Bega District Letters to the Editor, October 27

BACK TO THE BUSH: A group of caring locals assist with the release into the wild of a koala rescued from Wapengo Lake recently. Picture: John Marsh
BACK TO THE BUSH: A group of caring locals assist with the release into the wild of a koala rescued from Wapengo Lake recently. Picture: John Marsh

Koalas a poor second

While the release of the koala taken into care may be a happy occasion for humans (BDN, 20/10), the outcome for the koala may not be so happy.

It is generally accepted that koalas are weaned when they are 12 months old. By 18 months young koalas have been kicked out of their mothers home range and have to find somewhere else to live. At this time, the mortality of young koalas can be high, if suitable habitat is not available.

In the last few areas koalas are found on the South Coast, all of the suitable habitat is occupied. So young koalas can only establish a home range if another koala dies.

This was the second opportunity for the OE&H to radio collar a koala and find out what happens to it after being released. As this did not occur, suggestions that the koala is now safe need to be taken with a grain of salt. Similarly, the notion that anyone can identify suitable koala habitat just by looking at it, is difficult to swallow. Of course if there is someone working with the OE&H capable of this feat they would be readily identifiable, due to the large wet nose.

The NSW Scientific Committee determined that extensive canopy die-back, currently returning to coastal forests, is the greatest remaining threat to koalas. This determination contrasts with the more recent OE&H claims that wildfire and climate change are the greatest threats.

The problem for koalas is that the NSW government is determined to maintain native forest logging. Acknowledging and addressing the greatest threat to koalas isn't consistent with it's determination, so koalas come a poor second.

Robert Bertram, Bermagui

Council must act now

The NBN was doomed from the beginning. Forget about the Prime Minister trying to tell us the problems associated with the NBN relate to service/connection problems or telco retailers not selling or advising of the right product. The blame game is well and truly in play.

The ALP proposed a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) model. This means fibre was connected end to end and the old copper cables obsolete. It was an expensive option but provided a quality network with a long life span.

The Coalition changed the game and went for Fibre to the Node (FTTN) model. Essentially it is fibre for most of the distance from the exchange. However the last bit, sometimes a kilometre, was connected to the old copper cable. It is substantially cheaper as the final cabling to the premises can be costly. 

The assumptions made with the FTTN technology was that the old copper cables were serviceable. This is not the case. Ever since Telstra was privatised decades ago with competitors also accessing the company’s copper network, only bare bones maintenance was carried out. Essentially the copper network is now in a third world state and has had its day.

Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) it is a compromise between FTTP and FTTN. Fibre is installed all the way to the customer’s premises and is connected to the existing copper lead in cable. For most people this is less than 100 metres and the copper cabling in the street becomes obsolete.

NBN has recently trialed the FTTC technology in Coburg Victoria with the results indicating it is a much better solution with impressive speeds. We must act now as the NBN is coming in 2018 with FTTN planned.

I ask the Bega Valley Shire Council to take the lead on this issue. Recently the Bellingen Shire in NSW approached NBN directly and secured a deal at no cost to rate payers for FTTC to be installed. There is no reason why we cannot do the same.

Due to terrain many of us are a long way from the exchange, therefore speeds are harder to achieve. Also, if like me, you have endless maintenance carried out on ageing copper cabling in your street we need to fear the worst.

Colin Field, Tura Beach