Union head says car industry will survive and prosper

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Union head says car industry will survive and prosper

The head of the major union in Australia’s vehicle manufacturing plants believes the industry is ‘alive’ and has a bright future.

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The head of the major union in Australia’s vehicle manufacturing plants believes the industry is ‘alive’ and has a bright future.
 
Dave Oliver, nation secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), made his comments in response to a claim that the industry was doomed.
 
Clive Matthew-Wilson, the editor of car buyer's manual Dog and Lemon Guide suggested earlier this week that Australia’s three major car companies will close, that Green cars are a waste of time, and that the demise of the industry is inevitable.
 
Neither dead nor dying
 
‘Australia's automotive industry is far from dead or dying,’ Oliver said in an opinion piece written for the ABC online site.
 
‘As the national secretary of the AMWU, one of the major unions that represents auto workers, and as a member of the Automotive Innovation Council, I can state with authority that Australia's automotive industry is alive and has a bright future.'
 
‘Matthew-Wilson's range of assertions are starkly incorrect, especially as he seems to draw heavily on the financial state of international partners to ground his assumptions.'
 
Better positioned
 
‘In actual fact, Australia's car industry is better positioned than its international counterparts.’
 
Oliver said the Federal Government has a vested interest in maintaining capacity (witness the saving of the Geelong engine plant), building innovative responses to the global financial crisis (as exemplified in the financial support extended to car dealerships as the global credit squeeze worsened), and encouraging further research and development to assist the industry adapt to the changing environment.
 
‘Australia's automotive sector has been given a substantial overhaul with the Bracks Review in 2008,’ he said.
 
$6.2 billion commitment
 
‘The outcome of that inquiry was a commitment of $6.2 billion in government investment over the next 13 years, which will leverage up more than twice that sum in direct industry investment.'
 
‘It is new investment which is the lifeblood of this industry and the establishment of the Green Car Fund in particular will help reposition the industry's investments for the lower emission vehicles of the future.'
 
‘These substantial commitments by government, and the efforts of auto industry employers, unions and their members to work together in the face of the global recession to secure jobs and industry capability augur well for the industry's future.'
 
Meet the challenges
 
‘Despite the negative opinions of a car manual editor, Australia's auto industry is well-positioned to meet the challenges ahead.'
 
‘Above all else this will require the substantial new investments required to participate in the more environmentally friendly auto industry of the future.’
 
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