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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

LETTERS: Herald readers suggest an energetic idea that could help save Stockton Beach

THE beaches of NSW are created by counter currents. These work off the major north-south current, about 10km offshore.

Stockton, south end, is in the "shadow'' of the breakwater. It is ongoing and getting worse with rising sea levels. This can only be permanently protected by a north arm - about 3km in length.

It would be prohibitively costly to fill 8-10m but it is possible to use large concrete pontoons, semi filled with sea water, thus providing a series of platforms.

A ''barrage'' of renewable power stations; wind (vertical axis), wave, and even solar could be on these pontoons, thus paying for the whole operation. Think of them as relocatable power towers. Each might be 100m, forming an array of 30, equal to 3km - progressively installed. Say 50m maximum in height, forming a wall, that could be made very attractive, visually; think of night lighting.

Stockton has the advantage of not only being an ideal position to supply power, but an endless source of energy. It is relatively windy at that site. Wave swell power pontoons are being tested now by the Tasmanian Hydro.

Newcastle would be well able to design and construct such a Stockton power barrage and breakwater; it could be by a private commercial undertaking. As the build would be one unit at a time, the financing would be progressive. A major industry could develop power towers for both land and floating applications.

Thus a new Stockton would emerge. An aquatic recreational harbour, including shark proofing by nets, resulting in a massive real estate boom injection into the future. All without taxpayers' involvement.

Fred Whitaker Newcastle

Is solar a diminishing asset?

WE have been told that the recent bad weather with little sunshine is the result of a La Nina depression that will only increase as the climate changes, possibly for six months a year. My solar garden lights have hardly worked during this depression, that brings to question; will solar power in general diminish as time goes by with more La Nina weather predicted? Are we paying good money for a diminishing asset?

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

Open your eyes to less fortunate

THERE are times when you notice what has been in front of you for ages. The Smith Family ad to sponsor Aussie kids did that the other day. Listening to the news of loss of homes due to floods and fires caused me to look to the stats we rarely see as people. I noticed that we have an organisation called SHS. For those unfamiliar, it is the Specialist Homelessness Services.

The 2021 homeless figures took me by surprise. SHS had 278,300 clients:

  • 60 per cent: 167,400 female
  • 16 per cent: 44,200 children, aged 0-10 years old
  • 12 per cent: 34,300 children, aged 10-17 years old
  • 18 per cent: 51,900 adults
  • Of the total, 33 per cent: 84,900 are single-parent families

The homeless are invisible. They represent no lobby that politicians hear. When you face Centrelink you may get emergency accommodation which is generally a voucher for a motel; very temporary.

This great country of ours is bleeding. We're breeding a new generation of underclass. Not dole bludgers, but ordinary people we do not support. Aged care warehousing with inedible food. Disaster relief spent politically rather than where needed.

These strugglers are not comforted by our almost full employment, or the healthy economy we are to be grateful for. Thanks, I guess at least we have the SHS and the Smith Family.

Lyn Rendle, Rankin Park

We're in for a bumpy ride

SANDY Buchanan (Letters 5/4), I have touched on the lack of work happening from home. We have had a lot of Sydney people move to the Bay during the pandemic, forcing out long-term locals, most who work in hospitality. With profit being the only concern of shareholders, CEOs and board members, the obvious choice moving forward is to export jobs to the lowest bidder. With what I believe will be a very bumpy ride economically over the next five years, companies will have no choice. At least the newbies in the Bay could fill the baristas jobs after losing their holiday at home positions, but alas who's going to pay $10 for a cup of coffee, let alone avo on toast. It's going to be a fun ride for the next five years.

Steve Barnett, Fingal Bay

Master coach off the field, too

IF every one-eyed Knights supporter opened the other eye and took note as to what Wayne Bennett is actually doing, they might not be so angry all the time. Bennett is acting like one of those shady buyers at an auction; always bidding, but never intending to buy. This pushes Ponga's contract value up and bam, everyone is happy, especially Bennett who has just destabilised a rival's roster and budget. Who said battles are only won on the field?

