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Canberra, paved with gold and awash with cocaine

By 26 January 2013 68

telegraph

Myles Peterson (ex of the Canberra Times, sacked by the Pirate Party from his unpaid media role) has popped up in the Daily Telegraph fuelling every ignorant bogan’s wildest stereotype of Canberra.

Cashing in on the torrents of taxpayer cash flowing on to Canberra’s gold-paved streets, local retailers and supermarkets charge prices found only in South Yarra and Vaucluse

Cocaine busts in Canberra have been spiralling upwards. Late last year, kilos of the stuff was discovered within just 1km of Parliament House. If frequent police and Customs claims that only 1 to 2 per cent of the illicit drug trade is uncovered are to be believed, hundreds of kilos, with a street value gauged in the millions, are potentially wandering the capital’s streets looking for cashed-up buyers.

Canberra is a beautiful city. Hectares of manicured lawns and small forests surrounded by august and occasionally gaudy architecture. Life expectancy is world-first. Warped by the executive bubble, average incomes soar higher than any other city in Australia.

But really, read the whole thing.

It’s not that he’s wrong in all of his criticisms that gets me so much. It’s that a great number of you must be holding out with the charlie.

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68 Responses to
Canberra, paved with gold and awash with cocaine
bundah 8:42 am
26 Jan 13
#1

‘Between 2001 and 2011 the number of EL1s grew by more than 100 per cent’

If that is actually the case can someone ‘please explain’?

JimCharles 9:48 am
26 Jan 13
#2

I guess, because prices rise so fast here and they need to persuade people to move here, everything has been bumped up a notch..?

Somebody told me….don’t think that EL1′s are anything special, and don’t think that Directors in the Federal PS actually direct anything, they’d be a junior manager elsewhere. If any complicated work needs doing, they employ foreigners on contracts through agencies.

muntychops 9:58 am
26 Jan 13
#3

He might be pissed at the nations capital but its hard to argue with a lot of that. Just go to Kingston on any Friday night when parliaments in session

johnboy 10:04 am
26 Jan 13
#4

tends to be more wednesday night in sitting weeks

PantsMan 10:42 am
26 Jan 13
#5

Generally agree with Myles.

HiddenDragon 10:59 am
26 Jan 13
#6

I am in no position to comment on prices in South Yarra and Vaucluse, or on the supply of Bolivian marching powder, but at least some of what MP has to say rings true with me – most particularly that it is increasingly difficult for people on lower incomes to get by in this town. Those who run the place, and those who surround them, are on comfortable (at least) and generally quite secure incomes and it often seems that they either don’t understand, or simply don’t care, about the impact of their decisions on those whose incomes are somewhat lower and less secure.

Others might care to comment on the detail of the claims about the growth in “executive” level positions, but I have heard a very (and I do mean very) senior APS insider describe Branch Heads – not mere EL1s – as “tuppence a dozen”.

smiling politely 11:15 am
26 Jan 13
#7

Clearly our Myles – I use “our” as he has been an occasional commenter in these parts – is still processing his experience of working in the APS, perhaps with some lingering bitterness. See this piece in The Age from a while back and the corresponding RiotAct thread. Actual stats about classifications and everything can be found here.

Deref 11:30 am
26 Jan 13
#8

Dammit! Where’s my gold and my cocaine then?

dungfungus 12:06 pm
26 Jan 13
#9

bundah said :

‘Between 2001 and 2011 the number of EL1s grew by more than 100 per cent’

If that is actually the case can someone ‘please explain’?

I can’t explain why the numbers grew but their existence could explain why the perceived demand driven real estate market remains overpriced. Most public servants on EL 1 range salaries have at least one investment home (negatively geared) several I know have 5 or more which are managed in taxpayers’ time. Some are even self-renovators in taxpayer time. I don’t know of any that snort cocaine however. Perhaps some should as it would take the boredom out of dinner parties where all that is talked about is the real estate market.

rosscoact 12:09 pm
26 Jan 13
#10

I thought it was 1996-2010 but yes the number of EL1 have increased by 100%. All public serivce ranks increased under Howard and Labor except for trainees and APS 1-3 which have have dropped, that’s all the young ones straight from high school.

More graduates coming in starting at APS5+ and quickly rising to EL1 would also contribute.

However, I think the main reason is that you cannot just pay people more to poach them from other agencies or reward them. They need to increase in rank.

