We should be focused on creating a better city – not a bigger city
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We should be focused on creating a better city – not a bigger city

Andrew Barr's latest call is against urban sprawl (and I agree with him on this) but his solution is to grow the CBD and town centres. The proper solution is to curb population growth.

He should immediately stop the ridiculous proposals to build large convention centres and stadiums. He should curb the growth of Canberra's universities, and encourage cessation of the growth of public service positions in Canberra.

Is the bush capital now just a capital surrounded by bush?

Is the bush capital now just a capital surrounded by bush?Credit:Dion Georgopoulos

He should not sponsor more immigration from overseas. Indeed, he should stop sponsorship. I am not opposed to migrants moving to Canberra: I merely oppose ACT sponsorship of migrants as a means to increase population.

In regard to CBD development, he should not build housing on the shores of West Basin. For comparison, consider City Hill where he should have disallowed construction in favour of creating magnificent central gardens which would have beautified the CBD.

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He should prevent further development of the land immediately east of Northbourne Avenue. I believe that this land had been deliberately sparsely developed to allow for the widening of the Avenue about now. Much damage has been done recently, but the proper course of action now is to disallow further development, which would create Northbourne Canyon, and instead use the now vacant land for parks and gardens to beautify the entrance to the city. Canberra's primary planning goal should be to develop a better city, rather than a bigger city.

R. Salmond, Melba

Budget woes

University of Canberra professors Jon Stanhope and Khalid Ahmed observe ('Far from rosy, ACT budget at its weakest in a long time', November 29) that: "the territory's finances are ... their weakest in a very long time"; "analysis by ANU academics shows Canberra high school students are lagging up to 16 months behind their peers from similar backgrounds"; "The health system gives every appearance of being in crisis"; and "The ACT budget ... does not appear to allocate sufficient resources for priority services particularly for the vulnerable and the disadvantaged", with "significant costs of light rail stage 1 ... yet to hit the budget".

Mary Robbie of Aranda (Letters, November 19) said similarly that: "Canberra has a health system in crisis, an education system ... failing our young people"; and "The cost of the light rail has meant huge increases in our rates", with "no increase in funding for other important and essential services such as housing for our homeless"; and laments that the priorities of the Labor-Greens government "reflect their lack of an understanding of the social justice issues affecting the community they are supposed to represent".

Send your opinions to letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au

Send your opinions to letters.editor@canberratimes.com.auCredit:Fairfax Media

The ACT could ill afford Light Rail Stage 1 and the Labor-Greens government will inflict even more fiscal and social destruction upon ACT citizens if Light Rail Stage 2 goes ahead, in light of government finance and service crises which, in the main, ironically, were as apparent throughout Mr Stanhope's decade as Chief Minister as they are now.

Dr Mark Drummond, Garran

Concrete jungle

Oh, look! The Chief Minister has redefined the meaning of the "Bush Capital" (Protecting the bush 'front and centre' in new planning strategy", canberratimes.com.au, December 4).

It is no longer the "city in the bush", now it is a city surrounded by the bush.

This means that residents will no longer enjoy the natural environment in their own backyard and, what's more, they will not be able to see the surrounding bush because their view will be blocked by tall buildings.

Presumably, as population continues to grow, buildings will continue to be knocked down and replaced with ever-taller buildings creating a concrete jungle totally divorced from the bush.

Not to worry, though, there will always be the little corner park — or will there?

How long before the little corner park is need to accommodate the necessary continual growth of population?

Robyn Coghlan, Hawker

Changing names

My suggested name to investigate for street names is Lalor Street, Ainslie, named after the hero of the Eureka rebellion, Peter Lalor.

In 1871 when he lost his seat in Parliament at the election he called the successful candidate, Jonas Levien, "a little Jew boy" and thereafter pursued a vendetta against him.

Perhaps the CFMMEU could revisit its embrace of the Eureka Flag.

As to changes of street names, I mention Melbourne Place (now Odgers Lane), Sydney Place (Verity Lane), Brisbane Lane (now disappeared as a name), Newcastle Place (Tocumwal Lane), none of which changes were notified as required by law.

Brian Hatch, Parramatta, NSW

Cycling dilemma

I can understand the cyclist's frustration with P. Moran (Letters, December 5). "I brought my car to a gentle stop at a cross walk on a quiet street in plenty of time to allow a fast-approaching cyclist to see me and cross safely" says it all.

