Along with the many other things that are going around at the moment, I think I have a mild case of Stockholm syndrome. I felt great relief when the Chief Minister announced that his government would help Canberrans manage ballooning living costs by ensuring rates, fees, charges and utility costs would all rise more slowly than the national inflation rate.
This, at least, acknowledges that government has contributed to the cost-of-living pressures over the past 10 years by hiking the full range of charges well above the rate of inflation and wage increases.
The government sets the price for a big proportion of household costs and Canberrans are held hostage with no choice but to pay increases. Quarterly or annual price comparisons don't provide the full extent of these increases on family cost of living. While wages in the ACT have increased on average by 25 per cent over the last ten years rates, fees, charges and utility costs have all increased by over 100 per cent.
The government has forced Canberrans to cough up a greater proportion of their income to cover these charges.
Thank you Chief Minister for pegging future increases to inflation; just when it's rapidly increasing. If the government wanted to help reduce cost-of-living pressures, they could constrain the increase in government charges to below the average wage increase for the next 10 years.
It's great to hear the Chief Minister talking about "gentle urbanism" and adding 30,000 dwellings over the next five years, but what's he doing to support these 30,000 dwellings and the people they will house?
Already in Canberra the health system is under-resourced, underfunded and struggling.
Firefighters are acting as paramedics due to a lack of ambulances and paramedics on the ground. Police numbers are the lowest in the country by a long way, with the ACT leading the nation in victimisation for stolen motor vehicles. Education is struggling, with teachers being overworked and under-resourced which impacts on children and their development.
Can the ACT and its current infrastructure and workforce actually manage an extra 30,000 dwellings without significant investment by the ACT government in trying to fix existing and obvious issues?
Let's not mention the money spent on light rail stage 2 when so many other things need to be prioritised.
How is it divisive to acknowledge the people who have owned the lands of Australia for around 60,000 years? These amazing people lived and protected this environment so that they and our native plants and animals thrived.
When Europeans arrived in 1788, the land with its flora and fauna was thriving. In just over 200 years, the people coming here from overseas and their descendants have almost destroyed it.
Yet there continue to be people speaking out against acknowledgment and respect towards our First Nations people, saying it is divisive and that we shouldn't pay special attention to them as owners of this land. Others say they want practical actions rather than recognition.
Surely recognition after all this time is a step forward in how we see our country and its First Nations people? We should be thanking our very knowledgeable Indigenous people everyday for the amazing job they and their ancestors have done in providing all Australians with one of the most naturally diverse countries in the world.
Giving them a voice, listening to them and acknowledging them is the least we can do.
My first COVID infection occurred on May 1 and was confirmed by a rapid antigen test. I have experienced significant health problems ever since.
On July 26, I visited the Mitchell site for a test for which I received a positive reading the following morning. Under constant care by my GP, I was consistently claiming that I needed a referral to the long COVID clinic. I was told there should be a minimum period of three months before this action could be commenced.
My strong view remains that I did not recover from my first infection on May 1. I want to know if it is possible to determine if my new infection has been caused by a sub-variant?
Obviously the history of sporadic violence between Anglo-Celtic settlers and Australia's First Nations peoples, mainly in the 19th century, needs to be brought into the open and properly acknowledged. However, I don't believe the Australian War Memorial is the right place to do this.
The AWM commemorates wars fought, mainly in the 20th century, principally when the nation as a whole was threatened by wholly external forces.
These conflicts seem to me to be essentially different in kind, and to juxtapose them risks being puzzling and confusing.
Although it is misguided to judge past deeds by present standards, in my view, our First Nations peoples should have their own separate institution and building where their stories can be told in their historic context.
The gaming of the Australian gas supply to maximise corporate profits at the expense of households, industry sectors, and our national interest is disgraceful, damaging and avoidable.
It is disgraceful because it takes the legitimate interests of corporate profit-making beyond social norms to become unbalanced, excessive and damaging.
Adam Smith was on the money when he said: "Our merchants and master-manufacturers complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price of their goods both at home and abroad. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits."
