At what cost is development taking over land?11/03/2023
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Andrew DysonCredit: .
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Each time I drive to Gippsland I notice more and more prime farmland being gobbled up by housing. People need to be housed but not at the expense of some of the most productive land in the country. Once this farmland is gone it’s gone forever. Climate change is rapidly changing the places we can farm in Australia. If we are to feed future generations governments must act now as a matter of urgency to ensure food security.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North
At some point, growth must stop
Why are we betting the house on a huge Australia with millions more people when many of us out here in the real world believe we are already in disaster-mode now? I have never heard an economist proving to me that we have enough resources, water, climate resilience, housing or jobs, to provide a reasonable standard of living, and even more importantly, a thriving ecosystem for all the beings we share this dry continent with, even to 2050, and certainly to 2100. We are not a small population in a huge continent, we are a large population in a small productive landmass, more like Chile or Norway. As someone who works in nature every day, trying to fight back feral animals and plants, and support fast-disappearing threatened species, I despair when faced every day by economists and population-boosters who have never measured (or guessed) what this place will be like, for all its inhabitants (ie fauna and flora), in the lifetime of most people alive today. Prove to me that ″growth″ can continue forever.
Mick Webster, Chiltern
The dissonance of development
As your correspondent repines (Letters, 3/11) to drive around Melbourne is to see the huge numbers of empty blocks with their wire fencing showing yet another perfectly decent and functional house has been devoured by the house-eating monster known as “development″. Now we have drab boxlike structures with equally monochrome, grow-quick, banal gardens. If it is not this, it’s the almost absurd European rococo-like pseudo mansions, which are in such dissonance from the established mostly middle-class buildings that give an area charm. All of this development, of course, was heaped on the public without the public being asked if they wanted it and I’d bet most Melburnians would say enough is enough.
Tony Davidson, Glen Waverley
This is a climate emergency
Columnist Belinda Noble urges far-sighted climate emergency advice to the federal government (Comment, 2/11). It must lead a strong co-ordinated national campaign including public education with appropriate health and safety ads. It is incredibly important that we all get going on this now and during this decade. The sooner we do, the sooner we will see the beneficial results.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood
Follow your passion
What excellent news that students are choosing tertiary courses according to their personal interests rather than government inducements (The Age, 3/11). With only one life to live, it should be spent in a career driven by curiosity and passion. Otherwise, burnout, disillusionment and career abandonment is inevitable.
The government’s money would be better invested in improving the job content and working conditions of teachers, nurses and GPs if those careers are to attract much-needed recruits.
Steve Trumble, Aireys Inlet
At one with Howard
Former prime minister John Howard told the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference in the UK that he had ″always had trouble″ with the concept of multiculturalism because immigrants should be expected to ″adopt the values and practices″ of the country they moved to. And in return, he opined, ″they are entitled to have the host citizenry respect their culture without trying to create some kind of federation of tribes and culture″.
I am thrilled there is now something deep and meaningful I have in common with Howard. Given that we are both descendants from immigrants, we can together commit to the keen embrace of the values and practices of Indigenous Australians, who after all, are the host citizens.
Mary Crooks, Northcote
Hopes go bust
As a Boomer I want to support Millie Muroi’s arguments (Comment, 31/10), which has stirred your Boomer correspondents into strong objection (1/11).
The massive advantages of my Boomer generation include free university education, plentiful job opportunities and low house prices. One of your correspondents states we did not get our benefits ″starting off in our careers″.
If Muroi ″will have to wait a few decades″ before ″she too will get favourable tax concessions″, she will be waiting while trying to pay off a huge HECS debt (recently being indexed at 7 per cent). Unless she has well-off Boomer parents, she might not have any future ″pot of gold″ to come her way. What she might instead face is mounting debt, unaffordable housing and just the age pension after her waiting time of decades.
David Fry, Moonee Ponds
Better jail options
I am strongly in support of Mia Schlicht’s comment (30/10) except the proposed penalty.
Schlicht wrote: “Prisons are the most expensive form of retribution. Their use should be reserved for isolating those who pose a physical threat to the safety of the community.”
The suggested penalty, or levy, in the case of Russell Northe is of “a one-off fine equal to the amount they wrongfully obtained, as well as repay double the amount”. A levy, as proposed, sounds like a reasonable idea but not at the level suggested, which would have the potential to cause further despair to the offender, who often has committed a crime out of desperation in the first place.
It is more than time that current prisons, other than for hardened and violent criminals were phased out. There have to be better options.
Lynn Heath, Doncaster
The surge in antisemitism (Comment, 3/11) highlights how some feel emboldened by events to speak out and vent their previously repressed views. Most people are influenced by issues that affect them personally and values instilled by their forebears, and in the past their often illogical prejudices were kept within the bounds of the individual’s locale and, usually very small, sphere of influence.
