‘Only green hydrogen from renewables makes sense’
I am not surprised that Friends of the Earth has launched a petition opposing the use of brown coal from the Latrobe Valley to make hydrogen gas, liquify it at Hastings and ship it to Japan (“Friends’ petition aims to stop hydrogen project” The News 27/6/23).
The use of energy in all stages is enormous. The coal would be dug from the ground using energy, and transported to the gasification plant where more energy would be needed to provide heat and steam creating brown hydrogen.
The waste CO2 would then have to be transported and pumped, using energy, into rocks 1.5 kilometres beneath Bass Strait, allowing the hydrogen to be renamed as blue. The now “blue” hydrogen would then be liquefied (cooled) using more energy. It would be shipped to Japan, using even more energy where finally it is warmed (yep, more energy) to convert the liquid back to a gas. Crazy.
On top of this, Western Port is an internationally recognised Ramsar wetland.
In a decarbonising world, only green hydrogen from renewables makes sense, where it can be used to store energy and help decarbonise sectors where it has proven difficult to reduce emissions such as long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel. When making green hydrogen, no CO2 is created, and the energy sources (wind and solar) are free and infinite.
Japan has one of the world’s largest coastlines. It could invest in wind energy to produce its own green hydrogen.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn
Experts in community
The mayor Cr Steve Holland has revealed a sense of self-righteousness, an absence of humility and seems to want to shift the blame for the council’s worst ever satisfaction ratings on to ratepayers: “… voters get the politicians they deserve” (“The public sphere has turned toxic [with] armchair experts – mayor” Letters 4/7/23).
He finds the public sphere toxic and eroding his faith in humanity. In general, I find the political sphere untrustworthy, unaccountable, self-interested and particularly lacking in seeking out the truth.
His statement, “we’re in the golden age of the armchair expert”, is egregious. Does he not realise that many in the Mornington Peninsula community are indeed experts on local matters?
Some issues have been going on for years, even decades, and the knowledge ratepayers have gained is astounding. They may be “armchair experts” now, but it’s come from years of battling through one concern after another and undertaking much (unpaid) research to comprehend complex matters. These same residents are still here while shire staff and councillors have changed many times over.
How does the shire and Cr Holland expect “armchair experts” to communicate if not by the written word and sitting through council meetings? Getting face to face meetings with the relevant people can prove difficult. What else would he have residents do? Some questions put to public council meetings go unanswered or are not even read out if they are deemed to be “operational”.
And then there’s the troubling matter of a clash of opinions. “Some become intensely outraged by the revelation that, on a particular issue, I or any other politician might happen to disagree with them.” The problem is, we don’t vote for politicians for their opinions. Aren’t they supposed to represent us, convey concerns, answer questions, and generally be of service to the community?
Louise Page, Tyabb
Councils carry the load
If Mornington Peninsula Shire had a dollar for every time someone told us to stay in our lane, we could pay off Victoria’s eye-watering public debt.
What is the shire’s lane?
Unfortunately for the “roads, rates, rubbish” adherents, the state government strongly disagrees, and has mandated councils to deliver far more than that. I do have a few questions for the adherents though.
Are footpaths included? What about walking trails and boardwalks? Surely we also need all those car parks? Do we abolish meals on wheels? Close all the gardens, playgrounds and parks? Knock down all the community halls, stadiums, men’s sheds, swimming pools and pavilions? Stop immunising children? Shut down all the libraries and historical societies and dispose of the books and records? Repeal the planning scheme and allow anyone to build whatever they want, wherever they want? Eradicate all small business, community and events grants? Demolish the kinder buildings, the animal shelter and the regional art gallery? Lock the gate on the cemeteries? Allow anyone to park in a disability car space? Bulldoze foreshore campsites and barbecues? Eliminate all beach boxes? Flatten the dog parks, bowling greens, playing fields, tennis courts and skate parks? Dismantle all street furniture and public memorials?
It’s an anarchist’s pipe dream. A section of my libertarian brain doesn’t mind it.
Alas, we live in a democracy, the worst system apart from all the rest, and every year the shire receives thousands of budget submissions asking us to deliver all of the above and more.
No other level of government delivers so much with so little. Local government accounts for just three per cent of tax revenue in Australia. This begs the question: what are the state and federal governments doing for the peninsula with all of our tax dollars?
Steve Holland, mayor, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
Flinders pays the way
Poor Flinders, again (“Call to ditch paid parking at Flinders pier” The News 11/7/23). First Parks Victoria wants to pull down half of its pier and now Mornington Peninsula Shire Council wants to charge $6.20 an hour for parking for everyone who wants to come from Melbourne to fish from the pier, snorkel or scuba dive to get a glimpse of Sir David’s weedy sea dragon or buy a few mussels or oysters from the pier.
And don’t bring your boat to go for a sail or a fishing trip, that’ll cost an extra $6.20 an hour while you’re out on Western Port catching dinner.
Ok. Flinders pier not your scene? Fancy a skinny dip? Go to Sunnyside beach, Mount Eliza. On a good sunny day in January, four hours, slip slop and slap for $6.20 an hour. And then off to [Schnapper Point] Mornington. Feel like a stroll up the pier? Check out the boats; do a bit of fishing from the pier? Bring your credit card to the peninsula, the financial gateway to the south.
To get a real estimate of the financial worth of parking on the peninsula why isn’t the council trying parking charges for tourists in the commercial zones of Portsea, Sorrento, Rye, Rosebud, Dromana, Mount Martha and Hastings? This is the way to go if the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council insists on suburbanisation. The technology already exists without expensive number plate recognition.
Neil Hallam, Flinders
I am amazed at the lack of action being taken by the Mornington Peninsula Shire to provide safe and sustainable parking facilities around the ground at Bunguyan Reserve, Tyabb.
It is the shire’s responsibility to provide and maintain the areas in question and not the sporting groups that use the facility.
The parking at the ground is now a bog and becoming unusable for both the senior (men’s and women) and junior football club.
Urgent action is required.
Ron Dyall, Somerville
House of helpers
On behalf of the Dromana community, I want to thank and congratulate Tracey Trueman and her team of wonderful helpers at Dromana Community House. From very limited premises they are making an enormous difference – providing meals, food, cooking sessions, and even soon a homework club.
Tracey has linked with the Dromana Community Garden and many local organisations, benefiting all concerned.
Amid our economic rationalism and rampant materialism, it is refreshing and heart-warming to see such a sharing-caring approach in a time of hardship for many. Keep up the good work, and may many others follow your example to create a healthier, happier and more peaceful society.
Paula Polson, Dromana
Money better spent
I appreciate the good intentions of those writing to advocate a Yes vote for the [voice to parliament] referendum that hasn’t yet been called, but I am not convinced the Voice will do what we want it to do: improve the general wellbeing of Indigenous people. (Nor will it benefit our Constitution, seriously needing statements of human rights.)
There are already 11 Indigenous members of federal parliament representing 3.2 per cent of the population – and of course others in their electorates.
If the cost of this exercise was put into housing, education and health care specified as needed by Aboriginal people, money and effort might be better spent.
Frances Henke, Hastings
Interesting collection of attacks on opponents of the euphemistically named Voice in Letters, but perhaps I might be permitted to further muddy the waters by asking a couple of questions?
How many classes of citizens exist in a democracy?
How will Aboriginally be defined for the purposes of the Voice?
Do the proponents of the Voice believe that Aboriginals are incapable of creating their own lobby group if they want one?
Shouldn’t we be removing race powers from the constitution rather than adding additional race-based provisions?
Albert Riley, Mornington
Listen and learn
A selection of the already false comments doing the rounds has been hammered down (“Questions on notice” Letters 11/7/23). Some of the misinformation is a third level of government, something to do with toe jam (what is that?), and the falsehood that parliament stops doing anything until it has the go-ahead from the Voice.
It is a shame that some in the community listen to such untruths by unscrupulous groups. What harm can come from listening to their views?
Further comments [in the letter] give rise to the fact that the writer disagrees with [Liberal leader Peter] Dutton, who disagrees with most things these days and [Senator Pauline] Hanson, who jumped onto an issue she has disliked from her first day in parliament.
Unfortunately, as a society, we cannot come together for the betterment of those who have been vilified for decades by the public and governments. Recognition and listening give them the self-respect sorely missing.
