Lynne Kosky resigns

People, people, people, you may be celebrating the fact that Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky has resigned. But it’s not that simple.

Just as the replacement of Connex with Metro hasn’t miraculously fixed the trains, neither will everything magically be okay with a new minister at the helm.

She was spot-on last week when she said “If I could fix it overnight I would, but it will take time to fix.”

The irony is that under Kosky’s tenure, almost unprecedented investment has been secured for the train network, including the 38 trains which (if it keeps up with patronage) will relieve overcrowding, and the increased maintenance and better infrastructure which will resolve a lot of the reliability problems we see today. But because she’s leaving now, she won’t be around to see it.

PS. Who will the replacement be? Some have assumed Pallas, because he has the other half of transport — Roads and Ports. I don’t think it’s that simple. Should find out tomorrow.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

7 replies on “Lynne Kosky resigns”

As you said – A bit like whinging about Connex for performance when antiquated tracks, signals, overhead etc failing are the problem. Lynne Kosky was the government face to complain about when all this happened when 40+ years of neglect are more the problem

The only difference will be there will be someone else to grizzle about when we get the 40° day and fifteen dozen train cancellations. Having said all that I am sick of every minor repair or upgrade being ‘part of the plan’ in their latest spin campaign; one that included recycled promises from the 1999 election like the South Morang extension (itself out-of-date as they’re building houses at Mernda now!!)

One down, 54 more to go! Now I know you’re going to have a go at me Daniel, and I hope this will be a productive debate, as our state needs it right now, especially in the lead up to the state election this November! I could list a number of issues on which to argue about, but let’s stick with your main one- public transport, for the moment!

Once again, Melbourne has to undergo the humiliation of public transport failures during really hot days! Did we have these problems 30, 40 years ago of rails buckling? Who were the geniuses that decided to weld the gaps between rail lines, so as to not allow then room to expand during the heat? Look, I don’t expect miracles, but I would like some progress! As you point out Daniel, it’s not all Kosky’s fault, she reports to someone else, and is a cog in a bigger machine! Changing the cog doesn’t change the function of the machine, changing the machine does!

Let’s face it, 10 years of Labor governance has made this state government complacent, and have absolutely no desire to upgrade or improve any infrastructure unless it is politically expedient or absolutely necessary. Granted, as you’ve pointed out, Kosky’s overseen an unprecedented investment in PT, and it is a shame that she won’t see the fruits of that labour, but how long has that taken?

My greatest concern for this city and this state is the fact that we don’t expand for the future, we catch up to present reality. This is not the mentality that our previous city and state planners had decades ago! They looked to the future to see what Melbourne WOULD be like, and planned accordingly! For example, VFL Park was planned for Mulgrave because it was predicted, based on growth projections in the 1960s, that it would be the approximate centre of Greater Melbourne. As it is today, I think it is around Glen Iris, a mere 13 km away, and if we ever get rid of this stupid Bracks policy of capping urban sprawl, which only contributes to rising house prices, it would eventually get there. The point being, that 30, 40 years ago, we planned for the future, today we play catch up!

We will have had 11 years of this Bracksby (Bracks/Brumby) government come November! Granted, in that time they have had significant accomplishments, and I won’t take that away from them, and I have absolutely nothing against them as people- I thought Brumby responded brilliantly to Black Saturday. But look at the facts- 11 years, and what have they done about the water problem? How is it that our last dam was built nearly a quarter of a century ago, and our population has grown about 1.5 million since!? Any wonder we are low on water! And before anyone brings up the drought as an excuse, bear in mind that we are a drought prone nation, which our planners knew, and so built enough dams to account for it!

We had a future dam site allocated on the Mitchell River, in East Gippsland! Part of the reason was because it is a flood prone area- whenever they get severe storms, that region floods! Wouldn’t building a dam there supply us with ample water (some estimates claim enough for Melbourne’s needs on a yearly basis, but don’t quote me) and prevent such floods? And for all the environmentalists who are ardently against dams, bear in mind that our population will grow to 5 million within 20 years, and we WILL need a new dam at some stage prior to that, so better now than later, right?

