Give me buzz and noise of the inner city any day

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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Give me buzz and noise of the inner city any day

I am a neighbour of the popular cafe on Rathdowne Street, Carlton North – “When the latte line becomes disputed territory” (The Age, 10/6).

I say hooray for a bustling hospitality business, hooray for two entrepreneurial young women who have contended with the challenges of COVID-19 and created a successful, communal space where the sounds on the street are cheerful chatter and where use is made of the wide, grassy median strips for gatherings of friends.

Inner-city living can be noisy at times. I can’t always park my car in front of my house, the boisterous children at the primary school can be loud and shrieky at recess and lunch, and the farmers’ market on Sundays brings with it a stream of happy shoppers walking past my front door.
I have lived in a suburb with big blocks of land, high fences and off-street parking. Would I go back? Never. Give me a lively, friendly, sidewalk coffee where the mood is friendly and business is buzzing.
Cathie Moulton, Carlton North

The nightmare of barking and yapping, 24/7

Clearly no one who is advocating for an off-leash dog park (The Age, 8/6) has ever lived opposite one. The City of Port Phillip has such a park, of which I have the displeasure of living opposite. Residents are subjected to barking, whining, howling, yapping and dog-fighting at all hours of the day, 365 days a year. There is no respite.

Forget being able to sleep in, do shift work, or work productively from home. The City of Port Phillip has a bylaw about noise on council land, but clearly the people responsible for upholding it are too busy playing with their dogs at the park.
Sarah Phillipson, South Melbourne

Conforming to the strict standards of heritage

Re “Heritage checks cast shade on solar panels” (The Age, 7/6). I have a home in a heritage street. Does this decision by VCAT mean I should replace my car with a vintage vehicle to keep the illusion that nothing much has happened in the past 70 years?
Peter Ramadge, Newport

Dangerous move to eliminating cash payments

I was shocked and disgusted when I went to pay for a $4 croissant at a bakery this week. I was cheerily told that they only accept card payments. I had left my card at home that morning and was starving and hankering for a croissant. And I only had this change with me – enough for that croissant.

Since when did cash not count as legal tender? I believe this should be illegal. I do not wish our society to become cashless and hence allow our banks to become even richer. Every time people tap their cards or phones, the banks get a commission and people do not seem to care because it is “so easy”.

I also question what will become of the homeless people who rely on people leaving money for them, and if they too want to buy a croissant. It is not just this bakery, but also the butcher, and how many to follow that do not accept cash.

It did not seem that long ago that people only accepted cash. Needless to say, I won’t be returning to that bakery, where I once was a regular customer.
Paola Triado, Kew


A national gas policy

BP Energy Statistics provide data on natural gas reserves, production and consumption for world countries. Many have increased consumption over the last decade, despite the aspiration to reduce fossil fuel use. It emphasises the inherent value of natural gas, dependence on its supply, and obstacles to substitution by alternatives.

Also evident from the data is that Australia has fewer gas reserves and is depleting its reserves faster, as well as consuming a relatively small portion of its production compared to other large producers. The struggle over the past decade for competitive gas prices and supply on our east coast has impacted on businesses, and stifled new investment opportunities.

This highlights the urgency of achieving the right targets for exports and domestic use. Our failure to implement a national policy, especially in the light of 15years of Western Australia’s reservation practice, is a failure of government, but also of integrating businesses, industries, and professional societies in contributing to policy development.
David Brennan, Malvern East

A scrambling jumble

About 15 years ago, I was the state signatory for the entire supply of gas to Victoria. My department had to forecast daily gas needs for all industrial and domestic use. I built a secure website that ordered all that gas, and allocated and invoiced the gas companies each month. It amounted to billions of dollars.

And with fewer than 20 staff, it was easy-peasy. Just two spreadsheets driven by “week of year”, “day of week” and “average temperature for the day, run on two simple Mac computers. I was a well-paid outside contractor.

There is plenty of gas available now – but there is also a jumble of (state and federal) government “policy” confusion, scrambling and being overwhelmed. It is very much like what we have seen with COVID-19 … and other things.
David Bishop, East Brighton

Streamlining the system

The one-week waiting time for an appointment with any doctor in my local clinic indicates how precarious our health system has become. An immediate solution to the GP shortage crisis is to put health responsibility directly into patients’ hands by specialists emailing X-ray, ultrasound and blood test results to them. Follow-up only as required.
Delia Court, Eltham

‘Normalising’ the deaths

The bulk of the 20 or so deaths from COVID-19 each day in Victoria are us oldies and our death rate here (and in other countries, it seems) has become normalised.

Clearly our political leaders, having lead from the front during the early stages, are now responding to the lockdown and mask backlash, hence their emphasis on “personal responsibility” for mask wearing and social distancing. That is as much as they will commit themselves to now.

It would be nice if more of the population did show some personal responsibility, but younger people seem to have accepted infection and reinfection as a part of life. Where that leads to in the longer-term remains to be seen. Much like primary school – it is learning by doing.
John Duke, Monbulk

It’s simple: mask up

Those people who choose to wear a mask in public are seeking to protect not just themselves but also others from contracting COVID-19.

