I almost choked on my Weet-Bix. There was Jo Clay, Greens MLA ("ACT racing industry does not deserve $40 million in government funding", canberratimes.com.au, June 27) arguing against funding the industry on the grounds the funds could be better spent on a range of purposes including public housing, solar panels, trees, bike paths, street and music festivals or providing extra staff to hospitals, schools and aged care.
Furthermore, she argued for a public grant or procurement process to give the community confidence it is getting value for money and that more care should be taken over the expenditure of public money, both with regard to transparency and to priorities.
While the reasoning is sound the Green's support of the light rail extension, a project likely to cost north of $2 billion and yet to be adequately justified or scrutinised, demonstrates astounding hypocrisy.
Better governance requires action rather than superficial rhetoric. The Greens should practice what they preach.
With reference to "ACT racing industry does not deserve $40 million in government funding", (canberratimes.com.au, June 27).
The Greens refuse to commit to supporting the local racing industry. The Greens spokeswoman said the party did not support horse racing arguing the money could be spent on homelessness and housing affordability. Both these are worthwhile initiatives.
How many homes could you build for $2 billion plus. Ms Clay and the Greens would be better off dumping the tram project. This would ensure that public money could be spent building enough government housing and have plenty left over.
Ms Clay's objection to $8 million per year going to racing as she thinks it would be better spent on homelessness, etc. is astounding. I haven't heard her saying the billions going to trams could be better spent on social and environmental problems which she seems to be concerned about.
Being a part of the government, I am sure she knows government revenue from gambling on racing exceeds any outlay to the racing club.
The Greens stance on not supporting funding horse racing needs some further explanation.
How are the funds acquired? Following the introduction of self-government in the ACT racing club operations (which then included greyhound racing) were self funded. A government levy on the TAB operations funded what was then called the Racecourse Development Fund.
Racing clubs could apply to the minister for grants from the fund for capital works only. The ACT government only used income generated from betting on racing to assist the industry.
While recognising the betting industry has undergone huge changes since, is the current funding allocated to racing from revenue generated by the industry or is it from non racing sources? If the latter, the Greens stance is to be applauded as why should ACT revenue fund such an industry when we have huge needs for further funding in areas such as social housing, health and education.
If it is from revenue generated by gambling taxes then it is appropriate that the industry gets a slice.
Do we need another crematorium when we are only using 18 per cent of current capacity according to an October 2020 survey by Australasian Cemeteries and Crematoria Association?
Or do we need a unique nature reserve that protects critically endangered yellow box and Blakely red gum and grassy woodland. Callum Brae is the largest, best-connected and most diverse area of these species remaining in Australia.
Callum Brae Nature Reserve is under severe threat by a proposed large crematorium adjacent to it. (Development Application: 202138789).
An e-petition to protect Callum Brae has been posted by the office of MLA Jo Clay. Please read and sign the petition and pass it around to your friends, colleagues and community groups. Use this short cut to the e-petition website. We need to reach 500 signatures before the closing date of July 1.
Both Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Finance Minister Katy Gallagher have indicated that the best way to support all members of Parliament is by increased funding for the Parliamentary Library, rather than adding to in-house staff for members.
While such staff and advisers to MPs are, no doubt, of great assistance, they do not have at their fingertips the specialist assistance which is, in many cases, already available from the research and library teams in the library. This could often be better utilised given the huge range of digital resources now available.
Many may not be aware of the fact that analysis of topics under discussion within Parliament and more widely in the community is undertaken by seven distinct research teams in the library, each including highly qualified staff focusing on an area such as economic policy, the environment or social policy. Furthermore, explanation of bills and information for policy development can be provided in customised responses.
The original aim when this service was set up in 1966 by parliamentary librarian, Sir Harold White, was that such a service would not only support, but provide timely, independent and impartial advice to all members of Parliament, not least the opposition. It is time this aim is reinforced.
