Letters / Socialist capitalism at its worst

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I HOPE that ACT environment bureaucrats and political advisers read Paul Costigan’s incisive column on ACT tree laws (“Growing mysteries of ‘significant’ trees”, CN, December 6).

His IQ probably exceeds the sum total of the sacred trees’ officials that keep inflicting their fundamentalist ignorance on the hapless public.

My neighbour’s monstrous eucalypt that I endured for years dropped volumes of litter, harboured termites and pestiferous possums that ate my plants and pooped everywhere. Its roots limited my garden’s growth, and the tree presented a major bushfire hazard, being on the western edge of the city.

The Barr government declares these trees as having public benefit, but shifts the cost to the private resident (such as termite inspections, pruning, root invasion, loss of amenity from shading, fire risk, etcetera) This is a policy of “socialise the benefits, privatise the costs”. Socialist capitalism at its worst.

Peter Sesterka, Hawker

Better guidelines for trees

COLUMNIST Paul Costigan has certainly made my drives down Limestone Avenue more exciting (“Growing mysteries of ‘significant’ trees”, CN, December 6). I am now constantly looking out and upward for falling branches.

On a more serious note, I am not sure that creating a separate agency for trees will generate the expertise and motivation to overcome the administrative inconsistencies he points out.

What is needed are better guidelines, which are openly communicated with the public and hence can be seen to be followed. Indeed, since the ACT government has shown some interest in citizen participation in policy decisions, it could consider gathering input into such guidelines from the many experts available in Canberra.

Helmut Simon, Watson

Claustrophobic Gungahlin

VISITORS to Gungahlin would think they were in a different city. I shop there every fortnight; one week there’s a vacant paddock and two weeks later there’s two or three five-storey buildings blocking the skyline.

Can someone please tell me what these buildings are made of, cardboard maybe, or how can they go up so fast? I remember it taking us nine months to build a single-storey house

It used to be quite pleasurable to go in there, even if the streets had no real directions (don’t know where the town planners were when Gungahlin was designed) but now it’s getting so claustrophobic. I think I’ll drive to Yass to shop, at least I can see the skyline there.

Yvonne Dickson, via email

No basis in science or fact

LISA Cheeseman’s letter (“Farmers should be warned”, CN, November 27) disingenuously aims to frighten Australia’s farmers without any basis in science or fact. Fortunately, regulators of agricultural chemicals use robust scientific evidence when determining whether products should be approved for use.

Ms Cheeseman correctly noted that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic in humans” in 2015. IARC has also classified hot beverages, being a hairdresser, red meat and shift work, to name a few, as probably carcinogenic.

What Ms Cheeseman fails to recognise is that IARC is not a scientific regulatory agency. It conducts hazard assessments, not risk assessments. We live with countless hazards in our lives, but well-managed hazards do not become risks, electricity and motor vehicles to just name two.

It’s the role of regulators to conduct a risk assessment when a hazard is identified. Australia’s regulator, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, reassessed glyphosate following the publication of IARC’s hazard classification. They found no grounds for its approved uses to be reconsidered.

Many independent expert toxicologists overseas and in Australia are on the public record stating that glyphosate products used in accordance with label directions do not pose a risk of cancer. These include Adjunct Prof Andrew Bartholomaeus, a world-renowned toxicologist with the University of Queensland and University of Canberra, and Dr Ian Musgrave, molecular pharmacologist and toxicologist with the University of Adelaide.

Creating and promoting false fear only serves to distract from real causes of cancer, on which research and funding should be focused.

Matthew Cossey, CEO CropLife Australia, Barton

Brakes on speedway

I MUST comment on the one-sided, ongoing stalemate between the Canberra Speedway, five Ridgeway residents, the ACT Sport Minister and the ACT Environment Minister.

Several weeks ago, after two years and thousands of dollars, the very progressive members of the Canberra Speedway (formerly the NATCAP) location finally finished a massive refurbishment of the venue reshaping it to a speedway circuit and establishing new safety fencing and spectator amenities. The group was given permission to present the first twilight, (4pm start, 10pm curfew) racing event with the blessing of the ACT government under several rules and regulations.

The event and the presentation was a resounding success with an audience of more than 2000 and a solid entry list of competitors.

Well, sadly, as expected Ridgeway residents were not happy, with five complaining of noise excess and therefore putting a proposed second event on hold while the powers that be go to war.

In usual fashion, ala 20 years ago, we now see history repeating itself and the same game being played by five people who live in NSW, not the ACT, and who live with the daily, 24/7 movement and noise of heavy transport within a kilometre of their residences along with continual airplanes flying above them as well.

For goodness sake let common sense raise its head and let the Canberra Speedway people get on with their sport of choice.

Michael Attwell, Dunlop

Card shop is closed

DESPITE the article published in “CityNews” on November 22 (“Bad tidings we bring… card shop closes”), there have been enquiries on social media, by phone and at The Markets, Wanniassa, regarding the sale of charity Christmas cards this year in the Tuggeranong area.

I apologise to anyone who wanted to buy cards, but the decision was made at a general meeting in March 2017 that, after 14 years, the Tuggeranong Charity Christmas Cards would close at the end of that year. We tried to communicate this to customers both during and since that time but, not everyone interested found out.

The reasons for closing were: reduced sales due to competition from the internet to high postage rates; fewer participating charities; and the closure of the Combined Charities card shop in Civic reduced potential card sales for the charities.  

For anyone still wanting to buy cards, I suggest that individual charities be contacted as they may be selling cards from their own sites.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank all those who have supported the Tuggeranong Charity Christmas Cards shop – the people who bought cards, the volunteers who took turns in selling cards, the owners of the venues where we sold cards, those who transported the cabinets, kept the records, made notelets, did gift-wrapping and, not least, the participating charities, without which there would have been no cards to sell!

Barbara Parsons, via email

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