20 December 2022

2022 Year in Review: The Canberra news stories that had you clicking

| Kim Treasure
Start the conversation

As life finally returned to a new normal in 2022, COVID-19 loosened its grip on the news cycle and other issues came to the fore.

Light rail, seaplanes, eucalypts and EVs all made the headlines this year.

From new cat containment laws to heart-breaking loss, here are a selection of the stories that you clicked on in 2022.

15. New cat containment laws in force from July as ACT moves away from trap, neuter, release
by Lottie Twyford

Cat on lead

Pet cats now need to be walked on leads in cat containment zones. Photo: ACT Government.

New cat containment laws to better protect native wildlife and cats themselves came into effect in July.

Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel announced the Territory would also move away from the controversial ‘trap, neuter, release’ policy it employed to ‘trap, neuter, adopt’.

All cats have to be registered from July this year, and any cats born after the first of that month need to be ‘indoor’ contained pets. They are, however, allowed to be taken out on leads for walks.

14. You’re being watched – and sniffed – on the ACT’s roads
by Lottie Twyford

traffic monitoring

Behind the scenes of the traffic monitoring of the Territory’s roads. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

Every time you get in your vehicle, someone’s watching you. Sometimes, a whole team of people is watching you.

You’re also being sniffed out. Okay, it’s not really that creepy.

13. Postcode data reveals where cashed-up Canberrans choose to put down roots
by Claire Fenwicke

Canberra city skyline

The public housing salt-and-pepper policy significantly impacts average and median incomes. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

New Australian Taxation Office data has revealed Canberra’s richest and poorest suburbs – but the list changed depending on whether you examined median or average income.

While the stats didn’t change for the top five suburbs with the highest incomes, it was a different story regarding suburbs with lower-income households.

12. Buyers are flocking after Mugga Lane Solar Park enters administration
by James Coleman

Solar farm

Mugga Lane Solar Park supplies 24,500 MWh of power into the ACT’s electricity network. Photo: Mugga Lane Solar Park.

After entering voluntary administration, potential buyers were circling Canberra’s Mugga Lane Solar Park.

The 52-hectare project along the Monaro Highway in Hume was completed in 2017 and feeds approximately 24,500 MWh into the ACT’s electricity network, enough energy to power around 3000 households.

This year, Scott Langdon and David Osborne of KordaMentha were appointed voluntary administrators “due to the recent external effects on the financial arrangements of Mugga Lane Solar Park”.

11. Government demands new school builder have women contractors, all-female management
by Lottie Twyford

Yvette Berry at a press conference

Minister for Education Yvette Berry said she was taking a “glass-half-full approach” to finding a suitable tenderer. Photo: ACT Government.

The ACT Government says it’s confident it can find a construction company to build Strathnairn School with a 100 per cent female management team and women employed by every trade subcontractor.

Minister for Education and Minister for Women Yvette Berry said the tender process for the $62.4 million project would be fair and competitive, despite the gender quota imposed on it.

10. Transformative Fyshwick light rail plan proposed – and how to pay for it
by Ian Bushnell

Fyshwick light rail concept

The Greenline concept along the existing heavy rail corridor, looking towards the city. Photo: Stewart Architecture.

A section of a future light rail link to Fyshwick would be Canberra’s first carless avenue with bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths alongside under a visionary urban renewal plan unveiled by the Fyshwick Business Association.

The high-level concept plan developed by Stewart Architecture would be paid for through the uplift in the value of land along a 4 km stretch of the existing rail corridor from the Kingston Railway Station, which would be moved to the edge of Fyshwick and become a multi-modal transit hub befitting the national capital.

9. Seaplanes are go for Lake Burley Griffin
by James Coleman

seaplane at Yarralumla Bay dock

A Cessna seaplane tied up at the Yarralumla Bay dock during the December 2020 trial. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Seaplanes will be landing and taking off from Lake Burley Griffin in the first half of 2023 after the National Capital Authority (NCA) opened up the West Basin of the lake for flights to and from Sydney and the South Coast.

As often as four times a day, seven days a week, Sydney Seaplanes will take up to 14 passengers from Rose Bay in Sydney at 9 am and 2:30 pm, and from Canberra at 10:30 am and 4 pm, at a cost of about $300 each way.

8. Do eucalypts belong in the suburbs?
by Lottie Twyford

Fallen gum tree

Some residents say recent storm damage is proof that gum trees don’t belong in the suburbs, but one arborist says that’s too simplistic a view to take. Photo: Jess Tankard.

