Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Left-leaning, pro-infrastructure city has its say

By Leon Gettler 17 October 2016 29

light rail artist impression

The ACT election result has national significance. It’s a warning for all political parties.

True, the result was not that big a surprise.

Admittedly, the Government had been in power for some time and was looking long in the tooth. Add to that the damaging audit report on its land dealings just a fortnight from the polls. Not to mention the Libs getting into bed with the clubs sector.

The reality however is that Canberra is a left-leaning sort of town.

The vote for Andrew Barr’s Labor Party last night came in at the same level it had in 2012: 39 per cent. The Liberals went backwards, their vote falling 3.3 per cent to 35.6 per cent. The Greens also slipped 0.1 per cent to 10.6 per cent.

Now the Liberal Party would be making a big mistake by saying Canberra is just that kind of electorate.

The reality is the Libs could have won the election but decided to contest it without a strategy.

Labor won because its platform was built around the territory’s biggest ever infrastructure project, a tramline.

Over the next few decades, the light rail will roll out a trunk route from Gungahlin to Woden.

And the numbers from the polling booths tell us something.

The Gungahlin electorate of Yerrabi handed Labor its biggest vote of any of the five electorates, at 44 per cent.

Canberra needs light rail because the only way people can get around the nation’s capital is by car. Without public transport infrastructure, Canberra is likely to turn into another Los Angeles.

There is a deep irony that the Libs did not support the $930 million light rail project. Light rail is the sort of public transport infrastructure that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would be keen on.

That might say something about issues inside the Liberal Party. But that’s another story.

The results show the political parties in Canberra, nationally and in other states, that voters want infrastructure.

They now expect governments to do the hard work and provide infrastructure instead of relying on commodities exports and the RBA to keep cutting interest rates.

Building infrastructure creates jobs and long term benefits for the economy.

Australia’s unemployment rate is at 5.6 per cent but full time jobs are vanishing and strength in accommodation, food and recreation (thanks to the lower $A) means that part-time jobs are keeping a lid on unemployment while full-time employment is shrinking wiith job losses among miners and in the utilities.

A public transport infrastructure project will create full time employment and that will have national consequences.

We cannot as a nation keep relying on commodities which fluctuate and which have sent the mining industry into retreat.

Nor can we keep relying on the Reserve Bank to keep cutting interest rates for economic growth. The RBA is reluctant to cut much further with household debt so overstretched. And while low interest rates have boosted housing and retail, those sectors are close to their peaks. Growth in housing will fall and that will fall heavily on retailers and the banks.

But the sort of public transport infrastructure to be rolled out in the ACT could change that and provide the economy with a second wind.

The challenge is developing strategies that make it pay for itself.

 

 

 

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
29 Responses to
Left-leaning, pro-infrastructure city has its say
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
rommeldog56 8:48 am 21 Oct 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

As counting continues, the gap between the two parties is only just over 2%. I am still not convinced that Labour is supported by a majority of Canberrans, but it is only through alliance with the Greens that they hang on to power and even then the Greens are in doubt as to if they will sit on the same side of the fence.

It matters not I suppose. ACT hard Labor will form an alliance of some sort with the ACT Greens, so have retained Government. Whether Labor got more votes than Liberals doesnt really matter.

Is it true that the Greens have got a 2nd MLA ? Just heard that on 2CC.

wildturkeycanoe 8:04 am 21 Oct 16

As counting continues, the gap between the two parties is only just over 2%. I am still not convinced that Labour is supported by a majority of Canberrans, but it is only through alliance with the Greens that they hang on to power and even then the Greens are in doubt as to if they will sit on the same side of the fence.

wottaway 9:51 pm 20 Oct 16

That last sentence says it all, looking at the future as only ‘ a left-leaning town ‘ could. This project will make some Canberrans feel all warm and fuzzy for awhile, then reality will set in, having put the cart before the horse it will never pay for itself.

justin heywood 11:49 am 19 Oct 16

Deref said :

“Left-leadning”? I thought we’d elected a Labor government.

I know that many Greens have unilaterally declared themselves ‘centrist’ and therefore the major parties are all right-wing nut jobs.
.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the centre remains somewhere between Labor and the Libs.

Deref 10:07 am 19 Oct 16

“Left-leadning”? I thought we’d elected a Labor government.

Spiral 7:40 am 19 Oct 16

dungfungus said :

Garfield said :

2604 said :

“A public transport infrastructure project will create full time employment”

So when ratepayers spend ratepayers’ money, it doesn’t create jobs. But when the ACT Government spends ratepayers’ money, it does create jobs?

That’s one hell of a magic trick.

I’ve talked to developers who say that most of the light rail construction workers will come from Sydney. Given that the construction materials and light rail cars will not be Canberra made and the consortium profits will not stay here, there’s not going to be a whole lot of economic benefit from the direct spending on construction. If direct taxation of residents was lower, a good portion of those funds would still make their way interstate and overseas, but its highly likely that a greater percentage would stay in the ACT, thus probably leading to more jobs in the ACT than light rail will generate.

The roadside election signs said the light would create 3,500 permanent jobs.

That’s a lot of tram drivers.

Why didn’t the media step up and challenge this fanciful claim?

Because journalists in Australia are pathetic. All they seem to be able to do is regurgitate press releases.

I have seen similar things in the last 2 years relating to a $Billion Federal project. The Minister made comments that were so factually wrong a competent journalist could have debunked them and embarrassed the minister simply by checking the appropriate wiki page or calling the Australian office of the company.

In the lead up to the last Federal election it amazed me no journalist caught on and used it.

Garfield 11:48 pm 18 Oct 16

gooterz said :

I don’t get why the libs were taking down their signs from beside the parkway late at night before the election..

They probably put them up again the next morning or later that night closer to polling booths. With so many signs lost before election day, they probably didn’t have enough left to cover all the polling booths without moving the signs that were still up elsewhere.

gooterz 11:14 pm 18 Oct 16

I don’t get why the libs were taking down their signs from beside the parkway late at night before the election..

2604 10:32 pm 18 Oct 16

BunLover said :

Ah yes, that relentlessly left-leaning media explains why The Canberra Times advocated a vote for the Liberals.

Scoreboard as of election eve:
Editorials advocating that ACT residents vote for the Liberals: 1
Front-page Tony Abbott gotcha stories: 967

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Region Group Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site