I congratulate politicians of all parties for most of their decisions relating to COVID-19, but strongly disagree with some aspects of the JobKeeper scheme.
The scheme dishonestly pretends that people who are unemployed are not.
If a café which normally has jobs for 12 people now has jobs for only six, then effectively six are now unemployed.
They should be recorded as such.
False statistics should not be created.
Further, and more importantly, JobKeeper is an extreme impediment to useful temporary employment.
Temporarily unemployed staff should be made available to organisations which can use them.
Not doing so is a waste of valuable assets.
Local government could be a good temporary employer.
Often only relatively low skills would be required.
For example, in Canberra temporary employees could be used to build more shared paths, remove vegetation from around current shared paths, provide extra cleaning and disinfecting services in schools, hospitals and public transport, cut down thousands of gum trees in western Canberra to remove a serious fire hazard, repaint the Sydney building, assist in child-care centres, or train for fire-fighting.
Often their availability would generate employment for skilled contractors who would pass on valuable skills.
Displaced workers could be paid the JobKeeper allowance by the federal government, topped up by a local government payment.
This means the workers would suffer less financial hardship, and local government would have its costs subsidised; a win-win situation.
Bob Salmond, Melba
Aged care reform
Thanks to the work of organisations such as COTA (the Council on the Ageing) representing older people, the recent decisions by many aged care facility boards to ban visitors have been shown to violate human rights and should not happen again.
I hope that this has been a wake up call to those running such facilities. I suspect that if you asked how many boards had a person with knowledge of financial expertise you would have a 100 per cent positive response.
Ask the same boards how many had people with formal qualifications in aged care and there would be few, if any, positive responses.
With Universities such as Tasmania and Charles Sturt offering flexible online courses on aged care, there is no excuse for anyone working in the area not to have at least some basic knowledge.
Older people are a valuable asset. It is time we came to realise this rather than treating this cohort as a burden.
Audrey Guy, Ngunnawal
What an admirable series of paintings by David Pope that have appeared in The Canberra Times in recent weeks. What a disgusting cartoon by him last week (Letters, May 13).
If David had a coughing fit that stopped him painting I am sure no one would try to make fun of him.
Not funny David
Brian Hale, Richardson
The Chinese ambassador to Australia, when making his churlish comments about Australia's involvement in setting up the international coronavirus inquiry, needs to remember that he is a guest in this country.
One thing that is not acceptable in Australia when a guest in someone's home is ridiculing your host.
One thing that is not acceptable in Australia when a guest in someone's home is ridiculing your host. The Chinese ambassador needs to be more circumspect in his comments if he wants to be respected in Australia.Don Sephton, Greenway
The Chinese ambassador needs to be more circumspect in his comments if he wants to be respected in Australia.
Don Sephton, Greenway
Much to do
It is good that the ACT government has employed 25 people to do work in Namadgi after the bushfires but there is plenty to do closer to home.
They could start with putting on some additional attendants, permanently, to keep our public toilets clean.
Then they could look at our nature parks. I think particularly of Goorooyarroo and Mulligans Flat.
There is a pile of redundant fencing still there in both from the days, not long ago, when the area was still a farm, especially in Goorooyarroo.
This fencing is an unmitigated pest to walkers who want to go off the main tracks.
Then there are culverts where the drainpipes are so clogged up with mud and dirt that they could not possibly be any use.
They need a few blokes with long handled shovels and perhaps more equipment.
The signage at Goorooyarroo is almost nonexistent, even for the parking areas and the parking areas themselves are small and very inadequate.
There is plenty to do and this is a good chance to do it.
Stan Marks, Hawker
Ditch Plan B
Plan A to combat the COVID-19 virus was to restrict people's movements. The costs have impacted widely on the Australian community.
Plan B seems to be to rely on herd immunity to overcome the economic and social challenges we all face. The costs will include continued deaths.
This point is not mentioned by the Prime Minister when he talks up revitalising the economy.
John Sandilands, Garran
Cycling is permitted on all Canberra footpaths. The only exception is a few blocks of pedestrian-only footpath, adjacent to a bicycle-only path, on Anketell Street in Tuggeranong.
Phil Nicolls (Letters, May 4) said, "It seems cyclists think the paths are for their exclusive use".
Ericka Hill (Letters, May 8) was "blown away" by the sense of entitlement expressed by P. Nicolls: "If you are walking on a shared pathway then you can expect cyclists will be there... if you find this to be frightening or annoying walk in a non shared area".
