I am confused and horrified that Icon water is being encouraged to show mercy re water bills in Canberra (Jack Kershaw, Letters, January 11).
As one who is not connected to town water and who is surrounded by dams never previously seen dry, to contemplate such a measure would be precisely the wrong message Icon should send to consumers. The impact of the Kershaw moratorium would be to say: "use what you like... the charges will be waived".
Only 60 km from Braidwood, where water is now being trucked in, I drive through suburban Canberra streets watching water being used with no regard to conservation. I think restrictions should be imposed in the ACT and that water charges should be increased.
If this was done then perhaps a significant number of Canberra residents might get the message.
Warren Lee, Burra, NSW
Hazard burns opposed
Tom Griffiths's excellent discussion of Australian bushfire history (Forum, January 10, p.21) emphasises the need for Australians to grasp the finer distinctions between types of bushfire and to develop practices appropriate to changing local ecologies. Griffiths stresses that the current continent-wide burning is unprecedented and is not the same kind of fire as Victoria's 2009 Black Saturday.
It was, therefore, extremely disappointing to read in the same issue, the editorial "It's time to talk about control burns" (January 10, p26) that argued unequivocally for more extensive "controlled burning", citing as its sole authority, the Victorian Royal Commission 2010 recommendations. Only seven of the Commission's 67 recommendations addressed the issue of prescribed burning. They should be understood in the context of the Commission's explicit priority for the protection of human life and property in relatively highly settled areas; even so, its "rolling target" for prescribed burning of five per cent per annum of all public land was ambiguous and arguably excessive.
The Commission acknowledged that the impact on biodiversity was uncertain.
To advocate controlled burning along these lines ignores the dangers and practical limitations of this technique in a rapidly warming and drying climate and panders to a "more of the same" mentality (i.e. more dams and more deforestation). It completely ignores the need for the more nuanced approach that Griffiths sees as vital to our ecological survival.
Fire chiefs have emphasised that significant increases in personnel and aerial resources will enable them to better adapt their bushfire management practices to a warming climate.
As we know, Morrison refused to listen when these resources were requested in April last year. A more responsible editorial stance would support the need for a permanent increase in these resources and for more extensive research on evolving bushfire behaviour and its management.
Martha Kinsman, Kaleen
It is fitting that Margaret Court's great tennis career be celebrated during the Australian Open but we should remember that a "grand slam" is a personal achievement not an event.
It is derived from the feat of winning all possible tricks in a single game of bridge. Today's marketing focus on calling each of the four tennis majors "grand slams" diminishes the real talents of Court and her fellow Australian, Rod Laver.
In 1970 Court became the only Australian woman to win all four majors in the one year - a true grand slam.
Laver did it twice, (in 1962 and 1969), the only player to have done so.
Both their truly rare and difficult achievements have been pushed into the background with the title "grand slam" today constantly being used to hype up individual majors.
Let's honour Margaret Court at the start of the 50th anniversary of her true grand slam as well as for her outstanding record of 24 titles across all four majors.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Thank you for the splendid coverage of the bushfire crisis in The Canberra Times, Saturday, January, 11, and especially for Jade Corby's description of the unimaginable destruction of his farm in Wandela ripped apart by a firestorm, ("The night the beast came to the farm", p10).
To our shame as a nation we have spent billions of dollars colluding in bombing countries in the Middle East, causing destruction just like this and, in addition, killing women and children, ostensibly to defend Australia. Such actions are not only immoral; they are counterproductive to our real security.
If we are to survive we will need these billions to create a safe environment by reversing global warming. Andrew Glickson ("Cooling the Earth may be our last hope", January 11, p28) shows that cutting emissions is absolutely necessary - but with feedback systems already triggered it will not be enough.
To our shame as a nation we have spent billions of dollars colluding in bombing countries in the Middle East, causing destruction just like this and, in addition, killing women and children, ostensibly to defend Australia. Such actions are not only immoral; they are counterproductive to our real security.Margaret Bearlin, Ainslie
As well we must find ways to actually cool the atmosphere; all of which are extremely expensive.
Andrew Glikson continues, "Budgets on the scale of global military spending - US$1.7 trillion - would be required to save the planet". Australia's military budget of $38.7 billion for 2019-20, would be our part of this.
Margaret Bearlin, Ainslie
Get it right
We should take a fresh look at the way we plan, build and maintain our road and other transport links in the light of the bushfires.
Towns and communities have been left with no access at a time when it is vital to bring supplies in and to get evacuees out. We have tended to treat many of our coastal and inland highways as "Sunday drives".
