Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
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Despite NIMBYs, build in the existing suburbs
The warning by experts about more city fringe (or cringe?) development (The Age, 8/11) needs to be heeded. Current development, particularly in the west and south-east of Melbourne, is crowded, lacking in essential services and in many cases not suitable for climate-change impacts. Houses are built with minimal focus on sustainability, often poorly executed and rely on cars for transportation. The need for affordable housing – close to schools, employment and public transport – can be better served by development in existing suburbs within an eight- to 10-kilometre radius of the CBD. However, given that many of those households have the NIMBY attitude, little real progress will occur.
Denise Stevens, Healesville
The ‘cram and stack’ policy has been a failure
Building yet more high-density housing over low-density infrastructure has been proven not to work. The bungles and blowouts on the Andrews government’s poorly thought out and rolled out Big Build has further added to the decline. Better outcomes and better-quality housing could be achieved by properly examining the option of regionalisation, and many of us could be better off. With surveys showing many people are concerned with the ongoing “cram and stack” policy across Melbourne – that is, increased congestion, pollution and lower-quality dwellings – a fresh approach is sorely needed.
Mathew Knight, Malvern East
Many of us fear a city with 9million people
The planning experts’ warning against more city fringe growth is warranted, but not their prescription of denser residential development in middle suburbs. Both are unpalatable solutions to the housing problem.
Your article suggests that dealing with Melbourne’s growth may be a top concern in the state election, but does not ask whether the growth is desirable. The forecast that Melbourne might have 9million people by 2050 truly scares me, as it probably does others who dream of unclogged roads, an end to land clearing, and a permanent solution to the housing crisis. My vote goes to the candidate who questions the growth forecast or at least promotes debate about it.
Ian Penrose, Kew
A leisurely river stroll spoilt by blaring music
I have enjoyed walking along the banks of the Yarra for many years, whether in the more natural areas (even as close by as Yarra Bend) or in the CBD. However, the latter has become so noise-polluted that this pleasure has ceased. Floating restaurants and riverside venues seem to have unlimited scope to blast their choice of music to passersby. If people want to pay to eat, drink and listen to the music in these venues, then that is their choice. But it is not the choice of those who want simply to walk or sit and watch both the river and the world pass by.
I have no idea whether any noise limits are imposed or monitored on those who rent CBD riverside venues, but I lodge a plea that this should be done. Major European cities have similar attractive riverside or floating restaurants that are a delight to visit for a drink or a meal, but in my experience they do not impose their noise choices on the passing parade.
Alice Glover, Thornbury
Safe, fun, family entertainment for Melburnians
Well done, Melbourne City Council, on planning a spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display. In previous years I have waited with excited crowds: mostly families. No alcohol, no violence, just fun and anticipation. Yes, as your correspondent says, some people are doing it hard – “Insensitive and wasteful” (Letters, 8/11). This is all the more reason for the council to provide an evening of free entertainment, available to everyone, something uplifting for families to enjoy together.
June Smith, Donvale
Our world is degrading
The people who are planning Melbourne’s future are in a bubble isolated from reality. That is the reality of climate change, increasing pollution, more floods, droughts, fires, plant and animal extinctions, and the potential lack of food and water.
The driver of these issues is the increasing number of humans. The growth dogma is entrenched in this plan. When will there be a reconciliation between economic planning and the fact that we live in a world with finite resources – a world that is rapidly degrading?
Leigh Ackland, Deepdene
Sharing our wealth
Re “I’ve never seen Aussies so anxious” (Comment, 8/11). It is a shame that Nick Bryant does not join the dots in his article, partly about the threat of climate change and partly regretting that we are no longer sure of ever-growing prosperity. Australia is one of the richest countries in the world. Surely what we need is not even more prosperity, but a fairer and more equal distribution of the abundant wealth we already have.
Jill Baird, North Melbourne
What was AFL thinking?
The decision to play the AFLW semi-final between Richmond and North Melbourne at Punt Road on Saturday at 1.40pm (Sport, 8/11) – with the Australian national women’s soccer team playing Sweden at 2.45pm at AAMI Park – is an astonishingly bad one.
