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

Woden’s awful high rise reminiscent of Hong Kong

“What detailed analysis of Canberra’s housing needs has been carried out to justify this proliferation of high rise?” asks Colin Lyons.

“The extent of high-rise development in the Woden Town Centre is beyond the pale. Similarly in Belconnen it has gone too far,” says letter writer COLIN LYONS, of Weetangera.

A visitor to Canberra these days could be forgiven for thinking that we are endeavouring to emulate Hong Kong with our urban development.

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The eyesore at Woden may even remind visitors of the awful high-rise infestation at Wolli Creek in Sydney. Will they become slums of the future?

Most planners and informed observers of well managed population growth would agree that we need to encourage higher density in Canberra. 

However, the extent of high-rise development in the Woden Town Centre is beyond the pale. Similarly in Belconnen it has gone too far. One might ask, who is responsible for planning in the ACT or does the prevailing development simply reflect the wishes of property developers, with no objective other than profit maximisation?

What detailed analysis of Canberra’s housing needs has been carried out to justify this proliferation of high rise? 

These massive structures enable very little sunshine to enter the congested building space making it very cold in winter and create heat-island effects in summer. 

Their construction has already necessitated the installation of at least two more sets of traffic lights in Launceston Street during construction. When they are completed, there will be a huge increase in traffic around the town centre with the associated congestion and noise.

There was a time, quite some years ago now, when visitors came to Canberra to see an attractive, carefully planned city that was highly regarded around the nation and overseas.

That has all changed now due to the total absence of what constitutes sound urban design in our town centres and appropriate strategic land use planning. 

The arrogant determination to persevere with the tram has further destroyed the urban landscape and added to our financial woes.

It surely is time for a change of government.

Colin Lyons, Weetangera 

Review migration, we don’t have infrastructure

The Albanese government will really need to get down to work on the migration issue.

Our population is increasing far too quickly, putting huge strains on housing, infrastructure and the environment.

As an economist, I for one would prefer a lower standard of living in return for improvements in these three areas in particular. 

The government will also need to look more closely at the make-up of our migration and refugee intake. 

We already have enough disputation in the country without importing more through refugees from Palestine, Lebanon, Israel and the like, who bring the problems they are trying to escape from to their new home.

Those that want to do this should not have their visas, and those of their family members, granted if they are going to incite violence in Australia. 

Those that do insight violence should have visas cancelled and be deported. 

And more needs to be done about rescinding citizenship for those that promote extremism in Australia and we should pay more attention to refugees from neighbouring ASEAN countries (rather than countries far away in the northern hemisphere) that are being mistreated by the Chinese, stoned by the Taliban and shot up by the Myanmar military.

Furthermore, it is reported that some 15,000 dual Australian/Lebanese citizens are in Lebanon at present and many have taken their Australian pensions with them. 

If they do not plan to live in Australia then why make them citizens? After the troubles in Lebanon, many wanted to escape Lebanon for a time and the Australian government agreed to assist them on the basis that they would refund the cost to the taxpayer of doing so.

I understand that only two people actually did so! 

Perhaps this paper can confirm those numbers through a Freedom of Information request to DFAT. 

As far as I am concerned, the Australian taxpayer is being scammed by these so-called “citizens”, which then reflects badly on the remaining large numbers of Lebanese who have settled comfortably in Australia and made it their home.

Of course, it is not just those relatively few from Lebanon that are gaming the system, but also those from many of the other countries that we take refugees from including boat people. 

I confess that I am taking a bit of an anti-woke, devil’s advocate approach in this letter which is basically aimed a stimulating thought, reason and critical thinking, but the fact that we imported a net 548,000 migrants in the past year, when we do not have the housing and infrastructure to support them, smacks of idiocy and supports my view that big is not always beautiful, even for an economist like me, and despite the sentiments of our local demographer.

Ric Hingee, Duffy

No regrets, I’ve done pretty well, despite drugs

I refer to the recent letters from Ron Edgecombe (March 14) and Colliss Parrett (March 28) regarding “hard drugs” and their hopes that the Drugs of Dependence Bill 2023 will be abrogated.

Ron refers to the use of “hard drugs”. There are so many drugs today, ranging from caffeine, prescription and non-prescription medication to tobacco, cannabis, LSD, MDMA, GBL, cocaine, amphetamines, crystal methamphetamines (ICE), heroin and opiate replacement pharmacology.

I’m not sure if Ron and Colliss enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage, but it’s important to recognise that alcohol supersedes other “hard drugs” regarding harm to users.

