As the pandemic’s effects continue to rumble through the community, the ACT has taken a tougher stance in recent times. We’ve told Greater Sydney residents they’re not welcome and briefly quarantined anyone who’s been to Brisbane.
Police have been stopping vehicles on the Federal Highway and Sutton Road, and setting up frequent traffic stops on the Barton Highway and popular locations for interstate visitors like Questacon and even IKEA.
While the ACT has remained largely COVID-free for many months now apart from a very few cases in quarantine, the threat from Sydney is a real one. But as an entirely landlocked jurisdiction, is there more that we can do to keep ourselves safe by closing the net even tighter? Most of you thought not.
In our poll this week, we asked Should we shut down the ACT’s borders completely? A total of 904 readers voted.
Your choices were to vote Yes, this would cause minimal disruption compared to the risks. This received a total 304 votes, or 34 per cent of the total.
Alternatively, you could vote No, the Capital Region is essential to the functioning of the ACT, we need to manage the risk. This received 66 per cent of the total, or 600 votes.
This week we’re pondering the after-effects of what would normally have been the Summernats weekend. The annual car festival was cancelled because of COVID-19, but that didn’t stop cars from making the news.
Car clubs and enthusiasts worked hard with ACT police and Transport Canberra and City Services to create a safe and law-abiding ‘Claytons cruise’ which ran on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Car lovers registered their presence and used stickers to identify their vehicles and police made clear they were pleased with the level of co-operation.
However, there were still dramas.
On both Friday and Saturday night, ACT and NSW police were called out to multiple public disturbances in Braddon, Fyshwick and Eaglehawk. Patrons in Canberra’s busy restaurant precinct, motorists and local residents were disturbed by burnouts and other dangerous behaviour, and police were subject to abuse and projectiles.
There was intense discussion about those stories on RiotACT.
Some in the motoring fraternity suggested that Canberra’s lack of a drag racing venue was connected with the events; others argued there was no link between disruptive and illegal behaviour and the present lack of a sports facility.
Heather Rattenbury said: “They spend thousands on bike areas all around the city, if you just put some money towards a burnout track and car track a lot of this problem would be solved”, although Beverley Joyce thought this should be a private initiative.
“I keep seeing car enthusiasts asking the government to provide a facility for them to use for burnouts etc. Just a thought, but why not go the private purse way and all contribute to a fundraiser and try to find a car enthusiast sponsor and build your own track. Must be some alternative to taxpayer funds,” she said.
Lynn Wilson agreed. “Why should taxpayers pay for something that should be a private enterprise arrangement. You are a small part of society that want to burn out your tyres and blow a gearbox or two. You set it up, you build it, you insure it, you charge the fees to go! Simple.”
Terry Robert Rankin said: “Really? Do you really think opening a skidpad, opening a dragway or bringing back Summernats is going to stop these idiots? The answer is no. Put the money where it’s more needed.”
Our poll this week asks: