Viewing John Glover (the two in centre) at the AGNSW
For this piece I wander from talking about a new book on John Glover to viewing works on the wall at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), to meandering through the AGNSW’s new building (Sydney Modern) and finally to the wonderful experience of visiting the AGNSW’s new art library. Continue reading New art, old art and a new book on John Glover
Things are serious when the senior ACT Government planning bureaucrat uses interviews with selected local media to send a message to local politicians.
Continue reading Barr & Ponton rubbish Jo Clay’s planning recommendations
Will the Canberra Liberals fall for the Greenslabor tram distraction?
The Canberra Liberals have made headlines about going into the 2024 ACT elections not supporting the tram to Woden.
Continue reading Greenslabor Tram Fraud
In the weeks before Christmas, when people were trying to think positive about life, the universe and everything else, the ACT Government and developers rolled out multiple gifts of development applications and planning reform documents for people to read. These gifts were not fun stuff. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor policy frauds
City Renewal Authority bereft of ideas
Someone in the ACT planning Directorate thought it was a great idea to get their planning minister to launch yet another round of consultations on the future of Civic and the surrounding areas – on the 4th December last year.
Continue reading Yet again we ponder a new future for Civic
When federal elections roll around, locals hear often from those who wish to be the elected federal members of the House of Representatives (3 from the ACT) and the Senate (2 senators).
Continue reading What commitments do ACT Federal politicians have to their electorates
On Saturday 5th November 2022 I wrote an online piece for Canberra City News that received positive feedback from readers as well as directly from friends.
Continue reading Revisiting Cedric’s Garden
Hopefully members of our community groups are not reading planning documents but instead are checking on the tomatoes, spending time with friends, or watching the magpies forage through the neighbourhood.
Continue reading Community resolutions for a sane 2023
Seems every year the subject of the city’s trees comes around as a Christmas topic. Continue reading Trees and Christmas in Canberra
How the bullies get away with stuff
It was shocking to see the style of the official criticisms of Ainslie residents who had objected to the redevelopment of the community site on the corner block next to Bill Pye Park in Ainslie.
Continue reading Canberra – a city in need of a planning minister
Liberals’ outrage about development options involving ACT Racing
There was almost instant outrage on 1st November when the ACT planning chief and his planning minister released documents on the next stages of the ACT Government’s proposed planning reforms.
Continue reading Canberra Liberals and ACT Racing
Self serving ACT Government planners on a crusade
The ACT Government’s planning reform stuff has been rolling along for a couple of years. Continue reading ACT govt planners proposes changes to suit ACT govt planners
Thursday, October 27 was the day that ACT Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry officially opened the grand, designed playground in Coombs. Continue reading Muddle-headed ACT Government stuffs up playground
the boys line up in their vests
A case studies of how an elected ACT Government has lost track of reality.
Continue reading ACT Government stupidity on display
Looking at the creative political sign in front of the Kingston Glass Workshop in October (now removed), the message was clear.
Continue reading Does Clive Hamilton value his own backyard?
is this what we signed up for?
Developers love putting up their signs of things to come that will make life better for future residents.
Continue reading The wonders of signs
Many in the community spend an extraordinary amount of time and energy responding to the flow of developers’ consultations on proposed developments.
Continue reading ACT Greenslabor sham consultations
someone else does climate in the ACT
The most obvious stuff up about the release of the November 1 media release on the Planning Reforms is that what is being proposed does not recognise that planning and development are the most basic keys that the ACT government should be using to deal with urban climate issues.
Continue reading ACT Government sidelines climate issues
With the release of the October 31 “Investment Plan” by Homelessness Minister Rebecca Vassarotti, there was a glimmer of hope that after more than a decade of the Greenslabor government, that someone was serious about homelessness. Continue reading ACT Government fail on homelessness
Games and more games
Murky and tricky would be the polite words to describe what happened with the ACT Greens’ motion in the Legislative Assembly to phase out funding for the Canberra Racing Club – $41 million over five years. Continue reading ACT Greens and ACT Racing
Visiting Cedric Bryant’s garden
Unsettling thoughts should not enter your head when you are admiring a beautiful garden. This happened recently.
