Like many readers of The Canberra Times, I was saddened to learn of the financial difficulties experienced by the National Gallery of Australia.
Understandably, this leads to commentary on the government's decision in 2018 to allocate $498.7 million for the Australian War Memorial's development project (Letters, Ray Edmondson, June 26). However, some consideration of context is worthwhile.
The Australian War Memorial is a major tourism driver to the ACT and this investment will have positive long term impacts on the local economy. The memorial development project is anticipated to deliver a net economic benefit of $197 million and will provide a major boost to the local construction industry, generating more than 300 jobs during the crucial post-pandemic recovery period.
The $498.7m capital investment is for this project and does not provide relief to the ongoing pressures of running the Memorial, which has been subject to the efficiency dividends affecting other national institutions, including the end of temporary funding provided for the centenary of the First World War.
Most importantly, the project will ensure the stories of the more than 100,000 Australians who have served in war or on peacekeeping and humanitarian operations over the past 30 years are told.
Matt Anderson, director, Australian War Memorial, Canberra
The Mr Fluffy scam
I believe the Barr government's Mr Fluffy urban renewal strategy is a land-grabbing, money-making scam.
Of all the single dwelling blocks of land that were surrendered, the Barr government has approved construction of at least two dwellings on more than 90 per cent of them.
To facilitate its strategy, the Barr government effectively got rid of the requirement to get neighbours' permission for building plans if the roofline of your proposed construction might impede their view.
It also made a change to the dual occupancy requirements for Mr Fluffy blocks to facilitate the land grabbing strategy. Dual occupancy construction requires a block larger than 800 metres.
The Mr Fluffy blocks can be significantly smaller. Why?
I objected right from the start. I refused permission repeatedly, but the Barr government either ignored me or replied curtly to the negative.
I am now one of many Canberrans who have had their view seriously impaired by a dual occupancy on a Mr Fluffy block where originally there was a single dwelling.
A recent development is that on June 17 the Environmental Planning Department (EPD) emailed Canberra citizens who may have been negatively affected by the Mr Fluffy strategy. My objection is being reconsidered on the grounds of my refusal to give permission.
However it seems that the battle is not yet over. The reconsideration document states on page 6 that it is not addressing whether the new construction impairs neighbours views of the landscape. Why?
The EDP needs to reopen consideration of objections which include this vital, view-impairment statement ASAP.
Dr. Judy Ryan, Lyons
Not funny Pope
Pope's cartoon of June 26 was just tiresome with the depiction of Alan Joyce of Qantas and the great weight of his salary.
I very much doubt that Pope has any idea what it takes to run an organisation the size of Qantas and the huge responsibility that goes with it.
Whatever you think about Joyce's remuneration, it is irrelevant in the scheme of things when compared to the huge value of the assets and the number of people to manage. It's so easy to carp from the sidelines and be unfunny.
Eric Hodge, Pearce
Narrabundah is one of the older Canberra suburbs. It has the prefabricated "homes for the workers" who helped build Canberra.
The streets were numbered from First Street to 21st Street until the late 1970s when they were changed for no good reason. I still do not understand why. They were unique in their own right. Then there are the Narrabundah shops. In their hey day, the 1960s and early 1970s, we had three butchers shops, a TAB, a Commonwealth Bank branch and our own post office.
We had an upgrade of the shops about 20 years ago. Since then nothing has been done. Yet they can spend $13 million on Braddon.
Our tennis block is in a disarray, the toilets are blocked, and we need new matting. But Braddon gets the money. Why?
Richard Allen, Narrabundah
Twisting the knife
It would seem the Morrison government has decided to stick the knife into the already critically wounded university sector.
First they excluded universities from the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs. Then they eliminated most part-time workers - who are mostly uni students - from those programs as well.
Now they want to reduce the funding for Australian students, and while they claim that some degrees will be cheaper it's hard to understand their "captain's calls" on which are supposedly beneficial.
The government has this ridiculous idea it can predict "employment hot spots" and then fund those degrees more.
This will be about as successful as their ability to predict the COVID-19 outbreak, or to prevent the firestorms that swept the nation at the end of last year.
Industries involved in installing renewable energy, recycling, reducing carbon emissions and protecting our environment have been completely ignored by the Coalition in the past.
All the evidence is the Coalition couldn't pick an "employment hot spot" if it walked up and begged them to give it a job.Paul Wayper, Cook
This is despite employing more people than the coal mining and power industry combined.
All the evidence is the Coalition couldn't pick an "employment hot spot" if it walked up and begged them for a job.
