letters to the editor

Posted on 05/12/2018 by

WHILE I am not denying the factcyclists in NSW need to obey the law and adhere toroad rules, I find the approach of the Minister for TransportDuncan Gaytotally out of line.

Increasing fines up to 500 per centfor cyclists will scare a good number of people off their bikes.The existing fines are sufficient, they only need to be enforced.

Cyclists are always onthe receiving end when it comes to collisionswith otherroad users and thisneeds to be reflected in the legislation.

Proper road education needs to be improved and brought up to the necessary standards of mostly urban or suburban driving.

We allowteenagers at the age of 16 to sit behind thesteering wheel of a car, but some haveneverexperienced the road from a bike saddle. They need to learn to respect cyclists as equals.

In the light of the Paris agreement, we should all strive to get more people out of cars and onto bikes. Get on your bike, Duncan.

Martin Schlaeger, Eleebana ROUGH RIDE: Transport Minister Duncan Gay should be encouraging more people to ride bikes, not punishing existing riders, says reader Martin Schlaeger.

sound the alarmWELL Emily Steele (Herald, 8/1)Ithink you got it wrongabout Swamp Creek floods and flood alarms.

The alarms are mainly for night floods. In the 2007flood, after midnight, an elderly Weston couple were woken by floodwatersgushing into the sewer system and air bubbling in their toilet.They had toescape by ladder over thetwo-metreback fence by torchlight. Another lady inAbermain slipped in the dark ragingcreek at her front steps and was washedaway.She managed to grab a tree branch and save herself.

The alarms wereinstalled by Kurri Kurri Landcare at our own cost in 2007-08 after Cessnockcouncil refused to allow us to draw a 2006 $56,000 Office of Environment and Heritagegrant approved to clean mine waste and vegetation from the chokedcreek at Weston.

Cessnock council has,to the best of my knowledge, had floodstudies in 1992 after the 1990 intrusive floods, 1996 (publicmeeting), 1997, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 twice, 2011, 2012 and2013 witha costprediction, then nothing. Most by the same consultant?

It is extremelydangerous at Abermain and Weston flood-prone areas.

In my opinion, Cessnock council and the Office of Environment and Heritage have been negligent–the lattergives out $15 million per year for flood control, I understand, to beshared between 92 councils who require flood amelioration, which is enoughfor a flood study and team expenses and nothing else.

Flood alarms wererecommended in the 1992 and subsequent flood studies, Emily.

I would beproud to show you the creek and its flood characteristics. I have appliedtwice to appear before council and been refused.I grew up on this creekand have been aware of its peak flows and floods all my life. Call me on0427 889 653if you, or anyone, wants a tour.

Col Maybury, President,Kurri Kurri LandcareClean up cabinetWHEN the royal commission into trade union corruption ended, we were informedwe could rest easy.The louts and bullies were being exposed and trade unions would have a breath of fresh air.

Unfortunately, there’s been no royal commission looking at senior government ministers. Accepting resignations from Mr Briggs and Mr Brough doesn’t go far enough. Mr Joyce is worried that Mr Turnbull is raising the bar and the “good old days”are over.

Mr Turnbull has a monumental task in trying to clean up his front bench. MrDutton must already be on notice but how many senior ministers need to go? I hope Mr Turnbull is not stopping now. We want effective senior ministers, not just the leftovers from Tony Abbott’s ‘old boys’club.

John Butler,Windella Downswhat about a sugar taxTHE obesity epidemic(Herald, 9/1), while bad in , is worse in Mexico, which now has the world’s highest rate, with 70 per centof the population overweight and 33 per centobese.The problem is mostly in the young and the poor who often have malnutrition as well, a situation that has created an enormous health bill for the government.

The reasons for this are obvious –the number of US-style fast-food outlets have exploded and they sell their product cheaper than healthier diets.

Mexicans are now each consuming 225 litresof Coca-Cola per year, a fact that prompted the government to introducea 10 per centtax in 2014, something that has already been done in France and California. First results indicatedit had reduced consumption by sixper centbut the bill faced strong opposition, as it would here. But a similar tax on tobacco was supported by 73 per centof the population and wassuccessful in reducing smoking.Surely a sugar tax is better than taxing fresh food via aGST.

About 70 ns a week are having amputations due to obesity related problems, that is equivalent to a war-time casuality rate, so let’s join the battle via taxation.

Don Owers, Dudleysalute after stormREGARDINGJohn Windeyer’s “Cyclone in a teaspoon”, I am grateful that the authorities got it right this time as the constant heavy rain and subsequent gale force winds caused havoc to our region.

Again, our professional local mediasprang into action,keeping us informed and aware of possible road closures andflooding, etc.I was concernedfor the people who produced the Newcastle Herald, and the local newsagents, who delivered the newspaperunder what must have been dreadful conditions.

I am also grateful for all the “tradies” who make our habitats so comfortable – what would we do without them and their skills?We should also be so grateful tothe authorities who risk their lives on our behalf.

June Porter,Warners Baytime for changeCOULDthe unlikely merger of Port Stephens and Newcastle councils be the way the Liberal government gets rid of mayor Bruce Mackenzieafter the shellacking the partygot from Kate Washington at thestate election.Theswing away from the Mackenzie-promoted candidate Ken Jordan shows the electorate is fed up with the way local politics has been run in Port Stephens.

Brian Crooks, Scone

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