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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 1926

Automotive Industry

Mr CHAMPION (Wakefield) (14:12): My question is to the Treasurer. What is the future of car manufacturing in Australia if the government goes ahead with his half a billion dollar cut to the car industry?

Mr HOCKEY (North SydneyThe Treasurer) (14:12): The future of the car industry is in the hands of the car industry.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOCKEY: It is in the hands of the car industry in the same way that it was under Labor. It was February 2008, from memory, when Mitsubishi closed and Labor was in government. It was Ford that announced that it was closing its Australian operation when Labor was in government. Is that a vacuum? Has that gone into the black hole of the six years that never existed? The fact is that, from 2015 onwards, we have committed $1 billion to help the car industry. But, ultimately, the thing that is most going to help the Australian motor vehicle industry is Australians buying their cars. That is what happens. It is about buying Australian cars. I would say to the members opposite: 'Please don't engage in hypocrisy on this. Don't be A-grade hypocrites when it comes to the motor vehicle industry.'

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield has asked his question. The member for Wakefield is warned!

Mr HOCKEY: It was the Labor Party that introduced a fringe benefits tax on motor vehicles—a $1.8 billion hit, which the member for McMahon was so proud of before the election. The best way you can help the Australian motor vehicle industry is impose a $1.8 billion tax on it! That was the Labor way of thinking. Then the Labor Party said that they would have a green car fund and then they cut the green car fund—

A government member: Cash for clunkers.

Mr HOCKEY: I forgot cash for clunkers. That was another great initiative from the Labor Party. But the carbon tax itself adds to the cost of producing motor vehicles in Australia—a carbon tax manufacturers do not pay if the cars are built in Thailand or anywhere else. The Labor Party believes the best way you can help manufacturing in Australia is to tax it to death. That is the Labor Party way. I would say to the member for Wakefield: the Australian automotive industry survives today despite the Labor Party, and the best thing that could happen for the Australian motor vehicle industry today is for the Labor Party to help get rid of the carbon tax.