Transport for NSW’s response ‘Details missed in Maldon-Dombarton report’ (Illawarra Mercury, August 3 2017) to the release of ‘Upgrading rail connectivity between Illawarra and Sydney’ misses the point that this is an economic analysis of the potential net benefits, and was never intended to be a full-blown feasibility study involving an engineering and environmental impact assessment.
SMART’s assessment concluded that the construction of the South West Illawarra Rail Link (SWIRL) to accommodate both passenger and freight services, along with upgrades to the South Coast Line, would provide substantial social, economic, employment and safety benefits for the Illawarra region and NSW.
Adding a passenger service to SWIRL changes the conversation away from past studies that only looked at freight, such as the quoted ‘2014 Business case’ and would take pressure off the South Coast Line and provide necessary network expansion to the congested Sydney Trains Network.
SMART consulted with representatives of Transport for NSW and sought technical advice from rail experts who supported the average speed modelled on this proposed line.
This evidence based report, funded by Illawarra First, gives the state government a credible starting point toward a submission to the National Rail Program - engineering and environmental studies would then follow.
Tania Brown, SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong
WIDE OF THE MARX
Thank goodness we citizens of “The Land of Oz” have a Mr Devlin in the print media constantly reminding us of the danger associated with electing Comrade Shorten and his rabid Bolshie mates into government.
In Mr Devlin’s most recent revelation “Taxed into poverty” (Illawarra Mercury, Monday August 7) he believes Comrade Shorten is copying Marx yet, Mr. Devlin failed to identify which Marx.
Does he mean Groucho, Zeppo, Chico, Gummo or Harpo Marx? Possibly it could be that other Marx chap, Karl? Whichever one it is, apparently that Mr Marx was keen on making everyone pay their way and family trusts were a “no, no”.
Comrade Shorten is apparently having a similar plan in mind according to Mr Devlin.
Poverty or the dole could be the fate of hard working mega billionaires such as Messrs Forest, Fox, Harvey, Packer (James and Ms. Gretel) Pratt and Ms. Rinehart to name but a few if Comrade Shorten gets his way. Hopefully, the Marx Mr Devlin was referring to, was one of the “Brothers Marx” then all of the above mentioned will have either “A day at the Races” or “A night at the Opera” instead.
Barry Swan, Balgownie
CARRYING THE COST
I have issues with the suggested non-compulsory postal vote on same sex marriage. The most significant being that the government has stated, if the plebiscite vote fails in the senate, it will bypass the parliamentary process and implement a voluntary postal ballot or poll at an estimated cost of $122m.
As the government is not prepared to accept the parliamentary decision, resorting to the ballot or poll is very much a party political strategy. As such, funding for the postal ballot or poll should be carried by the Liberal and National parties and government politicians.
Utilising public funds for a voluntary poll which is not binding on the the government is reprehensible and unacceptable. This is particularly the case when $122m dollars could be directed to real priority areas such as funding medication for people affected by rare cancers, domestic violence prevention programs or addressing health issues in remote areas.
The non-compulsory postal vote should not proceed using public funds.
Christopher Peters, Dapto