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so much for ‘technology, not taxes’


What about our utens? Our poor besieged traditions? Our holy weekends? Retirees lose their beloved old runabout? And heaven for Betsy, an end to the soccer team under six in the rear of the SUV. All away. How could life get any worse? – Judy Hungerford, North Curl Curl

Building more houses will benefit investors the most

Nicole Gurran (“Offer Won’t Solve Housing Affordability” Oct 25) is clearly right when she says that just providing housing doesn’t make it affordable – because it isn’t. Our public policies have to be much smarter and understand how they are interconnected. Developers will be excited to bring in tons more people, and importing skilled workers will appeal to employers who don’t want to invest in training cadets or pay higher wages for locally trained graduates. But at some point, Australians will be reluctant to get an unrewarded education and get some of our most employable people to go abroad. Family reunification and the negative effects of expensive housing on the birth rate (family delay or reduction) will ensure that the population continues to age rapidly. As it has. Simple panaceas like more mass immigration and high-rise housing will not increase productivity and income per capita or improve our lives. Immigration as an economic stimulus is useless. Inclusion should favor people with innovative skills who can teach us a lot. – Norman Carter, Roseville Chase

30,000 to 40,000 additional apartments per year are not enough for a city that is growing by up to 100,000 inhabitants annually and would grow faster if the real estate were cheaper. While Sydney’s population didn’t grow last year, many people either increased or bought second homes. Gurran is right when he says planning regulations are not the problem. Companies that were once big developers have become big real estate speculators; they own far more land than they develop and sell. A multi-billion dollar company, which I won’t name (starts with M), has unsold land and vacant land worth 28 times its annual cash flow. – Ben Aveling, Alexandria

Living in Sydney has become a game for investors and a nightmare for first-time buyers and renters. Supply isn’t the problem – there would be enough houses if most people bought and lived in their own house and didn’t buy another (or three) that they would sell lightly when the market was right. This does not provide stability for tenants who are discouraged from personalizing their space and making a home for themselves. In other countries, long term rental is a legitimate choice as tenants enjoy rights and protection. Instead of putting more money in the developers’ pockets and widening the gap between the super-rich and the rest of us, we should curb investors and create better conditions for tenants. – Penny dating in St. Kitts, Tempe

Professor Gurran says: “We need new housing because our population is growing.” But who accepts that the population has to grow? Not Sydneysiders who now appreciate the enormous socio-ecological disadvantages of unsustainable growth. Stabilizing the population would help solve the housing problems in Sydney. – Alan Jones, Narraweena

Fears of nepotism must be dispelled

The enormous increase in party-related mandates of the Higher Administrative Court since 2015 is first being scrutinized, albeit by a Senate committee (“Five Tribunal Members Who Do Nothing”, October 25). Until 2015, AAT appointments were reviewed by the independent Administrative Review Council, which is comprised of statutory officers such as the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the President of the Law Reform Commission. This body, which is part of the original AAT legislation, could review credentials from AAT officers to ensure the overall integrity of the AAT. The breach of the integrity of the AAT is a direct result of the Abbott administration, which abolished the Administrative Review Council in 2015. According to the original legislation, it should be restored and funded if we are to believe in the integrity of the AAT. – John Payne, Kelso

Less worries, more action

Letting Australian women and children die in the Syrian camp al-Roj is simply unforgivable (“Family pleads for the return of a sick girl stuck in the Syrian camp”, October 25). It is not enough to be “deeply concerned”. The excuse of “dangerous security conditions” is ridiculous when NGOs, journalists and even family members have visited the camps. Australian lives are at stake. No more excuses. It is time for the government to act. – George Rosier, Carlingford

Grade 8 is enough

From a student who is just entering her teenage years, Olivia Campbell demonstrates in an atmospheric, profound and deeply felt piece the author’s power to breathe life into us (“A plea for an 8th grade student against hatred,” October 25th ). Our world is now just as torn by hatred, abuse of power, exploitation and prejudice as the besieged world of Olivias Safta. With eloquent arguments, this talented young writer sheds a different light. – Pam Connor, Mollymook Beach

Bucks stop here?

