If only we could all live close to our workplaces

Credit: Illustration: Vintage Cathy Wilcox

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If only we could all live close to our workplaces

For more than a year, there has been a desperate push to drive people back into the city and to recoup the losses the lockdowns wrought on the CBD’s businesses. Job ads have moved away from the hybrid model popularised by the pandemic and back towards encouraging people to be in the office under the watchful eye of management – revelling in the $20 sandwiches and $6.50 coffees, and listening to the phone calls of other people within a metre of us.

Now the city is “bursting at the seams”. There is a desperate need for decentralisation and the creation of further hub cities to avoid overloading the CBD, its transport systems and its offices.
When I look at the half dozen empty storefronts on Glenferrie Road, I wonder why there is not more focus on reviving even smaller areas. More offices to match the endless apartment buildings going up here, a little suburb restoration effort and perhaps a local government hub where more businesses are encouraged to open in areas other than the CBD. Let’s work a reasonable walking distance from home.
Finn Mackie, Hawthorn East

The many benefits of making Ringwood a key hub

In the debate about a second CBD for Melbourne, it seems Ringwood has been ignored. It is well served by public transport (especially if Mitcham is seen as part of the CBD concept), the main-road access via freeways and wide roads is good, it has a viable shopping centre in Eastland, and those in the eastern and south-eastern suburbs can easily get there. Open space is good. Certainly, Ringwood is a much better option than Box Hill.
Graeme Young, Doncaster

Take a leaf from Whitlam’s book and decentralise

I hope The Age gets around to the elephant at the door: decentralisation, not infinite Melbourne growth. The Whitlam government stepped into the area of new city development, with Tom Uren in charge of the New Cities Program in 1973.

The government committed resources and funding for regional and urban growth development, including in Holsworthy, Menai, Campbelltown, Camden, Gosford-Wyong, Bathurst, Orange, Geelong, south-east Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, Townsville, Gladstone and Rockhampton.

With fast, electric, intercity travel and improving IT connection, cities such as Bendigo, Ballarat and beyond should be looked at as our growth areas in preference to the eternal rebuilding of Melbourne’s urban areas with its inherent waste of embedded energy and fast depletion of land fill. Those who can afford it are already migrating there.
Graeme Butler, Alphington

The promises and reality are very different

Why does the Andrews government insist on talking about “the Hurstbridge line duplication”? Stage 2 sees a total of 3.5 kilometres of track from Greensborough to Hurstbridge being duplicated, leaving 11.6 kilometres remaining. This “duplication” costs a staggering $530 million.

Commuters have been duped into believing there will be “more trains, more often”. However, there will only be two extra services during the morning peak and no changes during the afternoon/evening peak – therefore many trains will still terminate at Greensborough. The project has been flawed from the beginning as too has been genuine consultation and transparency. Local communities and wildlife corridors have been left devastated.
Jane Plunkett, Montmorency

How will our city ever cope with 9 million people?

As long as the government keeps force-feeding population growth via the migration program, then Melbourne will keep getting more bloated and the “backyard wars” will continue. The extra people will either have to squeeze into the existing suburbs through higher-density construction or add to the suburban sprawl at the outer edges. Something has to give. Do we really want 9 million people in Melbourne by 2046, as has been forecast? Not me.
Geoff Dalton, Malvern East


Working towards peace

We pray for peace on Earth this Easter, especially in the troubled spots like Ukraine. May the Western and Orthodox churches realise the peace that Christ brings and encourage their governments to work towards this, and to respect one another’s individuality and sovereignty.
Margaret Forster, Aberfeldie

Putting the workers first

Re “Angry French and happy Aussies in the City of Light” (World, 8/4). One wonders if when observing 19th-century Australian workers and their campaign for the eight-hour day, the typical response of their international counterparts was to deride Aussies as being a bit lazy and to scoff that a 12 to 14-hour shift on the factory floor wasn’t that difficult.

