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Canberra Today 10°/14° | Friday, May 24, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Parkway kangaroo fencing falls into sad disrepair

Reader JOHN D PURCELL, of Kambah, leads this week’s massive mail bag upset at the ACT government’s neglect of the the $2.1 million kangaroo fencing along the Tuggeranong Parkway.

I AM writing to register my utter disgust at the state of rubbish strewn on William Hovell Drive and the Tuggeranong Parkway. A disgrace to all authorities concerned. 

Write to

Our major freeway system connecting respective satellite townships and the city transversed by thousands per day is not only littered with rubbish, the $2.1 million kangaroo fencing along the Tuggeranong Parkway has been allowed to fall in disrepair at several points leading to a high animal road cull over the last few months, with damage and stress to drivers and vehicles no doubt. 

This asset maintenance/management failure reflects a worsening trend with other municipal-type services, which is something that reflects a weakness in our city/state model of self-government. 

We deserve a more transparent administrative system whereby the 25 members of the Legislative Assembly are held to account for the most basic of services financed from general rates levied on each household. Alas, without any review of the model on the horizon, Canberrans might examine the benefits of electing worthy independents to the next 2024 Assembly, ie new members prepared to commence discussion for change and not restricted to party lines. 

John D Purcell, Kambah 

Given the economy, Barr should stop the tram

GIVEN the state of the economy and the increased costs of providing transport infrastructure, Chief Minister Andrew Barr should pause and review the timing of and need for major transport infrastructure, including light rail.

Concerns about infrastructure costs blow-outs led the Victorian government to delay by up to four years construction of a rail link to Melbourne Airport. In NSW, the multi-billion dollar Beaches Link motorway has been put on hold indefinitely, the second stage of the Parramatta light rail line is delayed by about five years and the estimated cost of the Sydney Metro West has blown out by $12 billion to more than $25 billion.

In response, the NSW Premier Chris Minns initiated an independent review of transport infrastructure projects. The findings will be made public in October. As the Premier stated: “We want transport infrastructure… but we want to make sure that it’s done with a view to the costs of the NSW budget, and it’s done efficiently”.

Andrew Barr should follow the responsible action of Premier Minns and commission an independent review of ACT transport infrastructure projects and commit to publicly releasing the findings. 

The review would assess the need for the projects; inform their timing and whether the funds would be better spent on other projects. The government could receive an election boost for undertaking a review. 

Failure to undertake the review would highlight the government’s opaqueness and increase concerns about whether the projects are justified.

Mike Quirk, Garran

The tram – governments do run out of money

THE published information in “Light Rail 2A” is clear on only one point. It is proposed that the rail will proceed to a point stopping short of the bridge at Commonwealth Park. 

The rail is planned to proceed around west London Circuit, and then climb up to Commonwealth Avenue. (Trams do not climb slopes well).

What is not clear is whether the line will go along the Commonwealth Avenue median strip, and then continue over a bridge between the two road bridges or, as stories I have heard, continue along the right hand side of Commonwealth Avenue, and then over a separately built bridge. As I have said in previous letters, a tram bridge built between the road bridges would be madness.

But what is more immediate are the financial issues. Recently, it was in the news that the Victorian government ran out of credit (not just money). The ACT government is in the same position. 

Will the Commonwealth government come to the rescue? No. It is becoming clear that there are limits to its borrowing and money-printing capabilities. 

It looks as if the light rail will end up like the many uncompleted vainglorious government projects around the world. Governments do run out of money – it happened to the Australian government in 1975.

Tim Walshaw, Watson

Time to rethink Fyshwick Markets parking

JOHN Bone’s complaint (CN Letters, August 1) about diesel fumes from a reverse-parked vehicle seems to misunderstand the reason the Fyshwick Markets wants people to park front-in. 

It’s not to do with fumes, as frankly any vehicle that blasts that much out will be smellable regardless of parking direction, but rather due to the car park layout making it necessary for front-in parking so that people loading their purchases into their vehicles don’t need to block footpaths or squeeze in between vehicles.

It might be wise for Fyshwick Markets to re-think this though, as many of today’s larger vehicles are more safely manoeuvred via reverse-parking than front-in parking.

But really, what’s Mr Bone’s objection to diesel fumes? I’ve always considered it to be a very pleasant and comforting odour. Maybe this means I spent too much of my youth inhaling fumes at bus interchanges.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart, Reid 

How’s the recycling of coal-fired power plants going?

KEN Murtagh (Letters, CN July 27) wrongly assumes that Australian taxpayers will pay for “between $7 and $9 trillion of capital commitments by 2060” to achieve net zero as reported in the recent Net Zero Australia report. 

