It is the very model of a modern Liberal Government

As reported here, the Commonwealth Government, the Morrison Liberal National Coalition Government, has created another quango to go onto the pile – the National Faster Rail Agency.

Note the title … Faster not Fast train.  That tells you all you need to know.  And what’s the bet that it will cost squillions, never be finished, be headquartered in Tasmania and have the faulty carriages built and designed in South Australia.

To guide Australia as it hurtles towards the transport of the future, the National Faster Rail Agency will also come into being on July 1.

The agency will serve Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge.

Its functions are listed as:

  • Lead the development and implementation of the Commonwealth government’s 20-year fast rail plan;
  • Oversee the development of business cases with state and territory governments, ensuring that population and transport policy objectives are met;
  • Identify additional rail corridors that would benefit from faster rail services over the long term, in consultation with state and territory governments, industry and stakeholders;
  • Work with relevant state and territory governments in the delivery of faster rail construction projects;
  • Develop an investment strategy recommending how faster rail projects can be staged to link future expenditure to investment need, and increase community and industry confidence to reduce market pressures;
  • Work in partnership with the Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency to explore alternative funding and financing options for faster rail, such as private sector contributions and value capture opportunities; and
  • Provide advice on options to future proof corridors for high-speed rail, including the need for technical guidelines, corridor planning and protection.
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38 Responses to It is the very model of a modern Liberal Government

  1. stackja

    G&S trained, of course.

  2. Rex Mango

    The people currently building the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail in Sydney, should be put in charge of the National Faster Rail Agency (NFASTRAILA).

  3. old bloke

    Next week, expect the announcement of the National Monorail Agency.

  4. The BigBlueCat

    Oversee the development of business cases with state and territory governments, ensuring that population and transport policy objectives are met;

    Since when has any government relied on a business case to implement a policy decision – the policy decision is the business case!

    I guess that if trains run 1 km/hr faster, the objective has been met ….

  5. cuckoo

    I don’t see anything in there about women, tree frogs, LGBTQI+, or aborigines.

  6. None

    Remember Gillard spending 20 million on a fast rail report to please Bob Brown? Then announcing we all sit arround drinming codpfee thinking about fast rail and quickly buried it having fellated Bob Brown yet one

  7. rickw

    Are we really sure that a Liberal Government will be less stupid than a Labor one?

  8. Dr Fred Lenin

    Well they have stuffed the energy industy properly the stuffed defence with the sub deal oay now get it in 30 years when we have all left and are collecting our big pensions ,they e made a dogs breakfast of health ,immgraion ,welfare ,education and disability care ,so why not transport ,they knownithing about that as well . As I always say ,what would a bunch of suburban conveyencing lawyers and union grifters know about anything ? They wouldnt know poop from clay about anything but deception ,lying ,theiving and self promotion . Abolish career politics ,political parties and bring in rule by referenda and limited times in parliament .

  9. Biota

    Will that be like the national nearly faster submarine project?

  10. tgs

    Haha love the PoP reference, TAFKAS.

  11. Tim Neilson

    They have already proposed to spend about $ 2 billion on a “fast train” from Geelong to Melbourne, a distance of some 72 kilometres which the current train traverses in about 55 minutes.

    How much faster is the $2 billion wonder train expected to be? Will it stop at the other stations on the line? If so, will it really be appreciably faster? If not, what are the projections for patronage and how are the punters supposed to get to and from Geelong station? All these and more questions will undoubtedly go unanswered right up until the ribbon is cut.

    If they’re prepared to do that for a line that services only one marginal electorate (and a bunch of safe Labor seats) how much will they spend elsewhere?

    What might conceivably not be a total waste would be to reroute the line right past Avalon Airport so that it can become a genuine second airport for the state. But that doesn’t seem to be on the cards.

  12. Iva Right

    To be dragged out and dusted off just before each federal election. Sod will never be turned!

  13. duncanm

    This is not new

    But note the date of that page:

    Last Updated: 1 April, 2019

    At least someone has a sense of humour.

