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Your views: on bikeways, and the reality and stigma of Centrelink welfare

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on city council obstructionism over bike lanes, and living with dignity within a rigid, increasingly outsourced welfare system.

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Commenting on the opinion piece: Our city must serve people who don’t drive cars

I went to the City of Adelaide Council meeting last night (15/12/20) in the (optimistic and ultimately misguided) hope that the saga of the east-west bikeway would finally come to a positive end and Adelaide would see it built over the next six months or so. 

What I witnessed was a sickening abrogation of the council’s responsibility for the safety of cyclists and to making Adelaide a greener city. I saw up close Councillors Hyde and Khera laughing when it was suggested that they did not want to see any bikeway realised.

I also had the dubious pleasure of watching Deputy Lord Mayor Couros and Councillor Hyde working in tandem to introduce amendments to deliberately defer and likely kill off the bikeway.

The Lord Mayor is keen to market Adelaide as a green city, but this is laughable. Adelaide is the city of the motor car and if you don’t like it, you can lump it.

We should name those who are obstructing a rather prosaic, single, protected east-west bikeway which might get more kids and inexperienced cyclists riding into the city: Deputy Lord Mayor Couros, Councillors Hyde, Hou, Knoll, Abrahimzadeh, and Khera.

If you want a better Adelaide, these people need to be voted out as soon as possible. – Ben Smith

Well said, Stephen. – Tom Melville

Thank you Stephen for saying what needs to be said about the dominance of cars in Adelaide.

I have lived in many cities in Australia and around the world, including Copenhagen. Adelaide is by far one of the deficient cities I have lived in when it comes to transport for people who do not own or drive a car.

As a cyclist, I use the Frome St bike lane each time I go to the city. I always wish there were more bike lanes like this in Adelaide, especially for safety. The Frome St bike lane even has a bicycle counter, showing the number of bikes crossing, just like in Copenhagen.

The difference in numbers of people commuting by bike however, is vast. Adelaide is so very far behind for cycling and public transport options for people. – Maureen Boyle

I’m a middle aged woman new to cycling. I ride from Linden Park through the back streets until I get to Victoria Park.

The Frome Bikeway is my favourite part of the ride to work because I am protected. My least favourite ride is Pirie Street to Gawler Place. On my first ride along Pirie Street I had to contend with a garbage truck stopping in the cycling lane.

I look forward to a proper East/West Bikeway. – Tracy Adams

We are creating a city that serves neither car drivers, cyclist not pedestrians.

Pedestrians are the biggest losers since the invasion of the footpaths by cyclists, scooters and other hurtling metal projectiles. Car drivers, albeit from a privileged position, are losing parking and driving spaces. Cyclists are losing the unqualified support of pedestrians along with the support of at least some car drivers and not getting what they need.

All this since the bike lobby traded off the safety and serenity of the pedestrian of their access to the footpaths in return for limited improvements in bike lanes and aspects of safety.

It is all a classic example of yet another policy that is destined to fail because it is inadequate in its vision, scale and resourcing. – Stewart Sweeney

Hear hear, Stephen.Lets follow the science, as they say – in this case lets move towards best practice  contemporary urban planning.

The east-west safe bike lane is a simple GO! Heaven’s sake! Dark Ages Adelaide? – Di Sullivan  

Commenting on the opinion piece: Crunching the numbers of who’s claiming Centrelink unemployment benefits

Interesting study. What I would find interesting is how many of the long term unemployed should actually be in receipt of Disability Support Pension, instead of being consigned to NewStart/JobSeeker due to stricter eligibility requirements for DSP.

We currently have a labour market that doesn’t provide for all Australians. This is not a uniquely Australian situation  – it exists worldwide. And currently people with disabilities (including “psychiatric” disability like significant mental health issues and “cognitive” disabilities like autism & ADD/ADHD – with the latter not even recognised as a disability to begin with) are not catered to within the employment market. Period.

This is the next great frontier we face as a society. We must meet this challenge head on, and we’re not currently. At all. Beth Dumont 

I was brought up to believe the purpose of the unemployment benefit was to give a safety net when work was unavailable. The changes that have happened over the last 20 or so years with how people employed means this safety net is more necessary than anything.

