The AMWU has reportedly cranked up the pressure on all levels of Australian government to buy Australian manufactured in their car purchases, after the recent shock revelation that only less than 20 per cent of local councils passenger vehicles are locally made.
Dave Smith, AMWU Vehicles Division National Secretary, has formally written to every local government across the nation interrogating them on their car choices, a choice which could secure thousands of Australian jobs if governments prioritised vehicles made in their own country.
According to the AMWU, state and territory governments are already under scrutiny over their purchasing policies, revealing only the vehicle-building states of Victoria and South Australia having a clear majority of locally-made cars in their fleets.
Mr Smith challenged local mayors to show leadership by putting Australian manufacturing jobs first and increasing local car purchases from about 16 per cent in 2011 – bringing it closer to the 66 per cent level of 2004.
“In order to stimulate our industry immediately, all government levels need to take a good, hard look at what they are doing with their car purchasing policies,” Mr Smith said.
The pressures by the AMWU come as the union moves to assist 330 Ford workers at the Geelong and Broadmeadows plants in Victoria who were made redundant earlier this year, taking job losses among the big three manufacturers this year to 800.
‘Victoria, with most vehicle manufacturing, uses locally-made cars for 98 per cent of its core passenger fleet and about 70 per cent of all agencies’ vehicles, while the fleet figure for South Australia is 78 per cent.’
‘Figures from industry body FCAI for fleet procurement of cars and SUVs in 2010-11 put NSW at 42 per cent, Queensland 33 per cent, Tasmania 33 per cent , the ACT 34 per cent, Northern Territory at 31 per cent and Western Australia 26 per cent,’ AMWU reported.
“The Federal Government is reasonable, but in NSW and Queensland it’s quite pathetic to be honest, considering the number of cars they need and the amount of extra support they could be giving to fellow Australians and local jobs,” Mr Smith said.
AMWU senior delegate at Ford Broadmeadows Stewart Harris revealed the decline within the past decade had been worrying for production workers.
“This should not have happened, the choice for people provided with a car as part of government employment should be vehicles made in Australia – there should not be an option when taxpayers or ratepayers’ money is concerned,” Mr Harris said.