Letters to the editor | May 14, 2017

Fixed Charges

WATER bills, just like electricity bills, are greatly impacted by fixed charges. 

Thus it doesn’t matter how little water you use, fixed charges will amount to about 80 per cent of your bill. 

This means our bills are going to be high, no matter how frugal we have been with water usage.

If we see this as a positive, it means we can be lavish in water use, keep our lawns green all summer, and not be hit with a horrendously high bill. After all, our actual water cost is a mere one tenth of a cent per litre.

Sewerage, of course, is another story, solely composed of fixed charges. 

So it doesn’t cost more no matter how often you go, except that you use a little water in flushing. What happens to that sewerage after it leaves your property is the big issue and it is the area where we have done abysmally in the past, with cheap expedients not designed for present populations. 

Dick James, Launceston.

Bacon’s comments 

IRONIC isn't it that another Labor state politician has conveniently been hypnotised to erase his memory .

His comments on the Liberal party snubbing the water and sewerage problem (The Examiner, April 22)  gave me a bit of a cackle.

His party had 16 long years in government, along with the Greens, and did zilch, zero, nothing about the water, Tamar River or sewerage plants.

Unfortunately he has taken the ALP mantra and uses any opportunity to assassinate some people’s character, or policy, but never comes up with policies or positive talk.

Another letter on the same day also had me perplexed .

Mick Leppard, of Invermay, suggested that Labor leader Rebecca White has the Libs rattled .

Why? Nobody knows what she stands for.

He also wonders what sort of a mess the Liberals are going to leave at the next election.

 I reckon he knows, it will be nowhere near as bad after 16 years of Labor government the Liberals took over from (thank goodness) .

Steve Rogers, South Launceston.

Dorset

ON BEHALF of some of  the "nefarious community element of Dorset" (as quoted from Dorset council’s April agenda item 76/17), on the proposed transfer of Crown Lands to Dorset Council,  I wish to thank councillors Sheryl Martin and Leonie Stein for their sensible but sadly defeated stand against such a recommendation passing without further discussion and genuine public discourse.

According to mayor Greg Howard, the CLS and PWS act as an impediment to council implementing their maintenance programs within the Dorset region.

If the recent "maintenance" done to part of the Bridport foreshore is an example of said council plans for the rest of the foreshore extending to beyond the Old Pier, I can only despair.

Meanwhile, numerous exotic weeds and general neglect of the popular foreshore walking track remain untended, a local and tourist highlight for all to see.

The spectre of a future, kikuyu grassed foreshore, (as one councillor enthused to me recently), replacing this area remaining indigenous integrity is a perfect example of why any regional government planning for such a public space should be subject to strict state checks and balances, not to mention proper public information and consultation beforehand.

The possible implications for future private development, including plans for the Bridport public hall and recreation ground coming out of this proposal, remain murky and some honest rapport from council would be greatly appreciated by this nefarious ratepayer.

Raewyn Black, Bridport.

Mercy for the Mersey

MALCOLM Turnbull is certainly a Prime Minister in crisis if he thinks that the transfer of funding for the Mersey Hospital from the federal government to the Hodgman government will win over Tasmanians in regards to our ongoing health care.

It is just rearranging the furniture.

Mr Turnbull must provide further detail about the deal and guarantee his Liberals aren’t ripping funding from somewhere else in the health budget.

$73 million in funding a year over 10 years was the agreement the community was expecting.

However what are the financial plans to meet the expected growth in demand for people in Tasmania’s North West?

Will this funding lead to a more stable workforce for the region?

How can we forget that Mr Turnbull left the Tasmanian health system in crisis when he abolished funding for the Tasmanian Health Assistance Package, he cut $325 million in funding for palliative care, elective surgery, mental health and emergency departments.

Where is the real commitment from Mr Turnbull to all Tasmanians?

We now experience the longest elective surgery wait times in the country - with the median wait time for Tasmanians blowing out by a further 30 days under the Liberals.

Our out-of-pocket costs are higher than they have ever been – with Tasmania seeing the biggest hike in GP out-of-pocket costs in the past financial year.

Bulk billing for GPs has plummeted almost 2 per cent since the election in the state, forcing people to again pay more.

Come on Mr Turnbull, the Mersey Hospital has been used as a political punching bag for many years and now is the time to stop the air swings and really take action regarding our bigger health care issues.

Senator Helen Polley, Labor Assistant Minister for Ageing, Labor Assistant Minister to the Leader (Tasmania).

Health System

IN response to Ian Routley’s letter (The Examiner, April 19) the Hodgman Liberal government is strongly committed to not only maintaining but, in fact, increasing and improving the range of services delivered at the Launceston General Hospital.

We recognise that a high-quality teaching environment is an important part of that.

Our One Health System plan includes significant upgrades to services at the LGH and we recently announced that Ward 4D will remain open permanently, reversing a savage cut by the former Labor-Greens government.

We have also opened two additional surgical theatres, allowing record numbers of people to be treated and reducing the waiting list to a historic low.

While we are appealing a decision by the Royal College of Physicians about the LGH training capabilities, the college has offered to work collaboratively to explore greater statewide training opportunities for clinicians and this work has commenced.

We are working with clinicians to ensure ongoing engagement, the provision of local clinical leadership at our hospitals and that the appropriate structures and processes are in place that will ultimately benefit our patients.

The Hodgman government continues to build services at the LGH, which will achieve the better health outcomes our community both expects and deserves.

Michael Ferguson, Health Minister.

Sewerage Systems

HOW ARE our antiquated sewerage systems coping with the increased tourism waste?

Elsa de Ruyter, St Helens.

UN idiocy

ANOTHER nail in the coffin for the relevancy of the UN with the appointment of Saudi Arabia’s representatives on the UN's Women Rights Council. 

For this male orientated state that refuses rights that Western women take for granted, such as driving a car,  to be on such a board surely is a ridiculous move that deserves to be queried.

Peter M. Taylor, Midway Point.

Star Wars

STAR WARS fans, eat our hearts out. Why? 

To mark the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie in 1977, Tokyo's finest jeweler Ginza Tanaka is offering a life-size Darth Vader mask made of 24 karat gold for the (slightly out of my garage sale price) of $1.9 million. 

It is now the most expensive Star Wars memorabilia of all. 

Question : If I told the wife it would improve my looks wearing the mask, I'm sure she would pass the hat around in an instant.

May the force be with you.

Robert Lee, Summerhill.

Nukes

Recommended reading for Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump: How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Richard Hill, Newstead.

Hemp

The Health Ministerial forum on food regulation in Adelaide and approved the recent food standards Australia New Zealand recommendation to allow low THC hemp to be legally designated as a food (The Examiner, April 29). 

The state government seems to be overlooking hemp’s full potential. What about legalising hemp as a medicine for people who suffer from diseases like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases for which there is no effective treatment?

A.R. Trounson, Needles.