Continue reading Greenslabor de-green the bush capital
Greenslabor gaslight the community – again
I have written before that what ACT government politicians value is reflected in how they spend our money.
Continue reading Greenslabor deflect from mess of their own making
proposals to cram more into the suburbs
Inner north Canberra community members have been swamped with major development proposals that, according to the planning directorate, need to be commented on in a very short timeframe. The Bureau of Meteorology could not have forecast this inundation of paperwork.
Continue reading town cramming in the inner north
A Great photograph can bring about a myriad of memories as well as pose more mundane questions such as why political movements fail.
Continue reading The disconnect between passionate Peter Dombrovskis and the ACT Greens
ACT Greens Jo Clay fronts up on planning
There’s an ACT government standing committee on planning, transport and city services, headed up by Greens MLA Jo Clay that has asked the community to make submissions on the current draft planning bill.
Continue reading Trust me, I am an ACT Greens
ACT Government marked down – again
When looking at the use of public money, I want to focus on two ACT Auditor-General reports one year apart.
Continue reading ACT Government shrugs at audit reports
How the NCA keeps getting it wrong!
The National Library of Australia forecourt should be a well-designed open space welcoming people to a key national institution. It is, sort of – but not quite!
Continue reading The National Library trees and sculpture festival
ACT Minister brags about not much
Rebecca Vassarotti, the ACT Sustainable Building and Construction Minister, announced in late August that state and territory ministers had agreed to a national mandatory seven-star rating for new residential buildings, starting next October.
Continue reading Seven star rating not quite good enough
Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now
The National Library is staging an exhibition of 125 documentary photographs, “Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now”. Continue reading photography at the National Library of Australia
Where does the money go?
Three presentations at the Inner South Canberra Community Council’s (ISCCC) September meeting made it very clear how this ACT Greenslabor government is not aligned with the aspirations and values of the residents of this city. Continue reading ACT Government burns taxpayers money
The term “neighbourhood character” was used in official planning documents and this measure was treated seriously when parts of established suburbs were up for redevelopment. Continue reading Caring for Neighbourhood Character
Stop sports groups selling off community space
Resident’s groups have become reluctant to respond to ABC Canberra’s call for comment on the development decisions such as those for the Ainslie Group (Ainslie Football Club).
Continue reading Making better use of community spaces
A visit to an exhibition at the National Museum of Australia provided the extra opportunity to have a look at the new garden at the entrance and to check out again the Garden of Australian Dreams.
Continue reading Gardening and farming at the National Museum
ACT Government and green spaces
When a politician says something such as: “Recreational areas in a suburb create a vital meeting point for the community”, then people should celebrate having such a person in government. Continue reading Canberra greens spaces used a land banks
documentary photography exhibition
National Library of Australia exhibition, Friday 16 September 2022 until Monday 13 March 2023 Entry is free, curated by Matthew Jones
a link to the NLA page on the exhibition – click here
a tour of the exhibition click here
Greenslabor planning in Canberra is a mess
With the August 30 announcement by the chief minister that the building of a new sports stadium in Civic is not feasible, what followed was the media-generated screams about this backflip – let down – bad decision. Continue reading What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?
The mess that is planning in Canberra
The decline of architectural design solutions and the loss of political will to deliver good urban design in Canberra was clearly illustrated through the presentation to the North Canberra Community Council committee.
Continue reading Winning design lost to bigger development plan
The mess that is planning in Canberra
Residents had good reasons to be puzzled by the 16th August decision by the ACT Greenslabor Planning Minister to use his precious ‘call-in’ powers to refuse a development at the McKellar shops. The reasons given caused readers to wonder – did he really say that?
