Miners dig in to help scrap the RET

In 1964, a nit-picking academic called Donald Horne tagged Australia the “Lucky Country” – and he did not mean it as a compliment.

Australia is lucky, but so what?

It rode on the sheep’s back for more than a century as the world’s largest producer of fine apparel wool.

It’s seen one or two golden bonanzas in its time; such as the rush to the Victorian goldfields – where the first Australian “diggers” found enough of the yellow stuff to make Melbourne one of the richest cities on earth by 1900.

gold mining victoria

Standing around waiting for “luck” to pop gold in their pans.

Thanks to gold and wool, Melbourne had a tram network that was the envy of every other city on earth by 1900 and had installed electric street lighting all over town by that time.  It seems the harder Victorians worked, the luckier they got.  Gold doesn’t dig itself up – and separating sheep from fibre takes a little skill, sweat and toil.

shearing the rams

“Luck” never once knocked the wool off and got it to market.

When the “luck” ran out in Victoria they grabbed their picks and shovels and headed for the Golden West – Kalgoorlie became a mining Mecca that drew in rock scratchers from all over the world.  It still accounts for an enormous proportion of global gold production.

Superpit Kalgoorlie

“Luck” helps Kalgoorlie’s Superpit magically
spit out 800,000 ounces of gold each year

Over the last 20 years Australia’s “luck” has been in China’s almost insatiable demand for minerals, including mountains of iron ore.

It’s mining investment and mining exports that have kept the Australian economy at the top of the international leader-board in terms of growth in incomes and meaningful employment.

Kevin Rudd claimed to have staved off the effects of the Global Financial Crisis in Australia with his $900 cash bonus for all households (what wags at the time accurately described as the “Plasma TV bonus”) – as well as doling out $2.8 billion to stuff houses with roof insulation.  The subsidy-fuelled rush to install “Pink Batts” led to a swag of inexperienced and unqualified people performing the work – leading to hundreds of houses spontaneously combusting (the installers damaging electrical wiring, the cause of the fires) and four young lads being electrocuted in the process.

iron ore bhp

Putting fluffy pink stuff in houses didn’t save Australia from the GFC.

Truth be told, the fact that Australia dodged a GFC bullet had nothing to do with Kevin Rudd’s minor, Keynesian delusions.  What kept the economy afloat was the red stuff being shovelled out of mountains in North-West Western Australia and the black stuff being shipped out of Queensland.

So, when miners talk, sensible governments listen.

These boys are clearly unhappy about spiralling electricity prices, not least because mines use buckets of the stuff and up-stream mineral processors, even more, which is why they say:

“The RET is a costly and inefficient infant industry scheme which should be repealed.”

Here’s The Australian’s take on what Australian miners think should happen to the RET.

Miners unite to sink carbon tax
The Australian
Sid Maher and Annabel Hepworth
5 November 2013

AUSTRALIA’S mining giants are demanding the Coalition abandon the renewable energy target, warning the scheme is slugging electricity consumers $1.6 billion a year.

In a rare united submission obtained by The Australian, groups including the Minerals Council of Australia and Australian Uranium Association have said that repealing the carbon tax is just the first step in reforming climate change policies and that the repeal does not address “other overlapping areas where policy is out of sync with broader economic imperatives, such as the expensive subsidies for certain technologies under the renewable energy target”.

Under the RET, 20 per cent of electricity will be sourced from renewable energy by 2020.

“The RET is a costly and inefficient infant industry scheme which should be repealed,” the submission to the Environment Department says.

“The minerals industry wishes to put on the record its continued calls for reform of these areas.”

The miners launched their attack on the RET as institutional investors, representing about $1 trillion of funds under management, told the government they opposed repealing the carbon tax.

The Investor Group on Climate Change said reducing Australia’s emissions was a long-term project and required a policy framework that was stable and capable of being scaled up to deliver more ambitious reductions across time.

