Governments can save local auto-manufacturing, says AMWU

The Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) has stated that the governments have a number of critical roles in the future of the automotive manufacturing industry.

National secretary of AMWU, Paul Bastian said that “the auto-industry is a critical hub for Australian skills and innovation. It is critical in discussions about our future that this is recognised as a tremendous asset.”

Statistics revealed that ten years ago, Australian governments bought 66 per cent of their fleets from local carmakers, which has now fallen down to 33 per cent, 4-traders reports.

Bastian said that “Australia's car industry, by international standards, receives relatively little support per capita from government and we have lower tariffs than all of our competitors.”

The government has to do their bit by ensuring that fleets they use are locally produced.

Bastian mentioned that every car manufacturing nation in the world co-invests in the industry to maintain the critical skills, R&D and innovation that the sector delivers to the local economy.

He went on to say that “the opposition generally, and shadow minister for industry Sophie Mirabella, lack credibility on this issue, given their comments that the co-investment should be ended, and the skills and the jobs of more than 200,000 thousands workers in the auto industry jeopardized.

“Let's not forget in this issue, we're dealing with people's livelihoods and professions. White anting and talking down this industry is in no one's interest,” Bastian added.

According to Bastian cutting $500 million from the industry will be a disaster.

Bastian explained that “the Prime Minister's manufacturing taskforce makes the point about the innovation clearly but our future is not in a race to the bottom on wages or prices but in honing, developing and deploying the skills of our workers and our quality products. The local auto sector is a key piece in us delivering this future.”

“Australia has a choice. Either we have a car industry or we don't. If we want a car industry, and all the benefits that go along with it, in economic, employment and skills terms – we have to back it in.”

The AMWU has called on the opposition to announce their industry plans, and keep the workers and industry informed.