ON a beautiful sunny autumn Anzac Day, I took my visiting Melbourne friends and their kids on a ferry trip across the harbour to visit the new playground at Stockton, and it didn't disappoint. It was buzzing with happy children and a line of adults waiting for coffee from the kiosk. A perfect day, except the toilets were overwhelmed.
On both ends only two cubicles, no urinal in the men's, one basin, no soap (in a time of COVID) and unclean. I understand not every day is a public holiday, but I suspect the growing use of the ferry by northern commuters and the popularity of the playground will continue to test the suitability of the existing toilet block. Can council please put this on their list for an urgent upgrade so those who visit and live in Newcastle can enjoy this wonderful playground to the full?
Greg Giles, Hamilton South
Leave sickness where it belongs
AS a casual employee who was earning more money in the same job 10 years ago, I was required to be absent last Saturday night. As I reported that it was gastro related, I was not allowed to return to work until I had medical clearance. I could not obtain an appointment until Tuesday morning, leaving me disadvantaged financially but fit to work. Another bloke on $1.2 million a year is permitted to play rugby league sick, spewing his guts up all over the field shared with 34 players plus officials, and he's a hero ('Crook Kalyn delivers as Knights show grit', Herald 17/4). What is wrong with society when the average worker is so disadvantaged when it comes to earning an honest living?
Mick Kembrey, Cessnock
Block stadium problems early
REGARDING the proposed basketball stadium in Hillsborough ('Stadium traffic access dispute', Herald 28/4), the council has rightly identified that there will be significant traffic congestion if access for this 4000-seat stadium is solely on Waratah Avenue.
Traffic for NSW is rightly concerned about the congestion this will cause to the Newcastle Inner City Bypass, the bow tie roundabout, the on ramp into the stadium site and the delay that thousands of cars will cause when trying to get out of the stadium if entry and access is in that direction.
What hasn't been reported are the 15 to 20 major events per annum proposed in the DA and the fact there are only 300 car spaces being provided in the development.
These thousands of patrons will have nowhere to park their cars apart from the same narrow and winding residential streets.
Both road network users and patrons of the stadium need to be very concerned about this site being accepted if the proposal is passed. As a resident, I certainly hope they take into account the points identified by Cr Adamthwaite streamed on Monday where he can be quoted as saying; "..we can provide influence in the panel's decision...we can't undo things once it is already there.......it's not an issue whether we want a basketball stadium...it's the issue of how best to make (it) service our community and provide a asset in the area that it is placed."
Marcia Spitzkowski, Charlestown
Eating disorders need resources
TO those of us dealing with a loved one caught up in anorexia, or any other serious condition, it is disgusting to hear of GPs under-diagnosing this among other conditions.
Anorexia was the subject of a large campaign in NSW by the GPs in November 2017, asking for urgent attention to the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders and better training of persons skilled in these areas. 2017 was when they noticed the increase in numbers.
The statistics, quoting 2012 figures, were that it costs the budget $69 billion per annum (including health system, productivity and carers costs); direct cost of $17.1 million, while the burden of the disease cost $52.6 million. The inpatient treatment of a single episode of anorexia nervosa is equivalent in cost to bypass surgery.
Treatment is more successful and requires much less admissions on early intervention, as the GPs stated. These figures are readily available through reputable sources.
The prevalence of eating disorders has escalated to epidemic levels. The flow-on effect to the community is evident to all but our Minister for Health.
Although I am not permitted to publish the contents of the reply from the Minister's office, something to do with privacy or perhaps accountability, the answer contained in general terms the following.
He pointed to 5066 beds in public hospitals for adolescents with eating disorders (this seems to include all beds in hospitals, mental health and general health wards); the strategy is to admit wherever there is space, the mental health unit, the medical unit, or Nexus (a specialised unit of great repute). According to my information there is no waiting list because of the above criteria. This situation puts families and sufferers of any illness at greater risk of mental health care in the already overburdened system. Suicide attempts in this illness are higher age related than any other cause.