An Australian study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, examined 22 drugs and found that alcohol causes more overall harm to the Australian community than any other drug, including ICE, fentanyl and heroin. 

The experts ranked alcohol as the most harmful drug overall to individuals and others – largely due to the number of related deaths, injuries, family adversity and economic costs of alcohol abuse.

During my formative years, like many others in my peer group, I “experimented” with drugs. Essentially, it was a component of my life journey, and I have no regrets.

While I am now a woman of “maturity”, I seem to function well in society; I don’t have a criminal history, although I have received two speeding fines in 40 years of driving, one of which was rescinded.

Further, I have maintained employment and done things such as travel, buy houses and run a couple of businesses. 

Given I have quite likely used “hard drugs”, I believe I’ve done pretty well, and quite frankly, I do not appreciate the inference that people who use substances are not worthy citizens.

Janine Haskins, Cook

Congratulations to ‘courageous’ Senator Pocock

Congratulations to Independent Senator David Pocock for his deserved McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year award (“Pocock wins leadership prize”, CN, March 28). 

In his short time in parliament Senator Pocock has demonstrated the courage and conviction to represent the needs and views of his constituents and act for the greater good. 

Sadly, these are rare attributes in Australian political circles. Pocock is certainly making a positive impact – long may he continue his important role.

Amy Hiller, Kew, Victoria

Be wary of car parking profiteers

Some Hawker and surrounding residents recently made their concerns known about plans for a major supermarket redevelopment in their shopping area. 

They should be wary about how a supermarket giant and the ACT government might seek to maximise both immediate and long-term profit making from totally revised parking arrangements that would most likely be part of any land deal in the Hawker shopping precinct .

The main Dickson shops car park used to contain over 70 trees and more than 230 ground-level, publicly owned car spaces, with multiple easy to enter and leave entry, exit ways and free parking at night and from Saturday noon until early Monday morning.

The already on-sold and now partly UScompany-owned Dickson Village complex, which obliterates that site, offers paid parking 24 hours a day, seven days a week in its large, underground, one entry way-one exit way car park. 

Beware also the propaganda issued by any major developer and ACT authorities when they talk up and present pretty pictures about the wondrous opportunities for “speciality shops” in any new major complex or rezoned location. Too many underwhelming responses to this and frequent business lessee changes are evident in increasingly densified renewal areas across Canberra, and Dickson is no exception.

These do little to help attract and retain shoppers and other visitors or build on an existing sense of community. They also work against ratepayer funded efforts made by other arms of government, like the CRA, to encourage more people to “linger longer” in town and group centres, in order to support local businesses and professional services and to help develop and encourage participation in social or community activities.

Sue Dyer, Downer 

Rebranding won’t fix the health woes

What will the $1.6 million rebranding of the Canberra Health Services do towards improving its performance? 

Bugger all, except waste ACT taxpayers’ money, cause unnecessary waste of tonnes of paper and create chaos during the transition period . Justifying rebranding as a means of improving the poor performance of CHS is a furphy, and has all the hallmarks of a floundering senior management clutching at straws. 

CHS’s current problems are a product of poor management and cultural issues that will not be fixed by an unwarranted cash splash.

Allegedly it has improved recruiting; it appears to me that it would have been much better if it had instead improved the retention of staff. 

Just like a decaying fish, the rot starts at the top and a major top-tier management restructure is what is needed, the sooner the better .

Mario Stivala, Belconnen

We should treat one another with respect

There has been some discussion among letter writers about anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

I would suggest that we all treat one another with kindness and respect, no matter what race or religion we may be and if someone were to treat us unkindly, let us not repeat it, determine what makes that person act like that and if we can improve the situation in any way, do so, in the spirit of Passover, Easter, Ramadan, Holi, Vesak and so on.

It will not be easy sometimes especially in protracted situations, but we must try; even these situations may look differently with some effort.

Herman van de Brug, Holt

Israel’s war is against a brutal terror group

In “Women’s silent vigil seeks peace for Palestinians” (CN March 28), Michelle asks why we’re not acting against Israel as we did against Russia. There is no comparison. The true comparison is between Israel and Ukraine.

Both are fighting wars of self-defence against an enemy that brutally attacked them without provocation, and will keep attacking until stopped. Hamas leaders have promised to attack Israel repeatedly until it is destroyed, so Israel really has no choice but to destroy Hamas’ military capacity.

