29 April 2021

Probing the polls: public housing woes and motorsport madness

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Wakefield Park

The CAMS NSW State Championship at Wakefield Park, a growing motorsport facility in the Sydney-Canberra-Goulburn region. Photo: Courtesy of Wakefield Park and TBG.

Who really needs public housing and for how long? Should you be able to stay in larger houses after your own urgent need has passed?

Last week we kicked off a discussion about how long a tenant can stay in public housing after reports that a family of eight who were about to lose their private rental were on a priority waiting list of 19 for larger residences.

Belinda Nunn’s housing security is at risk in a very tight market, where vacancy rates sit at just 0.7 per cent and only about 500 properties are available to rent in the ACT.

But the former Barnardo’s mother of the year says she has few options in either private or public housing, especially when public housing clients remain in larger homes after their children have moved on.

But is housing about more than meeting simple needs? For those who may have raised children in a home and lived in the same neighbourhood for years, building social connections and developing a sense of place, the thought of moving could be difficult, even traumatic, especially if they are getting on in years.

We asked Should ACT housing tenants stay in properties long term? A total of 917 people voted and readers were fairly evenly divided on the question.

Your choices were to vote No, long tenure’s not fair on those with urgent needs. This attracted 56 per cent of the total, or 514 votes. Alternatively, you could vote Yes, housing security is about more than just time. This garnered 44 per cent of the total, or 403 votes.

READ ALSO It’s time to bring back motorsport in Canberra

This week, we’re wondering whether motorsport facilities are the panacea for bad behaviour on the roads. There have long been calls for motorsport to return to the ACT, and motoring journalist James Coleman wrote this week about the longstanding battles the ACT Speedway has fought over everything from noise limits to electricity supply.

“For too long, motorsports has been a dirty word. And if you think that statement is just a journalist being melodramatic, look at what happens every time Summernats comes around,” he wrote.

The Summernats argument is well rehearsed: give people opportunities for racing and other motorsports and it will reduce similar illegal behaviour on our roads. But is the interest there to support funding the venture? And would it really impact bad behaviour on the roads?

Margaret Freemantle said it was “crazy that there is no racetrack in the ACT”.

David Aked added: “I don’t race cars. Not interested in cars beyond ‘A to B’ transport. But we need a dragway. We need places for racing that can be done in a safe way. The shutting of the dragway out near the airport is one of the worst things to happen in road safety for ACT. Give people a safe place to do their drags and racing. Take em off our streets and make it safe.”

Steven Miller disagreed: “I’m all for a Motorsport park but I don’t think it will stop the idiots from tearing up the suburbs. They’re two seperate issues. One’s about getting idiots off the road and one’s about building a Motorsport complex that legitimate enthusiasts will pay to use and spectators will pay to visit. There’s no way it will ever go ahead if it doesn’t pay for itself, it’s too much money. Also, you probably want a change of local government if it’s to be anything other than electric or pedal power,” he said.

Our question this week is:

Do we need a fully funded motorsports park in Canberra?

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I believe a motorsport complex could have wider positives. Motorsport related industries would well be attracted to like minded customers. Grouping these individual businesses, with a common purpose of vehicle enhancement would be a real starting point. There is an active cohort of very clever engineering types existing in Canberra, and if given the opportunity of getting together at a facility geared to their profession would result in a very positive industry.

I agree with Stephen’s comment in the article. To use a new motor sports facility for your average 18 to 22 year old would most likely require a fee for insurance and the like. How many of our target audience would be willing to pay out when the narrow streets of gunghalin are cheaper?

But I am all for the motor sports facility, more so than the light rail that will get me to Woden slower than the current bus system.

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