Letters to the Editor - July 16, 2016

Energy cost woes

HOW Mike Baird and the NSW government can justify their successful appeal against the Australian Energy Regulator's decision to reduce the amount energy companies can charge is beyond me.

By winning this appeal most people's power bills will rise by about 10%.

You'd expect the government to be trying to reduce our bills, wouldn't you?

Not so. This is a case of robbing Peter (us) to pay Paul (the government) to maintain the value of their "poles and wires" lease.

How can the LNP justify this after its colossal scare campaign about the carbon tax with the so-called $100 roasts and all the rest?

The hypocrisy is staggering. And the major parties wonder why people are abandoning them in droves.

Jim Mills, Woolgoolga


Rules for a reason

I WAS disturbed to read in the Advocate (July 13) that an L-plate driver was detected driving at 150kmh on the highway at Woolgoolga.

The L-plate driver's licence was suspended. What about suspending the supervising driver's licence, as well?

It is a great responsibility supervising a learner driver, and to allow them to drive at 150kmh should be classed as a driving offence punishable by suspension of licence.

On page six of the same edition was an article on an NRMA survey of newly licensed or learner drivers which indicated that they had learned bad driving habits from their parents, who usually supervised them.

20% to 40% of those surveyed also said they had observed their supervisors, i.e. parents, speeding, using mobile phones, not indicating etc, when driving themselves.

Along with random breath testing, perhaps we should have random driving tests.

Marion Beer, Toormina


Have the chat

THIS year more than three million Australians will experience depression or anxiety, or both. Today, seven Australians will die by suicide.

It may be someone in your family, a person you work with or a mate on your footy team. You may have noticed something is amiss, but you're not sure if you should say something or mind your own business.

Reaching out to someone you're worried about is often the catalyst for that person starting on the road to recovery.

To help people to have what could be a difficult chat, beyondblue has produced a guide, funded with donations from the Movember Foundation, on how to "have the conversation".

Depression and anxiety won't get better without help - and if left undiagnosed and untreated, these conditions can become disabling or even lead to someone thinking about suicide.

So please, check out our resources and have the conversation.

Georgie Harman, Beyondblue


Looking for a fair go

UNTIL not so long ago, Virgin Australia, for many years, ran an excellent and very well patronised direct flight Saturday service between Coffs Harbour and Melbourne.

So well patronised and so profitable was this route that the smarties at Qantas thought they'd muscle in.

They introduced their own flights on a timetable only minutes different from Virgin's.

Every time Virgin altered its schedule to avoid this attack by Qantas, the latter altered its schedule to again parallel Virgin's.

The result of Qantas' aggressive strategy? Two airlines flying a route with unsustainable loadings.

Virgin ultimately cut its losses and withdrew, leaving the route to its cut-price affiliate Tiger. The only problem with this is that Tiger currently flies an irregular service. Some Saturdays it has a scheduled flight, others it doesn't.

Still, in the face of Tiger's lower prices, Qantas has reaped its just reward.

Its loadings fell further and now it too has withdrawn (CCA 9/7/16).

The benefit to consumers of the Qantas intervention is doubtful. We are now left with Tiger's Saturday service providing lower fares perhaps, but an irregular service.

How much longer Tiger's fares will be reduced now it holds the monopoly on direct flights to Melbourne remains to be seen.

Could I ask that Tiger institute a new regular 52-week-per-year Saturday direct flight to Melbourne - just like the one we enjoyed with Virgin before Qantas' unwelcome intervention?

Karen Poulton, Bruxner Park


A game of great distraction

MY TWO grandchildren have spent some of the school holidays with us and they have barely taken their eyes of their mobile phone screens because they want to catch a Pikachu or a Squirtle or some other animated Pokemon character that pops up on their phones as they walk about in the real world.

We took them to the Big Banana and struggled to even get them out of the car parking area because they said it was a "hot spot" for catching Pokemons. So we sat in the car for almost 10 minutes while they played on their mobiles. When we went inside the Big Banana complex it was the same thing, they were only interested in what was going on their screens.

I understand kids love their mobiles phones and playing games but this new Pokemon craze has taken it to a whole new level of disengagement with their surroundings - and their grandparents.

Well the old saying goes "if you can't beat them join them" so I had a go on my granddaughter's phone. We walked near the jetty together looking at the realistic jetty map on her phone waiting to catch a Pokemon. Then the unthinkable happened, her mobile phone battery died. There was a moment of sheer panic on her face then a few tears.

As a distraction we got ice-cream and had a little walk on the north wall. While she kept glancing at her dead phone, I did manage to get her to enjoy her real surroundings and we even saw a real turtle. Of course when we got back home the phone was straight away plugged into the charger so she could continue her animated childhood.

Hazel Harris, Coffs Harbour

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