Exactly who is in charge of cleaning up this mess?

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ROADSIDE RUBBISH

Exactly who is in charge of cleaning this mess up?

Who, exactly, is responsible for cleaning up the rubbish lining the freeways and toll roads and removing the graffiti and other daubing on most crossovers or sound-deadening panels? Is it VicRoads, the private companies that operate the toll roads, local municipalities or do all of them have a role in keeping the roads clean and tidy, because they are failing miserably?

As other correspondents have written, the Eastern Freeway has become a tip and resembles a Third World country; there is rubbish along the edges and median strip from Hoddle Street to Springvale Road. It is both an eyesore and potentially dangerous if refuse is blown onto the freeway. Who is going to address the problem please?
Mike Reece, Doncaster

It’s an absolute disgrace
Peter Boone (″⁣Clean up needed″⁣, Letters, 15/4) is dead right about the state of the Eastern Freeway: it’s an absolute disgrace. Graffiti and litter have reached epidemic proportions.

Complaints to VicRoads produce non-responsive replies and no action. I guess it is waiting until the mess reaches pandemic proportions.
Michael Challinger, Nunawading

It didn’t get there by itself
Let’s all remember that the rubbish beside our roadways only got there because drivers either throw their rubbish out the window or they did not secure their loads sufficiently.

Both instances are regarded as littering and can and should be reported to the relevant authorities and the drivers subsequently fined.
David Eames-Mayer, Balwyn

Do your job, please
For the past 14 months my phone calls and letters to VicRoads on the rubbish lining the Eastern Freeway have gone unanswered. I followed up with the relevant minister for roads, still no response.

We are trashing the state and our authorities are doing nothing to educate the population or clean up the mess. Get your act together, you’re being paid to do this work.
Ron Reynolds, Templestowe

Clearly, nothing is happening
Crawling along the Eastern Freeway one day recently, I had time to estimate how hard it would be to pick up at least the superficial litter.

I decided one person could maybe do one kilometre in a day. It’s not a huge task. Removing the weeds might take a little more effort, but clearly nothing is happening. I was pleased to see in last week’s letters that I am not the only person in Melbourne who notices these things.

Now what about some action from VicRoads?
John Abery, Warranwood

Taking matters into their own hands
When I visited my Australian friend now living in Texas, I commented how clean and tidy her town was. She told me that volunteers have formed an organisation, Keep Texas Beautiful, and they pick up any rubbish on the side of the roads.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East

A symptom of a greater malaise
Your correspondent (″⁣A serious safety issue″⁣, Letters, 17/4) highlights a greater malaise.

The amount of rubbish on the road reserves is but one of the symptoms arising from the privatisation of government organisations and outsourcing of responsibilities.
Geoff Gowers, Merricks North

THE FORUM

A remarkable position
Eastern Palliative Care’s (EPC) refusal to verify the deaths of patients who have died at home under the state’s voluntary assisted dying laws needs closer examination (“Palliative care service queried over failure to verify deaths”, The Age, 17/4).

Individual health care professionals are not duty bound to be involved in any medical treatment or procedure they perceive as counter to their authentically held religious and/or moral beliefs, however, it is remarkable that EPC views the verification of a death “after the event” as condoning or being complicit with voluntary assisted dying.

It would also be remarkable if all EPC nurses hold a strong conscientious objection to verifying such deaths. Conscientious objection is not “group think” but a very personal moral and ethical issue for the individual to consider.

Many community palliative care services have policies that prohibit direct involvement of their staff in assisting a patient to die. However, to my knowledge, none prohibit their nurses visiting after the patient’s death in order to verify the death and to provide emotional and practical support to the bereaved family.

EPC needs to explain why it refuses such basic after-death care, and how the long-established palliative care ethos of “patient and family centred care” is served by its policy.
Greg Mewett, palliative care physician, Ballarat

Choose your carer carefully
Any dying person who considers entering a palliative care institution with the hope of being able to eventually access voluntary assisted dying is advised to check carefully if their final request for help may cause problems.

