Little children with Big Boys' Toys

Cacatuoidea

New member
Australia cannot afford AUKUS. Before Australia can afford nuclear submarines, we must become a "developed" country.

Our Government wants to play on the Big Boys' Paddock, with the Big Boys' Toys. Toys we cannot afford and don't know how to use.

How well developed IS Australia? Australia will probably never be anything more than a nice place for tourists or a haven for inventors. I doubt our continent can support many more than about 50,000,000 souls without stressing our wildlife and scenic beauty.

Australia is a Maritime Nation, by definition, and only by definition. We do not make or crew our Merchant Navy.

Our Navy has 43 commissioned ships plus 3 non-commissioned, soon (maybe) to be 9. Our Navy doesn't even have an Australian enterprise managing its Port Services: DMS Maritime is a subsidiary of Serco. Very little of the Navy fleet is actually Australian, with the exception of the Armidale class built at Henderson (WA) by Austal in cooperation with DMS Maritime.

Australia is a net importer of eucalyptus oil. Australia is a net importer of macadamia nuts. Why? There are many things we could make here, but we have been too long a colony, thinking colonial thoughts: "Colonies don't manufacture." We pay Chinese factories to make our clothes, boots, furniture... Why? We are a colony, with a colonial attitude to money and government, so we have made ourselves powerless to think of change. We do not manufacture any vehicle parts like engines or transmissions. There are no effective Australian vehicle manufacturers.

IBISWorld states the largest vehicle manufacturers in Australia are now Volvo, PACCAR (Kenworth) and CNH Industrial Australia (IVECO), manufacturing trucks. However, IVECO has announced it will be moving to fully importing its range from the end of June 2022 and focus on customisation for the local market.
"
Australian Industry and Skills Committee"

We do not manufacture computers or computer parts, we do not make aircraft of any kind, we do not even make satellites. (I must admit we were able to buy 3 very nice satellites of Australian design for Sky Muster, for the NBN. But we did not make them.) In short, Australia has no Secondary Industry. Our whole economy balances precariously on Primary Industry and Tertiary Industry, and if anything upsets that (like, for example, COVID) our economy defecates in its pants.

Even the Kiwis do better than Australia. As does Canada. They at least have an established aerospace industry.

New Zealand manufacturing contributed to 10% of real GDP in 2019 ($23 billion) and is a large employer at over 242,000 people. NZ manufacturers contribute as much to the economy percentage wise as manufacturing in the USA and nearly double that of Australian manufacturing.
"
ManufacturingNZ Election Manifesto 2020, ManufacturingNZ".

How can Australia develop itself? Well, given we do have half-way decent communications, then transport would have to be the next step. We do, in fact, have a useful road and highway network. Unfortunately, that network is totally incapable of mass transport of goods. The roads cannot take the tonnage of semi-trailers needed, and the fuel cost alone would be unsustainable.

The only sustainable mass transport system is rail. We won't consider coastal shipping simply because that cannot access all areas of Australia. However, our rail transport system stretches only from Port Augusta to Perth and Geraldton in the West, Darwin in the North, Adelaide and Melbourne in the South, and Sydney and Brisbane through to Cairns in the East. It is not interconnected in any meaningful sense.

What does Australia need as a Robust Rail System?


  1. It must go around ALL of Australia, and include EVERY coastal town or city except Hobart.
  2. It must also have a radial component, to link The Alice with every other capital city except Hobart.
  3. It must be a SINGLE gauge.
  4. It must be ALL-weather, capable of use during any flooding event.
  5. It must be (as far as possible) earthquake resistant.

We are not talking about a "one in 200-300 year event" or "18 locations along 300km of track needed major repair." My question is, "Why was so much of the only east-west rail connection not elevated at least 2 meters above the surrounding flood-plain?"

This will be very expensive. But let me put the cost in perspective. I do not have costings for our participation in Korea, Malaysia (Konfrontasi), Viet Nam, Iran/Iraq/Persian Gulf/Gulf of Oman/Gulf of Aden/Arabian Sea, and Afghanistan. However, I think we can confidently put the cost of these adventures into the thousands of millions that we have totally wasted. Thrown away. For ever. About the cost of a Robust Rail System.

