Win-win for all parties
I read Geoff Edwards’ letter (The Border Mail, February 5) with interest and must say that whilst I agree with many of the points he made, there is an alternative that has not had any exposure and should be explored.
Firstly we need to be mindful of where we place infrastructure but to suggest that the industry should not be co-located with existing sub-stations is a little unreasonable. All residents that have installed solar and co-generate must use their existing transformer to move excess energy back to the grid. This infrastructure is paid for by the users so why not make the most of it.
Now to the ecological side. We all should be aware that land is becoming a very valuable resource, especially good agricultural land and we must make the most of it. And this is where a new approach may offer a significant solution. Agrivoltaics: the use of land for both agriculture and solar power generation. This is an option that may offer a win-win for all parties.
First if the solar panels are lifted a little we can use the land for a crop or grazing. The crop provides a cooler base for the solar panels, improving the efficiency of the infrastructure. Next the solar panels offer cover for the crop especially during the heat of the day and thus the crop uses less water. End result is a better crop yield with less water and a more efficient solar farm. And the benefits go on with the end result being an eco-friendly approach that can satisfy all parties. We need green energy and we need to make the most of the land. This option has the potential to solve both issues.
Robert Thompson, Walwa
Comments off the mark
The comment article "We must not allow this social apartheid" (Zoe Wundenberg, The Border Mail, February 5) says the cashless debit card roll out in Bundaberg-Hervey Bay includes people on disability support.
In the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region, the cashless debit card applies to people aged 35 years and under who receive Newstart, Youth Allowance (Job seeker), Parenting Payment (Single) or Parenting Payment (Partnered). It does not apply to people on disability support.
The article says that the card has been “coloured as a government response to minimising ‘social harm’ through attempting to limit the purchase of alcohol, tobacco and gambling services”. This is also incorrect. The cashless debit card can be used to purchase tobacco but cannot be used to buy alcohol, gambling products or some gift cards.
Lastly, your report says there is “no evidence” of the card in addressing “social harm”. An independent evaluation of the cashless debit card trial in the Ceduna region, South Australia, and the East Kimberley region, Western Australia, show the card was having a “considerable positive impact”. Of participants surveyed, the evaluation found: 41 per cent of participants who drank alcohol reported drinking less frequently; 48 per cent of participants who used drugs reported using drugs less frequently; and 48 per cent who gambled before the trial reported gambling less often.
Anecdotal evidence shows that people are better able to save money; parents have more money to buy essential family items; police report fewer domestic violence callouts and health workers report fewer domestic violence presentations; and people say their town feels quieter and safer with less public drunkenness.