The Gillard Government’s ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ encourages deeper ties between Australian and its region.
But what it leaves out is the most obvious and compelling tie possible between Australia and Asia: linking the region’s energy networks together. This will increase economic growth, battle climate change, encourage innovation, increase trade and reduce geopolitical tension.
This oversight is egregious.
Grenatec’s submission to the Henry Review panel (the writers of the report) encouraged all this. Grenatec outlined our vision in minute detail by submitting to the panel a copy of Grenatec’s groundbreaking study: “Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure.”
None of this made it into the final report.
Few policy measures, either in Australia or Asia, can match deeper integration of energy development and distribution systems for enhancing economic growth and ensuring deeper cooperation. As a result, the Gillard government totally missed the boat.
As such, the report could have been titled “Australia: Totally Left Out of the Asian Century.” (!)
In coming years, Asia needs needs an infrastructure buildout unparalleled in history. The ramifications of this buildout will affect us, our children and our children’s children and maybe even their children.
It will pay to shop wisely.
In Australia, we can start by re-evaluating the ‘value proposition’ of bespoke LNG projects and the long-term benefits they offer the country.
At present, the benefits are these: a destroyed Great Barrier Reef, destruction of coastal habitat for LNG industrial infrastructure that will be abandoned in a few decades, a worsened greenhouse gas problem and the perpetuation of energy market rigidities that raise costs and inhibit innovation and worsen climate change. Ouch!
A Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure, by contrast, offers a comprehensive, Pareto Optimal (aka ‘everybody wins!) blank sheet, holistic approach to the challenges of the future. Grenatec’s study “Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure” tackles them with granulated detail. There’s a lot to like in there.
These ideas require a response from government at all levels, federal, civil service, state and local. It’s the clearest blueprint Australia or Asia has seen to date.
If you feel, as we do, that this was a missed opportunity. let the government know. This can be done either email or letter.
Several things you can do:
- Write an email or letter to Prime Minister Gillard or your local representative. Tell them they’ve missed an opportunity the the ‘Australia in the Asian Century’ paper by utterly failing to discuss any specifics or even to go into the most important 21st century issue of all: energy.
- Write to Energy Minister Martin Ferguson and Climate xxx Greg Combet. Ask them why measures to deepen integration of Australia’s energy and data networks aren’t being undertaken. Copy in Malcolm Turnbull, the Coalition’s most likely prime ministerial challenger to Federal Labor in the next federal election. Send their responses on to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write to xxx. Ask what’s being done to fortify Australia’s energy infrastructure against the stronger storms predicted by climate change models and seen on display by Hurricane Sandy. Tell them a Pan-Asian Energy Infrastructure of bundled and buried infrastructure (power lines, gas pipelines and fibre optic cables) will help to bolster the durability of such infrastructure and make disaster recovery easier by simplifying repair logistics.