Commentary: Why public transport funding may be imminent

Posted: June 22, 2015 in Transport
Tags: , , , ,

The Federal Government’s refusal to fund public transport infrastructure dates back to 4 April 2013, when the then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott declared his opposition to it:

“The Commonwealth government has a long history of funding roads. We have no history of funding urban rail and I think it’s important that we stick to our knitting, and the Commonwealth’s knitting when it comes to funding infrastructure is roads.” – Tony Abbott, Federal Opposition Leader (4 April 2013)

In the 2 years since then, this position has barely changed. Which is to say it has evolved (very slowly) in the right direction.

2014-05-22 Jamie Briggs

The first change came on 16 May 2014, when the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs promised that federal funding from its asset recycling fund would not be restricted to roads. It followed through with this promise on 19 February 2015, providing $60m in funding to the ACT for its proposed light rail project. This funding was small, particularly compared to the billions going to the marquee roads projects; it also included a side comment from the Treasurer Joe Hockey’s office that “it has been a controversial project in the ACT” and that “there has been debate as to whether alternative projects may have higher potential economic benefits”.

While the ACT project received lukewarm support from Canberra and could be described as tokenistic in terms of the quantity of funding; the 8 March 2015 decision to send $2bn to NSW changed that. With $1.3bn of that going towards the Sydney Metro project, the Federal Government is now providing more funding to this rail project than the $1bn it has committed to WestConnex. However, the rail funding came with strings attached in the form of requiring privatisation. Funding for WestConnex has no such restrictions.

Warren Truss, Federal Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Federal Shadow Transport Minister (Image: Australian Parliament)

Warren Truss, Federal Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Federal Shadow Transport Minister (Image: Australian Parliament)

14 June 2015 showed more promise on this front, with the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss stating that “the Federal Government is quite happy to fund metro rail projects”. This would appear to be in start contradiction to the statements quoted by Mr Abbott earlier that the Federal Government “have no history of funding urban rail” and would not be funding public transport.

Perhaps the reason can be found by winding back the clock a month to 6 May 2015 when Greens leader Christine Milne was replaced by Richard Di Natale. In the past, Ms Milne had been resistant to supporting the re-indexation of the fuel excise because additional revenue would be hypothecated (i.e. promised to) road funding. However, when the Finance Minister Matthias Cormann offered to eliminate the hypothecation Ms Milne maintained her opposition.

The party now has a new leader, and one who appears to be more willing to negotiate with the Government of the day. Following the May budget, Mr Di Natale met with Mr Abbott. In this meeting, he offerred to support indexation if some of the revenue was hypothecated to public transport projects. In that context, Mr Truss’ comments make a lot more sense.

The policy taken to the last election – to not fund urban commuter rail, is a bad one. However, the question here is not whether the Government should abandon it. By funding Sydney Metro to the tune of $1.3bn, it already has abandoned it. Instead, the question is about when the Government will take a mode neutral stance on funding of transport infrastructure. Let Infrastructure Australia or the states determine the best transport projects and fund those. There’s a chance this possibility may become a reality sooner than expected.

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Comments
  1. I think you need to consider how tactically Abbott thinks about this sort of funding politics.

    The main reason for the April 2013 comment stems from the idea that Maxine McKew losing Bennolong in 2010 *because* Gillard promised to fund the PRL, and after the Carr years no-one believed them.

    The policy was entirely about trying to con the ALP into promising to fund a rail project in Sydney.

    As time goes by, it’s going to be increasingly important for the Libs to complete the SRT (or whatever it’s called now), essentially to make up for the problem cause by the new form factor decision.

  2. Leaving aside the silliness of a ‘laissez faire’ Liberal government making command and control decisions on transport mode share (!), the one thing missing from your post is the economic necessity of the federal government funding PT projects in our cities. Australia’s economy is not doing that great, and it is not moving out of the doldrums as expected by treasury. The government is aware of this issue, which is why the last budget actually spent more % wise then the Rudd government stimulus budgets. Right now, federal govt spending is awfully important to the Australian economy. But more is needed.

    Unfortunately for Abbott, “roads roads roads” is not the answer. There simply isn’t enough road projects to go around. And the the road projects that there are either not very economic, or aren’t good enough at stimulating the economy.

