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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

It takes courage to reduce property owner perks

Using interest rates to control inflation is unfair as the burden falls disproportionately on the households with mortgages, especially those who have bought in the last few years, writes reader MIKE QUIRK, of Garran.

TO date, interest rates have not greatly reduced consumer spending, because they have a lower impact on the two-thirds of households (with the exception of low-income renters) that don’t have a mortgage. 

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As the aim is to reduce spending, consideration should be given to alternatives including increased taxes, only funding infrastructure projects with a strong business case (light rail?), compulsory super contributions or other mandatory savings measures. 

Such approaches by reducing the reliance on monetary policy to manage the economy would reduce the likelihood of a repeat of the explosion in house prices largely caused by very low interest rates. The increased prices benefitted existing property owners.

These alternatives should be assessed as part of a broad review of housing policy. However, unless the major parties have the courage to reduce concessions to property owners and greatly increase the construction of social housing, little will change and inequality will continue to grow.

Mike Quirk, Garran

Prison chief’s assertion is the ‘tip of the iceberg’

AS I sat in the gallery of the ACT Legislative Assembly on July 18, listening to an Estimates hearing regarding ACT Corrections, I became confused – I was watching what appeared to be a highly fictional and somewhat comical production.

Some of the characters were well rehearsed, others may have only prepared to be “understudies”. 

So many questions were taken “on notice”, which made me feel that some of these characters had not studied their lines to a satisfactory standard to earn the right to be on stage.

But I was listening to what I perceive to be several mistruths. For example, the Acting Commissioner for ACT Corrective Services stated that the Transitional Release Centre (TRC) at the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) accommodates 20 detainees. In fact, he said this a couple of times (thanks Hansard).

As a previous visitor to the AMC (I’m not prepared to visit there any more due to being somewhat outspoken about the treatment of detainees, and fear of retribution), I can unequivocally state that while the TRC may have the capacity to accommodate 20 detainees, this is not what is currently occurring.

The TRC was designed and built for 20 detainees, however it can only accommodate 15, as one wing was taken over to accommodate custodial and non-custodial staff.

I won’t bang on any more, but mark my words, this one example is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. 

In short, this Pandora’s Box needs to be opened and unpacked in a professional and transparent manner, importantly for both detainees and the ACT community.

Janine Haskins, Cook

Is Murdoch included in Ric’s complaints?

I DON’T see Ric Hingee complaining that Peter Dutton has “hitched his wagon” to a “No” vote and thus politicising it (Letters, CN July 13). Why does Ric also suggest it’s “an issue for the people, not politicians, sporting groups, big business”? 

It’s still a democracy I thought and open to anyone or any group to become involved. Does Ric include the Murdoch “big media businesses” in his complaints about who’s involved? Is he also concerned about them spreading mis-information and denigration every day of the week? Is that not “telling people how to vote” and worse, by using unethical journalism?

Eric Hunter, Cook 

Sad to see ‘single mother’ singled out

IT was sad to see “single mother” included as a possible ancestor behaving badly in the July 13 cover picture of “CityNews”. 

Why would anyone be disappointed to learn that an ancestor had been a single mother? 

And what of the men who caused the misery that single mothers endured in the past? I suppose many of them became “ancestors to be proud of”, fine upstanding citizens. 

Deb Edwards, Weston

Red Hill ‘roo cull to make way for units

I HOPE when letter writer Mike Prunty (“Roos rollicking in the sand bunkers”, CN July 6) is relaxing over a coffee that he has actually counted the number of kangaroos on Red Hill golf course. 

Otherwise he has simply fallen victim to over-estimating what he thinks he sees. On one occasion, when counting kangaroos on nature reserves, a walker exclaimed he had seen hundreds of kangaroos over a nearby ridge. When we went to investigate we counted 29!

What people who oppose the “cull” have always known is that killing Canberra’s urban kangaroos is all about mass-developer sprawl. 

As far back as 2004, Googong’s population of kangaroos was decimated to make way for the suburb of Googong; in 2007, Canberra’s kangaroos were slaughtered to make way for the suburb of Lawson and on it goes.

In Red Hill the killing of Canberra’s kangaroos is to make way for a 152-unit development around the golf course.

Instead of wasting hundreds of thousands in public money every year on killing kangaroos, Andrew Barr (Chief Minister) and Rebecca Vassarotti (Environment Minister) are deliberately ignoring the humane and viable alternative. 

That is to build a series of wildlife corridors to connect Canberra’s Nature Reserve system and allow wildlife and people to move around the city safely without being hit by speeding vehicles.

Robyn Soxsmith, Kambah

Why culling seems the best fit

THE Save Our Kangaroos folks have really ramped up their media campaign this year. This includes full-page ads, a bombardment of letters to editors and international correspondents.

