The PM wants shovel-ready projects that will stimulate cranes in the air and D9s on the roads. The OECD and others have demonstrated that low-return projects suck oxygen out of productive options. ALL HE HAS AVAILABLE TO HIM ARE DUDS, to add to the duds he has funded in the last three Budget cycles.
Knowledge of economics is taken for granted in current management and media circles; but the lack of recognition of economic warning signs implies that the assumption is unjustified.
The “expert” media have not carried one report on the possibly disastrous technological climacteric that Sydney is going through – from the points of view of freight, ports, transit, airports, land use, population growth and distribution, of economic sustainability, and so on.
Warning signs? The NW Metro has just opened with the urban and transport people in the Sydney media, especially the SMH, waxing lyrical over the crowd numbers in the opening week, at about 80,000 per day. They completely missed the obvious factor – considering the Herald had reported on it in 2008 - that the only independent benefit/cost study of the NW Metro found it was not viable.
Add to that, the last new rail line in Sydney that can be measured as an entity (and not hidden in gross RailCorp numbers) was Bruce Baird’s Airport Rail Link which achieved insolvency in world record time – 6 months.
The SMH reporters (Americans call such scribbling “stenographic journalism”) also broke every rule in the transport economists’ bible by looking at the segment and not the whole and not the capital assessment parameters. The difference is a capital cost of say $7 billion is really $20+ billion, with extensive sections of unproductive and very expensive sections in deep tunnels.
The finance cost alone requires about 1,034,400 passengers per day, to break-even. (This is based on a standard bankers’ reducing balance calculator. It’s not funny that the most destructive policy-makers in Sydney’s transport history were, all three, bankers.)
Economics gives us a further pointer in the form of “opportunity” or “economic” costs. The alternative investment option was set out in iNSW’s SIS in 2012 – a BRT system until passengers and population numbers grew to viable levels, if they ever did. BRT would have advantages such as flexible and wider routes, variable operational capacity, and potential to grow with autonomous control systems.
BRT costs are known within broad parameters as road and land patterns vary dramatically between cities and corridors. It’s safe to assume the capital cost would have not exceeded $1 billion which would have a commensurate break-even target of 51,700 passengers per day.
Note that that is about 1/20th of the metro requirement. It is lower than current usage and would have had significant PR advantage if the right vehicles and “station” designs were used. (That is the model I wrote for the Northern Beaches for Mike Baird MP in 2008.)
The media should have reported that the NW Metro had set a new world record for insolvency.
Regrettably, that is a story that is being repeated across port, freight, tram, tollroad, regional and fast rail, and airport planning.
This is a generation of economic dunderheads, it seems.
Australia has a new National Government after a period of disorder and confusion. There is an acceptance of the need for a more positive path to improve city and regional sustainability - affordability, congestion, energy and other living costs, and intergenerational equity. That is the framework into which we must fit sensible budgets and projects.
There are problems to be faced in our famous democratic manner, emulating as best we can the hero generation of Sydney reformers from 1900, led by Thomas Hughes and Jack Fitzgerald.
Theirs was the most famous municipal council in the world and they were nation-builders: leveraging up the achievement of Federation into meeting the needs of a 300 per cent increase in Sydney's population.
No government agency now has a successful record of needs analyses, innovation or community engagement. None have succeeded in as complex a situation as Newcastle's recovery from BHP's withdrawal. None know "cheaper, faster and more effective". All are doctrinaire and dominated by ideologues and vested interests, not national and community priorities.
This analyst has worked on the improvement of Sydney, as an economist, historian and political scientist, since 1971. The Suite comprises system, project and democracy ideas.
It is based on
Using meaningless participation as a facade to cover over disagreement merely clogs up conflict, creating a dam of resentment, which spills over in the form of increasing litigation, loss of trust in politicians and administrators, and poor planning outcomes.
