THE proposed development of Hunter Park adjacent to the showground and McDonald Jones Stadium is lacking in the most important item in any planning proposal - public transport.
The NSW government's Minister Andrew Constance has extolled the virtues of the light rail running 2.7km along Hunter Street.
But why as a transport expert do he and his Sydney-based Department of Transport not see the extension of the Newcastle light rail network out to Broadmeadow, West Leagues, the university, John Hunter Hospital and beyond as an urgent and essential service to make the light rail network viable?
Park and ride facilities along the route must also be part of the plan.
Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes and the City of Newcastle should have the light rail front and centre of their infrastructure agenda especially with the planning of Hunter Park proceeding.
Council on behalf of the community must urgently get funding for construction of the light rail extension into the NSW government's commitments and 2021 budget.
Ian Pedersen, Jewells
Labor's climate policy all wrong
WITH hindsight, the Upper Hunter by-election was unwinnable by Labor. The seat hasn't been won by Labor for over a century. Nevertheless, in the wake of Labor's defeat, Jodi McKay has fallen on her sword and resigned as state leader (MP blames 'foul forces', Herald, 29/5).
Jodi McKay came to the NSW Labor leadership with clean hands two years ago. It was hoped that she would clean up and unify Labor after the Obeid corruption scandal. Unfortunately, whatever may have been her intentions, and whether there have been 'foul forces' at work, McKay was perceived as a divisive and ineffectual leader. She had to go. Labor's loss in the Upper Hunter by-election was merely the trigger for a change of leadership.
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
- Knights should give Matt Lodge a chance
- Junior sport is about fresh air, learning
- Kurri Kurri gas plant a future stranded asset
- Knights should show more commitment
- Has anyone asked the fans what they want?
- Connecting the dots on where gas will go
- Common sense must prevail on pests
- We must do more to solve the housing crisis
McKay's wannabe replacements, Michael Daley and Chris Minns, come with their own political baggage and factional rivalries. It is unlikely that either of them can lead Labor to government in the next NSW election. Labor's Achilles heel, apart from its dearth of leadership talent, is its mixed messaging and lack of clear and distinct policies, particularly re the existential threat of climate change. Labor, both state and federal, has listened too much to the loud, outspoken Joel Fitzgibbon and his 1960s message on coal industry jobs.
Most coal industry workers accept that their jobs in the coal industry will end soon, and that they will need to retrain for jobs in the renewable energy industry. Most farmers have recently suffered from unusual droughts, bushfires and floods that are the direct result of climate change. They are sick of the political rhetoric by both sides of politics. They want real action on climate change. Therefore, Labor's policy on climate change is all wrong. It should be focusing on its proposals to retrain coal industry workers and to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Runway is just the beginning
I AGREE with Phil Gilbertson (Herald, 28/5) when he requests that the federal, state governments and local greater Hunter combined councils push for the Newcastle Airport expansion at Williamtown. The $66 million allocated from the 2021 budget is a good start.
Cartoonist journalist, Peter Lewis, got it right recently in The Herald when in 1948 he depicted the domestic airport as a tin shed.
Prior to the early 1990s this domestic component was operated out of just that, with bureaucrats in Canberra running the show. Federal transport minister of the day, Peter Morris, was a man of vision and Port Stephens was offered the opportunity to take control.
However, the council was not prepared to go it alone and worked with Newcastle Council in an extremely-successful joint venture. Port Stephens Airport has a nicer ring to it, being in the LGA.
Since the early 1990s both councils' ratepayers have taken out loans for the infrastructure, including buildings and car parks. What is now required is a widening and lengthening of the runway to accommodate larger international aircraft for safety and some $10 million will assist this, with the remaining $56 million being allocated for infrastructure.
It now seems to me that a lengthening of the airstrip will require an extension over Nelson Bay Road, the same as General Holmes Drive, at Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney. An extension to its north-west is also required. These won't come cheap, and the rewards for the whole Hunter Valley will be enormous.
Brian Watson-Will, Corlette
There's no time to use super
ONE of the reasons we have youth unemployment could be the fact that teenagers are using their first few years out of school as a gap year and getting paid for it. My school friends either: went on to year 5 and 6 (as it was back then), had casual work, had a gap year at no expense to the government and then found work. Children go straight from nappies to school to work or more study and retire now at 75 and die. No time to use super. When do they get time to play, grow into adults, learn from life experiences and become able to think for themselves?
Amanda Johnstone, Mayfield
Relieved I've been vaccinated
AFTER sending a letter to the editor regarding my hesitancy in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, I got my first jab so myself and those around me have some form of confidence that I don't pose any threat. It seems such a long time between the first and second jab. I believe the 12-week wait is because it is a period of time that is required to allow the initial jab to adjust to our immune system. We all need to get vaccinated, we can't delay any longer, logic must replace our anxiety and fear of blood clots. This new strain shows no leniency, nor compassion. So get immunised before we end up like those poor folks in India.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
NRL showing lack of respect
I'M so disgusted with the coverage given to two footy players, I refuse to name them, who at the very least acted immorally, with the only issue being not the dominant and degrading sexual acts which they admit to, but the proof or otherwise of consent. There is nothing to celebrate here because if there is it just shows how far our community values have fallen. It makes a joke of the NRL's policy in regard to respect for women and it discourages women who have been victimised from coming forward. The failure to continue to prosecute serves the law that there has to be certainty to obtain convictions and that is all it does.
Garry Robinson, Mannering Park
NOT Fair Australia Post. How does it take 18 days for my energy bill to be sent from Melbourne to Newcastle? Thus leaving me with a late payment by one day of $30.32. Thank goodness my Australian energy company waived the late fee for this time, but never again. I could drive from Newcastle to Melbourne and return nine times in that time. I don't want to be receiving late payment fees for your incompetent mail service again. Get your act together and do the job properly. A horse and cart could do better.
Sue Saxon, Lambton
RAY Cross, (Short Takes, 29/5) asked what he has missed with the treatment of certain footballers. He mentioned Jack de Belin. There are more than him. As for Israel Folau, this man only tweeted a message, including eight groups of people, only one group of that eight were offended. The problem is that group is very powerful in society today. Israel has been treated despicably.
Kevin Miller, Windale
IF Declan Clausen is really interested in supporting business in Newcastle he needs to reassess his support for Supercars which does so much damage to business in Newcastle East during the 10-week lockdown of the suburb. All for the benefit of a private company and at the great expense of all Newcastle ratepayers.
John Hudson, Newcastle East
OUR spin doctor ScoMo is selling the AstraZeneca jab to all Australians over 50. Can anyone explain why he got the Pfizer shot, being 53? It's time that voters look behind the facade he puts up and demand transparency and facts instead of swallowing his empty marketing headlines without any substance.
Martin Schlaeger, Warners Bay
THE gas power plant proposal was never about providing electricity, or even about creating 10 jobs in Kurri. It has two purposes. First, to create a case for building new gas pipelines so that it eventually would stop running on diesel. Second, to build a case for increased fracking in areas where the locals oppose fracking. Why otherwise put it in an area where not enough gas is available?
Peter Moylan, Glendale
I DON'T have any sympathy for Jodi McKay. She appeared happy to play the game when gifted the safe Newcastle seat despite strong objection from local members, and again when rewarded for her party loyalty with several ministerial appointments, and yet again when made party leader. You can't roll in the mud with pigs and complain when it gets messy.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
WHAT'S better than Newcastle winning? Manly losing. Lol.