Its official, Australia has had the longest record of economic growth, 26 years in fact, out pacing the Dutch who have fallen into second place.
The Dutch however have a special place in our history, some would even argue that Dirt Hartog was the first European in 1616 to land terra firma on WA’s Shark Bay.
Ironically, whilst the British through Captain Cook, may have claimed Australia in 1770, it has been the Dutch who have ultimately won the multinational race with monoliths like Shell dominating the energy space both in Western Australia and Queensland.
Cheap, affordable and abundant energy is critical to the success or failure of any nation. So, the key question today is, can the Australian economic miracle be sustained and can our policy makers get it right in the crucial area of energy?
Tomorrow’s long awaited Finkle report commissioned by the COAG Energy Ministers will be handed down. How the Government responds to this balancing act between meeting low emission targets (staying in the Paris Accord) and at the same time encouraging both renewables and base load power (e.g. code clean coal) whilst keeping prices low all while ensuring security of supply, is the 64-million-dollar question!
If there’s one subject that will exercise the Australian public to punish the ruling parties it is that of increasing energy prices or worst still, the recent blackouts of South Australia.
Fuelled by CSG exploration bans and distorted demands of LNG exports that continue to exacerbate the gas crisis, it’s no wonder that our manufacturing sector continues to rapidly contract.
Still, Federal Parliament resumes next week for the final two sittings before the long winter break. And winter of discount it may well be if the government fails to provide both an adequate policy response to the Finkel report and a plan to overcome the escalating gas prices hitting consumers and manufactures.
If we can’t sort out our energy market (astonishing as we are a resource rich exporter of LNG and Coal), we run the risk of jeopardising our envious record of economic growth.
A slowdown in growth is not only bad for business and woeful for wage-earners, but it blows a hole in the Government Budget narrative which means more bad news at the polls and the opportunity for the extremes of politics to trade on fear and false hope…
Thankfully, the recent Dutch election saw a return of the centre right government. Let’s hope the British will follow suit tonight and re-elect Therese May and the Tory centre right.
As the world reels against Islamic Terrorist attacks what we need more than ever before are stable governments like those of the Dutch and British who are woven into our past and are keys to our future.
The future of our economic growth, future of affordable energy and future of democracy in itself are at stake.