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Your views: on Ann-Marie Smith, Hutt St, free buses and GM crops

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on state disability services and the NDIS handover, the Hutt St Centre debate, city transport and GM v non-GM crops.

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Commenting on the story: Carer sacked over “disgusting, degrading” death of client

The death of Ann-Marie Smith was preventable, and I believe would not have occurred if the South Australian Government had retained the Department known as Disability SA.

 I now speak as a recently retired public servant, having served in various capacities for over 41 years.

 My last position was as one of the State After Hours Coordinators for Disability SA, an entity within the Department of Human Services, that was closed when the State Government became a signatory to the National Disability Insurance Scheme or NDIS.

Prior to the advent of the NDIS, the State Government provided oversight to disability clients such as Ann-Marie, utilising for example, the aforementioned DSA after hours service.

Prior to the NDIS, DSA provided funding to both private and government service providers to undertake care provision of disabled clients.

The care provided, hours contracted and client satisfaction was always closely monitored.

Any DSA client was free to contact us twenty four hours a day/ seven days a week to express any issue or dissatisfaction they had, either with their direct carer or service provider. We would then investigate this issue by a home visit, or the dispatch of the most relevant responding agency, whether this be SAAS/SAPOL or the RDNS, as examples.

 Along with my colleagues in the AHS, we campaigned long and hard to retain some form of statewide after hours service for vulnerable clients, but our endeavours were stonewalled by both DHS executive officers and politicians alike, who were more focused on the quick closure of departments to keep to the tight NDIS timeframes.

Not wanting to breach Ann-Marie’s confidentiality in any way, I can but say that I truly believe that the situation she finally found herself in would never have occurred if the systems in place three years ago had remained as they were.

When SAPOL investigates, I hope they compare how Ann-Marie and other DSA clients were cared for then, as opposed to how she was cared for on her death. – Chris Pazera

Heartbreaking. No words can describe the depth of grief felt for this preventable death.

South Australia has had in recent years Chloe Valentine, Bob Spriggs, others un-named. Now Ann-Marie Smith is a name etched into the awful history of neglect in care of our most vulnerable in our state.

Once more ‘trust’ has been eroded, violated in the most violent of ways with the outcome of a most terrible death. Please do not finger-point- we are all responsible in some way.

Our silence does harm. Systems must not be economically driven. The cost of care for a human life, to be cared for with compassion, respect and dignity is a cost we must willingly endure. 

Listen to the wisdom and experience of Maurice Corcoran.

Heartbreaking. It is 2020 and pressure injury is preventable- so much is known about pressure injury prevention. Why? Elizabeth A Owen

Commenting on the story: New city councillor key to push to overturn Hutt St Centre review

I believe Cr Simms has made the right decision and by flagging his intentions, the actioning of the council decision to hold some kind of trumped- up spurious planning review of a CAP planning decision.

This is what happens when councillors try to superimpose their professional opinions over those of the council’s paid professionals; aggravation, division and considerable waste of time and money.

Let us hope council rescinds the senseless motion of Deputy Lord Mayor Hyde and lets the Hutt St Centre get on with its vital work supported, and certainly not impeded, by the council.

And let us see an end to meetings running on into the small hours – a recipe for bad decisions and bad governance and evidence of poor meeting control. – David Plumridge, former Adelaide City councillor

Commenting on the story: Free city bus service hits potholes

While it would be a pity to see the service cut back or eliminated, it is important to note that the whole of the City of Adelaide is well served by Adelaide Metro fare-paying bus services.

Most of these services operate through the council area, connecting many parts of it.  Many operate more frequently than the free city bus service.

It is likely that many people don’t understand where these bus services go, which is understandable when there is no decent public transport map that passengers can carry with them, as is the case in cities interested in promoting their public transport systems.

Passengers travelling into the city from the suburbs and using their MetroCard can actually transfer for free to any other service to get to different parts of the city at no charge if they transfer within two hours. Similarly, travelling home from the city can they validate their card on boarding the first bus and transfer for free to their bus, train or tram to their home.

The State Government recently withdrew the two section fare which allowed for low-cost fares around the city. It now costs as much to travel on a bus between north and south Adelaide as to travel between the city and Sellicks Beach!

The Government used the excuse that  people were over-riding on the two-section fare, something that could be prevented if tickets were checked by inspectors from time to time.

