editors letterEditor Nathan Johnston

THE State Government has launched a ‘consultation process’ for coal seam gas mining in Victoria, but you just get the feeling it’s only delaying the inevitable.
There is an election coming up, after all, and given the general population’s overwhelming concerns about onshore gas mining, allowing drilling to start before November’s poll would be quite silly.
The main benefit of CSG mining is the creation of jobs, and given the (economic) climate, it’s an undeniably critical factor.
The energy produced, though, is secondary. Apparently there’s enough coal in the valley for another 500 years, or for a cleaner option, there’s enough sun and unproductive land in the north west of the state to build the world’s biggest solar stations.
Instead of backing a power source no-one wants, how about a major infrastructure projects that would create thousands of jobs and be supported by the public?
The push for the return of rail to South Gippsland and other parts of the state is building some serious momentum.
It wouldn’t be cheap – neither was the desalination plant – but at least it will be used.
The urban sprawl is heading in this direction. Given a choice between living inland or by the coast, Australians will always go for the seaside option, so why not make it easier to commute to this part of the world.
If the desalination plant was built for the future, so too would be the return of rail services.