It is good to see the paddle-boats once again on Lake Burley Griffin, although not as conveniently located for public use as they were in West Basin. But like the Information Centre once usefully located on Northbourne Avenue and now at Regatta Point, the ACT Government avoids having to maintain visitor facilities in sensible locations.
The Barr Government bought out the paddle-boat business at West Basin some years ago to enable takeover of public parkland (Acton Park) and lake bed for multi-storey apartments. We are soon to see plans for a "you beaut" waterfront proposal with the ubiquitous "vibrancy". But will it show the intrusion of vista blocking apartments alongside Commonwealth Avenue, the long cold winter shadows they will cast over the waterfront, the heat bank they will create in summer, the loss of environmental cooling from more than 200 trees that will go, traffic chaos, and the lakeshore beach environment with wildlife habitat that will be gone?
There has been continual spin from Malcolm Snow, CEO of the City Renewal Authority and the National Capital Authority on the West Basin proposal being a Griffin legacy. It is not.
The intentions of the Griffins and NCDC lake planners were always for lakeside parkland. But Barr's vision is to despoil the lake and its park for dollars. Selling our public parkland and lakebed is dishonouring the planning heritage of Lake Burley Griffin that now with climate change and city densification upon us is more vitally important than ever.
Juliet Ramsay, Burra, NSW
Save hydrotherapy pool
The recent re-opening of the 100 year old Manuka Pool was great to see. That the government was happy to spend $2.5m on refurbishing the pool for "heritage" reasons was noteworthy, given the amount of history that has been bulldozed in Canberra for "development" purposes.
However, the government stubbornly refuses to spend money, considerably less than $2.5m, on the Canberra Hospital Hydrotherapy Pool, as it is too old and unsafe.
The decision to close the hydrotherapy pool obviously has nothing to do with money, it has to do with the space it takes up in the middle of an upgrade to the hospital.Dave Jeffrey, Farrer
Where is the consistency in decision making? This facility which continues to be regularly used by people suffering debilitating age diseases is still under threat of imminent closure. It will be closed over the Christmas period for three weeks and one wonders if it will ever open again.
The decision to close the pool obviously has nothing to do with money (see Manuka Pool spend), it has to do with the space it takes up in the middle of an upgrade to the hospital.
Show some consistency Mr Barr and spend a few hundred thousand dollars on the pool, and save significant money in the future over several budget lines.
Dave Jeffrey, Farrer
Lies and statistics
The article "More high-flyers, but pay gap still remains" (November 27, p2) is a classic example of an erroneous conclusion caused by misuse of statistics. The chart illogically combines two very different streams of people.
Reference to the Defence Force provides enlightenment. Most ADF recruits join without any aspirations of reaching high rank. Let's call this the NCO stream. A separate and smaller stream of recruits expect to be commissioned in the next few years, with most hoping to eventually reach high ranks.
Almost all of the public servants in grades APS1 to APS4 are similar to service personnel in the NCO stream. This stream has a majority of females because a higher proportion of equivalent males prefer to become tradesmen rather than public service 'clerical assistants'. As few in this stream will reach EL1 level (roughly equivalent to major), the stream's numbers are irrelevant to numbers of promotions to SES level.
The APS5, APS6 and EL1 ranks contain people of both streams, but have a majority of females because the 'NCO equivalent' component has a majority of females.
For meaningful information on the gender pay gap, separate charts are required for the two streams. As few in the NCO stream will attain university degrees, but most in the commissioned stream will, one chart recording employees with university degrees, and the other recording those without, would be satisfactory. These would give a realistic indication of the real gender pay gap between males and females of equal ability and education level.
R. Salmond, Melba
Age isn't wisdom
We thank your 94 year old correspondent, Frank Bolton MBE, (Letters, November 28) for service to his country. Nevertheless, the letter indicates that wisdom does not necessarily accompany old age.
According to a report in The Guardian (Climate emergency: 'world may have crossed tipping points', November 28), scientists now warn climate change poses an existential threat to civilisation and that we are in a state of planetary emergency.
They say the world may already have crossed a series of climate tipping points.
These include: the West Antarctic ice sheet in irreversible retreat, and possibly the East Antarctic one as well, that will cause metres of sea level rise; the Greenland ice sheet melting at an accelerating rate, again, adding to sea-level rise; the shrinking of Arctic sea ice, reducing the albedo effect and causing further warming; the slowing down of the Gulf Stream with consequent effects on ocean circulation and distribution of heat around the planet; significant loss (17 per cent) of the Amazon rain forest. A loss of between 20 and 40 per cent will mean it becomes a source of emissions, not a sink; and complete loss of coral reefs, the great nurseries of many species of fish, if we reach two degrees warming.
Then there is food. A report in New Scientist ("Climate change could trigger huge drops in food production by 2100", November 27) finds that, because of climate change, by 2100, about 90 per cent of the global population could live in a country where both sectors (agriculture and seafood) have falling food productivity by 2100.
Less than three per cent of people will live in places where both are rising.
It is little wonder the children who march on the streets are panicked. We all should be.
Jenny Goldie, Cooma, NSW
Bolton is wrong
It is not obvious what motivates Mr Bolton (Letters, November 28) to dismiss valid concerns about climate change. There are no longer any national or international scientific bodies that reject the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.
That it is happening and serious is far beyond any kind of reasonable doubt.
So, how dare you, Mr Bolton, encourage action against the interests of my children when you, at age 94, are very unlikely to have to live with consequences such as ocean acidification, extreme weather, flooding and collapse of food and farming systems leading to conflict and mass displacements of people, but I might, at age 58, and my children will?
Peter Campbell, Cook
What do most people in the ACT and Australia want? I'll give you a hint. It is not "luxury cars" and "glamorous getaways" as claimed in your advertisement for Desire Canberra, (November 28).
What do we want? First all of meaningful action on the current climate emergency.
Other wants are to have healthy, happy communities and families. That would include reconciliation with the First Nations peoples of Australia as well as an increase in Newstart, affordable housing, increased funding to public health and education and other programs to address the growing social and economic inequality in our country.
Pamela Collett, Narrabundah
The right to disrupt
It baffles me that our great country would want to use legislation to force respect.
Enforcing one sided respect is confusing. If women hadn't been disruptive over their hugely disrespectful treatment as second class citizens they wouldn't have begun to sway public opinion for their eventual emancipation. If an adult wants to glue themselves to the road, let them. That's freedom to communicate.
Laws already exist to protect other's safety. Disrupting society to call out foul play is Australian, part of our history and above all freedom.
Alison O'Neill, Scullin
Government action vital
Ninety-four-year-olds like Frank Bolton (Letters, November 28), and 79-year-olds like me, are used to a world of short term predictions, like tomorrow's weather. But today's scientists can predict decades ahead, with increasing accuracy.
Most of these forecasts are of a world little different from the one Frank experienced; a world of uprisings, wars and migrations, as the globe heats up.
Three centuries of industrialisation will have produced a world too hot to support our present civilisation.
Governments need to prohibit the mining of coal and reintroduce a carbon price. Businesses need to act ethically and with respect for the biosphere. Individuals need to travel less, especially by plane or large car. And if we all went vegan or vegetarian we would have the problem by the throat.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
To the point
HOLT THE PHONE ...
Up to December 1967, when an allegedly renegade prime minister allegedly escaped by submarine to China, Chinese intelligence officials could apparently boast about "our man in Canberra". Now, according to John Murray (Letters, December 2) they can boast about "our people in Canberra".
Bill Deane, Chapman
NOT SUCH A GOOD IDEA
As of Sunday 3500 homes on Sydney's "leafy" North Shore remained without power. As the jewel in the crown of Liberal seats how are those voters thinking now about the sale of poles and wires which appears to be a key issue in the power reconnection problems?
Linus Cole, Palmerston
POT MEETS KETTLE
"The most important currency you've got in politics is trust" was Senator Canavan's response to Pauline Hanson's about turn in supporting the government. Practice what you preach Matt. You'll not be surprised to hear that no one trusts politicians these days.
Doug Hodgson, Pearce
GOOD JOB PAT
Congratulations to Pat Campbell on receiving the Walkley Cartoon Award for his striking depiction of the Silver Fern honouring all those who lost their lives in Christchurch. The March 15 atrocity shook a nation, its people and left a world numb in disbelief. Then and now it illustrates the sobering reality the fragile world of which we are a part.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook NSW
Yes, we must assign the investigation of China's interference with Australia's sovereignty with the same importance as we did into American involvement in our 1975 political coup. The Nugan Hand Bank and all.
Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW
CHARISMA FREE ZONE
John Mellors (Letters, November 26) pines for candidates who are charismatic. That is individuals with "the power to attract, influence and inspire people". Too many such people have foisted tragedies on the world in the not so distant past. I would much prefer intelligent candidates and, likewise, discerning voters.
John Simsons, Holt
NOTHING WOULD SURPRISE
What next? Are we going to hear Angus Taylor and ScoMo quoting America's highly reputable The National Enquirer when they claim Elvis was seen just last week pushing JFK in a wheelchair through Woolies.
Linus Cole, Palmerston
THINK AGAIN KEVIN
Even in the the midst of severe drought Rudd still advocates his "big Australia", supposedly on national interest grounds. He made no reference to water (other than a blithe reference to "broader environmental sustainability"), changing labour market conditions and stagnant wage growth, or our inadequate housing and infrastructure planning. Addressing these is surely an essential precursor to any sensible discussion of population policy.
Scott Humphries, Curtin
BLOWIN' IN THE WIND
Mt Taylor used to be fun, as we strove to climb it.
But now the wind down here, it never stops.
Must be the change of climate.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
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