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SUPPORT: Government grants helped prop up SA’s car manufacturing sector. Photo: © GM Corp

State funding battle lacks the facts

Those who forget history often prefer to fill the void with myths.

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Joondalup, WA
Mark, you are spot on and I thank you for bringing this to the attention of the broader WA public. Great article.

Margaret River
just read your article about the funding conflicts faced by WA over the years, compared to our interstate cousins and in particular, South Australia. Congratulations on a fine and well-argued piece. This is a subject dear to my heart and as I travel round Australia selling wine, I am amazed at how few people understand WA’s situation and how much our economy drives the rest of the country. When the South Australians (of whom I was originally one) start carrying on about this, I’m usually rendered speechless. The level to which Australian tax payers have supported that state, in various forms, over the years is extraordinary and what do we have to show for it? With all due respect to the folks working in the car or shipbuilding, who I’m sure are very capable, they are building vehicles and boats that nobody wants to buy and yet tax payers are expected to foot the bill. It is not a subject to raise in polite company! No sooner had I finished reading, I opened my email to learn that the SA wine industry is in dire straits. As if we didn’t know this already. The ABC is reporting that many Riverland growers are no longer profitable and are pulling out their vines. As a solution, Senator Nick Xenophon is proposing a 25c per bottle levy on wine drinkers to help prop the industry up, or similar. To be honest I haven’t read his proposal in detail. My point is, when will these people learn? Just what we need – more subsidies but this time to grape growers producing fruit nobody wants to buy. One might ask, if the levy keeps more growers in production, who will they sell this unwanted fruit to? When confronted with that question, the answer apparently is they need to be able to stay in the industry until the market turns and they can become profitable again. Given that our industry has been in oversupply for roughly a decade and with nothing on the horizon that’s likely to change that situation, one wonders how soon the upturn is likely to arrive. I scratch my head in wonder at this stuff.

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