Your report describes the distress and confusion among relatives when help is, legally, refused after an assisted death, but we are aware also of occasional instances when staff who object to assisted dying became confrontational and uncooperative when presented with a request for assisted dying.

Terminally ill people need to choose their carers carefully.
Harley Powell, Victorian convener, Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice, Elsternwick

It doesn’t add up
The malaise affecting teaching, and its lack of attraction for bright young Australians, is deeper than suggested by the Grattan Institute (″⁣How to entice top-class teachers″⁣, Comment, 16/4). The solutions suggested by the institute are excellent but will achieve very little if the pool of graduates isn’t there.

Secondary schools need graduates from across the disciplines. It means all Victorian universities should be offering majors in the core disciplines, especially English and mathematics. It means preserving languages and the humanities, not cutting them, as has been reported.

In Victoria, on campus, three-year undergraduate majors in mathematics are available in the central business district, the east of the greater Melbourne region, La Trobe at Bundoora, in Bendigo and at Federation University in Ballarat. There is no campus-based mathematics degree available in the western suburbs or Geelong. Further, in the current downturn nothing protects mathematics so there may be further geographic contraction of courses.

This is a tragedy, not only for finding ″⁣bright young Australians″⁣ to become mathematics teachers, but for mathematics teacher supply more generally and for Victoria’s mathematical capabilities across business and industry.
Jan Thomas , North Melbourne

Urgent reform is needed
It is heartbreaking to read of the cruelty and neglect of the cows and their calves in the Chinese-owned dairy farms in Tasmania. How come this continued for five long years and all the various regulators failed to notice and stop it? (″⁣Chinese owners of scandal-ridden dairy scramble to sell the farm″⁣, Business, 17/4).

Urgent reforms must include strong laws that are supported by frequent inspections, severe penalties, banning of foreign ownership of our farms, and upholding of our proud reputation for healthy farming, products, and exports.

Federal, state and territory governments governing according to competent, honest and fair standards overall would also help our whole nation.
Barbara Fraser, Burwood

This is how they did it
The Australian business community is jubilant with the rate of recovery of the economy. For example, Matt Comyn, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank said ″⁣The recovery in the labour market is, in one word, miraculous.″⁣

No doubt the government will take credit for the improvement and rattle on about its superior economic management capabilities. But this has not been the result of the typical neoliberal playbook of tax cuts and trickle-down financial benefits, and tightening belts and cutting government spending so that the private sector can step up and the shunning of debt so that surpluses can be achieved.

No, it has been the opposite of the usual Liberal Party nonsense. It has been massive borrowing and pumping government funding into the economy. It has been providing a living wage to those who found themselves out of work. It has been recognising the importance of government services and supporting public servants to undertake essential and often dangerous services.

The current Coalition government is now beginning to boast about its stellar economic performance. But when the Treasurer claims the credit for the economy’s turnaround, remember that it is because he completely ditched the party’s usual platform.
John Thompson, Middle Park

Progressive? No
The decision of the state government to more than double the bag limit for next month’s duck shooting season on the basis of increased water bird numbers is an appalling and cynical pandering to a special interest group.

The so-called progressive Andrews government is not.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool

Conditions of entry
Australians don’t trust home quarantine, and for good reason. However, we will probably accept home quarantine for those already vaccinated.

Australian citizens overseas, international students and overseas workers are all clamouring to come to Australia, but their rate of arrival is limited by the capacity of our supervised quarantine facilities.

The economics of allowing rapid movement into the country is compelling, so why don’t we pay for those in the queue to receive the Pfizer vaccine (with just three weeks between jabs) prior to jumping on the plane.

Absolute proof of vaccination is essential, but they can quarantine at home in large numbers and at low risk to the community.
Richard McMullin, Ballarat

A source of global envy
Your writer says Australia’s global ranking in COVID-19 vaccination ″⁣looks humiliating″⁣, perhaps implying we should feel ashamed of our lowly position (″⁣First up, PM, a cash injection″⁣, Comment, 16/4).

