Transcript ABC Radio National AM


SUBJECT/S: Abbott Government’s unfair automotive cuts

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Opposition says it, the Greens, crossbenchers Nick Xenophon, John Madigan, Ricky Muir and the Palmer United Party senators are all expected to veto Government cuts to the Automotive Transformation Scheme.

SENATOR KIM CARR, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND INDUSTRY: The Government has done all it can to drive the automotive industry from Australia.

KIRK: Labor Senator Kim Carr was the architect of the assistance, introduced by the previous Labor Government in 2008 and intended to continue till 2021. The Abbott Government wants to cut legislated funding for vehicle manufacturers and supply chain companies by $900 million and end the scheme in three years' time.

CARR: There are still 128 companies registered for industry participation; we have to open up new contracts; we have to find new investment; we have to secure new jobs to ensure that Australia's vital manufacturing sector is not destroyed by this Government.

KIRK: And without the assistance?

CARR: It can't occur without assistance; no country in the world is able to produce an automotive industry without co-investment from government.

KIRK: Today a Senate committee tables its report on cuts to the assistance. It's expected Labor, the Greens and three crossbench senators will issue a dissenting report, calling for funding to be retained in its current form and they'll move to set up a one year Senate inquiry into the future of the automotive sector.

CARR: To ensure that Australia is able to be leading manufacturing nation as we've got every right to be.

KIRK: Have you thought about the other consequence, which will be making the budget deficit worse?

CARR: Well what we've got is a situation where the Government is creating a budget crisis for hundreds of thousands of Australian families. They're destroying jobs; the big skill here is to export Australian jobs.

Now Australian people expect better; they expect us to be able to be more than just a farm or a quarry; they expect us to be able to make things in a highly sophisticated way.

The automotive industry is one of those key sectors that's able to provide us with the skills and the capabilities we need to secure future investment in manufacturing more broadly.

And so it's vital that these companies are given the opportunity to transition to something new and to ensure that we're able to attract investment into what will be a re-birthed automotive industry in this country.


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