I WOULD like to highlight the weakness in our industrial relations laws, as well as corporate and business laws.
With the closure of Darby's (‘Darby’s done’, Newcastle Herald, 25/9) it has been again put on the taxpayer to cover the entitlements of affected employees. Beside the fact that this will take months for them to access, I believe the laws show a total disregard for workers in this country.
The liquidator said that he was hopeful of them getting full entitlements through the federal government’s Fair Entitlement Guarantee Scheme. I consider this a politically motivated scheme that never took care of the real issue of the employers' responsibility to look after their employees’ entitlements should a business close.
I think the laws need to be changed so that the employees of any business are the first to be paid out, and then let the sharks circle for the rest.
Industrial laws need an urgent overhaul in this country as at the moment the worker has little or no rights.
Time for real change.
THE Hunter Valley was one of the first wine producing areas in Australia. It is in Newcastle's own backyard and we are rightly proud of it. Wine production contributes millions of dollars to our community via investment, wages, and especially tourism. These industrious winemakers should be promoted by Destination NSW and every Hunter Valley council whenever an opportunity presents itself.
In 2016 the residents of Newcastle were informed that we would be the venue for five years of Supercars races. The Supercars events were steered our way by Destination NSW whose role it is to showcase the state of NSW. At the time we were harangued ad nauseam and told of all the benefits that would be bestowed upon us for hosting this event.
Why then, when the ratepayers of Newcastle paid for the lord mayor's VIP party on November 25, 2017, did the drinks list only include one Hunter Valley wine, and none of our local craft brews?
According to information released under FOI legislation the wines consumed at this event were Tyrrell's Moore’s Creek Sparkling and Round Two by Kym Teusner (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay). By label, that equates to 20 per cent from our Hunter Valley versus 80 per cent from the Barossa Valley. As my old school teacher would have remarked, we can do better. On a more serious note, it sounds like a bit of a kick in the guts for the hard working Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association.
I NOTICE that China has commissioned a bullet train from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, which will take approximately 60 minutes to travel 176 kilometres and cost approximately $11 billion. Newcastle trams cover approximately 2.5 kilometres and will take about 16 minutes with stops. Our trams cost, I believe, $800 million, including 600 from the new government and 400 from the sale of the Port of Newcastle.
I will still take around three hours to go to Sydney by snail rail for God knows how many years. Our government will spend probably $11 billion just talking and designing it over and over again if it’s anything like how Roads and Maritime Services worked on the Newcastle Inner City Bypass, the Black Hill bypass to Heatherbrae, the Scone bypass and so on. Maitland hospital is also four years over its original time frame.
ANOTHER side to the issue (‘Call for immediate reform of aged care’, Herald, 26/7): my wonderful sister has been in aged care for nine years, two at Anglicare's Jesmond Grove, a low-dependency unit, before being moved to high dependency at Uniting Care's Jesmond Grove unit and years on, she is still there. During all those years, she hasn't known her family and for the last five or six years, has been almost immobile and non-verbal. Despite this, and with a strange increase in her size and weight, the care has been magnificent at both places by both male and female staff. She has not developed pressure sores, nor to my knowledge ever been left in a soiled state. She has always been treated with respect and love.
A few months ago, a carer stopped me in the hall. She told me that on that morning, my sister spoke a sentence, clear as a bell. What my sister said to the carer was "I love you". As a family, we are extremely grateful to all the caring staff for their on-going care and we say thank you. In his late eighties, her husband could no longer care for himself at home alone, so went to live at Anglicare's Scenic Lodge in Merewether, a facility, where he happily spent his remaining years. The family was also happy with the care and attention here and could find no fault. We say thank you to those carers too.
The three facilities are all in the Newcastle area. We are so lucky.
I WATCHED in horror at the ABC exposure of the abuse of persons in these for-profit aged care homes and wondered if I was living in another world where I live.
The Harbourside Villages at Shoal Bay and at Fingal and Salamander provide for all stages of care. I am living in a villa, caring for myself, with some assistance from the village but all stages – hostel and eventually hospital for end-of-life care – are available. I have lived here for some 15 years and have seen many residents pass through, but in all this time I have never heard anything but praise for the care given.
Whilst I appreciate the need for the government and the ABC to raise these issues, I believe that these stories have put even greater fear into the hearts of so many approaching this stage of life and care. I thought the reports made out all establishments are similarly motivated, but we know and it would not take the ABC long to find groups like ours with the interests of the residents at the core of their work.
I note Allen Searant (Letters, 25/9) indicated the training of nursing staff was not as it should be, but the aged care homes don't have nurses on staff. Unless the staff are committed and caring we have places like those exposed on the TV. Our society would be up in arms if the same number of children were being abused but our politicians think we are "leaners" on their budgets and fail to make funds available for our care. All the royal commission will find is that more funds are needed and more inspectors are needed to get rid of the money makers from this sector. Do this and we can die with dignity and comfort, it is not too much to ask for a 89-year-old.
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