    But every state has a plethora of PT projects they’re just dying to build. It helps that such projects are exceedingly popular in the electorate. It also helps that capital is very cheap now, the cheapest it has been for generations.

    The asset recycling part is unnecessary ideological nonsense , seeing as how the Feds are just borrowing the money on the international money markets anyway. If it takes asset recycling to encourage our Liberal overlords to plow the money into useful public transport, instead of more tax breaks for the wealthy, then so be it.

  3. Ned Ludd says:

    LUKE FOLEY – ANDREW CONSTANCE NO FRIENDS OF LABOUR

    TRAVIS KALANICK – CHIEF OF UBER

    HE WOULD NOT PASS A PROBITY CHECK TO RUN A BROTHEL

    PRIVATISE THE BUSES

    MAKE THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME

    GIVE THE THE POLES AND WIRES TO SINGAPORE AIRLINES

    GIVE THE TRAINS TO AMTRACK

    GIVE THE TAXIS AS A FREEBIE TO GENERAL MOTORS HOLDEN

    GIVE THE OPERA HOUSE TO KIM JONG-UN

    MAKE EVERYONE A CASUAL WORKER IN NSW

    12 TAXI DRIVERS KILL THEMSELVES EACH YEAR SINCE TOTAL DEREGULATION

    THE CELTIC TIGER WAS A FAILURE

    THEY ARE DIRECTING TRAFFIC AND DIGGING HOLES IN SYDNEY

    THIS IS NOT AMAZON.com but complete GREED AND BARBARISM

    The New South Wales opposition has called for Uber to be legalised, supporting regulation of the ride-sharing app and Airbnb.

    The NSW opposition leader, Luke Foley, used his budget reply speech to announce he would be introducing a private member’s bill to legalise and regulate Uber.

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/25/labors-luke-foley-calls-for-uber-and-airbnb-to-be-regulated-in-nsw
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Travis Kalanick-CHIEF OF UBER

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_Kalanick

    HE WOULD NOT PASS A PROBITY CHECK TO RUN A BROTHEL

    TRAVIS KALANICK – HIS CAREER

    From Wikepedia

    01-SCOUR

    In 1998, Travis Kalanick dropped out of UCLA with some of his classmates to found Scour Inc., a multimedia search engine, and Scour Exchange, a Peer-to-peer file sharing

    service.In 2000, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) brought

    a lawsuit against Scour, alleging copyright infringement. In September of that year Scour filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from the lawsuit.

    02-RED SWOOSH

    In 2001, with Scour’s engineering team, Kalanick started a new company called Red Swoosh, another peer-to-peer file-sharing company. Red Swoosh software took advantage of

    increased bandwidth efficiency on the Internet to allow users to transfer and trade large media files, including music files and videos. In 2007, Akamai Technologies acquired

    the company for $19 million

    03-UBER
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    SIR ROBERT ASKIN HAD NOTHING ON THESE PEOPLE

    WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? – BILDERBERG GROUP

    Peter Andreas Thiel (born October 11, 1967) is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, hedge fund manager, and social critic. Thiel co-founded PayPal with Max Levchin and Elon Musk (see PayPal Mafia) and served as its CEO. He also co-founded Palantir, of which he is chairman. He was the first outside investor in Facebook, the popular social-networking site, with a 10.2% stake acquired in 2004 for $500,000, and sits on the company’s board of directors.

    Thiel serves as president of Clarium Capital, a global macro hedge fund with $700 million in assets under management; a managing partner in Founders Fund, a venture capital fund with $2 billion in assets under management; co-founder and investment committee chair of Mithril Capital Management; and co-founder and chairman of Valar Ventures.
    Thiel was ranked 293 on the Forbes 400 in 2011, with a net worth of $1.5 billion as of March 2012. He was ranked on the Forbes Midas List of 2014 at $2.2 billion.Thiel lives in San Francisco.

