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Your views: on open schools, Centrelink and supermarket shopping

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the decision to keep state schools open, navigating Centrelink, and share their experiences of elderly-only shopping.

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Commenting on the story: Marshall: “Students must remain at school”

I am absolutely disgusted that our government is allowing our schools to still open.

This is where most students and staff  are more vulnerable to catch any virus or infection that is going around.

I am one of many staff that work in a high school with special needs students.

Trying to enforce the measures of constant hand washing, not being allowed within 1.5 metres of anyone, not touching your face,mouth, nose etc is extremely challenging for these students to have to partake as a lot of them are unaware of personal space and hygiene.

I seriously hope that our government will see that leaving schools open for another week or two will end up being a bad decision and shuts them down as soon as possible so we can all stop being stressed and worried about what could happen.

Having two children of my own I worry everyday for their health and safety. And having to send them to school is making it 10 times worse. – Melanie Lee

Commenting on the story: Centrelink glitch shows Newstart payments slashed

As a Newstart recipient in Perth only 8 weeks ago, I cannot fault my dealings with Centrelink.

I’ve had no payment cuts with the exception of my declaring any income from paid work if I’m fortunate enough to get.

My healthcare card, which I wasn’t expecting nor really need, arrived one week following my application acceptance, and application was completed to the day they informed me it would be.

The help I’ve received in my job searching has been invaluable.

I adhere to my obligations set out on time, while also participating in voluntary participation in Jobactive classes to which has also been invaluable to me.

I’ve had no issues whatsoever on MyGov and everything so far has been smooth sailing. Karen Sheahan

My concern is that the government is trying to streamline services that are complex, irregular, unfathomable, awkward, sensitive and/or complicated at the base level.

How can you slot thousands of cases about client’s personal experiences into three or four categories?

Why can we no longer call a general phone number for queries, how will you fix a problem or error quickly when you visit an office and are told to download something electronically because it’s at least one and a half hour wait to physically speak to and see a staff member?

I’ve paid my taxes all of my life and have found myself in a situation that was caused not by me and controlled for me by organisations that can’t hear me when I speak, or they hear you but don’t offer any response to the information you give them of your private nightmare.

I’m sorry I don’t have the financial backing to support myself, I’m  sorry my mental health means nothing to you, I’m sorry I’ve tried to do the right thing by everyone only to have my face pushed in the mud every time. – Nicole Bungey

Commenting on the story: Elderly-only shopping hour after shelves stripped bare

It should be made clear to those who are concerned, this also applies to seniors card holders.

That’s all I have and it is accepted. Jan Hills

I think this is a wonderful idea. I’m 72 but fit as a fiddle, but I went to see what it was like.

It was amazing. The frail were so thankful. There was no pushing or shoving.  Everyone was patient whilst the toilet paper was handed out. Plenty left over for the young. The frail were not pushed aside. It was a pleasure to see.

We all showed our seniors cards. I won’t be doing it again because I’m fit and because I think I have enough but what a wonderful thing to do for the frail community. – Mary Sanders

I am on a disability pension, and I really appreciated the idea of a dedicated shopping hour because I’m down to my last roll.

Despite visiting the supermarket daily since panic buying stripped the shelves of toilet paper, I have not been able to get any at all.

Usually at 8am, the long line of people run to the toilet paper aisle, and are already passing through checkouts before less mobile people have even reached the aisle.

Even though I know there will be none left, I still go to the aisle anyway, just in case, because I’m desperately needing some.

I hear the shelves start to be repacked just before closing, so I’m also there on most nights too, but so far there hasn’t been any.

On some occasions, I suppose usually when I’m feeling particularly exhausted and my body is aching, I have found myself in tears at the toilet issue. Something I could never have imagined.

So naturally I was quite relieved at the likelihood of getting some toilet paper at Woolworths on Tuesday morning.

I had arrived at the car park around 7am, and it took approximately 10 minutes to find a car space because not only was the car park full, but it was difficult and slow driving in amongst some slower  ‘more cautious than usual’ drivers. 

I arrived inside Woolies at 7.15 and it was bumper to bumper crowded. I was advised the toilet paper was at the back of the store but when I arrived it had already gone.

I then found myself stuck at the back of the store where I was continuously boxed in by trolleys coming from all directions, and I started to feel overheated and panicky because I wasn’t able to get out, I couldn’t even take a step on several occasions.

By the time I reached the exit it was 7.45am. I looked at the lines for checkouts and one was at least 50m long, and full of people who looked uncomfortable with standing. 

One woman told me the only reason she got a packet of toilet paper was because one person was unable to stand in the line any longer. Which is very sad and unfair. 

This crowd of people are probably more desperate and I found some more forceful in movement than the regular 8am crowd, and on several occasions I was strongly bumped into.

This was an issue for me because my body is painful with being slightly bumped into, I also have terrible balance and just on my own I can lose balance and fall over easily,  and from a recent fall I dislocated and broke my shoulder, so I didn’t enjoy or feel safe in this environment.

It’s a great idea, and very lovely of Woolies, but from my experience, my opinion is that it’s a little disorganised with potential safety issues,  and  in general is impractical and difficult for this group. 

It’s still a situation where the fittest of the bunch get there first. 

Maybe they should split up the days with aged pensioners one day, and disability pensioners another. And if needed first half of alphabet, followed by 2nd half. Because I bet you some of those speedy customers along with new ones will be there again tomorrow.

I wonder, with my body aching and feeling exhausted already, is it worth it because I know it’ll be compounding and this also effects my immune system, but I know I have no choice because it’s my best chance to get some toilet paper. 

So I will try again tomorrow. – Talie Dier

With regards to the early opening hours for the elderly and infirm, the reason these shops have allowed these hours, and not the later option as your segment suggests, is because not only will they have the first pick of stock before it is all snatched up, but most importantly, as ones who are higher at risk of infection, and serious illness, to go to a shop after it has just been disinfected and cleaned the night before, and before all of the other (potential Covid-19 carrier) hands have touched things in the shop (products, rails, eftpos machine etc) is critical to their remaining in good health. 

 Although maybe unconventional and inconvenient, I’m sure the shops, for these reasons, have the elderly community in mind when they put forth this option. – Eliza Nolan 

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