Category Archives: Infrastructure

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. 

Posted in Infrastructure | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Environment and climate, Infrastructure | Comments Off on GILES PARKINSON. Super cheap solar – and why that’s good for Australia’s mining sector

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

Posted in Infrastructure | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on JOHN AUSTEN. Road spending incurs billion dollar new debts annually – nobody notices (Repost from 27 June 2016)

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

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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 | 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

Posted in Infrastructure | Comments Off on JOHN AUSTEN. Does Infrastructure Australia understand its ideas for public transport franchising?

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 Infrastructure, International Affairs | 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

Posted in Infrastructure | Comments Off on JOHN AUSTEN. Infrastructure misuse and mistakes – the Hume Highway.

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.  

Posted in Infrastructure, Media | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Infrastructure | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

 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

Posted in Education, Infrastructure | Tagged , | 3 Comments

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

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

ALLAN PATIENCE. It’s time for Labor to think big about policy – a people’s bank!

Tony Abbott is not the only one anticipating a change of government at the next election. Voters across the board are increasingly fed up with the Coalition and there are even signs that some of its most devoted cheer leaders … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

DAVID JAMES. Deconstructing the privatisation scam

It is increasingly evident how pernicious the privatisation myth is. Two recent examples have underlined it: the failings in Australia’s privatised energy grid and the usurious pricing in airport car parks. Both examples demonstrated that it is folly to expect … Continue reading

Posted in Health, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

OLIVER FRANKEL. Sydney house prices – an increase of 18.9% in one year!

With only a month to go to the federal budget, the news that Sydney’s median dwelling prices rose by 18.9% in the 12 months to March is sobering. It is surely enough to jolt the Turnbull government into finally adopting … Continue reading

Posted in Housing, Infrastructure | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on OLIVER FRANKEL. Sydney house prices – an increase of 18.9% in one year!

RODNEY TUCKER. The Tragedy of Australia’s National Broadband Network.

A National Tragedy Australia’s National Broadband Network is heavily dependent on a soon-to-be-obsolete technology (FTTN) that most of the world has rejected. The FTTN-based network was sold to the Australian public based on an underestimate of Australia’s broadband needs (Tucker, … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, NBN | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on JOHN AUSTEN. NSW rail projects – a lot of explaining to do

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. 

Posted in Environment and climate, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Economy, Environment and climate, Infrastructure | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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.  

Posted in Housing, Infrastructure, Politics, SERIES: Making housing affordable | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on SUSAN RYAN. Older women need housing too.

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

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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

Posted in Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Housing, Infrastructure | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

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

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

Posted in Economy, Infrastructure, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments