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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Matt Carr

Letters: High costs of insurance leave the vulnerable high and dry

ROBERT Baxter from Blackalls Park, pictured, commented on problems he has experienced when obtaining reasonably priced home insurance when the home is in a declared flood zone ("Lakeside homes seen as too big of a gamble", Newcastle Herald 4/6). I live in Toronto on the flood plain of Stony Creek, so have experienced such problems since LMCC published the results of their survey.

Most insurance companies, including those connected to iSelect, will not even give a quote when I give my address. Most of those that do provide a quote, quote amounts that are eye watering. Robert Baxter gives some of the eye watering results he received. Like in many such flood areas, as recently seen in Lismore and other Northern Rivers towns, it is usually modest houses built on the flood plain, lived in by people with modest incomes. That is why so many homes on flood plains are not insured.

After much searching, I found an insurance company who is prepared to insure my home. They put a cap on what you can claim for flood damage. That is better than what other neighbours have done - they have negotiated a home insurance that does not include flood insurance. When I first signed up, the cap was $15,000. The company services seniors, this may be why they can take the chances of a flood claim.

Wendy Davidson, Toronto

80 years on from historic day

WEDNESDAY is the 80th anniversary of the shelling of Newcastle by the Japanese submarine I21. The attack took place at 2.17am, and the Society will commemorate the event by firing four rounds from number 1 Mark VII at 2.17pm. The firing will be preceded by the sounding of the air raid siren. Our special guest for the event will be the deputy consul-general from Japan.

The public is welcome to attend and at the same time view our recently completed museum room four, telling the story of the attack with several items from that night.

Frank Carter, Fort Scratchley Historical Society president

ICAC treats symptoms, not causes

VOTERS have spoken and the public can expect a federal ICAC. Although most welcome, the need for greater integrity in government extends beyond ICAC's function to prosecute corrupt acts. ICAC is not able to address the fundamental causes of corrupt conduct - the lack of due process in government decision-making and the lack of accountability in public spending. If the two major parties support a project, decisions can be made which avoid due diligence and bypass community consultation until after major decisions are made. I believe secrecy in spending is assured because freedom of information is limited by third party interests. It's time consuming and costly to appeal. Friendly consultants can be employed to draw up projects that suit corporate stakeholders. Evaluations can be carried out that use parameters chosen by government and unverified figures. The results of the federal election demonstrated the outcome of the loss of government integrity, an erosion of trust in government that has damaged the two-party system. Political representatives at all levels of government have something to learn from this election.

Christine Everingham, Newcastle

Luck alone won't keep lights on

DONALD Horne published The Lucky Country about 60 years ago. Its message was that while Australia had been lucky, he was doubtful whether it deserved its luck and was worried that, unless it lifted its game, its good run would not last. Although Mr Horne died many years ago, his message is even more relevant today.

I watched with dismay on Thursday as the national energy market struggled to hold together under the weight of demand. While many zealots claim renewables and batteries will save the nation, it seemed that it was coal (both black and brown), gas, hydro and diesel generators along with many industries being forced to close that delivered just enough energy to save the night.

Given the sun set at 4.54pm, solar as expected was 0 per cent while the best wind could deliver was 3 per cent.

That night saw fossil fuels deliver 76 per cent of the load while hydro delivered 19 per cent, with wind and batteries delivering 3 per cent and 1 per cent respectively.

What really surprised me was that South Australia, that bastion of environmental holiness, was only able to avoid another 2016 "condition black" by despatching 17 per cent of its generation from diesel generators or 349 megwatts; well in excess of the 257 despatched from the wind. The remaining 1428 megawatts, or 68 per cent of SA's demand, came from gas.

It was a close call with at least 400 megawatts of demand reduction coming from closing industries. The cost this lost production is not captured anywhere in evaluating our scale of renewables.

