Crispin Hull's penetrating article (Forum, June 8) exposes the continuing short-sightedness of individuals so besotted with individual transport as an indicator of social success that they ignore the broader necessity of nation-wide transport.
Locally we saw the protests of this peasantry to the ACT government's initiative in light rail, the innovative beginning of up-to-date Australian transport.
Historically, hindered by break-of-gauge, rail networks scarcely recovered. In our national capital, the loss of the Molonglo rail bridge, followed by the depression years, finished the rail link to Yass (the remains can still be seen in Reid).
Plans for a fast rail link from Canberra to Sydney have failed. As weak governments fear voter support for a determined transport policy, we sink towards the Third World.
Jack Palmer, Watson
We need to celebrate migrants
"I was bullied at school being a migrant kid. There wasn't a day when someone didn't want to fight me," said Jose "Joe" Roses (June 10, p1). What an appalling experience to have to endure in a nation that has benefited continually by migration! The business community requires a steady supply of migrants and every government obliges, thus providing the economic stimulation that helps governments to win elections.
But instead of acknowledging our debt to migrants, the government locks up some and refers to them as illegals as if they're criminals. It reminds me of the cynicism of Hitler who had a number of Jewish friends before becoming Germany's leader but then won popularity by inciting people to hate the Jews. We need political leaders with the honesty to, publicly and often, acknowledge how much we value migrants so we can reduce the ugliness that has been allowed (and, by some, encouraged) to fester here.
Rosemary Walters, Palmerston
Good reasons to stay put
It is pleasing to see Dennis Richardson's reasons why Canberra is not a 'bubble' (Canberra Times, June 11, pp1, 4) arguing that Canberra-based public servants do not need to be located to country regions. I agree.
Although increasing numbers of public servants may have grown up here, it is still the case that a high proportion have come from other parts of Australia. They were born, lived, and studied in other towns and cities, as well as other parts of the world, maintaining personal contacts with family and friends in those other areas. Also, many public servants have work connections across Australia, to the major cities, as well as regional towns and remote areas.
This results in a good sense of issues across this country, enhancing advice to government. They are not isolated. Relocation to small regional towns risks distance from that wider perspective. However, there is a another reason why some may be reluctant to be relocated: most have partners who work in Canberra and smaller towns may not have any opportunity for that partner to find employment in their field.
Marilyn Truscott, Waramanga
If politicians want advice that's more in touch with the Australian population I suggest they decentralise their political advisers to regional centres. This would get them out of the constant spin cycle of the political machine's bubble.
Nick Swain, Barton
Build stadium in Tuggeranong
A new mega stadium on the site of the heritage-listed Civic Pool complex, jammed up against Parkes Way, would be congestion-making, shape-compromised, destructive, and massively expensive. ("Stadium view: Time to pull the trigger", June 11, p39). Better to build a new uniquely-Canberra stadium for a fraction of the price in neglected Tuggeranong Town Centre, together with a new hotel complex, on vacant level land already zoned CZ6 - Commercial Leisure and Accommodation, just across well-connected Athllon Drive from the Tuggeranong Aquatic Centre.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
Good deed done
This afternoon I lost my wallet but in 15 minutes had it, and its contents, returned. A very honest and quick thinking young man (Ethan) found it and rang a couple of the clubs from my membership cards. The first didn't have my mobile number but left a message on my home phone. The other club rang me and passed on Ethan's number. I rang Ethan and he was able to return my wallet.
My thanks to all who participated, especially Ethan, in making up for my mistake. Now to make myself as helpful the next time the opportunity presents.
Neil Lynch, Kambah
No ifs or butts
Most states in Australia have larger fines than in the ACT for littering with cigarette butts, and they enforce their legislation. In the ACT prosecutions for cigarette butt littering are non-existent. In Victoria, in 2012, the fine was $295, or $563 if the butt was still lit. In SA, the fine is $500. In Qld, the fine is $300. The Rural Fire Service has much higher limits under its legislation: see NRMA web page "the risks between cigarette butts and bushfires". Some states have a dob-in-a-litterer line, but this would doubtless would have no impact in the ACT, where the government lacks the will to impose fines.
I am, however, confused. The Canberra Times has stated in various recent articles that fine for littering cigarette butts is $60. Back in September 2016, I wrote a letter to The Canberra Times after collecting 2500 cigarette butts from an area the size of a dining table.
The ACT government repeatedly advised me at that time, the fine was $300 for littering with cigarette butts, not $60, hence my letter referring to the non-collection of $750,000 worth of fines for these butts (The Canberra Times made an error when publishing the letter by saying millions). The ACT needs to increase the fines for cigarette butt littering. As in other Ssates, it needs to double the penalty if the cigarette butt is lit. The ACT government must grow some teeth and enforce penalties.
Terri Henderson, Holder
We are over-taxed
It is very likely the comparisons of tax paid per person ("ACT about to hit limit for land tax increases", June 6, p3) actually demonstrate the ACT government levies its taxes at a relatively high rate, rather than the ACT being "a relatively low-taxing jurisdiction" as reportedly asserted by the Chief Minister.
The comparisons include that at $4126 per person the tax we pay to the ACT government is on par with the Australian average. This suggests the ACT government actually imposes its taxes at a relatively high rate because, while the government gets about the average level of tax, the ACT does not have for example the large private sector employers and mines that pay tax in other jurisdictions.
