OPINION: More roads to solve road problems?

By Brent Heber, St George Greens Candidate for Kogarah, NSW 2015

Now this issue is a complex one.

First we have the issue of congestion. The M5 at King Georges road, the Wiley Park bottleneck on a Saturday morning, Kingsgrove Road now that Woolies is a right hand turn away and of course President Ave Kogarah, a parking lot at the best of times. Do Motorways relieve that congestion, let alone are the planned roads the most effective ones to build if this were true? The short answer is no they don’t, for many reasons but to put it simply, all you do is move the traffic you have somewhere else and then pile more cars into the mix making it more of a problem later on down the track.

As Greens MP Adam Bandt says “Trying to fix traffic congestion by building more roads is like solving obesity by loosening your belt”…

Even Infrastructure Australia have received recent reports from their own consultants to this effect.

The ONLY feasible long term solution to our traffic is better, cheaper public transport. Sydney has some appalling public transport problems that needed fixing years ago.

So on the surface of it, selling our poles and wires and pouring some money into public transport sounds like a good idea – BUT, it’s not “public” transport. It’s going to be privately run transport, just as the roads are going to be privately run motorways. They will be run with a view to making a profit first and foremost and we all know how that worked out with the gate fee at the airport?

Most importantly the only way to fund these projects without increasing taxes on the rich, putting a levy on the banks, chasing down tax evasion or other unsightly things is to sell our remaining control of our electricity grid. On the one hand, given the grid is powered by aging inefficient coal fired power stations that sounds like a good thing to be rid of, but given they are the biggest source of pollution in NSW and cleaning them up would be the fastest way to fight global warming, do we trust that task to corporate ownership? The same corporate ownership who are bringing all their pressure to bear on the RET review panel to throw our renewables target away? Who pulled the carbon tax? Do we trust that corporate ownership, who will then have a duopoly in our market (which scares the ACCC), not to raise prices whenever they like once they are unregulated from the fetters of any public ownership? Just look towards other states who have sold off their poles and wires and you’ll see the trend is exactly the opposite of what Mike Baird is trying to sell us, the voters. We WILL pay more for electricity once it is sold off and it WILL remain dirty and continue to pollute our air, make us sick and drive global warming more so than any other factor.

Privatise our electricity at a discount price to mates, pay our debts to our other mates, take what cash is left to partner with still other mates to either outright privatise new roads or co-privatise hospitals and other currently state owned services. Who wins? Big business. Who pays? We do, over and over again.

No deal Mike.

Twitter: @GreensKogarah

NB: The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of St George Greens.

2 Comments

on “OPINION: More roads to solve road problems?
2 Comments on “OPINION: More roads to solve road problems?
  1. Baird said the other day the ONLY way to fund new infrastructure is to privatise public assets. This statement alone reveals his and the Libs political and ideologically bankruptcy. What happens when all state assets are sold off, if this is to be their starting point and primary strategy? How will future generations deal with ever more challenging, complex, extensive and expensive infrastructure needs? The Libs have no answer to these questions. Insuring for the future is simply not part of their world view. The Greens do think about the future in the context of recognising life is based on finite resources in an interdependent ecosystem.

  2. How can any government ever think it is a good idea to privatise natural monopolies – such as the poles and wires of our electricity grid, then use it to fund other natural monopolies to be operated by more private entities. This has disaster written all over it, and the people of NSW will be paying for it for decades to come if it is allowed to happen.

    We have experience to tell us this proposal will not work, just look at the mess that privatising Telstra left us in.

    Keep up the good fight Brent.

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