Canberra Now: News in 90 seconds for Thursday March 8, 2018
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Canberra Now: News in 90 seconds for Thursday March 8, 2018

Good morning, Canberra and happy International Women's Day!

Importantly, it's also Thursday, which means we are only two days away from a long weekend.

The forecast is for a mostly sunny top of 26 degrees with light winds and no rain.

Let's have a look at what's making news today:

Expert criticises ACT's affordable housing targets

The ACT government's affordable housing targets have been blasted by experts.

The ACT government's affordable housing targets have been blasted by experts.

Photo: Alan Porritt
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A housing affordability expert has branded the ACT government's affordable housing targets as "so small they're almost insignificant", suggesting the government's control of land supply means it should be doing more.

The government published last week new targets for affordable, community and public housing across Canberra, revealing it would be only about 3.5 per cent of land to be released this financial year, ahead of new targets from July.

Daniel Burdon has all the details here.

Five storeys in the air, Harry's living the dream

Canberran Harry Bink shows off his moves.

Canberran Harry Bink shows off his moves.

Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Kids, don't try this at home.

Canberran Harry Bink has been dreaming of becoming a freestyle motocross rider since he was four. That dream is now a reality.

On Wednesday, the 23-year-old and four of his Nitro Circus motocross teammates - all Australians - high-fived, fist pumped and screamed with joy as they landed stunt after stunt on a new 10-metre wooden ramp during rehearsals for new show Nitro Circus: The Next Level.

Bree Winchester has the story here plus there's a video of the guys pulling off their crazy tricks.

DHS denies unanswered calls a staffing problem

Human Services admits more calls aren't getting answered, but says staff numbers aren't to blame.

Human Services admits more calls aren't getting answered, but says staff numbers aren't to blame.

Photo: Erin Jonasson

The extent of call waiting times for Centrelink clients was once again in the spotlight at last week's senate estimates.

The Human Services department has admitted more than half a million more client calls have met engaged signals compared to last year - but denies staff cuts are to blame.

More than 33 million calls to Centrelink received no answer between July and January, an increase of nearly 550,000 on the same period the previous year.

Doug Dingwall has the story here.

The Raiders' green warrior

Junior Paulo, of the Canberra Raiders.

Junior Paulo, of the Canberra Raiders.

Photo: Karleen Minney

If it's felt like a long summer of cricket, you can rest easy. Footy season is here.

Today's paper included a 12-page guide to the Raiders season. Our cover star was Junior Paulo.

The Mal Meninga Medallist wants to help the Raiders forward pack return to being one of the most intimidating in the NRL.

Paulo's moved on from the medal win and his World Cup experience with Samoa, and isn't focusing on anything except the Raiders and their season opener against the Gold Coast Titans on the Gold Coast.

"What I'm going to do this year is hope to improve on whatever areas that I do need to improve on in my game - being able to play longer minutes and working harder in defence.

David Polkinghorne has the story here.

IWD: stories of achievement and challenges

Department of Human Services Secretary Renee Leon.

Department of Human Services Secretary Renee Leon.

Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

We have quite a few stories to mark International Women's Day, including this from Karen Hardy, showcasing the inspirational stories of women we have told over the past year.

Karen also reports on Wednesday's YWCA event Leading the Change, with Claire Carton describing how when she couldn't find a law firm that would accommodate the way she wanted to work after having two children, she started her own. Frances Crimmins also spoke at the event and has written this piece on the progress of the ACT government's plan to achieve gender equality.

I interviewed Department of Human Services secretary Renee Leon, who detailed her own challenges as a woman in the public service, and also the next hurdles for the department when it comes to gender equality.

Today's cartoon:

The Canberra Times editorial cartoon for Thursday, March 8, 2018.

The Canberra Times editorial cartoon for Thursday, March 8, 2018.

Sally Whyte is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service.

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