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Tag Archives: Transfield

Protection and Punishment in the People Business

Behrouz Boochani, a Kurdish journalist and an honorary member of PEN International, writes from Manus Island, where he has been interred for 29 months.

Wilson Security is owned by Raymond and Thomas Kwok, two of the richest men in the world, and is sub-contracted by the multi-national company, Transfield, which is contracted by the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection to operate Australia’s Regional Processing Centre, aka Manus Prison on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Wilson Security describes itself: ‘As the region’s leading security provider, Wilson Security takes pride in protecting the wellbeing of thousands of customers and their businesses every day. Above all, security is a people business’.

Integral to Wilson Security is what they call their Emergency Response Team (ERT). ERT is the rough arm, the iron fist of Wilson Security on Manus Island. The men of the ERT are well-known for powerful arms and bodies, and notorious for heavy handed forms of punishment, steroid use and alcohol issues both on Nauru and Manus Island.

Here on Manus Island the ERT enter the quadrangle of camps like a group of lions. Their attendance instils fear into everybody. They come and they go. They deal with ‘behavioural issues’ which may range from someone having attempted suicide or so-called self-harm to an allegation of violence between detainees and movement between compounds. The situations may require very different skills and approaches yet are all dealt with by the ERT, a group not made up of welfare workers but rather of beefed up security personnel who the managers of the Transfield and Wilson’s companies rely on to direct the Manus Camps.

During the big non-violent hunger strike in January 2015, ERT guards rushed and attacked the camps without reason taking dozens of hungry refugees to the island’s CIS prison. They forced refugees onto the ground, turning hands and manacles tightly. Many of us carry the physical pain and effects of those hand cuffs. Many of us still speak of the violence enacted upon us en route from the camp to prison. Many still talk about an Iranian man who was slapped in the face by ERT guards in the bus. We could see no reason as to why he should be hit, especially as his hands were fastened by handcuffs. We could see, however, that he was hit in an attempt to humiliate him in front of others as the ERT believed that he had directed the hunger strike.

After 10 days of being held in the small CIS prison we were transferred to the bigger Charlie prison, part of Australia’s Regional Processing Centre on Manus Island. It was with exultation and pride that these guards punished us there.

One of the duties of the ERT is to enter the camps all of a sudden with cameras attached to their bellies and push their way into our rooms to search our belongings. They search everywhere, inspect everything closely. If someone objects he is cruelly carried to Chauka. Sometimes they search our bodies in addition to our baggage.

One day they tried to strip one of the Iranian refugees of his clothes but when facing the other refugee’s objections they turned back.

Once they forced ‘A’, an Iranian man, onto the ground in front of our eyes and then took him behind a wall to hit him. The ERT despised ‘A’. Although he complained to company managers about this violence he received no response or reply. When our human rights are broken by this force on this island where there is no legal counsel, attorney or lawyer, the only option is to complain to the company managers. We know there will be no reply, investigation or resolution.

Between Foxtrot and Mike compounds in Manus Camp there is a place called the Green zone. It is a remote place familiar to the ERT.

Green Zone has two rooms surrounded by fences. It is a place where refugees who have objected to their bad situations are forcibly imprisoned by ERT. Prior to the Green Zone there was Chauka. Chauka was 300 metres outside of the original camp in a ruined place. Chauka was as terrible as the Green Zone now is. Many men have been humiliated and beaten there far from the world’s eyes.

Chauka was closed as a result of pressure by human rights’ organisations but Green zone is still active.

When I was in the Foxtrot camp, groans and cries of miserable, homeless human beings broke the dark silence of the island. Once I climbed up a big tree to attempt to see why the people were crying. Looking down I saw a very distressing scene. A thin boy who suffers from psychological problems had fallen into the ooze and slime near the fence. I could not tell if he was conscious. His beaten face was clear under the weak lamp light. He lay like a foetus in the uterus. His clothes were ragged and scruffy. Four ERT guards were sitting on chairs just beyond where he lay watching his bloody body. One of them caressed the prisoner’s body with a thin piece of wood in his hands.

