While the Liberal Government has been focused on itself and its leadership woes, Australian autoworkers and their families continue to face a bleak future.
It has been 12 months since auto manufacturers announced their decision to withdraw from Australia following the Abbott Government’s decision to play chicken with General Motors Holden.
One year on and the Abbott Government still has no plans on how to fill the void that the vehicle producers will leave in domestic manufacturing or assist thousands of auto workers who will lose their jobs.
Shadow Minister for Industry Senator Kim Carr said the writing was on the wall for Australian carmakers as a result of the Abbott Government’s aggressive anti-automotive campaign.
The relentless attack on auto manufacturing, including proposed cuts of $500 million in legislated co-investment funding in the December 2013 MYEFO, pushed first Holden and then Toyota out of Australia.
Independent experts advise that the departure of the carmakers and the subsequent loss of jobs in the supply chain will lead to the loss of up to 200,000 jobs and a $29 billion negative hit to the economy.
The effects of this devastation will be felt most in Victoria and South Australia where the carmakers and the majority of supply chain firms are concentrated.
Along with the Abbott Government’s attacks on our shipbuilding industry it is clear that manufacturing jobs in Victoria and South Australia are under siege
Not content with having chased off Holden and Toyota, in last year’s horror Budget the Abbott Government announced further cuts of
$400 million in auto assistance.
Evidence tendered to a Senate Committee on the proposed $900 million total cut to the Automotive Transformation Scheme was unanimous in concluding that this would cause devastation to the supply chain.
If legislation to enact these cuts is passed it would leave the auto manufacturing supply chain, which directly employs more than 30,000 people, no time and inadequate support to transition into new markets and new industries.
That is why Labor and cross bench Senators moved to establish a Committee inquiry on the future of the auto industry, which will provide interim reports in the coming months.
Labor will fight to keep high-skill high-wage jobs in Australia and stop the Abbott Government sending them offshore.