Michelle wants her demonstrations to remind the people “never again”. Never again is now for Israel and the Jewish people, and Israel has the right and duty to make sure it is never again attacked by Hamas as it was on October 7. Her comparison between Israel’s behaviour and Nazi Germany is contemptible.

Israel’s war isn’t against citizens as Michelle claims. It’s against a brutal terror group that uses civilians as shields, and Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties by evacuating them before attacking.

She claims the International Criminal Court stated it is probable Israel is committing genocide, but it was the International Court of Justice that said it was “plausible” based on testimony. 

However, its interim judgement also said this finding did not prejudice its final decision on whether there is genocide, and tellingly, it did not order a ceasefire, as South Africa requested, as it did in Ukraine’s case against Russia, and as it no doubt would have if it believed there was a genocide happening here.

Alan Shroot, Forrest

Disgusted by women’s silent vigil article

I am disgusted by Katarina Lloyd Jones’ article “Women’s silent vigil seeks peace for Palestinians” (CN March 28). 

Terrorist organisation Hamas’ long-standing aim to destroy Israel, the Jewish homeland, is ignored in the article. 

So much for the Women In Black’s opposition to “injustice, war and other forms of violence”. Empty words. Nor is there a single mention of the hostages. That tells me all I need to know. 

John Farrands, Isaacs 

Actions of Women In Black are hypocritical

In “Women’s silent vigil seeks peace for Palestinians” (CN March 28) we are called on to “try to stop Israel’s attack on the Palestinian people”. Israel is not deliberately attacking those calling themselves Palestinian, Israel is attacking a mob of murderous, cowardly thugs calling themselves Hamas. 

Hamas hides and operates among the civilians of Gaza treating them as camouflage and shields. In such a situation the Geneva Convention excuses a military force which must act in hot pursuit, the main stipulation being the pursuer must try to limit civilian casualties as much as possible. 

The IDF has been doing that to the best of its ability. It is not Israel’s responsibility to protect the Palestinians of Gaza, it is the responsibility of the governing entity, Hamas. If they can’t protect their citizens Hamas should surrender.

The actions of Women In Black are hypocritical in that nowhere does “Michelle” offer any criticism of hamas’ rampage, its continuing violence and intimidation nor condolences for the Israeli citizens murdered and kidnapped by Hamas. 

Instead she waffles around hypotheticals and suppositions irrelevant to the issue. If Women In Black are concerned for the Palestinians they should be calling for Hamas to surrender. Israel has no choice other than continue its aim of destroying Hamas. 

If the luvvies of the world are so concerned about death and destruction, let their campaigns apply equally to the perpetrators of dastardly crimes.

Ray Atkin, Ngunnawal

Only in Australia is nuclear power political

Sue Dyer’s comments (Letters, CN March 28) are typical of the anti-nuclear brigade still living in the 1980s. 

They want net zero by 2050, but the science tells us it can’t be done without nuclear energy in the mix. Wasn’t this the side of politics always telling us to believe the science about global warming?

They want carbon dioxide-free emissions and that is exactly what nuclear provides, but they prefer some scaremongering from the 1980s. It is also baseload power that provides electricity 100 per cent of the time and is not dependent on the weather, unlike renewables that are lucky to provide power 20 per cent of the time. A nuclear power plant would last a lifetime, renewables are lucky to last 20 years.

Only in Australia is nuclear power political, with the Labor/Greens locked in some time warp of anti-nuclear hysteria while in other countries it is bipartisan and even in places such as Finland, the Greens are on board.

Australia is ideal for nuclear; plenty of flat stable land with plentiful uranium and we already bury nuclear waste from other countries, not to mention a nuclear reactor in Sydney that provides anti-cancer medicine that has never blown up in its 60 years and no major incidents. 

We are also getting nuclear subs in SA that Labor likes to talk up but seem to bury their heads in the sand when you mention nuclear power. Strange indeed.

The Labor energy minister must have felt very lonely at COP28 where 22 world leaders signed a declaration to triple nuclear by 2050. 

Maybe the ACT and its politicians could advocate for nuclear power in the territory, as former Liberal Prime Minister John Gorton did back in 1971. That way we would pull our own weight and not rely on the 80 per cent of electricity we draw from NSW coal and gas plants, or does Sue believe, like most rusted on Labor voters here, that the ACT gets its electricity from 100 per cent renewable energy?

Ian Pilsner, Weston

Simple rationale for Opposition’s nuclear policy

If Sue Dyer (Letters, CN March 28) looked at the energy generation make-up around the world she would see that there is a simple rationale for the Coalition’s policy of developing nuclear energy.