A person, unknowingly infected, could by sneezing or coughing spread the virus. Wearing a mask will reduce the likelihood of that occurring. Australians can be very willing to help others, as the recent floods in NSW and Queensland have shown.

Conversely, many people show, by their unwillingness to undergo the minor inconvenience of wearing a mask in public, that they are not prepared to do what they easily could to reduce absences from work and school, the strain on hospitals and the number of deaths resulting from the pandemic.
Alan Gunther, Carlton

Taking extreme action

With the US government resisting gun control, it appears that American children are the powerless victims.

I suggest the solution is in a school strike with children refusing to attend school until the US government acts to ensure their safety. This would terrify politicians and they would act immediately. Extreme emergencies require extreme action.
Harry Prosser, Berwick

Courage to see it through

Perhaps the US law makers should recall what Atticus Finch said to his son, Jem, in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird:

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” The same attitude could tackle another enemy within, illicit drugs.
Angela Thomas, Ringwood

Time for men to step up

Samantha Selinger-Morris (Comment, 10/6) points out the change of heart of Sheryl Sandberg as she resigns from her leadership role at Facebook (now Meta), and uses this as the reason why women shouldn’t fall for the idea of “leaning in” to a career. She tells women how to avoid the effects of stress and burnout, but only in the last paragraph mentions men, and only in the form of a quote from Victor Frankl’s work Man’s Search for Meaning.

Why are we still expecting women to do the leaning? Where are the men who need to re-evaluate their role in the sharing of responsibilities in the poorly named work-life balance. (As if these two are mutually exclusive.)

Isn’t it time we encourage men to take their turn at leaning out of the workplace and in to the rest of life?
Jenny Dowd, Ivanhoe East

At long last, good news

How exhilarating to read The Age on Thursday. After nine barren and wasted years, a flurry of welcome developments.

Energy ministers have signed off on plans for sweeping reforms; Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus can “exercise levers” to handle the Bernard Collaery case; Craig Kelly will no longer “bombard” us as prime minister designate; and minister Catherine King commits to getting Infrastructure Australia “back on track”.

But, above all, the splendid photograph of the Murugappan family enjoying their return home to Biloela after suffering horrendous treatment at the hands of the former government. May we continue to read about the “decent” way in which the new government will serve our community.
Sidney Bloch, Hawthorn

The long trek home

As a Richmond fan, I used to love going to football games – but those played on Thursday night are no good for families, especially rural ones like us. A trip down to Melbourne means we get home after midnight, which is no good for school and work the next day. It is no wonder that crowds are down.
Donna Lancaster, Inverloch

Give Tassie a fair go

Hey, AFL boss Gill McLachlan, don’t you think you are being a bit rough on Tasmania with wanting it to have a $750 million stadium before it can have an AFL team (Sport, 10/6)? Not so long ago, if the VFL had imposed that sort of standard to join the league, none of the suburban grounds would have passed muster.
|Ross Bardin, Williamstown

A less stressful time

Your correspondent says, “Real mortgage stress is when interest rates hit 17per cent” (Letters 10/6). When they were at this level, our mortgage was $43,000 on a $63,000 house and we were both earning $20,000 a year, which was the average wage. Our stress was nothing like that which is going to occur.
Adrian Cope, Gisborne

When people came first

Can we have the SEC back, please. Run by engineers for the benefit of the community.
Joan Peverell, Malvern


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


Portfolios often overlap, but why separate the responsibilities for climate change (Bowen) and environment (Plibersek)?
John Hughes, Mentone

It seems AUKUS becomes RAUKUS when Peter sees political advantage in it.
Mark Brooks, Benalla

Dutton is one of only a handful of MPs who could make Morrison appear to be an intellectual giant.
Carlo Ursida, Kensington

If Bowen continues to talk so fast and near unintelligibly, nobody will know what he is trying to convey. Maybe that’s his plan.
Joan Mok, Kew

The Wong/Albo dream team: Eliminating the kow tow from diplomatic discussions.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South

Before the IMF bails out the government of Sri Lanka, the entire Rajapaksa clan must be sanctioned.
Roger Christiansz, Wheelers Hill


It’s beyond belief that universities, teaching courses in ethics, have practised wage theft. The 7.30 report (9/6) was an eye opener.
Judith Paphazy, Cape Schanck

A joyous reprise on lettuce mania (10/6). Thank you, Tony Wright.
Denise Deerson, Bulleen

I’ve stopped buying iceberg lettuce. Like Elton John, I’m now more a rocket man.
Paul Custance, Highett

Why has the daily COVID-19 data gone from your website? It isn’t over.
Margaret Ludowyk, Brunswick

I’ve noticed the tattered state of the Australian flag atop the GPO. Perhaps they’re awaiting the new one to be delivered by Australia Post.
Mark Hulls, Sandringham

What Essendon needs is MEGA: Make Essendon Great Again.
David Zemdegs, Armadale

From a long-time Bomber fan: Essendon have been playing like they’re 150.
Rod Matthews, Fairfield

If Tony Blair’s son becomes any more successful (10/6), he’ll be able to afford a house in Melbourne or Sydney.
David Mitchell, Moe

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