Gawler Electrification Back on Track

 
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Same sort of noises coming out of the Mayor for Noarlunga about extending the line to Aldinga, ...
fabricator
The mayor of the City of Onkaparinga has indeed expressed support for the State Government's early-stage plans for extending down towards Aldinga. What else did you expect her to do - condemn a state government initiative that would be good for her city?

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  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
Same sort of noises coming out of the Mayor for Noarlunga about extending the line to Aldinga, anyone want to tell these trainee politicians (that's what most council members are) that they are wasting their time on Tony Abbott. You can't get blood out of a stone.

I can't see why said mayors can't come out publicly and state "if you want trains don't vote liberal". Obvious reason for the Mayor of Playford.
fabricator

It's not about Abbot of course - he is a completely lost cause.  It's a long game this sort of thing, and sustained urging and agitation for urban rail by mayors and community figures will generate momentum in the looong term.  Likely scenario is that Prime Minister Abbott will (as he says) not fund any urban rail, but at some point in probably his second term he will become unpopular for all the usual reasons and Turnbull will knock him off.  THEN will be the time that the lobbying will start to pay off.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
It's not about Abbot of course - he is a completely lost cause.  It's a long game this sort of thing, and sustained urging and agitation for urban rail by mayors and community figures will generate momentum in the looong term.  Likely scenario is that Prime Minister Abbott will (as he says) not fund any urban rail, but at some point in probably his second term he will become unpopular for all the usual reasons and Turnbull will knock him off.  THEN will be the time that the lobbying will start to pay off.
Calgully

Assuming Abbott gets the top job (which is looking likely) then you'll have to drag him from it kicking and screaming.  He did say to Tony Windsor that he would sell his a--- to be PM and even though he denies that he said it I have no doubt about it.  

Make no mistake, they will instantly cut any and all funding of these projects because they simply don't deem them worthy of federal funds.  I have doubts that the Gawler line will be getting finished because there was a large proportion of that coming from the Feds.  There won't be any urban rail or light rail projects during the term of the incoming Liberal government and we'll have to live with the infrastructure deficit for another generation before things change... I don't really like Rudd that much but it's the lesser of two evils thing in my opinion.
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
Make no mistake, they will instantly cut any and all funding of these projects because they simply don't deem them worthy of federal funds.  I have doubts that the Gawler line will be getting finished because there was a large proportion of that coming from the Feds.  There won't be any urban rail or light rail projects during the term of the incoming Liberal government and we'll have to live with the infrastructure deficit for another generation before things change... I don't really like Rudd that much but it's the lesser of two evils thing in my opinion.
don_dunstan
You're absolutely right about the infrastructure deficit, that's why the cost of water/power/gas is so high in this state. The Liberal's tried to help matters by selling the whole lot off the private enterprise, thus making the price hike even worse!

The Federal Government have committed another $70m to the project, with the quoted cost of $300m for the electrifying the entire line. Now the section from Adelaide to Dry Creek is $150m, that leaves about the same again for the remainder. Looks to me like its a 50% funding allocation, and the state government are expected to find the other half.

I could be wrong of course, as its not entirely clear if this $70m includes the Adelaide to Dry Creek electrification as well. Any funding handed over to the state government is safe however, and I think anything allocated in the official current budget can't be touched either.

At the end of the day the election is only decided when the votes are counted, people don't need to decide one way or the other until then. Polls are just a form of betting or speculation.
  fabricator Chief Commissioner

Location: Gawler
The mayor of the City of Onkaparinga has indeed expressed support for the State Government's early-stage plans for extending down towards Aldinga. What else did you expect her to do - condemn a state government initiative that would be good for her city?
justapassenger
And just who paid for the rail extension to Seaford, and the trains to run on it ?
What about which tier of government is up for re-election ?
I'll give you a hint, it's not the state government, which you seem to hate anyway.

At least the state government can buy up the land and do some basic planning, but I can't see it going much further without a major injection of funding.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
You're absolutely right about the infrastructure deficit, that's why the cost of water/power/gas is so high in this state. The Liberal's tried to help matters by selling the whole lot off the private enterprise, thus making the price hike even worse!

.....
fabricator

This is the crux of the whole problem, Fabricator.  It's not a problem unique to SA and by no means is it isolated to Australia.  In the 1980's through to the early 2000's state and federal governments of every hue sold everything that wasn't nailed down - and even then some of the 'nailed down' things were sold off: Recall Johnny Howard's sale of Commonwealth buildings in Canberra under complicated 'lease-back' arrangements.

There were three major problems with this economic rationalist approach.  One was that major entities such as Telstra, the State Electricity Commission (here in Victoria) and ETSA (in SA) were actually making money for their respective governments and once they were sold that was the end of that additional revenue stream.  The second (and biggest problem) is that it can only be done once... once it's gone it's gone for good.  The phenomenal success of Johnny Howard's government was due in part to the rivers of money they had flowing in from the Telstra sale in the early years; once that was gone it became obvious that they had run out of ideas (and easy money).  So towards the end there were very silly privatisations like 'lease-back' of Commonwealth properties but essentially by the time Rudd got into office the cupboard was completely bare; which brings us to the last unintended consequence - higher ongoing costs from having to pay rent on things previously owned.

We are now bearing the costs of the 'good governance' policies, namely, that governments of every shape and hue are really struggling to find money to get things done; in particular big ticket infrastructure projects like the SA rail electrification.  In Victoria the solution has been for state governments (of both colours) to enter into really complicated public-private contracts involving long-term rent payments.  For example, my water bill has doubled in the last few years to pay for the really, really expensive desalination plant in Gippsland that hasn't produced a drop of water for me (yet) but made huge amounts of money for the bankers who brokered the deal.  Southern Cross Station involved private finance with an effective interest rate of (about) 9 percent, which is much higher than the government could have borrowed the money from the bond market - but we 'hire-purchase' it from the private owners so the true cost is hidden from taxpayers.

Any way you look at it, we're screwed.  There's nothing left to sell, money is getting tighter all the time and you can only raise fees, fines and taxes so high before many things become unaffordable for ordinary people.  A good example is car rego; here in Victoria it's $800 a year to register the average car; that's just plain extortion.  Every year a letter of demand:  Pay us $800 or we'll fine you $1000.  How on earth they are going to raise the money in the future for badly-needed infrastructure projects like the SA electric trains is a mystery... $3000 car regos?  $20 single bus trips?  Pokies in primary schools?
  nswtrains Chief Commissioner

This is the crux of the whole problem, Fabricator.  It's not a problem unique to SA and by no means is it isolated to Australia.  In the 1980's through to the early 2000's state and federal governments of every hue sold everything that wasn't nailed down - and even then some of the 'nailed down' things were sold off: Recall Johnny Howard's sale of Commonwealth buildings in Canberra under complicated 'lease-back' arrangements.

There were three major problems with this economic rationalist approach.  One was that major entities such as Telstra, the State Electricity Commission (here in Victoria) and ETSA (in SA) were actually making money for their respective governments and once they were sold that was the end of that additional revenue stream.  The second (and biggest problem) is that it can only be done once... once it's gone it's gone for good.  The phenomenal success of Johnny Howard's government was due in part to the rivers of money they had flowing in from the Telstra sale in the early years; once that was gone it became obvious that they had run out of ideas (and easy money).  So towards the end there were very silly privatisations like 'lease-back' of Commonwealth properties but essentially by the time Rudd got into office the cupboard was completely bare; which brings us to the last unintended consequence - higher ongoing costs from having to pay rent on things previously owned.

We are now bearing the costs of the 'good governance' policies, namely, that governments of every shape and hue are really struggling to find money to get things done; in particular big ticket infrastructure projects like the SA rail electrification.  In Victoria the solution has been for state governments (of both colours) to enter into really complicated public-private contracts involving long-term rent payments.  For example, my water bill has doubled in the last few years to pay for the really, really expensive desalination plant in Gippsland that hasn't produced a drop of water for me (yet) but made huge amounts of money for the bankers who brokered the deal.  Southern Cross Station involved private finance with an effective interest rate of (about) 9 percent, which is much higher than the government could have borrowed the money from the bond market - but we 'hire-purchase' it from the private owners so the true cost is hidden from taxpayers.

Any way you look at it, we're screwed.  There's nothing left to sell, money is getting tighter all the time and you can only raise fees, fines and taxes so high before many things become unaffordable for ordinary people.  A good example is car rego; here in Victoria it's $800 a year to register the average car; that's just plain extortion.  Every year a letter of demand:  Pay us $800 or we'll fine you $1000.  How on earth they are going to raise the money in the future for badly-needed infrastructure projects like the SA electric trains is a mystery... $3000 car regos?  $20 single bus trips?  Pokies in primary schools?
don_dunstan
How to raise money, easy, put GST on food and raise GST to 12% and raise personal income tax. Howard gave away too much in the way of tax cuts. A country of only 23 million should be high taxing not low. Probably do a bit to help our balance of payments issues as consumers would have less to spend on flat screen TVs for every room in the house.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
My feeling is that we'll get 15% under Abbott, there will be some announcement about some unexpected size of the deficit ("Beasley Black Hole") and the need to increase it.  I think the decision has already been made actually - probably Rudd is thinking the same thing if by some fluke he gets re-elected.  I also feel that Abbott's paid maternity/paternity leave scheme is far too generous and should be ditched but that's probably already earmarked for the bin as we speak.

Agreed, Howard was terribly generous with his middle-class welfare in the last few years (much to Costello's disgust).  Things like the lump sum baby bonus were simply bad policy... friends of mine who lived in a poverty-stricken rural town HATED it with a passion - they claimed that the single mums in their street were squirting out more spawn for the sake of getting a new telly and washer because it was all-too-easy.

So just a question - does anyone know if the Commonwealth money allocated to complete the Gawler electrification will still be available after the election because it was committed under a Rudd/Gillard budget or is it something that can be retrospectively removed by Abbott?  I'm not sure about this myself - I'm sure if Abbott can get the money back he will (given his position on federal funding of rail projects).
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
If it has been promised by one party in control then it would be a bit of political suicide to scupper it if the opposition then get in. It could be done though, but I think even the Liberals are not that stupid as it would alienate a lot of voters doing it and it could have rather bad repercussions for the party. Especially if they want to stay in power.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

If it has been promised by one party in control then it would be a bit of political suicide to scupper it if the opposition then get in. It could be done though, but I think even the Liberals are not that stupid as it would alienate a lot of voters doing it and it could have rather bad repercussions for the party. Especially if they want to stay in power.
David Peters
Not really, it's such a minor project that makes no difference, especially since the Libs are going to get in without the northern suburbs.

The only issue related to transport that could possibly make any change to the safe Labor seats out that way would be if Labor were going to let Holden die and said so publicly. Upgrading the existing train line so it might be a few minutes faster is irrelevant compared to that, especially since there's going to be a service upgrade in 2014/15 for the northern line when the full fleet of EMUs is available in the south and the 3000/3100 fleet gets cascaded to increase the performance (by replacing the jumbos) and either frequency or capacity (by having extra cars available).
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
Holden has to go one day so it might be better to actually let it go than try to hang on and only prolong the workers pain. The older they get the less likely chance they have of getting another job. So call it quits now and if possible the younger ones might stand the chance of getting another job, but they cannot if no body know's what is happening out there. It will make a big hole in the employment stakes though if it happens.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I read somewhere that the majority of Mitsubishi workers failed to find work that paid as well as their former job - but you have a point, there's probably no benefit in prolonging the pain.  Playford would be bitterly disappointed to see that all the effort they put into creating a friendly environment for the car industry all came to naught eventually but oh well... something else will replace it.  Given the huge subsidies it really wasn't economical any more anyway and it didn't seem like it was ever going to turn a corner - especially given the huge over-supply in the global car industry.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

The problem with Australia's car industry is that is not indigenous unlike say VW in Germany or Fiat in Italy. We are at the beck and call of board rooms in the USA or japan.

Our governments are subsidising those boards.

That said, people forget the flow on effect of the car industry. One vehicle works directly supports over 2 other workers. Add to that th supporting industries servicing say Holdens or supplying them parts, more  employment flow on. Many of the component manufacturers also earn import income but without the base load of the local manufacturer would not stand a chance.

We cannot completely de-skill Australia. Commentators and academics have no appreciation of the skills required for industry infact they are quite derisory of them.

You can't retrain skilled machinists to wipe old ladies bottoms because that has been the level of some of the alternate employment "opportunities" being offered.

I have heard, but not confirmed, that Ford is retaining its engineering division in Australia even though no longer manufacturing cars.

Ian
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Ian:

The number of jobs in 'support' industries had shrunk to extremely low levels in recent years.  Once upon at time Adelaide (and Melbourne) were dotted with heaps of components suppliers (BTR-Nylex, Bridgestone, Autodom) but I'm struggling to think of how many might actually be left?  Most components once made here are now imported such as tyres, glass, radiators... the impact really won't be that much when Holden actually closes.  I'm all for retaining a manufacturing capacity in this country but I just don't think that continuing to throw money at what is essentially a boutique car industry is a good idea, especially seeing as the locals aren't even buying the products any more.  Last I read (May 2013) Commodore was about to drop out of the top ten car model sales in Australia - to think it was once the market leader by a long shot.  Aussies have voted with their money and they simply won't support the local product any longer, sad but true.

