Liberal Party has suggested it will not make any transport infrastructure announcements ahead of next month’s election

 
  AFULE Chief Train Controller

Location: South Australia
Interesting no transport policy from the SA Liberals, does this mean that they have dumped the Martin Hamilton Smith electrification policy?


Does it meant that they are going to privatise the suburban passenger rail system that they tried to do when they out-sourced the buses.


AdelaideNow:-


THE Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party has suggested it will not make any transport infrastructure announcements ahead of next month’s election.

Deputy Leader and transport spokeswoman Vickie Chapman yesterday dodged questions about how much money her party would commit to public transport projects.
She said her party’s key promise was to deliver a “safe, clean, reliable” system but would not detail how this would be achieved.
She would not say if the Liberals would make any public transport infrastructure pledges between now and March 15, how much money the party might allocate or if it would match any of the Labor government’s promises, including electrification of rail lines.
“The public are heartily sick of promises that governments don’t keep,” she said.
“What (the public) are telling us repeatedly is give us back our trains — we don’t care whether it’s diesel, we don’t care whether it’s electric, we want a reliable service and we want it to run regularly.
“It doesn’t have to be the shiniest, it doesn’t have to be the best, it doesn’t have to be the fastest.
“It just needs to be the most reliable, safe and clean.”
Ms Chapman blamed renegotiated contracts with bus operators for troubles with the system but would not say how a Liberal government would address the issue.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made clear his preference for road projects over public transport.
The Labor State Government has promised to electrify train lines to Salisbury, extend the O-Bahn into the CBD, build more Park’n’Ride facilities and order a crackdown on public transport fare evasion.---

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  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
Labor has my vote. I encourage others to do the same.
  touring Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide
Isn't this a repeat of the Federal election tactics? Policies made on the fly or not even announced before the election?
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
What is the "Martin Hamilton-Smith electrification policy"?  Was there a commitment at one stage to complete the electrification?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I sort of agree that Labor is the lesser of the two evils, but it's hardly an inspiring choice on offer.

I would encourage people to vote first for independents, then for minor party candidates, then the majors (Greens/ALP/LNP) in the order of your choice.

Every first preference vote that doesn't go to the majors is public funding that does not go to the majors, and it's the only way to send a message that both of the majors are well on the nose with the 'born to rule' attitude. Best of all, with your last two preferences you still get a say in the two-candidate preferred count which eventually decides the seat even if everybody else in the seat votes for the majors.

What is the "Martin Hamilton-Smith electrification policy"?  Was there a commitment at one stage to complete the electrification?
"don_dunstan"
Use his SAS skills to demolish it.
  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
A quick google shows they have policies on the north-south corridor, Darlington interchange, Infrastructure SA, 'carpark tax', regional development fund and the community infrastructure fund. The latter two cut across improving transport outcomes in regional areas.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

I can see where you blokes are coming from and I am not unsympathetic.

It is not that the projects of the last 4 years are bad project, except perhaps the SACA bail out at the Adelaide Oval and its bridge over troubled waters, it is just that it has been too much at once.

None of the projects are on time, indicative of project management issues; the delays also indicate cost overruns.

DPTI has proved to be over stretched, heads have rolled, and more should go. All of this under Labor's management. Jay's predecessor had grandiose plans and left Jay and Tom K to clear up the mess. To many projects at once has meant the FULL benefit has not gone to SA. The people working on the nRAH are from interstate, LOR on the electrification are an example.
The ideas are good, the execution has been abominable. In that the government is installed the manage the state their poor project and financial management means they deserve to go.
Nothing better shows the philosophical differences between the two parties than the proposals for the old RAH.
One party sees it as an opportunity to make money by getting some value out of the remaining assets.
The other sees it as a place to spend money building a school that is not needed; look at the boarded up campuses (quite modern too) in the northern suburbs.

I don't like the prospect of austerity but it is a medicine the state needs.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I disagree about the school proposal for the RAH site. Adelaide High School and Norwood-Morialta High School are both currently bursting at the seams thanks to ill-advised closures in the past. I would prefer to see a new school on the RAH site than more parklands swallowed up by doubling the size of Adelaide High School and creating the other issues which you get when you make schools that are too big to run effectively.

