Industry minister Kim Carr has said that the federal election had become a “referendum” on manufacturing in Australia following the release of the Coalition’s policy on the industry yesterday, which would see a more modest level of government support.
As reported yesterday, the federal opposition’s leader Tony Abbott and industry spokeswoman Sophie Mirabella announced the Coalition’s policy at Brisbane’s Volvo Group plant, with $50 million worth of grants allocated for “Export Market Development” and “Strategic Growth Action Agendas”. Abbott and Mirabella also used the launch to criticise what they called the government’s “blank cheque” approach to the car industry.
“If the motor manufacturers want to come to us after the election, obviously they can and we will sit down and we will have an adult discussion with them about trying to ensure that those industries have a strong future, because that’s what all of us want,” Abbott said.
Industry minister Kim Carr used what has been described as a “minimalist” policy on manufacturing to claim that the Coalition, which is positioned based on polls to win the next election, was not committed to the industry in the same was as Labor.
"I thought this election was going to be a referendum on the automotive industry," Carr told Fairfax.
"I now understand it's actually a referendum on the future of manufacturing industry.
"They (the Coalition) have no grasp of what the global financial crisis and the high dollar have done to manufacturing."
The Coalition has suggested that it will not provide the same amount of support to automotive makers, with $1 billion in funding pledged up to 2015-16, rather than the government’s $1.5 billion.
Image: Australian Financial Review