This conclusion also is supported by a comparison with Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory (where the weighted average is about $3400). They, like the ACT, do not have one or more of large private sector employers, mines, high income households and the like, all of which are present in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia (that have the highest tax revenue per person).
However, unlike the ACT, the low tax jurisdictions appear to levy their taxes at a rate about the same as in all other jurisdictions (except the ACT). In comparison with jurisdictions with a low average tax take, Canberra's households (who average more than 2 persons) may be 'over-taxed' by over $1500 per year (or about $30/week).
Bruce Paine, Red Hill
Warming and climate change
Contrary to common belief, the terms 'global warming' and 'climate change' are not interchangeable. Climate change is a consequence of global warming, which is a measure of increasing solar energy absorption by rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. These include carbon dioxide, methane and water vapour - not only carbon dioxide as Michael Williams (Letters, June 11) states.
Mr Williams also asserts that equatorial regions are warming while the poles remain at a steady temperature "until the ice melts". Earth's fastest warming is in fact occurring in the Arctic, and the rate decreases southward. Antarctica is also warming, but at a much slower rate because of the thermal inertia of its huge volumes of ice and snow. In both polar regions the rate of warming is increasing as more ice melts. This uncovers either water or rock, both of which, unlike white ice or snow, absorb far more heat than they reflect.
The main drivers of wind and climate are, as Mr Williams implies, the latitudinal temperature differential between polar and equatorial regions and the longitudinal force of Earth's rotation. However, global warming increases the energy in the oceans and atmosphere. Atmospheric warming (or energy increase) is responsible for the increasing intensity, and perhaps frequency, of extreme weather events that we have been experiencing.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Move to Cuba, Ian
I generally like reading Ian Warden's column but last Saturday (June 8) I think Ian may have gone a bit too far. His sneering remarks directed to those who didn't vote for his preferred political party in the recent federal election to me, did not come from what I thought was an educated man, but someone who I would describe as a tunnel visioned pompous nob.
Now I am hoping that his comments in this article were to say, tongue in cheek and not seriously berating those voters who don't want the unions or green activists to run the country, or he is quite happy for Australia to once again fall into disrepair for another three years only for the people to realise that they made another mistake and vote the Coalition back in to fix up the mess. Perhaps Ian would be happier living in Cuba or China than in our free democratic Australia.
David Taylor, Bungendore
TO THE POINT
CHANGE THE ANTHEM
Q&A on the ABC on Monday night discussing our national anthem, that dreary dirge Advance Australia Fair. There is one song that is instantly recognised as Australian world wide, marvellous Waltzing Matilda.
Cynthia Moloney, Yarralumla
SHOW US THE COSTINGS
On May 16 the ACT government claimed a windfall of $44.3 million because of late delivery of the tram. The budget provides for a deficit in 2019-20 of $89 million.
Does this mean that, if the tram had arrived in December 2018, as planned, that the deficit could have been $133 million? Also, when the tram started rolling, Minister Fitzharris promised to release costings for Stage 1. Minister, when will we see those figures?
M Flint, Erindale
A CHAMP TO BE PROUD OF
Tennis talent without tantrums - terrific!
Fiona McInnes, Murrumbateman
GONE IS JUST WRONG
My belief in the sanctity of gongs going to truly deserving people has now been squashed. To award Leigh Sales an AM for (poorly) doing her taxpayer funded ABC job is the equivalent of giving a diamond to a squirrel. Totally out of order.
J. Hanfield, Narooma
ALL ABOUT MONEY
Sorry Paul (Light rail whingers - June 7), but those of us opposed to light rail do so for reasons other than whether it is in our suburb. I never want light rail to come close to my suburb because doing so would be an unconscionable waste of ACT rate payers money as was stage one of light rail.
Put simply, it is the wrong technology in the wrong place for these current and future times, with a business case that did not and never will be justifiable. We have light rail because of one party, desperate to govern, acquiesced to one person's outrageous demand resulting in "The Rattenbury Rattler" - an outrageously expensive folly.
L. Hearle, Narrabundah
THINK BEFORE YOU VOTE
Canberrans really need to develop better foresight. At the last ACT election, it was clear to me that the planned rates rises would create a problem. Then people began squealing when the reality arrived.
Ratepayers are now facing three more years of steep rate rises ("A highly taxing time for Canberrans", June 8, Forum p29). The Canberra Liberals have indicated they would cap rates in their first four-year term if elected in 2020.
Unless ratepayers are dogged masochists, I suggest it's time to get rid of the current ACT government, which is ALP in name only, and certainly not in practice.
Murray May, Cook
LET'S TURN WASTE INTO POWER
I read with enthusiasm of Green Distillation Technologies setting up a used tyre recycling plant in Warren, north west of Dubbo. They take old tyres and turn them into fuel, carbon and steel, using the fuel from the process to run the plant. Carbon neutral, removing a dangerous pollutant that's difficult to dispose of, and a net producer of power - what's not to like?
I would love to see a plant like this set up in the ACT. If it was in Fyshwick it could take tyres by train or truck; it would see a major pollutant completely recycled. There'd be jobs in the plant and jobs in the associated transport and reuse industries.
I await the NIMBYs' protestations.
Paul Wayper, Cook
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