Australia's debt to coal

HOGSBACK reckons it is a bit rich for Pacific Island nations such as Fiji to tell Australia to give up on coal, especially when those countries enjoy Aussie largesse that is largely funded from the black stuff.
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Australia's economy is able to generate healthy tax receipts, receive generous royalties, and deliver foreign aid precisely because of its world class coal mining industry. 

If the Australian economy cannot sustain a healthy coal industry, then the well dries up.

The only other alternative is keep spending big on helping our ungrateful Pacific friends by going further into debt. 

Ironically, debt could be the very thing that destroys the environment.

Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland said the debt burden being carried by governments around the world would be "particularly tragic in view of the extraordinary global commitment to delivering the Sustainable Development Goals".

"So many nations seem finally to be in earnest about tackling the causes and impact of the climate crisis," she said.

"The impact of a parallel crisis in global debt would derail this effort, and could make much-needed international cooperation on poverty and progress impossible.

"Governments would be consumed by the need to stabilise local economies devastated by unmanageable debt." 

Australian mine communities have long known that a thriving industry means a healthy local economy and good wages for mining employees.

This is borne out by the recent statistics provided by employment group Seek. 

The average advertised salary across Australia in September was $88,652, according to Seek.

The states with the highest average salaries were Western Australia at $90,930 and New South Wales at $90,422.

"In WA, the Mining, Resources & Energy sectors and Engineering sectors contribute to this higher average," Seek said.

"NSW tells a similar story, with Mining, Resources & Energy and Construction contributing to the average."

However, the alarm bells are ringing in NSW with its planning system knocking back a spate of promising coal mining developments in recent months.

Job growth in NSW fell 13.1%, and has become the worst in the nation.

Anyone driving around Sydney would know that many existing jobs in NSW have been created government funded road and rail infrastructure projects.

Now that the property boom has been deflated and the stamp duty flood has subsided for the NSW government, it must rely more heavily on coal mining royalties to fund those projects.

Ironically, if it needs to go into debt to keep spending, it may end up hurting the environment more than if it encouraged a well-regulated and responsible local coal mining industry.

This should be a salutary lesson for the Pacific Island nations who want Australia to abandon coal.    

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