Fw: Thurs.19.8.21 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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The Melbourne propaganda photos are held over




Thurs.19.8.21 Metro Twitter
Aircraft: No ramp access to platforms until late 2021 (pedestrian-underpass works).
Flinders St: still with a lane closed for tunnel works.
North Williamstown: Station closed until late 2021 (level-crossing removal).  A shuttle bus will operate Newport - Williamstown Beach, connecting with trains. There will be no access to station platforms or facilities during this time.
Mooroolbark: Station closed until late-2021 (level-crossing removal). A shuttle bus will operate Croydon - Mooroolbark - Lilydale, connecting with trains. There will be no access to station platforms or facilities during this time.
Edithvale/Chelsea/Bonbeach: Stations closed until late 2021 (level-crossing removal). A shuttle bus will operate Mordialloc - Carrum, connecting with trains. There will be no access to station platforms or facilities during this time.
The level crossings at Argyle Avenue, Bondi Road and Edithvale Road are closed until early-October.  Chelsea Road is closed permanently. See http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/projects/chelsea-road-chelsea
Until Wednesday 25 August the Royal Parade southbound service lane will be closed north of the Grattan Street intersection, adjacent to the Metro Tunnel Project site.   For more information on transport changes in this area, visit: https://metrotunnel.vic.gov.au/construction/parkville/changes-to-grattan-street
Buses replace trains between Clifton Hill and Mernda from 21.00 until the last train (works)
Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: From 21.00 until the last train (works): Buses replace trains Caulfield-Westall.

‘Budget lie’: Internal forecasts show rail entity propping up state’s finances. Matt O'Sullivan and Adele Ferguson June 3, 2021
The NSW government’s upcoming budget deficit would be $2.7 billion worse than forecast – or almost 50 per cent bigger than expected – without a controversial rail entity propping it up, with a further $1.3 billion benefit the following year.
A confidential Treasury document from February also warns that any attempt to abolish the Transport Asset Holding Entity (TAHE) would create a massive $14.6 billion hole in the budget over the next 10 years.
“Dissolution puts pressure on funding and is high risk to deliver,” the document states.
About $40 billion of rail assets including trains are owned by the government’s Transport Asset Holding Entity.CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY
The Treasury document reveals the entity would deliver a benefit of up to $10 billion to the budget in the four years to 2023-24, which includes a $2.7 billion boost in the 2021-22 financial year, and a $1.3 billion benefit the year after. In November, the government forecast a deficit for 2021-22 of $5.8 billion.
The document shows these projections come on top of state budgets gaining a combined $8.5 billion boost in the first five years of the rail entity.
The estimated benefits don’t include the cost to the budget of TAHE charging access fees at a commercial rate for use of its rail assets.
Amid calls for a series of inquiries, the government tried to downplay the significance of a report commissioned by Transport for NSW last year which cast serious doubts on TAHE.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the government “stands by its strong economic record of delivering for the people of NSW”.
“The financial treatment of TAHE was clearly set out in the 2015-16 NSW budget,” he said.
But Labor MP and leadership aspirant Michael Daley, who has called for an upper house inquiry into TAHE, said the budget that would be handed down in three weeks “is a lie, just like the last five before now”.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance on Wednesday.CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY
The government announced more than six years ago it was setting up a shell corporation called the Transport Asset Holding Entity, which would hold up to $40 billion of the state’s rail assets.
The Herald revealed on Wednesday Treasury last year attempted to cover up the serious financial shortcomings of the entity.
A trove of highly confidential documents and testimony of whistleblowers revealed NSW Treasury pressured accounting giant KPMG to delete or amend aspects of a report commissioned by Transport for NSW that found TAHE could end up costing the state’s coffers more than it saved. The report also highlighted safety issues.
Mr Daley said the KPMG report was the “smoking gun” that left the Berejiklian government’s economic credentials in tatters.
But NSW Treasury said in a statement TAHE was fiscally sustainable, and its board and chief executive would independently report annually to Parliament.
It rejected as “incorrect” any suggestions TAHE “represents a mirage or the government has hidden state costs”.
Treasury said there was nothing unusual in governments setting up vehicles to manage public assets such as Sydney Water with their own separate boards.
However, several whistleblowers have warned that six years after the government set up TAHE, it is still not charging access fees for Sydney Trains or NSW Trains.
The Treasury document from February shows access fees will not be ramped up to commercial levels for the foreseeable future, which will push most of the cost of TAHE to the state budget beyond the next election.
Despite whistleblower concerns about the long-term impact of TAHE on rail safety, Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the government had to meet the requirements of the rail regulator and was “absolutely committed to rail safety”.
“My focus will always be making sure we are investing in safety. Government in no shape or form is ever going to do anything to compromise safety,” he said.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said TAHE was not a new issue. Asked whether any senior officials raised concerns with her about TAHE last year, she said: “This issue has been going on for six or seven years.”
RELATED ARTICLE Seven people were killed and dozens injured when a Tangara train derailed near Waterfall station, south of Sydney, in January 2003. The cover-up of a ‘financial mirage’ that has inflated the NSW budget and may put rail safety at risk

Rise in people living on the city’s outer edge but jobs still in CBD Kieran Rooney August 19, 2021
A surge in residents calling Melbourne’s outer suburbs home will cause traffic and public transport to reach capacity in the west and north.
Keith Nallawalla, 33, and Kayla Mackinnnon, 27, will benefit from improved infrastructure in the city’s west. Picture: Wayne Taylor
Melbourne’s CBD will remain the state’s biggest source of jobs even if working from home remains popular in decades to come, Infrastructure Victoria predicts.
But more money will need to be spent on infrastructure at the Melbourne’s fringes as changes to travel put even more pressure on gridlocked roads across the suburbs.
As part of its 30-year strategy report, the government’s infrastructure advisory body modelled the impact of the pandemic on travel patterns to help build a picture of whether some projects were still needed.
It modelled a future where a significant amount of people who could work from home would do so on various days of the week.
The biggest change recorded by this trend was the change to where Victorians would choose to live.
Vic 30 year plan - Employment
Inner Melbourne’s population would be 3.6 per cent less in 15 years time than when compared to typical projects.
Instead, more people would live in the already booming outer growth suburbs.
The Melton local government area is expected to grow by 470,000 people over the next three decades.
But the report did not believe that companies would abandon the CBD because of this trend.
It predicted the number of jobs located across inner Melbourne Melbourne would actually increase by at least 3 per cent over the same period.
This would be driven by the fact that large companies based in this area would offer flexible working arrangements that were more attractive.
As Melburnians make their way into the CBD when needed, overcrowding on public transport will increase and traffic jams in the suburbs will rise as more people move across outer roads.
Vic 30 year plan - Growth area
“While public transport trips are reduced, people are travelling from further away, increasing total passenger kilometres travelled,” the report reads.
“This increases congested kilometres travelled, especially because crowding now occurs earlier on the network.”
Bacchus Marsh and Melton V/Line services are expected to be full over the next decade and by the 2040s there will not be enough space on Cranbourne and Pakenham lines to meet demand.
“Public transport demand is expected to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic in the medium to long term, with passenger demand expected to peak at 110% of capacity before 2036,” the report reads.
Vic 30 year plan - Urban area
“There will be insufficient capacity on Melton and Bacchus Marsh services to meet the significant passenger demand emerging at new stations between Melton and Rockbank.”
Melbourne’s outer north and west will experience some of the worst increases to gridlock, with a 30 per cent jump in congestion over the next 15 years.
Major projects recommended by the advisory body would overcome some of this — including extensions to rail networks and a new outer metro ring road and rail corridor.
More Coverage
Infrastructure Victoria has also recommended the government preserve land that could be used for a road tunnel connection between CityLink and the Eastern Freeway.
Job growth in the Wyndham and Melton is not expected to match the pace of the population explosion, creating a need for easier movement between the west and the east.

