Too much of a good thing could also very well be a bad thing. While it is great that Australia's workers are empowered and can readily bargain their labour and wage demands, this very freedom could actually turn off potential investors and kill the economy of the tiny island-nation.
Investment in Australia’s advanced minerals and energy projects hit a record $173.5 billion in April 2011, 31 per cent higher than in October 2010, according to new data released today.
Martin Ferguson, Australian resources minister, said the wage claims that Australian unions demand these days were "unsustainable" and could risk in the long run future investments in the country's resources sector.
Although improvements in wages and conditions are wonderful, "I think they are unsustainable over time."
"I think there is a message to all of us including some elements of the union movement - if we're not very careful, current members will do exceptionally well, but future members in 10 to 20 years' time will miss out," Mr Ferguson said.
"I also learned very early on: you might get a short term gain in the immediate future but you can lose out on significant investment over time and that's where we have got to be careful as a nation."
A report released in Canberra on Monday by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) said Australia's $500 billion infrastructure pipeline are sufficient to address requirements to support the large forecast growth in coal, iron ore and liquefied national gas exports through to 2025.
But it is imperative that the planned projects be delivered on the dot and without delay, BREE pointed out.
Unfortunately, results of a research conducted by the Australian Mines and Metals Association revealed that failure to immediately conclude workplace agreements between unions and owner investors have been stalling at least five new resources projects.
"If we are not conscious of the cost of delivering projects in Australia, compared to for example the Gulf, or Indonesian waters......then those further expansion opportunities will disappear," Mr Ferguson said.
"If we don't have the skilled labour we can't build the infrastructure and we can't develop the resource opportunities," he said.
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