Gina Pinkas is right on the button in calling for the cancellation of the tramway extension to Woden (Letters, June 22).
There are lots of other good reasons apart from cost: the urban vandalism involved in chopping down the beautiful old cedrus deodara trees from Commonwealth Bridge to the Hyatt Hotel, the ugliness of the overhead wires and associated infrastructure and the inflexibility of whatever final route is chosen.
Adelaide Avenue is not convenient to any of the hospitals, public or private, between Barton and Phillip, (especially Canberra Hospital).
None of the eight or so public or private schools in the vicinity would have comfortable and safe access to any stations along any possible route.
If the government wants to reap any rewards from nearby site redevelopment, what does it propose knocking down? The Albert Hall? The Lodge?
The British, New Zealand, Canadian, Papua New Guinean, South African, Indian, Philippine, Thai, Italian, Japanese, and Saudi Arabian embassies and high commissions are conveniently located along the way.
Not many of their denizens are likely to use the "blight rail". Knock 'em down.
Whichever route is selected will be a financial disaster and will have very little public utility.
This coming election will be vital to our future. What do the Liberals want to do about the "blight rail"? They won't say.
James Gralton, Garran
What idiocy is this?
Do other people share this same frustration? You know, when you are driving on a road or a highway and you encounter signs erected for non-existent "roadwork"?
I have often been confronted by signs on highways and byways telling us that we should slow down for everyone's safety, and "penalties apply" if you do not comply.
Often there is no indication that anything is happening on the road at all.
June 23 was a good example: Travelling Northwards from Hindmarsh Drive along the Monaro Highway/Majura Parkway, just before lunchtime, I was in a moderate hurry, but encountered signs which said "Workers on Foot" and the speed limit was 40 km/h.
Nothing, and no one, was working anywhere on the road, or near the road, till we reached the Majura industrial area, five kilometres on, where there was a sign telling us "End Roadwork"!
Of course, I never mind slowing down when machinery or workers are on the road, improving road surfaces and so on. But would the companies involved please, please, please take the signs down when they are no longer needed?
Sep Westerhuis, Harrison
A couple of points that Rohan Goyne (Letters, June 23) did not include from his experience with replacing rooftop solar panels were the life span of his old panels (I guess about 10 years) and the embodied energy in their production.
It takes nearly two years of operation to repay the embodied energy in a solar panel.
Coincidentally we are now entering that time of the year when both solar panels and wind turbines are at their lowest level of energy production, the latter because wind in south-eastern Australia is most fickle during winter months.
For example, in the eight days from June 4 to June 11 just past, the average energy production across all wind farms monitored by the Australian Energy Market Operator was 12.8 per cent of capacity. This compares with an annual average of about 33 per cent. The total shortfall in energy generation (compared to average) was nearly 40GWh per day.
The Morrison government recently announced that it will fast-track the Marinus high-voltage cable connecting more reliable wind and hydro generators in Tasmania across Bass Strait, as part of the COVID-19 recovery stimulus package.
This project is estimated to cost $3.5 billion and it remains to be seen what the total cost of the "battery of Tasmania" will be.
It is considerations such as these that show that renewable energy is not as cheap as its staunchest advocates would have us believe.
John Smith, Farrer
For some months the overwhelmingly majority of our population have been diligently practising "physical distancing". What has been unhelpful has been the frequent and incorrect labelling of the recent period of constrained behaviour as "social distancing".
To perpetuate the naming of the recent experience in this way risks establishing it as a societal and workplace norm.
Physical distancing of office and other spaces for the time being is sensible while still permitting necessary interactions. In contrast, social distancing enshrines the idea of workplace alienation, detachment and estrangement.Professor Grant Michelson, Macquarie University Business School, Sydney
It is not. Social distancing is harmful to our humanity, especially as organisations oversee a careful return to their workplaces. Managers and employees are interconnected with and interdependent on each other.
Physical distancing of office and other spaces for the time being is sensible, while still permitting necessary interactions. In contrast, social distancing enshrines the idea of workplace alienation, detachment and estrangement, which is in no one's interest.
Professor Grant Michelson, Macquarie University Business School, Sydney
Play it safe
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has stated "we will go door-to-door getting the message out" in response to Victoria's spike in coronavirus cases.
Let's hope the door knockers aren't asymptomatic and are wearing masks. Door-to door salespeople have been responsible for the spread of coronavirus in some countries.
What a wicked problem the world is dealing with.
Gordon Edwards, Page
A silly idea
I was surprised to hear National Party and Federation Party (ex-Country Alliance) candidates in the Eden-Monaro byelection clamouring for a lazy $2.54 billion dollars of taxpayer funds for an economically unviable Canberra-Eden rail project ("Byelection impetus for Eden's rail link", CT, June 23).
