Liar Morrison blames states for infrastructure woes

By Leith van Onselen

After NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, yesterday demanded that immigration be halved, Prime Minister Scott Morrison fired back, effectively blaming the states for Australia’s infrastructure woes. From 9News:

[Morrison said] that working with state governments on population does not give them a “leave pass” when building major projects.

“The infrastructure has to get built, and it has to be done efficiently and in a very timely way to ensure there is as little disruption as possible, so small businesses don’t get impacted by the management of those projects,” he said…

A senior NSW Minister told 9NEWS it was a bit rich of the Federal Government to lecture the state on its building program.

“We are building $87 billion in infrastructure over the next four years, the Feds are building $10 billion in the next ten years,” the source said.

The above spat highlights the dysfunctional nature of Australia’s federal system. Because of the vertical fiscal imbalances embedded within this system, the Commonwealth collects 82% of total tax revenue versus the state’s and territories’ 15%, and local government’s 3%.  This has left the states critically starved of funds to cope with the population influx hoisted upon them by the federal government’s mass immigration policy.

This vertical fiscal imbalance is why the federal government loves mass immigration so much, because it collects the lion’s share of the financial benefits that come from the increased personal and company taxes.

The states, by contrast, carry the cost of infrastructure and services to support population growth, such as roads, public transport, schools, hospitals, water and sewerage.

Indeed, analysis by the Grattan Institute in 2014 showed that “unprecedented infrastructure spending by states and territories” since the escalation of population growth from 2004 is “largely responsible for a $106 billion decline in their finances since 2006“, and that “after a threefold increase in capital spending over the last 10 years, states are paying 3 per cent more of their revenues in interest and depreciation”.

Separately, Grattan executive director, John Daley, recently noted that “state governments were struggling to deal with rapid population growth in their major cities and the quality of life of residents – represented by the rapid growth in house prices in recent decades – was suffering”.

Sure, the federal government has committed $75 billion for infrastructure projects over the next decade. However, this is a pittance compared against the 3.5 to 4.0 million in population expected to be added over this 10-year period, nor will it backfill the infrastructure deficit that has accumulated over the past 15 years as Australia population has soared on the back of mass immigration.

Remember, the Productivity Commission (PC) in 2013 estimated that total private and public investment requirements over the next half century will need to be more than 5-times the cumulative investment made over the last half century:

ScreenHunter_15679 Oct. 25 14.39

Moreover, these infrastructure requirement projections from the PC were made off lower population projections (38 million mid-century) than exist now (40 million mid-century). Thus, Australia’s projected infrastructure needs over the next half century would be even greater than stated above.

Clearly, the federal government carries the primary blame for Australia’s infrastructure woes arising from rapid population growth, due to its mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy.

The most obvious and least cost policy solution, therefore, is to significantly dial back Australia’s immigration program and forestall the need for costly new infrastructure projects.

By persisting with mass immigration, the federal government has locked Australians into declining living standards just so it can print some nice budget/growth optics and so it can claim to be a good economic and fiscal manager.

The wellbeing of the ordinary Australian is a distant priority.

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Leith van Onselen
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  1. It’s not a lie, but faith. If god had wanted the Commonwealth’s mass immigration program to come with infrastructure he would have asked someone in the Hillsong congregation to build an ark.

    And anyway, if you invite a herd of gatecrashers to someone else’s party and they run out of chairs and beers, clearly it is the host’s fault for not catering.

  2. What have the states done to stop the ponzi? Probably nothing.

    Vic spends $60 million per year to host an F1 race. Imagine if all that was given to VicTrack and VicTrack was instructed to give that money to all federal politicians evenly (so not favouring the federal ALP) in order to stop mass immigration – for the benefit of the people of Victoria.

    How would that be less moral than giving $60 million per year to Bernie Ecclestone?

  3. – Remember the saying: first they deny it, second they will fight it and thirdly they will accept it. ScoMo is now in that second stage. I am curious how much time it will take ScoMo to leave this line of defense and accept a cut giant cut in immigration.

    • proofreadersMEMBER

      Will never happen with ScoMo, as he lives in that life’s beautiful, happy-clappy bubble?

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Never. It’s a catch 22 situation, The economy has come to depend on a growing population. Any serious cut will cause a serious recession. So his policy is lots of prayer meetings and lies and in magical cures like planning. In short, pure bs.

      • Jumping jack flash

        Plus the government (Labor too, as we will see) is in the pocket of big business, and the (important) people in big business have debt. Loads of it. Unfathomable mountains of the stuff. In order to pay it back AND keep up with cost of living while maintaining the lifestyle they think they deserve, they need to steal wages from the plebs.

        And to do that you need immigration. Well, not so much need it, but it sure helps a lot.

      • +100
        Added to which, he is bought and paid for by the property development lobby. He won’t bite the hand that feeds him – he’s too weak a person to turn on them.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      The Main Parties are constantly polling public opinion and peoples voting intentions,… if the LNP think they can get across the line (Just) without cutting Immigration in any meaningful way then they won’t.
      But if on the 11th or 12th hour before the next election all looks lost,…then watch em try and pull a Rabbit out of their Hat.

      • They’ll talk a big game and then proceed to do nothing at all for the next term if they get back in, if they are forced to do anything.

  4. Scummo is burning through his friends quickly. Maybe it’s finally time to think about going to the shop to buy some popcorn and marshmallows.

  5. St JacquesMEMBER

    It’s quite appropriate that we have a medieval throwback in charge of our faith based economy.

  6. I don’t think you guys are showing the (non) elected PM of Australia the respect he so clearly deserves.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      Worse than that, he’s recursively un-elected given he assumed his role through participation in the backstabbing of the primarily unelected previous incumbent. ‘Acting PM’ as somebody quite rightly put it.

      • and if you listen quietly in the night air, you can hear the gentle sobbing of Peter Dutton.

  7. I don’t think having a federal level of government is a good idea. States should become independent countries and work their relationships ina similar way we do it with NZ.

  8. Right on cue, ‘your’ ABC is calling ol’ D Smith a liar because Israel and Luxembourg are growing at a faster clip than Australia:

    Clive’s favourite Prof McDonald gets a look in, no Dr Allen though. There are some conciliatory words near the end but doesn’t change the fact that on the home page all you see is a pic of Dick with a massive red X and “INCORRECT” below

    • What a joke! Israel only lets Jews in. How is that comparable?

      Rather than “incorrect”, it should be called “mostly correct”.

      Looks like AUS has the fastest growing population among English speaking countries.

  9. I almost felt that ScoMo was channeling Sir Humphrey Appleby, with an Ocker accent. He used phrases like “To think blah blah blah would be overly simplistic, and misleading” and “We need to make prudent decisions”, etc.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Seriously, our government has turned into a cruel adaptation of Yes Minister.
      I wonder if they each get a complete series box set when they sign up? Its just uncanny.

      • No, yes minister was an uncannily accurate representation of representative democracy, both then and now. You just hadn’t realised it then.