Turnbull and Immigration
Malcolm Turnbull has just spoken on radio committing himself to the Howard open-slather approach to big immigration ( over 400,000 a year – unsustainably ambitious ) using the tired old argument it is all about infrastructure and planning. This is, incidentally, a sign he is not available for the future leadership of his party because any leader who takes that to the electorate will be doomed in southeast Queensland, Sydney and, increasingly, Melbourne.
A quick response. My government laid out bus transit ways in western Sydney and built Australia’s biggest urban rail line ( Epping to Chatswood ). I left in 2005 with detailed plans in place for construction of the north west and south west rail links. By the way, the seven years of Greiner and Fahey produced no – repeat, no – new rail in Sydney. Nor a bus transit way. And Barry O’Farrell has just been elected with no transport construction plans other than continuing those northwest and south west lines – oh, and not accepting Federal funding for extending Epping to Parramatta.
In the 1999, 2003 and 2007 state elections Malcolm’s state colleagues had no transport policy.
In the Turnbull high immigration fantasy world we should have been building, he says, Singapore and Shanghai undergrounds. Well Malcolm, a difference : the populations of those cities all live in apartments. Flats – the very thing that the new state government will allow fewer of, pushing more settlement to the urban fringe. And making those underground lines less likely. While Turnbull takes up the cause of more apartment dwelling his party has fought against rezoning along the north shore line to allow more flat-dwelling in precisely the area where it should be, along a major public transport artery.
Underground rail exists with high density ; it does not follow urban sprawl.
The plain fact remains : Canberra turns the switch and we get record immigration and Turnbull was part of a government that did just that. But we never got that government making the slightest commitment to programs to help the cities. Let alone offering to build Singapore-style undergrounds, an analogy that is absurd given the difference between 99 percent flat-dwelling Singapore and any Australian city.
And O’Farrell will lay out the two rail lines that Labor was building – and measurably worsen sprawl.