Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time to put Sydney into the retirement home?

With a workshop in Moruya this week, Broken Hill last week, Parkes two weeks before that, I haven't had time to scratch myself! Yet there is so much to write about. Like the reasons why it cost $900 to install a $45 tap.

And no, that's not a complaint about tradies, just a complaint about the things that have been happening in the remote areas of what is presently called NSW.

Today Granny Herald is complaining about NSW's low population growth. More precisely, she is complaining about Sydney's low population growth.

As the Armidale Express or Grafton Daily Examiner of Sydney, Granny is entitled to complain about her own parochial interests. Still, she shouldn't assume that her forcibly fostered children in the rest of the current state share her concerns.

A number are grown up, want to leave home, but like the daughter in old novels are forced to stay home to look after an aging granny

Is it time to put Sydney in an old person's home, or at least a retirement village? I am sure that she would be better off without having to maintain the pretence of worrying about the rest of us.

Her sclerotic transport  arteries give her great pain. Her lungs are crowded by self-inflicted pollution. She is just so slow now to come to decisions. And she struggles to remember just what she was as Alzheimer's clouds her memory of her once great past.

Sometimes snippets of memory come back and she launches a new health program, the integrated transport plan is a case in point. Intended to ease the pain of her own arteries, she yet has to try to extend it to barely remembered children who no longer care.

I know that it's sad. it's hard, but she really must accept separation. Her family has become quite dysfunctional in their struggles to create new identities. It's time to finish it.       


Greg said...

Jim, have you seen some of the districts included in Sydney's population?

The 319,000 people of the Central Coast (including those in the north of Wyong Shire on the southern shores of Lake Macquarie which are 120 km and 1.5 hours north. Some of those northern areas are just 40km south of Newcastle. Central Coast should have it's own statistical division rather than being lumped in with metro Sydney.

The same could also apply to the 330,000 people of the Blue Mountains region from Penrith west to Katoomba and Mount Victoria more than 100km to the west.

That is an over-statement of Sydney's population by as much as 650,000 people. It must surely distort planning decisions when Sydney's metro population is overstated by as much as about 15%.

Ian Mott said...

Good point, Greg. add the 320,000 of the Central Coast to the 550,000of the Hunter Valley and it makes a very viable 870,000 community of interest for a regional state in its own right. It is the ideal balance of viable scale and intimate representation.

Give the folks of Gosford a choice between continued dysfunction as a small minority under Sydney's metrotyranny or a substantial 37% stake in a new parliament just up the road and it is not hard to see which way they will go.

City states have been around for more than two millenia and regional states have been around for longer still. The only question is how long will it take to sink into the exhaust addled brains of the metro-plodders.

Greg said...

Thanks Ian,

Newcastle/Central Coast would be very nearly a city state just 140km across. That might be a hard sell to Australians used to country sized states (although ACT doesn't seem to be a problem in that regard).

However, there are also more than 106,000 people in the Upper Hunter (Singleton to Scone), 91,000 on the Northern Slopes (Gunnedah/Tamworth) plus about another 156,000 from the Great Lakes through Hastings. That makes a total of about 1.22 million people sharing a similar geographic region about 350km across and with a maximum travel time of about 4 hours from the furthest extremities.

I would think that is a perfect size for regional state with all sub-regions having a significant stake in the paliament. As you say - viable scale but intimate. It would be similar in area to Tasmania but with more than double the population. In fact it would have larger population than Tas, ACT and NT combined so there could be no argument about viability as a self-governing region.

Greg said...

Some interesting numbers on the North West rail link in Sydney. The cost is $9bn for about 20km = about $450m per km of rail line, tunnels and 8 rail stations. It will serve about 200,000 residents of the Hills Shire district. That works out at an investment of about $45,000 for every man woman and child living in that part of Sydney.

We in regional NSW are helping to fund this project yet we will derive absolutely no benefit from it. It is not hard to see how Sydney growth is being artificially boosted by funding from regional NSW.

As an aside - a similar per capita investment in Newcastle's abysmal public transport system would result in nearly $25bn of spending. We could never possbily hope to see a comparable rate of spending outside the Sydney basin and if we did the boost it would give to the local economy and way of life would be mind blowing.

Mark said...

Haha well said Jim. I'm always confused why the news writers in Sydney have to include the rest of the state with their parochial stories. Sydney vs Melbourne is pretty boring.

Awareness. Awareness of the resources that Sydney must consume just to function while the regions where these resources originate go to decay. It will be a slow process but when you guys put in the statistics like those above, a new state is compellable. Just need some momentum and hopefully Barry will give us some ammo to get a petition going. Those figures on the NW rail link Greg show a great disparity.