However. We cannot think about "just a railway". To make the railway, we need steel, and lots of it. We are not bothering to count the BHP Whyalla mill, it's too small to matter. We need to produce some thousands of tonnes of the stuff just for rail tracks, not to mention any bridges and elevated rail beds. A real steel mill. We have the iron, lots of it. We need only water, and power.

Water is everywhere, literally, we just cannot drink it, too salty. But power, that could be problematic. We will need something that looks like 100MW, since we need to both desalinate artesian water and convert iron to steel. There are two options, although we should be able to use both of them.

The best option is nuclear, which at first sight seems very risky. Although, as it happens, not really. Uranium sucks, mostly because greed takes all the good out (U235) and leaves the dross (U238) as waste, and there's not a lot of U235 left in the world. But thorium (
World Nuclear Association, Thorium) is a definite problem-solver. Mostly because Australia has lots of it, but also because it produces less "waste" to be stored for future generations.

The second option is renewable, solar/wind. One possible option could be a solar updraft tower as discussed in "
GS Energy" and "An Ignored Wind Generates More Electricity: A Solar Updraft Tower to a Wind Solar Tower", or simple wind farms.

And, yes. If we can build a Robust Rail System, we can build the locomotives and all the rollingstock. We can build the signalling, and the comms systems.

How do we pay for all of this? We must get rid of AUKUS. It's that simple: there is still the ANZUS treaty, which -- importantly -- restricts our obligations to the Pacific and even then, only for defence "
The Australia Institute".

We get rid of AUKUS, we can carry the rest on taxes, iron ore/natural gas revenues and other exports.

So.

If our Government wishes Australia to play with the Big Boys, using their toys, Australia must become a "Developed Nation" with a sustainable income from a robust Secondary Industry. The path to a Secondary Industry is the development of the infrastructure to build a robust pan-Australian rail transport system with adequate power and water resources.

It's your call.

©Cacatuoidea 28 Feb 2022; All rights reserved; Fair Use Applies.
 

HBS Guy

Head Honcho 💉💉
Staff member
What you post here becomes my copyright—spelled out in the rules.

I think buying the nuclear subs will be a boost to Australian self confidence.


Heh, Caca pointed out in an email that my rules say copyright is mine UNLESS the poster claims copyright. {Oops}
 
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johnsmith

Moderator
Staff member
Toys we cannot afford and don't know how to use.

Can the money be better used elsewhere? Sure ... you can argue that about anything. \
Can we afford it? Absolutely.
Does our navy know how to use them? I think they do alright as long as the politicians don't get involved.
 

Cacatuoidea

New member
Heh, Caca pointed out in an email that my rules say copyright is mine UNLESS the poster claims copyright. {Oops}
Aaaah, no worries cobber. I did see the writing at top of the rules and regs where you mentioned you need to update them. Far be it from me to be pushy, but... I do see some advantages to letting you as the forum owner have copyright: for one, you get the hassles of chasing up offenders :)
 

Cacatuoidea

New member
No one's going to invade Australia.... not until climate change wrecks a few countries anyway.
Who said anything about invasion? However, this thought alone should wake up the pollies. How in the Name of the Bunyip do we get military stuff up to the Top End in one piece? Most developed nations have extensive rail networks, though some use them better than others, and all rail networks carry much larger quantities than any fleet of trucks, generally with fewer problems, and certainly lower costs.

EDIT: As it happens I can think of some who might want to invade Australia without bothering about Climate Change. Both Honshu and Java are likely to see major tectonic earthquakes in the coming decades, they both live "on the edge". The Indonesian Government is in the process of moving its capital (Jakarta) to the island of Borneo, but that will still leave several million folks on Java. All it takes -- for either nation -- is the wrong placement of an earthquake, and suddenly they have lots of refugees and no place to put them. Unfortunately, Australia has lots, really BIG lots, of unoccupied land not too far from most of SE Asia. Let's hope it doesn't happen.
 
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Cacatuoidea

New member
there's no reason why we cannot do both. There is certainly a surplus of money being wasted in our budget
Well, some research into our budget and GDP:
Debt levels
Australia’s gross debt is forecast to reach $872 billion (44.8% of GDP) at 30 June 2021
Macroeconomic overview


Revenue and Spending
Total revenue for 2021-22 is expected to be $496.6 billion. Total expenses are expected to be $589.3 billion.

