Treasurer Chalmers’ Performance 2019 – on

When I left Sydney Water and joined the mainstream of the NSW Public Service in 1977, with a strong academic record in public administration as well as economics and economic history, I read two guides to the NSW Budget System written by 2 former Treasury Secretaries.  I went on to reform the budgetary systems of two massive public organisations in crisis, to State Treasury and LG acclaim (Gold Medal at the LGA Conference).

That background facilitated my understanding of Morrison’s and Frydenberg’s budgetary idiocy and comprehensively beating them into chaos.  I did that strategically and incrementally, every time they opened their mouths in public.

I noticed no comments of comparable quality from the then Opposition and they refused to respond to my correspondence (including 3 websites and three free-posted books).  I believe that contributed materially to avoidable costs in/to Budgets, SMEs, whole industry sectors, and NGOs and their welfare clients.

The ALP and ACTU were inactive when Berejiklian and Frydenberg deliberately smashed the Murray economy because I lived there but in return I smashed Berejiklian.  Labor has a heavy load to carry under my current publication theme, leading past righteous blame into BETRAYAL- the social media and ALP having betrayed me in my fights with the LNP/Kennedy and National Cabinet for fairness which is supposedly a Labor value focus.  (10 weeks ago I asked Dr Chalmers if he had anything outside Parliamentary speeches he would like to offer me as evidence of contributions.  He did not answer then or at any time before or since.)

There is a detailed set of tables which are not here included, this discussion focuses on the end-October 2020 which is the topic of https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/righteous-blame which has big teeth, a loud roar and covers Chalmers and Kennedy more completely. 

This text is relatively kind to Jim who does not deserve it – he acts just like Frydenberg in denying Integrity, rule of law and plain empathy:

Jim Chalmers’ Opportunities Lost (14 October 2020)

This was a major speech and the contents were very strong in social and industrial terms and light in policy measures, governance challenges and corruption/cronyism.  For context here is my contemporaneous summary (note the detail was there too):

The 2020 Budget was delivered on 6 October ’20 and had good and bad points as must be expected – however, the changes in parameters were of a fundamental and worrying kind, including:

  • Frydenberg then Morrison withdrew from “stimulus” and adopted “risky”  out-sourcing to Big Business, increasingly to make a silk purse out of sow’s ears
  • Concurrent university and related changes disturbed the flow of skills flows required in the “new economy”
  • Governance collapsed concurrently with revelations the PM corrupted Qld politics  and National Cabinet was shattered by Fed incompetence and blaming over vaccine shortages &tc
  • Mathias Cormann was shoe-horned into OECD with strong Labor support
  • The main SME sectors were foolishly cast adrift permanently – food & accommodation and a large part of travel, Morrison was shamed into rhetoric, cut was frozen in reality
  • The “$100 billion over 10 years” pipeline confusion and distraction was worsened, instead of repaired through better ideas & methods, meaning a de facto commitment to carbon past 2050 (with no “mitigation”)
  • NSW continues to face a catastrophic infrastructure engineering & economic/ financial crisis, the crisis being ignored by spinmeisters

Jim ~

We are now facing a full-blown jobs crisis.  But back then the labour market was already being corroded by insecure work, record low wages growth and rampant underemployment and that left us vulnerable.  We do now have a lifetime of debt and record deficits as far as the eye can see.  But debt was already well-over double what this Government inherited, and it was already growing.

COVID-19 may be the defining event for the 97 percent of the global population born after the Second World War.  But for too many Australians it hasn’t brought a change in course, just an acceleration in trajectory. A matter of speed and scale, not substance.  This pandemic has entrenched the disadvantages of age, gender, geography and education. It has magnified structural weaknesses in growth, investment, dynamism and productivity. And it has exposed the unfairness and uncertainty inflicted by years of cuts to essential services, growing casualisation and financial insecurity.  So for all the saturation talk we hear of ‘unprecedented times’, the truth is the problem.

Those who lived through the Great Depression never forgot it, they never wasted anything because they knew what it was like to have nothing.  Bizarrely, this government seem determined to forget this crisis while it’s still going. The ship is listing in the eye of the  storm and they’re telling everyone ‘come out on deck, the wind has died right off’.   With nearly a million unemployed – and unemployment forecast to stay unacceptably high for unacceptably long – they  are pulling support too early. Plunging more small businesses into desperate financial trouble. Pushing more people back  below the poverty line. And cruelling the recovery.

