The Maitland Black & White Committee would like to thank everyone who supported our Maitland Garden Ramble last weekend.

To the sponsors, garden owners, volunteers and all the “ramblers” who helped make our 33rd Ramble a huge success, we thank you. More than $35,000 was raised which will help Vision Australia support their vision impaired clients.

Raffle winners were: 1st Brett Lobsey, Mayfield; 2nd Geraldine Waters, Morpeth; 3rd Kristine Satar; 4th Kath Elloy, Seaham.

Those who would like their garden considered for the 34th Ramble in September 2018, please contact Helen on 0429 681 201.

Lorraine Noonan, Black & White committee


The Matthews Report into serious allegations of water theft by some irrigators is a shameful document. Even if you have no interest in how our water resources are managed, this report is still essential reading.

A strong, independent and unbiased public service administrating fairly and without bias is a cornerstone of our system of democratic government. But Mr Matthews reports that when he looked into the NSW public service he saw failures to confront unethical behaviour, public servants deficient in their understanding of Westminster conventions and a culture that has nothing to do with the best traditions of Australian public administration.

The water rorts scandal has exposed the extent to which our public institutions have been debauched.

Under the Berejiklian Government, our supposedly independent public service has been hollowed out, degraded and debased.

I welcome the work done by Mr Matthews, and look forward to seeing his recommendations adopted and implemented.

Luke Foley, Leader of the Opposition


Replying to Donna Garland's Monday critique of same sex marriage, I would like to re-print the last paragraph of her letter with a one word change.

 "... One more point, those who vote Yes are not discriminating. It's a personal vote and people will vote based on their own morals beliefs and opinions ... not yours ...."

Donna, the word I changed from your letter was No to Yes and funnily enough it reads the same whichever word is used. Just saying.

PJ Fletcher, Lorn

transport promises

Over ten years ago Newcastle media trumpeted that multi millions had been spent on the Stockton ferry access so that disabled people could travel unassisted via the ferry and make a short journey to Newcastle Rail Station which was one of the few stations with easy disabled access. 

In 2012 then transport minister Berejiklian advised that only after replacement transport was fully operational would the heavy rail be shut down. 

In June this year Transport for NSW advised that they plan to build a new disabled friendly ferry terminal at Wickham in 2020. 

Considering that in December 2015 then Premier Baird advised that he would be riding the first light rail down Hunter street "next year". So if the latest promise materialises (?) Stockton disabled travellers will have endured six years without viable transport.

The latest yarn is that light rail will also be operational in 2020.

So if that is to be believed, ordinary commuters will also have waited six years for the transport minister's prediction to eventuate.  

Of course if the transport corridor were used there would be less of the increasing chronic gridlock that has characterised Newcastle CBD road transport since the rail services were removed. 

If the transport corridor is not to be used for transport presently, then as recommended by the Hunter Development Corporation it must be set aside for future transport when common sense prevails.

George Paris, Rathmines 

PRIZED COMMODITY: For agricultural areas, water allocation is of great value and a temptation for those who yearn for more.

PRIZED COMMODITY: For agricultural areas, water allocation is of great value and a temptation for those who yearn for more.