THERE HAS BEEN AN UNHOLY ALLIANCE BETWEEN O'FARRELL, BAIRD, BEREJIKLIAN AND THE TURNBULLS, WITH TREASURER/PM MORRISON AND FRYDENBERG, IN STEP STILL YET, AND THEIR MINISTERIAL AND BUREAUCRATIC ACOLYTES - THE "30-MINUTE CLUB" AND BAIRDIJIKLIAN MALENOMICS. THEIR VICIOUS PLAGIARISM WILL CONDEMN THEM TO DANTE'S SUB-BASEMENT.
The way that PM Turnbull developed unConstitutional "gifting" mechanisms (extended by PM Morrison), prepared the forerunner Turnbull/Morrison 2017 and 2018 Budgets, and indoctrinated policy and planning agencies, can be summarised as the "headless chook" model, or as The Australian's editor put it, "Mayor Turnbull".
The height of Turnbull's "ideology & stupidity" was the "unConstitutional" Western Sydney City Deal which included gifting of $100 million to buddy consultants to confirm the decision that The Club had made behind closed doors - with dreadful consequences. (Normal contract negotiation would have seen a price of around 1/190th of that figure!) That Morrison and Treasurer Frydenberg locked into that showed callous disregard for economics, congestion, affordability, environment, community well-being and future generations.
It is now a false truism of the Morrison Government that "it is of Menzies" who was a nation builder who would never have trashed the standards and heritage of past generations. In "The Sickness of Democracy" in October 1942, a dark time indeed, he wrote that:
There can be no doubt that this democracy of ours has been very sick. If and when it can be cured, it has great work to do. But it will never be cured unless we see the past clearly, and recognize frankly that we cannot ignore politics and treat democracy as a mere matter of loaves and fishes and demean the politician, and at the same time sensibly demand that "government of the people by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.
He also wrote that
If we come to life only at election times and go back to indifference or grumbling criticism for the years that intervene, our political judgment, being based on no continuing principle, will be spasmodic, uncertain and inconsistent. We shall take only short views, and the candidate who plays up to them will be elected. Yet, a moment's reflection should tell us that only long‑range thinking and planning can save either democracy or the world.
The Turnbull/Morrison Federal Government has been cross-infected by Berejiklian's latest fad which is to announce everything, any new metro or freight line, any new release area, any time the blunders in her past work are exposed. The Tele and Herald accept that without question, having missed the lack of electoral mandate in the main, early phases and now accepting explicitly-false "promises". The Morrison Government did the same in the 2019 Election process.
Here is Berejiklian’s mandate at the 2011 election (Herald 18 2 10):
Gladys Berejiklian said the metros were doomed if the Coalition won. ''We want to reassure the community - if we do win the next election, our absolute priorities will be to construct the north-west and south-west rail links.''
The journalists came to under-emphasise and even distort the defects of the Bairdijiklian “planning stench”. So do MsP in both Parliaments, thus endorsing malpractices that they would not condone in their own family lives.
The 2019 Budget showed that nothing had been learnt about
The 2018 MYEFO review, post-Turnbull, showed that Treasury has no desire to conduct "budget repair" in this area as it does in others - leaving a crippling mess for coming generations.
There is no equitable and sustainable way to recover the $20 billion cost of the NW-Bankstown metro fiasco, from which the beneficiaries will be developers like the HK MTR; and the victims the 95% of unserviced population growth etc etc etc. The Baird Model is smashed and only the fanatics are proceeding in those anti-Bradfield directions.
The Club took NSW Labor's aspirations and turned them into a $40,000,000,000 subsidy to foreign corporates and their lobbyist parasites.
This website and the two associated sites and two books are about the credibility gulf between both main Party groups and their lobbyist and sponsor obsessions, and journalists in their cheer squads, versus the strong governance and probity standards which were the foundations of our forgotten heroes’ achievements.
The areas of transport dis-advantagement are increasing despite unprecedented fiscal extravagance. Politicians are going in circles, recycling each other's mistakes, fully resistant to remedies and solutions. In election mode, Berejiklian was un-ashamedly deceitful with her continuing Big Lies, for which we need a Scoville-like scale.
The deterioration in governance in NSW started after the departure of Nick Greiner, especially from 2005; and was interrupted by Tony Abbott’s time as PM. It accelerated from 2015 and the creation of Federal/state Bairdijiklian Malenomics, with the deliberate evasion of due diligence protocols. PM Turnbulls cabal even created three sub tabula gifting devices, two delivered through the Greater Sydney Commission which is chaired by Mrs Turnbull. The seeds of destruction were sown.
PM Morrison has allowed the continuance of all of Turnbull’s distortions, including an unprecedented level of plagiarism. Lies at the Federal level have continued, with “congestion busting” being a reflex as well as continuing as deceitful.
Meanwhile the "cost of quality" in projects was rising fast. The NSW Local Government Act lacked scrutiny powers over council decisions which would have curbed the tram furore as well as corrupted blunders in Liverpool, Port Macquarie and Bega Valley among others. This analyst urged the creation of "audit committees" on a corporate model during the exposure stages of that Act. Subsequently, the UK's Localism Act does that through Scrutiny Committees and, in London's case", Scrutiny Inspectors looking over the Mayor's ideas and decisions. My thinking is incorporated in the Creative flowcharts (which are extensive), as follows.
The Act served the Wran-Unsworth and Greiner-Fahey governments but the Carr Government entangled it with developer incursion points and diluted public enquiry obligations. By 2011 it was generally agreed a new Act was needed; but there were important Sydney figures who argued that cleaning-out the incursions would be simpler, faster and more effective than the half-baked fiascos that O'Farrell and Baird pursued.
It is our job above all in politics to tackle the big issues and to explain them, and have the honesty to say to people 'there are no easy solutions here'.
The facts of "waste" and unintended consequences have been established: the new PM has allowed every blunder to overspill the Turnbull Chaos into structural damage to the NSW economy and society. The Sydney CBD and Eastern Suburbs Light Rail has started to creep along its tracks against Berejiklian's claims that it is us who do not understand. The above planning cycle revealed in the download and at https://sydneybetrayals.me/cbd-tram-betrayal/ could not have happened had the City of Sydney and successive State Governments observed the protections inherent in the Pipeline graphic above.
Will the PM and Deputy PM now articulate and pursue the public interest in cleaning-out the Aegean Stables in Martin Place?
Infrastructure should be assessed objectively and rationally on its merits. There is no place for ideology here at all. So if politicians are not being held to account, why would they bother? What is the incentive for them to tell the truth? If you want someone to change, you must persuade them there’s a problem, then you explain the solution.
That was Malcolm Turnbull as new PM - every word was broken in practice. Scott Morrison said he'd be like Menzies but now that he's one-focussed and won't look at other issues. He is not just ignoring Sydney and his own electorate, he is extending barbaric unfairnesses imposed by his Coalition predecessors. He now has Berejiklian saying the same thing as did Baird before his downfall - "crash or crash through". The other option is she'll trip and slide over the cliff edge.
RESULT: Turnbull and Morrison are wrecking major aspects of NSW's economic, social, environmental, tax and funding futures. STOP & LISTEN NOW, please.
Here follow some ideas I have for supporting out communities when I receive compensation for theft of my IP as detailed under "Evils of Plagiarism":
A legitimate expectation of being paid for stolen IP, with a demonstrated value, has behind it a proposed significant donation.
PMs do not seem to care.
Having been through three massive fire events in NSW as well as the Newcastle Earthquake, I produced an adapted model for bushfire safe houses that would be cheaper to build
Sydney was led by Heroes like JD Fitzgerald and Tom Hughes, I am their principal historian and applied the principles in Newcastle. All States & Territories have much to teach us all
The first “world city” to show a planning lead to the others was Sydney. Its leaders of 1900 to 1912, through the great Reform Council, then political commitment to a massive, focussed public works program, lead to Sydney being called the “social laboratory of the world”. Sydney was also in a race with San Francisco and Melbourne to be the “Pacific Entrepot”.
