Plan to save Australia

In the wake of a dismal result in the 2019 Federal Election people are asking where to now. As a contest of ideas the election was a failure. Morrison’s steady-as-she-goes capitalism and Shorten’s minimalist plan for social democratic wealth redistribution failed to inspire. As a result, the major parties got their lowest ever primary vote.

Over the years there have been many plans to remedy Australia’s woes. There was the Bradfield Scheme. This was a water diversion scheme, an inland irrigation project that was designed to irrigate and drought-proof much of the western Queensland interior, as well as large areas of South Australia.

2019 was the climate change election where crucial seats in Queensland voted down the Labor Party (27% Primary Vote) for fear that it would stop Adani. Morrison’s Liberals (42% Primary Vote) won on the back of this fear. So instead of blocking trains 😉 maybe we should be building them 🙂 … here’s the plan.

Fast train between capital cities
To save Australia we need to build very fast trains to carry freight and people between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. The scheme is to be publicly funded and owned. It would employ workers in regional Australia to build the trains, the rail corridor and the network. Towns with an engineering background would be given preference.

In Queensland, regional centres like Maryborough, Townsville and Toowomba would be funded to manufacture the engines and railtrucks. The trains would be powered by renewable energy namely electricity produced from big publicly owned solar farms, wind turbines and thermal energy. It would be the rebirth of a dying regional Australia and a meaningful project to alleviate the burning of carbon fuels in aviation. Once you get out to the airport and get on board the plane etc it takes well over 2 hours to get from one capital city to another. A very fast train could do the journey in 3 hours and not consume fossil fuels as does the plane.

One example is an electric train that runs between Bologna and Florence in Italy.

The premise of that fast freight train is simple: “goods transported at high speed in a fast, punctual, and ecological way.” And here are the specs of the train:

  • Maximum speed: 360 km/h
  • Power output: 8,800 kW
  • Electric systems: 3 kV DC, 25 kV 50 Hz AC or 1.5 kV DC (depending on the model)
  • Consist: two power cars in both ends plus s 12-car trainset with a capacity equivalent of 18 lorries or two Boeing 747 Cargo airplanes
  • Cargo type: 220 kg / 1m3 roll containers (70x80x180cm)

Currently the Commonwealth is buying up the land to make a train corridor between capital cities but that is all. Of course the cost would be in the $$$billions which is to be funded by taxing the rich.

The very fast freight train would travel along inland routes that would eventually take big trucks off roads. The idea is to reinvigorate the economy of regional Australia, not to destroy it by concentrating all of the infrastructure along the coast.


Local results in the 2019 Federal election
In my seat of Griffith (Rudd’s old seat) Max Chandler-Mather may not have ‘done a Bradbury’ but 24% overall is a good result nevertheless. Not just for the Greens but also for the Labor Party. Max’s preferences made Labor Terri Butler’s win against the Liberal’s more resounding.

The Greens of Griffith

Spend more energy in local government
This presages well for Jonno Sri in the Brisbane City Council Gabba ward. With this result under their belt, I think Team Max should focus now on winning another local government ward. I think progressives living in those areas should help. I say this because that is where the grass roots people are and local government provides most of the services for people – public transport, roads, bikeways, sewerage, water and waste disposal. Importantly, local government decides development and plans for our cities, towns and shires. It also provides a lot of jobs maintaining the environment and building infrastructure.

Through this defeat, Team Max may have inadvertently mapped out a pathway for all progressive candidates – to concentrate on local government. They may do a Bradbury after all.

The Greens own Hill End (41% primary vote) West End, South Brisbane and Greenslopes where Max outpolled both major parties.

As you would expect the local effect aided Terri Butler as well. Terri’s office is at Morningside where she outpolled the others. Terri did well in trendy Bulimba. Olivia (LNP) did well in Kangaoo Point, Holland Park and outer parts of the seat.

Basically, Max did a Jonno in Griffith but, in the end, Team Terri got back in on Max’s preferences.

Ian Curr
21 May 2019

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