Welcome to Quadrant Online | Login/ Register Cart (0) $0 View Cart
Menu
February 06th 2009 print

John Izzard

Batman’s grabbed the Treasury

Waking up to hear the ABC rambling on about Kevin Rudd going ‘bats’ was enough to get the old heart up to operational speed. Bats, they must be crazy?

Waking up to hear the ABC rambling on about Kevin Rudd going ‘bats’ was enough to get the heart up to operational speed. Bats, they must be crazy? No.No. I did hear correctly. Yep, 2,200,000 Australian homes are going to have bats put in their roof by the year 2001.

Was this some sort of homage to the late Heath Ledger — was Rudd looking for a part in the next Batman film? Is global warming affecting the number of church steeples? Has Julia Gillard, ever waiting for opportunity’s knock, been cast as Cat Woman? Heck no… this is an ‘economic stimulus package’. A what? An economic stimulus package. Aw! Gee! Wow!

An hour later — and now wide awake — the ABC revealed that they were ‘insulation batts’, and those who couldn’t afford to, or couldn’t be bothered to, were going to have their roofs insulated. Of course those of us who bothered to, would be paying for those who hadn’t. Paying, that is, either through taxes or servicing the deficit for, oh let’s say the next decade.

Of course the ABC News didn’t say whether they would be pink batts, or yellow batts, or gold batts — whether they would be fibre glass, rock-wool, polyester or just shredded, devalued Australian bank notes. Just batts. And ‘batting’ for Australia was going to create 4000 new jobs and cost about $2.7 billion. Well the ABC didn’t dash for a calculator, but my battered old model spat out that it was costing about $675,000 per job, including GST.

Kevin, Wayne and Ken (Henry) must be going bats/batts. Then I casually dropped into the calculator the odd $42 billion that was the overall ‘stimulus package’ and divided it by the 90,000 jobs it was expected to save the nation —bingo! Talk about being stimulated.

That’s $466,666.66666666667 per job. Now with that many 6’s, the devil’s got to be in the detail. Call me cynical, but with Battmen costing us $675,000 per job and the other 86,000 jobs at $466,666 per hit, even a blind ‘social conservative’ — you would think — would say, “I smell a rat… or at least a bat?

For that amount of money why not pay the 90,000 say $100,000 for 2 years and throw in a beach house. Or a BMW Mark7 and a world trip? This would help the housing industry, Qantas and do wonders for the luxury car market.

And just in case you think the government are the only ones loose with the money figures, The Australian quotes the batting caper at $2.7 billion while the Sydney Morning Herald, $3.9 billion. So just what is the cost of each of those 4000 batt jobs … couldn’t be $970,000 each … could it?