Thankfully our federal and state political authorities are appreciating the value of royalty to comfort and support bush-fire ravaged communities.
It is completely unacceptable that Prince William and his Duchess have not been invited to Australia since 2014.
While absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, the failure to invite visits by senior royals undermines the Australian Crown.
David D'Lima, Sturt
Their good graces
The Australian Monarchist League welcomes the proposed visit by the Duke of Cambridge to Australia. His Royal Highness, representing the Queen, will visit areas ravaged by bushfires and meet with firefighters and also those who have lost their homes.
Hopefully, this visit will also lead to a formal recognition of the heroic involvement of all those involved in fighting the devastating fires of this past month whether they be volunteers or otherwise.
Philip Benwell, National Chair Australian Monarchist League
Dimpled by design
Re: "Better and Faster" (Letters, February 11).
The 336 dimples in golf balls decreases friction. The well known phenomenon is called laminar flow.
My little van also has 336 dimples and will now exceed it's design speed.
I have had the privilege of spending time in the company of vehicle recyclers (once known as wreckers). For $1000 I have managed to get the windscreen and other bits to fix the van.
I have now promoted wreckers up my list of worthwhile organisations to well above Certified Practicing Accountants.
I would like to similarly promote politicians from their rather humble position on my list. They could earn this elevation if they could just facilitate the distribution of late model vehicles, from the pool of 35,000 dimpled vehicles, to the pool of uninsured folk who have lost their vehicles in the bushfires and floods.
Howard Ubey, Kingston
Questions need answers
There are a couple of questions that need to be answered regarding the origins of the Orroral Valley fire that has destroyed about 86,000 hectares of the ACT bushland and killed thousands of our native animals.
You recently reported the defence helicopter that accidentally started the fire on January 27 escaped the scene with flames licking its underbelly. Did the crew advise their base of the fire immediately? If not, why not? If they did, why did the local RFS not know of the fire until a "trickle of smoke" was spotted from the Mt Tennent fire tower?
How long was it between the fire starting and the alert being raised?
I have no knowledge of firefighting strategies, but I can't help feeling if the precise location of the fire had been reported by the defence crew immediately and a helicopter or larger water-bombing aircraft deployed as soon as possible, that fire might have been nipped in the bud.
Mike O'Shaughnessy, Spence
The fire miracle
Today I breathed fresh air and was grateful for it. Before the fires I took it for granted.
People came to help us and they didn't ask our political persuasion, our religion, or our nationality. They came because we were in dire circumstances and their hearts felt our anguish.Leone Flowers, Bonython
Before the fires I despaired that we, the people of the world, were fractured into little tribes opposed to each other, maligning each other, profiting at each other's expense and killing each other's loved ones. I wondered why we were still voting for those who divide us against each other to gain power and feed their hungry egos.
The fires reminded me that our hearts can open to include all of humanity into our own tribe.
People came to help us and they didn't ask our political persuasion, our religion, or our nationality. They came because we were in dire circumstances and their hearts felt our anguish. They came because deep in our hearts we all know that there is only one tribe.
It is my wish we remember every time we make a decision our hearts opened wide enough to encompass everyone.
Leone Flowers, Bonython
Gas has pros and cons
Graham Anderson (Letters, February 7) is correct in suggesting gas has a role to play in the short to medium term in helping to firm renewable generation.
It appears he failed to notice the forecast role of gas is a rapidly diminishing one. The electricity market operator (AEMO), in its Integrated System Plan forecasts gas generation to drop substantially as renewable generation increases.
Gas generation on the national electricity market is currently around 18 TWh per year or about nine per cent of total generation. AEMO are forecasting it to average less than five TWh per year over the next two decades, roughly a 75 per cent reduction.
Many places, including Canberra, are planning to reduce gas use in residential heating and cooking by switching to electric appliances.
With regards to supply, recent Australian experience has seen a massive increase in gas production. Nearly all of this was exported while local gas prices rose three-fold or more.
Considering these facts it is reasonable to question if it is in Australia's interest to open new coal seam gas developments.
David Osmond, Dickson
Ben Ponton "simplified" the Territory Plan in "technical amendment" (TA) 2012-06. He created new codes, and amended others. He authorised "precinct maps" to permit or prohibit land-uses that would otherwise be prohibited or permitted.
He created 19 district precinct maps, that collectively allowed for exceptions anywhere in the ACT. For no obvious reason, he created more than a hundred other precinct maps.
Following concern that those changes should have been referred to the Minister and the planning committee, the planning authority told the Planning and Development Forum that "TA 2012-06 ... simply relocated existing provisions in the Territory Plan into precinct codes".
