With a population of only 10 million persons (I doubt if the current census will reveal any hidden millions) Australia is attempting developmental projects which countries containing many times her population find beyond their reach. To overcome her shortage of population Australia has embarked upon an ambitious immigration scheme. However this has not been the success it was hoped to be.
A fair proportion of migrants coming to Australia are unskilled. Hence they have to be employed mainly as labourers. Assimilation of them therefore is done by instituting huge national developmental projects which require large numbers of labourers and also large amounts of finance.
Companies produce only enough to meet demands, they hardly ever over produce. In spite of the fact that the population is increasing the demand is not necessarily increasing alongside with it. If then Australia cannot increase output greatly by increasing population what can she do?
Australia's income depends to a greater extent on the world demand for wool. This demand fluctuates and so the economy fluctuates with it. What Australia needs is a national commodity like wool which unlike wool however does not fluctuate in its appeal. The obvious substance is oil. Oil if discovered would benefit Australia to an almost unbelievable degree.
It is With respect to these projects that many companies, over the past few years, have foundered. Different groups have attempted under, takings which later on have proved beyond them. Once companies fail then there is a surplus of unskilled workers seeking employment. Even workers sometimes find it difficult to obtain jobs when they themselves are specialists.
With oil the country would leap forward at phenomenal speed. Overseas investment would increase, large industries, e.g. shipbuilding, petro-chemicals would be established. Finance would become readily available for national development and most of all employment would be readily obtainable for both skilled and unskilled workers. The nation would become powerful and influential.
Much of the heavy industries which have to be created if the oil is to be processed entirely in this country already exists. Australia would not become another middleeast or South America, where the profits of the oil are rarely seen. The profits of the oil would be churned right back into national development
Australia would find herself in the favourable and enviable position of exporting more than she -imported. The standard of living would rise even higher than it is now. Many costs would fall; due to lower production costs and higher turnovers. Australia in fact would become almost entirely, self-sufficient, a tremendous advantage in time of war.
So long as Australia keeps on developing with wool as the major money earner then her future will always be limited simply because wool is limited in its uses. Oil, however, is almost limitless in its uses. Before oil or any other commodity is discovered then the nation will find assimilation of the new-bloods, and also of the large numbers leaving school, increasingly difficult.
JOHN A. STEPHEN STEWART, 5th Year