Carmakers get $6.2bn of taxpayers' money
This is insane. We can get all the cars we want from Japan without it costing the fisc a cent. And the idea that we can compete with Japan is a fantasy
THE Federal Government's $6.2 billion automotive industry package will support jobs at a time of a global financial crisis and into the future, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says. The nation needed a green-car industry that would create high-paid, high-skilled green jobs for the future, he said launching the Government's new car industry plan in Melbourne today. The plan sets aside $500 million - double the amount recommended in former Victorian premier Steve Bracks' inquiry into the industry - for a green car innovation fund. It also confirms a reduction in the automotive tariff to 5 per cent will go ahead as planned in 2010.
"In the time of global financial crisis the Government today has taken further decisive action to support Australian industry, to support Australian jobs, because we believe this industry has a future,'' Mr Rudd said. "We take decisive action to build an international, competitive green economy for the future. "Australia needs a green car industry that manufacturers the fuel efficient, low-emissions vehicles of the future and creates the well paid, high skilled green jobs of the future.''
The choice was not between having a growing economy in the short-term and a green economy in the medium to long-term. "We can work effectively to develop both, and that's what a large part of today's package is all about. The automotive industry was part of Australia's future, Mr Rudd said. Building a low-emissions economy was the next step in the Government's response to the global financial crisis. "By implementing a green investment strategy today we can transform our industry and create green jobs for tomorrow,'' he said. "It's a future in which we should have absolute confidence - fuel-efficient technologies, low-emissions technologies, better designed and safer vehicles.''
Australia could be world leader in green car technology, Mr Rudd said. The automotive industry faced a whole new set of market, economic and environmental changes and challenges. "The domestic market for cars has become more fragmented. Australian car makers do battle in a very crowded field, with 60 other car brands, Mr Rudd said. "Consumer preferences have shifted away from sedans, to both smaller vehicles on the one hand and four-wheel drives on the other.'' Higher petrol prices had driven consumer demands for more fuel-efficient vehicles, he said.
Mr Rudd said the automotive industry had a key role to play in climate change and faced a complicated set of industry challenges. "Some might say it's not worth trying to have a car industry, that is not my view, it is not the view of the Australian Government and it never will be the view of any government which I lead,'' he said. "I don't believe that car making is yesterday's business or something better left to the Germans and the Japanese. "But I also don't believe that industry policy is about 'saving' the automotive industry, it's about helping to transform the industry to meet the challenges of the future. "It's not about passive assistance, it's about active support for innovation and change.''
Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here