Planning Minister Mick Gentleman accepts that description on the grounds it would have been accurate if the word "simply" had been omitted.
Ponton is now Director-General of Environment and Planning.
Now Steve Evans reports the "ACT government [is] to spend $1.2 million to 'simplify' ACT planning," (Canberra Times, February 10).
How much more "simplification" can our planning system tolerate?
Leon Arundell, Downer
What comes next?
Horror fires have blackened every day of the week: Black Monday (1968), Black Tuesday (1967), Ash Wednesday (1983), Black Thursday (1851), Black Friday (1939), Black Saturday (2009), Black Sunday (1955).
Now Scotty from marketing gives us something a lot bigger: "Black Summer". That's a big help. Never mind that the disaster started in winter, raged on through spring and summer while he relaxed in Hawaii, and will probably burn into autumn. Nothing unusual about that, we're told.
What next? Black Year? Black Decade?
Roger Bacon, Cook
I refer to the article "Recycling firm accuses government of 'unlawful' conduct" (canberratimes.com.au, February 10).
Could someone explain why the ACT government is even considering a major waste facility at a location some 260 metres from the future suburb of East Lake with its projected 9000 residents, 730 metres from residential Narrabundah, roughly one kilometre from three childcare centres and the open air Fyshwick markets and less than three kilometres from the airport?
Waste facilities present an increased risk of fire. Locating one in the inner south suburb of Fyshwick seems foolhardy in the extreme.
B M Bailey, Narrabundah
Greens not to blame
Jim Coats's (Letters, February 5) implication that Richard Di Natale's career move was prompted by the impending revelation of some degree of culpability in the ongoing horror bushfire season cuts to the very heart of the matter.
The matter being that vested interests have weaponised misinformation. Entities such as the Murdoch media empire and Facebook earn a very tidy income disseminating it. A large section of society are too lazy to think for themselves and will accept just about any conspiracy theory served up to them on a digital display as long as it's accompanied by a well-known logo in the corner.
Without sweeping reforms and the imposition of onerous content standards, strict policing and meaningful penalties the new media will continue to profit from the erosion of democracy.
Climate change will never be addressed as long as someone with deep pockets would prefer we looked the other way.
James Allan, Narrabundah
TO THE POINT
Re The Canberra Times photo captioned "Andrew Barr boards a train to Sydney in May 2017" (Letters, February 12). Please publish another photo when he gets there.
John Howarth, Weston
THAT REGAL TOUCH
When in doubt and strife bung on a royal tour.
James Mahoney, McKellar
WHAT A WASTE
We are led to believe the Australian taxpayers will meet all costs associated with the royal visit. Whilst the paparazzi are no doubt excited, I can think of no bigger waste of money, except, possibly, Barnaby Joyce's ill-fated journey as the drought envoy.
Kim Fitzgerald, Deakin
The royals are coming out to console us re the bush fires. When will Australia grow up and stop touching it's forelock in deference to any person, who by accident of birth is deemed 'royal', and who graciously decides to visit us (at considerable expense) to pat our heads.
Norman Lee, Weston
I've got a bank of dole bludgers on my roof. They reliably make power, without input costs, that I can use or feed into the grid.
Because of them I never get electricity bills. So please explain Senator Canavan, how is this a bad thing?
Philip Winkworth, Campbell
Is trucking 1.3 million tonnes per annum of waste into Fyshwick our Griffin Legacy?
Peter Moore Kingston
So far Australia has had fire, flood and pestilence in 2020. Let's hope the fourth horseman (death) does not show up.
Geof Murray, Ngunnawal
CAN THE TRAM
Andrew Barr is correct. "our growing city needs new and better public infrastructure". Wasting more money on the Green's tramline will only delay the necessary infrastructure further.
Murray Upton, Belconnen
SPORTS RORTS REDUX
How good was the $150 million FFWSS grants program, aka "Sports Pork Mark Two"? No time wasted on calling for, and pretending to consider, grant applications. No published merit selection guidelines to be skirted around. Just superbly efficient pork distribution. A streamlined fast track to the bottom of the ethical barrel. Are we there yet?
Paul McMahon, Isaacs
I'm with Roy Priest (Letters, February 8) with regard to current water restrictions and regulations not only within the ACT but throughout every state in Australia. Preference should be give to irrigators using lake or river water for food production over those (as is the case in Canberra) simply wanting to water sporting facilities or lawn areas.
Patricia Watson, Red Hill
If Barnaby Joyce's life's aspiration had been to be a narcissistic, garrulous MHR, rather than Deputy PM, he would now be quite fulfilled, and not such a bother.
M. F. Horton, Adelaide, SA
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