Despite treasury warnings that the economy has entered a new phase where the rivers of gold from China are coming to an end and there is little left in kitty to splurge on election promises, Kevin Rudd has had a new thought bubble about high speed rail.
HSR is a great thing from a political perspective. The very mention of it conjures up dreams among commuters of almost instant transportation from their current location to somewhere far away. It’s a bit like, you buy the ticket and it’s “Beam me up Scotty.”
Labor has been promising this at every election for many years and will continue to do so. They have an unhealthy obsession with big spending signature projects, and the Greens like it.
Liberal Democrats Senate candidate for Western Australia, Mr Jim Fryar has attacked Labor’s ‘high speed rail’ thought bubble.
“The idea of prohibitively expensive high speed rail from Sydney to Melbourne with an extension to Brisbane is symptomatic of an imminent election and synonymous with everything wrong with the way Australia is governed,” he said.
“While such projects readily lend themselves to soaring rhetoric, great visual graphics, stirring television advertisements, dreams of government largesse, and carries with it the potential to shore up marginal seats, the reality is that it has to be paid for and the benefits are far from proven.”
Paying for it is the part where West Australians, South Australians, Tasmanians, Territorians, and those Queenslanders living north or west of the Brisbane Gold Coast corridor come into it.” “The South Easterners enjoy the benefits, while those of us out in flyover country get dudded with the bill.”
“While there is some evidence that HSR can be viable overseas between cities with bigger populations than that of Australia, it must be efficiently run and it is unlikely that cutting a new railway line through vast swathes of the southern seaboard will be an economic proposition. We will probably have to subsidise it forever”, he said.
The $52 million being blown in the Prime Minister’s announcement is not for construction; this is just to establish an authority to give the appearance of having a plan. The expected cost on current projections is $114 billion, which is outrageous in our current economic situation.
“Given that the NBN was supposed to cost in the vicinity of $30 billion and is now likely to run to $90 billion and counting, while years behind schedule, this HSR proposal can be expected to cost around $300 to 400 billion,” he added. “Even that will depend on how much is added to the original estimate at the behest of lobbyists and sectional interests.”
Mr Fryar said he was not surprised by the existence of a strong secessionist sentiment in the West. “People are tired of restrictions on their personal liberty and economic activities, designed to assuage the conscience of the eastern latte set while paying for grandiose vote buying visions from Canberra, especially those like this one that will be of no benefit whatsoever to them.”
“Former Victorian Premier, Sir Henry Bolte once stated his intention to keep Australia’s money in Victoria. Mr Rudd, while echoing the selfsame sentiment, is extending it to NSW and north to his electorate.” “Canberra’s interest in the West, is about the same as a dingo has in a newborn lamb,” he concluded.