Bill Shorten needs to be better prepared with some specifics when asked about Labor’s plan for job creation. Obvious answers are the renewable energy industry and building infrastructure but there is one Labor initiative that never rates a mention that will create jobs in every part of Australia – the NDIS. In July, the Productivity…
$1.32 billion / 24.4 jobs = $54,098,361 per job By Michael Griffin Concerns about the environmental costs and damage to the nationally and globally significant Great Barrier Reef by the Adani Group’s Carmichael mine in Queensland, the world’s biggest coal mine, have been expressed. Yet the now discredited claims regarding the economic benefits that the…
Yeah, probably not hey.
Almost everything the Turnbull Government says about the economy, employment and their priorities is refuted by the evidence.
By Mark Clifford A picture tells a thousand words, so I’ll let the attached graph do all the talking. Briefly, the graph is based on ABS data on ‘hours worked in Australia’ from the first day of the Rudd term and up to March 2016. It clearly indicates that the demise of the Australian economy…
When the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference opens in Paris on November 30, annual global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be about 32 billion metric tons.
Journalists at Australian on shortlist for ABC news director. Plus Sarah Ferguson’s candid advice for anyone thinking of going into marketing
The end of the mining boom means fewer migrants coming to Australia in search of work, and interstate migration shifting away from WA
The free trade deal is now about jobs, except the government has got the number all wrong.
Is there a causal link between how a government treats refugees and how many jobs are created in the economy?
The Abbott Government moved a step closer to delivering on its promise of saying jobs a million times by 2018, with new figures showing speeches with the word jobs have been created at a rate of more than a hundred a day since June.
“There’s been a very strong increase in the use of the word ‘jobs’ over the last quarter,” an analyst said today. “Of course jobs and growth go hand in hand – when there’s an increase in jobs, growth usually follows. Which is exactly what we’ve seen in recent months. Almost every instance of the word ‘job’ this quarter has been matched with the word ‘growth’”.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the latest figures showed the Government’s focus on jobs and growth was working. “This Government is serious about jobs and growth. We’re serious about jobs and growth, because it’s jobs and growth that Australians want”.
State government anger at the Abbott Government’s stalled Renewable Energy Target is likely to grow with a new report this week revealing nearly eight million people are now employed in the sector globally.
The report, released by the International Renewable Energy Agency on Tuesday, found that more than one million jobs were created in the last year alone, bringing the total figure world-wide to 7.7 million.
But back in Australia, the fledgling renewable energy sector is in turmoil.
When the federal RET was established in 2009, the Rudd government prevented states from implementing their own schemes, which would have forced electricity retailers to buy renewable energy from the states.
The trade off was that states would be able to compete within an open national market to each generate as much of the 41,000 Gigawatt hour (GWh) target as they could.
Negotiations between Labor and the Abbott government, though, appear to have finally settled on a reduced target of 33,000GWh, after more than a year of uncertainty.
That uncertainty – and the reduction – has left state governments angry. The revised RET requires electricity providers to buy less renewable energy, meaning that attracting investment into the renewable energy sector will be more difficult.
The Victorian government actually scrapped a state-based RET when the federal scheme was established, and it’s given the 33,000GWh target a particularly icy reception.
“The scaling back of the RET will reduce the number of major renewable energy projects built in Victoria, costing us jobs and growth,” a spokesperson for the Andrews government said.
“The clean energy industry in Victoria supports over 4,000 jobs, and many companies that currently supply the automotive industry are looking at renewable energy projects as a lifeline for their business.”
Investment in renewables tanked by 90 per cent last year as the Abbott government moved to slash the target, and in the two years to April 2015, the Australian Bureau of statistics revealed that 2,500 jobs had been lost.
The beleaguered Australian industry is a pariah in the global market, which the United Nations said grew by 17 per cent in 2014, attracting near-record investment of $270 billion.
That investment correlated to approximately 1.5 million new jobs, an overall increase of around 18 per cent, according to IRENA’s report.
“This increase is being driven in part by declining renewable energy technology costs, which creates more jobs in installation, operations and maintenance,” said Adnan Amin, Director-General at IRENA.
“We expect this upward trend to continue as the business case for renewable energy continues to strengthen.”
As the major parties at the federal level agree to cut the RET back to 33,000 GWh, states governments’ ability to share in that “upward trend” has become tenuous.
At a recent meeting attended by the top UN diplomat on climate change and a number of Labor state ministers, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT discussed what could be done to increase the uptake of renewables.
