Doomed Planet

Green-eyed public servants

The Abbott Government’s abolition of the Carbon Tax will lead to some reduction in our power bills. Yet by any proper measure, electricity prices will continue to be far higher than they should be, given the abundance of cheap coal.

In accordance with Gramsci’s program, the Left has now marched through our institutions, including the bureaucracy. The election of a nominally non-left coalition in New South Wales has made no difference to the almost insane commitment to a 20% renewable-energy target by 2020 — a target that is a cornerstones of Left-Green ideology.  Key sectors of the public service involved in both environment and energy policy remain committed to the same policies, irrespective of whichever party happens to occupy the government benches. The wheels of bureaucracy grind remorselessly on.

A piece of possibly apocryphal wisdom has it that our longest-serving Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies, took great care over the appointment of permanent heads of departments. By contrast, the appointment of ministers was supposedly a careless afterthought. This was designed to ensure that even the weakest ministers had a level below which they could not fall.  Certainly, back in the Fifties, a competent and apolitical public service did shield incompetent ministers. Today, weak Coalition ministers are easily manipulated by the entrenched Left in the bureaucracy.

The renewable energy target in New South Wales is an example of this. Some readers may have hoped that the current state Coalition government would have abandoned the idiotic 20% target set by the former Labor Government. Not on your life! On July 31, 2013, a press release from the Hon. Chris Hartcher, Minister for Resources and Energy, announced:

 The NSW Government has committed $64.9 million to the development of two large-scale solar projects in Western NSW as part of the Commonwealth Government’s Solar Flagship Program.

In other words, NSW’s Coalition Government made itself a willing partner with the then Federal Labor Government in pursuit of the Green agenda. The Federal Government was to pony up $166.7 million through its Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with a further $19 million directed to the University of New South Wales under the something known as the Education Investment Fund.

But why should we subsidise AGL? Any competent economist will tell you that a commercial project which cannot stand on its own feet represents a misdirection of resources. One can only hope that the Abbott Government will not only cut funding but also abolish this agency and leave a dumb State Government high and dry.

The delusions of state Coalition Ministers are beyond parody. You can  laugh or cry when reading the following:

Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy, Rob Stokes said the project will also ensure NSW is well-positioned to meet its future energy targets, with the AGL solar power plants poised to be one of the cornerstones of the NSW Government’s Renewable Energy Action Plan.

Environment Minister Robyn Parker said the projects will lay the foundation for a large scale solar industry in NSW.

“By supporting these projects the NSW Government is fulfilling its promise to create regional jobs, drive economic benefits to western NSW and build on our renewable energy sector,” Ms Parker said.

“This project will grow renewable energy generation in NSW and help us to meet our target of producing 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.”

We should have been warned. Back on September 7, 2012, the State Coalition Government adopted the Julia Gillard/Greens renewable-energy policy, lock stock and barrel:

The New South Wales Government has outlined its plans to boost the state’s use of renewable energy by the year 2020.

It has unveiled a 28-point draft plan to meet the target of 20 per cent renewable energy, which is in line with Commonwealth targets.

There is no evidence that state Coalition ministers have come to their senses. The appalling truth is that the fictional Sir Humphrey was a model of common sense compared with some of his counterparts in New South Wales’ bureaucracy. The reality has become worse than fiction.

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