I am writing to follow up on my letter of September 16 expressing my frustration at the ACT government's apparent lack of interest in the provision of day to day services to the people of West Belconnen.
If you needed any further evidence of this claim, you need only look at the Access Canberra website.
In previous years the ACT Government has published a mowing schedule for Canberra. This year the government has not done this, posting the message "Due to the low rainfall throughout 2019, the official mowing season has not commenced. All mowing in urban open spaces and arterial roads will be conducted on an as needs basis".
Simply walk your dog around West Belconnen and it is easy to believe the ACT Government has failed to work out how that assessment will be made.
When I complained, I was told to advise of specific areas needing mowing. It then dawned on me I was wrong: the need will simply be assessed by public complaints. What a great plan hatched by the mowing coordinator!
It was with great interest then, that I subsequently read the Belconnen Edition of the Chief Minister's "Our Canberra". In it was advice on the top five actions to make your home safe against bushfires. The number two action was to keep your lawn mowed and remove the cuttings. Good advice the government could, itself, take.
Many houses have a laneway on the other side of their fence the government has no plan to mow or maintain, making a mockery of its own advice.
I am getting sick of seeing the Chief Minister on the TV, pontificating on his latest scheme, while the people of West Belconnen continue to be ignored and denied the basic services that we pay our rates to receive.
Once again I call on the ACT Government to get off its backside and properly address this and the other issues I have raised in this forum.
Ian Kaye, West Belconnen
ACT government past use-by date
With the election less than 12 months away, the Barr-Rattenbury government is probably relaxed and comfortable despite its poor performance, given the failure of many in the ACT to engage in local politics and the perception the local Liberals are to the right of Genghis Khan.
The government has grossly under-spent on health and social housing; produced an ACT planning strategy devoid of analysis to justify its conclusions; under-supplied detached housing sites in the ACT stimulating housing development in NSW with resultant revenue loss to the ACT and higher travel and environmental costs; failed to justify its large rate increases or why it is proceeding with light rail. Alistair Coe and Jon Stanhope have identified many of these deficiencies.
Its response to criticism of light rail is instructive.
Evidence from Infrastructure Australia, the ACT Auditor General and the Productivity Commission that the light rail was a poor use of public funds, was met by emphasising the "city building" benefits of light rail, a response used by politicians when their vote buying project does not stack up.
Suggestions that bus rapid transport should be considered as an alternative to light rail were responded to by the use of cherry-picked studies showing the higher increase in land values along light rail routes, with studies showing light rail is not always superior to bus rapid transit ignored.
The Barr-Rattenbury government is well past its use by date, but will survive unless competent independents, holding the balance of power, are elected.
Michael Quirk, Garran
Snowy 2.0 risks park's beauty
Kosciuszko National Park (KNP), iconic, heritage listed treasure needs our protection from proposed, government-sanctioned environmental vandalism.
If this senseless catastrophe is approved, an area of 100 km of tunneling will dump 14 million cubic metres of spoil entering reservoirs, damaging flora and fauna, introducing asbestos and noxious pests into an already fragile waterway.
It would never pass scrutiny had its true destruction been evident from the offset.
Understating the full extent of permanent damage outside heavy construction zones cannot hide the fact that much of the national park will be vandalized.
This is a conservation reserve, not yet another commercial opportunity to be grabbed.
It will further impact local fish and wild life as it reduces inflows to reservoirs and water releases, in a time when rainfall is at a minimum and Australia is experiencing its worst drought this century. Noxious pests will be introduced throughout water supplies, making the human population sick, threatening native fish and deterring anglers and tourists. Such impacts are totally unacceptable.
Snowy 2.0 will trash the experience of the park as a wilderness and solitude found only in alpine landscapes.
In no ways does this project meet the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
What is proposed is tantamount to environmental impacts of such a staggering scale and severity as to undermine all that is precious to this national heritage site, with no economic or community benefits. Financially, the Australian taxpayer will be responsible for a debt some five times greater than the original economic costing. This could run towards $10 billion, or even more, rendering the project totally uneconomic. Snowy 2.0 does not stack up on either economic or environmental grounds.
Better alternatives should be researched, avoiding catastrophic impacts on the national park.
John Painter, Turner
Support needed for aged care
The aged care Royal Commission hearings in Mudgee have been hard to listen to, but the message is one we all need to hear: aged care in rural and remote communities desperately needs more support.
We thank the Royal Commission for taking on this issue. There are clearly inequalities in the availability of aged care between the cities and the country.
The challenges in reaching people in remote locations are significant, as is supporting a large, well-trained and well-equipped workforce across such a big area.
As the largest not-for-profit provider of ageing services in NSW and the ACT, we focus on providing services and supports for people who are disadvantaged, vulnerable or isolated.
Many providers are struggling to stay in business, especially in regional and remote communities and more resources are needed if the needs of older people are to be properly met. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to our amazing staff in rural and remote areas who do incredible work under very tough conditions.
The Royal Commission is a hard but necessary process, and one I hope will lead to the transformation of the sector, so it can deliver the high-quality care and dignity that older Australians deserve.
Saviour Buhagiar Director, Ageing Uniting, Sydney
Listen to your elders
We are becoming aware that we have a huge problem with 'ageism'. Isn't it time we defined and explained what we are talking about?
With ever increasing life expectancy there are huge differences between those at the beginning of the ageing journey and those nearing the end, in both physical and mental capabilities, as well as differences within these two descriptors.
These differences are too great to be enclosed within the words 'old' or 'ageing'.
The 67 year old who was the guest of both the ABC and the press club this week, speaking on ageing and ageism, has barely started the journey and can only speak from what she has heard or read, and her own very limited experience of being old. Yet we got the impression that she was an 'expert' on 'ageing' and 'ageism'.
Many of the problems we are encountering in aged care and in society we are creating ourselves by not listening to those in this last third of our current lifespan.
Most older people are dismissed as being silly and stupid, whereas these descriptors would appear to apply more to those using them. We would be a more intelligent society if we listened to older people themselves as they are the real experts in the field.
I wonder if those involved in the current inquiry will have the courage and understanding, or intelligence, to take this extra step?
Audrey Guy, Ngunnawal
Climate change 'denier' an insult
The Canberra Times is wasting the ink in its editorial (November 6) and Thomas Newsome is wasting his video digits while ever their manifestos are based on the dictum: Do what I say not what I do.
Economic growth benefits everyone, including the media and especially the scientific community.
I have yet to see either of those groups voluntarily reduce their incomes, consumption of fossil fuels, energy, meat and other agricultural products like alcohol, sugar and other foods or make a vow of celibacy.
By all means try to persuade us by reasoned argument that your hypothesis is soundly based. But the more you try to frighten our children or resort to pejorative name calling such as 'denier' the less chance you have of success.
Fred Bennett, Bonner
Tell Canavan he's dreaming
With Delhi's 20 million citizens choking in toxic miasma, visible from space and 10X greater than acceptable pollution limits, someone needs to tell Resources Minister Canavan he's dreaming and risks committing crimes against humanity should he persist flogging coal to India (Australia joins Asia trade pact, CT, November 6, p9).
Albert White, Queanbeyan
West Basin units unconscionable
In town planning terms, proposed residential property development at the scale and density of Kingston Foreshores, in Acton Park (West Basin), is unconscionable.
The whole precinct is and will remain in close proximity to high levels of traffic, its main aspect is to the south, and it is valuable lakeside open space for a park-starved Civic.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
Laver still holds court
The current comparisons between Margaret Court and Rod Laver illustrates what a champion is.
A true champion does not seek praise and accepts any praise with humility.
Dennis Fitzgerald Box Hill, Vic
Canberra a waste land?
Government has allocated land at Hume for recycling and waste management.
The waste feasibility study call to industry clearly identified Hume Waste Precinct with proximity to rail transport.
Millions of dollars of public money addressed the railway masterplan and Eastlake Report with years of consultation with community.
In the face of all this an approved terminal for private use giving a hectare of the through rail corridor will prevent any innovative public rail use such as a faster tilt train to Sydney or much needed light rail from Queanbeyan to Canberra.
Barbara Moore, Kingston
Old rail yards an opportunity
Marlene Hall (letters 7 Nov) appears to have overlooked the redevelopment value of the old marshalling yards, adjacent to the Kingston Foreshore, to developers and the ACT town council if the line stopped at Ipswich Street.
Surely this factor would not override public convenience - would it?
Peter Haddon, Jerrabomberra
Kooyong: confusion or corruption?
Deliberately conveying political party 'how to vote' messaging in another language with strong imagery that suggested the AEC's imprimatur is only 'confusing' if the party is Liberal.
If this had been done by any other party the Liberals would have called it out as corruption ("Libs admit poll sign confusion", November 7).
Sue Dyer, Downer
Drain the lake for railway
Three admirably constructive 'train' letters (Wednesday, November 6).
I would go further: drain the lake and end the north-south divide - it's only ornamental anyway!
This cuts out need for a new 'tram' bridge and opens up fresh route possibilities.
It allows intercity rail into Civic as the Burley Griffins planned and opens up broad central hectares for developers, high-rated for ACT Revenue.
Sheep may safely graze.
A surge of water downstream will be a bonus for the struggling Murray Darling set-up. What's not to like?
Lawry Herron, O'Connor
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