Category Archives: Infrastructure

MICHAEL LAMBERT. The shambles of Australia’s national electricity policy.

Australia has rich energy resources, both fossil and renewable, and a well considered electricity market design, as evidenced by the National Electricity Market (NEM), so why is our electricity market policy overall in such a shambolic state?  Successive national governments … Continue reading

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JIM COOMBS. Electricity and Banks.

A belief, without foundation, that “the market” is the best way to deliver any product, has our politicians gibbering, when the provision of Public Goods (see my previous article) is properly to be determined by the principle of universal access, … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Infrastructure in Australia- the continuing policy confusion and advisory mess.

Infrastructure Australia’s ‘reform’ reports and its updated priority list – which assesses particular projects – add to evidence about problems with infrastructure advice.  This article deals with the latest reform report – corridor protection – and the resulting depressing high … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Transport | 2 Comments

SUSAN RYAN. Tent City, Martin Place.

The Berejiklian government in NSW showed this last week that it could act fast.   To deal with the reported discomfort of the Premier, caused for months by a tent city of the homeless situated in Martin Place just opposite the … Continue reading

Posted in Housing | 1 Comment

JOHN AUSTEN. Road spending incurs billion dollar new debts annually – nobody notices (Repost from 27 June 2016)

It’s traditional that election time in Canberra brings out the road lobbies who ask for ‘all that extra cash’ which governments raise from fuel excise to be ‘put back into our roads’. The problem is that the facts no longer … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The litany of failed privatisations. (Repost from 20 March 2017)

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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LAURIE PATTON. NBN: How many more surveys before they get it? We are not impressed!

A raft of surveys have confirmed what everyone knows. We’re increasingly unhappy about the rollout of a technically inferior National Broadband Network.

Posted in Infrastructure, NBN, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

LUKE FRASER. Road reform, bureaucracy-style: no economic benefit, higher prices for users – and an easier ride for already-unaccountable agencies

From time to time our newspapers pen articles about road reform.  They raise the need for spending to be more efficient and less guided by the electoral pork-barrel and for more value to be visible to motorists.  The call for … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Transport | 4 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Does Infrastructure Australia understand its ideas for public transport franchising?

A recent report by Infrastructure Australia recommends franchising state public transport services, with Commonwealth incentives for so doing. It claimed that this would realise around $16 bn of financial savings, which could be spent on infrastructure. The report assumed there … Continue reading

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JAMES O’NEILL. The Belt and Road Initiative and Australian Foreign Policy: A Golden Opportunity

The Australian Cabinet recently turned down an opportunity to join the world’s greatest infrastructure project.  The rhetoric and the approach disclose much about how Australia is failing to adjust to the realities of the 21st Century.

Posted in Foreign Policy, Infrastructure | 3 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Infrastructure misuse and mistakes – the Hume Highway.

The value of infrastructure depends on how well it is used. Australia’s main infrastructure problem is misuse of what we have; a symptom of an absence of sensible policies, advisory failures and lobbying to build monuments to keep the concrete … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN: The Commonwealth is ‘meddling’ in NSW rail – at last!

There are indications the Prime Minister wishes to modernise infrastructure policy.   Reports regarding rail to Badgerys Creek highlight the discomfort this causes to the NSW Government- and enormous benefits if the Prime Minister gets Commonwealth involvement right.  

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JOHN AUSTEN. Where to for Commonwealth infrastructure policy?

Legend has it that Charlton Heston flashed a Rolex wristwatch during a chariot race in the 1959 Ben Hur movie. Some recent Prime Ministerial comments could be considered flashes of a policy Rolex in an infrastructure discussion fitted to the … Continue reading

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 JIM COOMBS. Public Goods

Before the advent of the “free enterprise market economy” model’s dominance of economic thinking, there was a distinction made between private and public goods.  The idea was that some things had to be provided for a healthy, well-ordered society: such … Continue reading

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SAUL ESLAKE. Housing affordability and the 2017-18 Budget: a missed opportunity

Housing affordability was to be a key focus of the Government in this year’s federal budget, according to the ‘nods and winks’ that traditionally precede the Treasurer’s budget speech. A journalist who has often been privy to the thinking of … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Good debt, bad debt: Poor infrastructure choices, no reform – and Lee Kuan Yew