“We will examine all impediments to states and territories acting, including Commonwealth legislation which might prevent a State and Territory Renewable Energy Target,” a spokesperson for the South Australian government, which hosted the meeting, told New Matilda.
One way to boost renewables uptake is through a ‘reverse auction’ scheme like the one the ACT has developed, which it announced earlier this year would supply 33 per cent of Canberra’s electricity by 2017, through the wind component of the program alone.
The Queensland government has also proposed a ‘reverse auction’, which involves companies bidding to provide the most renewable energy for the lowest price to government.
The high targets states have set themselves, though, may be difficult and expensive to achieve through reverse auctions: South Australia, for example, aims to achieve 50 per cent renewables by 2025, while Queensland is gunning for the same target by 2030.
With the reduced Renewable Energy Target expected to amount to roughly 23 per cent of total electricity generation by 2020, it is increasingly likely that states’ ambitious targets will be difficult to meet through the federal scheme alone.
The federal Labor party has indicated it will seek to install a higher target for the post-2020 period after the current scheme expires, an ambition on which advocacy groups like Solar Citizens have seized.
“There is now no clear vision for the future of jobs in solar and renewable energy beyond 2020,” National Director Claire O’Rourke said when responding to the IRENA report.
“There is a real risk that without clear policy Australia will fall behind countries like China, India, Germany, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Colombia who have some of the highest employment rates in renewable energy.”
The latest fad among would-be Republican presidential contenders is to proclaim their deep commitment to fighting poverty and inequality—which sounds as plausible as a promise by McDonald’s to abolish greasy food.
1) Stop smooching the behind of every predatory billionaire who shows up with an open checkbook and a loud opinion, from the Koch brothers and Paul Singer to Jerry Jones and Sheldon Adelson. In Australia Rupert,Gina,IPA, AHA,
2) Stop pretending that the best way to reduce inequality—or poverty—is to lavish more trillions of tax breaks on those very same billionaires, as the infamously plutocratic Ryan budget would. Do they really think every blustering donor at the very top of the income scale needs another million dollars? Stop defending capital gains loopholes, offshore accounts and all the other scams that rig the game for the likes of Romney. In Australia capital gains, negative gearing super benefis corporate subsidies etc
3) Stop snatching bread from the mouths of small children and their mothers, with gratuitous cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance and WIC programs, as if that would appreciably reduce the federal deficit—or be worth the moral cost even if it did. The Ryan budget proposes to reduce food stamps by 20 percent or more, which would mean either terminating benefits for millions or reducing benefits below their already meager level. (It would be interesting to see how the Wisconsin Republican and bodybuilder got by on $1.40 per meal.) In Australia the broad range of cuts to and policing of welfare and pensions
4) Stop ripping up unemployment checks for families whose lack of remunerative work Republicans have blamed on Barack Obama. Unemployment insurance kept at least 2.5 million Americans, including hundreds of thousands of kids, above the poverty line in recent years. If joblessness truly isn’t the workers’ fault, why decimate them and their children? In Australia 700,000 unemployed, 160,000 jobs.
5) Stop rejecting Medicaid, the literal lifeline for poor Americans who have no other health coverage. And stop “repealing” the Affordable Care Act, whose actual repeal would cruelly end coverage for tens of millions of Americans—and in some cases, end their lives. In Australia attempting cuts to the health system and Medicare
6) Stop undermining Medicare and Social Security, the two most successful anti-poverty programs in the nation’s history, which have vastly reduced the impoverishment and early mortality of elderly Americans. And stop telling voters that the endless attempts to cut, privatize, block grant, and otherwise diminish those programs is how you intend to “save” them. In Australia Privatise Health
7) Stop legislating cutbacks in Pell Grants, federal student loans, and other assistance to young people from modest backgrounds—whose educational advancement lifts them toward greater financial security and independence. Anyone who honestly cares about reducing inequality supports aid for higher education. In Australia $100,00 degrees
8) And please stop mouthing so much meaningless, self-flattering rhetoric on this vital issue—as Romney did when he assured the Republican National Committee that “Republican principles” will “break the cycle of poverty.” In Australia, LNP will support the indigenous and close 150 communities, support women and domestic violence by cutting services etc etc
Sorry, but that hasn’t been true under any Republican administration for the past hundred years. Instead of blustering, Republicans should consider the unpleasant but undeniable fact that unemployment and poverty have increased every time a president of their party occupied the White House.
Abbott and Hockey have simply stolen the Republican script
Then, by all means, they should get back us to with those “conservative” plans to end poverty. Someone might even believe it.
Prisoners in Western Australia’s North West will be guaranteed full-time work after completing training courses while incarcerated.