Having spent months telling us these measures were life support for the economy – now, in a recession, they’re pulling the plug.   Rather than heeding the lessons of this crisis, the Liberals are actively promoting the failed policies that left us so vulnerable to it: flexibility as code for workplace insecurity, active suppression of wages, disinterring the old false choice of a secure retirement or fair pay.  This is what the Prime Minister’s ‘snapback’ was always really about. And the big risk here for our country, the great frustration of watching last week from the wrong side of the parliament, is that Australia might miss this once-in-a-generation chance to dig deep, to break the old deadlocks, to do something meaningful and lasting. Not just accumulating a lifetime of new debt to finance a return to the inertia, inequality, and insecurity of the past.

First, even after all this spending unemployment is still expected to be too high for too long.  160,000 Australians are still expected to lose their jobs between now and the end of the year. Unemployment isn’t even  expected to get back down to pre-COVID levels at any stage of the four-year forward estimates. This gets nowhere near any reasonable estimate of full employment, which is what’s needed for broad-based growth in wages.

This Budget comes up short for those who were struggling before the crisis, and those that have been hit hard by it – too often the same people.  Young and vulnerable Australians, including many casual workers, who have been deliberately excluded from vital support and forced to wipe out their retirement savings.

Industries that have faced some of the toughest restrictions, shed the most jobs, and been the most excluded from support – like hospitality, tourism and the arts.  Women – who are overrepresented in hard-hit industries and in insecure work, do most of the care work, and who may face an even greater gap in pay, retirement incomes and participation.  Anyone relying on JobKeeper or JobSeeker – who have seen their payments cut, with no guarantees they won’t soon be living on $40 a day.

Third, somehow a Budget that commits $98 billion in new spending leaves too many important policies out.  Unusually, this Budget was defined more by what’s not in it than what is. Nothing for childcare, or cleaner and cheaper energy.  Nothing for social housing, no plan to tackle insecure work or to address the crisis in aged care.  Nothing to advance equality for women, leaving a gap that shreds the credibility of this Government. Gender equality is a moral and economic imperative not a tick-a-box exercise.   Yet the Treasurer provided four times the investment in his own portfolio agencies than in specific opportunities for Australian women. I still don’t know if these were oversights or omissions – and I can’t work out which is worse. 

Fourth, even welcome initiatives won’t undo seven years of damage – often in the very same areas.  Under the Morrison Government, Australia’s trend growth rate declined from 3 per cent to 2.75 per cent even before Coronavirus. And the Prime Minister and Treasurer have never overseen trend growth in the seven quarters they’ve been in their current roles.  It’s a similar story for investment and for productivity. Before the pandemic, business investment had already declined by 20 per cent under the Liberals.

And, fifth, the black hole in this Budget is where the vision should be.  This is why Anthony Albanese’s Budget-in-Reply was so important. It provided a vision for the future so conspicuously absent just two nights earlier. It recognised that when borrowing is necessary, then what matters is bang for buck, including how it tackles key challenges in the economy and society, and its lasting benefit.

Analysis from KPMG and the Grattan Institute suggests that for every dollar invested in childcare, there is a GDP boost of at least $2. That’s equity with an economic dividend.  Our Rewiring the Nation policy will support the economy and create jobs in new and traditional industries, including in the  regions. It will put downward pressure on electricity bills for households and businesses, by ensuring transmission gets built at lowest cost. And it will unlock new sources of cheaper, cleaner electricity generation around the country.

Public investment in social housing, as we’ve suggested, will boost GDP and jobs in construction. At the same time as it improves the quality of housing for vulnerable Australians. And delivers benefits for the community and economy through reducing poverty, inequality and immobility.  It’s a stimulus package that serves social justice.  Our Australian Skills Guarantee will mean spending on major projects in infrastructure, defence and the care economy which will benefit local workers and communities, better connect training to industry needs and help train the next generation.

With an ambition to be a world-leader in skills and advanced manufacturing, a superpower in renewable energy and a standard-setter for early education and childcare.  That’s the vision Anthony Albanese laid the foundation for last week. That’s the ambition Labor wants to help Australia  achieve. And that’s the future we want to make the next year, and the next election, all about.