If you talk to the rank and file staff at the RAH, you'll find that the majority of them can't wait to shift to the new hospital. The current buildings are past their use-by date, riddled with superbugs like MRSA, thoroughly unfit for purpose and unable to be effectively rebuilt in place thanks to being full of asbestos. The real reason for the tiny minority of highly-paid senior doctors speaking out in favour of staying is that their commute from the leafy eastern suburbs will be a few minutes longer.
  1S47 Assistant Commissioner

Location: On the Down Fast
If the Libs had been in power for the last 10 years in SA, would we still be able to ride H-class trams to the centre of Victoria Square today?
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
I can see where you blokes are coming from and I am not unsympathetic.
steam4ian

I'm sorry to disagree Ian. You are right to want the utmost economy in the use of borrowed state funds, and also to deplore the poor execution of many schemes for improvement by private contractors and the supervisory public servants, but I think that it's a little unfair to blame the ministers (of either persuasion) for not having expertise in areas to which they are appointed. This is one of the greatest faults of the democratic system of government. Even when we occasionally get a Tim Fischer whom I'd like to appoint Dictator of Transport Matters his influence is likely to be negated by ignoramuses and ideologues around the cabinet table.

Where I draw issue with you is in the use of public funds to create assets for the future. Just as we have had to suffer the inconvenience and disruption of, in my case effectively being mostly confined to my own suburban area for a year, and the payment of at least some of the borrowed funds through our taxes, so future citizens should pay their share for what we have provided for their use. As an analogy, it took until I was almost 85 for me to enjoy what the present government has provided in these last few years, but people who will be there after I am dead will enjoy both the free use of the private assets that I have built up by a lifetime of doing without many things that they take for granted, as well as what governments have provided through my hard earned taxes. That is as it should be. They in turn will do the same for their successors.

Though it is of academic interest in the present political climate, we don't need to create credit as a debt. That is the fallacy of capitalism. Control of debt is essential if inflation is to be avoided, but we have had the ability to create it interest free since the creation of the Commonwealth Bank. The USA, in an uncontrolled way which is highly undesirable, is only kept afloat by the printing of money, loading the resultant debt onto the rest of the world, but its private economy is beginning to boom as a result, while ours is contracting to the point that few young people, immigrants or redundant employees will get jobs at all. The resultant social chaos is not far off and it won't be pleasant.

The Great 1930s Depression hit Australia harder than anywhere else and I can vividly remember decent hard working men walking hundreds of miles to look for work, sleeping rough, riding the rattler, and begging to do some wood chopping for a handout at our back door, all because foreign banks demanded repayment with interest instead of declaring a temporary moratorium. Those same men were the backbone of our armed forces in the two disastrous wars on either side of the depression – a great reward for going without to feed their kids, I don't think! Now you know why I support Labor.

Yes our debt is very large, but I for one think that the infrastructure (as against sports and casino support projects) was well justified.

As an aside, I agree with you about mistakes made in our past rail history. I have imported Ron Fitch's book (thick, heavy and in large print with very small pictures) and have read it nearly all the way through. It's my latest acquisition in a large library of interest in rail and many other areas, including his earlier writings.

Finally I am suggesting a revolution. Labor should declare before the election that if the Liberals sell off our public transport assets, it will compulsorily acquire those same assets at the original price upon being re-elected to office. It's about time that politicians realise that they are the TEMPORARY CUSTODIANS NOT THE OWNERS of the common property of us all.


Regards,

Brian.
  AFULE Chief Train Controller

Location: South Australia
What is the "Martin Hamilton-Smith electrification policy"? Was there a commitment at one stage to complete the electrification?
don_dunstan

It was Martin Hamilton who said that the Liberals would electrify the Suburban rail network a couple of years ago.
  dvdplaza Chief Train Controller

If the Libs had been in power for the last 10 years in SA, would we still be able to ride H-class trams to the centre of Victoria Square today?
"1S47"


Absolutely yes - Isobel made it clear throughout the entire rebuild and extension of the tram system that she was utterly against it.  She even rode one of the new trams when it was open and live on ABC Radio declared it a white elephant nobody wanted.

Yet the trams boomed to the point where you could barely squeeze onto the platforms and carriages all day long and extra trams were needed to boost capacity.

So yes, the old H types would still be running and would be terminating in the centre of Victoria Square.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
If the Libs had been in power for the last 10 years in SA, would we still be able to ride H-class trams to the centre of Victoria Square today?
"1S47"


If they had been in power our trip to Glenelg on PT would have seen you traveling down Anzac Hwy in the rubber tyred H-class replacements.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
If they had been in power our trip to Glenelg on PT would have seen you traveling down Anzac Hwy in the rubber tyred H-class replacements.
Pressman

How true. Out of sheer spite the 'Liberals' torpedoed what would have been the first underground line outside Melbourne and Sydney, with a station under King William Street to serve Rundle and Grenfell Streets, in favour of a still uncompleted O-Bahn, and sold off a satisfactorily functioning State Transport Authority to private interests (e.g. Serco, an English Company), while some of the present 'Liberal' candidates for office actively opposed the extension of the tram line from Victoria Square (I was there, listening to their puerile cries of doom and holding a placard supporting the extension).

