The block of native grassy woodland that had been formerly protected after protests from the Watson community in 2002, is now listed on a land release program for 2013-14 (''Project sparks fears for Watson woodland'', January 6, p3).

The ACT government plans to release the block of land adjoining the park for a 110-dwelling sustainable development early this year, and the agency assured residents the development would ''not adversely affect the ecological community of the park''. The word ''sustainable'' development is a throw-away term, and an oxymoron.

The incremental squeeze on any available ''vacant'' land for residential development is a threatening process, and one that's avoidable. An economy based on perpetual population growth, and housing revenue, is ultimately unsustainable.

Predatory property developers, with their cashed-up lobbying power, will eventually overwhelm any restrictions on land conservation, and grab any open spaces of native trees, grassland vegetation and biodiversity.

What's insidious is that our record-breaking rate of population growth is assumed to be natural, organic and inevitable. With no population plan for Australia, except ongoing economic growth based on amassing people, Australia's fragile ecological foundation is under threat from extinctions, climate change, scarcities of soil and water, and the sclerosis of urban sprawl.

Vivienne Ortega, Heidelberg Heights, Victoria


Needles already inside

So, according to the CPSU boss there is ''insurmountable'' opposition to allowing needles into the ACT prison (''Little progress on jail needles negotiations'', January 6, p1).

His members can tell him they're already there. Why doesn't the ACT government cease ''scratching around like chickens'' on this one and change the law so that we cease wasting $500 per person a day cramming more and more people with drug addiction and other mental health problems into an already overcrowded facility that turns out more effective criminals?

A win for everyone except prison officers?

Bill Bush, Turner


Delusional thinking

Maurice Newman must have an amazing mind. He has recognised that anthropogenic global warming is a delusion (''Time for CEOs to challenge a sceptic'', Times2, January 2, p2).

He also discovered that thousands of climate scientists have for several decades been fooling bureaucrats and politicians all over the world into repeatedly giving them large sums of taxpayers' money for their deceptive faux research.

Ninety-seven per cent of the world's climate scientists are delusional, but they must also be highly organised and devilishly clever!

The depth of Newman's perception goes on: He's found some of his own kind using the ''climate change delusion'' to rip off the poor and enrich themselves. Just how this works is not made clear, but those climate scientists aren't the only geniuses, it seems.

Mr Newman needs to have a long and serious talk with someone like Ian Dunlop, a former coal company senior executive.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin


Recycling mistakes

This is the one time of the year as we walk the streets for some well needed exercise, that we can actually see what other people put in the recycling bins.

There their bins sit, lids ajar, displaying the Christmas detritus for all to see. I have noticed that many people believe it is tidy to put their items for recycling in plastic bags in the recycling bin.

A couple of years ago at an open day at the Recycling Facility at Mugga Lane, we were told that for reasons of worker safety, these plastic bags actually go unopened from the Recycling Facility to land fill.

So, these well meaning people who use plastic bags in their recycling bins, are not helping the environment. Please don't use plastic bags in this way.

John Davenport, Farrer


Bernardi blooper

Finally the Prime Minister's office has allowed a Liberal politician to be interviewed on ABC, and they choose Cory Bernardi!

S. Engstrom, Deakin


Outrage at senator

Words failed me when I read just now Liberal senator Cory Bernardi's comments in a book he has written. It is a position I don't often find myself in.

Maybe in the next few days I will be able to write something but at the moment my chest hurts from the angst I feel for the women of Australia, the step families, same sex and single parent families, couples with children born via surrogacy, people with religious beliefs other than Christian beliefs and so on.

Jan Gulliver, Lyneham


God's mouthpiece?

What right does Cory Bernardi, Senator for SA, have to say what any woman ought to do with her body? It's her own, surely.

Oh, I beg your pardon, Cori, you are your God's mouthpiece, aren't you? Not that of South Australia!

