Unions say energy regulations worse than union militancy as economic wreckers

I have a bit of fun with Paul Howes’ apostasy in an article published in the Herald Sun this morning.  Howes is aware that the change of government is life-threatening to union militancy and to the soft negotiators like himself using union positions as highways to political office.  Hence he wants to blame energy prices which presents other, presumably less mortal, consequences.  Here is the article

Union leader Paul Howes maintains the cause of Australia’s industry competitiveness loss is energy policy, not Australia’s labour regulations and toleration of militants.

It would be helpful if Mr Howes shared his insights into the harmful effects of regulatory-boosted energy costs with his ALP colleagues, because his attempt to deflect blame actually contains some truth.

Government delinquencies have caused energy price rises that have contributed to plant closures, including Point Henry aluminum, Ford, General Motors and Toyota.

Australia has the world’s cheapest coal and vast gas reserves. Yet government cost impositions over the past five years have resulted in our electricity prices now among the world’s highest. And we have moved from a super-abundance of cheap gas to fears of domestic shortages.

Costs stemming from environmental measures are a key cause of this. They add one-third to the electricity price. The carbon tax is most prominent cause but others costs include the Renewable Energy Target and various obligations on retailers to supply energy-saving light bulbs and the like.

As well as adding direct costs, these measures also create inefficiencies by necessitating back-office staff to negotiate and arrange delivery of the many government requirements.

Even if the Abbott government can repeal the carbon tax, energy users will continue to pay subsidies to windmills and roof-top solar. We are half way towards this goal which will increase electricity costs by 40 per cent six years hence.

In addition, the ACCC is inhibiting marketing activity by forbidding door-knocking. And it is preventing industry rationalisations and privatisations by rejecting AGL’s attempt to buy a NSW state-owned generator. Meanwhile, state and commonwealth ministers are further to harass energy retailers by imposing yet another consumerist body on them.

Added to these costs, state governments except Victoria and South Australia are maintaining their ownership monopolies over electricity networks that account for half of the delivered cost. Confirming common knowledge about government businesses’ inefficiencies, the Productivity Commission has found that electricity networks in state ownership are 80 per cent more expensive than those under private ownership.

Then there is gas. Half a century ago Victoria negotiated a great deal with ESSO/BHP for cheap gas. Governments then diluted the worth of this with its overstaffed and sluggish pipeline monopoly, Gas and Fuel. Jeff Kennett privatising the gas pipelines and their retail arms, which like the privatized electricity firms rapidly shed surplus staff and introduced modern work practices to restore low costs.

We have now gone backward again on gas. In response to trumped-up environmental hysteria about possible contamination of the water table we have seen Victoria’s Coalition government banning new exploration of coal seam and shale gas. This sort of gas is now the mainstay of production in the US where, even though two million wells have been sunk, no case of contamination has been found.

The Napthine government’s bans are in stark contrast to Queensland and South Australia whose governments have declared their states are ‘open for business’ on new gas developments.

Victoria can ill-afford to deny itself cheap gas and electricity. Here, as elsewhere in Australia, it is governments standing in the way of low-cost energy and the incomes and jobs this brings.

For those tragics sharing my own interest in energy here also is the IPA submission to the White Paper on Energy which was set up, for whatever reason, by the PM late last year.

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16 Responses to Unions say energy regulations worse than union militancy as economic wreckers

  1. Token

    Union leader Paul Howes maintains the cause of Australia’s industry competitiveness loss is energy policy, not Australia’s labour regulations and toleration of militants.

    One can read into the fact that the former Marxist who went to Cuba is trying to tap into the small government Libertarian trend that the internal polling of the Liars Party & which the unions are running are telling them that the mood of the electorate really has changed fundementally on economic issues.

  2. cohenite

    Good article.

    I was up the Hunter Valley recently; I know some of the guys in the mines. At one mine they showed me the venting stacks or candles. These are used to flare off the CH4 around the coal seams. At this mine they had 3 candles, each 20 meters wide with an ignition mechanism. My mate said about 60000 litres per fucking second was burnt 24/7.

    That’s 60000 litres per second.

    I haven’t done an energy conversion but someone said that’s enough to power Sydney.

    Another mine vents 10000 litres per second.

    The coal guys can’t bottle the gas because of the anti-fracking bullshit and apart from the occasional onsite mini power station powered by some of the gas they are happy to burn the stuff because it is a competitive fuel and it reduces their CO2 tax obligations.

    Stupid doesn’t begin to describe this and pieces of shit like Howes, or anyone who is either green or kowtows to the bastards, should be strung up across the top of one of these candles.

  3. Token

    Stupid doesn’t begin to describe this and pieces of shit like Howes, or anyone who is either green or kowtows to the bastards, should be strung up across the top of one of these candles.

    That is the problem with Howes gaming to distort the message. Instead of long term reform being enacted, he creates friction to keep the existing broken structures in place (which is of course why his paymasters at the AWU allow him to write these articles).

  4. gabrianga

    Nothing changes. During negotiations for two new uranium mines in the N.T. (during the ALP’S 2 or three uranium mining policy) it was suggested that backing would come from the AWU should the companies agree to the AWU “covering ” the projects.

