Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Kosky calls for comments – very quietly

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-05-19

Another Clayton’s consultation in Victoria: this time Lyn Kosky, Public Transport Minister, is after comments about "train pain".

Talk about making it difficult to ensure your comments go to the right spot!  It’s almost as if the lack of organization is intentional.  Geeks would say the Minister wants all criticism directed to /dev/null (a.k.a. a black hole).

I got a note from, that pointed to an article in The Age (2008-05-15), which included the following:

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky yesterday invited frustrated commuters to contact her directly, via Premier John Brumby’s website (, with their comments and questions.
Commuters have also been invited to text their questions or comments to the Government on a special SMS line at 134 688 (you must include the letters PT before comments).
The move is a turnaround on an email Ms Kosky sent to Labor colleagues last year, telling them not to bother her with complaints from commuters about trains and trams.

Not surprisingly for Victoria, there is no nice central way to classify comments to the premier via the site mentioned, and at least three different places to post comments.

Naturally, I assumed there’d be more details available in recent media releases by Minister Kosky, so I went searching, without success, here.  Guess what?  No media release about this call for comments.

So, I tried the recent media releases from, then the page devoted to media releases about trains, then the page for recent updates to the site.

No luck.  Am I wrong to be suspicious?


4 Responses to “Kosky calls for comments – very quietly”

  1. Well here’s the SMS I sent (it was somewhat cathartic to tap out such a long message on my phone, but, as anyone who uses PT in Melbourne would understand, I’ve still got plenty of rage left over):

    PT Give Up. No government can ever properly manage PT. The whole system must be liberalised. If a service provider does a bad job by their customers then let them go bust. A small reduction in corporate welfare in the form of fines is not enough. Let them go bankrupt and pass the assets on to another group, eventually people who are prepared to run the service properly will step up. Until this happens Melbourne will continue to feel the pain of 30 years of mismanagement. Politicians must stop pretending they can fix the problems or the pain will never end. Start by providing taxi licenses at a nominal fee. Half a million is obscene. Let each driver have his own license, pocket 100 percent of the fare and pay for his own protective barrier. Drivers must set their own fares — that is the key principle that will save the system. Price controls cause shortages all over the world. Does a bus cost the same to operate and maintain as a train? No and the tickets shouldn’t cost the same either. No protection of routes, different fares depending on time of day and distance traveled. Give people a real choice. Liberalise the whole system and don’t look back.

  2. Dave Bath said

    “Maximum Thrust”.
    I disagree with what you are saying about governments not being able to run public transport… it’s the change to cossetted private enterprise subcontractors that I see as the problem. And don’t forget that roads are MASSIVELY subsidized (why don’t we let truck and SUV drivers pay for the extra re-inforcement required for their vehicles, a cost not imposed by pedestrians, cyclists, motorbike riders, and small efficient cars).

    Actually, rail transport is much more energy efficient than road, for the same sized energy source and load.

    The setting of individual fares by taxi drivers would create chaos – imagine calling a taxi company from your mobile sorting out time-to-arrive, and fee…. the telecoms carriers would love it.

  3. Dave, I agree. Remove the cosseting and let the operators do a good job or go bust. I don’t see you’ve shown proof that the government can do better. The slow decay to the Melbourne transport system began a long time before Connex appeared on the scene.

    You are right that roads are over-subsidised, all state roads should become toll-roads, and tolls should reflect pollution costs due to congestion (ie tollway operators will be responsible for compensating for congestion).

    Once the cost of road use relfects the real cost of roads we will see many benefits, increased housing density and the resurgence of regional towns. The ignorance breeding outer-suburbs will slowly die.

    I think you are being pessimistic about taxi fares. Just because they have the right to set fares doen’t mean they always will. There would be a competitive advantage in having reliable fares. Each taxi company would try to streamline the process as much as possible for maximum comfort to the customer.

  4. […] "Kosky calls for comments – very quietly" (2008-05-19)  […]

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