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Does Canberra need the ACT? [With Poll]

By johnboy - 22 December 2011 54

act pale

Canberra and the ACT, they’re often treated as if the two are synonymous. Certainly on this site we’re guilty of using the words interchangeably.

Having been established under Section 125 of the Constitution to resolve the Melbourne / Sydney impasse we were unceremoniously dumped into a state of Self Government in 1988 when the Hawke Government tired of paying for the administration of a City-State.

But why should we choose to pay for the administration of a City-State?

The Canberra Region already crosses the NSW border with towns and even cities as far afield as Goulburn acting as unplanned dormitory suburbs.

No MoU is ever going to paper over the cross border issues increasingly afflicting the region.

Possibly worse is the vast duplication of effort the ACT goes through to reproduce all levels of bureaucracy. Things that at the senior (most expensive) level could be done by a person in Sydney for almost no extra cost (because they’re already doing it for the many regions of NSW).

Do we get any real benefits from our exceptionalism? Aside from a lack of green waste bins and hard rubbish collection it’s hard to actually think of anything.

But what about the Constitution I hear you cry?

Well let’s have another look at S.125 (filed under Chapter VII. Miscellaneous):

125. The seat of Government of the Commonwealth shall be determined by the Parliament, and shall be within territory which shall have been granted to or acquired by the Commonwealth, and shall be vested in and belong to the Commonwealth, and shall be in the State of New South Wales, and be distant not less than one hundred miles from Sydney.

Such territory shall contain an area of not less than one hundred square miles, and such portion thereof as shall consist of Crown lands shall be granted to the Commonwealth without any payment therefor. The Parliament shall sit at Melbourne until it meet at the seat of Government.

One hundred square miles? That sounds like a lot, but a 10×10 grid has 100 squares. Some creative map work and use of the lake shores (and lake surfaces for that matter) could see the ACT withdrawn to the Parliamentary Triangle, Anzac parade, ANU, Black Mountain and some parkland.

Canberra could become a major city in NSW with a proper mayor and a proper council. The huge duplication with NSW to achieve the same ends could come to an end.

With decent representation in the NSW Parliament we might get the railway running into the centre of town like in a real city too.

The only problem is who would lose out? The entire political class in the ACT and associated drinking buddies in the form of agency heads, Territory charity bosses, leechers, gougers, and spivs growing fat on the expensive waste of self government.

The establishment is pretty self satisfied with the current state of play.

But how about you?

Would Canberra be better off in NSW?

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54 Responses to
Does Canberra need the ACT? [With Poll]
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Heavs 11:51 am 28 Dec 11

I don’t really want to make a comment on this until I’ve heard Denkar’s take on the whole thing.

caf 11:58 pm 27 Dec 11

With decent representation in the NSW Parliament we might get the railway running into the centre of town like in a real city too.

Have you looked at the NSW railway network lately? With integration into NSW, the Canberra line would pretty quickly go the way of other passenger-only branch lines.

I reckon we’d end up as net tax exporters with about the same level of service provision as, say, Coffs Harbour.

Frustrated 11:35 pm 24 Dec 11

whitelaughter said :

I’vethought this for some time. However, rather than playing with the borders, I suggest moving the ACT, lock stock and barrel, to another part of NSW. Obvious choices:

Albury – they’ve previously been semi-autonomous (until the Sydney power brokers panicked)
New England – should have been mae into a new state long ago.
the Corner Country – IIRC Tim Flannery wants a city built there to exploit the natural resources underneath.

The last NSW election has swept away a lot of rubbish, we should see a marked improvement in the quality of NSW pollies: between Labourites being gaoled and newbie Libs in marginal seats needing to make a name for themselves to avoid being kicked out by the most minor swing.

You surely jest with those comments.

BOF and his liberal cronies are not going to improve NSW, and they certainly aren’t clean skins.

I wouldn’t trust him with his own grandmother.

screaming banshee 10:28 pm 23 Dec 11

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Well, we’ve got the right electoral system for it. The absence of independents in the assembly says a lot.

Federally, not local. As I said the local govt responsbilities are municipal services, trash collection and so forth.

As for the aforementioned Osborne rosary bead party, when they didn’t get re-elected that shows the system works. Independants in a federal govt cant push their personal/religious agenda like that, they have to fight for the best deal for their region or the region wont vote them in next time. There will always be some give a take but the stuff that gets up will be the stuff thats important to most of the country, not what best for the party and party faithful.

ImagineThat 7:51 pm 23 Dec 11

OMG! Please desist with this spurious nonsense immediately!

I love living in the ACT, but my heart is palpitating at the very thought of having to reside in New South Wales! The horror! I’m with screaming banshee on this one…. find me somewhere else to go to, because I won’t be hanging around here!

steveu 7:03 pm 23 Dec 11

watto23 said :

I agree with this. I understand why people more to Queanbeyan, but lets face it they require each other. Queanbeyan would be a bigger shithole than it is, if the National Capital wasn’t next door. The same applies to the south coast. Just expand the territory, include the snowys and south coast. That way we have a large enough economy to not rely solely as a developer funded government.

Agree totally. Why Batemans Bay wasnt selected as our port over Jervis Bay I do not know. Lets face it, most of it is owned by Canberrans and I am sure that half our population will be down there in a day or so anyway as part of the annual pilgrimmage.

