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Farmers, more than most, need to be future focused

Most farmers want to reduce the effects of a drying and heating climate on their ability to care for their land and their ability to make a living. They may envisage their children or grandkids farming on their land and 30 years is barely time for a generational change. And why would McCormack not want farmers to act pre-emptively in the face of climate disruption? Surely farmers deserve respect as they face a difficult future, rather than being dismissed as short-term thinkers who see no further than next week. If ever there was a group in society who absolutely must think decades ahead and act now for the future, it is farmers.
Jill Dumsday, Ashburton

Ideology, spin and short-term interests triumph
So Michael McCormack is considering the idea of “carving out agriculture” from any 2050 net-zero carbon pledge. Agriculture accounts for 15 per cent of our annual greenhouse emissions, thus leaving other sectors such as transport and power generation to fill the gap.

Moreover, Mr McCormack who represents Riverina, a predominantly farming electorate, is ignoring the real benefits that could accrue to farmers when they sequester carbon and thereby improve their soils. The work of Charles Massy in the field of regenerative farming is inspiring. But for Coalition politicians, it seems that ideology, spin and short-term political interests again triumph.
Lesley Ryder, Blackburn South

Who is served by exempting agriculture?
Farmers see the consequence of climate change every day and are changing their practices to accommodate the unseasonal weather patterns. Why would Michael McCormack argue that the agriculture sector should be exempt from becoming carbon neutral by 2050? Farmers have the most to gain from improved land management and having net zero carbon emissions. Meat and Livestock Australia have put a target date of 2030 for a carbon neutral meat industry. Who is McCormack representing when he argues for no change? Why not give farmers the financial incentive needed to become carbon neutral?
Deborah O’Connor, Berrys Creek

Government out of touch with farmers
It seems our Deputy PM wants the agriculture sector to be exempt from the carbon emissions targets. This is an ill-conceived notion in a long line of similar statements. Credible sources suggest that global agriculture is responsible for between 15-20 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is an area where even modest changes to practices could bring about great improvement in emission outputs. Statements such as these from McCormack and others in the Coalition show just how out of touch with the farming community they are.
Royce Bennett, Baxter

Comments a scary insight into Coalition’s thinking
“We are not worried, or I’m certainly not worried, about what might happen in 30 years’ time,” says the Deputy PM. What a lazy, dangerous mindset from the second-most powerful politician in the land. The farming communities he purports to represent are certainly worried about the impacts of a continually worsening climate over the next 30 years. Not to mention what life on the farm will be like after reaching the 2050 tipping point that scientists tell us will determine whether the planet will be able to continue to support human life. The Deputy PM’s comments have provided a clear insight into the government’s lack of commitment to any meaningful or urgent action on climate change. Very scary indeed.
Peter Thomson, Brunswick


Include dental care
Untreated dental conditions can be dangerous and even fatal, through sepsis. Many people neglect their teeth because they cannot afford dental care, or they prioritise other spending because they don’t realise the health risks. The fact that dental care is not included in Medicare has contributed to the perception that it is a lesser health matter, leading to more neglect.

Medicare cover for non-aesthetic, primary dental care would help correct these issues, and stop people raiding their super for essential treatment and prevention they might not otherwise be able to afford.
Emma Borghesi, Mount Martha

Save the ABC
The hollowing out of the ABC is a national catastrophe. The article by Zoe Samios (“Google moves to make deals with policy pending”, 8/2) makes clear that the funding cuts to the ABC mean the removal of experienced staff, the loss of a once valued culture and the evisceration of the creative talent which made the ABC a great broadcaster.

