Of all the capital cities in Australia, Canberra experienced the greatest reduction in "green infrastructure" (trees, shrubs and other plants in forests, parks, waterways, wetlands and gardens, and on green roofs and walls) between 2013 and 2020.
This is according to the recently released Temperature Check: Greening Australia's Warming Cities report commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation and prepared by the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub.
From 2013 to 2016 the area of Canberra covered by vegetation fell from over 60 per cent to around one third.
Even though we now have more Green members in the ACT government, the Barr government is not prioritising investment in green infrastructure to counter the impacts of urban heat and greater risks of flash flooding.
Witness, for example, what is happening along Moyes Crescent, Holt, between Flack and Starke Streets where at least 75 mature trees (including clumps of eucalypts and sheoaks) are now marked for removal from green open space.
Concerned citizens have 14 days from an unspecified date on the tree signs to contact Access Canberra "for further information".
The signs claim the trees are being removed because they are not official street tree plantings. Importantly, this imminent tree slaughter was not disclosed by government representatives at the March meeting of the Belconnen Community Council, which discussed future developments in Holt.
It appears there has been no improvement in ministerial responsibility and consultation processes with local residents.
What is the Green wing of the government doing to change the bad old ways of the Barr government?
Glenys and Phil Byrne, Florey
A memorable aspect of a visit to Canberra is the trees. So it was sad to read that they are not appreciated by some residents ("Canberra's street trees to be given dollar value price tag", canberratimes.com.au, March 20).
However, the enthusiasm of Canberra's newly arrived tree auditors, Dijithi Mani and Saddam Hossain, more than compensated. In January last year, Canberra recorded its highest ever temperature of 44C. As people come to understand that the shade of trees is free, can combat global warming and reduce electricity bills, the "dollar value" will take on a new meaning.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
AWM tree threat
I wonder how many of us in Canberra, let alone the rest of the country, are fully aware of what is soon to occur at the top of Anzac Parade.
The Australian War Memorial is now seeking approval from the National Capital Authority for the removal of every eucalyptus tree you can currently see in front of the memorial (yes, all of them); as well as many others to the east and north of the site, over 60 trees all up.
If the NCA folds, and grants approval for this massacre, it will be accompanied by the "quick march" demolition of the award-winning Anzac Hall and the parade ground, both to be replaced later on by something "bigger and better". Will this be allowed to go ahead?
I fear the NCA will join the ranks of those who have accepted the development as a fait accompli since the Prime Minister first announced his support, and the government's $500 million funding for it, over two years ago. Maybe a grand "fly over" could be arranged for when the bulldozers start to celebrate the removal of a once exceptional building now "not fit for purpose"? Or perhaps we, the concerned, could simply place a ribbon around a doomed tree as a symbol of future remembrance for what this site once was; a uniquely Australian, unpretentious and dignified memorial.
Stewart Mitchel, former buildings and services head, AWM, Canberra
The ABC television program Media Watch recently broadcast criticism by a senior parliamentary press gallery journalist of media liaison teams in the public service. The journalist's sweeping claim was that departments routinely provide slow, nil or useless responses to media inquiries.
With the basis of communication being to look at all sides, I believe it's unfair to simply present one person's view as a universal truth.
Public servants in communication roles are often the invisible professionals and we cannot discount the tireless work they have done over the past year (and over decades) to provide timely and factual information to inform the public.
Public affairs officers in the APS continuously provide factual information in media releases and through social media, which is often used for media reporting. In one recent ABC radio World Today program two different departmental websites were quoted as the source of information.
In a time when communication is occurring with such a rapid pace, it's important to understand the pressures every communicator faces; from journalists to APS public affairs officers. This will allow us all to work together in the best interests of the public.
Sheena Ireland, president, Public Relations Institute of Australia (ACT)
Keep it nice
I second Alistair Bridges' comment (Letters, March 19) about the increasing prevalence of nasty letters being published by The Canberra Times.
Too many writers are now allowed by the editor to have a cheap shot at a politician (mostly Morrison and his government) without providing a substantial or novel argument in support.
In addition, Pope's and Waterford's unrelenting attacks on the Morrison government is also wearing more than a tad thin; perhaps they are competing with the ABC for leader of the opposition status.
Tim O'Brien, Mawson
On the other hand
The answer to Alastair Bridges' letter (March 19, 2021) about why Canberrans write nasty letters about their fellow Australians" is because they deserve it.
