Australia is in a precarious position in that it is reliant upon trade with China. We export raw materials and import finished goods. That is a situation that needs re-jigging. It is disturbingly close to dependence. But how? Australia’s capacity to manufacture anything, to value add to our minerals, has progressively vanished over the last fifty years. Today, even the big car manufacturers have left – all of them
How long will it take to rebuild that capacity is the wrong question. The correct question being: why did the manufacturing capacity disappear in the first place?
Until that is answered correctly, and remedied, then Australia cannot begin to rebuild a manufacturing base. Australia was once a country that buzzed with industry. It incrementally disappeared, leaving a country that mined and exported raw minerals and then sat around drinking lattes.
Today, one of our dismal politicians suggested an infrastructure project involving building train tracks to rural areas. He is correct in predicting that the government will implement traditional boondoggles such as infrastructure projects, but why railways to rural areas? To help bring back manufacturing was his explanation. I did mention the word ‘dismal’.
The lack of rail infrastructure (and there is a serious lack) in no way addresses the problem of a lack of manufacturing in Australia.
So why did manufacturing cease?
The strictures and rigidities of Award Wages, and myriad other harmful regulations, smothered Australian manufacturing. It reached a point where the weight became too much and manufacturing departed to countries that cared more about prosperity. Where the impediments to business were at a tolerable level.
The only solution is to give business its freedom to produce again. In particular, abolish Award Wages and all the threats and liabilities attached to them. If that is done, business will create jobs and prosperity for everyone. That includes government. If governments would stop meddling in things they don’t understand, their tax revenue would boom.
I do understand that the level of pain will have to dramatically increase before we reach this Nirvana.
People build civilizations, governments destroy them.