Those heading to the Matildas’ match will not be able to attend the AFLW match, and fewer than half the members of the competing clubs – and no other fans – will be able to attend because of Punt Road’s very low capacity (2000).
Yes, Richmond deserves a home final, but so did Melbourne last weekend and that game was played at Ikon Park rather than Casey Fields. Nobody had to miss out because they couldn’t buy a ticket. Moreover, men’s teams, like Geelong, have regularly had to play finals away from their home ground. Whoever made this decision needs to rethink it or look for a different line of work.
Lindsay Zoch, Mildura
Reality check for the AFL
How wonderful to hear AFLW players and commentators castigate the AFL for scheduling the semi-final on the same day that the Matildas play Sweden.
The AFL, and the VFL before it, has always felt threatened by international football, and have hindered, and sabotaged “soccer” football in Melbourne. Aided and abetted by some journalists and politicians who have rolled over to political pressure, the AFL has now bitten off more than it can ever chew.
It will be instructive to see what happens when the women’s World Cup games are held in Australia next year. We here in Melbourne have been denied later stage games because of the AFL’s intransigence with ground availability. The “greatest game” is about to get a reality check.
Mike Pantzopoulos, Ashburton
Aiding first home buyers
Income tax works on a sliding scale so theoretically those who earn more, pay more. Currently there are stamp duty exemptions for first home buyers if the property is under a certain value. Would it be beneficial to our community if we also allowed this group to pay a fixed-term, lower interest rate?
It seems those who are most adversely affected by increasing interest rates are the most vulnerable in Australia’s housing market. The very people who are trying to buy homes are being forced to rent instead. Rents are also rising, making it even more difficult for this group to save and get ahead financially.
Kathy Russell, Brighton East
Hypocrisy over gambling
Re “Crown fined $120 million over ’real harm‴ (The Age, 8/11). Who will foot the bill in the end, the patrons? The government points its finger at Crown for failing to provide safe gaming practices, yet refuses to admit it is also “responsible” for the problems gambling has on our community.
The government fails to protect the community from this insidious pastime because it is “addicted” to the revenue that gambling provides. Shame on both Crown and the government.
Kim Clarke, Thornbury
Surely it’s a world issue
Why do Republican voters in the US think it is the Democrats who have caused their economic woes? Do they really think Republicans can turn this around? Do they collectively not notice a global trend?
Rosie Elsass, Brighton
The ‘win-win’ answers
The probable responses by “Trump Republicans” on the mid-term elections: We won despite voter fraud/we lost because of voter fraud. Never give up on the “big lie/conspiracy theory”.
Harry Kowalski, Ivanhoe
Confidence or delusion?
Re your headline, “North Korea says missile tests were practice to attack South, US” (The Age, 8/11). Has Kim Jong-un been watching Peter Sellers in the film The Mouse That Roared?
Donald Hirst, Prahran East
Promises but no visions
So, we are being offered a holiday from stamp duty, free school lunches, expenditure on aged care, new hospitals, cost of living reduction schemes and the list is growing. The underlying assumption is that our votes can be bought with the equivalent of trinkets and baubles.
Irrespective of which party we support, we need a coherent vision of the sort of Australia our politicians want to create. Only then can we logically assess the true value of these offerings. Otherwise the election is all about greed and self-interest as expressed by the most powerful pressure groups. Are our political candidates committed to an egalitarian society in which wealth and opportunity are distributed across all sectors while caring for the vulnerable members of our society? If this is not the objective, I would like to know what is.
Clelia McCutcheon, Elsternwick
Let’s vote for integrity
Well done to The Age for maintaining pressure on both main parties regarding political integrity and transparency, one of the top priorities for voters at this election. There is a third option for electorates with independent candidates, sending a strong message that we have had enough of self-serving, obscure decisions and politicisation of the public service. The new model is working federally, with crossbenchers enhancing integrity, climate, workplace and other critical legislation. Let’s grab the chance to replicate it at a state level.
Caroline Leslie, Hawthorn
When pollies don’t answer
Of course people are entitled to refuse to answer questions. Even when they are asked many times. Such behaviour, however, forces their questioners to draw on their own inferences.
