Roger Dace (Letters, July 16) is entitled to query accountability, benefits and the costs of implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
He is a little premature in expecting all the answers at this early stage of discussions however.
Dace is also a little pessimistic in suggesting government programs "often... fail to come close to delivering promised outcomes". Of course, some do and, critically, none will please everyone but, in our system, public agencies are generally well administered, notwithstanding there is always room for improvement.
The improvement is always most notable when politicians are kept out of the processes.
Roger suggests the Uluru Statement from the Heart will establish a "unique status" for Indigenous Australia. He may not have noticed, but for nearly 250 years Indigenous Australians have "enjoyed" a "unique status"; that of being the most disadvantaged group in our society.
The Uluru Statement seeks to bring all Australians together to finally reverse that unacceptable situation. If Roger and others wish to regard it as a "unique status" then, as an old, white, merely sixth generation Australian, it's a label I'll be proud to pin on the really unique 260,000 generations of Indigenous Australians.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Want water? Go underground
Water-related decisions and policies in drought-prone Australia draw on data-limited hydrological and economic modelling and are influenced by lobbyists and politicians.
The shortcomings of this approach are clear: fish kills, drying of rivers, algal blooms, salinity and the failure of the Murray-Darling Plan to resolve perennial arguments about allocation of scarce water resources.
Better water management requires an enhanced understanding of water systems, particularly in dry inland regions underlain by sedimentary basins.
This requires funding from governments for systematic hydrogeological studies to better delineate groundwaters and their links with surface waters. Relevant findings from such three dimensional geoscientific studies need to be used to inform decisions on integrated use of aquifer and surface waters to optimise supplies and facilitate assessments of the impacts of major development proposals.
Geoscience Australia conducted a hydrogeological study in Western NSW a decade ago, having been tasked with looking for a potential groundwater supply for Broken Hill. This documented abundant fresh groundwaters at depth. Its relevance to the current crisis does not appear to have been realised.
The flows and overall health of the river system would be greater if planned actions to limit extractions upstream were supplemented by pumping groundwaters into the river system at times of stress.
Geoscience Australia conducted a hydrogeological study in Western NSW a decade ago, having been tasked with looking for a potential groundwater supply for Broken Hill. This documented abundant fresh groundwaters at depth.Ian Lambert, Garran
This could be counterbalanced when there are floods by pumping water down into aquifers to be stored for future use.
Ian Lambert, Garran
Mussolini also a "strong leader"
Mr Morrison is impressed by Donald Trump's strong leadership ("He's a strong leader': Morrison accepts invitation to visit Trump in US", canberratimes.com.au July 14)
On this criterion the Prime Minister must be a fan of Duterte, Xi Jinping, Putin and the axis leaders in World War II.
Mr Trump's character is deeply flawed; he is racist, evidence and science-denying, narcissistic, masochistic and erratic.
Mr Morrison, people are often judged by the company they keep. Hopefully, like Japan's Prime Minister Abe and South Korea's President Moon, you are stroking Trump's ego to receive favoured treatment.
Mike Quirk, Garran
Another planning fail
Are we seeing a clear disconnect with the communication and planning processes between the Planning Minister Mick Gentleman, the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Directorate (EPSD), and Access Canberra (part of the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate)?
Jasper Lindell's article ("Work could be stalled for weeks on Geocon's largest site with wait for sign-off", July 13, pg15) shows the assessment functions of the EPSD, for handling Development Applications (DAs) are open-ended with no apparent formal time frames. This doesn't bode well.
If a Development Application has to be revisited because of certain oversights, this can only be attributed to a couple of considerations.
Firstly, there are obvious flaws in EPSD's assessment procedures in the way it scrutinises and monitors DAs, and collaborates with Access Canberra, to ensure consistency in communication and information flow.
Secondly, a 'second bite of the cherry' through a revised DA smacks of a developer seeking to game the planning system because it failed to comply with the original development approval.
Let's hope Geocon's predicament is a warning to all developers in the ACT to comply with requirements.
Thomas Natera, Ngunnawal
After the ram raids we will have a rush to install protective bollards outside vulnerable shops. I am with Terry George (Better Bollards, Letters, July 13, in pleading for useful structures, not ugly grey concrete phalluses.
When I leave these shops my first need is for an elevated flat surface to put my reusable cloth bag on so I can pack away my purchases and free my hands. My next need is a seat to rest on while doing this.
If these protective concrete obstacles were in the shape of seats people could sit on them; maybe even chat and contribute to the vitality of the urban scene. Other uses, as suggested, may be envisaged.
Is it too much to expect just a hint of aesthetic expression in our built environment? If seat-shaped security costs more than two ugly concrete lumps, would the ACT govt come to the party (without taking a year to do so)?
