The West Australian
Prisoners’ health risk ‘over cost’
The West Australian had an editorial (15/4) “Deaths in custody remain a national shame” and a two-page article “Why are people still dying?” by Rangi Hirini (News, 15/4). Just a reminder it is not only Aboriginal people who go into custody or jail for minor offences and die there. The nation that fixes a system that disadvantages its most vulnerable can also address the problem for all its citizens. All in custody should be protected.
All people in custody and prison should be protected by Medicare, but none are. In WA the State pays for health and medical services for prisoners, and may cut costs by limiting availability. Health service delivery in prisons should be under the auspices of the Department of Health (and funded by Medicare), not left with the Department of Corrections.
Ray Tauss, Campaign for the Prevention of Custodial Death
Bring in transportables
The media has reported it is likely to take a long time to rebuild homes in Kalbarri, given the shortage of tradesmen everywhere in WA.
The City of Darwin had a similar challenge after cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day in 1974, exacerbated by the emergency evacuation to other States of a lot of the city’s population because of the lack of housing and services in Tracy’s aftermath.
Many of these evacuees wished to return as soon as possible, even though in most cases their dwellings were uninhabitable.
The solution to this shortage of suitable standard housing was found in the use of transportable dwellings which could be placed n the properties in such a position that rebuilding of the permanent replacement could done. Even in 1974 Darwin was far bigger than Kalbarri, but the solution was a success and the standard of accommodation provided by these transportables, which obviously included air-conditioning, was such that many returnees, including those with young families, lived in them for a long time while they waited for their rebuild to be completed.
This era preceded Northern Territory self-government in 1978, so funding then was from the Commonwealth, but it should not be beyond the capacity of WA’s Government to provide similar assistance to Kalbarri.
Graham Packer, Erskine
Drones could help
Further to my letter yesterday on the cyclone in the Mid West, and the importance of getting information by radio when power was down, in editing it was not made clear that it was not merely a lack of being able to charge phones and check apps for information, but that mobile phone coverage was gone, cutting the main way of communicating with others.
In Puerto Rico, after communication networks went down in hurricane Maria in 2017 they sent drones up as flying cell-phone sites to restore some coverage.
I. Byers, Cape Burney
Poor performance overall
The discussions concerning corporate bonuses and accountability at Australia Post are deflecting from the real issue as to whether Australians are receiving value for money from their national postal service. In the financial year 1999-2000 the corporation reported a profit of $402 million. In 2019-2020 under Christine Holgate’s management the profit is now $53 million and to earn that she presided over $92 million performance bonuses paid to the corporation’s executives.
Letter service standards have decreased dramatically over the past 12 years and Australians have endured a 100 per cent rise in the base rate of postage. Reflecting on the corporation’s bottom line result its return on revenue for the $7.5 billion earned last financial year is 0.7 per cent, an abysmal outcome for any organisation.
The overall performance of Australia Post would indicate poor governance at the political and board level. Australians are entitled to much better.
Trevor Holm, Dunsborough
Albanese had a go, too
Sure, Prime Minister Scott Morrison overreacted in his use of language in response to a question on the issue of expensive watches by former Australia Post chief Christine Holgate, but Labor leader Anthony Albanese was also highly critical of the practice and asked “why was she still employed” particularly when many other workers had not had a wage rise for some time.
But as usual the Prime Minister cops the flak and Mr Albanese joins the chorus. Hypocritical in the extreme.
Don Rogers, Capel
Suspicious over this vow
Prime Minister Scott Morrison hand on heart promised that WA’s 30 per cent GST donation to the other States was locked in, and would never go up, I suppose? Well, I would be giggling all the way to the polling booth if I sold that to WA voters. No wonder the “secession” word keeps popping up.
David Lynch, Applecross