Does Singapore own more of Australia, then … Australia?

An article several days ago was printed in ‘The Age’, Singapore was found to own a lot of Australian resources.

They own:

Optus Australia.
This ownership done via SingTel, owned by a holdings company, which the singapore government also has a interest in (not sure if this is of a controlling level however).

Myer Melbourne.
It’s a highly priced, expensive, and .. well stupid, retail store. They can have it.

Large sections of the Electricity Board in Victoria.
This seems like a step backward, Singapore owning the electricity company means they get to choose how they run the electricity company, how they invest in the electricity company, and what they do to enhance profits made from that electricity company.

Compared to an Australian company (not Telstra, they would up prices and let the assets run themselves into the ground, and find a case to attempt to sue the government for) owning the infrastructure, and perhaps innovating in more environmentally sound power, such as wind or solar. Nuclear, whilst it doesn’t put out black clouds, is somewhat based around instability (not saying its unstable, just nuclear atoms being broken in half for the sake of electricity generation, when alternatives are available, like wind or solar (or even Hydro!!) seem a little far fetched for an environmentally sound manner, and they still have no idea how to dispose of the crap produced anyway).

Airports, Child Care Centres, and many others make the list for Singapore owned.

Now, what I don’t get is, why sell all that off?

Other countries have kept their own infrastructure locally owned (in many cases) to encourage innovation, but more importantly, maintain control of vital infrastructure.

Singapore own a fair bit of Australia.

The last remaining asset the government will hold is Australia Post, why is that?

I can understand the need of removing a conflict of interest, but isn’t it sensible to encourage local ownership of all infrastructure?

I don’t have a real problem with Singapore owning anything really, unlike the author of that article, who blames a criminal prosecution as an excuse to move his prepaid mobile away from Optus, but I would still prefer to see Aussies own more than half the countries vital infrastructure, as long as they are Australian, we can’t say that about Telstra here, because they are ran by US Imports, and enjoy using excessive racism against their competitor, Optus Australia.

The main reasons for keeping it in Australia are basically economy enhancement, if the dollars get exported, then so does much of the economy, on the other hand, if the dollars stay here and are spent more wisely (like innovation, to a point where we become world leaders) the sensible economy enhancements, and of course the much welcome revenue from selling key infrastructure is very much a well, non differing point.

We generate 100GBps to the home, and well, other countries look to us to supply that technology.

We generate a new way of spinning up more power from wind farms, again, we get seen as the leaders.

We generate a new way of fitting more planes on a runway and decrease delays caused by full runways, again, we get seen as leaders.

If Singapore own our infrastructure, are they going to set about innovating and getting Australia seen as the world leaders? Naturally not, why would they ? They’d want their own economy to get the big cash kicks from innovation on the world stage.

Again, Singapore aren’t bad for owning our infrastructure, but I would still much rather see a lot of it being Australian owned, if Australia got off its arse and innovated, researched, developed and exposed the world to cutting edge technology.

Do we lead? follow? or come right up behind, bringing up the rear and get seen as a poor country, not because of cash problems, but because all the assets and infrastructure for research and development are in foreign hands, and they have little incentive to using it for the development at the world stage level?

The commendable part from the G9 is that they have a lot of Australian companies involved in the ownership of the new network, so that its not something they’ll be taking back home with them.

The G9 consortium sounds like a great idea by Singapore, they don’t seem intent on taking the telecommunications infrastructure off our hands, and instead, simply want to use Australia for development of a FTTN network, in association (and agreement) with 8 other ISPs.

One thing I would like to see though is the names of those on Coonan’s desk, who else wants to take a chunk of Australia, provide it with FTTN, and take some cash back home with them (not a lot, obviously, but still, cash).

The other good benefit of the G9 consortium is obviously, owned by 9, profits go 9 ways. That would mean Optus Australia aren’t running off with millions in profits back to Singapore, but also, innovation at the world stage is dependant on the desire of 9 companies, and that’s actually a good thing, because if we just get Optus, and Telstra..

Optus won’t want to innovate, to put Australia ahead of its own Country’s interest, and Telstra wouldn’t invest because they would just sit milking the profit machine they have now (but as I said yesterday, that’s quickly caving in with other technologies evolving to crash the PSTN network).

Foreign ownership is good, its great to some extent, but if you have your whole country foreign owned, you can’t really lead, you will just simply..follow.


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3 Responses to Does Singapore own more of Australia, then … Australia?

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