Belated business case reveals rail loop will feature driverless trains Timna Jacks August 19, 2021
Building just a portion of the Suburban Rail Loop will cost up to $50 billion – the Andrews government’s original estimate for the entire 90-kilometre line when it was announced three years ago.
The project, a mostly underground railway connecting Cheltenham in the south-east with Werribee in the west in a loop around the city, is now widely expected to cost closer to $100 billion.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Transport Minister Jacinta Allan unveiling the planned Suburban Rail Loop just before the 2018 election.CREDIT:JOE ARMAO
On Thursday, the government released a 400-page investment case examining the largest infrastructure project ever conceived by an Australian state government, revealing the project’s costs and timelines for the first time. The report also revealed that the train’s running on the line would be automated and driverless.
The document release follows revelations published in The Age that the project was promised to voters before the 2018 election without a strong planning, transport and economic case.
When he unveiled the project in August 2018, three months before the election, Premier Daniel Andrews said it would cost about $50 billion and be built by 2050. But the investment case reveals that just two sections of the line in the east and north-east could cost $50 billion and would not be completed until 2053. This excludes the western section of the line from Melbourne Airport to Werribee.
The Age has revealed the consultants working on the project – originally codenamed Operation Halo – were gagged from talking about it, while the state’s most senior transport bureaucrat and the government agency given the job of overseeing it were kept in the dark until it was announced.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said on Thursday that the investment case showed the project would bring huge benefits to the community.
“It absolutely stacks up, Victoria can’t afford not to build the Suburban Rail Loop because to not build the Suburban Rail Loop would forego hundreds of thousands of jobs, it would forego a massive construction pipeline and activity around that, but it would also forego the opportunity to provide jobs and services close to where people live,” she said.
The investment case does not examine the costs and benefits of the entire 90-kilometre project, instead focusing on the first two sections to be built – the eastern stretch from Cheltenham to Box Hill and the north-east stretch from Box Hill to Melbourne Airport.
Those sections will cost up to $50.5 billion. The eastern section is set to cost between $30 billion to $34.5 billion over 14 years.
The eastern and north-east sections combined have a positive benefit-cost ratio of between 1 and 1.7, meaning for every dollar spent on the project, the state expects an economic benefit of between $1 and $1.70. This calculation was not done for each section individually.
The investment case also revealed the project’s timelines. Early works for the twin 26-kilometre tunnels in the east and south-east would start next year and be operational by 2035. Works on the north-eastern leg would start in 2043 and open in 2053.
Developers and non-residential landholders who will benefit from the new rail tunnel will be taxed from 2025 to help fund the project, which is expected to drive up land values surrounding train stations by 13 per cent.
A new annual levy for owners of commercial off-street paid car parks will be rolled out by 2035. Private residential car parks will be exempt.
Ms Allan ruled out taxing residents living along the line – an approach used to help fund the City Loop.
“We will not be applying any levy to residential homeowners within the Suburban Rail Loop precincts,” Ms Allan said.
Suburban Rail Loop trains will be driverless and smaller than the X’Trapolis trains currently on the network. The four-carriage SRL trains will seat 188 people, compared with 216 on the X’Trapolis trains, with a standard train carrying 820 people and up to 1136 during peak periods. Services will run every six minutes initially during the peak, but this may increase to every two minutes to meet demand.
The Property Council of Australia’s Victorian director, Danni Hunter, hit out at the proposed new taxes.
“The government will already realise significant value uplift in land tax as values inevitably increase over time in these precincts,” Ms Hunter said.
“The proposed tax will only cripple new projects and jobs and further erode housing affordability. It is simply the wrong time to introduce such a damaging new tax.”
The economic analysis predicts a significant take-up of the eastern section of the loop by passengers. About 71,000 daily trips are expected on the eastern section of the line by 2036, including a 47 per cent shift away from private vehicles.
More than 430,000 passengers are expected to use both the eastern and north-eastern sections daily by 2056.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union’s Victorian secretary Luba Grigorovitch said the union was opposed to driverless trains and has called on the government to speak to them about it.
“The RTBU is against the idea of driverless trains on these flagship services,” Ms Grigorovitch said. “This is the first we have heard and government have failed to consult.”
The government dropped the business case just hours after the state’s infrastructure adviser, Infrastructure Victoria, released its 30-year vision for the state. It also occurred on the day the Victorian Auditor-General published a report warning the state’s construction pipeline was straining the market and risking serious shortages in skills and raw materials such as concrete and sand over coming decades.
The opposition’s transport infrastructure spokesman, David Davis, said the business case was “not proper or honest” and accused the government of inflating the project’s value.
“It is shifty to lump the north and the east sections together for purposes of massaging the benefit cost ratio. This is what Daniel Andrews and his Transport Infrastructure Minister have done. It’s dishonest. Daniel Andrews should have released a proper assessment of the benefits and costs of the first, that is the eastern section, today.”
RELATED ARTICLE Melbourne's skyline as the temperature climbed on Friday. Reforms needed before Victoria hits 10 million people, infrastructure adviser says
RELATED ARTICLE Tom Considine, Daniel Andrews, James MacKenzie, who helped come up with the state’s Suburban Rail Loop. Thrown in a loop: How Daniel Andrews’ biggest project was cooked up behind closed doors
* Why are we so focused on construction when we should be fixing our health system? Build new hospitals, employ more health and mental health professionals before we build a train line that will just blow out in costs and timelines.
* There’s no commentary at all about the lack of costing of the west section. Can you explain, does this mean this section is not planned to actually be built? Or is it planned already, elsewhere?
* New Sydney airport, $30 Million for a bit of land worth $3 million. That was probably a crook deal but has any government job run to budget? The two most obvious;
Strike Fighters
French Submarines
Do a job on your bathroom or kitchen and see how the quotes actually stack up.
* I think given COVID has shown that we lack enough health services this project becomes questionable. $50 billion is a huge spend and it is only part of the total build cost. More hospitals, more trained doctors, nurses and more ambulance services is the real need.
* Just did the sums - say $50,000 for an electric car when this kicks off - that's 1 million electric cars - probably a more useful money spend I think - subsidise by 50% only and it's 2.million cars - electric bikes etc would be a lot more too
* Two major gaps in the plan:
1. A seamless interchange between modes of transport and rail lines. Cutting cost by increasing the difficulty of interchanges will be a disaster.
2. Why does Melbourne need 2 rail links from the Airport to Sunshine?
* So if we apply the usual Andrews management skills to this then it will cost $150 billion . Does that support the business case ….not a chance.
* This is splendid news. There are always blow-outs, I worked for an engineering company building Loy Yang A power station in the early 80's. In 40+ years it has become virtually obsolete. This will be like our first rail network. However, the big difference is that we will not be paying back just interest on the loan to a foreign country, the UK. We would still be paying back just interest and none of the principal, if not for Gough!
* note to Jacinta Allen.
Heard you on radio this afternoon.
Please change your style and message.
Try the truth please
The answer to the question about why the business case was not available until now is not to waffle on and try to side step it.
The correct answer is that this project is vital, the Government sees it as vital to the future of the city and a version of it had to be built - to provide for the growth of Melbourne in the future. We were certain of this and following the intial work certain the business case would stack up. It should have been built 30 years ago.
End of the story.
You just came accross as a Politican not speaking the truth and trying to score political points that to be honest in Victoria have no currency as there is no opposition to spend them on.
* The Property Council of Australia’s Victorian director Danni Hunter hit out at the proposed new taxes.
“The government will already realise significant value uplift in land tax as values inevitably increase over time in these precincts,” Ms Hunter said.
“The proposed tax will only cripple new projects and jobs and further erode housing affordability. It is simply the wrong time to introduce such a damaging new tax.”
This makes absolutely no sense for two reasons:
1. The new tax is on commercial off-street paid parking, not on residences. Operators will almost certainly just raise the price of parking in those facilities, but it has no impact on residential property.
2. Land tax is NOT payable on the primary residence. Land values increasing will increase the land tax payable for investment and commercial properties only. If anything, increasing land tax will discourage investors from purchasing in the area, in turn preventing the associated price rises for local property caused by investor demand, thus making it more affordable for people who wish to actually live in the area.
Seems like a good idea to me.
* Worth every penny spent. Jobs, jobs, jobs... access to tertiary learning institutions for students... taking cars off the roads. And all the Property Council of Victoria can grizzle about is a 1% tax impost- the new City/Nation building project won't hurt their bottom line. This will be a winner like the City Loop and the Thomson Dam that the Liberals initiated in the 1960's and 70's. Great strides forward don't come cheap.
* Another major infrastructure project announced by the Andrews labor party. Slated to cost 200 billion and no one alive today is ever likely to see it's completion. To think they won the last state election based on spruiking that just before the election.
* It's almost too easy to predict that this is going to be a disaster. Massive cost overruns, time delays, union conflicts, money losses everywhere for a train loop that will be antiquated even before they start. They quoted at 50Bn, now they are talking 100Bn, it's going to be 200Bn by the time they start construction, goodness knows how much it'll be by the end of the project. Hopefully this is never going to be built, but you should never discount politicians' carelessness.
* After rebate, case study, union talk, millions dollars consultant fee spent, the project could be starting in 2089. Good luck
* "It absolutely stacks up, Victoria can’t afford to not to build the Suburban Rail Loop because to not build the Suburban Rail Loop would forego hundreds of thousands of jobs, it would forego a massive construction pipeline and activity around that, but it would also forego the opportunity to provide jobs and services close to where people live." So Labor propose to build this thing on the basis that it would provide jobs? What a stupid reason to build anything! Much better to stop importing so many people from overseas in the first place; we wouldn't need all these super-expensive road and rail projects (or make up jobs) if immigration was at a reasonable level. But then Dan wouldn't get his stamp duty...
* They work beautifully in Singapore and NEVER come to a jerky stop!
* I think driverless trains are good and we should not be hostage to the union on this.
* This is a fantastic project.
* Yet another example of a shonky project under this incompetent state government
* What an absolute staggering waste of money! And by the time the budget blows out on each section it will no doubt be closer to $200 billion for a train line that most people won't use.
* I doubt the project will ever happen. By the 2022 State election the State debt will be approaching $200 Billion and large projects will be shelved, possibly even Northeast Link if the boring machines don't get started by then. Following the COVID crisis both Federal and State governments will be facing a major debt crisis.
* Love all the Melbourne Metro 2, City Loop upgrade, Suburban Loop and other transport-related ideas outlined in the 30-year vision – they all makes sense. Can we just get started on them now – instead of talking about them for 30 years? And while we're at it with improving connections – please link up Sandringham railway station to the Suburban Loop – it makes sense to continue on from Cheltenham, and we've not heard why it couldn't be done.
* Driverless with platform screen doors makes good sense for a modern metro system. Maybe even standard gauge (in lieu of MTM broad gauge gauge) will compliment the final solution and make greater sense.
* The Victorian Rail, Tram & Bus Union will ensure that driverless trains are never introduced!
* Just do the Clayton to Monash Uni, Box hill to Heidelberg and Broadmeadows to the airport, Their - saved you $60B and we get as much benefit as the whole thing. Looks like the government really, really hates people in Doncaster. They do not want to give them a train line any time soon, Cannot wonder why, oh yeah toll roads.
* Metro can’t even program their Passenger Information Display System to display correct information. How are they going to be able able to program a computer to drive a train?
* Automated trains is good to hear. I hope they have a light rail system (effectively trams) so they could reuse components from the tram inventory to rationalise on spares/training for maintenance.
* A Blue Duck? A Pink Elephant? A Saga?
This loopy rail line is all of these.
A waste of money.
We will be delivered everywhere in driverless cars in 20 years.
* So, the problem with driverless trains is...? There are already numerous examples in operation around the world.
* If anyone believes the figures in this then they also believe in Santa Claus & the tooth fairy.
* Basically very well paid jobs for the boys - can't imagine I'll be around to see it at the rate Victorian builders operate.
* are you disappointed that there is a business case and it looks great? A visionary project like this should have been built 40 years ago.
* This massive long over due project will be a game changer for all of Melbourne when completed!
* and if they don't stop for passengers it will be the most efficient train line in Melbourne - a compassionate train line
* “The $50 billion rail loop, connecting Cheltenham in the south-east to Werribee in the west in a loop around the city…” Are we just all accepting the government’s novel definition of “loop”, then?
* Sounds like a great project. Simple in concept, but somewhat visionary in scale. Having all our trains converge on a central point as they currently do is the last thing you would do if you were designing a metropolitan train network from scratch. This will reduce congestion and make it much easier to travel around Melbourne.
* the Info graphic beautifully plays down the fact there is one station between the airport and Werribee. At scale undistorted image please. Tell me, where is the majority Melbourne's population growth forecast to occur?
* There are many operational design faults implicit in the SRL concept published to date. For example, why is the Monash SRL station proposed to be on the north side of Monash campus near Howleys and Normanby Roads, a position some 1.3 kilometres walking distance from the Monash Uni bus terminal (on the south side at Wellington Road). This will prevent any public transport travel by transfers between SRL and 12 local and regional bus routes - thus no access to the Mulgrave and Monash commercial precincts. Useless! Also, the Cheltenham SRL station should NOT be built in a public park, but instead be located at the Southland station, and the Southland bus terminal hub should be moved next to the Southland station, and all 3 terminals would serve Southland and nearby Cheltenham. More expensive, but would greatly increase convenience for multi-route public transport trips and thus patronage. A no-brainer!
* In our quest for zero emissions we need to leave the private car behind for our daily commute. this is a critical step in the right direction as we move to catch up to many similar sized cities globally that have a far higher penetration of urban rail. The sooner it's built the less it'll cost and the quicker we get the benefit
* Cost benefit of 1-1.7. Once they hit toxic soil in Clayton and the cost explodes that cost benefit will be 0.2-0.5. This government cannot be trusted with pricing up infrastructure.
* Either a Blue Duck or Pink Elephant and definitely a Saga!
* I'd like to know how much of the claimed economic benefits of the Box Hill to Airport link have already been claimed in the Southern Cross to Airport link...unless that will be under-configured by design. The mid-point pay back is only 35% above the initial cost estimate. Any cost overrun or delay will eat into that very quickly. It is not uncommon for projects on this scale to overrun by 100%...
* Driverless trains - Gee - you mean like I used in London 20 years ago
* This Business Case must be published for public scrutiny and expert examination and also submitted to the Victorian Auditor-General's Office
[Three saturation propaganda articles in one day.  Labor must be covering up something unpleasant.
All are predicated on buzzwords and not a single figure to show any benefit, just lots of pretty pictures and coloured diagrams.
Yet another incompatible construction.  For the money, it should be a proper railway and not a toy train.  We should not be copying Sydney's disaster, also based on evasion and outright lies.
Meanwhile, the government and its quangos do nothing to make the current system work properly.]

