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iA was supposed to fix the mess BUT it made the mess worse

The deterioration in "due diligence", also known as "Treasury Regs", has been documented throughout this website and at https://sydneybetrayals.me/morrisons-faux-bubbles/ and nearby.  It started under PM Howard in the 1990s and accelerated under Labor in NSW from 2006 and Federally from 2015 under PM Turnbull and his Motley Crew.


No masthead has analysed and reported on this trend.  The ABC's Stateline and Four Corners did major exposes of Labor's Metromania in 2009, but Stateline was rubbed out and Four Corners now eschews the topic.

It is time journos realised the truth

  

These notes complement other pages on this website e.g. Josh’s woes. At the foot is a position statement from 14 Nov '17 which was emailed to NSW and Federal Parliamentarians, to show how much time and money have been wasted due to silent ignorance.


Infrastructure Australia was set up in 2008 to conduct health checks on Australian cities after two previous periods of national reform (Uren and Howe); but there is a growing realisation that city assets are ageing and too inflexible and money is being wasted on replacing viable systems and not funding “missing links”. 


There were to be comparisons with trends against international exemplars, an overall plan, asset appraisals, investment rules, and guided grants and subsidies. It was chaired by a city transformational leader, Sir Rod Eddington. It lived in a political context and former PM Tony Abbott attacked its sponsoring Minister’s first decision round as over-political and with some 25 illegitimate projects. 


On Feb 22, 2011 then PM Abbott gave a major speech in Perth which included the following words:


  • In 2008, infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese said that all infrastructure decision making would be based on rigorous cost/benefit analysis to ensure the highest economic and social benefits to the nation over the long term”.
  • He also declared that the government had a “commitment to transparency at all stages ...” and that infrastructure Australia would routinely ... ensure that “value for taxpayers' dollars” was achieved. Only a year later, the government failed to release cost/benefit analyses for any of the 15 big projects selected for funding in the 2009 Budget. Some of them were not even on Infrastructure Australia’s priority list. . 


A subsequent National Audit Office report found that before Infrastructure Australia had come to any conclusions about the 28 “pipeline” projects that it had identified, the government had already announced funding for 10 of them.


The Board composition was always questionable. Mixing proponents and inspectors within a closed room is neither a good idea nor necessary: there was a strong integrative non-statutory committee in NSW from about 1974called CUMPTAC, URTAC and then TRANSAC within the Ministry of Transport. 


It had no lobbyists or other urgers near it but met with proponents in open manner when necessary (such as TNT and Brambles as well as the TWU). TRANSAC was gone by 1995 when Bruce Baird MP suggested its return. 


One prominent Australian sat on the board of Infrastructure Australia, which has to assess State proposals, and on the board of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, which pushes States and Federal governments in various directions, and in particular supported the CBD Metro that was savaged by iA, and on Treasury and on Moorebank (supplicant and debtor to Treasury, owned by Feds). 


The contrary directions that the NSW Government is moving in versus the Federal concern over reducing congestion suggests this situation might re-occur in which case there would be a conflict, ceteris paribus.


Turnbull removed that conflict, against Albanese’s objections, after this analyst pointed out a cascade of such conflicts – with no attribution or payment by Turnbull. He left the head of the Federal Department on the Infra Partnerships Aust Board, wrongly, so that when he removed Mrdak from DIRD, we had both the past and current heads on the board at the same time. I am most unimpressed that the former head of iA, Sir Rod Eddington, is now IPA’s chief safecracker.


Infrastructure Australia has an important role to play but it has made serious errors since Sir Rod Eddington’s departure in 2014 – apparently then in appeasement of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia and the NSW Premier, with the PM supporting the WestConnex, Metro and tram ideas without apparently being briefed on process defects including non-consideration of options.


