MANY would see the extension of the runway at Williamtown as good news, as more international flights will be able to come here ('Flying high', Newcastle Herald 8/5). Maybe. However, planning needs to start for a proposed railway. In cities where railways don't run to the major airports, traffic congestion is a serious problem. While some may argue that the number of people going to the airport may not justify a railway, the level of commuter traffic from Port Stephens and the surrounding areas might. I've noticed in recent times, commuter traffic doesn't decrease; it increases. The time to plan for this railway is now.
Peter Sansom, Kahibah
Time to change the state of play
I WAS watching the budget on TV ('Shoot for the boom', Herald 12/5) the other day and it made me wonder why the federal government seems to be allocating funding for the upkeep of essential services that should be the state governments' responsibility, which begs the question: why do we need state governments in the first place? As far as I am concerned they are a waste of taxpayers' money. All they seem to do is privatise publicly funded services.
For example, the new Sydney ferries; where did the Liberals buy them, off eBay or Gumtree? The trains didn't even fit in the tunnels. What a joke. Here is an idea on how to fix the current account deficit: abolish state governments, or privatise them. Imagine the billions of dollars the taxpayers would save and have everything funded by the federal government.
Philip Carter, Metford
Respect is for office, not parties
FRED McInerney (Letters, 6/5) takes me to task over my comments (Letters, 3/5) that Scott Morrison, as our elected PM, deserves to be shown respect whether we like him or not, as should be the case whoever is PM.
He says I wrote "people weren't disrespectful of Bill Shorten". Sorry, Mr McInerney, but you are wrong. I didn't say anything of the sort. Apart from that, Bill Shorten has never been prime minister anyway; this was the whole point of my letter, not who said what about other politicians in the past, but that any elected PM should be shown respect and not continually belittled by Barry Swan, who calls him "The Smirk" and "Scotty from Marketing". John Pritchard (Short Takes, 6/5) is, like anyone else, entitled to their political opinion, but to say "this government and PM are not serving us well" is merely his opinion. A lot of people would disagree judging by a recent opinion poll that puts Morrison miles ahead of Albanese as the preferred prime minister.
Ian King, Warners Bay
Take stock of real horror movies
I THINK Tony Brown's opinion of a horror movie ('Weaking restrictions 'a real horror movie', Opinion 21/4) is sickening, calling our young people zombies who have been out for a laugh and some entertainment. I believe it's the old story of the puritan and temperance league raising its ugly head; no smiling, no laughing, don't enjoy yourself. There is nothing wrong with walking home due to no transport, most likely singing "show me the way to go home".
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
I believe the only horror movie in Newcastle is the lack of responsibility from all sides of politics, especially from the federal and state Coalition governments, regarding the stockpile of ammonium nitrate on Kooragang Island. They are silent on the matter. Politicians know the devastation in Beirut caused with their storage of ammonium nitrate exploding. the destruction was massive; lives lost, people injured and untold property loss and homelessness. To me this is the horror movie, a war zone, and governments have to take up the challenge and move the stockpile to safer ground. I believe until the politicians move the stockpile, they are gambling with our safety and security.
Maureen O'Sullivan Davidson, Swansea
Fly quarantine into Williamtown
I BELIEVE the pandemic has permanently re-set the way we all live and the way we will interact with each other in the future. Pandemics involving zoonotic viruses, like COVID-19, are likely to become the new normal in the future. People in poor, overpopulated countries will hunt to extinction the last wild animals in search of protein. Local outbreaks of disease will quickly become pandemics. Mutations and variations of each new virus could become commonplace.
Given this "new normal", Australia needs its own capacity to mass produce mRNA vaccines that can be developed and altered quickly. We also need dedicated and effective quarantine facilities. Howard Springs is impractical. It may be isolated in the NT and properly set up, but it is hot and it will involve expensive provision of services and fly-in-fly-out staff. Darwin hospital will be unable to cope with the influx of more serious cases, without expansion.
It would be better to provide dedicated quarantine stations further south and closer to metropolitan areas and international airports. Williamtown would be an ideal location, especially as Newcastle Airport's capacity is being improved. The government could buy up PFAS-contaminated land. These landholders will never be fully compensated, and will struggle to sell their properties. Then it could rehabilitate this land and build its quarantine station.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Stadium needs a better game plan
HOW many of you have had intense negative reaction to where you live? Newcastle has a bad name and we are classed as a country town. We are a very large city and in my opinion we are treated badly by our federal and state governments and now our local government. Newcastle deserves better and our basketball stadium, which will be our entertainment centre, is a case in point.
We already have major problems on Hillsborough and Warners Bay Roads ('Stadium traffic access dispute', Herald 28/4). If there is a problem there will be catastrophic consequences as emergency access will be hindered. We deserve as state of the art centre that we can be proud of, not something built on a piece of bushland where there is already problems that are not solved
Janet Bull, Charlestown
Take education back to the basics
IT is worrying to read how as our educational standards have deteriorated, as some wish to rewrite Australian history. Most countries to the north of us have a school curriculum which would be superior to ours. These countries must be laughing their heads off at some of the nonsense Australian school children are taught such as unconscious bias, white privilege and institutional racism. Whilst some students are working hard doing their homework, other hysterical students are crying in the streets because they think the end of the world is coming soon and we are all going to die because of climate change. I believe students, with few exceptions, would only be indoctrinated with this climate change alarmism, in a classroom and the various governments should have a clean out of these neo-Marxists who are either in the educational bureaucracy or teachers in the classrooms, so that students may obtain a first class education in the basics.
John Rumble, Albion Park
THERE was a letter in your paper regarding the clean-up after coal mines and coal fired power stations (Letters, 19/5). If people think that there is going to be no problems with the use of solar panels, windmills and batteries, think again. Where are all the batteries, windmills and solar panels going to go after their use-by date? If we start using battery cars, which use more batteries than the normal car, and batteries in houses, look at the millions of batteries that are going to be dumped along with solar panels and windmills. Where will they be dumped? Not in city backyards, but in the bush.
Allen Small, East Maitland
LAKE Macquarie council are wanting a basketball stadium to be built in Lake Macquarie, which is good news, but please not at Hillsborough. The roads infrastructure surrounding the site will be unable to cope with so many extra vehicles using them and having overflow parking on them. There is also limited public transport which will force more vehicles onto the roads. Residents of the surrounding suburbs will no longer live in quiet suburban streets which was the reason they purchased in the area.
Wendy Marr, Hillsborough
NO money in the federal budget for new purpose-built quarantine centres ('Shoot for the boom', Herald 12/5). An opportunity lost, or does the Morrison government think COVID-19 will disappear and we will think it is magic?
Susie Johnson, Adamstown
OVER the years many countries, including Australia, have given millions of dollars towards rebuilding Palestinian infrastructure after their repeated clashes with Israel. However, every time Hamas re-stocks its arsenal of weapons, they launch rocket attacks on Israel, knowing full well that the response will be overwhelming. I have no objection to providing humanitarian aid to Palestine, but donating funds for reconstruction in that area is, in my view, not money well spent.
David Stuart, Merewether
THIS National Volunteer Week (17-23 May), Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia is shining a light on volunteers across the country who are making a tangible difference in the fight for a cancer free future. Dedicated volunteers run more than 130 prostate cancer support groups around Australia, helping thousands of men and their partners through what is often the most challenging experience of their life. Volunteers are the heart and soul of our charity and are the reason that survival rates continue to improve. Nearly 17,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and around 95 per cent of men will survive. There's still more work to be done, but for now, we want to say thank you. If you're reading this, and you volunteer, thank you. Your efforts save lives and charities, like PCFA, can't survive without you.