Features Australia

A new Marshall Plan, please

24 March 2018

9:00 AM

24 March 2018

9:00 AM

A Marshall Plan is needed for war-torn South Australia devastated by decades of green warfare and lawfare, welfare, destruction of employment generating industries, lack of investment, crippling red, green and black tape and just plain ideological stupidity. The casualties have been horrendous with the extinction of the white goods, vehicle manufacturing, oil refining, coal mining and coal-fired power generation industries with a knock-on effect to large businesses such as the mining, smelting and refining industries. Energy is a major cost for most businesses; many have closed in South Australia and moved elsewhere and others are sharpening their pencils.

Over the last few decades, the winners have been those living off taxpayers. The state has been increasing charges yet not decreasing costs. I can think of no reason why South Australia should have the highest per capita number of public servants, a GST impost on the more productive states of Australia coupled with poor service delivery and a decaying infrastructure. Unemployment has increased and young people are leaving. The only growth industry is death which has increased due to hospital, institutional and bureaucratic malpractice.

There is a direct relationship between employment and cheap energy and there has been a generational destruction of prosperity and employment prospects. Without energy, food and water security South Australia is doomed. There is a good reason why South Australia has the highest energy prices in the world. Politicians listened to Greens who had no skin in the game, took no financial risks as entrepreneurs, believed that industry can keep operating using unreliable expensive subsidised electricity generated from sunbeams and sea breezes and were deceitful ignorant hypocrites.

The employment destruction catastrophists have yet to show that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming. Unless this can be shown, then ideological wind and solar energy is pointless and economically crippling as South Australia has shown.

The key Marshall Plan should be to legislate that energy providers must produce electricity for 90 per cent of the time, 24/7, for 365 days a year. Such efficiency is not too much to ask in a modern society and can easily be provided by coal, gas and nuclear electricity generators. This would avoid litigation with the over-subsidised wind and solar scam contracts, obviate the need for over-priced batteries that keep the lights on in South Australia for a whole five minutes and expensive polluting diesel generators that burn 66,000 litres of diesel a day in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

South Australia is blessed with more than 30 per cent of the world’s uranium and it is hypocritical for the state to export yellow cake and yet not have a nuclear industry. Employment for generations would be created by converting yellow cake to fuel rods, leasing these fuel rods to scores of advanced countries with nuclear power stations, charging to reprocess fuel rods and excessively charging to store spent fuel in perpetuity.

Most of South Australia is a geologically stable unpopulated desert with hundreds of suitable places for nuclear power stations, reprocessing facilities and spent fuel storage. Maybe Australia could buy cheaper off-the-shelf nuclear submarines that would be maintained in a future nuclear state, South Australia, and small modular nuclear reactors for isolated towns, agricultural enterprises and mines.

Rather than ‘clean green’ South Australia, on windless days and at night time taking electricity from coal-fired power stations in Queensland (via NSW and Victoria with the high associated voltage losses), South Australia could feed south-eastern Australia with nuclear power. Your toaster doesn’t care whether the electrons are generated from coal, gas, hydro or radioactive decay. To make toast, you need a constant, reliable, alternating 50 Hz 240 volt current. This cannot be provided by wind or solar.

South Australia has poor coals in isolated areas. However, there is a huge amount of conventional and unconventional gas in many basins and South Australia should do what Texas has done. Drill and frack for tight gas and oil in onshore and offshore basins, establish a liquid fuel industry and watch the economy take off. The geological chances of success are high. South Australia should be exploiting the technologies invented and safely utilised by other countries and not trying to lead the world in inefficient technology such as wind power.

Australia has only 19 days of liquid petroleum products and one missile into Singapore’s Jurong Island super refinery would stop fuel being shipped to Australia. With no diesel, food could not be produced and transported to the cities. A bold Marshall Plan would create the business environment for the exploration, exploitation and large-scale refining of liquid hydrocarbons. This would provide long-term diverse employment, energy security and a new export industry.

The Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme diverted easterly-flowing rivers into the inland rivers. The scheme was to produce food from irrigation. Electricity was an afterthought. Before the Snowy scheme, it was common to have picnics in the dry sandy bottom of the Murray River and environmental flows took place when there was heavy rain and snow in the Great Dividing Range. Now there is an excess of water flowing down the Murray, feel-good environmental flows are released to keep the downstream ducks happy at the expense of producing food. The Menindee Lakes near Broken Hill in NSW were drained into the Darling River so introduced fish could happily swim in downstream South Australia. Meanwhile, Broken Hill has a water crisis. Maybe some environmental flow could be used in South Australia to produce GM crops that are grown in many parts of the world but not in South Australia. A Marshall Plan would let the rivers flow.

Food production from the seas has been reduced because the fishing grounds have been converted to national parks. The fish we eat now has a dodgy Asian provenance and fish harvesting abroad results in horrendous environmental degradation. A Marshall Plan would resurrect the fishing industry that employs many people in rural areas.

South Australia is like an octopus sucking other states dry yet refusing to untie its eight hands. My fear is that government has changed in SA but policy won’t budge. The post-World War II Marshall Plan was revolutionary, brave and needed leadership and foresight, as did the industrialisation of SA by Sir Thomas Playford. Over to you, Steven.

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