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Spaghetti Highways of the US

Infrastructure is the basic physical and organizational structures needed for the operation of a society or enterprise,[1] or the services and facilities necessary for an economy to function.[2] The term typically refers to the technical structures that support a society, such as roadswater supplysewerspower grids,telecommunications, and so forth.Viewed functionally, infrastructure facilitates the production of goods and services; for example, roads enable the transport of raw materials to a factory, and also for the distribution of finished products to markets.

I am bewildered to why the opposition are still confused about the NBN. I really am. It is clear and obvious that the project is not a business. It is INFRASTRUCTURE! So why do they fall back to the argument of show us the cost benefit analysis?

When Tony Abbott made an offer of 1 billion dollars to the electorate of Denision for a new hospital, did anyone ask about a cost benefit analysis? Do not get me wrong. A hospital in Denison is much much needed and upgrading one there would benefit not only the electorate of Denison, but surrounding electorates. But lets do the figures here. According to the AEC, there were 358,567 enrolled voters in the whole of Tasmania. Denison itself has 71,349 voters.

The part that we left off in the the Brisbane Commonwealth Games in 1982. What an uproar!

Lets be kind and say that the new hospital would have benefited the whole of Tasmania and not just the voters: Tasmania has a population of roughly 500,000 people.

So lets do so maths here shall we?

1billion dollars divided by 500,000 million people

1,000,000,000/500,000 = $2000 for each person to benefit in the way of spending.

Now be careful here! This is the cost of the infrastructure itself. You will need more money to buy things like doctors and nurses and staff. And you will need more for  those ambulance thingies that get people to the hospital. This is purely the cost of the building. It does not involve the running or the maintenance of that building.

Now lets look at the figures behind the NBN. The Coalition has been keen to highlight the $43billion dollar figure even though they are well aware that the government component of the project is only $26billion with the rest coming from private business. But lets be nasty to the government and back the Coalition’s claim that this project will cost $43billion to the taxpayer.

Australia. Including Tasmania. (I learnt from Brisbane’s mistake!)

The population of Australia is 22million people as this infrastructure project is designed to benefit the country as a whole. Also note that this project is not only fibre but also includes a wireless/satellite component too with approximately 93% fibre connectivity and 7% wireless/next generation technology.

So again. Lets do the maths.

43 billion dollars divided by 22 million people

43,000,000,000/22,000,000 = $1954.54 for each person to benefit in way of spending.

That’s cheaper than a hospital in Denison! If we are to believe the government and NBNCO itself and take the cost to the taxpayer to be $26billion, then that’s even cheaper again.

26 billion dollars divided by 22 million people

26,000,000,000/22,000,000 = $1181.81 for each person to benefit in way of spending.

But wait! I know what you are thinking! This is only the cost of infrastructure! It does not pay for the things you need to actually use it. And where does the opposition get its $5000 a home figure from?

Well the opposition is not being all that truthful. It has basically taken the current monthly cost of connectivity to the fastest speed available today and multiplied by 12. And then on top of that it added the $2000 per head figure too. It assumed that everyone on the

(only reason I chose this car was to put in the picture. Drool)

highway will travel in Lamborghini’s and pay the current premium of $250 a month. This is a cost a business probably pays. Personally I currently pay a cheaper $50 a month option or roughly $600 a year. This is what is called a ‘recurring’ cost in accounting books as the cost is over and on top of the infrastructure. But the sneaky opposition want to scare people. So they take this recurring cost; in my case the $600 a year AND add the cost of the infrastructure itself on top (and they take the biggest figure of $2000 [ $43billion cost figure] as it makes the government look bad) and pulls out of the hat:

TADA!!! $2600 – $5000 per home

The elephant in the room of course is they included the non recurring cost to the recurring cost to increase and heighten the scare factor. Much Like Scott Morrison making a link between Afghan Asylum seekers to the Taliban.

So people when you hear figures, whether they come from the government or the opposition[and that includes THE AUSTRALIAN], sit back, take a deep breath, and take out a calculator.

And never fall for the line that this project is anything more than infrastructure! Cost benefit analyses is not the responsibility of the highway builders but the trucking companies that utilise that highway.

Mr Turnbull, you know that. Well now you know some of us know that too. Now I also know there are some who doubt the need for a project of this scale. But you also know Mr Turnbull what this project will mean. In 2050, we are expecting a population of around 35 million. By 2090 we can expect close to 70 million.  We NEED to move inland as a people Mr Turnbull.

We NEED to move East of Perth and West of Sydney. We NEED to move North of Adelaide and South of Darwin. And we need to create industries and towns where there were none. This is a project that will spear head this. You know this. Don’t get me wrong Mr Turnbull, this is going to be a tough task. And there will be teething problems. But that is why it should be you that needs to ensure the government complete this project and do it within the budget they claim it will occur.

This is a project for our countries future prosperity. Sure it means we have to pay something now. But if it is not done, and there are no places for the extra population that will be here and there are no jobs and there is no hope for many, then what is the cost of that.

This can be the backbone we need to create a future for this country. It will provide education and health services. It will be the telecommunications lifeline that helps reduce isolation. It will allow the ability to build Very Fast Trains. It will allow this country to create that chance we all take for granted now.

I was watching a show on ABC last night called LOVE LUST and LIES by Gillian Armstrong (check it out on iView if you missed it!). She followed the life of three women from when they were in their early teens till their late 40s.  One part of that show caught my attention.

She was talking to these women when there were young girls. And one of them said something that made my jaw drop. When asked what she wanted to do with her life, she responded that she would like to be a Air Hostess or a hairdresser, but she knew that these were dreams only. I was shocked that their hopes and aspirations seemed so low, not that I am having a go at air hosties and Julia Gillard’s boyfriend here! But at that time, that is all they saw they could possibly be.

Later we meet their own children. And even though these people are not rich by any respects, hopes and aspirations had changed. Now the son of the woman that wanted to be a hairdresser had a dream to be a lawyer. Now if you watch the show, this maybe a dream he may never fulfil. But the point is he CAN dream it. And is that not something? Is that not in and of itself wonderful?

That is where Australia has come in a 40 year period Mr Turnbull. That is where technology has taken us. That is where this project can lead us if done right.

Stop with the spoiling and fear mongering and GET THIS INFRASTRUCTURE BUILT!


There are people’s dreams and hopes on the line here.

A. Ghebranious    2010           All Rights Reserved

One Comment
  1. NormanK permalink

    Thanks for this article. There needs to be many more like it. Could I just add that on top of the points you make we can add the fact that this piece of infrastructure will generate income for the government and for NBN Co. A hospital in Tasmania would not generate an income stream. Like you, I am not arguing against a hospital – just pointing out that it is a cat of a different colour. The Implementation Study (which is extremely conservative//pessimistic in its calculations) anticipates that the government outlay will be recouped, with interest, in fifteen years. Not with ambiguous “benefit” dollars but with the hard folding stuff. If we accept the Study, the nett cost to taxpayers for the building of the NBN will be zero dollars by 2025. Should the government of the day choose to do so, the NBN could turn a modest profit for a few years before privatisation which will then provide a windfall in the tens of billions of dollars.
    You are right to point out that Turnbull knows all of this (and more) yet continues to argue against the NBN for purely opportunistic political reasons. With every interview that he gives and every article that he writes he is burning up credibility.

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