Nice run down on how even Infrastructure Australia has lost it with our collective inability to manage the nation's Infrastructure.
I think the most salient quote is this, it not only says a hell of a lot about our Infrastructure issues but about Australian's attitude to national issues in general.
(from the Age article)
The report puts the problem squarely. ''As a country and a community'', it says, ''we:
■Are reluctant to increase government debt (although our national debt levels are among the lowest of any developed country).
■Baulk at raising taxes to pay for better infrastructure and services.
■Are uncomfortable with the 'user pays' concept (as seen in opposition to the use of tolls to fund some roads or increases in utility charges to pay for necessary capital investment and maintenance).
■Are against recycling capital, i.e. selling poorly performing infrastructure assets that could be better managed by the private sector and using the proceeds of those sales to fund other infrastructure.
''Yet we are concerned about congestion, we are concerned about the health and security of our water supplies, we are concerned about the prospect of electricity 'brownouts' and we recognise the need to modernise our telecommunications.
''There is a profound disconnect here.''
I have long said that Infrastructure is probably the number one reason behind so many issues of Environment, productivity and population. It's how a Country with a ridiculous amount of unused space can have a housing affordability crisis. It's not supply and demand, it's that if you want to live outside the inner suburbs of most cities the price and quality of almost every service skyrockets. Why? Well it's Infrastructure stupid...
The points made by the panel also illustrate how ridiculous political debate has become over the last two decades. You can't raise taxes, you can't borrow money, you can't put in tollways because people don't want to pay to use a road, you can't set a market price for pollution... BUT why don't trains run on time? Why is X so expensive? Why don't I get Mobile coverage up North?