Back to Bolted-Down Industries
by Viv Forbes, Science Writer
Once upon a time Australia was attractive to processing, refining and manufacturing industries using our abundant mineral and food resources, our reliable low-cost coal-fired electricity and a workforce trained in technical skills.
Our last oil refinery has closed, leaving just 3 weeks supply of refined motor fuel in the country and for the first time in at least 60 years Australia no longer produces motor vehicles. China and India have about 430 coal power plants under construction but Australia has not built a single coal-fired power station for seven years – some politicians even rejoice when they manage to close and demolish one. Brisbane’s new trains are being made in India, Victa mowers are made in China and most coastal shipping died decades ago. Steel works and refineries producing aluminium, copper and zinc are under stress. All these industries are being pushed overseas by costly unreliable electricity and other government barriers and burdens.
Red-green policies being pushed by all major parties are making Australia more dependent on bolted-down industries such as mining and farming that can’t be sent overseas because their basic resources are here. And green opposition to nuclear power increases Aussie reliance on coal.
A century ago Australians relied on wool, wheat, gold, silver, copper, lead-zinc, butter, beef and timber – all products of bolted-down industries.
Red-green policies are pushing us back to those days. Politicians need to remember Newton’s Law of Bureaucracy – whenever the government tries to use the force of law to achieve economic goals the long term results will be equal and opposite to those intended.
So in the long run, red-green energy and environmental policies will make us more dependent on the industries they now attack – mining, farming, forestry and fishing.
Construction of new coal-fired power plants is increasing in at least 35 countries:
Asia is returning to Coal:
Greens Disappointed by Economic Growth:
KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter addressed Parliament pleading with the Federal Government to fix the disastrous economic consequences if the motor vehicle manufacturing industries cease, as the government proposes to slash $500 million of assistance to the automotive industry.
“We are living in a country run by foreign monopolies who import their goods on the cheap, whilst our own industries collapse.
“All those Australians losing their jobs can thank their respective ALP-LNP governments, whose free market policies have smashed our industries to pieces. ‘Free market’ simply means big foreign corporations are free to mark prices up to whatever they feel like.
Mr Katter said that Australia’s motor vehicle industry workforce has shrunk one-third in the past decade (from 78,700 in May 2003 down to 50,100 by February 2013).
“We live in a country that will have no manufacturing base. Every report that I have seen states that when the three motor vehicle companies close 72 per cent of Australia’s manufacturing base will go down with them.
“The skyrocketing Australian dollar, high interest rates and ‘Free Market’ zealotry has contributed to the inexorable demise of Australia’s once-proud manufacturing industries,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter is gravely concerned for the thousands of manufacturing workers and communities who will lose their jobs, should Parliament slash the $500m assistance package to the automotive industry.
“These workers are facing the dole. Australia’s unemployment is rising; there are no jobs with our industries collapsing. So where is the government going to find the money to look after these 50,000 people that are going to be thrown out of work?
“You have 300,000 jobseekers and 500,000 people coming into the country and Australia has only 180,000 new jobs. I hope the government has money banked up for welfare payments, because there will be another 100,000 jobs coming down the line when the motor vehicle manufacturing industry closes.
“There is also a multiplier effect of three, for every job that is eliminated another three will be taken out of the economy,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter has previously introduced laws to mandate that all motor vehicles purchased by local, state and federal governments be Australian-made.
“We should be made to drive an Australian motor vehicle. Australians should be driving Australian made motor vehicles and, by protocol, governments should be mandating that politicians in Parliament should be driving Australian motor cars.
“A strong and sustainable manufacturing industry is vital to Australia’s economic and technological advancement,” said Mr Katter.
On 2nd October, the Automotive Transformation Scheme Amendment Bill 2014 passed the House of Representatives; it is now before the Senate.