For all those Canberrans happily riding the new tram bear in mind that the real (nominal) cost of the project as identified by the ACT Auditor General is $1.78 billion ("With light rail, Canberra is changed forever"), Canberra Times 20 April 2018, and not around $700m as the Chief Minister is loudly proclaiming.
When Canberrans face the daily reality of declining education outcomes for their children in our public schools, increased waiting lists in Canberra's public hospitals for elective surgeries, major reductions in our public housing stocks, the rapid deterioration of Canberra's natural environment, not to mention the major changes to the bus network to force more people on to the tram, will it really be worth it?
New commercial and residential developments in the so called gateway precinct of Northbourne Avenue would have occurred irrespective of the tram build, as it is an integral part of the core transport spine of Canberra, laid out by the National Capital Development Commission. Instead Canberrans have been saddled with the identified $1.78 billion cost and an increasing public deficit ("Bad news then worse - ACT budget through lens of ex-treasury boffin"), Jon Stanhope and Khalid Ahmed, Canberra Times 9 March 2019.
Ron Edgecombe, Evatt
Leave the war memorial alone
I can assure Brendan Nelson ("A home for the stories that heal", CT 20 April, p. 28.) that it is because we do fully understand "that the Memorial is part of the therapeutic milieu for those coming to terms with what they've done for us" that we, the critics of the redevelopment, fiercely oppose the project.
The Australian War Memorial is, as Brendan states, "like no other cultural institution". It is however, first and foremost, a Memorial, a sacred shrine to our veterans set in a pleasant, park-like site. The displays within the galleries are quite secondary and should remain so. It should not become just another 'Theme Park'.
To comment that "Anzac Hall is no longer fit for purpose" is nonsense. It may not be fit for what Dr Nelson now feels its purpose should be and probably should not have been built in the first place, but it certainly should not now be demolished.
To comment that Anzac Hall is no longer fit for purpose is nonsense. It may no longer be fit for what Dr Nelson now feels its purpose should be.Murray Upton, Belconnen
The current Australian War Memorial site should be maintained as it stands and not desecrated by any further redevelopment. The existing gallery space on the site should be used to cover the basics of all previous and future deployments, with sites, elsewhere in Canberra, developed with galleries dealing in detail with individual or particular deployments.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
Special performance overlooked
On Saturday, April 13, over 60 Alchemy Chorus members performed their We Shall Overcome concert to a packed (more than 200) Weston Creek Uniting Church hall.
This special chorus is for people living with dementia, their carers and volunteers.
Saturday's end of term performance was an opportunity to reflect and celebrate with family, friends and the community.
It was very special to watch the chorus and for members to be the centre of attention, not because they were confused or forgetting something, but because they were putting on a fantastic show with quite complicated compositions.
Invitations were extended to federal candidates, and to MLAs whose portfolios and shadow portfolios cover health, well being, community services, seniors and disability. Not a single MLA found the time to attend.
Interestingly, their social media show they attended many other community events across the weekend.
It is no secret the chief minister doesn't like talking to people over 40, however the 65 plus demographic is one of the fastest growing in Canberra (and people with dementia can also be much younger).
If we truly are to be Australia's most inclusive city what is the ACT Government doing to ensure Canberra is a dementia-friendly community?
I'd like to thank Senate candidates Nancy Waites (Labor) and Anthony Pesec (independent) for taking the time to attend the concert on Saturday.
They genuinely looked like they enjoyed themselves and they each secured some votes for paying attention to this neglected demographic.
Rebecca Scouller, Barton
Testing plan is flawed
Andrew Kelly (Letters, April 22) suggests that drivers be re-tested every five years.
This would require a dozen tests in the average driving lifetime, requiring an enormous increase in testing staff and facilities. There is also the major issue of the standards of tuition and testing to consider.
Australia has the first world's lowest standards of driver training and testing and the first step would be to raise the standards.
The German system should be the target. Very few would pass without extensive re-training.
We have far too many prescriptive rules which need to be re-written in more general form so that people understand them.
Our roundabout rules are complex and clearly not understood by most.
The simple version, which I was taught in the UK 58 years ago, is to treat the roundabout as a major road and give way upstream.
Signaling means giving others notification of your intent so they can make their move.
Michael Lane, St Ives, NSW
Water wars need to be exposed
Congratulations to Hamish Macdonald and The Project crew for exposing the questionable purchase of water under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
This is yet another chapter in a book that is getting bigger. What have voters done to deserve all this?
And, as it all plays out, we have ongoing damage to the environment and the reputation of hard-working food producers who get tarred with the "irrigator" brush. Our political system has put environmental votes ahead of sound water policy for more than a decade.
Future generations are sure to look back on the first 20 years of the 21st century and wonder how we could get it all so wrong
I can only hope this is the beginning of uncovering the total political mismanagement of our water resources.
