Category Archives: Infrastructure

JOHN DALEY and BRENDAN COATES. The latest ideas to use super to buy homes are still bad ideas.

Treasurer Scott Morrison wants to use the May budget to ease growing community anxiety about housing affordability. Lots of ideas are being thrown about: the test for the Treasurer is to sort the good from the bad. Reports that the … Continue reading

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CAMERON MURRAY. Affordable housing reform.

While the decline of our economic diversity, has failed the average worker, it has been a boon for the landlord class. Those who already own land and housing benefit at the expense of those who want access to housing for … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The litany of failed privatisations.

Ideologues ,the self interested bankers and accountants and lawyers still persist with their fixation with privatisation despite the fact that it is failing in one area after another and the electorate shows very clearly that it does not want it.  … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. NSW rail projects – a lot of explaining to do

Yet more questions arise about projects set off by former NSW Transport Minister now Premier Ms Berejiklian. This time about light rail. As for the port privatisations and metro, real answers are yet to come. The sooner a Commonwealth inquiry … Continue reading

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GEORGE BROWNING. The non-existent Australian government energy policy.

It has been clear for some time that the normal capitalist approach of privatising everything does not work in relation to energy. 

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IAN McAULEY. The National Electricity Market: What happens when economists get involved with electricity

John Menadue has asked me to write about the National Electricity Market – the NEM.  I should be qualified to do that: my first degree and my first years of professional work were in electrical engineering and in my later … Continue reading

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SUSAN RYAN. Older women need housing too.

In the growing discourse around affordable housing, the federal and some state governments are edging forwards. Recently proposed changes have merit, but they may exclude poorer older women in need of housing.  

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IAN MCAULEY. Warning from Colin Barnett: Privatisation is on the nose

The WA Government’s proposal to privatise Western Power – the government-owned electricity utility – was one of the factors contributing to the extraordinary anti-Liberal swing in Saturday’s Western Australia election. Privatisation of electricity has also been an issue in the … Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS. we must call governments out on this ‘Game of Homes’.

When politicians say supply will fix the problem, ask them why it hasn’t worked yet. And also send them a copy of the graph from Chapter 1 of any first-year economics text book showing that price is the result of … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. The ‘Big Picture’ in infrastructure: even more depressing than the little picture?

As news broke recently that the Sydney Metro project would necessitate the closure of Sydney’s Bankstown rail line for a few months each year until well into next decade, the latest State Transport minister urged everyone to ‘look at the … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Victoria’s recent housing affordability initiatives.

Victoria’s Labor Government has made clear its determination to do something about housing affordability, recently announcing a suite of reforms – many aimed at first home buyers. The changes are for the most part designed to boost supply of homes … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. South Australia’s Electricity Problems: Jay Weatherill Should Follow The Coalition’s Example

Spare a thought for the people of South Australia. Large parts of Adelaide blacked out for up to 18 hours without notice. Trams stopped in their tracks across busy intersections. A bitter and partisan debate in state parliament about responsibility … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Making housing affordable – Drawing inspiration from India and Singapore

Not many of those following the housing affordability debate in Australia would think of looking to India and Singapore for inspiration, yet the experiences of each of these countries are inspiring in their scale and ambition (and in Singapore’s case, … Continue reading

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JOHN QUIGGIN. The case for renationalising Australia’s electricity grid.

The public debate over the problems of electricity supply displays a curious disconnect. On the one hand, there is virtually universal agreement that the system is in crisis. After 25 years, the promised outcomes of reform – cheaper and more … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. The Sydney metro – the doubt and mess continues.

A little more real information about Sydney rail development is coming to light. It is not dispelling the doubts about metro. A decision on Badgerys Creek rail, which would have been straightforward without the metro, is now ‘years off’. The … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN and PETER PHIBBS. Housing policy is captive to property politics, so don’t expect politicians to tackle affordability.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s recent warnings that house prices would fall steeply under a Labor government confirm the underlying politics of housing policy in Australia. The default position for politicians is to sound concerned about housing affordability, but do nothing. … Continue reading

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NICOLE GURRAN & PETER PHIBBS. How the Property Council is shaping the debate around negative gearing, taxes.

We see their spokespeople quoted in the papers and their ads on TV, but beyond that we know very little about how Australia’s lobby groups get what they want. 

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DOUG CAMERON. Commonwealth can, and must, do more on housing and homelessness

The failure of the market to provide housing for all who need it is compounded by several political failures.  

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HAROLD LEVIEN. Solving our Housing Problem.

Housing investors have largely crowded out first-home-buyers from the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets. The Coalition Government has not simply failed to address this problem; its policies have been the principal cause.  

Posted in Economy, Housing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

SUSAN RYAN, OLIVER FRANKEL, JOHN MENADUE. Upcoming series on Making Housing Affordable.

After Easter, Pearls and Irritations plans to publish a series ‘Making Housing Affordable‘ addressing key aspects of the housing crisis and recommending solutions, with contributions from a range of experts and other key stakeholders, including economists, planners, demographers, housing providers … Continue reading

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Making housing affordable. Vancouver’s new “Empty Homes Tax”

Vancouver’s response to the housing affordability crisis,  now includes a new Empty Homes Tax at 1% per annum of the value of each empty home covered. Australian reports suggest that there may be 90,000 empty dwellings in Sydney and 83,000 … Continue reading

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CAROLYN WHITZMAN. States drag feet on affordable housing, with Victoria the worst.

Moral panic over recent increases in visibly homeless people in central Melbourne has brought to the fore the critical shortage of affordable housing across the metropolitan areas of Australia’s wealthiest cities. But living on the street is only the tip … Continue reading

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PETER PHIBBS and NICOLE GURRAN. Why housing supply shouldn’t be the only policy tool politicians cling to.

If politicians were serious about the affordability crisis, they would be trying to support the important but underfunded affordable housing sector. Better targeting tax breaks towards new and affordable rental housing, rather than fuelling demand for existing homes, would also … Continue reading

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TIM AYRES. What We Leave Behind: The Case for Universal Inheritance, including an inheritance tax.

Older Australians are enjoying a growing share of Australia’s wealth; the wealth of younger Australians has stagnated. Structural changes to the labour market threatens to leave more young people in low wage, precarious work than any generation before them, and … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. We are losing our sense of community

Markets are displacing society and community. Exclusion is winning out over inclusion. 

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OLIVER FRANKEL. Focusing on supply only will not solve the affordable housing crisis

There is now widespread recognition in the echelons of government, both Federal and State, that we face an affordable housing crisis. However, there is still no consensus about how to solve it.   The Coalition insists the problem can be … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Housing, Taxation | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

LUKE FRASER. Congestion charging: Stockholm, Melbourne and Turnbull’s legacy.

On congestion charging. There are three lessons: first, congestion charges are devilish hard to put in place, even when they work demonstrably well; second, don’t try to implement this in a city where there is no serious traffic congestion, or … Continue reading

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JAMES O’NEILL. ‘One belt one road’ (OBOR) – a new geopolitical paradigm.

The scale of the projects (OBOR) is astonishing. As of July 2016 China had more than 900 contracts in place or under negotiation with a propose investment value of over $900 billion dollars. This was in addition to a separate … Continue reading

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JOHN FALZON. The housing crisis in Australia is not an economic inevitability

The government is actually intervening in the market, especially through such levers as negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount, to ramp up housing inequality!  

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JOHN MENADUE. Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Ports

As a former Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian leaves a very dubious record in port privatization. The Chair of ACCC, Rod Sims has said ‘Privatisation (of NSW ports) is costing consumers and damaging economic reform’.  

Posted in Economy, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments