Topic: Online Documents

Big Idea Ten: complete stocktake of areas lost to commercial fishing

Seafood is recognised as an important healthy protein source, and critical to meet the nutritional needs of an ageing population in particular. Last year Australia exported less fish than it imported, indicating that we are not producing enough to feed ourselves. This hasn’t always been the case with export production regularly exceeding imports until 2006-07. Despite having a significant coastline, Australia is relying on exploiting the fishing stocks and aquaculture production of other nations, often developing nations with limited effective management regimes. This unused local resource is a renewable one with sensible management. This situation is unsustainable in a world with global population heading towards 9 billion people.

It would appear that too much of our fish stock has been locked-up, with absolutely no advantage to us but to the detriment of the environment in other regions of the world. Yet we have no clear idea what areas have been locked-up, and how much additional production would be possible and what additional wealth would be available to us if we utilized the resource.


Big Idea Nine: Citizen Initiated Referenda

Recently the plebiscite has had a resurgence to deal with ideas that are difficult to resolve by traditional political means. Queensland had a plebiscite on four year terms of parliament, and the federal government has proposed a plebiscite to deal with the issue of gay marriage. In South Australia the government has also proposed a plebiscite on whether that state should have a nuclear storage facility.


Big Idea Seven: guarantee maximum wait times in public hospitals

This was an initiative of the Newman Government, and guaranteed patients a minimum standard of service. Promising that if patients can’t be treated in public hospitals within the recommended wait time they will be treated in a private hospital puts pressure on public hospitals to perform, as the fee comes out of their budget but opens the provision of health services to the private sector competition that will improve service delivery.

Queensland’s major public hospitals are less efficient than their peer group, according to the MyHospitals website. Victoria has the most efficient hospitals, with New South Wales in between. Queensland spends $15.3 Billion on health out of a total budget of $49.8 Billion (31 per cent of the total). Making hospitals more efficient can either free up money to be spent elsewhere, or used to improve the range and quality of health services offered by the state.


Big Idea Six: fund students, not schools

Australian educational achievement has been falling since the 1970s. In the latest Trends in International Maths and Science study (TIMS) Australia has fallen from 18th to 28th out of 49 countries in year 4 maths, putting us behind countries like Kazakhstan. The answer to the problem is multi-factorial, encompassing culture as well as curriculum, teaching style, and teacher quality.


Big Idea Five: give employees their choice of workplace representative

The percentage of Australians belonging to trade unions has been in steep decline with a drop from 40 per cent to about 15 per cent of the workforce in a little over two decades. Some of this is due to a change in the composition of employment, but most of it is due to the regulation that creates the statutory monopolies that deny workers choice of who will represent them at work.

This means that these union monopolies are able to charge at least twice as much as is needed to provide the service to members. Evidence uncovered through the Trade Union Royal Commission, findings of the Fair Work Commission in the Coles case, and the 7/11 scandal prove collusion between trade unions and employers, with unions not only failing to do their job to ensure that companies adhere to industrial relations law but actively colluding with them to breach these laws. So employees have been underpaid with the connivance of their monopoly unions in return for the employers enriching these unions by making union membership compulsory in their firms.


Big Idea Four: asset recycling program to rejuvenate constipated transport infrastructure

South East Queensland is in desperate need of new road infrastructure. While the state government fixates on building a cross river tunnel, the M1 to the Gold Coast will be at capacity just about in time for the Commonwealth Games. The Bruce Highway to the Sunshine Coast is also close to capacity. Both roads will be tested further by new residential developments occurring, planned, or mooted.

And then there is the regional road network, particularly in north Queensland.


Big Idea Two: defang “lawfare” in the mining industry

Queensland has some of the best developable mineral assets in the world. The value of mineral reserves depends on a variety of factors, of which price is only one. Access to markets, capital and running costs, and time delays in development are just as important as amount and grade of ore. But more important yet is a stable legal system which provides certainty to explorers and mine owners in developing what can be very long term projects (Mt Isa, was established in 1924, and is still producing).

Changes have been made to Queensland law, specifically the Environmental Protection (Chain of Responsibility) Amendment Act 2016 (Qld) (Amendment Act), the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and the Environmental Protection Act 1994 which have significantly, and unreasonably, increased sovereign and business risk for miners.


Big Idea One: a new baseload power station

This is an idea whose time appears to have come. Queensland has a once in a lifetime opportunity to reinvigorate its industrial base and exploit its abundance of cheap energy. South Australia is in the process of decimating its industrial base because it has preferred expensive forms of unreliable energy, so-called “renewables”, over reliable baseload power from gas, coal or nuclear. Victoria is following suit. As summer’s load shedding in New South Wales demonstrates, that state also lacks a buffer against extreme demand.