A job well done

SUNDAY Canberra Times is to be commended for its article ''Infection to amputation'' (p10, March 9) reporting the response from Calvary Health Care ACT, to queries regarding knee replacement operations that went wrong (horribly), ending up as amputations.

A spokesperson for the health provider had no comment, including to questions about hand washing and use of gloves by nurses. This is not good enough. Confidence in the health system should be paramount!

Health Care ACT needs to take this problem seriously and enlist support from the public. Perhaps signs at entrances in the hospital should be made more assertive. For example: ''Stop! Entry to this area or ward is prohibited unless indicated practices observed. Wash your hands! Gloves?''

Ralph Sedgley, O'Connor

Loggers burnt

IT IS no surprise that the logging industry lobby group had a pout and a foot stomp in the letters page on March 2 (''One-sided debate'', Ross Hampton).

The credible science that was reported shows that young regrowth from clearfelling natural forests burns far more easily and intensely than non-logged forest. This hardly needs scientists to prove the obvious. The recent East Gippsland fires have also shown a similar pattern from initial on-ground assessments. Debating this issue is as pointless as arguing over whether the world is flat.


Jill Redwood, Goongerah, Vic

Clean transport, too

GERRY Gillespie (Letters, March 12) points out that incinerating organic waste is environmentally polluting and provides little bioenergy, while depriving agriculture of valuable composting material. He proposes that the ACT follow the example of our adjacent Palerang Shire Council which collects its food and garden waste separately, to be composted at a local EPA site so that it can be used to enrich soils.

In his mission to reduce ACT's carbon footprint, Environment Minister Simon Corbell plans to provide 80,000 households with 200 megawatts of wind energy by 2020 (''20 year carbon contracts to sharpen rural divide'', March 12, p1), and to construct a 50-megawatt solar farm which can store solar energy - now price-competitive with coal (''Corbell ups ante on solar ambitions'', March 6, p1).

Although these proposals will reduce the ACT's reliance on fossil fuels, no mention is made of the need for cleaner private and public transport. This could be achieved by extending the range and efficiency of hybrid-electric vehicles, or exploring the possible development of non-polluting anhydrous ammonia as a fuel, synthesised from nitrogen and water, using renewable power, both for transport and driving turbines. This is being implemented in USA (

Collectively, these initiatives could confer a triple benefit: first to pay our fair share towards global warming mitigation; second to provide abundant employment opportunities; third to increase our chances of achieving a sustainable future, compared with the ''business as usual'' scenario.

Bryan Furnass, Hughes

Cancer fight

I HAVE wondered for some time what has happened to Mark Juddery and his usual column in The Canberra Times. So I was pleased to find him featured in the Relax magazine (March 9, p7 Cancer /Chemo/Hope). I enjoyed his article very much, admiring his attitude and courage after being told he had cancer. I am so sorry to hear this and pray that hope will carry him through and God will bless and heal him.

I will be buying his book.

Evelyn Bean

Children of conscience

ANNABEL Crabb (''Sisterhood salutes all those daddy's girls'', March 8, p2) reports the influence of daughters on politicians' attitudes to issues affecting women. Tony Abbott had to wait until his daughters were old enough to actively influence his position to change his mind on child care. He does not yet have grandchildren, however in 20-25 years' time, when the impacts of climate change are biting harder, he may have to convince his grandchildren that his government's response to climate change was based on the best scientific evidence and economic opinion available at the time. I'll be right behind him, making sure he does not have his fingers crossed behind his back.

Ruth McLucas, Weetangera

Take care with childcare

THANK you for publishing the excellent article on the need for the federal government to regulate corporations who provide childcare and take an interest in who owns them (''Care needed to avoid further childcare messes'', Times2, March 13, p5) Children, parents, childcare centre staff, taxpayers and the economy cannot afford another ABC Learning debacle in this country.

One could even argue that childcare services are now on a par with services defined as ''public interest'', which always require close government regulation.

Whichever way we choose to view this service, government scrutiny of the credentials, capacity and performance of corporations seeking to deliver this service is needed all the way along the line, including close scrutiny of the information they provide to the ASX, shareholders and the public via financial journalists.

No assumptions should be made, where the welfare of young children is concerned.

Katherine Beauchamp, Ainslie

Outspoken out the door

TONY Abbott's justification for sacking the universally respected head of of Treasury, Martin Parkinson, that ''incoming governments do very much want to place their stamp on the economic policy of the country'' (''Criticism mounts over Abbott removal of Treasury mandarin'',, March 14) takes the politicisation of the public service to a new low.

I suspect that, today, most departmental secretaries that dared to point out an inconvenient truth to a minister's chief of staff (let alone the minister) would be packing up their offices pretty quickly. The cost of having so many ''yes'' people at the top is immense.

The list of policy failure due to political interference is long and lustrous.

Frank Crean, Gough Whitlam's first treasurer, once famously said that it was better to keep the bureaucrats ''on tap'' rather than ''on top''. By his treatment of Dr Parkinson, Tony Abbott seems to indicate that the only experts he wants ''on tap'' are those that nap on the carpet in front of the fire, never barking, much less biting.

Mike Reddy, Lyons

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