Here we have a glimpse - one of ten coming here - of the regional consequences of the NSW "poisoned vine". Regional and National worksheets are additional.
The Turnbull/Morrison Budgets are full of flummery, and "budget repair" was forcibly rejected in Josh's MYEFO 2018.
Josh has no defence against the appearance that
This case - the integrity of the great Bradfield CityRail system, once envy of the world - is a classic conflict between The Greats - Cox, Christie, Messiter, Greiner, Eddington, even Gibbons - versus the ingenue idiots in official towers (having ejected the guardians).
Greiner was right in 2012 but slipped away when Berejiklian made her second massive mistake, the first being canning Parramatta/Epping and the second the NW "white elephant", the deficit-engine.
Turnbull, Fletcher, Taylor, Morrison and Josh, as well as Baird, Berejiklian, Constance, Perrottet and others in NSW, have not replied to my report called "Costs Vs Benefits of Berejiklian Reforms", on deficiencies that need to be properly addressed before such a momentous "decision" is taken - especially as Berejiklian did it through deceit, without electoral or Parliamentary legitimisation.
Incredible? - international disgrace indeed. Proper? no way.
So if Josh ignores such evidence, what justification does he have to spend our money?
To cut to the chase, Parties and the media have accepted falling standards through incremental de-democratisation. In effect, Australia is reverse-cycling into a state-control culture, along with the failure of the Fourth Estate to stay awake.
The fusion between NSW and Turnbull/Morrison has created a destructive blend of political gifting and neglect of priorities.
If you have no idea of leadership and strategy, how can you "budget"?
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 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 poor outcomes include
A strong democracy uses budgets to express the practical outcomes of national and city planning. Australia and New South Wales have removed the head from the corpus of “the plan” and replaced it with a logic board that is wired into foreign and local boardrooms and Party traders. Budgets have become disorganised, bloated and mysterious. Instead of “a plan”, we have “a pipeline”.
That is why we have massive waste in the city going to unproductive toys, while the rest of NSW suffers under-funding of fire and other emergency services, children’s food and necessities, drought amelioration and water system reforms, and simple fairness in ways Menzies understood as did all other PMs up to Abbott.
Australian politicians say “we are protecting Sydney” and “we are caring” as they discard due diligence and probity in planning and directly gift massive assets and privileges to corporate interests which have no interest in Sydney’s sustainability.
The acolytes call-on the legends of past “nation-builders” of our railways, bridges, dams and industries; while appointing political cronies who have consistent track records of failure and waste – which is what the “pipeline” has become, a political free-for-all.
NSW has a Treasurer who is a sideshow spruiker, promising to triple the size of the State economy by 2040 - and completely ignoring the exhaustion of his "debt lake" in about five years.
Every one of the gifted assets passes massive debt from corporates to taxpayers, in perpetuity. Current and future generations are being betrayed by the hypocritical interests who say they are “of Menzies” when they are imposing state-sponsored profiteering through the disempowering of communities.
NSW Premier Berejiklian has “hit the wall” and dragged down the Feds with her.
Earlier Governments saw strong egoists make capricious announcements, but all the time academics and journalists provided some balance. Malcolm Turnbull’s re-ascension to the head of the Liberal Party in 2015, with Scott Morrison as Treasury guardian, heralded a destructive period of backroom deals, nepotism, disempowered communities, secret “arrangements” with foreign corporates, and confused probity and “due diligence”.
Despite their worst efforts, the political manipulators cannot hide a growing planning catastrophe where massive, even unprecedented, amounts of capital are expended on Big-Ticket projects only to find that all the money is going into 5% or less of population growth over just 15 years, and possibly none past that; while cheaper, faster and more effective options have been verboten.
The national Budget cycle has been corrupted away from “due diligence” to capricious “gifting” to projects which lack operational or economic merit.
The “Baird Model” of asset recycling and capturing land betterment collapsed, and the replacement “debt lake” is almost empty. The two biggest projects feature design flaws which necessitate a stop, think & revise.
This crisis was avoidable: in 2009 the Council of Australian Governments instructed the Labor Government in New South Wales to proceed no further with capricious deal-making, until a proper “City Plan” was approved. In 2012 a series of deceitful volte faces included the recrudesce of deal-making and the abandonment of the “City Plan”, and departure of the maestro, Nick Greiner.
As in past failed African and Central American tin-pot republics, it is possible to place accountability for the mayhem on one chaotic cabal.
The “repair” was also available – the “SAVE SYDNEY” suite© including “Eddington Bedrock: from Christie to Greiner to Gibbons” and “Creative Reconstruction of NSW Local Governance” – the key to local revival and strengthen of local democracies.