Reform ideas have been prepared by a correspondent to John Menadue’s blog, by Professor Derek Scrafton and by me – but iA is steadfastly isolationist.


iA’s recent update to its Priority List was greeted by inexpert journalists but the usual defects remained – 


  1. no SWOT or critical issues list
  2. no better infrastructure plans for WS airport, Inland Rail, ports and logistics systems (except for local improvements), or the failure of the “Baird Model” and of value capture. It went fishing on Moorebank – “issue identification and options development – 0 – 5 years”, when that is simply running from reality
  3. no meaningful mention of critical challenges including waste (iA, Grattan and me), port insufficiencies and congestion, and no mention at all of migration, Berejiklian’s clustermucks at Rozelle and with the Metro – in fact, iA’s text is ingenious (none of the sentences is true):


  • The project’s major benefits will be for public transport users through travel-time savings and reliability improvements. New metro stations will improve accessibility to existing suburbs and precincts.  The project will contribute to reducing rail and road congestion and enable housing and employment growth.


When the Greater Sydney Commission was being protected by Turnbull through a concocted “30-Minute” “cloak of invisibility”, one of my major criticisms was lack of proper options- and scenario-testing. iA stole that idea and published a further cloak, the Sydney “Future Cities Paper”. Its conclusions were based on defective assumptions, as published at the time:

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City Deals are now mainstream, starting with Turnbull’s and Baird’s betrayals of the Illawarra, SW and W Sydney, the Aerotropolis and re-balancing of population to reduce congestion – the greatest act of stupidity and corruption of due process in Australian history, something iA is totally blind to.


As Professor Richard Tomlinson said in response to the PM’s/Baird’s announcement:


  • This is an extraordinary assertion of power over planning for, and infrastructure investment in, cities. It has no constitutional foundation. Australia City Deals are to be based on federal and state/territory partnerships to “drive national priorities tailored to local needs”. So, at the local level, national priorities prevail. 


  • The federal government knows best. In the UK, City Deals are premised on “devolution” and the creation of metropolitan governments. Deals are negotiated with local and metropolitan governments and business leaders, with reference to civil society as well. Metropolitan governments are seen as desirable because it is believed the economic growth of cities is best promoted by city leadership.


That topic is the third pamphlet in the “Save Sydney” trilogy.


Greiner’s iNSW produced First Things First in October 2012. That February, Infrastructure Australia (supported by iNSW) had questioned


  • whether it was worth spending $8.5 billion on the line to Sydney's north west suburbs, and lamenting a lack of detail about the plan. The criticism, released yesterday by the state government, mirrors arguments made internally by Barry O'Farrell's advisory body, Infrastructure NSW.
  • The chief executive of Infrastructure Australia... expressed support for focusing on transport links around Parramatta. He added he had been given no information on how the state government planned to bring trains to the city from the north west when train paths into the city were almost full. ''We can't see what happens at Chatswood,'' Mr Deegan told the Herald....
  • The Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, however, rejected Mr Deegan's criticism. She said the government had put together a 2200-page environmental impact statement and a ''detailed'' submission to Infrastructure Australia of more than 70 pages.


Whatever the respective merits of argument in the paper warfare were, that represented a critical crack in NSW’s planning credibility. iNSW’s Board was full of heavy-hitters and it produced very interesting material that, in a mature democracy, would have produced a signature debate. There were also contentious elements. That same month the Daily Telegraph published 


"Liberal bromance" between BOF/Baird/Berejiklian and Greiner has finished”

[Greiner/iNSW suggested the NW should be busways until patronage justified heavy investment (the result of repeated Treasury assessments); also that the 2nd Crossing could be deferredand George St trams stopped. [The metromaniacs ruled: BOF sided with Gladys and smirked when Greiner announced his departure from the iNSW chair.] 

  • "... submissions to Berejiklian's draft transport masterplan closed on Friday but Transport for NSW is not even expected to make those submissions public. One, from a former head of planning at the transport department Robert Gibbons, released to The Daily Telegraph, suggests a Hurstville to Strathfield train line could take pressure off a second Harbour rail crossing and a Maldon-Dombarton rail line could service Port Kembla in terms of freight and take the pressure off traffic around Port Botany.
  • Gibbons argues both the transport masterplan and the State Infrastructure Strategy have failed to properly take into account those two projects, which when last assessed would cost about $1 billion each.
  • A spokesman for Transport for NSW did not give a commitment to release the submissions. "Transport for NSW will collate his latest feedback and make a decision on the most appropriate way to present all of this information with the final masterplan."
  • But Gibbons' submission raises the very real question - could we have just got two massive transport plans but still not got it right - and still have hardly any money to pay for any of it? 


