I bought the Saturday edition of the West Australian today and looked at the number of positions vacant for people with my kind of skills and qualifications (7 when there used to be over 40. Boom state?!? Always was a lie). I have a technical trade background and run and operate a micro-business in the housing sector. I have not had to read the sits. vacant for a number of years since I started my own business (and have managed to keep running) even though work has at least halved since the GFC hit in 2008/9. Unfortunately, the local economy is fading to almost nothing and I do NOT work in or for the resources sector in Western Australia, nor do I wish to after having worked on and off in that sector in the years before I started my own business. Hence my reckoning with the downside of the global financial crisis at about the same time as most other people in the West.
DON’T BE FOOLED BY THE LYING STATISTICS COMING OUT OF WEST AUSTRALIA.
People such as small business owners, like myself, know the reality behind the head-lies that come out of this state. We have just seen over 1000 workers sacked without notice from one of the states biggest resources employers (Fortesque Metals Group) which has now gone into a trading halt till next Tuesday because it lost 14% of it’s stock-market capitalization in one day. Due in no small part to the fact that they ONLY mine iron ore (with a slightly lower grade than their competitors, Rio, and BHP, rip out of the ground further north in the state), and that the price for that ore has dropped well below the $120 per tonne floor price that had been predicted not two months earlier. Coupled with the $10 Billion debt the company has to service means that unless the price of iron ore suddenly gets up near that $120 floor price again then we will be in even greater economic contraction than we already are as more and more projects are shelved with the money either going elsewhere or staying in the banksters mind, as yet, uncreated credit (debt to us).
Then we’ve got the Gina Rhineheart (of stone) Roy Hill Iron Ore mine that will be created, they say, with a workforce that will number up to 8000 at the height of the construction phase, of which, around 2000 will be imported from overseas in a special deal ratified by the state and federal governments (of which there are said to be up to a dozen similar agreements with other International Corporations in the country ready for activation). Rhineheart’s company has sold this agreement to the public in a fashion that obscures the fact that the max employment of the construction phase of 8000 may only be a short period with the crew dropping back to the near 2000 range for most of the construction. Meaning, of course, that most of the construction work could be done by overseas labor. There are many way to rort agreements in the IR sector here as it is a classic case of capture of the (weakened) government regulators by the so-called regulated (cashed-up corporations, hedge funds, etc.)
The government lies here that we have around 4% unemployed but this figure is hogwash when you consider that the government defines being employed, and thus do not turn up on the statistics, as engaging in 1 hour (or more) of paid work per fortnight! If the gutless cowards in this government had the strength of character to face this stark reality of massive underemployment then maybe we could start working towards a solution. But when the PTB wont even allow the situation to be acknowledged then we are forced to blunder on as blind fools at the mercy of these people and their agenda.
What’s that agenda, I hear you ask?
Having lived in WA for most of my adult life I have experienced all sorts of discriminating behaviors and to say the elite here are a callous bunch, typical of the conscienceless, would about as accurate as saying that the average Joe here is encouraged to be enraged over things that don’t really impact on them that much. Asylum seekers being one such issue. By that I mean that most people, even the rich and powerful, aren’t taught to be aware of the negative consequences of officially sanctioned activities in the economy and environment that they may be engaged in either financially, morally, or socially. In fact we are encouraged to be ‘exceptional’ with our own conduct in the market-place, yet to demand conformity from our competitors.
Of course, these cause and effect factors are telescoped away from each other in this sophisticated market economy so that the effect is that the miners of Uranium don’t have to be responsible for the disposal of the transuranic waste that it is turned into, is a perfect example.
Meanwhile, the real nasty economic levers are being pulled by these rent seeker political elite, and the fact we’re being crunched in the gears seems to go unnoticed. It’s certainly never portrayed as such in our media. In fact I find that any blog-sites that deal with West Australian politics are run by people with whom I find little or no common ground. In frustration I have started this blog to try and give a voice to how I see the economic/political/social situation unfolding in Western Australia.
I see Western Australia as being a case study in the application of the control methods of the Internationalists when given a free reign in a society that has been made placid and submissive to authority and indifferent to the suffering of others by being set up as a penal colony and decimating any native resistance over 200 years ago.
This has translated into a permanent underclass of mainly Aboriginal people and those others who live at the margins of the main economy. A main economy that is utterly dependent on the vagaries of the boom/bust cycles of the mining, oil, and gas super giant international corporations who care not a jot for the individual concerns of the communities they operate in. Sure, they make a big deal about all the money they throw at the locals while they’re there but once the resource has been depleted, and all that’s left are holes and badly rehabilitated tailing dumps and damns, the money that may still be accruing (if it hasn’t been embezzled or stolen because the oversight to these agreements was always to foment division and personal greed at the expense of traditional values and customs) to the local Aboriginals is not enough to rehabilitate their communities and mined land with any great success.