Further note, in March 2022 the Age published a piece on Jim’s views and I include it because he has not read my books and seems to have learnt nothing.  I cannot help predicting his Oct 2022 Budget will be deficient:

Australia’s economic recovery could be derailed if consumers fail to tap their $250 billion in COVID savings, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers will warn while promising not to run an austerity budget if Labor takes office in May. 

Corona Malenomics & Budget Repair (4th edition, 3 October 2020)

“Repair” was needed after the 2019 bushfires but the Government was confused and hurtful.  The same is happening again.  Turnbull/Morrison had reversed the Costello theme and fused their politics with NSW’s Premier Berejiklian’s.  She had squashed Nick Greiner’s reforms there in June 2012, and her “malenomics” was absorbed into the federal platform.  (Greiner had been the Liberal Party’s greatest Premier and was inaugural chair of Infrastructure NSW (iNSW) with the task of reversing the previous Labor state government’s “planning fiascos” by locating decisionmaking nearer to communities, not in backrooms.)  Quite a mess has resulted, including in aged care and the economy.

The thesis here is that that “gifting” culture, which includes executive de-skilling and journalistic churnalism, effectively neutered Australia’s chances of minimising the impacts of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).  Now the challenge is to repair the blunders  and accelerate  “improvement stimulus” which will see Australia becoming more equitable, more prosperous, and cleaner and safer to live in.  PM Morrison’s smugness is false bravado:  he  has  not  yet  started  genuine  stimulus. Treasurer Frydenberg will not listen and continues blunders in straight lines.

It’s worse than that, Frydenberg was confronted with a 2019 Malenomics package and cancelled MYEFO, deferred the Budget, deferred Parliament, cancelled 2 weeks of Parliament, and deceived himself into more “gifting” tranches.  “The Emperor has no clothes”.  That they got further into trouble was no surprise but that they oppose repair of their blunders is catastrophic.   Industry groups are Big Business and disregard SMEs.  Local government has a potential role but is excluded.

The Governments ignore, even suppress,  the solutions which the Australian people should have the opportunity to understand and discuss, including new budgetary processes to assist with “targeted and proportionate” (which the Government has been unable to achieve) & to save lives;  and the impediments to that, being the people and processes including in the Coalition Governments in Canberra and Sydney & the National Cabinet and NCC which cause us grief. 

This discussion therefore focusses on two main themes which  were but remain: ~

Why “budget repair” must be included in the 2020 Budget cycle:  A re-planning overlay via iAA “Month End Economic & Financial Outlook” regime to guide stimulus targetting & cash flow needs
  • What should be in the 2nd phase “stimulus cycle
  • OECD guidelines
  • Current gaps & Budget
  • Administrative reforms including National Cabinet & local government

There have been so many bungles and crocodile tears.  The PM decried early  hospitalising of cases.  We are entitled to suppose that fewer disease effects would have been caused had early hospitalisation been enforced, which was the medical advice.  Further, that dithering cost millions of jobs and puts more pressure on the next generations which are already facing walls of debt.   J’accuse !

There was no “plan” and instead there should have been:

OECD and IMF emphasise the need to clean up problems from the past so as to resource the “new economy” (which will involve ongoing stimulus and social support), reduce debt overhangs and improve productivity. The Budget Repair sections are overviews but one massive issue has to be resolved immediately, and that is a financial and engineering crisis in Sydney’s infrastructure. First, the effects of Berejiklian’s reliance on debt, and the extraordinarily low returns from her investments, show up in these comparisons (chart omitted re relevance).

This is what Berejiklian’s 2016-17 Budget said of her debt strategy (which has worsened dramatically):
“… the long-term fiscal gap … is a summary indicator of the budget’s financial effect on future generations. … if current trends continue, a widening fiscal gap will emerge where expenditure would exceed revenues resulting in a fiscal gap of 3.4 per cent of GSP by 2055-56”…. If the Government borrowed to cover the fiscal gap, then by 2056 net debt would reach around 75 per cent of GSP and net interest payments would consume nearly 20 per cent of revenue. That is, if we do nothing, we would have nearly 20 per cent less revenue to deliver government
Good people have tried for years to reduce the Railways’ operating deficit. Then Premiers Iemma & Rees, advised by Jim Chalmers, reversed that by attacking the legendary Vince Graham. Berejiklian also reversed it without the media realising. The financial reporting of the rail system is spread across Sydney Trains, NSW Trains, RailCorp and TfNSW. Sydney Metro is a hybrid beast. The effect of the 2011 changes is to confuse, not elucidate. (Detail omitted.)