It is not clear how many refugees have been humiliated and beaten in Manus Island camp’s Chauka and Green zone but something is clear: Manus Island, like Nauru and Christmas Island, was chosen for its remote location so that the companies operating the camps can do whatever they like to refugees easily and without watchful eyes. The most important reason that the camps are out of Australia, outside of what is known as the Australian land mass, is so that Australia can escape from international conventions in regards to refugee rights, in regards to human rights.

To us who remain imprisoned here we know that it is almost impossible for our voices to be heard. It seems that it is only when a refugee dies, like Reza Berati and Fazel Chegeni, that the voices of the oppressed are (momentarily) heard.

Translated by Tomas Askarian and Janet Galbraith.

 

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Confusion in the Turnbull Government

Much about the Turnbull Government confuses me. Either I don’t know what they’re talking about, or they themselves have no idea what they’re talking about.

I’m convinced it’s the latter.

They say one thing while clearly meaning something else. I could write a book about the subject, but for the sake of a talking point I’ll limit it to the few examples below:

Shortly after being installed as our new you-beaut Treasurer, Scott Morrison says “we had a spending problem, not a revenue problem, and that he wanted to cut taxes further”. Yet his boss Malcolm Turnbull wants to raise the GST by five percentage points (effectively raising it 50 per cent). Malcolm Turnbull also wants to raise the revenue the government needed to provide services but it in a manner that “backs Australians rather than holds them back”.

One of them has no idea what they’re talking about. One of them is lying.

But of course we have an unfair tax system. That’s why Malcolm Turnbull has money invested in the Cayman Islands, where companies and individuals pay no direct tax.

If only our tax system was fair. No wonder he wants a tax reform that “backs Australians rather than holds them back”. Don’t hold back, Malcolm.

Speaking of Malcolm, and speaking of investments, it was he who was the most vocal critic of Labor’s fibre to the home NBN yet “it was revealed … that Mr Turnbull owns shares in France Telecom, which plans to connect 60 per cent of French households to fibre by 2020”. Yet he still tells us that Labor got it wrong. So he destroyed it. Fortunately the French have a good NBN.

We are told ad-nausem by the proud and boastful government that they have stopped the boats. So why has Transfield – who operate the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres – had their contract renewed for another five years? One would expect that if the boats had stopped then all of the detainees would shortly be either settled in Australia (unlikely) or sent to some miserable hell-hole elsewhere in the world. (Oh, I know, if Labor wins the next election then all the boats will start again. Good forward-thinking by the government).
And of course there’s the obvious: if the boats have stopped then why have detention centres!

Confusion reigns supreme in the Turnbull Government, and the Turnbull Government confuses me.

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The Transfield tentacles

The following are just a few examples of the many arms of Transfield. They seem highly favoured by government. The company is undergoing rebranding due to be implemented on 25 September 2015. They assure us there will be no change to their core values – “Integrity, Collaboration, Challenge and Ingenuity.”

Transfield Services wins more NSW Schools contracts

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The two new cleaning contracts generate revenue of $92 million over the initial four-year period and have options to extend for two further periods of one year each. Transfield Services now provides services to 419 schools and TAFE colleges throughout the State.

Transfield Services expands into the health sector

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Transfield Services today announced its entry into the $104 billion Australian health sector with a new three-year facilities management contract with Austin Health valued at $7.2 million. Transfield Services will project manage asset management and maintenance services for two public hospitals in Victoria, Austin Health’s Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre.

Transfield Services wins home insulation contract with Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Friday, March 11, 2011

Transfield Services has secured a 15-month contract with the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to project manage the Home Insulation Safety Program. The scope of work includes safety inspections and rectifications of ceiling insulation in more than 20,000 homes across Australia, installed under the Federal Government’s Home Insulation Program.

The Company’s property services business is underpinned by key long-term government contracts, which include its relationship with Housing NSW since 2002. Transfield Services manages facilities maintenance services across more than 120,000 social housing properties in Australia and New Zealand, providing call centre, work order management, maintenance supervision and subcontractor management services.

Transfield Services awarded A$366m contracts with NBN Co.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Transfield Services has been awarded two contracts with NBN Co in Victoria, including: a two-year up to $300 million extension on the previously announced contract for $133 million to continue the Local Network/Distribution Network design and construction of the fibre optic network, and a new two year $66 million contract for the construction for Build Drops (exterior house pre-connections).

