THE public are rightly outraged over the decision of the NSW government to allow horse racing advertisements on the sails of the Opera House. What’s next – booze ads on the walls of hospitals? Betting odds displayed on ATM screens?
The architect who drew up the Opera House’s recent plan to preserve its identity warned that going ahead with the proposal was akin to "throwing garbage" at the Australian landmark. Garbage indeed – horse racing is a vile industry, in which on average one horse dies on Australian racetracks every three days.
Horses are raced too young and too hard and their bones are not up to the immense impact and stress. They routinely suffer from injuries, lameness, and exhaustion. Horses are whipped and forced to run at break neck speeds. To keep them running when they should be recuperating, they may be given painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. All this often leads to broken legs and death.
We should not be promoting this cruelty and violence anywhere, let alone all over Australia’s most iconic building.
Desmond Bellamy, PETA special projects co-ordinator
WHO HANDLES THE MONEY
THE recent machinations within the ABC should concern all Australian taxpayers who generously contribute close to a billion dollars a year to fund it.
One would assume that the directors appointed to the board have a prime responsibility to ensure that the monies received from the taxpayer are spent within the corporation’s charter. As part of that charter, the taxpayer should expect balanced and accurate reporting.
This begs the question, what is the board’s role when the chief executive fails to ensure those standards are met?
As one taxpayer who gets his political fix from the ABC, one can only be dismayed at the current bias of certain ABC reporters towards the left. While editorial independence is a prerequisite for all good news outlets, that independence comes with responsibility and the need for absolute integrity.
Accuracy, especially in financial reporting, is also something we taxpayers should take as a given.
It would appear the whole board, not only the former chair, was behind the removal of the chief executive. From where I sit, Michelle Guthrie's departure does not seem unreasonable given that the board felt the corporation was clearly not meeting its charter in areas outlined above.
It was then very instructive that Labor, the Greens and the ABC staff were those calling loudest for the chairman's head.
This begs a further question: if the ABC board is basically powerless to instigate any change when they feel change is needed, who is responsible for our billions of dollars?
Eric Burns, Belmont
BUILT UP FROM THE ASHES
I READ that there is concern about ash contamination from Eraring power station (‘Contamination fears rising from the ashes’, Newcastle Herald, 5/10).
I do know that large parts of public land in Lake Macquarie are sitting on ash from Cockle Creek Power Station.
Prior to its closure in 1976, ash from Cockle Creek was used by the then Lake Macquarie Shire Council for filling and covering sporting fields and covering garbage.
Likewise, Newcastle City Council used ash from Zaara Street power station. My parents’ front yard is largely made of ash taken from Zaara Street.
Mark Fetscher, Charlestown
DAM PLAN FAR FROM GRAND
THE EPA has backed Origin Energy in its plan to expand its Eraring fly ash dam over the old Awaba Colliery, despite the unsuitability of this site (‘Contamination fears rising from the ashes’, Herald 5/10).
Fly ash dams are antiquated and poisonous time bombs, in my opinion. The heavy metals they contain eventually leach into the water table or overtop the dam during heavy weather. Lake Macquarie is already contaminated by fly ash dams surrounding it, not to mention heavy metal contamination of sediments caused by Pasminco, at the northern end of the lake.
I believe fish taken from the Lake, particularly shellfish taken from the northern end of the Lake, are likely to be contaminated with heavy metals.
But who tests recreational catches?
Rather than allowing Origin Energy to expand a fly ash dam, the EPA should insist that the company finds a more permanent solution to fly ash, such as using it as an ingredient in cement. This is viable solution which improves the strength and workability of concrete. It is done in many other places around the world.
In any case, why does Origin need more capacity to store fly ash unless it is planning to increase its burning of coal in Eraring power station?
Surely the burning of fossil fuel should be discouraged by the EPA?
Who is being looked after here by the EPA? Is it people and their health or is it corporations and their profits?
Geoff Black, Caves Beach
WE’RE SHORT ON NET POWER
SIMON Holmes á Court (‘National grid does not depend on the Hunter’, Herald, 4/10) states "truth has been the first casualty in Australia's 'energy crisis'", yet I believe he has been selective with the truth himself.
Nathan Vass (‘Blackout, two years on SA needs us’, Herald, 27/9) was not quite correct in arguing SA and Victoria rely on Hunter power.
It is Queensland coal power they need. NSW is a net power importer because no new coal-fired stations have been built here.
SA exports wind power, when available, but who wants that power at midnight? At peak times, SA is invariably importing power from the coal-burning states.
The much hyped Tesla battery only ever provides a miniscule amount of power to the grid and spends most of each day doing nothing.
How many thousands of them would be needed to provide any sort of back-up for the whole country?
The SA blackout occurred immediately following the storm closure of most of SA's wind farms that precipitated a power imbalance too big to be supplied by the VIC interconnector.
The proposed NSW interconnector is not being paid for by SA which prefers the whole country to subsidise it.
If completed, no doubt SA will export power to us at midnight. Australia's power demand can peak at over 30,000 megawatts but rarely drops below 20,000. If that's not a definition of base load, what is?
Simon says "dispatchable", not "base load", is needed. Well then, coal, gas and hydro provide dispatchable power but wind and solar do not.