To support the statement that I made in my last posting on this topic that the Commonwealth Government has the ability to create interest free credit and that it can lend funds to the states without an interest burden, please see the following excerpt.

On page 448 of Australian Railwayman, Ron Fitch the very experienced WAGR railwayman who became the Chief Civil Engineer of the Commonwealth Railways and then the respected last Commissioner of the SAR during its partial standardisation, wrote – 'The financial provisions of the Rail Standardisation Agreement Acts were also something of a confidence trick. Under the Agreements, the Commonwealth made funds available out of capital – on which of itself it does not pay interest – and the states were required to pay out of revenue, 30 per cent of that cost, plus interest in 50 equal annual instalments. However when taking the interest into account, they are obliged to pay more; in reality nearer to 80 per cent. This was yet another imposition on the states, and it explodes the myth that the Commonwealth bore the greater part of the cost.

Recently Abbott and Hockey, who both squibbed on explaining their plans for the financial future of Australia before the election despite many invitations to appear on forums where they could be questioned by knowledgeable people, gave a large grant of money to the Reserve Bank after crying poor about the debt left to them by the Labor Government, a large part of which was incurred in saving us, almost alone in the world, from the Wall Street engineered collapse of the world economy. That the Reserve Bank can actually create the credit that they 'gave' it, as its counterpart in the USA does in trillions, didn't seem to enter their wooden heads. Even the Reserve Bank was surprised!

Any citizen who wants to see the completion of our electrification and other schemes to improve our public transport will need very carefully to consider for whom he will cast his vote.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
the debt left to them by the Labor Government, a large part of which was incurred in saving us, almost alone in the world, from the Wall Street engineered collapse of the world economy.
SAR526

That is largely untrue, the Federal ALP's spending was not required to save us from the GFC, despite what the ALP may tell you. There are several economies world wide that faired better through the GFC than ours, NZ is one of them and they did not waste the better part of a quarter of a trillion dollars doing it. Giving the populous large cash hand outs to go and splurge on imported goods did nothing to help us, it only benefit was to other nations that actually make stuff.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Trying to get back on track, rail or tram it does not matter.

There is a question. What are the most pressing things facing SA at present?

Even as a rail enthusiast and true believer (rail not Keating) I have to concede it is not railways nor trams nor more electric trains.

IMHO what is important is jobs and maximising the use of the resources, and that includes human skills, that we have.

Unfortunately most recent government expenditure has gone on projects would could have been deferred, paid for interstate workers, contractors and consultants without building up SA's industrial capability or employment opportunities.

The state is already saddled with a massive debt. Don't forget debt incurs recurrent interest charges which sap the state of funds for ongoing projects. Debt also lowers the state's credit rating so its interest charges are even higher, even less money for projects and services.

As for suburban rail. Look at how many commute journeys actually are viably served by rail such that rail becomes an option. Taking the figures for the Seaford rail extension justification I would suggest a figure well under 10% is not unduly pessimistic.

Lastly, how important is a rail system which can be shut down for almost a year or a tram system that is shut down every time somebody wants to have a parade?

Brian will remember the Playford era.
What we need is heads of departments with both a sense of flair and economy that knew how to do things on a shoestring and with the smell of an oily rag. Ramsey, Dryden and Johinke come to mind. Look how the SAR of that time was adept at make mend and make do, and they did it with pride.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Brian

Years ago the Liberals gave us the MATS Plan which had an underground rail down King William St as its centre piece. It was Donny D that killed that plan and wasted the money selling the land already purchased. A Labor government is now building the freeways it previously said were unnecessary.

Ian
  Milkomeda Chief Train Controller

I will say one thing about this the fact they have said nothing on it does sound very ominous like something bad is going to happen that the public won't like.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I will say one thing about this the fact they have said nothing on it does sound very ominous like something bad is going to happen that the public won't like.
"Milkomeda"
Hopefully tolling the three expressways and the Superway. It would be unpopular (far more unpopular than closing the Grange line or refusing to match Labor's third announcement of electrification to the north) but positive.

