Canberra's garbage collectors, who have secure jobs, began rolling strikes after the ACT election, They are seeking a 12 per cent pay increase over the next three years.
The eight per cent offered by their employer is well above the wage and inflation growth forecast by Australia's Reserve Bank and would see these workers far better off than the tens of thousands of Australians who have lost jobs this year.
But with the muscle of the Transport Workers Union, which sees Canberra's bus drivers paid about 50 per cent more than their Sydney counterparts, the garbos are also able to hold the city to ransom.
Action by the ACT government is long overdue to require value for money from its bus drivers and, despite its indebtedness to the TWU, to ensure wages for garbage collectors reflect these difficult times.
On November 3, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe said wages growth and inflation were both likely to stay very low.
"In each of the next two years, we are expecting annual wages growth of less than two per cent," he said. "And inflation, in underlying terms, is expected to be just one per cent next year and 1.5 per cent in 2022".
Suez, the company contracted to collect Canberra's waste, says Canberra's garbage collectors are paid well above the award and are among the best paid in the industry.
These workers perform an important task, but, already well paid, deserve little sympathy for their extravagant wage claim.
Graham Downie, O'Connor
The escalating garbage collection dispute begs the question of what the ACT government, as the provider of the service via a third-party contractor, is doing to resolve the matters in dispute.
Is the Minister responsible brokering a solution? If not, why not? As the collector of general rates for the provision of rubbish collection services it should by now be actively engaged such as appearing as a third party in any proceedings in the workplace relations commission.
The alternative for affected residents is to sort a recycling bin's contents into its constituent recyclables to be accepted at a recycling centre. Hopefully the relevant Minister makes some noises soon.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
Robodebt deaths debacle
Money taken illegally through robodebt will finally be repaid. "Debts" will be waived, and compensation will be paid.
But nothing will bring back those people driven to suicide and nothing will compensate their loved ones for their loss.
Robodebt was a shameful, callous, exercise in attacking the most vulnerable Australians. The Morrison government should have the decency to admit fault and apologise for the damage it has wrought.
Tony Judge, Woolgoolga, NSW
Denial was typical
What an extraordinarily simplistic and miserably conceived program robodebt was. That is now obvious for all to see.
Although the Australian government has agreed to settle a class action on behalf of robodebt victims, which will amount to $1.2 billion in total over the course of the legal action, it did not admit to any legal liability. Ha!
Murray May, Cook
What about Adelaide residents and returning Canberrans who arrive by car? ("Adelaide travellers in Canberra quarantine after coronavirus test at airport", canberratimes.com.au November 17).
The ACT government's COVID-19 site focuses on the one-on-one attention and detailed information being given to arrivals by plane, while anyone else is simply encouraged to delay travel or monitor symptoms on arrival in the ACT.
Is the public health advice at our main border crossings adequate and clearly visible? Given the SA government to date has listed 41 potential suburban hotspots, will Canberra's hotel and other private accommodation operators be required to monitor and report arrivals from these areas?
Hopefully some arrivals linked to these suburbs will take the time to initiate a trip to the drive-in testing site at EPIC. Widely broadcast details about our changing COVID-19 response strategy at a time like this would also be helpful and reassuring, since, as our health minister rightly notes, "a hard-border closure between Canberra and South Australia would be difficult to implement".
Sue Dyer, Downer
Yet another brilliant "Pope's View" (canberratimes.com.au, November 11) depicting Joel Fitzgibbon as a white ant, white-anting Labor's climate policy in favour of coal.
This is the same Joel Fitzgibbon who, as the then Minister for Defence in 2009, was investigated by his own department as to his friendship with a Chinese-Australian businesswoman in the belief it could constituted a security risk.
And, again in 2009, Fitzgibbon resigned as Minister for Defence after reportedly admitting meetings held between his brother Mark Fitzgibbon, the head of the health fund NIB, and Defence officials concerning business opportunities had breached the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
It seems he is now angling for a job as a lobbyist for the coal industry!
Good move Albo to have him leave your front bench. There are enough "tainted" players on the other side of the chamber.
John Dunn, Gowrie
Time to price carbon
Professor Richard Holden makes a strong case for Australia to adopt a new form of carbon price ("Global carbon price could soon be a reality for Australia", Business, November 16, p18).
The Australian Carbon Dividend he promotes is a re-engineered version of the Gillard Labor government's 2012 Carbon Pricing Mechanism ("carbon price"), which was reducing both emissions and electricity prices until it was demonised and dumped by the Abbott Coalition government in 2014.