It has not been demonstrated that a wind and solar mix of clean energy can meet energy generation requirements. 

The only countries with significant levels of emissions and a high per cent of clean energy generation are Canada and Brazil (using hydro) and France (using nuclear).

John L Smith, Farrer

An astonishing ignorance of kangaroos

The recent ACT State of the Environment Report claims that kangaroos are an invasive species. 

This demonstrates an astonishing ignorance of the key facts about kangaroos, the nature of evidence, and the meaning of the word “invasive”. 

Kangaroos and their direct ancestral species have been providing keystone ecological services in almost every corner of the Australian continent for five to 15 million years. Every aspect of their biology is perfectly adapted to Australian (including ACT) conditions, and essential to the wellbeing of the plants and other animals that share their environment: their teeth and grazing behaviour, metabolism, breeding biology, fur, feet and locomotion. Kangaroos are the antithesis of invasive.

The report also claims that kangaroos are overabundant. Kangaroos might have once been abundant here, because of all the suburban lawns, but there has never been any evidence suggesting they were overabundant.

They are anything but abundant now, having been slaughtered en masse for 15 years far faster than they can replace themselves. Anyone with eyes, either expert or layperson, can see that the ACT reserves are currently suffering – as a result of the removal of the kangaroos – from devastating undergrazing and a staggering overabundance of biomass in the form of ridiculously tall and dense grass and weeds.

It should be noted that the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment who produces the report is appointed and paid by the slaughter-happy ACT government. This is scarcely a recipe for independence.

Frankie Seymour, Queanbeyan

‘Astounded, sickened and deeply saddened’

Having just read the latest ACT State of the Environment report, I was astounded, sickened and deeply saddened to see that the kangaroo in the ACT is classed as an invasive species and needs culling each year along with rabbits and foxes. 

Between 2009 and 2022 the ACT government proudly boasts that they have slaughtered over 24,000 kangaroos. 

Kangaroos have survived here for millions of years shaping this great continent. Locally, they have kept weeds etcetera under control (weeds that are now abundant and out of control in all of our nature reserves since all this culling began). 

Not only are our taxes used each year to slaughter these sentient creatures but also our taxes are being used to pay grass cutters to keep the weeds down. 

Ask an overseas visitor what they want to see here and they will tell you a kangaroo. Good luck with finding them in the ACT. Why do the ACT Greens /Labor continue this barbaric practice on our beautiful native non-invasive iconic kangaroo?

Jo Kirwan, via email

Garden jibe may not tell the story

Perhaps letter writer Martin Cahill doesn’t have enough to occupy his time, if he is able to relay such detailed information about his public servant neighbour’s hours in the garden (“Working from home or the garden?”, CN March 28). 

Obviously he knows this neighbour well enough to know that they’re “working from home”, what he probably isn’t fully informed about are the terms of the workplace agreement that might have been negotiated. 

Or it might be they may have to be available to work after daytime hours or they may be on special/long service leave.

Mr Cahill has seen one person supposedly taking advantage of the working options that are being offered to our public servants. 

Most public servants are hard-working people who are doing the job to the best of their ability. All I’m asking is that those who read Mr Cahill’s letter not take his assertions too seriously. 

Carole Ford, Tuggeranong

Time to flush this incompetent mob away

Michael Moore’s column, “Heroin’s a big hit in Canberra’s wastewater” (CN March 21), says it all really! 

A significant increase between July and September; Canberrans had the highest drug use on a per capita basis, in Australia!

No surprises really when Labor and Greens passed legislation to legalise hard drugs for personal use.

Could this be a clear indication of why Andrew Barr and his arrogant, self-serving mob are so incompetent running the ACT?

Add to this disgrace, an increase in criminal activity, there appears to be little or none of any drug testing being done on our roads.

It is high time to flush this mob of incompetent, taxpayer freeloaders, well and truly down our national waterways.

Ros Thomas, Gordon

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One Response to Woden’s awful high rise reminiscent of Hong Kong

Jim says: 9 April 2024 at 12:17 pm

Ian Pilsner is mistaken – we do not bury nuclear waste from other countries at this point in time. Its been 10 years + now since legislation allowing for a nuclear waste facility to be established passed, but it is still at square 1 after the high court set aside the decisions around the preferred site in South Australia.

We have stored some material at Lucas Heights from overseas (effectively waste repatriation from the UK), but we don’t bury anything anywhere as it stands.

The discussions around nuclear are already full of a lot of hot air. Making up facts won’t help win the argument.


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