IN principle, there's nothing wrong with some blue sky thinking about the future of the Newcastle city centre.
However, it need not necessarily involve having less blue sky, as Bradley Perrett seems to think ("Make central Newcastle ready for skyscrapers", Weekender, 17/7).
Newcastle's future shouldn't be driven by the goal of "many tens of thousands of people" being able to "see water from their living rooms".
It should be guided instead by an enduring commitment to the elements that make Newcastle such a special and, above all, liveable city.
Scale, proportion, character and variety. These things are already under threat from "revitalisation".
However, despite what development interests would have us believe, skyscrapers shouldn't be listed with death and taxes as life's only inevitabilities.
Conscious, deliberate decisions determine such things.
Mr Perrett says you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.
Omelettes can't be unscrambled.
And why do we need to "make" anything at all?
There are many, here and elsewhere, who think we have it made already.
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
Port decision needs examination
IN reading the report in Wednesday's paper, I am of the impression that the judge may have erred into the political public policy away from the legal areas of public policy, ("Port short: Container terminal bid deemed 'far-fetched and fanciful'", Herald, 21/7).
I would love to have the whole of the judge's decision and the evidence that was presented before her as I have examined the doctrine of 'derivative crown immunity' as applied in ACCC v Baxter Health Care PTY LTD  HCA 38 and, in my view, there is a significant capacity to distinguish away certain matters in the current decision concerning the container terminal proposal for Newcastle Port.
However, I need all the details to determine if the distinguishing away is sufficient to make an impact to turn the decision in another direction.
Considering the ongoing social and environmental impact of trucks negotiating the relative narrow streets of the surrounding communities of Port Botany and the difficulty of obtaining a rail connection to transport all cargo from the port to a more suitable distribution site where the social and environmental impacts would be considerably less, it seems to me that any government hell-bent on cementing the current position in place for eternity is extremely unwise in so many ways.
I do hope the full examination of the judgement will reveal an Achilles heel that can drive grounds for a distinguishing away decision that will unlock this container terminal road block.
Milton Caine, Birmingham Gardens
Our vulnerable deserve better
DENISE Lindus Trummel, ("Help our homeless", Letters, 6/7), I'm sure speaks for many others regarding the lack of available and indeed affordable housing.
It's terrible to hear of people having to sleep in cars and on the street in a country like Australia.
I realise that money doesn't grow on trees, but the state government has to step up to the plate and make more low cost housing for those on low incomes readily available now.
Five to 10-year waiting times for social housing is beyond belief, could some of the wealthy churches be encouraged to spend some of their millions to build even basic accommodation for the less fortunate - they do, after all, enjoy tax-free and charitable status.
Another idea could be for the government to build prefabricated relocatable homes such as those in relocatable home villages and use crown land to create some much-needed housing for rent or purchase at affordable prices in addition to the blocks of units being built for social housing, particularly in regional areas.
Ian King, Warners Bay
Poorly handled from the start
WHEN the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out around the world it was clear that the only way it was going to reach Australia was from people arriving in our country from overseas.
The first priority should have been to build purpose-built quarantine facilities in every state, isolated from population centres.
Christmas Island and Howard Springs could have been brought straight onto line and the others as each stage was completed.
Scott Morrison didn't want this, saying they needed to be near a major centre with large hospitals.
Well, no they didn't.
Everyone who returns from overseas doesn't have COVID-19.
Most of them are sitting out 14 days to prove it.
Of the small minority that have, all but a few could be treated by the on site doctors and nurses.
The few who need hospital treatment could be easily handled by medically equipped helicopters, transferring them quickly to the nearest hospital.
If China could build a major hospital in two weeks at the start of the pandemic, how long would it take to build the centres?
Instead, he went for the fraught with danger of hotel quarantine, with its continual breakouts.
Fools gold standard.
Jan Philip Trevillian, Fennell Bay
MORE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Canberra, we have a problem
YOUR recent editorial rightly points out how a lack of leadership is causing confusion and despair in relation to this pandemic, ("All at sea with a lack of leadership", Opinion, 19/7).
However, the bigoted put-downs and the ill-informed opinions often expressed in these letters pages are symptomatic of a more serious problem.
Without direction, without goals without legitimate forecasts, furtive imaginations and old bigoted hatreds crawl to the surface.
In the absence of truth, lies will flourish.
There are no clearly dictated pathways including solutions for problems with anything from COVID-19 to climate change, from immigration to income tax and from misogyny to the Murray Darling.
The federal government fails at almost every test.
This situation is not just the problem of the leadership vacuum created by this corrupt and inept Morrison government.
The other side do not appear to be clearly motivated to make the systematic changes needed.
We need an immediate inquiry with our nation's best minds to identify the structural failures and map out the remedy.
This inquiry would have a royal commission's authority, which needs to be implemented by a government that does not think it even needs a federal ICAC.
Canberra, we have a problem.
Tony Emanuel, Pomona
WE have Mike Baird to thank for the secret anti-competitive deal he struck when selling Port Botany against the interests of Newcastle. Although Baird is no longer NSW premier, he should be brought to account for his actions.
Martin Frohlich, Adamstown Heights
ACCORDING to KPMG's chief economist, Brendan Ryan, the Australian economy will lose $10 billion as a result of the NSW and Victorian lockdowns. But the current lockdown is just another lockdown. Australia will require a few more lockdowns before our population is fully vaccinated and the Australian economy returns to true full employment. The Australian GDP p.a. is about $1.7 trillion. The COVID pandemic has already caused a 7 per cent loss in annual GDP. That's an annual loss of $120 billion. Over two years, this is $240 billion in lost production. Had the Morrison government done its job, how many doses of vaccine, how many quarantine stations and how many vaccination hubs would $240 billion have bought?
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
STREWTH, dob in your boss for making you come to work. Well Gladys, I want my boss, Kev, arrested because he makes me come to work and cook him a scotch fillet steak sandwich for morning tea when I can cook a perfectly good steak sandwich at home. Lock this ruthless tyrant up for life, he's a threat to national security. "Medium rare, Mr Farnham, Sir?"
Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay
THANKS to Colin Fordham, ("Rudd did us all a favour", Letters, 17/7), for replying to my Short Take. But it was Pfizer themselves who have publicly pointed out that Kevin Rudd had no influence on the supply of COVID vaccine doses to Australia. Colin may be president of the Kevin Rudd Fan Club but, Colin, political bias is no excuse for no or inaccurate research.
Peter Devey, Merewether
IT is so easy to end these lockdowns. All the prime minister and premier have to do is ask Sky News reporter Andrew Clennell what to do. This guy has all the answers. I wish sometimes I could ask what to have for dinner, I am sure he would know. He could replace Google, he knows that much.
Dave Bennett, Nelson Bay
TO those who dislike the Knights detractors, rejoice! This may well be my last letter regarding this team that continues to disappoint. I just don't have the energy. Stop making excuses for this team and coach. Does the term "professional athlete" mean nothing to these privileged people? As I write this, your families are travelling to another state so you can feel happy and play a game. While most of the country is struggling and in lockdown. The very least you can do while we all deal with this is play like you give a damn.