Since the days of the gold rush and the wool boom, Australia has always relied heavily on its great primary industries – mining, farming, forestry and fishing and their supporting transport, energy and processing industries.
First was the export of hides and tallow, wool and timber. Then came the great discoveries of gold, coal, copper and silver-lead-zinc, followed by exports of wheat, butter, meat and cotton.
Luckily the effects of droughts in the rural sector were often moderated by booms or new discoveries in minerals.
Today government royalties and taxes on our massive exports of coal, gas, iron ore, nickel, copper, silver-lead-zinc, aluminium and uranium have become the main-stays of the tax-consuming and ever-growing state and federal bureaucracies.
These back-bone industries, directly or indirectly, have always paid the wages of most of the workers of Australia.
Every one of these primary industries must have three things –
- secure access to resource-rich land;
- reliable low-cost energy for production, extraction,
processing and transport;
- reliable water supply.
These are the three things most threatened by today’s Chicken Littles.
Every day, vested interests, toxic environmentalists and green alarmists (often foreign-funded or tax-exempted) are using every worry they can discover or invent to break the backbone of Australia – global warming, species extinction, pollution, UN dictates, and land rights for everyone except those currently making productive use of the land.
They favour pest-ridden scrubs of woody weeds over productive grasslands and encourage farm invasions by vegan militants and media stirrers. They prevent construction of new water conservation dams and weirs, insist in letting more stored “environmental” water flow back to the sea, and then spend billions on desalination plants to get that water back from the sea.
They close-the-gate to explorers, use death-by-delay to stop projects they disapprove of, throttle foresters and fishermen with ever increasing no-go zones, while sacred serpents or the “just three mines” policy smothers every uranium deposit discovered.
They re-define natural gases as “pollution” to be taxed, and now are driving whole industries offshore by forcing reckless conversion to high-cost, unpredictable intermittent green energy.
While politicians babble about dream-time electric cars, our huge transport fleet relies on imports of petrol and diesel refined overseas – Australia now has under 30 days of petrol and diesel supplies here.
As jobs disappear or migrate, welfare booms, and national bankruptcy beckons.
Australia is a poorly defended storehouse of under-utilised resources beside the teeming millions of Asia. Our un-appreciated assets include:
- aluminium, nickel and cobalt in laterites from Greenvale to Cape York, to Mitchell Plateau, to Kalgoorlie;
- rutile, zircon, ilmenite, monazite, silica sand and rare earths in coastal sands from Bathurst Island to Bunbury, in the Murray Basin and along the Sunshine Coast;
- oil shales from Julia Creek to Gladstone to Mt Coolon and in most other states (not one shale deposit in Australia has yet been tested by fracking);
- un-tested off-shore resources of oil, gas and methane hydrates in sediments on our vast continental shelf;
- massive coal deposits in the Galilee, Surat, Bowen, Laura and Sydney Basins (all under green sabotage);
- uranium deposits from Coronation Hill in NT, to South Australia and in the Harvey Range in Queensland;
- vast fresh-water resources that regularly flood from coastal hills into the seas from the Gulf of Carpentaria to the Northern Rivers of NSW and down the Murray-Darling Rivers;
- huge resources of free-range protein in mobs of wild rabbits, pigs, kangaroos and camels;
- a wide continental shelf of marine life for harvesting or marine farm development.
Today, our Asian neighbours come as tourists and diligent observers to marvel at the backbone resources we have sterilised or neglected.
What will they come as tomorrow?
Viv Forbes is a geologist and financial analyst. He has solar panels on his farm shed and grid power connected but no other vested interest in power generators except as a consumer. He holds shares in a small Australian mining company exporting coal to Asia, and earns intermittent income from economic analysis and breeding meat sheep.
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