    Martin Ferguson’s MWU were at that time the predominant union in all N.T mines.

  5. blogstrop

    Cohenite’s comment above once again illustrates how the connivance of environmentalists, greens, Labor – but above all the media who will not honestly discuss such things – has inflicted damage on everyone. This madness must stop.

  6. Squirrel

    I would be interested to know exactly what Paul Howes said – haven’t found any recent direct quotes from him on this subject. If his words turn out to be unhelpful to the parliamentary wing of Labor, that would be interesting.

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    Union leader Paul Howes maintains the cause of Australia’s industry competitiveness loss is energy policy, not Australia’s labour regulations and toleration of militants.

    Translated to ALP speak:

    I am the bitter enemy of Willy Dick Shorten and I will do anything to rid the AWU of his influence so I can rise to my manifest destiny of Prime Minister.

    He is not outing himself as a climate sceptic, just as a traditional “smyler with the knyfe under the cloak”.

    I am prepared to be proven wrong…in fact I’d welcome it. But somehow I don’t think I am.

  8. H B Bear

    … but … but … but isn’t Piggy one of Labor’s best and brightest young hopes for the future?

  9. lem

    I thought Howes was going to sell his house if one job was lost because of the Carbon tax?

  10. Empire Strikes Back

    I thought Howes was going to sell his house if one job was lost because of the Carbon tax?

    Didn’t the wife get the house?

  11. ProEng

    You could mention cement works as well. Adelaide Brighton Cement (ABC) have recently announced they will import clinker to Perth and close clinker making at the Cockburn Cement works putting off 44 workers. In Perth GBC cement already imports clinker so there will no on WA clinker production only imported clinker grinding. Last year Boral closed the Waurn Ponds (near Geelong Vic.) cement works. Earlier the Kandos works was closed. Australian cement are installing cement receival facilities at Port Kembla -they already have facilities in Sydney and Newcastle & Brisbane, to bring in cement from Indonesia. ABC are building extra grinding at their Adelaide works and are putting in receival facilities. The Angaston works in the Barrosa is sure to close after the SA elections. The Tasmanian works at Railton maybe next to be close if the Carbon tax is not scraped quickly. Cement works are hit three times -1 for CO2 in limestone, 2 for fuel use in the clinker kiln and 3 for electricity in grinding.
    Cement and concrete are needed for infrastructure and all types of building, roads bridges etc. Soon it will all be imported.

  12. incoherent rambler

    cohenite #1215362, posted on March 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Frackin’ crazy. Now tell me, what is the domestic and industrial price of gas in Australia?
    How do our LNP governments feel about burning money?

    ProEng #1215483, posted on March 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Cement is an energy intensive business. It all comes down to coal or gas costs.
    As an example of our uncompetitive energy costs, we import high energy material (cement). So the next step is we import aluminium?
    Government is surely be working on the next Australian industry that they can force offshore.
    Frackin’ insane.

  13. wazsah

    Re cohenite comment – check out what AGL said May 2013 about future gas supplies to NSW – Go to this ASX site and download the AGL presentation -
    31/05/2013 Merchant Energy Presentation
    http://www.asx.com.au/asx/statistics/announcements.do?by=asxCode&asxCode=AGK&timeframe=Y&year=2013
    On page 60/66 they say – Cooper Basin gas expected to largely flow to Qld from 2015.
    Then on p 63/66 are the amazing figures attached showing various sources for NSW AQ (I think = Average Quantity) and Maximum Daily Quantity for now and 2017. Look how they are modelling Moomba supply to cease supplying NSW by 2017 – surely it will not happen so abrupt. Hoping NSW CSG will take up some slack in 2017 – some hope. And CSG is being flared off in the Hunter – insane.

  14. brc

    Recently I had someone on a forum challenge me that the carbon tax hasn’t forced any Australian industries to close. The evidence is ‘the executives didn’t list it as a reason for closure’.

    You don’t need a CEO statement – just look at the figures. Carbon tax comes in, plants get shuttered permanently all over Australia. The carbon tax lovers forget that it’s never ending, and legislated to bite harder each year. So even if you could cop the first years tax – why would you bother when it was going to get worse and worse each year.

    And the favourite excuse for closing industry is the high Australian dollar. These are the same people that think an internationally rigged market for trading air-promises was a good idea, as if the currency market wasn’t volatile enough for them.

    What I want to know is why Gillard, Emerson, Combet and Swan aren’t out the front of each closed plant, doing a happy ‘we just saved the planet’ dance. Closing down these industries wasn’t a bug, it’s the one and only feature of the tax. They were supposed to close down, being ‘big polluders’ after all. You can only save the planet from evil carbon dioxide by stopping its production.

    So why isn’t the Labor party campaigning for QANTAS to close? It’s a big polluder, after all.

    Strike me pink this carbon tax mess makes me an unhappy camper.

  15. Mon

    During the week on the Drum, there was a creature form the Chaser group who was suggesting it would be good to see Qantas gone. I dare say he will be spending Easter at the Melbourne University along with all the others Marxist and Howes.

  16. Bons

    So what is the common denomitator that elevates the ravings of an uneducated, socially irresponsible thug into the public domain.
    Let’s work through this analytically – ABC….defghi

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