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(generated from captions) Albany and Bunbury being affected. the south-west of WA. Areas such as

Good to have you with us. Well, in

2010, the Australian taxpayer put

their hand in their pocket to the

tune of tens upon tens of thouds,

millions of dollars. To give to

Toyota. Then, of course, in January

of this year, the taxpayer put

their hand in their pocket to the

tune of just over $100 million for

Ford. Last month it was over $200

million to Holden. Is some kind of

message being sent? And now Toyota

are laying off 350 staff. Greg

Combet is the Industry and

Innovation Minister and joins me

now. Greg, thank you very much for

joining us this morning. Is this

just a waste of money? Are we

trying, as taxpayers, are we trying

to prop up industries that just

can't make a go of it in Australia?

No. We're trying to make sure they

can make a go of it and that we

have as many jobs in the auto

industry as we can. You mentioned a

moment ago the support or the co-

investment that the Government's

making with General Motors Holden.

That's very important to understand

that without that co-investment by the Commonwealth Government, we

would lose Holden in Australia,

with hundreds of thousands

potentially of jobs flowing on as a

consequence, that would be lost.

The Government is co-investing with

Holden to help them restructure

their operations so that they can

be competitive internationally,

when our dollar is at such a high

value. And coming to the Toyota

situation at the moment, which is

very unfortunate for the workers

who are affected by it, of course,

at Altona, again, what the company

is trying to do here is to get

their operations on a competitive

footing, given the high value of

our dollar. Toyota is an export

plant. And when you have got a high

Australian dollar, it makes our

exports relatively more expensive

for overseas customers. Sure. And

times, which unfortunately means so Toyota is facing some difficult

many of the workers are facing very

difficult times. Absolutely, Greg.

But on the horizon, there's no

imminent reduction in the

Australian dollar, is there? In

fact, quite opposite. Many

economists are saying it's gonna

stay in that position for the long

term. So will the taxpayer have to

continue dipping into their pocket

to prop up these industries? Well,

first of all it's important to put

the high dollar in a bit of context.

This is happening because we've got

such a strong economy. Hundreds of

billions of dollars coming into the

resources sector in investment,

including during the course of the

next 12 and 24 months, very

significant growth in resources.

And we've had record terms of trade,

that's the prices we get for our

exports in recent years. We have

got relatively low unemployment

when you look at the situation

internationally. In a country like

Spain, it's over 20%. We've got

pretty low public sector debt. You

know, we have got quite strong

economic circumstances and there's

a lot of confidence in the

Australian economy. But, having

said that, one consequence is the

high Australian dollar, and it does

put pressure on manufacturing in

particular and plants like Toyota's,

at Altona. I think you're quite

right, we will have to live with

the high value of the dollar for

some time. That means companies

like Toyota, Ford, General Motors

and a host of others, are going to

be adjusting their business models

so they can be competitive.

Unfortunately, that means there's

very difficult times in people at

plants like Toyota. It seems to me

Tony Abbott is quite happy to allow

them to adjust their business plans

and actually leave them to it, so

they can do what they want. He's

saying, under a Coalition

government, they would wipe $500

million in funding for the

automotive industry. Do you not

think that that is the sensible

approach? Either they sink or swim?

No. Well, it's not just that. He's

saying, "We'll wipe $500 million

out up to 2015, over the next three

years, and then no more after

that." Compared to the Government,

that's an extra billion dollars

that would be gone or the auto

industry. Tony Abbott's policy is

to wipe the automotive fact

industry out. That has huge

consequences for the economies.

That's not his policy, with the

greatest respect. He's saying,

"It's your business, get on with it,

do your thing." With the greatest

respect, I am the Industry Minister

and I am very close to what's going

on in these companies. That's

exactly what the Liberals' policy

means. It will wipe the industry

out. Maybe we're getting into

semantics. No, it's not. These are

hundreds of thousands of people's

jobs here. The Government is

standing up for manufacturing

workers. But not in a silly way.

We're doing it in partnership with

these companies to make sure they

are competitive. The Liberals'

policy is to let the industry fall

over. There would be people who

argue you can't be competitive if

you are artificially propped up. We

are not artificially propping it up.

That's why I made the point about

our co-investment with Holden. It's

to get that company and its

operations, including in Port

Melbourne and in Adelaide, on a

competitive basis while we have a

high Australian dollar. Some of the

evidence that that is working came

out yesterday, when Holden

announced they will be designing

two motor vehicles that will be, in

fact, manufactured in China, but

the design and engineering work

will be done in Port Melbourne. The

350 workers who are projected to

lose their jobs very soon. Some of

them found out about it yesterday

at Toyota Altona - is there

anything the Government can do for

them? Oh, the Government will be

supporting them as much as we

possibly can. We have what's called

a local employment coordinator in

that region, in Melbourne, who will

be around the plant today and

tomorrow. And we'll be holding a

session for the employees who want

to participate in it, about the

services that will be available to

them, to help them find employment elsewhere in the region, or

elsewhere in the country. But the

Government has a set of the

mechanisms that kick in in

circumstances like this, where we

provide support to the employees.

Because it's obviously a very tough

time for them and their families.

We'll spaurt them as much as we

possibly can -- we'll support them