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AMWU - Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union : Governments critical to auto future: AMWU

09/26/2012 | 02:57am EDT
Sep 26, 2012

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union has stated today that governments have a critical role in the future of the manufacturing industry.

Paul Bastian said there were a number of critical roles for government, including co-investing in the industry, just as every other car-manufacturing nation in the world does, to maintain the critical skills, R&D and innovation that the sector delivers to the local economy.

"Let's not forget in this issue, we're dealing with people's livelihoods and professions. White anting and talking down this industry is in no one's interest.

"Government, state, local and federal, also have a critical role in ensuring they do what they can for the future of the industry by ensuring their fleets are locally produced.

"Ten years ago, Australian governments bought 66 per cent of their fleets from Australian car makers, now its only 33 per cent of all fleets.

"Australia's car industry, by international standards, receives relatively little support per capita from government and we have the lower tariffs than all of our competitors.

"The auto-industry is a critical hub for Australian skills and innovation. It is critical in discussions about our future that this is recognised as a tremendous asset.

"The Opposition generally and Shadow Minister for Industry Sophie Mirabella lack credibility on this issue, given their comments that the co-investment should be ended, and the skills and the jobs of more than 200,000 thousands workers in the auto industry jeopardized.

"Cutting $500m from the industry would be a disaster. We also call on the Opposition to announce their industry plan now and not just leave the nasty surprise for workers and industry for after the election.

"Australia has a choice. Either we have a car industry or we don't. If we want a car industry, and all the benefits that go along with it, in economic, employment and skills terms - we have to back it in.

"The Prime Minister's Manufacturing Taskforce makes the points about the innovation clearly - our future is not in a race to the bottom on wages or prices but in honing, developing and deploying the skills of our workers and our quality products. The local auto sector is a key piece in us delivering this future," said Mr. Bastian.

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