The West Metro alone is under-funded by c $12 billion over 10 years – $4 billion reserved (without any legitimacy) out of $16 billion – if it can be done at all (see companion document). It is throttled at birth through the central bottleneck, and inferior to the faster, cheaper and more effective Christie/Greiner/ Gibbons option which would also obviate the St Marys Metro catastrophe – but Berejiklian will not listen and nor will Morrison/Frydenberg/ McCormack.

Whichever way you look at it, Bairdijiklian Malenomics is a BIG LIE waiting to be uncovered. (NOTE the metros are supported by Labor as they started the stupid things.)

Berejiklian also has not come close to resolving a raft of strategic issues (see map below), the main examples being:

  1. West Metro – an obsessive race to justify what is not a valid project, it is to supplement mainline which is subject to Christie/Greiner plans + new RG option to give SSA the best transit system in the world. The Metro “network” is crippled by a maximum central zone which is limited – permanently – to 30 trains per hour. Her promised “60 trains every hour” was a lie, those 30 have to be split between the SW and West Metro. This cannot proceed
  2. Goanna Transit Bridge – immediate feasibility of service to The Immediate feasibility of Hurstville to Strathfield, RG adaptation of Jacana to use tram/trains and link NW to Airport w/o 2nd Harbour Tunnel Fireworks icon, 16,000 dwellings, White Bay, Overseas Passenger Terminal and then tram/trains (
  3. The Spit: another obsession, 2008 scheme was in keeping with the planning character required and cheap and fast. The Bairdian tombstone approach is excessive in cost and environmental damage, too risky in geotech and too late. The Rozelle mega-cluster of freeway overpasses, portals and exits, and intensification of a highly-congested innerwest mean that this cannot proceed in the same way that the West and the SSA metros cannot either
  4. Parramatta tram: another obsession to replace the Parra/Epping link, led to waste on ParraCity options and a back-of-the-envelope call by Roads and Transport Ministers. Demolitions are like Labor’s – invalid. This was a Turnbull obsession as was CLARA
  5. GSC reports – out for discussion, aspects that will be questioned include impracticality of 3 Cities and “30 Minute City, budget/cost/ of implicit transport projects (too unclear), complementary and innovative options, non-adherence to iA protocols, to lose developer interface via developer compacts
  6. UGNSW/successors reform – revision so that it takes the outcomes of proper planning and put them to market like Infrastructure UK – to lose its community destruction roles
  7. Second Airport – immediate feasibility testing of Christie/Greiner mainline upgrading v extension of SW v West Metro – SW rail sectors to be reserved for freight and logistics
  8. Fast trains – immediate feasibility testing of current in-fill and fringe densification v new city at or near Marulan etc, tied to economics of inter-capital fast rail, ACT proposal to be re-examined v RG alignment
  9. East Coast logistics – current plans are too late, too derivative, and incomplete v RG long-standing work on Maldon-Dombarton, container and coal railing, and western Sydney employment re-balancing
  10. Expressnet – immediate feasibility of RG proposals for Bondi Beach & Broadway/SydUni PRT and extension of tram/trains off the Goanna Bridge to North Ryde and Central/3 unis and 2 major shopping centres

Sydney thus has a set of dud projects that will serve a small percentage of 800,000 or whatever new dwellings over just 15 years (NB Corona has changed all numbers, so see the re-planning template below), under a planning regime that has no rigor or Eddington-type logic. The next election run-up will feature demolitions, dispossessions, service interruptions, and revelations of secret deals, cost overruns and recycled promises – the components of Labor’s “planning stench” (BOF).

Better options including Christie, Greiner’s and Gibbons’ are ignored despite being cheaper and faster to implement and more effective in supporting dispersed population growth. The “30-Minute Club” will be remembered for the wrong reasons.

After a lifetime of making constructive contributions to my city and country in company with great Australians, I find that the strata of governance, business, academe and journalism have lost their moral and prudential integrity. Citizenship was a proud duty which I still hold to, but I see political and community leaders who care no longer about Menzies’ notions of “the public interest”.

In December 2018 a formal proposal was put to the PM and Treasurer that the principle of “budget repair” via MYEFO be applied to the Release of Eddington Bedrock for public consultation given the following:
• Housing affordability has been found to be damaged by the Metro in both Bankstown and North Shore sections, with an overall 5% of new dwellings committing over 90% of available budgets. Bankstown housing targets have been demolished, even that is being repeated on the Lower North Shore where the Greater Sydney Commission appears to have surreptitiously increased the housing target by 300 between 2017 and 2018
• Related congestion has been found to be worsening with axial densification without rail and road augmentation, fringe growth centres taking up interurban freeway space, and WestConnex adding 20,000 (20%) to daily traffic in the Rozelle area*. Trucking through St George and Sutherland is growing inexorably due to over-focus on Port Botany and Berejiklian’s broken promises on the Portals and F6, indicating a need to divert wasted money on the Botany duplication to re-planning of Eastern Seabord port and freight planning (part of my offering since 2012)
• The Sydney media are now reporting what I have been saying, the climate for investment in Sydney has been damaged by Baird/Berejiklian decisions and disappointing results for Chinese corporates and families. The Eastern Suburbs tram will be traffic chaos, traffic across the Bankstown and NW Sector commuting belts will be crippling in the run-up the March/May elections. (All aspects have been documented previously.)
• WestConnex and other roads have been funnelled into a narrow channel which is a “pre-planning” mistake. (The same applies to Metros where the CBD channel will curtail systemic capacity.) RMS has refused to change the Tempe interchange fiasco even though better options had been developed.

        *   worsened by Berejiklian’s exclusion of the Goanna Bridge – the only possible relief – and x2-rejection of Google

The Governor of the Reserve Banks was reported on ABC TV as being satisfied with Treasurer Frydenberg’s exposition, the latter obviously attacking this analyst. Frydenberg and his Treasury chief Gaetjens have not replied to the invitation to provide a reconciliation of their $100 billion against the contention that a 10 year pipeline as defined would require about $300 billion to achieve, so that the credibility gap is about $200 billion. They are in the same position as Berejiklian, they cannot question this analyst’s work as they haven’t done their own numbers.

The new Sydney Metro doubled the annual rail operating deficit without any media or community awareness or engagement, as it is effectively 100% subsidised from debt; and the extensions that Berejiklian intend to implement will damage both budgets and suburbs for those future generations.

Faster Rail was one of Berejiklian’s loopier ideas before the election but she brought out yet another British expert and anticipated devoting $4.6 million to 5 routes – but has allocated $295 million, which needs a thorough explanation as the Feds have put $40 million into 5 other options and Berejiklian said “she’d go it alone”. (None can be built within prospective budgets yet iA has just endorsed the ideological deceit.) Given her record of failure, matched by the Feds’, this is a real worry situation.

Tension built in February ’20, with many calls for the PM to start “stimulus”, an impediment being his Cabinet’s fear of having a Rudd label put on their foreheads. Morrison said on 27 February that “the risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us”, and next day a senior Health official said “There really was no national leadership at that point”. On 13 March Health officials sandbagged COAG, annoying Morrison who was intending to go to the football even though he was imposing crowd limits on that very day. It took until the 18th for the “human biosecurity emergency” to be declared, which was the effective start of social distancing. (Queensland moved from 29 January.) The Premiers sandbagged him on the 22nd over business closedowns and pushed a national approach.

The impression was that the PM did not know what to do, as in his bushfires and rorts mishaps. Far too much time had been lost and that policy drudgery (and incredibly high error rate) still suffocate intelligent converse. Delays at the beginning are said to have caused the immediate loss of more than 1.4 million jobs and ongoing loss of life and economic vitality (omitted due to size)

PM Morrison leapt over his own world record for flippery-floppery, again over his bushfires embarrassment. The fires have become a metaphor of Turnbull/ Morrison’s style:

• confusion in values and processes as opposed to “democracy” and “due process”
• abuse as opposed to calm negotiation
• ignored warnings as opposed to past, wiser governments’ calm Cabinet timidity as opposed to collegiate decision-making
• alienation of communities against appeasement of lobbies and factions – as Greiner said, “all a bit arse-about”
• thieving of IP* and lies as opposed to Menzies and all PMs – Labor and Coalition – up to Baird/ Turnbull

There is a dictum in economics, to state your assumptions and err on the conservative side. I have taken the second option for the following reasons:

  1. the complexity and uncertainties are incredible and politics is dominating science in terms of early re-openings = high risk
  2. dithering has cost 1.4 million lost jobs and the Government has not even started its stimulus package for tourism, 156 days on
  3. the Government has appointed inexperienced people to key posts and rejected a generous offer by an expert reform planner, increasing the risk and costs of delay (those options are under copyright so the Government has snookered itself.)
  4. where States have re-opened early in the USA, experience is that c 12-15% only of former patronage returns, due to majority fear of infection. Texas has paused its re-opening. That fear is evident here
  5. the caravan industry is refusalist and likely to miss out on the relevant two-part stimulus package outlined on this site if it remains quiescent
  6. the Government has mismanaged the political agenda by focussing on relaxing environmental controls over distant, long-term projects

OECD: Fiscal multipliers are likely to be near zero during a full shutdown, as government programmes may not boost private consumption and investment much given administrative restrictions on economic activity. Instead, the main goal of the policy response is to preserve jobs and household incomes, and protect firms from bankruptcies.

The OECD’s “directions” will be corrupted further In Australia, harming current and future generations, as these are emerging permanent defects (presented to be negatived):
• Businesses and workers likely to face extended weak demand would benefit from support to upgrade, invest and innovate, and to shift to sectors with better prospects, through strengthening active labour market policies, particularly retraining schemes, and by facilitating investment.
• Streamlining and improving access to income support programmes, such as the Citizen’s Income, would prevent large increases in poverty and support demand in the recovery.
• If non-performing loans start rising, the government should stand ready to reinforce the bank asset support programme (GACS). Implementing the new bankruptcy law would help by ensuring that viable companies are restructured rather than liquidated.
• Pursuing the government’s plans to develop a multi-year programme to reduce administrative complexity, improve the legal system’s effectiveness and reduce investment and employment costs would support new businesses, productivity and jobs.
• Supporting the renewal of the ageing infrastructure and the transition to lower carbon activities would sustain the recovery and improve well-being.
• Accelerating the adoption of digital technologies, as demonstrated by the rapid move during the crisis to ‘smart working’ and online services, would raise competitiveness.

Naturally the “fruit of the poisoned vine” is exactly what “Budget repair” should be about, add removing what Turnbull called “anachronistic spatial determinism” and what IMF calls an “idiosyncratic drag”. Frydenberg lies about the underpinning dynamics of independent reports as well as Budgets and MYEFOs.

The 2019 Budget Repair submission remains intact but with corona additions – and important ones at that. The establishment of a ground-floor stable and safe basis for business and community continuity is a world-wide need, and bloody Morrison does not know a good thing if he falls over it.

In Morrison’s first 4 stimulus packages, starting well before the bushfires and Novel Coronavirus, there were no options considered but we know they existed in the ether and included:
• Option A, status quo: muddle through behind closed doors, serial revisions, unclear objectives, little or no data and critical issues analyses, force opponents into gunboat diplomacy, throw up smokescreens about “$100 billion over 10 years” then retreat when whacked by forensic critique, ignore virus warning signs and thus be unprepared, persist with truly damaging infrastructure projects which are debt bombs, focus on idiocies like attacking firies and farmers out of ignorance, issue a meaningless national SMS message, evade Parliament, force businesses to borrow bridging cash instead of advancing the agreed amounts, have secret deals which undermine public processes (Baird/Gaetjens/ Calfas damage to Newcastle, Wollongong and “Morrison’s Backyard”), ensure LG reform is so inept that it cannot reoccur within 10 years (Tas, WA and NSW), befuddle media, and form a national cabinet to mask central confusion around inept political appointees
• Option B: Prepare a national economic framework as PM Menzies and economist HC “Nugget” Coombs did post-1945, have transparent contingency planning based on risk analyses and science, understand and prepare for the inevitable next rounds of bushfires and bat crossover viruses, build up stocks of equipment and PPE, develop a contingency plan for border control + internal movements + placement of testing and hospital resources etc, recognise defects in Border Protection and RFS models and develop the alternatives, don’t make faux-marketing promises, inform media, reinstate full reporting of PIs and LG statistics, bring the people along with you
• Option C – NSIP: face an emergency with alarum, expert economist prepares Newcastle Strategic Infrastructure Plan (framework) in 2 days, shares it with senior managers and Council – all agree, shares with all other 12 Councils in Hunter with Milton Morris – all agree, shares with NSW Minister for Planning Knowles – he endorses it as a model for the whole State. Mesh budgets and site programs, fully engage innovative businesses through 8 sector clusters with Council as facilitator – systematic foundation but municipal inertia reasserts with reversion to deficit budgeting, loss of council leadership. NSIP was based on gathering data and analyses from all sources before finalising implementation details – the opposite of Morrison’s approach.

