Governments often establish programs that, while well intentioned and well-funded, fail to come close to delivering the promised outcomes. The Closing the Gap program is one example.
So, while we consider creating a unique status for indigenous Australians, we might agree on the core requirements for any new federal agency, body or authority.
What will it cost? Who benefits? And by how much? How will success or failure be measured? Who will be personally accountable?
Roger Dace, Reid
Beat the heat
Getting "apartment living right" (Editorial, canberratimes.com.au, July 8) is about much more than having vital green space.
Canberra is facing a change in climate. We have been told winter could be almost non-existent by the middle of this century. Summers are expected to replicate the severe heatwave conditions that we experienced last summer.
I recently visited an apartment for sale in the city area. It's a penthouse I'd always been interested in. It has terrific views over Commonwealth Park and the Lake. The only problem is, the apartment primarily faces West. This means within a decade this apartment will be unlivable for most of the year unless the air conditioning is running at full blast. How does this contribute to greenhouse gas reduction?
Before building around City Hill and down towards West Basin, we should remember the view for these new buildings will be towards the West. Developers will want to take advantage of the view as it will help sell the apartments.
Most body corporates have bans on the addition of external blinds or shutters, and most developers don't incorporate any solar mitigation on the West sides of buildings. Buildings facing west run the risk of becoming unlivable hot boxes. Only the very wealthy will be able to afford apartment living as they will be the only people able to pay for the air conditioning.
Building codes must be adjusted to require passive solar for apartments. Developers must be required to design solar mitigation. Buildings must be given a north eastern aspect to ensure Canberra remains a great place to live and not just somewhere that is full of unlivable apartment buildings.
Christina Ryan, Civic Square
Light rail finances
Re the comments from M Flint on the high discount rate used by the ACT government in determining the value of the light rail project to Gungahlin (Letters, July 10).
It is also worth noting that in determining an appropriate discount rate for the Net Present Value (NPV) of an investment project the discount rate has two components
1. The government cash rate (risk free) time value of money plus;
2. A risk premium (unsystematic risk) reflecting the potential of the project to achieve its planned financial outcomes. This can be either the Weighted Ave Cost of Capital (WACC) of the institution planning to undertake the project (the ACT government) or some other agreed risk premium which relates to the projects individual risk or what the financial market would demand for providing funds to undertake the project. It also represents the risk of the project not achieving its projected financial cashflows.
The current cash rate is at an all time historical low of one per cent. This suggests this project, even using the ACT government's own figures of a discount rate of 7.52 per cent according to Mr Flint, is loaded with operational financial risk.
Wayne Grant, Swinger Hill ACT
The most ludicrous argument about not recognising indigenous Australians' voice through the Constitution (apart from the malicious claim about it resulting in a "third chamber" ) is we should be working instead towards improving Indigenous health and education. Ludicrous, because if we make that argument, we must also admit that we are not smart enough to tackle more than one problem at a time.
And, given the Prime Minister's disappointing statement he is backing away from Constitutional recognition, it shows he is throwing away the opportunity to demonstrate real leadership for the nation. It is depressing that he, like Malcolm Turnbull, is also admitting he, despite the wealth of expert resources available, isn't smart enough to work out how to implement the Uluru requests.
The Uluru Statement was a response to the government's request to say how indigenous Australia would like recognition to be achieved.... despite an optimistic moment during Ken Wyatt's speech, indigenous Australia has been listened to, then ignored.Eric Hunter, Cook
The Uluru Statement was a response to the government's request to say how Indigenous Australia would like recognition to be achieved. They did and, despite an optimistic moment during Ken Wyatt's speech, it seems indigenous Australia has been listened to, then ignored.
Eric Hunter, Cook
It was heartening to hear calls from Andrew Barr and The Canberra Times for an increase to the number of Senators representing the ACT. A group of concerned citizens approached a number of candidates about this issue prior to the Federal election and started a Facebook page which has attracted support for the idea. It is grossly unfair to Canberra voters to have only two Senators representing our views, whereas if we move to Tasmania, which has only a slightly larger population, we would have the benefit of 12 Senators advocating for the interests of our community.
We are called a Territory, not a State, yet we pay our taxes and are self-governed, just like the States, whose voters have so much more say than we do about what legislation gets passed in the Senate.
If the ACT's Senate numbers could be doubled to four there would be the possibility of a broader spectrum of views being represented in the Senate. I call upon the current Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives to change the legislation and increase the number of Senators for the ACT before the next federal election, in the interest of equity for all voters.
Maeve Castles, Garran
I live in hope
Clyde Holding was Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Hawke government. Holding had been committed to advancement of indigenous rights since his days as a young lawyer.
