News location:

Canberra Today 21°/24° | Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Government’s been a gas for the green Greenies 

Shane Rattenbury from “Keeping up the ACT”.

The Greens cheer gas out of suburbs leaving Labor sucking their thumbs when it comes to powering crematorium furnaces. It’s “Seven Days” with IAN MEIKLE.

IN the (sustainably) warm (renewable) glow of celebrating one year of the “greenest government in Australia’s history”, Shane Rattenbury mysteriously said he was looking forward to “all that we can and must do”.

Ian Meikle.

With evangelical zeal, the ACT Greens leader and his five other comparatively green Greenies were rejoicing this past week at the myopic difference they’d made on the environment, pointing to “ending the rollout of fossil-fuel gas to new suburbs” as but one shining green achievement.

Pity about the city’s tree canopy, the concrete heat islands, high-rise towers, planning, developers, health, affordable housing, education, the prison and the territory debt that they’ve spent the past 12 months largely ignoring. 

But it’s gas (and 19th century trams) that float their (sail) boats. Not that it was an easy ride, the Chief Minister Andrew Barr was reported to have been concerned about having to rein the “crazy” Greens in. 

Contemporaneous reportage has him saying the Labor Party wouldn’t force households to abandon gas appliances before they were ready to and he wouldn’t support any “crazy Greens proposal” (like the tram, Andrew?). 

“We are not bringing out a big stick and saying you’re a bad person if you use gas,” is the quote.

And Mr Barr is sensible in believing that the transition from gas to electricity was best achieved by helping households, not by imposing “rigid ideology”. To his credit, he’s taken that same moderate approach to enforcement of covid regulations over the difficult past 18 months. 

But back to gas and another conundrum. At the Budget estimates hearing, City Services shadow Nicole Lawder had the City Services non-shadow Chris Steel dodging around the question of how the furnaces of the planned new crematorium in Canberra’s south are to be fired. Presumably not solar. 

Gas, she mused; rubbing the Labor minister’s nose in the irony of going with gas despite announcing earlier this year a territory-wide transition away from gas, saying it was inconsistent with the government’s net-zero emissions targets. 

“This could be the third major ACT government project that undermines their own net-zero emissions targets. The others include the new ACT public service building on London Circuit that was also connected to gas in 2020 and the opening of the new public Gungahlin crematorium recently,” Ms Lawder said.

“The minister could not confirm that the new southside crematorium would not be gas powered, despite the Labor-Greens government forcing Canberrans away from household gas.”

THERE were five new entries in the list of the worst 10 car-crash locations in Canberra. They are: Gundaroo Drive, Belconnen Way, Anthony Rolfe Avenue, the Monaro Highway at Fyshwick and Gungahlin Drive.

The Monaro Highway, at Hume, has reclaimed its title as the ACT’s worst car-crash location.

Amid the 360,000 AAMI motor-insurance claims across the nation over the past year, analysis has found the highway to be the most dangerous in the ACT, followed closely by Canberra Avenue, in Fyshwick, which took out the top spot last year.

According to the insurer’s index, the 10 worst crash locations in Canberra are, in order: 1. Monaro Highway, Hume; 2. Canberra Avenue, Fyshwick; 3. Gundaroo Drive, Gungahlin; 4. Belconnen Way, Belconnen; 5. Anthony Rolfe Avenue, Gungahlin; 6. Monaro Highway, Fyshwick and Newcastle Street, Fyshwick (tied); 8. Gungahlin Drive, Gungahlin, and Canberra Avenue, Griffith (tied); 10. Drakeford Drive, Kambah.

HERE’S a lousy story. A youngish widow moved to the ACT in recent months. A personable and thoughtful person, she uses her people skills working the desk at a chiropractic practice.

Finding affordable accommodation in Canberra has been a nightmare for her and, while she looks with 60 people ahead of her at every property, she’s been bunking down in an academic apartment in a deserted university campus over the pandemic months and lockdowns. 

Over the past couple of weeks she found an opportunity to move to the (equally deserted) Abode apartment hotel in Greenway where reviews range from “Main bedroom a bit on the small size, lounge/kitchen good size, very clean” (four stars from five) to “Dirty rooms, customer service was really bad” (one star).

They’d meet her $400-a-week budget until April. Hallelujah. Poised to take the offer, it was suddenly withdrawn when the Chief Minister announced an opening up of the borders. She’s now more than welcome to stay, but at more than $700 a week. Another abode will have to do. 

RETIRED consulting civil engineer Ray Young, who was involved in a wide range of projects for government and private clients for many years, wrote to say he’s “becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of maintenance in this town.”

“Maybe you could run a column where readers submit photos of examples of poor maintenance for action by the ACT government,” he says. “Rather than a criticism it could be seen as assistance in the government’s maintenance program.”

I’m sure the government would welcome anything “CityNews” put forward. Photos to

Ian Meikle is the editor of “CityNews” and can be heard on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” news and interview program, 2CC, 9am-noon.



Who can be trusted?

In a world of spin and confusion, there’s never been a more important time to support independent journalism in Canberra.

If you trust our work online and want to enforce the power of independent voices, I invite you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support is invested back into our journalism to help keep strong and free.

Become a supporter

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Ian Meikle

Ian Meikle

Share this

Leave a Reply

Related Posts


Boxes ticked, it’s time for morning tea!

"The latest report points to how the present planning ministers and bureaucracy operate. They tick boxes and then have meetings and morning teas while their communication staff issue meaningless press releases," says PAUL COSTIGAN.

Follow us on Instagram @canberracitynews