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COVID-19 Coordination Committee report - post pandemic recovery

Draft report of the Manufacturing Taskforce. The subtitle ought to have been “Rentseekers R Us”.

This is an astounding document. In 63 pages it makes dozens of amazing claims, quotes figures for incredible benefits, demands huge public subsidies and wants to wind back the clock on local greenhouse gas generation - all without any facts to support the claims or any embarrassment at their absence. A glossy slideshow presenting the APPEA ambit claim who have quickly adopted the motto Never let a good crisis go to waste.

Looking a little deeper and all we see are motherhood statements about better trained workforce, cutting red tape etc, all the stuff that has been around for years with a huge dollop of gas added on top. It is straight out of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) song book that they have used for choral works for years.

  • More gas will reduce prices and fix all of industry’s problems
  • Open slather quick approvals
  • Weakened environmental controls
  • Public subsidies
  • It will all go to hell if we don’t get our way
  • No mention of climate change

As the ABC has it: Government’s COVID Commission manufacturing plan calls for huge public gas subsidies

Fortunately there is no chance of it being implemented as written. The States that it is aimed at have already dug in and are unlikely to budge and open up the market and somebody with some sense will point out that subsidising a sunset industry is madness. Still it will be fun to watch the PM try to spin it on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

Just one last gem from the report, under Multiple Barriers Impede Stronger Growth we have:

  • Predominance of short term solutions rather than long term stable strategies.

As they go on to plead for their own hand tailored short term solution.

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The spin begins with the Title of the Report, and in what the draft report is promoting when compared with the Terms of Reference provided by the Government. Or per the media publication provided by the PM.

The lack of objective comparisons between alternatives suggests the draft action plan has little of substance in support of it’s objectives.

There are no detailed market assessments, to consider the risks of adverse export market adjustments. IE How others might choose to respond to post COVID-19 change. Critically there is also no timeline for implementation and delivery. Targets need to be realistic expectations and compared against the near term treasury forecasts of employment/economic loss on a business as re-forecast basis!

The draft resembles more of a great hoax based on expanding natural gas extraction at public expense. If so essential to our future, are there alternatives? One not addressed is redirecting the NG Australia currently exports to domestic use. It’s currently a loss maker?

In prioritising NG there is no demonstrated benefit in reducing GHG emissions, more the opposite outcome would seem certain.

The report suggests a ‘ten year long term’ view. Realistically no business invests capital in resource extraction, distribution infrastructure, and upgraded or new production capacity with such a short life expectation.

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When a gift is being given the wrapping needs to be appropriate.

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Scotty from Marketing knew what he wanted the committee to come up with

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I dont know if this is permitted , but I got a Getup petition notice today for those who might be interested.

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