I was interested by the statement of Micheala Collins in your report on the teachers' strike ("Students' welfare 'at risk'", The Daily Advertiser, May 5).
From what I deduce, her school is entitled to a mere two hours per week where a school counsellor attends; to consult with students who have welfare, psychological or other problems with simply "coping" day to day. Let's agree immediately that that's not good enough.
Ms Collins cites multiple issues of children self-harming in just her own class as evidence that the entitlement of two hours of school counsellor attendance is far from adequate. A good point from a teacher who obviously cares in the way that we all want teachers to care.
What occurred to me was the question of why this sort of problem, or the financing of its solution, should come within the funds of the Education Department.
If a child has psychological problems arising from classroom or playground dynamics and these are affecting the child's development or impinging upon others then, by all means, an in-house solution by the Education Department and financed within its budget offers the most direct hope for a fix.
But if children are "self-harming" from a variety of unknown reasons as Ms Collins describes, I don't know why some immediate fix must come from the Education Department.
Child welfare issues, including psychological dysfunctions, should be tackled (and funded) at the root - not where they surface.
The health portfolio should be responsible for catering to Ms Collins' students, and the cost should not be borne by the Education Department.
More school counsellors aren't a solution; they're part of the financial problem.
Children need better help than the Education Department can provide but real help for our children can only come from professional providers paid from the health budget.
As a lifelong supporter of freedom of the press, I have been shocked by the very loud performance by media people confronting the PM and the opposition leader - this behaviour does not reflect well on media owners in particular.
Despite this behaviour (not, I stress, by your journalists), traditional media is vital to democracy, particularly in rural and regional areas.
For this reason, it is alarming that local papers may be forced to close because of intense cost pressures.
In light of this possibility, it would be very helpful to hear from all the candidates for Riverina as to what level of support they would give to government to ensure that our valued local papers continue to serve their communities.
It would be interesting to read their responses.
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The Greens Housing Plan will see the construction of 1 million new homes; the ALP's goal is 10,000; the Coalition's "net zero".
It is obvious which one will have the greatest long-term impact in solving Australia's housing crisis.
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