Despite the hype, light rail no bargain for ACT ratepayers

Whoopee! What a bargain! The recently completed light rail network is only going to cost the ACT taxpayer $675 million for 12 kilometres.

That is $56.25 million per kilometre and $61 million over the 2010 estimate of $614 million.

ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Under these circumstances, for Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris to say the ACT Government had "validated" its promise to deliver an affordable and sustainable light rail network is a joke.

Mario Stivala, Spence

Mothers' Day parking impost

On Mothers' Day, our family decided to try the new restaurant strip at Woden. Opposite was a five minute parking area.

On arrival a parking inspector was booking every car, as they obviously had over stayed their time. We sat and enjoyed our meal for over two hours, and during that time, cars came and parked and stayed with no sign of the inspector returning.

I felt for those who were caught in the system. If only they knew the inspector probably had a mother who was waiting for him to buy her lunch, as the remainder got off scot-free.

Dave Jeffrey, Farrer, ACT

Revenue raising scheme

I have to accompany my grandson to school and pick him up from school as he is in kindergarten. I need to park to do this. The problem is there is no designated parking at peak school times. I park in "no parking" places and, of course, get booked.

Parking inspectors drive by at 9.15 am and 3.15 pm.

Surely there can be a window of 15 minutes morning and afternoon when it is permissible to park in these areas where no penalty occurs?

This is a blatant revenue-raising exercise based on the reality that the infrastructure does not meet the demand.

Nancy Ganter, Forrest

Folau was out of line

Corporate sponsors may have no place dictating public morality or what we can and can't say, John Popplewell (Letters, May 13), but they most definitely have the right to withdraw their sponsorship if they feel their corporate interests might be harmed by the public actions of their branded representatives.

This has nothing to do with Folau's freedom of religion or freedom of speech, they have not been limited in any way. This is about Folau's lack of regard for the obligations he had as an employee of Rugby Australia, his inability to understand societal expectations, and his attitude towards a significant part of society.

I regard Israel Folau's views as offensive and his recidivism unforgivable. I wonder if he would've been given the same second chance if he'd used social media to justify violence against women or to vilify people of African descent?

James Allan, Narrabundah

I regard Israel Folau's views as offensive and his recidivism unforgivable. I wonder if he would've been given the same second chance if he'd used social media to justify violence against women or to vilify people of African descent?

The only good to come from this ugly affair is it will now be possible to purchase a ticket on a Qantas flight or attend a game of rugby and know with absolute certainty you won't be seated next to John Popplewell.

James Allan, Narrabundah

Setting an example

In the case of Israel Folau, surely the problem is the expectation that these sportsmen should be a good example to the kiddies. Israel is trying to do that, if in that self-important and cherry-picking way that Christians have. These fellows should be an example of how to play football; nothing more.

I don't remember ever hearing that Jesus himself had anything at all to say about homosexuality. Is there anything in the New Testament about it, apart from the proscriptions of that bandwagon-hopping fun-killer, St Paul?

S W Davey, Torrens

Read the road rules handbook

Elizabeth Blackmore asked many questions regarding cyclists on roads (Letters, May 8).

Most of these can be answered by reading the ACT Road Rules Handbook.

In the legislation, bicycles are included in the definition of vehicles. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists with allowances to accommodate differences between cars and bicycles.

One notable dispensation is that cyclists may ride side-by-side, just like a driver and their passenger.

Statistically, if there is a collision between a motorist and a cyclist, the motorist is at fault 79 per cent of the time.

The motorist, moving along with little effort, comfortable in all weathers and protected from all but the most serious collisions, already has it pretty easy on the roads.

K. Moylan, Dickson

Building code unplanned

Chief ACT planner Ben Ponton has accepted responsibility for inadequate consultation on changes to the building code ("ACT government to consider backflip on building rules delay,", May 5).

When the Commercial Zones Development Code was created, neither the minister nor the planning committee were consulted.

Was anybody responsible for that lack of consultation?

Mr Ponton's advice indicates that the Code spontaneously created itself, and so nobody was responsible.

Leon Arundell, Downer

Concentrate station locations

There's been a lot said about Canberra's fuel prices, but, apart from suggestions that putting service stations on main roads would increase fuel sales; and what a Furphy that is. I, and presumably every other motorist, needs only a finite amount of fuel, nothing has been said about service station locations.

We've been in Canberra since 1972, and for a long time there was a policy to put service stations in local and regional shopping centres, one per shopping centre. By spreading out the service stations across the city for convenience, local competition was eliminated.

