Re: ‘Scrutiny of candidates and their platforms’ (Letters, September 28).

Neil Austin was right to point out the great potential for regenerative agriculture in the shire but utterly wrong on every other claim in his recent letter.

His claim of “researching with due diligence” is misplaced as he has almost all his “facts” wrong!

For starters, he is wrong to claim the shire rates are very high. Due diligence would necessitate doing a comparison with similar shires, which is the purpose of the website:

This shows South Gippsland rates are about the same or at worst only marginally more than comparable rural areas and also show the amount South Gippsland spends on providing services per household is actually significantly higher than most comparable rural shires. It also shows the shire’s debt levels and interest payments are relatively very low.

Second, Mr Austin is wrong to say the shire councillors’ divisions and arguments were caused by “ideological factions”.

Council’s role in social housing primarily arises from its planning and zoning functions, which determine how land and services are allocated. Through this role, council has a direct impact on the price, availability and type of housing being built.

As for his problems with a “Green” agenda, it is clear Mr Austin has not a clue what Greens’ policies or agenda actually are. He should start his “research with due diligence” by actually reading the policy statements and looking at the Facebook pages from the Greens’ candidates that have nominated. He could also go on to the Greens’ websites to look up their actual policies in more depth.

Mr Austin’s allegation that “green” programs… “would see farmers ludicrously requiring a planning permit to plough their ground for planting a summer crop” is a fantasy.

He “doubts that chasing Carbon Credit Trading is appropriate for farmers in this shire”.

Wrong again!

He not only misinterprets the work of Professor Eckard at Melbourne Uni, he also ignores that the world’s leading rate of generation of Soil Carbon Credits is happening right here in West Gippsland. This is using the amazing ‘Soilkee’ system developed in Drouin in our neighbouring Baw Baw Shire.

South Gippsland once grew the world’s tallest trees. Our great soils and rainfall combined with extensive areas of overgrazed and compacted pastures has the potential to sequester more carbon per hectare than almost any other regions, as well as restore on-farm biodiversity. The change in farming practices the Carbon Credits schemes are driving will be good for Gippsland farmers and good for the planet.

Richard Nankin, organic farmer and proud Greater Gippsland Greens member, Allambee South.

Editor: Edited due to space.