in my fortunate life.
Sandra Iceton, New Lambton Heights
I WONDER who these anti vaxxers are going to see when they become ill? If they don't believe the doctors and educated people who have been studying their specialty all their lives, they will have to trust these mental giants that have been feeding them with this alternative information. I wish them all the best with their health in the future.
Doug Andrews, Tarro
YES, funny how Greg Hunt (Letters writer) has blasted Michael Rowland for asking a question of Greg Hunt (pollie). I believe as many Australians would, that the vaccine was bought with taxpayers' money, not the LNP's. As for unbiased news on ABC, far better than the rubbish pedalled by Jones, Bishop and Co. on that other station.
Wayne Grant, Waratah
I READ about the fine imposed on the Kurri Kurri waste company (Herald, 19/2) for "overbooking" their annual permit limit. $126,500 sounds like a lot of dosh until you realise that the excess tonnage they accepted would by my calculations have cost you or me $18,500,000 to dump as general waste.
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
TO all those who cheered on Facebook when it cancelled the New York Post for revealing Hunter Biden was being investigated, be careful. They will be coming to cancel you next - or maybe they already have.
Zenon Helinski, Newcastle
I NOTICED that the US State of Michigan was removing 177,000 inactive voters from their voter roll. Maybe Trump was right?