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Canberra Times Letters to the Editor: Sold out by car insurer

Our car was backed into by another vehicle in a car park but remained roadworthy. Our insurance company agreed the accident was entirely the fault of the other driver and told us to take the car to their repairer for a quote and report.

The repairer said the car would probably be a write-off as the cost of repairs would probably exceed the value of the car.

Our insurer told us their assessor would inspect the car and if the cost of repair exceeded the value of the car they would keep the car and pay us the insured value.

We wanted to keep the car and were willing to pay the difference. The insurer said that this was not permissible.

In the ACT, light vehicles (including motorcycles) up to 15 years of age assessed as repairable write-offs or statutory write-offs are required to be recorded on the WOVR (written-off vehicle registry).

This means the vehicle is not able to be reregistered.

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We took the car to a different smash repairer and got a quote. This was a little more than the insured value of the car.

We then sent a letter to the other driver, asking him to pay the bill. He did not respond so we had the repairs carried out and filed a claim with the Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The other driver did not turn up but his lawyer and his insurance company made an offer.

We accepted it, and kept the car, no thanks to our insurer.

Peter D. Hughes, Curtin

Cannabis gateway

Dr Michelle Taylor of the University of Bristol has had her study of 5000 UK teenagers aged 13 to 18 years published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

It shows that teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are 26 times more likely to move on to harder drugs by the age of 21. The odds of regular cannabis users smoking cigarettes was found to be 37 times higher than non-users while their risk of drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol was three times worse.

Australian Medical Association NSW president Dr Brad Frankum has said that cannabis is the most commonly abused illegal drug in Australia.

He has been quoted as saying: "A lot of people think cannabis is pretty harmless but we've known for some time of the links between cannabis and mental health and also its risks to lung health. This study proved what we suspected — that is also a risk factor for other drugs. It is rare to see a user of harder drugs like amphetamines or heroin who hasn't used cannabis."

The cannabis gateway to cigarettes of 37 times is shocking in view of the 60 year fight to stop cigarette smoking.

This alone is total justification for all governments and the judiciary to put aside any doubts about much higher penalties for possession, use and trafficking; and to greatly increase hard-hitting prevention messages.

Colliss Parrett, Drug Advisory Council Australia, Barton

Verdict on Corbyn

I am so looking forward to Bill Shorten and the rest of the neoliberal parliamentary Labor Party telling us what they really think about British Labour's strong result under the leadership of socialist Jeremy Corbyn.

John Passant, Kambah

Concern is genuine

Mr Barker (Letters, June 9) can take heart that the MBA ACT has never, and will never, 'jump up and down' when anyone raises legitimate safety concerns.

Indeed we applaud such action and insist that everyone in our industry be empowered and accountable for safety.

I think we can all agree that safety issues should be raised and addressed immediately lest someone come to harm while we wait for the media and the union to come along.

What gets us hopping is when safety is used as a weapon for industrial and commercial gain. The casual abuse of safety for these purposes by the militant construction union is well documented.

We will continue to 'jump up and down' when construction teams are put at risk by any action or lack of action on safety — whether that be union thuggery or management indifference.

Both are equally appalling.

Kirk Coningham, Executive Director Master Builders ACT

The true terror

Not long ago a lot of your letter writers were criticising Tony Abbott for his government's raids on terror suspects, claiming they were more worried about his Christianity than Islamic terrorists.

I don't see any Christians running around killing people in the name of Jesus, yet all the recent terrorist murders have been radical Islamists.

A panellist on the ABC's Q&A recently said you were more likely to die from a falling fridge than a terrorist attack. Three Australians have died in Islamic terror related attacks since then. I don't think anyone has been killed by the Kelvinator.

The PC brigade that come out after every terrorist attack and are more worried about 'revenge' attacks on Muslims, cue # ride with me, during, not after, the Lindt siege when the hostages were still bailed up in the building not knowing their fate.

In fact with all the Islamic terrorist attacks in France, England and Australia recently no Muslim has been harmed or killed in revenge for what have been barbaric murders.

Imagine if a Christian had gone on a rampage in a Muslim country. You think any Christian would be safe walking the street?

Yet in the west we seem to be more worried about non-existent revenge attacks than the victims.

Waleed Aly refuses to link terrorism with Islam although he is quite happy to criticise a white, Anglo woman for having an opinion on same-sex marriage.

Seems like there is more Christianaphobia than Islamaphobia.

Ian Pilsner, Weston

Management have not considered impacts on disabled community

I wish to draw attention to the considerable inconvenience to disabled shoppers occasioned by this government's introduction of a $1 or $2 token levy on shopping trolleys throughout the ACT.

The average disabled shopper was able, until the introduction of the new trolley system, to access a trolley within reasonably close proximity of the disabled parking bays in major and minor shopping centres.

This allowed us to do our shopping without the use of a walker, or for short distance shopping, a walking stick. I can only comment from personal experience, but when I attempted to raise the issue with centre management in the Hyperdome in Tuggeranong I was advised that yes, perhaps they had failed to consider the plight of disabled shoppers and that they would investigate further.

That was on February 23.

Nothing has changed and the major retailers (Woolworths, Coles, Big W, Kmart etc) have been allocated specific areas in the car parks, where they are required to store their shopping trolleys. These areas are not readily accessible to a disabled shopper when he or she parks and can involve quite a long walk (which is sometimes an impossible ask) and heightens the risk of the shopper falling. In all probability, shopping centre managements have not even considered the effect of their policies on the disabled and it is abundantly clear that whatever element of our so-called government is responsible for this state of affairs is equally, if not totally, to blame.

Robin A.G.Herron, Bonython 

Institutions are over 

I was horrified to see $14 million being spent from the ACT Budget on  seven new places for the secure mental health unit.