These contracts are in addition to the previously announced two-year $170 million contract comprising Passive Fibre Network design and construction and Build Drops (exterior house pre-connections) in metropolitan Sydney and south east Sydney and a two-year $41 million contract for the provision of comprehensive facilities maintenance services for all NBN Co sites across Australia.

Transfield Services secures significant and expanded Defence contract

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Transfield Services announced today that it has secured a significant contract to manage Australian Defence facilities across Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia under the Defence Support Reform Group’s Base Services Retendering project.

The initial contract term is for six years, with options to renew for up to further four years. The annualised value is $270m.

The Company also holds contracts to maintain the Australian Army’s wheeled and tracked vehicles as well as providing paint blasting and maintenance services on the Royal Australian Navy’s Air Warfare Destroyers and Collins Class submarines.

Transfield Services enters tertiary education market

Friday, June 26, 2015

Transfield Services has signed a five year $88 million integrated facilities management and property services contract with the University of Newcastle, delivering on its strategy to enter new growth markets.

The scope of work with the University of Newcastle will initially focus on providing integrated facilities management and property services across its metropolitan and regional campuses in New South Wales and will commence in July 2015. There is a provision to extend this scope of work to provide capital and upgrade works.

This agreement follows recent contract extensions in the housing and health sectors including those with the NSW Land and Housing Corporation worth $45 million over the next five months and the Gold Coast University Hospital worth $12 million over nine months.

Transfield Services extends relationship with Transpower

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Transfield Services has signed a new three-year NZ$78 million contract with Transpower, New Zealand’s electricity transmission grid owner and operator. Under the new agreement, Transfield Services will continue to provide high-voltage maintenance and project services for transmission lines and substations in Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Canterbury. We will also maintain metering services nationally.

Transfield Services is a leading provider of services to the New Zealand power and transmission sectors with clients including Meridian Energy, Contact Energy, Trustpower, Orion, New Zealand Steel and Auckland Airport.

Transfield Services preferred tenderer for DIBP contract

Monday, August 31, 2015

Transfield Services Limited has been notified that it has been selected as the preferred tenderer to provide Welfare and Garrison Support Services for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection at the Regional Processing Centres in Nauru and Manus Province . Subject to completion of a contract , the Company will be responsible for providing these services for a further five years .

Transfield Services full year results announcement

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Portfolio strongly weighted towards government clients with over 50 per cent of total contracted revenue in this category.

Strong pipeline of contracted revenue and growth opportunities of approximately $26 billion, with $3.6 billion currently in either “Shortlisted” or “Preferred Status” stages.

The Company today announced that revenue increased 2 per cent to $3,797 million compared to the prior period.

 

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Transfield shares go up and so does the debt

LABOR CRASHES THROUGH PREVIOUS DEBT LIMIT TOPPING QUARTER OF A TRILLION DOLLARS

October 12, 2012

Joint Media Statement: Andrew Robb and Joe Hockey

The Gillard Government has driven up Australia’s credit card to a record $256.4 billion according to latest Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM) figures.

The previous debt ceiling of $250 billion was raised by Labor to $300 billion in the May budget further confirming its inability to curb its debt addiction.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, in a Liberal Party eNewsletter 27 July 2013, comments on the ALP’s “debt” TV commercial:

Kevin Rudd and Labor have increased Australia’s debt limit from $75 billion, to $200 billion, to $250 billion and now to $300 billion. The Treasury has told us that debt will hit $290 billion by Christmas, just $10 billion shy of the current legislated limit.

Only the Coalition will get the Budget back into the black, start to pay down Labor’s debt, and implement our economic Plan to grow the economy and create jobs.

Australians can’t afford another three years of Labor’s reckless spending.

Debt is certain to exceed $425 billion by Christmas

As at last Friday, 28 August 2015, gross government debt was $384.7 billion – the highest level ever recorded. This represents an increase of $111 billion from the level inherited by the Abbott government in September 2013. It is just as well Treasurer Joe Hockey scrapped the debt ceiling legislation early in the Abbott government’s term because he would now be having to introduce legislation to have the ceiling raised beyond $400 billion, a figure that will be exceeded before year end.


With the gross debt increasing by over $1 billion per week under the Abbott government, we have seen funding slashed to health, education, Indigenous Affairs, countless NGOs and charities, the CSIRO, the ABC, the NBN, and many other crucial areas.

