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Nuclear the missing piece in Australia’s economic growth puzzle

By Graham Young - posted Wednesday, 28 June 2023

This is not a good time to be treasurer.

Productivity in Australia has recorded its largest recorded quarterly drop ever; total GDP growth was positive but anaemic while GDP per capita went backwards, and interest rates, wages, and housing are all simultaneously rising.

Not that Treasurer Jim Chalmers bears all the blame. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has to take some-the treasury doesn't set immigration policy. But so too do their predecessors Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, who profligately printed money all through the pandemic, aided and abetted by the Reserve Bank governor and the Labor team.


But it's always the people who are on watch who get the blame, so first mate Chalmers needs to think about how to right the ship and present a new plan to Captain Anthony Albanese.

There are certainly no-go areas for him-either because they were a Labor promise going into the election or affect key Labor constituencies, like their owners, the union movement.

So they can't touch wages but must still throttle contractors. Not to mention the redirection of resources into areas like child and aged care and the "energy transition" are going to continue.

This means a continuing battle with the current Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe. Or, if they replace him with someone compliant when his term is up in September, a continuing battle with inflation.

However, there is one area that would have a huge ultimate impact on productivity, and hence inflation and the affordability of all their other promises-that's energy policy.

Even the elite Greens are considering this

Every day we hear another story of a business threatening to close down or relocate because of either the price of energy or the availability of petrochemical feedstock. Today it is Orica. By the time you read this, it will be someone else.


They are complaining about a lack of gas, which is just a part of the overall energy shortage story. Gas is partly in short supply because it is increasingly being called upon to shore up the unreliability of renewables.

It is also in short supply because New South Wales makes it difficult to produce new gas, and Victoria literally makes it impossible.

What Chalmers needs is an alternative to coal-fired power that is reliable, and maybe ABC's Q+A audience has shown him a pathway.

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This article was first published in The Epoch Times.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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