Reforms needed before Victoria hits 10 million people, infrastructure adviser says Timna Jacks, Rachel Eddie and Miki Perkins August 19, 2021
The population of Melbourne’s fringe suburbs will grow by more than 900,000 people in the next 30 years, leading Victoria’s independent infrastructure adviser to urge sweeping reforms to housing, transport, and energy use.
Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year blueprint says the state’s population will be 10.8 million by 2051, up from about 6.6 million today. Population growth, as well as working from home arrangements, are set to drive more people away from Melbourne. Planning in the next 30 years will also need to address climate change.
Melbourne’s population is predicted to boom in outer suburbs.CREDIT:PAUL ROVERE
Among the 94 recommendations in the state’s infrastructure blueprint are calls for two major underground rail tunnels in the CBD, historic investment in social housing and a shift away from gas connections to households. All up, the reforms would cost $100 billion.
Here are the key takeouts:
Growth areas
Lagging infrastructure in the state’s growth areas – Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham – has left residents with “inequitable” access to jobs and public transport, the adviser warns.
But these areas, which had a combined population of 223,000 in 2018, will be home to an extra 930,000 people by 2036. Their growth represents 40 per cent of all growth in the state. Melbourne’s outer-northern and western suburbs are expected to attract more than 800,000 new residents over the next 30 years.
COVID-19 will exacerbate these pressures. People working from home will move further out, with an extra 55,000 people set to move to the outer and growth areas by 2036 due to the pandemic.
The opposite is set to occur in Melbourne’s inner areas. When compared with pre-pandemic forecasts, the city will see a 3.6 per cent drop in expected growth.
But the CBD will continue to be home to the majority of new jobs created. Those still commuting to the city will travel longer distances and better transport connections to the city will be needed.
Victoria should stop the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage more people to buy zero-emissions cars, the adviser finds.
This will not only significantly reduce emissions and help the state to reach its net zero target by 2050, but also save millions of dollars each year in health and environmental benefits.
The government should avoid anything that would expand the state’s gas transmission network and amend planning regulations to make it clear that new housing estates do not need to be connected to gas.
Social housing
An unprecedented boost to social housing that is over and above the Andrews government’s historic $5.3 billion investment to build 12,000 homes is needed, the adviser recommends.
Despite the extraordinary “hit of sugar” that the government policy will deliver, Infrastructure Victoria chief executive Michel Masson says an additional 3900 to 4900 new homes a year will be needed by 2031, requiring an investment of between $6.5 billion and $16 billion.
The advisory body wants 4.5 per cent of all homes to be social housing, in line with the national average, up from just 3.2 per cent.
The state’s ageing and rundown public housing should also be rapidly redeveloped within the next 10 years at an additional cost of $1.5 billion to $2 billion.
Melbourne Metro 2
A new underground rail line, the Melbourne Metro 2, will be key to improving connectivity to the city, according to Infrastructure Victoria.
A business case for the link between Newport in the inner-west with Clifton Hill in Melbourne’s inner-north via Fishermans Bend and the CBD is recommended within five years.
Metro 2 is the second stage of the $13.7 billion Metro Tunnel – the major rail tunnel being built beneath the city. “If you’ve started refurbishing your kitchen, you’re not going to start halfway, you’re going to finish the job,” Mr Masson said.
The rail line – which would be built in addition to the $50 billion Suburban Rail Loop – would take pressure off overcrowded Werribee and Wyndham Vale lines in Melbourne’s west and boost capacity to lines running through Newport and Clifton Hill.
It would make it possible for electrified Geelong trains to use the new tunnel at Southern Cross, meeting demand on the line over the next 30 years.
City Loop upgrade
A $6-$7 billion reconfiguration of the City Loop is a “no-brainer” transport project that should be built from 2025, Mr Masson says.
The project would see two short tunnels built beneath the city, from Richmond to North Melbourne.
The tunnels will be a fifth of the tunnel length of the $13.7 billion Metro Tunnel, yet the upgrade would create two-thirds of the Metro’s capacity uplift.
New cross-city tracks – which rail experts have long called for – would allow more trains to pass through the city, rather than travelling around the loop.
It would separate the busy Craigieburn and Upfield lines which would otherwise share a single loop track, so disruptions on one line would not impact another. The same goes for the Belgrave, Lilydale and Glen Waverley lines, allowing for more frequent and reliable services.
A business case should start within two years, the adviser says, and construction must begin immediately after the Metro Tunnel is finished to avoid major disruptions.
RELATED ARTICLE Mayor of Hume Joseph Haweil at the Banksia Gardens estate, which he says urgently needs renewal funding. Victoria urged to double social housing build ‘sugar hit’
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Movement levels in Victoria reach highest in lockdown Melissa Cunningham and Craig Butt August 19, 2021
Movement data from last weekend shows Melburnians engaging in what experts have called thousands of small transgressions with the potential to drive COVID-19 infections higher, as the effect of 200 days of lockdown takes an emotional toll.
Google mobility data compiled by The Age reveals that across the state last Friday and Saturday, people were moving more than at any time since mid-July last year when complacency prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to plunge the state into stage-four lockdown and mandatory mask-wearing.
Last weekend saw a spate of breaches including an organised takeaway pub crawl in Richmond and an engagement party in Caulfield North attended by 69 guests. The couple involved in the illegal party have received $5400 fines. Two of their parents were also fined and other guests are being interviewed.
Some metropolitan municipalities including Glen Eira and Bayside recorded their highest lockdown movement levels last week, ahead of a number of mystery cases appearing in St Kilda.
Professor Mike Toole from Melbourne’s Burnet Institute, who lives in a mobility hotspot in the inner south, said he was shocked to witness large groups of people gathering in parks at the weekend.
“It was like one big party in the playgrounds when you compare to last year when streets were absolutely deserted during lockdown,” Professor Toole said.
“But this is not an intentional complacency, I think it is something else entirely. People are fatigued by it all and they just can’t take it any more.”
He urged Melburnians to get vaccinated as soon as they could and look north where 4000 unlinked mystery cases were fuelling the spread of coronavirus in NSW, which reported 681 new cases on Thursday.
Nancy Baxter, head of the University of Melbourne’s school of population and global health, suspects Victorians didn’t comprehend how worrisome the numbers were after the state’s prior success in crushing Delta outbreaks.
video Victoria records COVID-19 case spike on 200th day of lockdown Victoria has recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases with 57 new infections today, as the state marked the grim milestone of 200 days in lockdown.
Professor Baxter said as draconian as reintroduced curfew and closed playgrounds seemed, it sent a strong message to people that collective behaviour had to change.
“The No.1 thing is people’s mental health is suffering and they are exhausted,” she said.
“What’s mainly been driving this hasn’t been egregious events. It’s been small transgressions, so little things, like having small family gatherings, a play date at the park because your child is lonely or having some people over for a small birthday party. What’s the harm going to be? Nobody has symptoms so it’s a really low risk.”
The data showed that last Friday, the amount of travel to retail and recreation sites within Victoria was at 33 per cent below pre-pandemic levels – the highest level of mobility during a lockdown since July last year.
University of South Australia epidemiologist Professor Adrian Esterman said pandemic fatigue could be “dangerous”.
“Events like the street pub crawl in Melbourne create exactly the kind of situations where you get super-spreading events,” he said.
The mobility data showed other areas — such as Wyndham and Hobsons Bay in Melbourne’s west — recorded no significant change in movement levels compared with previous lockdowns this year.
Victoria recorded 57 new cases on Thursday — the largest so far this outbreak — including three mystery cases and 10 in the community during some of their infectious period.
Thirty-eight of these cases were people linked to Al-Taqwa College outbreak who tested positive on day 13 of their quarantine. Authorities expect more large numbers as more people reach day 13 testing on Friday.
The government announced three more drive-through vaccination hubs at Werribee, Broadmeadows and Wyndham.
Victoria’s acting chief health officer Ben Cowie said of the 529 locally acquired cases since July 12, 80 were eligible but not vaccinated, 45 had received one dose and 23 were fully vaccinated. Of the 14 cases currently in hospital, none had been vaccinated.
Premier Daniel Andrews said there were 26,000 available vaccination appointments at state hubs in the next week.
Authorities are particularly concerned about strong, repeated COVID-19 fragment wastewater detections at an industrial estate in Sunshine West. The outbreak at Carlton’s public housing towers was originally detected from wastewater results.
Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar on Thursday apologised to Melbourne’s Jewish population after he mentioned during a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday that members of the Orthodox Jewish community were among those who tested positive.
Meanwhile, police have issued more than 50 fines across the state, including 13 curfew breaches, 12 private gatherings and 11 mask offences.
Grants and hardship payments will be extended for Victorian workers and businesses for another two weeks to correspond with the extended lockdown.
Another $807 million, on top of the $2 billion already paid by the federal and state governments during this outbreak, will flow to recipients.
The majority of the payments will automatically transfer to more than 110,000 businesses that have already signed up to the state’s relief payment scheme.
Commonwealth disaster payments worth between $450 and $750 a week will continue, and Victorian micro businesses and sole traders are encouraged to apply for these payments.
Small and medium-sized businesses are eligible for grants worth $10,000 to $14,000, while businesses can also receive $5600 through a business cost assistance fund. Licensed venues are eligible for a grant of between $5000 and $10,000.
Regional Victoria was out of lockdown towards the end of last week, which would have influenced the increase in mobility statewide, but the Google data shows increased mobility in most parts of Melbourne as well.
The Google mobility data is based on anonymised information the tech giant collates from smartphone users who opt in to sharing their location history. It has been used by both the state and federal governments as an indicator of lockdown compliance.
RELATED ARTICLE Tradies lining up to be vaccinated at the Sydney Olympic Park hub.  Why our COVID ambition must remain close to zero cases, even as we climb to high vaccination
RELATED ARTICLE Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants states to stick to the plan to get vaccination rates up to lift lockdowns. ‘Deviating from the national plan’: National cabinet row over zero cases

As it happened: Pfizer vaccine becomes widely available for 16-39 year-olds as NSW records 681 new local COVID-19 cases, one death Broede Carmody and Josh Dye August 19, 2021
* Australia’s first repatriation flight from Afghanistan will land in Perth in the early hours of tomorrow after 76 Australian citizens and Afghans who worked for the government were rescued from Kabul.
* 20.33 Bakery, train line, service station and fast food outlets among new exposure sites in Victoria. David Estcourt
Victoria’s exposure site list continues to grow with authorities adding several new sites that have been visited by a positive case including a bakery, train line, service station and fast food outlets throughout Melbourne.
The Laverton train line and the bus replacement service running between North Williamstown and Newport stations were both visited by a case on August 11. The Laverton train line is listed as a tier-2 site while the bus replacement is now a tier-1.
Several new sites in Altona North, at one of the first locations in this outbreak, have also been added.
Authorities also added two new tier-2 sites in Ashburton, one at Bakers Delight and the other at fast food outlet Chicken Central, both on August 16.
The exposure site list is updated frequently. View the full list of exposure sites here.
* 7.17. Cassandra Morgan. Tram route 96 from stop 132 at St Kilda Station to stop 138 at Luna Park on Sunday, August 15 between 1.40pm and 1.47pm and again at 1.51pm and 1.55pm.
A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.