The end result is that if you can find someone with any talent any drive at all they quickly get promoted to middle management simply to give them extra income and retain them. It seems that if a person is smart enough to wear their underpants on the inside they are a shoe-in for an EL1 position.

It might be a bit late but I mean no offence to talented EL1s out there :-)

DrKoresh 12:27 pm
26 Jan 13
#11

It bugs me that there aren’t any hard facts in this piece. Especially the idea that we are some kind of cocaine-Capital, which is based on nothing but anecdotal evidence (and not even good anecdotal evidence).

I’ll grant you that Myles has definitely struck a chord and that a lot of people are dissatisfied with the current state of Canberra, but I don’t think there was much substance to the article itself.

DrKoresh 12:28 pm
26 Jan 13
#12

Oh Christ, I only just saw the accompanying photo. Goddamn I hate the Tele.

thehutch 12:29 pm
26 Jan 13
#13

He takes what happens on the minority of occassions and promotes it as the norm.

Ben_Dover 12:31 pm
26 Jan 13
#14

hundreds of kilos, with a street value gauged in the millions, are potentially wandering the capital’s streets looking for cashed-up buyers

Do these people deliver?

HiddenDragon 12:42 pm
26 Jan 13
#15

Looking again at the headline, and the eye-catching pic (wasn’t that guy in Rake?), I realise this is all just a devilishly clever piece of work by Canberra Tourism – with Summernats only a few days a year, and fireworks a thing of the past, and porn readily available on the net, we need a new angle to keep those cashed-up bogan dollars flowing in our direction. Well done Canberra Tourism (or whatever you call yourself now) and well done Myles – we knew you really loved us all along. This has got “viral” written all over it – woo hoo!

schmeah 1:21 pm
26 Jan 13
#16

Christ, the EL1 bloat is nothing new, I’ve been overlooked so often that I no longer fit Peterson’s salary bracket, but the other biggest waste would have to be the over-supply of utterly useless SES officers. I used to work with one who would regularly call in sick with a ‘headache’ or ‘sore back’ ffs. And they’re still employed while thousands of others took pay outs and walked.

Having once worked in a not for profit, I do otherwise agree that for those not employed in the APS, or those on lower classifications .. this town can be very fiscally unforgiving.

goggles13 1:46 pm
26 Jan 13
#17

what a crap article.

I am an EL1 and I don’t have a million dollar home, nor a coastal home.

I also don’t get any allowance for parking, travel, technology or have many, many junkets.

I must be doing something seriously wrong. oh hang on, I am paying a mortgage and have just finished putting three kids through school.

wtf would some journalist writing in a Sydney paper know about the reality of Canberra?

rosscoact 3:26 pm
26 Jan 13
#18

goggles13 said :

what a crap article.

I am an EL1 and I don’t have a million dollar home, nor a coastal home.

I also don’t get any allowance for parking, travel, technology or have many, many junkets.

I must be doing something seriously wrong. oh hang on, I am paying a mortgage and have just finished putting three kids through school.

wtf would some journalist writing in a Sydney paper know about the reality of Canberra?

Best you stay off the coke then.

JessP 3:30 pm
26 Jan 13
#19

Is this guy off his tree?

I’m supposedly one of the cashed up, zonked out EL1 he refers to in such loving term. So where is my million dollar house, weekender at the coast and coke?

I agree that Canberra is an expensive place to live but can that be traced specifically to the existence of Exec Level ones? I didn’t set the prices of houses (which I think are highly overpriced btw), nor the food in the supermarket (also a bit inflated). The ACT Government has been slow in releasing land and approving new houses (and building infrastructure etc etc) but the APS?

He talks about incentives, allowances for parking, technology, travel, living away from home and the many, many junkets. Really? Is this meant to be a go at political staffers?

And the cartels of ex public servants buying up government land and reselling it to the unwashed?
Thats a new one to me!

WTF?

I work hard for a boss who is very demanding and a Minister who is even more so (as they should be) and has their eye on the $$’s. Has MP heard of the Efficiency dividend?

c_c™ 4:12 pm
26 Jan 13
#20

What a bizarre article, all over the place and in parts just wrong.

He has a go at the Arboretum, saying it’s doomed to burn down just as the site did in 2003. Except it didn’t, the pine forests on that site went up in the previous year’s fire in 2002. Facts aside, I still don’t get the point of his argument, don’t plant trees they’ll just burn?

