Tag Archives: Galahs

Australia traveling in the last frontier

Australia,  the 11th wealthiest country in the world with a debt ratio to GDP of 31% far lower than the UK’s is underpopulated and lacks a cohesive tourist marketing plan Australia is a country of global interest that receives only 5 million tourists per year and many of those must be Chinese families visiting the growing Chinese diaspora living in the country .

Australia a vast country that Europe can fit into
Australia a vast country that Europe can fit into
Australian Galah a diversified wildlife image Shane Aurousseau
Australian Galah a diversified wildlife image Shane Aurousseau
Australia Eagles Nest Image Shane Aurousseau
Australia Eagles Nest Image Shane Aurousseau

A country of such vastness that all of Europe can fit into it has so much to offer in the way of wildlife, Art, History especially relating to the 1800s. The aboriginal community  a historic longevity that few countries can offer, a continuous and cohesive society lasting longer than the ancient Egyptians and possibly the Chinese that can be traced back 50,000 years.

Aboriginal Roadside Art Broken Hill NSW - image Shane Aurousseau
Aboriginal Roadside Art Broken Hill NSW – image Shane Aurousseau

A historic social and artistic infrastructure that many races should envy.

Australian Icon Sydney Opera House Image Shane Aurousseau
Australian Icon Sydney Opera House Image Shane Aurousseau

Most marketing of Australia is aimed in a limited way at the English speaking world and tends to promote mainly beaches and the common knowledge icons, Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge Uluru /Ayers Rock warm beaches and the Barrier Reef.

Merino Wool the worlds finest - image Shane Aurousseau
Merino Wool the worlds finest – image Shane Aurousseau

There is however much more to Australia and current promotion does not illustrate the tremendous variations that this great country has to offer, the desert, the commodity industry, a country that supplies one third of the world’s wool,

Merino wool the finest micron - Image Shane Aurousseau
Merino wool the finest micron – Image Shane Aurousseau

Merino the finest micron wool in the world, the real history of the  Aboriginal people.

Contemporary desert art from the Aboriginal community Broken Hill NSW image Shane Aurousseau
Contemporary desert art from the Aboriginal community Broken Hill NSW image Shane Aurousseau

Promotion tends to give a potted history of the Aboriginal never with the depth that illustrates the the evolution of these

Contemporary Aboriginal desert art Broken Hill NSW - Image Shane Aurousseau
Contemporary Aboriginal desert art Broken Hill NSW – Image Shane Aurousseau

accomplished people through the ages, the great literature that they have illuminated through storytelling, art and music.   The cost of getting to Australia as a tourist from Europe can be high and once there travel around this vast country is not made easy for the visitor.Canberra the national capital has a long train trip to Sydney, Canberra to Dubbo (a major central NSW city) can only be accessed by car or bus. The bus only operating on Saturday and travelling to Dubbo via dozens of small towns. Car hire is expensive and usually carries anything up to a $5000 excess, insuring this excess can also be expensive. There seems to be a paranoia within the rental car industry that the car will be damaged or not returned. Also the cost can rise if the car is taken from one state to another. Such costs need to be looked at more closely.

Australia Outback roads many corrugated image Shane Aurousseau
Australia Outback roads many corrugated image Shane Aurousseau

There is of course the problem of many dirt roads a majority corrugated in the Outback not a plus for car suspensions unless . This does present a problem for rental car companies however there still needs to be a more tourist friendly rental structure. Australia has many rail arteries most now closed due to the lack of usage,When I traveled from the shores of my home country the first time there were only 9 to 10 million inhabitants, today that has increased to 24 million.  This vast country could support many more. Controlled population growth brings many benefits, it increases the market size thus giving real reason for manufactures to exist as they have both  export and home market. Australia lacks diversification and is dependent upon the commodities industry and the market fluctuations of pricing within that industry.

Gem Seeker's paradise Lightning Ridge NSW - image Shane Aurousseau
Gem Seeker’s paradise Lightning Ridge NSW – image Shane Aurousseau

The Aussie Dollar is a commodity driven currency.

