AMWU: Governments should buy Australian-made cars

The AMWU has insisted that helping out Australian car manufacturers is a “no-brainer” after it was revealed governments at all levels are largely overlooking locally-made vehicles when adding to their fleets.

Last week News Limited papers reported that federal, state and local governments were choosing imported automobiles rather than Australian-made Holden, Ford or Toyota cars. The “biggest snub”, according to “confidential industry data” was at the council level.

According to the story, only 16.3% of the councils’ 17,400 vehicles were domestically produced.

Queensland, West Australian and Tasmanian governments included just one Australian-made car out of every five in their collection.

All up, sales to governments by the three car makers have fallen from 33,433 in 2007 to 19,171 in 2011, claimed the article.

Today the AMWU’s Paul Bastian replied in a Herald Sun opinion piece by saying it was wrong to blame wage demands and the high Australian dollar for the sufferings of Australian car-makers, when they could be assisted simply by governments buying their cars.

“If governments show leadership and buy Australian-made vehicles for their fleets, they can encourage private fleets to purchase Australian,” wrote Bastian.

“If all levels of government and private fleets purchased Australian-made cars, sales would increase by around 450,000 per year.”

He also cited difficulties competing with other countries’ car manufacturers, who receive government support in various ways.

“Eighty per cent of the vehicles imported into Australia come from four countries — Japan, Thailand, South Korea and Germany. Yet all of these countries keep a mix of tariffs and non-tariff systems which protect their car industries.”