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The sad and sorry saga of Sydney Ferries oozes on through the political slime of
New South Wales.
While the New South Wales government is the laughing stock of Australia, it is no
joke if you have to live and pay taxes in that appallingly mis-managed state.
A typical example of that mis-management is the latest unimaginably stupid
decision of the state government with respect to the very necessary privatisation of
If ever there was a case of the lunatics running the asylum, Sydney Ferries is it.
Apparently, though, the New South Wales government is so terrified of the Maritime
Union of Australia that it is totally unprepared to make the completely rational and
logical move to privatise or liquidate its delinquent ferry company.
This strange and irrational power of the MUA flies in the face of the appalling
history of Sydney Ferries. It is a history that is replete with tales of corruption,
incompetence, carelessness and, above all, a disgraceful waste of taxpayers' money.
Sydney Ferries is simply a sheltered workshop which is protected by the government
so that it can continue to rip-off the people of New South Wales. The only beneficiaries
of that protection are the fat cat employees of Sydney Ferries and, perhaps, some of
This government protection ensures that the people of New South Wales continue to
pay for an expensive, unreliable, polluting and not always safe service.
Meanwhile, private operators, which could easily and profitably provide a much
better service, are prevented from doing so. There is an old saying that people get the
government that they deserve. That seems a bit unfair in the case of New South Wales.
No one deserves that kind of government.
Of course, as long as the MUA continues to effectively control Sydney Ferries, its service
will continue to decline and so will its patronage. That will ensure that there will be no
expansion of employment opportunities. The sheltered workshop is also a closed shop.
That is so typical of the MUA. It continually shoots itself in the foot. In its blind
pursuit of protection for its ever declining membership, it kills off any hope of
investment in new marine developments that, might logically, enable it to expand that
membership. Its latest hi-jinks in the offshore oil business simply confirm again its
amazing ability to kill off the geese that lay the golden eggs.
The MUA continues to fly in the face of all proven economic theory. It seems to
always be determined to decrease the size of the economic cake and thus, of the slices
available to its members.
By encouraging the privatisation or, better still, the liquidation of Sydney Ferries, the
MUA would be doing its members and the people of New South Wales a big favour.
A welcome positive
announcement from AIMS
Having often been irritated by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, it was
refreshing to see it release a positive announcement recently.
This was to the effect that Australia's marine industries now contribute $48 billion
annually to the national economy. AIMS say this now outstrips agriculture.
While it is possible to argue with their figures; they don't, for example, include ship
building or military and general government marine activity, which are huge. They are
also almost certainly too high on marine tourism but too low on oil and gas exploration.
Nevertheless, their overall figure is not too far wrong and, most importantly, for a
change, their heart is in the right place.
Australia has a very lengthy coastline and a huge EEZ. It was inevitable that the
Australian people and, eventually, their governments would wake up to that fact. I am
delighted that AIMS is assisting with helping to raise that very important awareness.
Sydney Ferries -- Yet another
failure of political will
EDITORIAL MARCH 2010
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