JOHN Tierney in his opinion piece "From Musk till dawn, we need energy plan" (Herald, 27/5), showed a lot of confidence in gas as a transitional energy source for electricity generation until renewable energy, somehow, someday, would take over 100 per cent of generation.
While no other country has achieved 100 per cent renewable energy and no country even looks close to doing that, some observations are worthwhile.
Gas power generation has always been more expensive than coal in this country. Since moving away from a dominance of coal generation to a mix of coal, gas and renewables, power prices have steadily increased. In fact the increase in power prices appears to have closely matched the increase in renewables. The more renewables, the more electricity costs. Is that a good outcome?
What may be worse for moving more to gas generation is not understood by many people. Burning gas may emit a little less CO2 than burning coal but gas-burning emits a lot of water vapour, much more than the CO2 emitted. So what you say? Water vapour is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 ever was. So if John Tierney's intention was a power generation system that had a lesser effect on climate then he may be sadly disappointed.
This whole exercise of moving away from coal to burn gas for electricity may prove to be futile.
Peter Devey, Merewether
City needs a vibrant nightlife
AS someone who frequents the Newcastle CBD as both a musician and a punter, I am very concerned with the state of the night-time economy and the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the sector.
Tony Brown's opinion piece (Herald, 26/5) seems to deliberately misrepresent the purpose and intended outcomes of the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill, and it does not acknowledge that alcohol-fuelled violence can also be largely embedded in drinking at home. He also chose to ignore the positives of the bill, which would provide incentives to venues which are safely run and allow venues to provide more family-friendly offerings.
Right now we need to be doing everything we can to support small business and the Newcastle economy. We don't need people picking, choosing and spinning data to suit their own agenda.
If Newcastle wants to be a global city we need the thriving night-time economy that goes with it. If Mr Brown wants to stand in the way of this I'd recommend he look for somewhere else to reside.
Stephanie Thompson, Hamilton
Cut the government some slack
AM I missing something here? Didn't Scott Morrison announce the $130 billion JobKeeper package before businesses were invited to apply for funding?
How then can the $60 billion mistake be blamed on incorrect numbers given in the applications for support? As I understand it the $130 billion cost was calculated on the expected number of employees to be stood down, i.e. 6.5 million, not 3.5 million subsequently determined.
The better than expected cost is good news for all taxpayers who will ultimately have to repay the borrowed money. Give ScoMo some slack and let the government get on with the good job they are doing.
Zenon Woloszyn , Rutherford
'Vindictive exclusion' behind error
MILTON Caine (Praise for quick action warranted, Letters, 27/5) gives a very detailed and credible-sounding explanation for the biggest ever estimate bungle. However, his whole explanation ignores the fact that the $130 billion estimate was apparently made by Treasury weeks before the forms were filled in.
A more plausible explanation might be that when the Treasury made its estimate for the cost of the scheme, it did not anticipate the government's vindictive exclusion of sectors such as the arts which the government does not see as part of its natural constituency. Much like the "sports rorts".
So no Milton, the form-filling fiasco could not have retrospectively impacted on the earlier inaccurate estimates.
Reg Howes, Valentine
Denis was a champion bloke
LIKE many people, I was saddened to read of the passing of Denis Nichols last Monday (Herald, 27/5).
During the 1990s I had the pleasure of working with Denis on many occasions. At that time he was an organiser with the AMWU and I found him to be a very level headed, quietly spoken union official who took the time to listen to all the opinions, read documentations to form a strategy before meeting with management to discuss any dispute.
He was a smooth operator and totally had the workers' interest at heart. Although I don't know for sure, I do think most would have respected him for his well-managed and controlled temperament. He scored quite a few victories or ended up with a good compromise result for both sides.
I also remember him in the '70s as an extremely handy front-rower along with teammate Karl Hutchinson with the Northern Suburbs Bluebags. They made a pretty tough pair of bookends that would worry any opposition. Truly a champion bloke who was admired and will be remembered by many.
Col Parkins, Wallsend
Could this be the last dance?
I RECENTLY listened to an interview with a university professor who was adamant that even if a vaccine was found, social distancing will be a forever thing because COVID-19 will always be around.
As winter has its flu season in winter, this virus doesn't really have a season as seen by the carnage it's creating in the hot South American countries.
He maintains shaking hands and a kiss on the cheek to a friend will be things of the past. This means that for businesses like learn to dance classes and dance instructors who rely on tutoring as their only means of income, the future looks very bleak.
Dancing requires hand to hand contact and in ballroom dancing, body to body contact is basic. Going to dance socials and having a dance at the local club may just be a memory.
Robert Martin, Warners Bay
Fair day's pay for a fair day's work
OUR frontline fighters deserve and have earned this 2.5 per cent pay increase. I realise that people are doing it tough during this pandemic, none more so than our emergency service employees. Nobody in the general public would begrudge these hard workers receiving this payment. We don't need a statewide royal commission or public census to come up with a no-brainer decision, so let them receive this earned entitlement as a big thank you.
Graeme Kime, Cameron Park
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IS it ok to give the Police Commissioner a $87,000 pay rise, but not frontline public service workers that we all rely on during the current health emergency? I think not.
Martin Burns, Cardiff
I TRAINED at Royal Newcastle Hospital 52 years ago and I am still working as a nurse. Nurses and teachers have been the backbone of Australia surviving the COVID-19. How dare the government freeze our expected pay increases that are due. We have worked our butts off and we are now being penalised for our dedication. Shame on the government freezing public services. Nurses deserve better.
Kris Kelly, Maryville
THE ongoing pandemic continues to prove the essential work by nurses, firefighters, paramedics, ambos, teachers and police. Incredibly the NSW Berejiklian-Perrottet government now proposes to "thank" frontline workers with a pay freeze. Hopefully the NSW Upper House will scuttle this ill-considered proposal.
Martin Frohlich, Adamstown Heights
THE debate over the name of the old Pasminco site's new subdivision is easily solved. I agree with the Geographic Names Board in that Lake Macquarie could be confusing in a number of ways. Simple, just call it "Macquarie".
David Brown, Wallsend
A GROWING number of people, which is turning into a rumble, are concerned that this COVID-19 bulldust is just that. I ask all out there do you know anyone that has officially contracted this so called deadly virus? I'd imagine only a handful of people do. Something sinister is now playing out before our own very eyes. Only time will tell what the actual agenda is. Donald Trump is all over this, thank God for Mr Trump.
Brad Hill, Singleton
IT seems ludicrous that, maybe, hundreds of country towns, such as Cowra, Inverell, Orange and Bathurst have not had a single case of COVID-19 yet they have had to follow the same instructions that have been handed out to city dwellers where the majority of cases have occurred. I can't see why these towns can't simply function as normal and should a case arise then action can be taken. Many of these towns are suffering needlessly because of the lock-downs.
Alan Kendall, Neath
ONCE again the Coalition is running true to form with this veiled attempt at reducing workers wages and conditions under the pretext of "improving" Industrial Relations. It might pay Mr Morrison to cast his mind back to John Howard's one-sided Work Choices legislation which the public vehemently rejected, not only resulting in the Coalition losing government, but also costing John Howard's "unloseable" seat.
John William Hill, Williamtown
COULDN'T agree more with Bryn Roberts. I think Peter V'landys has done a wonderful job. Maybe he should be the next PM or Premier so we can get rid of all the deadwood and hangers on in government and actually get things done without delay or input from people that have no idea.