Doctors and nurses are fighting ever for our best treatment and outcomes, and their mental stress levels are battling.
How does anyone get anything done in this system that spends more on inquiries and red tape than finding simple solutions?
Thank you doctors and nurses for persisting in our system, if you can call it that.
Lyn Rendle, Rankin Park
Sovereignty sold with our assets
I READ with horror Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo saying "the drums of war are beating" ('The 'drums of war' are beating louder', Herald 28/4). That type of antagonistic language would be more in place during the 1950s. Then I couldn't believe our Prime Minister announced supposedly strengthening our defence capabilities in the Northern Territory.
This is where Darwin, our northern port and last line of defence, was leased to Chinese interests in 2015 on a 99-year lease. Take into account also the NSW Coalition government leased Newcastle Port in 2014 to Chinese interests on a 98-year lease.
This is probably the biggest coal exporting port in the world yet the new lessors theoretically can decide what ships enter the port and how much they pay ('Port form', Herald 29/4). It has been reported that the Chinese own 10 per cent of our water allocation in the Murray Darling system.
As far as national security goes this is madness and beggars belief, yet our raving right wing ratbag media seem to have no problem with this judged by their silence.
Maybe some of the regular right wing correspondents to this paper could offer some light on this instead of attacking the so-called leftist ABC on purely an ideological basis. In complete contrast to the fact that we have already been outsmarted by the Chinese on these and other issues we regularly have our bombastic and arrogant leaders, in particular our Prime Minister saying our sovereignty cannot be bought.
Sorry, it was bought a long time ago. As my old Aunty used to say, wake up Australia; your country needs you.
Robert Green, Georgetown
RUGBY league doesn't need to be split to improve. It needs to have a relegation system to improve teams performances instead of the bottom teams continuing to pay big money to players who aren't performing. Also, our prime minister thinks it's okay for Australia Olympic athletes to jump the COVID-19 vaccination queue. Is that because he has already had his? What about the 1A and 1B people who still are waiting?
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
JOHN Green (Letters 30/4) states "safely enjoy a beautiful city both day and night." Since I'm usually up at 330 am on my weekend I would like to go to a drinking establishment shortly after. So let's have a forum to extend opening hours of pubs to 24/7. I seriously don't have a problem with this, but the fact of the matter is the volatile consumption of alcohol and pokie playing is a concoction that is already well known.
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
SCOTT Hillard claims our government's ban on flights from India is racist (Letters 29/4). Really? It's so easy to play the racist card, never mind the health of Australians. Fair dinkum, how low can you go?
Kevin Miller, Windale
SCOTT Morrison announced that it was a calling from his God that led to him becoming Prime Minister. How can he reconcile being a Christian when he sanctions the ongoing detention, by his Government of an innocent Tamil refugee asylum seeker family on Christmas Island. That is not a Christian act, it is an abuse of power.
Allan Evans, Lambton
JOHN Hewson ('Talk of war is not in the national interest, Opinion 30/4) is spot on in his claim that all this warmongering talk is a distraction by the Morrison government to take our minds off the numerous other problems they have created for themselves. A very dangerous distraction. A very dangerous government that Australia could do without.
Colin Rowlatt, Merewether
I GOT a letter today from City of Newcastle informing me that conditional consent was granted to a developer to carry out infrastructure work for paid parking to be introduced at the Kotara Homemaker Centre. What is happening here? Do these money grabbers know that people go to these centres to shop and spend money? I can't accept the line that costs would cover maintenance of the car park. Who has been doing this work up to date? The same goes for all shopping centres, but the one I get really upset about is fees to park at hospitals. Hospital parks were built by public money.
Greg Lowe, New Lambton
CHINA says don't poke the bear. They should recall the words of a Japanese Admiral after Pearl Harbor: "I fear we have woken a sleeping giant". That sleeping giant, the US, has a $750 trillion defence budget.