The Chief Minister's snippy performance at Wednesday's press conference was only matched by his continued obfuscation about the ACT's pathway out of lockdown. One could be forgiven for thinking the former was a deliberate distraction aimed at deflecting criticism of his decision to lockdown the territory for a further four weeks.
But there's no excuse for his muddying of the waters about what will happen during the next several weeks. Mr Barr, when it suits, likes to bolster his case for not flagging a more specific easing of restrictions on what will be the best-vaccinated jurisdiction in the country by referencing the national COVID-19 transition plan, especially the national vaccination rate.
Yet he chooses to resist two measures the plan proposes; easing restrictions on vaccinated residents at the 70 per cent benchmark and exempting vaccinated residents from all domestic restrictions at the 80 per cent mark.
Mr Barr insists the ACT's pathway out of lockdown and/or tight restrictions is tied to the national vaccination average and that we won't be waiting that long for the rest of the country to catch up.
COVID-19 taskforce commander John Frewen is not nearly as optimistic, stopping short on Wednesday of confirming the nation could reach 80 per cent this year,
The gap between the ACT reaching, or even surpassing, that threshold in early to mid-November and the rest of the nation catching up might not be bridged for several weeks. How that anomaly will be addressed has not been satisfactorily explained.
Richard Lawson, Curtin
Dodged a bullet
Thank goodness Bill Stefaniak's party was unsuccessful at the last ACT election.
Is Stefaniak serious when he calls for more US troops here at our expense and a buying spree of missiles.
The most troubling and ridiculous comment in his rant (Letters, September 14) was: "we may need to reintroduce conscription" Have our war loonies learnt nothing from recent history?
Let's all adopt a "glass half-full" approach and say peace beckons.
G Gillespie, Scullin
The reason why
It is great that Canberra is getting vaccinated. This has been assisted by the recent increase in supply of the Pfizer vaccine and its availability to persons aged 16 and over in the ACT.
However, it is equally important to recognise those who have, as encouraged by politicians and health authorities alike, received the AstraZeneca vaccine. I am part of the 18-29 year-old cohort who chose to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
With COVID-19 spreading in the ACT I heeded the Chief Minister's advice that "the best vaccine is the one you can get today" and was vaccinated with AstraZeneca in late August. The following day, it was announced I would be eligible for Pfizer from the beginning of September.
To be clear, I do not regret receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. I know it will offer me good protection against this horrible disease. However, it is frustrating that at times I have needed to explain my decision to not wait for Pfizer.
I received the AstraZeneca vaccine to protect myself and others and doing so has allowed another to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Whilst the extension of the ACT lockdown is a blow, it offers me protection while I wait to receive my second vaccine dose. The ideal interval between AstraZeneca doses is 12 weeks, while for Pfizer it is three weeks. I can receive my second dose sooner at eight or even four weeks. However shortening this interval reduces my protection against COVID-19 and while I wait, others will receive both doses of their Pfizer vaccine.
I encourage the community to keep these nuances in mind when reflecting on the extension of the lockdown and the race to reach the 70 per cent double dose target.
Naomi Tarrant, Chisholm
Has Barr failed?
At every COVID-19 press conference Chief Minister Barr has had a dig at NSW, including saying the reason for the extended lockdown was NSW's failure to control the Delta variant.
Yet when he announced the lockdown on August 12 he said "a short sharp lock down is the best way to respond, and this action is necessary to avoid even more damage and prolonged lockdowns".
We are now committed to at least nine weeks of lockdowns. If Mr Barr believed he had the answer last month, and that NSW had failed, then by his own standard, he has also failed to control the outbreak.
The short sharp lockdown he says NSW should have applied obviously doesn't work with Delta. I wonder if he'll now acknowledge that he doesn't have the answer, and that waiting for zero cases in the community is an impossible dream (as both NSW and Victoria have accepted).
A gradual easing of restrictions while managing ongoing caseloads as we move past 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination is essential.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
Can the tram
In these stressful and uncertain times, an appropriate government press release might read:
"In line with a policy of value for taxpayer's dollars, the ACT government has decided to defer Stage 2 light rail and instead run new electric buses on the Civic-Woden route.
Recent re-evaluation has shown that construction of Stage 2 light rail would be disruptive and not in the community's current best interest.
Savings realised will be put towards other more pressing community priorities".
Penleigh Boyd, Reid
Restrictions defy logic
The ACT's COVID-19 lockdown restrictions defy logic.
