“Australia Can Adapt; Correction, MUST Adapt”

2 Sep

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Nation needs to invest in regional areas to prosper

The storms have returned, the frosts have left and the ladies have returned to their ritual pre dawn constitutional. I can hear them chatting as they walk down St George’s Terrace past my house. Monday night as I drove down from Roma, the sky was strafed with lightning and the news was that there had been hail at Mitchell. I peered at the bitumen for the telling sign of big bouncing rain drops. The kangaroos are on the wheat crops making the 400 km trip to Roma and back a more diligent operation. You do not want to have one sitting on your bonnet or peering instantaneously through, while pressed against, the side window before cart-wheeling into the scrub.

I love the drive, the alternating between silence, Radio National, then music, Jeff Buckley, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Radiohead. I love being home, footy shorts and thongs as opposed to suit and tie in Canberra. Most importantly I get to drop my kids off at school and pick them up, rather than interview lobbyists. I am sitting at my desk in my office and the sunlight is dancing on the water in the river; all is beautiful.

However, and there always seems to be that “however”, this week we cracked $200 billion in gross debt. In one week we borrowed an extra $3,200 million. Canberra, as I have always said, you are the canary in the coal mine for public debt and this is not good news for you. This money has to be repaid. It has been lent to us by real people who really want it back. Craig Thomson appears to be in more strife than the early settlers, dragging bits and pieces of the tattered credibility of the party with him. Manufacturing has had the fear of God placed on them with the imminent closure of sections of our steel producing capacity. There appears to be an interesting concept of what two speeds are in a two speed economy; flat out and stopped dead.

In this nation we have to break down the inhibition of populating our regional areas where our export wealth is produced. It is vital to invest where we make our money if we wish to pay our debts back. We have to invest where the coal is, where the iron ore is, the wheat, cotton, cattle, and alumina. We must not define the prosperity of this nation to a wealthy unpopulated mining and agricultural interior and trade exposed manufacturing and service crescent moon where all the attention shines on only a small part of our potential. We have to make sure that we inspire the opportunity to move to and invest where the money is. This also requires a cultural epiphany that your life does not end if you end up in St George or any other of the growing regional towns.

Roma to the north is currently building a multi million dollar airport and the unemployment rate is below 2%. In Roma if you do not have a job it is because you do not want one. The St George district produced in excess of $ 750 million in agricultural income this year, not bad for about 5,000 people. On weekends in St George sport ranges from tennis to polocrosse to league, union and cricket. People can water ski, go to restaurants and coffee shops. St George and other towns may not have the same level of services as an urban capital, but if there is a greater future for your family then the nation has to do everything it can to provide policy for this opportunity to be taken.

It is the fear of being remote that is the curse that causes the inhibition of the development of new areas in Australia. This is an inhibition that we better get over as fly- in fly -out work forces is not the future but more the child who refuses to leave home. We have to be brave enough to move to the new region, stay there and grow. It would be peculiar if Australia was commuting from London because of the undying love for the “old country”.

A new office is being opened in St George, south-west Queensland tomorrow by Tony Abbott and Warren Truss. There will be a dinner this evening for over 200, with guests from Sydney, Brisbane and Perth attending. The fact they are there is a small but additional example that the economy is changing. Australia can adapt; correction, must adapt.

7 Responses to ““Australia Can Adapt; Correction, MUST Adapt””

  1. Tomorrows Serf September 2, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    Hey Barnaby,

    What the hell do you spend THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS on? (in a week!!!)

    Exactly what did we get for our money?

    NO dams, NO serious infrastructure, NO NOTHING!

    My kids will be middle aged before we pay $200 billion off.

  2. JMD September 2, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    It’s not just the fear of being remote. Small country towns are still dying due to the actions of government;

    I give you Nimitabelle, not far from where I live. 10-15 years ago, the NSW government created vast swathes of National Park out of what was State Forest in SE NSW. The sawmill was the major employer in Nimitabelle & it had to close for lack of raw product. The general store has just closed & may not reopen, the petrol station is long gone as is the post office.

