If you missed it, the Financial Review's Phil Coorey had one of the more remarkable political stories of recent years on Friday. He revealed why the government is about to pump at least $1 billion into the Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail, a boondoggle that has been spruiked by the Nationals for 20 years or more, and which the government itself admits, even under optimistic assumptions, will barely produce as many benefits as costs. According to Coorey, funding was to assuage the Nationals who were upset because regional aviation to Sydney is likely to be forced out to the new Badgerys Creek Airport, whenever that gets going.
Regional aviation is a huge problem at Sydney's main airport in Kingsford Smith; small regional flights take up slots that could be used by much larger aircraft on domestic and international flights, dramatically increasing the costs of congestion at the airport. Worse, regional aviation doesn't have to pay full price for slots, meaning they're cross-subsidised by the rest of us (you can bet the gouging, rapacious Sydney Airport Corporation makes sure of that).