Let’s work together to eliminate the use of gas

Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

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GAS

Let’s work together to eliminate the use of gas

Ignoring any political spin, it just seems sensible and natural to eliminate the use of gas for heating, cooking, hot water or barbecues (TheAge, 5/5). Burning gas is directly producing emissions. Also, with the decreasing capacity of the Bass Strait gas field, it seems certain that gas prices will continue to rise.

All gas equipment can be replaced with available electric equivalents. Many care homes already take this all-electric approach for health and safety reasons. Victoria can further accelerate this approach of removing gas appliances and bottled gas usage. Yarra Council is setting an example by pledging to switch its buildings, including pools and community centres, from gas to renewable electricity by 2030. The community could naturally follow its lead.
Tom Maher, Aspendale

Keeping our houses comfortable by different means

Having started the quite difficult journey of getting off gas and electrifying the house, it has been clear to us that the costs (obvious and hidden) are not insignificant. Once taken, it is plain sailing, especially as we have solar panels. But the shift will only happen for most people if there is some incentive beyond saving the planet.

With the state government not only messaging the urgency of doing this, but putting some money where its mouth is, the necessary process of retrofit can be pushed along. There is no excuse for gas being part of new housing developments, so planning regulations must change now for our longer-term benefit.
Carolyn Ingvarson, Canterbury

Follow the ACT’s lead and ban wood-fired heaters

It is a perfectly reasonable aim to reduce Victoria’s greenhouse emissions. However, it is vital we also review our usage of wood-fired heaters. They are significantly more polluting than gas, and they also contribute significant challenges for those with underlying problems such as asthma. Wood-fired heaters are banned in some parts of the ACT. If we are going to review our domestic greenhouse contributions, let us include everything, not just gas.
Justin Baker, Elsternwick

To protect the planet, I will accept outages

There has been much talk about gas being essential as reliable baseload because the sun and wind are unreliable. The argument is that it is better than brown coal power because it will be intermittent, just back-up. However, it is still a fossil fuel. I would be willing to stick with sun and wind and an unreliable supply. For the planet’s sake, I would accept losing power while cooking a meal or when the kids are doing homework. I would accept whatever power was available just going to essential services. Sure, a hit to our pampered lives but far better than a ravaged world.
Layla Godfrey, Mount Eliza

Don’t legislate, let the market find solutions

The City of Yarra’s push to ban gas pushes my button and is just hot-air politics. While it may choose to move away from gas in its own facilities, the state government should ignore its request to back a ban on gas connections in new homes. Instead, the City of Yarra should be pushing state and federal governments for a price on carbon which allows for the market to decide the most effective, commercial and innovative ways to find solutions.
Trent Howard, Heidelberg

A personal history of growing up with gas and smoke

The Climate Council cites research that cooking with gas is estimated to be responsible for 12per cent of childhood asthma (The Age, 6/5). For the first 11years of my life, I lived in a house with not only gas cooking, but also gas lighting, coal fires and a father who smoked. For the next eight years, the same conditions applied, except the family had moved into a new house with electric lights. I am wondering how I survived to tell the tale many years later.
Janet O’Dell, Briar Hill

THE FORUM

Why weren’t we told?

I like to think that I am well-educated and a “good enough” parent and grandmother, so why didn’t I know that “cooking with gas has the same health risk for children as living with a smoker”? Thanks to the Climate Council’s report, we finally know. Why weren’t we told years ago? If we had known, do you reckon any of us would have exposed our children to this risk? And why would successive governments allow us to do so? Another dangerous instance of wrong-headed “economic” politicisation that completely misses the point of our existence here on earth.
Susie Allanson, Glen Iris

No to high-risk cooking

Your article on the dangers of gas cooking gives induction heating as an alternative. However, anyone with an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator must stay 60centimetres away from the appliance when it is operational, as the magnetic field from the cooktop can interfere with the implanted device. This will make cooking rather difficult for some.
Elizabeth Pemberton, Rosanna

For some, gas is best

It is ironic that at the same time the Victorian government is suggesting natural gas should be phased out for cooking, advertisements encouraging people to use natural gas for cooking and other applications are running on television.