My experience is that most drivers slowing when they see a cyclist about to cross the road is that they do not actually intend to stop.

They slow down to make sure the cyclist stops and then they cross in front of the cyclist and frustratingly they think they are doing the right thing.

Car drivers should cross at a normal pace after making eye contact with the cyclist.

It is very easy for the cyclist to slow slightly allowing the car to pass and then cross the road with minimal disruption.

The frustration for cyclists is motorists who have no intention of letting the cyclist cross first slowing down until the cyclist stops and then proceeding in front of the cyclist.

Even if the motorist really intends to let the cyclist go first it is much better for the motorist to just go first. That way the cyclist doesn't have to entrust their life to a random motorist.

George Kozakos, Barton

Centrelink pain

Re: "Hold the line: the battle to get Centrelink calls back on track', canberratimes.com.au, December 1.

The primary measure of any call centre success must be that the customer believes the issue of concern has been resolved to their satisfaction.

That can't be met if a call doesn't get through of course.

Any metric that simply measures numbers of successful call connections or how fast the call is completed does not indicate success.

Too often we see measures of process, not outcome.

Customer satisfaction must be the goal for Centrelink as that means it will not use more resources than necessary to deliver the services to which the customers are entitled.

That would result in less pain and lower costs for Centrelink.

Steve Blume, Chapman

Water policy flawed

Before long our politicians and their staff, along with the numerous public servants who are charged with policy decisions and implementation, will take their Christmas break.

They will holiday in comfort, knowing their job and secure income will be waiting for their return.

Unfortunately, the decisions they make can have a vastly different impact on their fellow Australians.

Take those who work for SunRice, in the Riverina, for example.

It has announced 100 job losses as it restructures to cope with one of the lowest summer crops in history.

Meanwhile, in other parts of southern NSW and northern Victoria, dairy farmers are culling herds and walking off their farms.

This is all occurring because our decision-makers insist that no allocation of water should be given to southern NSW food and fibre producers.

Those in Victoria are faced with exorbitant water prices.

At the same time the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers are running high with the Murray above capacity, forcing desperate farmers to watch nearby forests flood while their paddocks turn to dust.

In fact, roughly 200,000 megalitres, or 40 per cent of Sydney Harbour, has unintentionally spilled into the forests because the river is not being operated efficiently.

These river losses come out of the food-producing bucket.

This is devastating for farmers. We are now dealing with a whole range of associated issues including mental health problems, severe financial stress and, in some cases, bankruptcy.

This is all because the politicians and bureaucrats are refusing to listen to those who live and breathe their local environment.

Even in times of drought we can all survive if we get the balance right; at present it's not.

I call on the Water Minister David Littleproud to step up and provide some protection to our rural communities.

It can be as simple as demanding his staff, before they go on holidays, work on rule changes to return the wasted 200,000 megalitres to farm production.

Jon Gatacre, Deniliquin, NSW

Riverina needs to secede

A mistake that many people in the irrigated agriculture and forestry industries make when dealing with politicians and bureaucrats is that they assume they are dealing with reasonable people similar to themselves. In fact, they are not dealing with reasonable people, they are dealing with political people.

Politicians generally make decisions based on what they think will get themselves re-elected. These decisions are not necessarily attached to facts, figures, honesty or truth. Bureaucrats are effectively employed by politicians and make decisions based on their paymasters' commands.

Ultimately, the resolution of problems with irrigated agriculture and forestry require positive political decisions.

Yet three-quarters of the population of NSW lives in the environs of Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong, and they elect three-quarters of state politicians.

These people and politicians have no agricultural or forestry interests, and in the 2015 state election 11 per cent actually voted for the Greens. The Greens, of course, are actively opposed to irrigation and forestry.

By reason of political numbers, it is not possible to make decisions favourable to the irrigation and forestry industries in NSW.

The people of the Riverina need to form a state separate from NSW. Only by forming a separate state can the domination of metropolitan politicians be escaped, and only then can decisions beneficial to irrigated agriculture and forestry, and by extension beneficial to all the people, be made.

David Landini, Wakool, NSW

Unbelievable Actew!

A few weeks ago I realised one morning that I was getting no hot water. On the reasonable assumption that something must be wrong with the hot water service a plumber was called.

