Infrastructure Australia recently declared that which every Australian citizen already knew: that "patch up but never catch up" infrastructure policy cannot and will not keep up with our immigration fed population growth.
Unsurprisingly, IA's proposed solution to our population crisis is to throw vastly more taxpayers' dollars at it. That this makes no economic sense escaped them.
Remarkably, not a moment's thought was given to the idea Australia might reduce immigration to sustainable levels (say 65,000 per annum) as a near and long term solution.
The response of our major parties was as predictable. Morrison has declared there would be no reduction in immigration beyond that announced earlier in the year.
Albanese called for a "mature debate" on immigration but, in the same breath, he claimed the problem surrounding immigration is not numbers but policy. So, one wondered what there was to debate.
It is abundantly clear Morrison and Albanese are both firmly hitched to the regional solution wagon. In recent days we have read Ballarat could have a population of 500,000 in the not too distant future.
Again, one wondered if the existing citizens of these regional cities (and others, including Canberra) have been asked if this is the future they want.
There are no sound economic or social reasons for maintaining our extraordinary rate of population growth; there are endless environmental reasons for curtailing it.
That this curtailment will not likely occur, short of a national plebiscite, is largely explained by the $40 billion dollar annual infrastructure spend needed to limit the decline that this "growth forever" agenda is certain to bring with it: our "greed and growth" merchants will never let this windfall slip through their grubby little fingers.
It is impossible to overstate the folly of the path we are taking.
Graham Clews, Kambah
Growth has to stop sometime. In the ACT before the population reaches half a million would be safe and affordable.Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
Your editorial "We need to get the infrastructure right" (August 14) rightly noted that as "populations increase the pressures on our vital infrastructure will only compound".
For too long, there has been an unwillingness on the part of decision-makers to acknowledge that population growth comes at a cost in infrastructure. If living standards are to be maintained, then schools, roads, hospitals, public transport, recreational facilities must be added proportional to population growth.
It costs $100,000 in public money to provide infrastructure for each new person, whether they come as an immigrant or are native born.
Thus, given our national population grew by just over 400,000 last year, Infrastructure Australia got it right when it said $40 billion a year (400,000 x $100,000 = $40,000,000,000) was needed for new infrastructure annually.
Infrastructure, however, is not the whole issue. There are resource and environmental limits to growth. Water is a critical resource issue and loss of habitat for other species the major environmental one, along with greenhouse gas emissions.
Growth has to stop sometime. In the ACT before the population reaches half a million would be safe and affordable.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
Greens off the mark
Pamela Saunders (Letters, August 14) wrongly accuses me of hating Greens. I don't hate anyone, but I do find Green actions often do far more harm than good.
Thanks to them, we have not built any significant dams for decades and are robbing ourselves of potential hydropower, irrigation and water security.
They have also promoted unreliable, costly renewable energy to curb the carbon dioxide emissions they continually, but wrongly, fear will cause us to fry and die, while suppressing reasoned debate on nuclear power.
And let's not forget their exaggerated scare campaigns about the barrier reef that have so damaged tourism that Cathay Pacific have stopped flying to Cairns. Then there is the climate nonsense they have inflicted on our children, scaring them to tears in their fear and frustration.
Past masters at meaning good and doing bad, they will be seen by history as muddle-headed do-gooders who were far more successful at scare campaigns than actual environmental custody; as people whose misdirected ideologies retarded progress in many ways without actually making Australia a better place.
No hatred there. Just a sober assessment by an old bloke who once gave money to green causes but now unrelentingly seeks out facts on environmental issues and usually finds them far less of a problem than claimed.
Doug Hurst, Canberra
Bank verdict wrong
The recent court verdict on a big four bank's lending formula lacks heart and logic.
There is almost certainly a financial storm on the way. This storm will mirror the unscrupulous lending practices that made so many people in America homeless.
If you lend people money to buy a house when their capacity to repay is minimal and if a financial crisis like the GFC comes along in some cases they will lose their homes and be financially crippled, in some cases for life.
If you exacerbate this by compelling borrowers to insure repayments with another financial institution in some cases you will ensure any person who goes guarantor for them will be financially crippled as well.
The ruling in favour of the bank meant it could engage in unconscionable lending practices and escape any liability.
I believe this proves the law can be an ass.
Howard Carew, Isaacs
A poor call
It is disheartening to learn that Liberal MLAs chose to limit their response to the government's worsening weekend bus servicing with an Assembly motion that only sought real time bus information about cancelled services (" 'Urgent action plan' for weekend buses", canberratimes.com.au, August 15).
This is hardly a workable or encouraging solution for many who require regular and reliable bus travel for work, social, cultural or sporting commitments during the day and night.
