Economic conservatives

This year, we signed a 37 billion dollar natural gas deal with China to supply 3.5 million tonnes of natural gas every year for up to 20 years.

This has been touted as a great boost to the economy and a great example of why we need the economic wizadry of the establishment parties.

It is important to take that deal apart.

It is a twenty year deal to sell 85 per cent of the gas from the largest field in Australia at $200 a tonne. The spot price for natural gas today is $381 per tonne. The price of all fossil fuels is fluctuating wildly due to demand outstripping supply. We are selling off our gas reserves at a bargain basement price, just when the world is running out of natural gas and the price is going through the roof.

That is not smart economic management.

But wait, there’s more.

The Western Australian government stepped in early this year and said to Woodside Petroleum, “Hang on. That natural gas is an important resource for the people of Western Australia, we want to guarantee that the people of Western Australia have natural gas into the next century. We only want you to sell half the gas to China.”

Woodside went to the Federal Government and the Federal Government announced that unless the China deal went ahead it would use the corporation powers – yes those same powers it used to pass the WorkChoices legislation – to remove the power of Western Australia to control its gas reserves.

The compromise reached is that Woodside will only sell 85 per cent of the natural gas to China at half the current world price, over the next twenty years. The people of Western Australia will have natural gas for the next 25 years.

That is not smart economic management.

We are digging up and selling our resources as fast as we can to make the short term economy look good. This is not smart economic management.

This is a short term spending spree that will at best, bankrupt us in twenty years.

Not only that, the resources boom is dependent on a bouyant world economy. The minute the economic boom slows down, the resource boom becomes a resource slump and we end up washing dishes for rich tourists from Asian nations that invested in manufacturing and education while we were sat back and pissed the proceeds from our giant quarrying operation up against the wall.

The Greens have been attacked for suggesting that we wean ourselves off coal.

Coal is responsible for about 11 percent of our export earnings. We are mightily dependent on coal. It has taken us decades to build our coal industry into the giant powerhouse that it is now.

Last year, the Chinese domestic coal industry grew by more than the entire Australian coal industry.

In one year, they passed our efforts of decades. Any time they do not like our pricing structure, or transport costs get too expensive, or there is a slowdown in the global economy, they can stop buying our coal all together. It only sets them back for one year.

The Greens plan to phase out the coal industry and replace it with a renewable energy industry is not an extreme, idealistic response to climate change, it is the only responsible economic plan for the coal industry put forward by any political party in Australia.

If you want a vibrant, robust and viable economy for the next ten years, you will not vote for one of the establishment parties on November 24, you will Vote one The Greens.

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