I write this sitting on a flight returning from a research tour in North Queensland and as I look out the window I’m struggling to understand why people are so negative about … well, pretty much everything right now.
What I can see out the window across the aisle is at least 30 container ships lining up to get into the port of Sarina just south of Mackay. There may have been more, but that is all I could count in the moment I had and from the other side of the plane. Each one of those container ships represents the billions of dollars coming into this country as the demand for our resources continues to rise as a third of the world’s population increases their standard of living (a journey that will take a couple of decades). Of all those dollars coming into the country, at least 50% stay here.
Think of all those workers who are paid big money as demand for skilled labour increases and unemployment falls. With higher disposable incomes they spend more and pay more for housing and rents in areas they want to live. The effect of their spending and the cost of other services to support the mining spreads the mining dollars through the community. So why don’t we see it? Well, as sensationalist media reports on how terrible everything is affects people’s habits and consumer mood becomes very conservative, people are simply saving more and not spending.
Of course there are also areas of the economy that are negatively affected by the rising Aussie Dollar. In Queensland there are still the affects of massive floods, cyclones and the subsequent decline in migration here but we need to understand the balanced picture because all we’re getting from the media is one extreme position… the negative one.
I was astounded in Mackay as a couple of locals we’re telling me how fearful they were of the success of the town! The truth is they don’t understand the effect of the carbon tax and the demand for the resources. With the billions being invested in the Bowen Basin in both coal and gas and that one mining company alone needs 750 employees in the area (which of course in turn creates further jobs), the risks are low. Unfortunately the media’s ‘extreme’ cases create a feeling that it is ‘likely’ something bad will happen when in reality, the likelihood of the catastrophe they imply actually occurring is highly unlikely.
I say this about to land on the Sunshine Coast where locals have a similar ‘feeling’ of imminent disaster. Many are negative about the growth prospects yet most have no understanding what is about to take place with the local economy expanding by 10-15%, the largest non mining regional economy in Australia that I can find about to undergo such a significant expansion.
So while I don’t understand why we are so accepting of the opinion and spin fed to us by the media, what I do understand is that fear comes from a lack of knowledge and it is paralyzing. I also understand that if we are going to change our lot in life we need to act as the only outcome we can guarantee is to do nothing. Alternatively, and this is my challenge to you, seek the knowledge and understanding, don’t accept opinion and overcome the fear as now is a time of opportunity for those that do.
As Warren Buffet said, ‘Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful’