Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Promise from the Heart I

It's now almost a year since NSW went to the polls and unceremoniously dumped out the Labor government.

Much of the talk since then has been about the things that the Coalition changed that they never mentioned - the pay and conditions for the public service being the most obvious example.

Given that O'Farrell made as few promises as possible before the election (hence the whole blank cheque argument) there are perhaps less promises that the O'Farrell government can be held to.

You might also remember this document that purported to the 100 promises that O'Farrell had broken - I wrote about what a joke that document was here.
What I thought might be fairer would be to have a look at some of the bigger promises that O'Farrell did make and assess how he has gone in relation to those.

I'm going to start today with Transport and get to other issues as and when my schedule allows.


I've written at length about O'Farrell's ambition to the "Infrastructure Premier".  It's a noble aim - there can be no doubt that there is a major infrastructure backlog in this state, and we need O'Farrell to do something about it.

Having said that, infrastructure costs money.  Labor's solution was Public-Private Partnerships, which just generally were a bit of a disaster.

The big ticket item was always the North West Rail Link. What did he promise?
From this story

From this ABC story
Can't argue this that, although I suppose the "promise" hasn't really fallen due yet. O'Farrell knows that if he was to break this promise then all hell would break loose, and he would be tarred with the same brush the Labor government was.

What else?
From this Crikey story
The Roads and Transport Authority and NSW Maritime have been combined in the Roads and Maritime Authority - whether it actually achieves anything remains to be seen.

The T card dispute has been settled, and in September it was announced that the integrated card would be called "Opal".

Part of the Press Release
Of course, choosing a name is a nothing step - commuters are going to want to see progress. This piece (written in February of this year) suggests that the Coalition has indicated a late 2012 roll-out - if so, this will be an outstanding development, given that the T-Card was first announced in 1996 and was perhaps one of the best and most infamous examples of Labor's incompetence.

The Coalition promised to create Infrastructure NSW - this has happened, and Nick Greiner has been (controversially) appointed Chairman.  
It remains to be seen how much concrete benefit the organisation can deliver.  Their website promises a 20-Year State Infrastructure Strategy in September of this year, which will no doubt prove interesting. 

The Hunter Infrastructure Board was given a surprising level of prominence in O'Farrell's "Contract".
Whilst I will always push for more public transport, we do need to have a functional road system.  Of course, a very large percentage of voters couldn't care less about trains and busses - they just want to see better roads.
This from the RTA website:
So?  On the whole, big tick for O'Farrell on Infrastructure promises. That said, to date most of the decisions have been cheap, easy ones - the real test will be the commitment to retain the funding when budgets get tight.

More later.

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