Surely a much greater greenhouse gas problem is caused by the use of vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. And this much is true: using flame is the best way to cook food. Look at television chefs: they all use gas hobs.
John Christiansen, St Kilda

Let’s follow French lead

France’s National Assembly has approved a wide-ranging climate change bill that includes requiring supermarkets to reduce packaging (World, 6/5). What a great idea. Our government is doing very little about climate change, but here is a simple option which would increase its popularity with everyone. How soon can it happen?
Miranda Jones, Drummond

Expect a long, hard ban

Linda Stern (Letters 6/5) says the ban on travel from India is temporary, but how can it possibly be so? The trajectory of infections and deaths there will take many months to flatten the curve, based on the experience in other countries (and Victoria). Those places also had first-class medical services and logistics which it appears India does not possess.

If Scott Morrison decides to remove the ban on May 15, I cannot see how it could be based on medical advice, given the deterioration of the Indian situation. We should be prepared for any ban, based on purely medical advice, to stay in place for many months. That will make the impact of it that much harsher. The government’s treatment of Australian citizens trapped overseas is shameful.
John Gwyther, Coongulla

Health, wealth priorities

Regarding India, our government is just calmly prioritising issues. With about 9000 Australian citizens needing urgent evacuation, there is clearly a risk to the health of all Australian residents. However, if 9000 CEOs, board members and staff of big Australian companies attending a seminar on “How to make money even faster” were stranded in the same circumstances, it would be a wealth issue. In this case there would be a Berlin-type airlift and isolation organised by tomorrow.
Roger Green, Ferntree Gully

On the horns of a dilemma

Stopping entry from India is a tough one. The government is damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t. What would the opposition say if more lockdowns occurred, and state borders were closed again ?
Doug Perry, Mount Martha

Selective claims of racism

The relentless campaign against the Prime Minister continues. When India banned flights from the UK in December, it was not racist. When New Zealand banned flights from India, the “Queen of Woke” was not a racist. But when Scott Morrison did the same thing, apparently he was a racist. Earlier Bill Shorten criticised him for being too slow to ban flights and asked when he was going to plug the loophole of people coming from India via another country. When the Prime Minister did this, Mr Shorten said the travel ban was “disgusting”.
Robert Box, Chelsea

Repatriate and vaccinate

As a physician looking at the government’s response to COVID-19 in India, I would propose a very different approach. India is in the midst of a health crisis and we should make it a priority to protect Australian citizens by bringing them home. We should prioritise transport of those over 70 and repatriate them to an Australian site such as Darwin or Christmas Island while vaccinating them in the process. As far as we know, Christmas Island currently houses a family of four at vast expense to the taxpayer. It seems like a perfect opportunity to put this facility to use for a more appropriate purpose – and retain it as such long-term.
Simon Costello, Melbourne

A cheaper, better option

Instead of spending taxpayers’ money building a quarantine facility at Mickleham, the Victorian government should look at caravan parks in the area. Surely it would be cheaper to ask owners if it could lease the whole park for the next three to four years to quarantine overseas travellers.
Maria Niceforo, Wollert

Why some are waiting

I can assure James O’Keefe (Letters, 5/5) that the over-50s are “getting it together” regarding COVID-19 vaccination. There are numerous reasons to delay the jab short-term, including upcoming dental/medical procedures, the minimum two-week break after the flu vaccination, work commitments etc. My husband and I have chosen to place our name on a waiting list at our hard-working GP. However, I agree with your point about the lack of masks on public transport.
Joy Foster, Ascot Vale

Memories of Keating

“This month marks Gospel’s first visit to Melbourne” says Nick Miller (The Age, 5/5). In fact Jonathan Biggins delighted audiences with The Gospel According to Paul at Nunawading’s Whitehorse Centre for three performances in May 2019. I was there and it was sensational. I am sure it will be again this season.
Elaine O’Shannessy, Buxton

Knocked out by China

The Morrison government seems intent on marching us off to war with our largest trading partner, for some reason. How long does it think we will last? Two minutes? Three minutes? Or will we go the full five minutes? Given that every piece of public policy this government has been involved in has been a train wreck, abandoned or “not our responsibility”, this suggests that once it lights this fuse, it will not have a hope of putting it out.
Matt McRobbie, Mont Albert

