How Nev Power rolls

Nev Power has taken to central planning like a miner to iron ore:

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission has detailed priority manufacturing sectors it would like to see developed and expanded without government assistance to the Senate’s COVID-19 Committee.

NCCC chair Nev Power said the commission’s manufacturing task force wants to enhance energy intensive manufacturing, high-value manufacturing like 3D printing, foodstuff value-add manufacturing, defence and sovereign capability manufacturing, medtech and minerals processing with a focus on the “battery minerals area”.

The NCCC was briefed to look at ways to establish these sectors “without government assistance and support” to create an internationally competitive manufacturing sector that will see trade arrangements vulnerable to disruption from COVID-19 – like the widespread export of raw food products to be finished and then re-imported – cease.

Sounds great! But why would it suddenly happen now “without government assistance and support”? There’ll be some new risk mitigation impulse from supply chains exiting China but why would they come to Australia instead of, say, SE Asia, given:

  • the huge cost of land is about to go up further on stimulus;
  • the currency is on fire and with the RBA dills far behind all other central banks could wipe out any profits in weeks let alone years;
  • wages are bloated, skills derelict and universities being debased;
  • energy is monstrously expensive;
  • capital is attached to the endowment mining sector and seed capital tiny;
  • tax rates are high and
  • mass immigration is making it all worse as quickly as is humanly possible.

There is literally NO reason to invest in manufacturing in Australia and EVERY reason to stay away.

This COVID-19 Commission pantomime is playing out in the usual fashion, with a miner driving a manufacturing plan, stacked with the very people that destroyed the sector, including:

  • a property mogul in Paul Little;
  • a superannuation parasite in Greg Combet;
  • THE energy cartel rentier in Catherine Tanna;
  • a productivity guy too cowardly to tackle immigration in Peter Harris, and
  • one jaded manufacturing guy in Andrew Liveras, who seems to have no idea that he is the fig leaf for the above fix.

To wit:

Mr Power said that commissions musing on the increased role of natural gas mainly relates to the manufacturing of fertiliser and chemicals in Australia.

“The discussion around gas in the task force was around, predominantly, the provision of a feed stock for manufacturing of fertilisers and chemicals in Australia,” Mr Power told the Committee.

“Currently we import most of those products and therefore we don’t have the luxury of having those jobs here in Australia.”

Mr Power said that consultation has taken place with the renewables sector, adding that “detailed analysis has not been completed” relating to the efficiency of natural gas in reducing manufacturing cost structures at this stage.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson asked why conflict of interests for members of the manufacturing task force have not been collected when at least five members of the task force have financial interests in the oil and gas industries.

There is no more cheap gas supply. None. The reserves are all captured by Cath Tanna’s gas cartel and being siphoned off to Asia. Expanding supply will not lower prices. Only reservation of the cheap reserves will.

And so I am yet again forced to write a nauseating deconstruction of the future of Australian manufacturing which is getting worse, not better by the minute as bailouts for the “houses and holes” economy prompt further hollowing out, and those that have profited most from just that over several decades are appointed to pretend to fix it.

Pity me in this role.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

  1. Kids, there are three ways of doing things: the right way, the wrong Fake way and the Nev Power Way?

    — edit: good catch!

        • Nev Power is the brand name of a washing powder that removes stains caused by reality using white-out.

      • Peter SMEMBER

        Australia needs to upgrade from its reliance on primary industry and build resilience through value adding AKA, manufacturing and application of technology and capital to create what has been called a smart economy.
        Sure there are some road-blocks, but the task is not impossible. Places like Sweden, Germany and Japan deal with high costs for land, energy and labour and have become innovative, high value adding economies with a lot of invested capital, but almost completely reliant on imported raw materials.
        If there is guidance to be given, fantastic, but such negative narrative in the face of forces that finally have turned towards restoring a level of manufacturing/skills based economy should surely be encouraged and not dismissed?

  2. But Nev isn’t being paid. That money is for his expenses. Apparently his jet is only $6k an hour. Imagine the fantasies he could come up with if he were being paid.

    • Lord Winchester EntwhistleMEMBER

      It’s very good value. Miserly. Mine runs at what I heretofore thought was quite productively at $10,000 an hour.

      I shall have to speak to the exchequer.

    • He’s not thinking hard/laterally enough… if you have a money making machine, you don’t need a salary to operate it, now, do you?

