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Canberra is doomed

By 22Years 29 July 2014 46

Have the changes brought about by a Federal Liberal Government and an increasingly broke and desperate Labor/Green Alliance, started to sink home to Canberrans yet?

I can remember so many years ago when the same sort of looney left Labor and Green Alliance took over in Tasmania, promising a change of culture (to the left) and increased economic security in the future from a ‘new way’ and renewavble energy and tourism.

And what did Tasmania become after 12 years of that rubbish? The economic basketcase of Australia that was almost destroyed in the GFC and an economy that will take another 10 years to recover – if they ever do.

The certainty of employment that the APS (and ACT PS) has provided to Canberra, will probably remain in the future, but it will be significantly reduced in its ability to shield Canberra anymore, like in did with the GFC.  The future of this town is very much at a nexus – it could go either way over the next 5-10 years.  To believe things will remain the same and that just like after Howard in 1996, this town will recover, is at best otpimistic and more realistically is delusional.

What Canberra needs is exactly what Tasmania failed to do, and that is to foster economic development through business ventures, and not to be totally biased against the benefits of a business sector, and to believe that Government money is a never ending magic pudding.


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Canberra is doomed
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HiddenDragon 6:59 pm 04 Aug 14

dtc said :

So what ‘red tape’ does Canberra have that other places dont have? Other than the ‘tripling rates’ thing that people hold up as causing all of these issues.

Secondly, if you are running a business, the no 1 or maybe no 2 (depending on the business) key factor for you is staff. Do you have sufficiently skilled staff. Wonder why IT companies arent set up in Byron Bay or high tech component manufacturers on cheap land in country towns?

Canberra has plenty of skilled people but finds it hard to attract people to move here outside of the government, we are cheaper than the other major cities. Our location at times is an issue (transport, esp overseas) and we do have limited land availability for certain industries. But there is no particular reason why Canberra cant have more non govt private sector work; its just that its never been a focus/need to date and its not perceived as a valid choice (over, say, Sydney).

Whether that mindset will ever change who knows; at some stage the downsides of living in sydney will get to enough people, but they may well move to Newcastle instead of here.

I agree with davo in a way – imagine how different Canberra would be had it been placed at Jervis Bay or anywhere on the coast really. It would be much bigger and with much more private sector; people would come to the town voluntarily instead of reluctantly.

We probably gain some benefits from having local and state governments combined here, but too often, we seem to get the worst of both worlds – the petty-mindedness of local government (at times, zealously enforced with the resources of a larger bureaucracy), and the imperious and out-of-touch attitudes of a state government, cossetted in the CBD and remote from much of suburbia and the regions. In the latter case, that is no mean feat, considering that we have a blink-and-you’ll miss it CBD and that the entire Territory is postage-stamp sized by Australian standards.

I think a lot of the problems go back to a bureaucratic mentality which is understandably part of the “Canberra DNA”, and the closely associated assumption that the true economic role of government is to raise revenue, rather than to facilitate the creation of income and wealth from which a reasonable level of government revenue can be derived. The effort and creativity (such as it is) goes largely to the former, with the latter an after-thought, and an add-on for presentational purposes.

All of that said, I agree with your final point – had Canberra been set in a location with more obvious appeal to a wider range of people as a place to live and work, it would very likely have a larger, more diverse and sounder economic base.

dtc 11:35 am 04 Aug 14

But most of those South Coast issues are small town issues, not coast issues. Same problem if you headed off to a small inland town.

I dont work in the APS and this is how our staff recruitment goes

1. hire someone who lives in Canberra or who recently graduated from a Canberra Uni
2. they move to Sydney
3. we try to hire more people in Canberra, but they dont exist
4. we try to hire people from interstate.
5. if they have family reasons to move here, then sometimes they do
6. no one moves here for any other reason.

dungfungus 5:41 pm 03 Aug 14

Maya123 said :

dtc said :

I agree with davo in a way – imagine how different Canberra would be had it been placed at Jervis Bay or anywhere on the coast really. It would be much bigger and with much more private sector; people would come to the town voluntarily instead of reluctantly.

