Sunday, January 16, 2011

'It's hard to believe we can't do better than this', says Qld. Premier

You CAN do better, Anna. Build more dams and thus prevent the problems in the first place. There should be a weir across every flood-prone river in Qld. Stop spending money on Greenie fads and spend it on something useful.

For those who are unaware of it, a weir is a low-cost but very efficient water regulation system. It's just a big lump of concrete across a river with a fixed outlet pipe at the bottom of the weir which is wide enough to let normal flows through only. So when floods hit, water levels rise and when a drought hits, water levels fall. The result is a steady flow in the river which is good for both the creatures in the river and the people who use it for water

Premier Anna Bligh says she would like to see a better system developed so Australians have more comprehensive insurance protection against flood disasters.

Last week both Ms Bligh and Prime Minister Julia Gillard urged insurance companies to be flexible when processing the thousands of claims being lodged for flood damage. But the Insurance Council of Australia noted that not all insurance policies would cover policyholders for the type of flood event that has ravaged vast areas of Queensland.

Ms Bligh said today that Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser would speak to the federal government about the situation. "It's hard to believe that Australia can't do better than this. When you see the scale of this and understand the havoc and heartache this has brought, it is hard to believe we can't find a better system," she told Channel Seven's Weekend Sunrise program. "There are some big policy questions out of this. Now we've got the immediate response dealt with we can start to look at those big issues."

Ms Bligh said many people had paid their insurance premiums believing they were covered for floods and "now they find this is the wrong kind of flood".

This morning, Ms Bligh and Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan announced a further $20 million had been donated to the official Queensland flood relief fund, $10 million each from the state and federal governments. Donations to the fund have so far reached about $64 million, Ms Bligh said.

"But this disaster has now grown into something absolutely unprecedented in our state and the situation we are facing has more than tripled in size since the appeal began," she added. The money is being used to rebuild homes, replace property and get Queenslanders back on their feet.

At least 28,000 properties have been affected by the flooding.


Wrecking Disguised as Compassion

In the usual Leftist way

Wayne Swan and Bill Shorten met with representatives of insurance companies yesterday to encourage them to show compassion to flood victims ‘as anger grows over the companies’ “no policy, no payout” stance.‘ Labor wants the insurance companies to give payments to people who don’t have flood insurance. Julia Gillard suggests that not paying out people who didn’t have policies is ‘playing hardball.’

What’s next? The government demanding that shops give goods to people who haven’t paid for them, and claiming supermarkets which don’t comply are playing hardball? But then, why would anyone pay for groceries?

Some people who live in flood prone areas chose not to ensure against flood. They saved some money. And they are not insured against flood. That was their choice. So why are they angry?

The insurance companies have no obligation to pay people who don’t have insurance. The government might as well ask makers of haemorrhoid creams or jet skis to cough up. That would make as much sense.

This is typical of leftist governments. We have to be nice. Preferably with someone else’s money. In this case, with money that belongs to policy holders (in other words, people who did think ahead) and to shareholders in insurance companies (primarily superannuation funds, ie, other people who are thinking ahead).

It is sad that some people whose homes were damaged, or who lost property in the recent floods chose not to insure against those risks. Especially when all of them live in areas which have flooded before.

Australia is a community. The suffering of one affects us all. It is great that the community rallies around to provide emergency help.

But the reason the community can rally around to provide emergency help is that most Australians still take responsibility for themselves, and put a little aside for hard times. The Commonwealth and states have reserves we can draw on in hard times. Those reserves are accumulated through hard work over time.

If the government succeeds in forcing insurance companies to pay people who did not have policies, what incentive is there for people to take responsibility in the future? Why would anyone pay extra for flood insurance if the government can be relied on to pressure insurance companies to pay everyone anyway?

As a nation we used to be self-reliant, hard working, prudent. We knew we lived in a physically harsh country, where extremes of heat and flood were common. And we took care to be prepared.

Now there seems to be an attitude that we don’t need to prepare, because whatever happens, it is someone else’s job to fix it. If something unpleasant happens to me, well, I didn’t want it to happen, so someone else should pay for it.

This is now the standard way of thinking in relation to health. If I need to see a doctor, need to go to hospital, need an ambulance, or need medicine, someone else should pay. The gubmint.

But gubmint money belongs to the taxpayers. You want someone else (the taxpayer) to pay for the treatment you need if you break your leg, and to subsidise your income if you can’t work?

But how do you feel about your tax money paying for Mrs McGinty’s third set of dental work this year, when she has never cleaned her teeth in her life? Or paying for treatment for the Harris kids’ constant eczema and worm infections?

But then, why should Mrs McGinty clean her teeth? Someone else will take care of it. Why should the Harrises wash their hands and keep their animals off the kitchen benches? Someone else will pay. It will be OK.

But it won’t be OK. Because if the government constantly acts in ways that are a disincentive to taking responsibility, eventually there will be no one left to take responsibility. There will be no reserves, and no one left who can pay.

* Ah, but universal health care is compassionate. No it’s not.

* Well, paying out people who don’t have flood insurance is compassionate. No it’s not.

