Jocelyn Vasey (Letters, September 5) raises an important issue re the availability of public primary schooling in south Belconnen.
What should be her local Scullin primary school was closed in 1988. Its grades three to six were moved to the Kingsford Smith super school in Holt.
The preschool to grade two section was retained in the Scullin building and the now vacant classrooms were leased to private organisations for a childcare centre.
Page lost its primary school in 1989, the building being demolished a few years later. This land was sold for residential development, despite being on a natural water drainage line which had been deliberately left clear by earlier planners because of the flooding risk.
The Higgins school was recently demolished and a retirement village is now being developed. Cook and Holt primary schools were closed in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
The only primary schools still operating as such are Aranda, Macquarie, Weetangera and Hawker. These serve those suburbs as well as Bruce, Cook, Page and Scullin, along with out-of-area students. As these suburbs evolve, a new generation of students is placing pressure on the system.
Another source of pressure will be students from the new suburb of Whitlam in the Molonglo Valley until the provision of services there catches up with development. There does not seem to have been any recent public consultation on this broad matter.
Robyn Coghlan, Hawker
Make it better
I am a frequent, and satisfied, user of the light rail and bus system, but it can be improved. One improvement is to incorporate private cars into my trips.
Uber and OLA have shown there are a large number of private cars available to take me, but they are too expensive because they typically only take me plus the driver. Insurance, capital costs and operator costs make up about 50 per cent of the fare and the money goes to people outside Canberra.
We can make many of these local trips much cheaper and socially acceptable with neighbourhood not-for-profit cooperatives. We could incorporate the co-ops into the public transport network with the MyWay Card. The co-ops could police the antisocial behaviour of passengers and drivers.
Costs would likely come down because multiple people can use a single car. The information, insurance, and capital costs would be localised and the money would stay in Canberra. The rapid transport and light rail network would get more passengers and become more cost-effective.
We could further reduce the cost by allowing the local cooperatives to fund the capital costs of the rapid and light-rail network. Co-op members could get a return on investment with lower-cost fares.
Kevin Cox, Ngunnawal
Mixed up confusion
Memo to the media: please up your game in educating voters to the fact that "economic strength" and "economic growth" are not the same thing.
The crucial point is that the "strength" of the economy cannot be properly assessed solely in terms of rate of "growth" in total output. The other crucial indicator of a strong economy is "distribution"; in particular, in the form of incomes. The concept is very similar to construction: a suitably strong foundation is essential to the construction of the building it seeks to support.
As voters, we need to both understand this duality and demand that economic management objectives - from right and left - should recognise and act on the need to achieve real economic strength through ensuring that growth is solidly underpinned by suitable income distribution.
Slogans such as "jobs and growth" should be constantly rejected because they are designed to mislead. They try to hide the fact that jobs without adequate income levels and security of tenure are very poor tools for the kind of income distribution which is needed for a truly strong economy. Add in absurdly inadequate Newstart allowances and ever expanding executive packages and it becomes obvious that distribution of income at the foundation level of the economy is being systematically minimised: and that by a government which claims to know how to manage an economy.
In summary, the current political claim that the Australian economy has sound fundamentals is a pure lie.
D Fraser, Oxley
It would now be far more efficient and pleasant for many Canberrans to wait and do their discretionary spending when they next visit interstate CBDs, where moving around as an "active traveller" has grown more appealing after continuing to experience the unwanted features of our "improved" public transport system since April 29 ("Retail spending falls in July", September 4). In addition the mooted changes after September 28, that will create some of the worst weekend bus frequencies in decades, will not encourage ad hoc travel journeys by time-poor local bus users .
Sue Dyer, Downer
Answer is yes
Professor Stewart's article ("Is it time for a population policy?", Public Sector Informant, September 3, p4) was of her usually high standard.
No doubt, Professor Stewart would have preferred the title couched as a statement rather than a question.
I wonder, though, what the chances would be of Australia arriving at an intelligent policy through any kind of inquiry.
It would require a low growth/no growth approach to population.
Anything else, in environmental terms, would ensure the continued decline of our natural environment.
As Professor Stewart suggests, the evidence of the last quarter century, and the sway yielded by powerful vested interest, suggest the "growth-ists" would not readily give ground and, for this very reason, nor would our politicians.
Perhaps, though, the answer lies in other elements of her analysis. She has noted, correctly, that the benefits of growth are secured by a very few, while the negative consequences of growth are shared by many.
This suggests that the topic is ripe for a national plebiscite.
Moreover, the evidence of repeated polling suggests the majority of Australian citizens (new and old) recognise the growth agenda is well past its prime (if it ever had one). It is time to give them a voice.
