Letters to the Port Stephens Examiner: May 28

OPPONENT: Port Stephens east ward councillor John Nell is opposed to the redevelopment of Gan Gan Army Camp in Nelson Bay for environmental reasons.
OPPONENT: Port Stephens east ward councillor John Nell is opposed to the redevelopment of Gan Gan Army Camp in Nelson Bay for environmental reasons.

Must preserve vital habitat

With Greenport Pty Ltd planning to turn the former Gan Gan Army Camp into an 18.5 hectare, $60 million plus development the size of a small township (Examiner, March 5), it surely is time to join with Councillor John Nell in alerting our communities of yet another imposition on the Tomaree Peninsula.

Cr Nell is correct, this densely vegetated bush land is among the best of its type remaining on the Tomaree Peninsula, being survival habitat for an extensive range of diverse native wildlife.

As previously proposed, it should be included for its unique natural heritage values within the neighbouring Tomaree National Park. Apparently its E2 Environmental Conservation Protection means very little to Greenport Pty Ltd in seeking a rezoning to accommodate its proposed multi- million dollar development.

Such development given consent would be, in my opinion, an enormous and unacceptable cost to our natural heritage in native habitat and wild life losses which would further accelerate local native wildlife extinctions.

The incompatibilities of development of this magnitude with our natural environment clearly demonstrates the need for responsibly ethical responses from our planners and decision makers.

Can we really allow anything like this to happen with extinctions and climate change impacts on our unique flora and fauna now so ever present?

Darrell Dawson, Nelson Bay

Times, and population, changin'

We often listened to a popular folk song when we were younger.

The lyrics to The Times They Are A-Changin' by Bob Dylan is maybe appropriate to describe Port Stephens in the present time.

Our population has steadily grown to over 73,000, and 30 per cent of that is 60 plus years of age, compared to a NSW average of 22 per cent.

Often we hear our community leaders talking about jobs, sports complexes, bush bike tracks, sporting clubs etc. for the young and fit, and so they should.

However, we don't often hear that funds have been set aside for that 30 per cent in our community.

We should also be mindful that we have people in need of accessibility.

Ernest To, Medowie

Country's pantry running empty

If we were to ask 'what are our key staple foods?' I think most would agree that wheat, rice and dairy products are near the top of the list.

Recently there have been warnings that Australia is not growing enough staple foods, though this suggestion has been sternly rejected by our federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud who keeps telling everyone, I believe incorrectly, that we are growing enough food for 75 million people.

So let's look at the staples I mentioned - rice, dairy and wheat.

I'm sure Mr Littleproud, like many others, would agree that we are not growing enough rice for domestic consumption. Mr Littleproud seems to now realise there are threats to our dairy industry. He was asked at a press conference on Wednesday, May 6 whether Australia's milk supply was at risk, to which he answered: "If we continue to lose the number of dairy farmers that we have over the last 12 months, we are in a situation, at a juncture, where the dairy industry itself won't be able to sustain all the demand in this country."

We have had a threefold increase in wheat imports on the east coast, and must question whether this is sustainable with current global shipping arrangements.

We need to grow more wheat. So if the agreed position by the Agriculture Minister in relation to rice and dairy, plus the obvious issues around wheat, are not enough to tell Australians we have a looming problem (perhaps even a crisis) I don't know what is.

And all we need to fix the problem is improve our water management so that more is allocated to food production, especially in southern NSW and northern Victoria. A simple solution, yet governments refuse to act.

Anne-Marie Best, Brandy Hill