I have never understood this fixation with living on the coast. I grew up in mainly inland towns and rarely saw the ocean. I enjoyed it when I did, but have always considered it a fun place to visit occasionally, but have never wanted to live near it. I am willing to accept that I might be in the minority, but still I wonder if being near the ocean is overrated.

Well, you are not in the minority in the house I live in because we endorse exactly what you say.
I know a few people in Canberra who have retired and they can’t wait till they move down to the south coast. Then in about 6 months they are gravitating back to Canberra.
Some reasons for the disappointments that retirement on the coast have given them is you have to wait up to 2 years to get a private GP (you take your place on the waiting list for someone to die) and if you have medical problems and you need a specialist you will be referred to a Sydney hospital/specialist.
Regarding entertainment, there are few live cultural performances and few movie theatres. Pet dogs get ticks, cars rust etc. Most of your friends are back in Canberra and retirement is the wrong time in life to start new friendships.
In Canberra, you can travel to all points on the compass; on the coast you almost lose half those choices.

Maya123 11:31 am 03 Aug 14

dtc said :

I agree with davo in a way – imagine how different Canberra would be had it been placed at Jervis Bay or anywhere on the coast really. It would be much bigger and with much more private sector; people would come to the town voluntarily instead of reluctantly.

I have never understood this fixation with living on the coast. I grew up in mainly inland towns and rarely saw the ocean. I enjoyed it when I did, but have always considered it a fun place to visit occasionally, but have never wanted to live near it. I am willing to accept that I might be in the minority, but still I wonder if being near the ocean is overrated.

dtc 11:20 pm 02 Aug 14

So what ‘red tape’ does Canberra have that other places dont have? Other than the ‘tripling rates’ thing that people hold up as causing all of these issues.

Secondly, if you are running a business, the no 1 or maybe no 2 (depending on the business) key factor for you is staff. Do you have sufficiently skilled staff. Wonder why IT companies arent set up in Byron Bay or high tech component manufacturers on cheap land in country towns?

Canberra has plenty of skilled people but finds it hard to attract people to move here outside of the government, we are cheaper than the other major cities. Our location at times is an issue (transport, esp overseas) and we do have limited land availability for certain industries. But there is no particular reason why Canberra cant have more non govt private sector work; its just that its never been a focus/need to date and its not perceived as a valid choice (over, say, Sydney).

Whether that mindset will ever change who knows; at some stage the downsides of living in sydney will get to enough people, but they may well move to Newcastle instead of here.

I agree with davo in a way – imagine how different Canberra would be had it been placed at Jervis Bay or anywhere on the coast really. It would be much bigger and with much more private sector; people would come to the town voluntarily instead of reluctantly.

rommeldog56 10:12 am 02 Aug 14

milkman said :

It’s very simple. A business has costs of delivery, costs of risk, contingency and profit, and all need to be accounted for. When you have lots of government red tape, high cost of living and a (generally) well paid local population, prices are high.

Well said. It is simple. So, why does the ACT Gov’t continually not get it re their own contributors to the high cost of living/conducting business and employing staff in the ACT ? The potential tripling of Annual Rates (including Commercial Rates) and repaying the massive principle and interest for the supposedly necessary infrastructure stimulus package, Gov’t charges/red tape and “investments” in projects like the Light Rail (which, as far as I can tell, wont help grow the economic base here) really are self destructing for the ACT economy.

If the potential tripling of Annual Rates here really is “revenue neutral” as the ACT Govt claim (but wont release the figures to prove that !), then all they have done is to increase the cost of setting up a business in the ACT and employing Canberrians ’cause it artificially inflates the cost of living here (= need for higher wages).

A few commentators on here claim that the potential tripling of Annual Rates is the best decision this ACT Govt has ever made because it guarantees future revenues.

In years to come, you will find that it is in fact one of the worst decisions ever made in this place (and that’s saying something !) as business growth is driven across the border and Canberra based labor force becomes too expensive to employ.

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