In relation to comments on intercity rates charges (Paul Wayper Cook "ACT services worth every penny", November 6) I would note that I have compared my long term rates charges with a colleague who has resided in the prime Middle Harbour suburb of Clontarf beside the Sydney Spit bridge in a four bedroom double story prime domain.
Un-audited records show that the rates charges for my humble townhouse abode in the burbs were under half the rates bill of the Sydney location over 8 years ago but this year is the first year mine are on par with this prime Sydney housing location.
With at least ten more years yet to run on this ACT Govt "lifting" program I feel confident that over time my rates bill could double the Sydney comparison.
Furthermore, if residents believe their government has a socially efficient tax system then other parts of the economy should benefit from the financial impost imposed on rate increases.
On that basis if anyone bothered to pay attention to the disappointing retail trade figures 0.2% growth (minus 0.1 per cent seasonally adjusted) for the three months to September presented on Monday, it was noted that citizens had dramatically stopped retail spending.
The retail trade figures present the lowest annual volumes since the 1990's.
If you had a closer look you will note that ACT, NT and WA figures were the flattest.
Are residents being financially squeezed by the current ACT taxation imposition and how socially fair is it? Please form your own conclusion?
Wayne Grant, Swinger Hill
Belconnen: Canberra's 'wild west'
I disagree with Paul Wayper (Letters, 6 Nov). Yes, we pay high rates for living in a very liveable city, with well maintained roads, lots of green space and high quality of life, that's true.
But the ACT Government is falling very short on delivering these services to an acceptable level.
Has Mr Wayper travelled on Belconnen Way and Coulter Drive lately?
It is full of pot holes, particularly at the intersection of both roads. Our 'Fix My Street' requests are basically ignored.
Belconnen roads and streets have a high prevalence of weeds growing out of the bitumen, our median strips are a weed fest.
Some drains are actually blocked by weeded shrubs growing out of their cavities and the grass is not mowed adequately.
Our green spaces are also diminishing at a fast rate. Belconnen looks like the wild west.
We are seeing new suburbs, new development and talk of expensive big projects by the ACT Government while our established suburbs are paying the price.
Combine this with the long waiting lists at our hospitals and our ever increasing rates and yes, we have a lot of reasons to be unsatisfied.
Alison Chapple, Macquarie
Drought funds don't reflect reality
I hear that the government is to offer easy loans to drought effected farmers to bide them through these tough times till the drought breaks.
They don't get it do they!? Climate change is irreversible and without a doubt climate change is here to stay. So the best we can hope for is occasional short term relief.
But such events can only bring false hope and it would be a cruel policy that relies upon that.
Let's face it: there is no going back now to "normality". The planet is already partially irreversibly stuffed.
Give money to farmers but not for digging deeper into holes they can never get out of.
The rain is falling somewhere and that is where they should be encouraged to take their undoubted skills, but in their own time and with generous financial help.
Peter Carden, Hughes
Energy buying not made easy
Buying electricity is a tawdry process.
Turn on a switch you'll get the same electricity as your neighbour. It doesn't matter who the retailers are. The only difference is how much you pay.
Am I sounding jaundiced? I've just gone through the annual process of contracting for electricity.
Not quick, simple or ethical.
It's an arrangement proudly based on the proposition that 'if you snooze you lose'.
Step one is the notice informing you that your current electricity discount will end, if you don't act, you'll be back on the mug's rate. That's the rate which the local price regulator assesses to be a fair rate.
Step two: spend the afternoon on the 'Energy Made Easy' web site. Sorry not easy. What's wrong with retailers just offering up their respective best offer tariff schedules?
Energy Made Easy is at best just clutter, more likely it's a pretence that the federal government is doing something to reduce electricity prices. Next do the sums and sign up with the alternate retailer.
The phone now starts to ring; the spivs from the comparator web sites are hunting for a commission.
The penultimate step is the call from your former retailer, they now have an offer which wasn't available at step one.
Ever helpful once a new lower rate has been struck, they will redirect the phone call to your presumptive retailer.
The final step is to cancel the transfer request. That's market ethics for you.
Mike Buckley, Barton
(Pundits are) ignoring the fact Bill Shorten united the Labor Party after Rudd-Gillard-Rudd merry go round.Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
Visa system must remain public
The proposal to privatise the Australian visa system seems ill-advised.
The risks are substantial in terms of security of data, possible commercialisation of the visa process as well as corruption of the decision-making process of who is issued a visa.
The current Coalition government often invokes "border security" as motivating its policies. Yet a privatised visa system presents a clear and present danger to security. Issuance of visas should remain in control of the relevant government office not a private corporation.
Pamela Collett, Narrabundah
Shorten's real role uniting ALP
I congratulate Dr Andrew Leigh for his comments about Labor loss in the last federal election. Labor caucus definitely approved the election manifesto.
Some pundits are blaming Shorten's unpopularity with the electorates ignoring the fact that Bill Shorten united the Labor Party after Rudd-Gillard-Rudd merry go round.
Where were those people who are blaming Shorten now?
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
Coalition a patriarchy
Even without taking note of the preponderance of men in government generally and in the Coalition in particular, it is possible to define it and those of us in the wider electorates as being in a patriarchal system of government.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has assumed the mantle of patriarch by soaking up all the oxygen with regard to drought from his partner organisation the Nationals.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, like a supportive little spouse, getting less than 10% of the media cover ("Drought stimulus package announced" CT Nov 2 p10).
We as the wider family are being treated like children of a Victorian era, to be seen but not heard.
Ann Darbyshire, Hughes
Vegan diet a potential solution
Scott Morrison wants to help farmers get through the drought and out the other side.
But this drought looks permanent.
And this will be a good thing if it means that farmers stop producing meat, eggs and dairy and we stop eating them.
A strictly vegan diet is best, and a partly vegan diet is good, for us, the animals and the planet - and probably the only things that will save us.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
Refugee could be welcome
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, in singling out the case of a Burmese (or 'Myanmarese') man who has been accused of child molestation ("Dutton furious over medevac", November 8, p12) is sailing close to the moral, if not legal, wind.
According to (Daily Telegraph, November 7), this man has also been accused of "kicking his girlfriend and her mother in the face" while being held in Australia's Nauru detention centre.
If one were to accept all these accusations, the Burmese asylum seeker would indeed seem an unwelcome addition to our population. However, none of these accusations is a proven fact.
This handsome young man (google 'Burmese man assaults girlfriend') could, if given the chance, prove to be a valued member of Australian society.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Help our politicians on climate
Given the adage that if you ask an economist a question you get four answers, is it possible 11,000 economists could come up with a six point manifesto for maintaining a healthy economy while addressing the six points of the climate emergency (CT editorial, Nov 7)?
That would go a long way to helping our political leaders deal with the crisis.
Malcolm Robertson, Chapman
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