Comment

Letters to the Editor
Save
Print

West Basin forsehore essential for striking healthy city balance

Now the election is all but over may I request that our new government reconsider its proposed residential intrusion of the West Basin foreshore.

Little by little our natural bush areas close to the centre are being whittled away by development.

Good planning needs a healthy balance between hard and soft surfaces. Hard cities are getting hotter as we increase the concreted areas so we must retain the soft natural areas we have left.

Please leave the West Basin foreshore as an enjoyable natural area, reinforced with more natural planting and free from vehicles (other than maintenance).

Above all, isolate the traffic noise from Parkes Way, dispense with the proposed concrete walkway, listen to the water lapping the shore, remove the yellow excrescence and restore the once magnificent view of the Brindabellas from Vernon Circle.

Now is our last chance to get the future right.

Advertisement

Derek F. Wrigley, Mawson

Housing problem

J. Coleman (Letters, October 17 ), in pointing out that "it is now almost impossible to buy property without two incomes", highlights the major intergenerational problem of housing our population.

Successive federal governments have failed to stem the insidious impact of negative gearing on housing prices; how any politician can claim to be pursuing "budget repair" and at the same time give a 50 per cent reduction on a capital gains tax is beyond my understanding.

On the local scene things aren't any better. Labor's policy of phasing out stamp duty and increasing everybody's rates presumably has made it cheaper for investors to buy into property, the increased rates they face on their investment will in turn be passed onto tenants who will, in turn, find it harder to save for their own home.

The Liberals are heavily influenced by private enterprise and groups such as the Property Council to keep the property boom continuing.

We've recently heard the leader of the Greens has negatively geared property along the light rail route.

I fear for my grandchildren.

Bill Bowron, Farrer

A few home truths

Andrew Barr may well be cock-a-hoop about another apparent Labor victory, and claim a mandate for light rail, but he needs to remember — and acknowledge — a number of important facts:

(1) Labor has won just 12 out of the 25 seats and so can form a minority government only.

(2) Labor received less than 39 per cent of primary votes across the whole Territory, which means that more than three in five people voted for a party other than Labor as a first preference.

(3) In the southern electorates of Murrumbidgee and Brindabella Labor received less than 35 per cent of primary votes.

Please remember Mr Barr that your government needs to govern for the whole of the ACT, not just the constituents of the Yerribi and Ginninderra electorates.

You have much to do to convince the constituents of the Murrumbidgee and Brindabella that you also have their interests at heart.

Don Sephton, Greenway 

Ineffective route

I have never been so disappointed by my fellow Canberrans, those who do not think it is a folly to have a tram line running through the centre of Canberra. This would potentially spoil the entrance to the nation's capital and destroy our iconic broad avenues.

Commonwealth Avenue is an historic avenue and in the Parliamentary triangle.

Is nothing sacred? If our money is to be squandered on a tram I think a better route would have been more effective. I see so many buses running around almost empty and I wouldn't be surprised if there's not enough people to use this tram to make it worthwhile.

I was born in Canberra many years ago, have seen it grow and have a deep sense of place here. I could almost weep for what is happening to this beautiful city.

 J. Newman, Mawson 

Toxic hypocrisy

Given Greens member Shane Rattenbury was a minister in the previous Barr government and has confirmed his party will back Labor, how is this still possible when on a federal level the relationship between the two parties is toxic ("ACT election 2016: Yvette Berry backed for Labor deputy as Greens weigh up coalition or crossbench", October 17)?

Does this not wreak of hypocrisy by both sides in a political marriage of convenience?

When we consider the Turnbull government's equally slim majority after the federal election, the formation of a similar coalition pact could have delivered us a federal Labor government.

All this hypocrisy is sure to keep federal Labor in political oblivion, which it thoroughly deserves for its lack of integrity.

Reverend Dr Vincent Zankin, Rivett

Light rail integration

Now we are going to have light rail to Gungahlin we need to get it to the rest of Canberra. We also need to properly integrate it into other modes of transport.

The barrier is cost. We can more than halve the cost to Canberra taxpayers of any infrastructure by getting rid of the cost of debt. We can do that by self-funding light rail with techniques, such as negative gearing, used by the wealthy to get richer.

The biggest problem of integration is "the last mile". Some people can walk and cycle, but most are too far away.

One way to integrate is to have a home-grown shared car service for light rail built into light rail ticketing.

We can also incorporate school drop-offs and walk buses to schools into ticketing and increase the benefits and reduce the costs.

Kevin Cox, Ngunnawal

Memories linger

I find it hard to understand how the Liberals lost an election in which so many factors should have played out in their favour. I wonder if memories of the way Zed Seselja so quickly jumped ship after the last election, and memories of the ugly removal of moderate Gary Humphries may have played some small part.

Peter Dark, Queanbeyan

Face up to refugee cruelty

Four Corners' exposure of the treatment of juvenile detainees in the Don Dale Centre revealed the complicity of Labor and Liberal governments in the Northern Territory in the abuse of children in their care.

Following an explosion of outrage the Prime Minister, urged on by the leader of the opposition, set up a royal commission.

The government, with the enthusiastic support of the Labor Party, had earlier passed the Border Force Act in an attempt to ensure a Don Dale type scandal would not be exposed in its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru.

Thankfully there are doctors, nurses, childcare workers and, in the present instance, school teachers who refuse to be intimidated by the threat of prison.

It was only going to be a matter of time before graphic video footage would emerge of the harm  Australia is knowingly inflicting on asylum seekers.

Four Corners has exposed, through interviews with refugee children on Nauru and horrific vision of the reality of their lives, the  depravity of Australia's policy of indefinite offshore detention.