That anal attitude to community views, that poisonous culture of self-interest as Kennett described it in 2010,  started in the 1980s according to former Directors-General Bruce Loder and Richard Smyth, with further degradation through the de-skilling of senior executive ranks and politicisation of ministerial officers (with access to lobbies), this according to the venerable Gerry Gleeson and others. 


At the time, these notes were also circulated:

  

It was observed that:


  1. iA is sufficiently up-to-date to include unannounced City Deal contents (it has twice written to this analyst saying “iA is not involved in planning Western Sydney”) but has left in the Parramatta Road BRT that was technically deficient and dumped by Berejiklian in her obsessive pursuit of the West Metro
  2. iA has included options that are sub-standard and excluded better options – neither independent nor professional
  3. iA excluded logistics on the grounds of practical measurement but that is incorrect and denies the significance of mercantile survival/prosperity and E/W employment re-balancing. iA’s words are strategically incorrect as Sydney is fragile in mercantile continuum terms, employment in Western Sydney and the Central West of the State are at stake, and logistics requires – demands – special treatment (which TfNSW has never understood, see this analyst’s Thinking Logical Logistics II). As iA says in another part of the same document, with its usual schizophrenic duality:
  4. Australia’s containerised freight task is projected to (increase) by 165% by 2031, with cities being a primary location for this growth. This will have implications for our urban freight networks…which will impact the future structure of our cities.
  5. Another example is hypocritical also as iA’s practical work decries regional realities:
  6. The opportunity exists to ease the pressure on our larger cities by growing the populations of the smaller ones. Delivering these solutions will require us to reform how we plan and govern our cities.
  7. iA neither understands nor values political commonsense and proper community engagement as the principal driver of successful cities.


Baird’s and Berejiklian’s port privatisation agenda from 2013 corrupted competition principles; while the Turnbull Government’s “initiatives” have had disastrous “unintended consequences”. As in other crises, they then refused to amend and correct their mistakes which will have unacceptable levels of intergenerational costs. They are rushing to cement the path, imperilling productive capacity at all three of NSW’s major ports in a perverted attempt to protect owners’ interests at Port Botany and Moorebank. 


Another of Turnbull's cloaks was the iA Calfas Panel which endorsed social contracts in theory and smashed them in reality through monopoly protections and community interventions of heavy trucks and airport operations.  GSC endorsed it just as the Panel endorsed City Deals - a nice little nasty.  (See the file below.)


Not one agency has done the analysis that is required to re-plan Sydney’s thin port capacities to cover an end-demand some three times the total of their potentials. The two-thirds will be coming from Parkes. A world-class IMT operation is needed in or near Eastern Creek (my argument for 18 years). The economics of Inland Rail require full integration across cities and regions – it faces enough trouble ‘n’ strife without having Kembla and Newcastle sterilised.


There is no MSB authority that prepares proper plans and reports-back on performance data: TfNSW does not do that and it is definitely not independent of Ministerial capriciousness. It has demonstrated its engineering incompetence across the full spectrum of modes and issues.


The first full flowering was Bruce Baird's Integrated Transport Strategy in 1995 with its “Ghost Train” to KSA and ideology-driven freeways. Its tram, albeit a dysfunctional compromise, was saved by Federal Labor's Brian Howe! 


iNSW was the promised repair. This dispute was the end of Cartwight’s hopes and the effective invalidation of iNSW as not once since have they challenged Berejiklian’s policy imperatives. This was simultaneous with the takeover of previously independent professional bodies by metro-and-crane cheerleaders, which Turnbull exploited, so that lobbies, professions and apparatchiks shared the same flow of Treasury gold coins.


Bah humbug!


This file is about as devastating as any critique of a multi-agency and tri-governmental industry sector  you'll get - and of course it was totally ignored by Those Whom Be Terminated.

