What is the justification for the huge land tax bills being levied on investment properties in the ACT? Land tax is calculated on assessed land value and the cost, while met by the landlord, is inevitably passed onto the "renter" amongst other costs.
It is difficult to believe but for 2022 the land tax liability in three jurisdictions is as follows (based on a land value of say $750,000):
The ACT government's pious words of concern for renters (who are generally among the least advantaged in the community) and the need for more affordable housing are hollow and self serving.
"We need the revenue" - so say Barr and Rattenbury.
I suggest they reduce land tax significantly (and achieve a significant reduction in rental and family stress and improve social equity) and deal with the reduced revenue by adjusting the government's questionable spending priorities.
Many people have written in with their letters of disgust, sadness, and anger towards the ACT government's kangaroo killing program. For the first time in a while, it feels like the public's view is shifting and they can see that this program is completely unnecessary, and is actually doing more harm than good.
I invite all these concerned writers to join kangaroo lovers at the protest, next Wednesday, July 20 at 12pm, outside the ACT Legislative Assembly. The government must listen to its concerned constituents and stop the killing now.
Douglas Mackenzie (Letters, July 15) claims that the Greens are too extreme with "a goal that borders on insane". He elaborates by stating that: "The Greens state that 'a safer climate will require a return to an atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide, or lower', a level not seen for at least the last one million years. This is an impossible goal".
Sorry, Douglas, but one doesn't have to go back 1 million years but only 36 years. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels had been below 350 parts per million for all of human history until 1986.
I couldn't believe the article "New 40km/h speed limits don't go far enough", (canberratimes.com.au, July 15).
Transport Minister Chris Steel is quoted as saying that Canberra's streets were originally designed for children to play on. Really? What is he thinking? Have we ever told children to play in traffic?
Canberra's older suburbs have lots of parks and open spaces for children to play; so they don't and didn't need to play on the roads.
Modern cars are fitted with numerous safety devices to avoid collisions with other traffic and pedestrians such as forward and rear collision warning, rear and forward cameras, side collision warning and a host of others.
With all these safety devices being fitted to cars and trucks; why do we need to reduce the speed limit to below 40km/h?
Maybe Chris Steel just wants to catch out motorists like the government did in Northbourne Avenue in Civic, so that they can get the revenue to help pay for the tram?
Minister Rattenbury is quoted as saying he is "committed to evidence-based justice policy that effectively reduces and prevents crime" ("Matthew McLuckie's dad Tom McLuckie to meet Shane Rattenbury over tougher sentencing laws in the ACT", canberratimes.com.au, July 15), but he is putting politics ahead of his responsibilities as Attorney-General.
Yes, justice policy must include prevention but for repeat offenders who don't change their ways, it should also include the concepts of community safety, punishment and ostracisation. These are methods used in all cultures to protect the community and our community also needs to see these concepts in action.
Rattenbury and the Greens are very conscious that the power they currently enjoy is due to votes from younger members of our community who believe drug-taking in all its forms should be decriminalised. Maybe that debate has some merit.
But the community will never accept that irresponsible, dangerous and illegal behaviour while under the influence of drugs, legal or illegal, is in any way acceptable and penalties, escalating to hard prison time, for these offences is warranted to protect the community, punish bad behaviour and ostracise the offender.
If Minister Rattenbury cannot set aside youth politics he should not be Attorney-General.
The Australian Federal Police Association believes that laws work ("Police 'let down' by courts: union", 15 July, p17). Courts just need to impose tougher penalties on those who break the laws.
But laws cannot fix all societal ills. Why do people drive recklessly? Why do people take drugs? Will tougher penalties prevent the tragic consequences of reckless driving or people taking drugs?
Serious penalties should apply to those who have destroyed others' lives but we need to look beyond the toughness of the law if we want less knocks on our doors from police to advise that a loved one has died from the acts of a reckless driver or indeed from drug overdose.
What is needed is improved social policies that look at reducing domestic violence, reducing long-term unemployment, increasing adult education, providing stable accommodation, and a health approach to drug dependency and mental illness and much more support for parents who struggle to raise their children.
The police association and indeed our whole society needs to realise that we can do better in preventing crime and saving lives. It does not all depend on the severity of the law. Indeed research shows this often makes matters worse.
On July 13, I read in this paper that a "Poll finds support for ACT drug law change". I was glad to discover nearly 80 per cent of those surveyed "support decriminalising the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs and providing a health response instead".
So I was disappointed to discover on another page of the same paper that the police union is "dismayed" by this "drug decriminalisation push". And, as I read on, it seems at least part of the problem is insufficient funding available for support services which would facilitate treatment orders which would enable courts to keep with small amounts of drugs out of the prison system.
We are all ashamed of the inappropriate number of Indigenous people in the AMC, and now we hear horror expressed on the national news about the appallingly inappropriate movement of young offenders to a maximum security jail in WA.
If the ACT government wants to boast about their newly implemented juvenile justice programs that can redirect our youth from into the health system we need them to demonstrate that they are funding these programs properly, so that any person who proves eligible can be accommodated straight away. That's what we want to hear.
The report "Grains of sand reveal Earth's deep secrets" (July 10, p11) described a process known as laser ablation, used to obtain minute samples of minerals such as zircon for isotopic analysis. Zircon contains trace amounts of uranium (U) and thorium Th), the radioactive isotopes of which decay to lead (Pb) isotopes. The isotopic composition is used to determine the age of the mineral and of the rock from which it was first eroded.
Zircons from Jack Hills in the Yilgarn Craton of WA have yielded U-Pb ages up to 4.404 billion years, the age of crystallisation. These are the oldest minerals so far dated on Earth. Furthermore, the oxygen isotopic compositions of some of these zircons indicate that there was water on the surface of the Earth more than 4.4 billion years ago.
So much information in a tiny grain of sand.
Recently the federal minister for water toured the Murray-Darling Basin and stated the Labor government intends to commence water buybacks along the Murrumbidgee River.
I hope she starts the buybacks in Canberra and the ACT. I'm sure she can introduce legislation which prohibits every government department, both state and federal from irrigating grass and lawns.
I'm sure Canberra can just dig up all the turf and plan natives. Then all the water that is saved can be utilised to push more water out to sea.
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