I HAD my first experience of GP Access on Saturday. What a wonderful service. Staff at the Calvary Mater Hospital facility were fabulous - caring, concerned, very kind and welcoming. I received reassuring news, clear guidance on what I should do next, and went away feeling much better.
What a shame that this excellent service is about to be curtailed due to lack of funds, with the Mater branch to close by Christmas and the remaining services to be severely curtailed. Apparently the causes are freezes to Medicare benefits, and a level of funding from the government which has not kept pace with rising costs. Heaven knows what these cuts will do to local emergency departments, which I know, from fairly recent personal experience, are usually overloaded.
The logic of letting this excellent service wither for lack of a relatively few dollars escapes me. Objectively, the amount of money GP Access needs to keep going is relatively not even a drop in the bucket of money that's supposedly being spent on such things as station car parks where there isn't even a rail line, much less a station, and all the other rorts and dodgy expenditures at both federal and state level that we've heard of in the last year or two. But about the second sentence I've heard in the various non-justifications for refusal to support demonstrably beneficial facilities such as this, is "we can't afford it". What rubbish. I believe there has to be some other agenda.
Barney Ward, Edgeworth
Gearing a negative that must go
HOMES are becoming less affordable in the Hunter as incomes stagnate, interest rates remain low and longstanding tax breaks for home investors continue ('House affordability slides', Herald 4/12).
Cashed up Sydneysiders are snapping up investment homes in the Hunter. During the last year, Australian home prices have risen by an average of over 20 per cent, despite the low rise in Australia's population due to almost zero net immigration under COVID.
If this trend continues, many more young Hunter people will remain renters all their lives. Australia's older generation will continue to accumulate unearned wealth in the form of investment housing.
Tax reform is desperately needed to address this inequity, and has been for some time. Negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions on investment properties should have been phased out long ago. The rest is simple market economics. Both major parties already know this. But with a Federal election looming, neither major party will risk including this needed tax reform in their election platform.
If investor demand for housing is diminished as a result of this tax reform, then total market demand for home ownership will decrease. This will slow down and stabilise the rise in house prices. For a while, rents will rise as new housing supply contracts and the rise in housing stock slows. But then, as more and more first home buyers leave the rental market to buy their first home, rent rises will diminish and rents will stabilise. There is another major benefit of this tax reform. The inflationary boom in house prices will slow. Investment funding will be redirected to real things that Australians need such as new infrastructure, medical research, hospitals, schools and green energy projects.
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
No views for good news?
AM I alone in being over this barrage of negative hype concerning the virus? It seems that TV news as we once knew it is a thing of the past. Those putting news on seem to no longer go searching for newsworthy news anymore. I like to watch the midday news but have taken to recording it so that I can cut out all the crap which usually leaves me with about 15 minutes of news on a hour news broadcast. Not only the virus; I have also noticed that Prime Minister Scott Morrison likes to give out press releases and take up the news hour on what I consider a load more BS.
The ABC are the worst offenders in my view and think that Ita has a hand in this to cut costs and pander to the government especially the current one. Sure we need to know what is happening concerning the virus but it should only be a condensed version not a full blown media release that they currently do. Just when you think that the item concerning the virus is over they then switch to rehash the same stuff from another state. As they say? Enough is enough give us back our old news programs that inform us of what Australians are getting up to.
Les Woodward, Beresfield
The story behind climate change
FOR those who are looking for a non overly technical explanation about climate change perhaps my following comments may be of interest.
The Industrial revolution 1760 -1840 created the need for large amounts of energy. Since then the need by industry for energy has grown to enormous levels. Most of the energy producing methods, like burning coal as an example, result in the release into the atmosphere of large volumes of carbon dioxide. This initially caused levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to start rising above levels that had been relatively stable for an extremely long period of time. This rise of carbon dioxide levels has continued to this day. The present level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is concerning.
It is a well proven scientific fact that when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere go up- so does the temperature go up. In reverse, when carbon dioxide levels go down the temperature decreases. In simple terms the only way to counter climate change is to find methods to produce energy that do not release carbon dioxide. If carbon dioxide levels can be reduced so will rising temperatures be reduced.
There are many well proven ways to produce energy that do not release carbon dioxide, but until these methods are implemented, and the old polluting methods are discontinued, climate change will remain to be a threat to continued life on planet earth. Change is urgently needed.
Brian Measday, Myrtle Bank
Blame jurisdictions, not the PM
I THINK Ray Peck, ("No politics in play for critics", Letters, 2/12) has taken an erroneous left-wing political view of my piece (Short Takes, 27/11).
Royal commissions have been held after almost every major bushfire disaster in this country. In just about every case, commission recommendations have focused on fuel reduction strategies which have then been ignored by state governments.
State governments have total authority for bushfire response. Fires occur in state forests and are fought by state fire services. The federal government has no power to do anything about bushfires. This federal government sent in troops to help evacuate civilians but that was about the extent of what they could do.
If Ray Peck is "concerned about the lack of government action on climate change" then please supply the evidence of any government in any country that has acted on climate change, and how have they changed the climate and by how much?
Peter Devey, Merewether
WE may not be a republic, Neville Aubrey (Short Takes 3/12), but we have all the benefits of a constitution and election process that serves Australia admirably. The only real link to the UK is the position of Governor General and it is used for ceremonial purposes only. Far better to keep the devil you know than have the corrupt circus that is the system of the USA
Susan Ayre, Maryland
IF you are the person who writes short takes, Brad Hill ('I do not recognise you: court', Herald 3/12), we don't often agree but this must be a stressful time. All the best.
Julie Robinson, Cardiff
ANOTHER thought bubble from City of Newcastle; spend gazillions on somebody's "vanity project" and don't hold the contractors to account, just give them as many ratepayer dollars as they ask for (''Variations' lift beach work costs', Herald 3/12).
Bruce Williams, Merewether
THE only practical way to arrive in Australia is by air. Only double vaccinated people with a negative COVID-19 test are permitted to fly. So my understanding is the only way the new variant can arrive in Australia is through double-vaccinated travellers ('NSW Omicron tally rises to 15 but none hospitalised', Herald 6/12).
George Paris, Rathmines
SO another three years of the same old same old ('Labor gains', Herald 6/12)? In my opinion the show ponies are back in the paddock.
Ken Stead, Lambton
I SAY bar the tip jar, Steve Barnett ("Here's a tip: bring patience back to pubs too", Letters, 4/12). That's American, pal.
Bryn Roberts, New Lambton
IT'S great to see Ian Kirkwood shining a light on what I consider a waste of ratepayers money at South Newcastle, ("'Variations' lift beach work costs", Herald 3/12). The council claims that ratepayers should pay the several million dollars needed to repair the seawall washed away by mother nature. I disagree. I believe the contractor should have to pay if they caused the damage.
Bruce Williams, Merewether
I READ with appreciation the NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy and Environment Matt Kean's plans for renewable energy zones in the Hunter and Central Coast ("Hunter's renewable zone hots up", Herald 3/12). Reports on the weekend cited an internal investigation into Bayswater power station, allegedly uncovering 70 environmental and health risks to the community posed by this ageing and "potentially failing" infrastructure. When the REZ gets underway, maybe Bayswater could be the first power station to be replaced. It is good to see a Liberal Minister interested enough in our region to introduce such changes and to read about it in our local paper.