Some years ago, say in 2013-4, iA contracted a disease that is common in NSW, of backfilling on a capricious Ministerial announcement with an analytically weak “independent” report as retrospective “justification”. Its host, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, was specifically infected from 2017 after a period when the Prime Minister’s Office had micro-managed it.
The Panel comprised Marika Calfas, the CEO of the Botany and Kembla competitors to Newcastle (board member of IPA); the Managing Director of CUBE, a Botany and Moorebank operator; and an iA board member. None are independent of commercial conflicts with Newcastle. A fourth is a prominent trucker.
One has to look at what they said and meant, and what they did not say and cloaked.
At the start, they did not present a professional SWOT and also misunderstood the nature of “critical issues” and “scenario planning”`, so the methodological and empirical gaps are fatal. To illustrate, one of the most profoundly critical issues is the WS City Deal’s defilement of Port Kembla’s access to Inland Rail and the Illawarra’s economic future post-BHP.
They proposed strengthening the monopolistic position of the Botany/Moorebank port/freight alignment of interests.
They proposed giving freight planes as-of-right 24 hour operations.
They suggested similar rights through suburbs for large trucks.
They did NOT challenge the City Deal, indeed they endorsed it AND WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DEFEND THAT POSITION UNDER CROSS-EXAMINATION.
The Panel's report is contrary to the public interest and must be regarded as an incomplete and partial input to NSW's weak freight and port planning cycle.
iA must repair itself and drop its consistent and dysfunctional resistance to outside expertise.