Welsh / Airport chief takes off over safety rumours

“Do we need to have another conversation about Belconnen’s $400,000 owl statue?” asks Seven Days columnist MIKE WELSH

CANBERRA airport boss Stephen Byron hit the airwaves over recent days to correct “unfounded and unacceptable” speculation on the potential for a major disaster at the airport.

Mike Welsh

Mike Welsh.

An angry Byron told 2CC that the “scaremongering”, “insinuating that adjacent buildings were making flying in and out of Canberra Airport unsafe”, had begun after a small charter plane crashed into the DFO warehouse at Essendon Airport last month, killing all five people on board.

Byron went hard on the issue suggesting that if Canberra Airport was heading for a similar tragedy, the assumption is a deadly rampage of the calibre of the Bourke Street Mall event, in which six people died in January, could happen in Garema Place.

ALSO on the front foot, after weeks of attack, was Canberra-Goulburn’s Catholic Archbishop Christopher Prowse. The archbishop was defending the church’s right to exercise its social conscience, citing the arrest of pro-life supporters for praying within an exclusion zone set up around a Moore Street abortion clinic.

But a spectre of retired, “of-concern” priests living in houses near primary schools continues to dog the archdiocese with a fourth priest being removed from a residence near Ainslie Primary School last week.

DO we need to have another conversation about Belconnen’s $400,000 owl statue?

Melbourne sculptor Bruce Armstrong’s eight-metre tall fibreglass work, which apparently resembles a penis, has again been the target of vandals who’ve daubed it with yet another male reproductive organ, albeit a smaller depiction than that which was scrubbed off last year.

Unveiling the sculpture (which has its own Facebook page) in 2011, then ACT CM Jon Stanhope lamented: “All the great cities of the world are identified by their public art. We still need to have a conversation in Canberra about this”.

A COUPLE of local MLAs are promoting old and new-school technologies to slow the city’s movers down.

The Libs’ Mark Parton is peddling the cycling app Strava to track cyclists’ speeds on shared paths and Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury has doubled mobile speed-detection vans’ operational hours and added new sites.

While Parto’s brainwave may help by revealing dangerous cyclist speed stats, the minister will only hear a cacophony of revenue raising. Which is, of course, totally unfair as the vans are all about road safety by creating a deterrent.

IT’S been a big week for the local ABC women on the wireless. On Wednesday listeners woke to Genevieve Jacobs launching the all-female, on-air lineup to celebrate International Women’s Day.

However, the mood in the station was clouded in doubt over just how savagely the national broadcaster’s restructuring axe might fall in Canberra. Managing director Michelle Guthrie had just announced 200 jobs, including those of one-in-five managers, would be cut to create 80 new jobs in regional markets. But by Friday celebrations broke out again with former long-time presenter Alex Sloan named 2017 Canberra Citizen of the Year.

FOUR ANU students have been disciplined by John XXIII College after chanting sexual rhymes during O Week about “nailing” women.

Students’ Association officer Holly Hayoi Zhang said the behaviour was “typical of the kinds of sexist attitudes and behaviours which constitute the pervasive rape culture on the ANU campus, which normalises the disrespect and objectification of women”.

But the uni did have some positive and exciting news to share. The ABC TV program “Stargazing”, featuring the pop star(gazing) Prof Brian Cox, will be filmed at the Siding Spring Observatory early next month.

CALVARY Hospital has joined six other Australian hospitals participating in an alcohol-related violence study.

All patients presenting to the hospital’s ED will be surveyed on the amount of alcohol they have consumed, where it was sourced and if they’ve taken illicit drugs.

The survey, to identify alcohol-fuelled violence hotspots, is based on the Cardiff Model of violence prevention initiated in 2002 and which now operates in 80 per cent of the UK’s EDs.



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