Letters to the Editor, 21 November 2023 – MPNEWS

No environmental benefit in brown coal to hydrogen

It is pleasing to see that the state government may be finally coming to its sense with regard to the shipping hydrogen to Japan (“MPs under pressure over hydrogen” The News 14/11/23). While shipping the clean fuel hydrogen to Japan seemed like a sensible idea, it was always flawed because of the way the hydrogen was to be made. Had the hydrogen been produce through the electrolysis of water powered by renewable energy then the idea had merit. However, the method chosen, converting brown coal to hydrogen was always flawed for the reasons outlined in the article by Keith Platt. Converting coal to hydrogen still produces carbon dioxide, so there is no benefit to the environment and the proposal optimistically relies on carbon capture and storage (CCS), a technology that has not worked commercially anywhere in the world.

This is a project driven by a government subservient to the fossil fuel industry and by Japanese businesses that could see a government blinded by the fact that Japan got all the benefit of a clean burning fuel and leaving all the waste in Victoria.

Dr Ross Hudson, Mount Martha

Damaging hydrogen

Credit to The News for keeping the community updated on the environmentally damaging Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project, which aims to convert brown coal from AGL’s Loy Yang mine into hydrogen, store the CO2 produced under Bass Strait, and liquefy and ship the hydrogen to Japan (“MPs under pressure over hydrogen” 14/11/23).

Apart from maintaining the dirty coal industry and risking damage and pollution of an internationally recognised Ramsar wetland, it is well known that carbon capture and storage (CCS) is an expensive and unreliable technology. A recent investigation into 13 existing CCS projects by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis found that the majority (10) either underperformed, failed, or were mothballed.

The only type of hydrogen we should be making is green hydrogen using renewable energy. No CCS is required.          

Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Abandon hydrogen

The brown coal to hydrogen project is a bit of a fiasco  (“MPs under pressure over hydrogen” The News 14/11/23). The entire project hinged on its ability to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions underground (CCS), a feat not able to be achieved commercially anywhere else in the world.

We have had assurances that if this condition cannot be met, the project will not proceed.

They’ve had a lot of time to find out, and multiple millions of dollars, so how about a report to the public, now?

The trouble is you can’t believe politicians. Listen to them, but don’t trust them.

If the project should continue with even limited CCS it would make a complete joke of the Victorian government’s initiative to refuse to allow gas appliances in future new houses, which is silly enough already.

Ultimately, hydrogen as an automotive fuel is an impractical joke. The distribution, retailing and dispensing of the stuff is difficult, dangerous, and not commercially feasible.

Countries like Norway, with an over abundance of free hydro-electric power and a small population, already produce it cleanly by electrically splitting the water molecule.

Finally, think of the other ramifications if CCS became feasible.

Brian A Mitchelson, Mornington

Hydrogen ‘madness’

Thanks for exposing the absurd plans to produce more brown hydrogen for the Japanese market (“MPs under pressure over hydrogen” The News 14/11/23). As Keith Platt explains, brown hydrogen comes from brown coal, the most polluting and toxic of all fossil fuels.

Producing brown hydrogen contradicts the state government’s excellent emissions reductions targets, and potentially derails plans to build wind farm infrastructure at Hastings.

Green hydrogen made using renewable energy may make sense, but brown hydrogen made from dirty brown coal is madness.

Amy Hiller, Kew

Councillors lost

Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors have lost their way in managing the objectives and strategies. The reason local councils were created and introduced, in simplistic terms, is the 3Rs, roads, rubbish, rates.

The rubbish left on our beach front areas from Safety Beach to Portsea is a disgrace. Whether left by locals or visitors the lack of bins and the collection leaves a lot to be desired. My wife and I are, like many residents, becoming tired of picking up paper, broken bottles and cans and then trying to find a bin to dispose of the rubbish.

The condition of many roads in the shire still require maintenance, coupled with potholes on heavy traffic roads needing complete repair. Indeed, residents continue to write to The News asking for action.

Bruce White, Safety Beach

Vegetation too high

VicRoads should plant low growing grasses and bushes near roundabouts.

I have sent messages to VicRoads about the shrubbery that’s there now blocking the view of drivers.

Some examples are the Boneo Road and Peninsula Link extension at Rosebud and the Moorooduc Road/Peninsula Link underpass.

Warwick Spinaze, Tootgarook

Nos not puppets

No voters [in the Voice to Parliament referendum] saw through the blatant way that the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese continued to harangue and demonise any person or persons who did not follow his wanting (“No was not enough” Letters 14/11/23). We are not all puppets of the Labor Party and can think for ourselves. The majority of people were the ones with commonsense. 

