Letters / What a cheek to say ACT has best drug policy

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Letter writer COLLISS PARRETT begs to disagree with political columnist Michael Moore when it comes to drugs…

I STRONGLY disagree with Michael Moore’s comments (“Finally, injecting some sense into drug policy”, CN April 29). 

On the one hand, he says: “The ACT is leading the nation with drug and alcohol policies.”

A little further on, he writes that there is significant risk of further delay saying, as the minister pointed out a month ago, “additional scoping will be required before a decision is made on whether to proceed on a drug-consumption room in the ACT including community consultation, an assessment of the existing legislative framework and further development of an appropriate model”. 

Given the same unpreparedness, the Vikings would never have gone to sea!

And what a cheek to say the ACT has the best drug policy, when a recent article in the daily paper reveals that vaping among teens is on the rise, backed up by the AMA’s ACT president Dr Antonio Di Dio, disclosing that up to 6000 different toxic chemicals enter the body from vaping that can lead to “catastrophic and fatal results”. 

We give people COVID-19, flu and other vaccines to help cure their illness, not because they enjoy bed rest. The same common sense should permeate drug use.

Colliss Parrett, Barton

Complacency bordering on sadism

I AGREE with every word written by Michael Finck (Letters, CN April 29) about the absurd changes of speed limits on several Canberra roads. 

Several years (and two speeding fines) ago, I had an issue with the sudden change in speed limits from 80km/h to 60km/h at Hindmarsh Drive, between Melrose Drive and Ball Street, with virtually no warning sign except a small one when you’re almost on top of the camera. 

At the time, I wrote to more than one minister to no avail. Many Canberrans I know complain about the same thing – this sudden change and no easily seen warning – being blatant revenue raising. I must add that the speed limit goes back to 80km/h only about one block ahead. 

Another example of road-sign absurdity is the change in limit from 90km/h to 80km/h on William Hovell Drive in a non-built-in area. 

It goes back to 90km/h again a few kilometres after this in exactly the same road conditions. Why?

How this complacent government tries the patience of Canberrans borders on sadism not to say anything about ineptitude. 

Vivien Munoz, Holt

Rising out of the ashes

THE ACT Liberal Opposition leader and her MLA colleagues may also be feeling relief and a new-found sense of freedom as they start stepping out more on issues (“Lee ruffles Ratters as Libs’ sap starts to rise’, CN May 6). 

The ACT Liberals are no longer directed by Josh Manuatu, who parachuted in from federal energy minister Angus Taylor’s office early last year.

His long-term work associations with strong Liberal rightists, including Senator Eric Abetz, and his handling of the ACT opposition’s thigh-slapping, cringe-making election campaign last year must have caused considerable tensions and frustration for moderates in the party, despite the local party having welcomed Manuatu as “a highly experienced campaigner”. 

Hopefully, the ACT Opposition can now show that it can tackle some key issues in depth and throw off the ultra-conservative ethos that some of its male power brokers have pursued and clung to for far too long.

Sue Dyer, Downer 

Upset at athletes getting the jab

I WAS perturbed to read that Australian athletes and their retinue of minders have been prioritised to receive vaccines ahead of more needy recipients. 

Shame on the AOC and the government, as aside from not passing the “pub test”, it makes a mockery of our attempts to restrict the spreading of the virus. 

Japan’s infection and death rates are amongst the worst in Asia, yet our athletes and support staff are unnecessarily being exposed to infection. And on their return, it has the potential to expose all Australian residents as well. 

Sending our athletes to Japan is a frivolous action and, from a health point of view, should be stopped.

Mario Stivala, Belconnen

Start again on tram route

FAIR descriptions of the Civic to Capital Hill section of the proposed Civic to Woden tramline, of which the first bit is from Civic to Commonwealth Park, include:

  • Knee-jerk, 
  • bogged down,
  • unresolved,
  • massively expensive, 
  • destructive, 
  • disrespectful, 
  • dangerous, 
  • disruptive, 
  • intrusive, 
  • impractical, 
  • congestive, 
  • exploitative, and, 
  • stultifyingly orthodox.

The National Capital Authority has still not fully approved the scheme; crossing the lake remains unresolved; and overhead wires are expensively banned. 

An ACT government “study” of alternative routes was perfunctory, with one using Acton Peninsula, irresponsibly imposed on its protected northern shore. 

Government must start again, and find the optimum route, truly befitting the Central National Area, via say, briefly:

London Circuit’s north-west sector, Edinburgh Avenue (serving New Acton, Acton Foreshore and Commonwealth Park, in conjunction with upgrading the Parkes Way pedestrian bridges), Lawson Crescent west, or Liversidge Street (serving the ANU, and Acton Foreshore west), Lawson Crescent south on Acton Peninsula (serving the National Museum and AIATSIS), Griffin’s missing curved lake crossing (for trams, bikes, and pedestrians, and partially elevated for yachts), across Lennox Gardens at its narrowest point (with potential for Floriade, in and around a traffic-calmed Flynn Place), Flynn Drive, State Circle and beyond to Woden as currently planned.

This route readily accommodates sensible overhead power cables throughout some “land-value capture”.

Jack Kershaw, Kambah

Fighting the muffled Budget

HOW do you tick and flick a report card on the ACT government’s performance when measured against a Budget being muffled in a cone of silence.

Is it a matter of mum’s the word, do not excite the electorate, keep quiet and don’t get them thinking about issues outside their intellectual capacity because they need to be led and will be a menace if they all start thinking for themselves.

Or is it that our Budget’s just a guide, so keep spending until we hit the brick wall.

One has to ask what are government members thinking? And why aren’t all opposition members more proactive?

Canberra’s ratepayers deserve to be professionally informed on matters that will impact their standard of living. I do not see this occurring at present so the potential for a negative message at the ballot box should be self-evident.

We really deserve better.

John Lawrence via email

Hydrogen power gets closer

I ENDED my letter about electric vehicles (CN April 22) with “then there is the hydrogen-powered vehicle… but that’s another story”. 

The time to discuss the hydrogen-powered vehicle has come. The best-known methods of hydrogen production are extraction from natural gas (methane, CH4), and electrolysis of freshwater, but the latter technique is very energy-intensive and until recent times has been prohibitively expensive.

Now, with the extraordinary growth in the take-up of rooftop solar, the ACT often feeds more electricity into the eastern Australia grid than it uses. That excess electricity could be used to generate hydrogen, which in turn could be used to power vehicles with internal-combustion engines (with minimal adjustments) and electric vehicles that use hydrogen fuel cells to generate their electricity.

Both types use liquid hydrogen, which is much lighter than petrol or diesel, and increases the load-carrying capacity and the range of both types of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Expect to hear and see a lot more about hydrogen fuel in coming years.

Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin


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  1. Jack Kershaw is obsessed with stage 2A of the light rail, with pursuing some fantasy world solution that in reality, very few probably even want. Driven by an obsession about a plan written 100+ years ago now, the suggestion is something even slower, more cumbersome, and likely even more expensive than the current plan.

    None of that is to say what is being done in 2A is perfect either – but this ranting and raving over something most people honestly don’t have a view on is a waste of energy and time.

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