Letters to the editor | June 18, 2017

Taswater chairman Miles Hampton responds to Treasurer Peter Gutwein.

Taswater chairman Miles Hampton responds to Treasurer Peter Gutwein.

TasWater’s reply

TREASURER Peter Gutwein says he is “appalled” at TasWater’s spending money to obtain legal advice that casts serious doubt on the government’s takeover bid for the statewide water and sewerage business.

It is entirely appropriate for the board of TasWater to seek external advice on the proposed takeover. To do otherwise would be failing in their duties as directors.

The cost of this advice from senior legal counsel was just $5000, a modest amount when it may protect a council-owned asset valued at about $3 billion from a hostile and what seems to be an illegal state government's takeover.

That aside, it is reasonably clear that the treasurer’s comment was designed to deflect the government from having to answer the question of what legal advice it has received.

We now have the premier saying the government will not make its legal advice public.

This is disappointing but unfortunately true to form. TasWater on the other hand has put its advice into the public domain.

It is time the government responded in like manner so that the public can see that the government had obtained proper advice prior to embarking on its takeover proposal.

The question is actually very simple; can the government legislate to override the application of the Federal Corporations Act? The advice that TasWater has received is that it cannot.

The $5000 spent by TasWater for legal advice pales into insignificance when we consider the cost to taxpayers of the treasurer’s proposal, $160 million to pay the councils, plus the unnecessary additional $600 million he wants to borrow to fund what could well be an illegal takeover.

Tasmanians can judge for themselves which costs are appalling.

Miles Hampton, Chairman, TasWater.

Timber Re-awakening

DICK James (Letters, The Examiner, May 20) says sustainability-sourced timber parallels to a farmer growing crops except that the cycle is a 30-to-40 year one.

Let’s hope Forestry Tasmania read Mr James’ letter and adjusts their logging cycle accordingly.

For years forestry has been dragging out 10-to-15-year-old trees that are unsuitable for anything other than woodchips.

Mr James said: “Sustainability sourced timber is a fast growing renewable resource”.

I disagree, the average eucalyptus tree takes at least 80 years to reach maturity.

The 30-year-old trees used in making cross laminated timber are nothing more than pretend wood.

Why not wait and let them mature into real wood. Wouldn’t have anything to do with making a fast buck or dwindling resources? Finally I ask Mr James: Where do all the native animals go for 30 to 40 years?

A.R. Trounson, Needles.

Debt levels

IN LIGHT of the article on debt levels (The Examiner, June 14), surely only rusted on ideologues and dunces could believe the Coalition now.

Labor were in government for six years. The coalition has not been there that long.

In this time both the deficit and the national debt have doubled. And yet, the coalition is claiming it has cut the rate of debt growth on Labor levels.

Now, I’m no economist, but let’s just do some simple maths, shall we? Labor for six years, the Coalition for just under four.

Doubled debt and deficits in just over half the time. Hmmm, are you thinking what I’m thinking, B1?

That means that the Coalition have borrowed and spent just as much as Labor did, only they took significantly less time to do it. How anyone can still claim that the Coalition are better economic managers is laughable.

But alas, as long as there are mugs out there who believe it, the Coalition will keep taking us for mugs.

Cody Handley, Hadspen.

Electricity

LET’S cut to the chase.

Electricity is unlike any other commodity in that when produced it has to be used immediately, in the next split second.

All the others have long life qualities that help to make them reliable and this is why market trading works.

So if it is to work for electricity we must, no ifs or buts, only trade reliable electricity.

And each producer, not governments, must be responsible for this reliability (and also its security).

Putting it another way there must be a level playing field in the market.

Gordon Thurlow, Launceston.

Future supermarket sleuths

IT MUST be a sign of the times.

While catching up with a friend at the supermarket recently, I noticed several early teens totally glued to their iPhones while walking the aisles 'shopping' with their parents and I've noticed others on previous occasions.

I say to the younger generation (that cannot take their attention away from the mobile screen even at the supermarket), that shopping for bargains and good food choices is a skill passed down from parents to children.

Don't let that valuable skill pass you by. Seize the day.

Robert Lee, Summerhill.

Smoke free Tasmania

TASMANIA needs to lower its smoking rates as it has the second highest per capita in the country.

The state or federal government needs to increase the cost to more than the current price.

This would give them more money and also reduce smoking rates at the same time.

Simply raising the legal start age won't work.

Also having more smoke free zones would be better so the public doesn't have to passive smoke every time we go out in the public.

Colin G. Wood, Newstead.

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