It is an indictment on our political imagination that today we look upon the French system of entitlements as antiquated, rather than aspirational.
Alex McGlade, Carlton North

Little ‘glamour’ in racing

Re “Bad blood at the track” (The Age, 8/4) The sub-heading asks is it time the sport (horse racing) was led by a new national body. No, it is time it was de-elevated from its social status as “the sport of kings” and much hyped venue for assorted social climbers, fashionistas, influencers and big money. Along with its share of workplace and safety issues (for humans and horses), gambling and “colourful” characters, it is time to rein in the media’s fascination with horse racing’s supposed glamour and high stakes. Then, hopefully, it will go the way of the dodo.
Jenny Warfe, Dromana

Cruelty of pig industry

It is good to see media coverage (7.30, ABC, and Animals Australia ads) and information getting through about the horrendous pig industry. Both the sow stalls that crush pigs and the gassing that burns out lungs and throat creating long screams of agony. The industry is aware of the cruelty inherent in its trade but is only interested in the money.

We need an independent office of animal welfare, divorced from the government agricultural offices, to address these widespread issues. But that can only come about if people speak up, ask their MPs why we were not told about the horror of the pig industry, and also ask them to support a cessation of gassing. And steel themselves to understand that the reality of eating pork means we are eating a sentient being which shares 98 per cent of our human DNA.
Diane Roberts, Mount Clear

End all driver distractions

VicRoads says new road rules are coming into force to combat the increasing distractions caused by new and advanced vehicle features. However, the state government contributes to road and driver hazards by allowing and profiting from the vibrant and distracting advertising signs over the state’s major highways.
Brett Smith, Geelong

Remembering good days

It will be a sad day when all the “sticky carpet days are gone” (Sunday Age, 9/4). Remember when you could go down to the local pub with your tracky dacks on, put a fiver on the bar and get a pot. Have a drink with your mates and get home in time for dinner. Oh, the memories.
Sharon Hendon, Glen Iris

Tackle urgent issues

Carbon capture and storage (Letters, 8/4) is like plastic recycling. Both of these measures have a relatively small positive effect, but keep us busy and salve our consciences, while distracting us from the really difficult and urgent tasks we should be getting on with – drastically reducing our use of fossil fuels and plastic.
Graham Patterson, Briar Hill

Test of who we really are

The referendum is basically a test of the Australian character. Are we a fair-minded nation attempting to address historic wrongs, or a bunch of blinkered, nay-saying history deniers? The world will be watching.
Pauline Moncrieff, Wangaratta

What we actually need

Over the years we have had the “voice” in one form or another: Aboriginal Development Commission; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission; National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples; Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council; and National Indigenous Australians Agency, just to name a few. We do not need another bureaucracy. We need ears to listen and a will to change.
Hanny Mikhail, Lower Plenty

Dutton’s harsh response

Peter Dutton’s heartless statement from Canberra has driven a dagger into the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Harry Zable, Campbells Creek

Both sides must listen

The current debate on the proposed Indigenous Voice is anything but uniting or harmonious. Is this how it is going to work in practice? The Yes voices are being cheered, while the No voices are being patronised and snubbed. The lack of respectful listening is the problem.
Cecile Campbell, Brighton East

Helping us to decide

The Age and its opinion writers (in general) have supported the proposal for a Voice to parliament.
Your correspondent (Letters, 8/4) says the National Indigenous Australians Agency currently exists to look after the interests of Aboriginal people. According to its website, the agency’s vision is to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are heard, recognised and empowered, and its purpose is to work in genuine partnership to enable the self-determination and aspirations of First Nations communities.

It would assist your readers and inform their vote on the referendum if The Age published some in-depth articles to investigate whether a Voice would be likely to provide better outcomes than the existing agency.
Brian Kilday, Jeeralang Junction

Formal recognition

Your correspondent suggests the interests of Indigenous citizens are sufficiently well-served by the National Indigenous Australians Agency. However worthy this body may be, surely Indigenous Australians, as the original inhabitants of this country, deserve more serious and formal recognition and representation than that afforded by it.
Marcia Roche, Mill Park

A lack of understanding

It appears Peter Dutton has not read the Uluru Statement from the Heart, nor accepted the widely consultative process that produced it. Of course Indigenous leaders who disagree with the proposed referendum question should have an opportunity to run the No case. But by committing all shadow cabinet members to the No campaign, Dutton is (yet again) on the wrong side of history. His claim to “need more information” begs the question why he does not read the available information – or why he was absent when the Voice referendum bill was introduced to parliament and debated. Unbelievable, divisive and irresponsible. Will it take another 15 years for him to see what most of us can understand in 15 minutes?
Mary Macmillan, Brunswick East

More unwanted ’junk’

Like your correspondent (Letters, 8/4), I, too, received an email from “Peter Dutton, Liberal Party”. I would also like to know why and how my email address was obtained. I knew the email was utter junk and immediately sent it to my junk folder, hopefully never to see another one like it again.
Carley Pope, Mount Eliza

Pasca Vale? Where’s that?