John Davies, Newcastle East

Climate has changed in Canberra

I AM delighted to hear the news of new Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen meeting with Greg Mullins and other members of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group. For too long, security experts have been warning Australia and Australian governments about the effects of climate change on natural disasters, and yet they have been ignored.

For Minister Bowen to meet with the experts suggested that the Labor government is serious about taking action on climate change and is willing to take advice from experts. Finally, after a decade of climate wars, denial and inaction, there is now hope that our children and grandchildren will have a safe future and climate worth living for.

Ching Ang, Magill

Maitland can counsel on offices 

WHAT a breath of fresh air to see the new Council Administration Centre being built by Maitland City Council. Totally owned by the ratepayers with no rental costs and outgoings to developers. Parking provided for employers and visitors to the council. A beautiful addition to the Maitland town centre that we can all be proud of and that will make the council more efficient.

I believe this is in stark contrast to the City of Newcastle's rental building that will be a drag on Newcastle ratepayers forever unless some common sense eventually prevails. A blight on those at the City of Newcastle that made the decision to sell council owned property to put ratepayers money into private rentals.

Maybe the powers that be at the City of Newcastle should take some advice from the progressives at Maitland City Council.

Sandy Buchanan, Largs

PM rebuke shows shift in the tone

WRONG again Steve Barnett, (Short Takes, 3/6). I don't watch Sky News, but from reading and watching other media such as this paper and Media Watch, in my opinion the labelling of Tanya Plibersek the new "mean girl" of Australian politics has their fingerprints all over it.

Ms Plibersek should not have said what she did about Peter Dutton but the apology was immediate as was the rebuke from the PM. A refreshing change from the last government. The label "mean girl" has more than a trace of misogyny and is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Lloyd Davies, Stockton


JIM Chalmers, you seem like a nice enough bloke, but as one who voted for Labor, mate, you knew what you were in for, so stop belly-aching about what was left for you. Man up, cop it on the chin and get on with the job. Every time you grab the mic we get the "boo-hoo sob story". Sorry mate, just own it and do what's got to be done.

Paul Duggan, Garden Suburb

ONE often encounters the phrase 'the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow', the context of which makes me think there is a place where the sun doesn't shine yet the wind blows interminably.

Peter Ronne, Woodberry

THE Liberal government, under Mr Morrison, were such great economic managers, but did not have any advice regarding the proposed power increases. Or maybe they just kept them hidden till after the election.

Neville Wynn, Rutherford

IF the priests were not told to keep Ryan's death a secret, I wonder why the priest who spoke out is remaining anonymous ("Clergy informed of death", Newcastle Herald 4/6).

Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill

EACH article about the Catholic Church's handling of convicted child molester Father Vincent Ryan's death seems to only demonstrate more and more how little they understand about human suffering.

Michael Jameson, New Lambton

ADAM Bandt, leader of the Australian Greens and, in my view, our own "Prince of Paradox", is presently calling on the federal Labor government to stop all gas mining at a time when there is a chronic shortage of it.

David Stuart, New Lambton

ON the subject of self-funding retirement being a thankless task, Sally (The Echidna, 3/5). Surely it would not be too costly for the ATO to snail mail a personalised, frameable A4 "Thank You" poster to taxpayers of pension age, whose tax affairs identify them as self-funded retirees. This would be an investment in generations.

Andrew Spannenberg, Mayfield

I'M sure NBN new's ratings have plummeted since Paul Lobb's sudden departure. I can't bring myself to watch the 6pm news now. Paul, you are sorely missed. I can always live in hope.

Trish McKay, Cooks Hill

EVERYONE has their spin on the election results, Mitchell Griffin (Letters, 2/6), but one line in your musings "the electorate is hungry for changes would be more credible if they made that change.

Chris Peters, Newcastle

THE only positive thing about Tony Abbott was his blood type. If Mr Dutton is his political clone, as Mike Sargent suggests (Short Takes, 2/6), I can't see the public being fooled twice.

Mac Maguire, Charlestown


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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