Letters to the editor

Fix our roads: One reader agrees with our editorial opinion last week that we need a campaign to unite the community in the fight to improve roads and train service.
Fix our roads: One reader agrees with our editorial opinion last week that we need a campaign to unite the community in the fight to improve roads and train service.

Windfarm gains questioned

In all of the discussions on this subject, invariably it is claimed that natural gas, when burnt as fuel, produces only half the quantity of harmful gases as does coal for the same amount of heat.

This is not the case where gas is used to smooth out the vagaries of the output from wind farms, because it needs to change constantly to balance the wind, and to be this flexible, single cycle generators, as installed at the new Mortlake power station and at 56 per cent of South Australia's gas power stations, are used.

With these machines, one third of the available heat goes to waste up the chimney.

They produce only two-thirds of the power available from combined cycle, the additional cycle converting this waste heat into steam which generates 50 per cent more electricity, and is the basis of the assumed benefit of gas.

The Standard reported that the Macarthur wind farm, which cost one billion dollars, in its first summer of operation produced only 23 percent of its capacity. I wonder whether there is any advantage at all to be gained from wind farms.

And this situation is made worse by the volume of carbon dioxide extracted from the gas as mined and vented to atmosphere at the Port Campbell refinery, which seems to be a dark secret.

This information should be freely available.

Moreover, when natural gas is vented to the atmosphere unburnt, it is 25 times as harmful as CO2.

Graham Keith, Warrnambool

Fix our roads and trains too

Fix the roads: This needs pressure on multiple fronts to be applied in the lead up to the next state election due in 2018.

A, the state of the roads and B, the state of shocking rail service.

The unreliability of the rail system is forcing many to revert to using roads to move between towns to do business, keep set appointments and attend education outlets.

All municipalities, business groups and the population need to unite if anything is to be done.

Otherwise it will be put off on the basis someone else can fix the problem.

James Judd, Colac

RSPCA responds to VFF claims

I would like to make the following statement after reading the story Victorian Farmers’ Federation takes aim at RSPCA (The Standard, March 16).

 For 146 years, RSPCA Victoria has been the state’s leading animal welfare organisation and we have a high level of trust from the Victorian community who support us to end cruelty to all animals.

 Historically, RSPCA Victoria's Inspectorate has enforced the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, responding to cruelty reports involving both companion animals and livestock.

In 2007, RSPCA Victoria and the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources agreed that all reports involving commercial livestock, defined as 10 or more cattle, sheep (and other commercial livestock such as goats and alpaca) or 200 chickens, would be referred to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

 RSPCA Victoria continues to investigate cruelty reports involving companion animals, and 10 or fewer livestock.

Positive community sentiment towards RSPCA Victoria runs at around 86 per cent in the community, and recent research indicates that 69 per cent of Victorians have high or very high confidence in our Inspectorate’s effectiveness, and 84 per cent believe that the organisation cares about enforcing animal cruelty.

Dr Liz Walker, RSPCA Victoria chief executive officer