Ford job losses proof that protectionism a failure: Joe Hockey

Federal opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has said that today’s job losses at Ford are proof that protectionism was “not the answer” to car manufacturers’ problems.

Federal opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has said that today’s job losses at Ford are proof that protectionism was “not the answer” to car manufacturers’ problems.

Hockey has reaffirmed that a Coalition federal government would do away with subsidies to Australia’s car makers, and that people simply didn’t want to buy new Australian-made cars.

'People are not buying Australian-made cars because they don't want to buy Australian-made cars, and the cars are not meeting their demands as consumers,'' AAP reports him as saying.

''The government gave $34 million to Ford in January this year, the prime minister said this is going to create an extra 300 jobs, (now) 340 jobs have gone.''

Hockey repeated criticisms he made of the auto industry sector in July, when Ford originally announced the redundancies.

"Joe Hockey has revealed that a Coalition government would abandon the Australian automotive industry entirely, effectively killing off the industry, endangering the quarter of million jobs that rely on it and the broader manufacturing sector," industry minister Greg Combet told The Australian at the time.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has criticised the low proportion of locally-made cars being sourced for government fleets.

Tony Burke, the federal environment minister, said that local procurement was being increased.

“We were behind the curve in moving to more fuel-efficient cars, and a whole lot of the government investment that we've been putting into the car industry is about making sure we have Australian-made hybrids, about making sure we have Australian-made fuel-efficient cars,” he said.