IT IS now five years since the first asylum seekers were sent to Manus Island and Nauru; some have been there for five years.
There are more than 1500 people on those two small islands, including more than 120 children on Nauru.
We are given no information about conditions there for asylum seekers and can only imagine what they are going through from the accounts of the few who have been resettled and can now speak of the hell they endured at the hands of the Australian government.
Offers from New Zealand to take some asylum seekers from offshore islands have been refused by the government.
It is known that many, if not most, of those kept in limbo in prison conditions have serious mental health issues, and there have been 12 deaths, all resulting from conditions which could have been avoided.
Recently an asylum seeker forcibly repatriated was immediately arrested on arrival, to the distress of his family, and no one knows what his fate will be. These are people who have fled from persecution in their home countries.
They have surely been punished enough and the time has come to process their claims for asylum both speedily and sympathetically.
To fail to do so now will be to Australia’s shame.
Sara Strong, Launceston.
THE national energy agreement is an attempt to minimise electricity costs while meeting commitments to the Paris Agreement and at the same time maintaining system reliability. However, not having the necessary reliability is not an option if we aspire to keeping our high standard of living.
At present we operate a market where spot prices are determined in 30-minute periods.
This clearly favours those suppliers with low reliability expectations and so as a consequence solar and wind are favoured at the expense of those able to commit to longer periods such as fossil fuels and hydro generators.
It follows that determining spot prices over a longer period would move the competition to a more level playing field and to the necessary reliability.
Gordon Thurlow, Launceston.
I WRITE to comment on the report to increase the height limits of buildings in the city of Launceston.
I invite the mayor and his councillors to visit Sydney so they can see how all the historical sandstone buildings of great architectural value have been dwarfed by tall characterless blocks of glass and concrete.
I also suggest that the mayor and his council look at the urban development in European cities like Paris.
The character and architecture of the old city have been preserved, and areas outside of the old city have been designated for towers of concrete and glass. In Paris the quarters of "La Defense" was created for that purpose.
This proposal would be a dream come true for developers as they would make more money per square metre.
However, the loss of the city's architectural heritage and character would be an act of vandalism worthy of the Huns.
Marc de Cazanove, East Launceston.
A FEW months ago I wrote a letter suggesting a compromise for the North-East railway, with part of the line being used for trains and the rest for a bike trail.
My thinking was that railway enthusiasts such as the Don River Railway would be glad of a longer section of line to run their trains on as opposed to the short section of track they now have.
I was apparently on a different track to the North-East rail group, which wants nothing less than a full-blown tourist train trip all the way to Scottsdale.
While I agree such a train trip would be a great attraction, do they really think that it would make enough to cover the cost of maintaining such a long section of line?
It would have to be subsidised by the government, the taxpayers, and if not done properly the consequences could be disastrous. It’s not as simple as replacing a few sleepers and putting a train on it and hoping for the best.
Malcolm McCulloch, Pipers River.
IN REFERENCE to the editorial (The Examiner, July 27).
It would appear that Peter Gutwein our state Treasurer has taken ‘a piece in our time’ attitude, similar to the late British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain before the outbreak of the second World War in 1939.
Appeasement did not resolve the issue then, and will not now, and from my published comments with Launceston Alderman Darren Alexander that Dorset Council were the problem of resolution of this issue.
Launceston aldermen and Chamber of Commerce are aware of the value this creates for the viability of hoteliers in accommodation and spending power in Launceston.
To appease and resolve this impasse I humbly offer a Henry Kissinger alternative, that is allow the tourist rail to Wyena, which is in Launceston’s boundary and cycle trail to Scottsdale from Wyena Dorset boundary starts there.
Such a resolution would make the tourist asset of Denison Gorge and historic tunnel built by our forefathers available to the general public and tourists visiting Bridestowe.
Imagine what the rail proponents will undertake in their campaign before the council elections in October, that is to prospective councillors, “What is your policy, what do you stand for to protect Bridestowe Estate and its visitors?” My recommendation will obviate this situation.
Brian P. Khan, Newstead.