January 8, 2014
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: John Lehmann
Even grumpy old men must feel an uptick in the mood in Sydney this summer. Whether it be watching the Ashes Test from the new SCG grandstand, celebrating Reg Mombassa’s fireworks or looking forward to an autumn visit from royal “it” trio William, Kate and George, it feels like good things are happening.
“You really are the last great place on the planet,” Californian banker and media owner Jon Kelly told me last week after snapping up his first Australian racehorse for $1 million at the Magic Millions sale.
It’s easy to get carried away at this time of year but there is substance below the froth and bubble: the WestConnex has finally been approved; northwest and southwest rail projects are moving along and upmarket property developments in places such as Oran Park are attracting families away from expensive inner-city suburbs.
Barangaroo will create a new financial and leisure centre, while the redeveloped International Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour will bring more well-heeled tourists to town.
It’s no surprise that a survey by the Committee for Sydney has found the city’s leading organisations are feeling more upbeat about the momentum driving the economy.
But critical decisions are in danger of falling by the wayside. Council amalgamations and planning law reforms are proving too hard for the O’Farrell government.
Will the Prime Minister free up small business activity by reforming inflexible labour laws that are a handbrake on employment, particularly young people in restaurants, cafes and retail outlets?
Hopefully the upcoming Commission of Audit will embolden the Abbott government to take a huge knife to Canberra’s bureaucracy rather than forcing working families to shoulder the burden of Australia’s debt bill.
Nothing makes a person grumpier than seeing their politicians wasting money while the rest of us tighten our belts to pay our taxes, rates and insurance bills, which seem to keep growing faster than our pay packets do.