Canberra Times letters: Infill ill-effects overlooked

Canberra Times letters: Infill ill-effects overlooked

Bruce Paine (Letters, October 10) wants infill on land zoned for RZ1 to allow existing owners to downsize and to provide housing for the expanding population.

This is a stance taken by many in the development industry but, so far, the ACT government has resisted, permitting only a 90-square-metre secondary residence under the one land title.


The negative effects of even this level of infill are never considered – more hard surfaces absorbing heat; less grass, shrubs and trees to provide shade; less birdlife; more surface run-off carrying urban contaminants into the local streams and rivers.

With temperatures predicted to reach 50 degrees in the not-too-distant future, is this really a sensible approach?


Canberra is located inland, it does not enjoy the mitigating effects of the ocean, which moderates temperature in coastal cities. What might be tolerable in other cities here and overseas does not necessarily apply to our situation.

Has any serious study of these known outcomes of densification ever been undertaken in Canberra?

Robyn Boxall, Hawker

A geometric future

By all means may Derek F. Wrigley (Letters, October 9) decry the lack of vision in the current development of Canberra.

However, to suggest that a fault could lie in the the encouragement of mathematics in our schools is totally contradictory.

The elegant initial plan of our city is based on the beautiful fitting of pure geometric figures to the existing landscape.

This has been the aim of the best city planning throughout the world.

Furthermore, a paradigm of building beauty has seldom been bettered than in the buildings of ancient Greece, with their elegance of geometrical form.

By all means let our educational system encourage the arts, but for the realisation of a composite vision of city planning, let us ensure the planners of our future city are comprehensively grounded in the mathematical purity of geometry.

Jack Palmer, Watson

Preventing the harm

I refer to the letter by Geoffrey Fitzgibbon (Letters, October 9); and also, note the article ("'Oversold' pill testing not a magic bullet: toxicologist"; October 9, p.2).

Pill testing seems to be another harm reduction initiative along the lines of the disallowed heroin trial, injecting room and needles in prison.

I see little logic or reason in having a drug policy that prioritises harm reduction, not harm prevention. Yes, we need to reduce the harm caused by bushfires, but no government, fire service, or community would change its primary aim of reducing the number of fires for reducing the harm from them.

Why put the possibility that pill testing may save a young life above the certainty that getting youth drug free certainly will?

And compound the situation by extremely low funding of treatments that have that aim?

C. Rule, Gilmore

Legal distortion

As could be expected, the legal profession is now trying to undermine and white-ant the citizen jury set up to examine the ACT third party party insurance scheme ("Top legal pair warn of citizens' jury pitfalls", October 10, p.1).

The current arrangements provide a river of gold to the legal profession from compensation based on subjective pain and suffering by accident victims.

The problem is those involved in car accidents have an opportunity to access a financial windfall based on their claims.

This is a distortion in the system that needs to be removed.

This feature is not present in other states where the focus is on restoring people quickly to good health.

The government is to be applauded for at last trying to address this anomaly and carry out long-overdue reform .

Brian Brocklebank, Bruce

A bus stop too far

Damien Haas, chairman of the Public Transport Association of Canberra, writes ("Big change to bus routes", October 7, Forum p.10) that:

"Some Narrabundah residents have already complained about this, despite the increase in frequency of a rapid bus a short walk from their homes".

A short walk for younger fit people, but not for many older or infirm residents, especially in hot, cold or inclement weather or at night.

Not mentioned by Haas is the changes also make for a longer walk for many in 'Old Narrabundah'. Increased frequency doesn't equal better service if it is harder to get to the bus.

Anne MacDonald, Narrabundah

Cygnets' wellbeing

Can anyone shed light on the status of two cygnets recently hatched at Norgrove Park, Kingston Foreshore? They were born a couple of weeks ago at a nest in the lake near to the Eyre Street and Eastlake Parade intersection. I saw the cygnets with their mother in and around the protected reeds some days later but have not seen them since. I fear the worst.

John Pitsonis, Kingston

Abbott's wisdom

I didn't know Tony Abbott was a pre-eminent authority on global warming. He is clearly a "suppository" of all knowledge. He has rendered all the scientists who have dedicated decades in researching the phenomenon redundant.

Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW

Intelligence optional

The critical dissonance involved in making a career in politics means some seats may go to people who otherwise would never survive an appropriate vetting system that assessed their intellectual and psychological fitness for such a role.

Luca Biason, Latham

Australia should sign the treaty to prohibit global nuclear weapons

Malcolm Turnbull has apparently not yet congratulated the winners of the Nobel Peace Price, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an organisation with its origins in Melbourne, and Canberra's Dr Sue Wareham as one of the founding members.

Probably this is because of Australia's opposition to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), for which ICAN has been campaigning.

The treaty has been signed by 122 countries including, in our region for example – Indonesia, Philippines, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand – and further afield – Chile, Ireland, Iran, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

If signatory countries don't feel the need to hide behind a nuclear umbrella, why are Australia's leaders so lacking in courage that we aren't included in this inspirational and practical treaty? Practical, because nuclear war is anything but, and with a nuclear winter would mean the death of billions of people. An unthinkable scenario. The TPNW has been drafted to work alongside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which made significant progress in the 1980s in reducing the number of nuclear weapons worldwide. The NPT along with the TPNW could make progress again. Australia's government should join the right side of history and sign the TPNW.

