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

The ‘beast’ that’s been swallowing my savings

For letter writer GARY SHAPCOTT, of Hughes, the federal government’s plans for aged care have become painfully personal. 

I used to think that by staying away from the old-age pension and being a self-funded retiree I was doing the country a favour. 

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That was until I had a stroke in 2023 and ended up in a nursing home. Most of my life savings have been swallowed up by this beast called aged care. As has most of my super income stream each month. 

I hear younger relatives saying they plan to go on the old-age pension and are dropping the idea of being self-funded. 

How many others will follow suit, especially if the aged-care funding proposals being considered by the current federal government are accepted and implemented?

Gary Shapcott, Hughes

Working from home or the garden?

I’ve recently discovered my neighbour in Nicholls is working from home.

As a public servant I’m sure she is entitled to screen breaks, however I still cannot account for the time spent in the garden. 

There is not even an attempt to conceal or hide the gardening on the taxpayer dime.

In my time, sometimes we had a long lunch. Back then, we were told to park our vehicles behind the club or local watering hole. Of course, everyone complied and had no sense of the entitlement you see in today’s public service.

Martin Cahill, Nicholls

Canberra Metro’s profits come at a cost

Canberra Metro’s profits are a high priority for the ACT government.

Canberra Metro was a 2012 election commitment by then-Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. She committed to establish Canberra Metro as a “private sector partnership to plan, finance and develop the first stage of a light rail network for Canberra”.

She omitted to mention that Canberrans would pay for the finance.

More recently, as federal Minister for Finance, Gallagher said: “Canberrans rightly expect that their taxpayer money will be spent with the best bang for buck and deliver the best outcome for our city.” 

The ACT government concluded that stage 1 of bus rapid transit would cost $280 million less than light rail, and would be twice as cost-effective. 

In choosing to fund Canberra Metro to build stage 1 of light rail, the government prioritised Canberra Metro’s profits ahead of the best outcome for Canberra. 

The government then concluded that light rail stage 2A would provide only $150 million worth of benefits. In choosing to pay Canberra Metro $577 million to build Stage 2A, the government again prioritised Canberra Metro’s profits ahead of the best outcome for Canberra. 

Leon Arundell, Downer

Bus case ‘significantly stronger’ than light rail

May I be so bold and praise in a letter to the editor of CityNews an article in the Canberra Times with the title “Bus case ‘significantly stronger’ than light rail ”? 

I am glad the public is informed once again about the rather “interesting” way the decision to build the light rail line was made. CityNews already called attention to this problem with two of my opinion pieces (December 22, 2022 and January 25, 2023). 

The latter, with the heading “‘Funny business’ on the way to the Assembly”, mentions that in 2010 the Chinese automobile company BYD rolled out its BYD K9, a bus so much in demand in the US that soon afterwards it was manufactured there. 

Considering that instead the ACT government decided on a Spanish tram unable to climb hills for this hilly city of Canberra, costing a multiple of that of the bus, one must indeed wonder about the professionalism of the decision makers.

Prof Beatrice Bodart-Bailey, via email

Landscaping gets uglier by the day

That rubbish on Northbourne Avenue complementing light rail, loosely called landscaping, is uglier by the day, if that’s possible. 

Are standards so challenging in this place that rainbow-glazed eyes fail to comprehend the sight that greets visitors to this city? 

It’s ugly Mr Barr, but I guess no one in authority cares so what’s the panic, it’s just continued deterioration!

John Lawrence via email

Understanding of the curse of hard drugs

Ron Edgecombe’s letter (“Where the possession of hard drugs went crazy”, CN March 14) appears to reinforce my earlier unpublished letter that Colorado is joining Oregon in recriminalising cannabis. 

Mr Edgecombe shows he has a full understanding of the curse of hard drugs and merits strong political support

Colliss Parrett, Drug Free Australia, Barton 

Will Molonglo planners prioritise trees?

Mike Quirk notes that Molonglo has been identified as “the main greenfield supply area in Canberra over the coming decades” (“As the population surges, is Molonglo ready?”, CN March 14). 