During his time as Minister, Holding expressed the hope of a time when Australia would not need a separate Department of Aboriginal Affairs. That time has not yet come but I don't believe that it will be achieved by creation of another advisory body.
I share Holding's hope, especially in terms of ongoing 'closing the gap' steps and noting election of indigenous Members of Parliament who represent all Australians in their respective constituencies. These developments, though slow, have occurred without Constitutional stipulations - and measures such as those currently proposed could create more difficulties than they seek to solve.
Heather Nash, Kingston
Tax cut is a con
The so-called "tax cut" of up to $1080 that the government has been peddling is a con. The government's marketing has implied that taxpayers will get an extra up to $1080 in their tax refund.
The "tax cut" is actually a tax offset; specifically a low and middle income tax offset, which reduces the amount of tax you pay on your taxable income. This offset is a non-refundable so any unused offset amount won't be refunded.
Only taxpayers whose taxable income is more than $48,000 but less than $90,000 will get the maximum offset entitlement of $1080. The lowest earning taxpayers, those with a taxable income of less than $37,000, will only get the minimum offset amount of $255.
If you were thinking that you would get an extra up to $1080 in your tax refund to splash out on, think again. It ain't necessarily so.
Don Sephton, Greenway
Governor-General must act
The University of WA has reported 26 MPs may be sitting in Parliament contrary to section 44 of the Constitution. Due to their having a parent born in the UK they have a "right of abode" to live there under a British law - a right or privilege under a foreign power.
The surprising thing is former Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove's, view this is a matter for Parliament rather than the G-G. This was presumably prompted by the report Malcolm Turnbull may have said that if Peter Dutton had won the leadership contest the G-G should not appoint him Prime Minister because of doubts over his entitlement to sit in Parliament. I don't think Cosgrove should have commented. The new man can make his own decisions.
The G-G is regarded as the umpire or the honest broker. I would have thought if Parliament continues to do nothing about this the apparent breaches of the Constitution should attract the attention of the G-G. Would we play football under an arrangement where the referee would ignore forward passes unless a majority of players raised an objection?
E. Masey, Bywong, NSW
TO THE POINT
NONE SO BLIND
The Coalition can see the economy will be booming when it comes time to give top earners a tax cut in 2024. But it develops selective blindness when it comes to reviewing deeming rates.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
If religious bodies want more freedom perhaps they should at least pay taxes.
Gary Frances, Bexley, Vic
LET US PRAY
The PM urged the Hillsong congregation to pray for rain to end our severe drought. Could he also ask his supporters to pray for God to stop climate change? This could would obviate the need for the action so many people, including religious leaders, are now so strongly urging.
Tim Hardy, Florey
BRING OUT YOUR DEAD
It is thoughtful of the ACT government to provide green bins. It makes it easier to dispose of all the plants that have died due to the high cost of water.
Kristine Klugman, Fisher
HELL IS HORRID
J Bishop and A Guy (Letters, July 11) fear the free speech debate could reflect negatively on Christianity. Whatever Jesus thinks about the merits of Folau's list, I suspect he believes in hell. Bishop, Guy and Folau can argue about who goes but the issue is over-the-top sadism of the destination.
Peter Robinson, Ainslie
BRING SCULPTURE HERE
The battle between Bondi Council and "Sculpture By The Sea" leaves an unbelievable opportunity for Canberra. The ACT government could host "Sculptures By The Lake". Think of the thousands attracted to Canberra after the final days of Floriade. If Sydney doesn't want the magnificent works then we surely will.
Ellis Tomlin, Nicholls
WHAT ABOUT NGAMBRI?
I attended an event at the Canberra Museum and Gallery where a Ngambri man played a glass didgeridoo. In the "Acknowledgement of Country" that the Ngambri people were mentioned as well as the Ngunnawal people as custodians of the land on which Canberra is sited. I have heard both groups of people acknowledged in this way from time to time but not by the ACT government. Why aren't the Ngambri people not acknowledged in this way?
Gay von Ess, Aranda
A MODEST PROPOSAL
To all those advocating pill testing; here's a suggestion. Why doesn't the government step in, manufacture the pills, and sell them? Quality could be controlled to give the users varying degrees of stimulus - mild buzz, bit stronger and super buzz. Imagine the revenue. No need for a heavy police presence so more money saved. A positive result all round. That loopy idea is no less idiotic than pill testing.
Alex Wallensky, Broulee, NSW
THINK THEN VOTE
There have been plenty of letters about the exorbitant rates in the ACT. The next round of increases in 2020 (which will line up with the ACT election) could be the straw that breaks the camel's back. The Canberra Liberals have promised to cap rates for the next term if elected. One hopes the ACT voters are not so tied to Barr's ACT government they can still apply financial common sense.
Murray May, Cook
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