‘Big ambitions for a small agency’: Archives starts saving at-risk history Katina Curtis and Shane Wright August 19, 2021
Work has already started to save some of Australia’s most precious historical records as the National Archives begins what could be a five-year rebuild of its resources and skills to ensure it can continue its vital role into the digital era.
Sydney Morning Herald and the Age can reveal the government’s response to the review of the Archives by former Finance Department boss David Tune backs a large number of the suggested changes but makes it clear they will take time and money.
One of 12,000 images taken of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Work has already started on saving these images from “vinegar syndrome”.CREDIT:NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA
“Mr Tune has big ambitions for what is currently a small agency. There will need to be a period of capability building before some of his recommendations can be implemented,” the formal response states.
The review was prompted by concerns the Archives, after years of funding cuts, was struggling to preserve hundreds of kilometres worth of data and documents. Last month, an emergency $67.7 million was approved to help the institution fast-track the protection of its most at-risk documents.
Assistant minister to the Attorney-General Amanda Stoker was “optimistic” it would only take five years to implement key elements of the review, noting there were significant technical and cybersecurity challenges that had built up over a decade which the Archives needed to overcome.
She said the response recognised the value of the Archives’ role and showed the government’s willingness to invest in strengthening the institution.
Senator Stoker says she is optimistic it could take five years to fully realise many of the Tune review recommendations.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN
“Now we’ve tackled that short-term concern, we are taking the next step, which is to delve deeper into the long-term plan that’s necessary to make sure this archive is world-class for the long term,” she told the Herald and The Age.
“But we’re dealing with human beings. So we need to be cognisant of the fact that these things have to adapt to the people that are implementing it.”
Part of the $67.7 million boost announced in July will be used to improve the institution’s cybersecurity and further its next-generation digital archives. Longer-term investment in these areas will be considered “as part of future budget processes”.
The money is also going towards preserving and digitising millions of records at risk of disintegration.
More than 270,000 of the Archives’ most at-risk records, including motion picture films, audio-visual magnetic reels and paper documents will be protected.
They include images taken following Cyclone Tracy which devastated Darwin in December 1974. About 12,000 images were taken on black and white cellulose acetate, which deteriorates over time in a process called “vinegar syndrome”.
Senator Stoker said a “historical quirk” had led to the Archives being largely siloed but it now had an opportunity to “step back and connect the dots” between its work and that being done elsewhere.
One of the review’s key recommendations was the Archives take responsibility for information management and archiving across the entire government. This would have required the transfer of more than 600 staff from various departments into the Archives.
The aim was to reduce the many record-keeping and archival issues that have developed over recent years on the back of the surge in information produced by departments that have also had to find their own budgetary savings.
Instead of adopting this recommendation, the government will look at “better collaboration” and training of public servants while creating a committee of senior Archives and departmental staff to find ways to improve the collation and transfer of material.
If that fails, then the government said it would re-examine the original Tune proposal.
Similarly, Tune’s original proposal for the development of a high-tech 5th generation digital archive may be considered once the transition to digital operations happening now is complete and bedded down.
Mr Tune recommended the Archives build a new centralised storage facility with a mass digitisation hub. The government says it supports the objects of this idea, but first the Archives should “streamline existing facilities, relocate the national archival collection and better use key sites”.
An ongoing issue for the Archives has been its overriding legislation, which was drafted in the late 1970s, before the advent of communication systems like WhatsApp or the creation of cloud computing or Facebook.
The government will update the Archives Act to reflect how information is created and collected.
RELATED ARTICLE Senator Amanda Stoker says the extra money to the National Archives will ensure it can digitise its most at-risk documents. National Archives gets $67.7m injection to save decaying documents
RELATED ARTICLE Encrypted message systems such as WhatsApp and social media like Facebook are creating problems for document retention agencies including the National Archives.  From pen and paper to Wickr: the battle to save government decisions
RELATED ARTICLE National Archives boss David Fricker says the laws governing archives has to be brought into the 21st century. Archives need to be brought into technological age: Fricker
* The LNP are truly world-class experts at gaslighting: blaming their victims for the problems that only exist due to the negligent, neglectful incompetence of the LNP. Disgusting. And are we not even going to mention that the same LNP Government is spending a completely unneeded and unrequested $500 million on renovations for the War Memorial, when the National Archives, holding the true and detailed history of those soldiers and their work, was crumbling?
* Great to see the federal government is now putting resources into the National Archives after the cry for help from the staff, the director-general David Fricker and the public.
However, despite not saying it publicly Senator Stoker appears to be seizing the credit where its definitely not due.
We wish you well when you leave the Senate after the next federal election Senator, but please leave our institutions alone till then.
* This is a project to be commended. However there is a technical error in the story. Cellulose acetate does not lead to "vinegar syndrome"; cellulose nitrate does. No nitrate film for still photography was in use as late as 1974.
* The Morrison Government is spending $300 billion dollars, and more expected, on an aggressive defence against a non extent enemy, and have had a number of poor purchases so far. Does this seem relevant compared to spending millions on saving our Archives? Perhaps it doesn't want information about the Afganistan and Vietnam and Middle East and other very expensive lies and political ineptitudes to be placed in our historical archives.

‘Harebrained idea’: Secret plan to commercialise state’s public transport, roads Adele Ferguson and Matt O'Sullivan August 19, 2021. 100 comments
The NSW government seriously considered commercialising the entire public transport and road networks to artificially inflate the state budget by hiding billions of dollars in costs.
A highly confidential report for the government by consultancy giant PwC reveals that corporatising the state’s transport networks was deemed the best option to plug a multi-billion dollar budget black hole from a shell corporation it had created.
About $40 billion of rail assets including trains are owned by the government’s Transport Asset Holding Entity.CREDIT: JAMES ALCOCK
The state’s ferries, trains, light rail, buses and roads, worth tens of billions of dollars, would be placed into a commercial corporation with a board and management independent of the government.
The leaked PwC report, obtained by the Herald, reveals that commercialising the entire transport network would not adversely impact customers but could create tensions in the organisation between safety and turning a profit.
The report sheds new light on the growing concerns aired privately at the highest levels of government about the Transport Asset Holding Entity, which culminated in the sacking without reason of Transport for NSW boss Rodd Staples last November.
A Herald investigation revealed in June that TAHE was set up in 2015 to enable the government to hide the costs of the state’s rail system. It prompted former NSW Auditor-General Tony Harris to describe the entity as a financial mirage that had bolstered the government’s operating result by more than $30 billion over the past six years “through an accounting gimmick”.
Labor finance spokesman Daniel Mookhey said the PwC report showed how desperate the government was to “prop up its TAHE budget trick”.
“Turning Transport for NSW into a for-profit corporation is a harebrained idea. In truth, TAHE is a budget bomb. If the government tries to operate it, the public will fork out billions. But if they unwind it, the budget will be smashed,” he said.
“The government cooked up this idea, so it could keep hiding the true cost of operating the rail system from the budget.”
TAHE was set up in 2015 to bolster the budget by taking costs off the government’s balance sheet into a shell corporation. However, changes to Australian accounting standards in 2018 put TAHE at risk.
Under the new rules, TAHE had to show it was truly independent of the government and turning profits. If it failed to do this, it would cost the budget $2.4 billion a year, according to the PwC report.
To avoid the budget hit, PwC considered five business models for TAHE and Transport and Treasury settled on the corporatisation of the entire network as the “preferred option”.
But it warned that corporatising the entire transport network faced a series of “high risk” roadblocks, including upheaval of the transport agency’s heavily unionised workforce, potential safety risks and political opposition.
The report, completed in December 2019, said if these “showstoppers” could not be overcome, unwinding TAHE was “expected to be the likely best alternative”.
NSW shadow treasurer Daniel Mookhey says TAHE is a “budget bomb”.CREDIT:KATE GERAGHTY
It warned that dismantling TAHE would still cost the state budget more than $8 billion over four years.
The confidential PwC report shows NSW Treasury officials went as far as requesting special exemptions from the country’s accounting standards board to prop up the budget.
“Treasury has explored alternative avenues to resolve the impact of [standards] ... [including] a discussion with the [accounting standards board] to have this standard not apply to government-to-government transactions,” it states.
But a Treasury spokesperson rejected this, saying it had “never sought special exemptions from the Australian Accounting Standards Board on TAHE”.
The PwC report also warned that turning Transport for NSW into a state-owned corporation risked “driving conflicts” between the objectives of making money and safety of the public transport network.
“Past incidents in the UK demonstrated the impact of prioritising commercial outcomes over safety,” it said.
A whistleblower close to the discussions, who sought anonymity, said the PwC findings resulted in Treasury and Transport for NSW agreeing in December 2019 that TAHE was “dead, buried and cremated” because the risks were too great.
But two months later, NSW Treasury commissioned an arm of KPMG to look for alternatives.
“Treasury went doctor shopping and came back with KPMG, ending the pre-Christmas agreement that it was time to tell the truth on TAHE,” the whistleblower said.
Despite misgivings within Transport for NSW, TAHE officially became a state-owned corporation in July last year, taking control of $40 billion of the state’s rail assets. After missing critical deadlines in its transition to a fully-fledged commercial entity, it is still not financially viable and is yet to appoint a permanent CEO.
The Herald can confirm the NSW Auditor-General is yet to get certain documents it has requested, including the PwC report. It made TAHE an area of focus and recently decided it will conduct a performance audit into the entity.
Under questioning at a budget estimates hearing on Wednesday, Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Tim Reardon said there was “certainly a contest of views” on establishing TAHE, when asked whether the heads of Transport for NSW and Treasury were in dispute about it last March.
A spokesman for Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said he had not received advice from NSW Treasury recommending that TAHE be unwound.
“The NSW government remains committed to TAHE as a fiscally sustainable state-owned corporation to deliver better service outcomes at a lower cost, while also having a net contribution to the state budget,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said NSW Treasury did not engage PwC to prepare a report on TAHE, and had not presented such a report to the Treasurer.
Treasury said the advice from PwC was commissioned by Transport for NSW and was “not material” to the work it had undertaken. “NSW Treasury has never advised, agreed to, or recommended to government to unwind TAHE,” it said.
Transport for NSW said both it and Treasury considered a range of advice in the development and implementation of TAHE.
A spokesperson for Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the government regularly considered a range of advice before implementing new policies, and that TAHE would have “no impact on safety, operations or maintenance activities”.
RELATED ARTICLE Seven people were killed and dozens injured when a Tangara train derailed near Waterfall station, south of Sydney, in January 2003. The cover-up of a ‘financial mirage’ that has inflated the NSW budget and may put rail safety at risk
RELATED ARTICLE Composite of the NSW Treasury document and a Transport for NSW train. ‘Budget lie’: Internal forecasts show rail entity propping up state’s finances

