RECENTLY frontline workers such as nurses and midwives have been taking action in response to the NSW state government's latest wage offer.
After only receiving 0.3 per cent for their work keeping us safe during the pandemic, the state government's latest offer of 1.5 per cent was almost as insulting. To make matters worse, the state government is also expecting nurses and midwives to pay for their own federal government mandated superannuation increase, meaning their wage increase would actually be 1.04 per cent.
The state government is now trying to claim credit, back-flipping on the 1.5 per cent offer, and confirming it would return to the 2.5 per cent cap that it has used over the past 10 years to reject any further improvements to nurses and midwives working conditions, and in turn help them better care for patients.
But a cap is still a cap. If you speak to any nurse or midwife they will tell you they are frustrated more by their unsafe working conditions and inability to look after their patients than anything else.
Recent peer-reviewed research showed that the nurse-to-patient ratios introduced by the Queensland state government in 2016 saved 145 lives and millions of dollars in their first year of introduction.
When will the NSW state government realise that not only do nurse-to-patient ratios save lives, but they also save money?
Emily Suvaal, Cessnock
Thanks for random act of kindness
LAST week my son lost his wallet on his way to his day program. The wallet contained important cards including his pension card, companion card and a small amount of cash. I would like to thank the kind person who found his wallet and sent it by post to our address.
You didn't leave your name or contact for us to thank you. So, I hope that you read this letter and know that you made my son's day. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts; you are a wonderful human being.
Suzie Cassidy, Jewells
Use what we have for quarantine
BEING the annoyingly curious person I am, when governments are talking about the cost of building specialised quarantine facilities, I looked for alternatives.
Throughout Australia there are many decommissioned hospitals both public and private. Some have been sold in the general "have we got a bargain for you" attitude of many state governments.
In 15 minutes of research the list of decom hospitals found include Garrawarra Centre, near Waterfalll; Old Bulli Hospital; a ghost ward at Wollongong Hospital; WA's Princess Margaret Hospital mothballed in 2018; SA's Warburton Hospital ready to be recommissioned, and Victoria's Geelong Private Hospital. There was also an unfinished hospital in Queensland.
There are no doubt many more, and some less or better suited to the purpose for quarantine. Sadly Mr Morrison is suggesting huge expenditure for building new centres. Many older or mothballed hospitals can be adapted with existing ensuites, and opening windows reducing the need for central air conditioning.
Part of the old Stockton hospital is also an alternative. When we have leadership that is fiscally driven, looking to the bottom line in our country's budget, it is surprising to watch the needless lack of use of existing resources. Or not.
Lyn Rendle, Rankin Park
Chancellor role may be overstated
IN reply to Kypros Kypri, (Letters, 23/6), he had not refuted my statement that Professor Martin was sacrificing little in her resignation from the University Council. Could Mr Kypri list just one occasion when a chancellor of the university has directly interfered in the appointment of a member of staff or their research funding? The university has been at the Callaghan campus since 1965, so he has plenty of history from which to dredge up evidence. If the newly appointed chancellor had been the chairman of a Chinese company making and exporting solar panels to Australia, would Mr Kypri also see an "irreconcilable conflict" arising from the University Council appointing that person to the position, or is that different?
Peter Devey, Merewether
Activists active on all sides of it
A WORKABLE definition of an "activist" is someone who is an "especially vigorous advocate of a cause, particularly a political cause." With this in mind, some questions for Peter Devey (Letters, 25/6). Rupert Murdoch is a vigorous advocate of political causes. Just look at his papers. Is he an activist? Barnaby Joyce is a vigorous supporter of coal, and a vocal opponent of climate change action. Is he an activist? During the last election campaign, you couldn't escape Clive Palmer's advertising. Is he an activist?
Could Mr Devey himself be described as an activist? If the world is so full of activists getting their own way, how could there be anything left to be an activist about?
Michael Hinchey, New Lambton
It's about safety, not signage
IAN King (Letters, 26/6): a driver would need to be really not concentrating or be dangerously distracted to "inadvertently" and "without realising it" drift up by 10 km/h or more and be clocked at more than 5 km/h over a limit recorded by a speed camera with more accurate configuration than vehicle speedometers, which are intentionally set to display higher than actual speed. Also, anyone caught at the lower level of infringement who has a good driving record can have the infringement and the fine set aside.
Your presumption that I think unmarked speed cameras are the "ants pants" is incorrect. I did not raise police presence, but I agree that it is very valuable, along with (not instead of) other measures like speed cameras, in the fight against dangerous driving habits. How many police officers, vehicles, support facilities will it take for police officers to replace the mobile speed cameras? It would take a lot longer than three weeks to set up - it would take years, and the cost would be tens, possibly hundreds of millions of dollars. The reality is that police presence and signed speed cameras stop speeding at those locations only and anyone who has driven for a living can confirm that. The introduction of unsigned speed cameras has also proved that.
You have ignored the fact that habitual speeders could lose their licences. The previous system kept those dangerous drivers on the road without fear of being caught. This issue is not about being fair to people who speed but about slowing drivers down, and about penalising those that do infringe, not the law-abiding taxpayer. Again I say the speed limit is the maximum allowable, not the compulsory minimum.
Also, what other lawbreakers get a warning sign? Would you suggest a warning sign that police are waiting inside a bank to reduce robberies everywhere? And what other infringement costs as many lives as driving infringements?
Doug Hoepper, Garden Suburb
WITH the possibility of State of Origin penciled in for Newcastle ('Bluecastle', Newcastle Herald 29/6), does the Premier of Sydney know where Newcastle is? I'm not sure if it is a good thing to bring it here under the current state of infections. I believe the surfing competition put us at risk. Do we really need to take the chance? It's a big ask.
Greg Lowe, New Lambton
DID those responsible for the selection of Mark Vaile not see how divisive this would be? What a silly decision. The end result proves what a waste of time this was. Could those responsible put more thought into such processes please.
Colin Rowlatt, Merewether
IT was so refreshing to see New Zealand win the inaugural World Test Cricket Championship. They've proven that it is still possible for nice guys to finish on top. They make a nice change from the arrogant, boorish and unsportsmanlike behaviour that the Australian cricket team have dished up for years.
Peter C Jones, Rathmines
DO Newcastle fans really want to see the Roosters play Storm here in Newcastle? I hope the stadium gets a deep clean before the next home game.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
WHEN there's a road fatality, do we close down the highways? No. Recently two died in a plane crash; do we close the airports? No. People die every year of pneumonia and the flu; do we lock ourselves indoors? Not one person has died of COVID in over 12 months. Victoria had less than 10 cases out of over 4 million people and shut down the state. Stupid. This could be with us for decades. Let's all get the needle and get on with our lives.
Don Fraser, Belmont North
GREG Hunt, check out the Australian Border Deaths Database, a research network based at Monash University. The database records deaths of people since January 2000 and 2013 who have died en route to Australia on boats. Estimates from that source are around 1900 deaths. Approximately 1124 occurred during Labor 's time in office. This leaves approximately 762 that died under the Coalition, something you conveniently omitted. Does this mean those deaths don't count?
William Pryce, New Lambton
WHY do we need to continue with party politics in local government? Surely the elected reps should be there to help the constituents they represent not as a hand up to more political agendas. Independents should be encouraged not ignored to the benefit of those who follow the party line.
John Bradford, Beresfield
I'LL join you in your green-tinged crusade to rid the major supermarket butchers of their unnecessary plastic wrapping and packaging, Steve Barnett. It's been an environmental concern of mine too and your suggested cancel culture approach might just hit them where it hurts and they'll change their ways. Now if we get our heads together we can tackle fossil fuels next.