Energy companies ransom all Australians

Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull’s call for the development of central Sydney to expand west seems simple enough. However, developers, who are driving the sprawl of new suburbs and the regeneration of older suburbs, do not like tree canopies or setbacks from roads to allow modest front gardens .

Some have experimented with the contemporary terrace, but these are often brutalist bunkers, lacking cooling balconies or shaded windows. New downtowns need transplanted mature trees, not token saplings and, more than anything, they need imaginative architecture to become destinations. Brian Thorton, Stanmore

Although good urban planning is essential, the Western Sydney area and other regional centers may wish to remain unique and not be home to a pervasive Eastern Sydney community of fluctuating populations and upscale shops and restaurants. It’s one of the reasons I left Sydney. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

Leading change creates political relevance. However, in the planning space, our most significant advancement was the Sydney Area Master Plan of 1968 which led to the many regional CBDs we have today. The Turnbulls lobbied for just three major regional centers. The state government has now extended it to six, one of which, Bradfield (near the new airport), does not yet exist and may not amount to much. Developers want to build medium density in and around our regional and local CBDs that have train stations – there are hundreds of them. But the state government wants to build a new railroad for the very long term, rather than investing in our current railroad which would produce much more lasting results. Increasingly unaffordable housing is just one of Turnbull’s legacies. Peter EganMosman

I agree that our low-density “McBurbia” model is completely out of control. It starves the supply in residential land space, forcing us to live in a low-density, car-optimized urban environment that guzzles people’s time, money and energy, and is ugly to boot . Mike Seward, Port Fairy (Vic)

Raising wages does not inflate prices

Those who think raising the minimum wage will trigger an inflationary spiral are spouting traditional economic theory without thinking about actual behavior (“Wage rise tiped to spur Greater living costs,” June 15). The key assumption is that employers will pass on the full cost to prices and everything else will remain the same. Some claim that some workers will be laid off to prevent rising costs. But will this be the real result?

Low-paid workers are likely to spend the entire increase. This will increase what employers have to sell, increasing their profits without raising prices. We all remember the argument for lower penalty rates – that there would be more jobs for staff. That never happened either. It’s high time some stopped looking at things through a narrow, employer-centric lens and looked at the bigger picture. David Rush, Lawson

Much praise was sprayed over the decision of the Fair Work Commission. It was well deserved and very timely. However, not enough attention has been paid to the people who most need a boost to their income: those on JobSeeker. Already unsustainably high and just as vulnerable to massive food price increases, they seem to have been forgotten, once again. Does anyone remember the sudden boost in their well-being when they received double their meager earnings during the JobKeeper episode? Alas, he was removed just as quickly, when it suited the Morrison government. The JobSeeker supplement should be doubled again, to provide the less fortunate of our population with a minimum of subsistence. John Greenway, Wentworth Falls

Additional year, added value?

I was a child in the 1950s, so my cognitive development was not enhanced by any formal early childhood learning (“Early start: NSW set to offer extra school year,” June 16). Fortunately, I was able to earn an honors degree in psychology in the 1960s, which taught me to be wary of any social science pretensions. So when I read a decision to add an extra year of preschool learning with a phrase beginning with “research shows,” alarm bells rang, especially when research is not referenced. Michael Costello, Ashfield

Ground support

It’s no surprise that thousands are still waiting for flood relief funding (“Thousands Await Flood Relief,” June 16). Any lucid government would have a relief fund task force that would travel to the affected area and establish an immediate and direct base of contact for those suffering from such a traumatic experience. This task force would have the power to confirm on the ground the situation of flood victims, especially when people have lost their documents and are in desperate need of help. This would save disaster victims from having to try to make claims remotely while still traumatized. Ken Pares, Forster

“It’s not a house, it’s a house.” The Kerrigans in the 1997 film, The Castle.Credit:

Build up funds

Gareth Bryant’s article is the most candid and moving article on housing affordability I’ve seen (“Twenty-five years after The castle and the Australian dream of home ownership is dead”, 16 June). The Herald is to be congratulated for having printed it. However, this is not the whole story. Developers are prohibited from funding political parties in NSW for good reason, but they are the largest contributors to the Coalition at the federal level, with no federal ICAC to shed light on their activities. Maybe there is a way to get back to housing justice and sanity. Maybe it could start there. Norman Carter, Hunt in Roseville

Best Education Questions

Your correspondent concludes that the school system is biased against boys (Letters, June 16). While it is true that boys do not perform as well as girls in exams, there are other aspects of schooling that are not reflected in exam results. And you only have to look at post-school numbers to see that men generally have higher wages and salaries and hold a greater proportion of leadership positions, even in female-dominated professions. So there are complex issues at stake and no simple questions or answers. There are many more interesting questions to ask here than who does better in exams. For example, how can we improve education for all? How can we help boys and girls and their parents value education? Why is academic success not always such a good predictor of future success? Mary Anne Kennan, Burwood

I don’t believe either sex has a significant difference in ability in subjects, but I do think there may be a societal bias in how these subjects are valued, depending on gender. Rather than making English non-compulsory, wouldn’t it be better to make English and at least one STEM subject compulsory for all students? Bill Irvin, Goulburn

A sign saying “Girls and boys can do anything” should be mandatory in every classroom. Robert Hickey, Green Point

Fair and transparent taxation

Some correspondents suggest that the property tax would be a less expensive option for the owner (Letters, June 16). Land valuation in New South Wales is highly arbitrary and disadvantages landowners in regional areas where there is insufficient evidence of sales. Property taxation is an opaque and inequitable system.
It is not at all clear that a homebuyer in New South Wales would be better off opting for property tax over the period of ownership than for stamp duty on purchase. Much like household energy prices, there was no way to predict how the tax would rise over time, based on a highly questionable property assessment. Don’t believe the economists who say this is an efficient tax – property tax in NSW needs transparency and fairness before it is levied on the family home. Cathy Hales, Rosedale

Pretty good, BTW

I was very impressed with the list of honors held by Sir Martin Lewis (Letters, June 16). I guess most of us would be familiar with KGB and CIA and the newer WTF, but I suspect only older readers like me would recognize the importance of POQ and DCB. I think Sir Martin forgot to include the prestigious LOL. Col Nicholson, Hawk’s Nest

OMG, Mr. Martin. Jennifer NicholsCasino

Like, man…

Your correspondent is therefore in the last century to say “incredibly incredible”, when the word is “sick”. (Letters, June 16). Stein Boddington, St. Clair

feature wall

The next time I visit one of these stores equipped with facial recognition cameras, I will be wearing a COVID-19 mask and a beanie, and maybe even dark glasses (“Major retailers using facial recognition technology on unsuspecting customers: Choice”, June 16). Peter StuartCarlingford

Goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne celebrates after making the crucial save in the penalty shootout against Peru.

Goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne celebrates after making the crucial save in the penalty shootout against Peru.Credit:Network 10

Wrong steps

I can’t be the only person in Australia to think that goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne’s dancing antics at the goalmouth to put the Peruvian shooter at bay was bad sportsmanship (“Shootout was a blast from my past”, June 16). I prefer that we win fair and square. Tim EganMosman

digital vision

Online commentary on one of the stories that attracted the most comments from readers yesterday on smh.com.au
‘A game changer’: NSW to introduce extra year of education
Of busker: “Good news. But not exactly a game changer. More back to the future. All my contemporaries started school at 4 years old. Some needed an extra year along the way. has never been a good idea except for those who attend quality preschools.

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