Same with electricity- didn’t we have rolling blackouts last Monday? That’s what happens when you don’t expand your supply in a sensible fashion. I know you have an aversion to coal-powered stations, but that is where we get about 80% of our power! And relatively affordable power, too! That is what has made Melbourne great, affordable energy! You will notice that at the start of the year, power bills went up significantly- all because of the reliance on unreliable sources such as wind and solar, and lack of proper maintenance of existing plants! If we don’t build another power plant soon, or look at nuclear energy, those rolling blackouts will become commonplace! And if ETS ever gets through, you can turn off the lights, literally! Is this what 21st century Melbourne is supposed to be?

OK, I wandered off a bit, but I am trying to make a point! All governments get complacent after a long time in office! I do recall that was the argument made about voting out John Howard, in my opinion, our greatest Prime Minister ever! Bear in mind that we had our greatest ever economic boom under him, but complacency and issues such as WorkChoices ultimately saw the electorate take another direction! While I thought it was a grave mistake, I can understand the desire for change. Bracksby has been in power nearly as long, why isn’t there the same clamour for change, especially with the lack of any major improvements in infrastructure?

Look at NSW. They’re stuck with a hopeless government for at least another year. Do we want to turn out like them? How bad does it have to get before we boot bad governments out? Granted, as a conservative and nominally Liberal voter, I’ll admit, I haven’t been all that excited about the State Party in the last year. Ted Baillieu, who seems like a competent guy, doesn’t seem to really care about winning. He should have this in the bag, but is trailing significantly in the polls! It appears to be the same thing throughout the party, although maybe there are up and coming people who may revitalise it. I think Tony Abbott has a better chance of being PM, as at least he has shown some fight, which has scared Rudd, than Baillieu as Premier. Having said that, I don’t think this current government will get any better, if the Kosky situation is anything to go by. Isn’t it time for change now?

Look, what I am asking isn’t just a blind vote, at least to consider all the options! I would consider an independent who shares my values. But we, the people, have the power to change our government peacefully, and if we’re constantly complaining about things such as water and PT, we can vote them out at the next election! Hold them accountable! My biggest fear is that we’re being sold short as a people, and that we won’t have the necessary infrastructure in the future!

Thank you once again Daniel, for giving me another chance to rant, even if you don’t agree with me. I respect that you approach things from one viewpoint and get the chance to vent, and I just want people to hear mine as well, and hope we can come up with practical solutions for our state!

On a totally different note Daniel, have you checked out the new Star Trek MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game):
It’s quite good- a Trekker’s dream come true!

I feel sorry for Lynne Kosky she is a very nice lady. I met her in the grand opening of the completion of the Craigieburn Electrification. I think she tried to a good job but I give her an Average. It was Connex and Myki’s fault for all the pressure on Lynne Kosky. I miss her already and I was suprised when I found out on the Internet that she would quit. Poor Thing.

I don’t know the whole story of myki, definately, it’s a bad project management !! We need some change, anyway. cheers!!!

Certainly not sorry to see her go – not it’s not just her fault: Connex, Myki and lack of state investment in infrastructure are the bigger problem. But hell, she was quite willing to spit out the spin that tried to cover the ineptitude of Victorian PT management.

@ Andrew V: I’m happy for the cap on sprawl to stay where it is – Melbourne’s boundary gets any wider and it will only add to PT and other infrastructure woes. There are other answers to housing prices soaring than letting concrete take over more of the state.

The urban sprawl issue needs to be tied in with a policy of population of Melbourne. It seems to be that governments are eager to collect the additional tax revenue without much proactive regard to infrastructure (such as the afforementioned urban sprawl along the old Whittlesea line and the rail line making catch-up, and a purely radial system less able to meet our needs as work moves out of the city – and yes I speak form experience at Dandenong).

In the period immediately after WWI most of our suburban electric train system was established when our population was only around 800,000 – that was proactive when you consider Dandenong, Frankston, Broadmeadows, Lilydale and Upper Ferntree Gully were very much rural at that time

While there is certainly a place for higher density development in the city and certain other places, the reality for may of the ‘models’ that people romanticise about is that you rent all your life due to unaffordable housing prices. I would think many would have come here in the first place to escape that.

I saw someone trying to validate a Metcard on the Myki card reader by waving it over it, surely that’s not how it works?

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