One Problem Leads to Many Others

The contrast between Labor's pre-election presentation and the post-victory policy reality turns attention to the Prime Minister's history with the Fabian Society.

One Problem Leads to Many Others
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

I've decamped to regional South Australia for a few weeks to deal with some business interests our family has here.

It's my favourite place to be because it seems more 'real' than the inner city concerns that I encounter most days.

But there are some similarities which came up in conversation over a dinner with some local business owners.

First up, people are worried about the government and the direction of the country. In their mind, the Prime Minister is not what he represented himself to be during the election campaign.

The sense is that he is being true to his Fabian roots while pretending to be something else. It's consistent with the Fabian Society logo of a wolf hiding under the corpse of a sheep.

The Fabian Society Crest

That duplicity spells uncertainty for business, and uncertainty often leads to a lack of investment because of a lack of confidence in the future.

A number of specific concerns were industry dependent but theycould often be traced back to a common link.

Agri-business were worried about the obvious escalation in the attack on farmers over emissions, livestock and fertiliser use. That's a worldwide trend now finding its way down-under.

Then there's the housing crisis. I was surprised to find it's just as big a problem in regional areas as in our capital cities.

Housing shortages don't just make attracting new residents difficult, they make recruiting staff who need to relocate almost impossible.

One business owner told me they'd been forced to purchase three houses, and divide existing rooms into bedrooms in order to attract staff. Those on the team can get a place to stay as part of their employment agreement.

This is particularly important for the foreign travellers who are now required to fill so many regional jobs.

It says something about our country that we cannot fill important roles with some of the many people on benefits in this country.

Sure, some of the work available is more suitable for the younger generation but there is plenty of need for less arduous roles too.

Hospitality businesses find it incredibly difficult to find reliable staff. Seasonal businesses are paying top-dollar and still can't get the thousands of people they need.

Builders can't find tradesmen, retail stores can't find attendants and cleaners are in short supply.

It seems that many of these previously available workers are being drawn to the disability support industry. Im told the work is extremely well paid and in the words of one new recruit, 'it's so easy'.

Given a choice between being paid $25 an hour working in hospitality or being a 'disability shopping assistant' for $60 an hour, it's not surprising the latter proves more attractive.

This is a product of the tens of billions flowing into the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Service providers are making a fortune from this easily rorted pot of gold.

The other businesses, who are reliant on customers rather than government cash, simply cannot compete.

It's just another example of how a well-intentioned government scheme can create even bigger problems than the ones they are trying to solve.

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