Talking points: This week’s letters to the editor

Cleaning contract solution is plain & simple

Here’s a radical idea for state and local government institutions: cut out the middleman and hire your own cleaning staff. 

If Shire councils and TAFE colleges can hire their own administrative and professional staff, how difficult could it be to hire cleaning staff directly rather than contracting out this important but elementary job? 

Is it simple ideology that drives government outsourcing, some misconception that private enterprise is more efficient, more economical or better at squeezing workers? 

The first clue that outsourcing is suspect is when there are additional non-productive, non-cleaning personnel in between the government institution and the actual workers. If we just need the toilets cleaned, why do we require an additional bunch of directors and administrators to make it happen? 

The solution is blindingly obvious and I offer it to all government institutions free of charge:

1. Place an advertisement on one of the Facebook community noticeboards seeking cleaning staff. 

2. Hire the cleaners. 

3. Problem solved.

Tim Hartnett, Margaret River

Just a crazy thought, if a local reputable company was given the contract there wouldn’t be any of these issues? Just maybe? – Shane Guthrie

There appear to be a number of workplace violations. ..employees need to file official complaints with the Fair Work Ombudsman. 

Pleased to see the Shire will be investigating as they are ultimately responsible. - Barbara Maidment

So much for support local business..... what a joke. - Rhyan Shapkaris

Augusta’s Colour Patch Cafe

When did some members of our community become so bad-mannered around discussion of local issues with those who have lived in this area for years?

A couple of locals voiced some perfectly reasonable concerns about the proposed development of the Colour Patch Cafe in Augusta and are subject to a public rant rubbishing and denigrating them as "people standing with pitchforks screaming" who will supposedly drive us to drink! (Nic Peterkin, 6/2). 

For what its worth I don't see any pressing need to redevelop the Augusta foreshore around Colour Patch - its a very pleasant spot already and already attracts plenty of visitors and locals alike.

I would suggest that new developments in the town such as restaurants and bars would be better directed to the Augusta Boat Harbour - a recently developed facility which currently seems to be rather under-used to me.

Plenty of parking there and no nearby neighbours to disturb. 

If anywhere is "screaming" for an upmarket restaurant/bar/tourist attracting business development I would have thought the foreshore around the Augusta boat harbour was the more obvious target. 

Gail Gifford, Osmington

I am responding to Nic Peterkin’s letter (6/2) about the Colour Patch café because it was so disparaging of two previous letter writers.

There is no merit in rubbishing other people’s opinions or values. 

I read the letters Nic was referring to and they both gave reasonable arguments against the proposal.

I don’t think progress can be measured by how many bars or fancy restaurants we have or even how much money can be made from tourism.

Surely it’s more about our collective ability to be respectful and considerate of others regardless of our differences, and to co-operate to ensure the best quality of life for everyone.

Regarding the proposed bar – should a bar be located in a family area? Although alcohol is so socially acceptable that it’s a part of Australian culture, the fact remains that it is a mood altering substance – a drug.

Way too many people, including children and women, have been victims of alcohol related violence and abuse.

Some people do not feel safe or comfortable around bars.

Should they (and anyone who doesn’t want to be bothered by people under the influence) have to go somewhere else?

Regarding tourism in general – I live in Margaret River and I often get so fed up with the congestion and problems here that I think about moving somewhere quieter (like Augusta!).

Do the majority of Augusta residents want more tourists?

More is not always better. It is the more, more, more mentality that drives the destruction of the environment. And tourism contributes to CO2 levels and hence climate change. Should we be promoting it?

Would it not be more forward thinking to invest in more sustainable industries such as energy efficient housing (see Peter Little’s letter Jan 30) or clean energy?

 And how well will the tourist industry manage when the next financial crash happens? People may not be able to afford to travel but locals will all still need to eat.

Fish and chips, anyone?

Lorraine Toone

The Colour patch issue highlights the need to continue forward thinking planning by the Augusta Margaret River Shire. Planning that includes all sectors of our community.

There is no need to make money at the expense of the quiet enjoyment of neighbours.

Why interfere with the already established family area?

The neighbours near the foreshore are already extremely accommodating when their front yards are over run by the increasing popular mega events. This includes picking up the bottle tops etc.

When you take an aerial perspective of the whole landscape there is plenty of scope to cater for all needs without cramping all attractions into one corner.

The Shire is to be congratulated for the amazing new Augusta Marina.

There is plenty of infrastructure and parking there and the shire could really help local business if they allocated more commercial property there.

Make it possible for investors to create their innovative businesses and imaginative restaurants in this amazing place. 

This incredible setting has inspiring scenery and everything possible to meet the needs of the tourists and the top-notch sector.

If the patrons want to eat abalone they don’t even have to go far to get it.

Abalone will be virtually processed on the restaurant doorstep. 

Get some local development done at the Augusta Marina before some hyper salivating multinational corporation gets stuck into it and all the potential dollars get sucked overseas.

Jill Walker

A house for the Margaret River region…

Down Bussell Highway through the vineyards I approach the border into the Augusta Margaret River (AMR) Region with its welcoming ocean signage.

As I make the crossing a glance to the left tells me I am now in cow territory. It is October and the freshly cut paddocks have become green again after yielding up their hay and silage. An idyllic scene.

But alas my old mind has faded and my new mind now blinds my vision. 

One cow equals one house it keeps telling me.

I am in climate zone 54 a funny designated zone stretching all the way up the coast to Mandurah. Not quite relevant but it is what they originally gave us to work out the energy star rating system for housing stock in the AMR region.

Let me explain about the house.

According to the six star rating (the worst star rating we are allowed to build in climate zone 54) a 240 square metre house will require around 11kWh/day to heat and cool. Over the course of one year, using Collie coal generated power, our house will have created around 3 tonne of CO2-e.

Let me explain about the cow.

A cow can expel around 95 per cent of its methane output from belching. In a mature cow this can be up to 400grm of CH4, (methane) per day. Methane calculated at around 21 (although recently revised upward to 32 times) times more potent than CO2 remains in the atmosphere for around 12 years. 

It is mostly removed from the atmosphere by chemical reaction. So providing our herd of livestock remains constant then the methane equation remains constant. Over the course of one year our one cow will emit around 3 tonne of CO2-e.

The AMR region’s housing stock sits at around 6000 units. However, not all houses are 240 sq.m., not all houses are 6 star rated (some are higher and some lower down to 1.5 stars) not all houses have PV’s, are built out of the same materials and not all houses in the AMR region are occupied etc.

It is hard to get the actual figures for livestock in the AMR region but previous figures obtained from the Agricultural Department indicated around 50,000 bovine head (I have yet to include sheep). 

Of this number not all bovine are of mature age producing similar amounts of CH4, not all bovine are raised in similar environments and we do not know the age spread of the overall herd etc.

However ‘ad hoc’ analysis shows.

Yes one cow equals one house.

Yes there are approximately 50,000 bovine and 6000 houses in the AMR region.

To help reflect upon CO2-e emissions we need to develop differing perspectives from all sectors of the environment and we need to find useful ways to reframe the old world to enable us to see the new one.

Peter Little

Former director of the Housing Research Information Centre of Western Australia.

Airbnb helps those trying to get by...

To whoever disagrees with Airbnb, 

It's helped myself and my wife afford our mortgage by renting out our granny flat. 

Especially after she lost her job. 

We don't have millions of dollars in property like a lot of people around these parts but we are just trying to make a living. 

It's tough around here. 

People say that Airbnb pay no tax and don't help anyone - but they've helped us a lot more than the hotel industry every has.

Mike Gordon

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