The chattering classes are having a field day, and the mice of Sydney are in an uproar.
No, not about Grange-gate, though it does seem odd to be careless about a bottle of Grange.
Rather, it seems as if the dream might be dead. The header says it all:
New Sydney airport should be in Canberra: O'Farrell
Oh it was a dream, a vision, with grand plans:
57 minutes to Sydney ... and less than a decade away
Canberra Airport will today unveil plans for a $140 million high speed rail (HSR) facility to be constructed adjacent to the new airport terminal.
“We have long been advocates of a high speed rail link between Canberra and Sydney, and that reality is getting closer with strong support from NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and the ongoing stalemate over where to build Sydney’s second airport,” Canberra Airport Managing Director, Stephen Byron said. “Today Canberra Airport is proud to present plans for a superb, multi-modal, transport facility to underline the high speed rail’s integration into Canberra Airport, in accordance with Premier O’Farrell’s vision.
“This terminal will provide a seamless interface for passengers arriving in Canberra by air ready for their 57minute train trip to Sydney. “The facility will cost $140 million (in 2012 dollars) and take two years to build.
Courier, a bottle of Grange and be quick about it, we need to drown the sorrow at the dying of the dream, but sssh, hide it behind the pot plant on the front verandah,
Meanwhile, the comparisons of Tony Abbott to Stephen Conroy have begun:
Within weeks of taking office Treasurer Joe Hockey commissioned a Productivity Commission inquiry into the funding of infrastructure.
Its draft report released in March identified what it said was a classic example of how not to do it. “The National Broadband Network, Australia’s largest public infrastructure project, was commenced without a cost-benefit analysis having been done,” it said.
“It also appears that detailed analysis of the project was focused, from a relatively early stage, on how best to implement the government’s policy objectives, rather than considering the merits of different options.”
It sounds like Badgerys Creek. (here)
Oh indeed. Now with Sydney airport quite possibly the worst capital city airport in the western world - a gouging, inefficient monstrosity of useless delays in air and on ground, and consequent unnecessary costs - the pond has always thought a supplementary airport would be handy.
But Tony Abbott has done a classic policy on the run manoeuvre - most notably promising endless spending on roads, with nary a jot or a whistle about trains, with the matter of the curfew unresolved, proposed flight paths not specified, environmental assessments a decade old, and with the current owners of Sydney Airport having first right of refusal on any new build - and Max 'the axe' 'shit happens' Moore Wilton already having made his views on the need for a second airport very clear - a complete and utter waste of money, ex-ALP activists looking for new ways of wasting the people's money, and so on, here.
So jolly Joe and MAMIL Tony are just ex-ALP activists looking to piss money against the wall?
Perhaps the most fateful dodging and weaving came with the refusal to announce a very fast train service.
The theory, according to the Abbottians, is that there won't be enough business to justify a train in the early years, but if that's the case, why spend zillions on roads?
Is it not so much a case of Mr Infrastructure Man as Mr Stupid Infrastructure Man running so fast he doesn't realise he's rotated and heading towards the ground?
The pond was completely unnerved at the sight of the Daily Terror's Photoshopping:
Already a new episode of Air Crash Investigations?
One thing's certain. The pond has never read a more empty, blather laden piece of rhetoric than that supplied to the Daily Terror under Abbott's name, with the header Badgerys Creek airport will take Sydney to new heights.
The lack of specifics is only matched by the unctuous, smarmy forelock tugging in the direction of the Terror:
For many years, The Daily Telegraph has consistently argued for more infrastructure and better services in Western Sydney.
I thank The Telegraph for its campaign to deliver more jobs and infrastructure in Western Sydney.
And they think Mark Scott doing it with a hamster is funny? Is it as funny as Tony Abbott doing it with a newspaper?
As for the grand vision, it's back to the 1950s, and roads, roads, roads:
Building a new airport also means major road and transport upgrades in Western Sydney. The government has committed $1.5 billion towards WestConnex and will be making announcements in the coming days about the infrastructure that will accompany the airport.
Road and transport links must be ready and operating long before the airport is complete. Roads first, airport second, is our approach.
And with all of that, the first flight is still a decade away, at a minimum, which leaves plenty of time for Abbott's lack of vision to be given a slow roast and grind ...
In particular, the absence of vision in relation to rail (which is currently a mess in western Sydney), and with rubbery figures that sees only 130,000 people allegedly affected by aircraft noise from Sydney airport, and only 4,000 at Badgerys.
And then there's all the idle talk of an economic bonanza, and a gold rush, and employment opportunities, and 60,000 new jobs (4,000 initially, increasing over time to 60,000, here with forced video).
This presumably means - if you take the ACI's figure of 1000 jobs for every million passengers per annum (mppa it in a pdf here) - that Badgerys should over time be delivering 60 million passengers a year.
That would put it up in the top ten of aircraft and passenger movements, at least if you do a Greg Hunt on passenger movements at large airports here, with Dallas-Fort Worth clocking in at 60,436,266 in 2013.
It's rubbery figures all over again.
Is it possible for a politician to fuck up a sensible idea?
Of course it is. Have a look at the grand Malaise fucking up the NBN ...
Or take a look at David Rowe, and more Rowe here.
Point of order Mr Rowe.
Did you consider using a unicorn?
Abbott should have been in a position to present a coherent plan, and a logical case, and instead he's exposed his flank to rabid former allies, such as Jackie Kelly (Badgerys Creek: Jackie Kelly launches attack on PM Abbott over second airport plan).
What should have been a lay down misere promises to be a decade of lay down misery ...
Does the pond care? Not much. The pond will be long gone before the second airport is working, and likely enough, Abbott will also be just a dream ...
And the reality has always been that the new airport would struggle in its early days, and it would never reduce the operations at Mascot, and so the pond's friendly, reliable alarm clock - the first plane came in today on the third runway a few minutes before six today - will keep on working ...
Meanwhile the vision, the dream is dead, and it seems that the pond will have to crack open a flagon of claret.
ICAC heard evidence that the precious bottle was sent by courier to O'Farrell's home. Under oath Di Girolamo said O'Farrell even called him to thank him for it. O'Farrell insists, also under oath, he never received it. Who to believe? The Premier's problem is that we are asked to accept that the bottle was stolen or otherwise disappeared from outside his home in Roseville, which he describes as a ''friendly'' neighbourhood. That alone stretches the bounds of credibility.
His inability to recall the contents of a 30-second phone call to Di Girolamo the evening the bottle was purchased compounds the suspicion we are not getting the full story. The episode has exposed O'Farrell's lack of candour about his relationship with Di Girolamo. Rather than barely knowing each other as he has previously implied, it has emerged the pair had each other's private mobile numbers and were in frequent contact. (and the rest, with forced video, here)
Oh yes, the dream is well and truly dead. And it turns out it might not have been much of a drop in the first place - Penfolds Grange 1959: A little past its best.
Here you go Bazza - it's so good to share - and remember to look behind the pot plant.
Ah yes, the Sydney Morning Herald 10th December 1970, when men drove on roads and drank flagons of claret and Tony Abbott had his infrastructure insights by heading out on that highway, looking for adventure and whatever came his way ...
UPDATE: well the dream is now even longer gone, with Bazza biting the dust, as recorded in NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to resign over evidence he gave to ICAC.