We have seen the superannuation guarantee rise put on hold and the low income co-contribution abandoned. I’m not sure if axing the schoolkids bonus has passed yet. Family Benefit, after being reduced, is now being dangled as a sweetener again. Getting rid of the carbon and mining taxes cost low income earners in various different ways. Thousands of public service jobs have gone, as have many more in manufacturing and mining

So what have we got for the increased spending?

Plenty of money for defence and national security.

Since its election, the Government has invested more than $22 billion in Defence capability projects. The Government will provide Defence with $31.9 billion in 2015–16 and $132.6 billion over the Forward Estimates. This is an increase of $9.9 billion over the Forward Estimates when compared to the 2014–15 Budget and represents record expenditure on Defence.

Apparently Border Force is to have 6,000 officers. Taxi drivers beware! Perhaps some of those retrenched public servants could apply, provided they are willing to wear a black uniform, take an oath, use force, and fire a gun.

And lots of money for offshore detention.

Transfield has been providing services on Nauru, which has 637 asylum seekers, since September 2012, and on Manus Island since early 2014. Its existing $2.2 billion contract with the Department of Immigration for both centres will expire on October 31. Despite the many incidents and reports criticising the running of the detention camps, Transfield has just been awarded a further five year contract. The announcement saw Transfield shares rise by 9%.

Tony Shepherd, the head of Abbott’s Commission of Audit, was chairman of Transfield and had spent over a decade on the board, quitting only in October 2013 to take up the job as Commissioner.

Mr Shepherd left with more than 200,000 Transfield shares, allocated to his family superannuation fund, on top of his final salary of $380,000.

In a move strikingly similar to Dyson Heydon judging himself, Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann left it up to the audit commissioners to rule on potential conflicts of interest among themselves.

Shepherd now heads the WestConnex Delivery Authority which will award contracts to build the proposed Sydney toll road, co-funded by the Abbott government. He is also a director of the international arm of Virgin Australia.

Not that I am suggesting anything untoward in this tight knit circle.

“Mates help each other, they do not tax each other.” – Tony Abbott, February 23, 2011.

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Regaining goodwill

Joe Hockey said “We are going to give economic reform a red hot go in 2015.”

He went on to say “The taxation discussion with the Australian people next year will not be about increasing the revenue take for the Commonwealth, it needs to be how we can have a taxation system that makes us a more efficient and productive nation, and is fairer for all Australians.”

If we want to make revenue collection fairer, and we want to cut wasteful spending, then I have a few suggestions of where to start.

Corporate tax avoidance

Tackling corporate tax avoidance is an urgent priority; Australia does not have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem and it must be fixed.

Up to $80 billion was foregone by the taxman between 2004 and 2013.

Superannuation tax concessions

Superannuation tax concessions will cost the budget around $35 billion in 2013-14 projected to rise at a staggering 12 per cent annually to be $50.7 billion in 2016-17.

Capital Gains Tax and Negative gearing

Generous government tax breaks for property investors see them benefit from a 50% discount on capital gains tax (at a cost to the government’s budget of $4.4 billion per year) and negative gearing (costing $2.4 billion a year).

Fossil fuel subsidies

The Government will spend almost $14 billion in the next four years on fossil fuel subsidies to the big mining corporations.

Fighter jets

Tony Abbott said Australia will acquire another 58 Joint Strike Fighters at a cost of around $90 million per plane; $24 billion has been budgeted to purchase and operate the aircraft until 2024.

Submarines

A decision to spend more than $20 billion on up to 10 Japanese submarines will be announced before the end of the year (maybe?)

Offshore detention

The Commission of Audit’s report shows that in the past four years, the Australian government has increased spending on the detention and processing of asylum seekers who arrive by boat by 129 per cent each year. Costs have skyrocketed from $118.4 million in 2009–10 to $3.3 billion in 2013–14.

This is the fastest growing government program and projected costs over the forward estimates amount to more than $10 billion.

(It costs $400,000 a year to hold an asylum seeker in offshore detention, $239,000 to hold them in detention in Australia, and less than $100,000 for an asylum seeker to live in community detention. In contrast, it is around $40,000 for an asylum seeker to live in the community on a bridging visa while their claim is processed.)