Sydney commuter numbers on the rise despite pleas to stay at home. Tom Rabe, Lucy Cormack and Nigel Gladstone August 19, 2021
Almost 90,000 extra trips were taken on Sydney’s public transport on Wednesday compared to the same time last month, despite pleas for people to stay home as cases continue to climb one week before the lockdown is scheduled to end.
As mobility across Sydney increases on transport and roads, Premier Gladys Berejiklian gave her strongest indication yet that NSW’s strategy is now focused on being the first state to accept life with COVID-19.
NSW recorded 688 new cases on Thursday and Ms Berejiklian said the state “can’t live in our bubble forever”, conceding it was a challenge NSW was confronting earlier than hoped but one other states would have to follow.
“Every state has to live with the fact that once you get to 80 per cent double dose and your population is allowed to live more freely, that the Delta variant will creep in,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The government announced an extension of the lockdown for regional NSW to at least August 28, after 25 new cases were reported in western NSW. The death of a man in his 80s took the death toll of the outbreak to 61.
More than 313,000 trips were taken on Sydney’s public transport network on Wednesday, up by 88,000 compared to Wednesday, July 21, while an extra six million road traffic movements were also recorded, indicating potentially hundreds of thousands additional car trips.
More than 313,000 trips were taken on Sydney’s public transport network on Wednesday.CREDIT:LOUISE KENNERLEY
While public transport patronage remains 87 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels, the increase in mobility this month coincides with the Berejiklian government easing restrictions on the construction industry.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Marianne Gale said a major driver of the surging COVID-19 case numbers was the movement of young essential workers between workplace settings and their homes.
Dr Gale said young essential workers in the healthcare sector, as well as those employed in factories and shopping centres, were spreading the virus.
“So for the vast majority of people, it’s not anybody doing the wrong thing. What we are seeing is the Delta variant that is so highly transmissible,” Dr Gale said.
The state government eased restrictions on the construction industry from July 31, allowing vaccinated workers in hotspot areas to return to job sites at 50 per cent capacity.
Analysis of Facebook Mobility trends shows marked increases in mobility across Sydney’s local government areas of concern since the ban was lifted.
The mobility trends suggested movement in Liverpool had increased by about 10 per cent since the beginning of August and nine per cent in Cumberland as vaccinated workers return to work at hotspot construction sites.
Areas with the least change in workers commuting include Mosman (0 per cent), Campbelltown (-15 per cent), and Liverpool (-24 per cent).
Almost 500 buses ran over social distancing capacity on Thursday, according to Transport for NSW. About 12 people are now allowed on a standard bus under COVID-19 guidelines.
Despite the state recording its second consecutive day with case numbers surpassing 600, Ms Berejiklian said there was “a light at the end of the tunnel,” after NSW delivered a record 110,000 vaccinations on Wednesday.
“For all of us the next few weeks will be hard, but know that once we hit those higher vaccination rates, life will feel much better, life will look much rosier,” she said.
Ms Berejiklian said she planned to announce next week which restrictions would be eased in September and October, after the state reached a vaccination rate of 6 million jabs.
In NSW, 55 per cent of eligible people have had one dose and 29 per cent are fully vaccinated.
“Once we get to 6 million jabs, those that are vaccinated will have the opportunity to be able to do something they can’t do now,” she said. “There will be some freedoms, no matter what.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday announced that the country’s vaccine rollout would be expanded to people aged 16 to 39 after August 30, who will be able to access the Pfizer jab.
He also said 50 per cent of the nation’s eligible population had received one dose of a COVID vaccine and 28 per cent two doses.
NSW Police issued 671 penalty notices for breaches of the public health orders, of which almost 400 were to people outside their restricted area without a reasonable excuse.
Merrylands, Guildford, Auburn, Granville, Lidcombe, Greenacre and Blacktown remain the Sydney suburbs of the greatest concern.
Five of the seven suburbs have vaccination rates three times lower than some wealthier parts of Sydney.
RELATED ARTICLE Everyone aged over 16 across the country will be able to book in for a vaccination from August 31. Every eligible Australian can book a jab from the end of the month as vaccination rates rise
* The inability of Berejiklian's government to run a chook raffle has been proven again and again. This is merely further proof of their dysfunctionality. She and her gang must go!
* This doesn't make sense when I believe the Government are about to reduce services to a weekend timetable which would mean squeezing the increase in passengers into less trains!! sounds like another dumb and knee jerk decision by Gladys and Constance !!
* Maybe some of the commuters were trying to get a vax? Whoddathought it? Facebook doing our policing free of charge.
* <<Sydney commuter numbers on the rise>> Of course they are. Everybody's getting tired of the COVID restrictions. Mandatory vaccination for ALL Australians is the only long term solution. We have already proven that we can't trust ourselves in an epidemic.
* I am afraid that GB and Scotty from Marketing just don’t get it - not everyone is paid as well as they are from the public purse. After 8 weeks of lock down most people will have used up any of their savings and need to get out of the house and work to support themselves and their family - as usual the LNP can’t grasp this fact and sends in the troops to scare people into staying at home. Totally the wrong move - hopefully the voters will remember this at the next elections.
* Looks like the Premier now needs police at every train station in Sydney to check who is legally travelling and who is not. Those illegals fined and sent home.
* Let's face it, any good will towards the government is fast running out!
* This time last month, construction was shut down. It’s back on now, so it stands to reason that traffic is up. Can we please get the full story when you do your data analysis please?
* I thought traffic dropped off in the past week or so but the last few days it came back. Have the numbers made people decide “what’s the point?” or they’ve resigned themselves to “living with the virus”?
* 110 000 people went out on Wednesday to get a vaccine. Of course movements are up! That’s where the mystery cases are coming from. People scrambling all over the city to get vaccines. Outside their 5km too I bet.
* That says the Government has lost the people.
* I'm in the ACT. Surrounded as it is by the NSW gold standard in COVID management, I'm fearful that our lockdown will be as indefinite as the NSW lockdown. Even if we get the virus back to zero, NSW will just bring it back in. Good work Gladys.
* As your graph shows this is just related to the construction ban meaning construction workers weren't working a month ago.
* So I know this makes a good headline but as more people are vaccinated more people are allowed to travel to work. Given the vaxx numbers is this really surprising?
* I postponed a very important eye specialist appointment because the eye drops they use makes it necessary to go by train. There’s no way I’m going on a train for another couple of months.
* Sadly, hardly surprising since the government wasted the first 9 weeks of this crisis by repeatedly and inexplicably failing to put in place the kind of lockdown measures that would have addressed the spread. It appears as though people are now ignoring her all together.
* This just shows that people deferred essential tasks for the anticipated lockdown duration but the deferred tasks have now become urgent. It is not a sign of wilful noncompliance and the premier has no legitimate reason to blame the public.
* Mockdown. As I have commented before. Bangor Bypass, the main arterial road between Bankstown and greater Sydney to the Southern suburbs and south coast. A continuous stream of vehicles. All the "Essential Workers" I must assume
* Please Gladys, let those of us who are vaccinated see our elderly relatives if they are also vaccinated. I live in the red zone. My recently-widowed Father lives alone on the other side of Sydney. I would love to be able to take him meals, have a coffee with him (outside is fine), and go walking with him. We are both fully vaccinated. And let’s get the hospitality, retail and personal care workers back to their livelihoods. And the kids back to school. I’m seeing so many around me at breaking point - pretty much all have had at least one vaccination. I’d be happy to show my vaccination passport to enter a shop, get a haircut, dine outside at a cafe.
* So Gladys by stating "Every state has to live with the fact that once you get to 80 per cent double dose and your population is allowed to live more freely" is basically saying that she is not going to abide by the National Plan To Transition that was agreed to in National Cabinet. This plan states very clearly that the phases will be triggered "when the average vaccination rates across the nation have reached the threshold", "expressed as a percentage." There is no mention in the Plan as to meeting a number of single doses being administered to enable restrictions to be lifted. In fact it clearly states 2 doses. So Gladys is showing that she can't be trusted to keep her word even though she is very quick to state that the Doherty plan is what we all need to work to plus put she has down any state that puts its interests ahead of NSW. Might I add that if Scotty backs her plans he is also going against his explicit explanations of the Plan in at least 3 press conferences I have seen. I know this might not seem strange that Scotty would back flip on something he has said but someone needs to call him & Gladys out on it as they are putting the whole of Australia in danger & it will cause lives to be lost.
* The writing is on the wall. We will open up. There will be infections in the community. There will be hospitalisations. There will be deaths. This just mirrors what has happened overseas. The big question will be for the lazy, the couldn't be bothered, the vaccine hesitant and the anti vaxxers. Are you prepared to tough it out unvaccinated in this environment ? As getting 2 doses takes 2 months, that question needs to be answered by them now because the rest of us won't be waiting for you and could care less what decision you make. We want our freedom back and the possibility of your hospitalisation or death doesn't concern us as it was your choice.
* NSW government to blame. Firstly for peddling the wrong science: that all you need is vaccination and the pandemic will be over. Wrong. Second wave Delta in highly vaccinated Israel shows that while vaccination is vital, it cannot bring life back to "normal". Lockdowns are still required. So peddling the wrong science makes vaccinated people think they can ignore restcictions. Secondly for a lack of leadership, ie demonstrating a lack of care and selfish pursuit of Gladys political career over the life and livlihood of the nation. People are angry and bitter and resentful in NSW. We need a decent leader. And in a vaccum people dont follow the rules, but break them in selfish pursuite.
* Gladys has already started spruiking giving up and living with Delta. She can't have it both ways. Either we are locked down for zero infections; or people are going to start shoring up their means of survival in a save-yourself world that is marginally freer for the vaccinated. If she introduces giving up talk, there will be a breach in the dam wall, and people will start asking themselves what point there is to sacrificing livelihoods for zippo results. No wonder those mobility numbers are up.
* Probably more to do with people getting on with life because she refuses to be open and transparent at her press conferences. Bullies journalists trying to get clarification and the health minister prevents the chief health officer asking questions with absolute contempt for the other politicians asking questions.
* That’s what happens in a lite lockdown - people do what they want. Gladys never wanted to get this outbreak under control. Gladys ignores the evidence from overseas and continues to speak to us like we’re children.
* people need to earn an income

