In her article "Consider the lobster: pain issue resurfaces" (January 14, p. 12), Karen Weintraub writes that, according to Professor Joseph Ayers, "lobsters and other crustaceans are often swallowed whole by their prey".
This implies that the prey of lobsters is much larger than they are, and/or the lobsters are terribly incompetent hunters.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Back to trains
Deregulation has been in process in transport for 60 years. So successful has it been that railways have practically become redundant pieces of archaeology belonging to a long-disappeared age.
Occasionally there are horror stories of drug use, non-professional behaviour and driver fatigue resulting in crashes (Action call over trucker deaths, Sunday Canberra Times, January 14, p.1).
When such events occur, the community bears the costs not alone in, the ultimate, morality, but also injuries, crash-induced social dislocation, highway repairs, health care, policing and emergency services, legal and court costs, plus increased community insurance premiums.
Rather than "rent-seeking" to solve the perceived trucking "problem", the industry needs to engage in introspection, examining the reasonableness of its own behaviour, demands and expectations. Engaging in a race-to-the-bottom, demanding productivity, at any cost, has negative consequences.
Turnbull succumbed and decommissioned the Road Safety Tribunal, abolished minimum freight rates. Trucks are expensive, capital-intensive assets, so it is in companies' interests to ensure they are suitable for purpose, well maintained and fitted with newer technologies.
Subsidising railways would be preferable to throwing taxes at inefficient, proven dangerous road transport.
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan
Rue this cruelty
Theresa Gordon (Sunday Canberra Times, January 14) notes that the ACT government callously allows kangaroos to drown in the ACT's high-walled lakes by not providing ramps by which they can escape.
To this callousness, please add the following: reducing kangaroos habitat to isolated fragments between suburbs and high-speed highways; leaving victims of car collisions on the road for the apparent purpose of desensitising the ACT public to kangaroo deaths; claiming untruthfully there are too many of them; issuing licences to farmers in the ACT to kill more than 20,000 a year; and killing thousands more every year in an expensive and devastating pogrom financed by public money.
The only reason anyone in the ACT believes kangaroos are a pest is because this same government tells them so, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary.
People who believe this should look up the facts for themselves, especially the recently released CSIRO report that, in extremely plain English, concludes, on the basis of the ACT government's own data, that: there is absolutely no evidence kangaroos, at any density, have any negative impact on the health and diversity of the native vegetation on which all other native fauna depends; and strong evidence that, without any kangaroos, the health and diversity of native vegetation declines.
The government has its own reasons for wanting the kangaroos gone and they have nothing to do with protecting the environment.
Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan
Sad for the loss
I strongly disagree with Ian Warden ('Yearning for city's past lingers', January 14) that old Canberrans are affected by Hodgmanalgia when they compare the present condition of our town to what it used to be in their prime age.
Mr Warden fails to mention that Canberra has gone through two stages of development. Before self-government, the development of Canberra was the responsibility of the Department of the Capital Territory, funded by the federal government.
The minister was advised by the National Capital Development Commission about town planning and infrastructure required for a long-term vision, including land development, water supply, public housing, drainage and roads.
The Department of Works, later Housing, where I proudly worked for 10 years, was providing design, supervision and maintenance. Parks and Gardens provided regular service.
Blocks of land ready for construction were offered at auction with the reserve price set at the cost of development plus 12 per cent. First home buyers had special auctions where speculator builders could not participate. There was not an affordability problem.
Densification of Canberra Central had been properly planned by the NCDC, through an infill program that consisted in leaving open areas close to suburbs' shops, which could later be developed with medium density housing, revitalising old suburbs using existing infrastructure such as schools and parks.
I call as testimony of my words Tony Powell, at the time head of the NCDC, and frequent writer to The Canberra Times.
Incidentally, I add that, when I proposed to run a sewer for one of the infills in the median strip of Northbourne Avenue, I was told the area was reserved for a future fast bus lane connecting Dickson to the airport. A bus, not a tram.
Then we Canberrans, against our will, were imposed a self government whose only resources are based on the sale of land to developers, which is the main cause of the unaffordability of housing and the ever lowering of the standards of developments. Without a proper planning authority, Canberra is growing chaotically, dictated by private financial interests. The plethora of buildings consisting mainly of one or two-bedroom apartments will never be home for young families. Lake Burley Griffin has become an open-sky sewer.
What next? Dear Ian Warden, we are not Hodgmanalgic. We are sad for what we had and have lost.
If you think the city is busy building with its sleeves rolled up, ask yourself if you are a fair dinkum Canberran.
Mario Serenellini, Weetangera
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