Recalling & Restoring Sydney's Great Reform Generation


The Federal Government has lost its way

There is a lot of material on these websites about the adverse consequences of the Bairdijiklian / Turnbull / Morrison conflagration

  • growing congestion and living costs
  • rising air quality problems and in-built energy waste
  • higher cost than options - to a crippling extent
  • higher risks - ditto
  • later results if ever - there are too many Mother Hubbards across the map
  • less effective in terms of real needs e.g. housing supply in axes Vs greiner's medium-density, Beaches Peninsula loses character Vs Gibbons' BRT
  • less integrated with the great legacy systems that Sir Thomas Hughes and his "improvement generation" gave us e.g. Nancy-Bird Airport gets worse transit in the world Vs Greiner/Gibbons' best transit in the world - faster and at l.

The Federal Government's Budget is in a mess, with the $100 billion Masquerade and the inveiglement of the Governor of the Reserve Bank - just because the Treasurer could not address my criticisms.

The coming MYEFO will determine the value of the Morrison/Frydenberg compact - it will have NONE if Josh again rejects "budget repair".


It's not that Trump is a paragon of leadership but his is a light on the hypocrisy that characterises post-Menzies Australia.

We've seen the PM ignore fire chiefs and me on the pending bushfire infernos.  We've had trouble believing the Deputy PM insults firefighters and farmers over the obviously rising bushfire risk - him dumping on "greenies" (who are broadly representative in the country and urban fringes). 

We've seen the Treasurer call on over-60s to retrain and be re-employed - what planet did that come from?  We've seen the same Treasurer compromise the Governor of the Reserve Bank just because he, Josh, could not counter my MYEFO counter-case.

The Treasurer and his CEO were requested to provide a reconciliation of the line items under the $100 billion, against my assessment it was 2/3 short.  PM Morrison shifted out the Treasury CEO with a big promotion (for ...?) and no one replied. He did the same for Turnbull's appointee in the Infrastructure agency - both are now in position to cause maximum damage to NSW.  Media comment now is that Morrison has abandoned all mores and philosophies more than 3 years old, so no more cant about Menzies, Howard or Abbott.

The PM handed out shekels for stock feed subsidies without knowing the quantum was insulting and increased stress with the withdrawal of hope.  He gave almost free water to South Australian water thieves without having a cooee of how Victorian and especially NSW farmers felt about being smashed in the face, with referred increases in feed costs.

Without realising that Vic farmers on one side of the Border have water but NSW - supposedly Scotty’s people - have none.  “Have we elected bombastic morons?  Ley acted that way", say the Riverina farmers.

The nation is rudderless.  We see reorganisations of agencies and changing personnel without understanding that loss of leadership is self-protective:  it reduces surveillance inside and outside, reduces performance measurement and reporting, takes funding out of the sterilising sunlight, and recruits, and grooms and neutralises harbingers of journalistic insight.

The linked set of three websites, many published op-eds and Letters, an increasing number of published letters,  and Facebook page are the public expressions of a major “Save Sydney” campaign, which has three main objectives:

  1. Regain leadership in Sydney, a quality that we led the world in and now have none left in government, especially since 2015 – as we did it before, why cannot we do it again?
  2. Restore sovereignty, which our forebears fought to protect but which our witless politicians have sold-off to Hong Kong (while paying subsidies to HK instead of the other way) – it is not too late to halt the predations and revive “engineering and economics” so as to ensure intergenerational sustainability
  3. Redress IP thievery by Federal and NSW politicians and agencies, as their cruelty and unfairness are both despicable and hidden – so here comes the disinfecting light.

This website and www.sydneybetrayals.me contain broad aspect and specific case studies of how far Australian and Sydney governance has declined against the standards set by past leaders.  

www.thinkinglogicallogistics.info shows the stagnation and decay in a major sector of the economy - freight, ports and logistics.

No Party or masthead has reason to be proud of their contributions. The evidence is that the Party Rooms are failing to envelope the PM with better ideas and to energise the Deputy PM from his pasture.  No one seems to understand and/or be interested in "economics and engineering".

The traditional roles of "government" are to protect and nourish each and every community in the country and world.

The psychology of leaders - especially Trump and Morrison - are almost as important as were Chamberlain's and Hitler's in 1938.  They deviate from norm - their deviances (as explained under CRUELTY & DECEIT), through such pathways:

  • manipulation of the "rule of law" by singular individuals and/or fascistic/totalitarian regimes
  • stage-managed "engagement", what ResPublica calls "meaningless participation"
  • replacement of meritocracy by nepotism and scumbaggery, add the stupid syndrome - Dunning-Kruger
  • suppression of innovation and anal insistence on silo/ego thought-bubbles
  • injection of foreign mercantile and political interests
  • suppression of the media whether through ownership or self-censorship ("identification" and fear).

