The Parliamentary triangle is falling apart, according to the National Capital Planning Authority.

But the Minister responsible for it, Ros Kelly, says this is not the case. Mrs Kelly says Old Parliament House would make an excellent portrait Gallery.

The chairman of the NCPA, Joseph Skrzynski, has expressed his concerns in a recent speech to the Canberra Business Council, a copy of which was obtained .

He is concerned about a rapidly increasing population density and the deterioration in the Parliamentary Triangle and the funding for its upkeep.
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Australia is pressing ahead with its defence of a claim by Nauru for between $70 million and $90 million to rehabilitate the Pacific island after phosphate mining.

This is despite last month’s comprehensive rejection of Australia’s position in the International Court of Justice that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.

It is easy to jump to the conclusion that Australia was the wicked colonial power that ripped off the innocent native people of Nauru, wrecked their island, destroyed their Pacific way of life and then left. But there are two sides to the story, as the court no doubt will hear.
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The ACT Government has agreed with several conservation groups that Mulligan’s Flat in Gungahlin will be preserved as a nature reserve.

On original plans, much of the area was to be sub-divided for housing.

The Minister for Environment, Land and Planning, Bill Wood, acknowledged yesterday ΓΏ(tuejul28)@ that a significant amount of revenue would be forgone, but the significance of the site.

A proposal submitted by the Conservation Council of the South-East Region and six other conservation groups said that six square kilometres should be made a nature reserve. Mr Wood said he would take a generous view of those boundaries. He hoped to fix them within weeks.
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Several years ago you could drive around Vernon Circle and southwards on to Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.

As you rounded the corner the Brindabellas formed the horizon like a blue ribbon. In winter, the ribbon was spotted with snow.

Now, alas, that hideous white block of residential units shatters the harmony of the Brindabella horizon. One has to drive past the building to get the full line of the Brindabellas. It is not quite the same; the joy of the vista needs to be experienced on the turn of the corner.
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Campbell Brede, of National Capital Motors, has been elected president of the Motor Trades Association of the ACT, it was announced yesterday.

He takes over from Denis Sargant, of Hall Brother Smash Repairs, who was president for four years. Others elected were: Ross Ellis, of Shell Manuka, vice-president; Leonie McCulloch, of Capital Auto Wreckers, treasurer.


Inflation-fighting policy and the Accord had changed to the extent that the Prices Surveillance Authority and the Trade Practices Commission should be merged, the chairman of both bodies said yesterday.(tuesjul28)

Professor Allan Fels was commenting after the authority issued a report this week on real-estate agents after an inquiry headed by Dr D.C.Cousins.

The report concentrated on the competitive elements of the industry which caused high fees, rather than regulatory measures to hold them down. It attacked recommended maximum prices (which were rarely discounted) and high entry qualifications.
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The legal system had forsaken Australia’s mentally ill and it was a disgrace to the nation, according to Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, Brian Burdekin.

“”The common law, our democratic institutions and our industrial mechanisms have failed the mentally ill,” he said.

The mentally ill and homeless suffered systemic and institutionalised discrimination. Nearly 80,000 mentally ill young people “”have no facilities and many take their own lives”. Of the tens of thousands of older people wandering the streets of our cities, more than 15 per cent were mentally with no care or treatment. The were abused and exploited and not protected by our legal system. Up to 70 per cent of old people in nursing homes suffered dementia. The homes were not designed to care for them. Many were routinely over-drugged as a management tool, not for treatment.
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A 70-year-old widow pensioner has been hit with a $910.83 bill for land tax even though she lives in the townhouse concerned.

Mrs Betty Downes, of Hawker, is another in a series of people hit by the strict drafting and application of the land tax law.

Her daughter, Carole Duthie, of Bruce, says the case is unjust.

It arose as follows. Mrs Downes’, husband, William, died in 1978, leaving her a life estate in a house bought in his name. On her death the house was to go to the three children.
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The Landlords Association of the ACT was formed this week.

About 75 landlords of residential property in the ACT formed the organisation in response to moves in the ACT to change tenancy law and the new land tax.

Its main aims are to get quarterly payment of land tax (instead of the present requirement to pay the lot before August 15 on pain of 20 per cent interest) and to have monthly tenancies after the initial annual lease runs out. Under this system landlords as well as tenants can give notice of one month to quit premises. This is the system in NSW. In the ACT tenants have a rights to stay indefinitely, subject to the owner moving back in and other special circumstances.
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Anecdotal and apocryphal evidence, though of no probative value can certainly be very illustrative. A story doing the round at the Australian National University several years ago when the Faculty of Economics was coming under fire for failing some sixty per cent of its first-year students is an example. The story goes that the faculty was coming under fire at the University Council for concentrating too much on research and not enough on teaching. If only the teachers would do more and better teaching, fewer students would fail, it was said. To which one council member is reputed to have replied that perhaps the faculty could learn teaching methods from those who taught women’s studies, where the pass rate was almost 100 per cent.

The important point is that the quality of teaching is extremely hard to measure. That is the case because the reciprocal quality of learning is equally hard to measure. How does a government measure and then improve teaching standards without facing the cynicism exemplified by the response to difficulties faced by the ANU’s Faculty of Economics? The Minster for Higher Education, Peter Baldwin, has decided to spend $5 million a year trying to find out. He has chosen Dr Don Anderson to chair the Committee for the Advancement of University Teaching.

Much of that money is to be spent on showing how modern technologies such as radio, television, computers using CD ROMs and the like can be used to improve teaching. Dr Anderson thinks this will free university teachers from the tyranny of lectures. He thinks the lecturing method is antiquated and owes something of the lecturer’s need to be prominent and in a position of power. There is a germ of truth in this if the university lectures are in fact formal lectures with more than 40 students where interaction is impossible. Alas, this is becoming the case, certainly in first-year courses. It was not always the case, certainly in later years. The lecture was more a large seminar. Most of the talking was done by the lecturer, but much was done by the students. It worked in the Socratic tradition.
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