Looking at the Federal government’s various grants schemes, it’s no wonder the Nats end up with a disproportionate number of seats in parliament. They have had a fortune to throw around. Regional areas have been literally showered with money from a variety of schemes. No doubt many worthy projects have been funded but some just leave you going WTF?
The largest single grant given under the Regional Growth Fund was $28.5 million to Rhinemetall Nioa Munitions Pty Ltd for the construction of a “projectile forging plant” to create large calibre military projectiles in Maryborough in Queensland.
“The forging and manufacturing facility will produce artillery shell cases and other munitions-related products for supply to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and for export to allied nations around the world.”
This was announced by Michael McCormack and member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien – the guy who just had a hissy fit and found himself Deputy Speaker, a role he may struggle with as he has only been in parliament for three and a half years.
The aim is to boost local employment though it is rather confusing as to just how many jobs it will provide.
The company says it “will create up to 100 direct, long term and highly skilled jobs in the Maryborough and Fraser Coast region.”
Llew O’Brien says that the project will “support 78 jobs through the construction phase, including 27 direct construction positions” and, once operational, “the plant is expected to create 100 direct manufacturing positions.”
In the same media release, Michael McCormack said the grant would “create an anticipated 24 direct jobs and support up to 100 ongoing roles once the project is complete.”
They use the words “up to” and “support” a lot which, along with the different figures they are quoting, makes it sound like they are just making up numbers as Adani did.
Some people may recognise the name Nioa – he’s Bob Katter’s son-in-law, the biggest gun importer in the country apparently.
His partner in this venture, German company Rhinemetall, generated sales of €6.148 billion in 2018, so they’re not short of a quid.
Aside from the $28.5 million gifted to them by the Federal government, the project was also given $7.5 million by the Queensland government from its “Jobs and Regional Growth Fund”.
On top of that, the Queensland government also forked out $9 million to upgrade energy supply and connection for the plant.
Mr O’Brien said the project would potentially add “more than $100 million in economic output, including $36 million within the Wide Bay region alone.”
So we have paid out $45 million to get a potential return of $36 million for the region?
Construction hasn’t even begun yet even though the grant was handed out a year ago. Nice little earner in the meantime.
Even if the 100 jobs actually eventuated (highly doubtful), that’s $450,000 of public money per job we have paid to two very successful companies, one of whom will take their profits offshore. It makes the subsidies to our lost car manufacturing industry seem miniscule.
As a business owner and employer in a regional area, I have never received any assistance from the government and I don’t expect any. Either the business is viable or it’s not.
But then again, I don’t have relatives in politics.
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