Car plan welcomed, but won’t guarantee jobs

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Car plan welcomed, but won’t guarantee jobs

Unions and business have welcomed the Federal Government’s rescue package for the car industry, but the Minister responsible says there are no guarantees against further job losses.

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Unions and business have welcomed the Federal Government’s rescue package for the car industry, but the Minister responsible says there are no guarantees against further job losses.
 
The Government announced the package yesterday, which includes $3.4 billion of new funding to assist the industry from 2011 to 2020.
 
Innovation and Industry Minister Senator Kim Carr told ABC2's News Breakfast today the Government wants to keep the industry viable, but there are no guarantees the package will stop further job cuts.
 
‘We don't guarantee that there will be no more job losses or individual companies falling over,’ he said.
 
Companies must invest $18 billion
 
‘What we do say though is the companies have to invest up to $18 billion to get the benefit of the $6 billion over 13 years that the Commonwealth is providing.’
 
Senator Carr says the industry must re-invent itself, move towards creating greener cars and expand research and development.
 
'This is not a blank cheque, this is about developing capability and it's about ensuring long-term high skilled, high-wage jobs,’ he said.
 
Yesterday's package also included the more than doubling of the Green Car Innovation fund to $1.3 billion.
 
ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said the package sends a strong message of support for manufacturing jobs and industry development in the short and long term.
 
Safeguard skills
 
‘This kind of intervention by the Government is necessary to secure the future of the industry and to safeguard the skilled jobs of Australians,’ he said.
 
‘Making an investment in skills for tens of thousands of Australian workers is wise in the current economic climate, and will yield long term benefits.’
 
Lawrence said the Australian vehicle and component industry employs over 65,000 people directly and an additional 250,000 in the supply chain, with many of the jobs being in regional areas.
 
Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said the car plan is a strong package that will be welcomed by the industry and will provide much needed support.
 
‘It creates an opportunity for the industry to reinvent itself in a spirit of mutual obligation,’ she said.
 
‘Decade of innovation’
 
GM Holden chairman and managing director Mark Reuss said the package would spawn a ‘decade of innovation’ from local manufacturers.
 
AMWU national secretary Dave Oliver said that while the Government has not committed to maintain tariffs, the package delivers many of the other measures that unions have been calling for.
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