A personal trainer is not permitted to conduct a training session with a sole client in a safe outdoor setting, yet it is now somehow okay for up to five people to work on a building site or go walking, golfing and cycling together.
If anybody is able to explain what the rationale is, I'd be pleased to hear about it. This unfair restriction is making life so difficult for personal trainers they're now forced into asking for a financial handout from the government instead of being able to fulfil the important role of helping their clients maintain their fitness and mental health.
If this injustice continues for much longer some employers in the fitness industry will need to permanently close their business, causing an unnecessary quadruple-jeopardy scenario for them, their personal trainers, clients and taxpayers.
Peter Sherman, Aranda
Recently a group of NIMBYs successfully stopped the YWCA from building a 10-unit facility for older, vulnerable women experiencing housing insecurity and those fleeing domestic violence by overturning ACT planning approval in ACAT.
Much has been made of the justification they offered in moving to block the construction; that the proposal was arguably not in strict compliance with the ACT's byzantine planning rules as it relates to solar access for courtyards.
The litigants of course did not sue because they cared about strict observance of planning rules. They sued to prevent the construction of new medium density social housing supply near them, going to absurd lengths and inconvenience in an attempt to deny 10 vulnerable women a home. And for that they should be ashamed.
The project should go ahead. If the letter of the Territory Plan prevents it from doing so, then the Legislative Assembly should make necessary variations.
For far too long our city has been made poorer by a small number of retired landholders with abundant free time and resources to pursue every method of attempting to prevent the construction of new housing supply or any form of change in our city.
The YWCA affair is neither the first nor the last.
This NIMBYism imposes heavy costs on our entire community, especially the young, the poor, the vulnerable, and the disabled. It is no longer something which we can afford to let dominate the planning debate unanswered.
Howard Maclean, Kingston
A perennial problem
There has been a noticeable increase in recent weeks in discarded blue (and sometimes yellow) filled doggy poo bags adjacent to the path around Lake Tuggeranong.
While not advocating that dog owners not pick up after their dogs, I would have thought it better for the environment that poo not be picked up rather than be picked up and then the filled bag be discarded.
Please dog owners, do the right thing and bag your dog's poo and then carry the filled bag home and dispose of it properly.
Don Sephton, Greenway
TO THE POINT
A WHIM OF IRON
Hopefully in a fortnight the ACT government will have further modified their exemptions. The current list (building and construction, golf and tennis for example) looks like the political or personal whims of the authorities. Small businesses, restaurants and bars should be allowed to open under strictly enforced conditions.
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
ARROGANT AND STUPID
Only the most arrogantly stupid and delusional would think that they could win support by bombarding random people with spam. Clearly, Craig Kelly and Clive Palmer are such people.
Bruno Yvanovich, Waramanga
A TIME TO DIE
A word of warning. If you live in NSW try not to have a heart attack in October. See if you can arrange it sometime in November. The hospital system will thank you.
Neil Thomson, Darwin
When Mr Morrison praised NSW as the "gold standard" he got it half right. It must have been "fool's gold" he was thinking about.
Mario Stivala, Belconnen
Matthias Cormann, set free from the constraints of politics, has finally stated the blatantly obvious. A large increase in unemployment benefits, taking back superannuation tax rorts and cutting capital gains discounts will resurrect this country economically. Disaster is the only alternative.
Philip Pocock, Coombs
JUST STOP IT
George Beaton (Letters, September 14) says he is one of those who leave bags of dog poo at Lake Tuggeranong. He justifies this by saying he comes back and collects it. A simple message for George: Just stop it.
John Hutchison, Canberra
At the risk of being personal it is easy to see why the Chief Minister is not concerned about the long term social impact of the COVID-19 closures of our barber's shops.
Brian Breach, Greenway
HOLD THE PHONE
I'm surprised ScoMo hasn't quipped "I don't hold a phone mate" in response to criticism of his government's failure to make a call to senior Pfizer reps offering Australia the opportunity to get ahead of the game with doses of their new vaccine.
Keith Hill, Clifton Beach, Qld
THE WORD OF GOUGH
Gough Whitlam described Kirribilli House as "the Prime Minister's Sydney residence" (The Truth of the Matter, Penguin, Ringwood, 1983, p14.)
W A Reid, Crace
Pandemic authorities err in seeking to justify the rightness of their every move. Dealing with such an issue will likely involve some error, the recognition of which is crucial for success.
M F Horton, Adelaide
To be fair to the former Attorney General, who hasn't had an anonymous donor contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars through a blind trust to help pay their legal fees?
Steve Whennan, Richardson
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