Graham Clews, Kambah
Take a walk Chris
Chris Steel is the ACT's first Minister for Active Travel.
How will he make up the lost ground on the government's walking targets?
In 2001 walking accounted for only 4 per cent of journeys to work. The Sustainable Transport Plan and the Transport For Canberra plan aimed to increase this to 6 per cent by 2011 and 6.5 per cent by 2016. They made it less than half way to the 2016 target. Both plans endorsed a target of 7 per cent by 2026.
Former transport minister Meegan Fitzharris said that she wanted to make Canberra the walking capital of Australia.
In March of this year she installed pedestrian signals across the light rail tracks. These signals show red during every cycle of the adjacent road traffic signals, irrespective of whether or not a tram is approaching. A red pedestrian signal means a one-in-three chance that a tram is approaching.
The signals discourage walking because they cause unnecessary delays, and because they threaten pedestrians with fines for safely crossing the tracks.
Chris Steel became Transport Minister in June. At the start of Rail Safety Week, a pedestrian was seriously injured by a tram at one of these crossings.
Instead of fixing the signals, the government fined dozens of pedestrians.
Now that he is Minister for Active Travel, will Chris Steel fix the pedestrian signals across the light rail tracks?
Leon Arundell, Downer
Will the new religious freedom laws prevent people from mocking the Bible and the Christian teachings about love kindness compassion and helping others?
When the Bible clearly says believers must help refugees and strangers should there be harsh penalties for people who ridicule such long held Christian traditions?
Perhaps our government can assure us that making a joke of religious texts will not be allowed under its new laws?
After all so many of them are good Christians and want to protect the teachings of their Bible and Jesus from those who spread such unchristian beliefs.
Doug Steley, Heyfield, Tas
The British House of Commons does not respect the voice of people as expressed in the historic Brexit vote. The British political establishment knows, as Emma Goldman did, "if voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal".
Eurocrats have far too much at stake playing with trillions of Euros and political power to have their racket dismantled. The erosion of political, personnel and economic liberty in Europe will continue.
Victor Diskordia, McKellar
To the point
WAY TO GO SMITHY
Smith's dig clearly overshadows my single-digit score playing for the Tumbarumba Methodists in 1964 against the team from the Mannus Afforestation Camp (aka low security prison) where Darcy Dugan was serving time.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
IT'S A MYSTERY
Can Bill Deane (Letters, September 6) explain what is "sensible" about deporting an inoffensive couple whose children were born here. "It will please Pauline Hanson and Peter Dutton" does not count.
Barbara Fisher, Cook
Right on, Dutton. The only visa applications which must be given special consideration and fast-tracking are from fair-skinned au-pairs backed by your political mates. That's why we have high administrative standards to preserve in Australia.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
WHY IS IT SO?
I am puzzled by Rick Reeks' letter re the Canberra Services Club (September 3). He says: "The driving force behind my club's effort is to replace the club's burnt out premises so we can return to where we belong". There should be no need to remove the current concessional lease to achieve that objective.
David Denham, Griffith
RECIPE FOR DISASTER
Remembering the "Gulf of Tonkin incident" I eagerly await the Straits of Hormuz incident.
Vic Robertson, Page
NOT A GOOD IDEA
M Sidden (Letters, September 3) invited Paul Keating to contest the next federal election. Under the much heralded Shorten Labor government our "Lizard of Oz" was destined to be the first president of the United Republic of Australia. The thought of Paul "running our country again" brings to mind the brave "Grandma Wong" amidst the Hong Kong protesters waving that large Union Jack, just like ours.
Ronald Elliott, Victoria
Like most decent Australians, I am appalled by the decision of Scott Morrison and his cohorts to deport the Tamil family. The fact that Morrison consistently presents himself as a fervent Christian and devoted family man makes it even more galling.
(Bishop) Pat Power, Campbell
Another essay from Cathy Wilcox! (Cartoon, September 4). Could we please impose a word or character limit on cartoons as per twitter (280 characters). Wednesday's "cartoon" contained 63 words and was not funny.
Lynne Kowalik, Deakin
TOO MANY PEOPLE
It is not often I disagree with Nicholas Stuart ("Got the message? Why communication is key", September 4, p21). But he is wrong. The answer to the world's troubles is not economic; it is overpopulation.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
DEPORT A MINISTER
Forget testing the migrants for bad character and refusing them entry to Australia. Test PM Morrison's ministers for bad character and kick them out of the Australian Parliament. We deserve better than this lot.
James Sweeney, Casterton, Vic
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