Monthly Archives: June 2008

What’s wrong with Melbourne’s public transport (part 1A)

I hadn’t planned on writing the second installment of this series just yet, but I’ve just spotted this:

MORE than $10 billion will be spent on infrastructure – including $2 billion rebuilding the state’s public transport by electrifying the city’s rail network, extending tram lines and buying new buses – in one of the biggest shake-ups contained in any State Budget.

The 10-year, $2 billion transport program outlined in Treasurer Kevin Foley’s seventh Budget will deliver 50 new electric trains, 58 converted electric trains, 15 hybrid tram/trains which can use both lines and 80 additional buses.

Where? Not Melbourne. Rather, it’s Adelaide, the capital of a state which – only a couple of years ago – was considered an economic basket case. Of course, there’s no doubt that the work needs to be done; Adelaide easily has the worst metropolitan rail system in the country. During the 2004 conference, I took a short trip about four stations north along the Gawler line at about 7pm, and then was stuck there for almost an hour waiting for a return train. Frequencies that bad, even at night, simply aren’t going to get people out of their cars.

Kudos to the South Australian government, showing Victoria’s do-nothing-but-build-roads-and-sports-stadiums government just how infrastructure spending should be handled.

Rudd solves Australia’s unemployment problem.

Australia’s current unemployment rate is, according to the ABS, 4.2%25 – although in reality it’s higher, since this figure doesn’t include those people who are studying, those who have given up looking for work and those who would like to work more hours than they currently have (a person with one hour of work per week is counted as ’employed’).

Meanwhile, Australia’s public servants are currently being worked to the bone by the Prime Minister and are fed up with it.

Hmm. Well, that doesn’t look all that hard to fix, to me. Reduce the hours of those people who are putting in more than eight hours per day, and give the extra work to the unemployed. And the great bit is that it won’t cost us one cent more.

You are paying for all this overtime, aren’t you, Kev?