It could also be a move to force Labor into leading, rather than playing the "anything you can do" game they did last week with the Mt Barker Interchange announcement.
  nscaler69 Deputy Commissioner

Location: There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.
The Lib's will concentrate on road projects then say how wonderful they are for public transport. Will the Lib's get rid of the city bus only lanes?
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
That is largely untrue, the Federal ALP's spending was not required to save us from the GFC, despite what the ALP may tell you. There are several economies world wide that faired better through the GFC than ours, NZ is one of them and they did not waste the better part of a quarter of a trillion dollars doing it. Giving the populous large cash hand outs to go and splurge on imported goods did nothing to help us, it only benefit was to other nations that actually make stuff.
"Aaron"


Depends how you're measuring the fairing of an economy. While GDP is a problematic metric depending on how it is distributed and what's driving it, NZ's GDP is only now returning to its 2008 level whereas Australia's is absurdly almost 50% higher and with a much lower current account deficit to boot. Who else were you thinking of? NZ might not be the best comparison since it's eceonomy is basically primary produce and tourism with a much smaller domestic demand component than Oz.

Obviously the two main primary events that saved/protected the Australian economy are 1) Rudd's opening the discount window to the banks who were all insolvent when the global credit markets froze (if you can't roll over debt you're just as insolvent as if there's massive hole in your balance sheet but it's easier to fix) and 2) China's massive stimulus spending. Since everyone in the world did (1) it's hard to claim that the Libs wouldn't have but credit where credit is due.

The main problem with economics is that it's hard to go back and have a re-do as an experiment. Absent the stimulus spending (some of which is surely wasteful but that's beside the point) would Australian consumers have freaked out and stopped spending money as occurred in here US, considerably deepening the decline due to an acute contraction in demand? It's been a long time since Australia really had hard times (much like the US) so it's hard to say.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
It was Martin Hamilton who said that the Liberals would electrify the Suburban rail network a couple of years ago.
AFULE

Thanks for that answer.  Given there's been no announcements of any sort you'd imagine Adelaide will be stuck with a single electric line for the foreseeable future -
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Recently Abbott and Hockey, who both squibbed on explaining their plans for the financial future of Australia before the election despite many invitations to appear on forums where they could be questioned by knowledgeable people, gave a large grant of money to the Reserve Bank after crying poor about the debt left to them by the Labor Government, a large part of which was incurred in saving us, almost alone in the world, from the Wall Street engineered collapse of the world economy. That the Reserve Bank can actually create the credit that they 'gave' it, as its counterpart in the USA does in trillions, didn't seem to enter their wooden heads. Even the Reserve Bank was surprised!
SAR526

It's interesting to hear from someone else who knows of the extraordinary powers that the Commonwealth government has to do things like create interest-free credit.  Most people (including our leaders apparently!) are completely unaware of the seemingly magical powers that our Federal government has to do such things with our fiat currency completely independent of the private banking system.  The core of the problem being that the private sector has effectively prohibited them from using any of those powers for many years out of fear that it might cut into their bottom line.

I recall reading years ago some little-known facts about the creation and use of the original Commonwealth Bank and how they printed special currency to finance the building of the Trans-Australia railway during WW1.  I think that's where the problems began - the fact that the private banks were locked out of the process and the opportunity to make big money from brokering and financing the deal taught them a lesson and they subsequently pressured Stanley Melbourne Bruce to change the Commonwealth Bank charter in the 1920's so that such a deal would no longer be possible without help from the private banking sector.
  SAR526 Chief Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, South Australia.
Brian

Years ago the Liberals gave us the MATS Plan which had an underground rail down King William St as its centre piece. It was Donny D that killed that plan and wasted the money selling the land already purchased. A Labor government is now building the freeways it previously said were unnecessary.

Ian
steam4ian

The MATS plan was shelved (not abandoned) by the Dunstan government because of massive protests from the thousands of citizens whose suburbs would have been destroyed to make way for Los Angeles style freeways with cloverleaf interchanges, one of which would have completely covered an entire long established suburb. Historic areas of Norwood and the leafy eastern suburbs would have been obliterated. Thousands of people would have had their homes acquired so that road traffic could be faster….road traffic to what? A ruined city perhaps? I know that if my home were to be threatened by a development like this I would be very tempted to foment a bloody revolution.


It was the Tonkin government that sold off much of the acquired land: 'In 1980, the [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]Liberal party[/b][/font][/size][/color] won government on a platform of [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]fiscal conservatism[/b][/font][/size][/color] and the premier [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]David Tonkin[/b][/font][/size][/color] committed his government to selling off the land acquired for the MATS plan ensuring that even if needs or [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]public opinion[/b][/font][/size][/color] changed, the construction of most MATS-proposed freeways would be impossible'. (Wikipaedia article)


Labor had already planned the light rail underground link under King William Street between Glenelg and Tea Tree Plaza (the cross sectional model of the station is on display at the St. Kilda Tramway Museum}, and some preliminary work had been undertaken when Tonkin's 'Liberals' changed the plan to an O'Bahn – significantly the only extensive use of the technology in the world. I don't deny that the O'Bahn has its advantages, though its inability to cross intersections without grade separation is a major drawback.


