February 11, 2014
The Abbott Government reckons that Australia can survive in a global market without an, or a very minimal, industrial base. It's an interesting policy suggestion. Apparently Australia will do okay riding on the back of the super-sized mining truck (ie., exporting gas, coal and iron ore). That implies the miners rule the roost.
The Abbott Government and its allies are punting on China and India to counterbalance Australia's de-industrialization, even though the mining boom is ending. I guess that is what they mean when Minister's say that for every job lost in manufacturing other openings abound, that workers who'd lost their livelihoods ought to feel liberated "to pursue new opportunities" and that they have one million new jobs planned.
How's that going to happen with the mining boom winding down, the politics of austerity via the Commission of Audit and the destruction of the knowledge based digital economy? It sure ain't going to come from the renewable energy industry cos the Abbott Government is setting about to hollow that industry out.
The Abbott Government has no idea where the other openings abound with better jobs. They don't have an industry policy. Their position is that its not the government's role to intervene since the deregulated market will sort things out. Currently, the market is delivering Australia the “resource” curse experienced by other countries: intense exploitation of natural resources, adverse impacts on other sectors and a lack of investment in education.
Increased research and development dollars, re-skilling programs for workers, industry assistance, or greater educational investments – are not considered to be worthwhile investments.
Abbott has repeated on a number of occasions that he sees Australia’s rich domestic reserves of coal and gas as a source of cheap energy that could support manufacturing. Whose he trying to kid? Gas prices are starting to rise until they become the same as world prices as a result of the LNG export facilities. That just leaves coal.