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Letters to the editor: cinemas closure, election results, nuclear power, Olympics and more

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Your say: seawall plans, bus numbers and more

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name More

Highway mayhem following crashes in both lanes

The Bruce Highway was closed for more than three hours this morning following crashes both north and southbound. Twelve people were injured in the accidents, More

Cheers to a new generation bringing cane back to the farm

Sugarcane is being planted on a Sunshine Coast farm for the first time in 20 years as members of a local family pioneer a More

Childcare centre proposal sparks debate over location

Councillors have debated the need for new childcare centre that would deliver an “essential service” to a burgeoning business district. A development application was submitted More

Application seeks increased number of units on vacant block

The real estate trio behind a proposed unit complex at Caloundra hopes to almost double the number of units approved for the site. About M, More

Division by division: what your suburb gets in council budget

The newly-elected Sunshine Coast Council yesterday handed down its first budget, with mayor Rosanna Natoli saying it was focused on “improving transport, roads, pathways More

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb for accountability, credibility and transparency. Preference will be give to letters of 100 words or less.

I, along with many in the Nambour community, am deeply saddened by the closure of the Majestic Cinemas.

It’s yet another depressing and disappointing blow to Nambour. I would very much like to see the local council step in and manage it after the planned upcoming C-Square refurbishment.

Jan Jarman, Buderim

Like so many prominent businesses going under the hammer, I believe all intending purchasers should be Australian citizens. Sorry to hear they are selling.

E. Matthews, Russell Island

The BVRT (Brisbane Valley Rail Trail) is the closest and best example of a successful rail trail.

Bicycles, horses, hikers and walkers use the trail by following the rules. They travel among cattle, horses and native animals on the trail without danger to either party. Some private landowners chose not to allow the use of their properties for the BVRT trail. Detours were successfully arranged.

Towns and villages along the trail have thrived as a result of being part of the trail, suppliers of accommodation, food and drink being the main beneficiaries. Investigations will confirm this and more advantages of a trail.

Peter Callanan, Wurtulla 

Careful Rosanna, the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, as Bill Shorten found out.

Bob Ingram, Caloundra

Frank Wilkie ran a clean campaign. His integrity and experience got him the majority of votes. Plus, I have never heard him, either in person or in print, degrade his opponents.

It’s displeasing to hear two of the other candidates cry foul, yet it was they who aligned themselves to a group of detractors who divided our lovely shire.

Using Ingrid Jackson’s methodology of gauging Frank’s 40 per cent of the votes, demeaning it by saying “he’ll become mayor knowing that 60 per cent of the shire didn’t want him”, by that principle then 77 per cent voted against Ingrid, 79 per cent voted against Nick Hluszko and 85 per cent against John Morrall who, from my perspective, ran a clean campaign.

I personally witnessed aggressive and “loose with the truth” behaviour from the Fishing Boating Alliance group. They underestimated and insulted the intelligence of the majority of Noosa Shire residents. Despite not running a candidate they were at pre-polling booths every day thrusting their own how-to-vote cards at voters.

The two disgruntled candidates may need time to reflect before pointing fingers at the popular, gentlemanly Frank Wilkie, instead looking at the way their allies acted at the polling booths.

Alex Baker, Tewantin

I see many clients regarding excess weight and obesity, many of whom do what they believe is their best effort to shed the weight off their bodies by eating smarter and exercising more regularly.

The access to energy-dense foods is so easy that whatever wins these people make towards weight loss, it is but a small snack away from reversing them.

It is a reasonable argument to lobby the government to set a tax on such discretionary foods, which might skew spending towards healthier options, but let’s face the reality: unless these processed foods are significantly more expensive than naturally occurring foods, kilojoule-for-kilojoule, then people will still make the choice to buy these products because of their melt-in-your-mouth nature that many prefer (or even crave) over natural foodstuffs.

Such a tax would also unlikely result in a reduction of the cost of healthier foods, so we then end up with a higher grocery bill both ways. Where health policy can make significant gains is in the provision of more subsidised social fitness programs. One such effort is parkrun, but other less-competitive programs focused on weight loss should also be available to combat the growing rates of obesity.

Of course, to balance this out, government ought to put more effort into education of both children and adults in healthy eating, placing the emphasis on eating to live, rather than living to eat. Portion sizes and the content of meals should be taught in school as well as opportunistically in organised programs for adults, especially parents of young children, promoted by advertising in shopping malls and outdoor banners.

Medications that effectively curb appetite can be a good adjunct in weight loss, but are expensive and are not sustainable. Nevertheless, they have become very popular, and the cost has not deterred many from seeking them for their positive effect.

Where the conundrum lies is the government recognition of obesity as a chronic disease. Why? Because with its acknowledgement follows the lobbying of more subsidised provision of medications and other effective methods to treat the condition. Where is such money going to come from? The health budget is struggling as it is and health economists are fully aware of how much more the budget would be strained if obesity treatments were thrown in the mix.

