Category Archives: Infrastructure

GEORGE RENNIE. The Revolving Door at the Infrastructure Club

The revolving door of politics represents a particularly difficult problem for modern democracies. And when senior public servants leave their positions to work as lobbyists for the infrastructure industry – an industry that takes a lion’s share of government spending, … Continue reading

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Defence policies and alliances have become a new religion. Part 5 of 5 : White Papers, Strategic Reviews, Papal Bulls and Encyclicals

Government pronouncements in Australia, especially in the fields of Strategy and National Security, it is claimed, are determined by scientific rationality and definitely not configured according to religious belief. This is both fraudulent and a dangerous conceit: religion, has not … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Roads – another year of inaction and congestion-causing deficits

Spending on roads continues to vastly outstrip road revenues, increasing our national debt. This easy access to funding is why we spend too much on the wrong roads and has stopped road reform – as stated in a post in … Continue reading

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ANNE HURLEY. The Government just doesn’t get it when it comes to the NBN debacle

As I was writing this article in response to Paul Budde’s speculation about life following the NBN roll-out in 2020, the Government released its response to the first report of the Joint Standing Committee on the NBN. Sadly, if predictably, … Continue reading

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DYLAN McCONNELL. A month in, Tesla’s SA battery is surpassing expectations.

It’s just over one month since the Hornsdale power reserve was officially opened in South Australia. The excitement surrounding the project has generated acres of media interest, both locally and abroad. The aspect that has generated the most interest is the battery’s rapid response time in … Continue reading

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ANNE HURLEY. Bad advice: why Mr Turnbull’s NBN is such a failure

These days you can’t buy a new car without airbags and ABS brakes. The Internet of Things is transforming the way we live our lives, run our businesses and grow the crops that feed the world. We’re developing autonomous vehicles … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure, Media, NBN | 2 Comments

JOHN MENADUE. The Ausgrid decision and the growing power of security and intelligence agencies. A REPOST from August 2016

  The Ausgrid decision on Chinese investment raises two important issues. The first is how do we get a proper balance between security concerns and the wider benefits of the relationship. Our major strategic ally the US sees China our … Continue reading

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

In the first two posts, the vast scale of Sydney major transport projects was estimated at $85 billion – a figure larger than all European spending on transport public private partnerships for the last five years; the posts also examined … Continue reading

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

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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OLIVER FRANKEL. House prices are not necessarily correlated with changes in supply and demand

A recent research report, Regional Housing Supply and Demand in Australia, by the ANU’s Centre for Social Research and Methods, has reignited the debate about the relationship between house prices and imbalances in the supply of and demand for housing. … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN: What will it take to kick off a serious enquiry into the Sydney transport mess?

While readers relax over the Christmas break, Commonwealth advisers and politicians should be asking about the Sydney infrastructure mess.  

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LAURIE PATTON. Setting the Record Straight – The Australian newspaper publishes rebuttal to Internet Australia attacks

For former journalist and media executive Laurie Patton, spearheading Internet Australia’s campaign for #BetterBroadband meant becoming accustomed to the occasional sledge from the pro-NBN Co forces. However, a series of false and defamatory newspaper articles led to an out-of-court settlement … Continue reading

Posted in Infrastructure | 6 Comments

LUKE FRASER. Is Sydney in thrall to an infrastructure cargo cult? Part 2 of 3

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

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | 1 Comment

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

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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

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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.

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments

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.  

Posted in Infrastructure | 3 Comments