Letters / Canberra’s roadways standing still 

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CANBERRA returnee MICHAEL FINCK, of Chapman, is happy to be home after 35 years away, but he’s far from impressed with the roads…

I MOVED back to Canberra two years ago and am happy to be back after 35 years away. However, while the nation’s capital has moved ahead significantly, its roadways haven’t.

I travel on the Tuggeranong Parkway/Caswell Drive/Gungahlin Drive (that’s a mouthful in itself) daily. And what a disgrace – a major roadway with ridiculous speed limits and poor-quality roadway. 

In my opinion, it should be modelled on Sydney’s newer freeways such as the M7 with electronic speed limits that can be adjusted for peak-hour traffic (say 90/100km/h) then change to 110km/h at other times. 

It should be Canberra’s M1, not three ridiculous names and be upgraded to reflect a major motorway. It should also be extended from the Barton Highway straight across to the Federal Highway.

Michael Finck, Chapman 

Reduced to a parking lot

CLEARLY the person to interview in depth about the concreting of Canberra in general and Watson in particular (“Residents face anxious wait on fate of 440 trees”, CN April 15) is the Greens’ representative who seems to be playing “Least in Sight” while all this is going on. 

And perhaps he could explain why so many neighbourhoods must form groups to protect themselves from the Labor/Greens government’s plans to reduce Canberra to a parking lot.

Jeanne O’Malley, Garran

Accident waiting to happen

AT the end of March, after spending three weeks ferrying grandchildren from The Angle into preschool in Tharwa and school in Conder, I was shocked at the condition of Smiths Road. Infrequently graded and poorly drained, there were several washouts after heavy rain. 

It must be the most unsafe section of road in the region. I reported the situation to the ACT government online via FixMyStreet and Scott Buchholz, the federal Assistant Minister for Road Safety. One month later and after a follow-up, I have had only automated responses and the condition of the road is unchanged. 

The 100 or so residents have been promised an upgrade of the road for several years. What does it take to get some action?

Ray Peck, via email

I agree with Peter Dutton

FOR once I find myself agreeing with what Defence Minister Peter Dutton has to say about the proposed stripping of the Meritorious Unit Citation from the Special Operations Task Group by Gen Angus Campbell. 

The citation, introduced in 1991, is awarded to a unit for sustained outstanding service in war-like operations. 

It would be grossly unfair to deprive recipients of their citations because of the alleged, and so far unproven, misdeeds of a few within the Special Operations Task Force, some of whom have made the ultimate sacrifice. The decision is also highly disrespectful to many soldiers and their families. Gen Campbell has, I believe, overreacted and erred in this instance.

Mario Stivala, Belconnen 

‘Insane’ housing market

THE way the verging-on-criminal housing “market” is set up here, it’s now certain that many prospective buyers will never get a look in (Jon Stanhope’s “Pricing the young out of ‘elitist’ housing market “, CN April 7). 

Radical, sweeping reform is needed to fix that, and balance the overall national economic profile. Society needs legislation to make well-supplied, decent-sized blocks of land in new estates on government land, available to bona-fide, committed occupiers only (not to project – or spec-builders, or developers), no more than one block each, at openly ascertainable cost, plus say, 10 per cent. 

Plot sizes need to be increased to enable healthy family life and environmental/energy conservation, through readily-available creative subdivision re-designs. These actions can restore housing affordability, correct the insane housing market across the board, redistribute the economy more productively, and halt the decline in population health and well-being.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

A dim picture

HOW refreshing to finally see in print (Robert Macklin, City News April 15) my feelings about the likely inadequacy of the current vaccines in the knowledge that any introduction of SARS-Cov2 from overseas is more than likely to be strains for which the current vaccine has limited or no efficacy.

It is a dim picture indeed.

Hilary Warren, via email

US report says no change to drug laws

A REPORT by the US Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, 117 Congress, First Session, March 2021, does not see cannabis laws needing to be eased or removed. It does identify large areas of the drug and its use requiring urgent meaningful research before any change. This doesn’t accord with some advocates, including in Australia, who want the drug legalised.

Several years ago, having written to all state and Commonwealth health authorities, I was unable to get one, either verbally and certainly not in writing, to attest that the legal driving parameter between 0.01mls and 0.05mls per 100mls of alcohol when driving was safe. 

There is no medically approved safe level of cannabis ingestion when driving, so no grounds exist for change. Not surprising given the history of the aforementioned mind-altering drug, alcohol, being associated with so many already dying on our roads.

Colliss Parrett, Barton 

AstraZeneca or nothing…

IN his column (“Shot in the arm may not be a shot in the arm”, CN April 15) Robert Macklin notes that the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine is only 73 per cent effective against the novel coronavirus. 

More worrying is his comment that the AZ vaccine “might well be obsolete” before the second dose, as the virus keeps on mutating and forming new strains, such the UK, South African and Brazilian strains.

This propensity to mutate is very bad news for people who need to travel internationally. When I made a booking to be vaccinated at the Garran COVID-19 Surge Centre, I was told that the AZ and Pfizer vaccines were allocated on a 50:50 basis. I drew the AZ vaccine. Being committed to visits to the UK and several other western European countries, where COVID-19 and at least two of its mutations are rampant, I asked for the Pfizer vaccine.

I cited the advice of Anthony Payne, a GP familiar with viral respiratory diseases. To paraphrase: “The AZ vaccine is worse than all others by every metric – effectiveness, safety, side effects and … time from first dose to maximum protection. However, the AZ shot gives almost no protection against the newer mutations of the virus, (to) which Australians will be exposed when our international borders reopen”.

Surge Centre staff remained adamant that it was the AZ vaccine or nothing. I left ACT Health’s risibly rigid rules and vowed to try again… after all, I have a 50:50 chance of success – and, perhaps, of saving my skin.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin


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