If our pedestrians heed Ms Hill's advice the Anketell St footpath is about to become become very crowded!
Leon Arundell, Downer
Pot, meet kettle
In a wonderful example of the pot needing to meet the kettle, Ericka Hill (Letters, May 8) calls out P. Nicolls' "sense of entitlement" regarding Lake Burley Griffin's shared paths.
Sharing is reinforced by signs between Commonwealth and Kings bridges advising pedestrians to keep left and control their dogs, and cyclists to slow down and warn of their approach.
Both user groups include miscreants. I understand cyclists' frustration with pedestrians spread out across the paths, be they meandering walkers, mothers' groups with prams, or people with pets on extended leashes that make progress difficult for all path users (before and after social distancing).
I also understand the pedestrian frustration as cyclists, many lycra-clad and on apparent quests for glory, travel past at speed with minimal separation from, or notice to, foot-sloggers.
Notwithstanding the shared nature of these paths, I suggest mechanical device users approaching from behind have a duty of care to all plodders.
Applying Hill's concept of pedestrian "self responsibility" to the cyclists' road environment would generate an interesting argument I suspect.
Resolution of the impasse requires a level of reciprocal courtesy and consideration the general population seems to lack. These days, I exercise elsewhere and avoid the angst.
Mark Anderson, Campbell
Time to unite
Why just a trans-Tasman bubble? Let's go the full hog and merge the two countries. Call it "New Australand". Scotty for PM, Jacinda for Deputy, and a new capital called "Canbington", perhaps on Lord Howe Island.
Side effects will be a fabulous rugby team for us, and the same for NZ with cricket. Our tallest mountain will be about twice as big. Will it be sex or six? Deck or dick?
Will they allow brown snakes and crocodiles in? Will our national anthem become the haka? Who gets Kevin Rudd and Barnaby Joyce?
But, hey, all that's just detail.
Ian Morison, Forrest
I wonder which "people" the ANU's Nick Biddle is referring to when he says that, for the most part, people are staying at home, but "when they are out, they wear masks" ("Trust or bust: our new challenge", May 8, p.47).
From what I have seen around Canberra, those wearing masks to visit public places such as shops, shopping centres, and pharmacies would be no more than about five percent. The vast majority are people of Asian descent.
Karina Morris, Weetangara
TO THE POINT
Few in human history have had as much written or said about them as Trump. Opinions range from adoration to disdain and mockery. He is certainly a world-class bloviator and mountebank.
Gary Mack, Queanbeyan, NSW
U.S. HAS FAILED
This is the first time in history the United States of America has failed to lead the world in a major crisis. The US has engaged in "blame-gaming" while thousands of people have lost their lives. Is this because it is an election year?
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
UP THE DOSE
Re: reports Donald Trump is taking a potentially dangerous anti-malaria drug for protection against coronavirus. Someone should send him a letter suggesting he dramatically increase the dose.
Tom Collins, Palmerston
China has lost face with Australians. Bullying by their government, and their ambassador, is unacceptable. We need to import less from them. We should boost manufacturing here. Now is the time to purchase "Australian made". Our barley industry will survive. Why not impose an 80 per cent tariff on Chinese motor vehicles?
A Mutch, Nicholls
Thank you to the lady who came to my assistance when I blacked-out at South Point Tuggeranong (formerly the Hyperdome) on Monday. There were no seats available due to the restrictions. I find standing difficult. This kind lady comforted me and mopped up blood where required. I also thank the staff there, the paramedics, and the ED team at Canberra Hospital.
Charlie Samuel, Oxley
The outcome from the WHA meeting was what would be expected in response to any pandemic: an investigation of what happened, why, and when. The chest beating by right-wing members of the Morrison government came to nothing.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
As some Australians question whether or not the COVID-19 lockdown was justified, it is important to remember the average age of political party members is nearly 80. If a politician wanted to maintain their role, they had no choice but to stop this disease.
Greg Adamson, Griffith
It is not good to read almost daily that a vaccine for the coronavirus is imminent when, quite clearly, it is not. This spreading of false hope is not good given a vaccine may never be found.
Tweed Heads South, NSW
Let's hope there's no community transmission. Curtin's school and express peak-hour buses have been cancelled. We now have three times the number of passengers on the only available peak-hour bus.
Maria Greene, Curtin
Of course we should learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge is, in the future, to recall and apply those lessons. Experience has taught me complacency and politics will ensure history will be repeated.
Gordon Fyfe, Kambah
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