  14. duncanm

    That page I linked actually makes sense — its not about the silly Sydney/Melbourne via Canberra link, rather its targeted money at upgrading (or bypassing if required) existing infrastructure to make it faster.

  15. Fred

    Forget about trains in regional areas, they need to make suburban trains go faster. Bigger motors, bigger brakes.

  16. Roberto

    I recall one federal budget, back in the Hawke/Keating days, that planned to straighten out the Picton deviation on the Southern Highlands line between Sydney and Goulburn. I can’t remember now what the estimated savings were, and they were probably rubbery anyway. But back then they were in the hundreds of million dollars, simply by reducing the time lost by freight trains as they made their way around a contorted track which arose solely due to the influence of the local member for Picton.

    I’m a frequent user of that line and, thirty years later, nothing’s changed. Forgive me if I don’t get excited by this latest venture.

  17. RobK

    They need a dedicated dept to catalogue the plethora of reports to date.
    This would be state business, i thought.

  18. 132andBush

    By the time this actually got to the construction phase the French subs would be being delivered, which by then would be obsolete. These could be sent to China for recycling into rail tracks and re-imported

    Don’t laugh.

  19. The BigBlueCat

    Tim Neilson
    #3034526, posted on June 4, 2019 at 3:21 pm
    They have already proposed to spend about $ 2 billion on a “fast train” from Geelong to Melbourne, a distance of some 72 kilometres which the current train traverses in about 55 minutes.

    Being familiar with the line, the train would probably stop at Lara, but the other stops can be well catered for by current rolling stock. By my reckoning, a fast train might save 24 minutes at an average of 200km/hr (which is quite fast). But if their intention of fast is (say) 160 km/hr (the maximum speed of, say, Dutch rolling stock) then we’re talking a saving of 18 minutes. If they averaged 300km/hr and did not stop at Lara, there would be a 41 minute time saving over the 55 minutes currently taken (ie. the trip would take 14 minutes given there is a 5-minute saving by not stopping at Lara).

    On that basis, surely the business case rests solely on the policy decision, not on actual time savings which can be readily eroded by other factors, or the capital cost. I wonder how much the tickets will cost on the Geelong-Melbourne High-Speed Rail service??? Still, full marks for trying.

  20. John A

    tgs #3034523, posted on June 4, 2019, at 3:15 pm

    Haha love the PoP reference, TAFKAS.

    Don’t forget that later (in Act 2) the Major-General complained that the Police would not go forward (on the foe).

    Maybe this bureaucracy is for setting up and not for actually doing anything – like a “leak enquiry” (refer Yes, Minister Bed of Nails episode).

  21. Will anyone offer odd on the likelihood that the French Submarines will be used as the carriages on this “higher” speed rail? And that it will run between Adelaide and Hobart?

  22. Dr Fred Lenin

    Years ago the government proposed a VFT from Melbourne via Latrobe Valley through the Alps to Canberra then on to Sydney it was going to travel at huge speeds , stopong all main stations or not stopping no one knew . Speculators were buying land to rip off the railway going through it . Obviously someone had drawn lines on a map without any idea of the terrain or gradients ,it was estimated to cost from $2 billion or $46 billion or name you own figure . The greedy speculators came unstuck,just shows even a grasping immoral rat cunning shifty speculator cant hold a candle to career oliticians ,couldnt happen to a more deserving pack of grubs ,watch the speccies crawl out of the woodwork like climate carpetbaggers .

  23. Fred

    My dad was a state manager with Australian National, the federal government’s rail agency. (Privatized by the Howard Government)

    He would often say “People love trains, they just don’t like travelling on them”

    When visiting country towns, people often complained that a train no longer came through their town. He would retort “when there was a train, no one caught it”

  24. Robbo

    I hear that the Labor Party will be promising to up the ante, when they return to government (don’t laugh, anything is possible) by forming the National Much Faster Than That Other Lot Rail Agency. The new body will report to Kristina Keneally. Eddie Obeid has already been sounded out to head the agency because he has a record of successful property acquisitions and he has a long and close working relationship with the Minister.