I join the huge numbers Australians congratulating ICAN for the Nobel Peace Prize award, applauding ICAN for their work and saying, 'thank you ICAN!'

Kathryn Kelly, Chifley

Cricket fails test

During the recently completed Test cricket match between South Africa and Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi batsman was struck on the helmet by a fast, short-pitched delivery from one of the South African fast bowlers. Play was delayed by several minutes while the player was treated and assessed by several persons, including a medical practitioner.

The batsman was then allowed to continue his innings.

To me, this situation could be seen as verging on the irresponsible.

When a player has been struck on the head and is in obvious distress, one of the umpires should be required to immediately suspend play and declare the batsman "retired, hurt".

Moreover, the batsman should not be allowed to continue his innings until examined, assessed and cleared by the appropriate medical experts and authorities.

The NRL recently upgraded its policy and procedures in respect to possible instances of concussion resulting from heavy tackles.

Perhaps the International Cricket Council should consider a similar initiative. The last thing we want to see is another Philip Hughes tragedy.

Andrew Rowe, Florey

Damaging fund

Was the $5billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) set up to fund uneconomic projects, to destroy the environment, to increase greenhouse gas emissions, to destroy 69,000 jobs dependent on the Great Barrier Reef, to deplete the Great Artesian Basin, to destroy native title claims, to eliminate farmland, and increase health problems for countless people?

Or was it to bail out corrupt foreign corporations facing bankruptcy and criminal offences, to help fund tax havens, to boost party donations and help political and business mates?

Or is all the above true, as is the case with the Adani mega coal mine?

Carol Baker, Port Macquarie, NSW

Hawke's huge waste

Bob Hawke is incorrect in saying that the Turnbull plebiscite on same-sex marriage is the greatest waste of money by a Prime Minister since Federation.

Mr. Hawke presided over the greatest waste of money as a result of a plebiscite/referendum in Australian history.

In 1978 64 per cent of ACT rejected self government.

The federal Labor government, led by Mr. Hawke, imposed self government against the wishes of those involved.

Self government has cost the citizens of the ACT, the majority of whom did not want it, a lot more than $122 million.

How would our ACT Labor politicians react if the Federal Coalition refused to institute gay marriage after it won in a plebiscite, citing Bob Hawke's refusal to honour a referendum on self government in the ACT.

Glen Torr, Fraser

Bring on destruction

As temperature records tumble and leaves begin to brown and curl in spring, another horrendous summer looms. It has barely rained for months.

Wildlife perishes and bushfires and cyclones are coming, but coal is still king in Queensland.

However, this year I will welcome the infernal days and the destruction. Because after all of it those of us alive today who have collectively failed to act should face the consequences.

For decades we have been warned and we have preferred to do next to nothing. Indeed a substantial number of us have doubled down on the things that wreak destruction: coal, land clearing, rampant consumption of everything in sight.

It is easy to blame politicians, but ultimately they reflect our values and priorities as nation.

It is we who should pay, not just our children and grandchildren. Bring it on. It's only fair.

Gray Charlton, Narrabundah

Aunty's now boring

What is going on at the ABC? Programs Lateline and Dr Blake Mysteries being axed, despite, in Dr Blake's instance, increased popularity each season.

Who axes a show with such a huge following?

The ABC is reducing its programming to repeats of old BBC shows and talk panels at the expense of good current affairs and Australian quality content.

Ms Guthrie's changes are reducing Aunty to a boring and mundane station for the masses, just like the commercial stations we avoid for that very reason.

Programs that demonstrate quality journalism and Australian content should be treasured and maintained, it's the clear differentiator between Aunty and the rest of television, bar SBS.

Alison Chapple, Macquarie



The penalties for drug dealing should be as severe as those for murder, or at least attempted murder. Drug addiction destroys lives just as surely as a bullet or a knife. Addicts will lie, cheat or steal to get money for their habit. They live in squalor, neglecting themselves and their families. Those who dose themselves with ice pose an immediate danger to themselves and others. Dealers are the scum of theearth.

Barbara Fisher, Cook


J. Halgrem (Letters, October10) did well to vote "no" to oppression and Marxism. My survey form did not have these options. It only had a simple question that mooted the removal of of one oppression – against love.

Mike Hutchinson, Reid


The proposed law changes to "keep Australians safe" will not help those women being slaughtered under the guise of "domestic violence". Three women died last week. It is time this government made up of mostly white males over 50 years of age, looked at how to stop the deaths of those Australians, mainly women.

L. Dobson, Waterview Heights, NSW


In the category of "they actually said it". Dan Tehan, Minister Assisting the PM for Cybersecurity, at the National Press Club on Tuesday: "Every threat is a business opportunity." Food for thought, indeed.

Ross Kelly, Monash


The international community is making great efforts to help the 500,000 Rohingya victims of ethnic cleansing, and ensure that they can return safely to their homes in Myanmar. It is worth remembering that there are also more than 500,000 Palestinian victims of ethnic cleansing still being denied the right to return to their homeland.

Peter Roeper, O'Connor


So Andrew Barr apparently signs documents without reading them thoroughly ("Casino land confusion", October11, p.1). A dangerous practice, that one.

M. Moore, Bonython


I was intrigued to read: "Government subsidies are not being used by all companies setting up solar farms in Australia. A proposed solar farm near Bathurst is being fully funded by Photon Energy without any government assistance." (Letters, October9). I would like to know the contracted supply price before I am impressed.

Gary J. Wilson, Macgregor

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