Transfield

The Abbott government has given Transfield Services a $1.22 billion government contract to run immigration detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

(Tony Shepherd, who was the chairman of Transfield until he resigned in October to Head the Commission of Audit, left with more than 200,000 Transfield shares, allocated to his family superannuation fund, on top of his final salary of $380,000. Shares in Transfield soared 20.8 per cent on the news, lifting the company’s market capitalisation by about $80 million. He now heads the WestConnex Delivery Authority where money from the East-West link may be redirected)

Employment Service Providers

The Coalition Government has released its exposure draft of the purchasing arrangements for a new employment services model – a $5.1 billion investment over three years from July 1, 2015 – which includes the new Work for the Dole scheme.

Emissions Reduction Fund

Under the ERF the government will spend $2.55 billion to purchase emissions reductions through auctions.

Public Service redundancies

The federal government is on track to fork out $1 billion in redundancy payouts to public servants even before entitlements such as leave are paid.

School chaplains

School chaplaincy will be continued for another five years at a cost of $245.3 million. Under the program, 3700 schools are eligible for up to $72,000 funding to employ chaplains.

Marriage guidance vouchers

NEWLYWEDS across Australia will be given a $200 voucher for marriage counselling from July 1, as part of a $20 million trial to strengthen relationships and avoid family breakdowns.

Tim Wilson

TONY Abbott’s hand-picked human rights adviser has been given a $56,000 expenses package to top up his six-figure salary. Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson now has a total salary of $389,000 plus vehicle and telephone expenses following a recent decision by the Remuneration Tribunal.

Hope that gets you started Joe, or whoever is now doing the budget. (Cormann? Frydenberg? Thawley? Credlin? Rinehart?)

PS: In light of the above potential savings, you may want to read my plan to get half a million people employed at a cost of $8.8 billion

PPS: In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. May you use it to contemplate wisely.

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The laws by Shepherd, he shall not want

Photo: news.com.au

Photo: news.com.au

The AIMN is often criticised for its claim of being an independent information alternative. I assume the criticism comes because most articles and comments tend towards progressive social justice and philosophy.

The definition of independent is “free from outside control; not subject to another’s authority; not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.” I am not a member of any political organisation or union. Nobody tells me what to write and nobody checks it before I publish it. I am not paid to write. I therefore defend our claim to independence, but cannot do the same for the head of our supposedly independent Commission of Audit, Tony Shepherd.

As head of the Business Council of Australia, Shepherd advocates for Australia’s 100 biggest companies, and was chairman of construction and services giant Transfield Services until he quit in October after more than a decade on the board.

Transfield has secured hundreds of millions of dollars in federal government contracts in recent years, including reaping $180 million from operating detention facilities on Nauru. In February we learned that Transfield Services will be paid $1.22 billion by the Australia government to run both offshore detention centres

Mr Shepherd left with more than 200,000 Transfield shares, allocated to his family superannuation fund, on top of his final salary of $380,000.

Mr Shepherd’s Commission of Audit was tasked with looking at possible cuts to the ABC and SBS. Considering he is an advocate for pay TV providers in his position as chairman of the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA), this is surely a huge conflict of interest. The group, whose members include Telstra, Foxtel and ESPN, in January issued an invitation to a party at Parliament House in Canberra.

”Tony Shepherd AO, chairman, ASTRA, invites you to join the leaders and stars of Australian subscription television to celebrate the quality, creativity and diversity of content watched by 7 million Australians,” it said

Shepherd is also a director of the international arm of Virgin Australia and heads the WestConnex Delivery Authority which will award contracts to build the proposed Sydney toll road, co-funded by the Abbott government. The WestConnex is at an early stage in Infrastructure Australia’s four stage priority list. Its Benefit Cost Ratio is thought by many observers to be negative.

In October last year, more than 100 people gathered at Leichhardt Town Hall to hear public transport experts Michelle Zeibots and Gavin Gatenby point out the many flaws in the shaky case for Australia’s most expensive infrastructure project.

This led to Leichardt Council presenting a Notice of Motion stating

“The WestConnex is a very bad transport plan. In fact it is not a transport plan at all it is just a very long, very expensive private road. It will generated very high carbon emissions in both construction and use and it will force people off public transport and back into their cars.

