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The plan, boss, the plan

The Coalition have been assuring us for years that they have a plan for real solutions and that the plan will provide jobs and growth and reduce the deficit.

Now I’m no expert, which makes me eminently qualified to discuss what the non-experts who occupy the government benches are doing.

If those are your goals, wouldn’t it have been far better to continue subsidising the car industry than paying 30% more for submarines to be built locally?

As the submarines haven’t even been designed yet, they aren’t going to be creating any jobs here for years and, even when they do start in the late 2020s, according to the government they “will directly sustain around 1100 Australian jobs and a further 1700 Australian jobs through the supply chain”. The car industry, on the other hand, was employing tens of thousands of people directly, and many more through the supply chain, right now.

From 2001 to 2012, Holden generated $32.7 billion of economic activity in Australia, and paid $21 billion to other companies while receiving $1.8 billion in subsidies. That’s a pretty good return on investment for the government.

What economic activity will the subs generate over the next decade? How much will it cost the government?

We went through some sort of competitive evaluation process and then chose the most expensive option.

Aside from the few ship builders who will be employed, we now need to prop up an ailing steel industry which had survived quite well under a carbon tax. No doubt commodity prices and the lower dollar are contributing factors but a commitment to use Aussie steel in government contracts might have been helpful earlier, as would have been a commitment to use Aussie cars by all levels of government and public service.

A US bank lent Gina Rinehart money on the proviso that her Roy Hill project purchased mining and rail equipment from US companies. We could be making that a condition for approval.

One wonders what role free trade agreements have played in the demise of so many industries. Ever since we rushed to get signatures on the line, making the date more important than the detail, our trade balance figures have been poor – we are importing more than we are exporting.

And we continue to waste money hand over fist on subsidies and concessions that skew investment in the wrong direction.

In November last year, a new international report revealed that Australia is still subsidising fossil fuel production to the tune of a massive $A5.6 billion a year.

The report, ‘Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production’, also highlights how Australian companies have received billions of dollars from other G20 governments to develop liquefied natural gas sites.

And it notes that Australia also funds the industry with a further $A292 million a year in public finance, as it expands fossil fuel production on multiple fronts.

According to the new report – put together by the UK-based Overseas Development Institute and USA-based Oil Change International – governments from the Group of 20 nations are propping up fossil fuel production with $US452 billion a year.

This is almost four times the entire global subsidies for renewable energy ($US121 billion).

Our government’s mixed messages have decimated the renewable energy industry in Australia. It isn’t taxes that deter investment – it is uncertainty.

Also influencing investment decisions are the overly generous concessions offered on property and superannuation.

An analysis by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling of the costs and take-up of negative gearing, the 50 per cent capital gains tax discount, and superannuation tax concessions, shows the combined revenue loss – or tax expenditure – will amount to some $50 billion annually within three years, although under 7 per cent of that benefit will flow to the under 30s.

And then there is the NBN.

We could have been employing thousands of people to install a world class service which would have benefitted business and society in so many ways into the future. We have now got ourselves in such a muddle, we don’t have enough skilled technicians and Telstra is installing copper into greenfield developments.

The false economies keep on piling up.

They slashed funding to ASIC, the ATO and the CSIRO, resulting in thousands of job losses and redundancy payouts, until they realised there was no one left to crack down on the banks or corporate tax evaders or to research how we survive climate change, so they had to start hiring again.

Money is spent on Royal Commissions and inquiries and reports, only to have the same recommendations ignored time after time.

Cutting funding for health, education and welfare in order to give big business a tax cut is not a plan Malcolm. It’s a rort with our money.

Instead of fiddle fart-arsing around arguing about plebiscites and referenda and Section 18C and the ABCC, start working on the tough decisions that would actually create jobs for the future and the revenue necessary to fund our society.

What’s da plan, boss?

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38 comments

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    The plan is quite simple: stay in government as long as is possible, sell everything that you can, privatise the rest then let the opposition have a go and shout loudly how inept they are.

  2. Freethinker

    Regarding the “sound investment” in the submarines we have to remember that the ALP is in favor of this plan as well, so no much hope for us.
    Meanwhile, forget about the car industry if priorities are the issue, we should take public transport until there are beds in public hospitals.
    Talking about priorities, how much money we allocated for the Olympic games?
    I guess that the homeless people with mental health issues are far back in the queue.

  3. Keitha Granville

    agree Freethinker, it’s all focussed on what makes money, when in fact the focus should be on using OUR money to look after US, provide services for US, keep US healthy and educated – and in doing those things WE will all be better off. Jobs, income tax, growth – that’s what happens when you put people in front of profit.

  4. Gwynne

    Pierre: You forgot one thing. Demonize and punish the poor .