Fortescue Metals Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the WA Government through the Department of Corrective Services to deliver the Vocational, Training and Employment Centre (VTEC) Fresh Start Program, with an initial intake of eight prisoners from Roebourne Prison over the next year.
It is an extension of the existing VTEC program, which is a $45 million federal project that aims to provide guaranteed employment for 5,000 Aboriginal people nationally.
Under the new program, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) will provide a training course for prisoners at Roebourne TAFE via a day release scheme.
Upon release the students then begin site-based training for two weeks, after which they are guaranteed a job.
While people are within the walls of a prison we need to do everything we can to address their offending concerns, the reason why actually they keep coming back.Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis
FMG chairman Andrew Forrest said the recidivism rate of Aboriginal offending was about 50 per cent and it was hoped the employment program would reduce the “revolving door of people going into jail and out of jail and into jail again”.
“We’ve just got to stop it and the best way to stop is to give people hope, self sustainability and you give that with employment,” Mr Forrest said.
WA Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis said Aboriginal people represented 40 per cent of the 5,400 people currently in jails in the state, describing it as “a heartbreaking waste of human capital”.
He said the program would help address that.
“While people are within the walls of a prison we need to do everything we can to address their offending concerns, the reason why actually they keep coming back,” he said.
“Whether that is getting them a driver’s licence, which we’ve recently invested $5.5 million into trying to get Aboriginal men within prisons driver’s licences before they get out, or to address their drug or violent behaviour, we need to take every single opportunity to seize that moment to correct their behaviour so we can stop them from coming back.”
Mr Francis said he hoped the program would eventually be rolled out throughout the prison system.
Job gives me something to look forward to: former offender
Desmond Mippy entered the existing VTEC program after a four-year jail term for a serious assault.
A year before he was imprisoned, he had walked out on his partner and 10 children while battling methamphetamine addiction.
“Before I did this program I’d not long come out of prison, I was in prison for four years, and now I’ve got a good job, and it’s good to support my family and be a role model,” he said.
“About 12 months before I went to prison I was on amphetamines, I walked out of the house, I didn’t want life to be the way it was and I started to make changes and I didn’t give up.”
Mr Mippy joined the VTEC program in April and by May had a job as a surface miner with FMG.
“It gives me something to look forward to, something to pass onto my kids and something for them to look forward to, to carry on what I’ve started, and hopefully be a role model.”
Mr Mippy said his advice to anyone in prison who was offered the opportunity to participate was simple: “Take this opportunity, grab it with both hands and go all the way with it.”
Employers pledge jobs for Aboriginal people
Also today, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in WA (CCIWA) launched a jobs pledge forum for employers.
Chief executive officer Deidre Wilmott said they were in talks with about 75 WA employers to provide jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as part of the federal VTEC program.
“We have pledged to train and place 300 Aboriginal people in guaranteed jobs over the next 18 months,” she said.
She said expanding the program into the prison system was incredibly important.
“It’s seen opportunities for people who have been incarcerated to actually change their lives during that time that they’re in prison,” she said.
“What we really want to focus on is making sure that people have those opportunities to change their lives.
“We can reduce the total number of people in Aboriginal prisons, it’s totally unacceptable that we have such a high proportion of our prisons being occupied by Aboriginal people.
“Training for jobs is a really important part of giving people that economic independence so they don’t find themselves in prison.”
Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have been at pains to tell us it’s all about “jobs and growth”. Now that we have “a number” the economies of the world will be saved. But how do we intend to reach this magical figure of “2% growth above what is expected”?
The government’s action plan has listed five “key commitments” to underpin its pledge.
The first key commitment to expanding economic activity is infrastructure spending, including its “asset recycling initiative” – encouraging state governments to privatise assets and then plough the proceeds into new projects.
Considering we are selling the profitable Medibank Private to invest in railways for dubious Indian coal mining ventures, this seems an avenue to privatising profits and socialising losses. No doubt some Liberal Party donors will do well out of it.
“Employment welfare reforms” is ranked as the No 2 commitment, and notes that the changes will “strengthen participation and activation strategies”.
By cutting payments entirely to some unemployed and requiring jobseekers to search for more jobs to qualify for payments, the government argues it will spur the unemployed to look for work rather than live on welfare, thereby boosting economic activity.
But that boost can only come if there are jobs for the unemployed to get and there seems little in the way of a plan to create jobs beyond “axe the tax” and “build some roads”.
Anglicare Australia commissioned a report called “Beyond Supply and Demand” which rubbished the Abbott government’s treatment of the long-term unemployed, calling for a “life first” rather than a “work first” approach to end joblessness.