We have listened to the past with deaf ears
We have read with blurred vision.
We have understood nothing.
Anne Kruger, Rye
“A gross betrayal and a human tragedy.” Robodebt, originally envisaged by the COALition to save taxpayers $1.7billion actually resulted in a $1.8b payout.
“A massive failure in public administration. … Crude, cruel, venality, incompetence cowards who are guilty of gross betrayal.” The royal commission referring some to potential legal action. We have already paid, out of our pockets, $2.5m of legal expenses of former Coalition ministers – they should have to pay it back.
It was shocking to watch the process unfold and although I would like to know at some point who has been referred. It is enough, for now, to know that someone will be held to account.
Let’s hope the National Anti-Corruption Commission follows in these footsteps and acts quickly and officially reports negative findings no matter who they are and outs those filing “frivolous” referrals. Would love to see that list.
Just wondering if Kathryn Campbell, currently an adviser on the AUKUS pact, a Defence Department role with a $900,000 annual salary, will be sacked after the scathing report of her involvement. Labor should show its mettle and fire her today.
Unbelievably those in social safety net programs continue to vote for them.
Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach
With numerous articles in the press about housing unaffordability and mortgage distress, I have been trying to do some “back of the envelope” calculations on a local property development.
The developer bought a 10ha block and has subdivided it, giving a land cost of about $200,000 a site. The sites are currently for sale with an average price of $700,000, giving a mark up of $500,000 a site.
Originally heavily treed, the site has been largely cleared with revenue from the logs and woodchip most likely covering the cost of clearing. The topsoil has been removed and sold off with the revenue most likely covering the cost of the earthworks.
The question is – how much of the remaining $500,000 a site is developer’s profit? Even a reduction in the sale price from $700,000 to $500,000 would have greatly reduced the burden of the mortgage.
John Meaney, Frankston South
Roads a disgrace
The incident involved seven or eight cars (“Call for pruning after cars hit fallen tree” The News 11/7/23). A family member was involved and had had to have his car towed away – one of three unfortunate drivers. He is waiting to see if the car has to be written off.
People do not speed on that section of Balnarring Road, it’s on a curve and, in the dark, the huge stump involved was wet and black. It was impossible to avoid.
What we would agree with is the danger of overhanging trees on that road; they have already caused a large number of smaller and bigger accidents on this road, which is always busy, widely used and one of the most dangerous roads on the Peninsula.
Where we lived in northern Victoria (for decades) trees like these which lined the roads – eucalypts – were called “widow makers“ because of their propensity to fall or drop branches after rain.
The roads around the Mornington Peninsula are a disgrace, surface, shoulders on roads’ edges and road side growth. Bracken, blackberries and dead trees are shocking hazards.
It simply amazes me that this high fire risk acceptance is called “being green”. Given the growth because of rain, the fire risk is huge.
I am familiar with the council’s ploy to lower speed limits: lower speed limits save money on resurfacing roads and making them safer.
Coming from an area which is much more familiar with bushfires, knowing families of firefighters, being professionally involved with Black Saturday survivors (my husband) and having probably hundreds of thousands of on and off highway kilometres experience, the roads and roadsides and lack of care under the guise of being green, frightens me by its ignorance.
Catriona Pickett, Mornington
Now, the good news
The world is awash with news, much of it negative or bad, so it is indeed pleasing to be on the receiving end of a good news story.
I recently lost my wallet, including licence, credit card, seniors card, a variety of other cards and some cash, either in a suburban shopping strip or at a Mornington petrol station.
Retracing my steps proved fruitless and so I set about advising the bank, VicRoads and other card providers, all the while hoping against hope that a fraud or scam would not be perpetrated and inwardly cursing my own stupidity.
So to open my front door a few days later to find my wallet on the doorstep, everything intact, was indeed a relief. Not even the cash was taken.
No note weas left, so I was unable to thank the “good Samaritan”.
So, I write this, firstly, in the hope that the person who found and returned the wallet will read it and know how thankful I am and, secondly, to remind us that despite what we may deduce from the daily news cycle, all is not lost, and the world is still full of good and caring people.
Thank you again, whoever you are.
Lloyd R Smith, Mount Martha