Information provided by the Land Development Authority in relation to reports of their survey on the level of support for the proposed Canberra brickworks and environs development is misleading.
The LDA claims 65.3per cent of people surveyed in the "local area" were in favour of the development. The implication was that a majority of Yarralumla residents support the development. What was not made clear is that of the 1400 Canberra residents surveyed, only 139 of the 500 residents from the "local area" (comprising Deakin, Curtin and Yarralumla) were Yarralumla residents.
The Yarralumla Residents Association works closely with residents and it is clear from their submission to the LDA (yarralumlaresidents.org.au) that there is significant opposition to a large number of issues that will adversely impact the suburb, including the bulldozing of seven metres from the ridgelines in order to flatten the landscape for intensive grid development, traffic chaos and destruction of recreational space used widely by Canberra residents.
Robyn Cooper, Yarralumla
I would like to address a couple of issues with the article "Telopea Park school community upset with a complete lack of consultation and transparency", canberratimes.com.au, April 10 .
The article states "the government proposed a land-swap deal to assist the Canberra Services Club". I believe the government's primary motives in the deal are to assist Manuka Oval and to raise revenue through the sale of government land. I am still trying to get in touch with representatives of the services club, but my understanding is that their personal preference would be to rebuild on the old site.
Also, the article states "the Telopea Parents and Citizens Association remain opposed to the land-swap deal and are outraged by government's lack of consultation and diminishing students". I presume this is simply a misprint, but it is the diminishing amount of sporting grounds and open space for students that we are concerned with. Student numbers have grown consistently over the past few years, the high school is already oversubscribed and there are major new residential developments in the school's catchment area that will only increase pressure on school enrolments.
Paul Haesler, president, Telopea Park P&C
Why the secrecy?
It seems ironic that at a time the National Archives is holding an exhibition on forced adoptions, there is an ACT development application in progress for for a lease variation of Block 9 Section 59 Melba (Public notices, Times2, April 10, p21). The application notice fails to disclose that this lease variation is to provide for the construction of a community residential facility for young mothers and their babies deemed to be at risk.
This facility will be located behind Melba Uniting Church in a confined battle-axe location next to busy Kingsford Smith Drive and limited access, sharing a car park with the church, aged-care respite and Men's Shed. Young mothers deserve a better community location closer to services.
Why is there a lack of transparency in regard to this facility being built? Nearby residents and the general community deserve to know what is going on.
Maree Oddy, Florey
Ian Jannaway's letter (April 15) on the danger to prison staff of a needle exchange opened a nasty tin of worms.
If I was a prison warden, I would, as the lesser of two evils, prefer to be attacked with a clean needle than a well-used one.
Then there is the awkward question of how do needles get into the prison in the first place? Perhaps they are thrown over the walls in the early hours of the morning with a parcel of drugs attached. Or more likely, there is a busy trade in drugs in the prison that is winked at. Common sense would prefer that as an explanation.
If the latter is the answer, then the hypocrisy of those prison officers who know of the trade and oppose a clean needle program is staggering.
Howard Carew, Isaacs
If the ACT government has indeed readied the Symonston Correctional Facility to accommodate overflow from the Alexander Maconochie Centre for a capital cost of only $60,000 and additional running costs of $100,000 a month ("Second jail for crowded inmates", April 9, p1), this must be among the most cost-effective initiatives ever undertaken by an ACT government.
The fact is the ACT is a small jurisdiction with a limited revenue base that is expected to provide a comprehensive range of services covering every niche. In addition, it is the largest urban centre for a very large geographical area.
The consequence is that the construction of any new facility is subject to severe budget constraints, leading to a process of often arbitrary cuts (represented by the cosmetic term "value management") that inevitably leads to the facility being undersized at the time of opening. If the facility is innovative and of high quality (instance Women's and Children's Hospital), this can further create an imbalance of demand relative to other providers.
While the decision-making processes and outcomes can often be questioned in specific cases, the underlying financial reality remains.
H. Simon, Watson
Marginalising the poor
Most interesting to see what priority The Canberra Times gives a major insight into the nature of this city's leaders – in particular, Tom McIlroy's article on Andrew Barr's flag to cut concessions to the poorest in our community ("Pleas to extend, not cut concessions", April 13, p4).
This low priority appears to indicate a mandate of catering to the established and moneyed classes only (those that can afford to buy your paper without second thought).
Shame on you, Andrew Barr, for seeking to balance your books through deeper marginalisation of the poor.
Stephen O'Neill, Page
Provocateur in action
I agree with Malcolm Paterson (Letters April 13) that those who don't like the outlooks of particular correspondents can choose not to read their letters. To me, H.Ronald's letters are generally well written and express legitimate points of view, even if these are not shared by those who like to read the opinion pieces of Jenna Price. I do suspect, though, that H.Ronald likes to poke sticks into wasp nests and enjoys the howls of indignation that follow the publication of his/her letters.
Ian Webster, Curtin
Financial transactions tax an idea whose time has arrived
Colin Handley (Letters April 13) suggests a financial transactions tax as a logical component of tax reform. This is an idea whose time has come, though I'd suggest at a rate nearer 0.01per cent than his mooted 0.1 percent.
As well as raising an eye-watering amount of money with almost no effect on useful transactions, such a tax would go some way to killing off high-frequency trading.
HFT has no benefit to society or economics: it exists purely to make money for a tiny number of people at everyone else's expense. On the other hand, HFT represents a significant risk to financial stability and is a productivity leech of the worst (most unnecessary) kind.
So how about it, Joe Hockey? Good social policy and almost pain-free income all at once. A chance to show some courageous leadership on something that will benefit the country significantly at the expense of only a minuscule number of (no doubt voluble) mates. Of course some financial industry will move offshore in the short term, but that is what the courage is for, the greater good.
Julian Robinson, Narrabundah
It is wonderful to see bipartisan support in Federal Parliament for making the payment of thousands of dollars of child support dependent on the parents ensuring that their children are immunised.
The first reason is that many "conscientious objectors"' may find that money overrides their conscience in this case, thus improving public health outcomes.
The second is that there is no way our taxes should be spent on supporting irrational and irresponsible parents who put our community to a completely unnecessary health risk. It would be even more wonderful if this became a model for many more bipartisan political policies!
Neville Exon, Chapman
It looks as if Tony Abbott has made more policy on the run with his proclamation that vaccination is now compulsory for people who want to get childcare and family benefits. There are signs he did not consult his health advisers either. Some are advising education rather than the "big stick" approach. Who did he and Scott Morrison consult?
J. J. Heywood, Spence
A matter of conscience
The slowness of governments to address the issue of voluntary euthanasia/medically assisted suicide was attributed in part by NewZealand terminal cancer patient Lecretia Seales (whose case was publicised on Lateline, ABC TV on April10) and to the fact so many politicians are Roman Catholic.
If so, and if such legislation were to be debated in Australia, any conscience vote by politicians would be unlikely to represent the wishes of the majority of the Australian people. A conscience vote is obviously a useful government tool for not getting legislation through.
Susan MacDougall, Scullin
I did not see Jenna Price ("Men should engage their brains before talking to women", Times2 March 31 p5) to be "tarring all men with the brush of sexism" as C.Macdonald (Letters, April 8) suggests. Price's observation that women constantly experience discriminatory behaviour from men in the workplace is conflated into an accusation that all men exhibit this behaviour at all times.
It is an example of a double standard that is not applied to other fields of inquiry.
Women who write about gender issues are expected to constantly point out at every step of the way that "not all men" exhibit the behaviour that, most people would agree, is a general phenomenon within society.
It is great that C.Macdonald is personally committed to confronting the issues that Jenna Price raises in her article, but it is striking how people often feel compelled to respond to such arguments by pointing out that they are, personally, not sexist. This is cold comfort for the vast majority of women who do experience sexism.
The most valuable contribution a man who does not exhibit discriminatory behaviour can make to the debate is to develop strategies for changing societal norms, not persistently point out one's personal disdain for sexism.
Simon Leeds, Canberra City
Claims in The Canberra Times article "Corporate bid to erode PS compo" (April 13, p5) are false and are more like a half-baked trade union conspiracy theory than a serious attempt at journalism.
First, there was expansive consultation with unions, the human resources and the legal community, as well as public-sector employers. Indeed, there was more consultation with that cohort than with private-sector employers.
Second, a majority of the elements of the bill recently introduced are based on recommendations from the Labor-commissioned Hawk and Hanks review of Comcare, as well as reforms implemented to state workers' compensation schemes by successive Labor governments.
