I appreciate the wonderful job nearly all ACT residents and visitors have done with hand-sanitising, face-masking, and social-distancing. And just staying home. That's kept the ACT's community transmission rate of coronavirus extremely low.
ACT Health recently issued a warning: "ACT residents are strongly advised not to travel to greater Sydney at this time". I have an "absolutely essential reason" taking me there: surgery for cancer. Thus, more than ever, I'm dependent on all of you for my recovery.
I'm guilty myself of forgetting my face mask; sometimes I get too close to those around me ... it's easy for old habits to return. I must do better for those around me, for those like me whose health is compromised.
I implore all Canberrans to continue exercising the good judgement they have shown during the pandemic thus far and to respect this advice. I will be attentive and careful in Sydney, and, should I be required to quarantine upon return, I would do so.
By joining together we can hold back coronavirus with "strong advice" versus laws and fines. As the ACT Chief Minister Barr said, "We all must remain vigilant". Me, too - for you, and for me.
Judy Bamberger, O'Connor
Call in the spooks
NSW is just holding COVID-19 because the numbers are manageable and contact tracers can cope. In Victoria their contact tracers are swamped.
The most effective assistance that could be provided to Victoria right now would be a massive boost to their contact tracing.
The federal government has at its disposal an organisation that is superbly skilled at contact tracing. ASIO.
If we are at all serious about stabilising the Victorian situation in the interests of all Australians and the economy, ASIO resources should be directed forthwith to assist the Victorian government in every way possible.
Tom Hayes, Campbell
Woolworths should act
I have no issue with wearing face masks when out of the house during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, I find it somewhat hypocritical that it is Woolworths that put this requirement out first in the ACT.
There has been no implementation of social distancing at their Mawson site for weeks. Most of my visits have coincided with no wipes to disinfect your trolley handle - the dispenser is nearly always empty.
This week my personal space of 1.5 metres was not respected by Woolworths staff in the express checkout area.
There was no support for the implementation of social distancing when I was abused by another customer in the checkout line when I asked them and their two children to stand 1.5 meters from me in the queue.
Woolworths needs to ensure the adherence to the public health requirements by their staff. Face masks won't do a lot of good if the virus is transferred through surfaces such as uncleaned trolley and basket handles, and the inability to sanitise hands as the dispensers are empty.
Anne Mackinnon, Farrer
Pay attention please
I do hope that our government is very seriously considering the recent report of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, including its call for a levy on the fossil fuel industry.
This climate action body is headed up by the former commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW, Greg Mullins. It moves me to think so many very senior emergency leaders would dedicate themselves to this action when you'd expect them to want a quiet life after their exhausting careers.
As we will depend on our firefighters for our very lives this coming bushfire season, I would not like to think our government might destroy their goodwill by refusing to take notice of what their leaders are telling us about the major role of climate change in our worsening conflagrations.
Jill Sutton, Watson
Do they care?
Do others share my frustration with some media outlets constantly condemning governments of all persuasions during this pandemic? Do they care about "oldies" dying from COVID-19?
Is it surprising that the nations with the highest infection and death rates, such as the USA, Brazil, the UK, and some in Europe are run by right-wingers who place greed and selfishness above all else, including human life?
Are not sensible centre, and left-leaning, countries faring infinitely better? Is virus-free New Zealand deserving of constant criticism as some kind of "socialist" demagoguery?
Are we deluded in listening to the PM, the National Cabinet, Greg Hunt, Professor Murphy, the Premiers, Chief Ministers, Health Ministers, CMOs and almost the entire medical profession?
Are the open-slather proponents on Sky News and in other Murdoch propaganda outlets more highly qualified than them?
Gary Mack, Queanbeyan, NSW
Trump is stubborn
If he loses the forthcoming election, President Trump won't give up power lightly.
He's suggested moving the date, and there have been suggestions he'll sabotage the voting process, and, if he loses, he'll say the election was rigged, a fraud, etc, and not relinquish power.
If he does, this will present Scott Morrison with an interesting course of action. That's because we've recognised Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the country's legitimate leader following Maduro's refusal to step down. We'd just have to recognise Joe Biden as the legitimate president of the USA.
Foreign Affairs Minister Maris Payne would have to make a similar statement to the one she made about Venezuela earlier this year, something like "Australia calls for a transition to democracy in the United States as soon as possible".
Dallas Stow, O'Connor
Time to go solar...
It's encouraging to see planned initiatives in renewable energy use in the ACT ("Labor's $150 million interest-free solar pledge", canberratimes.com.au, August 3); it has many worthwhile elements.
