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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Please don't sell off our future

Recent news reports rub salt into the scarred and wounded NSW taxpayer, reminding us that if the NSW Government had borrowed money and built the toll roads, we'd own them by now and the tolls could either be done away with soon or partially wound back and the balance put into new road projects.
Instead of the government coming out and saying OK we got it wrong, no instead they trot out some nonsense that if they had borrowed money the state's credit rating might, and lets emphasise might, not have looked so great.

The problem I see with the political fascination and over enthusiasm for public private partnerships is that the government is asking some big company to, literally, do all the dirty work for them. The borrowing of money, the planning, the digging, the construction and the collection of tolls. There is no down side for a government from the way politicians and public servants look at the project. They bring in private expertise and someone else delivers on their political promise.
And as we already know many a government simply does not care whatsoever about the long term future. So what is the alternative you might well ask? Nothing. Both of Australia's major political parties love Public Private Partnerships and are happy to overlook that one lingering problem the public have with selling off our assets and our future … Turn It Up.

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