This is a deliberate policy by the Coalition government which aims to gut the ABC salami style, slice by slice. The task of the ABC is to inform, educate and entertain the public. The funding cuts drain the ABC of energy and skills. We, the public, must save the ABC.
Gael Barrett, North Balwyn

Who will lead?
Four years ago then treasurer ScoMo brandished a lump of coal during Question Time in Parliament. He then said: ″⁣Do not be scared. It will not hurt you.″⁣ His bizarre theatrics impressed no one. As fossil fuel-induced global warming accelerates and the oceans heat up I fear for the planet. Albanese’s cosmetic policies for the next election give me no confidence. What is to be done?
Neil Tolliday, Werribee

Fire action needed
Barry Revill (Letters, 8/2) has finally raised the issue of fire prevention, which seems to have been given little consideration by the numerous Royal Commissions over the past 100 years. Near my property and Red Hill there has been some roadside clearing but significant amounts of forest are adjacent to the village. I imagine the same was the case at many other bushfire-ravaged towns such as Marysville. We need more than attention to the bush but consideration as to how we may install something of the equivalent to suburban fire hydrants in rural settings.
Bruce Love, Red Hill South

Earlier target urged
Sean Kelly is correct in calling out the PM for spinning even his thoughts about emissions reduction when the facts are that, on his watch, “very, very little has been done on climate change” (PM“ shows why he is spin king,” 8/2). It is astonishing how some folks fall for the spin.

Both climate scientist Will Steffen and also Lesley Hughes (“PM’s position is shifting, but glacially”, 8/2) urge that the far earlier 2030 emissions reduction target is now the most urgent. So we have just the next nine years to head to 50 per cent by 2030.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

Green alternative
An alternative to green hydrogen is green ammonia (“Hype or holy grail”, 8/2). Ammonia as a fuel for planes or ships has advantages over hydrogen. It’s cheaper and easier to store and transport. And it virtually can be dropped into fuel tanks already.
Wayne Robinson, Kingsley

Hydrogen’s paradox
While explaining the hype in hydrogen as an endless supply of split water energy, Nick Toscano and Twiggy Forrest, have ignored much reality. The energy required to split a water molecule (H2O) is greater than the energy output the most efficient hydrogen engine can deliver.

The volume of renewable infrastructure to be built to create green hydrogen will itself be an environmental disaster, as more people take to driving and travelling in the false belief hydrogen is our green energy saviour. The Jevons Paradox has proven true that the delivery of more efficient infrastructure leads to greater use of products – therefore creating more pollution.

Hydrogen will deliver environmental benefits if we combine its technology with a cultural shift to less consumption and travel – unfortunately these ideas are not accepted in current economic growth models.
Leon Zembekis, Reservoir

Shameful cruelty
That Daniel Andrews is allowing the duck season to go ahead, is shameful. I will continue to donate to the Coalition Against Duck Shooting until this cruelty is stopped.
Alan Williams, Port Melbourne

Detention lessons
For decades successive federal governments have had no problem with organising and funding remote and offshore processing and detention of asylum seekers. This has required the mobilising of a major workforce and the spending of billions of dollars. So why now do the logistics of quarantine outside of major cities suddenly appear so difficult?
Rick Dixon, Mount Eliza

Vaccinate before return
I agree with Dr Leslie Chester (Letters, 8/2) that city hotels pose an unacceptable risk, and a national quarantine protocol is required. If the federal government stubbornly insists hotel quarantine remains the dominant model, it must do everything possible to optimise safety.

In addition to vaccinating quarantine staff with the Pfizer vaccine, the vaccine should be offered to stranded Australians. If not logistically realistic then the minute the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved it should be given to as many stranded Australians as possible. Those who accept should be directed to cities, and those who decline or cannot be immunised quarantined at Howard Springs.

The case for immunisation before travel, and risk stratification based on immunisation status is compelling.
Dr Anita White, Kew

Quarantine hubs
Yes it’s a good idea to get quarantined travellers out of inner-city hotels, and outside the city. But instead of looking for more remote mining camps, or trying to build quarantine camps from scratch, why not follow the example of the AFL and NRL “quarantine hubs”? These big resorts usually consist of spacious units with balconies or courtyards and often physically separated, with individual air-conditioning. They also have plenty of open space and are usually outside big cities, but close enough to major airports, hospitals and a skilled workforce.

If the federal government got its act together, maybe they could run two or three national quarantine centres for all international arrivals.

