February 3, 2014
The Abbott Government says that it stands for economic freedom with minimal constraint (such as profiting from the exploitation of natural resources) and they argue (that their actions are not detrimental to the interests of others and thus do not need responsible constraints (such as green regulation), regardless of any evidence to the contrary. Freedom to exploit should be possible and desirable.
The appeal is to the self-correcting nature of free markets and the rhetoric. The best remedy for the uneven recovery of the work economy, according to Abbott, is a formula of free markets and minimal government intervention. In Australia this means that no industry sector can consider itself an untouchable sacred cow, strategic asset or Aussie icon. The Abbott government says that its reform agenda is premised on it's commitment to removing industry assistance.
So far we have Cadbury's in Tasmania being given corporate welfare by the Abbott Government. The Abbott government also announced a co-investment deal, remarkably similar in design to the SPCA deal they rejected, with Huon Aquaculture – to upgrade machinery just as SPCA had intended to. But corporate welfare for SPC in Victoria, and GM Holden in South Australia and Victoria is denied.
The contradictions are resolved when we realise that it is politics overriding free market economics.
Now we have the Abbott Government asking the World Heritage Committee to delist about 74,000 hectares of 170,000 which was added under Tasmania's historic forest peace deal. The World Heritage Committee's listing includes the Southern Forests, the Styx, the Florentine and the Great Western Tiers. Correcting the boundary errors of the previous listing, and the degraded sites --ie., old coops, landing and loading platforms, established by previous logging activity--- amount to an insignificant area of the total 70,000 hectares that has been proposed for de-listing.
This represents a forest grab to log old growth forests. Thus we have politics as the servant of the market; or to pit it more bluntly as the servant of specific corporate interests--in this case the forest industry.
So the neo-liberal claim that the “invisible hand of the market” will self-regulate a properly free economic market so as to avert any imbalances and problems associated with resource consumption and its waste products (pollution) does not stack up. Miners, property investors, the banks, the construction industry, fossil fuel industry, the private health insurance, agriculture and the resources industry continue to be major recipients of extensive corporate welfare from the Abbott Govt.
So much for the Abbott government's message that businesses needs to stand on their own two feet. For this government making money and profits through mining and burning fossil fuels is the path to economic growth and prosperity. Regulation (to protect biodiversity and our natural heritage) is a form of interference in this noble activity eg., ---the miners should be allowed to dump 3 million tonnes of sediment from the Abbott Point expansion project into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park so that they can develop the Galilee Basin coal deposits.
The miners just want the freedom to dig up as much of the wealth that currently lies in the ground and to hell with the long consequences such as human-caused climate change. As Paul Rogers observes the fossil-carbon industry position is crystal clear:
If climate change does have to be stopped and carbon-dioxide emissions cut by 80%, then the great majority of the fossil carbon in proved and exploitable reserves of coal, oil and gas cannot be used. This would make the value of these reserves - on which fossil-fuel industry investment is based - essentially worthless: the industry would become a house build not on carbon but on sand. This is simply unacceptable to the industry, which therefore must argue that human-induced climate change simply cannot be happening - end of story.
Hence the continual rejection of the link between a link between the floods, bush fires and heatwaves and human caused climate change/disruption. Anyone who doubts this is an enemy, or a fool, or UnAustralian.