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The Forum > Article Comments > Energy and industry > Comments

Energy and industry : Comments

By Ross Elliott, published 26/5/2017

Manufacturing is far from dead and remains our fifth largest employer: more than double the entire financial, insurance and property sector.

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We just cant make stuff as cheap and as quickly as they can in China, Vietnam or India.

No, we cannot; but we can make stuff much better. Much of the stuff coming from overseas is absolute rubbish, We are accepting Third World standards in goods because Australian industrialists are a greedy lot, exploiting cheap workers and low standards and we are allowing them to get away with it because we are a mob of sheep.

It now seems that we are on the brink of losing Birdseye and Edgell, the remaining producers of Australian frozen vegetables. If you buy frozen vegetables marked New Zealand because they are a few cents cheaper, be aware that you are eating CHINESE vegetables, packed in New Zealand, which have been FERTILIZED WITH HUMAN WASTE.

We don't need Ross Elliott to tell us that energy in Australia is scarce and expensive, and nothing is being done about it. But, we need to remind ourselves that much of the energy we do have is owned by the CHINESE, thanks to our shonky, gutless and corrupt politicians and because we are a mob of sheep.

And while I have to accept Elliott's claim that manufacturing is still number five in Australia's list of activities, I have to say that in my daily use of goods I find precious little stamped 'made in Australia'.

Australian wages are no longer the problem. Wage rises for most are how few and far between. The real problem is the increasing greed and massive, uncontrolled mark ups of Australian manufacturers (including those who have moved off shore), government charges and, of course, energy. Australia is a very costly placed to live in. And it is going to get worse.

Australia is rooted.
Posted by ttbn, Friday, 26 May 2017 9:19:23 AM
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It's not that easy. to import you have to have a license for a specific commodity, and licenses are only available when there is a need for the product to be imported. Vegetables in victoria are very expensive now probably due to the floods etc in QLD and NSW.
China imports as much fruit and veg in the off seasons as and it exports when they have too much.
The likes of birds eye at the moment would most likely be importing if they are permitted or else paying big prices for veg. That is probably why veg is coming from NZ
Posted by doog, Friday, 26 May 2017 11:21:03 AM
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Energy and its cost impacts on almost every thing we use. Be it the toast you have at breakfast or the boiled egg that accompanied it. It take around 55 gals or around 222 litres of water to produce an egg. If you do the sums and incorporate the water needed to grow the grain, water the chook etc, from hatching to the lay etc. And most of that water will be pumped!

Similarly when you put vegetables on the plate know that irrigation water has likely factored in their production, and given that is so, using, dearer than diesel, 3 phase electricity.

The reason we can no longer compete, is not because we lack affordable raw material nor affordable labour!

China has been experiencing a 30% wages inflation in recent years and is now turning to automation to stay ahead? Even though they pay humongous transport costs both ways before they undersell our car or any other manufactured good market.

The reason? Well how about power bills higher than the labour costs, which in isolation cost around 16% of the build costs of most stuff!? Power costing significantly more than Labour hire!

Does it have to be thus?

No, but due to political inertia/ineptitude/unadulterated incompetence and total absorption on other matters more important to self obsessed pollies.

Consequently, the eye has been completely off the ball and for literal decades! Were this not so we would be beating the pants off china instead of selling the farm and the mine to them in some of the most short sighted, sludge for brains, decision making by politically obsessed folks, just there for themselves?

Yet, even now, this could be very different, if we but had the courage to buck our?their current puppet masters and just get on and do stuff.

I recommend Graham's current blog and some of the comments there to explain far more fully, as this thread as always has word limits.

Don't be shy, have a butchers, I won't hurt or cost much I promise!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Friday, 26 May 2017 11:32:27 AM
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It is well known that all steelworks (other than a few that operate purely by recycling, for which there is a limited supply) use coal. It's generally accepted that this will have to continue for a while yet, though molten oxide electrolysis will eventually take over (and if the government want to help the steel industry in the long term, the best they could do would be to invest in MOE research).

What's "on the nose" is the use of coal for generating electricity, as there are better alternatives available.
Posted by Aidan, Friday, 26 May 2017 12:34:44 PM
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It's ironic that Holden is closing just weeks before SA is supposed to get the world's largest battery and there will payments to reduce summer demand. In theory we could slap a carbon tariff on imports of steel and aluminium (made from Australian ingredients) plus more advanced products like cars and electronics. See also
http://euanmearns.com/carbon-emissions-carbon-intensity-and-the-global-trade-in-co2/
While carbon tariffs are within WTO rules other countries will still have lower wages and economies of scale but extra transport costs.

Enthusiasts for unreliable intermittent generation have praised the idea of smelters reducing power consumption in heat waves. Next it will be in cloudy weather or because millions are watching major sports events on TV. We hardly ever had these problems in the old days of high baseload. Bring them back but make it near zero carbon nuclear not coal.
Posted by Taswegian, Friday, 26 May 2017 12:49:20 PM
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Some of our iron ore is pure enough to weld to chunks of it together and the reason ours is in so much demand.

Traditionally we have used blast furnaces and coal in traditional two stage, pig iron, to steel smelting.

This method not only burns the coal for the heat required but incorporates some of the carbon content, in high carbon steel.

We invented the one step steel making method using some coal or other high carbon product, such as bailed recycled plastic.

Then use arc furnaces to produce the required heat. And where the raw electric current touches the melting metal; at that point produces greater heat than the centre of the sun? Ditto similar lightening strikes.

This locally invented method, if implemented by us as opposed to our competitors. And given maximized automation, produce the world's lowest costing steel for ourselves/anyone else. And given thorium power, with the lowest costing, safest, cleanest industrial power available.

Iron smelting is essentially a chemical, heat assisted, reduction process that replaces oxide with hydrogen.

Thorium heat enables catalytically assisted decomposition of water, to produce very low cost hydrogen and liquid Co2.

So we could if we had thorium as our power source, replace coal, with Co2 as the source of carbon and oxide reducing hydrogen as the reducing hydrogen?

Thus nuclear energy allows us to not only consider (technically possible) creating the worlds lowest cost steel, but one with the genuine lowest carbon footprint. And sequester carbon, as already polluting, carbon products in the process?

Yes, some steel could and should be recycled, if only to reduce required energy input, but still need to mine considerable iron ore to underpin a viable steel making, job and economy growing, steel export industry.

Cant died in a cornfield over a century ago and we just don't require permission or have others decide what we can or should do!

That course has put us where we are now today, aided and abetted by truly hopeless, incorrigible incompetents, I believe, with quisling like self serving agendas?
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Friday, 26 May 2017 2:35:59 PM
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