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Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
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The importance of well-constructed homes
Hooray for an investment in social housing by the Victorian government. Can I beg the powers that be to avoid building ‘‘look like’’ homes. Get advice from world-class designers and architects, and ensure the materials used are of good quality and that the projects are integrated properly within their environment. Attractive, well-built properties will encourage a sense of pride and independence in the residents. Also, after a period of time, can renters be given a low-cost option to buy their homes, a common practice in other countries?
Carol Oliver, Carlton
A far-sighted policy which will lead to a fairer society
What a wonderful announcement from Dan Andrews – $5.3billion for social and affordable housing. Twelve-thousand new homes, a quarter in country Victoria. Thousands of homes for people with special needs. This is one of the most progressive social and economic policies we have heard in years. It will create jobs now and a better, fairer society in the future.
Paul Reid, Kyneton
Let’s opt for solar power and proper insulation
While it is fantastic that the government will invest in public housing, let us hope it is built under the highest energy rating possible. As a financial counsellor, too often I have worked with clients whose energy bills are exorbitant due to poorly constructed public housing. As a result, requests are made to energy companies to write off the debt or reduce it to a manageable level which can only impact the profits of these companies.
Properly insulated homes with solar power will help reduce the financial burden on those who are living in poverty. The government should also retrofit existing properties with appropriate insulation. The cost now will be a saving for taxpayers in years to come.
Bruce McMillan, Grovedale
Everyone deserves safe and affordable housing
Victoria has long been the state with the least proportion of social housing. The problems in association with COVID-19 have revealed and exacerbated this situation. Housing Minister Richard Wynne says the government will work with social housing providers, the private sector and local government to ‘‘change lives’’. I will watch with interest to see real results. A rich and civilised society like Australia should be able to house everyone adequately.
Gael Wilson, Port Melbourne
Spend level crossing-removal money on homes
So the Premier is going to pump $5.3billion over four years into social housing. Big deal. He is spending that amount on making it easier for cars that pollute to get across railway tracks. This government needs to get its priorities right. It should be 10 times that amount.
Martin Baggott, Camberwell
Many are desperately waiting for somewhere to live
Without anywhere to call home, just surviving becomes a challenge. COVID-19 highlighted for broad swathes of our community what it means to be denied a basic standard of living, alienated from families and friends. Fears for what each day may hold were exacerbated for those with inadequate accommodation or nowhere to live.
Every day in Victoria almost 50,000 people live in hope of a call advising they will have a new home. Every day the phone does not ring for 99.9per cent of them. Community housing providers are proud of the faith government has shown in them by giving them responsibility for delivering the majority of this unparalleled growth in social housing.
Lesley Dredge, CEO, Community Housing Industry Association
There is a link between secure homes and our health
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt must have missed Daniel Andrews’ announcement about building social housing. Secure homes improve people’s health. It is time to make that connection.
Jill Bryant, Malvern East
In the family interest
If just one in five office workers keep working from home, post-pandemic, $540million will be lost to CBD businesses (The Age, 16/11). Consequently major organisations including NAB, ANZ, PwC and Telstra are rushing to sign up to a City of Melbourne ‘‘CEO pledge’’ to return at least 70per cent of their workforce to the city centre.
PwC and Telstra alongside companies like Officeworks have been touted as leading the way, particularly in assisting men to take on a much greater share in parenting through flexible work arrangements. The pandemic has turbo-charged men’s involvement with kids’ care and schooling.
Men and women now want choice in working from home because they have seen that it works in their family’s interest. Big business should not be too quick to pledge to fill up empty office space. Flexible work practices will work to their advantage too, making them more attractive, efficient and happier workplaces.
Mike Kelly, Queenscliff
Danger in the masses
Lord mayor Sally Capp and many business leaders want us to get back to normal business. However, the number and types of businesses in the CBD and shopping centres rely on masses of people. I have yet to see the likes of Capp explain how social distancing can be achieved when they spruik the desirability of a return to these numbers in the short term.
Such a move would be against the advice of many health professionals. This includes the Australian Medical Association (The Age, 18/11) which has called on the federal government to abandon the final step of its reopening framework, giving the green light to large gatherings and a mass return to workplaces.