Parents of NSW school children are said to receive a $ 250 bonus for helping them learn online during the lockdown. I’ve calculated that the cost of this bonus, given to about 30 parent groups per class, will be about $ 7,500. This is more than enough to equip any classroom with an air filter unit. That is certainly a better use of the money than giving it to tens of thousands of parents as a $ 250 bonus. Parents want their children to be safe in school, but public schools will struggle to provide COVID-safe classrooms. There will be little or no temperature tests, rapid antigen tests, or air filter units for public school students. How can the government justify giving generous bonuses when it cannot take recommended action to protect our children? – Irene Buckler, Glenwood

The lessons of polio

What lessons can we learn from the fight against polio for today’s pandemic? (“The viral scourge on the verge of extinction,” October 25). This vaccination is key; that elimination in wealthy countries does not mean we are all safe now; that it takes money, political will and a globally coordinated effort to truly eradicate a disease. We are so close to ridding the world of this ancient deadly and debilitating scourge. Let’s not let it slip through our fingers. – Maree Nutt, Newport

Truth to unleash ink

What a sad charge against our society when so many important citizens put their names in a full-page advertisement asking our Bundestag to pass a law to regulate the truth in political advertising (October 25). If the media and political parties are held accountable for what they say and print, there will soon be a lot of excess yellow paint and printing ink. Unfortunately, we have now come to the point where truth is required of laws. – Mick Simpson, Sefton

I see Cheryl Kernot signed the truth on a political publicity petition as “Former Leader of the Australian Democrats”. She must have stopped paying for her ALP membership. – John Dinan, Cheltenham

Let me take a seat

The last sentence in this story says it all (“Bid to save indigenous artefacts at Adani site,” October 25). This project is supported by the federal government, especially the MPs from Central Queensland, because their seats will be decisive in the next election. This project illustrates the self-interest and seedy state of politics in which the influence of lobbyists and donors overrides any public good. It’s not about jobs; We know that in today’s climate, job creation lies in technology and renewables, not coal mines. The risks to indigenous heritage, the reef, our climate and extinction make it even more hideous. – Marie Healy, Hurlstone Park

Life saving measures

It’s not just film sets where lives are lost when working conditions are poor and corners are cut (“On-Set Conditions That Halyna Hutchins was filmed disgustingly familiar to the Australian crews,” October 25). The role of trade unions in ensuring compliance with safety standards is always important. In remote and / or dangerous locations, it really is a matter of life and death. – Tony Richter, Woolgoolga

Sic ’em: annoying

The Morrison government is arguably the most incompetent and morally bankrupt government we have ever seen (“Albanese Time to Score,” October 25). However, despite Scott Morrison’s many own goals, Anthony Albanese is still lagging behind. Now that the grand finals are fast approaching, Labor lacks an effective attacker and a game plan has yet to be drawn up. Hopefully they all have shin guards this time around. – Graham Lum, North Rocks

Now that the coalition has done the part of the job for Albanese so skillfully, could he please grapple with the “and conquer” bit? Recall how Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar: “There is a flood in human affairs. What, taken from the flood, leads to happiness ”. – Peter Russell, Coogee

Time to grow up

Michael Clarey (Letters, October 25) makes some interesting points about Australia’s relatively low global emissions compared to countries like China and the United States. However, if you take into account the emissions caused by our fossil fuel exports, this figure is closer to 5 percent of the global total. Domestically, too, our per capita emissions are much higher than in most industrialized countries. We may have little control over what other nations are doing to reduce their carbon footprint, but we do it through our own. It would be a sign of our maturity as a nation if we took more responsibility for ourselves. – Anne O’Hara, Wanniassa (ACT)

Nothing cheesy about it

What a nice feel-good story with my cornflakes (“Transformation of a wasteland”, October 25th). Wonderful work with refugees who are so hardworking and versatile. – Shirley Flynn, fingal head

Pout power trips

What is the use of having power if you cannot abuse it (Letters, October 25)? – Ron Russell, Leura

The digital view

Online comment on one of the stories that got the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
“Citizens accept net zero target by 2050”
from Bar filler: “Weasel words. A ‘target’ is something that you can hit or miss. “

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