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Australia's infrastructure .. it's not just the NBN

#1 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 01:23 PM

Interesting to see a report released stating that Australia will have a lot of trouble funding infrastructure, and that highways in particular are highlighted. Our long highways are a potential target for fundraising via tolls.

Takes me back the start of the 'publib private partnership' era in NSW, when a report into road funding found that the long highways were a potentially successful target for funding via tolls - the government of the day reacted by starting PPPs for URBAN roads instead, with a plethora of bad outcomes, which continues to this day. Coincidentally, the man who brough in PPPs, Nick Greiner, has been put back in charge of transport in NSW by the current government.

The report is also relevant to issues such as the renewal of rain in Australia, as well as other infrastructure which is crumbling away.
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#2 User is offline   Bam 

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 02:43 PM

It's not the lack of taxes on motorists that is the source of a funding shortfall. Fuel excise is 38 cents per litre. Motorists pay a raft of other taxes as well: car registration, GST and stamp duty when buying a vehicle, GST and stamp duty on insurance policies when insuring the motor vehicle, etc. Less than half of the revenue from these taxes comes back in roads funding with the balance being placed in general revenue. If these taxes were only used to fund roads and related transport infrastructure, there would be ample funding.

Motorists already pay their way through taxation twice over or more. Motorists do not need any more taxes. Instead of trying to find yet more ways of slugging the long-suffering motorist, why not look at other ways of raising revenue?
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#3 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 06 July 2011 - 09:15 AM

View PostBam, on 05 July 2011 - 02:43 PM, said:

Motorists already pay their way through taxation twice over or more. Motorists do not need any more taxes. Instead of trying to find yet more ways of slugging the long-suffering motorist, why not look at other ways of raising revenue?

I don't necessarily agree with this means of raising cash - it's interesting to see though that the idea has already been misapplied in a number of cities, with results that have been disasterous on a number of occasions. Perhaps if it had been applied in the recommended way originally it might have been better?

Otherwise though, I think for example that legislating to have certain kinds of traffic taken off highways and on to rail we would see (a) road usage fall and (b) rail investment rise.

Was petrol excise intended to be used for roads originally? I didn't think so, although my memory for this is certainly not certain. I thought it was really intended just for consolidated revenue. NSW had for a while the '3x3' tax, which was intended for that strict use.
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#4 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:34 AM

High Speed Rail

I'm not sure this should be in a 'politics' forum, but in any case - what are your feelings about the high speed rail idea? With a new study released today containing some ideas on cost and efficiency, this discussion is at the top of the pile for now.

Personally,I'm all for it and see it as a long overdue infratructure investment.
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#5 User is offline   Bam 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 02:52 PM

High speed rail is an interesting idea that merits investigation. It is a fast method of travel that can be faster than aircraft.

It is not without disadvantages tho.
  • It is not cheap to build.
  • It needs to be made safe so that stray kangaroos do not turn themselves into pink mists.
  • Suitable routes need to be found, particularly within our cities.
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#6 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:11 PM

Yes, certainly it has its challenges for us given the age of our rail infrastructure. The price tag is big - but I think in fact much less that a comparable amount of dual lane highway which is slated to be built from Sydney to Brisbane 'at some time' in the future.

It's not a very rational argument, but in addition to the reasons put forward in various reports, I find it just embarrassing that for example you can go to Japan and ride on the Shinkansen which has been in place for about 40 years, and we are still dealing with nearly Victorian-era infrustructure on intercapital routes here.
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#7 User is offline   Big Mal 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:44 PM

View PostBam, on 04 August 2011 - 02:52 PM, said:

High speed rail is an interesting idea that merits investigation. It is a fast method of travel that can be faster than aircraft.

It is not without disadvantages tho.
  • It is not cheap to build.
  • It needs to be made safe so that stray kangaroos do not turn themselves into pink mists.
  • Suitable routes need to be found, particularly within our cities.



Bam is correct in all this. Just had a thought - why don't we have a more rational tax on the miners ripping out our minerals and build ourselves a country that we can be proud of with a high speed rail network as good as anywhere? But then if we don't attend to climate change we won't be around to ride the thing.
Seriously though it is so hard to get things done in the Nanny State. Why is that?
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#8 User is offline   Amber Dekstris 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 09:13 PM

View PostBig Mal, on 04 August 2011 - 04:44 PM, said:

Seriously though it is so hard to get things done in the Nanny State. Why is that?


Too many whingers.
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#9 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 10:10 AM

View PostAmber Dekstris, on 04 August 2011 - 09:13 PM, said:

Too many whingers.

I think the nanny state is a bit of myth. It's an idea propogated by many commercial interests that want unrestricted activity, such as cigarette and alcohol companies, and as a way of exerting pressure against environmentally-driven regulation.

In the meantime, there are some suggesting that construction companies make too much profit out of infrastructure projects in Australia. You can't have it both ways - complain about too much government and at the same time make windfall profits out of government-funded projects.

In the meantime, 'nanny state' or not, Australia continues to do well economically in the face of severe problems in Europe and the US, although talk of a downturn in China will certainly test us.
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#10 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 07:53 AM

News to hand - the NSW government has announced a major upgrade to freight rail between Newcastle and Sydney - at last some good news and a substantial positive contribution by the new-ish state government. Three cheers!

I realise of course that this is a state, rather than federal initiative, but it's still a very good thing.
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#11 User is offline   Bam 

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 01:39 PM

View Postscotto, on 07 December 2011 - 07:53 AM, said:

News to hand - the NSW government has announced a major upgrade to freight rail between Newcastle and Sydney - at last some good news and a substantial positive contribution by the new-ish state government. Three cheers!

Announcements are meaningless. How many times do we see projects being announced without those projects being completed? Better to wait until the projects are completed before passing judgement.
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#12 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 04:25 PM

View PostBam, on 07 December 2011 - 01:39 PM, said:

Announcements are meaningless. How many times do we see projects being announced without those projects being completed? Better to wait until the projects are completed before passing judgement.

Usually I'm very skeptical Bam, but the work is due to begin in February, which I think is a pretty positive step.

One correction, though - originally I was going to give a big tick to the state government for this, but it turns out that more than 80% of the money is coming from the federal government. The NSW government had tried to divert this to a Sydney passenger rail link to Epping, but the feds were firm in their resolve to fix this bottleneck first.

If you live in Newcastle or northern Sydney and have any concept of the traffic moving down the freeway, then this is welcome news.
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#13 User is offline   icey 

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 10:08 PM

View PostBam, on 07 December 2011 - 01:39 PM, said:

Announcements are meaningless. How many times do we see projects being announced without those projects being completed?


NBN? Announced, started, but certainly not completed at who might know what final cost.

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Better to wait until the projects are completed before passing judgement.


And close down the NBN thread.
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#14 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 07:22 AM

View Posticey, on 07 December 2011 - 10:08 PM, said:

NBN? Announced, started, but certainly not completed at who might know what final cost.

But rolling out... anyway, how about that rail development?
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#15 User is offline   Bam 

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 09:09 AM

View Posticey, on 07 December 2011 - 10:08 PM, said:

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Announcements are meaningless. How many times do we see projects being announced without those projects being completed?
NBN? Announced, started, but certainly not completed at who might know what final cost.

I'm not referring to the NBN here. Anyone who has heard numerous announcements of rail projects in NSW without anything happening knows what I am referring to here. This has been perpetuated by both sides of politics over the years at state and federal level.
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#16 User is offline   icey 

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:50 PM

View PostBam, on 08 December 2011 - 09:09 AM, said:

Announcements are meaningless.


Sounds like I mistakenly took your earlier comment to be broader than it was intended, but to leave my comment with a little relevance, I'd say that NBN budget figures are not a lot better than meaningless, despite assertions to the contrary from one poster.

I believe there's been talk of new rail links in Brisbane for many years as well, with nothing to show for it in Redcliffe.
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#17 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 07:19 AM

View Posticey, on 08 December 2011 - 08:50 PM, said:

I believe there's been talk of new rail links in Brisbane for many years as well, with nothing to show for it in Redcliffe.

Not in Brisvegas, but to there, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.... another stage of feasibility studies for high speed rail was recently announced.

Dare we dream?
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#18 User is offline   Senexx 

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 05:59 PM

View Postscotto, on 07 December 2011 - 04:25 PM, said:

The NSW government had tried to divert this to a Sydney passenger rail link to Epping, but the feds were firm in their resolve to fix this bottleneck first.


And there we have the very problem with the NSW State government of both persuasions.
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#19 User is offline   Senexx 

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 06:04 PM

The 80s and 90s killed Infrastructure that's why it is not as good as it could have been.

How many railway lines freight and passenger have been closed between here and woop woop to make room for the trucking industry?
It's viable and sustainable by restoring it and not making as many frequent trips.

Destroying the railways and shipping local telecommunication knowledge out of the regions is what killed infrastructure in this country.

As for those in Sydney/Melbourne, nothing wrong with your infrastructure except maybe the Ports - and if you do have a railway complaint you don't realise how lucky you are to have it.
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#20 User is offline   scotto 

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Posted 11 April 2013 - 01:55 PM

We see that high spped rail has hit the headlines again.

Quote

The Government is stressing it could not be built "tomorrow", pointing to the estimated cost of $114 billion and a completion date of 2053 at the earliest.

Much of the cost, which is to be borne by federal and state and territory governments, would go towards building tunnels in the major centres.


The slightly odd thing about this is that only a few weeks ago Anthony Albanese seemed to be using the same report as the basis for talking down high speed rail, on account of the cost and amount of tunneling. Also, it is remarkable that Albanese is touting a 40-year timeline for the project, although this is for a larger network taking in Brisbane, Canbberra and Melbourne.

Seems like the ALP are flying this idea to see what reactions they get, having a few bets each way with it, and if there are big support numbers for the idea they will perhaps run with it.
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