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Canberra Today 3°/5° | Friday, August 19, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Would I swap my construction job? You betcha! 

After spending spent the past six years hands-on within the construction industry, letter writer VESNA STRIKA, of Gungahlin, has no qualms about wanting to do something – anything – else! 

I WAS gobsmacked and incensed when I heard Women’s Minister Yvette Berry’s announcement regarding an all women-led construction project for the $62.4 million Strathnairn primary school.

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Minister, please take your rose-tinted glasses off – the reason that there are low numbers of females across the broad spectrum of trades is that construction work is bloody physically hard, tedious and, at times, boring. I should know, I’ve spent the past six years hands-on within the industry and the past 40 years associated with it.

Having come from a corporate job, I now have a wonderful set of new skills: a degree in driving a wheelbarrow (still tips over sometimes); an advanced diploma in sweeping (I’m an absolute expert); and a certificate in draining a water-inundated site (amazing what you can achieve with a used disposable coffee cup and bucket). 

Would I swap my construction job for something else? You betcha! However, it’s a small family construction business, we have everything invested in it. 

I’m also the wife of a former qualified bricklayer who was the first person in the ACT to give a female bricklayer an opportunity to work in the trade in the ’90s. 

If you really think it’s difficult for females in this day and age to work in the industry, just give a thought to that woman and what she went through (no longer a bricklayer, but still associated with the industry). 

So, some final words of advice to the government – get rid of the woke crap, those who want to work in the industry have plenty of opportunity to do so. 

Stop dishing out new forms of discrimination and barriers as the industry has enough problems. 

Perhaps, if you reduced the current development application approval time from the standard 6-12 months, and get it back to the old system of 40 working days, then we would have some certainty and efficiency within the industry. 

This, in turn, could lead to a reduction in the price of residential construction, and, if overall holding costs are reduced, we may get more reasonably priced housing.

Vesna Strika, Gungahlin

Some people want the tram, Rebecca

REBECCA, of Hughes, refers to the tram “that no-one wants” (Letters, CN July 21).

I suggest these people want it:

  1. The CFMEU for gold-plated jobs.
  2. The construction companies for lucrative contracts.
  3. The Labor/Greens government to avoid the embarrassment of a stranded Gungahlin line to nowhere.

Hugh Dakin, Griffith

Michael’s right about Access Canberra

MICHAEL Moore’s indictment of Access Canberra (“How Access Canberra gilds its own wilting lily”, CN July 21) was, unfortunately, spot-on.

As a dutiful citizen, I report infrastructure issues needing attention to Fix My Street. A quick review of my reported but unresolved issues dating back to November 2021 reveals the following: half of the issues remain “unassigned”, including two relating to pothole repair and two relating to street light globe replacements. 

The others, which have been assigned but not actioned, include pothole repairs, pavement repairs, street light globe replacement, and inspection of deterioration to an underpass roof.

Karina Morris, Weetangera

Good luck getting the streetlight replaced

GOOD luck to the resident seeking to have his street light replaced (“How Access Canberra gilds its own wilting lily”, CN July 21). The light in our cul-de-sac was unserviceable for 10 years and reported on at least three occasions before it was replaced by a suburb-wide program to install LED lights.

We have a government that displays interest in drugs, LGBT, euthanasia, bike paths and anything trendy with a photo op, but has negligible interest in quality of education, health care or services to the community. We have schools and areas of health with endemic bullying known for decades without being successfully addressed, and road subsidences that are addressed by painting some white lines on them. Unfortunately, there is nothing publicity-worthy in a streetlight, even if it may save a life.

Noel Moore, Fadden

Monumental failure in planning

IT is said that the biggest failure of planners is to underestimate the impact of technology.

No problems there with the Labor/Greens government’s plan to ban new internal combustion engine cars and light trucks in the ACT from 2035. There is complete faith in technology to overcome the current shortcomings in battery technology. Although, as Bjorn Moore (Letters, July 28) points out, it will cost the consumer, especially in upgrading the most expensive part of the grid so that parked vehicles can be recharged.

Why then ignore the wide range of electric-traction, road public transport technology, including automated car fleets, in favour of a light rail network. 

