Drain­ing work­ers

Mercury (Hobart) - - YOUR TASMANIA - David Bren­nan Carers Tas­ma­nia DIS­COV­ERED: Dove Lake carpark at Cra­dle Moun­tain. Mike Rad­burn Les­lie Vale Wayne McDon­ald Taroona Bob Cot­grove Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia

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.

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