The ACT government's budget is a juxtaposition of welcome stimulus, further big increases in tax revenue especially from rates, and more spending on infrastructure.
The budget is Keynesian in that it increases public spending. However it concurrently suppresses private sector demand by raising taxes and spends too much money on infrastructure.
The budget's own estimates are that by 2024-25: revenue from rates will increase by 20 per cent; revenue from all taxes on property will grow by eight per cent, and total tax revenue will grow by 13 per cent.
Given the price of housing has soared across Canberra and that total tax revenue also will grow strongly, many people are likely to have the total of their ACT taxes increase more quickly than (any) increase in their income. Hardly likely to allow, let alone encourage, households to spend and boost economic growth.
The government also is planning to continue spending a lot of our money on large projects. At least some of this is not necessary as anyone who has tried to get a tradie knows.
Why do Labor/Greens continue with these policies? The most logical explanation is a belief in growing the relative size of government and being too close to the construction sector.
Bruce Paine, Red Hill
Let our people go
The ACT government achieved a little-noticed Covid breakthrough on the path back to customary freedoms on October 7.
Andrew Barr sensibly announced that federal parliamentarians and their staff who are double-vaccinated can freely come and go from the ACT without quarantining for the October sittings and estimates hearings.
The obvious question is why this step has not also been taken for ACT residents wishing to visit their families over the border in NSW, or meet at their family homes on the coast. The Chief Minister, the Health Minister and the Chief Health Officer continue to prevaricate on this logical step, with Dr Coleman "having a conversation" with other governments about developing a "more refined approach".
Here's all the refinement we need: announce unilaterally and now, not in December, that double-vaccinated Canberrans can travel to other states and return to the ACT without quarantining, as long as they meet the conditions applying in the jurisdiction to which they are travelling.
If not, why not, Mr Barr? If it is reasonable for parliamentarians and their staff, why not for your constituents?
Terrence O'Brien, Mawson
Reserve at risk
The Callum Brae Nature Reserve on Narrabundah Lane, Symonston, is an area of peaceful bushland in the heart of Canberra.
We walk there regularly for an important physical and mental health break during lockdown.
The reserve is a recognised birdwatching site and protects the critically endangered yellow box and Blakely's red gums as well as birds and wildlife.
On the border of Callum Brae a development application has been lodged for the construction of a crematorium complex including a chapel, lounge building, landscaping, carpark and associated works.
A proposed crematorium next to Callum Brae Nature Reserve is a totally unnecessary and inappropriate project. Canberra already has two crematoriums with a third planned for Memorial Park, Hume.
October 13 is the last day on which a public comment can be lodged with the ACT Planning and Development Authority. To make a submission go to the ACT Planning website and search for Symonston Development Application: 202138789.
Pamela Collett, Narrabundah
Over the years there have been many movies and television shows about the devastating effect of World War II in the UK.
When we had to sort out my late father's belongings after he passed away at the age of 96 we found a letter he received from the Queensland Office of Veterans' Affairs in May 2002 when he applied for a Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (aka Orange Card).
He was a rear gunner in Halifax bombers in the RAF from March 1943 until the end of the war. He continued to serve until August 1947. He was informed that as "the British government never declared the country to be a theatre of war" he was not entitled to an Orange Card.
On appeal he was awarded the Orange Card as he had performed active service in the air over enemy territory during his time in Bomber Command.
I wonder what the residents in the UK, especially London and surrounding areas, would have thought had they been told they were not in a war zone during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz?
Sandra Smith, Macgregor ACT
The speed zone debate
I refer to the article "Minister rejected advice to send speed warnings" (canberratimes.com.au, October 9).
I totally support Graeme Shoobridge and his comments as to the adequacy of existing of existing traffic signals at pedestrian crossings on Northbourne Avenue.
However, the complaint from road users has been more about the adequacy and visibility of the advance traffic warning of the approaching 40 km/h zone.
I drove down Northbourne Avenue last Saturday and I agree with the other road users that the signage is in a position where it is not immediately visible and is not in your line of sight when you're supposed to be keeping your eyes on the road and not looking skywards.
It is unlikely that the Minister and the bureaucrats will back down following an inquiry. If it is about improving pedestrian safety and not revenue rising by catching unsuspecting road users, especially those visiting Canberra for the first time, better advance warning signage is a must.
The answer would be to install flashing warning lights similar to those in use in NSW school zones. Then there would be no excuse for road users as they have been given adequate advance warning.
The excessive revenue from the speed cameras could be used to pay for this additional infrastructure.