Canberra could become a more distinctive and comfortable urban centre as a result.
A Moore, Melba
Bill the protesters
It is time those who protest are held accountable for the disruption they deliberately choose to cause. The media needs to address the issue of professional demonstrators. These are the people who are always protesting about something or other.
I always wonder how they are able to protest and to excuse themselves from the need to attend work. I suspect they do not work.
Demonstrate yes but do not disrupt. It is time the police started to arrest those who cause the sort of disruption that stops traffic and impedes people's ability to get about.
Charlie Frost, Farley
Rights charter needed
'Let's catch up with the free world,' Tony Walker (July 15, p27) suggests.
He points out that "an omnibus protection of core rights and freedoms", including those of speech and religion in this country, would bring Australia into line with the rest of the Anglosphere.
Such a charter of rights would certainly have guided us in the recent Israel Folau and News Corp and ABC issues.
We should heed one of the elders of our society, Michael Kirby, who continues to urge us to adopt such a charter.
Jill Sutton, Watson
Once was winter
Christina Ryan (Letter, July 16) comments that winter in Canberra "could be almost non-existent" by mid-century, and we can expect more extreme summer temperatures like those of last January.
Having lived in the Canberra area since 1946, apart from three years in Melbourne, I have the very strong impression Canberra winters are becoming warmer.
Ms Ryan also comments on the orientation of Canberra houses. I have always been disappointed to see houses facing the street, regardless of the logic of pointing approximately north to enjoy the warmth of Canberra's sunny winters and be shaded from the summer sun.
This makes houses more comfortable and cuts heating and cooling costs.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Police powers adequate
I'm glad the police have arrested two people in Bungendore for smuggling a massive quantity of cocaine into Australia.
However, I've never seen or heard the police say "it was only because of our recently granted massive increase in powers of surveillance that we managed to make this arrest".
They never credit an arrest to their power to demand people unlock their phones, the ability to implant spyware, or the crackdown on whistle blowers and journalists.
So why do they keep on demanding these powers? Why do we keep on giving that power to them? It seems like they've already got enough power to do the job.
Paul Wayper, Cook
TO THE POINT
RATE RISE WRONG
Don Sephton (Letters, 17 July) is incorrect in stating the increase in his rates of 148.9 per cent over 10 years equates to almost 15 per cent per annum. He has ignored the compounding effect of annual increases. The actual increase in his rates is 9.5 per cent per annum, This is still an outrageous amount.
J Lindsay, Curtin
WINTER OF DISCONTENT
M F Horton's comment (Letters, July 17) on Napoleon's likely response to the current ado about recognising Indigenous constitutional recognition evoked a chuckle, and set me wondering what the Bard might have said. I finally settled on "Now thrive the sanctimoniacs".
Bill Deane, Chapman
Re the headline read "Palmer acted in his own interests" (July 17, p22). When has it ever been otherwise?
Don Sephton, Greenway
A KIND SOUL
We were stopped at the lights on Barry Drive on July 12 when a young man in the ute next to us indicated we had a flat back tyre. He changed it for us and in 15 minutes we were on our way. This kind act was very much appreciated by this elderly couple. Thank you Steve for being such a good Samaritan.
Helen and Alan Rogers, Harrison
I'm so tired of all the Whining Walters and Moaning Michaels. "Oh, rents are so expensive!" "Pensioners can't afford to eat!" "My new block of flats is falling down!" All they do is complain. The solution is obvious. Stop being poor. Then the government will give you generous tax refunds and franking credits. Problem solved.
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
MOON RECOLLECTION MOVING
Thank you, J.J. Goold (Letters, July 17), for recounting your experience of the moon landing and so much more.
James Allan, Narrabundah
PAUSE TO REFLECT
On July 17, 2009, it was reported Neil Armstrong had written a letter thanking the Australian space trackers involved in tracking the Apollo 11 Moon landing as part of the 40th anniversary commemoration. This Sunday, July 21, is the 50th anniversary. Armstrong passed away last year. Let us all reflect on a momentous event that shows what humans are capable of in a spirit of peace.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
MORE TRUMP RACISM
So, Donald Trump has contemptuously told Democratic congresswomen of Hispanic and African descent that so get under his skin to go back to the broken countries they (or their ancestors) came from. What county is more broken than Trump's America?
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
LIGHTS OUT ON BROADWAY
So the neon lights are not so bright on Broadway? ("Blackout hits Broadway, Times Square", July 14, page 11).
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
A GOOD QUESTION?
Why does the question of Indigenous recognition bring out the mean streak in so many normally decent and civilised people? Are we hard wired for racism?
M Moore, Bonython
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