Just the cost of doing business? It’s the cost of relying on markets to determine what is profitable and what is precious.


The sweeping move to financialise the protection of nature with markets and 'private investment' as another means to sidestep regulation and government spending is just as concerning as the standard tactic of waving around dodgy economic modelling and exaggerated jobs figures, which has long been a favourite and effective tactic of the mining industry and now the salmon industry, according to a recent analysis from The Australia Institute.

In response to the plight of the Maugean skate, the Tasmanian government is standing by the salmon industry, citing its jobs figures and economic contribution to the state. Just like the fossil fuel industry likes to exaggerate its jobs figures, the salmon industry has claimed that a third or up to half of jobs on Tasmania's West Coat are linked to salmon. But The Australia Institute's analysis shows that 99.3% of Tasmanian do not work in the salmon industry and the actual figures for the west coast are much lower.

"The fact is that markets do not value ecosystems or endangered species. The argument isn't ideological. It is that public goods such as 'the environment' and the ecosystems within it simply doesn't meet the economic principles of profit maximisation.
"The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water describes the work the government is doing to restore and protect the natural resources that underpin our economy and community "through various market-based approaches and frameworks" . . . all being promoted despite a complete absence of economic or environmental justification, and all while the government continues to approve and subsidise the industries doing the damage.
"If saving Australia's collapsing ecosystems is left to the market, there will be a price on the head of every endangered species and habitat in the country. And if the federal or state government doesn't intervene, salmon farming could wipe out a species that has survived since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
"Some argue that blowing up Juukan Gorge for more iron ore or wiping an entire species out for some more farmed fish is just the 'cost of doing business', but in reality it's the cost of relying on markets, instead of our parliaments, to determine what is profitable and what is precious.

Read the full report here