I also agree with you about the predominant jobs left being 'wiping bums'.  Wasn't that the whole idea of Hawke/Keating's 'clever country', we weren't going to make anything any more, everyone was going to work selling lattes to each other? As I've said in other posts, there are actually other industries making things and maybe they'll continue to prosper and thrive now that the dollar is headed south.  The car industry isn't the only game in town.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

David

You comment about selling Lattes to each other is very apt.

I dare to suggest that we have some alternative gainful employment for people before we abandon what we have.

Trouble is that previous considerations have used catch phrases like "knowledge based" or "lucky country" which are high on spin but low on content.

I recognise that some support industries have closed but you might be surprised how many have set up in recent years. New factories without the saddle of old machinery and old labour practices make profits, hence are sustainable, while old factories become an economic burden. Why are Toyota still manufacturing without loud pleas for hand outs? Some reasons could be a more saleable product, not being hide bound by tradition, more flexible labour relationships, more up to date plant, better machinery.
I was the lead electrical engineer for design and building their Altona production facility; the use of robotics is extensive.  

Closer to track, with the fall in the AUD how viable is Penrice's decision to stop making Soda Ash and import it instead?

If we continue to deskill our country we will have nobody to service our new EMUs.

A kindred thought. Will there be a team of people on hand large enough to be able to repair damage to the electric overhead following, say, a pantograph accident. What I fear is that they will have to get contractors in from WA or Qld and the system will be down for days.

Ian
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Ian: Nah, I think that's catastrophising a bit too much.  I have a friend in engineering and he's told me repeatedly about the over-supply in the trade, so much so that he often has people with MA's begging him to give them a job answering phones; this is in a regional town where in theory the supply of professionals is supposed to be lower.  It's quite sad really.  This is just basic civil engineering so I'm not sure about the electrical trades but I would be really astonished if as part of the electrification program they didn't keep on hand a team of professionals who can go on site to fix a fallen overhead as it happens - doesn't take long in Melbourne and I'd expect the same sort of contingency planning in place in Adelaide when the line goes live.

I feel the core issue in the future will not be the lack of trained people, more so the lack of appropriate jobs for them to do.

Incidentally Toyota have in fact been getting their fair share of hand-outs in the last few years - they're not immune from the same rent-seeking behaviour that characterised Mitsubishi (and the others).  They got a huge wad of cash to make the petrol-electric Camry here and I think there was also some cash given out just to keep going.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government in partnership with the South Australian Government has announced the commencement of construction works on the electrification and modernisation of the Gawler Rail Line.

Jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments the multi-million project is expected to support approximately 250 full-time equivalent jobs a year over the life of the project, with completion anticipated in 2021.

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/gawler-rail-electrification-sparks-into-construction
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Ironic that the source of the article is miragenews.com
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

What a strange time to be making a re-announcement of work which is already going on.

Is there about to be a by-election in the northern suburbs?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Ironic that the source of the article is miragenews.com
SinickleBird

Who are these guys?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

No idea, but the re-announcement certainly was made by the state government:
https://premier.sa.gov.au/news/gawler-rail-electrification-sparks-into-construction

They appear to have the same policy as Railpage when it comes to regurgitating press releases without fact checking.

The federal government says that the project started early this year:
https://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=097117-17SA-NRP


And on one of their own websites, the state government has a list of works notifications going right back to June 2018:
https://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/infrastructure/public_transport_projects/gawler_rail_electrification_project/news_And_publications
https://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/infrastructure/public_transport_projects/gawler_rail_electrification_project/news_And_publications/2018_notifications_and_construction_activities
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Most will wait with bated breath till the wires actually go up, but anything could happen in the mean time even putting it off again.
  Halo Chief Train Controller

Where is the new substation located. I see new prefabricated buildings in the dry Creek switch yard, but that's dry Creek, not Kilburn as stated. I've seen photos somewhere.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Where is the new substation located.
Halo
I've been told that the transformers will be installed at the existing SA Power Networks substation in Kilburn.

Like the Lonsdale substation, this will be a few hundred metres away from where it feeds in to the overhead line system.

WI see new prefabricated buildings in the dry Creek switch yard, but that's dry Creek, not Kilburn as stated. I've seen photos somewhere.
Halo
At a guess, one of the prefab buildings at Dry Creek would be for a switching cabin to control the power supply within the depot.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Have they actually ordered the trains this time? That'll be a key clue as to how serious they are.

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