THE Australia Institute report into the winners and losers of Australia’s mining boom pretty much hits the nail on the head.
While the Australian economy as a whole has benefited from the mining boom of the past five years - driven largely by the insatiable demand for our resources from China - the affect this has had on other sectors of the economy has been crippling.
Tourism, agriculture and retail have in particular been savaged by the high Australian dollar and the draining of a reliable workforce drawn to the riches of the mining sector.
While the major winners in the mining boom are the mostly foreigh-owned resources companies and to a lesser extent the supportive industries which service the mining industry, the vast majority of tourism, agriculture and retail businesses bleeding from Australia’s two-speed economy are small businesses.
Australia’s politicians need to stop pandering to the resources industry and give more credence to the issues facing our other sectors.
Me, you and everyone else in this country have an entitlement to the resources under our feet and they are finite, they are precious and if we undervalue them for the sake of appeasing big business, they’ll be gone before we know it.
While governments are happy to make huge concessions to the big players in mining to “protect jobs” and “stimulate investment”, they label the same support to small businesses as unsustainable handouts.
At the same time as our farmers are lambasted for polluting the reef with pesticides and penalised for it, the Federal Government is prepared to allow for miners to pollute the reef with dredge spoil as long as they pay for it.
Is it just me, or are our politicians missing the point?
Is it just me, or have we created a two-speed economy where my family’s cost of living has risen significantly in the past few years while my pay packet hasn’t?
Instead of just blindly adhering to the threats of the multinationals, our leaders need to start listening to the concerns of their constituents and stand up for them.