Bill Phillips, Capel Sound

‘Outsider’s’ opinion

I do enjoy visiting the Mornington Peninsula regularly and have on occasions been bold enough to offer some thoughts in the letters section of The News despite being occasionally labelled an “outsider” by some of more parochial bent.

In the recent referendum lead-up I was initially encouraged that The News appeared to provide an open forum for views from both sides of the debate. That is until it became evident the polls were swinging in favour of those intending to vote No. In the final weeks it became quite apparent that The News then had one finger on the scales and found it impossible to include contribution other than that prosecuting the Yes case.

My sole motivation [for now reading The News] is to see whether in any of [the] ritual rants about matters conservative [by a regular letter writer] will ever find an opportunity to raise a sensible argument not obviously bred in the swamp of ideology.

John Matthews, Heathmont

Editor: Contrary to the claims by John Matthews, all No letters received by The News were published. There was a marked drop off in the number of No letters received in the final weeks leading up to the referendum.

Car show success

I would like to warmly congratulate Sorrento Rotary Club for its successful car display recently at Pt Nepean National Park, Portsea. The first-ever Pt Nepean Motor Show in 2022 was a massive triumph, with more than 400 exhibitors and more than 2000 visitors and 16 sponsors generously providing support.

Money raised during the event went towards Southern Peninsula Community Support, a charity that assists homeless individuals on the peninsula.

This year’s event had a wider selection of food vans and radio station RPP-FM broadcasting, with local musicians entertaining the crowd.

The event was fortunate enough to have a rare 1937 Mercedes Benz 540K worth $13 million on display from the Fox Classic Car Museum, which generated a lot of interest.

The new glamping tents, which were mostly used by backpackers, have now been completed. However, families already enjoyed the serene atmosphere full kitchen and bathroom facilities.

The peaceful area and campers are responsible enough to clean their space. There is a shuttle bus that runs regularly to take visitors around the area. Bike hire is available, and with most of the area being flat, it is perfect for families. Some were riding, and their bells let pedestrians know they were coming through.

There were category prizes, but the camaraderie and enjoying another pleasing display of classic and historic cars and bikes were the highlights of the event.

Anne Kruger, Rye

Spaced out

The idea of subdividing suburban blocks to accommodate more housing was fine in theory. But the current generation of home owners comes with bloated 4WDs, utilities, boats, caravans and working from home machinery too big even for double garages.

In kerb-less Old Tyabb streets, families with boats and caravans have always contained such large items within their properties. Subdivide those blocks and where does all that lifestyle and work gear go? On nature strips, roadsides, reserves or, should there be regulated motivation for them to be held in commercial storage yards?

When designing the future, planners should recognise space is diminishing for today’s upsized vehicles, not only in shopping centre car parks and school pick up zones but also at home. Councils are approving building footprints without maintenance, recreational or work space.

Back to the drawing board – if there’s room for one in the home office.

Frances Henke, Hastings

Heartbreak tag

Heartbreaking to see the beautiful mural on the IGA building in Salmon Street, Hastings has been vandalised by some idiot hero graffiti artist

It’s as if Hastings doesn’t deserve to have something nice for everyone to enjoy.

Ted Keam, Balnarring

Echoes of the Voice

Cr David Gill said work done by Mornington Peninsula Shire CEO John Baker showed “that there is some, not an understanding I suppose, but some leaning towards what we are suggesting or what I am putting up for us to consider” (“Indigenous names sought for the shire’s 11 new wards” The News 7/11/23). Is this an underhand slap in the face?

Of course, Cr Susan Bissinger thought council was going “totally down the wrong track” and would not support approaching the Bunurong Land Council “without having the full support of the community behind me”.

Are they hoping that the issue will go the way of the Voice to Parliament referendum?

Are these not the same people who would not take a stand on the Voice?

And then there are those who are living on the planet Ork, who think: “As far as I am concerned, we are one, and not black and white.”

Joe Lenzo, Safety Beach

Correction flagged

A letter from Monica Martini, of Mornington (“Homeless, not flags” The News 14/11/21) stated that a flag being flown at Mornington Peninsula Shire Council offices included coloured stripes which “represent MAPS, which is minor-attracted people, which I believe means paedophiles”.

Martini has since told The News that she had “made a mistake there, the purple circle in yellow triangle represents intersex, which is ambiguous really, and I took it to include MAPS”.

Her request for the incorrect statement to be not published was made after printing.

Letters – 300 words maximum and including full name, address and contact number – can be sent to The News, PO Box 588, Hastings 3915 or emailed to: team@mpnews.com.au

First published in the Mornington News – 21 November 2023

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