Families and businesses bear the brunt of rate rises

Does the supposedly highly informed RBA board realise every interest rate hike negatively affects those with mortgages, business loans etc, but puts more money into the pockets of those with investments (‴⁣⁣Smashing families’: premiers attack RBA”, May 4)? Those people are then free to “splash the cash”, thereby fuelling inflation. The less well-off have little discretionary money so simply make ends meet. Those with significant spare cash are spending up big and worsening inflation because they care little about higher prices. Can’t the RBA see that or do they sit in an ivory tower of “expertise”? It is time for the RBA to cease its rate-hiking and allow time for the government to institute policies to curtail the spending of the rich. Postponing the stage 3 tax cuts could be a start. Ian Roberts, Warriewood

Well, who would have thought? Philip Lowe and the RBA board obviously believe in breatharianism. That’s certainly how many Aussies are going to be living in the near future. I suggest the RBA board members give it a go for a while. And as for anyone at that level knowing “it’s going to be hard for some Australians” – give us a break. When was the last time any RBA board member had to choose between a meal or medicine for themselves or their kids? I also suggest they try living with a struggling family for a week. But they may have to provide their own air. Christine Ahern, Suffolk Park


<p>Credit:Cathy Wilcox

RBA increasing interest rates again will only help push more struggling people over the edge. Given the current economic conditions and struggles facing many people, a less aggressive approach to stabilising inflation is needed. Have we considered the cost to the economy of more people out of work with a lot less money to spend? Let’s hope the RBA comes to their senses and this is the last rate rise for some time now. Foad Munir, Newstead (Qld)

It is obvious that interest rates have peaked or nearly so, but that does not mean payments by many mortgagees are affordable, but in fact are life-destroying. The banks do not need to pass on the full RBA’s interest rate hikes. Alternatively, it would surely be an affordable option for banks to consider a lower repayment rate for financially stressed borrowers while interest rates are so high, but in compensation, maintain the repayments when interest rates inevitably decrease. Geoff Harding, Chatswood

No one doubts families are being “smashed”. The excuses of state premiers for their own shortcomings and the utopian populism of Bandt’s Greens, who advocate an impractical two-year rent freeze and interference in the Reserve Bank’s independence, fail to account for inflation’s complex causes. These include disruption to vital supplies because of the Ukraine War, other cost-push and demand-pull factors in the wake of the pandemic, the need for reform of unfair taxation policies, wage increases which fuel spending, and more. Thankfully, Treasurer Chalmers appears to know this and, I hope, will not smash families further in his forthcoming budget. Ron Sinclair, Windradyne

Remember kids, exams don’t define your lives

No (“North, west dominate selective school candidates”, May 4), the selective schools test is not the “moment that practically decides their lives”. We live in a country where there will be many opportunities to shine, to develop your interests and even to change the path you are on and start afresh. For many years now, the cost of private tutoring centres has further skewed the entry opportunities for applicants with limited means. I wish Mani and her friends the best of luck in sitting their exam and hope they understand that their lives will certainly not be determined by what happened yesterday. Irene Nemes, Rose Bay

Is selective always the best choice?

Is selective always the best choice?Credit:Kate Geraghty

In NSW, there are 44 selective high schools (with more promised by the state government), too many for the small percentage of gifted and talented students. The desire of parents for their children to attend these schools is often based on misinformation and fearmongering, and has also led to the increase in private tutoring companies. The massive increase in selective schools has led to the demise of good local educational institutions which once successfully catered for 99 percent of the student population. Sadly, the push from parents for more selective high schools is supported by politicians and, along with other specialist schools, has heavily impacted on the benefits of an education at the local comprehensive school. Bruce Cuneo, Mortdale

The huge growth in private schools has skewed the educational landscape across Sydney. There is little doubt that selective high schools help to retain students in the public school system, but they could get a more egalitarian tweak. Before the entry test was introduced, there were clearly defined “feeder” primary schools for each selective high school. One group of students gained entry by coming first or second in their final class in primary school. This practice recognised steady performance throughout the year, and it was probably fairer and more educationally sound than via a single test and heavy reliance on expensive tutoring. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

The chief executive of the Australian Tutoring Association says that, “if people are seeking to change their social setting and a private school is too expensive, then a high-achieving selective school would seem to be the best option”. So if you can’t afford a private school and your child can’t get a selective school position then your “social setting” will be difficult to alter? I wonder how so many public school high achievers have managed to overcome this stigma. Sally Shepard, Nelson Bay

Selfish people at the ‘coffice’

Last week I met a friend for a coffee in our lovely local cafe (“Taking work to the ‘coffice’ , May 4). We were lucky to get a table as there were four people sitting at four tables working on their laptops with an empty cup of coffee. When we left about 40 minutes later they were all still there, oblivious to the fact that there were people now waiting at the door for a table. I thought it was selfish, but I am sure my thoughts were mild compared to those who own such establishments. Michael Walsh, Croyden

The new office

The new officeCredit:iStock

No distractions is a good reason for working from, and holding meetings in, hotels or cafes. Says the new business model. But it can be a huge distraction for other patrons, enjoying a quiet beer or coffee, especially if the speakerphone is employed, which it usually and most annoyingly is. Because of this business model in recent times I have, most irritatingly, come into possession of all sorts of information that we have privacy laws to prevent from me obtaining. Peter Bourke, Rockdale

