Questions over fee changes
Your news article "Burden eased" (The Standard,7 September) reports on a "boost for parents as region's private schools cut or waive fees" in response to COVID-19.
However none of the school representatives quoted stated whether or not their school received Jobkeeper payments. Many private schools and other businesses received Jobkeeper after estimating a revenue loss of 30% but ended with losses less than that.
Usually if an individual claims Centrelink payments but earns more than they expected to they have to hand the money back. Scott Morrison's government has even used Robodebt to pursue people who didn't owe it any money. Australian businesses have received an estimated $13 billion in overpayments of which only a relatively small amount has been paid back.
In some instances they have used the overpayments to pay executive bonuses, increase dividends (sometimes to overseas companies) or, in the case of private schools, reduce school fees.
If this money was recouped from businesses who have not needed it to pay wages it could be used to build social housing and much needed infrastructure, for taking action against Global Warming or it could be redistributed to businesses who are suffering right now in the current lockdowns.
Emmanuel College, Kings College and Mercy College may not have received Jobkeeper, but if they did receive it and didn't suffer a 30% drop in revenue then they should repay the money so that it can be put to proper use elsewhere. It would be the Christian thing to do.
Peter Martina, Warrnambool
Agricultural shows a no-go
The juggernaut of Agricultural Show cancellations across Victoria continues. Locally, the Koroit Show is the latest lamentation to the COVID-19 restriction blues. We can only expect Port Fairy and Noorat to follow what seems the inevitable path to zero-shows.
It comes as the country lockdown restrictions ease, notwithstanding Shepparton, which continues a localised battle with the virus.
Yet these restrictions were in place in regions where there has been no virus. The partial lifting of these rules is therefore equally stupid. They are a fraud on the public and most will see through it.
The restriction zeitgeist has delivered country Victoria meaningless, destructive outcomes.
The Victorian Premier continues the charade of care in the name of Corona, while every other disease and condition skips past him on their merry way, as they always have, and always will.
We have not stopped shows - or borders for that matter - for heart attacks, dementia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, swine flu, regular flu, gastro outbreaks and so on. Even toad deaths haven't taken cars off the road.
And while the shows pull the stop cord one by one on 2021, the tin-eared Victorian Government announces Ag Show support funding with grants of up to $10,000.
It can be spent on things like building grandstands or buying portable animal yards. I'm sure Show Societies would love to build grandstands. But they'd also love a crowd to fill them.
I welcome the funding, but it feels a little like lipstick on a feral pig right now.
Bev McArthur, Member for Western Victoria Region
We're not there yet
My heart breaks when I read news of the Taliban tightening its oppressive grip over the lives of women in Afghanistan. Reports of restrictions on women playing sport, working and even leaving the home are deeply disturbing. It makes me feel incredibly fortunate to live where we do.
However, last week's National Women's Summit, held in Canberra, has come as a timely reminder of the work still to be done to reach gender equality in Australia. It shocked me to read statistics that one in four women experiences violence at the hands of a domestic partner, and that one third of us have recently encountered sexual harassment in the workplace.
As a nation, we have come a long way in affording the same rights regardless of gender. I feel grateful to be able to step outside to exercise or socialise or go shopping alone, particularly in the current global context. But that gratitude does not prevent me from fighting for more. We should not accept gender disparity in Australia, even if this inequality is minor compared to elsewhere in the world.
Women in Afghanistan are facing an overwhelming fight. Their terror is impossible to imagine from my own safe haven.
But for an astonishing number of women, Australia remains far from a sanctuary. There is still much work to be done to change this.
Elsie O'Neill, Port Fairy
Attention all pool owners
Royal Life Saving Society is asking all Australians with swimming pools to use time before summer to check their pool fencing to protect young children from drowning.
In the past decade, more than half of all children aged 0-4 years who drowned in Australia lost their lives in a backyard swimming pool. Children who drowned often gained access to the pool area through a fence or gate which had fallen into disrepair, or a gate which had been deliberately propped open.
We know families are under a lot of pressure with lockdowns in place in many parts of Australia.
The demands of constant supervision are exhausting. But close supervision is the best way to protect a child from drowning.
Our research shows any distractions, such as using mobile phones or doing household chores, while children are near water increases their risk of drowning.
A pool fence in good repair can give you precious minutes when a determined toddler unexpectedly wanders off towards the pool.
Almost 40 per cent of child drownings happen over the summer months which is why now is the time to get your backyard swimming pool prepared.
Adults can access a free home pool safety checklist to make sure their pool area is safe and secure at www.royallifesaving.com.au/stay-safe-active/locations/water-safety-at-home
We want all Australians to have fun in the water and stay safe this summer.
Please take the time to do a backyard pool safety check - your actions today could save a child's life.
Justin Scarr, CEO, Royal Life Saving Society