Former PM Pleaded with Local Govts to Buy Aussie Cars
In June 2013, the then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, called on local governments to buy Australian-made vehicles.
However, local councils are keeping a politic silence on the issue. Many have implemented wide-ranging fleet management policies that focus on value for ratepayers’ money, fitness for purpose and safety, not country of origin.
A further factor weighing against Australian-made cars is that they tend to hold their re-sale value less robustly than imported makes. Ford’s decision to withdraw from Australian manufacturing will only hasten the downward direction of its vehicles’ re-sale values.
Australian federal and state governments have engaged in a high-octane public debate about the future of car manufacturing in Australia.
South Australian state minister for manufacturing, Tom Kenyon, accused the federal coalition of planning to destroy the state’s car plants by withdrawing $500 million for the Automotive Transformation Scheme.
However, SA’s shadow manufacturing minister, Martin Hamilton-Smith, said a federal coalition government would continue to support the scheme with $1 billion in 2015 and a further $1 billion in 2016. He said Ford’s departure meant the additional $500 million was not necessary.
Those huge sums of public money have attracted much debate about their effectiveness in preventing car manufacturing jobs going offshore.