Australians support car industry assistance: poll

A recent poll has shown a high percentage of Australians consider manufacturing essential to the economy, and think the government should support the sector with funding and job security.

The poll, run by Essential Media Communications, showed 58% of the 1,000 respondents believed the government should show ‘total support’ in terms of additional assistance for Australia’s car manufacturing operations – even though they are owned by US companies.

Only 18% of respondents were ‘totally opposed’ to additional state and federal government funding for Australia’s ailing car industry.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) acting national secretary, Mike Nicolaides despite the pressures in the sector, the poll results demonstrate the tremendous support for manufacturing within the Australian community.

"There’s not only strong support for ensuring we continue to manufacture vehicles, but to ensure that we maintain a diverse and vibrant sector capable of making a whole range of things,” he said. 

"Despite the significant challenges ahead in terms of the strong dollar and the conditions of our competitors – the public’s position is quite clear, Australia must continue to be a country that makes things.

"We call on all political parties to acknowledge the value added by manufacturing workers and the important role they play in the Australian economy.”

Nicolaides said the poll respondents recognise manufacturing’s crucial role in keeping training, skills development, apprenticeships and innovation alive in Australia.

"Manufacturing not only provides one million jobs, but also skills and training for young people, which is essential to their future,” he said. 

"Further, manufacturing in Australia is the engine for the research, development and innovation which makes us competitive and provides the possibility of economic growth.

"There are significantly more people working in manufacturing right across Australia than there are in the resource sector, something that is often lost sight of in the commentary.

"It is vital for all political parties to ensure that the manufacturing industries and the one million jobs they provide are still there for the next generation.”

The poll also showed: 

  • 79% agree Australia should be an economy that "makes things"
  • 68% support current levels of industry assistance to support the 50,000 jobs in the Australian car industry, and
  • 62% agree that other manufacturing industries should receive similar assistance.