I am writing to express my opposition to the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) decision to allow electricity companies to charge households and businesses for the solar power they produce.
While this proposal is shaped as necessary to fund upgrades to electricity networks and to deal with grid overload, it is thoroughly bad policy on many fronts.
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To begin with, just about the only way Australia has made any ground on its Paris Climate commitments is through the expansion of rooftop solar. Are we about to place a substantial barrier to that continued expansion?
Even if the new arrangement has supposed protections for solar providers (yet to be worked out), the power lies with the energy providers.
For example, there are requirements in the new system that allows solar owners to export to the grid but they could face restrictions by the energy providers if they consider it necessary to operate the grid efficiently.
The increasing sophistication of inverters on rooftop solar systems and new technology dealing with power distribution are able to provide considerable protection from grid overload.
But these factors are often ignored by energy companies who promote alarm over this issue to achieve their ends.
It is hoped the Victorian government will promptly rule these changes out.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report reveals the future impact of accelerating global warming.
Globally, we are all warned of more extreme weather from wildfires to flooding, droughts of increasing frequency and severity, and dire consequences from ocean acidification.
In Turkey, the recent extreme bushfires followed by flash-flooding is considered typical of future conditions confronting Australia and many other countries.
We are now faced with a climate emergency and the global effort to tackle climate change must be united and rapid. Yet, the response we get from Scott Morrison is "I will not sign a blank cheque", supported by Barnaby Joyce who dismissed calls for a higher emission target without "a plan and a price".
No leadership here, merely a case of self-interest, game-playing and political survival being prioritised over leadership.
"Blank cheques" are certainly warranted for extreme emergencies; the unpredictable onset of the COVID-19 virus being one example, and similarly, the development of the atomic bomb by the US during WWII was not stalled by cost considerations but driven by the urgent necessity to develop such a weapon before Germany did.
Yet faced with catastrophic climate change, Joyce and Morrison prefer to play politics and stall when urgent action is critical.
Economist Ross Garnaut makes the case "that 'inaction' will prove to be more costly than immediate and liberal financial action, adding "a low-carbon world economy will benefit both rural and provincial Australia".
We do not need negative self-interested political games; our politicians need to respect the science and act with the release of funds to fight global warming known to "pose a grave risk to humanity".
Real action is now in the hands of the voters.
On Sunday at Huntly, I umpired two Bendigo Junior football matches. After the second game, my fellow umpire and I discovered our car keys had been taken from our bags.
Two-hundred dollars and a GPS golf watch was stolen from my car and a wallet with licence, cards and $15 stolen from the other car.
The thefts were reported to police and to the Umpires Association for follow-up with the clubs.
I was lost for words at the generosity of this stranger. I hope they read this letter and know this watch will now have so much more meaning than if I had bought a replacement.
As I can't thank them, I have paid forward their kindness by donating to The Salvation Army and Baptist community care group MADCOW. Both groups do a power of work for those in need in Bendigo.
Thank you also to the Huntly JFC families who helped search the ground and surrounds for our keys and the wallet.
Many of us in Bendigo are concerned about the tragic situation unfolding in Afghanistan. Many gains had been made in education, health, human rights, media, trade, and diplomacy. The UN has estimated there are 250,000 internally displaced people in Afghanistan since May.
I encourage all Australians to urge our politicians to stand in solidarity with the more than 71,500 strong Afghan Australian community, and to join the growing number of public voices in condemning the brutality being directed towards the civilian population of Afghanistan.
I urge you to voice support for:
Granting of permanent protection to refugees from Afghanistan in Australia on temporary visas, and those in detention
I also urge you to voice your opposition to targeted assassination of Afghani citizens.
And so the Taliban march triumphantly back into Kabul and retake Afghanistan. The religion of peace will swiftly reinstall Sharia Law into the self-proclaimed Caliphate, meaning untold suffering and repression for countless thousands of citizens.
Men, women and children (but especially women and female children) will now return to the darkness of a hardline, perverted ideology that shows no mercy in its interpretation of the Holy Quran.
Whatever happened to opposing brutal regimes and fighting for what's right, whatever the cost and however long it takes?
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