Should further service station sites be considered for release, the sites should be concentrated. Three or four adjoining service stations would force price competition, especially if at least one is in the hands of an independent.

It doesn't matter if they are on a main road or by a regional shopping centre, in my view it is the concentration that will have the market effect.

David Wade, Holt

In the policy trap

Gordon Soames (Letters, May 9) reminded me of an amusing story circulated around government departments in the 1990s to demonstrate why government ministers often find themselves blindsided.

A minister gives the department the government's policy prescriptions for a subject and asks for a report.

The senior subject specialist writes the report and, typical of a specialist, is forthright. The prescriptions are characterised as "a barrow load of sour-smelling bull".

The specialist's director softens the language just enough to get it past the L1. The L1 does the same and so on up to the CEO.

So, to the minister reading the much amended report, the policy prescriptions are characterised as "a barrow load of sweet-smelling manure".

Encouraged instead of being discouraged, the minister proceeds to spread the prescriptions over their field of influence expecting good things to grow in it.

They don't and the minister ends up having to try to defend the indefensible.

John F. Simmons, Kambah

Nanny state gone mad

The ALP and nutrition "experts" now claim to know best what and how much everyone should eat.

They also claim to know best about food packaging ("Labor's Pledge to improve Australian diets is a first - now we need action",, May 6).

Such paternalistic proposals follow a familiar pattern: create a scare by manipulating 'data'; propose a 'cure' and laws to benefit the self-appointed experts and their fellow rent seekers; tax, bully and marginalise individuals and then endlessly nag and harass through the media.

Public health prohibitionists will not rest until everyone is like them: skinny, grim, joyless and repressed, monomaniacs seeking to control the lives of others.

M. Jarratt, Weston

Why we need to look ahead

In his article "PM makes last-minute policy push" (Canberra Times, May 13, p. 27) Sean Kelly says "it is now impossible to argue against the reality of climate change".

This was brought home to me recently in an unexpected way.

A friend is moving to a coastal city. I suggested a particular seaside suburb. He said he had already rejected it.

He reasoned he would hopefully live in the house for around 30 years and then sell to someone with the same expectation.

When he studied the effect of climate change on sea levels and coastal erosion over the next 60 years it was obvious the suburb I'd recommended would be badly affected.

Bruce Cameron, Campbell



An advertisement by the United Australia Party in your paper on 12 May promised an increase of $150 per week in the age pension if we put them "first" on May 18. It looks like the UAP has got a magic wand or wants us to believe in Santa Claus.

Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt


When it comes to the overwhelming information on government costings and budget information over the "forward estimates" my mind goes blank. The costings from Labor seem to be in "Pollyanna" mode, all very nice but wishful thinking. It all depends on everything going to plan. This isn't going to happen.

Sylvia Miners, Isabella Plains


Shorten was wise to avoid promising his renewables policies would prevent droughts, floods and rising seas, but that is the implied promise so many gullible people will vote on. Labor could well be elected by people thinking they are saving the planet when they are actually rewarding deception. This is unfair to those who prefer facts to emotion and ideology.

Doug Hurst, Chapman


Leaders' debates? Piffle! They were pleaders' debates.

Peter Moran, Watson


The tram may be on the rails, but the tax system is way off track.

Peter Bradbury, Holt


I'm voting for a one-week election campaign. Four weeks ago we learnt one team had vision and the other did not. Nothing has changed. If you want vision vote for one, if you want same-old same-old, vote for the other.

Peter Eddington, Carwoola, NSW


Clive Palmer's campaign is one of the best arguments we will ever see for regulation of campaign expenditure. You shouldn't be able to buy a seat in Parliament.

R Richards, Weston


When I'm prime minister my government will build a bridge from Melbourne to Launceston. We do not know the cost, but the cost of not doing it is greater. To ask about costs is dumb and dishonest.

Mark Sproat, Lyons


Wrong, Lynn Armstrong (Letters, May 13). Folau's church is the Truth of Jesus Christ Church, not the Uniting Church. They hire the Kenthurst Uniting Church hall.

Ian Douglas, Jerrabomberra, NSW


Greg Cornwell's population policy letter (Letters, May 10) draws attention to the disconnection between the Green's environmental aspirations and their silence on unsustainable immigration. Hopes for a coherent Greens policy on population ended with the departure of Bob Brown.

Graham Clews, Kambah


Exactly why I asked (about Greens population policy), Felix MacNeill (Letters, May 13). The Greens' online policy is a string of comforting words but has no definite figures on migration or refugees, for example.

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla

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