Paul Wayper, Cook
No public inquiry
Further to our previous letter ("Residents cut out of Kippax plan", June 2), we have been informed by the Standing Committee for Planning and Urban Renewal that it will not be conducting a public inquiry into Minister Gentleman's recommended draft variation to the Territory Plan No. 361 - Kippax Group Centre (April 2020).
The committee has not provided a reason for its inaction. Rezoning a very large area of urban open space, which is a known flood plain, for the benefit of a developer demonstrates the flaws in the current master planning arrangements.
Canberra needs a totally new approach to master planning based on transparency, principles of sustainable development, integrity and responsibility to taxpayers, and a new government that heeds independent, expert advice.
Glenys and Phil Byrne, Florey
Space is crowded
Professor Russell Boyce's jubilation at Australia's second successful launching of a miniature cube-shaped satellite (or CubeSat) may be misplaced ("How a 'shoebox' in space is shaping our future", canberratimes.com.au, June 24).
As head of the UNSW Canberra Space team, professor Joyce argues that Australia should be able to independently gather its own satellite data without being solely dependent upon other nations.
But aren't we still highly dependent upon the US?
The problem is that space is becoming increasingly more contested.
CubeSats use off-the-shelf technology to keep costs low, making them highly vulnerable to hacking. By taking control of satellites that are steerable, hackers could send malicious commands to turn them into an anti-satellite weapon.
So why are we joining the US by entering into a region destined to become the final frontier of superpower warfare?
Dr Vincent Zankin, Rivett
An ABC licence?
I work part-year in the UK so I pay the annual $284 UK TV licence fee. Over 90 per cent of the licence fee is spent on BBC TV channels, radio stations, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, and online services.
Surely something similar - perhaps means tested - could be done to fund ABC/SBS services? Funding through a national lottery might be a more Australian approach.
Just think - SBS could then be commercial-free and the ABC adequately resourced to benefit all of us - including our liberal arts-deprived future generations.
C. Williams, Forrest
Call me thick, but why does an increase in COVID-19 cases in Victoria necessitate panic-buying of toilet paper in Canberra? I needed some on Thursday and the shelves at a large nearby supermarket were nearly empty.
Spare me all the ridiculous rhetoric about how great Australians/Canberrans are in tough times. Some of us have obviously learned nothing since the last time the shelves were emptied.
Gordon Fyfe, Kambah
To the point
The Mt Ainslie walking track starts at the rear of the War Memorial. It is known as the "Kokoda Track" and has plaques at key points referring to the famous battle in Papua New Guinea. This would be a great location for the "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels" statue.
Liz Swain, Barton
A SIMPLE MISTAKE
James Gralton (Letters, June 25) mistakenly thinks the tram is meant to get people to hospitals and schools. Not at all. And no, not to universities, airports, railway stations, or sports stadiums, either. That would only happen in a well-governed jurisdiction.
Maria Greene, Curtin
Has the ABC proposed an independent inquiry into the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ken Brazel, Wright
A HEAVY HAND
M McCarthy (Letters, June 25) suggests Chris Lilley is not making comedies, but depicting life. Surely you must agree that despite whatever heavy-handed pathos (bathos?) Lilley tries to foist onto his narratives, he aspires to humour first and foremost? Watching Lilley's work makes one realise that some aspects of life are better off not being relived.
Brenton Penny, Mawson
ARE WE BEING SERVED?
When the Chief Minister takes on the role of the chief bartender I can't help wondering if he holds a responsible service of alcohol certificate, or if it is simply a sign of an "aleing" economy (Letters photo, June 24).
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
HAVE A GANDER
Correspondents have discussed the question of "who is the biggest goose", in the context of which minister may qualify. Nominated ministers have been male. Accordingly, shouldn't the question have been "which is the grander gander"?
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman
One has to admire the new virus name "Kung Flu". Well done, Mr Trump.
Mokhles k Sidden, Strathfield, NSW
Cuts to the National Gallery, universities, National Library, CSIRO, ABC and SBS. Grants to marginal and coalition electorates. What more needs to be said?
Chris Pratt, O'Malley
A SUBLIME RAGE
It will bring joy to this Lilliputian government to learn its vindictive vendetta against the public broadcaster will cost journalists their jobs. Without an ICAC there will now be no one to keep the bastards honest.
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
A MODEST PROPOSAL
I propose the government has another look at the retirement age. It should be lowered back to 65, maybe to 63 for women. This would free up jobs for young people. The cost of going on the age pension would be offset by the re-employment of many now unemployed.
Helen Leach, Burpengary
The word "foreign" seems to have been mostly replaced by "international". Perhaps DFAT should join the party?
Rod Matthews, Melbourne, Victoria
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