Continue reading The Greenslabor planning minister really said that?
the mess that is planning in Canberra
Residents shudder when they contemplate how much of their lives has had to be allocated to dealing with development applications that, according to the government’s own rules, should not have been approved.
Continue reading Bewildering world of development applications
In my spare time , I have put together a collection of early 20th century photographs from Japan – click here to see the collection (for sale)
CMAG – a new future
More than three decades ago the local visual arts community advocated for the establishment of a Canberra Regional/City Gallery. Continue reading visiting Canberra’s City Gallery
The lies told too often
Most mainstream media articles about developments in RZ1 residential zones regularly include developers or their loyal followers who will criticise Canberra’s elite NIMBYs. Continue reading Developers blame selfish residents
It was a recent photography exhibition by Catherine Rogers (closed 14th August) that brought home to me what a great space the ANU Drill Hall Gallery is.
Continue reading Visiting ANU Drill Hall Gallery
The ACT Greenslabor government regularly makes re-announcements about commitments to sometime soon provide homes that are sustainable. Continue reading Housing ACT as the rogue developer
When the national Gallery opened in 1988, the exhibitions and their café became frequent destinations – a meeting place for locals, to take in the latest exhibitions while seeing old friends – the fabulous works in the permanent collections. Continue reading Visiting the National Gallery in Canberra
Infill would be more embraced if it was well designed
There were several announcements by the ACT government at the end of July with most by the chief minister, Andrew Barr.
Continue reading ACT Government fails on architecture and design
As a consequence of the Greenslabor Ministers Vassarotti and Berry’s cruel eviction program, attention turned to their social housing programs. Continue reading The vexed question of social housing in Canberra
Saturday 30 July was a sunny day that encouraged a walk somewhere else in the city, besides the usual meander through the local streets.
Continue reading Belconnen arts and architecture
Back in 2019 during a discussion about the preliminaries for the city’s coming planning reforms, it was suggested to the chief planner that governance needs to be central to any reforms. Continue reading ACT Government fails governance
Public art — Civic in Canberra
A media notice from the City Renewal Authority about a new artwork in Civic caught my attention. Continue reading Civic still a bit of a mess
approved despite it not meeting the rules
The ACT’s government planning system is under review with the first badly organised and inadequate consultation stage completed in mid-June.
Continue reading ACT Government approves Kingston block
A place to visit often
There were few people visiting the NGA’s Sculpture Garden when I visited to enjoy the garden’s well-designed spaces and to check out the artworks.
Continue reading NGA Canberra Sculpture Garden
You need to see this for yourself
There’s a residential development at 18 Darke Street, Torrens, that is beyond belief. This is happening because the city’s planning system is broken and totally corrupted.
Continue reading ACT Government planning failure
ACT Government not so environmental
In February, 2012, the then-ACT Labor Environment and Sustainable Development Minister, Simon Corbell, officially opened the Dickson Wetlands (completed in 2011). This marvellous water feature changed the neighbourhood.
Continue reading Dreaming of having a real environment minister
the ACT Greens moved away from core values
More than a decade ago the ACT Greens had priority on issues such as climate, the environment, and equity. How things have changed.
Continue reading ACT Greens a neoliberal Labor faction
Nasty treatment of Housing ACT tenants
Earlier this year 330 Housing ACT tenants received the same soulless unsigned eviction notice.
Continue reading ACT Government cruel evictions
Time up for the ACT Greens
Given the successes of independent candidates in the federal election, conversations are underway about how voters could be offered better candidates for the 2024 ACT election.
Continue reading How to say goodbye to the ‘Greenslabor’ cult
ACT Government endorses bad planning
The ACT’s planning directorate is a rogue bureaucracy doing the bidding of anyone but the residents of Canberra. Few residents would be confident that the directorate has the expertise to do anything except to continuously mess stuff up.