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Position Statement (Nov '17):

Verbatim


(Submitted to promote discussion. Contents including suggestions are © 

and not to be used for governmental or political uses) 


Since the last send, SNAFU has continued:


  • Premier Berejiklian made a capricious change to the WestConnex setup which will have profound credibility effects which she probably didn’t realise at the time (below) – what BOF called “back-of-the-envelope” promises, or “political whims of a backroom power broker”
  • Her hand was forced because WestConnex’s appalling lack of pre-planning saw the only contractor for the Tempe Spaghetti walk away - having learnt nothing, it seems, from iA, Auditor-General and Grattan Institute reports on how poor processes caused massive cost overruns and community anger. 
  • The deadline for the result of sweetening calls on the Transurban bid for WestConnex closed yesterday so we’ll see what further excitement there’ll be, but you can be sure the usual fix is in, cost increases
  • he added a few more $ billions to the unfunded promises list, this time an explicit subsidy for hotel and apartment developers (most of the $70 billions is in “hide in plain sight” subsidies for Hong Kong interests), meaning that the 2/3 underfunding of Regional promises slipped further down the totem pole
  • The preliminary geotech results for the uber-tunnel from Rozelle to Allambie Heights came in, the cost being a mere $77 million! That’s apart from the fact it’s unnecessary as were the $60 million poles and wires consultants which Baird said were not needed – but does she pay for quality ideas that save money, of course not
  • Chris Stone is set to laud the “government’s achievements and lift Gladys’ profile” after Baird wasted money on amalgamations ads which tried to deceive communities to no effect and $17 million was spent to “re-badge” TfNSW. Berejiklian told the world that she would not back down (see below re the ghost of Kennett), after Sean Nicholls remembered in the Herald that her reason for being there was that “There was much to "refresh", chiefly the perception that the government under Baird's crash or crash through approach had grown supremely arrogant”.
  • The GSC Chief Commissioner Lucy Turnbull added to her praise of WestConnex with a 40-year-away vision, shared with the PMO and Assistant Cities Minister Taylor, of a “30-Minute City” around “Three Cities” without any budget, risk assessment and critical issues matrix, and especially no assessment of options (she had been informed that Gladys’ similar approach has cost some $30 billion in “waste”). She “won’t let the dust grow”. Moreover that vision came from the PM’s urban team which with GSC and TfNSW (the “30-Minute Team”) are smothering the current calamitous reality* with ideological puff
  • This was after the same Sean revealed that “More than two-thirds of people believe Sydney is full and property development should be pushed to the fringes, new polling shows, amid simmering tensions within communities and the Berejiklian government over the issue. With plans for hundreds of thousands of apartments in the city's "priority precincts" over the next 20 years, the ReachTel poll ... shows 66.4 per cent of NSW residents oppose more development in existing areas to accommodate a bigger population”. That adds to the political joy of GSC’s target for wee Campsie of 67 high-rises to add to its current nil (none)
  • This was out of whack with past Federal “leadership” corrections of State misbehaviour in 1949 over the Snowy, under Tom Uren and Brian Howe under Whitlam and Hawke/Keating, and under Sir Ron Eddington and Minister Albanese against the “planning stench” and “Metro fiasco” (BOF) of Iemma/Rees. 
  • Gladys added bullet trains in the best tradition of Pat Hills who stepped out of a plane in 1978 and said “we will have trolley buses”, which didn’t happen after MOT conducted an independent assessment – which is well overdue for trams, the last having been done under Carl Scully
  • How will NSW Coalition MsP feel about facing questions about probity, value for money, capacity and the like with WestConnex being out of control; while the then transport person who helped Gladys with the Master Plan in 2012 that was derided by Andrew Clennell and Joe Hildebrand now sets rules for special projects (metros, connexes and trams, apartments and ports etc) and later approves them for the Government, is also on the body that pushes for privatised projects (IPA), on iNSW which supposedly checks projects, and on GSC which sets land use around and on special projects. In other words, with other iNSW and other memberships, how can the Coalition go to the next election with credibility? Maybe it can but better to clean out the stables now, mais non?
  • The Federal sphere is obsessed with citizenship matters but the denial of the PM’s urban promises and lack of adherence to iA standards continue unabated, threatening the Fed election (from August ’18) and State election in 3/’19. The agencies “in the club” are not accountable and don’t seem to care. Bankstown and WestConnex are off the rails but Berejiklian charges on with untested, illegitimate thought bubbles, worsening community cynicism in Coalition heartlands


* The mess looks like this, all without an electoral mandate. Godzilla could not do worse 

