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Does Canberra need the ACT? [With Poll]

By johnboy - 22 December 2011 54

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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 Some creative map work and use of the lake shores (and lake surfaces for that matter) could see the ACT withdrawn to the Parliamentary Triangle, Anzac parade, ANU, Black Mountain and some parkland.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]
beep 2:50 pm 22 Dec 11

Very nice work johnboy.

This is why I read the-RiotACT.

Diggety 2:50 pm 22 Dec 11

Johnboy, you’ve got my mind racing!

Diggety 2:48 pm 22 Dec 11

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.

mr_spoon 2:39 pm 22 Dec 11

Governed by NSW Ltd? No thanks. Canberra would be just another regional centre not worth the upkeep (or the fact-finding trip outside Sydney) to buy the votes.

Erg0 2:31 pm 22 Dec 11

johnboy said :

Who knows, maybe some candidates could take it to the election?

Have enough people forgotten what happened with the “No Self Government” candidates, do you think?

johnboy 2:21 pm 22 Dec 11

Good policy can be debated absent of good politicians.

Who knows, maybe some candidates could take it to the election?

Tetranitrate 2:09 pm 22 Dec 11

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.

And this is why it won’t happen.

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.

Jethro 2:01 pm 22 Dec 11

At least the teachers would get pay parity with NSW
🙂

bitzermaloney 2:00 pm 22 Dec 11

Interesting sugestion, and one which our chief dictator and left-leaning idealists would be opposed to as they’d suddenly find themselves with a challenge to justify their positions.

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.

colourful sydney rac 1:58 pm 22 Dec 11

johnboy said :

colourful sydney racing identity said :

the problem is that we would be governed by the NSW parliament. I know our lot aren’t great, but really?

And which laws of NSW do you consider unacceptably inequitable?

None that immediately spring to mind. My conern is more related to the peole that are elected to represent New South Wales.

Also, regardless of any changes we would still be considered Canberrans and would be a popular whipping boy.

Deref 1:54 pm 22 Dec 11

No matter how bad our lot are, they shine like beacons of of brilliance in comparison to the NSW parliament.

johnboy 1:54 pm 22 Dec 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

the problem is that we would be governed by the NSW parliament. I know our lot aren’t great, but really?

And which laws of NSW do you consider unacceptably inequitable?

Okwhatever 1:46 pm 22 Dec 11

What does it matter? What we collectively choose as a territory or city means nothing as was proven when we got self government against our expressed wishes.

colourful sydney rac 1:43 pm 22 Dec 11

the problem is that we would be governed by the NSW parliament. I know our lot aren’t great, but really?

Chop71 1:39 pm 22 Dec 11

You hear the old timers saying how good things were pre 1988 and I do remember the roads being much better in the early 90s

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