On the Voice, time for Dutton to reveal his details

Remember the workers
There is joy in environmental community groups following the government’s announcement that native forest logging will end six years earlier than planned. I share that joy. Our threatened species will be spared the destruction of their habitat and our water catchments will provide the pristine water we have become accustomed to.
In logging communities there will be shock and despair that jobs will be lost and the viability of small towns put at risk. We must hold the government to account on its promise to provide for displaced workers and fund projects to make sure logging towns do not die.
No logging workers or their families should be worse off as a result of this early cessation of native forest logging.
Graeme Lechte,
Brunswick West

Vale to an industry
Vale to the small rural communities that were dependent on the native hardwood timber industry. Vale to the carbon that will no longer be sequestered in the resultant timber products and the regrowing forest. Vale to the opportunity to adorn our houses and buildings with these beautiful Victorian timbers. Vale to our native hardwood forests which would have been saved from fire by the people, expertise and resources no longer there. Vale to the world-class sustainable timber industry in Victoria.
Peter Farrell, Point Lonsdale

A fair tax
In criticising the state budget, much is made of the increased land tax on rental properties and holiday homes. If the average increase in land tax on rental properties is $1375, at an income tax rate of 45 per cent, the net increase in land tax is only $755. The federal government will take away some of the pain.
If one has a holiday home (I do), be grateful and be prepared to contribute a tiny amount to the running of the state for the great privilege of owning a second home. I have also heard commentary that investors are negatively gearing properties now to be self-funded retirees with their investments paid off, and not be a burden on the taxpayer in retirement, so the land tax increase is unfair.
Those negatively geared properties are, in fact, creating a burden on the taxpayer now. There may be much to criticise in the state budget, but the increase in land tax on residential investment and holiday homes is fair.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster

Or is it?
The new land tax scale neglects the fact that bracket creep caused by the huge increases in property values has already more than doubled land tax on many properties.
While it is fair that second properties should be taxed, raising taxes still further creates a huge impost on property owners who have inadvertently become asset rich but cash poor.
The real effect will be that rents will increase even more, meaning that those least able to afford housing will really be the ones paying the tax intended to be on landlords.
Another effect may be that owning extra properties will become uneconomic, causing a glut in sales, which may reduce property values, thus reducing land tax revenue.
Michael Meszaros, Alphington

Hello, real world
The article ″⁣There will be job losses″⁣ (23/5) reports: ″⁣The principal of one large, high-fee school said the new tax bill would force the school to choose between raising fees significantly or cutting back on staff and programs.″⁣ Welcome to the real world.
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn

Better than nothing
It is not the state government’s fault that building costs have skyrocketed. Who could have predicted the extent of that? Nor is it its fault that interest rates have risen and drastically increased the cost of having debt. At least, unlike other governments, it is doing something that will have enormous future benefits for our children and our grandchildren.
Better doing it and copping the constant criticism than doing nothing.
Ken Nailon, Carnegie

Other side of India
This week, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomed his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, to Australia in an obsequious display that would stick in the craw of any observer who is alarmed at Modi’s cruel politics. For decades, Modi has waged a campaign of persecution against Muslims in India. This invites little commentary in a world that is distracted by China and Russia and entranced by the economic strength of India itself.
Amanjit Gill, Narre Warren

Fare thee well? No
Are Melbourne taxis allowed to charge what they like? I was attempting to catch a cab from the Flinders Street Station cab rank to Collingwood at 9.45 on a recent weeknight. There was a huge line of cabs. The first driver quoted me a $35 flat rate, meter off, for what is usually a sub-$20 fare.
I refused, and walked down the line of cabs. Drivers told me to insist the first driver took me. You’re kidding – a lone woman with an angry cab driver? Right at the back of the queue, a driver said he’d take me, meter on. Cab fare: just under $18.
His advice: I should have photographed the licence plate and reported the driver to the Taxi Services Commission. My conclusion: is this how we treat visitors to our city? Potentially rip them off for nearly double the metered fare?
Pam Kershaw, Collingwood

