Shorten backs Napthine’s call to keep car subsidies


Opposition leader Bill Shorten says the Federal Government must continue its subsidies to the automotive industry to protect jobs in Victoria.

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Mr. Shorten’s pronouncement comes as Victorian Premier Denis Napthine urged the government to keep the subsidies for the next ten years and recommit the $500 million that it plans to slash from car industry funding.

On Friday the Napthine government made a submission to the Productivity Commission inquiry into the car industry warning that withdrawing subsidies would cause major job losses.

”Investment certainty is also needed. Continuation of support at current levels is required to assist the industry to move to a profitable and sustainable footing. The assurance of a Commonwealth commitment over a period of at least 10 years is essential for sustained investment,” according to the submission.

In an AAP report Mr. Shorten says Labor is backing the Victorian government’s call to protect the subsidies.

“The Abbott government is running up the white flag on jobs all around Australia,” Mr. Shorten told reporters in Brisbane.

“What we see here is the Abbott government before the election said they were a friend of manufacturing, now they’ve given up on manufacturing.”

“Now the Liberal government in Victoria is saying the Abbott government is a danger to car jobs in Australia and this uncertainty needs to stop.”

Premier Napthine said 25,000 jobs are at risk without subsidies, while opposition employment spokesperson Tim Pallas said far more than that number will go should the Commonwealth fail to heed the Victorian government’s call.

“The brutal answer is that there will be a requirement for subsidies and there has been for literally decades,” Mr. Pallas said.

“If there is no investment in maintaining these jobs, they will go and when they go the component supply chain in this country will fall apart.”

The initial report from the Productivity Commission is expected to come out before Christmas, while the final report is due on March next year.