The report itself makes it clear that: “Most of those funds will come from business, and some from households. Exports will be paid for mostly by overseas customers.”

Like most naysayers opposed to renewables, Mr Murtagh overlooks Australia’s general recycling problem and singles out wind turbine blades. 

How’s the recycling of coal-fired power plants and their toxic sludge going, I wonder? 

Recyclable wind turbine blades were made in Denmark two years ago. 

Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Victoria 

Wildlife corridors will save Canberrans money

THE letter “Why culling seems the best fit” (CN July 27) demonstrates why we need the Save Canberra’s Kangaroos “folks”.

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 Federal Golf Course.

It is impossible to reconcile the ACT government’s position for killing kangaroos with the facts. Its alleged science was exposed as nonsense during the 2009, 2013 and 2014 ACAT hearings, and in numerous well-researched submissions made during “public consultations” on the 2010 and 2017 “Kangaroo Management Plans”. 

The CSIRO Plant Industries Report in 2014 confirms the expert opinion expressed at those hearings; that is – the government’s use of grass mass as the indicator for diversity is patently absurd. It is the number and variety of plants and animals, not mass of vegetation that gives all species the best chance to live and thrive.

Instead of wasting hundreds of thousands of 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. 

Currently the ACT Labor/Greens Coalition’s poor road infrastructure is pushing the cost (and inconvenience) of vehicle repair back to Canberrans. Wildlife corridors will save Canberrans money.

Robyn Soxsmith, Kambah

Terry’s argument for extermination of kangaroos

TERRY Mowie, of Bruce (Letters, CN July 27), says: “Yes, kangaroos are cute and a national icon, but not when in the headlights on a busy, high speed, two-lane road… 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.”

This is an argument for total extermination of the kangaroo nationwide, because only that will ensure that Terry will be able to drive at whatever speed he likes on whatever road, remembering that his next collision with a kangaroo could well be his last.

Terry’s only way of minimising risk is to switch to defensive driving: assume every other user of the road is a total mug; slow right down when driving past thick scrub; be ready for a roo to jump out suddenly in front of his Maserati; stuff like that.

I have been practising defensive driving (on the advice of an experienced Sydney taxi driver) since the day after I got my licence way back in 1956, and have never hit a roo, cyclist, drunk staggering home from his local pub or anything else. 

Ian MacDougall, Farrer

Then there’s ignoring the code of practice

LEAVING aside the issue of joeys being (by law) bludgeoned to death, how does Environment Minister Rebecca Vassaerotti reconcile her claim that the ACT government’s annual kangaroo slaughter is humane when it is conducted in 35 kph winds? 

The Code of Practice for the killing of kangaroos is next to useless, but one small thing it does do is try to reduce wounding rates by prohibiting shooting in adverse environmental conditions.

On numerous occasions throughout the killing of more than 40,000 kangaroos over the last 14 years, Canberrans who live near the reserves have been forced to endure the sound of animals being shot, often during high winds, rain, fog and moonless dark.

Most recently, on June 26, the public received the most staggering confirmation of government incompetence, and complete indifference to animal suffering.

A ranger was stationed on Red Hill Nature Reserve during the shooting that night, presumably with a duty to ensure the law was observed. When a gusty, blustery gale blew up, a member of the public approached the ranger and reminded her that the Code of Practice prohibits shooting during such adverse weather conditions.

The ranger had never even heard of the Code of Practice, so how could that government official have been entrusted to enforce it? So much for Vassarotti’s commitment to a humane slaughter – as if that wasn’t an oxymoron, anyway.

Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan

Shame this ‘cruel and senseless’ program continues

AS an animal defender and campaigner against the kangaroo massacre, I welcome Terry Mowle’s assertion (Letters, CN July 27) that Canberrans do love our kangaroos. 

It is a shame that this cruel and senseless program continues to be undertaken every year since 2009. Save Canberra’s Kangaroos is to be applauded for its media campaign in bringing it to a wider audience.

There are several actions that conservation officers and contract killers are permitted to do to our kangaroos. These include a heavy blow to the base of the skull with sufficient force to destroy the brain or stunning, immediately followed by decapitation by rapidly severing the head from the body with a sharp blade. 

That is not emotive, inflammatory language nor hyperbole; that is simply the truth as outlined under a national code of practice for the shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for non-commercial purposes.

Instead of destroying kangaroos for eating grass, how about a series of wildlife corridors between the reserves to re-connect the defragmented Canberra Nature Park. An overpass over Hindmarsh Drive would be perfect connecting Red Hill to Isaacs Ridge, which would reduce the incidents on Canberra’s roads while protecting our much-loved kangaroos as well.