    Bilderberg Group

    Thiel is listed as a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group, a private, annual gathering of intellectual figures, political leaders and business executives
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    PAYPAL TAXIS NSW

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/jun/25/labors-luke-foley-calls-for-uber-and-airbnb-to-be-regulated-in-nsw

    What It Takes to Replicate the PAYPAL MAFIA’s Success

    Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Max Levchin are among the big-name PayPal alum who went on to have their hand in creating billion-dollar tech startups. Learn what it is that these men have in common.

    By Thompson Wall
    Web producer, Inc.@thompson_wall

    When eBay buys your company for $1.5 billion, you might consider spending the rest of your days sipping cocktails on the beaches of Silicon Valley (or just go ahead and buy the beaches themselves). But that’s not what these seven former PayPal colleagues did. Instead, the so-called PayPal Mafia went on to invest in so many of the same wildly successful private tech startups that The New York Times had to map it out.

    Take a look at the billion-dollar boys club below:

    Peter Thiel, one of PayPal’s co-founders and the company’s former chief executive, has invested in four of the most valuable tech companies in Silicon Valley: Airbnb (valued at $40 billion), Palantir ($15 billion), SpaceX ($12 billion), and Stripe ($3.5 billion). Thiel was also one of the earliest investors in Facebook
    +++++++++++

    Jeremy Stoppelman, PayPal’s former vice president for engineering, similarly invested in Airbnb and Palantir as well as Square, Uber, and Pinterest.
    +++++++++++++++++

    Keith Rabois, PayPal’s former head of business development and current partner at Khosla Ventures, previously held executive roles at LinkedIn and Square and now holds shares in Airbnb, Stripe, and Palantir.
    ++++++++++++

    Elon Musk, who co-founded the company that became PayPal, went on to launch SpaceX (now worth $12 billion) and Tesla (worth $23 billion). Oh, and he also invested in Stripe.
    +++++++++

    Scott Banister, a former PayPal board member, co-founded email service IronPort, which sold to Cisco in 2007 for $830 million. Banister has also invested in Uber and SpaceX.
    ++++++++++++++

    Max Levchin, PayPal co-founder and its former chief technology officer, sold social gaming company Slide to Google in 2010 for $182 million and recently started online payments company Affirm. Levchin also has stakes in Pinterest and Stripe.
    ++++++++++++

    Roelof Botha, former PayPal head of business development and current partner at Sequoia Capital, has investments in Square.
    ++++++++++++

    The undeniable presence of former PayPal executives within Silicon Valley’s tech landscape goes even deeper than just the big seven. LinkedIn, now worth $31 billion, was co-founded by former PayPal chief operating officer Reid Hoffman. Stoppelman and lead software architect Russell Simmons co-founded Yelp, worth $3.51 billion. In 2006, Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim–all PayPal alum–founded YouTube, which was acquired by Google for $1.6 billion. So how is it that one dot-com-era company continues to churn out billion-dollar success stories?

    One part of the equation is that “success begets success,” the Times notes.

    “There’s a network effect to these things,” Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman tells the Times. “If you have a name that’s associated with success, people will seek you out. Why do smart people go to Harvard? Because previous smart people went to Harvard.”

    The second part of the equation is slightly more feasible for most entrepreneurs but nonetheless vital for setting up your business for industry domination at the get-go. In his book Zero to One, Thiel identifies seven questions that every business must answer if it hopes to reach the same level of success as PayPal:

    MORE:

    7 Startups That Want to Change the Way You Vacation

    8 Books Warren Buffett Tells Millionaires to Read

    The Future of Work

    17 Simple Habits That Will Make You Look More Professional

    25 Super-Successful Leaders Give Their Best Career Advice for Millennials

    The Engineering Question: Can you create breakthrough technology instead of incremental improvements?

    The Timing Question: Is now the right time to start your particular business?

    The Monopoly Question: Are you starting with a big share of a small market?

    The People Question: Do you have the right team?

    The Distribution Question: Do you have a way to not just create but to also deliver your product?

    The Durability Question: Will your market position be defensible 10 and 20 years into the future?

    The Secret Question: Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?

    Check out an Inc.com article by Bill Carmody, founder and CEO of marketing services provider Trepoint, to learn how to ace each of these seven steps.

    THIS IS NOT AMAZON.com but COMPLETE GREED AND BARBARISM

  4. SimonL says:

    ^ Who typed that crap? Bambul, can you delete it?

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