When I first read reports of the new PM advising the crossbench that they could only have one adviser now, I wrote to my federal MP Andrew Leigh to convey my concerns about this move. The crossbench do not have the resources of the big parties to get across everything that comes across their desk and I thought this move was damaging to democracy.
Mr Leigh wrote back quite quickly to advise that he has "three major areas of policy responsibility as an assistant minister for which I am only allocated two additional staff members". Mr Leigh also advised "that's half as many as the four additional staff members that independents had during the last Parliament".
I found that response lacking and the equivalent of "I work 80 hours a week because that's what hardworking people do". Just because Mr Leigh wants to do more with less resources as an assistant minister doesn't mean that new senators such as David Pocock, who will need to learn the ropes quickly, shouldn't have adequate resources.
The Senate is the house of review and senators need the resources to be across intricate details of legislation and engaging with stakeholders.
This is a poor start to the new government. I warn Canberra's federal Labor MPs, we got rid of Zed and made Canberra marginal. Don't think we won't do this to you as well.
I was pleased to read the recent editorial which opposed denying critical aid to Afghans because they are ruled by the Taliban ("Forget the Taliban, Afghans need help", canberratimes.com.au, June 24).
The historical record is quite clear. Sanctions against undesirable regimes do not harm those regimes but the citizenry of that country. For example, the long running sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq did not weaken that regime, but it did contribute to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians due to malnourishment and inadequate access to medicine.
The present sanctions on Russia present a curious outlier.
The Putin regime has not been weakened by them, it continues its advances in Ukraine, and the economy seems to be holding firm thanks to its abundance of strategic export goods.
The main victims of these sanctions are civilians in other countries in both the developed and developing world, who are hostages to changes in global markets.
It is high time that democratic states stop using these ineffective blunt instruments and find more constructive ways to wield power in international politics.
No, P McCracken, you are not alone in your frustration with ABC's' national morning show (Letters, June 26). Some of Aunty's news and current affairs shows, on TV and radio, have descended into self-indulgent, protracted giggle-fests, in which, seemingly, each and every little thing is amusing, regardless of whether or not it is actually funny.
My guess is that Aunty is trying to broaden her appeal, but that approach comes across to some of us as unprofessional, and is turning off those of us who watch the ABC because we don't like the antics, and lack of substance, of commercial competitors.
The inability to bank on Philip Lowe's advice makes a compelling case for shooting the messenger.
It is sadly ironic that the July re-opening of Mt Selwyn Ski Resort, following the rebuild after 2020's bushfires, has had to be postponed due to too much snow. The contractor has had to suspend the final works, and it looks like Selwyn won't reopen until next year. This is tough for a resort which has often struggled to get enough snow.
Oh dear, David Pocock. Have you committed to four advisers already?
Good of Jo Clay to question the ACT government's $40 million funding of the horse racing industry saying it could be spent on better things such as social housing. Now let's get serious and question whether the $2 billion you are about to spend on the Civic to Woden tram could be spent on better things too.
Would David Pocock and the teals find it impertinent if the Prime Minister was to remind them that, compared to the toffs' code, there are always fewer players on the field in rugby league?
Can someone please provide a chair for Dan Bourchier and the other local on-camera ABC newsreaders?
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is certainly a bunch of laughs. He'd never make a stand-up comedian.
Well said, Jo Clay: "I just can't see how we could possibly prioritise $40 million going into the horse racing industry when we have all these major social and environmental problems to deal with". And how about at least 50 times that amount going into a light rail extension that will benefit very few people?
Pedestrians have unfortunately learnt to ignore the light rail traffic signals which just cycle between "walk" and "don't walk" and bear no relation to an approaching tram. Both Capital Metro and Roads ACT are aware of this design deficiency. Minister Steel should investigate before someone is hit by a tram.
With the number of daily reported COVID cases high, and rising, consideration should be given to the reintroduction of compulsory mask wearing indoors to alleviate the pressure on our health system.
Senator David Pocock is unhappy about his staffing allocation for his Parliament House office. Given it was claimed he had 2200 volunteer electoral workers he should have no trouble enlisting work-for-free staff.
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