Category Archives: Infrastructure

JOHN MENADUE. The communist threat curbed capitalist greed, but no longer

Five years ago in this blog I warned about  growing inequality.With the communist threat gone we have seen again  greed  coming back into full play around the world. We have seen it here in the greed and anti social  behaviour … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Fast rail – apologies please from perpetrators.

A  recent post said politicians should not ‘bite the bullet’ on high speed rail – but  apologise for money wasted; unrealistic expectations fanned; incompetence.  It suggested a start with Newcastle – a city dudded by bureaucrats. Better still would be policy … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 5 Comments

JACK WATERFORD. Can Thodey, or Shorten, stop bleeding in the public service? (Canberra Times online 30.3.2019)

It was hard to avoid the feeling this week that Terry Moran has a much better take on the problems of modern government and public administration than the review of the public service commissioned by Malcolm Turnbull last year.  And … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | 2 Comments

LAURIE PATTON. Fair trade or exploitation – the ‘warehousing’ of Internet domain names.

auDA – the company managing our Internet domain name registration system – is engaged in a reform program. This follows a review by the communications department which called for major governance changes. auDA has released a discussion paper and has called for public submissions on … Continue reading

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MICHAEL WEST, JEFFREY KNAPP. Conflicts of Interest”R”Us: KPMG pursues PwC back into insolvency (Michael West).

The Big Four, the relentless architects of global tax avoidance, have returned to the insolvency business, despite selling out of it 15 years ago because of overweening conflicts of interest. When it became known last year that the bosses of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 2 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. NSW infrastructure: who is fit to govern?

Readers of Pearls and Irritations may have followed the transport infrastructure fiasco in NSW under conservative governments led first by Mr O’Farrell, then Mr Baird and now by one-time Transport Minister and Treasurer, Ms Berejiklian. Several reports last week put an … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 1 Comment

PATRICIA & DON EDGAR. The Farce Called ‘Community consultation’.

Yarra City Council touts community consultation as part of its resident-friendly credentials. But our recent experience suggests the process is a farce. It demonstrates why public disillusionment with government and a bureaucratic process is at an all time high for … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 6 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. High speed rail – Please don’t bite the bullet.

The Federal Opposition recently got media attention for high speed rail by exhorting Australia to ‘bite the bullet’.   Australians should indeed ‘bite the bullet’ on high speed rail – by demanding public apologies for failures: large amounts of public money … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. As PM, Bill Shorten could help offer cheaper cars without any cost to the budget

The Australian Motor Industry Federation and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries have successfully lobbied the Australian government to continue restrictions on the imports of second-hand vehicles. We are paying a large price for protecting an industry that no longer … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 4 Comments

JOSEPH E STIGLITZ. How Can We Tax Footloose Multinationals? (Project Syndicate)

Apple, Google, Starbucks, and companies like them all claim to be socially responsible, but the first element of social responsibility should be paying your fair share of tax. Instead, globalization has enabled multinationals to encourage a race to the bottom, … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 1 Comment

JOHN AUSTEN. Transport for an incoming NSW Government.

NSW faces an election in March.  This note – to help an incoming government – draws on transport matters identified in Pearls etc.  It won’t be in the incoming government’s briefs.  Never mind – people who matter read Pearls! 

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

RICHARD DENNISS. Our regulators fail to protect the vulnerable from the greedy. Let’s find out why. ( A repost from 19 September 2018)

Neoliberalism’s best trick was convincing us that ‘empowering’ citizens to shop around would deliver better services at a lower cost. 

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 4 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. We are paying an enormous price to keep Christopher Pyne in Parliament

The Coalition Government ended our car manufacturing industry which had an Effective Rate of Protection of 8%. It employed 200,000 people. We are told by the Government that the void in SA will be filled by building the new French … Continue reading

Posted in Industrial relations, Infrastructure | 4 Comments

LUKE FRASER. The roads that ate the Australian economy – Part 1 of 2

Australia’s current approach to road spending will soon generate up to $20 billion every year in new public sector debt – making it impossible for any new Commonwealth government to benefit from much-needed tax reform and revenue increases.  This also … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. We are paying to protect an industry that no longer exists.

