GUY Barnett makes some valid points in his comments on changes to workers compensation legislation which may affect the propensity of the Tasmanian Public Service (TPS) to accept liability for post-traumatic stress disorder illnesses and injuries (Talking Point, September 26). Too little, too late. Larger employers in the TPS use disputation processes to undermine the resilience and mental health of employees who report work-related psychological injury. In the vast majority of situations where claims are referred under valid dispute clauses to the Worker’s Rehabilitation and Compensation Tribunal, the tribunal’s initial finding is to accept there is a dispute. As soon as this decision is made and opposing parties are told to go to their corners and prepare their cases, all income benefits and treatment funding ceases for the worker. The worker faces the prospect of invasive investigation process and increasing legal bills. The employer is not breaking any rules but is exploiting a playing field sloped in its favour when its default position is to drag the majority of psychological injury claimants into a financially and emotionally draining process. The almost inevitable outcome is that many workers are forced back to the coalface.
Revive Christmas spirit
I CANNOT agree more with reader A. Francis about reviving the joyous Christmas carols and spirit of Christmas (Letters, October 12). I’m still in disbelief that our traditional Carols by Candlelight was snubbed and funding terminated by HCC. This should be regarded as a crime. Our laws should protect our spiritual and cultural values and events. The iconic Christmas carols must be reinstated together with full funding back to its traditional place in St David’s Park. A dark cloud and depressing dirges have indeed shrouded our open-hearted joyous city of Hobart.
It’s not about love
READER Michael Lynch resorts to criticising me for my advocacy of a western road bypass around Hobart’s CBD (Letters, October 5). I do not have a “love affair with cars”, but as an urban geographer and transport economist I understand the value car use gives people trying to accommodate daily activities within tight time budgets. Public transport is intermittent and cannot serve most people’s demands. In the past 40 years, three-quarters of Hobart’s population has accrued to suburbs in Kingborough, Clarence and Sorell. The proportion of households with two or more cars has increased from 29 per cent to 54 per cent. The result is a massive increase in cars trying to get to the CBD or bypass the centre. The trends towards car ownership and low density suburban development are occurring around Australia and the world. As Tasmanian Conservation Trust president, Michael Lynch should be concerned about the damage to Hobart’s wonderful heritage of colonial buildings by the traffic along Macquarie and Davey streets. Diverting a large proportion of this via a western bypass will help protect Hobart’s heritage and improve its connections to Sullivans Cove.
Voters, take note
SUE Hickey’s plea to put people before politics is an extraordinarily bold idea and one that would capture the attention of any concerned voter. When ambulances queue outside our major hospital to admit patients we have a problem. When people resort to cutting off a finger to obtain mental health services we are appalled. When drug and alcohol services are understaffed and there is a need for increased law enforcement, we have a society under stress. Nursing homes that follow a person-centred care model is what care of the elderly and infirm is all about. Politicians who place people before self-interest, and even the interests of their own party, are a rarity in public life. Those who talk the walk are worth listening to but only those who walk the talk are worth voting for.