We cannot cease using coal immediately. We must have power to drive industry until we have sufficient renewables to substitute. However, industry must change. Work must no longer be the be-all and end-all of our lives. We can begin by rewarding people for service to the community rather than for being wealthy, as the capitalist system tends to do, reward them with esteem rather than with an excess of material goods. At present C.E.O.s who cheat the public make sometimes more than 500% more than many who commit themselves to serving the community.
Our new-type politicians could set the example by accepting a reasonable salary and reasonable allowances, and agreeing to the same pensions as other Australians get. It is appalling that defence personnel and police, who put their lives on the line for their country, do not get half what our pollies grant themselves.
We need to make working hours far more flexible and shorter to allow for a flood of unemployed from the mining sector and its subsidiaries. To start we could have a compulsory 30 hour week with a heavy loading for overtime to encourage employers to employ more staff. Payroll tax needs to be abolished for small businesses employing fewer than 30 staff. Government is extremely short-sighted or biased in penalising small business which holds the economy together while large business cannibalises it.
Low income earners put a far higher percentage of their earnings back into the economy than do the wealthy, thus stimulating the economy. We should give the unemployed every support to find work, including a benefit adequate to feed and clothe themselves and families. The unemployed and pensioners, as pointed out, spend in the economy while the wealthy accrue wealth in interest while investing in projects. Capitalist governments favour the latter over the former, but we need demand as well as supply or the economy will slip into recession.
Besides shorter hours we need to do away with weekends and penalty rates. Now that Australia is somewhat multi-religious and largely secular, and the Rostered Day Off is prevalent, there is no call for a ‘weekend’ to allow people to go to church on Sunday and have a specific day of relaxation.
Abolishing penalty rates along with loading overtime and evening and broken shifts will give employment opportunity to many more aspiring workers. We also need a ruling that no-one works more than twenty hours straight.
Those transitioning from coal mining and its related industries could train for other necessary work. There is a crying need for infrastructure of all kinds, including housing, public transport, freight rail, and water infrastructure such as dams. Training for transition should commence yesterday.
One need is to increase our defence. Australia may become a life-boat for some as Climate Change takes full effect, but even a life-boat sinks if it takes too many on board. We must protect our borders. It is laughable that we spend so much money and effort ‘protecting’ our borders from invading fugitives who come by leaky boat, maybe thirty at a time, yet we rely on the United States of America to defend us against genuine invasion.
We cannot afford to rely on any larger nation for our defence in the long run. We don’t know what will happen in fifty years’ time, let alone one hundred years’ time. To adequately increase our defence we need to increase our population by migration and birthrate. We should accept fugitives of Climate Change, especially those from democratic countries with values that align with our own.
Greatly increasing our defence forces should provide employment and training for many. Australia’s regions need to be opened up, too, and for this we need water and power, then industry and population. With the right will it can be done. We cannot force people to settle in the regions, but we can make them more attractive with town planning, adequate infrastructure and support industries. Present State and local governments concentrate on the metropoles and suburbia, which tend to become over-crowded, while the regions lack necessary facilities and workers.