In 2008, the National Capital Authority was concerned about the effect of development on the Box-Gum woodland and argued for a large conservation area centred on Central Molonglo. 

There is an opportunity now to revisit that vision. Three years ago, however, the Molonglo Valley’s tree cover was measured at only 9 per cent, well below most other districts. The highest was Hall with 38 per cent tree cover, close to the Sydney and Melbourne targets of 40 per cent. 

Urban trees provide many benefits to residents and habitat for birds and other animals. They can cool streets by up to 10 degrees and improve human health.

Let’s hope the planners of Canberra’s next town centre will prioritise trees.

Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Fails to mention a lot of facts

John Minns’ “Fear of Refugees – a terrible new Australian export” (CN Mrch 14) column in defence of refugees fails to mention a lot of facts, such as the more illegal immigrants a country has, the more terrorism. Just look at France with its high level of Muslim immigration now at around 10 per cent and it has been the target of many radical Islamic terror attacks, as has England. 

Prof Minns criticises Trump’s stopping of illegal immigrants in the form of a physical wall, but Biden built more of Trump’s wall when he said he wouldn’t after realising he’d let in a record number of illegal immigrants.

Prof Minns mentions Islamophobia, but no mention of all the anti-Zionist and Jew hating we have seen recently on the streets of this country, mainly from the far left and Islamic preachers and their followers. Where is his outrage for this disgusting hate speech that is getting worse every day? 

Prof Minns tries to blame homophobic and misogynistic views on “far-right” policies. Has he not seen what happens in Muslim countries, such as Palestine, where gays are murdered and women treated like second-class citizens? 

Ian Pilsner, Weston

Whole Sofronoff inquiry has become tedious

The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, can’t seem to take no for an answer. While he “won” two of his claims of bias and prejudice, it must be noted that there were several other of his claims that he did not “win”.

The whole Sofronoff inquiry has become tedious, and it’s time he took his bat and ball and headed home, instead of behaving like a petulant child.

Janine Haskins, Cook

Nuclear: what will Liberal candidates say?

When ripping into the CSIRO this month over its costings of renewable and nuclear energy, Peter Dutton genuflected yet again to the LNP’s Barnaby-led brigade of pro-nuclear, anti-2050 commitment crusaders. 

While promoting what would be a highly problematical pathway for establishing not small but large nuclear reactors around the country, the opposition leader made the adoption of nuclear power generation sound quite benign, like the acquisition of a guide dog or live-in home carer: “We see nuclear power as a companion to renewables” (“Dutton goes Gortonian on nuclear energy”, March 15).

The Coalition’s intransigent, inward-looking focus on political self-preservation-at-any-cost guarantees that Australia would again lag in delivering clean and affordable energy to all and in reducing the impacts of damaging greenhouse emissions. 

ACT Liberal candidates for the next federal election will not be allowed to wriggle away from the many questions voters and the local scientific community will want answered about this major policy push.

Aspiring Coalition politicians will need to have a good understanding of, and be transparent about, the long-term development and economics of creating sources of nuclear energy across the country.

The usual lazy spin, deflection, and fearmongering practices employed by our former Liberal senator and his Advance allies to promote far less significant policies last time could not be relied upon to support arguments and context for the adoption of what creditable research shows is the most expensive form of electricity generation. 

Liberal candidates’ answers will be interesting, indeed.

Sue Dyer, Downer

Barr’s Canberra is an untidy embarrassment

I agree with the comments by Martin Gordon (Letters, CN March 21) about “the scale of decay” (eg decrepit road signs); the inordinate delay in building the new bridge over the river between north and south Molonglo Valley; the shambles that is the Canberra Hospital upgrade; and our national capital not being “the showcase it should be”.

After nearly 10 years with Andrew Barr as Chief Minister, Canberra and the wider ACT have become an untidy embarrassment. 

Long grass and tall weeds are almost ubiquitous; there are countless dead and dying trees on public land and along streets, including a large, half-dead oak tree near the Deakin shops.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin

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