Monday, February 02, 2009

Kevin Rudd should appoint a "Lord Beaverbrook" to make sure that the stimulus package gets spent quickly.

The weekend newspapers were full of the problems facing the Government spending our money to the best effect in order to keep the economy moving and reduce the impact of the financial meltdown.
"Oh dearie me!" as my late Grandmother Wilson used to say.
You see, while it is that Kevin 747 has announced many initiatives totalling a huge amount (some $36 billion) the hard facts are that only about 50% of this amount will be in the pipeline and pushing out cash this year.
These projects require quite a lot of planning.
Let's look at one example;The Transport infrastructure portion of the National Building Package consists of $1.9 billion of fast-tracked road and new road money over 2 years reports the Weekend AFR (Jan 31- Feb 1). But civil engineering resources are already overstretched and this industry faces skills shortages.
Then there is the $1.6 billion earmarked for education.The AFR reports that possibly none of it will be spent this year because, although the Universities have good projects there is the 'risk of waste and delays' and bureaucrats have told them that no money will be available 'until July because of red tape'.
Let me say that 'Kevvy', the PM who has a reputation for working monster hours maybe should work a little smarter rather than harder.
That is because he cant let this one get away from him. This only happens once in a lifetime and we don't want him to fluff it because bureaucrats cant get their backsides into gear.
Now while it is that Kevvy has recently been consulting state premiers about their problems and priorities it would not hurt to consult some small business people about the experiences they are having and the help they need.
Maybe we need him to appoint a no-nonsense Minister for Getting Things Moving. This person needs to be an astute 'bastard' who can not only see through gobbledy-gook and bullshit but be a veteran head-kicker and strategist.
Winston Churchill appointed Lord Beaverbrook during World War 2 to speed up fighter production and he had a massive impact and probably saved the day.
In many ways the same urgency applies to these endeavours as for the British during the Battle of Britain.
Let us hope that the thrust of the stimulus does not wither on the vine because politicians and bureaucrats cant get their acts together.

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