THREE major news items intersected in this past week, presenting three catalysts for renewable energy generation in the Hunter Region.
First, Hunter Water will focus on desalination and water recycling for the future of Newcastle's water supply, with the aim to run on renewable power.
Second, Tomago Aluminium has committed to run its future operations largely on renewable electricity.
And thirdly the IPCC is ringing alarm bells about an earnest reduction in carbon emissions as action to limit climate change.
Is now the time for development of one or more multi-megawatt solar farms to serve our production of water and aluminium?
Hunter Water has set aside plans for a new dam in the Dungog Shire. Perhaps the Dungog Shire might now be a location for the sourcing of their renewable energy needs? Perhaps for the huge-scale solar facility needed to energise an aluminium smelting industry there might be rehabilitation of open-cut areas already mined so that expansive solar farms can be established in the Hunter Valley?
Our NSW Premier and our Prime Minister might accredit themselves by offering state and federal backing for these large-scale renewable facilities to serve critical demands.
At the global level it might help a little Australia's reputation with the IPCC and be a good news story for Mr Morrison to take to the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.
Ken Rubeli, Bandon Grove
Sydney doesn't need the whole sell
IT doesn't surprise me that the NSW Premier barely gives Newcastle, the Hunter and the regional and remote areas of NSW barely a five-minute mention in her daily 11am press conference.
Despite the fact that these areas are the backbone of the state, they provide food and resources. That doesn't mean anything in this pandemic or for that matter any other time except elections when they're after your votes.
Due to the loss of a lot of the small local newspapers and television news in these remote areas it is not going to be easy for them to be kept up to date with the COVID stats for their areas, unlike Sydney.
Judith Gargosky, East Maitland
All that glitters isn't gold standard
I AM a citizen of the Hunter who, like all others, is enduring the current lockdown now affecting the whole state, and which is now apparent could have been avoided if the premier had shut down Sydney and surrounds when the Delta variant first appeared. It causes me to wonder how a survivor must feel while mourning a deceased relative listening to one of her foolish statements, like that "the virus is not like the flu it is much more dangerous", which anyone with a modicum of common sense would realise, let alone someone grieving the loss of a loved one.
She, in my opinion, has been lulled into a sense of being a saviour by the likes of Scott Morrison, who like her, due to his mismanagement of the pandemic, together with her other supporters who have claimed she is the golden girl able to defeat the virus.
The Premier's other standard comment about making decisions and acting only on the advice of her medical team surely means by now that her Chief Medical Officer should be considering her future. It is my opinion that Ms Berejiklian will be remembered as the premier who plunged the citizens of NSW into the 'abyss' known as the coronavirus pandemic 2021.
Michael Asher, Mount Hutton
US force breaks more than bends
I HAVE been following Bradley Perrett's opinion pieces with interest. His piece on our dilemma over defending Taiwan (Weekender, 14/8) described the possibility of the USA being defeated.
His analysis of the situation with China having the advantage appears sound to me. His forecast of the scenario in our region if the US was to lose or pull back from the Pacific could be a grim reality for Australia.
With our long dependence on the ability of the USA to protect us, it reminds me of the fact that they haven't won a war since World War II.
Korea was and remains a volatile stalemate, while Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan revealed the flaws in the US military power.
Australia must depend on a sensible political outcome to ease the situation over Taiwan.
Tony Winton, Wallsend
China complexity an opportunity
I COMPLETELY agree with the points made by John Queripel (Letters, 11/8). These points and more are elaborated on in an ABC Conversations podcast of Richard Fidler's interview with Jason Yat-Sen Li called "The Five Personalities of China". Fascinating stuff.
Bradley Perrett's approach to our dealings with China at best leads to trade wars we probably can't win, and at worst military conflict which we definitely can't win.
Sadly the Chinese government has a similar perspective, although with some justification; the history of Western involvement in China is nothing to be proud of.
As both Mr Queripel and Mr Li say, this is a failure to recognise the complexities of the Chinese population as a whole, which are not necessarily informing the policies of the ruling party.
While the government is sensitised to any whiff of exploitation or manipulation, the people of China may be more prepared to respond to mutually beneficial overtures.
But how can we get through to them?
Mr Li suggests that we could offer China a "trade/travel bubble" similar to that between Australia and any other western nation.
The advantages of this might allay the suspicions of the Communist Party but is it a bridge too far for our own government?
And what about the Americans?
Greg Cussan, Toronto
Lacking in leadership
SCOTT Morrison struts around as if he's a man with a plan.
Yet he fails consistently on every fundamental issue. He locks up supposedly dangerous refugees fleeing terror while he happily lets a boatload of infected cruise ship passengers disembark into our largest city.
He delays vaccination orders in the belief that CV19 will just go away.
He takes every opportunity to prevent our country helping with an increasing international effort to limit global warming.
And now we find that he's abandoned so many Afghans who helped our troops there, trashing forever our reputation for defending our friends.
What a disgraceful shift away from the humanitarian courage demonstrated by Fraser after the fall of Saigon.
Rick Frost, Mallabula
WELL said, Dennis Crampton, I couldn't agree more, although I think six months isn't long enough. People are facing mental health distress at an alarming rate due to businesses going bankrupt, not being able to pay the house mortgage and being locked inside.
Dave Fothergill, The Junction
THE Queen has six royal residences, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle etc. Who needs six places to live in? While enjoying a palatial lifestyle there are thousands of people living on the streets in the UK and longing for humble accommodation. Is this imbalance fair? Can it be justified? Royalists, think again!
Neville Aubrey, Wallsend
REALLY, Col Page on about people travelling all over the state, Col they are the law breakers. If you are going to make a statement, how about including all the facts? You are starting to sound like a Greens politician.
Bruce Brander, Belmont
WE are being told the COVID situation is serious. Yet it is obviously not serious enough to warrant mandating vaccinations. Why is this?
Ken Thornton, Rathmines
GREATER Sydney in weeks of lockdown, nobody in, nobody out? That didn't happen. Virus spreads throughout NSW. Roads in and out of Greater Sydney left and remain open? NSW passenger train network still operating? Leave doors open and people will go through. No crystal ball needed for that Gladys.
Tony Redman, Maitland
WHEN it comes to COVID lockdown, Gladys says we're regional, but when it comes to the senior's fuel card she says we're not. I believe that it has to be one or the other consistently. I'm so sick of the second-rate double standards Newcastle is subjected to.
Debra Forbes, Wickham
WELL said, Darren Young (Short takes 13/8). Indeed, double standards. We do not have short memories to not remember these statements
Gail Woodcock, Elermore Vale
I JUST find our Premier's daily COVID media conferences amazing, it's like Newcastle doesn't exist. Even when the regions are mentioned and listed, there is no Newcastle. Does this region of 600,000 people not exist in our Premier's mind? Apparently even our HSC students don't need urgent vaccinations.
Trevor Rowe, Coal Point
WELL said, Harry Cowan (Letters, 16/8). The only thing that the C & S Association did wrong was to not delete the annual audit from the constitution when the Department of Fair Trading took over the audit of small associations. Does the NDCA use the Department of Fair Trading for their audit?
Ronald Lewis, Swansea
PREMIER Gladys Berejiklian, do you think it's a bit late to shut the gate after the horses have bolted and done the damage?