Friday, August 25, 2006

Brackswatch BIT

Due to pressing commitments relating to the State Election itself, Brackswatch has not been updated in a long while. This said we intend to continue until 2010 to keep Steve Bracks accountable, regardless of the anonymous quips that flood our comment sections.
The battle has already begun.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Bracks Listens, Denies, Does It Anyway?

Brackswatch received the following submission from a member of the public:

Some weeks ago when the Opposition suggested rail cars parks would become fee paying there where immediate denials from the Bracks government.

Seems however that exactly such a development may now be in the works for after the November election.

You will find this in the Connex contract via

Franchise Agreement - Train - Public Release.doc

Section 10.6 Car parking page 93

a) Upon completion of the works in accordance with the Car Park Security Design Brief, the Franchisee may charge a maximum of $2.00 per day escalated by the CPI Multiplier each calendar year for use of a car park at the Stations where security works have been completed in accordance with the Car Park Security Design Brief.

(b) The Franchisee may submit a proposal to the Director to charge passengers intending to use the Passenger Services a reasonable charge (which shall be no more than the maximum charge set by the Director) for car parking spaces in addition to those required to be upgraded under paragraphs (c) to (g) where:

(i) the Franchisee can establish to the reasonable satisfaction of the Director that those car parking spaces are in excess of the number of car parking spaces at that Station at the Franchise Commencement Date and in addition to those required to be upgraded under paragraph (c) to (g); or

(ii) the car parking spaces comprise up to 50% of the car parking at a Station at the Franchise Commencement Date (provided that that Station is not the subject of an upgrade under paragraphs (c) to (g)) and those car parking spaces are:

(A) situated within a fenced area that has a boom gate controlling the entry to and exit from those car parking spaces; and

(B) staffed at all times on Weekdays when trains are scheduled to stop at the relevant Station (including for a reasonable time before and after the first and last scheduled train);

or satisfy other security requirements agreed with the Director.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

A Cabcharge for Bracks

The refusal of Steve Bracks to meet with Melbourne's Taxi drivers, and listen to their concerns regarding safety and conditions is shameful. Those who work the hardest to get us home, long after public transport has dried up, are being ignored. The Victorian Taxi Directorate (the industry regulator), the State Government must meet with the drivers and listen seriously. We must start to value those who provide a very important service to society.

How about this suggestion from our friends in Indianapolis?

Cops will be posing as cabbies in an effort to stop a deadly crime wave plaguing Indianapolis. Fifteen people have been killed in ten days. There's also been a spate of robberies, with taxi drivers being frequent targets. One cabbie was shot to death. So authorities say officers will be driving cabs, sometimes in uniform, sometimes in plain clothes.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

REVEALED: How Bracks' Treasurer Brumby massages the numbers to hide up to two thirds of his taxation splurge.

Bracks' Treasurer Brumby is using accounting trickery to hide the real magnitude of his tax increases on Victorian families and businesses.

Read the table above, which is from the Bracks Treasurer Brumby's latest State Budget and you would get the impression that Brumby is going to all lengths to keep our taxes low - after all, taxes are up only 1.9% according to the helpfully provided calculation in the right column, despite total revenue increasing by 4%.

Yet this analysis is deceptive, as Brumby is comparing the 2006-07 "Budgeted" figures with the 2005-06 "Revised" figures. The difference is significant. Whereas "Budgeted" figures are what the government planned, the "Revised" ones are what they actually did. In 2005-06, for instance, the Bracks government took 4.5% more tax than it had "budgeted" to. So when Brumby "budgets" to increase taxes by another 1.9%, the real increase, year-on-year, works out to 6.1% - significantly less responsible than Brumby would like to appear. Even worse, that's only the "Budget", who knows what "Revisions" Bracks' bag man has in store for us this year as well.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Victorians on the slow train to nowhere

The ludicrous plan by Steve Bracks to improve rail links in rural Victoria has proven to be just that, ludicrous. Like any Bracks plan, on the surface, this new timetable looks pristine.

  • Nine minutes saved travelling to Traralgon,
  • Ten minutes saved travelling to Geelong,
  • Seventeen minutes saved travelling to Bendigo and
  • Twenty-three minutes saved travelling to Ballarat.

Unfortunately, as you dig a little deeper, you find that only 6 services daily out of 160 will be able to deliver time savings as measured by the Bracks Government.

An express service on the Traralgon line has been dumped, adding 11 minutes to each journey.

For $750 million, over time and overbudget, Victorian taxpayers have a right to feel like the wheels have fallen off public transport infrastructure. Another $550 million is planned for new trains.

If only Terry Mulder was as quick as Brackswatch in being critical of Steve Bracks.

BALLARAT'S civic leaders would have preferred the State Government invested in health services, police resources and water storages ahead of a faster train service, according to Opposition Transport spokesperson Terry Mulder.

Mr Mulder said the new V/Line timetable, which was unveiled by Premier Steve Bracks in Ballarat on Wednesday, proved the government's $750 million investment in regional rail had been a "total waste of money".

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bad Boys, whatcha gonna do when they don't vote for you?

Lose marginal seats in the south eastern metropolitan region it seems.

Paul Mullett, who always has an opinion, will lobby the Bracks Government for a 15% pay rise over the next three years. Should this fall through, or if Tim Holding decides to play the dangerous game of industrial politics, Michael Davis suggests that the effect could be significant.

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The River Runs Red, Bracks Takes Falls

After seven years in power, Bracks and his environment minister John Thwaites must take responsabilty for failing to clean up the Yarra.

THOUSANDS of E coli organisms are flowing into the Yarra River, pushing the number of bacteria up to 70 times higher than the recommended safe level.

Only one testing site along the river between Millgrove and the city in the latest survey had an average reading below the safe level.

Data released by Melbourne Water this month showed the highest reading in the Yarra was at Warrandyte, with 14,000 E coli organisms per 100ml. The recommended safe level for swimming and other water sports is 200 organisms per 100ml
(From the Townsville Bulletin).

For the recreational users of the Yarra River, the situation is out of control.

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