With news and opinions spreading worldwide with the speed of sound, reinforcement is available and constant on any side of any fence, and becomes immediate “fact” and “truth” and undeniable. Those of us who look to history to excuse or at least explain excesses are quickly silenced.
Geraldine Colson, Mentone
Your correspondent states that Hamas only wants an Islamic state covering the whole of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. That may be true, and there are many who would say that it is an impossibility.
However, back in 1948, after the Great War collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the inter-world war British League of Nations administration mandate, the Palestinians only wanted a state covering the whole of Palestine (ie, the whole of what is now called Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. The new United Nations put paid to that aspiration, and the Middle East deals with the consequences of that decision today and possibly forever into the future.
Some may be perplexed by the entry of the Iranian-backed Houthis to the war against Israel. You only need to look at their slogan for the answer: ″God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”. They have not previously shown much interest in the Palestinians but the chance to send missiles into Israel now has been too good to miss.
In the Arab world there are 22 such countries in Israel’s vicinity, many unfriendly and others like Syria and Lebanon, direct neighbours and attacking it, while at the same time Israel faces constant rocket bombardment from Gaza. How can anyone fail to understand why Israel is doing everything it can to create secure borders?
Reeva Lederman, Caulfield
Equal standing please
Your correspondent (Letters, 2/11) suggests the world may be a more peaceful collaborative one if there was greater representation of women in positions of power.
One eminent person with experience of working as a UNESCO ambassador for eight years would probably agree. Some years ago in an ABC radio interview, Lord David Puttnam expressed the view that world peace would only happen when girls and women had the same educational opportunities as boys and men.
But women continue to stand with those suffering in war. It was heartening to see the champion tennis player Ons Jabeur use her power for good in reflecting on the suffering of women and children in Gaza, donating part of her prize money winning the WTA title in Mexico to Palestinian victims.
Diana Yallop, Surrey Hills
Nature’s way of warning
Unless Tony Abbott has an explanation as to why the fundamental physics of the major greenhouse gases, CO2, water and methane do not apply, then it is his views that are cultish (″Climate ‘cult’ will be discredited, says Abbott″, 2/11). If earth physics isn’t enough, then the heavens have been doing a long-term experiment for us. Mercury is much closer to the Sun than Venus. Yet the average surface temperature of Venus is much higher than Mercury’s. The explanation is presence of greenhouse gases on Venus and their absence on Mercury. It might therefore be argued that nature, or perhaps even God, is doing this to warn us.
Graeme Thornton, Yallambie
Try this, politicians
Waleed Aly’s analysis of income apportionment for welfare payments is enlightening (Comment, 3/11).
What a pity politicians couldn’t be paid that way too: it would ensure the problem would be identified and cleaned up pretty quickly.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
Not iron cast
I read with interest your correspondents’ comments (Letters, 3/11) in relation to Margaret Thatcher. Evidently one woman leader proves that all women are incapable of leading with compassion. Surely the fact they gave only the one example would indicate that the exception proves the rule?
A Scottish custom, too
The Scottish would be most surprised to find Halloween is an Irish custom. Celtic yes, but that covers a large area.
Doris LeRoy, Altona
AND ANOTHER THING
A major impediment to the two-state solution is that Hamas’ goal is to rule″from the river to the sea″, which denies Israel any form of existence.
Betty Alexander, Caulfield
Your correspondent (Letters, 3/11) writes that if Hamas surrenders, the people of Gaza can get back to their lives. Given the destruction of infrastructure, loss of life and trauma, who will eventually be able, or want, to live there?
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood
Eliminating a hydra-headed Hamas may prove to be chimerical.
Joe Wilder, Caulfield North
Neo-Nazis here should consider what they are saluting. The German Nazis brought death and destruction upon their own country.
John Hughes, Mentone
Tony Abbott uses the term climate change cult. No, it’s climate change proven science.
Ross Hosking, Blackwood, SA
More hot air from Tony Abbott is unhelpful.
Richard Opat, Elsternwick
Tony Abbott seems to have missed the point. We’re already enduring the consequences of the “energy catastrophe”.
Jenny Bone, Surrey Hills
With due deference to the Melbourne Cup, but with the referendum on the Voice to parliament still in mind, Could this be the nation that stops a race?
David Price, Camberwell
So let me get this straight. The penalty for consorting with a criminal is going to be a five-year stretch, consorting with other criminals.
Peter Rushen, Carnegie
After listening to the Beatles’ new song Now And Then, I think I prefer then.
Paul Custance, Highett
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