We see it almost every day in the media; rent-seekers extracting benefits for themselves through political influence and lobbying at the expense of the broader community. It has very little to do with markets. It is about political favours for … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 7 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. WestConnex inquiry report.

The Parliamentary inquiry into WestConnex is the type of thing that should happen before any major infrastructure project starts.  However, it let the project off too lightly.

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ROSS GITTINS. Don’t assume more expressways and trains will fix traffic jams. (SMH 1.12.2018)

When Marion Terrill, of the Grattan Institute, set out to find out how much commuting times had worsened in Sydney and Melbourne, she discovered something you’ll find very hard to believe. But it would come as no surprise to transport … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 3 Comments

LUKE FRASER. Best of 2018: Canberra has abandoned roads to inflationary spending and policy chaos.

Botched State road projects, toll road fee hikes and congestion grab big headlines and make good sport for critics of State governments. 

Posted in Infrastructure | 1 Comment

JOHN MENADUE. The Best of 2018: Sydney Metro: A Forty Billion Dollar Deception?

Like all our big cities, Sydney needs better public transport. The Government’s responsibility is to secure this with the best system, for the best price. But as a minimum, new investments cannot be allowed to threaten the productivity and growth … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 7 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Public inquiries into NSW infrastructure projects.

The former NSW Opposition Leader proposed a judicial inquiry into WestConnex and Sydney Light Rail.  The new Opposition Leader wants public inquiries into major infrastructure projects.  The NSW Transport Minister called this a ‘hairbrained idea’ saying projects are already subject to … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 4 Comments

GILES PARKINSON. Coalition energy and climate policies hit rock bottom at year’s end.

The federal Coalition government has achieved what most would have assumed impossible at the start of 2018: its position on climate and energy policies has worsened and shifted even further to the right. 

Posted in Environment and climate, Infrastructure | Comments Off on GILES PARKINSON. Coalition energy and climate policies hit rock bottom at year’s end.

TONY SMITH. The unacceptable road toll.

We should not accept that it is inevitable that people will die on our roads. While drivers must behave responsibly, governments need to take actions which might seem radical in a society obsessed with cars. 

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | 1 Comment

LUKE FRASER. Canberra has abandoned roads to inflationary spending and policy chaos

Botched State road projects, toll road fee hikes and congestion grab big headlines and make good sport for critics of State governments. 

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | Comments Off on LUKE FRASER. Canberra has abandoned roads to inflationary spending and policy chaos

JOHN MENADUE. Newcastle Port – another botched privatisation -A repost from 5 September 2016

 The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission  has taken legal action over the terms  on which the NSW Coalition Government in 2013 privatised Port Botany and Port Kembla and imposed severe restrictions on Newcastle Port. Our mainstream media has shown scant … Continue reading

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STEPHEN LEEDER. Private-public partnerships – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Partnerships between public agencies and private providers demand unusual degrees of vigilance of both parties to ensure that the contract between them explicitly states – in great detail – their individual expectations and accountabilities.  Values will differ.  The agreement should, … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. NSW farce rail

NSW Premier Berejiklian says her Government will ‘deliver a fast rail network slashing travel times across the State.’  Work will commence in the next term of Government and won’t wait for the Commonwealth – NSW will go it alone! 

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JOHN KERIN. Phasing out the Live Sheep Trade.

It is now nearly 60 years since the accelerated live sheep trade commenced from Australia to the Middle East. Early opposition to the trade came from the meatworkers union (AMIEU) in the 1970s, but has increasingly come from animal welfare … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. A report by Infrastructure Australia on outer urban transport.

A recent report on outer urban public transport by IA  provides some interesting information .But much better understanding and analysis is needed before more resources are wasted and communities made worse off . 

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LAURIE PATTON. Planning for smart cities – Code of Practice released

“Enhanced telecommunications connectivity, data insights, digital planning practices and innovation districts” will underpin the creation of so-called ‘smart cities’. That’s the theme of a Code of Practice released this week as part of Smart Cities Week Australia. Developed by leading smart … Continue reading

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JOHN STAPLETON. The fiasco of Australia’s telecommunications.

Complaints against the troubled broadband network have risen yet again with the latest Telecommunications Ombudsman’s Report, released this week, showing significant increases in complaints over the last year.

Posted in Infrastructure, NBN | 5 Comments