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Premier Weatherill must re-confirm commitment to car industry bipartisanship

30 October 2013

 

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill should decide whether his interest in the Australian automotive industry is to ensure long-term sustainability and jobs, or whether his interest is only for short-term political gain in the lead up to the state election.

Unfortunately, Mr Weatherill’s comments today, and in recent days, about the timeframe for the Productivity Commission’s review of the automotive industry and his comments about exports suggest it’s the latter.

When I visited GM Holden in the days immediately after being sworn in as Industry Minister I made it clear that as far as I was concerned, the discussions about the future of the Australian car and components industry should be above politics.

That’s why I met with Jay Weatherill prior to the visit, I invited the Premier and his state Minister to the closed door meetings and I ensured that all federal, state and local politicians with an interest in the car industry, including Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, as well as union representatives were invited on the tour of the GM Holden factory.

Premier Jay Weatherill stood next to me at the media conference after that tour during which I outlined the Australian Government’s plan for evaluating the future of the car industry. In fact, the Premier explicitly said he was pleased with the bipartisan approach being taken.

The Coalition Government has been clear since day one. We will take a careful and methodical approach to considering the future of the Australian automotive industry, and that response will be based on the Productivity Commission review of the sector.

It has always been clear that the full process would take six to eight months to complete.

Mr Weatherill was present on a number of occasions when I said that and raised no public objection to the timeframe.

No one doubts the importance of the Australian automotive industry, in particular for communities such as Adelaide.

The only way to give this industry and its future the detailed consideration it deserves is to put the politics aside. This is still my intention. It’s up to Premier Weatherill to decide if it’s his intention also.

Media Contacts: Minister Macfarlane's office 02 6277 7070                    

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