Seven Days: Welcome to liveable, unaffordable Canberra

“Once you tell the world, you encourage everyone to come here and presto! It’s a crowded and you can’t park anywhere.”

SOMETIMES it’s hard to separate news from theatre, and never more so than this past week in Canberra. Take the big story of the week: the revelation that ours is the most “liveable” city in Australia…pure social theatre.

Robert Macklin

Robert Macklin

Sure, we know it’s clean, convenient, friendly and about as healthy as a 21st century city can be. But here’s the rub: once you tell the world, you encourage everyone to come here and presto! It’s a crowded conglomerate and you can’t park anywhere.

The one caveat, I noted, was our “housing affordability”. But Katy Gallagher and Andrew Barr promised they’d be fixing that. Oh sure; the only way to make housing more affordable is to lower the value of our major family asset. Let’s hear the standing ovation among Canberrans for that one.

NICE to see Lib Leader Jeremy Hanson coming aboard to increase the cast at the Assembly from 17 to 25. Just as important, the seats should be distributed between the five town centres so that each gets its say on the political stage.

Of course, this will mean a new Assembly building to strut their stuff…and where better than beside the Canberra Theatre?

THE Qantas imbroglio was all political theatre. Even after Joe Hockey strongarmed diminutive CEO Alan Joyce into blaming the comparatively miniscule $59m carbon tax for the airline’s woes, Tony Abbott refused to extend them a $3 billion line of credit. Instead, he said they could sell off half of their domestic cash cow to unnamed foreigners.

“Gee, thanks, Tony!” they cried. Well, they cried… but not all the way to the (Commonwealth) bank. Sad really, after all those “hard decisions” Alan had made about sacking 5000 workers, especially since he’d declared a “freeze” on his own salary.

In 2011 Alan’s annual pay packet was increased a trifling 71 per cent from $2.92 million in 2009-10 to a risible $5.01 million and he was granted 1.7 million Qantas shares under a long-term incentive plan. Last year his take home pay was a mere $3.3 million.

And he froze it! The man is all heart.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell then entered stage left refusing to commit a cent to the infrastructure of a second Sydney airport at Badgery’s Creek. Yep, looks like the Snows (Terry and Ginette), owners of the Canberra airport, the natural second gateway to the nation, got snowed by the PM on this one.

He has yet to announce it, but take it from here, the Creek’s the go. You only have to look at the figures (the polls, not the costs): 72 per cent of NSW voters are cheering Badgery’s while only 20 per cent are booing.

CATE Blanchett tied news and theatre together nicely in her Academy Award acceptance speech when she underlined Australia’s triumph of four Oscars by telling the Yanks, ‘Don’t f***** forget it!’ (Well, she had played Blue Jasmine.) But she got it right when she said the Australian industry is bursting with talent. Canberra is right up there. If you doubt it, make “Tracks” to our own Mia Wasikowska in a theatre near you. She is Cate’s undoubted successor to the Hollywood crown.

 robertmacklin.com

 

One Response to “Seven Days: Welcome to liveable, unaffordable Canberra”

  1. Chris
    March 12, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    However Sydney does not need a second airport, according to the Sydney Airport Corporation figures. Better to put the money into High Speed Rail. Besides, Badgery’s Creek would need a curfew just like KSA. Melbourne and Brisbane (no curfews) are already building extra runways to satisfy demand from airlines moving their traffic away from Sydney. No airline will volunteer to go to Badgery’s Creek – so who do you force to go there?

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