“In the absence of an alternative policy proposal that is likely to be at least as effective and efficient as the current carbon pricing framework, IGCC does not support repealing Australia’s carbon legislation and recommends that the repeal bill not proceed.”

The IGCC argued that despite public concerns about carbon pricing, the carbon price had been effective in sending an emissions reduction signal to the market.

“Further, from investor analysis, the perceived impact of the carbon price does not match the evidence.” IGCC said if there were concerns about relatively high domestic carbon prices, they could be addressed by limited international linking. The EU carbon price was $7 a tonne compared with $23 in Australia.

The government asked for submissions on its repeal bills. The opposition has vowed to block the repeal bills unless an emissions trading scheme is introduced.

The miners’ submission says while the carbon tax repeal bill deals with the prospect that it is delayed beyond June 30, 2014, “other issues may arise for business the longer the bill takes to pass”.

“The ongoing expense of accounting for and managing the carbon equivalent component of the fuel tax credit will mount the longer the scheme remains in place after June 2014,” the submission says.

Australian Industry Greenhouse Network chief executive Alex Gosman also expressed concern about any potential delays to the repeal bills. “It has become apparent that there would be a wide range of potential issues; it is therefore a scenario AIGN members strongly wish to see avoided,” he said.
The Australian

The curiously named “Investor Group on Climate Change” will fight tooth and nail to avoid the repeal of the carbon tax and even harder to prevent any incursion on the Renewable Energy Target.

This group of so-called “investors” are really only interested in maintaining the status quo for one reason: MONEY.  To be precise: YOUR MONEY.

As former Prime Minister, John Howard recently told a group in London: “when public monies are involved, rent-seekers are thick on the ground”.

Where John Howard uses the term “rent-seekers” you can safely plug in the “Investor Group on Climate Change”.

Meanwhile, over at the Clean Energy Finance Corporation they’re literally stealing from us.

STT readers will remember our reports on the CEFC shovelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to prop up wind power projects that legitimate financial institutions wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.  See our posts here and here and here.

The Coalition is about to scrap the CEFC and – months ago – told the wind industry backed hacks that run it – like Oliver Yates – to stop stealing taxpayers’ money.

Here’s a little story that has, apparently, incensed Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation defies Government call to stop lending
ABC online
Anna Henderson and Jane Norman
1 November 2013

The investment fund set up under Labor to encourage low emission technology and renewable energy projects has rejected a request from the Treasurer Joe Hockey to stop making new investments.

The announcement comes ahead of a key shadow cabinet meeting today at which Labor MPs will discuss their next move on the future of the carbon tax.

The Coalition’s carbon price repeal policy includes provisions to dismantle the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

Mr Hockey is expected to introduce the legislation later this year and has asked the CEFC to stop lending in the interim.

However, the board and executive of the fund have decided to continue making investment decisions.

In a statement the CEFC says:

“Until legislation is passed, the CEFC is required by law to fulfil its responsibilities under the legislative framework in which it operates. This includes performing our investment function and therefore we are continuing to progress investment proposals.”

The CEFC has already invested more than half a billion dollars in low emissions projects.

The annual report for the last financial year says every dollar of investment has attracted $2.90 in private sector spending.

The statement says the CEFC expects to work with the government cooperatively to preserve the value of what’s been achieved so far and minimise any disruption to the market.
ABC online

The CEFC is the ONLY potential source of finance available to wind weasels now.

Commercial lenders are not completely stupid – with the RET review around the corner no banker is willing to lend a cent to a windfarm developer offering no valuable security.  Bankers have a nose for risk – and the windfarm scam is oozing RISK.

One fine example is STT’s favourite whipping boys, Infigen (aka Babcock & Brown) – a crowd that backed up a $55 million loss with an $80 million loss in the last financial year.  In its annual report it blamed – wait for it – the vagaries of the wind as an explanation for its poor performance – as it cutely put it: “Wind conditions and network and weather related constraints were mixed.”  Not sure what “weather related constraints” means, perhaps it’s got something to do with the FACT that the whole wind caper depends on intermittent and unpredictable wind.

