The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union has condemned the comments made by Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey that federal funding to help support 200,000 auto jobs is “a waste.”
AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian reported that Mr Hockey’s comments, combined with the Federal Opposition’s policy to rip out half a billion dollars in support for the industry, would send chills through the automotive sector, he believes.
“Australia’s auto-industry is a critical part of our manufacturing industry, providing 200,000 jobs in associated industries and a centre for innovation and skills development. Australians are proud of a car industry and the public support for the industry is good value given the benefits it provides,” Mr Bastian said.
“Around the world, governments compete to keep car industries in their country. Australia’s co-investment is relatively very small. Mr Hockey’s comments are deeply troubling and given the traditional bipartisan nature of support for the car industry, appear to be more political posturing and cheap point scoring than actual manufacturing policy.”
Mr Bastian revealed Mike Devereux the head of GM Holden, recently said he did not specifically know whether the coalition has a policy on the car industry.
“Today, reports of major car companies looking to innovate and move into more efficient vehicles reflect the industry’s need to continue to innovate. These are the times to recognise that unless we too innovate we will perish.This is not the time to simply ignore the car industry, Mr Bastian added.
“If we ignore the industry, it will go away.”