Bonus for aged-care staff just a cynical election ploy

Your correspondent’s suggestion (Letters, February 1) to change teacher workload by decreasing “the paperwork trail” highlights one of the fundamental causes of work productivity stealth.
Computers have revolutionized our lives, but their indiscriminate use has resulted in professions such as nursing and teaching forcing employees to spend hours chained to desks, recording and documenting unnecessary data. This has meant that face-to-face learning and clinical care have suffered. In addition, distractions such as social media, messaging and emails contribute to the wasted hours previously spent in personal interactions. Employers have a huge responsibility to ensure they don’t burden their employees with unnecessary documentation so that valuable face-to-face interactions are maximized. Elizabeth Maher, Bangor

Although impractical and too expensive, personal tutoring probably provides a better and tailored education without the inefficiencies and downsides of classrooms and schoolyards. Rod Matthews, Fairfield (Vic)

Everyone has an idea on how to go, so why aren’t we up there with leaders in education such as Finland, Scotland and Sweden? The Gonski report gave Australia every chance to design an excellent educational system. Give our teachers (and I was one) the support and respect due through a well-designed system that educates for life and not just for financial outcomes. Patricia Slidziunas, Woonona

I had 40 boys in my first class after teachers college. Weekly planning was necessary, but detailed progress of each child was in my head. These children had an excellent grasp of maths and literacy (often through ability grouping) and many became today’s leaders. Teaching was a pleasure. Laurie Le Claire, Epping

The Premier and Education Minister congratulate themselves on the distribution of RAT kits and masks to schools, which has been a huge logistical task. Greater still, the logistical task of giving these to students from un-airconditioned halls and car parks has been left to teachers and parents. This on top of everything else they need to do to start the school year, so we can then cram them into hot classrooms with limited social distancing. Margaret Allen, Bexley

The NSW government has recruited 927 new teachers in term one with 237 to follow and 350 more planned for term two. Also, 1000 primary schools will gain an assistant principal for monitoring progress (“Extra staff to roll out new school syllabus”, February 1). Riley Brown, Bondi Beach

No cash? Then no tax cuts, surely

Josh Frydenberg can’t fund every program (“Frydenberg draws line in fiscal sand”, February 1). Not surprising, I guess, after he funded big businesses and private schools with loads of JobKeeper as if it was Monopoly money. Speechless doesn’t cover it. Wayne Stinson, Merimbula

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced that the government cannot fund every program and that the money has run out. I can only presume, then, that the stage three tax cuts costing $184 billion will not go ahead and that the $16 billion of unallocated election funding will be used to reduce the deficit. Furthermore, surely $3 billion for new tanks and the possible $170 billion bill for the nuclear submarines would also be in doubt. Malcolm Freak, Armidale

Happy sounds of normal

Like many Sydneysiders, I rise to the sound of magpies, kookaburras and the sound of my Herald hitting the footpath. I live in a street with one primary and two high schools, and added to this week’s sounds are squeals of delight as the classes of 2022 meet, hug, push each other and resume where they left off before the holidays. Welcome back to life nearly being normal. John Bailey, Canterbury

Pay it back to the park

What a game-changer indeed with the call from the lord mayor of Parramatta to increase the size of our World Heritage-listed park (“Park expansion into history precinct is ‘best option‴⁣⁣, January 31). Parramatta Park has had its land given away to stadiums, RSLs, carparks and rail lines, so it’s time to give back. Adding the heritage-listed 20ha of former Cumberland Hospital grounds beside the park is a no-brainer to deliver to our community more passive green space. The question is, will the government put the people of Parramatta’s health and wellbeing before any development deals Suzette Meade, Toongabbie