Development densification is a serious issue within the main political Parties but none are capable enough to have a solution. Fringe congestion of interurban roads by local commuters, and “Maginot Line” congestion within the city, are profound indicators of planning stupidity.
A focus on air quality in Sydney in 2010 has been ignored completely and carbon-dependency has been built into all new projects, making a mockery of energy directions. Intergenerational equity was discarded.
Their errors are grave, but perhaps the greatest is the destruction of the economic base of the great Bradfield CityRail system. It is the metropolitan skeleton which would easily meet future needs if the Christie (2001) plan was intelligently modified and implemented; but its replacement, the metros, will fail due to inbuilt errors. Poor “pre-planning” has become the Kitchen Cabinet’s signature failing, as mapped by the Grattan Institute, Infrastructure Australia, Engineers Australia and this author.
Worst, Berejiklian did this through deceit and without any electoral or Parliamentary legitimisation. She is to be condemned but also her Federal and State colleagues who ignored my report on the information needed to make an intelligent decision on “Removing the Metro ‘Planning Stench’ - the Berejiklian Model of Reforming Sydney’s Bradfield-Era Rail System” (July 2017).
More than two years later, neither Morrison nor Berejiklian can begin to explain what they are doing – and nor can the Auditor-General, NSW Transport and iNSW.
The professional status of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Infrastructure Australia, the Federal and NSW Treasuries, and Parliament itself, have all been compromised in this alternative universe of corporate profiteering and political cronyism.
Stupidity is the most worrying thing. Important people seem to blunder without realising they are blundering: they had appointed acolytes to key advisory and quality-assurance roles and they know no more than their masters. Political apparatchiks are adept reticulists within the dictates of corrupt and incompetent masters.
There are no ethics: dealing with governments now features brick walls and locked doors; their brutal avoidance of bushfire, economic, ethical and community imperatives show that, and that is simply wrong.
The following graphs disprove Berejiklian’s and Perrottet’s claims that they are responsible managers of debt and capital expenditure, and especially that they are decreasing capex when they keep expanding the promises they cannot afford to keep, like the Northern Beaches Link and the West Metro.
Morrison has no choice but to withdraw the $3.5 billion he gifted her for the St Marys Metro which has no value and no priority in Berejiklian’s plots.
The better option is staring him in the face – the Greiner/Gibbons upgrade and extension of the Bradfield system: ABOUT TIME .
Rozelle is being buried in an incredible mess of congestion and the Goanna Transit Bridge would reduce transit times across the innercity and innerwest, for a fraction of the cost and much sooner. AGAIN, PRIME MINISTER, IT'S STARING YOU IN THE FACE!!!
It is part of the charm of Malenomics that as few data as possible are published; and it has seemed for a long time that Berejiklian cannot contest independent analyses as she hasn't done her own. The "debt lake" that follows starts at $40 billion which is between the $35 billion or so of borrowings plus the $11 billion drawdown of reserves in the 2020 Budge, and real expectations.
Remember that the West and other Metros are insolvent in that the "Baird Model" is broken - farebox and real estate returns are insignificant and unlikely to change as the Chinese MTR has been told the NSW Government has reversed the PPP notion by paying all costs. Why would they fork out billions, especially as real estate returns are not what the Government spruiked.
In addition, the Feds are still running TV advertisements on "We are investing $100 billion over 10 years.... " which, in reality, is $50 billion as-is or $300 billion if the promises are fulfilled.
The Feds are parallel with NSW: a total of 13 fast rail investigations have been funded which is ridiculous except that the consultants are in clover. They have invested some $15 billion in unproductive projects, akin to Berejiklian's Metros, meaning inverse stimulus - taking oxygen away from productive, sooner, less risky, less expensive, more effective "options".
Peter Costello has criticised Morrison/Frydenberg debt, rightly. - wasting heaps on NSW fiascos and rejecting the only source of sound and innovative solutions.
Berejiklian: you can't fool all the people all the time. You've hit the wall and getting Labor relics to beg Canberra shows how desperate you are
PM Morrison is not focussing on the costs of bushfires, the massive waste associated with Bairdijiklian Malenomics, the incompetence of political appointees, and "Save Sydney".
He is focussing on invisible (?). He has supported Treasurer Frydenberg, then countered him, got Josh to eat his own words, then reversed back over the BCA's corpse.
The Government has gyrated between:
What we know is, Josh could not face me on my criticisms so he inveigled the RBA to a superficial and compromising endorsement of the "$100 billion masquerade". All aspects are documented on this website, the Government has failed to reconcile its own '18 and '19 pipelines - there is a case for McCormack, Tudge and Frydenberg to be allocated to portfolios they might understand.
If Josh buggers up another MYEFO, he might be better off back in banking.