Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mining Money

There's an Acland street in Melbourne.

There's also an Acland town in Queensland. 

I learned about it yesterday from watching the June 4 episode of Q and A

This morning I looked at photos of Acland on Flickr.  

It's pretty sad.

Acland was a farming area.   Now it's been taken over by the mining industry.  The town has pretty much been abandoned.  Only one man still remains.  His name is Glenn Beutel.   He's had to watch his town....his neighbors...disappear.    It's very sad.  

The Q and A show had discussions about the fly-in-fly-out system.

This is where, instead of providing infrastructure and building up a mining town, they keep it desolate and just fly in the workers.

All this flying is probably not great for the environment.  Neither is digging up coal. 

It's hard for whole families to move. 

But I also think it's hard to be in a family where a member of the household is frequently gone for days at a time.

I'm having a hard time seeing the joys in all this mining. 

I guess the green side has won me over on this one. 

Clive Palmer doesn't manage to tug my heartstrings when he talks about it being unfair to deprive China and India of inexpensive energy.

That's probably the only argument I've heard in support of the mining.  Oh, and it brings Australia more money.   But there's questions of whether this wealth is really benefiting Australia.

The dollar has gone up. Australia is a rich country now.

But having a high dollar isn't helpful to people in manufacturing and tourism.  For them, it's a negative thing. 

A while back, I felt selfish for wishing the Aussie dollar to go down.   I thought it was just a bad thing for me...and other American tourists.  But it turns out it's bad for some Australians too.

On Q and A, there was debate over where the mining money should go. 

Should it be gifted mostly to the whole of Australia? Let's all share!  Or should it go to the regions in which the mining takes place?

I think both sides have good arguments.

One panelist brought up the flood levy.  People throughout Australia gave money to help Queensland.  If you're going to feel like one big Australia family when you need something, then you also need to act that way when you have something that can be shared.    

On the other hand, it's crazy if regions that are sacrificing homes and farmland for these mines are not getting the infrastructure that they need.  I think they should get a little bit extra of the treasures.

It made me think of winning the lottery.   If our family won, I definitely think the majority of the money should go to us.  We'll do some upgrading and lots of traveling. But I think it would be awful if we didn't share some of the money with our kin. 

Now that I think of it....I think the mining boom is a lot like winning the lottery.

It sounds exciting and wonderful on the surface. We're rich! We're rich!

But then it gets all confusing.  And people are fighting. No one can agree on what to do with the money.

Sometimes it turns into a huge mess.