Stuck on road to ruin

You don’t have to be living in, or driving through, outer west Sydney or regional NSW to see broken or cracked pavements and feel the thump-thump of potholes (“Aging roads face funding crisis”, February 1). Many inner Sydney roads are just as dilapidated and just as dangerous – if not always at the cost of human life, certainly at the cost of replacing damaged tires and repairing steering and suspension. The NRMA’s Rate Your Road report finds roads in affluent areas such as Ku-ring-gai, Mosman and North Sydney have the best maintained roads in Sydney, while Burwood, Waverley and Canterbury-Bankstown council areas have the worst. I live in Mosman and by the number of times I’ve had to swerve around potholes, I’m not so sure that the NRMA report is necessarily right. Jack Dikian, Mosman

Any motorcyclist (and road user) will testify that most of our regional roads are at a point of being dangerous. Rather than focus on traffic movement or your riding line through a bend, for example, it’s now a case of dodge the pothole and it’s very tedious and very tiring. Could this be an overt tactic to get road users to slow down? The cursory sign warning of “pavement damage ahead next 30km” (I kid you not) seems to absolve councils/RMS of all responsibility for decent repairs; the operative word here being “decent”. Sadly, the trucks most often used for quick repairs (the ones with the snorkel that dumps great blobs of bitumen into gaping potholes) are not an effective fix.
The next drop of rain merely encourages the blobs to pop back out of their temporary hidey-holes and wash away. I wonder how much of our fuel excise actually makes it to road repair? Phillip Ennis, Bective

De-sexing hurts dads

De-sexing language hurts fathers, too (Letters, February 1). Making language sensitive to diverse family arrangements is a worthy goal. However, as women’s health researchers have pointed out, de-sexing language can inadvertently erase biological aspects of women’s reproductive role. As a researcher focused on fathers’ mental health, I see the same blanket approach to role description also affecting men in their fathering role. Completely removing biologically based terminology around birthing and parenting does not support fathers to connect to their infants. It is common to see publicity, online resources and handouts directed to “mother and partner”. This formulation includes anyone who may not identify as a “father”, but it also narrowly defines male parents simply as a “partner”. The term “partner” has no connection to the fetus or infant. Of course the father’s support of the mother is important, but this does not completely describe his role when a baby is born. His biological connection to this child will be important to his identity and to his sense of being connected. Richard Fletcher, College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing, University of Newcastle

States play a role

The suggestion (Letters, 1 February 1) that the states are redundant and counterproductive to national unity appears to ignore the fact that without individual state actions against the COVID-19 pandemic, our national deaths and infections would probably be significantly higher. Peter Wotton, Pyrmont

Bring on EV utes

I can’t wait until there is an EV ute to replace the current utes (Letters, February 1). The torque, low center of gravity and extra space potential will outperform current models, and a range of 400-450 kilometers suits me perfectly. Filling up at more than $120 a tank is getting ridiculous. Phil Armour, Yass

By Oz-mosis

Of course it was unAustralian of your correspondent to not watch the tennis (Letters, February 1). Fortunately, being unAustralian can be a beautiful Australian characteristic. Chris Downs, Stanwell Park

Don’t know if not watching tennis is unAustralian, but I’ve never watched Home and Awayso I think I’d be guilty. Megan Heaney, Kincumber

Tennis? What tennis? Ian Clarke, Terrigal

Timeless talent

Ash Barty is ageless. She looks the same as she did at 15! Come on, ladies – turn your backs on the “beauty industry” and take up tennis. Heather Lindsay, Woonona

Perhaps Medvedev was pickled by the fifth set (“Pickle juice, electrolytes fueled epic final’s marathoners”, February 1)? Jenny Greenwood, Hunters Hill

The only times I saw/heard anything about Margaret Court was when the venue was shown. Was she there and snubbed or in lockdown in Western Australia? Ron Field, Bermagui

Refugees remain

It’s over. Ash, Rafa, Novak – gone. Refugees are still holed up in that hotel in Carlton, many for years. Let them out. Bill Dougherty, Grafton

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Cash bonuses for aged care workers as Coalition faces poll anger
From Teximus Prime: But the government just told the states that the cupboard was bare and there was no money left to give? Must have meant no money left after their vote-buying stash. Voters have spoken, but they aren’t listening. Voters want substance and change, not paltry amounts of cash-buying headlines.″⁣

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