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Transcript of doorstop: Parliament House, Canberra: 20 June 2003: Toyota; US-Australia FTA; Export Market Development Grants.

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CRAIG EMERSON Member for Rankin


20 June 2003

Transcript of Doorstop Parliament House, Canberra, 20 June 2003

Toyota, US-Australia FTA, Export Market Development Grants

Emerson: It would be a disaster for Australia if Toyota closed its car plant in Victoria in response to the negotiation of a US-Australia free trade deal. That’s the warning that Toyota has issued today. There are 3,000 workers in that plant alone. On top of that, there are thousands of workers in Victoria and in other states employed in the component manufacturing industry. The component manufacturing industry depends crucially on four car makers operating in Australia, not three. If one of those car makers left then the whole show could collapse like a house of cards, with disastrous consequences for all those workers who depend for their livelihoods on the automotive industry.

This is just another example of the costs that could be associated with a US-Australia free trade agreement. The Government is fond of telling Australians about the benefits, but is silent about the costs. The Government is negotiating this deal in secret behind closed doors. If it’s such a good deal for Australia, why all the secrecy?

In relation to Australia’s export performance generally, yesterday Mark Vaile conceded that he hadn’t even bothered to lobby for an increase in the Export Market Development Grants scheme, which has been cut by 36 per cent in real terms under this Government. He is a lazy Trade Minister. He is completely apathetic - and I’d have to go further and say that he is pathetic - that he would dare go into that Cabinet room without even asking his colleagues for an increase in the Export Market Development Grants scheme, so savagely cut by this Government, at a time when Australia has put in its worst export performance since Melbourne hosted the Olympics in 1956.


Contact: Craig Emerson 0418 781 386 or Brendan Shaw 0413 013 501