ACT News


Important to know what's important

The Bureau of Statistics released a report this week revealing people's views of what progress means to them.

Australian Statistician Brian Pink said the bureau wanted to ''check that we're still measuring what Australians believe is important''.

The two-year survey also asked well-known identities to contribute.

Canberra Capitals basketballer Lauren Jackson said progress started at home. It was about ''having a good family environment where you are really supported and able to grow up in an environment that allows you to be who you want to be''.

Feminist Eva Cox put store in ''what often really matters''.

''We need measures of people's agency, the control they feel they have over life decisions that underpins good health, the feeling of being part of communities, of acceptance and belonging and the ability to live a meaningful life,'' she said. ''People should also feel they can dissent, be respected and make a valued contribution.''


Victoria Cross recipient Corporal Mark Donaldson said progress meant being ''well-equipped, both mentally and physically and focusing on the future, as opposed to the instant gratification of the present''.

''I think the investment in youth is a smart investment as well as high education standards, not only measuring that in excellent literacy and numeracy skills, but also worrying less about individual prominence and focusing more on the groups of individuals that we've helped to become better people,'' he said.

And businessman Dick Smith, not surprisingly, suggested progress did not equal unchecked population growth. Among his ideas were ''sustainability laws''.

''So nothing could be marketed, nothing could be sold, unless it's produced sustainably.

''That means you can't have the type of growth we now have because it's completely unsustainable growth,'' he said.

* The report is at

Party by Jake hits top notes

The figure of Duncan Jake looms large in the Canberra music blogosphere.

The 25-year-old advertising and marketing student at the University of Canberra operates Party by Jake, a music and event blog based in the national capital with the mission to ''nurture open-minded music appreciation''.

''It was just a great way to express that I did actually have a broad taste in music and not just that featured in the events we put on,'' he said.

''It was also a great platform to reach out and get to know other people in the industry.''

Jake features in the third anniversary issue of In the City magazine in The Canberra Times on Monday. This edition, which falls over the summer party period, is all about celebration.

This is something in which Jake is well-versed, organising music events at Trinity Bar and Transit Bar and helping with other projects including a ''live art battle'' in which artists create works on the spot while ''feeding off the vibe'' of DJs at the La De Da cocktail bar in Belconnen.

''It's a really exciting time at the moment, especially for electronic music,'' he said.

And he is not without a sense of humour. The name Party by Jake is an ironic reference to the Body by Jake fitness equipment (remember those infomercials ''You got a door? You got a gym!'').

''I was almost going to use the tag line 'You got music? You got a party!' but I thought that was a little bit too cheesy.''

Nothing beats a bit of rocky road

Now here is one way to get the kids excited about open home inspections.

This home at 4 Rundle Place, Kambah, is owned by mountain bike enthusiasts Garreth and Cara Paton who have long had their own pump track in the backyard.

A pump track is a miniature BMX track that sees the riders use the humps, rather than their pedals, to gain momentum.

The track made news in 2009 when the unofficial pump track world champs were held in the backyard, attracting more than 200 spectators while the World Mountain Bike competition was being held at Mount Stromlo.

Even Olympian Caroline Buchanan has been around it.

The yard has since been landscaped and the house renovated in time for an auction on December 8.

Paton, who used to own the Onya Bike store in Civic, is now in the building game.

LJ Hooker agent Linda Lockwood said the track was ''attracting big kids and little kids alike'' to the open homes.

''Most families think it's a great use of the land because the kids can race around on their bikes or scooters,'' she said.

Founder gone, but charity lives on

Rhonda Obad was a fighter right to the end. The McKellar woman, who started the Bridge Back to Life Foundation and Tony's Place program to house young homeless men in Canberra, died of cancer last Sunday aged 64.

She had spent the final fortnight of her life in Clare Holland House where her thoughts were still with the welfare of the young people she had helped.

''The main thing on her mind was how was this going to continue? What's going to happen?'' her daughter Katherine McInnes said.

The Richmond Fellowship of the ACT has stepped in to take over Tony's Place, a four-bedroom home in Holt that caters now for young homeless men and women.

The fellowship's chief executive officer Wilf Rath said a two-bedroom facility was also being built at the back to accommodate two house parents to oversee the household.

He paid tribute to Rhonda's commitment to get the home up and running.

''She worked for me 16, 17 years ago as a youth worker and she was determined to do her own thing. She was very focused and she got there in the end,'' he said.

The home is named after Rhonda's son Tony who died from a heroin overdose in 1998.

Her funeral at St Monica's in Evatt on Thursday was attended by young people she had helped over the years.

She is survived by daughter Katherine, son Andrew and grandsons Oliver and Harrison.

Andrew's having a lend of us

Andrew Peacock - the bird, not the politician - is a regular visitor to the National Library of Australia, making himself at home in the greenery around the building.

This photo of him in full display at the loading dock of the library this week was making the rounds of social media.

One wag at the library couldn't recall just who gave the peacock its appropriate moniker but it ''didn't really matter because he never answers''.


■ A Latin American Food Festival is on today at the Weston Creek Uniting Church grounds, 16 Parkinson Street, Weston, from 11.30am to 3.30pm. The church caters for a Spanish congregation every Sunday afternoon.

■ The miniature railway is running rides tomorrow from 10.30am to 3.30pm at Geijera Place, Kingston.

■ The Race 'n' Taste Food and Wine day will be at Thoroughbred Park tomorrow from 12.30pm. There will be food, wine and craft stalls and performances by Questacon's ''Excited Particles'' at 1pm and 3pm. Free entry.