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Rule number 1:  The playing field is never level!

Q:        Where does a 500 kilogram grizzly bear sleep?

A:         Wherever it wants!

The philosophy of a nation of twenty million people instigating an agreement with a nation of three hundred million people and trying to negotiate to advantage is the definition of stupidity.  The outcome is that the majority of the desires of the grizzly bear have been satisfied, and the little monkey is basically a puppet, dancing according to the string pulling of the master player.

It’s time to take a step back and look at it realistically.  Australia as a nation is rich in a number of resources, including mineral and energy resources.  These are firstly those mining and energy and agricultural production resources, all becoming raw materials for other countries to value add and turn into products that become saleable around the planet.  We process some of the raw materials we produce in our steel mills for example, so that some of what we export has been value-added.  Unfortunately, due to the philosophy of the minds behind the “Lima Declaration” held in the Peruvian capital from March 12th to 26th, 1975, where it was declared that
the international community to take measures to encourage the industrialization of the developing countries with a view to increasing their share in world industrial production” and to bring about the establishment of a new international economic order based on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence and co-operation, as has been expressed in the Declaration and Programme of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order, in order to transform the present structure of economic relations”

Great philosophy, but what resulted was that Australia now does not have a clothing, textile or footwear industry, it has been exported to South East Asia.  We have more wool-growing sheep in Australia than any other country yet we have no wool processing industry any more – it has been exported also.  The trend continues, with the demise of the motor vehicle manufacturing industry, which has been in slow decline for two decades.

The FTA with the USA in the last couple of years and the proposed FTA’s with China and other nations of similar size continue the trend of exporting the best qualities of our country and leaving us with an economic and cultural desert, principally a mining colony supplying resources to the rest of the planet.

Isn’t it about time we recognised that we have everything we need to also become a diverse national economy as well, rather than continue the decline into hunter/gatherer status?

We have some of the greatest intellectual capacity on the planet, and we are losing that also, exporting it as a “brain drain”.  If we retained that, through specific funding to nourish and nurture it’s development here, and to attract what we have previously lost back into Australia, and further, attract other intellectual capacity into Australia to reinvigorate our national industries.

Once we have the brain drain reversed, the next step is to realise the value of what we have and negotiate on equal terms with those that want them from us.  We have great coal, gas and iron ore reserves and many bulk rural produce exports.  However, we export most of them as raw or unprocessed materials and products.  We have the capacity to value add many more of our exported resources than we currently are, building industries that have long declined, and creating employment and business opportunities that were once the core essence of the Australian economy and certainly the power and passion behind the Australian spirit and dream.  Unless and until we have a differential value for our products for sale, we will compete on the same basis as everyone else.  Value adding will make that difference, but the industries that used to or could value add to these raw materials mostly no longer exist in Australia, as they were either exported or made uncompetitive within the Australian economy when their direct competitors were established in neighbouring Asian economies.

Our cities and regional towns are littered with the empty warehouses and factories that were the dreams and lives of numerous entrepreneurs that were abandoned by philosophies of a shallow minded governmental practice of exporting industries at the sake of its people.  These are resources that can be reinvigorated with little more than some local initiatives to enable the businesses to open, and assistance with start-up capital.

As happened in the early to mid eighteen hundreds and the Gold Rush days, infrastructure developed around the sources of wealth – in those days, the gold mines, so that the resources could be delivered to the buyers.  The same can happen again, with the existing transport and communication infrastructure as the basis for the new impetus.

The effect likely is the decentralisation of our regional areas, full employment in regional and rural towns where industry will have lower infrastructure costs, and incentive for further infrastructure development with the increased level of demand through the new businesses and employment generated from it.

A prime catalyst for this could be the transport hubs policy.

Should the government and community initiatives and incentives continue, this can bring about a complete reversal of the trend to rural migration of teenagers and youth in general, and the increasing average age of the farming community.  A prime reason for the increase in the age of the farming community is that there is little to keep the youth in the region, including employment opportunity, income from farming enterprises, entertainment and the level of community services available.

This alone, is worthwhile fighting for.  However, the bigger picture is that we can change an economy from one living in fear of the end of the resources boom, to one looking forward to value adding to those resources as well as exporting them and the technology we develop alongside them.

Back to Business and Entrepreneurship

Putting the pressure on our politicians and leaders, to take the decisions that need to be taken right now, to solve the problems we have, that we already know how to solve!