Following storms that tore through large swathes of the Belconnen and Gungahlin region, many residents voiced their concerns about the suitability of gum trees for the suburbs.

Giant eucalypts, or gum trees, have earned the nickname ‘widowmakers’ as they tend to drop or shed large branches – often onto cars or houses.

7. Survey finds Canberrans to be happiest people in Australia – here’s why
by James Coleman

Canberra cityscape from the air

The ACT and surrounds scored the lowest of the ‘low wellbeing’ ratings of any Australian region. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

People living in Canberra and the surrounding region are happier, on average, than Australians in any other area of the country, according to a new survey.

First conducted by the University of Canberra’s Health Research Institute in 2019, the “Living well in the ACT region” survey was this year told by 17.6 per cent of local respondents they were experiencing low wellbeing. This compares to 24.8 per cent of average Australians.

6. Dixon Advisory goes into voluntary administration
by Ian Bushnell

Dixon Advisory

For decades, Dixon Advisory was the first choice for financial advice in Canberra. Photo: April 77.

Wealth management firm Dixon Advisory has been forced into voluntary administration due to mounting liabilities arising from potential damages from class actions, consumer claims and penalties owing to the corporate watchdog.

Dixon Advisory and Superannuation Services Pty Limited (DASS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of E&P Financial Group Limited, told the Australian Stock Exchange that it had appointed PwC Partners, Stephen Longley and Craig Crosbie, as voluntary administrators.

5. New petrol cars to be banned from 2035 as ACT waves goodbye to fossil fuels
by Lottie Twyford

Tesla by the lake

EVs all the way: the ACT Government will set an ambitious target of banning new petrol light vehicles from 2035. Photo: James Coleman.

The Territory Government intends to ban the purchase of new fossil fuel vehicles from 2035 as it announces updated electric vehicle (EV) sales targets.

By 2030, the government wants 80 to 90 per cent of new light vehicles sold to be zero-emission models, with a stricter ban expected to come into force half a decade later.

4. Raising London Circuit shouldn’t be assessed on its own, says council
by Ian Bushnell

Light rail.

An artist’s impression of the intersection of London Circuit and Commonwealth Avenue on the light rail Stage 2A route to Commonwealth Park. Image: ACT Government.

The raising of London Circuit and the loss of the clover leaf southern gateway to Civic will increase travel times, result in reduced urban amenity and facilitate an inferior public transport option, according to a submission to the National Capital Authority consultation on the ACT Government proposal.

The Inner South Canberra Community Council questions most of the proposal’s assumptions and says it is part of a piecemeal approach to the light rail to Woden project.

3. Bodies, knives, a pyramid of cars and other things on the bottom of Lake Burley Griffin
by James Coleman

Sunset and cloud formations over Lake Burley Griffin

There’s more to Lake Burley Griffin than meets the eye. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

All might look well when the balloons are wafting gracefully overhead and the rays of the morning sun are hitting the surface just so, but there’s a world beneath Lake Burley Griffin and not all of it is pretty.

We know about shopping trolleys, blue-green algae and carp.

We also know about the eight-metre deep cave just off Acton Foreshore; Canberra’s first horse-racing course (also near Acton); tragically, fragments of the old Canberra Hospital; and during Lifeline’s Winter Solstice Nude Charity Swim, tens of bare bottoms.

2. Calwell High School parent ‘absolutely livid’ to learn depth of school’s violence, staffing issues
by Lottie Twyford

Calwell high school

Year 7 and 8 students at Calwell High School were barred from attending school after WorkSafe ACT found an “untenable”, violent and unsafe situation when they attended campus. Photo: Calwell High School.

A parent who woke to learn her daughter’s school had been referred to WorkSafe ACT by the teachers’ union and subsequently issued a prohibition notice for critical safety issues relating to violence, bullying and staff shortages said she was “livid”.

The mother of a year 8 student at Calwell High School – who wished to remain anonymous over concerns for her daughter’s safety – said she was initially told the school was moving to remote learning because of COVID-induced shortages.

The email sent to parents referenced the pandemic and “other challenges associated with maintaining a safe learning environment for all students and staff”.

1. Death of Dr Peter Scott leads to mental health rethink for medical staff
by Lottie Twyford

Peter Scott

Dr Peter Scott has been honoured with an outpouring of love and grief from colleagues, patients and family and friends. Photo: Go Fund Me.

The death of beloved obstetrician Dr Peter Scott devastated the ACT health community which is rethinking how it can support staff through traumatic experiences.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.