Opal mining Lightning Ridge NSW Image Shane Aurousseau
Opal mining Lightning Ridge NSW
Image Shane Aurousseau
Australia the last Iconic Holden RIP Image Shane Aurousseau
Australia the last Iconic Holden RIP Image Shane Aurousseau

Car manufacturers have mostly pulled out of Australia even the iconic Holden is now manufactured overseas. Most business people will tell you that diversification is important in any business strategy if helps to flatten out the market controlling fluctuations.

Australia Mack Road Train image Shane Aurousseau
Australia Mack Road Train image Shane Aurousseau

Goods in Australia tend to move around by truck Road Train this is expensive and  lowers the volume of product that can be moved quickly from manufacturer to consumer.

Australia Condobolin NSW Indian Pacific Railway a vast land image Shane Aurousseau
Australia Condobolin NSW Indian Pacific Railway a vast land image Shane Aurousseau
Australia Silverton NSW Broken Hill Tramway Company
Australia Silverton NSW Broken Hill Tramway Company

Many of the railway lines carefully constructed from the  early 1900’s have been closed. The development of the interior has been neglected for  lack of water yet 23% of the country is covered by one of the world’s great sweet water caches the Artesian Basin to this day greatly underutilized and still the 3 to 4 year droughts cause consternation or should I say constipation. Stretching from Cape York in the north, down to Dubbo and across to Coober Pedy, the Great Artesian Basin covers almost a quarter of the Australian continent, and contains enough water to cover the world over. Much remains to be known about this valuable resource that has enabled life in inland Australian to develop over thousands of years.

Australia the Great Artesian Basin covers a third of the country
Australia the Great Artesian Basin covers a third of the country

Look at the irrigated development of Israel and no Artesian Basin. The Darling Murray river system is being plundered without thought. Great rivers that once were busy arteries carrying paddle steamers transporting goods and passengers would be lucky to see a canoe.. Mines are closing even Broken Hill the beginning of Australia’s largest company Broken Hill Pty Ltd a region of more variation in differing  mineral deposits than any other place on earth seems to be scaling back.

By 2050 the population is expected to reach 42 million. The infrastructure to cope with this increase needs to be kick started as soon as possible. I think that I pointed out in a previous blog that if Woolworth and Cole’s had waited until their current 18 million supermarket customers had  been lined up in front of the first plot for the first complex they would never have reached the market saturation levels they have reached today. When reading papers on population growth and how the terrain can support the projected numbers what I find missing is projected figures based on future investment and development most papers only discuss the here and now, Australia needs some serous modeling put into place, such a vast country is a blank sheet of paper and possibly the world’s real last frontier.

Dunny by Howard Steer Silverton NSW good Australian Humour Image Shane Aurousseau
Dunny by Howard Steer Silverton NSW good Australian Humour Image Shane Aurousseau

Images Photographer Shane Aurousseau

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Pelicans and Galahs

Working-together

Pelicans and Galahs these may seem strange creatures to use in the context that I’m about to write about; however In Aussie speak a pelican or a galah is a synonym for stupidity especially related to an action; ‘you pelican’ or ‘what a bunch of galahs’.  Not totally fair on those exquisite creatures but what in this world is fair. Especially when it comes to the myopic views of our leaders who govern by vested interest many of a personal nature. I don’t presume to be a great expert on the Middle East, however I have spent sometime there on business and I would like to share some views.

Although an Australian with a trained photographic and creative background  having held positions in major advertising agencies as a creative director including the then largest Young and Rubicam working on accounts such as Time Magazine, Time Life books, Michelin, Yamaha, Camel Cigarettes and later financial accounts such as Fidelity, Midland Bank, Royal Life, Eagle Star Insurance and others;  by way of the creative world I drifted for a time into the financial sphere including eventually running and representing hedge funds. Some of the companies that I worked with during my time in the City of London were many of the most successful in the industry including a stint forming SECAVs in Luxembourg for the then second largest UK insurance company Norwich Union, SECAVs were  a form of open-ended fund used mainly by the French, SECAFs being closed ended. I was IMRO(Investment Management Regulatory Organization)  registered, now defunct a bit like me.  The largest unit trust industry is in France but of course Luxembourg was then offshore  using French fund structures. The position with Norwich union gave me the status of a General Manager in a  mutual insurance company this equated to a director’s position. It was through producing creative work for city institutions that I learnt a great deal about how the financial world works.