We rather have to take responsibility for our own health. What we put in our mouths, and what we do with our bodies, is solely within our purview. Education and a commitment to  positive lifestyle choices is where success lies with respect to our overall health. May these increase for the sake of our future health and wellbeing.

Ashraf Saleh, Yaroomba 

I hope you will allow me to respond to the attack by Robert McGuigan, who says I am “a climate zealot” with no academic history in nuclear physics and no relevant expertise to allow me to comment on possible development of nuclear reactors in Australia.

It is true that I have been drawing attention since the 1980s to the increasing body of evidence that human activity, principally our use of fossil fuels, is changing the global climate. That does make me a concerned scientist, but I don’t know if it makes me “a climate zealot”.

My doctoral research at University of York was funded by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, studying the basic physics of a problem that limits the useful life of fuel elements in nuclear reactors. In my first academic job at the UK Open University, I was a member of their Energy Research Group when we conducted a major study comparing the costs of electricity from coal-fired and nuclear power stations. We found that nuclear power had significant environmental advantages over coal and in the UK, where the civil nuclear industry enjoys significant cross-subsidies from nuclear weapons production, the economics were similar. We did also note that the costs of decommissioning large power reactors and managing their radioactive waste for tens of thousands of years were unknown.

Since returning to Australia in 1980 I have been involved in a range of relevant advisory bodies. I was a member of our national energy research council for six years, for 12 years I was a member of the council which advises our nuclear regulator and more recently I was on the expert advisory group for the South Australian nuclear Royal Commission. Their report concluded that there was little prospect of nuclear power being economic in Australia. The 2006 UMPNER study, chaired by the head of ANSTO, said that nuclear power would be 30 per cent to 50 per cent more expensive than the electricity then being generated. It also advised that it would take at least 10 years and more probably 15 to build one nuclear power station in Australia.

As a young physicist, I was keen to see nuclear power replace coal: in the short term, it can be cleaner and safer. But in our country, with no experience of building and operating large power reactors and no prospect of subsidies from a nuclear weapons program, the economics don’t add up, as even pro-nuclear experts agree. It is cold hard economics that has seen nuclear power shrink from a peak of 20 per cent of electricity globally to the current figure of 9 per cent. The only reactors still being built in western Europe are years behind schedule and billions over budget. Even if we are prepared to overlook community concerns about risk and waste management, there is no way nuclear power can compete with solar and wind backed by storage.

Ian Lowe, Marcoola

While the local council elections were going on, the state government quietly dropped the review that recommended the Kawana indoor stadium go ahead.

This is indicative of the previous Sunshine Coast Council, to build an ego-pumping indoor sports stadium with non-existent or seemingly covert consultation, catering for elite athletes and the local residents who can travel to this centralised location, while robbing established grassroots communities of their existing facilities and denying local sporting clubs desperately needed community infrastructure.

The tourniquet applied to the road network by the pullback in funding for the Mooloolah River interchange, coupled with the demise of the heavy rail from Caloundra to the Maroochydore CBD, will only exacerbate the automobile wasteland known as Nicklin Way.

Come on politicians, are you listening? We have youth crime issues, cost-of-living issues and environmental issues that need addressing today, not worsened by denying Sunshine Coasters local community sport facilities.

Shane Truscott

Aged care workers

The number of people over 80 is expected to triple over the next 40 years, yet there is already a desperate shortage of workers to look after seniors.

While wage rises for aged-care workers are welcome, this measure alone will not provide the level of care and choice desirable for loved ones who have contributed to the nation for decades. Indirect care workers such as laundry hands, cleaners and food service assistants will also receive increases to support a lifting of aged care standards all around. Inevitably, the wage rises will boost the costs of aged care to existing and new clients and the Commonwealth Government is looking to shift more of the burden from the taxpayer to seniors in care centres or their own homes and their families.

Following the shocking revelations from the Royal Commission to ensure quality and eliminate scams, enforceable standards for food and nursing provision need to be established and monitored tightly to weed out bad providers. Too many times it has been left to the distressed families of loved ones to go public in exposing the shoddy practices in parts of the aged care industry driven more by profit than patient need. To lift standards and meet the challenges of the increasing number of seniors needing to be looked after, where will all the extra aged care workers come from?

A greater proportion of school leavers will need to be attracted to the aged-care sector as will workers displaced from industries in decline plus suitably skilled migrants and refugees with appropriate language skills.

The health and social care workforce is predicted to increase faster than any other sector over the next decade. The care economy will grow from around 8 per cent to about 15 per cent of GDP over the next 40 years. It will be up to seniors and their families to keep governments accountable to meet the challenges of the Silver Tsunami.

Garry Reynolds, Peregian Springs

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb for accountability, credibility and transparency. Preference will be give to letters of 100 words or less.

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