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Andrew Barr's urban vision flawed

One has to wonder at the true nature of Andrew Barr's urban aesthetic vision that appears to be destruction of the beauty of our National Capital.

Apart from bordering our major roads with a lego-land of apartments, he promotes West Side Village in West Basin with its trite containers decorated with trite graffiti and its array of taxpayer paid "events" that could be located anywhere.

In the Press Club Debate Barr had the gall to criticise Jeremy Hanson in supporting a 5-year-old Canberra Hospital plan yet is using a 12-year-old plan for City to the Lake.

We can have an upgraded park with attractive restaurants in West Basin without the vile Barr dream of apartment blocks that will rob us of significant park and landscape and gift it to developers. City to the Lake was awful when conceived 12 years ago and remains so today.

Juliet Ramsay, Burra

Poll assertion wrong

The claim by Can the Tram's Max Flint (Canberra Times, letters, Thursday, October 13), citing UnionsACT's polling, is wrong. The most recent public opinion polling conducted by Reachtel for UnionsACT, and released publicly, shows the reverse of Mr Flint's assertion.

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In a scientific poll of 1400 people, including 50.2 per cent of people in the southern suburbs of Tuggeranong, Woden and Wanniassa, 63 per cent of Canberrans support light rail.

Alex White, UnionsACT

Pokies campaign

Jessica Mellor's article ("Mudslinging no win-win for the territory", Canberra Times, 13 October, p. 21) about the clubs' campaign around poker machines is timely.

No poker machines will be taken from the clubs for the casino. No poker machine licences will be simply given or sold to the casino by the government.

The casino has to purchase all of its poker machine licences from clubs, the present licence holders, who freely choose to sell them.

Government rules on transfers mean any licences sold and transferred to the casino will actually result in a reduction in the number of poker machines authorised.

The casino can only obtain poker machine licences if the clubs themselves choose to sell them.

John Blount, Fadden

Rates not neutral

I was pleased to learn that Labor will raise rates only 7 per cent a year for the foreseeable future (CT p1 13/10/2016) as my rates increased 8.3 per cent last year. I suppose it was just a coincidence that a kW-hr of electricity also now costs 8.3 per cent more than last year. For whom are these increases revenue neutral? Not for me!

Bruce A. Peterson, Kambah

Possible new role

The betting agencies appear to be backing the Labor Party to form government. However, if Mr Barr does suddenly find himself with time on his hands, he would be a standout for the lead role in a remake of the 1970s movie The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer.

Keith Huggan, Bruce

Tired of letters lunacy

I am disgusted by the current crop of "letters to the editor" in the Canberra Times.

There is a constant stream of extreme loony left and right wing correspondents, followed by a healthy dose of anti-tram, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, generally racist, religious fruit cakes.

There is also an extraordinary number of childish, idiotic posters put up in the streets in the name of politics, followed by whining from politicians, that their opponents whoever they are, might be unfair.

I can't wait for this parochial election to be over.

E. R. Moffat, Weston

Postpone projects

The planning of the new rail/tram system has caused much heartburn for Canberrans over the last few months.

To try and compare Canberra with the Gold Coast or many overseas capital cities is short-sighted, misguided and badly timed.

I would have thought we have several other pressing priorities which need to be addressed before we launch ourselves into this huge financial undertaking.

Perhaps in another few years Canberra might be in a better position to consider this project.

I hope Canberrans will vote wisely on Saturday.

Eileen Gray, Mawson

Unpredictable rates

There is talk of rates reform from both Labor and Liberal, but neither of them are addressing the reason that rates rise so unpredictably.

Rates are tied to unimproved capital value, which is determined by unpredictable market forces — in effect what others think your property is worth.

For residential properties, which presumably receive equal government services no matter where they are located, (with the possible exception of Oaks Estate and rural villages), this linkage should be broken and the basis of rates equalised over time.

If the government needs to increase revenue from rates it can then do it by simply declaring a CPI-type increase periodically.

This would be fairer and simpler.

Chris Mobbs, Torrens

Twins still standing

As I drove up Erindale drive several times this week, I noticed that the Mazengarb twin brothers are both still standing for election in Brindabella.

Their portraits stand very closely side by side in all places I observed.

That's one way to try and increase the Green vote. I should point out that only one is eligible for election.

I know one is Michael; the other remains nameless.

Greg Jackson, Kambah

Policy aside, competitive tendering for bus services not such a bad idea

Noel Bexendell is not correct that Canberra Liberals have supported the sale of ACTION. (Privatisation ahead? — CT letters, October 13).