That's after an initial set up cost of $43 million. I'm sure many of the ACT community would be astounded to know that people with no criminal record and no history of violence are being incarcerated in this "lock up", because there is nowhere else for them to go. While it may be a better option for those with a serious mental health issue who have been at AMC, it is not an appropriate or therapeutic environment for those with no conviction.

We moved on from institutions years ago, so why are we now going backwards and recriminalising mental health? The facility has 153 security cameras, is surrounded by huge fences, is isolated from the Canberra Community at Symonston, prohibits mobile phones, requires family members to make appointments to see loved ones and go through a security body scan and be fingerprinted just to get in.

Think what could have been done with this money. It could have extended the good care at Brian Hennessy House, funded successful models like Home in Canberra and looked to the future by establishing a Recovery College in the ACT.

Rosslyn Williams, Holder 

Rethink planning 

Early Canberra planning seemed designed to protect the river system by keeping urban development well away from the Molonglo valley west of Scrivener Dam. Rampant population growth has now prompted the development of Wright and Coombes in this previously restricted area, with Denman Prospect to follow – right on top of the Molonglo River.

An ACT buffer zone and NSW land zoned for Environmental Management kept Belconnen away from the Murrumbidgee but that, too, is no longer sacred with urban development proposed to overlook the Murrumbidgee and Ginninderra gorges.

The Tuggeranong community is resisting pressure to build houses along the Murrumbidgee in that area.

Water-sensitive urban design is supposed to protect water quality but such infrastructure requires continual maintenance and the ACT Government is renowned for its unwillingness to provide adequate funding for maintenance of infrastructure in Canberra.

It much prefers to throw money at prominent projects such as City to the Lake, which will promote urban development on the lake foreshore of West Basin.

One wonders how long it will be before the ACT's extensive water catchment lands are compromised, with little bits being nibbled away under the justification of the need to provide accommodation for the hordes descending upon our fair city.

Robyn Coghlan, Hawker 

The Paris end

I would have thought that the courtyard on Anketell Street adjacent the Tuggeranong Hyperdome is a perfect place to have cafes.

Surely that is a better location then Anketell Street itself, where currently if you are eating or drinking outside in one of the current cafe's located on Anketell Street you are just metres away from the road where you have cars, buses and motorbikes constantly driving past.

I could never for the life of me understand why McDonalds, KFC and even Lake Tuggeranong College had to be given the prime real estate next to the lake. Surely that would have been the location to have restaurants, cafes, and bars to try and give Tuggeranong some vibrancy.

Look at what is happening at the Kingston foreshore as an example. This would be good for Tuggeranong in that it would develop businesses and encourage Tuggeranong residents and maybe even residents of Woden and Weston Creek to spend their money in Tuggeranong.

This would also create jobs in Tuggeranong for Tuggeranong kids and residents.

Canberra was designed to have the town centres as the focus for those areas with shops, jobs and recreational activities. It also makes more sense than having everyone travelling into the city for work or a night out and the associated traffic congestion this causes.

The Tuggeranong Hyperdome should never have located where it is and is contributing to why businesses located there struggle.

It should have been located in the centre of Tuggeranong.

Darren Randall, Chisholm 

This is too much 

We have now been told the cost of filling in the lake at West Basin. $38 million. Not only are we paying for this but we are facing huge increases in rates and energy bills. And the ACT Government says it listens to community concerns. I hardly think so.

Penny Moyes, Hughes

TO THE POINT

NAME DROPPING

Trump said he is for "Pennsylvania but not Paris" recently but what about Paris Texas, Maine, New York, Ohio, Arkansas, Dakota Territory, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and Georgia?

Adrian Jackson, Melbourne, Vic

How long will it take for the Republicans to admit that the Emperor has no clothes?

Ella Lott, Latham

PLASTIC NOT FANTASTIC

Not all plastic bags end up in landfill (Jevon Kinder, Letters June 9).

A lot make it to drains, streams and rivers. And "All rivers flow into the sea, ... " (Ecclesiastes 1:7).

Kenneth Griffiths, O'Connor

VOTERS BITE BACK

Another brilliant politician takes the voters for mugs. You reap what you sow THERESAEXIT.

Linus Cole, Palmerston

If Boris Johnson replaces Theresa May as a result of the British election result then the cure is definitely worse than the disease.

M. Moore, Bonython

A TREASURE LOST

Goodbye, Teatro Vivaldi. A Canberra treasure swept away by "progress". We'll miss you!

Brian and Gwyneth Beasley, Hawker

FORCE FAILURE

I can accept much of what Peter O'Dea says about police in general (Letters, June 9). Yet the Melbourne Airport incident was not the Victorian force's finest 90 minutes.

Jack Monaghan, Lyneham

PEN BEST FOR FIGHTING

As a Muslim, I strongly condemn the disgusting attack on Andrew Bolt. Although Bolt is a staunch critic of Islam, he should be challenged by the pen, not by physical force.

Khizar Ranam, Walkerville, SA

HUMOUR LACKING

There is one trait gods of all religions have in common: a lack of self-deprecating humour. There is something very wrong with them. Therefore, they cannot be gods.

Luca Biason, Latham

MUGS A MENACE

Isn't it about time the ACT government imposed a levy on disposable coffee mugs? I am appalled by the waste of resources. There are many types of reusable coffee mugs with lids on the market.

Felicity Chivas, Scullin

OPEN THE FLOODGATES

Mr Barr, open the gates on Scrivener dam. Gain 100s of hectares of land. Sell to developers for billions to complete light rail and balance budgets.

Ken Wood, Holt

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au. Send from the message field, not as an attached file. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.

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