I have tolerated “Pasca Vale Road” on traffic reports for some time now but “Korryot Creek Road” is a step too far. I am tempted to drive into the sunset taking the “Princess Highway”.
Jim Pilmer, Camberwell

The tale of two very …

Your correspondent says, “avuncular, sensible and restrained, Robert Menzies seemed a positive leader with positive policies regarding education and the wellbeing of all Australians” (Letters, 7/4).
Unfortunately, my personal memory of Menzies does not mirror this. My father and I went to a political rally whereby he asked a question. Whilst I cannot remember the question, I can remember, vividly, the sarcastic, confronting and deeply humiliating approach of Menzies. It was totally unnecessary and delivered from a “how dare you query my policies” position.

My father was never a radical but Menzies’ statements indicated that to him, my father was not worthy of respect. The young girl and the now mid-seventies woman would disagree, strongly.
Christine King, Balwyn

… different leaders

One cannot but feel the deepest admiration for Jacinda Ardern. Her actions during the attack on the Christchurch mosque showed the world the power of integrity and compassion. In addition, Ardern made great strides in tackling climate change in New Zealand. She will continue to combat online terrorism as a special envoy for the Christchurch Call. A leader from whom others have much to learn.
Betty Alexander, Caulfield

As the months roll on

Soon we will say farewell to hot cross buns. But, goodness me, one dares to wonder when it might be that we first spot the tinsel, stumble onto the rotund gent in the red suit and hear the stores changing their tunes.
Jim McLeod, Sale

A very welcome balance

Unlike your correspondent (Letters, 7/4), many of us welcome the contributions of former Liberal MPs in The Age, especially if they are as erudite and sensible as Amanda Vanstone and George Brandis. They provide a welcome sense of balance to the majority of opinion writers and columnists who are regular critics of the Coalition. Sean Kelly, Waleed Aly, Jacqueline Maley, Jon Faine, Niki Savva, Ross Gittins, Peter FitzSimons and Tony Wright, to name just a few, are hardly flag-waving boosters of Peter Dutton and the Conservatives either.
Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully


Life matters

Statue Man out stares a “statute” (8/4).
Jane Ross, San Remo

Ban horse racing (7/4). It’s too dangerous for horses and riders.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

Who would have thought? Titans of the AFL battling it out for bottom rung in an Easter lacklustre.
Rob Hocart, Tyabb

Thank you for the “vintage Leunig” (Spectrum, 8/4). Truly a piece of Easter that passeth understanding.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale


Liberals, the party of aspirational voters, but not if you aspire to a Voice.
Kevan Richards, Mount Helen

A Yes to the Voice referendum because everyone matters or no one matters.
Angela Lee-Ack, Dennington

I say “sorry” for Peter Dutton.
Elizabeth Egan, East St Kilda

Which one, of all the “gaps” in our society, will the Voice close?
Case Smit, Noosaville, Qld

For sale: 12-seater bus. Soon will suit federal Liberal Party.
Robert Mosley, Leongatha

Aah, now I understand. Dutton is a fifth column plant by Labor to cause division within the Liberals. He’s doing a good job too.
Richard Wilson, Croydon

Giving a financial bonus to politicians who lose their seat is rewarding non-performance.
Teow Yeoh, Balwyn

Why is Penny Wong agitating about Cheng Lei, jailed in China, but silent regarding Julian Assange, jailed in the UK?
David Legge, Brunswick East

Is there any irony in the notion that Donald Trump thinks he’s facing trumped-up charges?
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill

Nothing will happen on guns in the US until a schoolroom of Republican politicians’ kids are shot … and maybe not even then.
Mick Webster, Chiltern

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