Transitioning to what?

Issue 

The Malcolm Turnbull Coalition government's economic spin is that they are managing a “transition” from “strong resource investment-led growth to broader-based drivers of economic activity”.

This, it claims in the 2016 budget papers, is a transition to more “labour-intensive sectors, such as services”. Hence the Coalition's mantra: “Growth and jobs”. Sounds nice, but what does this mean for the different classes in Australia?

Services already make up the largest share of the economy — 68% of GDP — and despite all the talk of an end to the mining boom, mining exports continue to rise and the resource sector still grabs the biggest share of all business investment.

Rich Whiteman's dreaming drools about a future where Australia will become the “gas Qatar” of the world — in other words, its biggest gas supplier; and its second largest export — services, particularly education and tourism — will continue to grow to cater for Asia's rising middle class.

Both of these are already quite large exports for Australia. Over the past year, education was Australia's third-largest export earner, at around $18 billion, behind only iron ore and coal.

To fulfil the second part of this greedy dream, the service sector — education, in particular — must be further deregulated and privatised and labour costs further reduced.

Coalition and Labor governments have been pursuing these objectives relentlessly for years now, so it is not some new set of measures needed for the post-mining boom “transition”.

What they mean by a "transition" is an acceleration of this push to squeeze more out of the 99% by further slashing jobs, wages, conditions and public services.

There is a different transition that Green Left Weekly advocates: one that puts the interests of people and the environment before corporate profit. In this transition there would be huge public investment in addressing urgent social needs and carrying out a radical shift to an ecologically sustainable society.

It would involve sharing the benefits of new technology by sharply reducing the work week with no loss in pay, creating more satisfying working lives for the majority and allowing the 99% to really participate in decision making about our common future.

Unfortunately, while we are operating within this unfair, neoliberal system, we have to rely on our subscribers, supporters and fundraising to help keep Green Left Weekly going.

If you like what you read here, please support us and help us to continue this work by donating to the GLW fighting fund. You can do so by calling the toll-free number at 1800 634 206 (within Australia). Donations can also be made to Green Left Weekly, Commonwealth Bank, BSB 062-006, Account no. 00901992. Otherwise you can send a cheque or money order to PO Box 394, Broadway NSW 2007.

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