Joint release with Tony Zappia
Legislation introduced in the Parliament today would spell disaster for the 200,000 Australian men and women who rely indirectly on the automotive manufacturing industry for their jobs.
The Abbott Government’s Automotive Transformation Scheme Amendment Bill, if passed, would cut $500 million in funding from the Automotive Transformation Scheme between now and 2017.
Further, it would terminate the Automotive Transformation Scheme from the end of 2017, leaving no support for surviving components companies.
The Automotive Transformation Scheme is a legislated scheme that encourages investment and innovation in the Australian automotive industry.
The scheme provides assistance in the form of co-investment to firms for the production of motor vehicles and engines, and for investment in eligible research and development (R&D), and plant and equipment.
Since coming to office, the Coalition Government has gone out of its way to trash Australia’s automotive capabilities.
However, despite its best efforts, some companies will survive and Labor is committed to working with the industry to rebuild jobs and maintain capabilities.
One need look no further than Britain, where after the Thatcher years the need for an auto industry was recognised. Now, even Conservative parties are committed to attracting investment to the industry.
The legislation introduced in the Parliament today confirms the Abbott Government’s hostility to Australian auto companies and workers.
Cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the Automotive Transformation Scheme now risks causing the premature closure of motor vehicle producers and the hundreds of firms in the automotive supply chain, sending thousands of Australian jobs offshore – long before 2017.
It means 50,000 direct Australian jobs in the car industry are at risk, and a further 200,000 jobs which rely indirectly on this industry are on the line.
Tony Abbott is prepared to play chicken with the livelihoods of Australian men and women, but Labor will not stand idly by and watch the Abbott Government send more Australian jobs offshore.
Labor believes we need to fight to maintain Australian manufacturing capabilities and jobs, not pre-empt the closure of this vital hi-tech industry and risk the early closure of firms before 2017 by reducing the available funding.
Labor will do everything in its power to stop these cuts to the Automotive Transformation Scheme.
We call on the cross-benchers and minor parties to stand up for Australian jobs, stand up for Australian manufacturing and block these cuts in the Senate.
WEDNESDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER 2014