I knew the first thing this government had to do when Covid hit was increase the amount received. There is no safety net in a $500 a fortnight payment. People don’t have savings.  

I have volunteered extensively in the area of crisis care. Too many people still believe it’s those who can’t get their act together who have to lean on other assistance. Assistance which plugs the hole of depleted finances, that over-enforcement creates.

Many recipients have to lean on friends and family for extended periods of time.

Those with loud voices who knock our welfare recipients, who pull out people who may spend money on drugs or something else to paint a one-dimensional picture, have to be shouted down. An increase in the amount has to be fair. Recognition that these are our friends neighbours and other community members without mass stigma is a good first step. 

Pieces like this need to be front of mind. Thank god for the advocates who use the data to showcase the other side. Keep pushing for those who can’t. – Christine Freeman

One point missed in this article is underemployment.

I work in this industry and there is a higher number of underemployed females (still receiving partial benefits as they don’t work enough hours to meet the minimum Centrelink threshold) which accounts for the higher number of suspensions as they work more hours, therefore having to juggle work, usually family, and their mutual obligations. – Lisandra Purton

Centrelink has also switched those on sickness benefits to JobSeeker, like me (fighting cancer).

The numbers who are truly unemployed are not accurate, you simply don’t know how many got switched over from sickness to JobSeeker. – John Corcoran

Many job seekers are passed onto employment agencies who get paid by the government but give no true active assistance. – Karen Zuccato

I am a 60-year-old female with a few medical issues, so have to work at least 15 hours per week.

I understand that receiving an income from the Government requires all participants to do something in return, and I was volunteering pre-Covid.

My role was a teachers assistant for people with disabilities attending face to face classes, and of course at the moment that is not an option.

Because of my health issues, standing or sitting for long periods causes me significant pain, to the point that many nights I would end up crying in pain and getting very little sleep. I also suffer from hearing loss in one ear and also tinnitus.

I used to work as a receptionist a few years ago now and have considered looking for part-time work in a similar field. My hearing loss however does cause many problems. Can you imagine walking into an office and the person who is supposed to direct your enquiry constantly replies with ‘Sorry can you repeat that!’. Very annoying. I have been told by my doctor that it is not possible to get hearing aid for my problem, I don’t quite understand why. Of course I cannot afford a cochlear implant and imagine even if it was a funded procedure the waiting lists would be significant.

I feel very depressed most days just worrying about not being able to fulfil my obligations with my Job Network. I get it that many people my age are quite happy to continue working, and that’s great, but for people like myself who have had a lifetime of very physical work our bodies have become somewhat tired and worn out.

Like others have stated, no one wants to spend money or time on training someone of my age as we are perceived as being just too old. I have successfully completed two Certificate 4 courses so I have been trying.

The stresses involved, for me anyway, with having to look for work, not to mention the constant failures, wear you down. I honestly just feel useless and wonder if it’s all worth it any more. On top of everything the retirement age keeps going up and I truly believe I will not live long enough to reach it, yet some of our politicians can retire at 55.

So for me every day I sit at my computer looking for work, getting excited sometimes reading the job requirements, only to then be disappointed when I realise I don’t quite have all the necessary qualifications so the search continues. It is truly a futile experience and one that gets me further down as each day passes.

I often just wonder: Why and how long do I have to continue with this farce another seven years or another 10? I also struggle with applying online for work trying to understand how to address the Key Selection Criteria. This won’t be taken very well but I feel like I am pimping myself out, giving a stranger information about myself talking myself up in the hope that they will choose me without even seeing me. Sorry if that offends you but that’s just how it makes me feel.

So I will continue to look for more volunteer work, people are happy to accept you if they don’t have to pay for your services. I actually applied for paid employment with the same place I have been volunteering for three years. A job that I just knew I could do, and do very well (I would never apply for a job I could not do). 

I never even heard back from them, but I’m sure they will want me to continue volunteering.

Employment rejection, on a daily basis, is not something limited to younger people and the older you get it becomes a fact of life that you have to live with. Let me tell you that it never becomes any easier. – Jan Devenyns

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