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‘Oldies’ do not matter to the powers that be

What have we become? The report by Cara Waters – “Elderly care abandoned after council quits service” (Sunday Age, 6/8) – is horrifying. Private provider mecwacare took over Boroondara City Council’s domestic assistance, personal care, respite care, meal preparation and property maintenance last Monday and the council’s 60 aged care staff were made redundant. However, mecwacare has now told elderly residents that care services will not be available for “some weeks” due to staff shortages.

It seems mecwacare does not have the wherewithal to do the job. Did the council know this and make its staff redundant, regardless? An abdication of its responsibility, perhaps. Or the sign of an incompetent council.

How was this allowed to happen? Why is it festering? Why have the aged become irrelevant in the general scheme of things? It is not hard to figure that oldies are just not that important to the powers that be at any level of government.
Noel Mavric, Castlemaine

Horrific stories of more neglected residents

The crisis with home care is not limited to Boroondara. About 4000 of us on the Mornington Peninsula are in the same situation after Mornington Peninsula Shire and its councillors voted to dump its in-home support. There was no transition planning and there is no monitoring of the new privatised system. There has been no response/answer from the council’s CEO, or federal or state MPs, to our concerns about the lack of service

Several months on, I have heard, anecdotally, of a couple who were found dead in their home, and of people being neither showered nor dressed. Our homes are increasingly dirty and beds are not being changed. Many residents have not had their shopping done. (We have poor access online in many areas, so cannot do it that way.)

A previously adequate system was destroyed and nothing has been put in its place. I dread to think what is happening for clients who are isolated and unmonitored, and who are not able to access food and basic hygiene.

It has been extremely difficult to find out the results of this abrogation of a duty of care. We are trying to get numbers of those affected so we can take action to higher levels of government. The council does not seen to care.
Barb Rimington, Balnarring

Another crisis involving vulnerable, elderly people

An elderly friend who is fighting to maintain her independence and stay in her home has been shattered by the debacle that has occurred since the changes in home care took place in July. Previously a known carer, employed by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, would shop for her (or take my friend with her) for 90 minutes each week.

Now her allotment is one hour a fortnight. It takes 20 minutes to get from my friend’s house to the local supermarket which allows someone with a walking frame only 20 minutes to complete her shopping. The new carers are unfamiliar with the local area and this adds to the difficulties that my friend encounters. Equally appalling is the disregard for the long-term relationship, and the importance of social contact, between her and her known carers.

Typically my friend’s concern is for those residents who require personal care and who have not received it for a fortnight.Why wasn’t there a transition program, run by experienced carers before the new system was implemented by the council?

This is another crisis involving elderly people. It needs to be attended to immediately. The lives of vulnerable people are at risk.
Bernadette Young, Rye

Residents pay the price for council’s decision

Boroondara Council is responsible for the problems by making its own, reliable, home-help staff redundant, and replacing them with the currently non-existent workers employed by a private company.
Malcolm McDonald, Burwood


The right to a safe home

A former public housing estate in Northcote is being redeveloped for private housing with 20per cent of the land available for social housing (Sunday Age, 7/8). It is great that former tenants have the right to return to the new social housing building (which will have cooling and better heating) and that the government is committed to the “Big Housing Build”.

However the article also says “Victoria lags the rest of the country, with just 2.9per cent of all homes being social housing”. We should do better. There are thousands of people on the public waiting list. A higher proportion of these redevelopments should be made available for public housing as a priority. It is impossible to raise children, have good health and gain any sort of employment if you are homeless.

Solutions could include inviting philanthropic donations towards more public housing, using small infill sites on public land, and creating more public housing on these old housing sites.
Jan Marshall, Brighton

Developers always rule

The Andrews government’s privatisation of public housing, in particular a prime site in Northcote, shows that developers’ profits come first.

Not only will the new Northcote estate accommodate fewer social housing tenants with children but key open space and public access provisions are ignored.

MAB Corporation was supposed to provide a public path where the site borders the Merri Creek reserve, as the community sought and the planning scheme required.

Instead it decided that part of the path should run through the estate allowing the building to be nearer the creek, preserving creek frontage for a few lucky, private buyers. This brought the added benefit of deterring public use of the path, so increasing the price of the apartments that border it.
And instead of a small park along the path, buildings are to run along its length, with a playground to be put on High Street instead.
Nick Legge, Northcote

Fair’s fair, Premier

So Daniel Andrews and the state government will not apologise to Victorians it locked out of the state for months when it shut the border with NSW last year (Sunday Age, 7/8). That’s OK. We will not apologise when we vote Daniel Andrews out at the election in November.
Sarah Bounds, Red Hill South

Tackling the big issues

In the light of the current fearmongering about the possibility of war with China, Australia needs to ask some serious questions.

Is our alliance with the United States still in our best interests? And given the suggestion that because of our fears, justified or not, we should spend unimaginable amounts on weapons, will we find ourselves living as a Third World country because we cannot afford education, health and other essential services?
Pam Kerr, Maribyrnong

Pelosi’s dangerous visit

OK, the Chinese may be seen to have over-reacted. But what can be said to, and about, a politician who, at a whim of her own, travels on government transport to Taiwan in disregard of the possibility that it will unnecessarily stir up trouble that may lead to conflict involving innocent countries?

It only takes a spark to get a fire going. Madam, please limit your desire to commit arson to your own paddock in future and, if you are unable to be restrained, please concentrate on doing some worthwhile backburning there.
Michael North, Pakenham

Focus on environment

Reports that China is firing missiles into the Japanese economic zone trouble me for an additional reason. What effect are these having on the marine life and the long-term health of the sea?
Rod Watson, East Brighton

Harking back to the past

Rio Tinto has felt a “thawing out” of trade relations with China since the Albanese government took office and the Australia-China Business Council has felt it too (Business, 6/8).

Yet our Defence Minister has a “not so warm and cuddly” China in his vision through his concurrent view with the United States that the oppressive communist regime has no historical claim to Taiwan. Notably a convenient, two-China policy that seems to delete the Western powers’ legacy of colonial control of Asian nations in past centuries.
Des Files, Brunswick

Taiwan’s right to exist

Why is it so necessary for China to force Taiwan back under its control? If the people of Taiwan are busily going about their daily lives, still trading with the mainland and not harming anyone, then why does Xi Jinping want to possibly slaughter millions of innocent people just to prove a point? What does it matter if Taiwan remains independent?

It is sheer egotistical and nationalistic arrogance, along with savage militancy to threaten to take over another community and unleash a nuclear holocaust. Of what use to China is a fried and irradiated island?
Robert Scheffer, Bayswater North

Precious faces and voices

I loved Samantha Selinger-Morris’ article, “Taking videos on your phone can build connections and help you like family” (The Age, 6/8).

My mother died in 1953, three days after my fourth birthday. Yes, there were some photos of her but no sound tracks. I have no memory of her (living) face, nor of her voice. This is an eternal sadness for me and for my younger sister who has no memory at all of our mother.

Fast forward to 1993 and the death of my husband. Again, my son and I, sadly, do not have videos or sound tracks of Ron’s magnificent, resonant voice, that which attracted him to me first and foremost. It is not that we did not want to record him, we just did not think of it 30 years ago.
Thanks for this reminder of the importance of moving images and sounds to our family histories.
Caroline Heard, Glen Huntly

Importance of MyHealth

Congratulations to Amanda Hooton on her article on GPs (Good Weekend, 6/8). In general, I think our GPs do a great job with rapid diagnosis and decisions.

I just wish they had more supportive IT systems. It is ludicrous that my GP is not automatically informed about drugs prescribed by my specialists, and when he is, it is by fax, and that he has to write to specialists with referrals simply because of a change of address.