Chris Doyle, Gordon

So many morons not wanting to be seen!

I WAS out on the roads in the heavy fog that surrounded our part of Canberra the other morning, and I was thinking, no wonder we can’t get rid of the useless ACT Labor/Greens government when I saw how many brain-dead motorists were driving with no lights on.

It was beyond belief that so many morons are out there on our roads not wanting to be seen. Do they think the price of energy also includes their headlights?

By the way, you lot that have so called “day lights” on, they don’t switch on your taillights, so no one can see you in front of them. 

Athol O’Hare, via email

The birds being killed don’t breed quickly

THERE has been much debate regarding renewables and the land they are taking up and whether they are renewable, what are the restrictions etcetera. 

Nick Cater, a senior fellow at the Menzies Research Centre went to check out the possible construction by Ark Energy of an industrial wind turbine development at Chalumbin in far north Queensland. 

Great swathes of tropical forest will have to be cut down to accommodate the 86 mega pylons. These are eucalyptus trees that would take carbon out of the atmosphere. 

What he discovered nearby was several dozen turbine blades that had been decommissioned from a previous turbine-site at Windy Hill and dumped at Kidner Quarry, 15 kilometres to the north. 

The original towers were there for 15 years and had been taken down. The blades have just been left in a pile in the forest for eight years, rotting and decomposing leaving toxins (by-product of silica and other toxins) to drain into the soil. 

Is this going to happen every time towers are decommissioned? What makes things worse is the blades left rotting are only 20 metres and the new blades are 86 metres, substantially bigger.

New turbines have to be situated away from trees, as while it is not common, they sometimes catch fire and start a bushfire. Some also leak oil, which can contaminate the ground below.

What about the cost: Nick Cater’s article states: “Construction on such a steep and inaccessible site is a major operation. It requires constructing more than 100km of new roads five to seven metres wide, carved through pristine native forests. It requires dynamite and rock drilling to take the sides off hills to construct roads with a shallow gradient so that 86-metre-long turbine blades can be double-hauled up the hillside by two trucks.”

Last but not least, Cater says: “The forest is home to vulnerable native species, including the Greater Glider and the Magnificent Brood Frog. It is the hunting ground for the Red Goshawk, one of Australia’s rarest raptors. Their flight paths and unfortunate habit of flying towards hills to gain greater uplift make them peculiarly vulnerable to turbine strikes”. Many will claim that given the population of birds in Australia the few killed will not be significant – trouble is the ones being killed are the apex-predators – big birds that don’t breed quickly.

Vi Evans via email

Hunter’s misguided letter could change my vote

I HAD to think hard as to whether it was worth responding to Eric Hunter’s letter on the Voice (CN July 27) because of all the errors in it. First of all I did not “complain”, but simply made observations. 

Second, it was Albanese who took the running on promoting the Voice in a way that politicised it and Dutton simply responded in a way that most of us knew he would. 

Third, I did not suggest that politicians, big business and sporting bodies should not comment, but said that this is more an issue for the people to determine, and finally, why mention the Murdoch press at all? 

The Murdoch press is not worth reading, let alone taking any notice of, but those who do are not worth pursuing to change their views. 

I am not the only one who thinks the government has messed things up, with many senior journalists saying much the same thing as me. And I had the advantage of attending many ATSIC meetings over a number of years as a delegate for a Commonwealth mega department and saw at first hand the internal working arrangements of our First-Nations representatives. 

The bullying tactics of some politicians are likely to derail the process just as Hunter’s misguided letter could possibly change my own vote.

Ric Hingee, Duffy

Worries of a world without cash

WITH banks closing branches, removing ATMs from shopping centres and reducing the number of branches that will accept cash, I wonder if their management have thought seriously about the repercussions if, or when, there is another major world conflict. 

The allies are worried about China’s posturing and Putin’s Russia making nuclear noises. If – heaven forbid – another conflict commences in our area – the first action by the protagonists would be to switch off all their satellites providing the internet and all business transactions. 

This would result in all international and electronic banking ceasing immediately. Where would everyone, who has relied on their plastic, stand then?

I believe it is very short-sighted to reduce the amount of cash available and push the use of plastic cards as the normal way of conducting business. Thankfully, there are still businesses that like our legal tender.

Dave Jeffrey, Farrer

Stuck with an arrogant, uncaring government

DR Douglas Mackenzie (Letters, CN July 27) is very concerned about global heating because of record heatwaves in Europe and North America, but not of the record cold temperatures and rainfall in Australia in the last few years. 

