While Pitt believes “the climate has always changed and we are doing our part as we should” he obviously feels we’re not doing enough, only contributing a measly 1.1 per cent of worldwide emissions. I laud his grandiose thinking – more mines, coal seam gas. Why not make our vehicles even less efficient than they are? After all, we punch above our weight in sport, we should aim high in our part of changing the climate. Richard Abram, Bexley
Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:
What planet are you living on? Australia is suffering the predicted “unprecedented extreme climate events” and you want to burn more coal. What’s the point of, as you say “to pay for essential services”, when we can’t live on our planet. In my shire, 800 houses have been burnt to the ground so far this year and are now being flooded, and you want to encourage more global warming. Coal mining and the burning of the stuff should be phased out immediately. An orderly transition to renewables should have been in progress for the last 25 years, while the Coalition has been in bed with the coal industry.
You’re only in government for a very short time why don’t you try to do something to be proud of, other than destroying our world. Malcolm Mann, Tomakin
If the minister is interested in “the common good” he should focus on our abundant renewable resources and follow the advice of scientists. Keith Woodward, Avalon Beach
Give Indigenous people power to avoid the gap
Finally someone in government has had the courage to cut the garbage and acknowledge Closing the Gap to be the well-intentioned failure it is (“‘Closing the Gap’ branded a failure”, February 12). Now we need to let the Indigenous Voice speak, and more importantly: we need to listen. Meredith Williams, Dee Why
It’s not surprising the majority of targets for Closing the Gap will not be met, and that it has been a “staggering failure”. As Minister Ken Wyatt states, a new “community led” approach is needed. Another shameful statistic that needs urgent action is the disproportionate rate of incarceration of Indigneous people compared to non-Indigneous people. And what exactly about constitutional recognition for our First Peoples are conservatives afraid of? Why do we even need a referendum to decide and enact this? Melanie Mott, Lennox Head
Why not give the Indigenous community the power and responsibility for Closing the Gap? Let the government provide the same level of service it provides the non-Indigenous community and hive off all the Closing the Gap funding to an Indigenous-run NGO with the power to decide where and how to spend the money on additional health, education, housing, justice and social services.
The Indigenous community would regain power and control, although responsibility for Closing the Gap would then rest with it, not the government. If – as occurs with other community groups – the office-holders could be voted on by members, the result would be a representative Indigenous body with funding and power without the need for constitutional changes or a referendum. Alan Garrity, North Narrabeen
There are fundamental areas that must be changed to ensure an equal way of life for Indigenous Australians. These are education, housing, food and alcohol intake. Apart from making facilities accessible there needs to be a link to welfare payments for school attendance. Reasonable housing needs to be provided and good nutrition should be subsidised. Some fixes should be put in place to reduce Indigenous incarceration, and health and life expectancy needs to be addressed urgently.
I do not call for any action that I myself would not be willing to be subject to. I am simply sick of reading of failed attempts to reduce the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous in a wealthy country such as Australia. Steve Johnson, Elizabeth Beach
What exactly did the “special envoy” bring to the table to Close the Gap? How much did the “special envoy” cost? Were there any KPI and were any of them reached? Nice work if you can get it. Lee-Ann Groblicka, Turramurra
Inject some life into dying economy
I agree, it is time to forget the surplus and start to spend more to stimulate the economy (“Forget the surplus, it’s time to save the economy”, February 12). The economy is weak with slow growth, weak consumer confidence, stagnant wages growth. Monetary policy (lower interest rates) is not working and only stimulating more borrowing and increasing house prices. I doubt the government can deliver a surplus anyway considering the effects of the drought, fires and coronavirus. Extra government spending is needed to stimulate the economy and to have multiplier effects if it is correctly directed to groups with a high-marginal propensity to consume. This gives the government a way out. It can say it has abandoned the pursuit of a surplus in the best interests of the economy. It will let them off the hook and help the economy at the same time – a win, win situation. Peter Spencer, Castle Hill
Mark Carnegie’s recommendation that the federal government stop worshipping the surplus and start injecting life into our dying economy is timely. He suggests increasing Newstart, providing cash incentives to get mums back to work and assistance for people transitioning to employment. This type of cash incentive would not be stashed away in bank accounts but would be injected directly into the bloodstream of the economy.
