Category Archives: opinions

A Sense of Place denied by ACT Government

There is a common theme to the many well-crafted and informed submissions by residents trying desperately to influence the proposals to change the city’s planning.

Continue reading A Sense of Place denied by ACT Government

ACT Community Councils call out the Failure of planning

Combined Community Councils’ submission is a must read

There are many comments circulating about the 400 submissions received by the planning directorate on what the community thinks of the ACT Government’s attempt to reform planning.

Continue reading ACT Community Councils call out the Failure of planning

ACT politicians keep believing their own vacuous spin

Reading through submissions for one of the many inquiries conducted by this ACT government, there was one submitted by the Rebecca Vassarotti as Heritage Minister.

Continue reading ACT politicians keep believing their own vacuous spin

Making money from the the Causeway homes

ACT Government East Lake Place Plan is a farce

The ACT Greenslabor government has perfected its expertise to distract people from what they are really up to when they release one of their contentious planning documents.

Continue reading Making money from the the Causeway homes

ACT Assembly refuses to hear what residents are saying about planning

On Thursday 30th March Jo Clay MLA stood up in the assembly on behalf of the ACT Greens and moved a motion about the chief minister’s planning reforms.

Continue reading ACT Assembly refuses to hear what residents are saying about planning

Greenslabor hold the line on false narratives about planning

The Inner South Canberra Community Council (ISCCC) meeting on Tuesday 11th April was reported to have been a lively event with a couple of Greenslabor politicians providing their take on the ACT chief minister’s so-called planning reforms.

Continue reading Greenslabor hold the line on false narratives about planning

Braddon Bowls as a Barometer for Bad Behaviour

The Braddon Bowling Club story is one of many about how this government and its bureaucracy has corrupted its own governance – how they do stuff badly.

Continue reading Braddon Bowls as a Barometer for Bad Behaviour

Downer to fall foul of Barronomics

Community groups who have studied the Greenslabor planning reform plans and strategies know that the chief minister’s deregulation reforms will devastate the suburban characteristics that attract people to this city.

Continue reading Downer to fall foul of Barronomics

Fact checking ACT Ministers’ press statements

 Gentleman’s patronising praise

The planning minister’s 22 March media release on the feedback received on the planning reforms was a real gem.

Continue reading Fact checking ACT Ministers’ press statements

The differences in values widens between the ACT government and residents

There is huge gap in values between those of the residents of this city and those of the ACT’s planning authority. Canberra’s community groups have been writing submissions about their aspirations and urban priorities for more than a decade.

Continue reading The differences in values widens between the ACT government and residents

ACT Minister takes the mick

Minister for Canberra Planning re-asserts his authority

The Minister for Canberra Planning has reassured residents that the minister has read the hundreds of submissions that hard working Canberra residents have submitted about the so-called planning reforms.

Continue reading ACT Minister takes the mick

Welfare organisations fall for the Greenslabor Mything Middle scam

In 2011 the Dickson Residents Group asked the then planning minister, Andrew Barr, to consider a comprehensive eight-point plan for this inner north precinct.

Continue reading Welfare organisations fall for the Greenslabor Mything Middle scam

Does the ACT Housing minister know how to read?

Recent opinion pieces highlighted the ACT government’s badly managed planning authority and how they continually ignore their own rules and then object when they are overruled by the appeals tribunal.

Continue reading Does the ACT Housing minister know how to read?

Chief Planner ignores biodiversity in his reforms

Unfortunately for the city’s future, the ACT Chief Planner is not known for taking biodiversity seriously. Others do, although their efforts may be a little too polite to make any impact on this Greenslabor government.

Continue reading Chief Planner ignores biodiversity in his reforms

No one takes responsibility for ACT Housing non-compliant approvals

Given the latest line-up of Housing ACT development applications for sites in Griffith that were thrown out by the appeals tribunal, the question is who has taken responsibility for these defective proposals for social housing.

Continue reading No one takes responsibility for ACT Housing non-compliant approvals

The ACT planning chief has failed the residents of Canberra

When the ACT chief planner was appointed in April 2017, he explained his theoretical approach to planning. In April 2019 I used those statements to set out ten performance indicators and then scored how he was doing.

Continue reading The ACT planning chief has failed the residents of Canberra

Challenging questionable development approvals

There has been a load of rubbish spread around about what happens when residents challenge decisions by the ACT Chief Planner.

Continue reading Challenging questionable development approvals

Who knew that denying shelter and social housing paid for the tram?

Given their historical policy positions, the ACT Greenslabor coalition government would have been expected to have had a high priority on social housing and homelessness programs. But then there was the tram.

Continue reading Who knew that denying shelter and social housing paid for the tram?

