Abbott Government votes to cut Aussie auto jobs

The Coalition today passed legislation that would cut $500 million from the Automotive Transformation Scheme between now and 2017 and terminate the scheme from the end of 2017, resulting in a further $400 million cut.

Cutting almost a $1 billion in funding from the Automotive Transformation Scheme and shutting it down early would spell disaster for the 200,000 Australian men and women who rely on the auto industry for their jobs.

Twenty-four Labor MPs rose to speak on the Automotive Transformation Scheme Amendment Bill 2014, condemning the Abbott Government’s flagrant attack on the industry and the tens of thousands of Australians it employs nationally, including the workers in their electorates.

“Let's make no mistake: this bill continues with the vandalism that this government has wrought on what was and still is today a very important Australian industry and a very important industry to my electorate.” 

Nick Champion – Federal Member for Wakefield 

“Not only will this have an impact on thousands of people in my electorate but it will also have a significant impact on the South Australian economy.” 

Amanda Rishworth – Federal Member for Kingston

“There was some truly despicable behaviour from members of the government, including from South Australian members, who openly and aggressively betrayed the workers in our home state…It is a shame that the Liberal South Australian members in this House either do not know or they just do not care.” 

Kate Ellis – Federal Member for Adelaide

Before the election, South Australian Liberal MPs were only too happy to pose for photos at Holden however not one South Australian Liberal MP – where Holden has been an iconic brand for nearly 60 years – stood up to justify their Government’s reckless cuts to automotive manufacturing.

These are the same Liberal MPs who didn’t have the courage to fight for our auto industry in the Cabinet and on the Party Room floor.

Where were the South Australian Liberals when it came time for them to stand up to Tony Abbott’s vendetta against the car industry, and the 24,000 people who stand to lose their jobs in South Australia as a result of his actions?

Tellingly, just one Victorian Liberal MP spoke on the Bill, the Member for Corangamite Ms Sarah Henderson, who claimed that she was “fighting for jobs.”

This flies in the face of the cold hard facts, with independent experts saying that Victoria will be the hardest hit by automotive closures, resulting in the loss of nearly 100,000 jobs in Victoria alone.

The impact on Victoria is a point well understood by the Victorian Labor MPs who rose to speak on the bill.

“I rise to speak on behalf of the 2,500 Toyota workers directly employed in my electorate, who have had to pay for the Abbott government's reckless and arrogant approach to the automotive industry.”  

Tim Watts – Federal Member for Gellibrand 

“In the City of Greater Dandenong, 22,800 people are employed in manufacturing industries and it is estimated that the automotive industry injected $2.5 billion into the local economy. That is a staggering number of workers who are being cast aside by this government and it is an astonishing economic contribution to the Victorian economy.” 

Mark Dreyfus – Federal Member for Isaacs 

“This is a government that is seeking to dumb down the national economy. This is a government that has absolutely cut my home town of Geelong completely loose.” 

Richard Marles – Federal Member for Corio 

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.

Labor will not stand idly by and watch the Abbott Government send more Australian jobs offshore.

The Bill will now be debated in the Senate, where we call on the cross-benchers and minor parties to stand up for Australian jobs, stand up for Australian manufacturing and block these cuts.


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