Letters to the editor

Thanks to all volunteers

This week (National Volunteer Week, 21 to 27 May) we’re saying a huge thank you to the people who take action and make our country a happier place.

Volunteering happens in all kinds of ways. Like the simple act of sharing a social media post about supporting newly-arrived migrants which, when thousands of others share, can have a huge impact.

Other kinds of volunteering require a bigger commitment, like driving elderly isolated people to regular medical appointments and social outings, and can have a profound effect on the lives of individuals.

At Australian Red Cross, volunteers are a lot like our engine room; they support communities when natural disasters hit, make daily phone calls to isolated people, greet customers to our op shops, donate blood, and fundraise for us. This week we are celebrating not just our volunteers in Queensland, but everyone who takes action to make our society stronger, more connected and supportive.

Thank you for your generosity and making Queensland and Australia a better place. Find out more about volunteering at redcross.org.au/volunteer

- L. Bourne, director, Red Cross in Queensland

Time to turn the lights back on

Japan has 45 new high-energy, low-emission coal-fired power plants on the drawing boards. These will probably burn high quality Australian coal. And despite the tsunami that hit Japan, nuclear power still generates about 20 per cent of Japan’s electricity.

Chinese companies have plans to build 700 new coal power plants all over the world, mostly in China. In addition China will bring five new nuclear power reactors online in 2018 and has plans for a further six to eight units.

India generates more than 65 per cent of its electricity from thermal power plants and about 85 per cent of these plants are coal-fired. India also has 22 nuclear reactors in operation at seven sites and 11 more reactors are under construction. World-wide about 1600 new coal-fired power plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries. 

Power plants burning low-energy lignite are being closed in Australia but still being built elsewhere. There are 19 such facilities in various stages of approval, planning or construction in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Poland, Romania and Slovenia.

Tomorrow’s Aussie kids will see their future is Asia. The old people left behind will get work as bureaucrats and nurses, or as child minders, tour guides and educators for rich Asian tourists and immigrants.

Wake up Australia. Burning coal does not control climate and carbon dioxide is the gas of life, not a pollutant. It’s time to turn the lights back on.

- V. Forbes, Washpool

English is a vital subject

As a mother of three teenage girls, I know reading and writing are two of the basic skills our kids need to get a job and succeed in life.

Revelations English will not be a mandatory inclusion for ATAR, the new university entrance ranking system, diminishes the importance of the subject.

It also sends the wrong message to our kids and our teachers. We should be boosting literacy and numeracy standards, not reducing standards.

English should not be treated like a third-rate subject. If it’s good enough for the other states, it should be good enough for Queensland kids.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to intervene and reverse this terrible decision. Education is a major priority for me and my team because we know that an investment in education is an investment in the future of our children and grandchildren.

- D. Frecklington, LNP leader