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John Passant

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December 2014



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



How about free buses, instead of light rail, for Canberra?

Back in November 2013 Shane Rattenbury, the Territory and Municipal Services Minister,  announced that  ACTION buses was going to spend $41.1 million on 77 new buses to be delivered between May 2014 and mid-2017.

The cost of the light rail on the government’s figures will be almost$800 million, although as M Silex argues (Canberra Times Letters 22 December) if you include interest payments and operating subsidies that figure could be between $1.9 bn and $2.4 bn over 30 years.

Instead of so much money going to a white elephant and the property developers who appear to be the main beneficiaries,  why doesn’t this Labor/Greens government buy more buses and phase in free bus travel over the next few years?  That is a subsidy I could support and one that benefits all Canberrans and our environment.

And since it won’t cost $786 million to do, we could abandon the light rail project and save money.



Comment from Jonathan
Time December 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm

John, I don’t think this is an either/or situation – certainly not in term of modes of public transport. I believe the socialist perspective for mass transit is a comprehensive (fast, frequent, all day, everywhere) system funded by taxation (like any other universal service, this is the cheapest way to raise the money). The technologies to be used are secondary to this basic decision about getting vastly more people to use public transport (40-80 per cent of all trips). Then chose the technology needed for the numbers of people to be moved: light rail is cheaper if the vehicles are well-patronised (light rail is more expensive to build but much cheaper to run because its bigger vehicles means less drivers – and public transport systems have very long life cycles). We have been proposing a combination light rail/bus system for Cairns for years and our initial studies suggest this is cheaper at the community level than a car-based transport system. Canberra is a much larger city, so this is much more likely to be true.

Comment from John
Time December 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Thanks jonathan. The light rail will cost $786 m on government estimates, but may be up to $2.4 bn on other estimates if you factor in interest etc. The light rail services about ten or 15 percent of the population. Free bus services will cover all of Canberra, for much less. And it will remove thousands if not tens of thousands of cars from the road every day.

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