This is sadly reflected in the size of the Aboriginal prison population in comparison to the general prison population in that whereas they comprise about 4% of the overall population of the state, they represent about 20% of the total WA prison population. However, I hasten to add that with the West Australian economy tanking so alarmingly it shouldn’t be too long before a lot more of us are in prison on conviction for stealing to eat, or some similarly poverty induced crime. Unemployment benefit is so inadequate in this country it’s a cruel fucking joke. So for anyone to think that our ‘safety net’ is something to depend on for economic survival is either living on anothers largesse or they are one of the statistically small but significant portion of the population that are wired into the resources sector (about 5% of the states workforce are employed directly or indirectly by this sector). The rest of us, to a greater or lesser extent, have to fight for the crumbs that fall from the butchers table in the Premier’s office where the state is being carved up and exported to other countries. Where, of course, most of the value adding into the final salable/consumable product to be sold back to us is performed. Even the modules used in the states resource sector are made overseas and only given to us for final assembly. Often the workmanship has been found to be inadequate and/or unsafe and has had to be rebuilt at extra expense once delivered here for assembly. But that doesn’t seem to factor into the equations that these great International agreements are based upon.
These forces are draining the Western Australian state of it’s ability to grow and develop independently of the Internationalist corporations who are both figuratively and in actuality hollowing out this state for the disproportionate advantage of only a few. These are people who do not deserve what they have while the society they operate in is allowed to suffer due to inadequate funding of the essential services they need to have for a dignified and successful life.
So in concluding this, I will say that I have started the case for the affirmative that the politicians of this state are just rent seeking off of our hard earned and highly taxed incomes without improving our social and economic mobility one bit. In fact the reverse seems to be happening. This all occurring while the politicians suck off the tax-payer funded government teat and sell us down the river to International conglomerates (who usually pay very little or no tax on their profits because of ‘free trade’ deals made by these traitorous rent seekers). All the while bribing the government workers with job security when times are good (for them) and frightening them with forced redundancy when times are not. Compliance is expected and failure to submit is career death. Forever.
These are my personal impressions from Perth, Western Australia on this Saturday the 15th of September 2012.
It’s August 2014 and I’ve just reread what I wrote then and can say that I still stand by all that I said and the sentiments expressed in it (although I did rewrite a little bit because it was confusingly written. Proof readings a bitch, eh!). Unemployment is now over 5% in the State and Barnett is doing things like allowing Chevron to house their workers on site rather than in Onslow where they would have contributed to the local economy much, much, more than will be the case now. The other side of this equation is that Chevron gets to control and monitor its employees 24/7. This sort of deprivation of personal freedom outside of working hours is too much for people like me to bare so I will never willingly take a job in this sector any more. Because these companies have effectively locked people like me out of their workplaces I have absolutely no qualms in saying they should pay a lot more for what they take out of our land and economy. I don’t see these multinationals as great innovators and growth generators. I see them as crushing the life out of the planet and turning it into paper money for themselves and waste, dislocation, and death for the rest of us.
You think that’s hard? I have clients that work in the mining industry and they are now working 14-16 hr shifts with terrible rosters so that the companies can get their product out at reduced cost. Being on a salaried contract their wage remains the same. Plus the plethora of overseas worker on 457 visas do even more for less and don’t complain. (no wonder that these companies want to hide their workforce from unwelcome, prying eyes and ears)
The cost to us so far this last twelve months; 9 deaths by suicide (official so the real number is probably much higher). That’s at least 9 extended families that will have been shattered by these deaths but we are taught to just treat them as another statistic that can be safely ignored because an ‘official’ has measured it. We can all rest easy now that we have a parliamentary committee looking into it. Good luck to them. I’m sure they’re really going to get to the nub of the problem with trying to turn your entire working population into compliant, unquestioning ROBOTS so the multinationals can extract their price from us all without even a whimper of protest!
I notice that we have the ex PM of Japan here in Australia giving talks decrying the use of nuclear reactors and uranium mining because of his experience of being in charge of the country on that fateful day , March the 11th 1011, when the earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Daiichi nuclear power plant causing three total melt-downs and melt-throughs which are still actively contaminating the whole of our planet.
However, the article goes into NO detail of the present condition of the plants.
It also doesn’t detail AT ALL how these substances don’t dilute and become harmless. They SPREAD and remain LETHAL if exposed to them by ingestion through the food supply or environment for up to millions of years! Plus the fact that radiation of this type bio-accumulates as it is concentrated up the food-chain. Think about the implications for future life on this planet. I do and I am damned if I’m going to throw all my knowledge down the drain for a few fucking dollars and accept that cancer is a inevitable outcome of living in the modern world.
So that’s why I put this link below so you can get some up to date information on the crisis at Fukushima.
Of course, to these pimps for nuclear power it’s a hell of a lot more than a few measly dollars! And I do mean ‘hell’! It’s what I believe should happen even if I have no way of verifying my theory!
We must shut down all Uranium Mining.
We must close all nuclear reactors and decommission them before they all end up melting-down because of poor maintenance, natural disasters, sabotage, or war. Fukushima is not contained and poses a present threat and ongoing danger to civilization.
Horserotovator doesn’t want the transuranic waste back from these mines so he doesn’t want the mines.