Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson
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Suddenly our local member decides to take us seriously
Now that Kooyong has an intelligent and credible independent candidate running in the federal election, Josh Frydenberg has started to take his electorate seriously, rather than for granted. He has axed his $65 million pledge, made in the run-up to the 2019 election, to build four unnecessary railway station car parks in Kooyong (The Age, 4/3). Mr Frydenberg claims to have “listened to the electorate”.
For many Kooyong residents, this is too little, too late. It is time all Australians were taken seriously by political parties and treated with respect. We are not idiots. We are, in fact, concerned citizens: about our local neighbourhoods and the country we live in, as well as the many serious issues our government should be addressing.
That the federal Treasurer was happy to announce that $660 million of our hard-earned taxes would be put to build largely pointless carparks in Victoria and other states was as appalling as it was astonishing. And this is just one example of many over the last three years. We simply cannot afford to waste enormous amounts of our taxes on vacuous projects.
Liz Newton, Camberwell
Frydenberg fears an election loss in Kooyong
In what must be a humiliating backdown for Josh Frydenberg, he has ditched his plan to spend $65 million on building four commuter car parks in Kooyong. He said he had met with Boroondara Council, residents and traders, and on the basis of those discussions decided not to proceed.
I think we know why Mr Frydenberg has “pulled the plug” in Kooyong just months from the 2022 election – he is fearful of a backlash against a policy that was not based on merit but was designed to win the 2019 election. The Treasurer should know that using taxpayers’ money for party political gain is not acceptable, and could well fit the definition of corruption.
Neil Hudson, East Melbourne
A case of a bad policy getting its just reward
The push by Kooyong voters to reject a plan for car parks at four railway stations has forced the Treasurer to shelve what has been deemed a pork-barrelling exercise. (A report by the Auditor-General last year found 77 per cent of the car park projects were pledged to Coalition seats.)
This sorry saga also sheds further light on the government’s inability to implement its promises, with only a small number of the car parks (announced in 2019), actually having been built across the nation. We can be thankful for small mercies.
Anne Lyon, Camberwell
Spend the money on safe cycling infrastructure
Josh Frydenberg’s decision to abandon his ill-considered, $65 million funding for commuter car parks at four railway stations in Kooyong is welcome. These very expensive “car parks for votes” would have increased traffic congestion and pollution in local streets.
To date, no significant federal funds have been allocated for building safe cycling infrastructure in Kooyong. The $65million would be much better spent building the Hawthorn to Box Hill trail strategic cycling corridor. It would provide safe, healthy, car-free, climate-friendly pedestrian and bike transport through the Kooyong electorate. Every trip on a bike is one less car on the roads.
Peter Campbell, Surrey Hills
More cars would only add to traffic congestion
I am relieved Josh Frydenberg has retreated from his plan to build more car parking at Canterbury Railway Station. Maling Road is a much valued heritage precinct, which would be compromised if more cars were drawn into what is already a heavily congested road network, especially during peak times.
However, it could do with a decent bus service from North Balwyn to connect with Canterbury Station. The 285 service on Balwyn Road runs only every 30 to 45 minutes on weekdays with the last service at about 6.30pm. It does not run on Sundays. There is a sustainable transport message there for both sides of politics.
Ian Hundley, Balwyn North
Cycling in the suburbs
David Blom’s suggestion that service lanes be used to create more safe cycling routes and links (Letters, 2/3) needs to be taken up by state and local governments. The suburbs beyond central Melbourne have an abundance of such opportunities on arterial roads, and a lack of commuter trails.
Much of what is involved is low-cost and low maintenance, and can provide an almost instant extension of safe riding places, simply by cutting narrow through-passes to the next service lane section. What’s not to like?
Elaine Hopper, Blackburn
The same old refrain
Our leaders respond in two ways to the floods. They praise the “Aussie” community, citing the courage and the stoic acceptance of these terrible conditions by our citizens. They try to fold themselves into this heroism. Then they excuse themselves by dog whistling the so-called short comings of the Bureau of Meteorology.
At no point do they take responsibility for leading us forward to better days. They are not addressing the urgent climate action required now, not in 2050. They are not putting forward concrete plans to restore our damaged houses, businesses and infrastructure.
They have no plans to reduce the damage from the “one in a 100-year flood” that will come next year. When it comes, they will repeat the pathetic chorus they are singing now.
Doug Dew, Aspendale
Plea for urgent action
The head of the government’s National Recovery and Resilience Agency says: “You’ve got people who want to live among the gum trees – what do you think is going to happen? Their house falls in the river and they say it’s the government’s fault” (The Age, 3/3).
Don’t blame the flood victims, Shane Stone. Focus instead on the flood of money from political donors who unduly influence our public policies. The ones who need to face reality are the local and state governments, the planners and developers, and the federal government.
They have failed to address the lack of affordable housing and are unwilling to act with urgency to tackle the unfolding climate crisis.
Brenda Tait, Kew
It’s time to face the facts
Now faced with the catastrophic flooding of the eastern seaboard, it has been reported that some Queenslanders are complaining about the lack of warning.
Well, guess what? Queenslanders have been given plenty of warning over the past 30years. If the wilful denial and head-in-the-sand attitude continues in tandem with their fierce support of fossil fuels, Queenslanders have no right to complain about lack of warning. The writing is on the wall.
Bis Andrzejewski, Strathmore
The warnings are clear
Back-to-back La Nina events, raging bushfires of unprecedented intensity, searing summer temperatures. The elephant is in the room but the Morrison government continues to ignore it at the expense of all of us. Australia, wake up. We need governments which are willing and prepared to tackle climate change quickly and resolutely.
