Tag Archives: John Austen

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 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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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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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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JOHN AUSTEN. The Premier and privatisation; selling silverware for transport tupperware?

Commentators on Premier Baird’s years focussed on short term matters such as money from privatisations or inconvenience caused by infrastructure building. The most important question, the merit of infrastructure built with sale proceeds, may take years to answer. NSW will … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Badgerys Creek – testing times

The new airport at Badgerys Creek will test national competition and state transport infrastructure policies and may reveal the latter to be gravely flawed. The usual Commonwealth-state funding fight spectacle should be treated as a trivial pantomime and not distract … Continue reading

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

We are spending enormous sums on roads and increasing our national debt. Communities are being seriously disrupted and the congestion is increasing. When will we put a stop to this nonsense?  

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JOHN AUSTEN. Sydney, metro again: $10billion more to ‘build something later’?

John Austen suggests that the NSW government’s approach to railways is at least back-to-front and probably misconceived. 

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JOHN AUSTEN. Sydney Metro – a disaster in store.

The public has been given no serious justification for why Sydney needs a separate, distinct and very expensive new rail system like Metro. All we have is a very big bill and more on the horizon. Sydney could spend almost … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Privatisation and the hobbling of Newcastle Port.

  The downsides of privatisation are becoming clearer. A recent example, which has received little publicity in the mainstream media is the hobbling of Newcastle Port for the benefit of Port Botany. In this blog on 5 September 2016 ‘JOHN … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Urban rail projects: property developers should be servants not masters

There is plenty of advice on how to plug the supposed infrastructure gap in Australia’s big cities. One popular idea is for passenger rail projects to be led and funded by property development. [1] The idea has intuitive appeal. The … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Is there a simple way of dealing with national infrastructure issues? Yes, but it is not a simple matter of adopting Infrastructure Australia’s ‘project list’.

The argument Recent pieces offered a seemingly simple way forward to deal with national infrastructure issues. It should be simple. All parties should commit to (Infrastructure Australia’s) “project” list – in part or in full – and then stop spending. … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. The High Court – The Williams case and transport

This article expands on previous comments that the Williams (No. 2) case is reason to reconsider Commonwealth engagement in land transport. [1] The challenge to Government spending programs Williams (No. 2) was the third recent challenge in the High Court … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. High speed rail – here we go again.

Another proposal involving high speed rail Sydney-Melbourne recently surfaced; from CLARA (Consolidated Land and Rail Australia). Extensive media reports noted an advisory board including former Trade Minister the Hon. Andrew Robb, ex Premiers the Hon. Barry O’Farrell and the Hon. … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN. Road pricing rather than more road funding must be the priority.

  Road pricing is a hot topic for policy advisers although less popular with the public and elected representatives. This article attempts a (overly) simple explanation of what, why and whereto of road pricing.

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JOHN AUSTEN. Infrastructure summit – reported highlights

Is there such a thing as bad or wasteful infrastructure or is it like motherhood, all noble and good?

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JOHN AUSTEN. High speed rail – where to? Competing with airlines or cars?

This article proposes a change in focus for the high speed rail debate. Rather than seeking to compete with airlines, rail should contribute to settlement that eases pressures on capital cities. This change of focus does not require ego stoking … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN and LUKE FRASER. Urbane transport policy. Part 3 of 3

  This article is the third in a series about transport. The first two dealt with topics raised by the Prime Minister; mass transit, 30-minute cities etc and noted some challenges for the Commonwealth.[i] Urbane Transport policy. Part 1 of … Continue reading

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JOHN AUSTEN and LUKE FRASER. Urbane transport policy. Part 2 of 3.

Urbane transport policy This article is the second in a series about transport infrastructure. Part 1 dealt with the Prime Minister’s focus on mass transit and 30-minute cities. This deals with other matters raised by the Prime Minister: value capture, … Continue reading

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John Austen and Luke Fraser. Urbane transport policy. Part 1 of 3.

Prime Minister Turnbull made a splash on urban transport recently. He sketched a vision of ‘30 minute cities’ where residents spend on average just one hour a day travelling to regular activities like work and shopping. He also considered mass … Continue reading

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John Austen. Grattan Institute on transport projects: a better mousetrap?

In ‘Road to riches: better transport investment’ the respected Grattan Institute joined commentators, independent authorities and lobby groups in advancing ideas on transport ‘investment’. Like others it proposed publication of assessments for public spending; a better mousetrap to ensnare politically … Continue reading

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