Letters / Rates, the gift that just keeps on giving

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Grinding rate rises didn’t need to be this way. There was a moment in history lost to the territory’s ratepayers, says letter writer LUCINDA SPIER.

THE reason rates have doubled in Canberra in the past 10 years is because this kleptocracy we call government knows no-one can stop them. 

If they chose, they could increase rates by 100 per cent every year!

However, it didn’t have to be that way. In 1994 there was an opportunity to limit rate increases to CPI. 

This was part of the Liberal platform that never happened – another broken promise by a politician (who would have thought). And here we are today with a government totally unrestrained by limits as to how much it increases rates.

As far back as 1994, I was alarmed at yearly rate increases and could see it getting out of control, so I started up a ratepayers association to make rates an election issue. 

I subsequently joined the Liberal Party, was preselected and ran as a Liberal at the 1995 election, on a rates platform – ie to limit rates to CPI just as in neighbouring NSW.

The Liberal Party won that election but did not honour its promise.

This licence to print money was not changed by subsequent governments; it is the gift that just keeps on giving. In fact, rates have jumped exponentially during the Barr-Rattenbury government. This government is shameless in its greed for rates.

There is no way of stopping any government in Canberra increasing rates. There is no mechanism to limit increases. To remedy this we need legislation. If we don’t, there will be more and more increases and many people will be unable to pay rates and could be forced to sell their homes. 

While the government is raking in massive amounts of money from rates, one group always applauds rate increases and that is ACTCOSS. Clearly it doesn’t pay rates, but rates money is redirected to ACTCOSS by this government.

To add to the pain on property owners let’s not forget what Liberal Chief Minister Trevor Kaine did – he introduced the highest land tax in the country. Economists call this tax “efficient” and it is – you can’t avoid it!

Lucinda Spier, via email

Candidate’s in the wrong party!

IF Labor candidate Dr Marisa Paterson (Murrumbidgee) believed in everything she said on the flyer she left in my letterbox, she’d be voting Liberal for sure. 

I told her as much in an email. She replied very politely, I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but she couldn’t see that the party she is standing for does exactly the opposite of what she wants for Canberra. 

Four more years of this off-Green/Labor government and the only green space left in Canberra will be the arboretum which, ironically, is Jon Stanhope’s wonderful legacy. 

How long before they dig that up and build apartments on the site? Don’t worry, Jon, I’m sure with your permission they’d name the suburb Stanhope.

Neil, of Fisher, via citynews.com.au

Roll on the election

GOOD news that the Chief Minister plans to inject a $1 billion economic stimulus package to create a lasting legacy. Then, knowing that a new convention centre has the capacity to generate significant business opportunities, a fourfold return on investment , why is this not on the shopping list? 

Ah, I forget the toy tram gets pride of place with a very low 80 cents in the dollar return on investment. 

Andrew, haven’t you learnt after 30 years, you have not changed people’s attitude to public transport? Try investing in capital projects that earn money, not lose money. While you are at it, the AFP needs some new buildings, too. Heaven help us.

Roll on the election.

Russ Morison, Theodore

Government fails poor families

UNDER the dictatorship of the ACT government many people are living in a state of uncertainty for their future. 

It is difficult to argue convincingly that this long-term government is doing enough for households of very low incomes. 

Basic public infrastructure such as transport links are of very low quality. Canberra must be the only capital in the world which does not offer transport from Mawson or Woden to the airport. 

Potentially important is the spiralling rise of land rates and the huge numbers of high-rise apartment buildings that only the wealthy can afford. 

Apart from the fact that greedy developers have been allowed to destroy Canberra’s beautiful environment, considering the high cost of most of these apartments, it seems quite possible to surmise that half of them are empty.

Amar, Phillip

End discrimination of alcoholics

IN 2018 the WA Cancer Council announced that almost 6000 Australians died from alcohol-attributable disease in a single year. National hospitalisations attributable to alcohol exceeded 144,000 in 2012-13, an average of about 400 a day.

The 2020 ACT Greens’ plan for Canberrans states that the most harmful drug in our society is the legal drug alcohol, and adds: “We want to ensure people can access the services and support they need for substance use, including legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol.” The services include having medically supervised injecting centres for those wanting to use ice and heroin etcetera. This allows the possibility for illicit drug users to continue using (some under medical supervision).

Why then discriminate against drinkers whose mortality and morbidity are greater than for illicit drugs? They should receive the same alleged harm-reduction facilities for what the Greens hold as the most harmful drug in our society. 

The problem doesn’t revolve around whether alcohol is legal or not. It revolves around certain people in the community choosing to use a drug(s) of choice. So there should not be discrimination against alcoholics.

Colliss Parrett, Barton


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