Herald Sun Editorial: Victoria is bowling it up for business

Herald Sun Editorial: Victoria is bowling it up for business (25 December 2013)

VIictoria is open for business. The Boxing Day sales are not only a tradition, but a sign of the prevailing sentiment. If consumers have got confidence they will go out and shop.

It helps the economy and retailers at the mega stores such as Myer, David Jones, Target and Harvey Norman expect tens of thousands of customers to be waiting at their doors.

The commercial reality is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars as families look for bargains with prices cut by up to 60 per cent and online shopping doubling on sales last year.

An economic lift will give businesses confidence for the new year and comes wrapped today in sporting success as crowds flock to the MCG to watch a resurgent Australia complete the destruction of the devastated England side at the Boxing Day Test.

Like the Boxing Day sales, the Boxing Day Test is a tradition that sets a buoyant mood and none more so than this year. in spite of the expected manufacturing malaise when Ford and Holden cease making cars in Australia, there are new opportunities already under discussion.

The newly-elected Abbott Government, while forced to confront the economic reality that is forcing these closures, is already pumping up Australia’s economic tyres by opening talks on reviving the massive Olympic Dam copper and uranium project in South Australia where Holden is to close it Elizabeth assembly line.

Melbourne and Geelong are faced with losing thousands of jobs in the car industry because of the Holden and Ford shutdowns, but the likelihood is skilled car workers will find alternative employment as the Napthine Government looks to launch its mega East West Link freeway and tunnel system.

It promises to be the nation’s biggest infrastructure project and one that seeks to invest an unprecedented $13 billion in Victoria by the time its first and second stages are completed.

But today, it’s fun in the sun at the MCG as England, showing none of the confidence and enthusiasm of Australia, slides towards a whitewash after winning the last Ashes series in England. What a difference determination and enthusiasm makes.

Two of England’s senior players have pulled out. First a batsman suffering from depression and now a bowler who says he’s just had enough. Australia, by contrast, went into the series as underdogs and have shown the sort of commitment that rubs off. It’s the same sort of attitude that we can do better that can lift all of us in a country still dedicated to sport and the realisation that sliding into self pity is not the Australian way.

It is not too much to say that we can and will fight our way out of our economic and employment problems with the same determination that has characterised our cricket side.

Not only cricketers are carrying the pride of Australia, the coming year promises an Australian resurgence in other sports. New Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo takes Mark Webber’s place in the dominant Red Bull team at the Albert Park Grand Prix in March.

Will 2014 be the year that will see Bernard Tomic realise his potential at the Australian Open tennis at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena next month?

At the Winter Olympics at Sochi in Russia in less than two months, Australian athletes are likely to win several medals. In Brazil, the Socceroos will contest the World Cup starting in June.

Tour de France winner Cadel Evans will ride in next month’s Tour Down Under to start his competitive season along with other cycling stars.

In AFL, champions such as Buddy Franklin have moved to new teams. The former Hawthorn premiership player is now the Sydney Swans’ $10-million recruit. AFL football is a billion-dollar business.

The Napthine and Abbott governments have even greater challenges. Premier Denis Napthine faces an election in November next year under Victoria’s four-year mandatory election system. Like Mr Abbott, he faces pivotal economic issues, particularly in manufacturing.

The Abbott-led Coalition has challenges in terms of deficits and debt. No tax cuts are likely for a decade and a hostile Senate stands in the way of ridding the nation of the burden of the carbon tax.

We have enjoyed Christmas, a festival for believers and non-believers alike. Compassion and forgiveness is as much a human as a religious value. There is renewed hope in the everyday experience of work and leisure for those of us fortunate enough to enjoy it. Goodwill does not end with Christmas.

We have reflected on our good fortune and hopefully how to ensure that the lives of those less fortunate are made easier in a democracy, which like a family has its disagreements, but is bound by a common purpose.

Today, we can slather on the sun cream and enjoy ourselves at the cricket, at the beach and also by rubbing some soothing financial oil into the economy if we can afford it. That also helps others and ourselves.

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