Keep children safe
We rightly do not expect that parents should have a 24/7 responsibility to stop their children from being able to buy a beer in a pub, buy tickets to a movie with sexually explicit content or gamble on the pokies. Businesses that provide adult products are primarily responsible for preventing access to the products to children.
However, we have allowed online platform corporations to be the exception. They have largely not had to take responsibility for the harm their products have caused children. So in response to Chloe Shorten (Comment, 24/5), our primary focus should be to require online corporations to provide products that are safe by design.
Research has shown that parents’ attempts to police their children’s online activity often just drive children to be more secretive about their activity.
Mark Zirnsak, senior social justice
advocate, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Uniting Church in Australia

You can keep the banjo
Your correspondent (Letters, 23/5) is right on the money. I am a 70-year fan of the ABC and its classical music programs – who could forget Dr A.E. Floyd’s gentle presentations and clear analysis on a Sunday evening – but my present interest is fading. I struggle with many of the current programs, potpourris of film scores, ethnic collections and orchestrated pop music – the banjo and tin whistle really doesn’t cut it in the realm of Albinoni, Bach, Chopin et al.
James Reiss, Abbotsford

Room for all
As an expat in Bali, I support the imposition of suitable sanctions, including deportation, for foreigners acting illegally. However, it would be a mistake to consider as anything other than a “thought bubble”, Governor Wayan Koster’s recent comments on restricting tourism to only the wealthy.
The Balinese economy depends on mass tourism, and even the lowly backpacker still has to find food and lodgings, providing income for many. Top end tourists frequently remain ensconced in their expensive resort and spend little or no money in villages and towns. There is room for all law-abiding tourists across the financial spectrum.
Keith Fletcher, Bali, Indonesia

Give booing the boot
It’s ironic that we condemn booing, and rightly so, at the football but nothing is done about the booing in Victorian parliament as well as the slanging matches between members.
Is this not double standards? It takes a lot before unruly members are asked to leave. Would you put up with this behaviour in your workplace or at home?
Robyn Ward, Sandringham

Legacy of excitement
Part of Damien Hardwick’s legacy is the chaos style that brought three magnificent premierships. It was so exciting to watch: apply great pressure, force a turnover and then counterattack, running in waves, the crescendo building, the crowd roaring as they scored. In my modest opinion, eminently more watchable than the kick, mark, stand style.
Tim Douglas, Blairgowrie


At last, the Victorian government can see the forest for the trees.
Robin Jensen, Castlemaine

With an end date for native forest logging, the ledger has done what the lead beater couldn’t.
Joan Segrave, Healesville

Hello, possums! Bringing forward the halt to native forest logging in Victoria is the best news we have had for years.
Brigid Krohn, Romsey

All responsible Victorians (including Green ones) should be pleading with the government to reintroduce selective logging before it is all burnt again.
Mick Leeming, Pigeon Ponds

The budget
How do we know that the state budget is fair? The wealthy private schools are up in arms and so are the Property Council and big business.
Mick Hussey, Beaconsfield

Lots of whinging from those who own multiple properties. Unless I missed it, I didn’t hear complaints about massive capital gains in recent years.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

Budget time talks about ″⁣mum and dad investors″⁣ and ″⁣hardworking Australians″⁣. I find those terms patronising and, as a lazy Australian, I object.
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn

A Modi rally is just like a Trump rally. Disturbingly, he’s just another purveyor of nationalistic nonsense.
Bill Clark, Melbourne

Peter Dutton, hell-bent on winning the Voice Stakes, is desperate enough to put the horse, Fia Mongering, on steroids.
Michael Brinkman, Ventnor

Peter Dutton’s claim that the Voice will re-racialise Australia is just African gangs revisited.
Corrado Tavella, Rosslyn Park, SA

The lights will be dimmer in Richmond this weekend.
Steve Haylock, Mount Waverley

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