Letters to the Editor
Keep them in dark (ages)
AUSTRALIAN Health Practitioner Regulation Agency disclosures of restrictions placed on practitioners have been criticised by the Australian Medical Association.
The concern is that AHPRA records have ''the potential to mislead the public, particularly if they lacked information'' (''Unkindest cut: Restrictions placed on doctors'', February 17, p1, 2). The obvious solution is to supply the information. However, I expect some practitioners would prefer a more traditional approach, such as that of the Council of Toulouse in 1229. It prohibited ''that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament''.
This followed the 1199 pronouncement of Pope Innocent III that, ''The depth of the divine scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted.''
Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor
Europe sets standard
I AM NOT sure that Canberra is setting the standard for the rest of Australia in terms of safe cycling infrastructure, as Pedal Power's Rod Katz suggests (''Big Ride will drive campaign for safety'', Sunday CT, February 17, p8).
While Canberra does have some excellent cycle paths, the ACT government, by deciding to go with a two-network approach for so-called experienced and non-experienced cyclists, has exempted itself from international best practice and Austroad guidelines by ignoring the separation charts that have been used in European cities for decades.
Consultants Spackman Mossop and Michaels have heavily criticised the so-called ACT design standards for cycle facilities, in particular the ''ACT context'' for on-road cycle lanes.
While I am glad to see the ACT government is installing separated cycle tracks as part of the Pedal Powers Civic cycle loop, what about new road upgrades such as the GDE, Parks way, the new arterial road in Molonglo, John Gorton Drive and the Cotter road duplication?
If you want to research cycle safety then you need to look at countries that implemented road-design engineering, safe speeds and education decades ago.
Martin Miller, Chifley
Save the trees
THE REVELATION by Planning Minister Simon Corbell in the Times on February 17 that ''some if not all of the mature gum trees will be removed as part of the first phase of light rail'' will come as a great shock to those expecting the retention of our major tree-lined boulevard with trams travelling down the middle of Northbourne Avenue.
There is generally a wide gap between the two rows of trees; wide enough, one would have thought, to easily accommodate two rail lines, without destroying its amenity.
While we might expect a few to go here and there, it is not acceptable to raze the lot of them.
Steven W White
Let the sunshine in
GIVE US Aussies who tan easily a break! (''Bronzed Aussie image no longer a good look'', February 17, p.20). Sure it is great advice to ''slip, slop, slap'', and not to spend too long in the sun. And to avoid the temptation to take shortcuts with tanning beds. And to stay within the law and not have tanning injections.
But, don't forget that sunshine on skin is good for the health of our organs if it is the right amount in the right way. Not only for physical health but mental health, too.
Let's celebrate sunshine, not bring on the Grim Reaper. The ''bronzed Aussie'' should not be binned, but educated to get it right.
Let's not get so paranoid about the dangers of over-exposure and short-cut tanning that we forget rickets, mental depression, bones that break too easily, osteoporosis, and even umbilical hernias, corrected so easily with a small dose of direct sunlight. The other danger is that a blanket discouragement of sun exposure will add another hurdle to exercising, and boost obesity.
Further discouraging sun exposure may cause as much a threat to life as melanoma.
Jenny Hobson, Spence
Rich get richer
MY THANKS to Michael Bannon for responding to my article on the large taxation concessions going to superannuation.
Michael finds it hard to accept that much of the concessions, the disguised grants, go to the very rich. I can only suggest Michael read the Treasury Tax Expenditures Statement 2012 and its earlier distributional analysis of superannuation taxation concessions.
Its analysis in this superannuation distributional analysis paper is that the top 10 per cent of income tax payers in 2009-10 received more than 38 per cent of the superannuation tax concessions. The bottom 10 per cent received minus 1.2 per cent of the benefits. They were penalised for investing in superannuation. The second decile of income tax payers (those earning between $14,000 and $21,000) received 0.9 per cent of the concessions.
Compare that to the top 1 per cent - those earning more than $241,000 taxable income - who received 9 per cent of the concessions. In other words, people earning $241,000 or more in taxable income received 10 times as much of the superannuation concessions as those earning less than $21,000.
The superannuation taxation concessions system is highly inequitable. The richer you are, the greater the tax grants you get. It's time to stop these welfare handouts to the rich.
John Passant, Kambah
Look at beneficiaries
JACK WATERFORD'S timely article in Canberra Times of February 17 raised valid issues regarding whether the proposed inquiry will go far enough into the issues surrounding Colin Winchester's death. In particular, it should look at who stood to gain most by his death. He was due to give evidence in the trial of 11 people charged in connection with a large marijuana plantation at Bungendore. With his death the trial was aborted.
The cropping, which went on under the noses of the police, was a staggering example of police ineptitude or corruption.
Any inquiry into Eastman's guilt should look also at people who could have had more plausible motives to wish Colin Winchester dead.
Howard Carew, Isaacs
Costs off the rails
IT WOULD appear that the 12-kilometre light rail proposed from Gungahlin to Civic is to go ahead despite all the evidence pointing to it being a costly failure.
Our Planning Minister (''Corbell promises minimal rail pain'', February 17, p20) claims the ACT government has learned from his visit to Queensland where he met the consortium building the Gold Coast light rail.
The Canberra light rail is to cater for a comparatively sparse population of 60,000 (16 per cent of the population, at most), and of these only those who have to go to Civic, and no other centre. The costs that Minister Corbell quotes and the reasons for them are in stark contrast to those provided by the previous minister, Andrew Barr, last June.
Barr claimed the Canberra track would cost close to $800 million at $66 million per kilometre due to the complex ''retrofitting of existing infrastructure''. Corbell now claims that the cost has gone down!
Surely it is time for the government to accurately cost the entire proposed light rail project that will only serve, inadequately, a few thousand people at best.
Murray Upton, Belconnen