He doesn’t approve of the Liberals’ proposals to reverse the cessation of Canberra’s gas supply introduced by Labor, but does not explain how we are going to replace that reliable fuel source we get from NSW. Maybe he is another one of those gullible Labor lovers that thinks ACT gets all its energy from renewable sources, if you believe our laughable government. 

Maybe he is proposing we build a nuclear power plant so ACT can get clean, safe, instant and reliable energy. As he has the abbreviation Dr before his name, maybe he is joining the long list of scientists that are realising that we can’t meet any net zero goals without nuclear energy. 

Dr Mackenzie reveals all in his last paragraph when he says he has been a lifelong Labor voter because his father was. 

This is the problem, especially in Canberra, where we have these voters that just vote Labor because their family did or because they are rusted on Labor voters. If this is the attitude we will be stuck with an arrogant, incompetent, uncaring and smug government for the rest of our lives. 

Ian Pilsner, Weston

Heartbreaking face of an emergency care doctor

I HOPE columnist Robert Macklin and the lady he named Estelle are feeling much better. 

The article he wrote “Chaos as Canberra Hospital laughs in our faces” (CN July 27) was very disrespectful to the hard-working medical staff at the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department who are doing their very best with limited staff numbers and faulty equipment. 

We spent nine hours in ED and then my husband had an overnight stay in the Emergency Department short-stay ward and, yes, the ECG machine alarms were going off all day and night in all cubicles, which were all full of patients and people were coughing or crying out in pain. The alarm was indicating my husband wasn’t breathing when I could see he was, and it went off all the time and, yes, it was annoying, but I’d prefer he was hooked up to it in case something really went wrong. When I ventured out of the acute area to get a drink, I noticed there were only two nurses and two doctors in our section of the ED. 

I asked a doctor how long he had been working in the very tough, stressful environment and he explained he was nearing the end of his four-year Emergency Department Specialist training. I asked what comes next and I’m still stunned by his answer. 

He said in another month he would not have a job because there wasn’t funding. 

In view of all the media releases by our Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith about the 2024 opening of the new Canberra Hospital Critical Services Building (a federally funded project) I found what he said heartbreaking.

Lyn McNeil, Isabella Plains

If only we’d gone nuclear in 1970

GLAD to report at least agreement with Dr Douglas Mackenzie’s revelation in Letters, CN July 27, that our tram plans are pure folly.

An additional bridge on Commonwealth Avenue will be an insult to its minimalist form, worthy of the capital.

More disturbing, however, is his reference to a heated northern hemisphere, which is occupied by 88 per cent of the world population.

Mackenzie’s consistent support for unachievable renewables for electricity generation by 2050 could only come from a rusted-on government disciple, incapable of considering what we could have had if the Jervis Bay nuclear plant had been completed in 1970.

Ken Murtagh, Hughes

When will the ‘Times’ tell us Grishin’s gone?

SINCE the recent publication in “CityNews” of the article by Sasha Grishin “No watch, biro or even a cup of tea, just goodbye” (July 13) I have waited for “The Canberra Times” to announce that Prof Grishin will no longer be writing critiques of art and art events in the region – and perhaps nominate his replacement. I am waiting in vain, since his arbitrary dismissal on May 15.

The ACT has the highest cultural participation rate (45 per cent) in the country and is well served by a wide range of excellent private galleries and national cultural institutions.

While “The Canberra Times” continues to deteriorate rapidly with regard to writing, spelling, grammar, typography and the inclusion of page after page of paid advertisements, I am on the verge of cancelling my daily subscription of many years standing.

Comments within the local arts community are full of praise for the years of outstanding contribution by Prof Grishin and dismay at the loss of arts reviews in the only local daily newspaper.

David Nolan, Holder

Centrelink recipients’ income the lowest of the low 

FORMER deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce had a brain explosion on TV regarding the Albanese government’s proposal to increase the rate of JobSeeker payments by $56 a week.

He said unequivocally that the increase would only encourage people receiving the benefit to not go out and get a job.

The hypocrisy of this is ridiculous. Not a day goes by without the coalition belly-aching with their confected moral outrage about the cost of living and demanding to know what the government intends to do about it.

In case you haven’t realised Barnaby, Centrelink recipients are the lowest of the low when it comes to incomes in this country, and of all the people that deserve a very modest pay rise, people receiving Centrelink payments are surely deserving. 

In case you haven’t realised Barnaby, many, many people on Centrelink benefits have to make some very hard choices about how they spend what little money they receive. 

So before you bemoan people at the very bottom receiving a little bit more money to have a little bit more dignity, why don’t you take a moment to think about how you would feel having to make some of the hard choices people on Centrelink payments have to make.