Option 1 – subtle
Make provision for a review of influences on congestion and housing affordability in Sydney/NSW and Melbourne/Victoria, and of options to improve outcomes.

This is a community engagement cycle that will be informed by release of Green Papers – “EDDINGTON BEDROCK” and of “THE EASTERN SEABORD RAIL FREIGHT PLAN”.

It is needed because of changes in the housing market, excessive concentration of container trades at Port Botany and withering of Pts Kembla and Newcastle, genuine calls from communities to have a bigger say, and the need for increased spending on infrastructure in regions, together with a responsible re-balancing of immigration flows, patterns and placement.

Option 2 – not subtle
Includes exposure of
• WS City Deal impacts on Pt Kembla, Illawarra/southwest/fringe/Western Sydney freight and commuter capacities, Aerotropolis, Inland Rail, freeway congestion
• Freight and port policies’ impacts on Newcastle, intense truck flows in St George and Sutherland, carcarrier trucks on Mt Ousley onto Picton Rd and Sutherland
• Failed privatisations and such policies as MTR densification, city deals Vs lack of City Plans, over-centralisation of metro and connex networks, and “congestion-busting” as a BIG LIE
• Metro and WestConnex will be out of capacity by 2031, Metro 85% standing, WestConnex increases local road loads up to 40%, and governments have no provision for the longer-term
• Corrupted linkages between Federal and State agencies and lobbies, together with aberrant psychologies which kill congestion relief, all of which distort outcomes and de-democratise NSW
• Plagiarism by Baird, Berejiklian, GSC, iA and DIRD

The following tables (not included) show the key challenges facing all capitals and generic solutions, supplemented by specific ideas which also will be adaptable. No agency or other body has done such analyses and developed such initiatives. They are holistic as must be re-democratisation and inter-generational equity.

The obvious common element is that instead of listening and learning, the Government isolates itself and commissions TV ads and makes outrageous statements on radio such as Baird’s on Wendy Harmer’s show on 702 and Morrison’s whenever something goes wrong ( 99% certainty)– we inherited dreadful congestion as though he hadn’t been told, explicitly, how he was making congestion worse, defeating the two PMs’ promises to reduce congestion. Affordability is being expressed in levies and percentages of small units but not the more important dominant pattern of development as high-rises raises prices.

The Greater Sydney Commission assists in the illusionment by releasing “visions” and imaginary “lines on maps” whereas it has no ability to change the dominant transport and roads directions including the axial congestion lines (and sterilised zones where tunnels are too deep) associated with the Metro fiascos.

What a mess sits on this Government’s social balance sheet. As England’s greatest reformer Lord Acton wrote, “Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity”. Breaking down the accretions of political and media laxity can only come from 360o awareness. Morrison is doing the unforgiveable with a matter as minor as border policies under Corona. That would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

We have the full analysis of the balanced medical/economic strategy based on the Murray/Gibbons Template. Add to that the “replanning overlay” that I have been pushing on the Government’s since 2015 to

  1. Take account of changing demographics – now urgent
  2. Take account of changing migration – ditto
  3. Pause the disastrous engineering collapses of the Sydney Metros (all of) and of the Rozelle mega-mess which meshes with the 12 year Baird mess of a cheaper, faster and more effective transit option (yes, this analyst’s)
  4. Halt the Debt vortex that Berejiklian is pursuing in her desperate race to finish her illegitimate handover to Hong Kong of a densification platform that they do not have to pay for and which will be economically and financially decrepit – Constance has already had to opine that several billions might have to spent to make the Central State densification work.
    We need to be reminded of the incompetence of Berejiklian as Treasurer and then Premier. The standard of related journalism is appalling – why did none realise – and when told – why did none listen?!?
    (Following is essence of my 2015 and subsequent submissions to Turnbull and Morrison, all suppressed by Kennedy:

