Bad medicine

Julieanne Strachan's, ''Scheme reforms cost pharmacies'' (Sunday CT, August 10, p.5), could almost be a press release, written by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, with ghost writing by Medicines Australia. For decades the guild's 5000-strong cartel power had federal politicians by the throat, setting their own, self-regulatory agenda. It reduced competition by determining pharmacy location and ownership required to be in the name of a pharmacist. Using a secretive dispensing formula, pharmacists dictated their own revenues, by which the guild's last agreement would have taxpayers contribute $15 billion to profits. Medications, sealed in tamper-proof containers, child-proof lids and blister packaging, present to the end user, off the production line, untouched by human hand. Reading electronic scripts and applying adhesive labels to containers, containing patient medication information, significantly reduced the input previously required of an elite, esteemed, highly qualified profession. With the range of products available in pharmacies they might easily be confused with supermarkets, which, understandably, are anxious to muscle in on the over-the-counter, $10.4 billion annual spend. The ACCC has, temporarily, rebuffed attempts by Australia's duopoly to add pharmacy to their ''product lines''. Medicines Australia would dread such a move lest the big two do to big pharma what they've done to milk suppliers to sell at $1!

Albert M. White, Queanbeyan

Barking up wrong tree

I am disappointed by last week's front page article in the Sunday Canberra Times: ''Mauled: Big spike in dog attacks''.

The article misrepresented the quantum of dog attacks in ACT. Under current legislation a dog harassment incident, that is a situation when a dog may growl and scare a person; and a dog attack incident, when someone or something is bitten or injured by a dog, are both classified as a dog attack. So while there were 379 dog attacks reported in Canberra in the past year, many of these were harassment incidents. The Canberra Times seemed to want to convey 379 people or animals had been mauled in Canberra in the preceding year, which is wrong. Over the past year, the ACT government has been working methodically to improve the management of dogs in the ACT.

The Domestic Animals Amendment Bill 2014, which was introduced to the ACT Legislative Assembly on June 12, proposes to differentiate between the severity of incidents by creating two offences that clearly distinguish between a harassment incident and an attack incident.

The bill will introduce a scheme of escalating penalties with infringements appropriate to the degree of injury caused to a person or animal.


I have been extremely proud to have had the opportunity to review many submissions by dog owners in the ACT who have expressed the view that dogs provide many benefits beyond companionship.

Of course a small number of dogs will attack but let us get the facts straight before running a campaign of fear.

Fleur Flanery, Registrar, Domestic Animals

It is about time the authorities start addressing the cause, and not the symptoms, regarding dog attacks. Law makers should make it impossible to own a dog unless the dog will have its needs met. This includes daily walks and exercise, company, food and water, proper shelter and no abuse. There should be tests for people owning dominant breeds.

Julie Gray, Bungendore .

Make it compulsory for every dog, be it in the street or in your garden (dogs have been known to jump fences), to wear a muzzle. That should fix it.

G. Coquillette, Spence

Set a fine example

We were amazed to read the article ''Book 'em: Library fines set to bite'' (August 10), which states that parents may be dissuaded from letting their children make use of the public library system because of the new fines.

When children are young, surely it is the parents' responsibility to ensure items are returned. Children then learn to become responsible citizens by gradually realising that the library system is for sharing and being aware of the due date of their borrowings.

Parents should encourage their children to use the library system in such a way that the wonderful resources it contains can be shared by all.

Jeanette and David Ruxton, Ainslie

Barr humbug

I congratulate Jack Waterford on his ''Wisdom in a dog of a proverb'' article (CT Sunday Focus, August 10). His description of Andrew Barr's ''taxpayer-funded monument to himself in the form of a football stadium'' is a refreshing and true description of what is one of Barr's most ill-thought ideas for Canberra's CBD. Wasting millions of dollars on a potential white elephant that removes forever our much loved and historic civic pool doesn't make sense. Attendance numbers will not improve because of a roof, despite the government's expensive PR to try and sell it. Parking in the CBD will be a huge pain and everyone in this town knows Canberrans attend games when their teams are winning. The weather has very little to do with it.

Alison Chapple, Macquarie

Browsing my copy of Sunday's (August 10) Waterford Times set my pulse racing yet again. Uncle Jack complains that Barr mysteriously reduces a $700 million bill to $200 million for an open-plan stadium to replace the swimming pool. I'm sure we can do better. Why not retain the pool, building the stadium on top (or the other way round?) and give up the outer two rows of seats for a lovely tram (sorry, light rail) circuit; closed, of course, but of arguably equal patronage to the proposed Gungahlin line.

Malcolm Gerloch, Melba

Traffic solution

Tony Trobe's interview with Tim Dyer (August 10, CT p18) asks how to address transport needs of the growing regional population. Rejuvenate the existing rail. What a great idea!

And while we are at it, maybe we could apply the same approach to another daily exodus and parking problem closer to home.

As a Narrabundah resident commuting week days to Queanbeyan, I am thankful I travel against the traffic that flows out of Queanbeyan between 7am and 8.30am, and its return wave each night. I have often wondered why the short train trip from Kingston to Queanbeyan station has never been ''rejuvenated''. Run every 30 minutes between 7.30am and 9am and from 4.30pm to 6pm metro style with bus pick-up either end to key points would sure cut some traffic and time.

Sunny Dell, Narrabundah

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