Canberra Now: Howard denies snubbing city; and health results drop
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Canberra Now: Howard denies snubbing city; and health results drop

Hello Canberra!

We're in for a warm, partly cloudy day reaching 29 degrees. Temperatures are expected to get to 32 tomorrow, when there'll be all sun, no cloud.

Here's what's making headlines in the national capital this morning.

Howard denies ever snubbing Canberra

Former prime minister John Howard at the National Archives.

Former prime minister John Howard at the National Archives.Credit:Jamila Toderas

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Most who lived through his four terms as prime minister have an opinion on John Howard. The long-serving leader raises particular views in Canberra as a city - a place he considered only his second home while in the top job.

But he doesn’t regret that one of the first decisions he made upon taking office in 1996 was to make Sydney, rather than Canberra, his official home.

And despite this, he says he ended up spending more time in The Lodge than Kirribilli House anyway.

Sally Pryor spoke to Mr Howard about his views about the national capital.

Canberra health performance plunges even lower

Canberrans are waiting longer to be seen in the emergency department and for elective surgery.

Canberrans are waiting longer to be seen in the emergency department and for elective surgery. Credit:AFR

It seems Canberra can't catch a break when it comes to news about its health system. The ACT's elective surgery and emergency departments' performances have plunged further, leaving ACT patients among the most likely in the country to wait for treatment.

Reports from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare compared the performance of emergency departments and elective surgery waiting lists across the country in 2017-18.

They came back with some bad news. ACT patients were far more likely than those in any other jurisdiction to wait more than a year for surgery, and wait longer for treatment at the emergency department.

Daniella White takes a look at the results.

Christmas lights in Chifley have special meaning

Seventy-seven-year-old Bev Lucas has put up Christmas lights around her Chifley home as a promise to her 73-year-old sister Valma.

Seventy-seven-year-old Bev Lucas has put up Christmas lights around her Chifley home as a promise to her 73-year-old sister Valma. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

These Christmas lights in Chifley are particularly meaningful, the work of 77-year-old Bev Lucas.

She's something of a dab hand at Christmas lights, having had her previous efforts in Narrabundah and Ngunnawal featured in The Canberra Times as far back as 1983.

This time the lights are not only to give pleasure to passers-by - or raise money for charity as she has done in the past - but to send a message to her 73-year-old sister Valma, who is facing the possibility this will be her last Christmas.

Megan Doherty spoke to Mrs Lucas about her latest creation.

Having a granny flat made you eligible for this ACT planning loophole

Houses with granny flats built in the late 1960s and early 1970s were eligible for the loophole.

Houses with granny flats built in the late 1960s and early 1970s were eligible for the loophole. Credit:Fairfax Media

How can a granny flat out the back of a house be redeveloped into higher density housing? Thanks to a loophole in the ACT's planning laws, it's possible.

The decades-old anomaly is being fixed, but property industry advocates say the decision is confusing as the Barr government looks towards more urban infill.

The ACT Legislative Assembly held a public hearing into Draft Variation 350, which changes the definition of "single dwelling block" in the Territory Plan, on Wednesday.

Katie Burgess explains the ins and outs of the rule change and its impact.

Canberra Cavalry set to unveil a new-look Fort

Canberra Cavalry players Robbie Perkins and Kyle Perkins in front of the redeveloped grandstand.

Canberra Cavalry players Robbie Perkins and Kyle Perkins in front of the redeveloped grandstand.Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

Baseball fans will notice a difference when they arrive at Narrabundah Ballpark to support the Canberra Cavalry in their ABL championship series rematch against the Brisbane Bandits on Thursday night.

The Fort has had a $5 million redevelopment of its grandstand, locker rooms and amenities, which has put the region at the front of the queue to host international baseball games.

The crown jewel of the redevelopment is the new clubhouse at the top of the main grandstand, where members will be able to watch the game.

Caden Helmers spoke to the Cavalry's Kyle Perkins about the game.

Today's cartoon

The Canberra Times' editorial cartoon for Thursday, December 6, 2018.

The Canberra Times' editorial cartoon for Thursday, December 6, 2018.Credit:David Pope

Today's weather

Doug Dingwall is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service and politics.

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