When I read this week that the University of Tasmania's Inveresk development had been added to the National Project Priority List, my first thought was 'this will be fun'.
Of course, the Phantom, as we call the UTAS development at our place, should be a priority.
But it all depends on the meaning of two words: List and Priority.
List: (meaning) number of connected items or names written or printed consecutively, typically one below the other.
Priority: (meaning) thing that is regarded as more important than others.
I googled the Commonwealth's list of priorities and found it was a 168-page book, delightfully referred to as a 'summary'.
Summary: (meaning) a brief statement or account of the main points of something.
I was concerned at the 15-year 'Priority' timeline. Then it made sense. I understood.
It's like when you're put on hold on the MyGov helpline and told that due to increased demand, you're call won't be answered for 15 years.
And, dear reader, you will be happy to hear that the priority list is a 'living' document.
I'd argue there's probably more life within the 168-page summary than in many of the poor projects.
The problem with the 168-page list is that it's not really a list of priorities. It's a list with no apparent purpose.
Funny too, I thought, it doesn't actually say when and how something will be transformed from priority to reality.
Silly me. It's like a magic list! I fear it's the kind of list whose main role is to provide comfort.
Comfort: (meaning) a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
Like, somehow, when a project is added to the list, we all sit in a circle, squeeze our eyes shut, join hands and hold our breath for 7,884,000 minutes (15 years), and stuff will happen. Yep. We'll all be dead before the projects get started.
It's a list, but not as you know it.
You know how you go into the supermarket with a list of, say, milk, bread, cheese, Nutella and Brussel sprouts and you come out of with money spent and items purchased?
IT'S NOT THAT KIND OF LIST, SILLY.
You know when ingredients are listed? You make, bake then eat a very tasty moussaka? Not that kind of list either.
What about the list of jobs you give to your partner when you head off to work and they're home on holidays?
You're getting warmer.
What about when you give your 12-year-old son $20 and give him a list of healthy food choices and he comes home with a slab of Diet Coke?
Now we're talking.
The National Project Priority List is kind of like AFL cellar dwellers the Gold Coast Suns' player wish-list.
Previously 'listed' was the magnificent, Tasmanian Pipeline to Prosperity.
Remember these (2018) Tasmanian projects that were listed as national priorities?
- Hobart Science and Technology (STEM) Precinct
- Derwent River Crossing Capacity (wtf? It's the Bridgewater Bridge!)
- Burnie to Hobart Freight Corridor Strategy
- Tasmanian Sewerage Infrastructure Upgrades
- Second Bass Strait Interconnector.
The dudes from Infrastructure Tasmania who submitted the Bridgewater Bridge for inclusion in the list must be right-cranky that they are now officially "so last year" and this week were deemed not a priority and taken off the list, ie. when the Derwent freezes over.
What does all this mean for our UTAS Phantom?
Phantom: (meaning) something that appears or seems to exist but is not real.