These include restrictions on secondary psychological injuries and also restricting compensation to injuries that actually relate to a person's employment. After all, why should taxpayers pay for injuries sustained by public servants during the course of sexual activities in motel rooms after hours?
These reforms will also prevent compensation payments for questionable "treatments" such as week-long yoga retreats or grass-cutting services. They will also prevent workers from claiming "injuries" because they weren't able to access their favourite brand of soy latte during work hours. All of these things have been allowed to take place under the current system.
It is disappointing that the Australian Lawyers Alliance is taking the side of those who would seek to rort the current system, instead of considering the interests of honest workers and the taxpayers who must fund such rorts.
Senator Eric Abetz, federal Minister for Employment
One horse returned from World War I
The explanatory precede in Clare Rigden's article about the documentary Australia's Great War Horse ( "Beasts of burden", The Guide, April 13, p4) is not quite correct. One horse did come home from World WarI: Major General Sir William Bridges' horse, Sandy.
According to the Australian War Memorial's website, 6100 walers embarked with the Light Horse for Gallipoli, but very few went ashore. Lieutenant-General Birdwood decided to send them back to Alexandria.
General Bridges was killed at Gallipoli and Sandy stayed in Alexandria until March 1916, when he was transferred to France.
In October 1917, the minister for defence, George Pearce, called for Sandy to be brought home.
After a period in quarantine, Sandy arrived back in Australia in November 1918, the only horse do so of 136,000 that left our shores bound for the battlefields of World WarI.
Fred Barnes, Bruce
Jack Waterford ("Brass hats reach for the stars", Forum, April 4, p1) needs to get his facts right. He stated that "Australian soldiers ... have not fought at brigade level since 1945".
During the Vietnam War, Australia deployed a taskforce (in reality, a brigade) to the war. The taskforce was commanded by a brigadier and was made up, at any one time, of three infantry battalions, an artillery regiment and other relevant corps units and sub-units.
His statement is wrong and he has degraded the Australian Army's contribution to the war.
Christopher Jobson, Monash
There is a factual error in Peter Hartcher's article "Modi plays US against China" (Times2, April 14, p1). Narendra Modi was never a governor of Gujarat. He was chief minister.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
TO THE POINT
LEOPARD ON THE LOOSE
I wonder whether the laissez-faire attitude to roaming cats extends to all members of the family. I'd like to keep a leopard as a pet. Obviously, it would be cruel to confine it to my own backyard. It might kill a few people, but as humans are not an endangered species, that shouldn't be a problem. To prevent exaggeration of the danger, statistics should be kept only on injuries caused by leopards, not on deaths.
Mike Dallwitz, Giralang
Re the overcrowding at the prison, the quote "build it and they will come" springs to mind.
Malcolm Paterson, Greenleigh, NSW
THREE IN A ROW?
Sorry to disappoint Melbourne fan Bob Gardiner (Letters, April 10), but the Mighty Hawks' "three-peat" later this year will indeed be only the second occurrence of that feat in the last 60 years (1956 to 2015). Melbourne's 1950s "three-peat" commenced before then, with its 1955 premiership.
Frank Marris, Forrest
Taxation is as ancient as the pharaohs, and the understanding of polynomial equations almost as old, so why doesn't the ATO promote the value of learning STEM subjects in schools by calculating "progressive" taxes, like the income tax, using simple polynomials rather than old-fashioned "tax brackets". It would be much simpler and ensure that we all pay the same "relative tax".
Adrian Gibbs, Yarralumla
TACKLE THE DODGERS
Thank you to Richard Dennis ("A public display of arrogance and greed", Forum, April 11, p6) for an eloquent article pointing out the inequities of the existing tax system. The idea of a trickle-down effect has always been nonsensical, but why has it taken this long to be exposed as a giant con. Let us hope that our politicians put measures in place to pursue the corporate tax dodgers. It'stime for all to share the tax burden, not just the average wage earners.
Richard Godfrey, Lyneham
SOURCES OF CONTAGION
Now let me be sure that I have got this right. If I take my cat or my dog to boarding kennels, it is no entry unless I can produce proof that the animals have current vaccination certificates. Were I still sending my children to school, I would not have to prove that I was not providing a potential reservoir of infection and exposing other children to it. This is how it stands, right?
Fredrik Limacher, Kambah
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