Another possible improvement is to require staff to live on-site while working, similar to fly-in/fly-out workers. At least that would reduce the frequency of staff going out of the resort, and the chance of spreading infection.
Geoff Dalton, East Malvern

EVs added benefit
A major reason to get electric vehicles seems to have been overlooked – they have battery storage ranging between 35kWh and 100kWh that can be plugged into homes to carry the household through the peak load period.

Collectively they can give dispatchable power to the grid in peak periods. If this is taken into account, a national scheme to get a combination of solar and EVs would be far more cost-effective than fracking and gas.
Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, Woolwich, NSW

Work to do on AFLW
We continue to hear from the AFL about how committed it is to growing the AFLW competition. In this COVID-19 environment, footy records are a thing of the past and apps fill the void for following games and stats on club players. Only problem is you can’t.

AFL Live App doesn’t have any details of the AFLW 2021 competition (yet it does for the yet-to-start men’s comp). FootyLive App doesn’t have accurate jumper numbers for players (it has multiple players listed as wearing number 0 for their team). Worse still, click on any player and all you see is their surname and the initial of their first name. How do our youngsters get to know and learn their favourite players.

Looks like those in charge at AFLHQ have a bit to do to ensure that the AFLW competition and players get the exposure and recognition we have been told the AFL is committed to.
Troy Jones, Wattle Glen

Politics of populism
“I’m not into the politics of envy.” So said Scott Morrison in response to a question about profitable companies paying back unneeded government assistance. Really Scott! I think you are indulging in a bit of self delusion mixed with a healthy dose of the politics of deception.

As evidence of this, one only need look at your comments concerning Christine Holgate, former Australia Post chief executive, providing expensive watches as bonuses to executives. What a great opportunity for a demonstration of feigned outrage – a CEO of a government company earning millions, dishing out, at taxpayer expense, designer watches to “fat cats ”already being paid excessive salary packages.

Right on cue, you were appalled at this decision, and described it as “disgraceful”. Now we learn that in the same year top executives in the federal public service received bonuses worth more than the Cartier watches. So Scott, I think your actions and comments show that you are into the politics of envy, when it suits. But perhaps more significantly, you seem to be particularly interested in the politics of populism.
Richard Ife, Korumburra

Supply and demand
If fruit and vegetables will be more expensive due to a lack of pickers and smaller volumes in shops, then why not pay pickers a better rate or improve conditions so that the job attracts more workers? Simple logic? Supply and demand.
Phil Quinn, Williamstown




It appears COVID-19 doesn’t know or care about “world’s best practice” when it comes to quarantine, or anything else.
John Rawson, Mernda

So Stuart Robert is to be in charge of Australia’s vaccine rollout. That’s all right, then. Nothing to worry about there.
Colin Mockett, Geelong

Clearly the vaccination record for COVID-19 is not of particular importance to Morrison. Why else would he have put Stuart Robert in charge?
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

Duck season
Debbie Lustig (Letters, 8/2) asks whether the Andrews government cares about animal welfare. The simple answer is no. If it did care, our precious wild ducks would not be slaughtered.
Jan Kendall, Mount Martha

A pity the Andrews government seems to prefer duck shooting over pro surfing.
Peter Walker, Black Rock

Note to Leunig, scientists discovered nuclear physics, it was others with more menacing motives who decided to exploit that discovery and use it as a weapon.
Paul Miller, Box Hill South

Thank you for a thought-provoking cartoon, Leunig (8/2). After all, we are not just mindless sheep, but thinking, questioning humans.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield

Great to see that Victorian state schools are to be made “inclusive” for children with disabilities. So when will the private sector be forced to follow suit?
Megan Peniston-Bird, Kew

Apparently one year without the Australian Open could cost us its grand slam status. Must be nervous nights for the All England Club.
Brendan Harrison, Bacchus Marsh

Sad to see Eddie’s significant contribution to football over the years possibly being ended by one ill-considered comment.
Maurice Morgan, Balwyn

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