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Labor to cut jobs & investment to give child support.

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Press Release

Ian MacFarlane, MP Minister for Industry, Tourism & Resources 31 March 2004


Under a Latham Government Australia would have no official business presence in 12 of the world’s major economies, including New York, Paris and Beijing, as Labor will abolish Australia’s investment attraction agency, Invest Australia.

Invest Australia, and its 110 staff world-wide, is the Government’s national investment promotion agency, attracting direct investment into Australia. Invest Australia has been behind a tripling of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Australia in 2002. That went against a global decline in FDI of 21 per cent.

In 2002-03, Invest Australia helped attract 28 major investments in Australia - representing nearly $300m in investment, $360m in exports and creating or safeguarding nearly 2000 Australian jobs.

Labor today announced it wants to abolish Invest Australia to help fund its baby care payment policy. But what assistance is a baby care payment if the child’s family doesn’t have an income because Labor has dismantled the very agency which brings major projects, and employers, to Australia?

Last month Mr Latham was happy to tour the Comalco Refinery in Gladstone and congratulate the company on its $1.4 billion investment in Australia.

But he failed to explain to the 1500 Gladstone workers employed at the refinery that he wants to abolish Invest Australia - which created their jobs by securing the refinery for Australia.

The Comalco refinery was brought to Gladstone over competing foreign locations largely due to the excellent work of Invest Australia.

In 2001 Invest Australia facilitated a $137m interest-free, repayable loan, to secure this refinery for Australia. Without this incentive the project, which is expected to return a $4.5 billion benefit to Australia, would have gone to an overseas location.

This was a strategic investment to underpin the future of a vital regional area, to give the workers of Gladstone the security of a long-term project and to build on Australia’s reputation as one of the world’s leading suppliers of quality aluminium.

Labor’s plan to abolish Invest Australia demonstrates that Mr Latham is clearly not interested in attracting any further projects of this scale to Australia.

Labor is again proving it’s anti-business with on-the-run policies that are bad

for investment, bad for jobs and bad for the economy.

Kirsty Boazman

Media Adviser for Ian Macfarlane Minister for Industry, Tourism & Resources 6277 7580 or 0412 171 444