Chris Larson, Oakleigh
Keep them out of hotels
So much for all the criticism of Victoria over its botched hotel quarantine. I thought states such as South Australia would have learnt from our mistakes. New arrivals to Victoria should be tested at the airport and not taken to hotels if they are positive. Army barracks or old immigration centres could be used as quarantine bases (much like Howard Springs facility). The people they are travelling with should be taken there too.
Joy Campbell, Warranwood
Keep them out of cities
Hotel quarantine should only be in remote areas and the defence force should be in charge. Those supporting them should be located nearby so if there is an outbreak, it can be quickly contained. When returned travellers are in city hotels, the staff come from across the city so the virus can spread within the entire community, impacting on millions of people.
Melbourne was in lockdown for months. We cannot keep going in and out of lockdowns and, given how contagious this virus is, it is likely to spread again no matter how vigilant the hotel quarantine processes are. Adelaide is a prime example of this.
Michelle Woods, Carnegie
In support of face masks
If South Australia does have a new strain of COVID-19, largely asymptomatic and infectious within only one or two days, I hope Dan Andrews does not relax the mask-wearing rules on Sunday.
Dave Bath, Glen Iris
Very risky complacency
Like Marta Cwiek in Ocean Grove (Letters, 17/11), I had the same experience in Sorrento on Monday. About a third of pedestrians either had their masks below their noses, or even their chins, or were not wearing one at all. I got back in the car and left.
Helen Walker, Rosebud
The problem with masks
Martin Hengeveld, thank you for ‘‘A triple whammy’’ (Letters, 16/11) which offered support to us, the hearing impaired. I agree that social distancing limits our understand of any spoken words. A mask wearer offers muffled sound for us at best. No lip reading behind masks makes discourse nigh impossible. To add to this conversational nightmare, our hearing aids are likely to fly off and be lost forever when we remove our masks.
Maree Green, Hawthorn
It’s doubly true
The Australian flag has long been the symbol of an obsequious relationship with a monarch that we lack the confidence to sever. When worn as a face mask, it is both figuratively and actually lickspittling.
Maurie Trewhella, Hoppers Crossing
Delicate art of pivoting
Sole traders, small business, hospitality have all managed to pivot in COVID-19 times. The state and federal governments need to pivot also, from construction to conservation, from sustainable growth to growing our sustainability.
Rosemary Bates, Wonga Park
Put the environment first
Re. the article on economic recovery – ‘‘Drive to revisit population growth’’ (The Age, 16/11). I would prefer to see some environmental recovery. No environment, no economy. Besides, the concept of the GDP and the economy are here to serve society, not the other way round. Australia’s population is reducing: that is fantastic.
Geza Kovacs, Porepunkah
A question for Andrews
Further to Garry Meller’s suggestion that Joe Biden ask Daniel Andrews how he got COVID-19 infections down from 700 a day to zero (Letters, 16/11). Perhaps the President-elect might also ask him what caused his state to suffer 90per cent of all Australian COVID deaths when it only has 25per cent of national population.
Thomas Hogg, East Melbourne
Sage advice for O’Brien
Doesn’t Michael O’Brien know when to keep his mouth firmly shut? Given Dan Andrews has done pretty well despite federal political pressure to get our infection rates down, all O’Brien seems to do is mouth off at the most inopportune moments. One wonders how long the Liberals will let him linger. Is there no one else in the state Coalition scene?
John Morris, Lorne
Courage and integrity
It was reassuring to read the successful outcome for Bob Cummings regarding the brutality, including sexual abuse, which he experienced for so many years as a child under state and church care (The Age, 17/11).
He feel validated, as he states, by the settlement reached. It goes to the great strength of his character that even after such suffering and mistreatment, he chose to work in a field to ensure that other young people were protected.
In part this highlights why he is a not a victim to the evil individuals and the disgraceful systems in which they worked. His courage and integrity, along with that of other survivors, is to be commended.
Catherine Healy, Brighton
The love still blossoms
In the eleventh century, King Canute supposedly attempted to stop the tide coming in. In the 21st century, Malcolm Turnbull attempted to stop ministers and their staff from having sex with each other by introducing the bonk ban. Neither had a hope in hell of working.
