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Timing’s wrong for high-speed rail for Sydney and Newcastle: letters and short takes, January 18 2021 | Newcastle Herald

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JOHN Arnold’s praise for Labor’s excellent track record due to the vision of Anthony Albanese must be scrutinised (“History on Labor’s side”, Letters, 15/1). The world has changed since the Labor government was in office. I expect the success of projects at that time were determined first of all by need. No data has been made public regarding statistics to warrant a very fast train (VFT) from Newcastle to Sydney. What is the criterion for the viability and need for this diagnosis? Stakeholders must be informed of the pros and cons of this undertaking. Conditions throughout the world have been transformed from secure employment, considered decision making and worldwide travel, to a heartbreaking, unknown effect of a pandemic. Priorities have become the most logical issues to address. Agreed, the present government has exercised an “I believe in miracles” approach to governing during their time in office and more recently spouted that “people must take personal responsibility” to deal with present challenges. What may have been an election promise, pipe dream, or a look-at-me moment, the fact is a VFT from Newcastle to Sydney is not going to alleviate the pain, confusion and uncertainty. “Worry about the pennies, forget about the pounds” will become the new mantra, not ‘let’s see how we can hook the public (fodder) into accepting this brainwave”. No point looking back, as my dear Dad would say, always go forward. It’s advice that has served me well. CONSIDERING all the electioneering coming by way of a very fast train, I reckon a letter from qualified engineers would be helpful, and costing from qualified economists essential. From my understanding bullet trains don’t go uphill, or around corners very well, and require security fencing maintenance, and track safety checks (at the end of every day) otherwise an accident could be like another concorde disaster. Because of the Great Dividing Range, and Hawkesbury river between Gosford and Sydney, tunneling for the best part of 60 kilometres would be required. The cost of this tunnel, used as a scale against the cost of building the nine-kilometre West Connect tunnel, is why engineers and economists should be consulted. For those who believe this train will stop people from driving cars, trains don’t deliver to the final destination. You may save time initially, but any time saved would be spent on the secondary transport facility . THE new hospital at Maitland is opening soon (‘Opening date for Maitland’s new $470 million hospital revealed’, Newcastle Herald 14/1) and I hear no noise coming from our local politicians in regards to what is happening with the old hospital. The way things are situated at the moment you would think that it would feasible to make the old hospital a COVID-only admission site, therefore not putting pressure on the new hospital. I know staffing could be a problem, but this hospital could then cater for most of the people in the Upper Hunter, Hunter and Newcastle area, taking the strain off these other hospitals. THERE is a saying in politics that timing is everything, and the Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke announcing at 5pm on Friday he had cancelled the visa of top tennis player Novak Djokovic, fits that bill (‘Out! Novak gets the boot as visa cancelled’, Herald 15/1). The ministerial powers and the reasons given were in existence from day one of Djokovic being stopped at Melbourne Airport. Why did Mr Hawke wait until 5pm on Friday to apply them? Some may say Djokovic’s win in the circuit court stymied the minister. Not so, I suggest. The separation of powers enables a minister of the Crown to act within their powers irrespective of a court decision. So why then did Hawke wait until 5pm on Friday to act? I believe it was to allow Scott Morrison the weekend to gauge public reaction to the decision. A thumbs up result would allow Morrison to claim the credit, while in the unlikely event of a thumbs down reaction; Alex Hawke gets thrown under the bus. AH, yes, “living with COVID”. Your editorial (‘Surging cases and emptying shelves’, Opinion 13/1) explained very clearly what “living with COVID” actually means. The decision in December to let it rip (with acknowledgements to Mr Perrottet and the PM) has now blown up in our faces. The rationale behind the decision to ease restrictions was that unless we got the country opened up quickly, the economy would fail. Now the economy is on the brink, because there are not enough healthy people to maintain supply chains – let alone the essential health and allied services our modern society relies upon. So what is the new decision? To waive contact rules for these essential workers. That is truly an epic leap – into absolute chaos, in my view. What will we do when sickness rates among those workers increase threefold, or more? I had a discussion yesterday in which my interlocutor condemned Labor politicians for politicising the pandemic, and not being bipartisan about our predicament. I responded that true bipartisanship would have seen Mr Albanese, at least, with a seat in the so-called “National Cabinet”. The responses from Mr Albanese, Chalmers, Senator Keneally, Ms Plibersek and others are attempts to prod the government into picking up just a few of the responsibilities it dropped while politicising everything about COVID-19, then blaming the Labor states for all the failures in the systems for which the Commonwealth is responsible. We have been lucky, so far, in Australia, that the effects of have not been as catastrophic as they are in some other places. But we cannot assume that Omicron is COVID-19 turning into the flu. You made the point that Delta is still out there, in numbers. What if we get a variant with the transmissibility of Omicron and the deadly effects we saw with Delta? I found this in an article from Eudomania and Co in this week’s Medium Weekly Digest. It pretty much describes what I believe has been happening here: Our leaders do not appear to believe in science anymore. I believe they have politicised the pandemic. They are telling you a series of what can and should only be described as big lies. Most people – bewildered, confused, scared – are wondering: should I believe these myths? My leaders wouldn’t lie to me, right? I’m sorry to tell you that either they are, or worse, they’re so ignorant they don’t even know they are. It is a sad thing to watch leaders trash the gift of science. Science is humanity’s gift of knowledge. It is for all of us. For our benefit and betterment. To politicise it is a shame and a disgrace. We call the chief ministers of our government “leaders”. Well, maybe. All I know is I wouldn’t follow any of them into a bar if the drinks were free. I’M happy that the Novak Djokovic saga is over, as I think most Australians are. I am also happy with the end result. I am not happy that the whole thing was managed so badly, there is a lot of emphasis on the “cancelling” of his visa. The biggest mistake made in the whole saga was when his visa was granted. Could we please have an admission on who was responsible for granting the visa in the first place, allowing Djokovic to come to Australia? I AM deeply concerned about the articles by Bradley Perrett, especially the latest (“Why Defence must focus on China”, Herald 15/1). There is no mention in them of diplomacy. It is surely possible and preferable for Australia to play a mediatory role in order to bring about the easing of tensions in the Pacific region. Building up military hardware is more likely to heighten tensions; witness the increasing tension between Russia and the USA over what is happening on the Ukraine border. The world needs collective security affected by an easing of tensions through disarmament. NO vax, no visa Novak. Simple. HOW good is that? A court case on a Sunday, with no less than the full bench of the Federal Court complete with the chief justice. My opinion a political can-do-capitalist trial. The law is an ass. IF I could draw I would submit a cartoon to the Herald, depicting the current PM holding a lantern while his nanna is chopping wood. ONCE again Aaron Pedersen held me spellbound with his Australia Remastered: Coast. A magnificent presentation. No more words are needed except to thank the ABC for the program. HOW dare the prime minister say the ADF is not a shadow work force when directly behind him stood General Frewen, aiding the government in trying to achieve what Scott Morrison obviously can’t handle. I APPLAUD Greg Powell’s letter (Letters, 13/1) in relation to the seemingly adopted concept of changing the name of our beautiful Lake Macquarie to a new entity, Lake Mac. I would like to also rid our precinct of another unwarranted nickname, and that is Newy. It’s a poor substitute for Newcastle. QUICK question. How did Hillsong manage to acquire all those RA tests for a non-essential recreational camp when essential workers can’t get them?

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Timing’s wrong for high-speed rail for Sydney and Newcastle: letters and short takes, January 18 2021 | Newcastle Herald Source link Timing’s wrong for high-speed rail for Sydney and Newcastle: letters and short takes, January 18 2021 | Newcastle Herald

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