KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter addressed Parliament pleading with the Federal Government to fix the disastrous economic consequences if the motor vehicle manufacturing industries cease, as the government proposes to slash $500 million of assistance to the automotive industry.
“We are living in a country run by foreign monopolies who import their goods on the cheap, whilst our own industries collapse.
“All those Australians losing their jobs can thank their respective ALP-LNP governments, whose free market policies have smashed our industries to pieces. ‘Free market’ simply means big foreign corporations are free to mark prices up to whatever they feel like.
Mr Katter said that Australia’s motor vehicle industry workforce has shrunk one-third in the past decade (from 78,700 in May 2003 down to 50,100 by February 2013).
“We live in a country that will have no manufacturing base. Every report that I have seen states that when the three motor vehicle companies close 72 per cent of Australia’s manufacturing base will go down with them.
“The skyrocketing Australian dollar, high interest rates and ‘Free Market’ zealotry has contributed to the inexorable demise of Australia’s once-proud manufacturing industries,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter is gravely concerned for the thousands of manufacturing workers and communities who will lose their jobs, should Parliament slash the $500m assistance package to the automotive industry.
“These workers are facing the dole. Australia’s unemployment is rising; there are no jobs with our industries collapsing. So where is the government going to find the money to look after these 50,000 people that are going to be thrown out of work?
“You have 300,000 jobseekers and 500,000 people coming into the country and Australia has only 180,000 new jobs. I hope the government has money banked up for welfare payments, because there will be another 100,000 jobs coming down the line when the motor vehicle manufacturing industry closes.
“There is also a multiplier effect of three, for every job that is eliminated another three will be taken out of the economy,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter has previously introduced laws to mandate that all motor vehicles purchased by local, state and federal governments be Australian-made.
“We should be made to drive an Australian motor vehicle. Australians should be driving Australian made motor vehicles and, by protocol, governments should be mandating that politicians in Parliament should be driving Australian motor cars.
“A strong and sustainable manufacturing industry is vital to Australia’s economic and technological advancement,” said Mr Katter.
On 2nd October, the Automotive Transformation Scheme Amendment Bill 2014 passed the House of Representatives; it is now before the Senate.