Pamphlet will be a free download


On Black Friday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg repeated a catastrophic fallacy


heads are spinning

To stimulate or not to stimulate?!?

Definitely not Labor-like BUT now it is "Labor's cash splash".

So then we hear the facts -    


  • Mr Morrison will on Thursday reveal $530 million worth of projects to be brought forward. 
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the acceleration of $530 million on three major regional projects would improve safety, increase freight productivity and help boost tourism. Of that money, $212 million will be spent in the next 18 months. 

Which means a few paint tins and new "ain't we great" signposts. Again there's no discussion of actual benefits, just PR flak, nor details of resource and congestion effects, given how the economy really works.

That governance is at its lowest historical ebb is not new

"Jobs jobs jobs" was a mantra under the Turnbull Government which was betrayed in important respects, such as the regional impacts of ports and freight, and regional tourism targets.  That will be explained a little later.

On 13 October 2019, national Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, was reported in “Metros on fast track in Federal cash boost”, by Shane Wright and Lisa Visentin in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, as having said at a meeting of Treasurers, the following phases and others:

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg urged his counterparts to nominate infrastructure projects that could be fast tracked with federal assistance to deliver a much-needed boost to the economy.
  • Topping NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet's list is the new Sydney Metro West, with construction expected to begin next year on the $20 billion-plus metro train line from central Sydney to Parramatta.
  • The state government has promised to complete the line by 2028, but to date has only locked in $6.4 billion in funding over the next four years. Mr Perrottet also nominated the proposed metro between St Mary's and the new Western Sydney Airport, which the NSW and Federal governments have vowed to deliver by the time the airport opens in 2026.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote to the states in late August asking for a list of potential projects that could be brought forward.
  • Mr Frydenberg said while there were capacity constraints on major projects, particularly in NSW and Victoria, the federal government would look at which proposals could get under way in the near future.
  • Senior bureaucrats at state and federal levels will work together to identify possible problems, such as shortages of skilled workers or equipment, that need to be resolved before projects can get the green light.
  • "We are prepared to consider on a case-by-case basis states putting forward projects that can be brought forward, recognising the importance of continuing that infrastructure rollout," Mr Frydenberg said.

The SMH had previously glossed-over the realities of the NW Metro, over a year and more, their “astonishing 1.5 million travellers in the first two weeks” after opening being in contrast to its break-even patronage being that level every day. The other metros have no due-diligence legitimacy which they refuse to acknowledge.

The same projects in the absence of “a plan” were described by the NSW Coalition as Labor’s “planning stench”; but as they now come from the Coalition’s inner sanctums, still without “a plan”, the defects have been shrouded in myth. Further, this analyst has published critiques of the Morrison Budgets and the mis-description of the effects on the economies of cities and regions (including worsening congestion). The previous Labor Treasurer, Michael Costa, acted responsibly to exposethe economic damage associated with the NW Metro – which Berejiklian re-created through deceit; this being the opposite of Perrottet’s cavalier disregard for prudential wisdom.

To explain, the immediately obvious defects in Frydenberg’s set-up were sent to him and 16 other Coalition heavies, as being:

  1. Cheaper, sooner, less risky and more effective options – from NICK GREINER (with more expertise in my little toe than in said “senior officials” – including proven blunderers)
  2. Berejiklian has hit the wall*
  3. Morrison is killing ports and freight, in his own electorate, in the Hunter and Illawarra, and at the Aerotropolis  and Inland Rail = economics and engineering are gonesky
  4. iA is rissoled, Eddo and Menzies forgotten, recent promises broken as per usual
  5. Baird model is broken, NW has already doubled the rail annual subsidy, more metros will quadruple it +++
  6. The fundamental structure is incompetent: massive cost, halved capacity, future generations faced with catastrophe, Perrottet labelled a FOOL forever.

                     * as documented in detail on websites

By the bye, the same story blew up again on 29 October, with NSW Transport Minister Constance's brainsnap over demanding $20 billion from Frydenberg (

The backstory, or grounds for pessimism, included, in recent times,

  1. Political appointees who appear to cement-in blunders that their masters made –  see below
  2. MYEFO in December 2018 where Frydenberg and Gaetgens blocked, on first contact, this analyst’s email address such was their determination to dig-in the Turnbull/ Morrison/Kennedy Sydney citicide, eliminating “budget repair”
  3. Dr Philip Lowe from the Reserve Bank of Australia appearing with Frydenberg on national television as validating, after his review, the Government’s $100 billion, 10-year pipeline mirage, after Dr Lowe had ignored the substantive case for about 4 years as he made speeches
  4. NSW’s reaction to exposure of the “debt lake” and $100 billion mirage being to get the Western Sydney metro mafia, which include some of the people who initiated Labor’s stench, to call on the Feds to fund the West Metro – the PM’s and Frydenberg’s moves to be assessed as a covert agreement, possibly based on Hong Kong uneconomic mantras, reversing then PM Turnbull’s reaction to Perrottet’s same suggestion in 2016 – “we are not an ATM”.