Barrie Smillie, Duffy


Majura questions

Why is the ACT government spending a huge amount of money on the Majura Parkway, which is essentially helping no one except big business?

Compare it with the resources being spent on the Barton Highway between Yass and ACT! I know the Barton is not an ACT responsibility but neither is the Federal Highway, between Goulburn and ACT, and l am fairly sure the ACT government put resources into that before the 2000 Olympics.

The Barton Highway carries approx 12,000 vehicles per day, and it has been voted as one of the ''worst highways'' in Australia (approx two years ago by an independent road safety group).

It has also been the location of some very horrific road crashes. I do not think the statistics of the Majura Road come anywhere near this. So why the push?

Geoff Barker, Flynn

Tailenders won us the Ashes and deserve a big pay rise

Memo to Cricket Australia: It is time to give the Australian cricket team's tailenders (wicketkeeper and bowlers) a substantial pay rise - to be funded by a substantial pay cut for the team's batsmen.

With a few exceptions, it has been the tailenders - not the batsmen - that have won the Ashes series for Australia, not only taking the required wickets, but also scoring match-saving runs into the bargain.

By and large the performance of the so-called batsmen has been dismal. They should take a good, hard look at their performance. Perhaps a substantial pay cut might help them focus more on their batting.

Congratulations to the Australian bowlers and Brad Haddin on a job very well done.

Don Sephton, Greenway


Captain Cook was only a lieutenant when he came to Australia, and he couldn't play cricket. No further comment necessary.

Steven Hurren, Macquarie


Did the English cricket team bring the Ashes with them? Or did they think they couldn't lose?

Phylli Ives, Torrens


Good on the Australians for their 5-0 demolition of England, but sports journos, please get it right.

In your analyses of the series, don't call it a whitewash. What the team achieved was a clean sweep, not a whitewash, which is and has been for a 100 years or more, a metaphor for a cover-up.

It derives from the old practice of whitewashing walls and furniture with a low-cost mixture of lime and chalk (often called kalsomine).

Sadly, this misplacement is just another example of modern journalists (and their editors) failing to check their facts; even more depressing when appropriate usage is so easily found these days with a quick search online.

Eric Hunter, Cook


The so-called souvenir poster ''Australia destroys England 5-0'' (page 6, January 6, 2014) certainly did not generate any national pride in me. I found it boorish and offensive.

Janet Cossart, Stirling


Inspirational Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt's well-deserved win over Roger Federer should be an inspiration to all those who lack confidence in their ability to overcome the hurdles placed in front of them.

Hewitt has never doubted his ability to rise from the ashes and has proven that belief in one self can overcome almost anything.

Well done Lleyton, you are to be admired.

D. J. Fraser, Mudgeeraba, Queensland


Too generous to be real

I have enviously followed the discussion about the federal government considering the introduction of a co-payment by patients being bulk billed by medical practitioners.

Bulk billing in our part of the country is a concept almost beyond belief and our pensioner ''co-payment'' - that is, the difference between the practitioner's fee and the medicare benefit - far exceeds the proposed co-payment.

The proposed $6 co-payment seems so generous that I am inclined to think it must be a joke. The cost of collecting this amount would probably exceed the contribution and if the government expected the practitioner to do the accounting the possibility of a great reduction in bulk billing would certainly arise. Perhaps this is the whole idea?

The suggestion that patients would be less inclined to seek medical attention were the co-payment to be introduced and that this would result in a subsequent long-term increased cost of medical treatment, raises an interesting point.

A quick look on the internet reveals that in several countries when medical services were withheld by practitioners the death rate fell quite markedly. Perhaps government should take this into consideration.

Max Lotton, Surf Beach, NSW


Scientifically illiterate

The account of the local manifestations of global warming and climate disruption are consistent with the view of climate scientists that these events are strongly related to, if not directly caused by, the annual dumping of 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in this anthropocene (industrialised) era (''Records add heat to climate debate'', January 4, p1).

