Like many retirees, we live on our pension. We paid the full amount of stamp-duty when we bought our house with a view to retirement.
We have now been hit by rapacious rates increases. What's not right about this picture, where the retired have taken the double-whammy from stamp-duty and subsequent rates increases? Consideration of the most vulnerable, Labor's supposed heartland, is a myth in this town.
This is not a bleat on our behalf. We can get by. However come with me Mr Barr, with your Green mate, to the local supermarket. Come with me to see what an old couple on the basic age-pension has in their shopping trolley if they are to stay independent and pay your bills.
Come with me, Mr Barr, and see an old widow sticking a pack of biscuits back on the shelf because it'll bust her budget in order to pay your rates. Come with me Mr Barr, and see how your ideological wedlock with the Green, who keeps you in power, has played out.
I see it every day: it's heartbreaking, and you and your crew don't have a clue. Come 2020, I sincerely hope that those who have suffered from your incompetence voice their verdict.
P. Reynolds, Gilmore
Say no to Telstra
Supporters of fair and equal access to the National Broadband Network will be heartened by Communications Minister Paul Fletcher's declaration it will not be sold to Telstra.
Mr Fletcher's declaration that the owner of a wholesale network could not also supply retail services is sound government policy, no doubt influenced by the memory of how Telstra repeatedly abused its position as a wholesaler and retailer.
In October, 2009, writing for The Canberra Times, I noted a proposal to separate Telstra's wholesale and retail operations was opposed by Telstra's management, which continued to put pressure on regulators, government and competitors whenever the need to separate its wholesale and retail arms was raised.
The NBN, despite its obvious shortcomings, has at least largely achieved that separation. Now it is Telstra which whinges at the wholesale prices it must pay. Its preferred solution is to buy back the farm so it can lure customers from its retail competitors by favouring its retail operation.
I was once partly responsible for drawing to the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission a new pricing structure by Telstra in which its retail prices were lower than those charged to other telecommunications carriers.
In April 2005, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Graeme Samuel said a lack of transparency between Telstra's wholesale and retail sections made it difficult to detect whether anti competitive behaviour was occurring.
There were numerous examples of Telstra taking longer to repair line faults for customers of other carriers than for its retail customers. Telstra also had form when it came to offering faster connections to its retail customers than to those of other carriers.
If any retailer were to get control of the NBN, and as Mr Fletcher points out, current legislation prevents this, it must not be Telstra.
Graham Downie, O'Connor
The rental crisis
Another week, another batch of articles and letters in The Canberra Times about record rental costs in Canberra, lack of affordable properties and decreasing numbers of social housing properties. Everyone can see it's an increasing and serious problem.
Mr Barr's government has a lot to answer for with its relentless push to supercharge rate increases in the ACT. Land rates are set at approximately 150 per cent above rates assessments.
Increased rates equals increased land tax equals increased rentals equals increased problem.
John Mungoven, Stirling
According to the latest OECD report one third of pensioners live in poverty. According to the latest census over 105,000 of us are homeless.
I must have missed something at the last election.
We gave the government the authority to pay lower, middle and upper economic workers a significant pay rise.
Our first priority should have been to increase Newstart, pay our pensioners a decent retirement pension, provide a home for anyone without one and to ensure our returned soldiers with PTSD get a living wage-pension.Russ Morison, Theodore
We did not look, nor did they, at these matters.
Our first priority should have been to increase Newstart, pay our pensioners a decent retirement pension, provide a home for anyone without one and to ensure our returned soldiers with PTSD get a living wage-pension.
Our priorities are up the empty creek without a paddle and we will still get a tax cut. Amazing.
Russ Morison, Theodore
The article "Does the daily commute affect productivity?", July 7, p16 doesn't reveal anything new when it comes to the modes of travel and the various effects it has on work commuters.
Stress is always a common aspect that affects the psychology of the daily commuter. Whether it's protracted, or a shorter means of active travel, there is no doubt, that there are varying degrees of stress that impacts work performance.
Travelling by public transport or car, is always stressful at the best of times. It can be unrelenting due to traffic congestion. This could affect one's mental well-being, both in the workplace and the home environment.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the causal link to stress and performance at work for the commuter, is having to contend with the inadequacy of transport infrastructure that's not commensurate with the growth in traffic population.
While cycling or walking to work can be viewed as "relaxing" and "exciting", commuters still have to contend with risks from traffic, pollution and accidents.
I agree with the policy considerations outlined in the article. That said, more flexibility around working arrangements, including working from home, cannot be dismissed.
Thomas Natera, Ngunnawal
Why so dear?
Renting a house in Canberra is now more expensive than in any other city in Australia ("Why has renting become so expensive in Canberra?", canberratimes.com.au, July 7).
This makes it very difficult for single mothers and low income people generally, pushing up homeless rates. It's no surprise people seek out Canberra in trying to escape the overcrowded major cities, but there's a lot of collateral damage such as rendering housing unaffordable for so many.
Apart from low interest rates, the reason given is rapid population growth. Federal governments set immigration rates and determine social policy that affects family size and, in turn, population growth rates. It is state and territory governments, however, that have to provide the necessary infrastructure, not least housing, or land for housing.
In 2018, the ACT grew by 7,600 people. Assuming 2.7 people on average in each dwelling, that means an additional 2,815 housing units needed to be built to accommodate the growth, just in one year. If supply does not reach demand, inevitably, prices go up.
Somehow, demand needs to be reduced while supply is increased, if the ACT is to accommodate all who need a roof over their head.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
Don't get your hopes up
Bob Salmond and John Simmons (Letters, July 11), along with Andrew Barr, should not set their hopes for an increase in the number of ACT senators too high.
Any such change would involve an amendment to the Australian Constitution, which would require the passing of a referendum on the issue.
Unfortunately, Australians have a poor record of voting 'yes' in referendums, even when their aims seem logical and desirable.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
The current spate of ram raiding will inevitably lead to the installation of hundreds of bollards around business premises.
But, while the necessity may be regrettable, it does not automatically follow that these bollards must be ugly, utilitarian, single purpose objects that subtly add to an atmosphere of siege and menace in our commercial areas.
If cleverly and attractively designed and located, these bollards could instead take the form of heavy duty bicycle parking rails during business hours, thereby reducing a shortage in the areas they are most needed.
Those areas are in close proximity to the businesses that customers are visiting by bicycle.
They would still provide, albeit far less visibly, the required defence against marauding vehicles.
Two worthwhile purposes achieved with one installation, and all without ruining the aesthetics of our streetscapes.
Terry George, Kingston
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