Spending - Defence 5.8%
Budget 2021-22 Overview | Appendix B | Revenue and spending

5.8% of Au$589.3 thousand million is Au$101,603,448,275.86

I have not researched any other proposed budget spending. However, Australia's forecast debt levels leave room for hope that we can become debt-propelled like the USA. Whoopee.
 

johnsmith

Moderator
Staff member
How in the Name of the Bunyip do we get military stuff up to the Top End in one piece?

that is just as much a positive as it is a negative.

How does any invading army get it's military from the top end, the likely location of any invading force, to where it matters? The supply lines will be easy picking for our defense forces both on and off the water.
 

DreamRyderX

Active member
How does any invading army get it's military from the top end, the likely location of any invading force, to where it matters? The supply lines will be easy picking for our defense forces both on and off the water.
A few.......6-8......strategically placed, very low grade, nuclear strikes.....coupled with major air attacks & captures of strategically located airports down south, could make the 80,000 weak defense force split & scurry like ants, unable to defend against a massive, 3 prong rapid onslaught from the air & then sea.
 
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Shellandshilo1956

Active member
I have not researched any other proposed budget spending. However, Australia's forecast debt levels leave room for hope that we can become debt-propelled like the USA. Whoopee.
As of Feb. 2022, the US is $30.29 Trillion in National debt. The total government revenue is around $4 Trillion. No matter what clever bookkeeping tricks you use, that's still $26 Trillion in debt that must be repaid over time(at least on the interest).

Since the government(US) creates no currency/money(other than coins), it must tax and/or borrow to get any money flowing through the government hands. It borrows, and taxes on this river of circulating debt, that the government calls its money supply. The government spends this money back into circulation, and borrows, and taxes on it again. This process is repeated over and over and over again. And, this realistically can't be stopped without returning to a sovereign currency.

It is very easy to become debt-free within 10 years. But it would be political suicide to tell the people how. Politicians tell people only what they want to hear. Not what they need to hear. The truth!

But if you don't care about the rising national debt, and your country's credit ratings, then your country's economy IS already propelled by its debt. It is not a choice. It is an outcome.
 

Cacatuoidea

New member
Since the government(US) creates no currency/money(other than coins), it must tax and/or borrow to get any money flowing through the government hands.
Thank you @Shellandshilo1956. I guess my OP does sound a bit like a certain pipeline from Kununurra to Perth... Or maybe an Overland Telegraph.

But since all projects depend utterly on available funds, we can start here.

A few definitions, 'cos most folks conflate these things.

1 -- Money. From my childhood in school, "wealth". An intangible idea or concept used as a term to include all those things you can exchange for some benefit. However, many people confuse "money" with "currency", as for example:
Anything that is generally accepted in exchange as payment for goods and services. The emphasis is on "any," because any item or asset can serve as money so long as it is generally accepted in payment throughout an economy. While the key function of money is acting as a medium of exchange, money also functions as a store of value, standard unit of account, and standard of deferred payment.
MONEY, AmosWEB GLOSS*arama,
http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: March 29, 2022].

2 -- Currency. What you carry in your pocket. We won't bother with the technical differences between coin (of the realm) and bank notes.
Paper usually issued by the national government that are used as money. Metal coins are also frequently included under the generic heading of currency.
...
CURRENCY, AmosWEB GLOSS*arama,
http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: March 29, 2022].

3 -- Fiat Money. What the Government says is money.
A medium of exchange (money) with value in exchange, but little or no value in use. Modern paper currency, coins, and checkable deposits are fiat money. The value of fiat money comes from the public's general willingness to accept it in exchange for other goods. This willingness comes from the fact that everyone is willing to accept fiat money in exchange, which largely depends on the public's confidence in the authority (usually government) issuing the fiat money. Fiat money is not valuable unto itself, but it is valuable for what it can buy.
FIAT MONEY, AmosWEB GLOSS*arama,
http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: March 29, 2022].

