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Crikey Says

Feb 27, 2014

Crikey says: flying into the dark without policy

Q-Day: Paddy Manning on the red line through Qantas. A final warning from the Climate Change Authority on emissions. Bernard Keane on the security games in Canberra. Why George Pell is now second to God. Guy Rundle on the new debate around Julian Assange. And author Margaret Drabble on pesky editors.

The job loss tally is rising. In the last three months:

  • Qantas: 5000
  • Holden: 2900 (by 2017)
  • Toyota: 2500 (by 2017)
  • Forge Group: 1470
  • Alcoa: 980
  • Sensis: 800
  • WA hospitals: 250
  • BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance: 230

That’s more than 14,000 just among the large companies that report. It doesn’t count the associated jobs in the manufacturing sector, particularly automotive where experts put the figure at somewhere between 25,000-50,000. There are some predictions the public sector cuts arising from the federal government’s Commission of Audit could be as many as 6000. The national unemployment rate hasn’t been this high in a decade.

None of that (aside from the bureaucrats) is Tony Abbott’s fault. But he’s inherited a perfect storm of industry redundancy, management incompetence and economic turbulence, which demands a policy response. We’re still waiting.

The rhetoric around jobs from this government (and frankly, Labor too; in government and in opposition) is too vague. It’s “jobs for the future” without telling us where. It’s an infrastructure project here and there without any funding commitment. It’s not backing any horses while shooting others that could be winners (renewable energy, etc).

Propping up Qantas won’t save the 5000 jobs the national carrier wiped from its books today. “Axing the tax” won’t save any more. What is required here from Canberra is comprehensive industry policy. Not empty rhetoric.

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4 thoughts on “Crikey says: flying into the dark without policy

  1. Gavin Moodie

    The Coalition is propping up Qantas not to save jobs but to reward management for attacking unions.

  2. klewso

    In the New Political Paradigm – set by Abbott and Friends – he’ll get the same latitude he gave Labor re negativity, connection and blame for things beyond it’s control.

  3. Dogs breakfast

    Without wishing to be stating the bleeding obvious, governments actually have very little control over jobs.

    IR really doesn’t affect it, budgets can have only a limited effect, even if they run huge deficits.

    It’s mostly about monetary policy and luck. They would be better off just saying it. I doubt there has been a jobs plan worth printing.

  4. AR

    They’ve sewn the seeds of the whole “smoking ruins economy” delusion, perhaps they now feel obliged to reap the whirlwind?
    Nah, that would imply responsibility for their actions.
    If there is one thing at which tories excel, it is the ability, nay need to denigrate those beneath as the cause of discomfort of their betters.