  5. z

    even if the submarine actually been assembled locally, that can prove nothing about this country has the capability of high end technology to build modern military ships because we don’t master core technology, same as car industry has disappeared now, once sub. assembling finish the industry will disappear

  6. Ross

    Emeritus Professor of History and Politics at Griffith University, Ross Fitzgerald wrote recently in the Fairfax press, “For what it’s worth, my tip is that the longer the Turnbull prime ministership lasts, the better the Abbott prime ministership might seem”.
    Words fail, so soon after an election win, to be tipped as going to be worse than the very worst prime minister in Australian history beggar’s belief. Recent debacles aside what are the odds on Malcolm surviving until Christmas with that sort of endorsement?
    If there is a cunning plan, nobody in this government knows what it it is.

  7. Kaye Lee

    Investing in human capital takes longer than an election cycle. Selling profitable assets gives an instant sugar hit.

    In February, Medibank (MPL) posted a net profit of $227.6 million for the six months through December, an increase of 58 per cent over the prior interim result of $143.8m. Revenues rose 2.5 per cent to $3.41 billion over the same period.

    Health insurance premium revenue grew 4.6 per cent during the half year to $3.1bn, underpinned by the government approved premium rate rise of 6.59 per cent. Medibank reaffirmed recently upgraded guidance for the financial year, expecting premium revenue growth of between 4.5 and 5 per cent and an operating profit of $470m.

    However, the number of policy holders fell by 0.6 per cent.

    More than one-third of the complaints made to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman in the past financial year were made by disgruntled Medibank policyholders.

    A record 4408 complaints against all health funds were made in 2015-16, up by 29 per cent on the 2013-14 figure. 1545 of the complaints were lodged by Medibank customers, up by 148 per cent over the same period.

    So we have foregone the revenue, premiums have gone up, the service is worse and people are opting out. That’s not a plan.

  8. Jack Straw

    So we have foregone the revenue, premiums have gone up, and the service is worse. That’s not a plan.

    Kaye; It’s called insane fundamentalist’s ideology; that’s their plan, No different to Muslim extremist intent on wrecking the place for there ideology.

  9. Terry2

    It was very telling when the PM came out stridently telling the banks to pass on the full .25% rate reduction from the RBA or explain why they hadn’t to the people of Australia.

    They thumbed their noses, defied the man with the plan and did neither.

    They want people to open up their purses and start spending to generate economic growth , that’s what the reduction in interest rate is all about . But, credit card rates remain at around 20% pa (19.74% in the case of my NAB Mastercard).

    Who’s da boss ?

  10. guest

    On the front page of The Weekend Australian: “Hopes for a gold rush rest on the shoulders of swimming’s dream team.”

    The article goes on to say: “Some judges have predicted as many as 11 gold medals for the swimming team, although a more measured forecast would be between five and eight…”

    Better than one!

    And they have a timetable of events, days and times.

    Yep, it’s all planned. Don’t we love the cry: ‘Gold! Gold! Gold for Australia!’ Except that on that occasion it was after the event. The latest is before.

    Somehow I find this obsession with gold to be crass, if not obsessional.

    And it is mirrored in the dreaming for ‘Jobs and growth.’ It all rests on the shoulders of ‘agility’ and ‘innovation’. The dream team!

  11. Neil of Sydney

    If those are your goals, wouldn’t it have been far better to continue subsidising the car industry

    They did. Funding was legislated until 2020. It would take an act of Parliament to change the subsidies and the Coalition did not have the numbers to do that

    http://www.bulletpoint.com.au/ats/

    The Automotive Transformation Scheme have two stages that run from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2020 and include:

    capped assistance of $1.5 billion from 2011 to 2015 (Stage 1)
    capped assistance of $1 billion from 2016 to 2020 (Stage 2)
    uncapped assistance of approximately $847 million.

    By the way i thought you lefties were against giving multi-national companies subsidies. Please make up your minds. Should multi-national companies pay tax or not?

  12. Clean livin

    Ah…. You are being to hard on the Government. Of course they have a plan!

    Unfortunately, it’s an operational matter, and they can’t talk about it.

    And even if they didn’t have a plan, it would be better than Labors plan.

    Besides, it’s Labor fault, however that can fit in.

  13. Kaye Lee

    The federal government expects to only spend $100 million of the $500 million in funding assistance to the car industry between now and 2017 that was restored in a policy about-face on Tuesday.

    Because the industry is winding down and is unlikey to want much ongoing assistance, the government does no t believe much of the money will be spent.,

    The government had planned to cut $500 million between now and 2017 while another $400 million was to be allocated beyond that until 2020. Mr Macfarlane said the $400 million will disappear with the industry and will be banked as a long-term saving.

    http://www.afr.com/news/politics/coalition-retreats-on-car-industry-subsidy-cuts-20150309-13znxc#ixzz4GWBj0d9r

  14. Michael Taylor

    “Should multi-national companies pay tax or not?”