A century later, Sydney’s planning has disintegrated to the extent that massive amounts of money are producing the opposite outcomes to those expected.
Sir Rod Eddington and Nick Greiner gave reasons for a due-diligence based project planning framework. They included:
NSW Lobbies support Berejiklian but have obviously forgotten the other major benefit which is a stable and effective “pipeline” of projects, as against State-imposed (or fascistic) interventions such as forced densification.
The Urban Taskforce throws petrol on spot disputes by endlessly recycling “mainstreets must get used to 20 storey buildings”, with the Greater Sydney Commission’s failed methodology producing a target of 67 high-rises in just one of many suburban mainstreets (where no building now is higher than two storeys).
Not one lobby has developed one successful solution to any of Sydney’s major challenges; and the property lobbies and professions have pushed Part 3A, activation zones and priority precincts against the strictures of sound engagement espoused by Professor Bowditch and the Property Council and Planning Institute when faced with Labor’s “planning stench” (as quoted on this website). The latter and the main media now fully meet Menzies’ definition of “contempt”:
to be a real democrat in a really democratic country is to occupy a position of great dignity and self‑respect, for these qualities are the natural and proper attributes of independent man. To be one of those who mouth the catch‑cries of democracy and stridently clamour for their so called "right" from the cradle to the grave and after it, but at the same time dodge every civic responsibility, is to occupy a position not of dignity but of contempt
That "ideology & stupidity" instead of wisdom and probity dominated Bairdijiklian Malenomics (www.sydneybetrayals.me) was seen in the WS City Deal - who could propose to pay $100,000,000 to pet consultants for a pretend job on an obviously implausible "project" with massive "unintended consequences" (because of clod-headed ignorance) but a think-tank of deluded ingénues. Who could propose to concrete that in but a fully paid-up guild novice - or a co-conspirator! (Who do you think told the Treasury to do so?)
The main indicators of stench are the non-delivery of promised due diligence and local government and planning (“framework”) reforms, and
The Morrison Government is not pausing and re-assessing its predecessor’s grave mistakes. It is concreting them in. Sydney cannot afford that and needs a new Reform Generation.
Are the system of government, the executive apparatus and the melange of media we have capable of delivering that?
"Scumbag" implies a deliberate manipulation of how money is spent; and that is indeed a focus in looking at three ex-bankers who re-organised how NSW and Sydney are "planned".
But importantly, the standards on which judgements are based are traditional, used by the Askin Government's Milton Morris in the mid-1970s, by Ron Christie in 2001, and by Sir Rod Eddington and Nick Greiner about a decade ago.
Smaller, faster and cheaper is their theme; but so profound has been the scumbaggey, I add "more effective", as the bankers have spent most of the budget on very, very few people, on projects of marginal or no viability, and on the never-never - too big, too slow, too late - and mainly ripping up one transit mode or another and putting down a flash new one producing greater cost, lower capacity and more congestion.
Go figure. I know that the old ways are the right ways.
In May ’17 Berejiklian told the National Press Club that she wants "fewer agreements, fewer points of contact between the two levels of government, less red tape, less prescriptive agreements, less overlap and more trust".
Trust? - who!
ReviveBlueMountains’ finding was that the Council was wasting $190 million over the rating cycle; and Baird’s deliberate decision was to permit that continuing, breaching economic and ethical standards in this analyst’s opinion. Something similar though less explicit happened in East Gippsland, Darren Chester MP on the periphery.
Portland, Oregon, showed the world how to use information to guide citizens in recovering from local economic depression. GSC and Smart Cities says they will use metrics to improve decision-making in both government and private sectors. This is not possible in a State where all decisions are political, economically illiterate and inefficient in engineering.
Tom Lewcock, City Manager of Sunnyvale in California, was quoted by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler in Reinventing Government. Lewcock was regarded as a leading reformer in municipal planning in America:
One of the keys in government is to take things that aren't politically acceptable in the normal context and change the context - to create a different way for the decision makers to look at them … the very same issue often turns out to be politically acceptable.
