More announcements for the sake of announcing things

We are in the midst of an election year folks and get ready for the constant and endless announcements of projects, oh and my favourite, re-announcement of already previously announced projects!

Today there was an announcement tabled as a “$1 billion plan to upgrade railway stations” and I thought, “Beauty, some of the really run down stations in Melbourne will get a nice coat of paint, new lights, CCTV cameras, improved bike and parking facilities and better connection points for buses”… I didn’t really think that. I follow politics closely enough to know better and work in the construction industry and have to deal with cheeky builders every day of the week so my “scepticism radar” was going off like a frog in a sock! I jumped on twitter and began to scan through the #springst journo tweets to capture the detail, and couldn’t help but chuckle to myself.

So lets go through exactly why my radar was in over drive shall we?:

1. I had a sudden feeling déjà vu… and that was because Jewell station had already been earmarked for development and announced way back on the 26th June 2012! See here… Jewell first rail site for makeover. Then on 20th of November 2013 there was another announcement relating to this station… see here
Jewell Station Precinct one step closer to being Brunswick’s gem
and then again today. So in other words we are almost 2 years into some sort of “process” but really we are nowhere near actually getting a redeveloped Jewell station, as I will highlight further below in point 3.

2. Two other stations mentioned today were Hampton and Alphington Stations… again déjà vu… Way back in October last year these stations were formally earmarked for development… Victorian Government calls for input on development of Hampton and Alphington station precincts… and again today they are re-announced.

3. I do agree that these sorts of projects can work with the development of the airspace above Glen Waverley station being a prime example. However the key driver in all this speculative work is always profit. If the private sector can’t make the project work commercially then the project quietly fades away… for example… The Coburg Urban Regeneration project which collapsed back in 2011 then there was the idea of linking the Glen Waverley and Dandenong lines together.

So you can see my scepticism is well placed, all these announcements and not a single government dollar committed to anything nor any actual real commitment towards a project and given our states economic outlook, importantly, not a single real job.

Matt.

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