A low-cost solution to this situation would be for the council and State Government to develop a low-cost or free special Metrocard for city residents, paid for by the council, as well as council paying the cost of an inspector to police its use.

Alternatively, the state could reintroduce the two-section fare and the council could pay for such an inspector.  Either solution would surely be cheaper than paying for a number of buses to continue operating the free city bus service. – Tom Wilson

I have been a regular user of the connector bus and its absence has considerably increased my feelings of isolation the last few weeks.

I am an older city dweller, unable to drive a car and with limited walking range. The connector bus takes me to the market, the podiatrist, the ophthalmologist, the dentist,mor just one stop gets me to the tram.

Would an “on demand service” be available to travel one or two stops? – Effie Best

Commenting on the opinion piece: A bountiful harvest of debate over GM crops go-ahead

Why would Grain Producers SA want to remove the only ability to ban GM crops due to major economic risk?

The reason no other country in the world is commercially growing GM wheat is because markets simply stop buying wheat from any area at risk of contamination. It is impossible to segregate to the zero tolerance demanded.

Who is in the debate?

Farmers against GM simply do not want their profitability to decline. There is a market penalty for GM contamination, and segregation costs will increase. Non-GM farmers can even be charged patent fees and fines due to low levels of unwanted GM contamination.

In the case of commercialisation of GM wheat, total market loss due to perception of contamination can immediately destroy Australia’s  $7.5 b/yr wheat industry.

Liability should rest with those imposing that major risk, not with those not wanting GM.

Farmers for GM: For over 26 years, farmers have been misleadingly promised miracle crops. GM crops have only involved a single gene technology where a few individual genes are added to around 10,000 genes of a non-GM plant.

In spite of many billions of dollars being spent on this technology, very little has been achieved. The majority of GM crops grown worldwide are only resistant to glyphosate. This same trait appears in non-GM form as an unwanted trait in weeds.

GM patent owners: The major incentive for GM is the unique patent rights and contracts with GM farmers, who sign away their rights to be in control of their farming practices.

Farmers are told how to farm, what products to use and who to sell the product to. Farmers do the work, pay the bills, manage seasonal variation risk and, accept liability on behalf of the patent owner.

The research sector behind the push for GM in an aim to profit from farmers by attracting corporate investors: Farmers pay a compulsory research levy to GRDC of $115 million/yr, but farmers do not own the intellectual property farmers pay for. This is traded for corporate investment.

Governments are pushing GM in an effort to corporatise plant breeding. – Julie Newman, Network of Concerned Farmers

Several anti-GM activists, including the two Bob’s (Phelps and Mackley), and the Hon. Mark Parnell, miss the point when it comes to presenting evidence of a premium achieved by South Australian growers as a direct result of the moratorium.

It is true that in states where both GM and non-GM canola is grown there is a spread in pricing. This pricing spread demonstrates that in these states coexistence is working, product integrity is being maintained and customers of both GM and non-GM products are getting what they have paid for.

Growers in NSW, Victoria are WA are getting to choose the farming system or combination of systems that work best for them, and reaping the benefits of this choice, be they better prices, or access to a broader range of weed management tools.

 hen comparing pricing, it is disingenuous and highly misleading to compare the non-GM price in South Australia with the GM price in another state, as this is not an analogous comparison and is like comparing apples with oranges.

 An accurate comparison is to compare the non-GM price in South Australia with the non-GM price in another state, this is comparing apples with apples, and was undertaken by Mecardo in its 2018 report on the moratorium.

This analysis demonstrated that on average since 2012, non-GM canola out of Adelaide has traded at a 2% discount to non-GM canola out of Geelong (Victoria), and a 3% discount to non-GM canola out of Kwinana (WA).

The 16 year GM moratorium delivered no trade and marketing benefit to South Australia’s non-GM canola growers, based on a comparison with non-GM canola in neighbouring states in which GM canola cultivation was also permitted.

The Mecardo analysis also demonstrated that the discount for South Australian non-GM canola, compared to non-GM canola in Victoria and WA, increased over time, demonstrating that the moratorium coincided with a reduction in the value of South Australia’s non-GM product against that same non-GM product in two states that are also growing GM crops.

Now farmers on mainland South Australia will have the ability to choose those farming tools that work best for them and not have politics stand in the way of their ability to innovate. – Osman Mewett, Australian Seed Federation

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