Friday, 23 March 2012

We have just spent $275 million

propping up the local car industry...Holden this time. We did it once before. We propped up Mitsubishi but then they closed anyway. Holden will too - although they say they will be here for another ten years.
Now yes, I do understand why the government has done it. If Holden goes then a lot of people will be affected, not just the people who actually work at Holden's.
The Holden plant is in an area where most people vote Labor (yes, the party word is spelt without an "u") and many are unemployed. The closure of Holdren would have had a devastating impact on the community. They did not need that. So yes, I understand why it was done.
I still do not approve. It seems to me that this was a cop out, a temporary measure. It has been done for political rather than economic reasons. People will look on Labor as the saviour of the community and vote for them at the next election. The problem is that the measure is just giving the industry a temporary reprieve.
The money should have been spent on building up something which has a future.
Naturally the Greens muttered things about "bigger, better, more effiicent electric cars" - not a bad idea but they forget that cars are merely assembled here. They are not made here.
I think that may be the problem. We need to start thinking about things that can be made  and exported from here - and that is going to be hard. We cannot rely on mineral resources forever.
All that is also going to take a great deal more cooperation and much more flexibility from not just employers but employees. At the moment that is not happening. It is not likely to happen.
In this state the union movement has just secured extra "half holidays" for people who must work after 6pm on Christmas Eve and Maundy Thursday Eve.  Much of this has to do with the fact that some retailers (but not all) want to open for business at those times. The cost of doing this flows throughout the community whether we shop then or do not shop then. Is it really necessary to shop at those times? I doubt it. Almost everyone owns a refrigerator these days and, should you want to buy something other than food, there are three hundred plus other days to do it in.  To add to the idiocy there will still be places that are not permitted to open even if they wished to do so.  The tiny row of shops near us which includes a specialist stationery store, a haberdashery/drycleaning outlet, a pet grooming place and a remainder clothing store is not permitted to open. Similar outlets in the large shopping centre can - although they do not need to.
Will there be a shift at the Holden factory? I suppose there will be. Will there be people to buy the cars? I suppose there will be.
But what if we manufactured others things? Bicycles? Electric bicycles? Small ride on electric vehicles for getting around the city? Solar panels? Small appliances? Power tools? Precision instruments? Micro-computers? Laboratory equipment? Large scale nurseries for for the forest industries? Clothing using our own wool? It seems the possibilities are endless. The problems are endless too.
We get more rules and regulations all the time. It is all designed to be "good" for us. Perhaps it is but it also seems expensive. It is why we have to hand out $275 million to Holden (and another $60m to surrounding components plants).
The money has to come from somewhere. The problem is that I am not sure where it is really coming from.  I am not sure where it is going either.


Anonymous said...

Good grief Cat - all they are doing is vote buying. Unless they diversify we will get nowhere! Chris

Donna Hosie said...

Agree 100% with Chris.

catdownunder said...

So do I Donna - think I have said it elsewhere - and in letter to paper.