In reference to the front cover article on North East rail upgrade costs by the independent advisor to Infrastructure Australia ("Risky Rail", The Border Mail January 16), I question the metrics by which Infrastructure Australia, or its advisor, made its conclusion.
As a resident of the North East, I welcome the decision and support for the North East rail project by various politicians, the community and especially the late Tim Fischer. Only last night, the performance of the exisiting service let down my daughter who had a 5 1/2 hour train trip from Southern Cross to Springhurst, a ride that was scheduled to take 3 1/4 hours.
If, as BRAG Chairman, Bill Traill says, Infrastructure Australia did not consider the benefits of a reliable and efficient rail service when considering payback benefits, or that no one (correctly in this case) takes any notice, then why are we spending tax payers dollars to them sitting up in a Sydney office aka Utopia?
Surely there needs to be a consideration of current performance versus scheduled performance; the cost-benefit of removing cars and trucks for passenger and freight transport on road maintenance and the carbon emissions; and the economic opportunities created for the growth of regional centres along the way.
I'll take that any day over short-term building costs. What else is Infrastructure Australia making dubious recommendations on in our part of the world?
Robert Smits, Wahgunyah
PM being disrespectful
Ross Black (The Border Mail letters 15/10) states that Dr John Hewson was disrespectful towards our Prime Minister. I rather think it is Scott Morrison who is being disrespectful to the Australian public.
First he goes on holidays to Hawaii whilst bushfires rage in Queensland and NSW. To add insult to injury he casually makes an aside stating fires are a state responsibility anyhow. Apparently because he did not hold a fire hose he had no responsibility towards designing strategies to aid and protect the Australian public in an emergency.
Secondly a report outlining the dangers and strategies to deal with climate change disasters was ignored and sat on for 18 months. And, rather arrogantly, he ignored the pleas of 22 former fire chiefs to meet with him and discuss dangers and urgent actions that may be required this fire season. How dare he tell us that this disaster hit him by surprise?
I see his visits to fire affected areas as a show of compassion, but they are also great photo ops. I am sure the PM recognises this, however it is not leadership. A leader would have prepared for the fire season. Even today his government is in belated discussions on what to do and how to provide support and distribute our money.
His biggest disrespect to us occurs when he is on air informing us that we are meeting our Kyoto emission reduction targets at a canter, implying we can all relax. What a joke! With this crisis we should be approaching our target at a full gallop (and a much bigger target is needed). His refusal to change our emissions reduction targets leaves us exposed to even more danger in future. I am not looking forward to the rest of this summer let alone subsequent years.
No disrespect to the PM but I don't call him ScoMo, I prefer Smoko. It reflects his climate change policy - you can feel his presence in the air.