The NSW government in their NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 did not consider Eden as an option to take on any increased cargo demand. However, port capacity will increase at Port Botany, Port Kembla and Newcastle to match increases in cargo demand through to 2035. These ports handle exports such as grain and coal and major imports like motor vehicles and containers. As it now stands, 90 percent of imports to Sydney by ship are for consumption within 60 kilometres of Sydney.
The Eden proposal does not include the cost of transforming the current Eden port into a diversified export terminal. Moreover, there are insufficient export industries along the route and any passenger traffic would not be cost-recoverable.
The cost-benefit analysis includes "value capture", hoping housing will open up with cheap land along the line. Value capture only works where there is high population density and employment. None of those conditions exist along the route and there is no evidence it ever will.
The priority for the rail industry is achieving fair cost competitiveness with road freight. Road freight user charges do not reflect the full cost of road use. Dean Dalla Valle, CEO of Australia's largest rail operator Pacific National, has said excessive rail access charges and red tape were the biggest obstacles for the rail industry.
The rail industry doesn't need political distractions from economically nonviable projects like Eden, even if it's just electioneering.
Brad Hinton, Garran
A white elephant
Byelections are great for announcing all sorts of wildly ambitious local projects divorced from reality. The Eden rail line is a white elephant just waiting for money to be ploughed into it.
Investing in a rail trail, like the new successful Rosewood-Tumbarumba trail, would not only be much cheaper and more viable, it would spur actual tourism - rather than providing for imaginary high levels of freight.
Robbie Slape, O'Connor
Jack did good
Jack Waterford's knowledgeable and thought-provoking commentaries are among the first things I read on Saturday. He always make a good case, even if one disagrees with him in part.
His commentary "Justice impossible with secret trials" (Canberra Times, June 24, p. 24), much broader than the title suggests, is completely convincing in its general conclusion that many of the recent national security laws are against the public interest and should be repealed. He also makes the very important point that senior public servants can simply declare any difficult matter to be Top Secret, probably without even an internal review of that decision. Any leaking of documents relating to such a matter can lead to draconian consequences, as we all know.
Neville Exon, Chapman
Cause for concern
All our governments should put their reopening programs on hold until we know what is happening in Victoria.
N Ellis, Belconnen
TO THE POINT
I feel like a Queenslander by suggesting action against Victorians but perhaps, whilst we cannot close our borders, we should set up stations to test and record all visitors coming from Victoria by road or air. Then we can at least trace them and their contacts if they test positive.
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
LILLEY IS THE MAN
Rory McElligott (Letters, June 22), Chris Lilley is like Shakespeare. Some of Shakespeare's plays are called comedies and some tragedies, depending on whether or not they have happy endings. But virtually all of them contain both comic and tragic elements. Similarly, Lilley is not about presenting either comedy or tragedy as such, but life.
Michael McCarthy, Deakin
The ACT government has committed $350,000 for a variable speed limit system on the Tuggeranong Parkway between Cotter Road and the Glenloch interchange. What is a "variable speed limit system"?
Don Sephton, Greenway
The ACT government, in collaboration with the federal government, is proposing to install traffic lights at four intersections across the ACT as part of a coronavirus stimulus program at a total cost of $10 million or $2.5 million per intersection. They must be the gold-plated variety
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
DO THE NUMBERS
How many bus stops can we get for $12 million?
W J Berntsson, Kambah
It is no surprise the Catholic Church has asked some priests to donate half their JobKeeper payments back to the church. No doubt their coffers have been severely depleted by the many compensation claims having been paid out due to past indiscretions of their clergy.
Tony May, Pearce
A STRANGE REVERSAL
Congratulations to Malala Yousafzai on her degree in the humanities ("Target of Taliban gets her degree", June 21, p33).
Had she studied in Australia rather than at Oxford she would have been encouraged to complete a science or mathematics degree to make herself more employable.
This is despite Coalition governments defunding the sciences for decades, forcing scientists to seek employment offshore.
W Book, Hackett
David Pope has taken more than just a tertiary glance at changes to higher education (Editorial cartoon, June 23).
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Scott Morrison and the Labor Party must be licking their lips about Essendon and their latest woes.
Jeff Bradley, Isaacs
TRY ANZAC PARADE
Further to the discussion as to the appropriate place for the "'Fuzzy Wuzzy" statue to be situated, surely it deserves to be placed on Anzac Parade?
And when will the worthy slaves of the land of "woke" object to the demeaning name of these heroes?
Richard Forster, Deakin
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