But in September 1998 Urban Services Minister Brendan Smyth invited tenders to operate the service. Competitive tendering for bus services is common in most Australian capital cities, hence their greater efficiency than ACTION.

Though ACT governments are willing to have services such as garbage, recycling and road construction provided by competitive tender, ACTION has been allowed to squander money with its demonstrated 30 per cent inefficiency.

When Smyth invited competitive tenders for ACTION after a 14-month dispute with the Transport Workers Union, expressions of interest were lodged by 24 transport operators within six weeks.

The union backed off, promising an annual $10.5 million annual saving, which was not achieved.

In a report to government in March last year, transport and planning consultants MRCagney, said a fully implemented outsourcing model could save the ACT government about $27 million annually by 2018-19, and by up to $47million — about 46 per cent — by the mid-2020s.

This option was not accepted by the government and, when last questioned, was not Canberra Liberals' policy either.

Graham Downie, O'Connor

We deserve better

After a decade of the current government, Canberra deserves better.

Take your pick: slow-train to Gunghalin, Manuka redevelopment debacle or the Fluffy stuffup.

I left Canberra three months ago after 20-plus years. It is an attractive place but the roll of the dice meant our two Canberra homes were adjacent to not one, but two, contaminated sites: arsenic sheep dip in Theodore; Ainslie townhouse shared unit title with a Fluffy home.

In both cases the government communication was awful. In Theodore, government door-knockers told us don't talk to the media – our house prices will fall. [That worked] until they reached a neighbour who worked for ABC news! Our experience with Fluffy was no better.

We wrote – twice – to the Chief Minister, our local member and minister responsible. The result? Nothing.

In desperation we paid a solicitor to write to Andrew Kefford, and at least got a response.

The ratepayer has to pay a lawyer to get a response from the local council.

I have no confidence the Coalition will do better, but this tired government needs to taste opposition.

Ian McKenzie, Canterbury

Erroneous claims

How amusing that Michael and Christine O'Loughlin (Letters, October 7) responded to my mere observation of Liberal Party dishonesty on rates by indulging in some of their own; namely by falsely suggesting I thought rate rises were "good news" when nothing of the kind could even be implied from my previous letters.

Perhaps the claim was drawn from the same realm of fiction as the Liberals' discredited "triple your rates" slogan that started the whole debate in the first place. As for the "ideologue" label, I'll put that down to their fertile imaginations.

Terry George, Kingston

Think of others

I've spent many weekends door knocking middle-class Canberra on the campaign trail.

This week the OECD again ranked the ACT as first in the world on the nine main measures of wellbeing. This is as good as it gets.

Please vote on behalf of the others in this election, the ones who don't have it so good.

Vote for affordable housing, more places for the homeless, to put funding back into refuges for women and children and for continuing action to attempt to stop the worst effects of global warming.

Dr Julie Kidd, Bonner

Hanson a real leader

About two years ago Hanson and his team went around the suburbs to listen to concerns of Canberrans. Much of this input is seen in their policies. Barr's catchup policies indicate he is a follower, not a leader.

His backflips on matters like the LDA is indicative of a desperation to rule at any cost.

I voted Labor in the past but Hanson has convinced me that he is a leader who will govern for all Canberrans and not the high end of town.

Patrick Earle, Torrens

Barr a big supporter

Andrew Barr has acknowledged the importance of small businesses, especially in Canberra [and] of their contribution to the national economy. This is in stark contrast to that of the ALP federal opposition who, as witnessed in parliamentary question time on Tuesday, demonstrated their antagonism to the tax breaks being afforded to small businesses.

Barr is to be congratulated for his support of small businesses.

N. Bailey, Nicholls

Vital decision

The voters in this next election need to ponder the fact that if they vote for Labor they will be voting for a generational change in legislative politics. Labor will forge ahead with light rail and its ensuing budget blow-outs (remember the overspend on the Cotter Dam) and if a disaffected future electorate return a Liberal government, they will find it virtually impossible to undo or dismantle whatever Labor has done.

Ian Jannaway, Monash

A local who cares

There is one truly independent candidate for Kurrajong who is non-aligned and does not accept political donations sourced from gambling.

Marea Fatseas' modest campaign is totally self-funded. She doesn't have television and radio advertising.

What Marea does have is an ever-growing group of volunteer supporters for whom her platform of integrity and trust and track record of success in community representation truly resonates.

Robyn Cooper Yarralumla.

Invasion warning

Graeme Gibson thinks that God will send an invader from the east to Australia if we vote on gay marriage (CT letters, October 13).

Should we start building a wall?

Mike McGettrick, Reid

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