It is damaging because it disrupts multiple industry sectors and supply chains, pressurises household budgets and drives inflation.
It is avoidable provided governments have the capacity and courage to legislate and regulate to the extent necessary to discourage and, when necessary, prevent such unbalanced and reproductive corporate behaviour.
This is an early test of the Albanese government's capacity to manage the economics and politics of re-establishing the need for and benefits of effective government regulation to balance the profit maximising animal spirits (greed) of capitalism.
Domestic gas prices have risen because of the international spot price achievable by our liquid natural gas producers - profiteering. Many have contracts with established prices set years ago. Our last LNP government refused to legislate a requirement to allocate a percentage of production to domestic use, as has occurred in WA.
We are told that the amount of LNG being sold on the spot market exceeds our domestic need. The ALP government, by legislation, ought to secure an adequate amount reserved for domestic use based on the average cost of production. The government has two options: one is to apply a super profits tax (or a temporary royalty) and use it to reduce the domestic price; the other is to allocate sufficient non-contract gas to meet domestic needs. There may need to be some compensation for high cost producers or those disproportionally affected. This would make the domestic reservation of LNG available at a reasonable domestic price and permit contract quantities to be supplied. Gas is an Australian core asset with a priority for domestic use.
City Hill is entered into the Register of the National Estate and the ACT Heritage Places Register. It is also listed by the National Trust of Australia (ACT): "As the dark green trees have grown they have tended to increase the perceived height of the Hill and emphasise its important role as a landmark in the National Capital" (Ref. Grey J, 1999, The Historical and Cultural Background of Selected Urban Parks in Canberra - Volume 2). In view of the above, I believe that the proposed City Hill works are in contravention. Who else cares? Senator Pocock?
Mario Stivala (Letters, July 31) says we should listen to the "beneficiaries" of JobSeeker and JobKeeper and hear how delighted they were with the Coalition. Well, we did listen and were much pleased when many corporates offered the verbal finger when asked to return the millions they didn't need. Equally happy too, were the less well-off who had to wait until Morrison had to be pushed into paying JobSeeker.
I can't wait until next April 1 when, undoubtedly, Mario will be assuring us the Coalition was bipartisan to every community group that asked for grants, regardless of the politics of the local member.
Surprisingly case numbers for COVID-19 have gone down in Canberra. The modelling predicted around 2000 to 3000 cases by the end of July to early August. We are way off the predicted numbers indicated by the modelling.
Big Pharma fulfils the "too big to fail" criteria, thereby obtaining unquestioned access to Treasury and vulnerable patient groups, conveniently side-stepping medical requirements for informed consent and, dissimilar to all other industries, to prove their product does no harm (Cancer drug trial info not scrutinized, 30 July, p24)
When you think about it, males calling females "baby" is deeply insulting.
Trucking industry workers are protesting about their "deadly" industry. For the safety of all road users and benefit to the environment, shouldn't federal and state governments invest in more freight rail services?
"Plum job, initially lucrative for politician, but sticks in one's craw" (4 letters). It might be cryptic to some, but it's obvious to most, hard to swallow and generating many a cross word.
It's good to see the daily COVID figures divided into age ranges. As well as the current number of people infected in each age range, could we also be told what percentage of the ACT population each age range represents? That would give us oldies an indication of who we need to avoid.
If we feel we must enshrine race in the Australian constitution, why not simply replace our hereditary British monarchy with an Indigenous one?
It's funny to hear conservatives saying that part of our national debt was run up by Rudd and Gillard. Tony Abbott called it the worst case of generational theft; then after winning government never paid off any of it. In their first six years, they could have paid off Labor's debt but instead made it three times bigger.
Ms Pelosi's visit to Taiwan is probably the best thing that has ever happened in my lifetime.
The term "American democracy" never fails to amuse. It's a killer line.
An inflexible religious institution with a rich and well-documented history of wielding control over others, their punishments and abuse, has resorted to more intolerance, furphies and political interference on Territory rights rather than admit that a pretty basic legislated wrong should be righted as soon as possible.
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