Letters / Come October, I’m giving Mr Coe a go

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“At this stage, I just want the Barr government gone. All Alistair Coe needs to do to be an effective leader of Canberra is to listen to the community.” Letter writer BEC HENSON, of Hughes is in no doubt.

On July 23, I wrote to “CityNews” voicing my annoyance at the Barr government with regard to the poor state of footpaths in one of the Hughes park commons. 

I had initially responded to the government’s invitation to suggest ideas to make Hughes more “age savvy” back in 2018 and the resulting effort was zip. 

I persisted with submissions to the Fix My Street portal via Access Canberra and the result was arrow indicators being spray painted on the footpaths for those segments that needed replacing. 

That took place back at the beginning of 2019. Over a year later – July, 2020 – workmen appeared to finally replace these cement areas. I could hear a bit of their discussion about which areas were to be replaced – no wonder – the paint had since all but worn off the surfaces over the past year.

With the looming election in October, I can’t help but think that the Barr government is trying to buy my vote: “Look what we’ve done for you! Aren’t we fabulous!” 

Well, too little, way too late, Mr Barr. I feel like the Barr government is trying to get my vote by finally performing this long-awaited work and that is insulting to say the least.

Come October, I’m going to give Mr Coe a go. I don’t think my vote would lead me away from the frying pan and into the fire but, at worst, perhaps just a different type of frying pan. 

At this stage, I just want the Barr government gone. All Alistair Coe needs to do to be an effective leader of Canberra is to listen to the community eg. when a master plan is drafted after intensive community consultation, don’t change it to suit developers!

Unlike the Barr government, hopefully Mr Coe won’t yield to the grubby, greedy developers that are systematically stripping away our precious bushland replacing it with concrete and sardine-tin residential development.

Oh, and Mr Rattenbury? I hope your time in bed with Labor was cosy because hopefully come October, the doona will be flung off!

Bec Henson, Hughes

Clubs caused gaming problem

WHO could disagree with ClubsACT chief executive Gwyn Rees when he says: “It is time for the hypocrisy to end” (CN, Letters, July 30). However, when it comes to hypocrisy, it is ClubsACT that is the primary culprit. 

The fact that ACT gaming venues contribute money to problem-gambling funds may make these clubs feel more virtuous, but this does nothing to detract from the fact that it is the clubs who have created, and who are perpetuating, the problem in the first place. 

The ANU’s “2019 ACT Gambling Survey” reported that 17.3 per cent of gamblers in the ACT were at-risk and problem gamblers, including more than 25 per cent of high-frequency gamblers. Nearly 16 per cent of all gamblers in the ACT experienced at least one gambling-related harm in the previous 12 months. More than 5 per cent of the ACT adult population were adversely affected by someone else’s gambling. 

Poker machines were significantly associated with gambling-related harm. This is no surprise – poker machines are deliberately designed to be psychologically manipulative and addictive.

Imagine a group of restaurants that sold food that made their biggest-spending customers sick. Imagine also that these restaurants justified this food poisoning on the grounds that they provided financial contributions to a fund that provided information and counselling to people suffering from food poisoning. Imagine further that these restaurants argued that their practices were justified because their profits helped to support community activities, such as grassroots sport. Would we allow this to continue?

There are better ways to support community sport than through gambling losses, and responsibility for problem gambling is not erased by contributing to funds designed to help people struggling with the problems that are perpetuated because of clubs’ reliance on poker machine revenue. 

If Mr Rees and the clubs sector were genuine about these concerns, and not just crying crocodile tears, they would commit to the types of meaningful reforms that would actually make a difference to problem gamblers and their families. 

Karina Morris, Weetangera 

ABC Radio’s ‘Cone of Silence’

WITH all the light Jon Stanhope and colleague Dr Khalid Ahmed have, for some months now, been shining (via “CityNews” and University of Canberra Policy Space) on the ACT’s precarious pre and post-COVID, significantly tram-driven, budgetary black hole, I’m completely at a loss and baffled as to why ABC Radio Canberra (“our” community station) has apparently been studiously ignoring their damning and scary budgetary revelations. 

If Stanhope and colleague are talking BS, I would expect the ABC to have at least challenged them (is this silence because their critique and analysis is largely factually-based?).

I can only conclude that an ABC Canberra “Cone of Silence” has descended over Messrs Stanhope and Ahmed (as with many other high-priority, public-interest issues more broadly across “our” ABC).

Wayne Fyffe, Cook

Disincentives to covid testing

ACTIVE travellers of all ages and backgrounds, encouraged and lauded as the necessary backbone of the “new improved” April 29, 2019 public transport network, seem to be forgotten when coronavirus testing centres are set up and skewed towards those who own or can access private transport. 

This may prove to be a very costly oversight. Should local transmission of coronavirus and testing take off in Canberra, health and transport officials need to wake up to the fact that the limited July 18, 2020 public transport changes mean that many inner-north residents, for example, still need to make a lengthy two or three-trip bus or bus/rail journey to and from a walk-in testing centre in Crace, Garran or Weston. 

Recent media coverage also revealed how those turning up to the Garran centre were forced to wait for an hour or more outside in wet, cold weather. Why would seeking out such a destination be a motivating undertaking if only “the sniffles” are being experienced, let alone if more debilitating symptoms are evident or if small children are in tow? 

Those who do set off might try to avoid others by using local buses at off-peak times. However, these operate at the pre-2019 half-hour frequency during the daytime on week days and only offer very unsupportive two-hourly services all weekend. 

Trips that still take longer than those scheduled pre-2019 and routes that still involve longer walks to and from transport stops would be more off-putting if feeling unwell. Taxi fares for long trips to testing centres would be out of the question for the majority, especially for those now unemployed or on reduced hours. Might not too many end up opting for self-treatment in the hope that symptoms will just go away and be passed off as a cold? What are we learning from Victoria in this regard?

Sue Dyer, Downer

Labor’s ‘lost the plot’

WITH ACT Labor’s election pitch on interest-free loans for solar panels, a quick look in my analytical database reveals block-titled, detached houses with market values of $1 million-$1.5 million will qualify, but unit-titled townhouses with market values around $500,000 will not.

A political party that discriminates on an irrelevant, administrative variable rather than something like market value or household income has lost the plot.

Peter Bradbury, Holt


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