Crown soothsayer eyes a new rush of gold

Beware the Ides of March. In Australia right now there is plenty to be apprehensive about but yesterday I ran into an optimistic soothsayer who forecasts an Australian boom down the track – and a big one.

On the Ides of March it’s not hard to find misery in Australia. The turmoil in Canberra presents a very worrying time for business as the government acts as though it anticipates an election defeat and starts to look after its mates who are not in the business or investment communities (Gillard’s hard-left turn is crashing business confidence, March 13).

China is changing direction and that new direction, at least on the surface, is depressing Chinese shares and means that commodities are not rising with the current flush of global liquidity (China makes a frightening energy shift, February 7). And some overseas institutions and local brokers say that compared to the US our shares are overpriced (The US market steamrolls on, March 12).

In addition, by 2015 we will see a sharp fall in mining investment.

But enough of the bad news. This morning’s soothsayer is advertising magnate and Crown director Harold Mitchell.

I attended an Essendon Football Club lunch yesterday around the boundary line at Etihad Stadium where Harold was addressing sponsors, telling them that the club would get through the current turmoil because it had good people in the core positions.

But the bullish soothsayer went on to forecast an Australian boom that will rival the gold rush – except that it will not be in mining but rather in employment creating service industries.

Mitchell says that out of the increased Chinese and Asian prosperity will come a gigantic middle class who, like all middle classes, will want four things:

– Better education for their children

– Better health

– Better food, and

– Holidays

And guess what? Australia can help provide all four of the requirements of this booming Asian middle class.

My guess is that James Packer has a very similar view, which is why he is expanding Crown both here and in Asia.

So the Ides of March will pass and hopefully whoever wins the next election will create the environment that will enable us to have this new gold rush.