Commission Options & Scenarios papers on

  1. each of the significant scenario/regional challenges in the Sydney Metropolitan area associated with housing affordability and congestion reduction, in accordance with iA guidelines for feasibility tests and business cases and the Prime Minister’s if you want someone to change, you must persuade them there’s a problem, then you explain the solution.
  2. engage the community in line with NewDemocracy’s and ResPublica’s Civic Limits guidelines
  3. report to the national and state governments, in relation to the following key challenges:
    • Corridor mapping (travel needs versus current and anticipated gaps in access coverage) shown in the Urban Transport Statement of 2006 and any subsequent evidence-based investigations
    • Maximising the capacity of transport infrastructure to service the new dwellings level of 800,000+ over 15 years and then further growth over 30 years, considering –
    a. Distribution of high rise, medium density and fully distributed housing types according to broad accessibility, affordability and life style criteria, matched to transport corridors
    b. Service standards compared in terms of walking distances, generated hourly and daily rail/bus/car numbers, usage costs, and TfNSW/RMS opinions on congestion impacts considering local road and transit network conditions etc
    c. Technologies best suited to each corridor and for system integration
    d. Nett self-reliance
    i. Revenues from fare box, tolls, levies, practicable and equitable value capture, and explicit subsidies from all levels of government, discounted and compared with
    ii. Costs – operating, capital, employment numbers, time preference (phasing/timing) and externality
    e. Community environmental and family budget diseconomies as well as benefits, equity in all aspects
    f. Impacts on
    i. Trends in housing costs and
    ii. energy and heat sink factors
    g. logistics and employment needs including linking Ports Hunter, Botany and Kembla with the Inland Rail Bridge and IMT at or near Eastern Creek
  4. The scenario areas include normal parameter and sensitivity testing within accepted benefit/cost analysis practices – avoiding “nonsense on stilts” (Peter Self), “options” including:
    a. maximum utilisation of Metro lines and WestConnex where fully legitimised (NW/Chatswood to Sydenham), the Iron Cove/Gladesville and Harbour Bridges, and alternatives where Metros and roads/tunnels are envisioned but not yet legitimised, and
    b. Sydney to Parramatta – West Metro, Christie/Greiner fast trains, release of paths via Chatswood to Parramatta for 2nd Airport and other fast trains etc
    c. The innerwest and Eastern Suburbs to the NorthWest and Peninsula (cross-Harbour) – Metro, linked bus and tram networks via known bridge options and/or tunnels
    d. The Bays and Innerwest including “Barangaroo ExpressNet©” –
    i. Linking of the street transit systems (bus and tram) on the eastern and western sides of the CBD
    ii. Completion of the innerwest tram network back to Central (via SydUni, Broadway Centre, Catholic Uni, Central Park and UTS), and possibly out to (say) Macquarie Park and/or (say) Burwood
    iii. Resolution of CBD congestion by the elimination of 7 E/W conflicted intersections through a circumferential road by-pass and transit boulevard
    iv. Provision of fast transit through The Bays to the Victoria Road corridor at Rozelle, including the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Power Station (the Google site, now foregone due to delays in providing transit un-locking, UrbanGrowth having frozen 16,000 units til 2021-2)
    v. Relief of the ANZAC Bridge which is about to experience more congestion off the WestConnex works
    vi. Promotion of walking and cycling in extension of current programs, and
    vii. Provision of a basis of a long-term fast transit service using Flexity Swifta or similar tram/trains to link street and rail transit systems.
    e. Northern Beaches, both to/from CBD/south and NorthWest including federal, 2008 and subsequent proposals with their differential impacts on the Peninsula’s character and liveability
    f. NorthWest to KSA and CBD via Strathfield using tram/trains, including other routes
    g. SouthWest and SouthEast to Northwest employment zones

Add this which is a full model – unique in the world – of “community resilience”

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