However, it is unlikely the rest of the world is mocking Australia for not leading on this measure. Rather, they would thank Australia for not buying lots of vaccine when the needs of other nations are so much greater.

Australia’s comparatively low infection and death rate must be the source of global envy. As our much-derided Prime Minister asks: where would you rather be?
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

Actions to be answered for
While it is a relief to at last see Malka Leifer is receiving her day in court, it is disturbing that those associated with the school where she was headmistress, the Adass Israel School, appear to have avoided any responsibility in her fleeing the country.

Leifer leaving Australia, before a warrant had been issued, has caused much distress and hardship to many and has led to a delay of more than 12 years before she faced the justice system in Australia.

It is difficult to understand why this group associated with the school were so committed to ensure Leifer depart the country despite having the knowledge of reported cases of alleged sexual abuse.
One would have thought everyone, especially those associated with children’s education would be motivated to the protection of these children within their care. This episode will continue to linger until such individuals face the legal system themselves.

One must admire the prolonged determination of those who have indicated they are victims and the various people and groups that have given their support.

While the greater Jewish community stand on this issue is to be applauded, a group within the Adass Israel community needs to answer for their actions
Simon Ralton, Hawthorn East

Another side of the man
Andrew Peacock was a regular guest in our senior HSC politics class at a small private school in Kew. We would close the classroom door and ″⁣go off the record″⁣ with the understanding that what we discussed would not leave the room.

This was ″⁣real″⁣ personal politics and very exciting and insightful for us all.

He would then join the site-wide general meeting of all students and staff and would reveal the public politician, which stood in stark contrast to the personal and quite intimate person ″⁣off the record″⁣, where he was very accessible.
Bill Cleveland, Kew

Bereft of goodwill
I am very disappointed and somewhat outraged by Anson Cameron’s column in Saturday’s Spectrum (″⁣The Lamb of God or another beef patty?″⁣, 17/4).

In his analytical (his word) observations of a small congregation of rural Anglicans celebrating Easter at their local church, he judged, insulted and mocked them, dismissing them and their joyous, harmless gathering in every way.

There is a whole raft of behaviour in today’s world with which to find fault, this uncharitable and offensive article ranks among it.

I am neither ″⁣stout″⁣, ″⁣rural″⁣, ″⁣poor″⁣ nor a practising Christian, but I am mightily sympathetic to others who are and might be offended reading your article.

Your Easter was bereft of any goodwill for your fellow man. Shame on you, Anson Cameron.
Jeanette Cowley, Brighton East

AND ANOTHER THING

Politics
With all the worthy tributes to Andrew Peacock, none was more apposite than the ABC’s Laura Tingle: ″⁣One of the last liberals in the Liberal Party.″⁣
Neil Hudson, East Melbourne

Never a huge fan of Andrew Peacock, but compared to the current crop he was a genius and statesman.
Ann Maginness, Cheltenham

At least something’s twerking for Scott Morrison.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

Is Scott Morrison a Labor Party plant?
Bruce Dudon, Woodend

Good to see Peter Dutton concentrating on the big issues: no more dancing at ship launches.
Brian Morley, Donvale

The pandemic
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home quarantine.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

My primary school years coincided with World War II, so I learnt that national cabinets on a war footing included leaders of the opposition.
Loch Wilson, Northcote

You wouldn’t read about it
Will someone please help ABC TV with their subtitles. Last night, the late Duke of Edinburgh was referred to as “the Kernel” and his award of “the order of the gutter”. Surely they can do better.
Anne Rogan, Greensborough

Furthermore
Peter Hartcher writes that two respected economists estimate the bungled rollout will cost the economy “tens of billions of dollars” (Comment, 17/4). If schadenfreude can help recuperation, Daniel Andrews will be up and about in no time.
Jill Roseberg, Caulfield South

Finally
Surely the time has come when religious organisations, receiving taxpayers’ money are seen as discriminatory businesses whose endgame is brand promotion and protection (″⁣Palliative care service queried over failure to verify deaths″⁣, The Age, 17/4).
Joan Segrave, Healesville

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