Author Archives: Luke Fraser

Luke Fraser

About Luke Fraser

Luke Fraser is the founder and principal of a transport policy and investment advisory. In 2012 he was appointed to the board of the Prime Minister and Premiers Road Reform Project. From the late 1990s he spent over a decade in Canberra in several APS executive, Commonwealth government chief of staff and industry CEO roles across the transport and defence sectors.

LUKE FRASER. ‘Infrastructure stimulus’ mostly ‘stimulates’ the transport agencies and their camp followers.

Under prevailing economic circumstances, our political leaders are in great need of accomplished and resolute infrastructure reform advice – especially in transport, which dominates spending. The new Federal Treasury Secretary’s advice to the Senate this week was refreshing. It argued … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. A Repost: Congestion charging: – Stockholm, Melbourne and Turnbull’s legacy.

The Grattan Institute has just published a report on road congestion charging.  It argues that congestion charging is a better way to manage busy urban roads. It is right but Ministers  rejected the idea immediately. We waste far more money … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. The roads that ate the Australian economy Part 2 of 2

  Australia’s current approach to road spending will soon generate up to $20 billion every year in new public sector debt – making it impossible for any new Commonwealth government to benefit from much-needed tax reform and revenue increases.  This … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. The roads that ate the Australian economy – Part 1 of 2

Australia’s current approach to road spending will soon generate up to $20 billion every year in new public sector debt – making it impossible for any new Commonwealth government to benefit from much-needed tax reform and revenue increases.  This also … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Best of 2018: Canberra has abandoned roads to inflationary spending and policy chaos.

Botched State road projects, toll road fee hikes and congestion grab big headlines and make good sport for critics of State governments. 

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LUKE FRASER. Canberra has abandoned roads to inflationary spending and policy chaos

Botched State road projects, toll road fee hikes and congestion grab big headlines and make good sport for critics of State governments. 

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LUKE FRASER. Freight: fresh disappointment for our Prime Minister

Pity Prime Minister Turnbull – an intelligent man, trying to secure productive reform of this sector, yet met with fresh disappointment at each turn.    Turnbull has made a number of moves in the transport space to suggest he has seen … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Rail manufacturing reform and the political shot clock.

One of the things that makes basketball so dynamic is the ‘shot clock’:  once a team takes possession, they have 24 seconds to make a realistic shot – otherwise they turn the ball over to the opponents.  This speeds up … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Australia is not “full” but lazy infrastructure policy strengthens the notion

The “Australia is full” immigration argument suggests we have our infrastructure planning and investment settings quite wrong. Debate is now re-emerging about the need for Australia to consider new cities.

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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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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. 

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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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LUKE FRASER. Regional infrastructure: if you want something done right…

There is a not-so apocryphal story of a senior government minister explaining his regional policies to party colleagues. Somebody is said to have asked “what is your ‘Regional Assistance Strategy’?” to which he is said to have replied: “It’s a … 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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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

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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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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

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LUKE FRASER. Good, bad and ugly of congestion charging in Melbourne.

Attention to Stockholm’s congestion charging system should be seriously studied in Australian cities. … In roads, we have a pricing crisis rather than an infrastructure crisis.

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LUKE FRASER. Roads: Minister Fletcher will need a good nose for bullshit to deliver genuine reform a la Paul Keating.

  Both the Grattan Institute [i] and Ross Gittins [ii] have lauded Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher for his hard talk on road reform. Gittins compared him to Paul Keating. Fletcher is setting out with a reformer’s zeal. Like … Continue reading

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LUKE FRASER. Infrastructure – a partner in our labours.

  The Senate must be permitted to help avoid major infrastructure debacles.  Many recent posts in Pearls and Irritations have focussed on democratic renewal. Some have decried a lack of trust and competence in our political class. At the same … Continue reading

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Luke Fraser. Grattan in the transport pantomime: ‘You’re getting colder … ‘

Earlier this month the Grattan Institute made its first major report into transport, producing Roads to Riches: better transport spending[i]. The 70-page report is replete with interesting-enough statistics, but it misses the mark on the major problems and where solutions … Continue reading

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Luke Fraser. What the Australian Treasurer can do for roads.

or – How to stop pissing taxpayer money up against the wall!   Australia’s Treasurer Scott Morrison has signalled his reform priority: “I’m interested in talking to people who have ideas how we can get spending under control. We have … Continue reading

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Luke Fraser. Rail and roads: a reform blueprint to match Turnbull’s boldness and innovation

Australia’s new Prime Minister demands boldness and innovative action. Amen. To date road and rail reform has proven too dry and monolithic for most Prime Ministers. But failure to act is now accruing several billion dollars in road debt annually. … Continue reading

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Luke Fraser. Shorten, Infrastructure Australia and boldness.

Infrastructure Australia (IA) has truly become something to conjure with; it has even spawned a comedy series. Where is it headed? Last week Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten outlined Labor’s vision. This involved: a new $10 billion IA financing facility … Continue reading

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Luke Fraser. True Blue

On Father’s day, anybody around the world lucky enough to have been woken by a happy young son (as I was) would have been hard-put not to have paused and thought of the image of the young Ardyl Kurdi, washed … Continue reading

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Luke Fraser. Rail infrastructure failure.

RAIL: FEWER SPENDING CHEERLEADERS, MORE JIMMY CARTER. In June the Australian Financial Review hosted an Infrastructure Summit of the great and good in Sydney. It heard about the need for much more infrastructure: Australia was ‘well behind’ other countries in … Continue reading

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Luke Fraser. Infrastructure Audit 2015 and serious transport reform: how soon is now?

Current Affairs Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Audit was released to the press in May this year. It circulated  quickly across the nation’s media houses. They all parroted Hanrahan: ‘we’ll all be rooned’ if we don’t resign ourselves to a big, new … Continue reading

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