construction industry economy

Yesterday, Crikey readers wrestled with the claim (as they are often wont to do) that the NSW Berejiklian government is one that should be returned to office. Bernard Keane calls it the best state government in the country; our readers weren’t so sure. Elsewhere, we had conversations about the inquiry into the troubled ParentsNext welfare program and the ABC’s appointment of Ita Buttrose.

On the NSW Liberal Party

Geoff Edwards writes: Construction projects give a sugar hit to the economy; they provide tangible jobs upfront, but are not necessarily sources of ongoing economic activity. How much more economic prosperity could be underpinned for decades by investing West Connex’s billions instead in environmental repair, education, preventative health, libraries, scientific research and the other public services that give people the tools to enter the measured economy? The business cases that proclaim the economic benefits of freeways omit the opportunity cost of not spending that investment capital elsewhere. Then, to claim that grand road projects in general and tollways in particular are a solution to transport congestion, in the absence of thoughtful city planning, in the absence of a decentralisation policy, flies in the face of international experience over many decades.

John Quiggen writes: But what about the destruction of the TAFE system, the disaster of “asset recycling”, the numerous instances of corruption, the criminal conduct that has helped to wreck the Murray-Darling, and much more. All this is excused because they are pro-development?

On the ParentsNext inquiry

Peter Schulz writes: There may be a misogynistic component, but the rich have always had a robust sense of entitlement, which they then deplore when they see it in anyone less privileged than themselves. For example, the rich criticised the welfare state (remember that?) because its offer of cradle-to-the-grave security for everybody was unaffordable, induced indolence, etc. But the rich themselves, with their inherited wealth, have always believed in their own cradle-to-the-grave security — they just have a problem extending it to others.

On Ita Buttrose’s ABC appointment

Gregory Ralph writes: The theory that the ABC is, or should be, an independent body is flawed because in 2019 this is clearly impossible without precautions written-in. Britain suffers from an identical malaise and the independence of the BBC has been the subject of great discussion and unrest for more than a decade. There is no doubting that the accusation of political bias over recent years is well-founded, even to those of us who have divided allegiances, and the solution must surely be that if we had an independent broadcasting tsar, individual or tribunal set-up, any unease in the behaviour of either ABC or SBS could be adjudicated upon. But the establishment of such a necessary mantle role must be given teeth, and sharp ones at that.

Edward Zakrzewski writes: The people who made this appointment should be made to privately pay back the money spent on the selection panel.

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