Raising national productivity is a difficult matter. The Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has tackled road transport, one might imagine an arcane and highly technical matter.

One would be right, but Alan Wood has done a good job of bringing the news to the great unwashed – including in this case Henry.

As a first step, an official report “recommends making sure that trucks pay for damage they do to roads, an increasingly important issue as federal and state governments substantially step up their road spending.”

Breathtakingly obvious but, as Woodie makes clear, vital and requiring great courage.

The bonus for readers is that CEDA commissioned Geoffrey Blainey – he of the famous phrase, Australia’s pre-eminent historian – to write a preface to its report.

This article seems not yet to be posted on CEDA’s website but we shall look out for it and provide a link in due course.

The banking boom

One of the benefits of disrupted flight plans (as reported yesterday) is that one gets to talk to old mates in the Chairman’s lounge.

Henry has had the recent pleasure of discussing the economy and politics with a senior banker.

On being congratulated for his stewardship of the XYZ bank, Henry’s pal modestly demurred: “It’s mainly the strong economy” – true but how many senior bizoids are prepared to acknowledge so clearly the role of events outside their control – except of course when things are going pear shaped.

“Business lending is the tricky bit, but business has never been in better shape” said Henry’s pal.

“Surely it’s the householders who will cause trouble in this cycle?” Henry enquired.

“They’ll keep paying the interest while-ever they have jobs” replied the old banker. “Surely you agree with that?”

“I do, but it looks like Labor is going to win later this year and Labor says they are going to roll back the IR reforms that are helping to create all these jobs”.

“The election is 50-50” responded the old banker. “There’s a long way to go yet.”

Read more at Henry Thornton.

Peter Fray

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