Where did all that ACT health promotion funding go?

I am a card-carrying member of the "worried well", employed in a non-clinical role in the health sector, who makes a point of being attuned to health information.

My partner is employed in the manual trades, with numerous health risk factors, who has no interest in health information or advice.

ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris. Photo: Karleen Minney

ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris. Photo: Karleen Minney

We have one thing in common: neither of us has heard of ACT Health's Healthier Choices Canberra initiative, on which $104,113 was spent last year, or the Kilojoules on the Menu campaign, on which $34,936 was spent ("ACT Health advertising spend triples", 20 April, p.13).

If the Healthier Choices program "aims to make it easier for Canberrans to find healthy food and drink options at clubs, restaurants, cafes supermarkets and entertainment venues", I wonder where this might be happening.

It is certainly not happening at the venues that we attend. In fact, I have noticed that things are as bad, and in some ways worse, than ever.

If the Kilojoules on the Menu campaign aimed to "help consumers understand and use kilojoule information to make healthier food and drink choices", I'd like to know how that information was delivered, because we didn't receive it.

I would also suggest that well-intentioned health promotion initiatives should be consistent with available evidence - in this case, evidence which indicates that kilojoule menu labelling leads to minimal, if any, overall reduction in the kilojoule content of food that customers order.

Karina Morris, Weetangera

Where are the toys?

Over the past 10 Easters my children have chronicled the steady decline in the number of soft toys nailed to trees between Canberra and Bungendore.

This year, not only were numbers down again in this stretch of road, but they have started turning up between Braidwood and Batemans Bay. Tell that to the climate change deniers.

Mal Wilson, Campbell

Get the names right please

Along with many others, I travelled on the light rail on Saturday: a beautiful vehicle, fast, quiet and smooth.

It will be a great boon to Canberra's north side, opening up possibilities not thought of before: a quick coffee in Lonsdale Street, a meal in Woolley Street, Dickson, a movie at the Canberra Centre - all without worrying about driving and parking.

As a decades-long resident of Braddon I can state with confidence that Alouera has always been pronounced Aleer-a, not Aloo-ra, and Ipima pronounced Eye-p-eye-ma, not Eye-peema.

L. Bentley, Braddon

But the recorded announcements mispronounced the names of the first couple of stations, and I found this irritating.

As a decades-long resident of Braddon I can state with confidence that Alouera has always been pronounced Aleer-a, not Aloo-ra, and Ipima pronounced Eye-p-eye-ma, not Eye-peema.

I hope the names of these stations can be re-recorded to reflect their traditional pronunciations.

L. Bentley, Braddon

No room on tram for bikes

Full of excitement I arrived two minutes before 8am for the first light rail vehicle leaving Alinga St.

I'd done my research, there's four bike slots on each vehicle and I thought it would be fun to join the other five or six people who'd rocked up early for the first ride.

Imagine my disappointment that due to "crowd control" reasons, bicycles were unwelcome on the opening weekend.

Somehow I don't think the other half-dozen people on board would have minded.

Hamish Podger, Macquarie

Tram celebration over the top

What were we opening on Saturday? The Sydney Opera House? The Taj Mahal? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Or perhaps the resurrection of Jesus Christ? No, just the waste of nearly a billion dollars [on a tram].

Most people in this city are disgusted by the waste. Just think what things could have been achieved with that money.

Better schools, better hospitals, care for youth who have fled the family home to escape violence or abuse, even better transport to Gungahlin are some examples.

Stan Marks, Hawker

Tax policy divide is wide

The article by Ebony Bennett ("Tax debate is missing the point", April 22, p. 27) sought to focus on the distinction of tax relief between very high income earners and middle to low income earners.

I'm of the view, that if you are in the top echelon of the very high income category ($100,000 and $350,000 or more than $350,000) why should any government be giving you tax relief?

If you are middle income earner ($50,000 to $90,000), or a low income earner ($37,000 and $66,667) there is every justification for relief.

The disparity between middle to low income earners and the high income earners is not at all equitable.

I hope whichever government gets into power realises this is a major issue for ordinary taxpayers.

Thomas Natera, Ngunnawal

Tax article missed the point

Ebony Bennett ("Tax debate is missing the point", canberatimes.com.au, April 22) claims income from capital gain is taxed (after the first year) at half the rate of wages.

She ignores inflation. The only "discount" from the so-called CGT (Capital Gains Tax) "discount" method is to taxpayers who dispose of an asset after 12 months and within a few years.

For capital gains realised after a few years the CGT "discount" method increasingly taxes inflation, and often taxes a loss after indexation.

