Readers’ views on the Liberals’ planning policies, genetically modified crops, Labor’s factional issues and more.
ROBERT CROCKER: I am heartened by the Liberals’ stand (so far) on planning and development (Libs to hand back council planning powers, InDaily, 13 February 2014). Rau claims this is “anti-business”, but his use of Ministerial fiat has been a disaster for everyone involved. This is not good for business, as Gillman shows.
If everything comes down to the Minister and his hand-picked committees, we end up in banana republic territory, with Mt Barker type deals all over the place, and only lobbyists and lawyers benefiting. There has to be transparency, local government involvement, and community engagement. Rau’s idea of democracy seems to be giving someone an opportunity to object after he has made his decision. This reflects very poorly on his boss, who has been trying, for some time, to involve communities in decision making.
DARIAN HILES: The claim that SA’s anti-GM food stance is “damaging the status of science” (InDaily, 10 February 2014) defies not only science but logic itself. There are infinitely many subjects in which research can be done. If it is not pursued in one particular field, that doesn’t mean we are “damaging the status of science”, it simply means we haven’t considered it worthwhile and evidence hasn’t been gathered. We have to make the best choices we can.
The claim that there is a majority scientific view about the safety of GM foods is also highly spurious and generally refers to specific tests and products. Current food is basically safe because it’s been tested by thousands of years of human consumption. To replace this by scientific testing across the population is a massive task. Scientific studies, even the “large European study”, are usually very specific. They can’t be automatically generalised across all fields and into the future. Lack of research is a compelling reason for adopting a conservative scientific position.
Climate science, thrown in out of the blue, is based on accumulated evidence. To confuse this with the GM issue, which is the opposite, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of scientific principles. But the marketing benefits of a non-GM environment are obvious. That’s where the future lies for our food and our state.
JUDY MELBOURNE: Yes, Adelaide certainly does need more water (storage I believe it should be) – for the trees and the parklands and for general water availability (Australian cities need more trees – and water, InDaily, 10 February 2014). I cannot understand why various South Australian governments have not gone ahead building the occasional new reservoir. This used to happen. We are increasing our population, our home building, our general spread of humanity and yet I don’t recall a new reservoir being developed for donkey’s years. We do have very hot summers and we always have had them here. They aren’t something new and unexpected.
It’s sad to see so many gardens in the various parks and also around homes which are just dried up looking grass. After living near the beach for some 20 years we saw just how much water just drained out to sea soon after heavy rains – it should have been diverted to storage.
People in government don’t seem to worry about things like this – but why not? Are they too busy trying to get a higher wage for themselves? What is it about Australia these days and particularly South Australia that we don’t look to water storage in line with our increasing population? There’s hardly any far-sightedness. We need people who care about what is going on in the state and can actually do something that helps. Oh, and of course water accounts that all can afford.
MICHAEL SCHILLING: Tom Richardson’s article, Diminished faction will not forgive (InDaily, 7 February 2014), speculates on the impact of the most recent stoush within SA Labor. There is no question that it was ugly and that the animosity created has not disappeared. But factional warfare is nothing new. It goes back to the Neanderthals and the Romans were good at it too.
It is lucky for us, and those involved, that the drastic measures employed then have changed somewhat. There was no real blood spilled but, clearly, tempers flared and the image of the Labor party received a dent, despite the Premier coming out on top. Some would say that this attempted coup would decide the election but that is is stretching a long bow. Sure, it was not pleasant, it was even arrogant in taking some voters for granted, but the electorate will hopefully decide on the basis of major policy direction and the ability of each team fielded.
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