I do agree with you Ian that we need to be very careful on what government (our taxation) funds are spent, and I agree with you that some of the Rann/Weatherill government 's initiatives have been unwise, particularly, in my opinion, the Oval and pedestrian bridge, undertaken at least partly for the benefit of sectional interests. I also think that, due largely to the progressive loss of disinterested advice from professionally trained and responsible permanent public servants over many years now in favour of party hack 'consultants' and lobby groups, some of what they have done has been poorly and expensively managed.


Nevertheless we are very much better off in terms of public, and particularly rail, transport than we were only a few years ago.


Finally to Aaron: Many international economists have concurred with the belief that Australia's Labor Goverment's tactics prevented a major recession here. New Zealand, with a very different economic base is not a good comparison. The financial handout to taxpayers was a major psychological stimulus and, as such, a success. Yes, shonky or incompetent private contractors killed some of their untrained employees and tighter control by the public service may have prevented some of those tragic deaths, but ministers know only what they are told and are more often than not out of their depth. Being a singing guitarist, for example, is not a very good basis for ministerial office, though the person concerned did learn on the job and his performance improved. This applies to ministers of all political persuasions. We are fortunate when a hard working minister masters his portfolio and are the poorer when a Xenophon cannot be a member of any government under our system.
  AFULE Chief Train Controller

Location: South Australia
Well said SAR 526, it has saved me the time and effort, but I do think that we waste a lot of time trying to explain the facts to Aaron, he has an political agenda and direction that rhyme nor reasoning will not change, even if he is 100% wrong,

The MATS plan was shelved (not abandoned) by the Dun tan government because of massive
protests from the thousands of citizens whose suburbs would have been destroyed to make way for Los Angeles style freeways with cloverleaf interchanges, one of which would have completely covered an entire long established suburb. Historic areas of Norwood and the leafy eastern suburbs would have been obliterated. Thousands of people would have had their homes acquired so that road traffic could be faster….road traffic to what? A ruined city perhaps? I know that if my home were to be threatened by a development like this I would be very tempted to foment a bloody revolution.


It was the Tonkin government that sold off much of the acquired land: 'In 1980, the [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]Liberal party[/b][/font][/size][/color] won government on a platform of [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]fiscal conservatism[/b][/font][/size][/color] and the premier [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]David Tonkin[/b][/font][/size][/color] committed his government to selling off the land acquired for the MATS plan ensuring that even if needs or [color=#0b0080][size=2][font=sans-serif][b]public opinion[/b][/font][/size][/color] changed, the construction of most MATS-proposed freeways would be impossible'. (Wikipaedia article)


Labor had already planned the light rail underground link under King William Street between Glenelg and Tea Tree Plaza (the cross sectional model of the station is on display at the St. Kilda Tramway Museum}, and some preliminary work had been undertaken when Tonkin's 'Liberals' changed the plan to an O'Bahn – significantly the only extensive use of the technology in the world. I don't deny that the O'Bahn has its advantages, though its inability to cross intersections without grade separation is a major drawback.


I do agree with you Ian that we need to be very careful on what government (our taxation) funds are spent, and I agree with you that some of the Rann/Weatherill government 's initiatives have been unwise, particularly, in my opinion, the Oval and pedestrian bridge, undertaken at least partly for the benefit of sectional interests. I also think that, due largely to the progressive loss of disinterested advice from professionally trained and responsible permanent public servants over many years now in favour of party hack 'consultants' and lobby groups, some of what they have done has been poorly and expensively managed.


Nevertheless we are very much better off in terms of public, and particularly rail, transport than we were only a few years ago.


Finally to Aaron: Many international economists have concurred with the belief that Australia's Labor Goverment's tactics prevented a major recession here. New Zealand, with a very different economic base is not a good comparison. The financial handout to taxpayers was a major psychological stimulus and, as such, a success. Yes, shonky or incompetent private contractors killed some of their untrained employees and tighter control by the public service may have prevented some of those tragic deaths, but ministers know only what they are told and are more often than not out of their depth. Being a singing guitarist, for example, is not a very good basis for ministerial office, though the person concerned did learn on the job and his performance improved. This applies to ministers of all political persuasions. We are fortunate when a hard working minister masters his portfolio and are the poorer when a Xenophon cannot be a member of any government under our system.
SAR526

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