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LETTER: Playing our cards right

Sir – I agree with your editorial, February 19, 2020 ‘Car industry: Let’s look ahead…’ Our region needs to look to the future and not ‘throw in the towel’ about industry opportunities. 

However, some backstory and future soothsaying is needed. 

Prime Minister Morrison cannot fume about Holden withdrawing from Australia because in 2013 the Coalition government withdrew subsidies to the car industry that were lower than those received by car companies in other countries, and then goaded Holden to leave. 

His chickens have come home to roost: 200,000 automotive jobs have been lost. 

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The PM complains that it has cost the taxpayer $2-billion in subsidies. But this was very short sighted. 

According to industry analyst Ian Porter, those workers contributed $1.3-billion a year in income tax.

By closing the car industry, the Coalition government cost the budget $1-billion per year. Also, few of the sacked workers found good award-paid 40-hour-per-week jobs as a consequence. 

As for the future, Professor Ross Garnaut, an eminent Australian economist, gave a lecture last week in Horsham saying the Wimmera had excellent wind and solar resources. He said that we should be part of a big increase in electricity generation in the new low-carbon economy of a future Australia. There will be many jobs needed to get it built and some jobs to maintain it.

We need to boost the electricity transmission network in our region so these renewable projects can be connected. 

Garnaut also made the point that ‘Australia more than any other country has prospects for low cost production and harvesting of biomass from land that is not suitable for food production – for example, the Mallee…’.

There are lots of opportunities in the Wimmera and Mallee in the future if we play our cards right. 

Robert Blakely


The entire February 26, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire February 26,, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!