Govt must support industry in tough times: union

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Govt must support industry in tough times: union

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has called for more Federal Government support for industry in the wake of the Reserve Bank’s warning that a slowing economy is putting 100,000 jobs at risk.

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The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) has called for more Federal Government support for industry in the wake of the Reserve Bank’s warning that a slowing economy is putting 100,000 jobs at risk.

AMWU national secretary Dave Oliver said that in light of the economic downturn, working people were vulnerable and government policy ought to reflect their needs.

‘The Rudd Government is on the right track, with recent reviews into the automotive industry, and their green car fund,’ he said.

Jobs of the future

The AMWU now wants to Government to put funds into renewable energy industries where the jobs of the future will be.

Oliver said the Reserve Bank’s negative economic forecast comes on the back of the Productivity Commission’s comments last Friday, which condemned any kind of government intervention in industry.

‘We have seen first hand what a lack of industry policy results in,’ Oliver said. ‘This is why we can’t afford to let past mistakes continue unchecked, but rather shift towards a more interventionist approach.’

The AMWU, which includes the Vehicle Builders Union, has long opposed cuts in tariffs for the car industry if they result in the loss of jobs.

Oliver said that it is the poor trade policies of the past, and the lack of industry policy that has led to a flood of job losses in Australia.

Don’t let jobs go offshore

‘It is more important than ever for the Rudd Government to reassess the poor industry policies of the past that have stood back and just let jobs go off-shore,’ he said.

‘Now is a critical time for Australia to be investing in jobs of the future, in particular in the area of renewable energy industries, which offers the opportunity of real jobs growth.'

‘There is great opportunity to act now in terms of climate change, ensuring that workers who would otherwise be displaced are instead supported and assisted to ensure a just and smooth transition.’

Oliver said Australia’s future manufacturing industry must change in the face of modern circumstance, and ‘this cannot occur without government intervention and industry policy that is generated in close liaison with those industries’.

Weather the storm

‘With clear, industry assistance policies and reforms that reflect the needs of working people, we can weather the storm of financial crisis, or climate change, or other challenges that arise,’ he said.


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