With the right planning we could have a flexible but uniform public transport system covering the entire Canberra region by 2035 for a small fraction of the cost of light rail.

Instead, Canberra residents south of the lake are to be given a “disruption task force” for an unnecessarily costly imbroglio that may go on for the next 10 years before there is even a link to Woden.

Technology is now making working from home and internet shopping efficient. So, it is already apparent that basing the city of the future on concentrations of high-rise apartments and commercial buildings along transport corridors is a very poor way of achieving the desired outcomes and must rank as a monumental failure in planning.

John L Smith, Farrer 

Plant billions of trees as quickly as possible

I AGREE with Michael Moore: “It’ll take more than God to fix the environment” (CN, July 28). 

Apart from the fact that the last demographic survey showed that Australians have drifted away from religion, including Christianity, the “State of the Environment” report shows that we have lost control.

Record heat waves and wildfires in south-western Europe, in California, and even in outer London are conclusive evidence that the climate has changed – for the worse. 

Wildfires are becoming more intense, glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, even in the Himalaya and on the high Tibetan plateau, sea levels are rising, storms are also becoming more intense, albeit less frequent, and productivity of the land is being reduced by more intense and frequent droughts and dust storms.

The answer? For a start, cease using fossil fuels and plant billions of trees as quickly as possible. 

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin 

Where have all the kangaroos gone!

HAS anyone noticed there are hardly any kangaroos to be seen when driving around Canberra? 

I hardly see any these days on my regular trip from Woden to Belconnen or on the way to Fyshwick. A cull on Farrer Ridge last year left only 30 kangaroos in an area of over 200 hectares and, although I walk there most days, I hardly ever see any. 

It reminds me of when I first came to Canberra in 1956, most of the suburbs were surrounded by mainly sheep farms, not a kangaroo to be seen. It might be hard to imagine for people living here today. Although I spent lots of time out exploring the bush, I saw a kangaroo in the wild for the first time in 1963 on an abandoned farm off the Brindabella Road. 

It was nice to see their migration into the ACT thinking they would be safe from the landholders’ guns, but the current government seems to have adopted the same attitude and are hellbent on ensuring the extinction of kangaroos in Canberra. 

Julie Lindner, Farrer 

Time Steel put his head up and explained

THANKS to recent strong campaigning on integrity by local, independent, senate candidates, ACT voters’ expectations about governance at the Assembly level will be much harder to ignore. 

The ACT government’s handling of CIT’s dogged awarding of “transformative” management tenders should not be conducted in ways that simply aim to avoid bouts of political jousting (“Libs: Steel in hiding over ‘murky’ CIT contracts”, citynews.com.au July 22). 

Once the ACT Budget has been bedded down, it would be encouraging to see the ACT Skills Minister putting his head up above the proverbial parapet and revving up his public engagement in more transparent ways. 

For example, updates about what the tender investigations will deliver, and when, are needed since costs keep mounting from the current CIT CEO being on “gardening leave” for many weeks and a temporary CEO from interstate being employed to keep the government’s main VET ship from capsizing.

Sue Dyer, Downer

When it comes to emissions, cars win!

JACK Palmer says that “Transport Canberra’s [emissions] result is thus better than individual cars’ result as soon as the number of passengers exceeds three,” (Letters, CN July 5).

I disagree.

In 2020-21 Transport Canberra’s buses travelled 32 million kilometres. They used 12 million litres of diesel and 90,000 GJ of natural gas. From that, I estimate that they caused the equivalent of 37,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions.

With three passengers, that’s 390 grams of emissions per person per kilometre.

The average Canberra car carries 1.46 people and causes 270 grams of emissions per kilometre. That’s only 185 grams of emissions per person per kilometre.

Leon Arundell, Downer

Is travelling Albo any better than Scomo?

In 2019, Scott Morrison made headlines regarding his holiday in Hawaii while bushfires forced thousands of people to leave their towns. 

This dramatic event has a particular resonance with Anthony Albanese enjoying himself overseas at the expense of taxpayers’ money as heavy rainfall in north-west NSW continues to significantly destroy homes and the environment causing families to experience immense social upheaval.

Myriam Amar, Mawson

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