Border Mail letters: Border Mail readers have their say on the issues of the day

Change course: Westpac should desist from allowing its financial clout to be used to fund fossil fuel projects, a reader says.
Change course: Westpac should desist from allowing its financial clout to be used to fund fossil fuel projects, a reader says.

Don’t lend for coal

We hold Westpac Bank shares and are watching Westpac Bank’s corporate behaviour and, in particular, their consideration of lending money to support Adani’s Carmichael coal mine. 

We noted, and applauded, the well attended rally outside Westpac Albury last week. 

As shareholders, we expect the companies we invest in to use an accounting framework that includes social, environmental /ecological and financial impacts of business decisions. 

Adani’s plan to mine coal is clearly old thinking, which ignores environmental impacts. And their poor record, evident in the reports of bribery, illegal construction, destroying protected environments and corruption, does not bode well for their impact on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Last year, Adani was ordered to pay reparations of almost $5 million for their illegal construction in India, which resulted in environmental damage and social impacts of 80 fishing families on the Gujarat coast being deprived of their access to the sea. 

We do not want to see this kind of destruction happening here on our reef in Australia.

As an important Australian bank, we ask Westpac to be a positive leader helping Australia through change in the energy sector. Like many other Australians, we wish to invest in companies that look well into the future rather than just for short-term financial gain. 

If Westpac Bank lends to companies for ventures that damage the environment, have negative social or financial impacts we, and no doubt many others, will take steps to divest our Westpac shares. 

We have written to the board to ask them to ensure that Westpac desists from considering lending to Adani, and similar companies, for fossil fuel projects. We need ethical corporate behaviour from our banking sector. 

Rod Sangster, Yackandandah

Sack the boss first

The past eight years have seen buckets of taxpayer dollars wasted on repairing the railway between Melbourne and Albury. It is still not fixed. Travellers are continually inconvenienced by being shuffled onto buses instead of the train they have paid for.

Why? Because the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC,) which is a company owned by the Commonwealth, failed to select the correct sleeper replacement method. The ARTC chose to replace wooden sleepers with thicker concrete sleepers while keeping the rail track height unchanged. When the thicker concrete sleepers were slid under the rails they dislodged the crushed stone rail bed in many instances coming to rest upon bare earth. When it rained this resulted in mud holes, speed restrictions and damage to rolling stock.

How to fix it? Start by sacking the CEO of ARTC who won’t admit the problem. Then continue sacking managerial staff until you find a track engineer who can admit and repair the problem.

Only then will it be safe for state governments to buy new locomotives and carriages to replace our ancient diesel drawn trains which are not suitable for modern day passenger hauling. 

Ian Guthrie, Wodonga 

Haven’t Scot it right

Mick McGlone’s article on March 18 was, as usual, excellent.

There were just one or two errors.

We Scots/Irish did not invent the kilt, we made it better. Bag pipes, alas no. The Highlanders (originally) Irish made them bigger and better. Whisky, a blessing from God. Irish monks supposedly gave the secret to the heathen Scots, who are still trying to make it better.

The Irish, all that has been dumped on them, have indeed bounced back. When the Protestant Scots had nothing the Irish had laughter and music.

Indeed still do. Bless them all. From a Scottish-born. 

Derek C Hutton, Tawonga South