Doug Fehring, Cohuna
Where was the parking?
I attended the AFL match at Manuka on Easter Saturday. In the past the area between Manuka swimming pool and groundskeeper's cottage has been allocated as disabled parking.
There is no other disabled parking and these 17 spots helped the void. On Saturday half the area was occupied by GWS "company" vehicles,complete with personalised GWS number plates.
Comment by authorities would be appreciated.
Barry Maher, Richardson
Labor stand on reef backed
I fully support federal Labor's plan to withdraw the $443 million granted, without an open tender process, to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
The people behind the foundation mostly represent mining and other interests unrelated to the science behind reef management. Expert bodies, such as the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), the CSIRO and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, were ignored.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham argues the foundation funds projects "to improve reef health".
Ocean warming and acidification are the real problem. The money would be far better spent on furthering efforts to increase the heat tolerance of corals, which is already an area of AIMS' research.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Greens made their own weather
Judith Ireland's overview of the Queensland and South Australian Green's chances in the forthcoming Senate election (Greens in fight of their lives, canberratimes.com.au, April 21) left out one crucial fact.
The main reason they are struggling is because in 2016 they agreed to support the Coalition's voting changes which outlawed group voting tickets.
Their terrible preference strategies in the last Victorian state election saw their numbers plummet from five to one in the upper house. The number of votes they got should have been more than enough for all of them to be returned.
Robbie Swan, Torrens
Ejector seats anyone?
When I became licenced to fly a single-engine airplane I learned about the importance of balance and aerodynamic stability.
The 737 Max is a regular 737 fitted with heavier engines, moving them forward of the original design envelope.
At the same time the point of the engine's thrust has now been moved far outside the original design envelope.
This means Boeing has created an aeroplane that is aerodynamically unstable.
To compensate, Boeing have fitted it with a computer to manage the aircraft when it approaches aerodynamic instability.
To put this into perspective, modern day fighter jets are also aerodynamically unstable and have computers to compensate.
The difference is that military jet pilots have ejector seats.
Timothy Ashton, Katamatite, Vic
TO THE POINT
DON SEPHTON WAS WRONG
Don Sephton (Letters, April 20) Notre-Dame is not owned by the Church. Notre-Dame is owned by the French government has been since 1905 when a law was passed stating the cathedral was now the property of the French state. Responsibility is the French Ministry of Culture. But Notre-Dame is still dedicated to the Catholic rite.
V. Harris, Yass
NOTRE-DAME OWNED BY ALL
Don Sephton is wrong in all his assumptions. Notre-Dame is owned by the state as a national heritage item. The Catholic Church is allowed to say Mass in it under sufferance, the state being entirely separated from any religion. It is probably not insured, as generally sovereign nations self-insure their property. The Catholic Church has no say.
G. Gerrity, Campbell
AN UNREPENTANT SINNER
I consider myself an atheistic, drunken, lying, former fornicator. Should I feel offended or scared by Israel Folau's warning?
Jevon Kinder, Murrumbateman, NSW
A FAIR GO FOR WHOM?
While Morrison and co could argue they are not unsupportive of the disabled I am concerned for those they deem not to be having a go. "We'll give a fair go to those who have a go" is a euphemism for "God helps those who help themselves" and the follow-up: "Every man for himself and let the devil take the hindmost".
John F. Simmons, Kambah
THE CONVOY OF THE LOST
I hope someone in the Adani convoy has a map. I'll bet you London to a brick most of those involved won't know where they are going.
Mark Sproat, Lyons
NELSON WANTS TOO MUCH
Brendan Nelson appears to be a man with great compassion for veterans and their families. But, the enacting legislation for the Australian War Memorial says nothing about it being a therapy centre. If he truly cared he would relinquish the obscenely large $498 million proposed for the AWM to provide resources for post-traumatic stress.
Charlotte Palmer, Downer
IS SYDNEY DEMENTED?
If getting trams represents the coming of age of a city as some have claimed then what does it say about the cities like Sydney that got rid of them? Senile dementia?
David Walker, Ainslie
VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED (COLD)
After two years and $700 million dollars I had my first tram ride. I was surprised most of the seating at the Civic tram stop has no shelter or roof cover. The seats are harder than bus seats. A cold breeze from the air-conditioning blew down the back of my neck. The sun glare was uncomfortable. The scenery to Gunghalin is not attractive; nor is the destination. I caught the bus home. It was more comfortable and quicker.
Penny Upward, O'Connor
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
The Easter Sunday news bulletin started with film of the leaders of the two major parties attending Easter services in their Christian churches. This was followed by the story of a gorgeous two year old boy, born in Australia, who is being forced with deportation. His sin? He was born handicapped. "Suffer the little children to come unto me" has obviously been redacted.
Audrey Guy, Ngunnawal
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