Carr confused at Devereux slam after Chamber’s green light

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr has responded to a comment made by Holden CEO Mike Devereux that the future of his company is unstable due to a possible carbon tax, by announcing that the government “remains strongly committed” to Australian automotive manufacturers.

Senator Car claims to be committed to “an economically sustainable automotive industry and to the livelihoods of the more than 200,000 workers employed in the manufacture and servicing and repairs of motor vehicles.”

Devereux announced this week that the future of his company and its 4,700 jobs in Australia is now under review because of concerns about sovereign risk – including as a result of the looming carbon tax.

“Mr Devereux’s comments reported today reaffirm his view that the automotive industry and its advanced technologies are central to Australia’s manufacturing capabilities and that a long-term and consistent policy framework is necessary to attract investment in the global automotive industry,” said Senator Carr.

“The Government is very aware of the need for investment certainty, especially given the long lead times for new model cycles.  That is why we are implementing the $5.4 billion New Car Plan for a Greener Future until 2020.”

According to Shadow Innovation Minister, Sophie Mirabella, the government is jeopardising the future of Australian businesses and our economic credibility – because it “hasn’t got a clue about how an economy works or what is needed for its growth.” 

Mirabella support Deveraux’s concerns, claiming his comments point to the “disastrous consequences of the Government’s policy duplicity and inconsistency – and the damaging uncertainty it is creating through its lack of vision and direction.”

In his response, Senator Carr claims the government has met the major automotive manufacturers and restated its commitment to the sector and the other elements of the Government’s New Car Plan for a Greener Future.  

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, of which Mr Devereux is President, has said that it was “reassured” by the Government’s commitment, he said.

“The $3.4 billion Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS), which commenced on 1 January 2011, will help vehicle and component makers get cleaner and greener products to market.  ATS participants have estimated that they will invest $4 billion in capital and innovation from 2011 to 2015,” he said.

“The plan will strengthen the automotive supply chain by underpinning investment, building capability and expanding markets internationally.

“Dialogue with industry is an essential element of the Plan. The Government continues to meet regularly with companies in Australia and with their global leadership to discuss the state of the industry and our economic and policy settings.

“I will meet with Ford and General Motors in the United States this week and I plan to meet their regional management in China and with Toyota management in Bangkok later in the year.”

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Talk Back: What will happen to Australia’s automotive manufacturing sector if Holden were to pull out of Australia?