“Seven Days” columnist IAN MEIKLE has been trying hard not to write about covid, but then came the cold shudder of Melbourne; the towers, the lockdowns, the border closures, the infection numbers. But we’re okay, right? Wrong. Then came Canberra.
I AM trying so hard not to write about coronavirus. The research says we’re sick of hearing about it, especially as we lulled smugly back to tummy rubbing and not washing hands beyond one verse of “Happy Birthday to You” while the world racked up record infection numbers.
Then came the cold shudder of Melbourne; the towers, the lockdowns, the border closures, the infection numbers. But we’re okay, right? Wrong. Then came Canberra. First, a sobering three new cases to smash our growing complacency, then another – something about a shop in Gungahlin, then another – something about shopping in Belconnen mall…
Then the about-to-start stage three restrictions were stopped. Suddenly things have turned serious again.
Hits to our website (citynews.com.au) started spiralling up as the frightened community gives lie to the research.
The fear, while never far away, is rising and so too is the testing with three more clinics opening this week at the COVID-19 Surge Centre in Garran, the West Belconnen Child and Family Centre and an additional drive-through in south Canberra.
“With the events occurring in Victoria and the onset of the influenza season, we will continue to see an upward trend in demand for community testing of COVID-19,” says ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.
AND the police have announced a “significant stepping up” of monitoring compliance of quarantine and self-isolation arrangements as the number of people in quarantine or self-isolation in hotels or at home increases daily.
A third Territory Targeting Team is going to be doing more spot-checks and responding to calls from the public reporting non-compliance. The other two will continue policing Canberra’s nightlife district and enforcing social distancing.
Top cop Neil Gaughan said: “For people in quarantine or self-isolation, if you haven’t already seen a police officer at your front door, you are likely to see one soon”, which is code for “stay out of shopping malls”!
“CANBERRA Matters” columnist Paul Costigan has a weakness for French pastries, such as pain au raisin.
“I regularly hunt out new ones, I came across this in Coles: I bought it Tuesday, July 7 at about 2pm.
“It says on the packaging: ‘Baked 7 July – best before 8 July’.”
Which is unremarkable, save for the top label that states: “Made in France”.
Given these times of travel restrictions, fewer planes and international time differences, one could marvel that columnist Costigan was arguably eating it before it had even been “baked”.
Coles have some form in this having been fined $2.5 million in 2015 for making false or misleading representations and engaging in misleading conduct in relation to the promotion of its par baked bread products. The offending products were promoted as “Baked Today, Sold Today” and in some cases “Freshly Baked In-Store”, when they were in fact partially baked and frozen off site by a supplier, transported and “finished” at in-store bakeries within Coles supermarkets.
“Despite the mysterious origins, they were delicious,” says M. Costigan.
IT will come as no surprise to know the perennial candidate Tim Bohm, pictured, is standing at the October ACT election. “It’s official, I’m running as a candidate for the Canberra Progressives. Yes, I’m a sucker for punishment, but someone needs to do something about this arrogant Labor government,” he says, more aware than most of the wall he’ll be bangining his head against for the next three months.
MOTHER doesn’t know best for one hapless L-plater nabbed for doing 98km/h in an 80km/h zone along Adelaide Avenue.
When asked for a reason for speeding when there was a supervising driver in the car, the learner dobbed mum in saying she had urged overtaking other cars because they were “driving dangerously”.
Nonplussed, plod stiffed the young driver with a $438 fine and three demerit points. “I hope our interaction with the learner driver taught a more valuable lesson – that is to follow the road rules and always obey the speed limit,” said Sgt Ivan Naspe. Oh, and ignore your mother.
MURRUMBIDGEE MLA Jeremy Hanson seems to have broken the cone of Liberal silence over their position on high-rise development.
In his latest community newsletter he says he and his fellow MLA Giulia Jones are committed to protecting green spaces, such as the Curtin horse paddocks against high-rise development.
“Disappointingly, the ACT Labor and Greens government are planning to rezone 30 per cent of the green space near Curtin, Yarralumla and along Adelaide Avenue for high-rise development.” Adelaide Avenue? Where did that come from?
THE ACT government has commendably stumped up $240,000 to keep local performers busy staging a new arts festival that will run around Canberra until September 11.
It’s called “Where You Are”. “CityNews” arts editor Helen Musa worries that the enigmatic title is reminiscent of some other Canberra festivals, “You Are Here”, “I am Me” and “Art Not Apart”, with the potential to confuse rather than enlighten the public. “Better to keep it simple,” she says.
Ian Meikle is the “CityNews” editor. He can be heard on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” news and current affairs program, 10am-noon on 2CC.