Wildlife loss the legacy of NSW government, developers

   Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

How can we allow this to continue (“Land clearing threatens wildlife”, February 6)? It’s an established fact that rampant land clearing is decimating native wildlife. In this case, the endangered greater glider will face certain extinction, and for what? More urban spread in Jervis Bay and to top it off, facilities for two wealthy educational institutions, Scots College and the University of Sydney. Really?

Are our native animals and plants of such little concern that we’ll bulldoze already vulnerable bushland to create more houses, against the wishes of the locals? Surely, we should step away from this and say no to the developers and to the wealthy educational institutions. Surely the preservation of our wildlife and our bushland is paramount. Stuart Laurence, Cammeray

The connection between developers and private interests shouldn’t surprise us, and yet, it does. We know how important coastal habitat, waterways and natural habitat are, yet we continue to destroy them. We also know the claim that 10 per cent will be social housing is a trade-off to enable the high end and expensive housing for those who can afford to buy or can maintain a mortgage beyond what most of us could support. The current low occupancy rate of Callala and Culburra Beach as shown in the latest census doesn’t suggest that this is likely to change substantially. These villages aren’t set up with efficient public transport, resource or infrastructure. Like many areas, the roads are poorly maintained and the influx of tourists swell the populations in areas that were built and designed to support small resident and holiday traffic. There isn’t a lot to suggest the proposed housing developments will benefit the residents and natural areas. There is no doubt the beneficiaries will be those with the vested interests in the proposals. Anne Skates, Bomaderry

Land clearing in NSW has increased since the NSW Coalition relaxed land clearing and biodiversity protection laws in 2017. Today we hear that yet more land clearing is happening on the NSW South Coast, which will be at great cost to local fauna. A classic quote from the developer saying that their plan is better “compared to what most developers do” is hardly reassuring or a high benchmark to beat. The lousy land clearing record of the NSW state government will determine my vote at the March election. Judy Hungerford, North Curl Curl

The idea of leaving a few trees through the development would achieve little. And the suggestion that the greater glider, complete with, believe it or not, their tree hollows, could be relocated is also nonsense. Should a nearby suitable habitat be identified, no doubt there would already exist a glider population which, most probably also being vulnerable, would not accommodate additional tenants. Roger Epps, Armidale

Illustration: John Shakespeare

It’s with much sadness to read of yet another valuable patch of land being swallowed up by the need to “expand”. In our local community, a huge green hillside behind Easts Beach is about to become a victim of such a development, at the cost of wildlife once again becoming threatened, let alone the loss of another rolling green hillside.

As in the case of the Culburra proposal nearby, one can’t blame feral horses for the loss of wildlife habitats, just the greed of developers. Greg Vale, Kiama

Fault lines will endure without Voice

It seems rather hypocritical of George Brandis to complain about the nastiness in the Voice debate perpetrated, he says, by the Yes advocates ( “Malign wary voters and Voice will fail”, February 6). He claims that “public discussion of a sensitive issue can take place without rancour”, yet he launches into vitriolic attacks on those who support the Yes vote, failing to criticise any of the No advocates. He seems to want to make political capital out of the issue.

Let us hope the Australian people, who will ultimately decide, will see that it is really a simple proposition, that Indigenous people deserve to be recognised in the Constitution and have a say in matters that affect them. It is not rocket science. Brian Parker, Terrigal

I think Brandis for all his political nous is a naive babe in the woods. Many of those opposed to the Voice are just waiting in the wings for Labor to produce more detail about how the Voice will operate. Then they can just go on a vitriolic campaign about how appalling the mechanism is rather than address the real issue: do we want our Indigenous people to have an increase in input as to how this country is run. Let’s remember all we are giving is the ability to make recommendations to parliament. It is hardly earth-shattering or radical. For goodness’ sake it must be better than what we have got. John Rome, Mt Lawley (WA)

In his attempt to defend Peter Dutton delaying in making the vote for the Voice bipartisan, Brandis neglects some key issues. Have the Liberals talked to Indigenous people to ask what they think? How many opposition members (and government for that matter) have truly engaged with our First Nations people?

Here lies the problem. Unless we can really engage with individuals in our area the fault line between our cultures will continue. Glenys Quirk, Forster

Brandis says same-sex marriage supporters “did not malign those who wished to retain the traditional definition of marriage as homophobic. I have a different recollection of the same-sex marriage debate where opponents were regularly attacked as homophobic and bigots. As such tactics worked previously, it’s highly likely Yes proponents for the Voice campaign will label No supporters as racists and bigots. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach

I add another piece of wise advice to that offered by Brandis: before you attempt to answer an opponent’s questions, think carefully about why he or she is asking them at this time. Sometimes wisdom demands a careful look between the lines. Don Squires, Lake Cathie

Why should pokies changes be on the public purse?