Jerry Howard, Canberra
Canberra is changing
I am tired of the same 10 or so people recycling their letters whining about the ACT government building light rail and the changing nature of transport in our city.
The endless "but we could build hospitals and school", "but buses do it better" or the "but you can't put density next to a light rail line, I think its ugly" and "what about the children and their backyards?" arguments are so trite.
Canberra is changing, transport is changing and how we live in our city is changing. I for one am glad that, unlike those few who are writing (and often recycling) their letters, we have a government that can walk, catch the light rail and chew gum all at the same time.
T J Warner-Bubb, Ainslie
I understand that the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council will this week agree to raise rates by 27.8 per cent across all rate categories over three years. Future increases are also flagged because of ongoing deficit forecasts.
Residents deserve information about the quality of financial mismanagement at QPRC and need unbiased information about all local councils.
Council elections will be held on December 4. Early voting begins next month.
The Canberra Times is the major newspaper servicing the local government areas surrounding the ACT.
Can I make a plea for some coverage of issues involving the regional councils?
Ann Rocca, Queanbeyan, NSW
After reading your editorial of Sunday, September 10 ("Lack of new Civic speed limit warning poor form from ACT government in COVID-19 era", I am compelled note my exception to all the complaints and calls for leniency for those who have received traffic infringement notices following the change to the speed limit on Northbourne Ave.
I was a commuter through the Barry Drive/Northbourne Ave intersection during the trial period and also when the limits formally applied.
Almost every day during the trial when I slowed to the new limit I would be tailgated, tooted at, or have drivers pull alongside to tell me I was driving too slow.
The bullying and abusive behaviour of multiple Canberra motorists meant that I ended up driving at a higher speed during the trial than indicated .
Once the trial concluded I again started driving to the speed limit but the behaviours of my co-citizens did not improve.
To avoid the anxiety I decided to take an alternative route to my work.
It is my hope that some of those who have been caught for something that they had plenty of warning for and chose to ignore, are the same Canberra motorists who have made my journey to work so unnecessarily stressful for so long.
Luke Rogers, Florey
TO THE POINT
SHIRT FRONT XI
I see former He-Man PM Tony Abbott is in Taiwan. It's a pity he's not in Beijing where he could metaphorically attempt to shirt front President Xi.
Graeme Rankin, Holder
PAY THEM OFF
The Ten Gallon Hat Club should no longer hold the nation to ransom over the 2050 climate commitment which is overdue. Its members just need to get their act together so we can pay their Pork Barrelling Price (PBP) and the rest of us can move on with the rest of the developed world.
Rohan Goyne, Evatt
Albert M White (Letters, October 7) refers to the Prime Minister's moral compass. Sorry Albert but he does not have one. He licks his finger then holds it up to see which way the wind is blowing.
Keith Davis, Pearce
LOCKED UP AND DOWN
The prison has just gone into lockdown. Am I missing something?
John Howarth, Weston
OUT OF THE KITCHEN
Things are hotting up for Scott Morrison, politically and climatically. His best option to avoid both sources of heat is to commit to net zero by 2050, and to attend COP-26 in Glasgow.
David Bailey, Kambah
ATAGI said all persons who are severely immunocompromised should receive a third COVID-19 booster, naming Pfizer or Moderna. Many older immunocompromised persons received the AstraZeneca. Which booster should they receive?
Paul O'Connor, Hawker
WE CAN DREAM
Oh, for the day when a senior conservative Coalition politician plies multiple media outlets with the news that his adult daughter's views or behaviours have convinced him to really get cracking on adopting tougher emissions targets and climate change mitigation actions. ("Barnaby Joyce backs social media crackdown", canberratimes.com.au October 7).
Sue Dyer, Downer
Recently Peter Dutton spoke of the government always following scientific advice. Evidently he wasn't alluding to climate change.
Laurelle Atkinson, St Helens, Tasmania
AND MR MORRISON?
Tony Falla (Letters, October 8) listed Kevin Rudd and Billy McMahon as the most disappointing Prime Ministers. Malcolm Turnbull and John Gorton were nominated by P O'Keefe (Letters, October 5). Mr Morrison should be added to this list given his failures of leadership during the bushfire crisis and the vaccination rollout.
Michael Lucas, Conder
I note double-vaxxed politicians are to be exempt from isolation. Given a vaccinated person can still carry and transmit the virus I trust that they will be tested for it on arrival in the ACT.
Stewart Bath, Isabella Plains
LET US READ
When will the Philistines in the ACT Labor/Green government reopen our public libraries? We're not all sports tragics.