Anglicare executive director Roland Manderson said
“It’s a problem if the public debate hinges on an assumption that people can just try harder and get work, that’s not true. What is true is that people can get work and develop really great work but you need to put that investment in at the front end. The problem with the ‘earn or learn’ (budget measure) is it makes the assumption that any training will do the trick. It’s disempowering to train people who might find work for a short time, but then are out of work again because they haven’t worked through their life barriers.”
Labor assistant treasury spokesman Andrew Leigh said cuts to welfare payments such as the unemployment benefit, family tax benefits and the pension would act to suppress economic growth.
“If you produce a budget that reduces the income of the poor, it has an impact on consumer demand because they spend everything they’ve got,” he said. “That will detract from economic growth.”
The other key commitments are “cutting red tape”, “contributing to global trade liberalisation” and “creating self-reliant industries”.
If one thing came out of the many millions spent on inquiries into the Home Insulation Program, it was to underline the dangers of “cutting red tape” and oversight.
The most obvious result of this commitment is to fast track development and mining approvals without regard to environmental impacts, and to remove rights of appeal.
The detail of the China Free Trade Agreement, or Memorandum of Understanding to be more accurate, is yet to be released so it is difficult to assess its impact but one concession we made was to allow Chinese companies to bring in their own workers. I’m not sure how selling our assets to foreign companies who send their profits back home and who employ foreign workers will actually boost our economy.
Andrew Robb also admitted that Treasury has not done modelling on the overall impact of this agreement and he does not know how it will affect our balance of trade.
The commitment to “create self-reliant industries” seems to fly in the face of Abbott’s staunch resistance to reducing fossil fuel subsidies. And how does Newman’s Galilee railway and Hunt’s Emissions Reduction Fund fit into that plan?
As was forcibly pointed out over the weekend, renewable energy is an industry of the future, but rather than taking advantage of the billions available for investment in this area, Abbott seems determined to kill off this industry and the tens of thousands of jobs that go with it, presumably because it offers competition to those humanitarian coal producers and users.
Which seems strange as the Coalition’s plan for more jobs is based on improving productivity and competitiveness.
Across the globe, mining productivity has declined by 20 per cent over the past seven years, despite the push for increased output, and declining market conditions.
Efficiency in the Australian mining industry has received a stern rebuke from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), rated as one of the least productive regions in the world.
The damning report ‘Mining for Efficiency’ states that Australia is the second least productive mining region in the world, with Africa taking the wooden spoon, and North America beating Australia on all classes of equipment.
The report claims there is an inherent conflict between the productivity plans of the mining boom which were based on increased volumes, and plans based on cost reduction which are now coming to the fore of business strategy.
Despite claims by industry lobby groups that high wages in Australia will impact on our competitiveness, results actually show “significant divergences” between mines in close proximity chasing the same minerals under the same industrial relations conditions.
Equipment and the way it is used is a key focus of the report, which shows that productivity differences between the best and worst performing mines are stark, with some of the best practice outputs coming in at more than 100 per cent greater than the median performers.
“The popular tagline of the mining sector is that the miners are serious about productivity,” PwC states.
“We suggest that most are reducing costs and increasing volumes but there are precious few with legitimate claims to improving core productivity in their open cut operations.”
Comments in the report echoed the new fashion for cost reduction employed by the major miners who continue to sell off ‘non-core’ assets, such as BHP Billiton had done earlier this year with Nickelwest operations.
“Miners are banking the first available dividend, selling or segregating mines deemed too hard to fix and tempering expectations of further productivity gains by citing a combination of labour laws, high costs, regulatory hold ups and mine configuration constraints,” Lumley said.
And then this morning, we are hit with the news that the axe has fallen again at Australia’s research agency, the CSIRO, with another 75 researchers retrenched across the organisation’s future manufacturing, agriculture and digital productivity programs.
All three affected areas belong to the CSIRO’s flagship “impact science” division, set up in 2003, which aims to partner with universities and the private sector to bring “large scale and mission directed science” to bear on major national priorities.
Future manufacturing research will be hardest hit, losing up to 45 full-time positions, including in advanced fibres, biomedical manufacturing and high-performance metals.
Among the work to which future manufacturing research scientists have contributed is state-of-the-art ceramic body armour for Australian soldiers, the southern hemisphere’s first Arcam additive manufacturing facility, which enables 3D printing of metals, and a spray-on topcoat for aircraft.
But this shouldn’t surprise us from a government who thinks coal is the industry of the future and a Treasurer who thinks that climate change is “absolutely not” an impediment to economic growth