  1. WestConnex has had another change in route, needs a new Business Case under Treasury rules and the Auditor General is going to do a second review, after the Government failed to understand Infrastructure Australia’s, SGS Economics & Planning’s and the Grattan Institute’s criticisms, or that the benefit/cost ratio is less than 0.7 which means the project is a dud 
  2. Who knows what it’s going to cost; and even then it will be full by about 2031. 
  3. 20,000 vehicles a day will be dumped on or near the Anzac Bridge and the Government chokes on the thought of solving that problem through this analyst’s copyright Barangaroo Expressnet
  4. if iA and iNSW allow this through without a new Business Case, that will destroy their credibility after their earlier failures. If they proceed, the reality of an original benefit/cost ratio of 0.7, the illicit banning of transit options (contrary to the PM’s promises) and the effects of deletions on southern places will erupt as NSW again redacts (say) 110 key financial data as they did for the Bankstown Metro conspiracy. Either way, the unintended consequence of Berejiklian’s move on WestConnex/F6 will be political controversy in the lead-up to the Federal and State elections
  5. The Premier is pushing on with her metro obsessions and has wiped Ron Christie and Nick Greiner off the map, after all, they wanted to save money, get better results and do it all faster, how silly they were 
  6. Gladys Knows Best – except that she has forgotten to tell us how much current and future generations will have to pay for her two heavy rail blunders, the small one in Newcastle and the seriously big one in the Sydney Bradfield system 
  7. Note that no metro is running yet but the RailCorp one, the Anzac Metro, based on Christie (2001 indeed) would have been, had not the Iemma metromaniacs cancelled it. That would have been useful in taking buses and some cars off Victoria and Parramatta Roads, the CBD, Oxford St and Anzac Parade – and after all that including Barry Garnham’s death and the delay, the metromaniacs are thinking of bringing it back! 
  8. The Bankstown Metro socialises the costs and privatises the revenues (to the Chinese metro operator!) so the public is getting a world-record return of 0 (or nought). Big-ticket long-range metros get automatic monopoly under the lobby-driven GSC and TfNSW regime while “BRT” cannot even be mentioned in this Government’s doctrinal utterances. Even then the axial metro will provide services to just 1 to 4% of Sydney’s growth over just 15 years – that generation will be scrabbling around for solutions to its toy trains’ low capacity and inability to smash new roads through suburbs
  9. A couple of local planning exercises went seriously awry under Infrastructure Australia including 
  10. Green Square (they added a tram to two full stations and a new metro station – all pointing the wrong way!); 
  11. The Bays where Urban Growth wrecked transport approaches and froze development for 7 years so as to hide its embarrassment (as along Anzac Pde and Parramatta Road). That stymied the Prime Minister’s and Mike Baird’s plans for “the most exciting urban redevelopment site in the world” and eliminates the part solution to 20,000 extra cars dumped each day near or on the Anzac Bridge traffic sewer and sterilisation of 16,000 housing units and the iconic The Fireworks tower; with Berejiklian being incapable of dealing with the only supplier (this writer) ; and 
  12. Parramatta where a key rail link was cancelled for petty political reasons, the City Council’s rail and tram plans (and the $100 million feasibility study for the Liverpool to Parra transitway) were substantially wasted, and the adopted scheme came out of the politicians’ back pocket instead of out of a City Plan. The Greater Sydney Commission has to turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse, and Greiner said the metros are “all a bit arse-about”
  13. There are four tramways under construction, three damaging trees and houses, pubs and parks, the other urban quality – and all much, much dearer than busways would be 
  14. Not one was properly legitimised despite receiving Federal money. Modern buses use no carbon fuels and run on batteries in traffic, on arrival and on departure and have much lower perway and vehicle costs; but of course neither Clover nor Gladys want to know that
  15. trams (with the highest embedded energy cost of all modes) have some sort of magic grip on the transport romantics in governments and councils, not least Sydney and Waverley.
  16. Gladys Berejiklian, Dominic Perrottet, Andrew Constance and Anthony Roberts cannot hear, see or feel (unwise monkeys analogy) Eddington Bedrock which is RG’s alternative transport plan, based on Christie, Greiner, Messiter and other successful reformers as opposed to repeatedly-failing metromaniacs. One example is this writer’s world-class solution for CBD and innerwest congestion and transit improvements, some seen above (opinion came from peer reviews).
  17. Labor was tossed out in 2011 and the Coalition is now facing the results of July ’12’s reversal of election promises. Two quotes will give pause for thought
  18. People told us they were sick of having to fork out millions of dollars for failed government promises like Labor’s disastrous city Metro, pushing essential local projects like cross regional road connections, and long promised heavy rail links, further back into Labor’s never-never. They wanted professionals, not back room political tacticians, to make important infrastructure decisions. They wanted government to get its act together with an integrated transport strategy.... to meet the needs of customers, not bureaucrats. And they wanted local people to have a say in local planning decisions, and not to have their own neighbourhoods decided by the political whims of a backroom power broker ... (BOF)
  19. Kennett lost office in 1999 because he was a lousy politician... In the end Labor governed with the support of three independents who could have easily supported the Liberals ... had Kennett had the political and the personal wherewithal, nous and humility to duchess them. He did not. Henry Bolte would have had no such problem (Melbourne historian, draft in preparation for publication)


