Michael Duffy and Sydney’s amenity

Contrarian columnist Michael Duffy has a great column in yesterday’s SMH.

I wonder when the tipping point will come and people will start to see at least some of the emperor through those new clothes of his.

But I was aching for one more dot point, in the article, of at least as much significance as of some of the most important – the inane taboo on government debt. It’s good to see financial populism continuing to make the electorate suspicious of borrowing to consume. But of course borrowing to invest is a very different kettle of fish. The important objective for governments – as for households should be to maximise net worth at acceptable risk, not minimise borrowing which as Sydneysiders see every day is impoverishing us.

All the expenditure on infrastructure that’s taken place through BOOT schemes could have been roughly doubled if it had been brought onto the government’s balance sheet and funded with bonds.

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Amanda
13 years ago

What emperor and what clothes do you mean? The infrasturcture of Sydney is forever being bagged. 24/7. It’s hardly a brave taboo-breaking position to take.

Amanda
13 years ago

Understood.

The Doctor
The Doctor
13 years ago

When is Michael Duffy going to understand that new roads do not necessarily make for faster travel, particularly when the system nearly permanently full. If a single accident can cause a major jam in the system creating more roads will just create more critical points.

Joshua Gans
Joshua Gans(@joshua-gans)
13 years ago

His concerns about freeways on the one hand and urban consolidation on the other, seem at best unconnected and at worst contradictory. Urban consolidation should reduce the need for freeways and make public transport more cost effective, shouldn’t it? Or is he saying that people wouldn’t need to live on the Central Coast and clog up the F3 if only they could live on the ‘urban fringe’? The experience with Rowse Hill doesn’t suggest that land release solves transport problems.

jimmythespiv
jimmythespiv
13 years ago

Nick

You forgot to add that the taboo on borrowing has lead to surpluses which are not returned to the people as tax cuts. Governments have not lowered taxes to take into account their decreased infrastructure funding costs.

Vee
Vee
13 years ago

Sydney complains too much about transport and roads. Its nothing compared to out here. I thought the mob out here was supposed to be the whiners but its nothing when you hear Sydney and coastal folk cry about roads and public transport. There’s nothing wrong with those roads, only bad drivers. And for the most part trains do run on time as long as you don’t expect to step off the train into your office.

“We’ll be rooned,” cried Duffy.

marcelproust
13 years ago

I dunno V. For the number of people out there, the roads west of the divide look pretty good to me. On reflection, that’s a little glib but it highlights the issue: you may be concerned about the quality of your roads but in Sydney it’s the capacity that counts. Actually, that’s my beef with Duffy: build a bigger moving carpark and you’ll just have more people parking on it. You can’t stop them: it’s virtually human nature, as his example of the expressway from Brooklyn to Hornsby makes clear.