Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: December 6

Stumped over protest

I read with great dismay your article “Stay of execution for Bay tree” (Examiner, November 29), and was astounded to hear that a group of Nelson Bay “advocates” had interfered with the removal of a second Chinese Tallow Tree by council workers.

Clearly the people in question have no understanding that this tree has been declared a noxious and invasive species by the NSW Government, and by a number of other State governments across Australia.

It has also been banned in numerous states in the US because of the damage it can do to native tree species when it establishes itself in the wild.

EXPOSED: The roots of the tree destined to be removed by Port Stephens Council.

EXPOSED: The roots of the tree destined to be removed by Port Stephens Council.

The Chinese Tallow is fast growing, is a prolific seeder, and its seed is spread widely by the birds that feed on it. When it gets established in the bush, it gradually drives all native tree species out of the area.

The sap of the tree is also poisonous to humans and other animals and its root system is known to cause damage to paving, building foundations and water pipes when planted near buildings and footpaths.

According to the article, the council has promised to replace the trees with suitable native species, and is to be commended for acting to protect ratepayers and visitors alike from this invasive and dangerous imported pest. 

Richard Casey, Corlette

Timing questionable

It is great to hear that the State government has finally taken notice of the community and the Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington and announced that it has begun negotiations for the purchase, and if necessary compulsory acquisition, of the Mambo site that it sold ‘by mistake’ in 2016.

Although the government credits the Liberal candidate for Port Stephens for beginning the process of returning the land to public ownership, residents of Port Stephens are well aware that community activists and Ms Washington have, since 2016, been calling on the government to do exactly that.

In fact Ms Washington has secured a commitment from the Labor party to compulsorily acquire the land, if necessary, when in government.

But why has it taken the government so long to begin the negotiation process?

PROTEST: Community residents opposed to the sale of Mambo Wetlands at a previous rally. The Liberals have set the wheels in motion to compulsorily re-acquire the land.

PROTEST: Community residents opposed to the sale of Mambo Wetlands at a previous rally. The Liberals have set the wheels in motion to compulsorily re-acquire the land.

Is this government so inept that not only does it sell public land ‘by mistake’ but it also takes two years to even begin to rectify that monumental mistake?

The timing of the government’s announcement could justifiably be seen as a cynical attempt to raise the profile of the Liberal candidate for the seat of Port Stephens leading up to the March 2019 election. If negotiations to purchase the land are successful, the people of Port Stephens are entitled to know the price.

Any buyback price above $250,000, (the amount for which the land was sold by the government), is money that could otherwise have been used for hospitals, roads and schools.

Grant Kennett, Corlette

Every contribution counts

Whether it is connecting with your community, giving a hand to someone in need, making a donation or volunteering a few hours of your time, every contribution to The Salvation Army, however big or small, can significantly impact the lives of those in need at Christmas.

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for The Salvation Army, with more than 300,000 people seeking our assistance. We also distribute around 500,000 gifts and toys and serve more than 100,000 meals to those in need.

So please, help us give hope where it’s needed most this festive season. By donating $29 to the Salvos, you can help put food on the table and a present under the tree to support Aussies doing it tough this Christmas.

To donate to The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal, please call 13 72 58 or visit salvos.org.au.

Lieut-Colonel Neil Venables, The Salvation Army