Coke bust within 1km of Parliament. Okay, point being? Surely any perception of some moral aura emanating from parliament is debunked by merely watching 5mins of Question Time. And I think you’d fine plenty of Coke houses a short distance from the Capitol and Westminster.

Honestly this city just doesn’t need this kind of crap written about it.

Girt_Hindrance 5:05 pm
26 Jan 13
#21

Hahaha, that was a hilarious piece of fiction. Not going to waste time drilling holes through his ‘stories’. And yes, excellent for tourism!
“Pssst Buddy, just here for the weekend. Do you know where I can get some coke?”

JessP 5:19 pm
26 Jan 13
#22

dungfungus said :

bundah said :

‘Between 2001 and 2011 the number of EL1s grew by more than 100 per cent’

Most public servants on EL 1 range salaries have at least one investment home (negatively geared) several I know have 5 or more which are managed in taxpayers’ time.

Really? Most EL1′s have investment properties? You are joking arent you? Sweeping generalisations anyone?

Tetranitrate 5:30 pm
26 Jan 13
#23

I more or less agree with him, though when it comes to coke, it’s probably more the legal fraternity and graduates (or thereabouts in seniority) that are into it than the EL1/2s or SES.

mezza76 5:56 pm
26 Jan 13
#24

c_c™ said :

What a bizarre article, all over the place and in parts just wrong.

He has a go at the Arboretum, saying it’s doomed to burn down just as the site did in 2003. Except it didn’t, the pine forests on that site went up in the previous year’s fire in 2002. Facts aside, I still don’t get the point of his argument, don’t plant trees they’ll just burn?

Coke bust within 1km of Parliament. Okay, point being? Surely any perception of some moral aura emanating from parliament is debunked by merely watching 5mins of Question Time. And I think you’d fine plenty of Coke houses a short distance from the Capitol and Westminster.

Honestly this city just doesn’t need this kind of crap written about it.

Completely agree.

There is a big difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. I’ve never really understood the hatred of the public service given that so much economic activity is created here from it. I mean – those prices to rival that of South Yarra or Vaucluse – they’re being charged by non-public servants. There are plenty of people in this town making a heap of cash out of those caw cow EL1s.

goggles13 6:40 pm
26 Jan 13
#25

rosscoact said :

goggles13 said :

what a crap article.

I am an EL1 and I don’t have a million dollar home, nor a coastal home.

I also don’t get any allowance for parking, travel, technology or have many, many junkets.

I must be doing something seriously wrong. oh hang on, I am paying a mortgage and have just finished putting three kids through school.

wtf would some journalist writing in a Sydney paper know about the reality of Canberra?

Best you stay off the coke then.

I only drink cans of coke!!

staminaman62 6:48 pm
26 Jan 13
#26

I think at least a part explanation for the increase in executive level jobs has been the significant changes that have occurred in the APS (and the wider economy) in the last 20 or so years.

Departments used to be full of lower level clerical staff processing paper. Mst of these jobs have simply been replaced by IT.Many other service delivery type jobs which would also involve lower classifications have been contracted out or privatised. This has led to a subsequent growth in positions like contract managers, program administrators and policy advisors. By there nature, these jobs are preformed at a higher level. Hence the growth in exec level classification numbers.

I am an EL1 and, no, I do not have a million dollar home nor do I use cocaine.

G.R.R 6:53 pm
26 Jan 13
#27

Yeah, coke in Canberra is bull$hit. Go to Sydney, it’s easier to get there =)

mareva 7:20 pm
26 Jan 13
#28

The f*ck is this bloke on about. Might be on the coke himself from the sounds of it.

I am not a big fan of Canberra, but anyone worth their bob knows we don’t have a serious coke problem running rampant among the local pube population. There are enough legitimate criticisms one can make about Canberra without having to resort to making sh*t up.

BundahBoy 8:02 pm
26 Jan 13
#29

I agree with Myles on this one. Best not dwell on it too much though, I hear he loves a good trolling

goggles13 9:06 pm
26 Jan 13
#30

BundahBoy said :

I agree with Myles on this one. Best not dwell on it too much though, I hear he loves a good trolling

which part of Myles’ story do you agree with? it contains a lot of ideas, most of which are way off the mark

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