For many reasons, Port Kembla is by far the best location for a nuclear sub base in Australia (“We’ll have to fight it: NSW steel town weighs future as nuclear sub base”, March 19). Surely, the Commonwealth is waiting for the swearing in of a government post the NSW election before making an announcement.
The port itself is not suitable, but the wedge of industrial land to its south fronting North Beach, Port Kembla railway station, Old Port and Military roads could not be better. The navy will generously fund the relocation of cement, copper, trucking and warehouse businesses and surely a school. The Commonwealth will need to fund the Waterfall-Thirroul rail tunnels and upgrades to many other services. With multi-layered effects, we should see this as $100 billion investment in the future of the Illawarra and South Coast, which some people will hate for what it means to their lives. Peter Egan, Mosman
Having enjoyed the colourful invective and the cleverly crafted rebuttals on the AUKUS question and run out of popcorn, I have come to the serious conclusion that there should be one overarching aim for Australia’s defence policy – that is to prevent the necessity of our ever engaging in war anytime, anywhere (“New subs will deter blockades: Marles”, March 19). Therefore, the essential question for defence expenditure and actions should be: will it decrease the probability of war for Australia? If it is feasible that acquiring nuclear subs and a greater enmeshment with two superpowers may persuade China or others that war is likely to be inconveniently costly and difficult, I will vote for that. On the other hand, if it makes war more likely, forget it. Jennifer Briggs, Kilaben Bay
Hindsight is the best way of looking at just about anything and Parnell Palme McGuinness uses it spectacularly well in the piece on her reaction to the pandemic (“We let our leaders lock us down. Be careful what you wish for next time”, March 19). At the outbreak of the disease there was no vaccine available to combat the virus. Medical scientists were unaware of what its potential was to cause fatalities or complications. Still, no one knows just how many COVID infected people will go on to suffer long-term damage to lungs, brain, heart, kidneys and other organs. Sweden did well without rigorous restrictions, but Trump-blighted America lost more than a million people owing to their chaotic approach. No doubt mistakes were made, and we’ll do better, with the advantage of hindsight, should another pandemic arrive. Trevor Somerville, Illawong
With rental properties in short supply, the expensive NSW land tax appears to be shaping rental unaffordability (“The faces of Sydney’s rental crisis”, March 19). The tax has always been a large component in the cost of rent. Skyrocketing 2021-22 real estate values compounded this. Land tax now (demonstrably) forms as much as 39.5 per cent of rent paid. The state should share its real estate boom windfall tax profits. A reduction in land tax on rental properties is an affordable reform. Rents could be forced down. Harold Kerr, Millers Point
We’re a weird mob. We are to allocate billions of dollars to bring nuclear submarines into our ports yet only spend millions to safeguard our coastline from the very menace that is the shark (“Timid sharks are almost out for the count”, March 19). We must reconsider our priorities in how to deal with this real threat to humanity. Steve Dillon, Thirroul
It is not only financial pressures limiting volunteer numbers, but the age and physical capabilities of many of our volunteers (“Volunteer numbers down as cost of living pressures hit”, March 19). All too often reliance on volunteers naturally comes from the retired, however, no matter how willing or how much time available, many are physically unable to cope with SES work, fire fighting or even beach surveillance. The younger generations must be encouraged to step up to assume the essential positions and train for future disasters and needs. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer
I love all creatures great and small (“I’m not a bad person. I’m just not a dog person”, March 20). The RSPCA does wonderful work in caring for abandoned and neglected animals left by hard-hearted humans. Of course, pet owners must be responsible for their loved dogs. And parents should be responsible for the behaviour of toddlers in supermarkets, cafes, public places. People staying in holiday rentals should respect neighbours by observing decent behaviour. Teenagers will develop into caring adults when responsibility is a home expectation. There is hope for all: responsibility and respect is all it takes. Bea Hodgson, Gerringong
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