Write On: Letters to the Editor

March 28, 2009

Taxi industry not driven by community needs

Protesting cab drivers have been told by Victorian premier John Brumby to "get over it". According to the Brumby government, Victoria needs more cabs, another 630 this year, to address the needs of disabled people and the travelling public.

In 2003, despite community protests, the Bracks government cut $43 million from the Multi Purpose Taxi Program. These cuts were later partially restored.

Under the Brumby government, $1.35 billion has been spent on the MyKi ticketing system: a system which is not necessary and is difficult for the physically and mentally disabled to use.

MyKi does not address ongoing fundamental failures in the public transport system: lack of capacity at peak times and vulnerability to multiple cancellations due to insufficient drivers, weather and accidents.

The introduction of 630 cabs is another example of window-dressing.

The state's taxation revenues will be enlarged but fundamental failures in the taxi industry will not be addressed. The existing taxi radio booking system is inefficient as it produces a high number of "no jobs". The public complain that taxi drivers are poorly trained and lack sufficient knowledge.

The Victorian Taxi Directorate does not have the confidence of many in the industry while the directors of the dominant taxi depots get fat from compulsory fees and depot charges, without which the public could access cheaper rides.

It is clear that the taxi industry is not driven by community needs. It is a scapegoat for failures with public transport policy and exists to meet the revenue needs of the Brumby government.

John Glazebrook, (Committee member, Victorian taxi drivers association).

Can't excommunicate real catholicism

For decades, the Catholic Church has been centuries out of date in the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages.

For decades the Catholic Church has needed a second saviour to rescue it from sin and other stale beliefs..

That Catholic intellectual has arrived as a breathe of fresh air .

He is Catholicism without all the crap. He is the
John Pilger of Catholicism.

He is Father Peter Kennedy. One cannot excommunicate real catholicism!

Jane Wallace, (via email)

Bushfire disaster

Sometimes it is hard to find the right words to express things properly. At sad times like this it is very difficult. The recent unparalleled bushfire disaster is one of those occasions. It is a poignant reminder of how precious and fragile life is.

Many people have suffered bereavement and loss of their homes. Many of us know these distressed people and feel their pain and anger. The local residents have rallied tremendously to aid them. Communities like ours in the northern fringe of Melbourne are sorely grieving and our people are very busy helping.

Lots of other people living in these areas affected by the bushfires and beyond the Melbourne region have been deeply touched by the tragedy. The anguish and hurt these people feel will never go away. But those affected have been very much comforted and assisted by the incredible support and sympathy shown from throughout Victoria, Australia and overseas.

While these communities are used to adversity, this awful disaster has been like no other we have faced. Yet, it has been tackled with the same amazing, irrepressible spirit these communities excel in. And it is because of that, that these communities will grieve and rebuild together and continue to flourish.

Steven Katsineris, Hurstbridge, Vic.

Decades of cutbacks

The Australian reported on 7 March "Cutbacks leave more PR than crime fighters" that there are more spin doctors in the Australian Crime Commission than investigators.

This is where you end up when you apply decades of cutbacks to Government budgets. Since Fraser gained office in 1975, we have had governments pushing an ideology of small government. One of the government's weapons in implementing that agenda was the so-called "efficiency dividend" — an automatic and unjustified cut in the budget of each government agency every year.

Like a man who is forced to wear a shirt that is slightly smaller each year, the result is eventually not very pretty. The result can be seen, for example, in the Immigration department where bad administrative decisions (such as locking up Australian citizens as illegal immigrants) has resulted in the government being successfully sued for millions of dollars.

A big "doh"! to the concept of small government.

Leigh Howlett, Ashfield, NSW.

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