Canberrans do love our kangaroos, but are not taken in by emotive language and hyperbole. If only there were more facts in between all the fiction. The letter by Chris Doyle (“Biggest land-based slaughter of wildlife”, CN 13 July) is a prime example. 

Can we seriously compare 50 million kangaroos to the endangered Giant Panda and American Bald Eagle. We need to have a factual and balanced debate. 

Yes, kangaroos are cute and a national icon, but not when in the headlights on a busy, high-speed, two-lane road.

Opponents of the cull use highly inflammatory language to talk about cruelty and trauma. However, the cull does alleviate the daily carnage on Canberra’s roads. We must take action to prevent the trauma caused by these accidents and the significant associated expenses.

Until other measures are agreed then culling seems the best fit.

Terry Mowle, Bruce

Europe is top destination for kangaroo meat

IN response to my views on slaughtering kangaroos, Chris Doyle (Letters, CN July 13) wrote that “while that is certainly what the kangaroo industry would want us to think, it exists mainly for the pet-food industry”. 

As a matter of fact, Europe is the top destination for kangaroo meat as 50 per cent of kangaroo meat is exported and used for human and pet food. 

Belgium is the largest importer of kangaroo meat for human consumption. And in France, kangaroo meat is being offered in supermarkets around Christmas time. 

Also, not far from Canberra, one can purchase kangaroo skins as well as sheep skins. In view of these statistics, I maintain that those responsible for the slaughtering of Australia’s native animals are carried out for commercialisation purposes. 

Dr Myriam Amar via email

Complaining drivers should look in mirror

DRIVERS who complain bitterly about the 40km/h zones should just look in the mirror before they leap into their vehicles, and remind themselves to be more alert to everything around them when in the driver’s seat (especially the speed limit signs).

When you get a parking fine, you only have yourself to blame.

Kit Huang, Yarralumla

Support for Jack’s suggested tramway route

I DO like Jack Kershaw’s suggestion (Letters, CN July 20) of taking the tram along Griffin’s original railway alignment between Russell and Sturt Avenue, Narrabundah, and not just because I happen to live on that route. 

I’m not so sure about his concept of a cafe-lined “Pontev-Eco”. It needs to be remembered that the original railway bridge was washed away in a flood in about 1920 and never rebuilt.

Richard Johnston, Kingston

What of religious entities that benefit society?

JANINE Haskins (Letters, CN July 13) celebrates the removal of a large cross from the former Calvary Public Hospital with pure unadulterated joy. 

I wondered if she would feel the same way if we removed other religious organisations that benefit our society such as Marymead and the Wayside Chapel.

Ian Pilsner, Weston

Heard of elder abuse anyone?

I WAS saddened by Janine Haskin’s letter (CN July 13) rejoicing that the cross at Calvary Hospital was taken down so that a culture of death could prevail in the ACT. 

The truth is that Calvary Public Hospital was taken over by the ACT government because the Catholic Church stands for life and protection of the most vulnerable, the sick, aged and handicapped. 

That someone could take delight in the end of a hospital that has provided such a high level of care to the wider community is a sad sign of the times.

The ACT government could not let Calvary Public Hospital stand as a beacon of love for the community it cared for when the government wants to implement a culture of death, where I believe dementia patients and children as young as 14 can be euthanised. Heard of elder abuse anyone?

Rachael Nano, via email

Cross is the sign of the power of God

A PERENNIAL challenge for Christians is exemplified by the “pure unadulterated joy” expressed by Janine Haskins at the removal of the cross from Calvary Hospital (Letters, CN July 13), when we believe that the cross is the sign of the power of God in the world.

Once you believe in God you believe in an ultimate reality and an objective truth about what is real. Life has meaning. The famous atheist, convert to Christianity, CS Lewis said: “I was not born to be free; I was born to adore and to obey.”

There is a natural law. Thus, the Catholic Church does not accept moral relativism.

John L Smith, Farrer 

Who is Macklin to suggest Jesus was illiterate? 

I LOOK forward to reading “CityNews” each week and find it certainly “well written, well read”.

This is why I was appalled that you would publish Robert Macklin’s piece (“Give us this day our daily hypocrisy in parliament”, CN July 13). It was extremely offensive, blasphemous and inaccurate. Who is he to suggest Jesus was illiterate? Based on what? 

Then there is the put down of Peter Dutton regarding forgiving trespasses – I am sure Albo and co are above reproach and Mr Macklin himself must be a saint.

I don’t suppose this letter will make any difference, but to say nothing is to condone this disgusting outburst.

Joan Monteith, via email

Media falls into same old mantra trap

MUCH has been written recently about our failure to “Close the Gap” for our indigenous brethren. 

I am afraid that much of the media falls into the same old mantra trap that the ongoing, seemingly intractable problems of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) peoples are all the fault of the colonists and their descendants to the present time. 

