No good news in the carbon tax
Australia’s wealth and jobs have always rested on three legs – mining and farming, making and processing things, and rich foreigners; in short, resources, manufacturing and money from tourists and investors.
The Gillard carbon tax will white-ant all three legs.
Mining and farming need draglines, dozers, scrapers, trains, trucks, bulk carriers, tractors, generators, pumps and machines of all kinds. Their energy comes from diesel fuel or coal powered electricity. A tax on carbon will sap their energy and reduce their ability to generate jobs and national wealth.
Our processing and manufacturing industries rely on cheap electricity produced from our marvellous deposits of coal and natural gas. Greens have demonised these national assets and their carbon tax will undermine all Australian industries. Investors always look ahead. Already the threat of a carbon tax has reduced the asset value of every base load power station in Australia. Already one of the biggest, running on Victorian brown coal, is reporting financial stress. We cannot run steel works, refineries or big cities on sunbeams and sea breezes.
Australia is remote from most of the world and tourists must travel vast distances to get here. They need planes, trains, ships, buses and cars, all powered by carbon energy from petrol, diesel or gas. The carbon tax will strike at the heart of this industry. Harassed by the carbon footprint harpies, tourists may choose to stay home and go camping in their own backyards.
Finally, Australia is leading the world with the most onerous and widely applied carbon tax. This is already deterring the foreign investors who for generations have risked their savings to create businesses and jobs in Australia. Even now, the threat of a carbon tax is increasing capital shortage and debt stress in Australia.
There is no good news in the carbon tax story – no climate benefits, no real jobs and more costs for consumers. And it is white-anting the three legs supporting the Australian economy.
Thinking Australians are worried that Mr Abbott may renege on his promise to repeal the carbon tax.
That would really leave Australia legless and powerless in the global storms.
Viv Forbes is chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition. He has a degree in Applied Science and has spent his career in the mining, farming, energy and investment industries, with many positions from rouseabout, to investment manager, to chairman of the board. He has lived in Canberra and has worked for state and federal public services. He is now semi-retired. He is a non-executive director of a small Australian coal explorer.