During this period of my life I became an advisor on product development to the largest of the islamic banking groups Dallah Al-Baraka of Saudi Arabia. I was involved in the creation of a joint venture company between Dallah Al-Baraka and the Johor Bahru corporation of Malaysia locating the joint venture in Bahrain.  I was included in their strategy in order to marry western fund ideas into the Islamic system.

My work in the Middle East brought me in contact with such institutions as ADIA(Abu Dhabi Investment Authority) and its associate ADIC plus many of the private departments of the Shaikhs including the private department of the then Life President of the Emirates Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan. I spent a considerable time working   throughout the middle East including in Kuwait with the massive fund run by the Kuwait government under the KIO(Kuwait Investment Office). I made many Arab friends and found them to be one of the most hospitable of people.

However as a westerner having worked with Sharia committees made up of scholars who were not banking or financial people but religious academics and judges, I found that there are enormous differences in interpretation and implementation, it is these anomalies that have caused much misunderstanding between people. Couple this misunderstanding in the Islamic world with the total lack of understanding in the western world and the vested oil interests of the West and you have a formula for disaster. The history of the west in the Middle East has been one of planning only for the financial gains driven by oil. Not only has there been no respect for the differences of interpretation in the Islamic world but there was also no respect for tribal borders. Many borders were created on a divide and rule basis or on the premise of who was the strongest and who could be purchased the easiest and give added control to oil rich regions. Although not really an oil issue  both Palestine and Israel have been caught up in this border or land manipulation. I believe strongly that both these groups should exist in their own states within their own borders. There is no doubt that the Palestinians have had a raw deal all people should have the right to exist. There is also not doubt that the Arab world could have assisted in the correction of this issue.

For centuries Arabs and Jews lived in harmony. During the medieval periods of the crusades the secular thinkers where in educated Islam. When the West was living in mud and cold castles cities such as Constantinople and Cordoba Spain(the two largest of Islamic cities) had street lighting – Islam was the educated world.  Saladin rebuilt the Christian churches and synagogues and protected them following the fall of Jerusalem around 1187.    At sometime a halt must be called to revenge, revenge creates more revenge and then the story is  never ending  destroying the future for subsequent generations.

The US is becoming more and more oil self sufficient and of course the large deposits of shale now being discovered in North America are adding to this independence. As the US pulls  away from the Middle East the violence may intensify. Much of this violence will be about the realigning  of borders back to their more legitimate pre-western involvement days, real tribal boundaries. The issues in the Middle East are much more than Sunni and Shia an easy Western simplification. The realigning of boarders is not a bad thing as smaller autonomous actor states are much more manageable than large continental groups. In most major countries there is considerable autonomy given to cities and individual states. The real problem is how do they live together with understanding and acceptance of differing ideas and opinions.  To quote one of my uncles a successful academic who said ‘ variety is the spice of life’. It is difference that creates progress. Religion and lateral thinking should not be used as an excuse for hate and gain. The great prophets and thinkers would be horrified by much of our interpretation.

We can’t keep looking back and blaming  the crusades, holocaust and  remember the Russians lost 20 million people during WWII and the same again under Stalin. These debacles must be guides to help us construct a better future not a route to hatred. The next issue will be relating any relative DNA  extension of Alexander the Great to  some form of criminal activity that took place in 340 BC. Mind you I should not have mentioned this as once the legal fraternity gets hold of it dollar signs will appear and blame could be apportioned. Somewhere without the necessity to apologise we need to say enough is enough.

Because I believe in everything and nothing some have called me an atheist but how can you follow that doctrine atheism is an absolute  and a close relative of fundamentalism,  it means you know, agnostic is a much calmer interpretation.  In the greater galactic scheme of things we are all small fry and much of our nonsense is irrelevant and damaging to our development as a successful species. Unfortunately many of our leaders are intellectual minnows,  Pelicans and Galahs stuck in the muddy banks of dogma.