A second Sydney airport:

Ray Edmondson writes: Re. “Don’t want a second airport? Time to cut Sydney loose” (yesterday, item 14). Sydney airport is clogged with domestic short-haul flights to Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, almost all of which would disappear if the long-discussed very fast train line linking all four cities became a reality. It would give the airport considerable breathing space and would dramatically reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases from all those jet engines.

To anyone who has ever travelled on the VFT trains of Europe, the solution is blindingly obvious. When airport check-ins and delays are taken into account, a VFT service would be effectively as fast as flying  and the fares would be similar, if not less.

For perhaps two decades we have kept dithering, taking refuge in consultants’ studies instead of doing what they do in Europe, and just getting on with it. Would it be cheaper to build a train line than a second Sydney airport? What better way of cutting Sydney loose — commuters wouldn’t need to go anywhere near an airport, and it would be the first visionary, visible transport innovation in Sydney since — well, since they opened the Sydney Harbour Bridge and electrified the first suburban lines.

Melissa Madsen writes: Even beleaguered Adelaide residents can avoid Sydney airport (and flying in/out of Adelaide on international flights is a dream compared to transiting through Sydney). Historically, the poor cousins of Australian overseas travellers, Adelaide residents can get to Singapore and Hong Kong direct from Adelaide on Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific respectively, plus LAX and Vancouver via Auckland on Air New Zealand.

I used to fly Qantas overseas, but as far as I can see, the only reason to do so is if you’re getting cheap/free flights/upgrades with frequent flyer points.

Niall Clugston writes: Ben Sandilands seems to have forgotten that Sydney is Australia’s largest city. A lot of its transport problems are due to the large numbers of people living there. (That and the fact that the city centre, where everyone wants to be, is pressed up on the coast.)

So of course Sydney is “entitled” to large spending on infrastructure. Sandilands, however, has some fantasy that Sydney receives more than it is “mathematically due” — no such maths exists — and  that  New South Wales is being subsidised by the rest of Australia, rather than the reverse, and that Sydney’s economy in a “death spiral”.

Yes, Sydney is a ghost town. That’s why you never see a car, let alone a truck, on any of the roads! But if a few superior Melburnians want to stop clogging our city — that’s fine too!

Andrew Bolt:

David Hand writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (yesterday, item 6). Great to see First Dog penning a satirical send up of Andrew Bolt that mocks his manipulation of free speech and then denies an invitation for Crikey readers to comment. If that’s what you meant, there’s a subtle irony at work.

Of course, it could just be that you don’t want your usually sycophantic comments section contaminated by those who hold a different view. Well, I can understand that.

We can’t have differing views expressed in the pages of Crikey, can we. Maybe I’m not subtle enough.

Star City Casino:

John Richardson writes: Re. “Star inquiry: high rollers, high management and call to ‘bring on the pussy’” (yesterday, item 1). The thing I can’t understand is how these people (the “high-rollers”) manage to get their fortunes in the first place, given their stupidity in thinking that they can actually win from a casino?

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Peter Fray
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