Nor would have Wran or Greiner. Nick publicly wondered about the privatisation of public policy-writing, which is what this author has to do because the Federal/State Metro groupthink “club” has insufficient “nous and humility”.

  

[I did not expect such a disaster of a City Deal, I regret I was so gentle on it]


NSW’s two un-elected agencies need no encouragement to push the “ideology & stupidity” projects across Sydney, in the Government’s jumble of capricious Ministerial announcements, political intimidation, destructive project management, inequitable proposed taxation, and growing community disaffection and cynicism. The “critical issues” seem to be:

  

  1. WS City   Deal - a "completely new way for   the Feds and NSW to work together", called-out by RG and now almost   a year late
  2. Bankstown   Metro - in conflict with “3 Cities”, BCR is approx. 0,   densification/congestion rationale clearly wrong and housing targets   unworkable
  3. WestConnex   - poor pre-planning led to engineering problems, site destruction and cost   blow-outs to the extent no one knows what the cost will be. New Business case required
  4. 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
  5. Goanna   Transit Bridge - immediate feasibility of service to The Fireworks icon,   16,000 dwellings, White Bay, Overseas Passenger Terminal and then tram/trains (see 13)
  6. 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, risky in geotech* and too late
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. UGNSW   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
  10. 10. Second   Airport - immediate feasibility testing of Christie/Greiner mainline   upgrading v extension of SW v West Metro - SW to be reserved for logistics   (see 12)
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Immediate   feasibility of Hurstville to Strathfield, RG adaptation of Jacana to use   tram/trains and link NW to Airport w/o 2nd Harbour Tunnel * word is that the geotech tests show high costs and risks


So Sydney has a set of dud projects that will serve a small percentage of 800,000 or so new dwellings over just 15 years, under a planning regime that has no rigour or Eddington-type logic. The 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).


Add to this the analysis I gave backbenchers in mid-July in correct anticipation of the growing mayhem in Sydney:


The Sydney Press is full of reports on the escalating costs of the West Harbour-to-Balgowlah road tunnel, the West Metro, WestConnex, and tramways in the East and West. All of these serve existing urban populations which enjoy subsidised service levels exceeding regional populations’. 


None of those projects has been through feasibility and business case testing in accordance with iA and iNSW standards – you can assume I have produced the analyses that back up that conclusion. In particular, options testing between substantive options to ideological best-guesses has not been done at all.


In the Metro case, so many mistakes were made and unnecessary costs imposed through the demolition of over 50 major buildings to build underground stations next to existing stations, the reconstruction of suburban stations and tracks to allow herding structures on quiet platforms – because the wrong vehicles were chosen, and closing of lines for up to 12 months for the same reason – contrary to Christie and Greiner recommendations – that the lack of proper planning and assessment has 


undercut public confidence in governments’ ability to make the best investment decisions. This makes it harder to build community support for future investments and complex reforms that will be required to meet Australia’s infrastructure needs. The consequences of oversights can be substantial….” (iA).


The “Peace Plan” I gave the PM at that time represents “low cost and high yield” as Eddington and Greiner said – and more than that, as it relies on iA disciplines, solves impending political thunderstorms. I’m still waiting for a reply.