* At least, it’s compassionate to let asylum seekers who arrive here into the community and help them become citizens. No it’s not.

* It is compassionate to give home loans to people who can’t really afford them. No it’s not.

* It’s compassionate to lower academic standards because it is too hard for students to learn and their self-esteem will be impacted if they fail. No it’s not.

All of these are laziness, or worse, the deliberate fostering of dependence, and the discouraging of honesty and responsibility, disguised as compassion.

Those who perpetrate and perpetuate these things may feel good about themselves and their niceness. But the end results are always the same. More resentment. More entitlement. More suffering.


Everything Peter says above is correct but I suspect Gillard, Shorten and Swan are just grandstanding. They know perfectly well that the insurance companies will be hard hit by payouts for legitimate claimants and any further pressure would send them broke. And millions of people suddenly finding themselves uninsured would be politically disastrous

NSW bureaucracy hurting kids

SENIOR NSW Government officials have admitted "red tape" is stopping caseworkers from undertaking urgent face-to-face visits to neglected children in troubled homes. Community Services chief executive Annette Gallard told staff in a leaked memo obtained by The Sunday Telegraph the department was battling to overcome red tape and hold-ups in court so workers could "help reach more cases".

The comments came as the Ombudsman also ordered a fresh investigation into the handling of child protection.

Ms Gallard sent the note to staff after the revelations in The Sunday Telegraph last week that fewer children at risk were getting direct help. She told workers another 239 new caseworkers would be hired in the next six months.

After The Sunday Telegraph report last week, Ombudsman Bruce Barbour has also demanded answers. Angry at the neglect exposed in confidential documents, Mr Barbour said he would investigate why children at risk of harm were not getting face-to-face help.

Changes introduced last year after the Wood inquiry into DoCS were supposed to improve the care of children in troubled homes.

"I've put the Government and Community Services on notice," Mr Barbour told The Sunday Telegraph. "We will be looking very closely this year at how well Community Services is responding to matters they remain responsible for following the Wood inquiry and how successfully they're interacting with families and direct assessments of children at risk.

"We want to see if the systems in place since the Wood inquiry are actually making an improvement on the ground. "High risk should equal a home visit and it doesn't look as though it is. That's what we'll be looking at this year."

Mr Barbour also said he knew to be true a report in The Sunday Telegraph last week that red tape and paperwork were stopping caseworkers from seeing children face-to-face. He said it was an issue he had also come across in reviewing deaths of children known to Community Services. "Time and time again in reviewing a death, the paperwork is fine, but no one has made an assessment on the ground and, if the caseworker is not sighting the child, they can't get a proper sense of what's going on," he said.

The Wood inquiry introduced a raft of changes and an injection of $750 million to prevent a repeat of horrific child deaths that Community Services could have prevented. Reforms introduced in its wake were intended to increase face-to-face contact with at-risk children, but a report leaked to The Sunday Telegraph revealed a 13 per cent drop in direct interventions and assessments of children at most risk of harm.

"The statistics in that report would never have been released. Why aren't these statistics reported quarterly so we can see what they are doing?" Dr Sammut said.

Minister for Community Services Linda Burney confirmed the drop in completed assessments of the highest risk children and blamed caseworkers having to adjust to new systems despite a halving of reports to the Helpline after the threshold of harm was raised to 'significant harm' to cull re-reporting of the same children.

"We already knew who the most vulnerable children were because they made up half of the calls and the re-reports were being made time and time again because nothing was being done, DoCS were not acting so there is no excuse for what is happening now," Dr Sammut said. He said the Wood Inquiry changes had wasted $750 million.


Pithouse the shithouse to be investigated at last

Another report about Pithouse here

WRONG-WAY magistrate Richard Pithouse is likely to be the first subject to come under the scrutiny of a new independent panel set up to investigate the judiciary.

The move could see the magistrate investigated and potentially removed from office after several complaints about his courtroom behaviour and judgments.

Attorney-General Robert Clark, who in opposition urged for an urgent inquiry into Mr Pithouse, last week met a sexual assault victim, "Emma", who attempted suicide after Mr Pithouse rejected her victim-impact statement when he arrived late to court because he went to Ararat instead of Ballarat.

Mr Clark hinted Mr Pithouse could be investigated by a new body that looks into magistrates and judges. "The Baillieu Government is committed to establishing a Judicial Complaints Commission so that, in future, complaints such as those about Magistrate Pithouse could be made to a body that would thoroughly and independently investigate them," Mr Clark said. "I am very concerned about the distress that Emma suffered. It shows the importance of changing the law."

Lawyer Lisa Treeby, of Arnold Thomas & Becker, said Mr Clark had "lent a sympathetic ear to (Emma's) plight". "He seemed particularly concerned ... regarding her victim impact statement, which was ignored by Magistrate Pithouse in sentencing the perpetrators who had subjected her to months of sexual assault," she said.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Perhaps Gillard, Swan et al just want the Insurance companies to dish out cash to the uninsured to get them off the political hook. Its a bit rich when our Government can find squillions for "uninsured" Pakistani flood victims, but can't seem to find it for similar Australian flood victims. I guess this is the true cost of Rudd's short-sighted and stupid "stimulus".