But could the deviances come to be so severe that, in a proud country, a great multi-cultural nation, governments

  1. steal a citizen's rights and ability to protect family and society 
  2. dishonour its heroes, currently Tim Fischer
  3. knowingly

  • hurt children in slavery and misery
  • deny care to hurt sporting heroes and those afflicted by brain cancer, as well as the emerging phenomenon of female indigenous NRL teams
  • deny support to families in firepaths and storm zones.

The last point has exploded with revelations that PM Morrison has refused (late 2019) to meet with emergency services leaders to discuss the practicalities of urgently ramping-up bushfire rescue and recovery equipment.  That is added to his refusal to discuss bushfire path housing safety.

What does that say of "leadership"?

The eminent journalist Peter Hartcher has described Morrison's lack of bushfire rationale as:

  • It's okay to discuss fires and suffering, but not causes and solutions. Or, resuming the military metaphor, it's okay to talk about the enemy's weapons and your own casualties, but not military strategy.
  • As PM Scott Morrison puts it: "There is a time and a place to debate, you know, controversial issues and important issues. Right now, it's important to focus on the needs of Australians who need our help. They need our support."
  • This is a nonsense because it's a false binary. Of course it's necessary to focus on the needs of people suffering and in need of support. It's also necessary to make sure you have the right strategy and tactics in addressing the phenomena causing the suffering.

The incoming Coalition leaders in NSW, O'Farrell, and Turnbull in Canberra, respectively in 2011 and 2015, both promised to vigorously listen to the best people and implement "innovation".  Both wilted under the pressures of lobbies and factions;  producing an increasing divergence of community outcomes from promised outcomes.  That is, "intergenerational equity" has been sacrificed to internal corporate values.

Denial of accountability + studied ignorance + bureaucratic adhesion (Dr Stephen Kennedy, Turnbull's special advisor whom Morrison has appointed to head Treasury) feature in the non-responses of Federal and NSW Parliamentarians, to logical and informed criticism (see the email and download at https://sydneyimprovementpolitics.com/save-sydney-the-guide) - "democracy is dead" when our elected and un-elected representatives recuse themselves from reality and remain stuck in a lobby-driven obsession.  (Similarly Berejiklian has filled every sentinel post with acolytes and now has no sound advice nor ability to correct her invariable blundering.)

THAT IS THE CHALLENGE HERE - TO REVERSE THE ROTTEN STATE OF THE NATION AND RESTORE MORALITY, VITALITY, CARING AND PROSPERITY.  The SMH of 29 October '18 carried a story that is taken apart under "Bairdijiklian Big Lies" - it casts the Federal and NSW Governments, the media, the lobbies and the Parties in a sordid light.

A dominant theme is that President Trump and PMs Turnbull and Morrison share three entirely negative characteristics, so it's no wonder they are in tune:

  1. When questioned about their opinions or decisions, they deny history, say they're focussing inwards, and act as though they are what Trump says, "very stable geniuses"
  2. They bewilder, enrapture and hypnotise their Cabinets so that they walk onto the gangplank before they realise there are sharks in the water, then they try to pretend they are not responsible - but there is no Nuremberg defence in our national crises
  3. They think that economics is a dark mystery shrouded in witches' spells, which might well be true in Australia but not in Washington or New York with their vigorous mastheads.


Cruelty is perceived to be an outcome of current government cultures.  Politicians tell obvious lies, utter meaningless mantras and avoid addressing reality.   Are the governments intrinsically malevolent?  or are they imbalanced between a silent majority and warlike cabals?

Valuation tools can be applied to, say, direct and indirect, private and public, costs, of motor vehicle accidents. Thorough metropolitan plans such as Eddington's in London do the same on a bigger scale.

Not in Sydney! The Greater Sydney Commission says it's committed to metrics, but hasn't even made an effort to compare the costs and benefits of transit options, housing patterns (suburban Vs forced densification), or scenario-setting such as in a Future Directions report in 1993.

The chart under the Cruelty tab  lists 26 ideas, proposals and projects, in two groups:

  • blunders, the "acts of commission"
  • missed opportunities, the "acts of omission" ("opportunity costs and benefits").

The divergence in the directional arrows gives an impression of the costs of blunders + the missed opportunities = a catastrophe for NSW.

All are products of a Broken Democracy that is dominated by lobbies and corporates and hidden by miscreants and scoundrels.

All aspects are subjective, but professional as evidenced by the efforts made under "Save Sydney". It is an intergenerational disgrace that capricious, "ideology and stupidity", modes dominate the Canberra and Sydney bubbles so prodigiously, and that cognitive reasoning and genuine engagement are verboten.