  25. Bruce of Newcastle

    Maybe they can get some of California’s stupid defunct bullet train equipment cheap.
    That way they can save some money while wasting our money.

  26. Squirrel

    If this is basically about pretending to do something in response to the Big Australia idiocy which is now firmly established as tri-partisan policy (and which is the main driver of aggregate economic growth), and about heading-off Albanese’s apparent obsession with spending a 12-figure sum on a VFT, then it could be filed under the heading of “It Could Be Worse” – which is what we can generally look forward to over the next few years.

  27. Percy Popinjay

    “People love trains, they just don’t like travelling on them”

    The issue in a nutshell. Anyway, gotta zip, off to Museum station to catch a (slow and no doubt late) train home.

  28. Phillip

    I loved the analysis of a US blogger (Warren Meyer at Coyote Blog) who worked out that for a light rail line in his home town, Phoenix, it would be cheaper to give every potential customer a new car.

  29. Percy:
    “The issue in a nutshell. Anyway, gotta zip, off to Museum station to catch a (slow and no doubt late) train home, that they’ve held up for me for 25 minutes because ‘important’.”

  30. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    I posted this a few days ago. As we are getting excited about very fast trains , might be an idea to give these chaps a call. seeing as they know what they are doing.

  31. Dr Fred Lenin

    I lived in a country town once , vicrail stopped the trains there and passengers had to travel60k by bus to get on the train to the city . Protests were held demandng the return of the train ,very angry and sincere . I questioned some of the leaders ,”when do you use the train ?”,”oh I drive the missus doesnt like trains” ,”so you drive to the city “? “Yes its a bugger to park there though”? . When I went to the city I took the train ,dammned sight cheaper and no hassle driving to and from there ,some peole would moan if you gave them a million bucks”oh I dont like $100 notes “. prefer $50s .

  32. Muddy

    Whispers are that the new trains are to embrace pre-contact indigenous industrial technology. Negotiations surrounding I.P. and royalties have apparently been underway in secret for some time.

  33. Roberto

    Whispers are that the new trains are to embrace pre-contact indigenous industrial technology.

    And presumably they’ll run on Dreamtime?

  34. Diogenes

    The last time they were talking about a VFT from Sinny to Brisvegas, there were plans to bring it ‘through’ Newcastle & the Central Coast. Everybody*, except the proposer decided that the Central Coast stop was going to be Ourimbah, before any kind of real survey was carried out.

    *local ‘Progress’ Associations (usually the biggest NIMBYs in the district), Council, Chamber of Commerce and State Government.

    Give me 10 minutes and a map & I could identify least 10 proposals for a faster train that would make sense in the short term, and with a bit of thought then expanded- eg Newcastle/Central Coast , Nowra/Illawarra/Canberra/ Bathurst/Lithgow-> Sinny; Sunshine/ Gold Coasts/ Poowoomba to Brisvegas, Geelong/Sale/Bendigo ->Melboring.

    Corridor for the Hunter/CC to broadly run next to the M1, steeper grades avoided by tunnels until Berowra, then a dedicated tunnel through Chatswood to the CBD. Divert a bit somewhere between Wyee and Tuggerah to interchange with the heavy rail, an new station between Warnervale & Wyee would require the smallest deviation.

  35. Percy Popinjay

    Winston Smith
    #3034613, posted on June 4, 2019 at 5:44 pm

    What’s the implication in your comment? I can get those idiots in state rail or whatever its called to hold up trains for me?

  36. Percy:
    No, the implication is that these photo ops are disrupting and the disruptors don’t give a shit.
    Ever been in a hospital when a dignitary comes to visit?

  37. Percy Popinjay

    Ever been in a hospital when a dignitary comes to visit?

    Thankfully no, Winston. I avoid hospitals like the plague.

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