Brian Marshall, Ashburton
Look back with regret
Let us assume this letter is dated November 9, 2032. “If only society had acted more responsibly 10years ago, we would not be experiencing such extreme weather and climate now.“
Graeme Walters, Mount Waverley
Indoor drying, mould-free
Your correspondent says “mould is an ever increasing problem and this practice [drying washing indoors when the weather is bad] exacerbates it” (Letters, 8/11).
During winter I dried washing on a clothes horse in the living room in front of the gas-log fire for a family of six for many years, and never had one spot of mould on the walls or ceiling. The electric tumble dryer is only used to finish off bed linen, towels or garments that have not fully dried on the outside washing line.
Joy Hayman, Blackburn North
Entry double standard
I am gravely concerned at the hypocrisy of the former federal government: while it denied entry to persons escaping torture, discrimination, and war, it allowed drug dealers and sex traffickers into our nation. It says something about the Coalition’s priorities.
Warren Thomas, Ivanhoe
Of Bibles and bibles
Your correspondent (Letters, 8/11) corrects Age crossword compiler RJ, but needs to check on definitions. Bible (with a lower case “b”) means an authoritative book. This, then, distinguishes it from Bible. I would suggest that is not RJ who needs to branch out.
Ian Grandy, Nunawading
Pay all teachers more
Addressing teacher shortages by providing them with administrative assistants and respecting teachers by listening to them? (Letters, 8/11)? Sorry, but that is just too simple. Teachers are effective already in keeping the required “administrivia”. Do they want to add a step in their duties by relaying to an admin assistant what needs to be recorded?
How about showing more respect by attracting more teachers to the service with a better wage? So instead of paying for extra administrative staff, pay more to all teachers.
Paul Gooley, Ringwood East
Sailing may not appeal
There is another angle on women in sailing besides the perspective given by Sue Ingham – “As long as Jessica Watson is exceptional, sailing remains a men’s club” (The Age, 8/11). Sometimes what we see in the world results from choices freely made by adults.
Women massively outnumber men in gymnastics and equestrian sport – but it is unlikely they have in any way organised that. Consider also that the first all-female crew competed in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in 1975. Any enforcement of traditional roles in sailing seems to have been unsuccessful for a very long time. Sailing may be a boys’ club, but it is equally likely that women simply find other sports more attractive.
Alun Breward, Malvern East
Towards safer roads
As a cyclist and car driver, I urge all cyclists to wear a hi-vis shirt. The trend to wearing dark gear, and not carrying lights on bikes, is putting lives at risk unnecessarily. Motorists, please look out for cyclists and don’t drape your right arm outside car windows. Steering with just the left hand is both dangerous and illegal.
Andrew Trembath, Blackburn
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Re “bet with mates”. Could any ad stoop lower than to encourage men to pressure their friends to gamble?
Joan Peverell, Malvern
The establishment of legal casinos was to clean up what exactly?
Gerry Lonergan, Reservoir
Re the “Aegean task” (8/11). No doubt Hercules too would have preferred a seaside visit to his Augean stables. What difference a vowel makes.
John Davis, Wangaratta
The Aegean Sea couldn’t possible be as filthy as Australia’s immigration and visa mess.
Stuart Robson, Glen Waverley
Re the “integrity issue with the containment fence”, maybe Taronga Zoo was “ly-en”.
Steve Barrett, Glenbrook
Thank you for keeping the comics page. A bright spot that lightens the day.
Alex Risk, Geelong West
Instead of increased wages in return for increased labour productivity, I see increased profits and bonuses for CEOs.
Rita Thorpe, Coburg
Since Oz holds the record for revolving-door PMs, we can scarcely throw stones at the UK (8/11) even if it is a runner-up.
Tris Raouf, Hadfield
Putin is a crafty old fox who, so far, has been able to outfox all the Western leaders.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency
The greatest threat to world peace is not a Putin or a Xi but a Trump.
Geoff Champion, Mount Dandenong
If Merlino were Labor leader, and running, it would make my decision which party to vote for much easier.
Ross Barker, Lakes Entrance
Andrews is lucky the opposition doesn’t have a more electable leader than Guy. Otherwise he could be in trouble.
John Walsh, Watsonia
Will Matthew Guy be the subject of his promised IBAC hearings?
Richard Hughes, Woodend
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