Passionate support for local car industry

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has launched a strong defence of Australia's car industry, saying the sector is alive and has a "bright future".

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has launched a strong defence of Australia’s car industry, saying the sector is alive and has a “bright future”.

AMWU’s national secretary, Dave Oliver, was reacting to comments last week from Dog and Lemon car buyer’s guide editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who said Australia’s car industry was dying.

Oliver says that is far from the truth. “The industry comprises not just the major car manufacturers Ford, Holden or Toyota, but also a large number of auto-component companies and retail dealerships across the country that continue to employ over 200,000 Australians,” Oliver said.

Matthew-Wilson claimed investment in the automotive industry was wasted money because Australia could not compete with cheap foreign labour.

“Globally, there’s a glut of new cars at bargain prices, yet Australia, which produces a small number of high cost cars, is trying to compete with countries like China, which produces 10 million cars a year and pays its car workers as little as $1 per hour,” he said in a statement.

“The Australian Government can throw $6 billion or $600 billion at these car plants, but they still won’t be economically feasible.”

Howver Oliver rejected the claims as the comments of a “self-proclaimed expert,” saying the local industry was an example of a vibrant and innovative sector.

“Mr Matthew-Wilson’s range of assertions are starkly incorrect, especially as he seems to draw heavily on the financial state of international partners to ground his assumptions.

“In actual fact, Australia’s car industry is better positioned than its international counterparts.

Oliver said the transformation to a low-carbon economy would provide new opportunities for the sector to grow.

“Despite the negative opinions of a car manual editor, Australia’s auto industry is well positioned to meet the challenges ahead,” he said.

“Above all else this will require the substantial new investments required to participate in the more environmentally friendly auto industry of the future.”

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