Continue reading Democracy muted as Mick calls in YWCA project
planning in Canberra gets worse
People were shocked to hear the realities of the behaviour of the ACT government as set out clearly by two speakers at the June meeting of the Tuggeranong Community Council.
Continue reading Planning mess: where the hell are the pollies?
The ACT’s “Greenslabor” government has provided multiple opportunities this year for the Canberra Liberals to step up and demonstrate that maybe in 2024 they could be ready to form government if the voters were to be convinced.
Continue reading Canberra Libs keep missing the opportunities
ACT Government reduces greenery
The worst behaviour of any politician or bureaucrat is when a mistake has been brought to their attention, that they double down, pretend there’s nothing wrong, produce alternative facts and discredit those who have identified the error.
Continue reading Deaf Greens do nothing as trees come down
mean and nasty government just got meaner and nastier
Just when the Housing ACT relocation (eviction) program was looking mean and nasty, the ministers involved, Yvette Berry and Rebecca Vassarotti, upped the ante by introducing something even more dodgy to make lives difficult for some of the Housing ACT tenants.
Continue reading ACT Government evicts housing tenants
It was, as I was reading an online US newspaper on Thursday, June 2, that I spotted they had the streaming of the Queen’s platinum celebration in London. How could I resist?
Continue reading Korean food to celebrate the Queen
In April, the Commonwealth Government granted Commonwealth status for Lake Burley Griffin and parts of the surrounds.
Continue reading ACT heritage minister fails heritage
Folks, we have a problem – this time not with the ACT government and its planning directorate but with the National Capital Authority.
Continue reading National Capital Authority not fit for purpose
There was news in May that a new supermarket is to open in Canberra. Harris Farm Markets are to build a new store at Majura Park on the northern end of the site occasionally used by the circus. Continue reading Supermarkets, galleries and Italian food
There are discussions within the community sector puzzling over the motives of the ACT government’s politicians and bureaucrats when it comes to their managing planning, development and housing. Continue reading The cruelty of ACT Government politicians
Towards the end of the Inner South Canberra Community Council’s forum last month, a question was asked about whether the chief planner could override decisions on urban trees. Continue reading Pretending to care about the fate of mature trees
It has been said many times that if people were to vote for the Canberra Liberals in the 2024 ACT elections, it could not be any worse than the developer-focused, neo-liberal approach to planning and development being delivered by the conservative-leaning ACT Greens and Labor.
Continue reading Would the Canberra Liberals be any better
For a city with the international standing for being well designed (thank you, Walter and Marion), it is embarrassing to witness the shambolic efforts by the ACT government’s planning bureaucrats to come up with something resembling a 21st century planning system.
Continue reading ACT Government planning charade
While voters were occupied with the federal election, the ACT Planning Directorate slipped through a variation to Variation 369 – the one that was to deliver greenery to the city’s backyards.
Continue reading ACT Government fails on backyard greenery
The National Capital Authority has responsibility for the care of the capital’s design features.
Continue reading NCA blocks the axis view
Last Tuesday 9th May, the inner south community met to hear presentations on the ACT Government’s efforts at planning reform.
Continue reading The ACT Government’s planning reforms fail the basics
Particular major urban developments in Canberra have been promoted to be in line with the plans of Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin or somehow in the spirit of the Griffins.
Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin – What A Life!
Election forums are underway across the city. You do get to watch the candidates in action. Unfortunately, their performances have not been individually or collectively too exciting.
Continue reading Federal candidates should think local
It was heartening to see the new state member for Monaro, Nichole Overall, take on the monster of the NSW Department of Education, and win.
Continue reading When ACT Housing evictions happen, ACT politicians hide
When the Kingston Barton residents brought together a bunch of candidates last Tuesday evening, it was an opportunity to observe who among them had that extra spark to be a great representative for the voters of Canberra.
Continue reading Federal candidates take the tram to nowhere
In mid-March the ACT’s government’s planning reform process moved to another stage of being something that might happen – one day. Continue reading ACT Planning reform – A sad joke!