Dangerous war bluster

We should listen to Kevin Rudd on what approach Australia should take in responding to the threat of China’s activism. Beating war drums achieves very little indeed. I think that Major-General Adam Findlay (The Age, 5/5) and Peter Dutton will find there is zero public support for aggressive rhetoric or any thought of a war with China. Stick with consolidating Australian defence by all means but leave the bluster and chest beating to the movies.
David Fry, Moonee Ponds

Blatant discrimination

Congratulations to Jewel Topsfield and Bill Moss for an excellent expose of a cruel and irrational injustice (The Age, 3/5). Access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme is being systematically denied to an arbitrary class of people with disabilities, even though they meet the disability criteria. This disgraceful ban is inflicted on people who were over 65 when the NDIS rolled out in their area. Victims include people whose disabilities began in childhood, as a result of infantile paralysis (polio).

As well as being morally reprehensible, it is presumably unlawful under the UN Disability Convention which prohibits discrimination against disabled people on all grounds.
As Mr Moss says, the age cap must be removed. The good news is that it is very simple to rescue victims from this particular cliff – repeal section 22 of the NDIS Act and the job is done. All Australians who meet the disability criteria must be included fairly and equally.
Peter Freckleton, Hampton

The right to teleheath

Thank you, Justice Party MP Stuart Grimley for advocating the needs of the terminally ill, with introduced amendments to the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (The Age, 4/5). COVID-19 lockdowns have exemplified the critical need for telehealth consultations. Consequently Medicare-subsidised consultations, for many services, will continue until at least December 31.

The previously amended Commonwealth Criminal Code (2005) makes it an offence to incite or counsel “suicide” through a “carriage service”. This makes the terminally ill, a group of vulnerable and most needy individuals, unable to access telehealth for voluntary assisted dying consultations.
It is impractical for the relevant medical practitioners to be expected to provide home consultations. Therefore to fulfil VAD eligibility requirements, patients must attend face-to-face consultations or miss out. They should not be further burdened by an inequity of access to a practice that was specifically legislated for to help them.
Jane Morris, Glen Iris

What will Santa bring me?

It is reported that Christmas is early this year, with many presents to be given on May 11. “So, please dear Santa, may I ask that my budgets be restored to previous levels so I can uncover misbehaviour and waste by our ministers. In hope, your devoted Auditor-General”.
John Miller, Toorak

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Life matters

They say it’s a once in 100-year pandemic, but maybe it’s just the first of many to occur over the next 100 years.
Meg McPherson, Brighton

We don’t need to stop using gas. Just transition our gas network to green hydrogen as the UK is doing.
Will Bennett, Ballarat

The RBA’s almost zero cash rate destroys the interest earned by retirees’ savings.
Malcolm Cameron, Camberwell

You omitted “again” from your headline – “Horse dies in jumps race” (6/5). No doubt jumps race fans shrugged and said “So?“
Barbara Abell, Essendon

Given Collingwood’s precarious position on the ladder, it’s ironic its new president is a leading corporate recovery expert.
Stephen Canterbury, Camberwell

India ban

”Scott, imagine your daughters were trapped in India, facing disease and death.”
“You’re right again, Jen. I’ll bring our cricketers home.“
Doug Steley, Heyfield

Michael Slater, the PM has 25million Aussies to protect as well.
Doug Perry, Mount Martha

I hope the budget includes a significant amount for empathy training for Coalition politicians.
Sharon Allan, Castlemaine

Is this Morrison’s excuse? God made me do it.
Liz Foster, Parkdale

Politics

Sean Geary (5/5) says “an Australian passport used to mean unconditional support when overseas”. Not for Julian Assange.
John Laurie, Riddells Creek

Please remind me of the Australian values tested by the government to become an Australian citizen.
Phillip Payne, Mandurang

As a condition for re-entry to Facebook and Twitter, Trump should be required to say: ″⁣I was beaten fairly and squarely by Biden.″
Pete Sands, Monbulk

Australia versus China? It worked once before with David and Goliath.
Wasyl Abrat, Mornington

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