For about 10 years now I have been visiting local primary schools helping "slow readers". It's the pro bono work that I love. The pleasure I get from hearing such a child discover a word by sounding each letter phonetically is a peak experience for me. So I am not surprised to hear the Red Cross reading project is going so well ("Phoebe has dyslexia", June 14). In addition to the teacher's and student's delight, this project contains the possibility of turning around our lamentably poor national literacy status. My only surprise is more retirees don't take up the opportunity to volunteer for this at their local school.
As a long term resident of Kaleen, 25 plus years in the same home, I can empirically state in the context of the provision of ACT government services we are the 'forgotten suburb of Kaleen'.Roger Alexander, Kaleen
Jill Sutton, Watson
Idea that could bloom
What a great idea to include an Indigenous-design garden in this year's Floriade ("Floriade will feature an Indigenous flowerbed", June 14). And what a pity the opportunity was missed to base it on indigenous plants. Blue Brachyscome (cut-leaf daisy), red Eremophila (emu bush), black Gastrolobium (a pea) and yellow Bracteantha (paper daisy) would have done it. Hopefully this opportunity will be taken next year.
Lyndal Thorburn, Queanbeyan
Vale Barry Canty
I noted the history page on Saturday about the Verity Hewitt Bookshop and the notice of the sad passing of as-described "Passionate Proprietor of Barry's Bookshop" Barry Canty. As a recreational historian and bibliophile I often made a journey to Fyshwick to visit the Aladdin's Cave that was Barry's Bookshop over the past 30 years.
In my later years my daughters and partner have also enjoyed hours in Barry's Book emporium in search of that rare gem Barry seemed able to source. Barry always would ask about the latest research topics being undertaken in my household and make relevant suggestions for possible secondary sources. Barry will be greatly missed by the Canberra history/author community, as an irradiate secondhand book seller is an essential aid in any research journey. Vale Barry Canty.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
Canberra's 'forgotten suburb'
As a long term resident of Kaleen, 25 plus years in the same home, I can empirically state in the context of the provision of ACT government services we are the "forgotten suburb of Kaleen". I know many other areas, such a Tuggeranong are also forgotten by this ACT government. We all have something in common. I live opposite public parkland. The mowing of this public land is never frequent enough and the grass often gets close to half-a-metre high before the ACT mowers get to it. As this area is a real risk for snakes, especially brown snakes, I regularly mow a strip of this public land, about 5 by 30 metres, in front of my home, to protect my family and property from snakes. This mowing is at my own time and cost.
My rates for about the 3rd or 4th year in a row will now increase again by 8 per cent. Even if the rate of increase reduces, the growth in the land value, which seems surreal, will make the Barr government rate rises a gift that keeps on giving well into the future.
Over the years, I've had interesting conversations with ACT planning and utilities suppliers who all place unreasonable limits on the use of my land, namely through easements and verges. I have about 850 square metres on which I pay full rates. The verge accounts for about 100 square metres (12 per cent) and easements account for about 70 square metres (8 per cent) of my total rateable land size. I cannot use these areas for anything other than gardens, and even then only with limitations. I can't even legally park a car on the verge.
On that basis, may I please have a 20 per cent discount on my land rates? I'll even consider keeping on mowing the public land as it's not a priority for your government. Plus, it'll help keep me out of the ACT hospital system, a saving for the ACT government, as I'm reducing the risk of snake bite on my property.
Roger Alexander, Kaleen
'Quiet Austalians' won't stay mute
Last month the Prime Minister urged his colleagues to "burn" for voters and then put a shoulder-shrugging climate change sceptic in charge of climate action, as well as critical and directly related energy policies. Many will now conclude that they and their assets are likely to burn up fast while Coalition fence-sitters twiddle their thumbs and look to some vague after-life for a miraculous better deal ("Morrison faces the climate storm", June 15, p28).
The "quiet Australians", whom the PM would like to grow, multiply and remain politely noiseless, are unlikely to stay mute about the Coalition's continuing lack of interest in progressive and world-leading climate and energy action when they are forced to experience additional discomfort, threats to health and liveability and associated financial burdens.
Sue Dyer, Downer
Fat chance stadium is a good idea
In these times of rising obesity and overstretched health facilities it is remarkable that the ACT government propose to replace the Civic swimming pool and gymnasium with an indoor stadium designed for inactive and mollycoddled sports spectators. Among the reasons given for the Civic location is that the site is close to restaurants. Enough said.
Exercise is a primary source of good health and the provision of facilities to encourage physical activity for the ever increasing, government encouraged, inner-city population of Civic must be made the priority.
Apart from the questionable rationale of building a stadium on too small a city site the proposed removal of a health giving facility must first be addressed. Let's hear the government and stadium supporters start talking with the same enthusiasm about a new aquatic and gym centre in Civic before they get too excited about grabbing the current pool's land for their use.
Penleigh Boyd, Reid
The world will keep burning coal
In Saturday's Canberra Times Ebony Bennett's article "A new level of climate lunacy" (June 15, p31) declares the claim that exporting our high grade coal pushes global emissions down a "nonsense argument" when, in fact, it is 100 per cent true and she is the one talking nonsense.
