The cost of energy and labour law impositions on firms

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!

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7 Responses to The cost of energy and labour law impositions on firms

  1. blogstrop

    The legacy of the green/labor/media complex reign is the destruction of productive industries. While the merits of carmaking here are arguable, aluminium smelting was logical and feasible.

  2. Andrew

    Noticed the filthies actually CELEBRATING the loss of the smelting and steel industries? “The World Biggest Carbon Tax is working!!!!” sneered Blabbersac, during another Abbottabbottabbott666 rant. Emissions dropped 0.1%, particularly from industries subject to the WBCT.

    Well of course they did – they fucked off!

    Did the consumption of Al fall globally? No? Gee, they must be smelting it somewhere else. (Possibly in one of the 171 countries without a carbon dioxide tax.) The net effect on GLOBAL emissions is literally to increase them – you have to ship the coal and the alumina from AUS to somewhere far away. And that is these people’s idea of a success! (Admittedly, increasing global emissions while putting thousands of people out of work IS a relatively good outcome, compared to some of their other efforts.)

  3. Tom

    The AbbottAbbottAbbott regime is indeed in a race to see whether all the hard work done by the Green-Left Industrial Complex in the past six years to destroy the Australian economy will be allowed to stand: high taxes, high wages and choking red and green tape.

    But one but one the big job generators are leaving town:

    ALCOA will not seek further government assistance for its troubled Point Henry aluminium smelter, dramatically increasing the chances of its closure this year and the loss of 500 more jobs in Victoria’s manufacturing sector.

    The company revealed yesterday that neither state nor federal aid was being sought for the smelter, despite the Gillard government handing Alcoa $40 million in 2012 to keep the operation near Geelong open.

    Its decision to eschew further assistance is expected to make it virtually impossible for the business to remain viable at a time when weak aluminium prices have forced the global organisation to review its operations.

    With the number of net tax payers destined to become a minority in the next few years if the joint is not fixed, I’m not convinced that a majority actually understand the full impact of the economic crisis precipitated by the left since 2007.

  4. Uber

    Alan why treat people like idiots?

    Sydney’s Kurri Kurri aluminium smelter“. What the hell? You think Herald readers can’t get their heads around the concept of place names?

    Try this next time:

    “Kurri Kurri’s aluminium smelter”

  5. nerblnob

    Uber, he’s writing an article for a Melbourne paper, which being online, could be read anywhere in the world. I’m only one of the millions of Australians and billions of world citizens who have never heard of Kurri Kurri.

    That said, given the Norwegian wages in Australia, and well, Australian unions and taxes, the only viable manufacturing options left are those that capitalise on Australia’s abundant cheap energy and natural resources … well, why don’t we just tax both until they’re unsustainable and then write a play about the wonderful lost culture of long lost mining towns, I mean ” communities” .

  6. jupes

    Imagine Australia with no regulations on energy production.

    We would live in a coal fired manufacturing wonderland.

    And global temperature would not change one jot.

  7. Myrddin Seren

    The legacy of the green/labor/media complex reign is the destruction of productive industries.

    Regrettably I have little-to-no faith that the lifetime political class that constitutes the Coalition state governments ‘get it’ either.

    Before NSW Minister Greg Pearce got the boot, I heard him and Premier Barry O’Farrell rabbiting on once about using the state government IT requirements to turn NSW into a ‘smart state’.

    Translation – low profile IT and service jobs like Silicon Valley, where the political class don’t get flak from the Green Left AND the Doctors’ Wives about nasty smelly primary and secondary industry.

    Of course, unless you are one of the 1%/Hunger Games new feudal barons in the Silicon Valley or one of their code cutting minions – your job prospects in the Smart State involve pouring the lattes and tidying the lawns of the barons.

    So basically state governments and local councils almost everywhere are throwing workers, entrepreneurs and investors in primary and secondary industries under the bus to satisfy the demands of the insatiable Green Left and the Latte set.

    Problem – we aren’t broke enough yet. Things have to get a LOT worse before the mesage might sink in to the Political Class bubbleworld – by which time it will be too late.

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