IT is encouraging to see increasing acknowledgement throughout the Hunter of the need to move to clean renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. Resources Minister Keith Pitt is reported ('Break point', Newcastle Herald 20/4) as saying he will not rush a decision on a controversial application to explore for gas off the coast between Sydney and Newcastle. Similarly, those contesting the by-election in the Upper Hunter need to consider the reality of decreasing demand for coal and gas.
Even as the industry spruiks the need for gas as a source of raw materials for so many industries, the Australian Seaweed Institute is spearheading the development of businesses in sustainable ocean aquaculture and finding markets for their products including fully degradable bioplastics and cattle food that reduces methane emissions by more than 80 per cent. Our PM is beginning to notice the winds of change and is a leader in the panel for a sustainable ocean economy, which has a vision to achieve protection, productivity and prosperity. The panel includes heads of state of fourteen nations with maritime interests.
Ocean-based industries have the potential to provide clean renewable energy, generate jobs and boost economic development. Newcastle showed its ability to adapt and thrive when BHP closed. Surely we can look to options including ocean-based industries to work towards a bright coal free future.
Hilda Hughes, Whitebridge
Performance indicates a problem
I AM 25 years old; I don't remember a time when the Newcastle Knights were good. Like proper good, to an international standard or a level that a professional sports club should aim for. That kind of good.
Recent developments with the Knights have finally put some confidence in me. Wests bought them, they did a whole staff clean out and a new roster that seemed really strong. We have since bolstered this squad and in the past two years you could say with the players we have, on paper we should be top four, or at least a top eight squad, easily.
So my question and concern is, why as I sit here typing this on my phone, am I yet again disappointed ('Knights desperate to find hunger pain cure', Herald 3/5)?
The effort of these so-called professional sportsmen is so poor in my opinion that we may as well field a SG ball squad. More than 22,000 people paid for their tickets on Saturday. They took time out of their days and invested in the club with merchandise, buying food at the ground or even at Wests. These people (myself included) invested in this club, and yet I believe these professionals who are on salaries that dwarf the average person could not be bothered.
I don't know what goes on behind the scenes with the club and the playing group but for them to continue to play like they are while on the wages they're on, they simply must have a major disconnect from reality. Personally I believe we need a major roster shake-up (with pay cuts), otherwise the team won't improve. We must reward effort and make the jersey earned.
Shane Lodge, Shortland
Mall traders have paid in advance
SO the Mall is to be rejuvenated once again ('$5m mall project locked in', Herald 29/4). The first was in 1971 when the traders agreed to go 50:50 with council. The special rate levied to pay ratepayers share amounted to around $70,000 a year has continued without asking the traders their view of this tax. The total extracted by council over the years is in the order of $3.5 million, so there should be enough to pay for the update. By the way, this levy is in addition to the special benefit rate commenced in 1990 for a city centre committee. That tax is also now solely in the hands of the council.
Edward Duc, Merewether
Hoping lessons have been learned
MY son was horribly bullied at St Pius X five years ago. We were unsatisfied with the school's response and seriously considered escalating the matter, but in the end our son had been through enough and it was his last year. That was five years ago, and I hope that a corner has been turned.
It would be interesting to find what external pressure has come to bear on school leadership between the two letters to parents ('Students suspended after chat', Herald 1/5).
Name and suburb withheld
We can't be trusted to be selfless
TO me and many, many others, the solution to this spreading of the virus is simple; shut the gate. No travel in; no travel out. I know it sounds extreme, but look at India. This killer is not going away and humans, being selfish, will flout the rules to satisfy their selfish desires at the cost of people they don't know and care even less about.
They cannot be trusted and it is the government's responsibility to protect those who are doing the right thing. It could possibly be the end of international travel as from what we all see, travellers are the spreaders. Life will go on, but it will be very different. It's a better alternative than death.
Dennis Crampton, Swansea
It's time to end internet anonymity
IT is about time that the federal government brought in laws that put Twitter and the rest of the social media platforms on the same level playing field as the mainstream media. This will mean that the keyboard warriors will have to disclose their name, phone number, address and email address. This in turn will put more obligations on social media platforms to vet rubbish that comes across their desk.
The laws of defamation will also be in the back of the minds of all concerned.
John Rumble, Albion Park
Power has not entirely shifted yet
IN reply to Bruce Graham, (Short Takes, 26/4), he should not wonder what I believe. Many power engineers and industry people are concerned about the growing insecurity of our power supply grid. I'm certainly not contemplating moving to South Australia, as he suggested, which has some of the highest retail electricity prices in the world despite so much insecure wind power. So insecure that they must keep peaking gas-power going all day and a state power-interconnector open to Victorian brown-coal electricity to avoid blackouts. They even regularly run diesel generators to top up their power. How's that for a renewables success story?
WA has coal and gas power supplying around two thirds of their power almost every day. How about Queensland, as Mr Graham asks? If they close their coal power stations, the lights will go out all over eastern Australia. Richard Mallaby, (Letters, 21/4) claimed that renewables "have proven to be more reliable and flexible than fossil fuels". Really? Renewables have been shown to be the very definition of unreliability and are so inflexible that they can never be programmed to turn on when you need them nor turned off when you don't. If I'm holding back the tide of (taxpayer-subsidised) renewables, as Mr Graham accuses me, then that is more like a tidal-wave or tsunami; known to be destructive and bring no benefit to human society.
Peter Devey, Merewether
IT had been a while, but a trip into the city on the train seemed worth a try. I was curious if there had been any improvement in service or amenity. The weekend service was still deficient unto inconvenience and the lack of seating in various stations, including the so-called transport interchange, made the waiting that much more incommodious. Maybe someday someone will come up with a plan to fix this, and actually utilise it.
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
PETER Dolan (Letters, 29/4) continues to oppose voluntary assisted dying on the grounds that one day, perhaps, it's just possible in the future, should the law be changed and doctors join forces with his so called "greedy impatient relatives" a terminally ill person may be encouraged to end their suffering. In NSW right now there are people wishing to end their suffering in a pain free and dignified way but we continue to show them less compassion than we show our animals. I encourage Mr Dolan to pray that he does not regret his opposition to voluntary assisted dying.
John Smith, Mount Hutton
LOOKING at the results ladder after Saturday, the top 6 teams had an average points difference of plus 111, whilst the bottom six teams have an average point difference of 94 - The Knights have a points difference of -39. What is the problem with the Knights?
Neil Fletcher, West Wallsend
I WAS so disappointed with the effort of the mighty Newcastle Knights. I buy three platinum seats every year and have had enough of watching them having a picnic. I tried to give my tickets to a bloke plus a carton of beer, but got abused and chased with a big stick.
Kevin Miller, Windale
WOULD it be possible for the Knights to play the Jets in an exhibition match, first half league second half soccer. It might be a way for one of them to experience a win, but it could end in a nil-all draw.
Brian Rose, Adamstown
I WAS sitting in the Andrew Johns stand on Saturday night wishing I was a Roosters fan. That's sad. Meanwhile, Newcastle Jets couldn't beat an under 13s Newcastle team.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
TAYLAH Gray wants all her mob released on bail? Yeah, lock all white people up and bail all Indigenous people. Racism? Hypocrisy? I'd say both.
Matt Ophir, Charlestown
THE ABC is to be congratulated on its magnificent presentation on Australia Remastered with Aaron Pedersen of the Pacific Ocean. There were too many of the marine inhabitants to include, but mention must be made of the wondrous whales and turtles who trekked countless journeys in their endeavours.