Patrizia Bertozzi, Preston
Why is no one listening?
Over many decades we have been provided with vast amounts of science-based evidence about climate change and the dire consequences of inaction. Governments of all persuasions, vested interests and the wider community have chosen to ignore the warnings and the lifeboats. We need to face this before we are all swept away.
April Baragwanath, Geelong
Where money should go
How about the federal government siphon off some of the subsidies for the fossil fuel industry to the restoration of the regions devastated by this flood event? It is called a fair go, Scott Morrison.
Vivienne Nicholson, Mornington
Greens’ sensible policies
Ross Gittins (Opinion, 2/3) rightly points out that both major parties have woefully inadequate policies on climate change. But he does not go on to say that the third-biggest party, the Greens, have exactly the policies which the worsening climate catastrophe demands.
Richard Barnes, Canterbury
Hard lessons overlooked
Once again we watch horrific scenes as people are forced to leave their homes because of floods. We are told that these are one in 100-year events by politicians who do not believe in the science. Try telling that to those who have lost everything, lost their family members, lost their livestock.
Hasn’t the government learnt anything from the last disaster experienced by our citizens? What is the disaster fund being spent on? Do we need another royal commission where the recommendations are to be shelved, again?
Jane Taylor, Newport
Let the Russians know
Let us hope that there are people with the bravery and integrity of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning to tell the Russian people what is being done in their name in the Ukraine.
Gerry O’Reilly, Camberwell
Let’s hope it arrives
So, the Australian government will send nearly $70 million in both lethal and non-lethal defensive support to Ukraine. I only hope Ukraine gets it well before we get our submarines.
Barry Miller, Kyneton
Double standard on war
War must always be condemned. But why is it that when Russians invade, and ordinary citizens are killed, they are committing war crimes? Yet when the Americans do the same thing they are fighting for citizens’ freedom.
Noel Norris, Casterton
All violence is wrong
Your correspondent cites the murder of Julius Caesar and says “Perhaps Vladimir Putin’s mates will do the world a service by repeating history” (Letters, 4/3). I fear that you made a grave error of judgment in publishing this. Classical allusions are no excuse for incitement to violence. Would the letter have been published had the subject been an unpopular local mayor? I think not.
Geoff Tennant, Caulfield South
True ‘freedom’ fighters
Will Clive Palmer and Craig Kelly lead an Australian contingent to fight for freedom with the Ukrainians, under a black and yellow flag? That would get my vote.
Peter Thomas, Pascoe Vale
Priorities, people, please
People in Kyiv are fighting to protect their democratic rights and more, yet people here are arguing over whether it meets our democratic rights to have a political sign in our yards. Spare me.
Michael Cowan, Wheelers Hill
The teacher’s daily grind
I laughed in incredulity when I read education research fellow Glenn Fahey’s view that while across-the-board pay rises for teachers were unnecessary, qualified maths and science teachers ought to be paid a premium to encourage graduates in these fields to choose the profession (The Age, 3/3).
As an English teacher for many decades, I spend hours each night and on weekends marking students’ essays of varying quality. I would be outraged if my extra hours were ignored while a maths teacher, who essentially does little more than “tick, tick, tick” on a student’s paper (especially in the more junior levels), received $30,000 more than me.
Mr Fahey’s approach is simplistic. Perhaps the lack of graduates’ interest is due to the relatively low pay after 10 years of teaching, the workload of lesson preparation, marking, meetings, yard duties and parent-teacher meetings on top of long days of teaching pre-pubescent and pubescent children who are in hormonal dysfunction.
Couple to these disincentives, the lack of respect frequently shown to teachers by some students and parents, let alone the rest of society, and it is no wonder good graduates are hard to find – in any discipline.
Robyn Westwood, Heidelberg Heights
Wrong, wrong, Premier
There are only two possible scenarios regarding the Victorian government’s now dumped $800 million social housing tax. Either the government’s members were idiots for proposing it, or they were weak for withdrawing it. Make up your own minds.
Bill Howard, Essendon
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Did Josh cancel the car park promise (4/3) to make way for more pie-in-the-sky election promises?
Alan West, Research
What will Frydenberg offer voters now? Free Liberal Party membership?
Annie Wilson, Inverloch
The promised car parks were not core promises.
William Hines, Mornington
The ultimate in cancel culture. Tim Wilson insisting election signage that he doesn’t like be taken down.
Graeme Gardner, Reservoir
A note to private aged care providers: nothing is stopping you from raising wages right now.
Jenny Herbert, Metung
With Putin recalling all the glories of Tsarist Russia, I wonder when he will demand the return of Alaska,
Pete Steedman, Heidelberg
I hope the Russians love their children too.
Michael Puck, Maldon
War is so old-fashioned. This century needs more sustainable and humane ways to deal with the world’s problems.
Patricia Rivett, Ferntree Gully
Putin has lost his roubles.
Ian Cameron, Chelsea
Can Russians cancel the Tsar or have him explain why this war is necessary.
Vera Lubczenko, Geelong West
In these disastrous floods, I see no sign of the use of the army’s amphibious vehicles. Why?
Rod Mackenzie, Marshall
These are “unnatural” disasters. Stop trying to explain it away.
Bill Cleveland, Kew
If you live in a flood plain, don’t expect those of us who don’t to subsidise your insurance premiums. Caveat emptor.
Mick Webster, Chiltern
I was one of many young men who had two years of their lives stolen by national service. We have received nothing.
Geoff Parkes, president, Nasho Fair Go, Warranwood
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