Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Sidney Opera House

This is the Opera House in Sidney. A very pretty building indeed and if you ask any Australian, probably few have any regrets over it's construction.

However, the story of the Sidney Opera House is a typical for Formula for any grand government spending: Underestimate the cost and risk involving the project and overestimate the benefits. Then hire an army of consultants and agitators that use these questionable statistics to get the project underway.

Now, everyone says, look at this magnificent building, how can you say that this was an bad idea. The acoustics are magnificent to the delight of opera fans, and also think of the jobs that are created in the tourist industry due to this magnificent landmark. Sure, the project took 15 years, the cost was about $100 million and the operation still needs government funding, but surely the benefits outweigh the cost.

This is true. A grand house indeed and a true landmark that draws people from around the globe to Sidney. No one disputes that. What is missing from the equation is what is not so easily visible. Everyone can see the big building, but can you see the faces of frustrated Australian taxpayers decades ago or do you see the important road or bridge that was not built, due to financial constraints created by the Opera project. Of course not.

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