Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Miners complaining about high costs? Spare us. Henry



Australia's big mining companies have created the high-cost culture to which they are now objecting, former Treasury Secretary Ken Henry says.

They are complaining that Australia's costs are increasing at the same time as they pushing them up, he told an audience at the Academy of Social Science Tuesday night.

“Business people talk a lot about Australia being a high-cost low productivity country, but the fundamental reason labour costs have been increasing at the rate that they have is the mining boom, he said in answer to questions.

“Miners and energy producers are paying more for labour, because they want to.”

“In order get labour to work in the mines they have to pay handsome wages to attract the labour out of the places from which it has been attracted.”

“That's the fundamental reason why costs have been increasing in the sector. I'm not saying its the only reason, but it is the fundamental reason – strong demand for Australia's minerals and energy.”

“What can we do about it? We can find ways of boosting labour productivity without it flowing through into increased wages. We did this in the second half of the 1980s. It was a pretty unique period in Australian history.”


In today's Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald



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2 comments:

derrida derider said...

"We can find ways of boosting labour productivity without it flowing through into increased wages."

But surely the whole POINT of boosting labour productivity is to increase wages! Or do neoclassical economists no longer believe that people are paid their marginal product?

If the mining companies have to pay ordinary Aussies big money to attract them into profitable projects how on earth is that a Bad Thing? We ought to be celebrating, not moaning about, higher wages.

Anonymous said...

Henry is being naif on this one. With analysis like this is it any wonder is 'recommendations' gather dust.

3d1k

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