Re: "Canberra's Worst Roads" (August 13, p1). The article offers a horror headline based on an odd worst case scenario: ". . . if populations grow at the current rate and investment stops".
As though investment would stop. The article then repeats the results of the car and roads culture of Infrastructure Australia. The real question is investment in what?
In no city in this country, or anywhere in the world, ever, has building more roads eased congestion for anything more than very small periods, and then not by much.
The sole effective congestion busting infrastructure is called public transport and charging correct economic values for "free parking". The new bus network and the light rail are a good start in the ACT. If we had a Federal government serious about "congestion busting" we'd have a real infrastructure investment in public transport.
Steve Blume, Chapman
Scrap Stage 2
We should all feel distressed by the undoubted sufferings of the driver, pedestrian, and passengers involved in Monday's tram accident ("Canberra light rail vehicle hit person ...", canberratimes.com.au, August 12).
At the same time, the fact that tram services had to be replaced by buses between Alinga Street and Dickson shows the inherent inflexibility of rail systems. Not only can trams not be moved to where the demand is (e.g. Bruce Stadium on a Friday evening) but one accident can seriously disrupt the existing routes.
The obvious answer is to forget Stage 2 and bring in electric buses.
John Rogers, Cook
Light rail flawed
Andrew Leigh ("ACT short-changed on Federal transport spending": Leigh, canberratimes.com.au, August 11) suggests the Morrison government should co-fund the second stage of light rail.
Infrastructure Australia. the ACT Auditor General and Jon Stanhope have demonstrated the Gungahlin to Civic light rail was provided despite an extremely weak business case. The second stage of light rail to Woden is likely to have less justification.
If Mr Leigh was genuinely concerned about how best to manage the development of Canberra he would not blindly support light rail but would investigate the benefits of bus rapid transport and lobby to increase the dispersal of employment to the town centres in Gungahlin, Woden, Tuggeranong and Belconnen.
Such a strategy could reduce the amount of infrastructure funds necessary to accommodate growth and release funds for the provision of much needed investment in social housing, education, health and disability services, city maintenance and the bus network.
Mr Leigh and other local members, including Senator Seselja, could make a significant contribution by lobbying the ACT and Federal governments to develop a planning and infrastructure strategy that provides the greatest benefit to the community. Light rail, given its low benefit to cost ratio, cannot rationally form part of such a strategy.
Mike Quirk, Garran
What's in a name?
Tucked away in the Allhomes section, on a road less travelled, was this fascinating story ("This is how Canberra street names are chosen", canberratimes.com.au, August 11).
When I read you had a Crackerjack Way in Moncrieff, I wondered if the ACT Place Names Committee members had a bias for Mick Molloy's 2002 movie.
However, I was left wondering as to the origin of Mummery Terrace, so over to you Surveyor-General Brown.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
ActewAGL under fire
Elliot Williams's article "Sharp increases to ACT energy prices stall but shopping around offers savings" (canberratimes.com.au, August 12) highlights the corporate greed of energy suppliers in the ACT.
It demonstrates that despite the grand-standing of the Federal government in arguing that energy suppliers must place consumers on their best "standing offers", those standing offers are clearly pitched at artificially high levels.
Recently I responded to advertising by ActewAGL where they trumpeted "discounts" of 30 per cent on gas consumption and 15 per cent on electricity consumption.P J Bewley, Barton
Recently I responded to advertising by ActewAGL where they trumpeted "discounts" of 30 per cent on gas consumption and 15 per cent on electricity consumption.
In my case this represents a saving of around $800 annually. In discussion with ActewAGL I found that the only necessary conditions were that bills be provided electronically and paid by direct debit. Not a big ask.
I pointed out that I have been a customer of ActewAGL since 1976 (apart from a five year break interstate).
I asked ActewAGL, given that my bills have been rendered electronically since this became possible, and my accounts always paid by direct debit, why is it that placement of my account onto these arrangements was not done automatically?
They declined to explain. In all respects this is in fact their lowest "standing offer".
ActewAGL should be compelled to write to consumers making clear that this is the case, and then place them onto this arrangement automatically.
More to the point, these "discounts" are not discounts at all. In reality they are very hefty penalties levied against customers who either don't know of, or are unable to use, electronic billing and/or direct debit, or worse, punishment of those who are unable to pay their bills on time due to hardship.
This is a disgrace. It is high time ActewAGL showed some commitment to the ACT community which has supported it for so long.
P J Bewley, Barton
Business parks wanted
Despite repeated calls for more business parks in Gungahlin, the response from Minister Gentleman is not satisfactory. Not enough land releases are scheduled for Gungahlin which needs large business parks.
The draft variation to the Gungahlin Territory Plan has still not been released.
The draft variation must be approved immediately so that construction on Gungahlin business parks can begin as soon as possible.
Minister Gentleman and his team are neglecting commercial development in Gungahlin. This is ruining employment opportunities. As an example; Gungahlin has the lowest ratio of office space to residents.
M Clarke, Gungahlin
It's time to act
Those who watched Sir David Attenborough's documentary Climate change: The Facts on Sunday evening must shake their heads when they look at the current Liberal/National Party government's denial of what is happening to our world.
How can this government, alleged to be made up of intelligent people, continue to ignore the peril we face?
How will they answer to their families in future years when history proves they were uncaring, and only concerned about being re-elected in three years' time?
Polls have shown for a number of years that the majority of Australians are aware of the threat.
They have also shown that most Australians want action taken to counter climate change.
Sadly, many of them also chose to put other things first when they voted on who would lead Australia at the last election.
Where to, now, for our children and grandchildren, fellow citizens?
Maureen Blackmore, Kambah
A nation of laws
Howard Carew deplores the lack, in China and elsewhere, of a "regulated and impartial" legal system such as exists in Australia (Letters, July 27).
Rightly so, but we should also look inwards (and outwards to our "great and powerful friend" the US) and question laws which make it illegal to tell the truth about government misbehaviour.
Australia's security laws apparently make it legal here for the government to authorise police to pursue journalistic reporting of such misbehaviour.
And what of the likelihood that Britain will allow Julian Assange's extradition and lifetime jailing in the US (and ready acceptance of that by both the Australian government and Labor) for telling the awful truth about US military murder of civilians in foreign countries.
I'm more concerned about "security" here, as influenced by the US and legislated by our current government.
Vince Patulny, Kambah
I'm concerned about recent reports of "reforms" to the Australian Public Service being planned by the government.
There are many dictionary definitions of the word "reform" and they are all along the same lines: "to put or change into an improved form or condition".
Once fuller details are known many might not agree that the proposed changes are improvements.
Please use more neutral language like "change" to refer to these things. Otherwise you are pandering to the spin doctors.
Glenn Pure, Kambah
TO THE POINT
A SILLY IDEA
It's been suggested that politicians think before they speak. Wouldn't this place a huge impediment on their freedom of speech?
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
TAX THE DEAD
Honore de Balzac declared (1834): "Behind every great fortune there is a crime". Collective community contributions to the common wealth establishes the environment in which a select few accumulate wealth ("Why 'death taxes' make economic sense", CT, 12 August, p.14). Taxing wealth, when redundant in death, makes contributing painless.
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
AN OBVIOUS MOTIVE
Is the mooted move of the submarine maintenance program from South Australia to Western Australia one that's good for the country or is it just good for the Minister for Defence, a Western Australian senator?
Keith Hill, Isaacs
Doug Hurst ("Is nuke, is good", Letters, August 13) has finally revealed his true motivation for his constant championing of fossil fuels and now, nuclear, as opposed to anything renewable: hatred of the Greens.
Patricia Saunders, Chapman
NO SURPRISES HERE
The only surprise regarding the pedestrian injured by the Light rail near Barry Drive is that it hasn't happened sooner. Cars and trucks can (usually) stop. Light rail can't. You cannot legislate against idiocy. There will be more such incidents to come.
Brenton Forrest, Conder
PRICE OF PROGRESS
Keep the developers building and the unions busy and we will have the overpopulation and traffic congestion of our big city cousins ("Canberra's worst roads", August 13, p1). Ah, progress!
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
MORE BUSES NOW
Could those buses called into action when parts of the light rail are closed down ( "Canberra light rail vehicle hit person on Northbourne Avenue", canberratimes.com.au, August 12) be scheduled to run permanently between Dickson and Alinga St to help reduce the considerable congestion that is experienced already on light rail at even 9.30 am and beyond on weekdays?
Sue Dyer, Downer
FLASH FOR SAFETY
Why not make the headlamps on light rail cars flash when the vehicle is moving? The streamlined front of the vehicles make it hard to see if they are moving or stopped. Pedestrians can't tell if they have time to cross. The number of accidents suggests there is a design problem. Pedestrians were here first.
Audrey Guy, Ngunnawal, ACT
BIRDS, NOT DRONES
I have been annoyed by private drones in conservation areas and a National Park. I have seen birds and mammals stressed by low speed manoeuvres. Birds of prey have been mortally wounded by encountering these devices. Clear regulation is needed. Thought could be given to establishing specific areas for drone pastimes.
J. Haig, Hackett
PLAY IT AGAIN SAM
A Hilton for Canberra? How lovely. Does that mean we will always have Paris?
M Moore, Bonython
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