Overhaul needed

Simplifying land valuation processes (“Valuer-general to modernise land taxation”, May 4) is a start but will not be much use if ratepayers do not fully understand how councils then use land values to set their rates. Forget the so-called rate pegging; councils are always on the lookout to apply for special variations to rates, which then leaves most people confused about why they are paying so much.
A complete overhaul is needed. Michael Blissenden, Dural

A point well made

The MLC Centre in North Sydney, saved by the skin of its teeth

The MLC Centre in North Sydney, saved by the skin of its teethCredit:Dylan Coker

Following the significant decision of the Land and Environment Court to rule in favour of the MLC building in North Sydney (“1950s office building saved from demolition”, May 4), I hope the heritage features of Milsons Point, its parkland and the approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge are similarly safeguarded by the NSW Heritage Council and that it rejects a linear bike ramp, and instead recommends the Community Cycle Ramp, an Australian design-compliant solution that does no harm. Ian Curdie, Lavender Bay

Unhappy subscriber

I echo your correspondent’s hope (Letters, May 4) that Alan Joyce, as head of the Sydney Theatre Company has more respect for theatre audiences than he did for passengers. I wrote to the STC and said that, as a subscriber, I was unhappy with this choice, as this was a man who presided over the sacking of thousands of workers and refused to refund unused JobKeeper funds. If these were the values the STC now represented, I would think twice about buying tickets. Anne Elliott, Balmain

Devilish waste

With the money they are spending to build stadiums – more than $700 million in Tasmania (“Devil in the detail: AFL out to avoid Warner Bros’ clash”, May 4) – they could bring 20,000 AFL fans to Melbourne or any other AFL game in any city by plane loads free for the next 20 years. If all governments spent that money on building homes for poor people rather than stadiums to cater for a small AFL fan base, Tasmanians would be appreciative. What a shameful waste of money. Mukul Desai, Hunters Hill

Wrong focus

While natural gas is the best raw material source for plastics production, our oil and gas companies are still focused on depleting their deposits for one-off energy use (“Santos strikes deal to bury carbon dioxide under the Timor Sea”, May 4). It’s surprising energy companies such as Santos are not rushing to lock up the best permanent energy resource sites (wind and solar) as that would significantly increase their value. As we phase out expensive coal energy, coal remains a practical source of carbon for our future recyclable plastics needs. Oil and gas companies are deserving of their low valuations as they could be gone in 30 years. Peter Egan, Mosman

Token consultation

The cap on the number of concerts that are allowed at the stadium in Moore Park (“Concerns about more concerts dismissed”, May 4) was imposed for perfectly good planning and environmental reasons and has gone some way to protect the amenity of the many who live in the adjacent densely developed residential areas for the past 30 years. The fact that the NSW Premier has initiated the process of lifting this cap by directing Venues NSW to lodge a development application gives one no comfort that there will be an objective and independent decision-making process. Harvey Sanders, Paddington

What does Sydney want happening here, and how often?

What does Sydney want happening here, and how often?Credit:Getty

To put the NSW Premier’s Sydney concert decree in context: when AC/DC played the Sydney Showground in 1981 we lived 1.5 km from the venue. In the back room of our terrace house, with all doors and windows shut, we could not get the TV to go louder than the band. I have never been a big fan of AC/DC, but I am still in awe of their sound system. Rene Vogelzang, Haberfield

Puny paracetamol

The TGA has ruled that paracetamol is to be sold in reduced sized packaging (“Paracetamol packs to shrink under TGA ruling”, May 4), causing even more blister packs to go into landfill as they are un-recyclable at the moment. Is there a recyclable blister pack used anywhere in the world, and if not, why not? When you think of the trillions of them going into landfill every day, there should be a Nobel Prize given to the person who invents a recyclable one. Lorna Denham, Cardiff Heights

Worth swearing about

Once again, Anthony Albanese has shown his maturity by not being drawn into a spurious debate (“PM will swear allegiance to the King”, May 4). All cabinet ministers swear an oath of allegiance and, for as long as Charles remains our head of state, it is entirely appropriate for the prime minister to offer him allegiance. I, for one, will be joining him. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

This weekend it’s all about the King

This weekend it’s all about the KingCredit:Getty Images

Coronation quiche? No thanks. Democracy sausage? OK. But what I really want is a Republic Pie. Tom McGinness, Randwick

Surely replays of the coronation will be available, as the Sharks play at 5.30 and the Rabbits at 7.45. Lyle Keats, Miranda

Your correspondent (Letters, May 4) asks, “what’s not to like” about our current system of government: we can never have an Australian as head of state until we ditch the foreign monarchy. Or are we so lacking in confidence and self-esteem that no Australian can match a British monarch? Rodney Crute, Hunters Hill

Name of the game

I am sure Hudson Fysh lies happily in his grave knowing that another Hudson is now filling the job he once held. Terry O’Malley, Bowral

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Finally, an end to the crazy rule that shamed Sydney on the world stage
From Lone Ranger: ″⁣20 concerts eh? Plus footy & cricket. The issue is congestion at the end of these events. Yes, have them, but for Pete’s sake, better planning to get 100k crowd back home.″⁣

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Justin Scaccy

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