Category Archives: Infrastructure

GRAHAM HAND. No, Gladys, build it and they will not come

The NSW Government has announced it will knock down and rebuild Allianz Stadium at Moore Park at a cost of $700 million and the Olympic Stadium at Homebush, only 17 years old, at a cost of $1.6 billion. However, there … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | 3 Comments

LUKE FRASER. Is Sydney in thrall to an infrastructure cargo cult? (Part 1 of 3)

This is the first of three articles considering transport infrastructure spending levels, shortcomings in transport governance and strategy and the potential for doing better.

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JOHN AUSTEN. The NSW infrastructure mess keeps getting worse

This is an update on Sydney’s infrastructure puff piece saga. Previous articles in Pearls and Irritations pointed out that the NSW Government led by the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP does not understand infrastructure.  The draft 40-year plans for transport and … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 4 Comments

BOB SORBY. Of Pipes and Pipedreams

Life is an equation in hydrocarbons was a favourite aphorism of the late RFX Connor, Minister for Minerals and Energy in the Whitlam Labor governments of 1972-1975. The phrase belied a deep understanding by Connor of the Australian petroleum and … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Trouble in NSW infrastructure paradise, Part 2.

This is a second instalment about the onslaught of NSW infrastructure puff pieces.

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PAUL BUDDE. And so the NBN blame game starts

It has taken four years for the government and the nbn company to finally admit what many people have been warning for since the very beginning of the change in NBN plans from FttH (fibre to the home) to FttN (fibre … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The NBN and the wholesale/network arm of Telstra that should never have been sold.

Yesterday Malcolm Turnbull , perhaps unwittingly,sheeted home the real responsibility for the NBN debacle to the privatisation of Telstra by the Howard Government.  In his attempt to blame the Rudd government for the current problems, he really let the cat … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, NBN, Politics | 7 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN. Trouble in infrastructure paradise, NSW Part 1 of 2

Sydney readers are being subjected to an onslaught of infrastructure puff pieces featuring former Transport Minister now Premier the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP.  It coincides with a desire to ‘showcase the Government’s infrastructure credentials’ and raise the Premier’s profile.  It also … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | 3 Comments

JOHN AUSTEN – Road pricing; an update

Reports about the Grattan Institute’s assessment of Sydney and Melbourne traffic is the latest re-ignition of road pricing arguments.  However, the risk that policy falls further into the hands of vested interests needs to be addressed.  There is an urgent … Continue reading

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JON STANFORD. Australia’s Future Submarine. Part 3 of 3. Responding to the criticisms

At the National Press Club in Canberra on 27 September 2017, Hugh White, Professor of Strategic Studies at the ANU, launched an independent report by Insight Economics on Australia’s future submarine (FSM). The report, Australia’s Future Submarine: Getting This Key … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Priorities for Infrastructure Australia.

The new Infrastructure Australia chair said the organisation is open to ideas and seeks priorities from the public.   Sitting in the public gallery I suggest three priorities: (1) revisit some of its advice; (2) set out the Commonwealth’s role; and (3) … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Congestion charging: – Stockholm, Melbourne and Turnbull’s legacy-a repost

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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PAUL BUDDE. Smart energy – or tilting at windmills

After more than 15 years of industry initiatives aimed at smart energy, the government has successfully frustrated and/or stopped such initiatives and is actively working against the solutions preferred by the industry (smart grids, gas, renewables, batteries).

Posted in Infrastructure, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

JOHN AUSTEN. Doubts about infrastructure go beyond Sydney Metro.

John Menadue recently asked for an open public inquiry into the NSW Metro scheme.  Given the momentous questions about that scheme and its supposed evaluation there is no doubt such an inquiry must be Australia’s highest infrastructure priority.

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MUNGO MacCALLUM. An energy emergency after ten years!

Malcolm Turnbull assures us that he is concentrating on energy and its three pillars – cost, security and environment. Well, at least the first two; it must be said that the environment has not had much of a look in … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Infrastructure, Politics | 5 Comments

MICHAEL LAMBERT. Australia’s electricity markets policy: The shambles continues.

Over the last week we have been treated to the depressing spectacle of the Prime Minister and his government reacting in a knee jerk, wrong-headed manner to two sensible and useful reports that have been released by the Australian Energy … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate, Infrastructure | 3 Comments

JOHN Menadue. It is scandalous how infrastructure spending escapes proper scrutiny

The gathering infrastructure mess in Australia requires open public inquiries, starting with the Sydney Metro.  

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LUKE FRASER. Federal Court decision at Port of Newcastle: a failure of bureaucratic leadership.

A recent episode of ABC television’s satire Utopia saw political spivs trying to convince the fictional Nation Building Authority to endorse anti-competitive conditions on a multi-billion-dollar port asset sale.   Head of that Authority Tony Woodford – played beautifully by … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 3 Comments

STEWART LITTLE. Titles registry sale a super storm.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will bequeath the state a financial disaster for millions of property owners thanks to her government’s leasing of Land and Property Information’s 150-year-old Land Titles Registry.

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

IAN MCAULEY. Electricity discounts for some, price rises for others

If we follow the government’s suggestion that we should  hunt around for cheaper electricity there will be no net benefits, just a re-shuffling of who cross-subsidises whom in the market. We have been brought to this absurd situation by a … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Infrastructure advice – worse than expected.

Previous articles in this blog suggested serious problems in Australia’s infrastructure assessment and approvals arrangements – upon which tens of billions pivot.  The recent Sydney and South-West Metro Rail review by Infrastructure Australia provides troubling evidence of this problem. 

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GILES PARKINSON. Super cheap solar – and why that’s good for Australia’s mining sector

Australia’s most pre-eminent solar researcher, Dr Martin Green, says the cost of solar PV technology will fall substantially in coming years, and while bad for the country’s thermal coal industry it will spell good news for other Australian mineral and … Continue reading

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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

Posted in Environment and climate, Infrastructure | 6 Comments

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

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure | 2 Comments

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

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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

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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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