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.

7 May 2018

Morrison needs to be upfront about infrastructure funding

It feels like Sydney’s CBD has been a construction site for ages: if you’re not dodging the drilling and hoardings on the south-east light rail, it’ll be the trucks and workers from the Sydney Metro. A fast-growing Sydney wants big new infrastructure.

26 April 2018

Budget policy check: do we need ribbon-cutting infrastructure for jobs and growth?

We look set for another infrastructure budget: big new projects that will, we’re told, boost growth, create jobs and tackle the pressures of our booming population. For example, the Turnbull government has already pledged up to A$5 billion for a rail link from Melbourne Airport to its CBD. Infrastructure can play an important role, but behind the rhetoric some fundamental investment principles are missing.

26 February 2018

Smart money: a better way for Australia to select big transport infrastructure projects

Australia needs to change the way it assesses potential infrastructure projects, to ensure that governments can better understand which road and rail projects are worth building.

22 February 2018

Why the Inland Rail project will never add up

Just because the government is funding Inland Rail through an equity investment doesn’t mean that it makes commercial sense and doesn’t mean that taxpayers shouldn’t still wonder if it isn’t more a wish and a hope than a sound investment of our money.

27 November 2017

Delay in changing direction on how we tax drivers will cost us all

The federal government announced a year ago that it would review the charges imposed on drivers for using our roads. That review hasn’t yet happened. They should get on with it, because reforming the way we charge road users will make our economy more productive and our cities more liveable. The longer we wait, the harder the path to those improvements becomes.