Bryn Roberts, New Lambton

'Scandalous' aged care system

I TOTALLY agree with Mac Maguire, (Short Takes, 5/4), regarding Frank Ward OAM. I have been reading Frank's letters for years and admire his dedication in fighting for good aged care for our elders.

Let's face it, elderly people are getting abused and neglected when they should be getting the very best of care. Food is often unappetising and scant. Nursing care is lacking because of staff shortages. Residents usually don't complain for fear of being punished, and yes, there is bullying behaviour in aged care. So what is there to look forward to when you get old? To be quite honest, not a lot if you have to go into a facility. My advice to the elderly and their families is not to be sucked in by glossy brochures and sugary talk. It is all about selling you a very expensive product and letting you down badly by cutting back and doing it on the cheap for maximum profits. It is scandalous.

Julie Robinson, Cardiff

Focus on training our own

THE recent budget contained the 2022-23 permanent migration program which focused on skilled migration which increased from pre-pandemic levels by 109,000 and up by 30,000 on the planned 2021-22 level.

This is no doubt a response to the demand by business to cater for the skills shortage, a claim that begs the question why haven't we trained enough of our own? We seem to manage this quite well even in the period when we had a large manufacturing industry and with a well-funded TAFE and universities.

The skilled category of immigration was introduced by the then Labor government designed as a short-term solution for shortages created by the mining boom but has become a means of reducing local training costs and suppressing wages. Skilled immigration is also a form of poaching which has an adverse impact on developing nations. Around a quarter of our doctors are imported, many from India which has an acute shortage, a factor that led to their high death toll from the pandemic.

Don Owers, Dudley


TRULY, do we need any more evidence than what we are now witnessing? Years of drought conditions. Catastrophic bushfires. Catastrophic floods. And clear evidence of sea level rise with the damage we are witnessing with flooding of coastal communities. I do remember climate scientists telling us all about this 20 years ago. What can we do about this? Get rid of a federal government still run by climate change disbelievers and sceptics. Do the right thing for your children and grandchildren.

Colin Rowlatt, Merewether

MAJOR front page news with Merewether to Bar Beach stretch being eroded by recent storms, and Stockton once again becomes an afterthought. How many studies and mining applications does it take and over how many years does it take for the wheels of government to turn. Absolutely ridiculous.

Tony Morley, Waratah

THE article "Light rail route mystery won't stop apartment towers", (Herald, 5/4), tells us that the best future route for the light rail may need to traverse the Dairy Farmers site, but Transport for NSW can't be bothered investigating. This is typical. TFNSW has always prioritised the rights of private developers against what might be most convenient for public transport users.

David Rose, Hamilton

I READ in Anita Beaumont's column, ("'Decrease' in after hours funds 'not a cut'", Herald, 5/4): "Senate estimates on Friday, departmental officials insisted the drop in funding allocation to extend the Primary Health network after hours program from $71.9 million to $56 million in 2022 was a decrease but not a cut." At the end of the day the funding for a vital program receives less funding, so can someone tell me how this department can make this claim?

Alex Fraser, Charlestown

KNIGHTS, don't waste your money on Ponga, and to hear a league reporter say New Zealand Rugby are missing out with him signing with Knights, he wouldn't make the All Blacks.

Bruce Cook, Adamstown

I HAVE to take issue with Steven Busch's complaint that "battlers who paid a third of their wages in tax all their lives" are struggling in retirement, ("A slap in face to retirees", Letters, 1/4). You have to earn over $210,000 per year before tax consumes a third of your wages. Those on minimum wage pay less than 10 per cent of their wages in tax. High income earners shoulder the tax burden with the top 10 per cent of earners paying over 50 per cent of all income tax collected. No aged pension for them.

Scott Hillard, New Lambton

IF Craig Kelly thinks he's going to win a seat in Parliament, tell him he's dreaming.

John Bonnyman, Fern Bay


Email or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited in any form.

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