Desperate NSW Government’s Latest Money-Raiser: Privatising Prisons

August 9, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: NSW News, Sydney News 

Our desperate, cash-strapped and clueless NSW State Labor government have come up with another great money-raiser: selling off prisons, to be run by private companies. NSW prison guards went on a day-long strike to protest plans to privatise Parklea prison.

I can think of no better way to increase corruption in our prison system, reduce the quality of care and completely eliminate any transparency. Privately run prisons are a disaster in the USA and they will be a disaster here.

Any private operator will have one objective – to make a profit at all costs. One can expect rehabilitation and training programs to be scaled down, if not scrapped altogether. Also, prisoners will likely be used as slave labour to undercut local businesses who have to pay their employees a proper wage. Furthermore. cases of abuse (of prisoners or guards) are likely to be covered up with a reduced public ability to investigate.

My message to our incompetent state government – learn to use money to add long-term value to our economy and infrastructure, not liquidate public assets for crappy short-term band-aid solutions.

NSW State Government – Worse than a Desperate Crack Addict?

In a predictable move, the NSW state government, led by Nathan Rees, has cancelled several major rail infrastructure projects – namely, the North West Metro and the Richmond Line duplication, which has been ‘deferred‘.

These had been promised for many years and are needed to cope with the growing population in these areas. Housing has become highly unaffordable in inner-city Sydney, so people were encouraged to move to the outer areas in the expectation that the these Government transport projects, when completed, would be able to take them to their places of employment in the inner city.

The government of course states that these projects, which they previously claimed to be ‘fully funded’, have to be abandoned due to the budget ‘black hole’ created by the financial mismanagement of the past NSW Labor governments led by Morris Iemma and Bob Carr, and the global financial crisis which has led to reduced tax revenue.

Despite having cancelled these projects, the NSW government is desperate for cold hard cash and is prepared to sell all the public assets they can at any price. The latest assets up for sale are the electricity retailers, NSW Lotteries and Waste Services NSW. These are all profitable and income-generating.

One major reason cited by the state government for refusing to borrow money for infrastructure is that they want to maintain their ‘AAA’ credit rating. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the whole purpose of having credit ratings in the first place to allow reliable borrowers to obtain loans on good terms?

Now is the perfect time for the government to spend borrowed money. NSW is in recession and the economy needs to be stimulated – capital works projects have been historically effective in these situations.

Reviving the cancelled infrastructure projects will remove bottlenecks and lead to increased taxation revenue and economic growth. As we are are now in a higher inflation environment, the net present value of future loan payments will keep falling, reducing the future costs of servicing these loans.

Furthermore, keeping those public assets will ensure that their income is retained, and this income will of course reduce the burden of loan repayments.

Watkins does a Carr

September 4, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Politics, Sydney News 

Yesterday, the NSW Transport Minister, John Watkins, resigned from office partway into his term. He says he will be leaving politics to spend more time with his family and become the CEO of the Alzheimers Association of NSW.

His tenure will best be known for what he did not do:

  • Attempting to make Sydney trains run on time by reducing the frequency of rail services.
  • Repeatedly announcing plans for grandiose rail projects, e.g. new rail lines and high speed trains, then cancelling them
  • Failing to deliver a new Integrated Ticketing System after many years of delays
  • Not dealing with the systematic corruption and inefficiencies in Railcorp and related entities
  • Frequent media appearances to apologise for rail disruptions caused by poor maintenance

Good riddance.

$12b Sydney Metro a “disaster”

July 30, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Politics, Sydney News 

According to the front page of today’s Sydney Morning Herald, a ‘buried report’ commissioned by the State Government indicated that the proposed $12 billion Sydney Metro line would be a disaster. The article has some logical sounding arguments explaining why the proposed route is unsuitable.

It is my personal opinion that the State Government did not issue this plan in good faith. On a number of occasions, they have announced so-called plans to dazzle the media and boost their popularity with voters, only to scrap them later.

$12 billion is a lot of money. The State Government simply does not have it,  and it would not have the stomach to raise the money through a massive bond issue. They could not even manage to implement a new ticketing system which is a comparatively trivial task. It would be more prudent to fix the problems with the current system, that is used by lots of people, rather than spend lots of money on new poorly planned infrastructure.

I do have a word of advice for the Premier, Morris Iemma. Instead of demonstrating your self-proclaimed “strength of character” by forcing through a power privatisation that nobody wants, why don’t you instead deal with the corruption in Railcorp and State Rail, and break the power of the Transport union, so that additional drivers can be hired? Maybe then, our trains will arrive on time.

Pope’s Apology at WYD 2008

July 24, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Religion, Sydney News 

Yesterday, the Pope Benedict XVI issued an apology for the sexual abuse of children by the Australian Roman Catholic Clergy, at World Youth Day in Sydney.

This was especially prudent, considering Cardinal George Pell’s alleged coverup of an assault complaint against a former Catholic teacher, Father Terence Goodall.

Pell’s response, where he stated that his letter was ‘badly worded’  and that the he believed that the sexual act was consensual, only digs him in further. Correct me if I am wrong, but don’t the rules say that clergymen cannot consent to any sexual act?

I will say that the Pope’s statement was a positive first step, as it brought some much needed relief to victims for the pain and suffering they have experienced, and undid some of the hurt caused by Pell’s actions.

This is not however, a conclusive resolution. In my opinion, that would require the following:

  • The open threat of excommunication for clergy that perpetrate sexual abuse against children under their care or teaching.

A deterrent requires something with bite – not just a few hail Marys and a transfer to the parish around the corner, so that they can perpeptrate their behaviour elsewhere.

  • Removing the requirement for clergy to adopt a celibate lifestyle.

The requirement for clergy to adopt a celibate lifestyle and the need to interact closely with young children is by definition going to result in the natural selection of sexually frustrated individuals who get their fix by preying on those who they have power over. In our modern society, I do not see any reason why someone cannot have normal human interactions and remain pious.

Disclaimer: I am neither Catholic, nor religious

No Free Wifi for Sydney

ABC news has just informed that Morris Iemma has aborted the plan to provide free wireless internet access in the Sydney CBD and a few other areas.

I first read about this in MX in 2006, just before the election, and I knew the plan was total BS and a fake election promise to fool the naive.

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