Maybe those areas you suggested will get more attention from the elected residents if they were part of the ACT?

wycx 3:17 pm 23 Dec 11

Build two AP1000 nuclear reactors on the coast, along with a nuclear research facility working on GenIV reactors.

Why that particular Westinghouse model? Why not start developing our own Thorium reactors, perhaps even molten salt ones? We already have way more thorium than uranium, and are not beholden to the U cycle just to produce Pu. Also, build a synroc plant here for the actinide waste.

Having a nuclear industry in the region would be great. Given we don’t manufacture much of anything in Australia anymore, it would be a source of jobs for people who want to do something technical and highly skilled.

Also, abolish the states and replace them with smaller entities based on one or more catchments.

MJay 1:08 pm 23 Dec 11

As much as I agree with the comments about NSW pollies, I am attracted by NSW’s cheaper registration fees and competition in the third party insurance market…..

Silveras 12:40 pm 23 Dec 11

No way… The NSW Parliament are a bunch of fat cat douchebags… Canberra’s resources would certainly not go to Canberra. Who comes up with these ideas… seriously.

johnboy 11:58 am 23 Dec 11

I think a lot of you are letting the best be the enemy of the good.

Expansion of the ACT is not within our gift, nor is the abolition of the states.

A referendum to transfer most of Canberra to NSW on the other hand could be had, and would likely be accepted if successful.

watto23 11:56 am 23 Dec 11

Diggety said :

Yes, soon after we sell all our public are to VIC, but not before the NSW mess is cleaned up from the previous government.

My preferred option would be to increase the size of ACT with statehood to include South-West Slopes, South Coast, Illawarra (maybe) and Southern Tablelands. Some of the most beautiful parts of the country.

Expand tourism, more (modern) agriculture and improve road transport, along with including a fast rail link through the guts of it. Build two AP1000 nuclear reactors on the coast, along with a nuclear research facility working on GenIV reactors. Get a diverse industry going to supplement the public service and increase the population in outlying towns.

I reckon I could make a great state out of all that.

Oh and only one law: men are not allowed to sit cross-legged drinking soy lattes in lycra with a hyper-inflated ego, judging people you’ve never met. Punishment: death.

I agree with this. I understand why people more to Queanbeyan, but lets face it they require each other. Queanbeyan would be a bigger shithole than it is, if the National Capital wasn’t next door. The same applies to the south coast. Just expand the territory, include the snowys and south coast. That way we have a large enough economy to not rely solely as a developer funded government.

steveu 11:13 am 23 Dec 11

Tetranitrate said :

…The only way something like it might happen is if the Federal Government gets fed up with how the ACT government has been effectively captured by landlords, developers and the real estate lobby.
-as the cost of living spirals up and up, it feeds through into wage claims in the public sector that the Feds can’t really say no to as long as they’re somewhat reasonable, as protracted industrial action would grind the government to a halt. It cost more to rent here than Sydney for goodness sake, let alone the more affordable capitals – it’s a total joke for a city of 360,000. This ‘city’ is so spread out, with so much unused space that it ought to be comparable to the smaller cities (Geelong, Newcastle, ect) and outer Suburbs of the capitals – yet everywhere, even in the fringes of Tuggeranong and Gungahlin is absurdly expensive. Tiny little hovels out the back of Dunlop are $450+ a week.

Of course since the Federal and pretty much all state governments go in to bat for the same special interests everybody else be damned, the only way the ACT could become a ‘problem’ is the modus operandi changes nation wide but the ACT is left behind – but it is beginning to look a bit like that, the clowns that rule us presently could engineer a beer shortage in a brewery.

Perfectly summed up. Post of the year.

Personally I think there needs to be major constitutional reform, and greater consideration to a federated nation. How many layers of government do we need? I cant see that we have to population as a nation to support it either. We are in the 21st century now, not the 1900’s. Things have changed and we are not really part of the Empire anymore. Just my $0.02.

Thoroughly Smashed 10:38 am 23 Dec 11

Thumper said :

Merle said :

Does anyone really want BOF in charge of the ACT?

As opposed to the last mob?

I’m sure he’s singled out simply because he’s the one in charge right now, but nuts to both mobs equally.

A bit of fun.

screaming banshee said :

Which is precisely why we need to vote in more indepedants.

Well, we’ve got the right electoral system for it. The absence of independents in the assembly says a lot.

bitzermaloney 10:21 am 23 Dec 11

amarooresident3 said :

bitzermaloney said :

On a plus… I can guarantee that if Canberra was part of NSW and obviously vote in NSW elections, the roads to both Batemans Bay and Yass would be upgraded to dual-lane (as much as realistically possible) within a couple years.

I wouldn’t count on it – the decades long saga of the on again off again upgrades to the Pacific Highway would suggest that road funding is as bad if not worse in NSW than it is here.

You fail to understand that Northern NSW is predominately Nation/Liberal territory, Canberra Labor territory & the South coast are Swingers. Given a bit of pork barrelling and vote buying it will happen much faster. In norther NSW it wouldn’t make a scrap of difference to the pollies cause the seats tend not to swing, hence vote buying and pork barrellign acheives nothing.

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