Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Too many people, a rant.

I would like a dollar for every time I have heard some say over the past month how pleasant Melbourne has been. That was of course before the heat melt down.

But they weren't really referring to the weather. They meant the ability to get around in a metropolis that was not crowded, where the roads flowed well and you could get a seat on public transport, and in the case of trams and buses, not blocked by cars all the time.

The theory of higher density living in inner areas appeals to me, but in practice it has become hideous. Why? Our infrastructure is inadequate and nor the State or Federal governments show any inclination of improving the situation. Labor or Liberal, it makes no difference.

As for greater Melbourne, it is no different. People are fed up with inadequate roads, inadequate public transport and inadequate infrastructure in general (except for massively expanding shopping centres).

Our standard of living is undoubtedly in decline and it is due to overpopulation of our large cities. From hospitals, emergency services, public transport, country roads, government services to our environment with a couple of exceptions, are in decline. Millions, or billions are wasted on consultants to tell the government what experienced staff could easily do. Outsourcing sees a much higher cost with an often a worse result.

But with such a decline, what does the government do? It listens to big business which tells to keep increasing the population with high immigration and a financial incentives to have a high birth rate.

Speaking of big business, I was disgusted to see that the big business lobby group, VECCI, is in court trying to claim tax exempt charitable status. Has it no shame!

32 comments:

  1. I think your 'rant' is applicable across Australia. Substitute any other major city or region for Melbourne and by and large the complaint still applies.

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    1. Correct Victor.........but there is Hobart. I wonder what is happening there.

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  2. VECCl a charity? Not as I understand it. Sigh.
    And I am not a fan of lots and lots of people crammed in cheek by jowl. Canberra is much smaller, but we too have totally inadequate infra-structure. And the car is king. If one can afford the ransom to park it.

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    1. EC, let's hope the courts see VECCI the way any normal person would. I was astonished when we visited Canberra last year. So many apartment blocks! Who lives in them? And they weren't just cheap student accommodation either.

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  3. I guess most countries support immigration for less than honorable reasons. We seem to have a love affair going on with the Chinese. Could it be because they are perceived of as being intelligent and cheap labor at the same time. But why would any government want to increase the birth rate? Our immigrants take care of that.

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    1. Plus Rubye, young immigrants tend to have a much higher birth rate than the population that has been here for a couple of generations. We too have a lot of Chinese, but aside from a few issues over 'them' driving up property prices, they fit into our society quite well.

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  4. State election coming up soon - which seat are you lobbying for Andrew !! :)

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    1. Cathy, not for me and I am in a Labor seat, once held by John 'Buckets' Thwaites.

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  5. I'm not sure I agree. More people itself is not the problem; inadequate infrastructure is. If we had even fewer people we might not have been as crowded but probably our living standard (which in absolute terms has always been rising subject to the oppressive burden of the cost of housing; only in relative terms is it lower) would be probably even lower.

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    1. Marcellous, a thoughtful reply as usual. You may well be correct about our standard of living, if it measured in conventional terms, but the decline in the items I listed is how you live your life on a day to day basis and the difficulties you encounter. Take Tokyo, and to a lesser extent London, both very densely populated cities and yet neither felt overcrowded to me. Services just worked. You got to where you were going easily. The public transport worked well for us. We did travel in peak times in Tokyo, but we didn't see the pushing that you see on tv. Busy, yes, overcrowded, no. I've heard some horror stories about English motorways, but we did not experience any, though we weren't on motorways near London. We just can't have such a quickly growing population without significant improvement in our infrastructure.

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  6. You want a dollar?! I've got only 10 cents to give some comment. Melbourne looks to me a pleasant city year-round. It's the same over here, it doesn't rain all the time in Amsterdam - Holland, it looks like that. [We could do with some sun btw]

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    1. Peter, there can be cold winter winds and of course you would be aware of last week's weather, but generally it is ok.

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  7. We face this with the urban areas here in the states as well. It's a traffic nightmare! The growth of the roads simply cannot match the growth of the populations. This is why I prefer to live in more rural areas :)

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    1. Keith, I understand. Why a country with the population size of yours needs population growth, I do not know.

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  8. Good points Andrew, as always. I read a Letter To The Editor which wanted the East-West nightmare and the writer described their Daily Commute by car from the far eastern suburbs to west of the CBD.
    People need to be encouraged to live where they work.

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    1. Ann, that is one person who the East West will help, but the numbers are few. I don't call it the Fox Tunnel for no reason. Deprived the state of 8 billion that could be so much better being spent elsewhere is distressing.

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  9. All of our rail infrastructure is very old. Welding the gaps together in rail lines to stop "clicked clack" noise shows us how our state politicians are enjoying spring and never planning for the inevitable 44c days of summer.
    Just for the record I'd like to see Flinders street station and its equally ugly environs torn down and rebuilt like Spencer street. Australia: leading the way by always being 15-20 years behind the times.

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    1. Is that what was done Kent? I rather like the clickety clack, especially if the gap gives room for hot weather expansion. I can't agree about FSS, but within the existing building there could be a very efficient and attractive modern station. When did Japan's first 'shink' run? 1964? We are so so behind.

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  10. "millions or billions are wasted on consultants", you got that right. As for high birth rates, I did my bit towards that (four babies) and without incentives too. Infrastructure? I don't think governments understand what that is.

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    1. River, if you were just married now, I doubt you would have four children. I am one of four, and that was about average then. I think it is now 2.2. People like me would not be complaining about population growth if the infrastructure kept up.

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  11. Yeah this week has sucked again on the roads. Blergh. (and I go against traffic)

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    1. Fen, certainly all collapsed this evening peak for me.

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  12. You should replace "Melbourne" by "Brussels" and you have the same situation !

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    1. Gattina, surely Belgium is already full? We are led to believe Western Europe does so much better than we do with trains and other infrastructure.

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  13. The govts at all three levels are always playing catch up when it comes to infrastructure. Could be because they only think as far ahead as the next election. Be careful you don't fall off that soap box.

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    1. Quite so Diane. I always fall off my soapbox, but it doesn't stop from getting up there again.

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  14. You wrote "what does the government do? It listens to big business which tells to keep increasing the population with high immigration and a financial incentives to have a high birth rate".

    We need to save the lives of desperate asylum seekers who will be executed if they are sent back to Afghanistan etc and we need migrants with family links or special skills. So here is my solution. Don't bring extra population to Melbourne where we are big enough. Send them to Bendigo and Ballarat where they are desperately needed.

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    1. Hels, do Bendigo and Ballarat citizens what a higher population there? I am not sure but I do hear traffic complaints from Geelong.

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    2. I believe a lot of Sudanese people have been settled in the Shepparton/ Goulburn Valley region. Sadly, orchardists are ripping out fruit trees by the thousand, so I'm not too sure they are "desperately" needed.

      It would be nice if someone would bite the bullet and simply create some work that could be done manually despite modern equipment. [e.g. preparing the bed for a road, or fixing non-clicking rail lines]. Guess this would make people feel useful, but might make me sound like an idiot.

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    3. FC, I'm interested as to how well the Sudanese fit into Shep. The media paints a fine picture.

      Jobs for the sake of jobs? Yes, other countries do it.

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  15. Rant all you like Andrew.. you know how I feel about Colin Barnett our Premier.. complete twat! ....and yet he got voted in, what the heck!

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    1. Grace, like Kennett did here in the 1990s. I could understand why he was elected the first time, but not the second.

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