My piece in today’s Herald Sun (“Spend plenty to buy nothing” subscription required) addresses the measures Australian governments are taking to prevent people producing things and earning income for themselves (much of which would also be syphoned-off by governments and used as bribes to secure their re-election).
It notes the NSW Baird government got away with spending only $220 million of taxpayers’ funds to stop a coal mine, thus deflecting the hysteria that Alan Jones was whipping up. This is small beer in comparison to the $1 billion plus that Dan Andrews’s Victorian government spent to prevent a road being built, thereby placating his union financiers who were worried that the EastWest Link’s high-productivity workplace agreement would seriously reduce their influence. And that, in turn, is a cheap deal compared with the $50 billion, squandered to secure two seats, on over-priced submarines that are too slow and short range for Australia’s needs.
The spending to prevent the NSW BHP Caroona (thanks Todd) coal mine was allegedly to avoid using up some wonderful agricultural land that was threatened by a tiny development that would return 100 fold the income of any agricultural activity and, being underground, would not have even inconvenienced the farming. Agriculture itself is a major loser from these processes. I pointed out
In a process started almost 10 years ago, John Howard and his then newly minted environment minister, Malcolm Turnbull, were panicked by the “millennial” drought into accepting gibberish about climate change permanently reducing flows down the Murray Darling.
The Murray Darling river system is the basis of Australian irrigated agriculture and the basin’s farms were responsible for 40 per cent of national agricultural output. Howard produced a “10 Point Plan” for restraining water use. Other politicians have built upon this with water buy-backs that have reduced the irrigators’ high security water by two sevenths.
The “millennial” drought, like all others in this continent of highly variable weather patterns, was soon to prove temporary. But regulatory measures once introduced always outlive their purpose.
And this week the Queensland Labor government as a willing accomplice of green income destruction has sought to prevent agricultural expansion in the state. Fortuitously this is being halted, at least temporarily, by a renegade Labor politician and by the fact that aboriginal producers would be hard hit by the proposed measures. (As is also demostrated by their, so far successful, attempts to prevent the Adani coal mine from proceeding, the green activists and their monied supporters care little for aboriginal job creation).
The Herald Sun article finishes with
Unfortunately, our politicians have shifted from being mere irritants to the income producing process to lightning rods that suppress business opportunities on behalf of interest groups and faddists. And politicians, despite their deregulatory statements, seem unable to reverse course.
Politicians spout from one side of their mouths about how we will tap new technology and better use our resources and skills to tap into the burgeoning markets overseas. But it is the other side of their mouths where the real action is. Politics will never enhance technological development only retard it. But it is powerful in preventing the productive process taking place.
It is doubtful that many politicians will feel any shame at the outcome of their policies. We seem to have come to a governance structure where majority political alliances are formed and these take control over decisions that were constitutionally intended to be individually taken. This is the new red tape and tax-taking socialism and its effects are grinding down productivity.