Letters to the editor - June 6

Letters to the editor - June 6

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The decision to switch from rail to road transport for grain on Eyre Peninsula was a hot topic among our readers this week.

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RAIL BENEFITS OVERLOOKED

Politicians and their Adelaide consultants and advisers persist with decision-making based on erroneous economic logic about road and rail transport.

They virtually ignore the major differences in energy efficiency, economics of operation and maintenance, noise and emissions and public safety associated with the two modes of bulk commodity transport.

They fail to acknowledge the overall supremacy of rail for long haul high tonnage transport of grain, when complemented by short haul road transport from paddock to silos or bunkers and from silos or bunkers to rail head loading points.

They use arguments that are contradictory and inconsistent. On one hand, they have found hundreds of millions of dollars to bring forward a major upgrade of the rail from Tarcoola to Adelaide, ostensibly to encourage miners.

On the other hand, they will not find $150 million to reinstate and upgrade the Eyre Peninsula rail network to encourage farmers, graziers and potentially tourists.

They are also promising many hundreds of millions for tramway extensions and various rail projects in and around Adelaide.

The justification they present is a need to ease traffic congestion and address road safety issues. But, this logic is not applied in relation to the foreshadowed very large increases in road train traffic on main rural roads and through the streets of Port Lincoln and other EP towns now that rail transport of grain has ceased.

For improved safety on our roads and streets, for less adverse environmental impacts, for more efficient and less expensive transport operations, the Eyre Peninsula rail network should be reinstated and upgraded as soon as possible.

For the realisation of new economic opportunities for EP farming, grazing, tourism and more, it should be connected to the national standard gauge network at Whyalla via a rail link from Kimba through the Sinclair Gap in the Middleback Ranges.

John Scott,

Whyalla Norrie.

ACTIVISTS PROTECT ANIMALS

I find it appalling that under the heading of "trespass", animal activists are grouped with thieves ('Farmers push for protection', Stock Journal, May 2).

What a difference in motivation between an animal activist and a stock thief.

The activist wishes for a kinder world, investigating abuse to animals unfortunate to be caught up in modern animal practices.

His or her interest is for the welfare of other beings. The thief is motivated by mere self interest at the expense of stock owners.

I support a transition from animal husbandry into plant-based agriculture - for our sakes, the sake of our children and grandchildren and for less animal suffering. Suffering is suffering regardless of the species.

Alice Shore,

Birdwood.

PRIVATISATION A 'FAILURE'

The closure of the railway lines on Eyre Peninsula is further evidence that privatisation has been a failure.

If $25 million can be found for road maintenance, why not the same amount for the railways?

In 1960 we had about 290,000 farmers.

About half that number have left the industry.

The farm debt has risen to about $60 billion. Agriculture is about culture first, not economics first. Unrepayable debt, crushing taxation and the rising cost of living in hurting thousands of people.

Tom Dolling,

Port Lincoln.

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