While Carnegie’s suggestions make good economic sense, they also involve giving a helping hand to those who are less well off. For that reason, they are unlikely to be implemented by this Morrison government. Mark Beacom, Beecroft
Your article clearly said what most of us have been aware of for some years. The economy is sick, and now must deal with the quadrella: floods, fire damage, drought and coronavirus. I just hope the Treasurer and Co. stop patting themselves on the back and do what their position requires of them. Roger Ellis, Millthorpe
A small price to pay
Ross Gittins asks how can “our kids” be helped to become homeowners (“Stashing tax cuts for storms ahead”, February 12). For a start, Baby Boomers could use the equity in the homes to lend their children the money under a formal business contract to raise the deposit for a new home. Paying back $100,000 at 3 per cent interest is less than $60 per week. Not a huge imposition for a two-income family. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach
How charming that – in the midst of fire, drought and pestilence – the Prime Minister has the time to organise a treat for us common folk (“Royal visit to inspire bushfire donations”, February 12).
Just what we need: some pomp and ceremony. However, the danger may be that we are not distracted from survival by a royal tour and that our guests may highlight to the world the devastation caused by inaction on climate change. Susan Tregeagle, Yarralumla
How is it our government can afford William and Catherine but not a water-bombing plane? Would it not be more effective if our Australian-based Hollywood stars toured instead: Margo, Cate and and the Hemsworth boys. No need to import costly Royals. Paul Brennan, Woollahra
How many new fire trucks for the RFS could this royal visit pay for? Robyn Lewis, Raglan
Water good idea
Now that the dams have a healthy level, could we consider allowing the desalination plant to continue and supply those users who want to be free of restrictions (“Sydney dams lap up heavy rains”, February 12)?
They would pay for their water at the cost of desalination. Those who wish to remain on restrictions could be free of the current desalination surcharge. If it becomes popular, an expansion of desalination capacity would be self-funding. A win-win for everyone. John Woodward, Monterey
Lest we forget
As a wartime child who has shared Baby Boomers’ experiences, I think we should be a little humble when giving advice to younger people on how to save for retirement (“Learning from experience: Boomers share money tips”, February 12). Let’s not forget we lived through the longest economic boom in modern history. Norm Neill, Darlinghurst
Change of climate tack
Hear hear, Howard Charles (Letters, February 12). Being weak, sounding weak and being careful not to scare the voters with honest values and policies will not win Labor the next election.
Be brave, argue clearly and convincingly for a tax on carbon emissions and other clear policies needed to bring about the changes we need. The people will come with the party that recognises serious change is needed to stop climate change, and shows us confidently and intelligently that they will work to bring about those changes. Anne McDonald, Wentworth Falls
Assess to impress
Good to see the reference to the proposal to privatise the aged care assessment process (Letters, February 12). I have now been seen twice by assessors in the existing system. Both were very capable and experienced and managed the long (about one and a half hours) and complicated process very well. Both were able to handle the interview with courtesy and tact.
I would hate to see the knowledge and expertise they have built up over the years discarded. Who would replace them? Also, the decision not to require aged care homes to declare staff to resident ratios leaves me aghast. We have ratios for childcare so why not for aged care? Judy Sherrington, Kensington
Cool heads in hotter climate
Many letter writers are misrepresenting the view of many who strongly object to Australia taking unilateral action to respond to climate change (Letters, February 12). Nobody disputes that climate change is occurring.
Where we part company is that we disagree that any action Australia takes will have the slightest impact on climate change given that our annual output of CO2 emissions is negligible in a global context.
If climate change activists want to trash regional Australia, shut down fossil fuel usage, and close coal-fired power stations it will take us back to developing country status. Hopefully, cooler heads will ultimately prevail. Michael Clarey, Pyrmont
Correspondent John Lees makes a point about ATMs taking employment away from bank tellers (Letters, February 12). The last time I made a cash withdrawal across the counter at my bank I was charged a $3 fee for an “assisted withdrawal”.
I didn’t want to withdraw a large amount of cash in the street in a strange town. I found out about the charge when I looked at my next bank statement. David Davies, Callala Beach
Yes, John Lees, I would much rather use bank tellers than ATMs – except that they have all but disappeared, having been sacked by the banks and replaced by ATMs. Jane Jilek, Castlecrag
Unwanted automation all started 50 years ago with self-service petrol pumps. Remember the driveway attendant? John Gralton, South West Rocks
Here’s the rub
Your correspondent is right: Warner’s medal for Cricketer of the Year will be forever tarnished. Let’s hope he doesn’t try to clean it with sandpaper (Letters, February 12). John Byrne, Randwick
Where are you from?
Oxymoron of the year: an alien Aboriginal (“Aboriginal Australians cannot be deported by ‘aliens power’: court”, February 12). Barry Spooner, Kiama
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