/ 12 April 2024

An investment in the future

Image source: AAP
Image source: AAP

The Squiz

When he wasn’t talking about his lifestyle choices, PM Albanese was sharing his plans for the ‘Future Made in Australia Act’ yesterday. The proposal is for a taxpayer-funded scheme to increase manufacturing and clean energy projects here in Australia as the world pushes towards green energy. Albanese says it’s needed “to boost investment, create jobs and seize the opportunities of a future made in Australia” after 4 years of pandemic/wars/supply chain snafus/financial crises that have wreaked havoc across the world. That’s a jazzy way of saying he wants to reduce our reliance on other countries… “We can’t afford to not be able to stand on our own 2 feet,” Albanese said.

So what’s it all about?

Getting our share of international investment. In the lucrative clean energy/high-tech manufacturing space, US President Joe Biden has launched the US Inflation Reduction Act that’s putting US$500 billion in American industry’s hands – and that’s a threat to Australia’s renewables industry. Biden’s scheme involves spending hundreds of billions to support US-based clean energy/manufacturing via tax breaks and subsidies for businesses and projects in those areas… Albanese says he won’t match the US “dollar for dollar”, but he believes the government can create an environment where we “can absolutely compete for international investment”. It’ll involve new projects, and existing schemes like Hydrogen Headstart, Solar Sunshot and the National Reconstruction Fund will also be brought under this banner. 

Sounds impressive…

It does, but before Albanese even officially launched it, he was questioned about whether it’s just a rebrand of existing projects – something he denies. He said the world’s at a crunch point and the government needs to offer new incentives to retain and grow local industries. He said “we can’t afford to continue to export all our resources, wait for someone else to add the jobs and the value, and then import it back”. But Coalition leader Peter Dutton is dubious – he reckons Albanese’s plan is “peddling false hope” and that Australian manufacturing is “going broke under the Labor Government because of their energy costs, because of their industrial relations imposts”. Next stop: the Federal Budget on 14 May…

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