In the right environment, all of the myths about how elected officials behave have come falling down for me. They don't have to be short-range thinkers, they can be long-range thinkers. They don't have to be people who say, "I know this is more important than that but we're going to spend our time on that, because local constituents are on my back”. They don't have to be any of those things.
Politicians seem to not know nowadays what questions to ask before they open their mouths. Professor Judith Sloan in Oct ’16 showed sympathy for generalist Ministers who face complex policy debates:
There was a time governments received advice that was well-researched and reasoned on a broad range of policy topics from outside government. There was a large number of university-based research centres and high-profile academics who were involved in policy debates. These days, most academic economists are narrowly focused and deliberately shy away from any involvement in public policy debate. Their strong incentives are to publish in prestigious international journals and to keep their heads down.
We are worse off for the competition of ideas being so much weaker. The debate is dominated by a small number of well-funded outfits undertaking pseudo-research and peddling the case for higher taxes and spending and more regulation.
News and Fairfax have abandoned such logic even though they had espoused them under better editors and correspondents. GSC said they'd be "metrics based", but in meekly succumbing to Berejiklian's manipulations, they have destroyed the credibility of evidentiary and analytical integrity, contra Christie, Eddington and me.
In 2012 iNSW and iA started to really stuff-up strategic studies and I had had enough of Mike Baird and plagiarism and broken promises. I started to look at every planning situation to see what I could do and that became “Save Sydney”. It is now a massive trove of IP, with worthy ideas for better ways forward, and I am going to promote its persona. (The elections would lead a sensible PM to a Damascus moment.)
I work back from outcomes to evidence then forwards. That produces radically different results to ideological, simplistic let’s-do-that snap judgements by people with inadequate educations, experience and nous, and sometimes lunatic inclinations
The first produces successful reform as in Newcastle. The latter, waste and stupidity on historically absurd scales as with the Baird/Berejiklian/Turnbulls cabal's.
I have experienced grievous plagiarism while watching political cheats allocating $100 million to pet consultants for a small, corrupt camouflage exercise. It is time to bring the backroom manipulators to account.
That’s the way it is. I’m still with Menzies' ethics (shared by every PM up to Turnbull) and Eddington, Christie and Gordon Messiter – the Feds and NSW are looking at a credibility precipice, also facing tsunamis of moral condemnation arising from plagiarism.
Lead urban scholar in Sydney University 1971-78 to M Ec - urban politics, economics and governance (Sydney and Chicago etc). In Merit List of 9 out of 10 courses, first or second in 7, M Ec at High Distinction level.
Manager Planning Coordination and later Executive Director Planning & Projects in NSW Transport
General Manager in NSW Commercial Services
Leader of reform of the Electricity Commission and AGL
Reforming General Manager of Newcastle City Council on the closure of steelmaking
Executive Business Analyst in Council on the Cost of Government
Policy Manager in State Development
Lead consultant Rockdale 2020+ - new pier, marina, pool, international hotel and F6 option.
Author of “Creative Reconstruction of NSW Local Governance”, “Case to Pause the Metros”, ReviveBlueMountains (main citizen-led UK-style 360o regional study in Australia), “Greater Sydney from the Centre”, “Revitalise Sydney”, “Myths about Value Capture”, “Faux Amalgamations”, and “Eddington Bedrock: from Christie to Greiner to Gibbons”.
This work is part of a broader “Saving Sydney” suite which was offered to then Premier Baird and PM in Dec ’15, Jan ’16 and Nov ’16; and to Premier-elect Berejiklian and PM Turnbull in Jan ’17, and regularly, and PM Morrison in Sept '18 and Treasurer Frydenberg in Dec '18 (MYEFO), as the transport/land use planning, local government, community disruption, port and financing/taxation crises escalated. All were mute and recused, all disinterested in Menzies morality.
Received Premier's must-dos,
now how do we do it!