Letters to the editor Friday March 16 2018

By , 18/03/2019 15:07

ON THE RAILS: Kahibah’s Peter Sansom argues governments are overdue in looking to speed up the rail trip between Sydney and Newcastle. He blames hostility towards rail.

WHY has it taken so long for governments to see the need for straightening the railway between Sydney and Newcastle (“State case for quicker commutes”, Herald 10/3)? People have been screaming out for the straightening out of our railways for years, yet governments of both political persuasions have been deaf to these calls.

For a long time, both parties seemed to have been openly hostile to rail transport. The closure of the railway into Newcastle and the pathetic excuses for its closure bore witness to that. What’s interesting is that the access to the harbor, which was one of the pathetic excuses, has not helped businesses in Hunter Street.

I digress. When I was an engineman driving freight trains between Broadmeadow and Sydney, I became very frustrated at having to endure steam age alignments while many millions of dollars were spent on new roads and freeways that very quickly became clogged up with traffic. I really hope we see something happen soon.

Mind you, the north coast line needs to be straightened as well. The north coast line is worse the line between Sydney and Newcastle. It’s about time our governments got their priorities right. Rail transport is between three and nine times more fuel efficientthan road. Considering the looming energy shortage – peak oil is still a major issue that the media seems to have forgotten about -and green house gas issues, I’m at a loss to understand why more has not been done before now.

Closing the rail to Newcastle hasbeen of no benefit to the city, and the traffic has only become worse.

Peter Sansom,KahibahCOAL FAR FROM FLAWLESSI NOTE that Matt Howell (“Tomago boss wary of AGL Liddell plan”, Herald 13/3) is worried about renewable energy power supply. If I were him I would be more worried about the 44 fossil fuelled power generation breakdowns since summer began, especially when two coal-fired generators broke down together and took 1000 megawatts of generation out of the grid in an instant.

The Portland smelter mentionedlost its supply due to a fault on transmission lines, nothing to do with generation of electricity.

Since the n Energy Market Operator learnt how to integrate renewables in the South n grid over the past year, more than 50 per centof South ’s power has successfully come from renewables.I also note that the new owner of the South n steel works is planning on using renewable energy to power the steel works since cheap renewable power will make the steel works profitable.

Agner Sorensen,TeralbaRELATED: Today’s Short TakesA KNIGHT TO REMEMBERJARROD Mullen was hung out to dry. Explain this to me again: against the background of Matt Lodge returning to football or Ben Barba testing positive to cocaine not once, but twice, Mullen incurred no assault charges, no bubbler displays, no betting on the game or placing the game in disrepute. Basically, as I understand it he was making a last-ditch attempt to play the game he loves and represented so well. He was held in high regard,then crucified.

Why? For trying all he could do to recover from an injury that had plagued his otherwise exemplary career for years. His career ended not due to a chemical enhancer, or a rape, or anassault, or any of the other apparently minor misdemeanours that get a slap on the wrist.Can someone please explain how this can be?

Greig Hardman,MerewetherCOURTING A BAD REACTIONI KNOW they’re doing their job but I’ve seen it that often, and it annoys me that much, that I feel the need to say no thanks.

Almost every night on the television news there’s a report about a court case.As the accused walks from the courthouse, clearly demonstrating by their body language that they have no wish to say anything to the assembled media, our intrepid reporter feels obliged to shove a microphone in their face and throw a leading question in their direction:“what would you like to say to your victim?”, or“do you feel any remorse for your actions?”, or “would you like to apologise to … ?”.If they choose to run from the cameras, all the better. We will all view the chase. If they lose their temper and push a cameraman or woman, it will probably be replayed multiple times.I hope I’m not the only one but frankly, I think it’s sensationalism masquerading as news reporting and I choose to say no thanks.

John Buckley,FloravilleWHY BRAKE SO SUDDENLYHOW wonderfully efficient the Roads and Maritime Services are with this fiasco (“Speed stoush in Parliament”, Herald 14/3). Firstly we see illuminated signs informing everyone that the speed limit will change on March 11, for some obscure mystical reason, and then, with the illuminated signs still in place, we see that the old 70km/h speed limit signs are still in place on March 12. This begs two important questions: what is the obscure reason behind the speed limit change, and how can people be so inefficient asto carry it out with mass confusion?Oh, I forgot – a state government entity was possibly trying to get our local government to carry out the physical replacement of signs. The result doesn’t surprise me.

Peter Hickey,ShortlandTWO DECADES OF DISCOVERYI WOULD like to congratulate the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) on their 20thanniversary.

In their two decades, they have achieved tremendous accolades and results that have promoted Newcastle as a city that is leading the way in medical research.I always put the HMRI at the top of my list when visiting dignitaries ask what they need to know about Newcastle and where they should visit.

As a father of two children with asthma, I am particularly proud of the work that they are doing in this field. Dr Peter Gibson and his team at the HMRI are now considered an international centre of excellence for asthma and lung research.I would like to congratulate current and past HMRI Directors, Michael Nilsson, Emeritus Professor Maree Gleeson OAM and Emeritus Professor John Rostas on their work over the past 20 years, as well as the Board and its past and present directors.I look forward to the work that will be produced over the next 20 years and beyond.Thank you to all the hard working researchers, students and staff at the HMRI. You are an asset to Newcastle and the greater international community.

Tim Crakanthorp, Newcastle MP

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