However his investigation showed there was no problem with the hot water tank but the Actew off peak meter (which controls hot water supply) was totally broken.

Evo Energy came out quickly and confirmed this diagnosis.

A couple of weeks later two new smart meters were installed. I decided that as the problem had been with a faulty off peak meter that Actew should reimburse me for the $143 charge by the plumber to come to my house.

On Tuesday I received the following reply from Actew Assist: "I understand that you have had a plumber investigate an issue that was not relevant to him and are now claiming reimbursement for the plumber's visit. Although it was found that your meter was faulty, ActewAGL is unable to reimburse you for the amount of $143 as you arranged a plumber based on your own assumptions. I apologise that this is not the outcome you were hoping for, however you were not advised by ActewAGL to seek advice from a plumber."

Unbelievable.

Roger Allnutt, Deakin

Be careful at Christmas

Christmas time is a time to celebrate for our own personal reasons, the birth of Christ, the end of another hard year at work, the annual gathering of friends and family or just merely a time to give thanks for what we have.

But Christmas time can also be very painful and sad for those who usually celebrate with gusto but now just want the happy celebrations to finish and be over and done with.

No parent wants to outlive a child, a brother, a sister, a friend or anybody that you love. More people will die this Christmas through accidents or mistakes especially on our roads. Please take care on our roads and don't inflict that pain on anyone if you love them.

G. Coleman, Bassendean, WA

ATO response lacking

Cannot the ATO establish a protocol which, if it does ring taxpayers, clearly identifies the ATO as the caller? I am astonished that its response is that "taxpayers need to know that when the ATO makes a call, there won't be a number show up on the caller ID".

Surely this is what should happen to assure taxpayers the call is legitimate and all others are not.

Steve Provins, Latham

TO THE POINT

ON THE WAY OUT

I found myself agreeing with Owen Reid (Letters, December 3) in his prediction about the Coalition. Not so much the preliminary argument, which was off the plot; but the bottom line was right on: "...the party is self destructing and the Coalition government is heading for electoral oblivion". Couldn't agree more.

Philip Telford, Tarago

CHANGING PLACES

Why can't Malcolm Turnbull put his name down to coach the Broncos? Wayne Bennett could be PM. This would "Shorten" news bulletins to less than five minutes.

Brian Hale, Wanniassa

HIDDEN TALENTS

One shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I hadn't picked Craig Kelly as a gymnast. Still, that's a useful skill in the Liberal Party these days.

J. Howarth, Weston

MUTT OF AN IDEA

You can take the Barton dog leg out of Light Rail 2 but it's still a mutt of an idea.

John Mungoven, Stirling

MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Bill Deane (Letters, December 4) wonders what the moral might be in superior Western forces being defeated by ill-equipped and attired foes. Easy – the moral is: stay out of other people's fights.

Eric Hunter, Cook

HERE'S A DRONE SOLUTION

With all the angst about delivery drones over private airspace throughout Canberra, the solution is simple – shoot them down. The Chinese have developed a drone gun that shuts off the drone from up to 1km away. Where can I buy one?

Angelo Barich, Kambah

THE JERK AND THE TWERK

I totally agree with DJ Martin that his comment was being misinterpreted.

What he was trying to say was that "he would like Ada to see that he was a jerk" not that "he would like to see her twerk". You can see how this can be easily misunderstood.

Ed Gaykema, Reid

CONCESSIONS NIGHTMARE

The Greens' proposal for concessions for parking and traffic offences ('Govt to look at income-based traffic fines,' Nov 29, P5) suggests a bureaucratic implementation nightmare and major privacy concerns, while ignoring the personal responsibility for the error which has nothing to do with income levels.

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla

RESPONSIBILITY KEY

H. Hutchins (Letters, "Dog owners the issue", December 4) is right about problem of dogs and children.

This thesis could be extended to include most things including guns, cars, bicycles, and so on.

Responsible, considerate behaviour by owners and users would immediately solve many of the problems we face day after day.

Keith Hill, Isaacs

Email: letters.editor@canberratimes.com.au. Send from the message field, not as an attached file. Fax: 6280 2282. Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Canberra Times, PO Box 7155, Canberra Mail Centre, ACT 2610.

Keep your letter to 250 or fewer words. References to Canberra Times reports should include date and page number. Letters may be edited. Provide phone number and full home address (suburb only published).

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