Australia would have been in a very different place in the climate change space had Mr Abbott's approach to government not been so negative and destructive.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
The latest plague
Pedestrians in the inner north can now hone their reflexes dodging the latest plague of orange and purple e-scooters. But wait, Transport ACT is responding to the issue of pedestrians being forced to use the road verge with a new series of corflute signage, warning drivers to slow down as people are cycling and actually walking on posted roads even though they have footpaths installed.
However the illegal use of e-scooters on roads as a new pedestrian hazard has ACT police threatening consequences. Is this an admission of a situation out of control or just another opportunity to litter the streets with more feel good, "caring" government propaganda.
Ken Murtagh, Turner
As a nearby resident, I was excited to read ("Capitol Hotel plans released for consult" November 11, p2) of the plans for the Capitol Hotel on the site of the old Capitol Cinemas.
It was very pleasing to see that the developers have listened to the voices of the business community and residents and included a cinema complex in the plans.
Manuka desperately needs this development and I hope the usual voices of dissent can find something positive to say in the community consultation process.
Anne Baly, Griffith
With the election of a Democrat president in the US we are seeing a major shift in focus to renewable energy sources.
This development is exemplified by "Twiggy" Forrest's recent promotion of renewable energy-produced hydrogen and ammonia; thereby signalling a move away from reliance on hydrocarbons, both for energy generation and for export.
Australia should commit to moving to net zero emissions by 2050 (in step with many of our major trading partners) in order to secure access to global markets into the future. As a byproduct, Australia will be playing its part in reducing the evident, disastrous effects of climate change. The opportunity presents itself now; and now is the time to act.
Chris Ryan, Carrs Park
No tragedy here
Steve Evans claims that "Trump's refusal to concede is an American tragedy" (November 14, p34) because he refuses to accept what the mainstream media says was the election outcome. This is despite the the vast majority of states not yet declaring their results.
Mr Evans omitted to mention Vice President Gore did not concede in the 2000 election until December 13, after he had disputed the results in Florida and the Supreme Court had ruled in favour of Bush. I predict Trump will concede and go in mid-December.
It seems that contesting an outcome and not conceding until after the Supreme Court has ruled is either a tragedy, or a demonstration of democracy in action, depending on the bias of the opinion writer.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
TO THE POINT
A notable quotable from Celine Gounder of Biden's coronavirus taskforce, on getting people to wear face masks: "In my mind, it's like politicizing toilet paper. It's a basic hygienic measure".
Adrian Gibbs, Yarralumla
PM Scott Morrison will no doubt be seeking to re-enter Australia after his trip to Japan. Will he be quarantining in a "medi-hotel" for the standard 14 days as is required of all other Australians returning from overseas? If not, on what basis will he be getting an exemption?
Don Sephton, Greenway
I wait with bated breath for Scott Morrison, Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt to pile in on Stephen Marshall over the breakdown in COVID-19 hotel quarantine in South Australia the same as they did with Daniel Andrews in Victoria. I may expire due to lack of oxygen while I am waiting.
Pauline May, Lyneham
POTS AND KETTLES
So Angus Taylor thinks the Grattan report Flame Out criticising the Morrison government's promised "gas-led recovery" is "narrow and over-simplified". That is a good description of his and the government's own approach to this important issue.
Richard Johnston, Kingston
WHAT IS CHINA HIDING?
Do the Chinese realise that all the trade bans on our goods after we asked for an inquiry into how COVID-19 started just makes the average Australian ask: "What do they have to hide to go to such extremes?"
Greg Adamson, Griffith
By saying "this is fraud on the nation. Frankly we did win this election" Trump demonstrated his disrespect for his country's election process.
Rajend Naidu, Glenfield, NSW
Goethe had it right P. Nicholson (Letters, November 14). "Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean". Perhaps our ACT government could adapt it more locally to improve the state of our suburban landscapes.
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
A simple thank you to the cartoonists who prepare the four comics you publish daily. No matter what the day holds these help things bearable.
Alastair Bridges, Wanniassa
Maybe COVID-19 masks would have been a better choice than isolation. We could have picked up the smoky ones from last summer.
Richard Horobin, Curtin
Although some people might move away from a "concrete jungle" (Eric Hodge, Letters, November 15), others prefer to live "where the cement grows".
Mike Dallwitz, Giralang
Despite the lives lost, emotional trauma, environmental devastation, social dislocation and billion-dollar commitments, Morrison refuses to act on global heating "until its costs are known" ("Government cold on sovereign bombers", November 14, p.6).
Albert M. White, Queanbeyan, NSW
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