A quote from this morning’s news:
‘Australia's prosperity is at risk of being put under increasing pressure over the next four decades unless Australians work longer and productivity is improved, according to a major report due to be released today.’
Hello? Okay, we understand that productivity needs to rise to keep the country moving, but where are the jobs? If a large percentage of young people are unable to find ANY work, what’s the use of telling older Australians to get out into the workforce (as opposed to receiving an aged pension, I suppose). Where are the jobs? The ‘work longer’ plea does not mean working longer hours in a day, it means work for a longer part of your life. Till you are 75 maybe.
But, and here’s a big BUT…almost nothing is being manufactured in this country any more. We have relied on the sale of coal and minerals to other countries to provide much of the country’s wealth and now that the ‘mining boom’ seems to be over, what is left for prosperity?
Australia has stopped making cars; in fact stopped making almost everything, including clothing and packaged food.
Today I began a search of items that I have bought over the past week. Here’s a little of what I discovered:
Sandals (cheap!)= made in China
Underwear = made in China
Dental floss = made in Ireland. (for heaven’s sake!)
Toothpaste= made in South Africa
Washing powder= made in China
Chocolate = made in Germany
Baking Powder= made in New Zealand
Noodles = made in Malaysia
Instant coffee= made in The Netherlands
Tinned sardines and tuna= both made in Thailand
Tinned tomatoes= made in Italy
Dog treats = made in Hong Kong
But, hooray, I also found some rice biscuits, some olive oil a face washer (!) and, later in my cupboard, a very old pullover = made in Australia!
But that was all.
There were a few packs that said ‘packed in Australia from local and imported ingredients’ or ‘packed for Australia from imported goods’ and so forth. What that means exactly is not quite clear.
Can you see a pattern here? Many goods made in China, (and that includes most basic clothing items, such as socks underwear, T-shirts etc) obviously because the labour is so much cheaper there. But what about the ‘sea miles’ the goods have to travel? And (excuse me China) what about the quality of the items?
And surely someone in Australia knows how to make toothpaste and be able to present it at a reasonable cost. No? Not even toothpaste?
How about washing powder? The Chinese seem to have cornered that market which is a nuisance as they have a habit of increasing the volume of the product with ‘filler’ that puts marks on washed clothes and buggers up washing machines. How about an Australian washing powder that may cost a little more but that does a decent job?
And, speaking of jobs – decent or otherwise – how about somebody starting up modern factories and employing people to make some of these products? Young people could find their starting place in factory work – maybe?
And that old ‘made in Australia’ pullover that is in my cupboard is still a great wearable item and I think it has reached its 15th birthday. There are a few other items of clothing in our cupboards with a ‘made in Australia’ tag: all still going well and all many years old. Where are the ‘made in Australia’ clothes now?
I certainly can’t find any.
And can you find a job?
Here’s a wild idea: How about Australia becoming the self-sustaining capital of the world by being the first country to be able to supply ALL its power from solar, wind and waves?
Huge job opportunities, wonderful results and we, as Australians, would become the standard setters for the world in both prosperity and clean environment practices. And for those with dollar signs in mind, that would mean another fantastic tourism opportunity.
A bridge too far?
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.