To live a public life is to be subject to scrutiny, especially a life in politics. It would seem more of an effrontery to Australian culture if people neglected to criticise the PM and his government when they deserve it.
If, like you say, Alastair, you don't know what a misogynist is perhaps you should look it up. Maybe then you'll have a few choice words for Scott too.
Garry Dobbins, Turner
Morrison is weak
I refer to Brien Armstrong's (Letters, March 17) letter. I do not think Scott Morrison is a misogynist. But it appears to me that he is a weak leader when we are in a crisis.
I am referring to his leadership quality during the bushfire crisis. He showed appalling judgement. He believes in a miracle. He has said that on occasions.
Because he is the Prime Minister of this country we want concrete action when we are in a crisis. We do not believe in a miracle.
Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt
Best of the worst
From the comments made by our Prime Minister about the women's rally it seems that, provided Australia is better than the worst in the region, he and his government are satisfied. Furthermore, it seems that we should be grateful for it being that way. It is now clear that not only that attitude needs to change, but the government. And I suppose I should be grateful if there is no "knock on the door" in coming days.
Brian Smith, Conder
All the negative comments made about ScoMo (Letters, March 17) especially Anne Walcott's "Prime Minister in name only", remind me of a scathing remark former President Harry Truman made about his successor.
"Eisenhower? President Eisenhower? I knew he was in the White House for eight years but I didn't think he was ever President"
Will history give a similar verdict regarding ScoMo's time in office?
Ken Maher, Ainslie
Come on just chill a bit. Numerous letters condemning our PM for his words re bullets.
Surely he was purely pointing out that we are a lucky country - which we are.
People read so much into a few words which I am sure were innocently said.
It doesn't matter what he might say, it will be misconstrued.
No wonder Scomo did not address the crowd.
Whatever he does he just can't win a trick.
Heather Sorensen, Kambah
The response of Housing ACT to Alison Chapple's complaints (Letters, March 17) about bad government tenant neighbours for decades has been "they have to live somewhere".
So why not bunch them together, leaving the worthy pepper and salt approach to accommodating the overwhelming majority of law abiding public housing tenants?
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
TO THE POINT
What the heck? Women rally to protest against systemic violence, and Morrison tells them they were lucky not to be shot?
Roger Bacon, Cook
I wonder when Minister Berry is going to announce "salt and pepper" land availability in her own Green/Labor government's Ginninderry? Or is it a strictly "balsamic vinegar" development?
P R Temple, Macquarie
A NEW TACTIC?
Again most of Commonwealth Park is fenced off from the public. As no reason is given (as usual) I wonder if it is the government softening up the community for building a stadium on the site?
Martin Butterfield, Civic
DROUGHT IS OVER
Given the deluge, when will supermarkets stop charging a drought levy on milk?
Martin Aubury, Scullin
KISS AND TELL
Thank you Steve Evans for "A kiss isn't just a kiss, scientists say" (March 20, Panorama, page 2). A most heart warming article. Lovely. I really needed that and intend to keep those hug statistics handy.
J Wallace, Wamboin, NSW
David Groube (Letters, March 22) appears to be arguing for a return to control solely by men. Surely equality is the goal?
Patricia Saunders, Chapman
FAWLTY FOR PM
The failings and scandals of the Morrison-led Coalition government reminds me of the Fawlty Towers health inspector episode when Basil said to the inspector, "other than dead pigeons in the water tank, rat droppings under the grill, out of date food in the fridge and dirty cooking surfaces, I gather everything else is okay".
John Sandilands, Garran
WAIT FOR IT
More droughts and flooding rains. That's what the experts predicted climate change would bring and now it's here. This government has to start doing a lot more to reduce emissions.
N Ellis, Belconnen
NO JOKING MATTER
I'm disappointed to read Roger Dace offering a frivolous comment about our rape laws (Letters, March 22). In doing so he also seems to imply that "the rule of law" (as expounded by our prime minster) is automatically synonymous with "justice". I wonder if he has asked the female members of his family what they think? I know how mine would respond.
Eric Hunter, Cook
Your article about development near the lake ("West Basin revamp opponents want full plan", canberratimes.com.au, March 22) gives top billing, as is often the case, to the Lake Burley Griffin Guardians. I wonder if your next article might mention how many members the (presumably self-appointed) "guardians" represent?
Ryan Goss, Dickson
DIVERT AND SMIRK
Never mind shooting people. What would it be like to be in Russia or China and have the leader not listen to the people and only respond to questions with diversion, evasion and a smirk ?
Gary Frances, Bexley, Vic
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