17 January 2022

Probing the polls: NAPLAN tests and Summernats' acceptance in the community

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Crowd cheering burnout at Summernats

Car fans at Summernats 34 at EPIC, in Canberra, last week. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

NAPLAN tests results have again provoked controversy in Canberra, and your poll results are an indicator of a deep divide on the subject.

Once the best-performing jurisdiction in Australia, the 2021 NAPLAN results confirmed a continuing downward trend for ACT students’ numeracy and literacy skills.

The ACT last topped the nation in reading, grammar and punctuation in 2016. In 2021, the ACT did not top a single category where unbiased data and results could be ensured, while in three-quarters of the data subsets, the ACT recorded a mean score that fell below the national benchmark.

But are NAPLAN tests a fair measure of achievement or education quality? Or are they an external measure imposed to feed a political agenda?

We asked Are NAPLAN tests valuable? 961 readers voted, and the results were fairly evenly divided.

Your choices to vote were No, they’re pointless and stressful for the kids. This received 59 per cent of the total, or 567 votes.

Alternatively, you could choose Yes, external validation is tough, but necessary. This received 41 per cent of the total or 394 votes.

This week, we’re wondering about Summernats and community acceptance. The festival of cars has just taken place in Canberra and was by all accounts relatively trouble free, although the usual hoons caused trouble doing burnouts and resisting police attempts to move them on.

Their actions have been consistently condemned by Summernats boss Andy Lopez, who has changed the event’s direction significantly, focusing on a family friendly event that celebrates the dedication of car enthusiasts.

This year, across four days, Summernats attracted more than 20,000 people a day, providing a significant boost to the ACT economy while also presenting a different perspective of Canberra.

“It helps to wipe away the staid and bland view of our city, which is a well documented attitude held by many people who don’t live here,” said Mr Lopez.

“Yet the event remains unloved by many in the ACT community.”

READ ALSO After 30-plus years, why isn’t Summernats embraced as a Canberra institution?

Two years ago, Summernats organisers took the controversial decision to go ahead in the midst of a bushfire crisis, running the burnouts competition on what would turn out to be the hottest day ever recorded in Canberra. At the time, Region Media asked whether the event had lost its community licence:

“Has Summernats redeemed itself? Have the changes made by new management and a more co-operative approach with police and the wider community made a difference in how you perceive the event?”

A reader, Clare, commented: “Car enthusiasts always say they wouldn’t do it on the streets if there was somewhere legal to do it. Then comes somewhere legal to do it, Summernats, but instead of keeping it there our streets are filled with illegal burnouts, drag racing, violence, abuse, drugs and alcohol, and noise pollution at all hours of the night. It would not bother me at all if they kept it at EPIC.”

Another reader, Colette, commented: “I hated Summernats when I was a Canberran. However, I love classic car shows and my dream car is a classic Jag, but I also like specific muscle cars. I don’t drink lattes, either. I didn’t like Summernats then because of the misogyny (‘show us your t–s’) and the antisocial behaviour. However, just because I don’t personally like an event does not mean it shouldn’t happen. Everyone has different tastes. Just keep it legal and let others enjoy it.”

Our poll question this week is:

Do you welcome Summernats every year?

View Results

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ChrisinTurner7:59 pm 20 Jan 22

When we complained about street racing in Civic the Police explained that they don’t have the resources to stop it. During Summernats they should bring in extra NSW Police, who probably already know the offenders.

Robbie Munday and Paul Mathews I will have you know it was Mixed Martial Arts Chess held in the ‘Cage’ otherwise know as the common room. I could barely hear the television. I have found the over Seventy Years Women to be very vicious and walking frames should be banned also.

Hooning goes on whether the Summernats is on or not. Just try being near Hume beside the horse paddocks most Fridays and weekends. Maybe when the AFP Traffic Centre is set up there then the kiddies with their buzzboxes might move on. Let the Summernats have their time. Only a few days a year and with the rising price of petrol and the harder to get retro automotive parts it is time limited. As for myself I had an XA Falcon two door and a Kawasaki Z650B when I was in my twenties (about a hundred years ago…) so who am I to judge. My activities limited by a far more vigilant A.C.T. Police in the seventies. Later become a local police officer (a bit of irony) and attended a few accident scenes. Puts a lot of things in perspective. Sorry for the the locals who have their ‘liberties’ infringed. How about we all try to get along. The world is a rubbish enough place at the moment.

I have never been to Summernats and have no desire to ever go. It is environmentally unfriendly and can lead to anti-social behavior.

But other people have rights to do things they like, even if I don’t like it, so let it stay.

The complaints leveled against Summernats can apply to other events.

If we used such criteria to ban it we would quickly find we have no events.

NRL is notorious for the bad behavior of its players and other football codes aren’t a lot better so lets ditch them.

A few years ago, unruly fans at the Australian Open caused problems with flares, so out with the tennis too.

Floriade and the Multicultural Festival can play havoc with traffic and access to public areas of Canberra, so cancel them.

I remember years ago I did a bus tourist thing around Sydney’s CBD. The tour guide (he may of course be wrong) claimed the Opera House consumes as much electricity as an entire suburb. If that is correct, how can we justify that environmentally unfriendly behemoth just so people can listen to music? Shut it down too.

People raise these issues to try and cancel the things they don’t like while turning a blind eye to similar issues with the things they do like.

Shut down those people, not the events.

Megan van der Velde7:04 am 18 Jan 22

No need to ban it. Just move it away from residents to somewhere like Majura where the noise (which is like having a chainsaw going all day and night – very wearing) and stench of burning rubber will not impact the suburbs near Epic. Considering Watson’s development at the moment, in the next year or two, Summernats is going to annoy a lot more people as more and more people move into the area who have no idea what they are about to have to ‘learn to live with’ every year. Move it somewhere there is room, shops and easy access….like out at Majura somewhere. They end up out there anyhow as evidenced by the tyre marks on the road.

Alistair Rathbone10:11 pm 17 Jan 22

Like the cricket football and many other sports or hobbies there is always the rat bag element . The summernats event may be loud offensive and the whole thing may be misunderstood by many but don’t ban for banning sake. The building of custom cars has been going on forever and many people do it for a kind of therapy and to get away from the mundane. the scene and the industry may be hard to understand for many just like I find it hard to understand those who may cultivate roses in their front garden !

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