AUGUST 19 2021 New Canberra Covid exposure sites include KFC Fyshwick, bus and light rail routes. Sarah Lansdown
ACT records 16 cases including one at childcare centre (Andrew Barr Press Conference) | Canberra Times, 19 August 2021
The Chief Minister urged Canberrans to "stay at home" on Thursday.
New bus routes, supermarkets and retailers have been added to the list of COVID-19 exposure sites in Canberra.
Anyone who visited KFC Fyshwick between 11.15am and 12.50pm on Thursday, August 12 is considered a close contact and should quarantine immediately, complete an ACT contact declaration form and get tested for COVID-19 when advised by ACT Health.
The Florey (John Cleland Crescent) to Belconnen (Lake Ginninderra College) bus route BUS415 on Monday, August 9, from 1pm to 1.15pm has been identified as a causal contact location. The return route (BUS431) was also a casual contact location from 4pm to 4.15pm the same day.
Exposure times for several bus and light rail routes have also been updated.
Federal Parliament still on track for Monday sitting
Three supermarkets have been listed as casual contact locations:
Woolworths Charnwood: Saturday, August 14 from 1pm to 3pm
Woolworths Kambah: Saturday, August 14 from 2pm to 2.30pm
Woolworths Dickson: Sunday, August 15 from 12pm to 12.30pm
People at the Power Kart Raceway at Griffith on Thursday, August 12 from 12 noon to 1.30pm are considered casual contacts.
Officeworks in Fyshwick was a casual exposure location on Friday, August 13 between 5.25pm and 6.05pm.
Casual contacts should immediately quarantine, fill out the declaration form and then get tested as per ACT Health recommendations.
New bus routes have been added as casual exposure locations and exposure times for other bus and tram routes have been updated. Picture: Karleen Minney
Further sites have been added where visitors should monitor for symptoms:
7-Eleven Phillip: Friday, August 13, 10.55am to 11.10am
Dan Murphy's Dickson: Sunday, August 15, 12.20pm -12.50pm
Meatways Kambah: Saturday, August 14, 1.20pm to 2pm
Greenshed Mitchell: Wednesday, August 11, 9.45am to 2.15pm
Earlier on Thursday, Goodstart Early Learning Turner, Ginninderra Medical and Dental Care and Greenway Views retirement village were listed as exposure locations.
The full list of exposure sites is available here.
* This is why hospitality is down the drain no one wants to go to a new exposure site so will only cook at home. Step up Barr and fund the economic disaster you are precipitating.
* Bubonic plague had a death rate of 70% in its first wave, how does this compare with coronavirus death rate? “Highly deadly” do some research before making comments. Yes it’s “highly contagious” but make it relative to other viruses.

‘All aboard the nature express’: A train converted into a house for sale in Currowan. JESSICA TAULAGA AUG 19, 2021
Every now and then, we come across a house conversion on the market that catches our eye, such as a church-turned-charming cottage. But it’s not every day you find yourself looking at a train that’s been completely gutted and turned into a home.
At 20 Western Distributor, Currowan, that’s exactly what you’ll get.
Two big steel railway carriages, purchased at a public auction in 2001, were brought to the 16.9-hectare block by a semi-trailer, said selling agent Rob Routledge of LJ Hooker Batemans Bay.
20 Western Distributor Road, Currowan Photo: Robert Jacobs
“The sellers spent the best part of the next two years building a home out of it. It was an ongoing labour of love for them,” he said.
“During this time, they built a shed nearby to live in while they completed the train.”
The trains were arranged directly adjacent to each other to form four bedrooms, a craft room, a study, a lounge and three bathrooms.
Mr Routledge calls out to prospective buyers “all aboard the nature express” — a playful take on the property listing, which also says the home can be “an opportunity to create a farm stay or maybe do an Airbnb let on the residence, I am sure it will be a talking point.”
20 Western Distributor Road, Currowan Photo: Robert Jacobs
The sellers wanted to retain some of the train’s unique features, including the strap handles mounted on the ceiling, the windows and the floorboards.
“There was no particular inspiration behind the build besides the fact that the sellers wanted something different,” Mr Routledge said.
“They saw it as a cost-effective way to build something on a big block of land, and it actually got bigger as it went along.”
While the main body of the trains hosts the bedrooms, a roof was installed linking both carriages to create a common area where the kitchen and dining room are located. Outside, a wraparound deck was installed with views towards the bushland.
20 Western Distributor Road, Currowan Photo: Robert Jacobs
The property comes with resident goats, and it’s also only minutes from the fresh waters of Currowan Creek.
“There’s much to explore on this parcel of land,” Mr Routledge said.
“When I first saw the property, it took me two hours to inspect because there was so much to see from the trains themselves to the creek and waterholes nearby.”
Mr Routledge said the sellers decided to sell the home in a bid to downsize and move north to Queensland.
“It’s a quirky home fit for a quirky buyer, and with nature at your doorstep, why wouldn’t you? It’s a unique property, and I think one that will interest a variety of people,” he said.

