The ACT Labor government is refusing to publish details about the buildings that may contain combustible cladding (CT, November 5).
Why? What have they got to hide?
The ACT government is saying they know which buildings contain combustible cladding but will not make the details public.
I live in a high rise apartment, along with roughly 700 other occupants, and we don't know whether the composite panelling on our building meets the Australian Standards.
Come on Minister for Building and Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay (I've been told you are a reasonable bloke), please make the findings public.
We absolutely agree with Ms LeCouteur who has called on the ACT Labor government to urgently inspect private buildings for potentially flammable cladding.
An audit of private buildings is supported by the CFMMEU.
How would you as the minister and the rest of the elected ACT government sleep at night if a building caught fire and there were serious injuries or fatalities as a result which could have been avoided?
Minister I take your point, but it's wrong to infer that "not all cladding is dangerous ".
How do we know if you don't publish those results and name the buildings?
Come on minister, get on with it. Put people's minds at rest, or not, as the case may be. At least we'll know.
Your constituents and the voting public have a right to know.
JR Ryan, Phillip
Train to nowhere
Rob Evans (Calls for capital train station move to Fyshwick, November 5) ignores the fact that Kingston railway station is primarily a passenger terminal, not a freight terminal.
A passenger terminal needs to be located as closely as possible to where people live. People don't live in Fyshwick or, for that matter, at the airport.
More and more people are living within walking distance of Kingston railway station, as can be seen by the number of people wheeling their wheelie bags to and from the station. The excellent bus service along Wentworth Avenue also delivers passengers to the station.
Few businesses would be open at 6.55am when the morning train leaves or 9.15pm when the evening train arrives.
Fyshwick might be an excellent location for a freight terminal, but it makes no sense at all to suggest Fyshwick as the location for Canberra's rail passenger terminal.
Marlene Hall, Kingston
Bungendore rodeo a cruel event
Bungendore Rodeo Committee president Greg Darmody rejects any allegation of cruelty at the weekend's rodeo. (November 4).
There are photographs on social media of men twisting tails, kicking animals and kicking dirt in the faces of animals in the holding crush; animals with ropes around necks and legs being pulled in different directions.
There was an attempt to get a downed bull up with three methods involving a star picket, a crowbar and a plank of wood.
And, of course, the usual "fun" at a rodeo of terrified animals being manhandled to the ground. Mr Darmody says "the animals have been bred specifically for rodeos" - so that must make it okay, I suppose.
Perhaps the Anglican and Catholic parishes in Bungendore might be able to find funds in other ways.
Judith Ballard, Kaleen
Questions on Ginninderry funds
Congratulations on the editorial "Ginninderry cards should be laid out" (5 November 2019, p12) which shows the egregious situation in which ACT residents and taxpayers are left regarding this development.
It shows Canberra taxpayers "have not been given the deed of agreement between the ACT government and Riverview under which the government has signed over 40 per cent of profits, which will amount to hundreds of millions of dollars".
What exactly is going on here? Why do we allow this sort of thing to happen?
ACT residents and taxpayers will pay for the development in several ways: loss of green space, congestion, possible further rate increases, and water restrictions. Our total dam volume is now 53%.
What the editorial overlooks is that development, including a visitors' centre and tourist facilities, will go within 200 meters of the scenic Ginninderra Falls which lie just across the ACT border in NSW.
The area and width of the proposed conservation reserve with its very irregular shape and boundary are inadequate for proper protection of the habitat of the Rosenberg goanna and other wild life.
Runoff and effluent will ultimately find their way into the beleaguered Murrumbidgee river. The proposed storm water treatment system, which is complicated, will need constant maintenance and monitoring to prevent blockages.
Who will provide the service post development and at what cost? Valuable green space in west Belconnen is going under concrete. It is too much. Reassurances of best practice are unconvincing.
Judy Kelly, Aranda
Fire risks must be considered
In addition to the monetary risks regarding the Ginninderry development I would urge that the fire risk factors facing new residents be urgently examined.
In Flynn during the 2003 Canberra fire storms we found wind-blown burnt leaves seven kilometres from fires that destroyed the vegetation around Shepherds Lookout overlooking the Murrumbidgee River's gorge.
Prior to the 2018-19 bushfire season in the ACT region residents received communications from the ACT government about preparing properties for the expected high fire dangers of the summer ahead. I wrote to Minister Barr about the Ginninderry development since 8,000 homes are planned for west Belconnen less than five kilometres from the steep gorges of the Murrumbidgee River and Ginninderra Creek.
Future dwellings should not be allowed at Ginninderry as they will be built into a known fire risk zone less than five kilometres from these gorges.
Bush fire resistant homes are expensive to build and may not be of a standard sufficient to resist blown embers from fire-storms. Emergency Services teams will be at risk themselves when obliged to protect these homes and their traumatised occupants.
In late January 2019 I received a letter from Minister Barr that stated in part: "The ACT government takes responsibility to appropriately manage the risks of building homes in bushfire risk areas through planning, regulation and fire risk management." Have there have been adequate preparations for these responsibilities?