A good example is the pledge to offset the costs of rooftop solar, household battery storage, and hot water heat pumps in homes; a win-win for our community. Hundreds of jobs will be created and carbon emissions reduced. Over time, investment in sustainable energy can also save the average household thousands of dollars and improve the resale value of a property.
Looking ahead, community batteries are a promising alternative to individual household batteries. This is in line with taking pressure off the grid. Each step towards a "green recovery" is a step in the right direction.
Anne O'Hara, Wanniassa
The caravan rip-off
ACT residents are currently paying the highest registration costs for a caravan in Australia. For example, a van weighing 1500kg to 2500kg (a common size) in the ACT is $503 whilst across the border in NSW it is $257. Most other Australian states are much cheaper again with Victoria the lowest at $60.50. Why are we paying so much?
Mr Barr made a commitment prior to the 2016 election to reduce this charge and, to be fair, this did happen. The fee did drop marginally. Mr Barr often quotes the ACT as an island within NSW on a number of other matters. It is time that this fee, at the very least be bought into line with NSW. I urge all residents who own a caravan registered in the ACT to lobby all candidates in the upcoming election and bring this anomaly to their attention.
Gary Tobin, Evatt
That country life
Mark Thomas's piece brought back memories from an early life when my work saw me in country towns, some of which I had never heard of ("Our country towns just do it differently", August 2, page 17). Growing up in Gosford, I joined the Bank of New South Wales at Wyong, and, after six months' probation, was sent to Gunnedah.
If I thought Gosford was country then the Liverpool Plains town brought something new. But within a few months the Namoi was in flood and I was sent to Mungindi to relieve while a staff member was on leave. When I arrived I discovered the staff member was also named Allan Gibson! The accommodation was a house behind a disused general store just across the Barwon River in Queensland. Another relief followed at Barraba. Then I was transferred to Tumbarumba where I can say I played cricket in prison against the infamous bank robber, Darcy Dugan.
I was later sent back to Gosford to undertake country reliefs. These included Portland, Cessnock, Coolah, Gloucester, Deniliquin, Kiama, Woy Woy, Inverell, Leura and Parkes. Each was different in its own right.
Those were formative years during which my geographical knowledge was expanded, as was my deep admiration and respect for the people who make these towns not just different, but uniquely special.
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
TO THE POINT
Who would want to live in the US today? I was reading about a mother in America who said her son had started wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap and a Trump 2020 campaign badge. He has already been verbally abused, spat on, punched and kicked. She's got no idea what will happen to him when he leaves their house in them.
Steve Whennan, Richardson
THE FIRE SALE
Now Virgin is selling off aircraft the Australian government should buy a small fleet and turn it into an aerial firefighting force.
James Mahoney, McKellar
Will someone, preferably media editors, please tell ex-Prime Minister Rudd (and ex-contenders such as John Hewson) to keep their thoughts to themselves. We do not want to hear from losers. That is why we voted them out of office.
Michael Lane, St Ives, NSW
It's time to dust off the Grim Reaper ad for COVID-19. If you contract the virus and don't die, it's anecdotally the case, no matter how old you are, that you may have long term side-effects such as near-daily fever, high heart rate and palpitations, gastrointestinal issues, severe head and muscle aches, and difficulty breathing. If people knew this they might take lockdown a lot more seriously.
R Stewart, Weston
BEAT THE BAN
Legitimate ACT residents with valid reasons for entering Queensland should not be denied access because of fraudulent actions by NSW hotspot residents. Mr Barr has said he was "open" to facilitating access. Perhaps stationing ACT police at Canberra airport boarding gates to validate ACT residence may allow the Queensland premier to permit exceptions.
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
WHY, QUEENSLAND? WHY?
Queensland has declared NSW and the ACT to be coronavirus hotspots. Beautiful one day, disrespectfully simplistic the next.
John Howarth, Weston
SPRING IS IN THE AIR
With the coronavirus Stage Four lockdown coming, can spring be far behind?
M. F. Horton Adelaide, SA
TEST MPs FOR SMARTS
Liberal MP Craig Kelly admits he has "no medical expertise" but backs hydroxychloroquine despite studies showing it is an ineffective treatment for COVID-19. We have a federal government MP who has no idea that his own government's Therapeutic Goods Administration regulates the drugs used in Australia, not state premiers. When will MPs be required to pass basic intelligence testing?
Doug Steley, Heyfield, Tasmania
Me, and the many other Australians who have a partner who lives overseas, are hit too hard with the current travel restrictions. I reckon the government needs to support us. I will accept a handout or a new local partner.
Mokhles k Sidden, Strathfield
WHAT A TRAGEDY
$2 million in aid for Beirut? Surely we can do better than that.
M Moore, Bonython
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