In the Fairness, Opportunity, Security policy series and the resulting book, Dr Michael Keating AC and I wrote of Australia’s out-of-control transport infrastructure spending that: ‘It is scandalous that this investment escapes proper scrutiny, while at the same time the … Continue reading

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IAN MCAULEY. The budget – still tough on the young

The Commonwealth’s budget has a Keynesian boost for a sluggish economy, and is based on an optimistic, or even heroic, assumption that economic growth will deliver a fiscal surplus within a few years. We have heard similar claims from treasurers, … Continue reading

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MICHAEL KEATING. The 2017 Budget – A welcome change in direction. Part 2 of 2

Budget repair was never going to be easy. That is one reason why it has taken so long with quite a few false starts. While some of the individual decisions in this Budget are debateable, overall the quality of the … Continue reading

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LIONEL ORCHARD. Housing Policy: a social democratic response

The missing element in current debates about Australian housing policy is consideration of the social democratic case for building a genuine mixed economy in the housing system respecting the different purposes of the sectors involved – public, private and household. … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. HAL PAWSON. Can Institutional Funding be Channelled into Rental Housing?

Channelling institutional finance into affordable rental housing has long been a ‘holy grail’ urban policy aspiration. Recent developments suggest that this may be edging towards reality.  

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Making Housing Affordable Series. ROB KOCZKAR. How institutional investment could help housing affordability

Competition between first home buyers and investors is dominating the discussion about housing affordability, but it’s what’s happening a few rungs down the property ladder that is perhaps the greatest cause for concern – the challenges for people trying to … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. JACK DE GROOT. Homelessness – the potential to implement a widespread housing first policy

Having a roof over one’s head, a place to call home, is a fundamental right for every individual. Until all levels of government collaborate with institutional investors and the not-for-profit sector to provide more affordable housing and accessible services, housing … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. MICHAEL PERUSCO. Revitalising social and affordable housing

The discussion and commentary about housing affordability in Australia has reached a crescendo in recent months. But an important piece of the housing puzzle cannot be overlooked in the debate: the role of social housing. It is time for governments … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. SAUL ESLAKE. The causes and effects of the housing affordability crisis, and what can and should be done about it.

Treasurer Scott Morrison is right in saying that “there are no single or easy solutions” – even though he (and others on his side of politics) tend to ignore this advice in emphasising ‘supply-side solutions’ and decrying any suggestion of … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. PETER PHIBBS. The politics of property and the role of urban planning

The narrative provided by the property industry and by some politicians is that the planning system creates large bottlenecks to more supply. Yet the reality is that we have been generating record levels of supply in Australia in recent years. … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. NED CUTCHER. Running the private rental market at a loss, for profit

Understanding how unaffordable housing affects renters is increasingly important, since more Australians can expect to rent for longer. How do negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount affect affordability, amenity and security for renters? Encouraging “mums and dads” to … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. DAMIEN WEBB. An institutional scale solution for the social and affordable housing challenge – from a super fund’s perspective

Many well-intentioned solutions have been proposed to address Australia’s housing affordability problem, yet fail to gain traction because the challenges faced by key stakeholder groups aren’t being addressed simultaneously. We believe success on a material scale will be more likely … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. MARCUS SPILLER. The planning system, politics and housing affordability

Forever expanding supply on the urban fringe is unlikely to provide a solution to retreating affordability of home ownership. Housing needs to be expanded in those places where good jobs, services and infrastructure are. The inner and middle suburbs – … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. JOHN MENADUE. Principles to guide housing policy and programs.

This is part 1 of our new 13 part series – Making Housing Affordable.  Further articles will follow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Good housing policy and programs, as with other areas, should be based on values and principles that inspire and … Continue reading

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Making Housing Affordable Series. JOHN DALEY, BRENDAN COATES AND TRENT WILTSHIRE (1). Why should we care about housing affordability?

Housing affordability includes a grab-bag of concerns: less money to spend on goods and services other than housing; falling home ownership rates; worsening access to jobs; increasing wealth inequality between and among generations; and increasing risks of a housing-led economic … Continue reading

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