Public safety should come first
On 4 December 2022 I reported the appalling and extremely unsafe state of the main steps to Mills Beach, Mornington to Mornington Peninsula Shire via Snap Send Solve.
I subsequently sent four emails following this up and, finally, on 3 February someone from the maintenance team bothered to call me in response – two months later. I was told that because this issue is not part of planned maintenance there is currently no funding available to fix these steps, which are a major public safety issue.
I followed this up with the mayor Cr Steve Holland who responded by stating: “That is right, there is no funding available for coastal assets. Our coastline is Crown land and belongs to the state government. They appoint the council to manage the beaches but have stopped providing funding.”
If this is the council’s policy on repairs to coastal assets, surely it has an obligation to be transparent with ratepayers about such a policy and not waste our time reporting things they have no intention to fix, despite them being a serious public safety issue? Surely fixing unsafe steps to a local beach is better use of ratepayers’ money than close to $4000 of non-essential travel to Darwin by a Briars Ward councillor and $1800 accommodation for councillors (including another Briars Ward councillor) to stay at the local Cape Schanck Resort?
This $5800 would probably cover the repairs to the path, and I am sure most ratepayers would rather see their rates being spent on these repairs.
Alina Tooley, Mornington
An $85,000 inquiry into the future of the Beleura cliff path at Mornington is starting. The “terms of reference” have not been made public, citing commercial confidentiality.
I fear the inquiry is not targeting the real problem, which is mal-performing drains of houses on the cliff.
Since 2000, all the path closures have come from drain failures from above, not from inherent geo-tech weakness in the path. The 2003, 2011, and 2013 slips were all caused by drain fails, and the two 2022 slips were related to private overflows and drains.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has always been afraid of this issue, citing privacy. This is just a weak excuse. Over eight years I have personally contacted house owners on the cliff many times about mal-performing drains. I contact them as a private individual and organiser of the Friends of the Cliff Path. I politely describe the problem. (The offending drains are often in deep bush). Once convinced it’s their drain causing damage, the owners have been willing to fix it.
I stress most of the drains were built by previous owners and date back to times before adequate planning regulations.
Why are the “terms of reference” for this inquiry being kept hush-hush? Surely ratepayers deserve to know how their rates are spent.
We fear the inquiry is concentrating on the wrong thing. The path is 100 years old and has proved stable if given proper maintenance.
The problem is drains. Is this $85,000 inquiry really targeting this issue?
Peter Nicholson, Mornington, organiser Friends of the Beleura Cliff Path
Coalition cut emissions
I really must take issue with her statement that the Coalition had taken no action on climate change (“‘Progressives’ collaborate, politically speaking” The News 14/2/23). Under the Coalition Australia cut 20 per cent from its 2005 levels of emissions. This in comparison to Canada nine per cent and New Zealand five per cent.
We always hear about Canada and New Zealand, but in reality they are well behind Australia.
As China and India do not have to cut their emissions until 2030, whatever Australia does is of no consequence, as we produce only 1.3 per cent of the world’s emissions.
Sue Glenn. Mornington
Progressive is a very important word not to be used lightly, but has already been bastardised by the alt-right (“‘Progressives’ collaborate, politically speaking” The News 14/2/23).
To set the record straight, adjective: a person or idea favouring social reform. Noun: an advocate of social reform.
Progressivism holds that it is possible to improve human societies through political action. As a political movement, progressivism seeks to advance the human condition through social reform based on purported advancements in science, technology, economic development, and social organisation.
So, keep your eyes open for developments from PoP (Progressives of the Peninsula).
Down with the two party “democratic dictatorship” where we are allowed to vote every once in a while to just elect the next “democratic dictatorship” for another term in office.
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
I have to wonder if Dr Ross Hudson would advocate treating patients sight unseen as he seems to do with the voice debate (“Time for the voice” Letters 14/2/23). Imagine this: a letter arrives from the government stating that a change of property usage application has been lodged by a neighbour and you have to either agree or disagree. No other information is provided.
A phone call gains a response of no information will be given until after resolution.
Who has applied? Which neighbour? What is proposed? A 24-hour garage A live music venue with a 2am licence?
I may very well support the neighbour’s application, just like I may support the voice, but first I will need to know what I am supporting, who will qualify, how many and how are they selected. Just imagine for a second 24 Lydia Thorpes running the show.
Michael G Free, Mount Martha
Why does regular Letters contributor Ross Hudson always use his qualification “Dr”?
I don’t see many others doing the same thing.
Sue Brooks, Dromana
Your correspondent seems to cancel his own argument that the voice must be passed (“Time for the voice” Letters 14/2/23). I quote: “In a sense (it is) no different to any community group making representations to parliament …” Exactly. Any group, including First Nations people, can already make representations to parliament and parliamentarians. Why the need for a special clause in the constitution for one sector of the community based purely on race?
What is really needed is for the government to listen to what those representatives are saying. Then, maybe, we wouldn’t have the mess we have in Alice Springs.
I [also] read with interest the puff piece for the candidates who failed in the last federal election (“‘Progressives’ collaborate, politically speaking” The News 14/2/23). What [independent] Sarah Russell seems to have overlooked is that she managed to attract fewer votes than “informal”. Does that not send her a message?
The fact is voters in the Flinders electorate duly elected a Liberal, and these “progressives” have to accept that they lost. Voting Liberal is still legal in this country, and many of us are glad it is so.
Jack Wheeler, Mornington
Project bans correct
The Greens are right to argue for no new coal and gas projects. The International Energy Agency (IEA) works with countries around the world to shape energy policies for a “secure and sustainable future” – something we all want. The agency’s 2021 Flagship report Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector clearly stated that “Beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development in our [net-zero 2050] pathway, and no new coal mines or mine extensions are required.” This was confirmed in its World Energy Outlook 2022 report.
Despite this advice, there are 114 new coal and gas projects in Australia’s investment pipeline and an analysis by the Australian Parliamentary Library estimates those projects in total “have the potential to create 2.5 times Australia’s domestic emissions each year”.
In 2016, Australia signed the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5C. According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, there is a “large consensus” across all published studies that developing new oil and gas fields is “incompatible” with the 1.5C target.
Many are fearful of the environmental and cultural effects of these projects on their land. In Narrabri, for example, the NSW planning department received 23,000 submissions – the most ever received on a major resource project, with only 300 in support.
If we don’t stop opening new fossil fuel projects now, when will we?
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
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