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The party that stands up to vested interests on a winner

This news is discouraging but not surprising (“Plastic Recycling Program Collapses,” Nov. 9). We need to become much more serious, much more urgent to cut down on waste, especially plastic waste. As a society we should buy and consume less, do away with all unnecessary packaging, avoid plastic film, buy fresh and take our own bags with us. I regularly pass trucks loaded with building materials wrapped in layers of plastic. What is this madness? Among other things, we must remember the wisdom, frugality and simple practices of previous generations. Meredith Williams, Northmead

The blame for this should not be placed solely on those contracted to manage it. Obviously there are challenges in managing volume and we should all be wondering what can be done. We should not continue to use untold amounts of plastic because we believe it can be reused. It’s everyone’s problem. Ted Bush, North Epping

Too much plasticCredit:Jason South

The collapse of the plastic recycling program is a huge failure for both governments and industry. We have dropped our plastics as a practical act of faith and are disappointed.
We don’t want to hear your greenwash excuses. Bring your collective actions together and fix it. We can because we are a wealthy first world nation. Murray Patchett, Kentucky

The plastics industry has once again deeply disappointed the public by using rather than recycling our carefully cleaned, collected and returned soft plastics. Surely building products can be made from recycled plastic to save trees? Perhaps it is time for a plastic tax to properly fund the collection and disposal of this environmentally harmful product. Alternatively, we could go back to wax paper and other natural packaging that has served us well for millennia. Anne Matheson, Gordon

Australians have enthusiastically embraced recycling, recognizing the damage plastic does to the environment. Unfortunately, now that we can no longer export the problem, we have to come up with our own viable solutions. Another example of where government support is needed to accelerate implementation. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

We need to drastically reduce the production and consumption of plastic. The petrochemical industry of fossil fuels is responsible for much of the damage to the environment on Earth. It must be held accountable. Karen Joynes, Bermagui

So, what now for the plastic wrap that mine? Herald every day? Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

Lessons from a crisis in education

The continuing accusations made by teachers from the recent parliamentary report against education are not convincing (“Upgrade teaching degrees: survey”, 9 November). “The students didn’t learn because the teachers didn’t learn,” the report said. During COVID, teachers not only provided quality re-skilled education over the internet when in lockdown, but also economic stability by keeping schools open for parents to go to work (many put their own lives at risk) and continued to work for children with mental problems. health problems through a very difficult period.
Teachers are overworked in the classroom and overloaded with administrative work and are offered little reward. Any young person would look elsewhere for a better lifestyle for themselves and future families. By substantially increasing the wages of all teachers and reducing the administrative workload, there may be an opportunity to improve the number of teachers. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

Credit:iStock

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a NSW parliamentary inquiry highlighted the need to improve teacher education. In terms of learning from the best, we can look at Finland, where teachers are recruited from the best academic achievers and study for master’s level teaching qualifications, and are well paid. Since teaching is recognized as a desirable profession, it means that the Finnish education system is ranked as one of the best in the world. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

It is not necessary for teachers to be the best of the academic tree, but they must be academically and emotionally intelligent to be effective. In the past, most university teachers were on scholarships, which by definition meant they were academically proficient and most stayed in the profession. Today, those who consider teaching do so as a secondary option and academic standards have dropped. It is clear that poor salaries have contributed to this situation, but the increased expectations of both parents and education administrators have had a huge impact. Pay teachers more, let them do their job with minimal interference and maybe the situation will improve. Max Redmayne, Drummoyne

The appeal of the NSW House of Lords report to teacher shortages does not address the elephant in the room in its 20 recommendations. Teacher shortages and supply problems cannot be adequately addressed without detailed consideration of the recruitment, retention and job security of male teachers. Rod Leonarder, Roseville

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Builder of a deficit

When I see how the cost of the HomeBuilder program (“Overstimulated Construction, Inflation” Program), Nov. 9, has risen from an estimated $678 million to $2.3 billion, I can’t understand why there are no limits based on the available amount. When we also consider that there were no conditions for companies to pay back money from the JobSaver program if they increased their profits, I can understand why our deficit has grown significantly. Sandra Burke, Cremorne

The Morrison administration would have done much better to allocate stimulus funds to social housing and boost the build-to-rent sector. Unfortunately, the coalition is fixated on the private market and hates public housing. This has led to a crisis in both affordable housing and rental housing, and it has been made much worse by more than tripling the original financing. Tony Simons, Balmain

In hot water

Credit:iStock

Rising sea temperatures aren’t just an inconvenience to swimmers (“Why Our Oceans Are Warming, But Swimming Still Feels Cold,” Nov. 9), they’re a loud alarm bell that Australia has already been damaged by climate change. Warmer oceans mean a warmer atmosphere, which holds more water and can drop more rain, causing more flooding. Then there is the damage to fisheries from the loss of species that cannot survive a warmer habitat. Professor Roughan, quoted in this article, says our local oceans are warming at the fastest rate on Earth. Barry Laing, Castle Cove

Tax audit overdue
Ross Gittins’ article on the budget’s failure to seriously pursue welfare (“A Great Leap Forward for Welfare,” Nov. 9), is just one feature of the need for serious tax reform and what we need for the betterment of all Australians. Australia is not in the top 10 countries for World Wellbeing Indicators. Henry’s tax reform, shelved by the commissioning government and its followers, would be a good place to initiate change so we can climb the welfare ladder. Stephen Dunn, Bonnells Bay

Issues that benefit us cost more than Australia can get their hands on. The federal government must push through and introduce financial incentives and other charges for companies that mine our resources. It’s time we realized that businesses will continue to operate here because of our stability, even if appropriate levels of resource taxation are applied. Stewart Copper, Maroubra

Cost of Cruelty

Award-winning author Behrouz Boochani Credit:Kai Schworer

Anyone shocked by the brutality of the detention of asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG is deeply saddened that the Labor government not only failed to bring them to Australia, but paid an additional $150 million to keep them locked up on Nauru. No wonder there is no money to increase access to Medicare, employment, social services, or education. We had hoped for better. Anne Shay, Ballina

spicy debate

Your correspondent (Letters, November 9) isn’t the only one with a supernatural family story. At the exact moment on July 20, 1974, when the Turks invaded Cyprus, where I was, my mother woke up and said, “Something happened to Anne.” (Luckily I survived after a harrowing time.) I attribute this to the ‘second sight’ of her Welsh heritage. Anne McCarthy, Marrickville

Maybe we have a ghost or soul and maybe they can manifest as a ghost after death, but your correspondent tells of a ghost appearing in an army uniform. I cannot accept that matter has any form of cosmic energy, surely all spirits should be naked? And why do we get reports of ghost horses, but none of cockroaches, cows or Tasmanian tigers? Dave WattsAvalon

Tracked down

If Lord Lucan (“Missed Killer ‘in Australia’, Nov. 9) lives in Brisbane, can anyone check if Shergar is there? Tim Overland, Castle Hill

Everyone on board

Please come to the Kogarah Bay Sailing Club, Blakehurst, for Sunday training and racing (Letters, 9th November). We treat women with respect and welcome all ages. Ashley Berry, Toolijooa

The digital display
Online commentary from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday smh.com.au
Coles, Woolworths Recycling Plan Collapses After Secret Stocks Revealed
From semantics154: It is very disappointing to find that my attempts to wash and put the plastic bags aside and then transport them to the red bins have all been in vain. Time to make companies that produce all this plastic responsible. Certainly more items could be packed in cardboard. Why, for example, do oatmeal, cookies, sultanas and soap have to be in plastic?″⁣

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