Oops, I forgot. You can’t think about how you would feel in that situation. You’re comfortable on $220,000 a year. More money than people on Centrelink payments would receive over the course of many years.

Joel Pearce, Queanbeyan 

Well, Scott would say that, wouldn’t he?

SCOTT Morrison’s emphatic rejection of the robodebt royal commission’s findings about him brought to mind the slightly misquoted yet immortalised statement made by Mandy Rice-Davies in the UK’s “Profumo Affair” court hearings, concerning a Conservative Party politician who denied having had an extra-marital affair with her: “He would say that, wouldn’t he”. (“Morrison rejects robodebt royal commission findings”, July 31).

Sue Dyer, Downer 

So why the leniency in sentencing?

RECENTLY, I read about a deputy principal of a school, Scott Wanstall, who was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison for attempting to solicit a 14-year-old teenage girl for sexual gratification. Fortunately, it was actually an undercover police officer who was simulating a 14-year-old girl.

In another matter, a soldier, Matthew Collins, tried to solicit a nine-year-old girl for sex, by sending a series of “emphatic” messages to an undercover police officer, believing the recipient of the messages to be the mother of the nine-year-old girl. Collins received a three-year

intensive corrections order after spending just 4.5 months in custody.

The perception of these two offenders was their reality, so why the leniency in sentencing?

In April, Canberra rapist Thomas Earle avoided jail time, sentenced to 300 hours of community service and 20 hours (yes, 20 hours) of counselling, leaving his victim “devastated”, her world changed forever.

The judge pointed to evidence of Earle’s “good character” having read several character references. She also noted he was from a “loving and supportive family” and had little to no chance of re-offending.

So, does that mean if you do not come from a loving and supportive family, you should be prejudiced when being sentenced?

The old saying, “the law is an ass” is resonating strongly through my exasperated mind.

It seems you get more for stealing a car, than seriously damaging or ruining a victim’s life. Go figure.

Janine Haskins, Cook

I’m with Mario on legislating the Voice

I DON’T often agree with Mario Stivala (Letters, CN August 3), but I agree wholeheartedly with his suggestion that the Albanese government should simply legislate the Voice to parliament.

Such legislation would surely be passed in a majority vote, with only die-hard naysayers such as Peter Dutton voting ‘no’.

Should the trial run cause too much dissent or confusion, the legislation could (relatively) easily be amended to keep both sides of the debate satisfied that they have been treated fairly. Surely, a win-win?

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

What benefits will arise if a ‘no’ vote prevails?

MARIO Stivala (Letters, CN July 3) has often shown concern for the welfare of his less fortunate fellow Australians. Therefore, I can’t understand his apparent lack of consideration for the longest continuing and consistently disadvantaged minority in our nation – our indigenous Australians.

He shows repeated concern though about the comparatively piddling cost of a referendum while ignoring the billions that have been spent and wasted over decades on indigenous programs designed by mainly white governments and bureaucrats; facts revealed in a Productivity Commission report that also emphasises the value of listening to those most affected by such programs. 

Mario then asks why are we having the referendum first and working out the operational details of the Voice advisory later? Apart from being the intention of the Uluru Statement it also demonstrates that those at Uluru were better informed about the constitution and parliamentary processes than many anti-Voicers. 

With constitutional backing, any subsequent legislation may be amended with additional knowledge, but the principles can’t be abolished simply at the whim of government – a not infrequent and politically motivated occurrence throughout our political history.

Will Mario now explain exactly what benefits we will all realise if a No vote prevails?

Eric Hunter, Cook

I can’t wait to see the letters to the editor

ERIC Hunter, a regular correspondent to this publication and “The Canberra Times” (CT), was recently extolling the virtues of the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, and promoting the “yes” vote for the Voice in a letter to the CT. 

Well after Burney’s incompetent and abysmal performance in parliament on August 1, where she refused to answer a simple straightforward question from the coalition, Mr Hunter might like to review his opinion of her. 

Hunter and the Voice “yes” brigade must now be getting nervous as it is looking more than likely it won’t get up. I can’t wait to see their letters to the editors if this happens!

Linda Burney has a good mate in the Climate Change Minister Chris Bowen, who wants to cover the landscape with windmills, solar panels and transmission lines, rather than keep coal and gas going for reliable base-load power and seriously promote adopting the nuclear option. 

I thought this might make sense, given we are committed to acquiring nuclear-powered submarines. His virtue signalling will ruin our economy, and have practically zero effect on the world’s climate. 

Again, I can’t wait to see the letters to the editors when we start having blackouts/power rationing by following Bowen’s policy.

Bob McDonald, Weetangera


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