Stephen Miller of Rutherford ("Coalfields needs swift action", Letters, 7/12) has the right idea about restoring the rail line to Kurri Kurri and Cessnock and beyond.
Hunter Environment Lobby has advocated over many years that a restoration of rail services to Kurri and Cessnock is in the public interest for transport reasons as well as climate change reduction of emissions.
We have advocated that a ring route of rail starting at Glendale, continuing to Kurri using old disused colliery lines, plus a tunnel under Mount Sugarloaf is the way to go - then the existing line from Cessnock to Kurri and on to South Maitland is the sensible and easy way to go.
The present plans for future development in these areas is exponential - it would be sensible and in the interests of climate change realities that we use public transport, powered by solar and wind, and not cars - seems a no-brainer to us.
Jan Davis, East Maitland
Boosting academic outcomes
I'd like to elaborate on key points raised by Gary Linnell's opinion piece ("The inequity of private schooling", Herald, 2/12).
Regarding Newington College's proposed change from a boys school to a coeducational one, John Cooper ("Reasons for private option", Letters, 6/12), notes that parents choose private schooling for a variety of reasons.
Parents don't choose private schooling, private schooling chooses them.
If parental choice is defined as parents having "the right" to enrol their children in a school, then in reality their only "right" extends to enrolling them in a public school in their local neighbourhood for which they are zoned.
Outside of that the only "right" a parent has is to complete an application for enrolment at a non-government school or a government selective school and hope that their child is accepted. The decision to accept the enrolment is made by the school, not the parent.
Cooper closes by musing that Linnell may "like to comment on how public schools can improve academic outcomes".
There would be no debate about all schools in almost all countries being expected to relentlessly strive to improve academic outcomes for their students.
However, given that in this country research indicates that there is no significant difference between the academic performance of government and non-government school students once accounted for socio-economic factors, i.e. once the socio-economic playing field is levelled, the burden of improving academic outcomes must surely fall equally on both public, Catholic and independent systems.
Greg Archbold, Eleebana
JHH wait not clean cut
After successful hand surgery at the John Hunter Hospital, a follow up visit was required at 10.20am a week later.
I showered, shaved and arrived 20 minutes early because I didn't want to be late.
If I had known how long the wait was going to be I would have dragged the razor along with me.
I came close to needing it again.
The waiting room looked like an airport a day out from Christmas. Seats were all full with hospital staff doing what they could to ease the back log.
Two hours and 20 minutes later I had escaped and was on my way home.
Before leaving I spoke to a staff member and asked what had caused the delay. I suggested maybe a lack of funding?
I was told quite simply funding was not the problem, but acquiring doctors was as they simply did not want to work there due to the terrible working conditions.
I wondered if the Minister for Health was aware of the hospital's plight?
Then, to add insult to injury, I was slugged five bucks for going over the free parking time.
Nick Ryder, Booragul
Bowen's power play
You have to feel sorry for Blackout Bowen.
Having been sent all the way to Dubai by Albanese to tell the world that nuclear power generation cannot be used in Australia because it is too expensive and unsafe, he finds out the rest of the COP28 delegates voted to recognise that the use of nuclear power is needed to be tripled to achieve net zero targets.
The COP28 also recognised that nuclear power was the second largest source of clean dis-patchable baseload power, with the benefits of energy reliability and security, and that not using it would make reaching net zero targets more difficult and costly.
I wonder who is right?
Blackout Bowen or the rest of the world?
John Cooper, Charlestown
White supremacist, Nazi-like marches in Australia? Really? Do those who march own any history books? Are the participants in these events aware of a generation of truly courageous Australian men and women who gave up their innocence, their youth, their limbs, their sanity and, in too many instances, their lives to take up arms to defeat the evil, immoral tenets of Nazism? My hope is that those who engage in Nazi-like marches are just ignorant and misguided. Lest we forget.
John Lawton, Belmont
Lingering event questions
The dust may have settled on the Supercars issue (for now at least), but one aspect that I don't recall being aired was the annual "licence" paid by City of Newcastle to Destinations for NSW for the right to hold the event. Can the council's general manager, Jeremy Bath, confirm that Newcastle ratepayers paid more than half a million dollars collectively (actually $550,000) every year the race was held? If this amount was incorrect, how much was it? And why was the council decision a confidential one? Why weren't Novocastrians entitled to know these details?
Keith Parsons, Newcastle
The real rat run
The rat run that is Laman St in Cooks Hill may cause some traffic issues, however the rat run that causes major issues at all hours is the short section of inner city road that is Little King Street. A constant flow of traffic enters this short roadway from Stewart Ave and exits into King St near National Park St. The short section of street enables motorists to bypass the traffic lights. The result is that the traffic queues up trying to get back onto King Street to head east into the city. Problems arise when local residents, and often ambulances, have difficulty accessing their premises due to the congestion. This short section of road should be restricted to residential and relevant service vehicle traffic only. The council has been made aware of this issue however the problem remains.
John Pearson, Newcastle West