But where is any discussion on the responsibility of the ATSI people themselves for their lot? Where is discussion of the genetic realities of 60,000 years of isolation from the rest of the world. Do they bear no responsibility for their poor health, lower mortality rates, poor education, incarceration rates etcetera?

Quite some years ago, when I first researched the “gap” problem, I reluctantly came to a few conclusions that, unfortunately, still hold today. The first was that closing the gap by any significant measure was basically intractable while these people remained in a welfare-dependent state. 

The second was that their situation would not change much unless they integrated with the rest of the population through education and work. In any modern society, education and work are essential to wellbeing and self-respect. 

In short, unless the ATSI peoples integrate the “gap” will never be closed. 

Max Flint, Erindale Centre

I may be hearing things but…

It seems the Voice has developed laryngitis.

Colliss Parrett, Barton 

No policies for toxic carbon fibre blades

VI Evans (Letters, CN July 6) has been misinterpreted by renewables supporter Ben Brackhurst in Letters on July 13. 

Turbines are not manufactured in Australia due their toxic nature, allowing us to pretend we are saving our planet. The carbon fibre blades are the main source, both in production and difficulties of disposal, for which we have no policy.

The energy footprint is enormous, which requires more than half its life before useful electrons are generated, even before the environmental cost of access roads and transmission lines to remote sites are considered.

A recent audit found, already, 600 Australian turbines are approaching the end of their useful life.

The very comprehensive, now released Batterham Report on renewables, has their cost to 2050 at a colossal $9000 billion together with a trashed landscape.

Canada will have a Small Nuclear Reactor, BWX300 in service this decade, more in 2032 and 2036. We have our own uranium supply! Urgent action is needed not talk.

Australia will also be forced to follow for AUKUS commitment compliance. Tough choices but imperative.

Ken Murtagh, Hughes

Libs will have to work hard to get my vote

IN his July 20 column “30 Liberal pledges shape an alternative to Barr”, Michael Moore makes some compelling points about the desirability of replacing the Barr “Greenslabor” with the ACT Liberals.

In my view, the strongest argument is the abandonment of the light rail stage 2B project, which has been estimated to cost at least $3 billion. By the time work has begun, the cost will likely have blown out to at least $4 billion – perhaps even $5 billion. 

Such sums could pay for a fleet of electric buses; ideally a rubber-tyred electric tram network; and upgrades to Canberra’s dated and failing hospital system.

However, being very concerned about global heating (look at the record heatwaves in southern Europe and North America), I could not support the Liberals’ proposals to reverse the cessation of Canberra’s gas supply, the retention of fossil-fuelled cars, or the proposed housing development on CSIRO land in West Belconnen.

Like my father, I have been a Labor voter all my life. Despite my disapproval of many Greens-Labor policies and actions, the ACT Liberals have a lot of work ahead of them to win my vote.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

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One Response to It takes courage to reduce property owner perks

Jennifer Macdougall says: 26 July 2023 at 3:14 pm

Terry Mowle’s view that kangaroo “culling” is the best fit to reduce road kill beggars belief. Having lived in Canberra for over 30 years, seen many kangaroos over those years, not once have I or my husband ever hit a kangaroo on Canberra’s roada or streets . When I see kangaroo warning signs while driving, and then get passed by a car taking no notice and driving at the maximum speed allowed, or more, it is no wonder native animals are hit. Despite the ACT Govt’s attempts, now largely successful, in removing nearly all the kangaroos from reserves, leaving said reserves covered in weeds and fence high dead grass ready for the next conflagration. there will always be the occasional kangaroo grazing the roadside verges, especially in dry times.

The onus is in on drivers to drive carefully, and watch for animals, not head blindly where he or she is intended to be. One tradesman recently told me he had had seven bad hits with his ute, and that tells me more about him and his diving that the unfortunate animals he likely killed. I guess he never bothered to get out and check if they were dead, or had a living joey in the pouch!

As a farmer all my life, again, I have never hit an animal on the road, notwithstanding kangaroos, wombats, stray sheep and cattle. flocks of birds feeding on grain from grain trucks, not in 60 years of driving.

And it is not only about the cruelty of the ACT Government’s kangaroo slaughter. It has to be seen in the context of all the facts and Terry Mowle might like to look at the national situation, where there are now no controls over the killing of native wildlife and where kangaroos are dying in their tens of thousands as a result of the new phenomena of exclusion fencing of large swathes or rural land.. In Queensland, a kangaroo shooter informed me some 40,000 died when the water was shut off outside those exclusion fences, an unfortunate side effect of attempts to control feral pigs and dogs. We do have the largest mass slaughter, by intent and default of wildlife in this country, especially of kangaroos, emus and wombats. Too late we find the koala, once abundant, now critically endangered – so let us not bring about the same outcome for the others. Jennifer Macdougall, Farrer.


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