Rosemary Blemings, Flynn
Answer on rates rises obvious
"Have high rates hurt households? Analysis to find out". (November 5, 2019).
Surely by now the answer is bleedingly obvious to Chief Minister Andrew Barr and his advisers as a result of the scathingly critical feedback already received from ratepayers.
Even if a consultant advises the tax reform initiative is having a negative impact on Canberra households, particularly those on lower to middle incomes, I can't see Mr Barr admitting to it or doing anything to rectify it.
His apparent obsession with stage two of the light rail project, regardless of the technical hurdles, inefficiencies and unaffordable infrastructure and running costs, is an example of his uncompromising attitude.
Reminds me of the well-known axioms often quoted within the public sector whenever a highly-qualified, highly-experienced public servant's knowledge and expertise have been ignored in favour of a consultant, just in case the outcome of the analysis is not politically acceptable: "A consultant is someone who takes the watch off your wrist and tells you the time", and "Hiring consultants to conduct studies can be an excellent means of turning problems into gold, your problems into their gold".
Peter Sherman, Aranda
Art worth less than sport?
So the Chief Minister wants free ideas from Canberra's creative community ("Telstra Tower 'open for ideas', Barr declares", November 5, p3)? Instead, why not run an ideas competition with proper prize money awarded?
[Andrew] Barr... seems quite happy to propose creative people give away their ideas for nothing.Penleigh Boyd, Reid
Barr wouldn't ask sports celebrities to put on free exhibition matches, but seems quite happy to propose creative people give away their ideas for nothing.
Penleigh Boyd, Reid
Show us the numbers
Given the recent scandal concerning the treatment of retired race horses, I scanned today's Canberra Times (November 6) looking for an indication of attendance numbers at Flemington. If such an item existed, it must have been well hidden. I had to go online to find an Age report to the effect that Flemington had recorded its lowest attendance (81,408) since 1995.
Happily, for the racing industry, the CT report covering Canberra's Thoroughbred Park event was delighted to comment that with a crowd of "... about 5,000... the stands were overflowing".
When the media collectively have been screaming about the government's attempts to stifle information and control public perception, it is regrettable that such a discernible bias could exist in your reporting.
Denis Coen, Macquarie
TO THE POINT
Angus Taylor says he has worked out to the last tonne of carbon how we are going to meet our Paris commitments.
This would be more reassuring if he or his staff had not misstated the City of Sydney's accounts by a factor of ten or a hundred.
But in a day and age when $14,200,000 can be soberly expressed as $14.2, I am not at all surprised that they don't know if they are talking in units, tens, hundreds, thousands or millions.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
PRIVATE SCHOOLS BENEFIT
Brian Cox's vast tirade against the ACT Teachers Union and its secretary (Letters 4 November), would be well categorised as verborrea barata, as the Spanish say.
The only argument he offers to justify his obviously anti-union views and support his appeal to privilege, are two percentage figures.
Numbers which, by themselves, do not help explain the government school funding policies nor the gifts bestowed on wealthy private schools by rich individuals, nor the fact that, despite the dollar gifts and the government assistance, these school still charge exorbitant fees considering the average services they offer.
John Rodriguez, Florey
Not so clumsy now (CT, November 5) we Vow And Declare!
Mary McLaughlin, Weetangera
ON GRAMMAR DONATIONS
Brian Cox (Letters, November 4) refers to the alleged "excellence and success of the Canberra Grammar School ". One wonders on what evidence Mr Cox bases that assertion.
A quick glance at the HSC High School Rankings is most revealing. In 2010 Canberra Grammar School was ranked 56 and in what appears to be an inexorable slide towards the bottom in 2014 was ranked 116 and in 2018 was ranked 136. Perhaps Mr Snow's $20 million would be better directed towards Grammar's academic program?
John Bevan, Kambah
HOW TO CUT THE BUDGET DEFICIT
They exercised their right to seek asylum, and have ended with perhaps the rest of their lives in prison or detention. Can we afford to violate human rights like this? The injustice is expensive.
Each detainee costs $389 000 or more offshore and $235 000 or more onshore. (J.M. Coetzee, "Australia's Shame", New York Review of Books September 26 and October 24).
In round figures, the budget is at present burdened by an amount in the order of 300-400 million dollars. When our wrongdoing becomes so expensive, why not stop it, and do the right thing?
Thomas Mautner, Griffith
TAKE CHILD SAFETY SERIOUSLY
My wife and I live opposite a Canberra secondary college and adjacent to a primary school. We have noticed how often a speed trap is set up on the main road outside the college while there is never monitoring on the secondary road outside the school.
NSW would seem to have a superior and safer scheme where drivers are warned of school zones by solar-powered flashing lights during school times. A cynic might see this as a revenue raising issue, with cars on the main road more likely to exceed the speed limit, but surely the ACT government must think otherwise when it comes to child safety. Or does it?
Rick Smyth, Narrabundah
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