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Greyhound outrage continues

Silence on greyhoundsThe outrage continues, justifiably, on the Baird decision to close down the greyhound racing industry totally disregarding any real consideration of the impact to the voting community either morally, socially, or financially.
Nanjing Night Net

Readers should not forget that when the Closure Bill was finally presented to theNSWLower House of Parliament our local Member, Mrs Williams, together with the vast majority of her Party colleagues, voted with the government to support the Bill. This without any consultation with the electorate.

I wrote to Mrs Williams on August 30expressing my disgust at her and her Party’s stance on this issue.Since then, no acknowledgement, let alone a reply, just the deafening silence. However, this will not be forgotten.

Anthony Moy,Port Macquarie

Increase awarenessDuring Dementia Awareness Month, which runs throughout September, Alzheimer’s Australia is calling for greater awareness and understanding of dementia so people living with the condition feel less isolated and alone.

There are more than 353,000 Australians with dementia and an estimated 1.2 million people involved in the care of someone with dementia. In the Port Macquarie electorate there are an estimated 1,750 people living with dementia. That figure is projected to increase to about 3,500 by 2050.

A survey just released by Alzheimer’s Australia has found that people with dementia are almost twice as likely to have high rates of loneliness, and people with dementia and carers are significantly more lonely than the general population.

Treating people with the same respect, kindness, inclusiveness and thoughtfulness you always have is what makes a difference to them. They are still the same person they were before the diagnosis. They just may need a little bit more time, understanding and support.

John Watkins OAM

CEO Alzheimer’s Australia

Protect TAFELast week was National Skills Week, and we should have seen the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, The Hon Karen Andrews, MP to press the case for a bigger national vocational training effort.

However, we did not hear a word aboutskills and apprenticeshipsas a driver for improving the living standards of all Australians and to give apprentices the mobility to move to better paid jobs through training in both practical and theoretical skills, that is, the combination of on-the-job practical training and off-the-job technical training.

The fundamentals of a developed economy rely to a large degree on the skills of tradespeople, and the way in which those skills are passed from one generation to the next.

What we do know is that everything that underpins our standard of living relies on the skills of our workers. These skills drive the incremental changes that are constantly improving our industries and economic performance.

That is why I am so concerned the Turnbull government will capitulate to the small but vocal group of employers who want to change our entire skills and apprenticeships system for their own benefit,to the detriment of apprentices.

TheTAFE apprenticeship training system has been stable and effective, while ‘for profit’ providers rort the system to the tune of billions of dollars and offer online courses with no workshop or hands on experience.

Now the Turnbull government is making matters worse. Afterstripping $1b from the apprenticeships systemin their first term and overseeing acollapse in apprenticeship numbers, the government’s first decision post-election was to spend $9.2m on ill-defined pilot programs that the minister, Simon Birmingham himself describes as “slight adaptations of the apprenticeship model”.

There is a real danger this will lead to a system where low-paid trainees work at a company for a short period and learn narrow skills that a particular company needs. These workers can become captive to the success or failure of the enterprise as their skills are not transferable. Some employers want the taxpayer to foot the bill for these trainees, by dressing them up as ‘apprenticeships’.

This money would be better spent providing increased support to ourTAFEsystem and on helping apprentices through policies such as Labor’sTools for your Tradeprogram, scrapped by Abbott and Turnbull.

We need a system based on stable institutions like TAFE and a cooperative relationship amonggovernment, employers and unions. While unions are seen as the enemy by the Turnbull government, its most senior ministers can be heard at times praising the reforms of the Hawke and Keating governments; reforms that were a product of a joint approach to training involving government, workers and business working cooperatively.

We need better analysis of why business is shifting the cost of training to government, and how we can address the reduced business expenditure on training and the need to develop the skills required for advanced production methods and new technology.

I am not arguing there should be no improvement to our apprenticeships systems, but we have to start from the principles of what works, and that is a real employment contract for apprentices and the learning of industry-wide skills.

We must build on the best legacies of the apprenticeship training system that preceded the free market experimentation that has so clearly failed. In doing so we are more likely to find a way to meet the challenges we face.

Colleen Carmody,Port Macquarie

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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