I have a piece in the Herald Sun this morning that contrasts the remarkably optimistic Dun and Bradstreet survey issued earlier this week with some of the highly visible difficulties of key businesses.
Firms still have the legacy of the ALP carbon tax and other cost impositions (one of which, the renewable requirements, seems to remain favoured by key ministers). Nor has there been any unravelling of Australia’s archaic labour market laws that force employers into contracts not of their own choosing and buttress this with a bevy of union friendly judges.
As has been traversed often in the Cat, the car assembly facilities in Australia were always marginal and subject to considerable intra-firm competition globally but measures that boost labour costs by 50-100 per cent backed by the law, or partisan interpretations of it, provide the coup de grace. Toyota seem destined to follow Ford and GM. This should not be the case for aluminium smelting, where energy is the critical input and where Australia with perhaps the lowest cost electricity in the world should be the last place to face rationalisation in the face of over-capacity. Alas, governments have made it so!