When CGT was introduced by the Hawke/Keating government from 20 September 1985 the cost of assets held for more than one year was indexed by CPI so that the part of the gain due to inflation was not taxed.

When the Howard government introduced the CGT "discount" method from 21 September 1999 they froze use of indexation from that date.

Labor, if elected, should abolish the CGT "discount" method and restore the Hawke/Keating CGT indexation method.

Bruce Porter, Palmerston

Fuel excise issue is complex

Fred Bennett (Letters, 22 April) believes the Australian government will not lightly give up its fuel excise revenue when Australia converts to electric cars. He thinks it will impose a similar cost on users of those vehicles.

I'm sure he's right about the inclinations of any Australian government and its advisers. But the tax design task would be much more complicated than it is for an excise on fuel.

Fuel excise is levied on producers and importers of fuel. It forces them to increase the price they charge if they want to make a profit and is passed on to fuel users (mostly motorists).

To do the same thing with electricity, the excise would have to be imposed on generators of electricity. They would also pass on the excise to their customers through higher prices. But their customers are not limited to motorists. Electricity has a wide variety of other uses.

Consequently, such an excise would be borne indirectly by all electricity users.

Taxing people other than those you want to tax would be poor tax design.

Greg Pinder, Charnwood

Is the ABC biased?

I turned on my TV to watch ABC Midday News on Easter Monday and got a long serve of a Labor press conference from Townsville.

Turning over to the other ABC brought no relief from what may as well have been a long ad on both channels.

Why wasn't there any other news to pass on? If it was a paid advertisement for Labor, who paid? I'm reluctant to infer bias but surely the news of the wide world deserves better treatment at a peak time?

Roy Darling, Florey

Enough Anzac grandstanding

I know the traditional activities of Anzac Day give comfort to many. But I find myself cringing at some of these public displays. And now I have years of Brendan Nelson grandstanding his way through his extravaganza - all for the sake of "the stories".

Whatever happened to books? For more recent conflicts, I suggest foreign movies.

R. J. Wenholz, Holt

Save the records please

The news that many archives records are at risk of being lost permanently due to lack of resources to update the technology they are recorded on ("Nation's records at risk", Monday, April 22, P.1) makes it urgent that the plan to spend nearly $500 million expanding the War Memorial be put aside.

Saving these records is more important than Brendan Nelson's grandiose plans.

Kathryn Kelly, Chifley

You must be joking

What makes Wendy Tuohy ("Why Prince Harry would be a top GG", April 23, p.25) think the Sussexes would swap London for the indifferent services the Barr government offers Canberrans?

M Moore, Bonython



We have election candidates so stupid they think we will vote for them because they put pictures of themselves along our roads.

Hugh Dakin, Griffith


Given all church properties in France were seized by the French state in 1905 calls for the Roman Catholic church to contribute to the restoration are laughable. This is Macron's bébé.

N. R. Watson, Philip


A two year old boy in Bunbury (WA) is facing deportation to the Maldives after being refused a visa because of a severe disability. He was born here and acquired the disability in hospital. If we can't afford to help this family we can't afford the LNP's tax cuts.

Keith Hill, Isaacs


I am amazed by the ingenuity with which some of your letter writers concoct complex arguments as to why they should be subsidised with refunds for taxation they have never paid on investments they could easily sell at a profit.

N. Ellis, Belconnen


It was most inconvenient to me to find that timetables at bus stops had already been removed although they were relevant for the following week.

Angela Plant, Franklin


Quotes by business "leaders" such as "the living wage is a concern" say all there is to say about the morals of industry. So do holiday surcharges still levied by cafe and restaurants who fought to abolish loadings. It's a pity Labor is an excuse for a left-inspired party. Australian industry deserves a proper left wing government.

Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW


The idea of a temporary truce in the federal campaign is a splendid innovation. It would be terrific if the concept became permanent.

M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA


Asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island are the forgotten issue in this election. They have been mentioned by a few independent candidates, but neither the Coalition or Labor Party has mentioned them.

Judy Aulich, Giralang


The Ukraine has elected a professional comedian as president. Others have to make do with amateurs.

Peter Edsor, Bungendore, NSW


Does the Department of Veterans' Affairs also insist sellers of Anzac biscuits use only natural ingredients, reject additives and make their product by hand, as would have occurred a century ago? They could also ask why some commercial Anzac biscuits have such poor taste and texture.

Sue Dyer, Downer


Congratulations to the AAP FactCheck team for calculating the Stop Adani convoy will only use the equivalent of three minutes emissions from the proposed Adani mine. See you in Canberra on May 5 for the Stop Adani rally.

Jeff MacPherson, Kincumber, NSW

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