However, what might have seemed to the CEFC boys like a clever way of looking after their mates and protecting their own financial interests is likely to end in an almighty backfire.

STT hears that Abbott and Hockey are drawing up “pink-slips” for all those at the CEFC who are keen to defy the Government’s directives.  And fair enough, too.

The CEFC is an outrageous little slush fund set up under the Green-Labor Alliance that was designed to provide unsecured, taxpayer underwritten, low-interest loans to keep the great wind power fraud rumbling along, well after legitimate investors came to their senses.

The links between the CEFC, wind weasels and those who have invested heavily in the great wind power fraud can be fairly described as “unseemly”.

Oliver Yates – who heads the CEFC – was also with the Macquarie Bank’s Renewable Investment arm which has, funnily enough, invested heavily in wind power projects and, therefore, has huge EXPOSURE if the RET is scrapped.

What’s that you say about Dirty Rotten Scoundrels?


Psst, wanna borrow $2 billion?
It’s underwritten by Australian taxpayers, virtually interest free
and we don’t need any security.
Is that a great deal, or what!

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Time to form a land rehabilitation company which specialises in knocking down and recycling wind turbines. I wonder if there will be government subsidies?

  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    While the CEFC think they may have a right to continue to misuse OUR money, don’t they have an obligation to accept the wishes of the people of this nation who have spoken loud and clear? Don’t they have an obligation to accept the request of our democratically-elected Government and not make further payments of OUR money? It’s time the CEFC, the Labor and Green Parties and the supporters of the misuse of OUR money, accepted that the people have spoken and THEIR elected representatives are the authority to be listened to.

    If the people had wanted the waste to continue, they would have voted for it, but they didn’t. So CEFC, Labor, Greens and others who think they are more important than the rest of us – SHUT UP, STAND DOWN and accept your fate.

  3. David Mortimer says:

    No form of electricity generation is clean and green. They all have a detrimental effect on our environment whether it be by emissions of gaseous pollutants, artificially altering the height and shape of hills (wind turbines) or blanketing the earth with solar panels. Not to mention the toxic materials left behind when the “use by” date is reached.

    Unrestrained electric power is not a God given right, it is a man made luxury and the world needs to use it more wisely. If my family can at 1.3KWHr per day (and we don’t skimp), then most others can too.

    A tax on carbon will never work as the tax will simply be passed on down the line without any reduction in CO2. Where does our breathable oxygen come from? Well, trees of course! And what is the world hell bent on doing? Clearing our forests and in particularly the rain forests of course. I think Tony Abbott is on the right track with a direct action plan and I think the rest of the world should follow. Get rid of the RET, it only spawns scams like the wind and solar industries and start the planet on a healing process.


  1. […] when miners talk, sensible governments listen (see our posts here and here). Here’s The Australian on what the miners are saying about the mandatory […]

  2. […] Australia’s miners have carried its economy along on a wave of investment and export growth over the last 20 years – so when they talk – governments listen (see our post here). […]

  3. […] favourite whipping boys, Infigen.  Bleeding cash (it backed up a $55 million loss in 2011/12 with an $80 million loss, last financial year) the struggling outfit – formerly known as Babcock and Brown – is […]

  4. […] and least deserving.  Ever wondered why people like Greg Combet, Bernie Fraser and CEFC head, Oliver Yates push the wind industry barrow so […]

  5. […] backed up a $55 million loss with an $80 million loss in the last financial year – they blamed the wind for their poor financial […]

  6. […] a recent post about Miners calling for the RET to be scrapped, we talked about Australia being tagged the “Lucky […]

  7. […] clearly didn’t impress the audience – as STT readers know the miners have just joined forces in a very public call to scrap the RET: outright.  “Bugger!” – as they […]

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