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Canberra Today 6°/10° | Monday, October 25, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Letters / Double rates? Well-paid Canberra doesn’t care

Letter writer COLIN LYONS, of Weetangera, compared his rates and taxes with friends in Brisbane. The result was depressing. 

ON a recent visit to Queensland, I caught up with friends in Brisbane and the question of the rates we both pay arose.

My friends live in one of the most expensive suburbs in the city, Clayfield. Their relatively small block has an UCV – unimproved capital value (on which general rates are based) – of $560,000. Their general rate for a quarter is $347. As in the ACT, this does not include water rates, but does include refuse and green-bin collection.

By comparison, my UCV in Canberra is $542,000 per quarter, slightly lower than my friend’s property in Brisbane, but my general rate is more than double at $885 a quarter! 

The residents there enjoy excellent public transport services, seven days a week, not just from Monday to Friday as in Canberra. They also get a bulk-goods kerbside pickup once a year.

Furthermore, water rates, stamp duty, vehicle registration and land tax are also appreciably lower than in the ACT.

The Liberals highlighted these exorbitant taxes and charges during the last election campaign, but it would appear that the very well paid Canberra workers are relatively insensitive to the level of ACT government taxation.

One might ask where does all this revenue get spent or should one say wasted? 

The light rail fiasco is one obvious case in point. The ACT government could and should do something about the blatant and widespread fare evasion on Action buses because of their “no cash” policy. This would have a significant impact on revenue.

Colin Lyons, Weetangera 

Reminder of toxic work culture

ANDREW Mathieson’s “Marisa’s at the fore of the female majority” (CN June 10) is a clear reminder of this new MLA’s admirable efforts to address various forms of harassment often experienced by women. 

It is a stark reminder, too, of the toxic work culture of some offices in Parliament House, where bullies reign supreme and are seemingly given the imprimatur to treat others badly. 

Such offices are no place for the timid or people who, for whatever reason, are unable to speak out for themselves.

Geri Badham, Waramanga

Government does absolutely nothing

ANGUS Taylor, Minister for Emissions Reduction (Morrison’s little joke), says: “We don’t subsidise luxury cars”, ie electric vehicles. 

Never mind that fossil fuel use is responsible for 75 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions and this government happily and grossly subsidises that. 

Never mind that emissions from the transport sector have been trending upwards since 2005, despite government claims we are on track to meet our targets. 

What is the main way we can reduce emissions from the transport sector? Electric vehicles. 

What are the main barriers to their greater uptake? Price and travel range. 

Unfortunately, with greater range comes larger battery capacities and very high voltage charging = higher prices. What is the federal government doing to assist this necessary transition? 

Absolutely nothing!

Richard Johnston, Kingston

And on to the park?

NOW that Constitution and Edinburgh Avenues connect up to Vernon Circle, with traffic lights calming traffic there, when will safe, attractive and convenient pedestrian access to the City Hill top park also be installed opposite those two avenues?

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Reach out for mental help

I AM writing from the not-for-profit Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia to urge people who have mental health issues to reach out and get help.

We know there is a lot of help out there. We know not enough people are accessing that help.

Our latest awareness initiative highlights that mental illness is much more common than many people might think.

Data reveals 45 per cent of all Australians will experience a mental disorder at some point. In the past 12 months alone, one in five Australians has experienced a mental health disorder.

For instance, 50 per cent of people with schizophrenia now attempt suicide. The ridiculous myths around this condition need to be busted. It is completely unacceptable that people with schizophrenia are likely to live 19 years less than people who do not have the condition. Tragically this gap continues to widen.

Around 700,000 Australians have a severe mental illness.

We want people to realise they are not alone and support is actually out there.

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia has a free phone line to offer people advice on where to get more support. Call 1800 985944 or visit minetworks.org.au

Tony Stevenson, CEO

Knowing right from wrong

PERIODICALLY, there are court cases where the defence for people who were highly intoxicated by alcohol or illicit drugs, or both, and allegedly committed murder, is that they were unable to form an intention to murder. 

On face value this can be easily accepted. However, in my view it begs further examination in the cause of justice, especially for the victim’s family. 

What is not mentioned as coming under consideration in the many reports I have read is that a person has a responsibility before the law not to self-cause their inability to know right from wrong by breaking a law (eg public drunkenness) and also not to self-cause their ability to deviate from the social norm (holding an intent not to murder) again by breaking a law.

Colliss Parrett, Barton 

And what about the water-rate rises?

I WAS reading in “Seven Days” (“Power to the people, coming at a higher price”, CN June 17) about electricity price rises.

But what about the water rises that come into play on July 1? 

The Icon Water branch manager gets $220,000 a year; a general manager, in excess of $300,000 and the CEO, according to a 2019 newspaper article, $760,000. This is NOT A PRIVATE COMPANY, it’s a government utility owned by the ratepayers of Canberra. 

It astounds me how this could be happening.

Victor Leoniuk, via email

Sixpack solution to the covid jab

READER Chris Mobbs, of Hackett, reckons there’s one incentive to get the covid jab that hasn’t yet been explored.

With sincere apologies to Banjo Paterson, he’s been moved to verse to explain his idea… 

There was movement in the House of Reps,

For the word had passed around

That Scott the Marketeer was back in town.

 

And all the journos gathered with their notebooks in their hand

Ever keen to hear about his plan.

Resplendent in his visy vest and hard hat on his head,

He strode across the floor with vigour and with zest. 

 

“Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker, I have come in here today 

To tell the House a very special thing.

To get our Aussie battlers up and in to have the jab 

My plan will make them jump and sing.”

 

The House went quiet as he bent down 

To get something from the floor 

And as he arose, a smirk appeared, 

We’ve seen this face before.

 

Then in his hands he held aloft 

A package wrapped in lace.

Was it coal, or was it chocolate? No! he said, 

With a smile across his face.

 

And then the House let out a gasp 

As he undid the lace,

For he revealed a pack of six white toilet rolls 

Which he placed down near the Mace.

 

He then announced with such great ease, 

As he was known to do,

“For everyone that gets the jab

They get one pack of these!” 

 

And very soon the Aussies queued 

With iPhones in their hand

To take a selfie with their six-pack, post jab

To put on Instagram.

 

And down by Burley Griffin 

Where at times it’s cold and drab,

They will heap praise on the Marketeer 

Who got us in to get the jab.

 

 

 

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