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Canberra Today 7°/10° | Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Time to stop this ideological Greens nonsense

“The real price of light rail, now set to be confounded with the raising of London Circuit, is committing an entire generation to life in high-rise dwellings,” says letter writer JOHN L SMITH, of Farrer.

THANKS to Jon Stanhope and Khalid Ahmed (CN March 31) for their evidence that the ACT government is deliberately strangling the supply of land when its own research shows that available land is the pathway to “the preferred housing choice of an overwhelming majority of Canberrans”.

Write to

Searching for an explanation for this “harsh government constraint on land supply”, one must go back to May 2019 when the Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, ruled out development in Kowen Forest stating that the city needed to be developed in a way that had less physical impact on the environment, thus making higher-density housing the preferred option.

How could Barr have said anything else given that he was captive to the Rattenbury Greens’ environmental ideology in the form of the Gungahlin light rail that had commenced the month before, putting ACT finances into hock for decades and being totally dependent on the development of high-density housing corridors for its success?

Thus, packing people into high-rise apartments became so good for the environment that it didn’t matter what damage was done to the social and economic well-being of young couples and young families and their aspirations for a standalone dwelling. 

That is the real price of light rail, now set to be confounded with the raising of London Circuit, committing an entire generation to life in high-rise dwellings.

It is time to stop this ideological Greens nonsense for which there is no sound research justification and which only fills the pockets of developers. The ACT has the land – let’s use it for the next generation!

John L Smith, Farrer 

Legislation biased towards dogs

I READ a few bits in “CityNews” (April 7), one in particular about Housing ACT, with which I largely agree (“Why Housing ACT deserves all that’s hurled at it”, Letters).

It spurred me to concur in that and other pieces about how the ACT government (Labor) does not seem to care about people in this once-garden city – odd, I thought, given that I always thought Labor was for the people.

My particular issue is barking dogs (and noise pollution generally), about which I have challenged several ministers and MLAs, not least of whom are Barr and Steel. 

Under their watch, Domestic Animal Services commonly dismisses complaints about dog nuisances as frivolous and place an enormous burden of proof on the complainant. 

The legislation is worse than ineffective. It is biased towards dogs, and procedures to investigate dog-barking complaints are antiquated. DAS does not even have a sound-recording device. 

Friends and I organised a petition to have Barr, Steel and DAS address these issues; unfortunately, we did not get the required 500 signatures to force an independent committee, so got a curt, platitudinous reply from Barr and Steel instead, saying the DAS is investigating itself.

With more people working from home (and now returning to work with new doggies left at home alone) barking dogs have become a cacophony, and any instance of such noise pollution (amongst others such as loud music, hoon cars etcetera) is a mental-health issue. 

It wasn’t like this 30 years ago when I came to Canberra! This government and parliament does not care about people and their views at all.

Dr Paul Mathews, via email 

I like to call for the bill

I’M obliged to take issue with the normally impeccable Wendy Johnson.

In a recent restaurant review, she recorded as a negative that she had to ask for the bill – whereas I consider it a sign of a classy establishment when I am able to decide when the dining occasion is over, rather than having the bill arrive with coffee – and the (sometimes not very) subtle suggestion that your vacating the table forthwith would be a most welcome and appropriate thing for you to do.

John Griffin, via email

Renewables are the cheapest

LETTER writer John L Smith (“Renewable energy isn’t cheap”, CN March 31) has got it wrong. He forgets that as our ageing coal-fired power stations close they must be replaced. 

The CSIRO’s annual GenCost reports consistently show that renewables in the form of solar and wind, even including integration costs such as storage and transmission, are the cheapest sources of new energy in Australia. 

It is also true globally. In July, the World Economic Forum reported that “Renewables were the world’s cheapest source of energy in 2020.” But the cost is only one factor. Minimising greenhouse gas emissions is an urgent existential necessity.

Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Victoria

Not Berry good, Minister

Our Minister for Housing and her supporting Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services need to show that the ACT government is far more capable of both filling, maintaining and managing well its existing stock of public housing properties before it talks up promises of more such residential development (“Another trashed hellhole ignored by Housing ACT”, CN March 24). 

The derelict state of a relatively new public housing complex in Braddon illustrates the dereliction of duty associated with the administration and monitoring of significant public assets. 

Both public-housing tenants and surrounding private-housing residents and ratepayers deserve to live in an environment that is safe, quiet and visually pleasing. Surely this is not too much to expect in a national capital like Canberra. 

Sue Dyer, Downer

Chemical nasties impede development

I REFER to Senator Zed Seselja’s reported lobbying to build on the “unused” former CSIRO Agricultural Research Station site, too close to the outer northern Canberra suburbs.

Had the senator read the Independent Environmental Report, he would know why the locality is not only “unused” but is chemically tainted and, as an OH&S precaution, should never be developed for housing. The CSIRO Agricultural Research Station was used from its inception in 1960 to its recent move to the pristine, pretty, rural NSW village of Boorowa. Over the decades some of the most toxic and nasty chemicals have been tested (many have now been banned worldwide) on crops and soils at the Agricultural Research Station. These include DDT, organochlorides, organophosphates, dioxins (Agent Orange), Glyphosate/Zero/Roundup and many more nasties, as well as genetically modified experimental plantings. Residues have been found in soil and water samples over the site.

The danger to humans and animals of these “nasties” is well documented in the scientific literature. These chemicals have long-lasting withholding periods in soil and water profiles and are extremely mobile within and across these profiles.

Eliminating and mitigating the site will not only be difficult but may be impossible and, of course, expensive. 

Senator Seselja, this is not pristine land ready for building – in light of its (man-made) problems and health and safety dangers it should never, ever be developed for habitation.

PR Temple, Macquarie

Fix the Civic dead heart first

MATT Lowes (“Traders may be shortsighted”, Letters, CN April 7) should wander just a bit further down City Walk towards Petrie Plaza to see why not all pedestrian streets work. 

Until they can fix that dead zone in the heart of Civic, the idea of pedestrianising Lonsdale Street (which is currently working just fine) seems ludicrous. Like a solution in search of a problem.

Danny Corvini, Deakin

A replay of the tired excuses

Like political columnist Michael Moore, I am unimpressed with the 2022-2023 Budget (“Morrison’s cynical Budget sets out to ‘buy’ votes”, CN April 7). 

It was certainly a blatant and, yes, cynical exercise in vote buying, which I suspect will be recognised as just that, but as a scientist, I see another gaping hole.

The Budget made scant mention of climate change, only a replay of the tired excuses that date back to the failed Abbott government. Emissions reduced by 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels, when 35 per cent is a bare minimum; and unspecified technology and pie-in-the-sky “technological breakthroughs”.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes it painfully clear that all countries must lift their efforts to reduce emissions if we are to preserve a tolerable climate.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin


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