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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Carr govt incompetence doomed heavy and light rail development to Bondi Beach, put buses at risk?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: nsw govt


Picture: Various flyers above and below and information from the 1996-7 controversy over the Bondi rail 'planning' by the Carr Govt.

Historical revisionism is in the air again over why the Bondi heavy rail scheme of 1996-7 failed and the reasons are very instructive for future success. This comes up every couple of years and the bogus excuses fall apart each time under serious scrutiny, just as they did back then.

 Here we go again via response to Crikey.com.au edition 17 Dec 07 (which they probably won't publish?):

Sent: Monday, December 17, 2007 7:55 PM
Subject: NSW public transport, Niall Glugston comment ignorant, wrong green baiting

Niall Clugston (Comments 17/12/07) is ignorant about the faulty Bondi heavy rail plan of 1996-7. The files are damning of the inept Carr Govt. Most believed and the govt never denied the huge Meriton high rise today over Bondi Junction station was in store for the privately owned station at the Beach side park (a 14m height limit defended for decades), the ticket price was going to be about $10 a trip at 1998 prices (a rip off). Then to really rub salt in, the highly profitable 380 bus line - a major revenue source that cranks the generally loss making city wide bus routes - was to be discontinued in one of those funnel traps like the Cross City Tunnel. Thousands would have to walk a kilometre either way to get to a station (they cancelled the mid station stop, too expensive). All in an area with very high patronage and dependence rates. The community caught Carr red handed trying to privatise the profit, and socialise the cost, and slash other city bus services. It was a scandal. Superior light rail was also ruled out. No surprises MacBank sponsored the heavy rail who embraced Carr in retirement. Mmm. Wrong again about the controversial Lave Cove River rail crossing front page of the Daily Telegraph here. A fair reading of Hansard of 20 May 2000 extracted at length here shows the democratic base of the green movement and Green Party supported a 14 metre high bridge in 2000 to smooth the project's way, the Upper House so voted, but were aghast when the Carr govt played favourites with one narrow splinter to reconfigure this in 2001, adding 800 metres of line. Why all these stuff ups? Suspicions abound in Sydney the tollway sector have too many ex MPs and ex union hacks who are more than happy to see public transport falter and stall with lousy planning and management to keep their road business in profit. The M2  is one, Eastern Distributor is another.
Tom McLoughlin, principal ecology action Australia.
NSW public transport:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. "Iemma's NSW: at least the trains, ah, well you know ..." (Friday, item 13). Critics like Ben Sandilands always blame Sydney's public transport shortfalls on the State Government. Sure they're responsible, but so are other people. He mentions the railway to Bondi Beach being sunk by an armada of celebrities. Similarly the Parramatta-Epping link was indefinitely postponed after community protests led by Tom Uren. The problematic tunnel under the Lane Cove River, which Sandilands mentioned, wouldn't have been constructed without a supposed environmentalist campaign against a bridge. The proposed North-West Rail Link has been drastically revised after public consultation and will probably never go ahead. Bad as they might be, the government should not be damned when they ignore community pressure and damned when they respond to it. If Sandilands really cares about the issue, he should address the public attitude that wants long-term transport issues fixed at the stamp of a foot without any impact on the existing suburban landscape. There is no advantage for governments in embarking on long-term infrastructure projects that are beset at every turn by community tantrums.






Postscript 19th Dec 07: Crikey did publish the comment above but not this exchange so far, thus giving Niall Clugston the last word (below), that he doesn't deserve:

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 5:19 PM
Subject: Coalition did it better 1988-95 on NSW Transport, reply to Niall Clugston

Some perhaps missed the real depth of my cynicism over NSW transport planning (Niall Clugston, Comments 19th Dec 07): I say the political issues are quite soluble even in the face of vociferous democracy. Noise is water off a ducks back for a senior politician. Indeed this never halted one tollway sector project. No, the problem is the govt party simply fails to convince it is acting for the right reasons - to reduce air/noise pollution, facilitate amenity and efficiency for the family and make a profit for the public revenue to feed back into services. Sadly the funding and settings of the govt party and it's big corporate mates just reinforces the general view big money runs the show. Legal or not. When Niall refers to the last 30 years as uniformly frustrating that's a bit too convenient. Actually the NSW Coalition record 1988-95 on rail (eg Bruce Baird as minister) was likely better than the ALP. Maybe Bruce should make a come back like Led Zeppelin.
Tom McLoughlin

NSW transport:

Niall Clugston writes: Matthew Weston and Tom McLoughlin (yesterday, comments) exemplify the point I made about the transport debate. I never defended the NSW government, but I did suggest community groups need to take responsibility too. This, for them, is unthinkable. At least McLoughlin acknowledges the role of community movements in stalling projects, but he says in the case of the Bondi link the protesters were absolutely right and in the case of the Lane Cove tunnel they were just a 'narrow splinter'. Either way, it's the government's fault. Both Weston and McLoughlin heap all the blame on Carr and Iemma, ignoring the preceding thirty years of governments which did nothing about rail. But why would a government do anything? All these criticisms and protests come from governments trying to do something! The same applies to Sydney's second airport...

Posted by editor at 7:05 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007 3:06 PM EADT

Tuesday, 24 April 2012 - 12:33 AM NZT

Name: "Niall Clugston"

So why shouldn't I have the last word???

The ultimate criterion is the truth, and I seem to care more about that stubborn stain than other people.

You can snipe from the corners and nip at the edges, but let's simplify and summarise and say I was totally right.

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