The muted response from members of the federal Parliament contrasts markedly to that which followed the Don Dale revelations.

 Their silence will not save them from individual responsibility for this shameful thing we have done.

The time has come  to demand that our elected representatives stop turning their faces away from the inhuman and cruel treatment of refugees they have enabled in our names. 

Jon Stanhope, Bruce 

Deliberate meanness

The government's purported efforts to arrange third country resettlement are clearly futile.

We should let refugees into our society.

It is highly distressing to see the deliberate soul-destroying meanness with which we treat these young people (Four Corners Monday night: "The forgotten children on Nauru").

And then we learn the outrageous price we pay is half a million dollars a year per person whose hope and mental health we destroy.

What a huge burden of guilt it is to carry.

Ann-Lone Thwaites, Narrabundah 

No moral compass

Watching ABC Four Corners on Monday, October 17 on the plight of the refugees in Nauru, I realised how our political representatives are racing each other to the bottom. The UN has said these people are our responsibility but we only listen to the UN when it suits us.

If this is how we treat people, I think as a nation we are doomed.

Where is our moral compass? It is a disgrace.

Penny Moyes, Hughes

Nothing refuted

Boat turn-backs arguably save lives at sea. Offshore detention does not. Department of Immigration and Border Protection Secretary Pezzullo is said to have "refuted" Amnesty's claims of torture. To refute something is to disprove it. Pezzullo has not disproven anything, and thus has refuted nothing.

Christopher Budd, Turner

Prepare for future

Ross Fitzgerald ("Turnbull's incrementalism may be the right policy", October 15) suggests Australia take a pragmatic approach to relationships with the US and China in which we deal with the merits of a particular issue.

Powerful considerations support his view.

Donald Trump has announced that, under his presidency certain alliances would be abandoned with The United States retreating into another wave of isolationism.

Bob Carr, writing for Fairfax, has predicted a Trump  win in November this year is unlikely but one in four years time is far from impossible.

Our reliance on American protection quite possibly will prove an illusion in coming decades.

Fitzgerald notes our economy is the twelfth largest in the world.

True, and forecasts are we will be 28th in thirty years' time, with Indonesia the fourth largest.

Our commitment to American foreign policy which has seen our association with the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of completely innocent people in Iraq will leave us with a legacy of hatred in the Middle East.

We must prepare for the world that's coming, not for the comforts of the past.

Noel Beddoe, Kiama

Inexplicable closure

The ACT Veterinary Surgeons Board is closing Dr Jan Spate's popular vet practice in Hall. Jan Spate has been my vet for the past 25 years, tending to my horses, sheep, donkeys, dogs, cats and even chooks.

She is an excellent vet: skilful, compassionate and dedicated. The daily queues at her surgery show hundreds of other Canberrans share this view.

The board is a statutory body established to regulate veterinary practice in "the public interest". The board might like to explain to Dr Spate's hundreds of satisfied clients, how it is in their "interest" to close her practice.

Bruce Gall, Nicholls

Self-checkout woes

"Confessions of a Checkout Thief" (CT 15/10/16 p 16) suggests ACT and NSW Police forces are expending additional resources to prevent theft from Coles (and Woolworths) self-service checkouts as a result of the decision of supermarkets to save money by employing less staff.

Perhaps police advice to the supermarkets should be to take responsibility for the security of their own businesses.

If self-service checkouts increase the propensity of customers to steal, this is hardly in the long-term interests of the retail industry.

Helmut Simon, Watson

TO THE POINT

POEM FINDS ITS TARGET

An ode to David Leyonhjelm:

I'm not a dummy-spitter

Nor a dummy-spitter's son

But I'll spit my dummy

If I don't get my gun.

Peter Moran, Watson

THE UNTOUCHABLES

Unless Andrew Barr and his Labor cronies are, metaphorically, caught with severed heads under their arms, they will continue to be our very own version of an aloof, aggressive and untouchable politburo, immune to criticism and dissent. 

 A. Whiddett, Yarralumla

READERS' CHOICE

  No, L. Beckhouse ( Letters, October 17, 2016) voters do read newspapers. It's just that voters don't need to follow advice provided by anyone – be they editors of The Canberra Times or others.

Helen M Goddard, Turner 

OLDIES BUT GOODIES

Doug Hurst (Letters, October 17, 2016) speaks of "19th-century technology of trams and windmills". Is he not aware that automobiles, petroleum and gas also represent 19th-century technology? This even applies to the solar panels on the roof of my home. The first solar cell was patented in 1888. 

 G. A. Bell, Franklin

HOUSING SOLUTION

As providing affordable housing was a campaign policy for the winners, could I recommend the South Australian government Home Start scheme as something for them to examine.

It offers loans with 3 per cent deposit, shared appreciation and depreciation arrangements and repayments linked to ability to pay .

Matt Ford, Crookwell

TEMPERANCE PLEASE

It was disappointing to hear Andrew Barr on Sunday boasting many of his supporters 'had very sore heads this morning'. Regardless of the reason for celebrating, is it appropriate to laugh off the fact people are drinking to excess?

Michael Curzon, Kambah

PERFECTLY RATIONAL

"Islamaphobia" is a propaganda term meant to stifle discussion on the need for internal reform within the ideology of Islam. A phobia is an irrational fear. There is nothing irrational about fearing a religion whose adherents are generally in favour of executing anyone who insults their prophet.

James Allan, Narrabundah

POOR TASTE AT PUB

I must express vitriol at the naming of the sports bar at the old Kingston shops Hale and Mary. It is offensive to many residents in this area, whether  Catholic or not. 

Christine Bollen, Kingston

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.

Keep your letter to 250 words or less. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).