    You asked that question a dozen times last month and you were provided with dozens of answers.

    So why do you ask again now? Is it because:
    1. You’re being a smart arse
    2. You’re just using your favourite tactic to disrupt a thread?

    If you ask again I will delete your comment. I’m not in the mood for your games. Nobody else would be either.

  15. Kaye Lee

    In August 2013, a journalist asked Joe Hockey “Should you win the election, at what stage will you own the economy and at what stage will it no longer be Labor’s fault?”

    Hockey responded “We will own the economy from day one, whether it’s Labor’s fault or not. I’m not afraid to accept responsibility and I’m not afraid to be accountable. We will own it from day one. We will be responsible for the Australian economy.”

  16. Neil of Sydney

    The federal government expects to only spend $100 million of the $500 million in funding assistance to the car industry between now and 2017 that was restored in a policy about-face on Tuesday.

    It was not restored. It was never taken away.

    The Coalition did not have the numbers in the Senate to abolish subsidies which had been legislated until 2020. They backed down on the cuts because they knew they did not have the numbers in the Senate to abolish the subsidies legislated until 2020.

    The money is still there. If you want to apply go here

    https://www.business.gov.au/assistance/automotive-transformation-scheme

    Current applications close 31/12/2016

  17. Kaye Lee

    I am not going to discuss this with you again Neil. The point is that, IF we are going to subsidise an industry because of employment and skills training, cars would have been a shit load cheaper and more productive than subs. Do try to stay on task. Thanks.

  18. Aortic

    Will we need subs years and years down the track? My understanding is that warfare will be conducted from impenetratable bunkers thousands of kilometres away with the capability of blowing anything out of the sky or water. Smacks solely of a political manoeuvre to keep the LNP stocks relevant in SA as do all the other rampant wastes of money you mention Kaye across the board.

  19. jim

    See the only time we had positive trade was dec. 2013 to march 2014 or when labor were in so that was Labors fault I’m sure LOL.

  20. stephentardrew

    Why do so many suckers vote for these idiots. Another boot in the guts for the working class. Those jobs are going soon and there will be horrendous suffering and hardship.

    These people are vile cruel and brutal and quite frankly I have had enough. No more niceties across the aisle they are despicable.

    Shorten find some balls and attack front on or get out of the way.

    And guess what? They don’t give a damn none of them or they would have fought relentlessly for these workers.

  21. Kaye Lee

    While we are committing hundreds of billions to subs, we are also committing billions more to anti-sub surface craft, helicopters and missiles. China already has 70 subs. By the time we get one built what use will it be?

  22. Freethinker

    By the time we get one built what use will it be?

    If we still have the coalition in government the subs will be sold cheap or donate to Indonesia.

    Sorry Kaye for the troll, but I have the guts full of how this government behave. Sarcasm is only last resort to keep us sane.

  23. Sick of Neil

    Neil of Sydney “Australians voted and they did not want to buy Aussie made crap.”

    The main market for Australian cars is the second-hand car market where consumers look for well maintained vehicles that are easy to repair, cost effective transport powerful enough to tow with. How many 20+yo commodores and falcons are on the road?

    Find me a euro shit box, a Korean tin can or some jap crap that meet the criteria that are not AWD or 4×4’s.

    They simply do not exist and the demise of the local car industry began when government departments were allowed to buy imported cars to save a few bucks on fuel. If John Howard had half a brain he would have stopped LPG exports and made the entire government fleet LPG powered, cleaner than diesel or petrol and cost effective.

  24. Neil of Sydney

    Michael

    Why did you delete me? It was polite and on topic if a little repetitive?

    By the way Kaye, the submarines have bipartisan support. They were proposed by Rudds 2009 White paper. It sounds a little crazy because we cannot man the 6 we have now. There is no way we will be able to find enough people to run 12 subs.

  25. Möbius Ecko

    I looked at Rudd’s White Paper and nowhere could I find that the subs had to be more expensive French nuclear models modified to be conventional at additional cost, plus a 30% premium on top of that to build them in Australia whilst employing far more French workers than Australians.

    That’s all the Liberal’s doing.

    Why do you have to relate every considerable Liberal stuff up to Labor? Why is your years of responses “Labor” to topics on the Liberals?

  26. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    the general proposition for plans is they only work if they have reasonable expectations based on fair agendas, diligent proponents and enforceable but equitable procedures.

    The LNP fail, fail and fail.

  27. Michael Taylor

    Neil, I didn’t delete your comment. One of the other moderators mudt have. Obviously they too are sick of hearing the same crap from you day after day.

    But whoever it was who deleted your comment, I commend them.