Labor treating rail loop like giant Monopoly game Matt Johnston August 19, 2021
When it comes to building the suburban rail loop it seems money is make-believe and, much like Monopoly, this is really about property.
video: All you need to know about the Suburban Rail Loop
In 2018, Dan Andrews promised Victorians a big new suburban rail loop.
The underground tunnel would link radial “spokes” of the old rail network while connecting major jobs hubs such as universities.
Since that time – it was shortly before the state election, as luck would have it! – his government has frantically assessed the project’s merits.
Oh, and a little thing called cost.
On Thursday afternoon all was revealed in a lengthy investment case that showed the
first 26km section would cost $34.5 billion.
Victorians have never dreamt of a transport project costing even half that amount.
The Andrews government has been frantically assessing the project’s merits.
Before this momentous day, the North East Link toll road between the Eastern Freeway and the M80 was clubhouse leader at $15.8bn — and when that was announced people broke out in a nervous sweat.
Now it seems like money is make-believe; that we’re playing a giant game of Monopoly with Treasurer Tim Pallas as Rich Uncle Pennybags doling out $200 as we pass Go.
Suburban Rail Loop Minister Jacinta Allan (they’re so serious about this project there’s a minister for it) said you’ve got to look past the dollars.
Allan and Andrews like to ask Victorians to imagine the cost of NOT building the new link.
What happens if you jam millions of extra people into Melbourne over coming decades and force them in and out of the CBD for work?
This is a valid question.
In fact, one hopes this was the starting point for the brains trust who came up with the plan.
The fact its route crosses state seats Labor wanted to win at the last election was a bonus.
(Side note – Labor won off the Liberals the seats of Box Hill, Burwood, and Mount Waverley).
We’re playing a giant game of Monopoly with Treasurer Tim Pallas as Rich Uncle Pennybags.
The investment case released on Thursday has detailed modelling about travel and employment opportunities through this project, with an extra 45,000 people housed around station precincts.
Much like Monopoly, property portfolios are crucial.
Yes, the pandemic has paused population.
But as the government infrastructure advisory body set up by Andrews to “take the politics out of infrastructure” said this week, it will accelerate again soon.
While $2.5bn has been sunk on planning and early works already, the state opposition could promise NOT to build it after next year's election.
Allan and Andrews like to ask Victorians to imagine the cost of NOT building the new link.
Labor won’t be signing contracts just before the poll, like the Liberals did on the East West Link in 2014.
Labor famously justified throwing away taxpayer money when killing the EWL by saying the return on investment for the first stage of the project was terrible.
That’s more difficult with this rail loop, because the government only chose to model stages one and two of the project together to come up with a positive benefit-cost ratio.
Much like the two stages of the EWL, the whole plan is what makes the first stage sing.
Of course, if the Liberals choose to dump the SRL it will need to tell people in seats it wants to win why it won’t build them a shiny new train set or job opportunities on their doorstep.
An alternative plan to deal with population growth and jobs will have to be clearly spelt out, and it would have tens of billions of dollars in Monopoly money to play with.
This project will be a critical state election issue, and one which will define Melbourne’s future.
Who said that the politics of infrastructure was dead?
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Suburban Rail Loop price tag a staggering $34bn
Secret report reveals Suburban Loop’s impact
* Thatcher said it best - the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people’s money…
* Actually it is a good plan, people will be able to avoid Melbourne, and the CBD in particular, like the plague
* It’s only money isn’t it Dan? Other people’s money, that’s socialism for you.
* ...and I still won’t be able to travel by train from Sunbury to Tullamarine unless I travel to Sunshine first! The Bendigo line should have been diverted via Tullamarine airport and the straight down the centre of the Tullamarine Freeway to the city. This is how you open up regional Victoria, not spending millions on trying to save 10 minutes on the Geelong line which already exists.
* Makes me think Dan was denied a train set as a child.
* He must think people will stop worlking from home and travel by train. Not on your life they will.
* I cannot see the point of this. No one will be able to use it because Dan will still have a State of Emergency in place and we will still be in lockdown!
* Go for it guys! Money is free at present !
* This was thought up back when Victoria wasn’t looking at a $166 billion debt & people working from home wasn’t an option. A shovel hasn’t even been turned and it’s already blown out from approx $50 bn to $57 bn. That’s even before the unions structure their fees! I pity future generations paying for Andrews’ legacy.
* The only thing needed building is a complete Melbourne by pass so you dont have to look at the Melbourne waste land as you head North! Covid has proven that the Melbourne CBD has basically become irrelevant with so many people working from home.
* How do I get a job on this gravy train!!
* Become a train driver, no chance of Victoria getting driverless trains.
* Become a Train Driver first, then get promoted to Health Commander, even knowing nothing about the subject - Should work really well
* Yeah now let's look at what the liberals have done ...ever.
* repaid Labors Debt
* minimum of 35 billion and say more likely $50 billion to be honest 1,electric cars at $50,000 in a few years - that's 1 million electric cars that could be bought - I'd rather this which people would actually use and help the climate - the amount of steel and concrete and energy use to build this project is enormous as well as a waste of money
* China will pay for it, no strings attached
* Building 2 more desal plants would make more economic sense. 
* …how about finishing the mess you’re creating now, before creating another mess, can see the westgate tunnel project being filled with concrete @ each end & shutdown.
* Andrews and the ALP, still plugging for Big Melbourne @10 million. That no-one wants.
* Does anyone really believe that it will “only “ cost this much….Victorian families will be paying for this long after Dan Andrews I has left office and interest rates are on the way back up
* Uncle Pennybags? More like Uncle Fester!
* All smoke and mirrors before another election campaign. Announce projects to win votes, then refuse to build them. We’re not stupid Daniel
* “Labor famously justified throwing away taxpayer money when killing the EWL by saying the return on investment for the first stage of the project was terrible.“ Who pays $1.5b to NOT build a road! Forget about the business case. The money had to be paid regardless because of the so called side letter. Maybe the liberals shouldn’t have signed it, but who gives away $1.5b without getting something for it that you would be contracted into getting. This just shows the contempt Dan Andrews has for tax payers money.
* The Loop to nowhere. Labor justifies the return on a low price. But what is the real return on the overrun price of say $40B?
* If Labor said, "first 26km section would cost $34.5 billion" you can back it in that it will be something like $50 billion and rising.  State Labor projects, never on time and never on budget.
* As with everything from Labor: promoted with saturation propaganda, and no real figures. Meanwhile, the main network is left to languish. Melbourne has a completely different urban geography from Moskva, Beijing, Berlin and London.
* Why would the liberals want to govern with the mess Andrews will leave. It will take generations to clear just a fraction of the debt racked up by Andrews and his idiots.
* Typical of Andrews and Labor. If you’ve never had a real job you think money grows on trees. More burden for the tax payer without a proper business case in place.
* Based on their track record this massive project will cost at least double and will never be finished.  look at the westgate tunnel.  
* Why not run a free bus service along the route for 5 years to build the business case, after all Melbourne had both an inner circle and an outer circle train line and both closed well before WW2. Just massive waste at every level with this Government, they are clearly showing they have never run a business before as they think money just keeps flowing with no effort or risk from themselves.
* More Union controlled over budget Projects that Dan fails to have properly tendered & sadly uses as a smokescreen for the sheep who believe every word that he utters. Dan is the most dishonest & incompetent State Premier ever in our States history as every word is either spin or not accurate. Dan is the master of playing Politics & how people can keep a straight face defending his 18 month reign of terror as he slowly sucks the life out of our once great Victoria! The only winners are the Unions & Public Servants., Seriously would Dan even know how to spell - Transparent!
* This must be another one of Daniel Andrews “Shovel ready projects”
* Supreme Leader at it again……no business case, no urgent need, a state bleeding cash and will be near enough bankrupt in the next 5 years but hey, let’s build a giant rail loop than no one gives stuff about. Bravo Supreme Leader - it will be as successful as your shovel ready Westgate link!
* If money is no object, can they extend the Mornington peninsula freeway to Sorrento and while they're at it, they can make use of those tunneling machine and tunnel through to Queenscliff. Wouldn't that be somethin'? If only money grew on trees.
* What staggers me is the total lack of planning in a coordinated fashion to achieve an actual outcome, and not some airy, fairy train line x, costing x, and completed x. who would want to invest or bid for major projects with such a slapdash attitude.
* Does Andrews dream this stuff up at night?
* Just go away, far away
* No doubt critical infrastructure and good idea to have a body that is free of polotics to look at strategy. All very sensible ideas. Now lets add the Andrews factor and no doubt just like his public service appointments, idealogue first. Proven poor negotiator and bereft of any understanding of contracts (will not cost the taxpayer a cent but maybe a billion). Andrews has an unsurpassed ability to take a good idea add idealogue and self interest turning it into financial and delivery disaster. Get it built but get someone competent to manage it.
* I’m confused from the digital pictures.  Is this being built in Africa?
* Now does Moorabbin Airport Corporation understand why there will not be a station at its airport.
* OK you’ve come up with a positive return. Thought you would somehow!
* Guessing most politicians don't have a conscience let alone a brain bigger than a pea so it's super easy to brag about spending money you've never honestly earned yourself.
* There are a lot of boxes yet to be ticked.
Apart from the full costing and the final details of the route there is a sticky problem with the transport union as these are intended to be driverless trains.
There is also considerable hurdles as the trains aren't compatible with the rest of the network and need their own stabling and maintenance facilities within the existing built-up suburban area.
No doubt the last consideration will be the Community Consultation process.
* With so many working from home now, Melbourne is a bit of a wasteland, isn’t it, so why would you waste money building more rail lines?
* If you are going to spend so much money why not look at building a bridge, or a tunnel under the water from Sorrento to Queenscliffe to open up the whole of Victoria.
This would ease the massive traffic congestion over the West Gate Bridge for those needing to  to get from the south east of Victoria to the south west of Victoria.
Benefit all of Victoria not just those in the inner metropolitian suburbs.
* Can't even get a decent bus service where we live.  Buses run hourly during the day. 
* Where is all the money coming from, and also where are all the costings etc.
We can all spend, spend, spend but usually we have to stick within a conserative budget.
So make all the necessary information available to the public before contracts are signed.
And before Daniel Andrews signs Victoria up to a massive debt as he then walks away with his hefty public service pension, while Victoria burns.
Who is made accountable for these stuffups by Daniel Andrews and his ALP State Government.
* No doubt all the money was to come from the ccp belt and road initiative.
* Based on cost overruns on current projects means the SRL would cost $100 billion plus!!
* A rail line from nowhere to nowhere. Only in Victoria.
* Given that the State Labor Party won't be around to pay back the debt, why should they care. Our kids will care, and if our economy stagnates after COVID we are genuinely stuffed. What kind of irresponsible government treats our once great state like one giant population ponzi scheme that actually decreases liveabilty and wealth per capita. Our credit rating has already been down graded. I encourage people to research the 2008 sovereign debt crisis in Europe. Andrews and State Labor is risking everything.
* Aren't the Chinese financing this project? They'll own every house in Melbourne by the time it's completed anyway.
* Yep they pretty well buy up everything.
* Another project that is not recognising the. Needs of the future. Millions more people in Melbourne, really, where will they be housed? Probably nowhere near this rail line! Where is the population and employment hub plan for Melbourne? Any clues , probably there isn’t one, so millions into the future, housing at Ballarat and Warragul, all linked? What a joke. Time to get a plan for the future!
* Plan for the future but don’t get these wandering assumptions to do it. They will dream up… let’s fill in Port Phillip Bay. Great location for our polluted drill spill and then, cover it all in houses
* When this is completed, people will be working from home and shopping online. No one will be  needing trains so it will be a total waste of money.
* This will never be built that is why I am not worried.  This is not visionary.  It is a dream with no business case that will stand up.
* "Labor treating rail loop like giant Monopoly game" Thats how they operate, no consideration as to who will pay in the end.
* Isn’t $34b the final cost of the Westgate tunnel if they ever find somewhere to dump the toxic soil
* How are Transurban going to fund the Western Distributor cost blow outs? Answer, Tolls. Will be the most expensive road journey the state has ever seen.
* I thought l was watch an episode of Utopia. This could be their next season.
* I’m not a labour voter, but I respect a govt that comes up with plans for their vision of the future. This is leadership for a community. 
* Don't worry about paying for it , that will be someone else's problem. The state is already in real financial trouble , how do you flick up 50 billion for a tunnel in Melbourne?.
* Reminds of an episode of the Simpsons. Where Homer is, as usual, overindulging and in the process of making a stupid decision with no regard for the outcome. But rationalises it by saying. "That's a problem for future Homer. Boy, I don't envy that guy". The difference in Dan's case being that he's only damaging everybody else's future. So doesn't have to worry about future Dan, because he knows he'll be fine.
* I’m not a labor voter but……… we’re not all as stupid as the typical labor voter! Give us a spell!
* This will be the biggest of big white elephants.
* Another gift to the CFMEU. 
* Don’t know if it will out do the Desal plant
* Or the North south pipeline.
* Or the Miki ticketing system and the 1 billion used to tear up EWL. The Western Hwy debacle. The poor planning for the Monash Fwy upgrade stages 1 and 2 . The massive cost blowouts on Metro Tunnels and the Western Distributor. Fast rail that is not fast rail. The list is exhausting
* There is already a White Elephant at Wonthaggi thanks to Labor...