Greenslabor hopes that no-one noticed the deregulation of planning

With the formal consultations now closed on the ACT government’s planning reforms, many in Canberra’s community groups would be wondering about the motivations of the planning bureaucracy.

Continue reading Greenslabor hopes that no-one noticed the deregulation of planning

Governance reform required urgently for Canberra’s urban future

In the last twelve months, many in community councils have had to spend too much time reading through fairly dense planning reform documents.

Continue reading Governance reform required urgently for Canberra’s urban future

ACT Greenslabor have truth and transparency as options

Dealing with the complexities of Greenslabor planning reforms has been an unpleasant experience for those reading the badly written documents that were drip-fed to the public last year. There is nothing positive about what is being proposed. Continue reading ACT Greenslabor have truth and transparency as options

Absence of sensible planning threatens a street in Garran

It may be a little out of fashion with the ACT Greenslabor ministers, but residents like to be listened to about what happens to their home, their street and their neighbourhood.

Continue reading Absence of sensible planning threatens a street in Garran

Greenslabor’s continues being vexatious and frivolous with the truth

The signs are that for 2023 Greenslabor politicians and their hangers-on will continue to gaslight and dump on those who cherishes the city’s neighbourhoods. The new normal for Greenslabor is to be vexatious and frivolous with the truth.

Continue reading Greenslabor’s continues being vexatious and frivolous with the truth

A Greenslabor’s regulation discussion paper to fix everything

Under the Greenslabor regulatory systems for the last decade, residents have endured a laissez-faire approach to building compliance and regulation.

Continue reading A Greenslabor’s regulation discussion paper to fix everything

National Capital Authority loses the plot – again

NCA questionable contracts and the future of the National Library Lombardy Pines

The National Capital Authority (NCA) has important national functions to do with stuff about administration, the national plan, the government of the day and the care of national assets.

Continue reading National Capital Authority loses the plot – again

ACT Greenslabor keep Lake Tuggeranong green

A target to clean up Lake Tuggeranong

This being the latter part of summer, families and children should have had loads of fun at the lakeside facilities around Lake Tuggeranong.  Not so – the waters remain off limits due to nasty green blobs floating about and poisonous algae in the water.

Continue reading ACT Greenslabor keep Lake Tuggeranong green

Heritage and the ACT Minister

When in August last year the ACT Heritage Minister, Rebecca Vassarotti, stood aside the members of the ACT Heritage Council, the problems she outlined to justify her actions did not come as a surprise to those in the know about the recent history of this ministerially appointed body.

Continue reading Heritage and the ACT Minister

Barr & Ponton rubbish Jo Clay’s planning recommendations

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

ACT Greenslabor policy frauds

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

Yet again we ponder a new future for Civic

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

What commitments do ACT Federal politicians have to their electorates

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

Community resolutions for a sane 2023

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

Canberra – a city in need of a planning minister

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

Canberra Liberals and ACT Racing

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

ACT govt planners proposes changes to suit ACT govt planners

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

Muddle-headed ACT Government stuffs up playground

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

Does Clive Hamilton value his own backyard?

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?

ACT Government sidelines climate issues

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

ACT Government fail on homelessness

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

ACT Greens and ACT Racing

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

Greenslabor de-green the bush capital

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 deflect from mess of their own making

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

The disconnect between passionate Peter Dombrovskis and the ACT Greens

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

Trust me, I am an 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

Seven star rating not quite good enough

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

What now for the Canberra Olympic Pool?

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?

Winning design lost to bigger development plan

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 Greenslabor planning minister really said that?

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?

Bewildering world of development applications

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

Housing ACT as the rogue developer

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

ACT Government fails on architecture and design

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

The vexed question of social housing in Canberra

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

ACT Government fails governance

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

ACT Government planning failure

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

Dreaming of having a real environment minister

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

ACT Greens a neoliberal Labor faction

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

How to say goodbye to the ‘Greenslabor’ cult

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

Planning mess: where the hell are the pollies?

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?

ACT Government evicts housing tenants

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

The cruelty of ACT Government politicians

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

Pretending to care about the fate of mature trees

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

Would the Canberra Liberals be any better

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

The ACT Government’s planning reforms fail the basics

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

Federal candidates take the tram to nowhere

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

YWCA disrespects local community

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

Woden town cramming continues

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

ACT Government evictions

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

ACT Government has morning tea

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

ACT Politicians need to talk to Watson residents

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

Owls, old trees and the ACT Government

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

The good and bad of Consultation

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

Yvette Berry for Chief Minister

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

the ACT tram light rail hoax

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

woden Valley Community Council issues

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

ACT Variation on greenery goes missing in action

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