EASY WAY TO STOP MISUSE
AGAIN we have clear evidence of the misuse of parliamentary “benefits/ entitlements” by a member of the federal Parliament. This has produced a flurry of letters of anger in the newspapers and on social media.
I would like to point out again that there is an easy way to stop this abuse of taxpayer’s money. It would be very simple for parliament to pass a law that made it mandatory for all politicians to spend their own money for transport/ accommodation in the first place, and then send in a claim for reimbursement, accompanied by all of the relevant receipts and reasons for the claim. This claim would then be assessed by an independent body to decide whether it would be paid or not.
After all, this is what everyone else has to do. PETER BEATTS, Mareeba
Then we hear of Sunwater chasing social cricketers to buy a permit to play at old Kulara, which confirms Sunwater is run by bureaucrats not businesspeople.
Dredge to increase dam volume? No. Sell sand to increase profit? No. Cut trees to improve safety? No. Chase cricketers to get a permit? You betcha!
Evolved corporate logic is highly unlikely to crawl out of a primordial bureaucratic swamp; the ‘corporatisation’ was only about asset sales and nothing to do with competitiveness or water security.
Rather than sell Sunwater we’d be better off breaking it up and giving control of Tinaroo Dam back to its user groups where it belongs. PETER CAMPION, Tolga
POWER COSTS TO SURGE
ELECTRICITY prices in Queensland are high and rising.
This is threatening the viability of irrigated agriculture across Queensland.
The current electricity pricing framework is failing electricity consumers and is directly and adversely affecting the international competitiveness of Queensland’s export oriented irrigated agricultural industries, risking turning this pillar of our economy into a stump.
If Ergon Energy’s proposed new tariffs are approved by the energy regulator, then summer power costs will surge.
Ergon’s proposed tariffs, set to take effect from next year, would penalise financially strapped homeowners, businesses and farmers during the summer, when they use power the most.
An investigation, commissioned by Canegrowers and carried out by economic consultants Sapere, found the Ergon proposal was far from justified.
The report suggests that the degree of network congestion upon which the proposals in Ergon’s Tariff Structure Statement depend has been overstated by two orders of magnitude based on Ergon’s public data on zone substation congestion.
The scale of this pricing distortion is a whopping $1.8 billion over five years.
This report is our smoking gun to say – yep, Ergon Energy has just been a cash cow to print money.
The long-term solution is to fix the regulatory rules to ensure it delivers fair returns rather than excessive returns to the networks and the State Government that owns them. KERRY LATTER, Canegrowers Mackay chief executive officer
CONVERSATION ABOUT FUTURE
PETER Campion has total missed my point in his reply letter in ‘Opinion’, Tablelands Advertiser, December 23.
Far from being an alarmist, I am a realist. I do not dispute his figures on CO2 and its importance for food production. Even if he wins his argument the world still has much bigger problems than CO2.
Even if we get back to 2,000 ppm CO2 as there was when coal was produced millions of years ago, it will not be a solution to the world’s problems. Food is plentiful for those who have money to both produce it and to buy it.
Before the Industrial Revolution humans lived sustainably because of the lack of technology, but we have not learned to live sustainably with 21st century technology.
It takes 9 ha of resources to produce a standard of living as experienced in the USA and at the other end of the scale it takes 1 ha of resources to live with a standard of living experienced in the third world countries. Australia falls in the middle at about 5 ha of resources. In Australia land is unlikely to be a limiting factor but water will definitely be a factor or vital importance when it gets short.
It is not just CO2 that enables better food production, it is transportation to where it is needed that allows cities to exist. Medical science allows longer more disease-free lives for all those who can afford it. But will any of these things matter if we run out of mineral resources, clean fresh water or clean fresh air?
I do not talk of this generation or the next but in 10, 20 or 30 generations. We live an unsustainable, extravagant lifestyle with an unsustainable population. I do not know how to fix these and other problems of sustainability but they must be a topic of conversation and to rabbit on about CO2 like it is the saviour of the planet is just being short sighted.
I have been involved in agriculture for more than 40 years and have contributed to the problem of overpopulation by producing food (wheat and beef) to feed people all over the world where these commodities are exported to. It has been both a service to people alive now and the creation of a problem for the peoples of the world in the future.
I enjoy the lifestyle I have worked for but that does not make it right or sustainable and the conversation has to take place for the betterment of everyone and not just to win one argument on one subject. RICHARD HOLME, Malanda
HUGE THANK YOU
THE Clohesy Rural Fire Group wish to thank Joe Torrisi who operated the Incident Management Team (IMT) on Koah Road for the recent fire lit there just before Christmas.
Joe, our new IZONE Liaison Officer in QFES and former Volunteer and Permanent Urban Firefighter, was pivotal in bringing together Rural volunteers – both local and outside Brigades, Rural Staff, Urban Permanents, Urban Auxiliary, Road Tec, Police and Community in a relatively short space of time to control and make safe the very damaging fire.
The IMT, situated on the spot at the incident, was invaluable. Reports from those firefighters on the number of moving fire-fronts and local advice was recorded and responded to promptly, unlike the previous fire in the Speewah area on Clohesy River Road, which was controlled from Mareeba.
Bush fires, which are always moving, are very different from stationary structural fires. Working with the fire and using that immediately to your advantage is learned over many hours of Rural training, just as Urban Firefighters are professionals with stationary house and structural fires.
To everyone involved a huge thankyou and congratulations from Clohesy Rural Fire Group. Thanks again Joe – one of our boys and girls. YVONNE THOMSON, Clohesy Rural Fire Group volunteer administration officer
BATTLING POWERFUL LOBBIES
THE World Health Organisation estimated that, of the 7 billion people alive today, tobacco addiction will kill 500,000,000.
So powerful is the Big Tobacco lobby though that it is not included in the “War on Drugs”, nor is it a major public issue, and any government that even tries to stop advertising that promotes its use will be sued in international courts for being anti-free trade.
If our political representatives and our media are unwilling/unable to confront and contain such a murderous industry, how could we expect them to do anything against Big Coal and Big Oil, who make B.T. look tiny.
The battle over political action/ inaction on climate change is between scientists with no lobby power, marketing skills or promotional infrastructure, just the scary truth versus the fossil-fuel lobby with pollies and parties bought decades ago and state-ofthe-art marketing savvy fighting to protect their profits and their very existence.
When you are looking at annual profits in the tens of trillions then spending fifty million to stall action and protect that profit for even one more year is a no-brainer. None of this is secret, it’s probably a tax deduction. There is no need for preposterous clandestine conspiracies to explain the fight or the inertia of governments. What was called corruption is now called lobbying. MICK CORLEY, Malanda