Letters / Fewer circuses, please Mr Barr

SOME 35,000 people in Canberra live below the poverty line and several thousand are homeless. Why?

quillBeing a city-state I always have wondered how our compact territory only 29 years into self-government is not a substantial improvement in lifestyle from the tired old States and their centuries-old historic baggage. It is not too late to change.

Currently we are on the same, mad “progressive” drive as elsewhere – here with an expensive tram, more and more high-rise units, talk of new and improved stadia, redevelopment of cultural centres…

How do these costly initiatives help the 35,000 in our community living below the poverty line?

Surely, it is a government’s duty and responsibility to look after the fundamental needs of those to whom it administers? Health, education, housing and transport, living costs and the rule of law.

Extras such as those listed earlier should not be considered, at least by a government using taxpayers’ funds, until the basics of society are adequately and broadly met for all citizens.

It is a condemnation of any government that it leaves the increasing number of charities in this city to provide or attempt to provide voluntarily the help that elected official representatives, by our taxes, are charged with giving the community for its quality of life.

The Romans kept their people content with bread and circuses. I urge bread to be prioritised in the ACT and the circuses left to more favourable times for all our citizens.

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla

More due diligence, Mr Moore

WAKE up, Michael Moore! And do due diligence before you go into print (“Public servant admits to being very wrong”, CN, June 14).

Moore touts “the great success story” of the HPV vaccine, while nothing could be further from the truth.

Some governments, such as Japan, no longer recommend the vaccine, and people are suing for damages resulting from the HPV vaccines in numerous countries.

Reports of severe adverse events associated with HPV vaccines continue to escalate worldwide. A group of scientists, medical professionals and victim group representatives from five nations, including the UK and Ireland, has issued a “Joint Statement 2018 for the Victims of HPV Vaccines.”

The statement identifies how very different countries have parallel experiences of adverse events following HPV vaccinations. It also records the victims’ similar experiences at the hands of their various national health services.

The statement is the conclusion of an international symposium held a month ago at the University of Tokyo and attended by representatives from the UK and Ireland, as well as Japan, Colombia and Spain.

Moore praises the openness and transparency of our present system, but continues to chant “success” mantras for products that have never been proved safe or effective, and are failing badly while damaging young people around the world. The World Health Organization has recorded more than 300,000 such cases.

Jennifer Heywood, Spence

Pollies not taking the calls

PAUL Costigan wrote an excellent column “Pollies fail the smell test” (CN, June 7). He highlighted a number of crucial issues where the business owners in Fyshwick would be badly affected by the proposed garbage facility in the suburb. He highlighted the fact that none of the members for Kurrajong had attended public meetings to discuss the issue. I don’t think this is good enough!

After the ACT Budget was handed down, I called three members of the government to raise issues about the Budget with them. Two were ministers, Gordon Ramsay and Shane Rattenbury. The third was a backbencher in Ginninderra. I rang their offices just before 4.30pm on the Friday afternoon and received voicemail messages in all cases. With a three-day long weekend coming up, one would have expected their staff to be still at work at 4.30pm! Instead all I heard from the ministers’ offices were long voicemail messages both stating that they were the minister for “everything”; as long as you don’t want to question us!

Letter writer Ray Leister from Amaroo was spot on with his assessment of the Budget in the same edition of “CityNews”. How out of touch Andrew Barr is with many in the electorate with yet another Budget imposing big increases in rates, taxes and charges, well ahead of the CPI.

Colin Lyons, Weetangera

The reality of Mugga Lane

BARBARA Moore states in Letters (CN, June 14) that the current site of Canberra’s landfill is situated in a “rural broadacre setting”. I assume she is referring to the Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre.

I would suggest that Barbara revisits the site and notes that while it may be surrounded by paddocks and tree-covered ridges, it is in fact the most heavily industrialised site in Canberra.

There are at least five separate enterprises based there including the garbage landfill to service all of Canberra and the surrounding region, a huge open-air compost recycling farm, a building materials recycling plant and a landfill-gas-to-electricity generating plant etcetera.

Apart from the many daily movements of garbage and green recycling trucks, there are numerous pieces of heavy earthmoving equipment permanently at the site and these operate at least six days a week generating a lot of dust while belching diesel particulates with the exhaust emissions.

The building recycling plant creates a lot of noise and dust and necessitates many heavy truck and machinery movements. The most latent polluter is the LFG electricity generator, where diesel engines operating 24/7, 52 weeks a year release odourless toxic emissions and particulates equivalent to 24 large interstate road-haulage trucks at cruising speed.

If the odour from the large pieces of equipment aren’t enough the smell of decomposing green organics also pervades the whole site and when atmospheric conditions allow, all these emissions, particulates, odours and odourless gases are transported to suburbs in Tuggeranong via an inversion layer – the same inversion layer that led to the EPA banning wood-fire heaters in the Tuggeranong Valley several years ago.
Ironically, the one smell that is absent and has been for some time is that of the garbage being buried at the landfill. This is the stuff that you and your future 9000 East Lake residents are afraid of.

Tuggeranong residents have now to look forward to the toxic emissions from cremated cadavers, which will be carried out at the new crematorium in Mugga Lane (adjacent to the new “natural burial” cemetery).

The declaration by Meegan Fitzharris last week that “the government is developing a waste-to energy policy, which would be open for consultation later this year” means that, like NSW and now Queensland, the ACT will be getting its first mining industry. That’s not gold mining either, it’s “garbage mining”, to feed the massive incinerator they are planning at Mugga Lane.

Richard Larkey, Tuggeranong

Not the road, it’s the drivers

CEDRIC Bryant (“Barton Highway is a national disgrace, Letters, CN, June 7) falls for the hoary old chestnut: if there is a motoring fatality, blame it on the road… it’s a “killer road”.

We’ve seen this with the Barton Highway, the Kings Highway and great sections of the Pacific Highway. While I agree the Barton Highway needs considerable work, including duplication, the highway is no killer. No road is. The sole blame for accidents on our highways lies with human frailty: the need to arrive on time, the impatience to wait for an appropriate overtaking opportunity, lack of concentration, poor driving skills, the addiction to speed… the list goes on.

Let’s stop blaming an inanimate road for the failings of those who travel on it. The blame lies entirely with the driver, or at least, one of the drivers involved.

Rowley Tompsett, Nicholls


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