Monday, April 28, 2014

Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia

The Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia is conducting public hearings today and tomorrow down at the Cairns Council chambers.

Most of the more substantial groups such as Council, TTNQ, Advance Cairns, Ports North and Cairns Airport seem to be front loaded into the program and apart from that it's probably not worth the effort unless for the entertainment value of the chairman. It always takes me a good week, and substantial liver damage, to recover my senses from any event featuring the Member for Leichhardt.

Transcripts will be available at the parliamentary committee website anyway. There are also 251 submissions most of which are likely predictable. However I can recommend submission #4, and particularly attachment B to that submission, as a cracking read on agriculture, irrigation and the northern food bowl:

While economic growth in Asia has proceeded apace, it does not follow that this fortuitous circumstance is any more favourable to the north of Australia than agriculture in the south.

Dr Watson is an economist associated with the Centre for Water Policy and Management at La Trobe University.

The Cairns Post also recently reported on the Airport submission which included a recommendation to make itself a special economic zone:
Push for investment to attract Chinese tourists.

Also now comments from Saul Eslake: Goodman Fielder bid shows grain of salt is needed on food bowl hope
Mr Eslake said Australia had ''no unique advantage'' in food production. This compared with the mining boom in which Australia and Brazil's rich iron ore deposits made them the only beneficiaries of China's rapid industrialisation. When it comes to food, Australia is competing with New Zealand, Brazil, the US, Canada, some European countries, Russia, Ukraine and even some parts of south-east Asia.

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