August 24th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Embryo experiments: are there any limits?

ALP's problems deeper than pre-selections and branch-stacking

Zimbabwe: Mugabe aggravates drought crisis

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Dizzy with success / Angry amnesiacs

EMBRYO EXPERIMENTATION: Consuming our unborn is indefensible

LAW: High Court judgment deepens native title confusion

General Cosgrove was wrong on Vietnam (letter)

Why the stock market plunged (letter)

Snowy River plan damages Murray basin (letter)

Infrastructure savings (letter)

COMMENT: Whose voice can be heard?

VICTORIA: Public forces backdown on Victorian sex zone plans

POPULATION: Time to set the record straight

COMMENT: Can the ABC be saved from itself?

ECONOMY: The Reserve, interest rates and inflation

ASIA: Taiwan's banking system under siege

BOOKS: Baby Hunger: The New Battle for Motherhood, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

BOOKS: American Scoundrel: The Life of the Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles, by Thomas Keneally

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Infrastructure savings (letter)

by Michael Nelms

News Weekly, August 24, 2002

There was great fanfare from the Kennett Government concerning the enormous savings from privatising the metropolitan public transport system in Victoria. However it was difficult to ascertain the real savings due to the mandatory infrastructure investment requirements imposed on the private operators as well.

Now these operators may want to cut their losses and run, claiming the returns are insufficient to sustain their operations. The Bracks Government may be contemplating re-tendering the arrangement, perhaps even consolidating the current four operations into one or two.

Further, while mandatory investment in new trains and trams was part of the original deal, it was not stipulated that the new equipment be locally produced. So we are to be the lucky recipients of replacement trains and trams from various parts of Europe.

It is pleasing to see the Bracks Government has had the foresight to increase the extent of our country infrastructure with the recent Victorian fast train project. Further, it is good they will be requiring the new trains to be locally produced.

Unfortunately, as a country we spend billions to promote exports but practically nothing to stop unnecessary imports.

Purchasing by the three levels of government constitutes more than 10% of the total purchases within our economy. Government should be prepared to support Australian enterprise where that support is justifiable (and at the same time stimulate our industry and employment).

Michael Nelms,
The Society for Australian Industry and Employment,
East Malvern, Vic

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