Combet’s pet project to raid savings

by NICK SPENCER – THE Future Fund – Australia’s sovereign wealth fund – must remain in its current independently-managed form, as opposed to liquidated to fuel more government spending on net-zero, according to the Centre for Independent Studies. 

On January 30, the free market think tank released a publication written by David Murray – one of The Future Fund’s inaugural chairmen – in which he argues the fund should be protected from being sold-out by politicians looking to fund their “pet projects”. 

Greg Combet’s sole vision is to deploy more of Australians’ superannuation savings into decarbonisation and renewable energy schemes.

“What is disappointing is the emergence of political freeloaders wanting pet projects and more net debt on the back of the … fund which has turned out to be an Australian institutional asset highly regarded around the world,” Mr Murray wrote. 

“We need to rein in public outlays and bloating of the public sector, reduce federal and State indebtedness, get inflation back to the target range, and most important of all, increase productivity.”

DEBT

Mr Murray also said the fund’s liquidation would allow for the further expansion of big government through larger amounts of public debt and spending.

“The better question is whether the government would implement measures to reduce State debt, curb inflation and decrease the size of the public sector if it received an injection of funds from the liquidation of Future Fund.”

“It seems highly unlikely, given the government’s recent actions to create more indebted investment vehicles, promote energy sector projects and subsidies, talk up projects like the Melbourne/Brisbane fast train, and do nothing to address declining productivity.”

Mr Murray’s CIS article comes in the wake of the recent appointment of Greg Combet as chair of Future Fund as a replacement for former Deputy Prime Minister Peter Costello.

Mr Combet spent time as a federal Labor MP and minister for climate change and energy. Prior to this, he worked as a trade unionist at the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) where he served as secretary.

A staunch advocate for Australia’s transition to net-zero emissions by 2050, Mr Combet also currently serves as chair of the Australian Government Net Zero Economic Agency (NZEA) – a body that oversees the national transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Mr Combet has also spent considerable time as a company director of super funds Industry Super Australia and IFM Investors, where he became known for instituting investment philosophies consistent with an Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) mandate. 

SCHEMES

In September 2023, Mr Combet made an address to the Australian Emissions Reduction Summit in which he outlined his vision to deploy more of Australians’ superannuation savings to invest in decarbonisation and renewable energy schemes.

“One of the things in my mind is to be thinking about how we can open up investment opportunities for commensurate risk-adjusted returns for institutional investors – amongst super funds in Australia as well – to be in the energy transition in a more significant way, to be in the decarbonisation process by taking stakes in companies,” Mr Combet said in his address.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who announced Mr Combet’s Future Fund appointment, has also advocated for Australia’s $3.5 trillion super sector to play a greater role in decarbonising the economy. 

In November 2023, Mr Chalmers introduced the Superannuation (Objective) Bill to parliament. 

The bill proposes defining the objective of superannuation as follows: “to preserve savings to deliver income for a dignified retirement, alongside government support, in an equitable and sustainable way.”PC

Nick Spencer

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Greg Comber. (courtesy Bloomberg)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on January 30, 2024. Re-used with permission.

3 thoughts on “Combet’s pet project to raid savings

  1. Labor Cabinet Minister (Rudd, Gillard & Rudd terms) was interviewed about the lied about never would be Carbon Tax that after breaking that promise became a 10% electricity bill addition for consumers. Not so much talked about was the Renewable Energy Surcharge also 10% added. And of course total bill amount plus Goods & Service Tax of 10%.

    The Abbott Coalition managed to get a repeal bill passed and abolished the Labor tax, and also reduced their Renewable Energy Target of over 30% to under 30% of electricity supply sources. Now Albanese Labor have increased the RET to 82% of electricity supply, an exercise in very expensive futility and even if it was ever completed estimated to take at least 80 years because of the enormous areas of land needed and installations of wind or solar equipment and “firming” back up equipment, a transmission line from every installation to the main electricity grid and a new second electricity grid not needed for power station transmission of electricity.

    Labor Cabinet Minister Combet was forced via repeated questioning during a radio interview to admit that part of the Carbon Tax 10% was being remitted to the United Nations funds, and that Labor’s longer term objective was to send all Carbon Tax revenue to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme. Remember that failed scheme that became a honey pot for manipulators?

    The Howard Government Future Fund was established by Treasurer Peter Costello who later joined the Board. It began with about $60 billion and is now over $200 billion of funds invested. And since being established has paid all public service pensions and removing the need to make provisions to pay via every financial year budget. Funds invested returning well above average consistently. Prime Minister Howard & Cabinet were determined to protect the Future Fund assets from future Labor governments and legislated firewalls to stop withdrawals of funds invested excepting income each year needed to pay the pensions liability and the balance to be reinvested.

    Obviously Albanese Labor plan to use Combet to redirect funds into Labor’s pet projects, primarily their 82% Renewable Energy Target. However, one of the reasons is that private sector investors are not enough to finance the “transition”, no doubt mindful of and wary of wind and solar poor value for money worldwide. Economic vandalism as retail electricity prices keep rising for consumers and supply problems increase as reliable power stations are shut down forced by government subsidising transition favourites and treating coal/gas fired generators as climate enemies because of emissions – but the focus is on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) that is essential for life on Earth, at present 410 parts per million of the atmosphere (0.041%), if there was say 1,500 ppm there would be higher food crop yields, for example.

    What are future generations going to say about the present emissions focused damage to future economic prosperity? About the trillions of dollars squandered on unreliable, intermittent operation, expensive when fully cost accounted including 20 year replacements, laughably called “renewable energy” that is free – like a very expensive sailing yacht using “free wind”. If wind power was reliable commercial shipping would be still using sailing boats wouldn’t they.

    Beware of the Albanese, Chalmers, Bowen and Comrades and our money, and our nation’s future.

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