E-scooter riders should have third party injury insurance | The Canberra Times Leave a comment


Transport Canberra advises that e-scooters can be used on public roads. This gives rise to serious road safety issues. I suggest the most pressing is that of compulsory insurance. It defies belief that an electric vehicle can be used on roads and footpaths without insurance. As an emergency measure all users of e-scooters should be required to carry compulsory insurance against liability for the death or injury of other people. The companies that hire out the e-scooters should be responsible for ensuring their customers have the requisite insurance. Failure to do so should be a serious offence for the company and its directors. In addition the company should be liable, in the absence of insurance cover, for any damages awarded against the user. The company should also be required, as a condition of operating an e-scooter business, to lodge a bond of at least $10 million in a scheme approved by law. Proper protection of the public is the absolute priority. Having analysed the full spectrum of Canberra land values I can confirm that John Mungoven’s example of land tax (Letters, February 26) holds true across our community. Renters contribute to ACT tax revenue at between two and three times an owner-occupier of an identical home. John showed the side-by-side comparison is indefensible, so are the comparisons across the spectrum. For instance a pensioner renting a two-bedroom townhouse in Holt pays hundreds of dollars more than an owner-occupied five-bedroom detached house fronting the golf course at Nicholls. The ACT government claims to be the most progressive in Australia, however, it is marking its own scorecard which clearly doesn’t include equitable tax treatment for residential renters. John alluded to NSW and Victorian land tax settings, but it goes beyond that. The ACT is the only jurisdiction to levy land tax on the lowest valued properties, and the only one with a regressive tax curve which places the greatest burden on low-income renters. The ACT is the least progressive on land tax, the Northern Territory leads with no land tax at all. The 2012 ACT Taxation Review, quite rightly, recommended abolishing this punitive tax. Well regarded economists will tell you that one of the best indicators of poor financial wellbeing is that a person rents the home they live in. Truly progressive governments don’t tax people just because they are poor. As a Community Advocate of the Alliance for Coronial Reform (ACR) I attended the Coroners Court for the handing down of the findings of the four suicides at the Canberra Hospital in 2015 and 2016. I watched members of the four bereaved families waiting to hear the findings on their loved ones who died tragically while they were supposed to be in appropriate care. These families have waited between five and six years for the findings. This is simply not good enough! We lost our daughter and sister, Brontë, just over one year ago. We are still waiting to find out when a directions hearing will be listed for her coronial hearing. Our family is in the same boat as many other families; a common theme. Coronial reform is a must. As secondary victims (for want for a better word) we should have our voices heard and be involved throughout the coronial process. This should not be a privilege; it should be a right. Families matter too. Thank you City Services. The mowers have reached south Woden and it looks like “Farrerdise”. Thanks to the City Services staff; the volunteer supporters who assist us to plan, plant and maintain our parks, the safety checkers, mulch makers and distributors, the rubbish pickers, gutter sweepers, toilet cleaners, and those who have responded to community requests to develop our nature play grounds and bike skills track and lots more including the teams and volunteers who keep our ridge a refuge. If you see any of them, say thank you . We are indeed fortunate to live in “Farrerdise”. Mokhles k Sidden, in his churlish missive about the very modest increase in JobSeeker (Letters, March 1) asks us to consider the source of government funding and wonders if supporters of an increase would pay more tax to assist. I would certainly do so to allow these citizens to live with more certainty and dignity by getting them above the poverty line. But in doing so, I’d expect that Gerry Harvey repay his $22 million in Jobkeeper welfare; the super wealthy pay a fair amount of tax; sports, community grants and other rorts are curtailed or spread more equitably across the community; $500 million is withheld from Australian War Memorial expansion; politicians reduce their Canberra daily $290 allowances during sitting weeks; $500,000 statues are not funded and constructed in the parliamentary triangle … and the list goes on. Are such payments equitable and legitimate in his eyes? I’d suggest that he opens his mind and gets a heart. After recent events in our national parliament, and many before then, I wonder what hope there is that we will ever see a government that acts morally and ethically, with genuine human decency? An adversarial political system does not help. Being beholden to vested interests does not help. Being driven to win government at all costs does not help. Whipping up fear and hate does not help. An electorate motivated by short-term self interest does not help. Leaders with no moral or ethical compass do not help. Where is the moral and ethical leadership in this country? Jack Kershaw has made yet another bid to save Commonwealth Avenue and the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge in the Parliamentary Triangle from the tram. He has promoted at the same time his alternative route via Acton Peninsula, (Letters, February 26). His concerns about Commonwealth Avenue and Commonwealth Bridge have been ignored in the past by the ACT government. It is likely, unless the government changes its position, that in a year or two Canberrans will have to accept in Commonwealth Avenue trees being chopped down, excavation for the underground power supply for the trams and insensitive modifications to the brilliantly designed bridge. It is difficult to understand why the government has failed to even consider his proposal. Jack Kershaw is a qualified architect. What is wrong with a proposal that protects the nationally important parliamentary triangle and saves Commonwealth Avenue and its bridge from these questionable modifications? The origins of the large, rectangular column of rock on the sandstone cliff face of Table Top Mountain (“The mystery of Square Top Mountain”, Tim the Yowie Man, Panorama, February 27, p8) is not a mystery. The thick horizontal bed of sandstone capping the mountain is a remnant of a layer formerly extending across the region. It overlies softer mudstones. After the quartz grains of the original bed of sand were cemented together by secondary quartz to form the hard sandstone, it was broken by two widely spaced sets of vertical fractures, termed “joints”, at right angles to each other. Erosion over tens of millions of years has lowered most of the landscape below the level of the sandstone, leaving remnants of it capping plateaus and mesas such as Square Top Mountain. The rectangular column was formerly adjoined by similar joint-bounded columns on either side and extending far out from the present cliff face. The former neighbours have progressively collapsed downslope after being undermined by erosion of underlying mudstone. This will be the ultimate fate of the “mystery” column, which appears to have already started to break away. As a licensed NSW real estate agent of 45 years standing I am appalled at the sales methods of some Canberra real estate agents. There is no doubt some promote units onto the market by underquoting sale prices to create crowd scenes in order to panic the possible buyers. Some properties may sell in a frenzy at prices $100,000 over and above the asking price. Residential strata units are basically cookie cutters and not that difficult to value. In NSW we have the Department of Fair Trading whose mission it is to stamp out fictitious marketing practices such as underquoting. 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