AS we see the flooding along the Hunter River ('This flood is not over', Newcastle Herald 29/11) my mind goes to history; It is clear that floods will come from time to time but we could and should take action.
I have always considered that we should create deep off-river dams interconnected by pipes and pumping stations along our rivers and significant waterways. There are significant and beneficial results from this infrastructure including that the 1955 Maitland floods will never happen again.
The other benefits include that the rivers will run free and healthy enabling healthy marine life as well as other native vegetation and animals; the storage of water will not overflow causing downstream flooding by moving water around to other storage areas; water shortage for communities should be a thing of the past; wetlands will not have water extracted from them; most floods will not happen anymore except in extremely exceptional circumstances.
If only a government of the day could just allow their minds to think of long-term plans that will be for the benefit of all. Including our environment and our native plants and animals. Note: The Maitland flood began with sustained and continuous rainfall from October 1954 through to late February 1955.
Milton Caine, Birmingham Gardens
Time to take a look at lessons
A COMPREHENSIVE curriculum review in NSW schools after more than 30 years is undoubtedly overdue. Social and technological change have progressed to the extent that Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has prompted a complete overall expose by 2024. ("New education curriculum for students", Herald 16/11).
Solid foundation in literacy and numeracy skills, being the bedrock for subject areas, is envisaged. Minister Mitchell also has weighed heavily on phonic incorporation as a basis for the teaching of reading: being emphatic on the shifting from a whole word "sight reading" approach to phonetic sounding when learning to read.
An enhanced focus on handwriting in the early years of a child's schooling is stressed. Contorted styles and an irregular approach to 'pen grip' styles are noted, certainly at the expense of fluency, legibility and flair.
Children do not develop at the same rate and extra assistance is a bonus. Supplementary teacher support is surely of benefit to some learners. Children assuredly profit from closer attention. Specialists are currently spread too sparingly in the education system, it could be said, especially in a fractured school year.
Bob Allen, Hawks Nest
Infectiousness doesn't drop off
COL Parkins, (Letters, 26/11), joins Jacqui Lambie's pile-on against vaccine abstainers for putting other people's lives at risk. But even vaccinated people put other people's lives at risk. A recent British study found that the Delta variant can transmit easily from vaccinated people to their household contacts. Newcastle's Professor Robert Clancy recently wrote in Quadrant that infected vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects have similar viral loads and transmission capacity, and says studies across 68 countries confirm increases in COVID-19 infections unrelated to levels of vaccination. He notes evidence that older vaccinated individuals have a higher incidence of COVID infection than the unvaccinated. When this is the case, one argument goes, the risk of being infected by a vaccinated person is higher than the risk of being infected by the unvaccinated, because the vaccinated are far less likely to develop symptoms and isolate.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
Convincing doubters a big ask
I DESPAIR at people I meet who say, 'global warming is not real. Australia has always been a country of 'droughts and flooding rains'. Look at the floods in the Hunter that are now occurring. Where are the bushfires now? Climate variation is all part of a natural cycle, not caused by people' ("Gauge the difference: deluges as La Nina heralds wet summer", Herald 27/11).
Most of these people are ignorant, insular and self-interested. No amount of evidence or expert opinion will convince them. Perhaps Australia doesn't have visibly melting glaciers. Perhaps our low continent is not low enough on its coastal margins so that few people have been flooded out by rising seas. Maybe people's lives are too short and global warming is not rapid enough. What will convince these people? Will they be convinced when the last wild koala staggers out of a bushfire alight and dies?
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
Power's not blowing in the wind
RICHARD Mallaby, ("Renewables will shine with time", Letters, 25/11),claims that low wind strengths often occur at night but only over parts of Australia's four million square kilometres. Unfortunately, there are numerous times at night when nearly all of our continent is windless and wind power produces between two and 5 per cent of our power. Such occurrences can be observed on a live website found by searching "Global-Roam Live Supply and Demand".
These windless nights occur mostly in winter when thermal wind currents are non-existent. During a full week in June wind power contributed only two per cent of Australia's electricity demand each night.
The rapid construction of wind and solar farms is most welcomed, but they need to be backed up with significant battery storage.
Will wind and solar farms be able to take over completely from the ageing NSW coal-fired power stations which are due to close over the next 10 years? Munmorah and Wallerawang power stations closed over seven years ago and, according to the website opennem.org.au, NSW is not self-sufficient in the generation of its own electricity demands. Eight per cent of NSW's electricity comes from Queensland's coal-fired power stations. We have to encourage the development of renewable sources of electricity but be mindful that we will still need some support from baseload power stations for many decades to come if we want to have reliable 24/7 power.
Robert Monteath, Newcastle
Belief drives all types of decision
IAN King, (Letters, 26/11), making his case for voluntary assisted dying, says "there should be no place for religious beliefs in politics at all". What about historical religiously motivated reformers like William Wilberforce and Martin Luther King?
Wilberforce said "The advance or decline of faith is so intimately connected to the welfare of a society that it should be of particular interest to a politician". Mr King tells the Premier "don't try to tell other people what to do because of your religious beliefs", forgetting that other politicians tell us all the time what to do because of their various beliefs, religious or otherwise.
For a politician of conviction, a "conscience vote" means what he or she thinks is right, no matter what the majority of voters are alleged to favour. As for the crucial voluntary part of assisted dying, how realistic is it that people near the end of life always will decide rationally and freely, without coercion? Today's safeguards become tomorrow's roadblocks.
Peter Dolan, Lambton
PEOPLE of Newcastle should know that Rebecca Connor has entered her yacht, Wonderland, in this year's Sydney to Hobart yacht race. Rebecca Connor successfully completed the 75th race in 2019 and will be heading to Sydney to participate in this year's race. A group of 10 sailors from around the country will all assemble at the starting line and aim to arrive just before New Year's Eve in Hobart. Friends and family wish her well and look forward to another successful challenge.
Allan Connor, Stockton
I SUGGEST to Ian Kirkwood ('Catholic healing, and a tale of two bishops', Opinion 27/11) that the reason for the Church's survival despite the scandals has nothing to do with funding, government or otherwise. It has everything to do with the voices of the survivors. They represent the voice of Christ in the world and that is all we have.
Mark Porter, New Lambton
WE all know where ScoMo goes during PFAS debates, but where does PFAS go during heavy flooding?
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
A GREAT reminder to all those seeking election on Saturday:
A wise old bird sat in an oak,
The more it heard the less it spoke,
The less it spoke the more it heard,
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird.
John Dickenson, Newcastle West
WHEN some employers can't, or won't provide the unemployed with steady and meaningful work, they cannot then blame them for not applying for their jobs, and the first job being viewed as a form of welfare, might bring others into view.
Dave Wilson, Bar Beach
ACTIONS speak louder than words. Congrats to George Kambosos who didn't stay in Australia big talking, he went to the US and now he's the undisputed champ of the world in his division.
Bruce Cook, Adamstown
I WONDER what age group you are, Craig Helpdew, (Short Takes, 26/11). Sometimes individual freedoms have to be curtailed temporarily for the good of the community. Back in WWII we did not see protesters railing against blacking out their windows at night or against the rationing of supplies because they knew it was for the good of the nation. Criminals are locked up to protect the community. Today's younger generation are too fixated on themselves to see that some restrictions provide the whole community with greater protection.
Susan Ayre, Maryland
THE all-attacking Jets still need an all-defensive defence ('Newcastle Jets earn first point of season in 2-2 draw with Wanderers', Herald 28/11).