It is also has a very bad urban development plan which has been conveniently linked to the private tollway plan.

It would appear that the government is somewhat opportunistically seeking to imply that high rise development along the route of a private tollway somehow equates with encouraging higher density development near public transport hubs. There is no logic to this at all only a hungry grab for land for developers. This is not the future that Leichhardt Council and her residents and local businesses aspire to. The “WestConnex Revitalisation Land Use Planning” , should it go ahead will destroy the Leichhardt we know and love.”

It would be interesting to see who is buying up land in that area.

WestConnex is the biggest urban infrastructure project in the country – with $3.3 billion of taxpayers’ money already committed to it – and hardly anything is known about it.

Taxpayers do not know how many cars are expected to use this motorway. They do not know its estimated impact on local roads. They are yet to be told its precise route. They’re in the dark on construction methods. Even the need for the WestConnex is not known.

WestConnex is really a connection of three motorway projects the NSW government says will cost about $11.5 billion together.

One of the three projects – the second to be built – will be another M5 East tunnel in southern Sydney and a connecting road to Sydney Airport. The state says it will be able to build this for $3.6 billion to $3.8 billion, with construction starting in 2016 and finishing in 2020.

This forecast – presented with no justification to back it up – seems vastly underestimated.

When the former NSW Labor government appealed to the federal government for funding for pretty much the same project in 2010, it put a $4.5 billion price tag on it (with inflation, that would probably be close to $6 billion by 2020). Even then the federal government’s advisor Infrastructure Australia said the $4.5 billion figure was likely to be understated.

So on what basis are Abbott and the NSW State government now so confident that they can do the job for billions less than their predecessors?

The public servant running the project to date, Paul Goldsmith, said

”When we started the business case, we recognised this as a very difficult place to build a motorway. It’s a very expensive place to build a motorway and this is why we developed a couple of industry partners to have some input into developing solutions for that part of WestConnex. We haven’t got a fixed solution but we have a whole bunch of ideas and we’ve got some short-listed solutions to that area.”

In other words, the government is sure it can build this section of motorway for $3.8 billion but it either does not know how or will not say.

Tony Shepherd’s board of businessmen should be providing the workings, analysis and assumptions of WestConnex, in the same way they would if governments proposed massively expensive new welfare, disability, education or health programs.

Research shows us that in most industrialised cities, including Sydney, car use is declining due to fuel prices and other living pressures, while demand for public transport continues to grow. Sydney is a model example of this shift. So while Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes the ”humblest person is king in his own car”, the evidence says many of us are opting out of this 1950s mindset.

The claim that WestConnex is an integrated transport solution is also deceptive. ”Integrated” transport can be interpreted as allowing different travel modes to complement each other. A more holistic understanding implies the incorporation of social, economic and environmental elements, and policies to reduce the need for travel and the impact of journeys made.

WestConnex does neither. First, widening the M4 and M5, and building an 8.5-kilometre tunnel, does not enable private transport users to integrate walking, cycling or public transport as part of their journey. Second, it does not meet key environmental, social and economic outcomes. The government’s business case executive summary provides no insight into how WestConnex will meet environmental criteria or encourage healthier transport choices.

Perhaps that’s because building large motorways increases greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution levels, dependency on fossil fuels and inequitable access to mobility.

Choosing roads over integrated public transport options is not logical, but ideological, as shown by Abbott’s plans to abolish funding for urban rail, while promising support for WestConnex, Perth’s airport gateway road and Melbourne’s east-west link. Mike Baird’s so-called innovative financing model for the WestConnex is underpinned by this same neo-liberal ideology.

Failure by successive Labor and Liberal governments to recognise the need for affordable, reliable, efficient, integrated transport options has earned Sydney the title of the world’s fourth-worst major city for transport and infrastructure.

Public money should be spent on projects such as an integrated light rail connection up Parramatta Road and building Parramatta Council’s proposed full light rail network in western Sydney.

It is time to invest in 21st-century public transport systems that can connect communities, cut environmental impacts, and generate long-term economic success.

Considering Tony Shepherd’s many business involvements presenting a multitude of conflicts of interest, was he really the man to head the Commission of Audit? It appears to me that Tony Shepherd is recommending what is good for Tony Shepherd and the countless businesses he represents.

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