  28. Freethinker

    Sick of Neil said: Find me a euro shit box, a Korean tin can or some jap crap that meet the criteria that are not AWD or 4×4’s.

    I dispute that mate, we have Peugeot in the family that are 30 years old.
    IMO the main responsible politician for start the destruction of the car manufacturing in Australia was senator John Button with his “plan” modernising Australia’s car industry by reducing tariffs and government protection.

  29. keerti

    You’ve been told, “The adults are in charge!” Now be seen and not heard!

  30. nurses1968

    It seems that Malcolm Turnbull is taking matters in hand to strengthen his position within the Liberals at the same time as a lot of senior public servants are deserting the ship.
    My employer who is on the other side if the world at the moment seems to find these things out and it seems Malcolm doubling up on staff and leaving some out in the cold .Christopher Pyne has gained Turnbulls support with a new appointment, a special advisor from the PMs staff.That new position will be filled by one of the Prime Minister’s own media advisers, former Channel 10 journalist Matt Moran.
    As ex member for Eden Monaro, Peter Hendy goes into Turnbulls office as his chief economist. on double what he earned as an MP.Reward for allowing Malcolms plot against Abbott and the organisation of the coup to take place at his Quenbeyan home I guess .
    Attorney-General George Brandis, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Health Minister Sussan Ley and others are losing their chiefs of staff, with acting appointments already in some of those offices.{Is that for Malcolm to keep a closer eye on them?}
    So, it seems Malcolm has learnt so things from Abbott and is building his own little star chamber as the Prime Minister has assigned senior advisers from his office to help coordinate, approve and veto post-election staffing appointments across the ministries

  31. Neil of Sydney

    IMO the main responsible politician for start the destruction of the car manufacturing in Australia was senator John Button

    The reason manufacturing has left Australia is because it is too expensive to make stuff here.

    I remember in the 1990’s a pair of Reeboks cost $250 in Australia but only $50 in the USA. And both countries imported them from China. Even when taking into account economies of scale and exchange rates it shows that for fully imported products how much more expensive it is to do business in Australia. And that is why people are going online more. If you can import it yourself you save the markup Australians shops put on imported products to pay wages, rent etc

    If we want to subsidies manufacturing in Australia we should try some nich market.

  32. Möbius Ecko

    It’s more expensive to manufacture in Scandinavian countries, Germany and some other European countries than in Australia, yet they still manufacture a whole range of goods from low to top end.

    American manufacturing is not as dead as people make it out to be, it’s just shifted to other areas. Read up on it.

    And no matter how cheap the labour overseas, the biggest threat is not how low the wages and conditions but automation. It’s estimated that currently 57% of all jobs in the world can be automated, and that will grow exponentially over the coming decades.

  33. Freethinker

    Neil of SydneyAugust 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm
    “The reason manufacturing has left Australia is because it is too expensive to make stuff here.” end of quote

    Disagree 100% when Ford said that the workers were earning to much money to make the Capri, the Mazda workers assembling the M5 were earning $80000 a year, nearly 3 times more than the workers here.

    I was involved in automatic and CNC machine tools maintenance for many years I I can telling you that the main problem of the engineering here in Oz were on the decade of the 70’s and 80’s no investing in new machine tolls and their maintenance.
    Many companies were using machine tools 40 years old expecting pay workers based in productivity.

  34. Neil of Sydney

    It’s more expensive to manufacture in Scandinavian countries, Germany and some other European countries than in Australia, yet they still manufacture a whole range of goods from low to top end.

    Then why has manufacturing left Australia? It is basically all gone.

    I looked at Rudd’s White Paper and nowhere could I find that the subs had to be more expensive French nuclear models modified to be conventional at additional cost

    Apparently Rudds White paper proposed 12 submarines but provided no detail. 12 upgraded Collins class? 12 subs designed by the Japanese, Germans, French? Apparently it did not say. That was left to the Coalition govt to get started. I wonder if we would have gone with the Japanese if Abbott was still PM?

  35. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    So what are we going to do to stop everything going automated?

    I admit I am really, really, really lazy, if I can get away with it.

    But I’m also very, very, very self-protective, if what promises more is really less … and then I will act to expunge the false promiser.

  36. Neil of Sydney

    I looked at Rudd’s White Paper and nowhere could I find that the subs had to be more expensive French nuclear models modified to be conventional at additional cost, plus a 30% premium on top of that to build them in Australia whilst employing far more French workers than Australians.

    OK Mobius what would you have done? Rudd 2009 White paper proposed 12 submarines built in Australia. And that was it. Midget subs? Big subs? Small subs? Upgraded Collins Class? Subs designed in Japan. Germany, France? The Rudd White paper provided no details or costings. That was left to the incoming Coalition govt. At least they made a decision.

    What would you have done Mobius?

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