New coal mine a problem by any measurement
How is it that intelligent politicians refuse to 'get it' that averting climate change is vital to the nation's future health and well-being? Federal member, Catherine King tries hard to make the right moves in dealing with immediate issues related to her health portfolio, but after claiming that her party is 'leading on environmental issues' in her letter of 1 April, Ms King then starkly contradicts her claim by reaffirming Labor's support for Queensland's Carmichael coal mine - 'if environmental standards are met'.
What 'standards' could possibly avert the disastrous effects of the 4.7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions projected from this mine on Australia and the world's future climate? These emissions would make it impossible for Australia, India or the world to meet emissions targets under the Paris Climate Agreement intended to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees. The traditional owners of the land have firmly rejected any Land Use Agreement with the coal mining company Adani. And further, scientific studies show the massive earthworks, dredging and destruction of coastal wetlands would have extremely harmful impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, ground and surface water supplies and native species survival. If our federal MP needs explanation of the basic science that makes a nonsense of her statement about Carmichael coal mine, there are many people happy to help.
Dr R John Petheram, Ballarat North
Failure to protect users
Why competition isn't working on Australia's electricity charges" (Opinion, The Courier, 3 April 2017) is an elucidating and valid analysis by Bruce Mountain. His findings that charges for electricity retail services in Australia are much higher compared to those in other developed countries are very disconcerting. Other findings of concern include, the market is still dominated by only three big retailers after more than 10 years of retail competition, and that high charges are explained by excessive profits, not high costs.
At the present, there is no evidence of cartel conduct in the industry, however, anticompetitive practices and markets affect consumers. Cartel overcharges (excess over the competitive price) worldwide have been estimated to be as high as 40% in some industries, and in total run into billions of dollars. By having to pay more for essential commodities such as electricity and gas, the cost of living goes up and the standard of living is eroded. Overcharges rob consumers not only of their money but the choice to which they could put their money to good use, whether it is giving to charity or saving up for a rainy day.
The situation becomes more perturbing when it comes to pensioners and families doing it tough. Though they may be eligible for concessionary rates, it is understood that such rates are neither transparent nor fixed and are observed to increase with time, in parallel with non-concession rates.Thus, the PM's recent directive to the ACCC to investigate the high prices and unceasing price hikes in the electricity retail services sector, could not be more welcome or timely.
Kimmy Fam, Ballarat,
Power battle between the states does environment little good.
It is a bit rich for Mr Turnbull to accuse Dan Andrews of not having a backup plan for the loss of Hazelwood when Liberal, Mr Kennett sold out to investors on the other side of the world, thus creating this scene. Private enterprise needs about 8% return to survive, whilst the government can break even to provide essential service. We were told the price of electricity would drop as we can shop around the competition of multiple new distributors. Both the company generating needs 8% and the distributor needs about 8% added. Too much of it now goes offshore.