The inner north has, so far, not been saturated with the roadside election corflute signs as has happened with previous elections. Continue reading ACT Greens work against democracy
YWCA behaves as questionable developer
The ACT government’s planning system and processes are no longer fit for purpose. They have been corrupted by ad hoc, ill-informed and illogical decisions.
Continue reading YWCA disrespects local community
There are architecture tours of the city of Chicago conducted (when it is not frozen over in winter) to admire the wonders of design incorporated into the city towers. It would be doubtful that there would ever be architecture tours of Woden’s town-centre towers. Continue reading Woden town cramming continues
Housing clearances in Canberra in 2022
It is beyond belief that in the 21st century a self-nominated progressive Labor/Greens coalition government sanctioned the eviction of its own social housing tenants.
Continue reading ACT Government evictions
Developers control the ACT Greens agenda
In the early 1980s, the environmental movements fought to protect significant Tasmanian river systems and world heritage sites.
Continue reading ACT Greens and developers
while more trees come down!
Last week, the ACT Environment Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, announced her draft action plan about the loss of mature trees.
Continue reading ACT Government has morning tea
Once ACT Greens and Labor politicians become very important ministers in the ACT government, their contact with real people diminishes.
Continue reading ACT Politicians need to talk to Watson residents
will Zed Seselja survive this time?
ACT voters are about to select three lower house and two Senate politicians to represent this territory’s interests nationally.
Continue reading Federal elections and the ACT candidates
There used to be the sound of owls in the inner north of Canberra at night time. I didn’t really appreciate the beauty of their call until, one day, I realised it was no more.
Continue reading Owls, old trees and the ACT Government
During a recent Inner South Canberra Community Council meeting, a topic mentioned by several speakers was one of the fundamental problems with the ACT planning system.
Continue reading The good and bad of Consultation
When a government exercises significant influence over media outlets, propaganda and alternative facts easily become the message that people hear.
Continue reading NCA propaganda fools the ABC
something to make you shudder!
The Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, has reluctantly entered his older years. He has cleverly handed the more in-your-face, complex portfolios to his Labor colleagues, a couple of whom obviously aspire to occupy the chief minister’s chair as soon as he looks to make an exit.
Continue reading Yvette Berry for Chief Minister
Government delivers for developers, again
Throughout history, the growth in government propaganda is linked to increasing authoritarianism. The more they lie, the more they concoct alternative facts to justify dubious actions and to distract from real intentions.
Continue reading the ACT tram light rail hoax
ACT Government fails on planning, again
When it comes to infrastructure and planning issues, the Woden Valley Community Council continues to have difficulties having real discussions with this ACT Labor/Greens government.
Continue reading woden Valley Community Council issues
I recently sat on the pictured bench and pondered the shrubbery and trees planted in several clumps on a mound in a Downer park.
Continue reading suburban biodiversity
Several conversations of late have centered on the question – what has happened to the much-touted Draft Variation 369?
Continue reading ACT Variation on greenery goes missing in action
ACT heritage minister is missing
Houses of heritage value often cause problems for ACT Heritage Ministers and their planning chiefs.
Continue reading Fate of Forrest heritage house remains mystery
A compliant NCA to be fooled again
The ACT government’s proposal to “Raise London Circuit” for the tram was submitted for approval to the National Capital Authority (NCA) in October.
Continue reading Tram spin to defeat the NCA
NCA called on to be sensible!
In this city with the ever-increasing towers, as encouraged by the developer-friendly chief minister, the major issue is not just the towers themselves, but the lack of planning guiding the appropriateness and logic of their size and the location.
Continue reading A Tower too far by Geocon
and how it is being lost
When Marion Mahony Griffin provided those glorious drawings for the submission to design Canberra, she included a distant view of the mountains.
Continue reading Marion Mahony Griffin’s vision for Canberra