Infrastructure in the Snowy Mountains has also been a cause for huge concern. Energy transmission lines and lines of communication have all been threatened.
History shows that the development of highways, tollways and waterways has led to increased growth and sustainability for towns and cities over millennia.
Projects intended to meet Australia's future needs should be taken very seriously by current governments. Once begun they must receive ongoing support.
Denise Traynor, Garran
Wildlife in crisis
The $50 million for wildlife rehabilitation pledged by PM Morrison is certainly welcome.
That said, if he is serious about preserving endangered species that haven't been wiped out by the bushfires he should scrap the proposed "fast tracking" (ie evisceration) of developer environmental plans, and suspend all existing plans until there has been a comprehensive reassessment of all threatened species.
When Australia emerges from the current environmental catastrophe with a sad list of new extinctions it will be the result of current environmental regulations.
These allow developers and industry to push threatened species populations to the absolute brink with no margin for adversity.
Gaynor Morgan, Braddon
How can Iran claim the death of 176 people was "unintentional"?
Someone made a deliberate decision to fire a weapon to take down the plane. This type of technology must surely take several steps to activate; it couldn't be so easy to use that a person could trip and truly "accidently" cause hundreds of deaths.
There is also the underlying reality that there was a weapon there that could cause all these deaths. That was no accident, that was intentional.
The path to peace requires many steps including intentional planning and not pathetic lies dressed up as excuses for the inexcusable.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill, Vic
I find it interesting the government boasts about its emissions reduction achievements on a per capita basis.
I would have thought a much more proportionate approach to measuring our efforts in terms of world climate change would be to look at our relative land mass.
Australia covers a large proportion of the global land mass thus making our actions more significant to world climate change which is caused not just by carbon emissions but also by reduced carbon sequestration.
If we are talking comparisons on a country-by-country basis over the last couple of centuries, the destruction of our wilderness, the desecration of our waterways and the pollution of our coastline must put us close to the bottom of the ladder.
On the same principle, if we were to implement policies to drastically reverse this trend, Australia could become very influential in slowing climate change.
Bruce Boyd, Bruce
TO THE POINT
TIME TO GET REAL
Your editorial heading ("Wake up call for the Coalition", January 14, p12) implies the government is asleep. It is not. These guys are awake. We are now seeing the results of their thinking. A more accurate editorial heading would have been: "Time for the coalition to get real".
Penleigh Boyd, Reid
NOT THE CASE
Colliss Parrett (Letters, January 14) suggests the current bushfires are not dissimilar to previous events in Australia. This is untrue. They are unprecedented in terms of their geographic spread combined with the hottest and driest conditions in Australian history. As many scientists have pointed out, climate change is the obvious elephant in the room.
Murray May, Cook
PARRETT IS RIGHT
Many letter writers blame climate change for the recent fires yet, as Collis Parrett points out (Letters, January 14) it's happened before. Like the Black Thursday fires in February 1851, the Black Friday fires in January 1939 were preceded by a long drought and a severe, hot, dry summer.
Jenny Moxham, Monbulk, Vic
SAVE WATER NOW
Given Canberrans don't exercise responsible water usage without direction it's time the ACT introduced tighter water restrictions ("Water restrictions for ACT surrounds", January 15, p10). To suggest we can hold off until the end of 2020 when they may be truly necessary is irresponsible and embarrassing. We may have to share our water more widely to assist the communities that are running dry well before then.
W Book, Hackett
Congratulations to Greg Adamson (Letters, March 15) on using affect and effect correctly in your letter. With all this gloom and doom around, this is indeed a bright ray of sunshine.
Doug Hodgson, Pearce
Another entry for Howard Styles' photo caption competition (Letters, January 14): "Whaddaya mean, I can't even play the violin properly!".
Roger Bacon, Cook
SIGN OF HOPE
It's heartwarming to see Josh Frydenberg and Ed Husic are friends across the political divide. I have some faith in the next generation of leaders. We should look towards them as an example of politicians working together despite political differences.
Pamela Papadopoulos, South Yarra, Vic
TIME TO ROCK
Congratulations to the Bureau of Meteorology for inviting the "rain band (Santa and the Rain, Dears?) into the area later this week. No doubt the old favourites such as Dancing in the Rain, and Let's Do the Rain Dance Again, will be played. More bands in future please.
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW
Once again, B. R. Doherty ("Hope and Death as the Fires Burn", Focus p 11, January 12) has delighted me with his/her writing. The article had me hooting into my cereal with its brilliant turns of phrase, then tearing the heart out of my breast in the next paragraph. B. R. Doherty, you are a treasure.
Sylvia Shanahan, Queanbeyan, NSW
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