The Australian system does not have "confirmation hearings" for such political appointees.  If it did, the following would have emerged:

  • Gaetgens from Baird/Berejiklian and then Morrison, being coterminous with critically-flawed decisions and changes to protocols from 2012. Previously, he had supported Treasurer Peter Costello with the Charter of Budget Honesty which underpins the Mid-Year Economic and Financial Outcomes report. (That contains retrospective authorisation of otherwise political project commitments.) 
  • Kennedy from Turnbull’s PMO, with Angus Taylor and Lucy Turnbull from the Greater Sydney Commission, principal architect of the disastrously non-consultative and outcome-denying Western Sydney City Deal

Frydenberg’s statement continued the loss of professionalism (damaging intergenerational equity) that was initiated by Labor in NSW but refined and extended by the Coalition from 2010 in NSW and 2015 nationally, how else could “waste” have reached $40,000,000,000 already (see the chart above).

Add to waste the lost opportunities which are described at “The Value Proposition” and elsewhere on the three websites.

Finally, there have been learned opinions going back to 2001 and the only metro-inclusive master plan – that was ditched by Labor’s metromaniacs. Critics of Labor are now boosters of Berejiklian’s parallel dud results. It is time to pause, and to heed these three opinions which resonate with truth:

If you want anyone to change, you have to persuade them they have a problem. Then you have to explain the solution.

Malcolm Turnbull July 2014

In 2009 the Property Council was faced with a less challenging CBD Metro and it called for a pause when that metro’s stand-alone status became untenable. What the PCA said then is even truer now:

NSW has stumbled along for years without a comprehensive transport plan for Sydney. NSW has planned project by project with no big picture to set priorities and look at overall system management. It’s time to bite the bullet, admit past mistakes and develop an integrated long term transport plan for Sydney.

The Planning Institute (2009) concurred:

Ad hoc, project-by-project decision-making does not constitute planning, and could pre-empt the best transport solution. Decisions significantly affecting the development of Sydney, such as on the Metro projects, cannot be made without an overall long-term metropolitan plan. Sydney is too important.


Jobs Jobs Jobs

Not Turnbull's cup of tea

Great emphasis was put on three major stimulus areas over the sweep of the Turnbull/Morrison Budgets (apart from corporate tax reductions and the like):

  1. tourism especially in regional centres and in the metropolitan "magnets"
  2. freight and port districts including through the Inland Rail, the Aerotropolis and a regional air freight hub
  3. infrastructure pipelines, growing from a $75 billion 10-year program to $100 billion in 2018.

The situation with tourism was catastrophic, see

The freight and ports case is even worse as a cabal centred on Port Botany is hurting "Morrison's Backyard", Inland Rail, Newcastle and the Illawarra, SW and Western Sydney commuting and employment re-balancing, and on and on it goes -

The $100 billion collapsed under early cross-examination, which should have been done in Parliament and the media well before - see the various pages on this site as well as

The bottom line is, there appears to be a vacuum at the centre of national economic policy-making.  Does the core responsibility belong in national and regional infrastructure (McCormack), Treasury (Frydenberg now neutered by the PM), or the PM who has made an unfortunate "captain's call"?



Mr Albanese MP started Infrastructure Australia and would be well aware that option-testing is an essential first stage, with needs assessment, of all due diligence protocols. Sir Rod Eddington, in London especially, and Nick Greiner in iNSW, gave many examples of why this is vital to cost effectiveness. The logic applies to HST and the West and St Marys Metros, the 3-Port strategy and supporting infrastructure, and innerwest congestion etcetera.

As a reminder, the Australian Infrastructure Plan is clear:

  • Proponents of new infrastructure which do not undertake the prerequisite project development work risk poor outcomes, preventing the community from accessing the infrastructure they require, and restricting economic opportunities.
  • Prior to investment decisions, governments should define the problem that needs to be addressed. Problems are identified through long-term integrated infrastructure planning and the analysis of strategic data sources such as Infrastructure Australia’s Audit. Once the problem has been defined, early project development studies should then proceed. These include:
  • Strategic options assessments: demonstrate the nature and scale of the problem(s) and identify solutions which may or may not involve the delivery of new infrastructure;
  • Feasibility studies: undertake engineering, environmental and economic assessments to develop solutions into fully-scoped projects; and 
  • Project business cases: provide more detailed economic assessments, including cost-benefit analysis.
  • These studies help ensure the right infrastructure solution is selected and that benefits to the community are maximised.

In Sir Rod’s words in London,

There are good returns across the priority areas, but smaller projects which unblock pinch-points, variable infrastructure schemes to support public transport in urban areas and international gateway surface access projects are likely to offer the very highest returns, sometimes higher than £10 for every pound spent. However, large projects with speculative benefits and relying on untested technology, are unlikely to generate attractive returns.

4. The policy process needs to be rigorous and systematic: start with the three strategic economic priorities, define the problems, consider the full range of modal options using appraisal techniques that include full environmental and social costs and benefits, and ensure that spending is focused on the best policies…