21 November 2018

Eight charts that explain Victoria’s transport election

The most magical time of the year is upon Victorians: election season. The (taxpayer-funded) gifts promised by the major parties far exceed anything Santa could bring. And the multi-billion-dollar toys on everybody’s wish list? Trains, tracks and roads.

30 October 2018

Infrastructure splurge ignores smarter ways to keep growing cities moving

It’s already started. We may be only entering the formal election campaign in Victoria tonight, but massive transport announcements are in full swing from the state Labor government, the Coalition opposition and the Greens. And with an election due next March in New South Wales, we can be sure the major parties in that state won’t be far behind.

23 October 2018

Slow and steady wins the race for Hobart

We should celebrate Hobart’s unremarkable population growth. Sensible growth creates space for sensible planning. This will minimise future growing pains while still allowing us to enjoy everything that new people have to offer.

10 October 2018

Beware ‘congestion-busting’ politicians bent on new infrastructure

With Victorian, NSW and federal elections in the months ahead, be very sceptical of “congestion-busting” election pledges.

2 October 2018

Does Adelaide really need to jump on the growth bandwagon?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently described Adelaide as a city “crying out” for more migration. And it’s true – the population has grown much more slowly than the bigger capitals in recent years. But does Adelaide really need to jump on the growth bandwagon? Is it ready for what that might entail?

2 October 2018

Drunk on growth, but now sobering up

The end of the mining boom still feels like a bad hangover. And waking up bleary-eyed the next morning, Perth seems sluggish and irritable, reminiscing glumly over black coffee about last night’s shenanigans. At its peak in 2012, Perth was rushing along helter-skelter at 3.3 per cent annual population growth. Today it’s back down to 1 percent.

2 October 2018

Our fast-growing cities and their people are proving to be remarkably adaptable

Outer-suburban dwellers in our large capital cities are the modern version of Menzies’ “forgotten people”, if the government is to be believed. The image of a low-income commuter forced to spend over an hour driving to the CBD is all too common, as the media reach for a way to make sense of population growth.

2 October 2018

Expensive new infrastructure is not the only fix for population growth

Losing the title of the world’s most liveable city seems to have triggered an anxiety attack among Melburnians. Fast overtaking the weather as Melbourne’s number one “coffee shop conversation” is the idea that the city has grown too fast: how crowded it’s become and just how poorly prepared we are for the population boom.

10 July 2018

Missing evidence base for big calls on infrastructure costs us all

When the case for big transport projects is made without due analysis, we risk building the wrong projects. The result is we waste billions of dollars and rob ourselves of the infrastructure our booming cities need to be more liveable. Given how fast our big cities are growing, we simply can’t afford to make decisions based on limited or misleading information. Yet this keeps happening.

7 May 2018

The infrastructure budget trap

The federal government has foreshadowed infrastructure ‘presents from Santa’ in next week’s budget. But unlike gifts from Santa, someone ultimately pays for infrastructure spending even if clever accounting hides it from the government’s bottom line.