4 -- Sovereign Money. This tells it so much better than I can. Read this:
What is sovereign money? sovereign money by Joseph Huber,
https://sovereignmoney.site/what-is-sovereign-money [Accessed: March 29, 2022]

How does "money business" relate to a Robust Rail System? Well, Australia could just stay with the unreliable freight system we all suffer under. The reliance on trucks is horrendously expensive in almost every respect. Just for starters, trucks are the major reason our highways need to be rebuilt so often, typically every ten to five years. Trucks need frequent expensive maintenance, and use highly polluting diesel, contributing to poorer air quality. I include their tires as part of the maintenance. Truckies would love to keep to the standards mandated by the Feds, but unfortunately the Feds are much further away than the truckies' owne employers. Thus the frequent truck/traffic interactions -- although as a former delivery driver I can attest that many motorists have only the vaguest hazy idea of what they are doing at any given time.

It would be nice to say that rail transport is fault-free. It's not. Our current setup is vulnerable to floods, wind-erosion of rail-beds, heat in summer and cold in winter. It seems the over-homers are still having rail problems due to poor planning. (Oh crap. I have to edit my "About me". I'm a Sandgroper.) Which is why I have concentrated on building a Robust Rail System. The mining companies up in the Nor'west don't spend millions per year on track and rolling-stock maintenance for nothing. But it pays big time.

However all that may be, it's worth noting that almost every current industrialised nation has a backbone of rail. The simple act of buying steel rail to run transport galvanised more than one economy back into life, and definitely kick-started the US economy. Once a nation or business decides to lay a rail track, it must pay labourers and technicians good wages to stay out there until the job is done. Both the USA and England noted that wherever a railway station was built, urban development would soon follow. And in England, from the middle nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, regional planning employed the strategic placement of the rail line to regulate the population settlement in newly opened areas.

I've mentioned AUKUS. There seems to be a belief that nuclear submarines are cheap to build and operate. They're not. Each of the Collins Class cost Au$850 million and they cost Au$105,000,000 per year to maintain. The cost of the US/UK submarines has not been released, but I would hazard a guess that Au$8,500 million per would be a safe starting point. Annual maintenance per sub, per year? Roll 8 dice and tell us what comes up. And we haven't yet solved the staffing problem. It seems you can't pay the sailors enough to make them stay.

Now add all of that together and tell me we cannot afford to make a start by putting a bloody great Thorium nuclear power plant somewhere usefully near a) the iron mines and b) some (artesian) water. We don't need to be on the coast. And yes, our government has indeed outlawed the use of nuclear to make electricity. But that which governments have mandated can be repudiated. Add to that the somewhat less outrageous use of renewable energy -- wind -- to generate electricity, which would be of immense use to the rest of Australia.

So in one hit we've managed to provide employment in the short and middle term for many Aussies, and we're doing it with Aussie tech. How can that be worse than giving all our dineros and our freedom to the Yanks and Poms?

So that's the financial argument. And yes, the Libs -- Gawd I never thought I'd ever say this, they really are a mob of chooks -- have to go.
 

HBS Guy

Head Honcho 💉💉
Staff member
Alice Springs to Darwin rail line went broke. Maybe charging several thousand dollars for 3 day trip did that?
 

DreamRyderX

Active member
Alice Springs to Darwin rail line went broke. Maybe charging several thousand dollars for 3 day trip did that?
Well, unless you want to be Socialistic about it, & accept a government takeover putting the burden of support on all taxpayers, in a Capitalistic free market system the consumer/customer usually is free to determine an enterprise's fate.....charge too much, lose customers, charge to little & have customers waiting in long lines for your services, but run the risk of bankruptcy, or charge a fair price, thrive & stay competitive......
 

HBS Guy

Head Honcho 💉💉
Staff member
I was looking forward to doing the trip, knew it wouldn’t be cheap but thousands of dollars?
 

Cacatuoidea

New member
Alice Springs to Darwin rail line went broke.
I can't find anything about that in the search engines. Do you have better sauces?

OTOH, Oz (mis)governments have a habit of ignoring private sector transport management stuffups, see Ansett Airlines as a complete cock-up, so I would not be surprised to find a major rail sector going down the tube.
 

HBS Guy

Head Honcho 💉💉
Staff member
I just saw a paywalled article about the freight operations being sold. I am sure I read about the line going bankrupt, maybe that was the freight part?
 
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