~ No one can take President Trump too seriously, but the theory can hardly be improved ~

                                                           shambolic.sydney at gmail com


Reform rejections & bastardisation imperil frydenberg

The PM wants to add stimulus to an economy that was mis-described

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.

Not viable?  

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.

I was the very first Policy Analyst in the Ministry of Transport's 1932-77 history. I was arguably over-qualified and happily frantically busy.   My department head had served in the Airforce and had an Economics certificate.  The legendary Peter Cox had served in the Army and was a clerk in Motor Transport.  Gordon Messiter was an electrical and traffic engineer who had been head of Land Transport in Canberra.  We were a small and efficient team with more expertise and commonsense than the whole superstructures of Morrison's and Berejiklian's Governments - shame!


A positive path to the future ...

Australia had 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.

The "Save Sydney" Suite of IP

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

  1. Solid empiricism and quality analyses
  2. Famous sense of innovation and cost-effectiveness of solutions
  3. Practicality of implementation paths
  4. Strong engagement

NSW Planning Minister - past & future: Dr Rob Stokes:

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. 

That was in his PhD thesis.  Naturally, he became Planning Minister because he was Premier Baird's surfing buddy.  In office he contradicted every manta he espoused in uni.  He has returned under Berejiklian, making the same insipid statement but this time he uses an UTS don to do the housing targets - sidelining the GSC which now resides in Berejiklian's Kremlin NSW Inc silo


Break the Cycle



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

  • correcting past mistakes
  • understanding problems better
  • being smarter at solutions
  • caring, not pretending to care, about communities and individuals' rights.

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.

Professor Matt A Crenson of Johns Hopkins has reviewed much of the Australian infrastructure situation and, of course, all responsibility is the site's author's:

  • There's been much talk of an infrastructure program before and during the Trump administration, but nothing substantive has emerged -- possibly because it's the one program that has virtually universal support.  If he embraced it, Trump would do so with the support of Democrats, and they would be able to take credit along with him.  

  • Morrison has an infrastructure program on which he's taken some steps but it appears that no one would want to take credit for it. 

Strengthening The Pipleline: State & community confidence

the 1980 Environmental Planning & Assessment Act handled community engagement well

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.

Rubbish infrastructure: failed due diligence

Trams as a transit killer (pdf)


PM Scott Morrison's challenge

PM Turnbull:

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?


More Turnbull:

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":

Save the Children

Remembering Forgotten Heroes

Bushfire Safe Housing

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.

Bushfire Safe Housing

Remembering Forgotten Heroes

Bushfire Safe Housing

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

Remembering Forgotten Heroes

Remembering Forgotten Heroes

Remembering Forgotten Heroes

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

Baird to Berejiklian to Turnbull to Morrison - now to repair and reform?

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:

  • Lower cost items often have the highest returns
  • Non-Big Ticket items are less risky and faster to deliver, also increasing returns
  • There are no one-size-fits-all “solutions”, and non-build, pricing, evidence-based, alternative technology, innovation and scale matched to need can be achieved to the benefit of communities and networks.

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 

  • waste of over $40 billion especially on Metros which constitute non-remunerative subsidies to foreign corporates and local lobbies
  • poor engineering with high escalation and externality costs, with BIG LIES about the costs of WestConnex, trams and Metros
  • delays of 10 years and more in delivering ANY projects let along the right ones, most especially in the CBD-Parramatta and Northern Beaches corridors
  • “unintended consequences” of monumental dimensions to the viability of all three NSW ports, Inland Rail, outer growth areas, Illawarra and South West commuting, coal export flows, Parramatta CBD and critical congestion zones (including the PM’s electorate’s St George and Sutherland suburbs)
  • multiple resident action groups through suburban centres and along major road and metro corridors, with a collapse of project pipelines through politicking and reduced targets
  • poor returns to superannuation, Chinese and Japanese investors through poor route selection and pre-engineering, and wrong technologies
  • reduced capacity in major urban corridors, at massive cost and disruption, through the replacement of one mode with another without logic, and
  • crippling penalties on future generations – embedded congestion, high living costs and unhealthy neighbourhoods, and a “rescue” financial burden once the Bairdijiklian malfeasances are fully revealed.

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?

Scumbaggery & Crypto-Fascism

"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!

Lobbies used to say "evidence-based" before they became cowardice-based

A summary of reasons to rid NSW of GSC

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.

Plagiarism, stupidity, destruction of public ethics - why I'm doing this

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.

ex-PM Turnbull left a shambles, NSW needs a "Rescue Plan"

Experts Vs inexpert politicians & political cadres

Robert Gibbons


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.

Just received the Premier's latest must-dos, now how do we do it!