Letters to the editor

Spare a thought 

SLEEPING rough is tough. Imagine being outside when the rain and wind impact your comfort and you are homeless. A warm bed and a roof over your head isn't a lot to ask.

With the cost of living, especially accommodation, beyond most single people alone and on welfare, they rely on charity and living on the street. Add to this mental problems and addictions, then the homeless are left to their own devices. 

Governments continue to ignore the escalating homelessness in Australia. With federal Parliament on their winter break, they have suggested they give themselves a $200 a week increase in their salary. 

Must be nice to call the tune for themselves, without public input. This would not pass the pub test.

With many politicians already very wealthy, living the life to which they are accustomed, at the taxpayers' expense, the great divide between reality and their privileged lifestyles, is inestimable.

They don't work a lifetime at their positions, but walk away with huge perks and superannuation payouts after short periods. They give no thought for the homeless and those struggling on welfare and charity-dependent. 

Australia is not adept at playing the good Samaritan to its own in need. Our refugee policies fall short. 

Thankfully, we have people among us who care for such struggling homeless. Charities and compassionate volunteers are just such angels, who provides blankets, suitable clothes and food for those exposed to our winter weather. Churches and charities provide meals for the hungry, with help from many volunteers.

Empathy is short in a narcissistic world. Don't expect our three-tiered governments to address homelessness and affordable housing very soon. They are feathering their own nests and reputations. A society is judged on how it treats its most vulnerable.

- E. Rowe, Marcoola

We need to close the gap

THIS week, from July 8 to 15 is NAIDOC Week.

It is a time to recognise and celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Australians. 

The theme, Because of Her, We Can, honours the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and the influence they have in their local community and across Australia. 

This is also an important opportunity to raise awareness of women’s health inequalities to close the gap in survival disparities for cancer and other chronic diseases.

While Indigenous cancer survival rates have improved, disparity rates remain unchanged between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

While some reasons for the disparity remain unknown, we know that Indigenous people are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage cancers, and overall have lower participation rates in cancer screening.

This week we are urging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to take part in eligible screening, and encourage other women in their life to take part, to help save lives.

This includes the National Cervical Screening Program, the National Breast Cancer Screening Program and the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

Screening rates are currently lower among Indigenous Queenslanders for all three programs – improvement in uptake is vital to help detect cancer early and save more lives.

Cancer screening aids with early detection which significantly improves the likelihood of treating cancer successfully if a diagnosis does occur.

Tragically, about 20 per cent of the cancer deaths among Indigenous cancer patients can still be attributed to the survival disparity – taking part in eligible screening programs could help close some of that gap.

For support or cancer-related information, including about cancer screening, contact the Cancer Council on 13 11 20.

- C. McMillan, chief executive, Cancer Council Queensland