12 April 2024

More renewable, manufacturing incentives coming to better link economic, national security

| Chris Johnson
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Anthony Albanese

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants a future made in Australia. Photo: Facebook.

Anthony Albanese wants a future made in Australia and he wants everyone to know his plan to achieve it will be a feature of next month’s Federal Budget.

The Prime Minister has flagged new policy his government will pursue to consolidate manufacturing efforts to better incentivise clean energy projects and keep Australia competitive globally.

It will prioritise hydrogen, solar and green metals, and incorporate its $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund into a wider scheme to advance renewable energy initiatives.

“To anchor this reform and secure this growth … I announce that this year our government will create the Future Made in Australia Act,” he said when outlining his plans during a speech on Thursday (11 April).

“We will bring together in a comprehensive and coordinated way a whole package of new and existing initiatives. To boost investment, create jobs and seize the opportunities of a future made in Australia.

“We want to look at every measure that will make a positive difference. Investing in new industries – and ensuring that workers and communities will share in the dividend.

“That means giving the new Net Zero Economy Authority every tool it needs to support resource communities in particular through the coming period of economic change.”

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The PM said his government would be looking at how procurement could support small business and local manufacturing, as well as sustainability and the circular economy.

It will put together the “most efficient and effective combination” of financing facilities and investor incentives to drive new economic growth.

The aim is to secure greater sovereignty over Australia’s resources and critical minerals.

The plan very much involves fast-tracking infrastructure that supports renewable energy projects.

In all this, Australia will be largely mirroring the United States and other large economies pushing their own agendas in securing home-grown manufacturing and global trade.

“Strategic competition is a fact of life,” Mr Albanese said.

“Nations are drawing an explicit link between economic security and national security.

“The so-called ‘Washington consensus’ has fractured – and Washington itself is pursuing a new direction.

“The United States has implemented the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS Acts and pursued what they call a ‘small yard, high fence’ approach to critical industries.

“The European Union has introduced its European Economic Security Strategy. Japan has the Economic Security Promotion Act.

“The Republic of Korea is reframing its economic policy around a National Security Strategy; and Canada has brought in new rules to tighten foreign direct investment in their significant critical mineral reserves.

“All these countries are investing in their industrial base, their manufacturing capability and their economic sovereignty.

“This is not old-fashioned protectionism or isolationism – it is the new competition.

“These nations are not withdrawing from global trade or walking away from world markets or the rules-based order, and let me be clear, nor should Australia.”

While greater detail will be unfurled in the budget, some clean energy groups, unions, and think tanks have already jumped on board to praise the move.

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ACTU president Michele O’Neil described the announcement as a “historic step forward” for workers and for the climate.

“Decarbonising our economy could create hundreds of thousands of good secure well-paid jobs, healthier communities, and a renewed national prosperity, while safeguarding Australians from spiralling climate crises,” she said.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said the Prime Minister’s speech marked “another decisive moment” for Australia’s ambition to secure a place as a leading nation in the global clean energy industry.

“It is positive news that the Federal Government has plans to back its vision with a substantial policy agenda, putting renewable energy at the centre of our economic future,” Mr Thornton said.

The Centre for Policy Development commended the government’s ambition. It said securing Australia’s long-term competitive advantage in the industries of the future could not be left to capital markets.

“Markets are good at understanding what industries and investment will be most beneficial today, but they struggle to allocate resources towards areas where we can be competitive in the future,” CPD sustainable economy program director Toby Phillips said.

But the Opposition has already cast doubt on the government’s ability to deliver on its plans.

“We all want a future made in Australia, but I’ve got absolutely no confidence at all that this government or the policies it has will deliver that,” frontbench senator James Paterson said during a television appearance.

“Everything that this government has done in the last two years has taken us in the opposite direction.

“It’s made it harder to make things in Australia. It’s made it harder to do business in Australia.”

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If they really wanted to help with their environmental aims and are insistent on spending billions of dollars of Australian taxpayer funds, how about they install solar panels and batteries on all the public housing properties around the country instead?

They would reduce costs for the poor, reduce reliance on the grid and improve the quality of the public housing stock around the country. They’d certainly make the people who lived in that housing happy.

…or we can just throw money away in a massive mess that is already destined to fail instead. At least there would be something to show for the billions of dollars with the above.

Unionised manufacturing – just look at Queensland’s sweetheart deal with the CMFEU. Anything manufactured will be horrendously expensive, with the taxpayer footing the bill for the latest ALP indulgences

Capital Retro9:01 pm 12 Apr 24

A government addicted to borrowing and spending with leaders who have never risked a dollar of their own trying to pick winners is going to ruin this country.

@Capital Retro
No, CR, actually the Coalition government with their misappropriated and unjustified spending didn’t actually ruin the country – they just put us further into debt.

Capital Retro5:03 pm 13 Apr 24

The current Labor government has been running (ruining?) things for 3 years JS.

I suggest you stop reading Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and come forward to current times or the real world as it is commonly known.

@Capital Retro
“… Labor government has been running (ruining?) things for 3 years”
Maths is obviously another of your failings, CR. Try less than 2 years = last election was held on 21 May 2022! So the impact of the previous government is still very real – e.g. the current blow out on Morrison’s questionnable approval of Nelson’s $550m “parting gift” to the AWM.

Capital Retro7:48 pm 13 Apr 24

So, I hit the wrong key. We can’t all be perfect.

@Capital Retro
Irrespective of your imperfections, CR, the fact remains that the economic decisions of the previous govenment are still having an impact today.

devils_advocate10:17 am 14 Apr 24

“ I suggest you stop reading Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and come forward to current times or the real world as it is commonly known.”


Perhaps if more of today’s generation understood the building blocks of classical economic theory, particular capital and labour markets, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in

HiddenDragon8:10 pm 12 Apr 24

Fifty years on, there are strong echoes of an earlier grand plan to commit very large amounts of public money to a government intervention in the resources and related manufacturing sectors –


This time, there may not be any shadowy little “financiers” with a predilection for peanuts in the cast of characters, but there will be at least as many spivs, shonks and fast talking con artists buzzing around the honey pot, and the obstacles to success, even with far more conventional financing, will be every bit as great – as the shiny, new hand-picked Chair of the Productivity Commission has inconveniently pointed out –


The government should have done some research, these types of schemes have been tried in Australia many times and failed to create self sustaining industry/companies via the subsidy route. The purchasing route has been similarly bad.

The reality is Australia is a high cost producer far from any market, it was a problem in the past before freight got expensive.

The net effect of the policy is that Australians will pay twice, first for subsidies and then again at the purchase stage.

Your just have to look at car industry policy of yesteryear. It got us expensive out of date cars, failed to develop an innovative industry and required increasing subsidies, government purchases etc and what have we got left?

How about developing facilities that recycle solar panels, turbine blades & lithium batteries instead of dumping them in landfill.

Capital Retro5:05 pm 13 Apr 24

They will self-destruct by catching fire so there will be little left for landfill.

The toxic emissions they release will be another matter.

So, yet another ALP thought bubble/ photo Op. But behind the scenes yet another ALP ploy to send even more billions of taxpayer’s dollars off the Treasury books to join the already billions in hidden subsidies that we can NEVER know about because it’s all “Commercial in confidence.” If these ALP Green Dream so-called fantastic business opportunities were so great then why hide them from scrutiny? That’s rhetorical by the way because these schemes NEVER make economic sense and that’s why the ALP has to use our taxpayers money to prop them up. Let the market decide if these Green schemes are economic and guess what? The market already has because without massive government hidden subsidies no private enterprises will go near them.

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