Chris Burgess, Port Melbourne
Better to abide by ban
Federal ministers transgressing the so-called bonk ban might suffer a case of continuity interruptus once their local preselection committee has had its say.
Richard Clarke, Malvern
Who are my councillors?
There have been many thousands of words in your paper about elections taking place far, far away. Yet there has been very little reporting on our local council elections which are (believe it or not) of interest to many of us. Local news, please.
Ann Ritchie, Bellfield
Importance of languages
La Trobe University will drop the teaching of Hindi because, it says, it is no longer financially viable to teach it (and other subjects). Hindi is the third most commonly spoken language in the world (after English and Mandarin Chinese). It is spoken by about four times as many people as either Indonesian or Japanese. It is the mother tongue of a growing number of Indian immigrants to Australia.
If our government is serious about encouraging the learning of Asian languages, why does it not make it possible for our universities to teach the second most important Asian language by providing sufficient funding? Or is its encouragement of the learning of Asian languages just typically hypocritical waffle?
David Cunningham, Castlemaine
Aiming for a premiership
Collingwood fans are rightfully upset at the appalling treatment of Adam Treloar, but they must be envious of his future. Treloar went to Collingwood because he wanted to be part of a premiership team. Now he has that opportunity.
Rob Prowd, Box Hill South
Focus on the every day
Thank you, Leon Zembekis, for your great tribute to your late mother, Fotini – ‘‘Life was an adventure in the backyard’’ (Obituaries, 16/11). It is an entertaining as well as educational story of resilience. I hope to see more celebrations of ‘‘everyday people’’ in The Age. Well done.
Wilma Hills, Echuca
Perfect time to reform
Noel Whittaker, in his reply to a reader’s question, points out that the incentive for negative gearing has virtually disappeared (Money, 17/11). Now would be a perfect time to abolish it or reform it to remove the pernicious consequences we have observed over the years.
Robbert Veerman, Buxton
Yet more narcissism
Pulling US troops out of Afghanistan in the middle of peace negotiations – ‘‘Trump asked aides about Iran strike’’ (World, 18/11) – would be an astonishing gift to the Taliban. Maybe Donald Trump is suffering from post-COVID cognitive problems, or maybe it is the problem we have known about all along: being president is narcissist nirvana.
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick
AND ANOTHER THING
The Age Matt Golding Potus Cartoon for 18th November 2020Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Is Trump refusing to concede so he can hand out the vaccine to Americans and then claim this as his legacy?
Eric Kopp, Flinders
Trump’s memoirs: Humpty Trumpty Had a Great Fall, Liar Liar or How to Fool 70 Million People While Playing Golf.
Susan Deason, Fitzroy North
Will Trump’s exit from the White House be similar to that of Assange’s removal from Ecuador’s embassy? Feet first.
David Lyall, Mount Eliza
Dan, Victorians have worked so hard. Close the border with SA as other states have done.
Harley Gollings, Brighton
Is the late arrival of the Metro Tunnel boring machine due to extreme weather, a trespasser on the tracks or a sick passenger at Richmond Station?
Philip Field, Belgrave
Hurrah, no New Year’s Eve fireworks. The money will be better spent and animals will be safe.
Merle Mitchell, Mount Eliza
The airport rail link could be more aptly described as pie in the sky (17/11). The new rail loop is a pipe dream.
Paul Davies, Frankston
Federal Labor: Thank god the pandemic is over and we can return to more important things, like factional subterfuge.
Ben Redwood, South Yarra
What about those who committed suicide as a result of their robo-debt?
Walter Valles, Clayton South
Oh dear. Poor, smug South Australians.
Ranee Mischlewski, Box Hill South
Let’s ask Deborah Cheetham to write our anthem.
June Marks, Gembrook
Being a sports nerd, I’ve always looked forward to the back page of your paper. Not any more.
Jo Olsen, Blairgowrie
Sorry Eddie, it’s time Trump took over. The Pies, not Carlton, won the 1979 grand final.
James Young, Mount Eliza
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