20/02/2013 - 00:37

Reader Response - Feb 21 2013 edition

20/02/2013 - 00:37


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Reader Response - Feb 21 2013 edition

Making ‘hard’ dollar sums add up

Mark Pownall’s February 7 article on public transport options attracted the letter of the week to our website: www.wabusinessnews.com.au

HAVING just returned to Perth after three years working in Europe (including two years in Copenhagen), I found Mark Pownall’s February 7 article ‘Pre-poll public transport policy pure politics’ a timely addition to the debate over public transport in Western Australia.

While overseas I definitely felt the benefits of a more intensive as well as extensive commuter rail network (along with myriad other more developed transport options aimed at getting people out of their cars).

I totally agree with the article, particularly on the costing side.

Looking at the ‘hard’ dollars, passenger rail in this town at the moment certainly doesn’t stack up. That hard dollar as I see it is a major driving force of the Liberals’ decision-making platform with regards to investing (or lack thereof) in passenger rail.

The vast majority of passenger rail networks around the world run at a loss (exceptions off of the top of my head are Singapore and Hong Kong). If indeed we as train commuters are being subsidised up to 75 per cent of our journey, the government should be looking at ways of reducing this, at least to some lower levels, such as increasing advertising space on trains and platforms, more retail opportunities, and updating engine technology in order to conserve power at stations.

The high-density factor is key, as the article says.

It is so frustrating in Fremantle, where I live.

The council is pushing for updating planning schemes to allow for greater densities, but minority pressure groups keep trying to knock it back while championing greater public transport and sustainability.

Perth is no longer a large country town, but rather a sprawling city. Wouldn’t it be better to see dense nodes around the city, as has been suggested for years, rather than continuing to swallow-up vast tracts of agricultural land and forests of our city’s periphery?

I believe the calculations involved in any passenger rail project put forward by a government should involve increases in land value. This to me is a ‘hard’ dollar calculation, as it is almost certainly quantifiable.

My vote is still out, though Labor’s bold plan certainly catches the eye and is a particularly good long-term solution to a growing city like ours. I really hope the Liberal Party comes up with something at least half as interesting as what the opposition has put on the table.

Sean Vincent


FIFO furphy

With regard to the article: ‘FIFO changes could risk jobs: industry' ...

ANOTHER politician without a clue.

All this talk about miners setting up in rural communities. Who will provide the houses? The mining company? Who will upgrade roads, power supply, water supply and sewage services? The mining company?

Many rural communities don't have 100 housing blocks ready to build on when approval is finally given to proceed with developing a mine.

Will the government meet its commitment to upgrade services to these rural towns? No, they will force the additional costs onto the mining company, despite many mines only having a life of five to seven years. This is simply the government abdicating its responsibility to support rural communities and passing responsibility onto resource companies.

The golden goose is going to run out of eggs soon.

K Malaxos


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