  3. I’m genuinely puzzled by why you can’t simply accept that the “fix-is-in” and place your bets accordingly.
    The Aussie public doesn’t want their tax dollars wasted supporting the remaining, but soon to be dead anyway, Manufactures.
    The Aussie public is way ahead of you on this score and have shown themselves to be way ahead for the last decade, you scream that we need Manufacturing but the Public screams that we don’t, the big difference is that the public screams louder and takes consequent actions to reinforce their opinions.
    Aussie High school youth have abandoned the hard Sciences and replaced them with feel good subjects, our HSC Math curriculum is a pathetic after-though rather than being a foundational part of High school education. Our few remaining Tech colleges are far more likely to teach Yoga than Machining (or any of the manufacturing trades for that matter).
    As I said to start with:
    The-Fix-Is-In
    The outcome is predetermined
    The process is rigged

    • Oh, ok, fatalistic view, but, according to it then, why live your life since we all die, eventually? Why not do a Harold Holt and spare yourself of all the angst and effort and turmoil?

      • What? Since when was reality Fatalistic?
        Our politicians and business leaders have shown, in hundreds of ways, what they want our country to be and it’s not a Manufacturing Mecca.
        Manufacturing is just not their vision thing, it’s not their aim, it’s not their moral purpose and it’s certainly nothing that they’re invested in (neither in the Human, Capital or Political sense)
        So lets just get on with life and leave this stupid make stuff function to those who truly believe in making things.
        Freeing yourself from the pretense of caring about something that you secretly could give a rats about, simultaneously closes the doors on what is dead to you and opens the doors to that which truly interests you. Both the former and the later are things that must happen, they’re the decisions that move us forward.

    • Mitchell Stuart

      My aunty was renting a 2-bedroom townhouse in Melbourne for $600/week to a gay couple, one of whom was a Sri Lankan Yoga guru.

      He lost his job is is now requesting 50% off for 7 months!

      Yoga, Gym, Hospitality, if these bullshit jobs don’t come back (killed by COVID) then we will need manufacturing.

      • I hear what you’re saying, but cast your mind back a few years to 2011/2012 when the Aussie dollar peaked above 1.10 to the USD.
        What happened to our manufacturing?
        What happened to those that economically support our manufacturing? they were being asked to write blank cheques to support manufacturing with no end in sight (as it turns out it would have been less than a year, but few knew that at the time)
        My point is that we can’t become a major manufacturer while we have such a volatile exchange rate, yet the volatility of our exchange rate is baked into the equation.
        Unfortunately I don’t believe that any thinking person can wish for a successful Australia AND a manufacturing Australia because the two activities are mutually exclusive. Our success at manufacturing (or anything else) will pave the road to our failure it just a byproduct of floating exchange rates for relatively small countries.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      I hear this shvt all the time. Manufacturing is too hard. We can’t do it. Nobody wants too.

      Manufacturing is what makes a first world country. You either make stuff or end up like Brazil.

      100% lazy, stupid and fatalistic BSD.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      I hear this shvt all the time. Manufacturing is too hard. We can’t do it. Nobody wants too.

      Manufacturing is what makes a first world country. You either make stuff or end up like Brazil.

      We can’t manufacture is 100% lazy, stupid and fatalistic BSD.

      • I didn’t say we can’t make things, I said we don’t want to, and yes there is a huge difference.
        As for manufacturing being a first world activity, I’d reply: Only if you have nothing better to do.
        But you know that was my whole point, if you’re not really interested in manufacturing then stop the pretense and get on with doing something that you are interested in, maybe then you’ll find that you excel at what you do rather then remaining a second / third rate manufacturer.
        Personally I don’t believe there is any market share remaining for third rate manufacturers, so its not like were making this decision rather the decision is being made for us while we all pretend to care.

        • There’s quite a few small First Rate manufacturers here. Mostly priced out though. You likely know the decision was taken when Hawke/Keating sold manufacturing Real goods & their workers out, in deference to BS jobs/”products” when they brought in the Neo regime. It’s time to swing the pendulum to some sort of balance, but I’m not holding my breath 🙁

      • It’s the attitude of our society that holds us back. Australia had the mother of all endowments and we’ve used it to feed like pigs.

      • Absolute BeachMEMBER

        Well said mate. My business manufactures. We are one of many still in Oz. When houses cease to being a guaranteed earner (and they will), the investment dollars will go looking for proper returns. Then manufacturing will grow again in breadth and at scale. It’s just a matter of time- Aussies still love to make stuff. Ask any bloke with a shed.

    • PaperRooDogMEMBER

      Exactly, the very composition of the panel makes it very plain the conclusion was made before the panel was even selected. A communist politburo would look on enviously at the selection. They and those who selected this panel will literally put us on the fast track to Bananastan.

  4. scottb1978MEMBER

    You guys are either going to retire or get sick of doing this at some stage! Are you guys training up some grads or something?

  5. stop the stoats

    Nev Power’s bullshit could be the basis of a fertilizer industry in this country.

  6. Arrest Chinese Supremacists

    We’re still claiming masks are ineffective at stopping transmission because we don’t have capacity/ability to make our own masks.

    If we can’t manufacture masks good luck with anything more complicated.

  7. robert2013MEMBER

    The energy argument reminds me of how they used to say that the housing affordability problem was because of insufficient supply rather than excess demand.