I’m confused and disgusted. Why is the state government allocating $340 million to overhaul the gambling industry (“Pokies revolution”, February 6)? That means we are paying for what private enterprise should do. It is great that we have legislation passed to have cashless gaming but that should be it. Clubs and pubs can fix their own pokies, or do without. It is not taxpayers responsibility to pay for pokies to be rejigged to be cashless. To do so makes a mockery of the legislation – $340 million can do a lot for supporting people who need somewhere to live, or help to give up gambling.
Jacqui Keats, Black Head

Giving clubs grants and cash incentives to convert is a ridiculous proposition. The timeline is five years – more than enough time for any club to plan and cover the possible costs. This just seems like paying smokers to convert from tobacco cigarettes to vapes. Warwick Spencer, West Pymble

I applaud the premier’s efforts to introduce cashless gaming. One glaring omission in the announcement, though. No mention of ensuring that no politician has any involvement whatsoever in the distribution of the funds designed to assist venues to make the transition. Wouldn’t want to create a “bets-rort”, would we? Ian Jackson, Freshwater

Hooray to the pokies revolution and Perrottet’s promised reforms, especially grants to pubs and clubs for new income streams like live music. All musicians who are old enough remember well it was the pokies that killed the Sydney live music scene. Glenn Larner, Freshwater

Billion-dollar train blowout unforgiveable

Will the debacle over providing NSW with workable trains and ferries ever end (“New train fleets $1b cost blowout”, February 6)? Surely, this latest mess will cause a major shake-up of how such purchases are planned. Why were the plans for our new trains not subjected to minute examination? Where was the list of necessary safety considerations and specific facilities, such as bike racks? The secret report quoted suggests that the Rail Tram and Bus union may have their own objections to the design of the trains that are to be built, further complicating their production. Surely, an intelligent approach for those at Transport for NSW would be to consult with the unions before the plans are agreed to. The people who work on the trains every day are alive to the safety issues and workplace conditions in a way no-one in an office can be. Commuters and taxpayers expect much more from their government. Basic competency would be a great start, a bit of creative intelligence would be welcome. Throwing away 1 billion dollars is unconscionable, there are so many places the money could be put to good use. Sue Adams, Dulwich Hill

New rental plan not a good idea

There would be many older people who actually value their privacy and peace after decades of raising their families, and young people who look forward to their independence (“Fix to rental crisis on for young and old”, February 6). The premier’s plan for older people to rent rooms to young people is a poor resolution to the rental and property housing crisis. A less patronising, more respectful idea would be to support the creation of multi-age communities as happen in Scandinavia and the Netherlands where young and old co-exist in their discrete dwellings. Young people should be entitled to their own homes. Alison Stewart, Riverview

Lots of jobs that work overtime

Sean Kelly’s excellent article was excellent was a real wake-up call for us all, not just for those who strive to survive life in the parliamentary bubble (“I worked crazy hours as a political staffer. It was exhilarating, but less might be more for democracy”, February 6). Teachers also deserve more recognition for all those hours spent, before and after school, even during the vacations. Like political staffers, teachers are so often dedicated to doing their best, but too often their efforts are just taken as being “part of the job”, and it is time now to really assess the validity of the demands expected. Penelope Graham, Kensington

Longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean better decisions. David Rush, Lawson

Barangaroo quality not about the water

It’s good to know there are no water quality issues at the proposed Nawi Cove swimming spot at Barangaroo. It’s a shame the same couldn’t be said of the surrounding area, with the rank odour of corruption and privilege oozing out of the casino that dominates the site (“Toe in the water for a second swimming spot”, February 6). Colin Stokes, Camperdown

Redressing the balance

Ross Gittins’ article suggests moderation in all things, known by the Greeks as “the golden mean”(“A better economy comes from policy, not picking sides”, February 6). Here’s hoping the present government might implement this in the public/ private mix in areas such as housing, aged and child care, health and education just to mention a few such areas where the balance needs to be rectified. Josephine Piper, Miranda

What to know about banknotes

Your correspondent is correct, our banknotes are all the same width (Letters, February 6). However, to help the visually impaired identify the notes, they increase in length by 7mm with each denomination. The notes also have a raised bump on the top left front of the note for the same reason; one bump on the $5, two bumps on the $10, three bumps on the $20 and so on. The front of the note is the side with the governor of the RBA’s signature. Paul Keir, Strathfield

Woke is a tired word

Your correspondent doesn’t understand “woke” – she is not meant to (Letters, February 6). Woke
is a word dreamed up in some right-wing think tank to be used as a pejorative for anything that is contrary to their hard line ideology. It’s used instead of constructive criticism. John Grinter, Katoomba

Young deserve a say

Arlo Foyn Hill and Qing Ng brilliantly put the case for lowering the voting age to 16 (“We’ll inherit your climate war. Let teens vote on it”, February 6). It is their generation and beyond that will be faced with the consequences of our inaction on climate change and they deserve a say in electing representatives who will take strong action to mitigate the effects of this disaster. Most young people are far more informed than previous generations were at 16. Now is the time to shake up our politicians with the addition of these thoughtful young people into our electoral system. Graeme Lechte, Brunswick West (Vic)

It is obvious that there are many well-informed and politically aware teenagers who are keen to have the right to vote. However, there are many who are poorly informed and have little interest in politics. I suggest that voting could be voluntary between the ages of 16 and 18 to allow politically savvy young people to have their say. Ruth Magoffin, Cheltenham

If someone had asked me when I was 16, I would have said I was sufficiently mature to vote in elections. With the benefit of 64 years of hindsight, I’m pretty sure my answer would have been wrong. Norm Neill, Darlinghurst

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Perrottet’s poker machine revolution passes snap meeting of cabinet
From Toni Allan: “You can’t be serious. After all that has been said about the great pokie reformer Perrottet nothing will happen unless he’s re-elected. A five-year plan – even Minns has plans to start his 500 machine trial in July ahead of Perrottet. Again, we have been duped.”

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