My experience is that many doctors do not use the MyHealth Record system, even though it should be the basis of care for myself and for public health and evaluations of drugs and other treatments. All doctors should be encouraged and helped to use it.
Michael Norris, Hampton

Investing in our GPs

Thank you for this excellent article highlighting the issues, and lack of support and resources, which are undermining the delivery of quality general medicine. What is there to encourage good, young doctors into general practice?

After investing so much in training these exceptional people, we need to reassess and repair our health system so that we can reap the full benefit of their talents and potential, and ensure they do not end up wasted in unappreciated, under-resourced environments and with the likely outcome of personal burnout or worse.
Rosemarie Sambell, Glen Iris

A game for spectators

What a joke. After watching a great game of football on Friday night – and, much to my annoyance – having to admit Collingwood is “the real deal” – we caught the V/Line “footy special” train to Geelong. The train was great, but it left Southern Cross at 11.25pm and we got home well after midnight. There were kids on the train.

The joke is that the game started at 7.50pm. At AAMI Stadium, the rugby started at 6pm. Another problem is those who work in the city had to wait nearly three hours for the game to start.

The atmosphere of a game is supplied by a crowd, not television. While the AFL needs the revenue from television, it needs to increase the crowd numbers. I despair that AFL football will become like NRL rugby: small crowds and, in essence, a sport to be watched on television.
John Hart, Werribee

A true independence

Your article highlighting that Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission is not independently funded raises concerns around the integrity of its role in investigating government corruption (The Age, 6/8). However, looking at the broader picture, what a sad indictment on our society that we need an IBAC in the first place.
Mandy Morgan, Malvern

You can’t be serious

Re “We are no rubber stamp, Pocock, Lambie warn Labor” (The Age, 6/8). What? Taxpayers are subsidising mining companies for their diesel use to the tune of $8billion. These companies make huge profits and pay little tax, while adding to greenhouse gases. The government should stop this disgusting misuse of our taxes.
Pauline Ashton, Maribyrnong

The benefits of fresh air

Victoria’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton points out the obvious when it comes to protecting ourselves from COVID-19 (Sunday Age, 7/8).

Unfortunately opening doors and windows has been a “no no” when running our airconditioners. Maybe it is time we ditched these in summer for evaporative coolers which run best when doors and windows are left open.

In winter, rug up, switch off the heater for 10 minutes every couple of hours and open up all the doors and windows. As we seal up our homes to save energy, we also have to be aware that good ventilation is very important for our health.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

Time for them to move on

Is there a collective noun for former prime ministers who make negative comments about their successors’ policies? Would a “conceit/discord/grumble/hostility of ex-PMs” be apt?
Mary Cole, Richmond


Judith Durham

The carnival is over. Thank you, Judith, for the joy you and the boys have given to so many Australians. The songs live on.
Ann Rennie, Surrey Hills

I could search the whole world over until my life is through, but I know I’ll never find another you. Thank you, Judith, for defining the soundtrack of our lives.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

Vale Judith Durham. The voice of an angel flies home.
Chris Del Prete, Pascoe Vale South

The carnival is over. Vale, gentle, clever, talented, wondrous Judith.
Nina Wellington Iser, Hawthorn


Xi to Pelosi: “Look what you made me do.“
Christine Weatherhead, Glen Waverly

Victorian election: where are the teals? There ought to be teals. Just wish they were here.
Elizabeth Meredith, Surrey Hills

Guy wants to remove a corrupt government and replace it with another corrupt government.
Richard Edlin, Camberwell

Matthew Guy can’t see the problem. That is the problem.
Helen Gardner, Caulfield South

It seems that Matthew might not be the guy after all.
Brian Morley, Donvale

The LNP, in the thrall of fossil fuel lobbyists, demonstrates its contempt for voters when it opposes legislated climate action.
Bill Burns, Bendigo

Pauline Hanson suffers from her own foot in mouth disease.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick


I told you it would only take a little kindness and compassion. Welcome, Biloela family.
Pat Agostino, St Kilda West

Biloela, I salute you.
Jeanette Hauw, Ferntree Gully

A mask for you, a mask for me, and we could all be COVID-free.
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford

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