    Geographically, Nimitabelle is quite well situated, on the eastern edge of the Southern Tablelands, a short drive to the coast & not so far from the Snowy Mountains also. A bit chilly in winter but otherwise very nice.

    I’m thinking of declaring SE NSW a tax free zone, then we would see some real progress. Until the tanks roll down the highway & NATO pounds us into submission for the sake of democracy that is.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus September 2, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      JMD, you are quite correct, and, I think you are definitely on the right track in talking of .. shall we say .. “tax rebellion”. This is the kind of actionable area that I am presently interested in, and discussing behind-the-scenes with others of similar pro-active mindset – hence the dearth of original content on the blog of late 😉 Will keep you informed …

      • JMD September 2, 2011 at 11:27 am #

        For a tax free zone to actually work would require the breaking of government monopoly on the issuance of the currency, a difficult proposition since most people are completely oblivious to the nature of this monopoly & its effects.

        It is also, I kid you not, a dangerous proposition because the one thing the government will never give up voluntarily is its monopoly of ‘money’. Money is unique in that it is the one thing that you cannot possibly have enough of. If you have power that money affords, you will do anything, & I mean ANYTHING, to keep it.

        Hence, I wasn’t being entirely facetious when I said tanks rolling down the highway. There is a credible argument, in my opinion (sorry for the war tangent), that Mr Gaddafi was canvassing the establishment of a ‘gold dinar’ for the conduct of business in Africa at the time of his demise.

        • The Blissful Ignoramus September 2, 2011 at 11:43 am #

          Good points JMD, though I’d make one slight clarification of emphasis – “For a tax free zone to actually work would require the breaking undermining of government monopoly on…” 😉 You get my drift?

          Interesting observation re Gaddafi canvassing a gold dinar … I’d seen rumours relating to (eg) establishment of central bank by the usual suspects, revenge for Gaddafi’s impeding / infringing on (mostly US) multi-national petroleum monopoly/s, etc, but not the gold dinar angle. Definitely a plausible explanation. Indeed, almost anything a more plausible explanation than the standard “cover story” we’re all being fed, which is clearly BS.

  3. Bush bunny September 2, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    The regional areas are integral to our country’s resource base. Where do they think all the milk, wool, beef, eggs, mining comes from. Yes tax free zones is a good idea. I bet you see industry moving in on that one. Well maybe the NBN wasn’t such a waste of money after all – LOL. We do have to adapt, but also preserve the culture of this country at the same time. We are unique and the so called envy of this world, well I don’t think with Gillard’s attack on our high court decision was the way to go considering both houses voted against the Malaysian solution. Nor do I think that Combet is right signing in
    on $600 million a year to give to the UNCCF. Why not give that to us, to adapt, and help
    our environmental problems, like bush fires, floods, and other natural disasters.

    And this Thomson affair it gets worse each day. But the government is blind to this. Unless they reverse the carbon tax now particularly in the light of the CERN report recently released, then I can’t see even a change of leader will do any good. As John Howard said and I totally agree, Gillard lacks authority. She wouldn’t be so bad if she was better informed and isn’t that the case of the reasons behind a carbon tax. CO2 causes climate change? Well it doesn’t – and people know this. Thanks to the internet. Now wind turbines are coming under stiffer legislation in Victoria because of reported health problems with them here and overseas, maybe some sense of reality might sink in. Or is that a pipe dream.

  4. Bush bunny September 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    O/T This will make Mr Turnbull worried I feel, The US are now going to sue a dozen big banks that they claim manipulated the housing bubble. Included is Goldman Sachs who is one of the biggest traders (thanks to Al Gore) in clean energy and carbon trading. Now
    I think we are to see a big back lash on this in the near future. May be the Great Carbon bubble is about to burst, and not before time. Only took them seven years and a GFC to make us wake up? Hope no one has invested in carbon trading eh? Reminds me of the 18th century South Sea bubble doesn’t it you Barnaby.

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