Two years in the making and with a release planned for shortly after a triumphant Shorten Government occupied the Treasury Benches, we now have the Australian Outlook 2019.
A team led by Dr Ken Henry, the man who developed Australia’s disastrous response to the 2007 world economic crisis, has produced a glossy with some smashing pics and charts with wonderful curly lines. The report tells us we have to confront challenges: the Rise of Asia, Technological change, Climate change and environment, Demographics, Trust, Social cohesion.
The Guardian and the AFR waxed lyrical about the blueprint, which is to shape the economy for the Brave New World. We were breathlessly told the nation is once again ‘at the crossroads’, that the report is a “call to arms” and we would, “Drift towards a future of slow decline economically and socially” unless we act now to ‘create a future of greater prosperity for all, globally competitive industries and a sustainable environment’. Ah, the sustainable rub!
The AFR approvingly quoted the report as saying, ‘The world is changing, and Australia will need to adapt much more rapidly than in the past if it is to keep up.’ The report pointed to a need to focus on:
- Technology, (without which the CSIRO as prime financier would not have a guernsey), and better education, quality jobs, and better cities
- Following these bromides, there is the real agenda: ‘reliable, affordable low emissions’ (near zero within 40 years). This is amplified by a call for a land shift for sustainable food fibre and fuel production with, of course, carbon sequestration
- And the ‘clarion call’ finishes with the anodyne appeal for more ‘curiosity, collaboration and solutions’; clothed in a “shift in culture”, this involves a rebuild of trust in politics, business and social institutions.
As with the multitude of previous blueprints for the future, the Australian Outlook 2019 is a means of pointing out that the market based economy is flawed and needs the guidance and wisdom of those gathered together to ensure it is fit for the future purpose. ‘Strong leadership and bold action’ is the ticket.
The modern elixir and the rationale for assembling the team is a need to transform the energy economy. We are told once again that we can have, indeed need to progress towards, a carbon free energy system. This, we are informed, will both be more sustainable and cheaper than those archaic coal generators, some of which refuse to die even when faced with competition from wind that receives a subsidy greater than the market price.
The transition to renewables is said to be inevitable ‘due to continuing reductions in the cost of renewable electricity generation technologies’, but if we can accelerate this, we will enjoy higher growth. Instead of a little over $100,000 per capita by 2060, we will average close to $140,000.
Energy modelling proving that renewables, if given a push, would cleanse the atmosphere and lower energy costs is hardly new.
Back in 2013 and 2014, when electricity prices had not yet succumbed to the destruction meted out by accumulating levels of subsidised renewables, electricity prices were only 40 per cent of those prevailing today. Since 2003, the subsidy for the main renewable scheme covering wind and large sale solar averaged about $60 per MWh. The spot price for electricity is now $100 per MWh but three years ago, prior to the renewables subsidies destroying the market it was under $40.
Yet modelling, most of it commissioned by the subsidy-seekers and their green cohorts, told us that the prices would be lower if we injected subsidised renewables into the mix.
In a 2014 report to the Clean Energy Council, ROAM, forecasted the following price increases in the absence of renewable energy subsidies.
Similarly, SKM in its 2013 report, Estimating the Impact of the RET on Retail Prices, saw price reductions of between 5 and 20 per cent for 2019 as a result of the renewable subsidies.
Energy consultancies followed the money and no firm’s modelling predicted the doubling of prices that were experienced a result of on-going renewable subsidies.
Economic interventionists and other socialists never learn from the past. The planning of their predecessors was always flawed in some way and each newcomer claims that this time they will get it right. Such logic is especially compelling when there’s a sackful of money financing it.
In the Australian Outlook 2019 report the CSIRO is joined by green left subsidy claimants in a fantasy creation, which if followed would prove grossly damaging to the future economy. If nothing else, however, the report offers a useful indication of the location within the CSIRO of a cancerous waste in government spending which, if cut out, would bring benefits far in excess of the pure savings in taxes spent.