Four big transport projects headline 30-year blueprint for Victoria Matt Johnston, Kieran Rooney and Tess Ikonomou August 19, 2021
A new 30-year blueprint for Victoria has revealed the four key projects we need to bust congestion and secure the state’s future as we head towards a population of 10.8 million.
video: Victoria's 30-year infrastructure blueprint The major transport building projects
Parts of the City Loop should be shut down when Melbourne’s new Metro line opens in order to build an extra 3km of tunnels and extend the rail network, Victoria’s infrastructure advisory body says.
The overhaul of the CBD’s underground lines is one of four mega transport projects that are a centrepiece of Infrastructure Victoria’s new 30-year blueprint to deal with growing pains.
Building an outer metropolitan road and rail corridor around far northern and western suburbs, fixing traffic light sequences on arterials, and extending suburban rail lines are other key initiatives that would deliver bang for buck in the $100bn plan.
A Melbourne Metro 2 project would aim to improve the rail corridor for the northern and western suburbs. Picture: Craig Hughes
The government should also plan a Metro 2 rail line from Clifton Hill to Newport, and protect the corridor for a new cross-city road tunnel — similar to the East West Link Stage One killed off by Labor but which is on the Infrastructure Australia priority list — despite “no immediate need for a connection between the Eastern Freeway and CityLink”.
To complement big ticket items, Melbourne should introduce a congestion charge for its CBD and overhaul public transport and toll road charges to encourage people to travel off peak for cheaper prices.
Within 10 years, the state should migrate towards a new pricing system where fixed charges, such as car registration, are scrapped in favour of a “user pays” system, where motorists are charged based on distance and times travelled.
This controversial concept has been previously rejected by the Andrews government and state opposition, however.
The report, handed to the Andrews government this morning, takes into account a “pause” in population growth due to the pandemic, but forecasts a surge in people flocking to Victoria post-pandemic — with almost 11 million likely to call this state home by 2051.
The biggest impact would be on inner city suburbs, where population growth would reduce by 3.5 per cent, due to factors such as the work-from-home trend.
Infrastructure Victoria chief executive Michel Masson said recommendations “consider the medium to longer-term impacts of the global pandemic”.
“Our 30-year road map outlines how Victoria can make the most of the infrastructure we already have while ensuring new infrastructure, such as road and rail projects, deliver maximum value to areas where it is needed most,” he said.
A post-pandemic population boom is expected to increase congestion on public transport and roads.
Crippling congestion headaches are expected in Melbourne’s outer north and west and southeast, where 30 per cent of growth will occur by 2035.
A new Metro-style tunnel from Clifton Hill to Newport has again been recommended, but not before proper planning on costs and benefits, including on getting electrified train services through to Geelong.
And IV says land for a “cross-city” road, such as East West Link, should be retained — but did not give a timeline for when to start that project that has been promised by the state opposition.
To better plan for growth, the report recommends “prioritising home building in established suburbs” where possible because this “ultimately costs Victorians less than expanding in new growth areas”.
“Infrastructure costs in established suburbs with the capacity to support growth can be two to four times cheaper than in new growth suburbs,” it says.
The plan takes into account projects already being built or committed, such as the $15.8 billion North East Link and Suburban Rail Loop, without assessing them individually.
Central to the agency’s vision is better connecting people to work closer to home, with 5.5 million jobs expected to be needed within three decades.
“Every Victorian deserves good access to jobs, services, and public transport, whether they live in Mildura, Middle Park, Melton or Mallacoota,” Mr Masson said.
The report outlines actions needed to prepare for climate change and tackle emissions, including by boosting electric car use and mandating all new homes be 7-star energy rated.
Mr Masson said consultation with thousands of Victorians meant IV “adopted a faster timeline for phasing in electric vehicles and shifted our focus so that renters benefit from improved home energy efficiency”.
Infrastructure Victoria analysts say once the current $13.7bn Metro rail tunnel is complete by the middle of this decade, there will be a brief “window” of opportunity to fix the City Loop by building 3km of extra tunnels.
This “achieves significant capacity uplift at comparably low cost” with a benefit of up to $1.90 for every $1 spent, and would allow for northern rail lines to be extended towards Wallan and ease congestion in Seymour and Shepparton services.
Within three decades almost half of all cars are expected to be driverless. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Andrew Henshaw
A quarter of the City Loop would need to be shut down and more CBD construction chaos would occur — but the best time to do it would be when capacity is available rather than decades from now when passenger numbers will be higher.
Within three decades almost half of all cars are expected to be driverless automated vehicles, with new transport pricing recommended to encourage hitting roads at off-peak times.
In the short-term, the report says a dynamic congestion charge in the CBD and on new tollways — which slugs motorists more for peak time travel and gives discounts for off-peak — should be introduced.
Slashing bus and tram fares and introducing permanent bargain-basement off-peak prices for public transport would kickstart the behaviour change.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said having a fast and connected transport network of trams, trains and buses was “essential” for the state’s future success.
“Infrastructure Victoria is to be applauded for highlighting that issues of road congestion, pollution, emissions and road trauma need to be addressed,” he said.
“Transport network pricing can be part of the solution — so too is providing more of Melbourne and regional cities with top-class public transport that more people will choose to use.”
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the City of Melbourne had been advocating for “public transport connectivity into Fishermans Bend” which would bring investment into the area and provide “certainty” for industry.
“The northern Fishermans Bend tram connection and an extension to the Arden precinct will help connect Melburnians to jobs, services and education,” she said.
“We’re expecting 80,000 jobs to be established in Fisherman’s Bend as we create a world-leading advanced manufacturing innovation district.”
Ms Capp backed the advisory body’s calls for a business case to be completed for a Metro 2 rail line from Clifton Hill to Newport — which includes a new station at Fishermans Bend.
“Recommendations for more detailed planning surrounding the Melbourne Metro 2 project will ensure this important development delivers the crucial connectivity our city needs to grow into the future,” she said.
The report says more was needed to “build back better” after emergencies such as bushfires and that rural schools should be used to co-locate health services.
Under state laws, the government must respond to the plan within 12 months and put forward a 5-year infrastructure plan.
The body’s inaugural report in 2016 made 137 recommendations, with almost 90 per cent completed or under way.
A government spokesman said the strategy “presents a vision for a growing, inclusive and sustainable Victoria”.
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The spokesman said the government’s record investment in transport, education, community and social infrastructure “is already transforming the way we live, work and spend our recreation time” and that the work done by IV would be considered in detail.

State’s major projects at risk of critical shortages, report warns Kieran Rooney and Tess Ikonomou August 19, 2021
The planning and handling of Victoria’s major projects have been slammed by the Auditor-General’s Office, which says they’re at risk of critical resources shortages.
video: Victoria's 30-year infrastructure blueprint. The major transport building projects
Major state government projects are not being properly planned to cater for skyrocketing demand over materials and labour, and are at risk of critical shortages, the state’s auditor general has warned.
This problem has led to poor advice on how to deliver projects on time and on budget and comes just a week after Transurban estimated the West Gate Tunnel had blown out by at least $3.3bn.
In a new report released on Thursday, the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office has slammed government departments’ management of the Andrews government’s massive pipeline of infrastructure.
It warned that some agencies had identified “potential critical resources shortages and risks” but did not have enough information to tackle these problems.
“As a result, no agency fully understands the construction industry and public sector’s ability to deliver the government’s pipeline, or how effectively their work is mitigating shortages.”
The report also accused departments, including the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority, of using outdated information.
20/05/2021 Construction on the Melbourne West Gate tunnel project in Yarraville. Aaron Francis/The Australian
In 2020, the Department of Treasury and Finance estimates 17 different construction skills with a high risk of missing talent.
The MTIA estimates 98 per cent of high-skilled construction jobs will have shortages between 2022 and 2025.
The Auditor-General also flagged supplies of hard rock, gravel, sand and other materials vital to delivering mega projects were at risk of being exhausted over the next few decades.
Government agencies had assessed the risk of these shortages but did not have enough information required.
“These gaps mean that the agencies’ advice to the government about resource-related risks to delivering major projects on time and on budget is not comprehensive or complete.”
A government spokeswoman said Victoria needed the pipeline of major transport projects for the future, which employed thousands of people and had helped the state’s economic recovery.
The Metro Tunnel blew out by $2.74bn and the costs were settled evenly between the government and the builders.
“We’re closely monitoring the resources and materials needed to deliver our project pipeline and have invested in initiatives to increase capacity – such as the Victorian Tunnelling Centre, operating the Rail Skills Academy and establishing a joint industry forum with New South Wales.”
Material and resource shortages have become a major issue across Australia’s east coast as governments have pushed ahead with massive building blitzes.
In Victoria, The Metro Tunnel blew out by $2.74bn and the costs were settled evenly between the government and the builders.
Major road projects such as the Monash Freeway upgrade, the Mordialloc Freeway and M80 Upgrade have also recorded major cost increases.
In NSW, the Sydney Metro has blown out by at least $3bn and its light rail project was significantly delayed by cost overruns and project complications.
More Coverage
massive pipeline of infrastructure
West Gate Tunnel
Metro Tunnel blew out by $2.74bn

First 26km of Suburban Rail Loop tunnel to cost $30-$34.5bn Matt Johnston and Kieran Rooney August 19, 2021
The investment case for Suburban Rail Loop has been released, but the true cost of the entire project still hasn’t been revealed.
video: All you need to know about the Suburban Rail Loop. The Suburban Rail Loop is set to transform how Victorians travel around Melbourne
Premier Daniel Andrews’ election pledge to build a 26km underground rail line between Melbourne’s southeast and eastern suburbs will cost an unprecedented $34.5bn.
An investment case for the Suburban Rail Loop was released on Thursday – three years after the state government said it would tunnel between Cheltenham and Box Hill to start a new orbital rail system.
The report says the project is justified if the eastern section opens by 2035 and a northern section between Box Hill and Melbourne Airport is built by the middle of the century.
There is no price for the second stage, but it’s likely to cost more than stage 1 given the tunnel would be 8km longer.
The massive project, which is designed to eventually stretch around to Werribee, would get a return on investment by boosting the economy through new jobs hubs, higher-density living and congestion reductions.
A concept design for one of the six underground stations.
The first section would lead to an extra 47,500 people living around station precincts being built at Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash University, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill – on top of expected population growth.
It could also result in driverless trains on the new network.
Suburban Rail Loop Minister Jacinta Allan said modelling showed a $58.7bn economic and social benefit to the state once the first two sections were built by mid-century. But the same analysis was not applied to the first section in isolation, meaning a return on that $34.5bn investment was not modelled.
A massive change to the planning scheme is set to follow construction of stage 1, to allow the densification of suburbs in a 1600sq m zone around stations.
To ensure speculative buying doesn’t send the project off the rails, a hefty developer-contribution tax is likely to be attached to land near stations from 2025.
However, Ms Allan ruled out family homes and second investment property owners from being whacked with the tax.
Other value-capture charges that account for increases to land values or windfalls from building higher-density offices and apartments are also being considered.
For the first stage, land values around these precincts are tipped to increase by $4.3bn for residential and $3.8bn for non-residential by 2056.  “Potential changes in planning policy will enable developers to leverage increased dem­and and develop at higher den­sities to achieve higher sales values and volumes,” the report reads.
The new station would then allow for high density living to be built around them.
When the government announced the plan in 2018, it had no detail attached and it has not been assessed by transport infrastructure bodies.
Mr Andrews said it would connect nearly all of Melbourne’s radial rail lines to a new network and create major economic opportunities. Since then, the government has committed $2.5bn to early works and says its entire plan would see 600,000 car trips avoided.
On top of this, tens of thousands of jobs would be created.
Ms Allan said the project would be largely paid for by the state, which was negotiating with the commonwealth for a contribution.
The investment case predicts that if the loop is built over the next 30 years, there would be 46,500 additional homes in Melbourne’s north and east, more than one million square metres of new office space and 502,000sq m of retail space.
Ms Allan said the project was needed as Melbourne became a city of nine million people by the middle of the century.
“Victoria can’t afford not to build the Suburban Rail Loop,” she said. “With that population growth, our transport system will be under great pressure if we don’t make an intervention.”
Opposition transport spokes­man David Davis said the investment case did not canvass any alternatives to the expensive project and was not “honest”.
“We know Labor’s costings are always wrong, they are always underestimating the true cost,” he said.
“Like with the Metro and the West Gate Tunnel, they are routinely billions of dollars out.
“When these factors are taken into account the phony benefits cost ratio figures fade to massively negative.”
More Coverage
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210819Th-Fairfax-allhomes-Hitachi.house-d-ss  |  640W x 427H  | 268.83 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'Age'-rail.loop  |  600W x 467H  | 187.95 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'HeraldSun'-crowded.platform-ss  |  640W x 360H  | 251.19 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'HeraldSun'-transport.trends-a  |  600W x 336H  | 105.33 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'HeraldSun'-transport.trends-b  |  600W x 396H  | 94.58 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'HeraldSun'-transport.trends-c  |  800W x 544H  | 246.81 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'HeraldSun'-tunnel-b-ss  |  640W x 360H  | 191.92 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'HeraldSun'-tunnel-c-ss  |  640W x 360H  | 155.03 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-Melbourne'HeraldSun'-tunnel-ss  |  640W x 360H  | 198.67 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-'SMH'-emu-a-ss  |  640W x 426H  | 265.54 KB |  Photo details
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210819Th-'SMH'-emu-b-ss  |  640W x 319H  | 237.75 KB |  Photo details