In a recent interview, Mr Adani, who is bankrolling the mine with his name to feed his Indian coal-fired electricity plants, stated that he had to get coal from somewhere and he preferred the Galilee Basin coal over others because the higher grade allowed him to generate the same electricity with much less coal. The associated emissions would obviously be much lower than otherwise.
India is committed to providing electricity to the 250 million people now without it. Coal is a major part of the intended energy mix and it has made it clear that if it doesn't buy our high quality coal, it will buy poorer coal from elsewhere. This will add to its costs and generate more CO2 than our coal would, but so be it - they intend to burn increasing amounts of coal no matter where it comes from.
This approach is shared by many others, who worldwide collectively burn more than six billion tonnes of coal each year to create iron, steel and electricity.
If Ms Bennett finds this fact distressful, I suggest she migrates to another planet, because this one isn't going to change. It will continue burning coal for decades to come.
Doug Hurst, Chapman
More social and financial pain
In reply to my letter on ACT rates, Roger Terry (Letters, June 14) in essence says he is unable to shift his vote to the Canberra Liberals, who have indicated they would cap rates if elected in 2020.
The same letters page included letters from people already struggling with the current rates and complaining about lack of basic suburban services.
Former ACT Treasury official and University of Canberra professor Dr Khalid Ahmed's analysis of the ACT budget finds the impost of increased taxation is mainly on households, with the financial burden on low to moderate income households being severe.
If Roger and others do not change direction, Canberrans will be in for three more years of steep rate rises, or "heavy lifting" as Andrew Barr describes it. That is, more social and financial pain.
Murray May, Cook
AWM should not be a 'theme park'
That the newly acquire F1-11 will hold "pride of place" in an expanded Australian War Memorial says a lot. An aircraft that never saw combat with the RAAF - reconnaissance missions only - plagued with issues (eight lost in crashes, 10 airmen dead), and loaded with asbestos, should be a centre piece in the national memorial to Australian sacrifice and service in war defies belief.
The memorial is not a museum for devotees and enthusiasts of military hardware and technology, but a place to commemorate and reflect on the human costs of war to Australia.
By all means settle it in the memorial's big objects facility in Mitchell, but keep it there and don't further defile the memorial and turn it into another military "theme park".
Brendon Kelson, Isabella Plains
TO THE POINT
According to Ricky Stuart the one thing our city lacks is a new very expensive stadium ("Is a Civic stadium just a dream?", June 15, p30). Well if he goes to the Community Services website he will see the appalling figures (as of June 3) regarding wait times for all categories of public housing for those in need. Priorities Mr Barr?
Val Walker, Yarralumla
The obvious news that too many new apartments are being built in Canberra ("Cut-price apartments", June 15, p1), was driven home by the inclusion of a large discount offer by a major developer. Sadly, the ill-conceived rush by the ACT government to raise revenue by levelling Northbourne Avenue and selling vacant land and car parks is being reflected by developers needing to discount and not bidding for cleared blocks as was reported about two major blocks last week .
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
SUGGESTIVE OF SENSE?
If Canberra's Aboriginal health service describes wearing swimsuits or lycra whilst visiting the prison as "suggestive of a moral judgement" ("Prison dress code draws rebuke", June 13, p7), what would be suggestive of a bit of common sense?
Peter Nelms, Kambah
ON WHOSE WATCH?
Mike Quirk seems to believe that Andrew Barr's wish that the remaining repayments on the Mr Fluffy loan repayments be foregone is fanciful (Letters, June 11). This is hardly the case in view of the nonsensical ruling that the Commonwealth has no responsibility regarding the Mr Fluffy debacle when the whole affair occurred on the federal government's watch.
T. J. Marks, Holt
NO WINNERS FROM ADANI
We will lose more than we will gain with Adani. I know the stress of not having decent work - I've been both unemployed and underemployed over the years - so I feel for the communities in Queensland where people desperately want decent work and the dignity it brings. But the jobs created in this mine do not stack up when weighed against the damage it will cause.
Christine Kearney, Watson
Human Services Secretary Kathryn Campbell employs Robo-debt data-matching algorithms to conduct government class warfare against Australia's poor via the ATO, which, were it fulfilling its responsibilities, would use these powerful tools against freeloading, tax-evading corporations, where the "real" money is secreted ("Robo-debt to face UN scrutiny", June 15, p11).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
DON'T EXPECT FEDERAL HELP
Why should Canberrans think that the federal government should buy them a new stadium when 64 per cent of them did their best to get rid of the Coalition just last month. Messrs Barr and Rattenbury have already blown $1.6 billion on light rail and have promised a second stage that will cost $2.7 billion plus. So, why not a measly $400 million for a new stadium?
M. Silex, Erindale
TAKING POT LUCK
Re Kim Fitzgerald (Letters, June 14), surely drivers who have been caught driving under the influence of cannabis have no need of defence counsel; they have already taken pot luck.
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman NSW
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