It’s the year 2015 and Sydney’s tolls have spiraled out of control to the point where just crossing the Harbour Bridge costs $15.

A satrical look at a serious problem

The Cross City Tunnel is now a café and restaurant boulevard and the Manly Tunnel costs $25 each way. There are now two bus lanes on all major roads and the normal time to travel from Manly to the City by car is 3 hours. The construction of Sydney’s Metro Rail System is in full swing with the Labor controlled North Shore and Northern Beaches being the first to enjoy the new rail system. Completion is due in 2018 which will connect the State seat of Sydney which has just been won for Labor by high profile singer John Farnham who defeated Clover Moore by a mere 21 votes.

Sydney’s Metro Lines are estimated to take until 2042 to complete and with the extraordinary cost of tolls, housing affordability is at its lowest point in history. It now takes around 65% of gross household income to pay for housing and wages have increased, pushing inflationary targets to well above 20%pa and the Reserve Bank has official rates at 19% in an attempt to pull the economy back from the brink.

The lack of transport to New South Wales Regional cities and towns has resulted in a metropolitan housing crisis that has more than 1000 people each week becoming homeless with charities like the Salvation Army unable to cope with the enormous need for support. What can we do now in 2007 to avoid this pending Armageddon?

Sydney is choked by the lack of effective public transport. Bus lanes and more buses are not viable long term solutions as more and more cars are on the road and with less space and more bus room needed the future isn’t looking bright. The poor support for the Cross City Tunnel is a great indicator that families are being pushed to breaking point with the cost of housing and general living expenses at an all time high.

The sale and lease of New South Wales power stations and retail energy companies will be a great boost to this State and will go a long way toward helping Premier Iemma to resolve the transport crisis and aging infrastructure that is now a reality in this State.

The disastrous scenario could be even slightly true if immediate action is not taken. The current housing crisis will be solved through a variety of means but transport to Sydney from regional cities and towns in NSW must be addressed to provide a viable alternative to those unable to afford accommodation in Sydney. A super fast train (or bullet train) must be the priority of Government for cities like Newcastle and Wollongong to name just two. This would create enormous opportunities for these cities to attract major business to the areas as well as create the opportunity for people who work in the Metropolitan area to live in other more affordable places.

The upgrading of airports in regional areas to International standard is critical for the long term health of the State and a world-class metro rail system like that in London or New York City would be the icing on the cake for a State in desperate need of long term solutions.

Michael Marquette

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