One day, Gina Rinehart is projected to be worth $100 billion. In the past, I’ve argued she should use a big chunk of that money to do something grand, like fund an entire Aussie space program.
So imagine what two particularly philanthropic Ginas could do if they both decided to invest $100 billion into Australian infrastructure.
According to reports this week, during secret mining tax negotiations the day before he was knifed as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd struck an in-principle deal with mining exec Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest that would’ve allowed mining companies to avoid liability for the 40 per cent mining tax by instead writing off their capital expenditure on Australian infrastructure. Estimates suggested the plan would’ve pumped at least $200 billion into Australian infrastructure every five years. A huge deal for the country.
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In the wake of yet another tragic level crossing accident in Melbourne, a Melbourne train driver gives his perspective on the often frightening view from the driver’s seat…
Express running is the worst, or running empty cars back to a depot because you are not scheduled to stop but the punters are attuned to the stopping of trains at platforms.
They assume you’re going to stop and if they quickly duck under the safety barrier they can still catch your train!
A couple of my fellow drivers have hit small children at level crossings. Imagine pulling the train to a stand still, getting out of the cab and being confronted with the grieving parent. One train driver even had the mother screaming at him and physically hitting him.
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So we’re a step further down the track to blowing $110 billion of taxpayer’s money on a new high speed rail network which will do exactly what planes do, only three times slower. Woohoo for progress.
Yesterday’s $20 million feasibility report was enthusiastically greeted by many, even though Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese admitted our relatively small population meant the price tag could be hard to justify.
He’s not wrong. Every other country with high speed rail, like Japan and China and France and Spain, has a far denser population than ours. In Australia, economies of scale mean this thing would be unlikely ever to pay for itself.
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First promised in 1823, today’s announcement by Labor that a $2.1 billion Parramatta to Epping rail link will be constructed within seven years is easily the most visionary transport blueprint for western Sydney since the last one, that other one, and the other one just before that.
This model cleverly synthesises the best of the past blueprints to take the passenger experience to dizzy new heights. The seats will be made entirely out of snuggly mohair. Neil Perry will serve canapes. Female commuters will receive back rubs from members of the Chippendales, while the men will be able to watch Foxsports, Top Gear and Wild On! Cancun via an on-demand passenger entertainment system. For the kids, every fourth carriage will be decorated under Walt Disney’s Fantasia theme, with those surly old ticket inspectors replaced by cheery elves.
If you vote Labor in any of five Sydney marginal electorates next Saturday it is expected that construction on the rail link will start one hour later and be completed by the following Tuesday. All aboard the Bullshit Express.
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