Governments giving with one hand, taking with the other

Crikey readers have their say on aged care, Fairfax, the Greens and stamp duty.

Aged care not in crisis Dan Hilvert, founder of Hilvert Advisory, which works in aged care and healthcare, writes: Re. "An aged-care debacle quietly looms" (yesterday). In my view, a few glaring holes in the writer’s story on aged care. I admire the writer’s bold calls here. Especially given they’ll be very easy to debunk six months from now. Good on you for making big calls -- not enough of that these days. I also agree that few commentators understand the nuances that are in place and changing here. But I disagree with the general thrust of the article. Firstly, RAC providers should still be able to charge large bonds, it's just that they’ll need regulatory permission, and the Liberal-appointed regulator would surely waive through most applications for bonds greater then the threshold level. Secondly, on the comment “care needs have gone missing”, well, it might or might not be the case that care is sub-par depending on the facility, but that shouldn't have anything to do with the LLLB reforms in residential care, because those reforms are predominantly about the accommodation side of residential care. Thirdly, there is opportunity for many providers to have a stronger business model given that they can now charge a bond or periodic payment on beds formerly known as high care. While there are a niche group of providers who stand to lose from this (financially leveraged providers who chiefly do low care) because they might be forced to accept periodic payments instead of bonds and therefore have a problem repaying bank finance, those providers are in a small minority, and the banks have nothing to gain by playing hardball with them. The Green truth Niall Clugston writes: Re. "Crikey says: Greens an easy scapegoat on climate policy" (yesterday). The one good thing about Crikey's editorial is that it is a rare admission from their supporters that the Greens voted down the CPRS.  The rest of the editorial only makes sense if you assume the Greens are always right and anyone who argues otherwise is a liar. What about stamp duty? Joe Boswell writes: Re. "McClure report fails on key issue of low-income housing" (yesterday). Bernard Keane notes the McClure interim report's claim that "family circumstances and the cost of housing are the main reasons why people don't move for work opportunities". Surely stamp duty deserves equal billing with those factors? Even if someone already has a house they can sell to cover the cost of a house in the proposed new location, stamp duty must act as a serious deterrent. Keane goes on to mention the imminent introduction of relocation allowances, apparently referring to "Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job". This is as good an example as anyone could wish of giving with one hand and taking with another: government policies in total confusion working against each other in a tangle of red tape and wasteful administration. Fairfax's charter Alan Kennedy writes: Re. "Who wrecked Fairfax? A cheat sheet to Ben Hills' new book" (yesterday). Just a slight correction to your piece on Fairfax regarding the charter of independence. It was signed by Conrad Black's chairman, Sir Zelman Cowen, and adopted by the board.

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