It is internationally embarrassing and nationally tragic that members of our government seem scientifically illiterate and economically and ideologically addicted to coal and its derivatives despite clear evidence of the destructive impacts of its prodigious combustion.

Tony Abbott and his ilk appear more interested in the primacy of the almighty dollar (particularly in the pockets of tycoons) than they are in the survival, health and wellbeing of underprivileged members of our nation and in the beautiful natural environment which we are fortunate to inhabit.

Bryan Furnass, Hughes


A prayer to tomato gods

My tomatoes are struggling. Could some religious person (with influence up there) please arrange for the chap up top to send down about 500 millimetres of rain in a hurry? Ta.

Hugh Jorgahan, Lyons

Unruly cyclists must put their safety first

I am a strong supporter of cyclists and admire those with the stamina and commitment to commute using this form of transport.

However, I am incredibly frustrated by the dangerous behaviour of some cyclists.

To the dear young lady who rode across in front of me on Northbourne Avenue on Monday morning against a red pedestrian light: it is true my car was stationary at the moment you darted in front of me on your bike.

However, I had a green light and was just waiting for a lady who had started crossing when she had the green pedestrian light, to complete her crossing. It is quite possible I could have put my foot on the accelerator a split-second earlier.

At the very least, this would have meant a nasty disruption to the day.

I think you were heading for the ANU, which indicates you have a brain. Please use it.

Heather Crawford, Evatt


Left, right, left, right

For many years the advice to pedestrians who must walk on roadways where there is no footpath is that they should walk on the right, facing the traffic coming towards them and allowing traffic behind them to pass safely on their left.

Likewise, on the pedestrian/cycle paths in Canberra, cyclists should keep to the left and pedestrians to the right, for the same reason. In my opinion, the ACT government is wrong, on its signs on the paths, in advising both cyclists and pedestrians to keep left.

If a cyclist neglects to ring his bell when he comes up behind a walker, the pedestrian is in danger, or the cyclist must leave the path.

Michael Travis, Cook





Whenever Summernats comes to town, I wonder whether the ACT's floral emblem should be changed from royal bluebell to bogan-villea.

Matthew Higgins, Ainslie


How gallant of the Summernats commentator telling the ogling crowd to treat all Miss Summernats contestants with respect, like they would their cars (''Summernats helps car fans farewell loved ones'', January 5). Like most women, I often need to remind myself that men are worthy of the same respect I accord to my vacuum cleaner and other household appliances.

Anne Ackroyd, Melba



Karen Hardy (January 4) extolling the virtues of the annual car festival doesn't fool me. I cannot imagine her enthusing over burnt rubber and flashing her breasts in response to the familiar 'nats request. In order to really prove her affinity with this event, I invite her out to the Tuggeranong streets where, as I write in the wee hours, I hear excited copycats drag racing and burning out without restriction. There's plenty of opportunity for her to become a grid babe out here.

Cara Shipp, Tuggeranong



If the federal government wants to rein in Medicare costs, perhaps it should scrap the rebate for non-essential services such as IVF. Given the world is overpopulated, any small reduction in births is to be welcomed.

Felicity Chivas, Scullin



Regarding John Rodriguez's letter (January 6) on Barnaby Joyce, no matter what people think about him, he is certainly entertaining and nobody can take that away from him.

Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt



Recently I wrote to you complaining about the dropping of red highlighting of movies in the weekly TV guide. I wish now to congratulate you on the red highlighting of movies in the weekend TV listings in Panorama. As a service manager in the automotive industry, I received plenty of brickbats and the occasional bouquet so I always try to be fair in my criticisms.

Jim Crane, Monash



Crispin Hull (''Medicare myths used to blunt outcry over Coalition's chisel'', Forum, January 4, p3) says: ''If I were serious, I should wear a hair-shirt and live in a cave.'' I am sure that Tim the Yowie Man could suggest a suitable cave for him in the Canberra area.

John Milne, Chapman


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