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Category Archives: Infrastructure
A report released by communications minister Paul Fletcher has confirmed that so-called ‘Internet piracy’ declined dramatically following the arrival of Netflix and other online streaming services – debunking the need for ‘site-blocking’ laws controversially introduced following a well-funded lobbying effort … Continue reading
Recently the question of road charges for electric light vehicles – cars – hit the headlines. Opinions split into: those who want such charges to collect funds for road building; those opposed to such charges because they might slow the … Continue reading
The Sydney Metro saga continues, with renewed – and still unrealistic – promises of a $20bn west Metro giving travellers a 20-minute trip from Parramatta to the CBD. Talk of this, and progress with tunnelling under the CBD, must be … Continue reading
The onion juice sometimes obscures the inconvenient, or unspeakable truths
The dairy industry has been subject to plenty of government enquiries and more are in train,but is anything going to come of them?
The annual Crown Resorts AGM last week should have been a moment for admission to shareholders by the Board that they were in trouble and a moment to reassure investors that they had strategies to address a burning platform. Instead, they … Continue reading
National government is becoming more authoritarian and much less accountable
The courts, DPP and justice officials agree to deny FOI access to trial transcripts. Criticism of their roles can thus be called ill-informed.
Ongoing urging of infrastructure proposals for Commonwealth funding exacerbates already high moral hazard. Yet nothing is done to discourage the possibility of illegal behaviour costing Australia dearly.
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
CHARLES LIVINGSTONE. Guns and money: How the pokies’ proponents channel the NRA image (Monash University 8-10-19)
Whenever Australians learn of a mass shooting in the US, we tend to feel relieved – and maybe a little smug – that our political leaders were sensible enough to restrict gun ownership after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.
Internet access is now the most complained about telco service in Australia according to the Telecommunications Ombudsman’s latest report. While complaints about mobile phones have been on the decline recently, the state of our trouble-plagued NBN continues to see consumers … Continue reading
YVES TIBERGHIEN. Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong: Toward a BRI 2.0? (Australian Outlook, 5 Sep 2019)
From 11 to 12 September 2019, the fourth Edition of the Hong Kong Belt and Road Summit is due to take place at the Wanchai Convention Center. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is now in its sixth year since … Continue reading
BOB DEBUS. Must Prisoner Numbers Grow Forever? (an edited version of a lecture given to the Law Society of New South Wales, 22 August)
We can all accept imprisonment as the appropriate response for serious and violent crimes. Nevertheless there is a plethora of studies confirming the common sense conclusion that prison is damaging for individuals at a psychological level, especially in the absence … Continue reading
Last week saw media coverage of Infrastructure Australia’s 2019 infrastructure audit. The hype was short lived. The audit was another analytically deficient step towards a transport policy abyss into which the infrastructure club wants to throw vast amounts of your … Continue reading
SARAH ANN WHEELER, EMMA CARMODY. Was the Government’s irrigation cash splash worth it? (The Advertiser)
One of us was born on a fifth-generation irrigated dairy farm in NSW; the other in a country town in the Murray-Darling Basin.
GEOFF GALLOP. Effective public servants need nuanced understanding of politics, what drives their minister and government. Geoff Gallop offers eleven theses on Australian politics in practice.
Geoff Gallop is a former premier of Western Australia. Your minister cannot avoid dealing with the politics, so you should understand the ideas behind it, and the policy compromises they must make to secure alliances.
Transport should not be a hostage to politics and ideology, but in Australia it has been since before the rival colonies of NSW and Victoria decided to have different railway gauges in the 19 th century and it is likely … Continue reading
If today’s (12/06/19) National Press Club address by Chris Richardson is to be believed then the trend towards artificial intelligence presents no threat to employment. The analysis presented, however, reminded this listener to Mark Twain’s comment ‘that there are lies … Continue reading
The NSW and Federal 2019 elections saw the return of Coalition Governments. My perspective – from western Sydney – is: Coalition infrastructure policies have been dreadful, Labor’s offerings weren’t any better.
ROBIN SMIT, JAKE WHITEHEAD, NIC SURAWSKI. Australians could have saved over $1 billion in fuel if car emissions standards were introduced 3 years ago (The Conversation)
When it comes to road transport, Australia is at risk of becoming a climate villain as we lag behind international best practice on fuel efficiency.
SHARON PARKINSON, DEB BATTERHAM, MARGARET REYNOLDS. Homelessness soars in our biggest cities, driven by rising inequality since 2001 (The Conversation)
Homelessness has increased greatly in Australian capital cities since 2001. Almost two-thirds of people experiencing homelessness are in these cities, with much of the growth associated with severely crowded dwellings and rough sleeping.
Five years ago in this blog I warned about growing inequality.With the communist threat gone we have seen again greed coming back into full play around the world. We have seen it here in the greed and anti social behaviour … Continue reading
A recent post said politicians should not ‘bite the bullet’ on high speed rail – but apologise for money wasted; unrealistic expectations fanned; incompetence. It suggested a start with Newcastle – a city dudded by bureaucrats. Better still would be policy … Continue reading
JACK WATERFORD. Can Thodey, or Shorten, stop bleeding in the public service? (Canberra Times online 30.3.2019)
It was hard to avoid the feeling this week that Terry Moran has a much better take on the problems of modern government and public administration than the review of the public service commissioned by Malcolm Turnbull last year. And … Continue reading
auDA – the company managing our Internet domain name registration system – is engaged in a reform program. This follows a review by the communications department which called for major governance changes. auDA has released a discussion paper and has called for public submissions on … Continue reading
MICHAEL WEST, JEFFREY KNAPP. Conflicts of Interest”R”Us: KPMG pursues PwC back into insolvency (Michael West).
The Big Four, the relentless architects of global tax avoidance, have returned to the insolvency business, despite selling out of it 15 years ago because of overweening conflicts of interest. When it became known last year that the bosses of … Continue reading
Readers of Pearls and Irritations may have followed the transport infrastructure fiasco in NSW under conservative governments led first by Mr O’Farrell, then Mr Baird and now by one-time Transport Minister and Treasurer, Ms Berejiklian. Several reports last week put an … Continue reading
Yarra City Council touts community consultation as part of its resident-friendly credentials. But our recent experience suggests the process is a farce. It demonstrates why public disillusionment with government and a bureaucratic process is at an all time high for … Continue reading
The Federal Opposition recently got media attention for high speed rail by exhorting Australia to ‘bite the bullet’. Australians should indeed ‘bite the bullet’ on high speed rail – by demanding public apologies for failures: large amounts of public money … Continue reading