Cancellations of hourly bus services, in particular on weekends and week nights creates considerable stress for the travelling public.
Such unreliability is also encouraging many others to now not consider using public transport at all outside of weekdays.
It also does not create a good impression about Canberra for the thousands of international students who rely on public transport seven days a week.
At least the Liberals' motion forced the Greens and Labor to cobble together a limited "action plan" to address the weekend public transport mess they have allowed to develop.
However much more remedial action is needed to improve the new "integrated" network .
Sue Dyer, Downer
What about China?
As a board member of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, how can Dr Sue Wareham even imagine that Australia's strategic alliance with the US can simply be a matter of choice and not a duty to "the most militarily aggressive nation on earth" ("American alliance a choice, not a duty", Letters, August 15)?
According to the 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review, our greatest threat is from China.
By adding new advanced capabilities to its existing nuclear arsenal, China is the one claimed to be engaged in increasingly aggressive behaviour, including in outer space and cyberspace.
But more disturbing is the reported existence of an "Underground Great Wall of China", which is a 5000 kilometre long tunnel complex that could house up to 3000 nuclear war heads and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
There can be no excuse for such blatant military expansionism, especially given the fact that these programs began after the end of the Cold War, when threats to China had largely evaporated.
Yet Dr Wareham still insists that Australia is being "cowardly" to dutifully align with the US, as though we had a "choice" to remove ourselves completely from this planet.
Reverend Dr Vincent Zankin, Rivett
Save free speech
Deputy Director of ASIO, Helen Cooke's assertion that "journalism can be used nefariously by foreign intelligence services" is meaningless nonsense. So can bus drivers, school teachers and ASIO staff.
It brings to mind the embarrassment of ASIO "secret agents" in the 1960s slinking around in "Maxwell Smart" grey overcoats with Box Brownies taking photos of "communist" supporters.
These comments warrant the contempt of anyone who supports freedom of the press.
Cooke's flippant and stupid remark demonstrates that this government, with the support of it lackeys in Home Affairs, will say and do anything to shut down free speech to cover up the lies and indiscretions of politicians.
Gerry Gillespie, Queanbeyan
To the point
THANK YOU BRENDAN
Congratulations to Brendan Nelson on his time as director of the Australian War Memorial. He has truly established the AWM at the epicentre of Canberra. I will miss his regular bedside homilies.
Graeme Rankin, Holder
According to Scott Morrison, Nelson's peerless directorship of the AWM was due to many innovative practices introduced by him. Does that include financial sponsorship from armament corporations, which in combination with the AWM's Disneyland expansion project, turn it into an outrageous centre for the glorification of war?
Alex Mattea, Sydney
NELSON OFF COURSE
Let's hope that whoever replaces Brendan Nelson as the Australian War Memorial's next director recognises its true role as a memorial, not as a $500 million fun park.
Garth Setchell, Mawson
SAVE ANZAC HALL
We can only hope that Brendan Nelson's successor will save Anzac Hall from destruction and return the memorial back to its true significance.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
SLIM DUSTY DRIVE?
I'm a fair man. While I disagree that William Slim Drive should be renamed, how about this for a compromise: "Slim Dusty Drive, track whatever". How Australian is that!
Anthony Bruce, Gordon
EDITORIAL OFF MARK
Pope (Pope's View, August 16) has a much better grasp of Brendan Nelson and his legacy than the author of Friday's editorial.
Jon Schmidt, Monash
SCRAP AWM PLAN
Hopefully Brendan Nelson's departure from the AWM will provide the catalyst to at least revisit, if not scrap, the ill-conceived (and monstrously expensive) proposed expansion.
Don Sephton, Greenway
Will the media please stop reporting on Nick Kyrgios. He is an embarrassment to Australia and tennis. I couldn't care if he went on to win 30 grand slams; the quicker he disappears, the better.
Anthony Reid, Murrumbateman
Given Kyrgios evidently has access to other nationalities can't the Australian government strip him of ours until he emerges from the obnoxiously adolescent frame of mind in which he seems to be frozen? The embarrassment caused by his behaviour far outweighs any pride we may have in the talent he sometimes displays.
John Murray, Fadden
Regular library users love their library. They have a complex fabric of social connection. At Kingston, these connections used to be around a large, central reading table. Overnight, the table went. So now, readers are atomised, twisting lumbar spines on the children's section bench, resting newspapers on cocktail high computer tables and jammed on a high-back lounge in the library window trying not to elbow each other. I want to be given the key to the Canberra graveyard full of over 40s ratepayers, library tables, the Manuka plane tree and be free from meddling facility managers where "change" is code for "worse".
Dr Susan Boden, Narrabundah
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