Once again, we find our Prime Minister arguing the case for something he thinks is a “thoroughly bad idea.”
In an address to the Brisbane Club in March 2015, Malcolm Turnbull condemned Joe Hockey’s proposal that first-home buyers be able to dip into their superannuation.
“My own view is that would be a thoroughly bad idea,” Turnbull said, in response to questions after the address. “It’s not what the superannuation system is designed to achieve.”
Aside from greatly reducing retirement income and also the stockpile of money available for investment by superannuation funds, it seems only logical that this would drive up house prices with more first home buyers having to compete with investors for a limited stock of housing. Even if you have a deposit, the sale will still go to the highest bidder.
We are constantly told that it is a supply problem causing the housing crisis in Melbourne and Sydney and that our urban transport infrastructure cannot cope today let alone into the future. The rapidly expanding city population puts strain on local ecosystems, open spaces, clean air and clean water and concentrates the impacts of waste and garbage.
Tony Abbott is calling for a halt to immigration, completely ignoring the impact that would have on the ratio of aged people to workers in our society and consequently on productivity and growth.
Peter Dutton is saying we should make migrants go live in the country.
Why just migrants?
We now have cities struggling to house and employ their populations, alongside regional communities striving to grow and attract residents, business, skills and services. We have increasing challenges for the movement of people up and down the east coast, alongside significant pressures on transport costs—for industry and individuals alike.
Surely if we built high speed rail from Melbourne to Brisbane we would solve an enormous number of our problems.
Firstly there would be the employment involved in its construction and then ongoing employment in operation and maintenance.
HSR would substantially improve accessibility for the regional centres it served, and provide opportunity for regional development. It would allow cities to compete with each other. While Sydney might be more attractive at the moment, it is also much more expensive, so the opportunity to save costs by moving to regional areas that had easy access could be an option for some businesses.
Melbourne to Sydney is one of the busiest air routes in the world. HSR will move millions of air and road trips on to rail. It will open up space on the existing rail network for freight, taking hundreds of heavy goods vehicles per hour off the roads. In so doing, It will also help cut carbon emissions.
Cheaper housing in regional areas is an obvious drawcard and increased regional population would provide even more jobs as schools, hospitals, child care and aged care would be needed to cater for community needs. Retail businesses and construction would gain a boost.
Improved telecommunications like teleconferencing and a national broadband network (a real one rather than the FttN crap) make this all the more feasible.
As with action on climate change, the longer we delay this crucial infrastructure, the harder the task becomes.
Malcolm tells us he’s a “nation-builder”. Well here’s his chance. Instead of just mentioning HSR in passing before an election, instead of giving $1 billion to an Indian billionaire for a railway to nowhere, instead of announcing another feasibility study on the snowy-hydro, instead of tinkering with superannuation, get started on something that could really be a game changer.
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